August 08, 2003

U.S. Should Take the Shackles Off 9/11 Probe

Well, yes, the "recall" vote attack on Gray Davis (a
Democrat, a Vietnam veteran and the duly elected
Governor of California), has provided the "US
mainstream news media" with something it can handle --
a farce featuring Larry Flynt, Ariana Huffington and
the Terminator, a "summer blockbuster," as SeeNotNews
(CNN) calls it; just what Rove desperately needs to
keep the debacle of the _resident's reign (notably,
guerilla war in Iraq, what didn't happen before 9/11,
the staggering loss of jobs, the plunging of the
Federal government into deep debt, etc.) out of the
headlines. Of course, the "US mainstream news media
could make the California "recall" farce something
very meaningful indeed if it were to look into how
Davis went from being a powerful, big state Governor touted as
a potential Presidential candidate in 2004 to supposedly being a pariah.
Does the name Ken Lay ring a bell?
Where is Ken Lay? Perhaps he is on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border with Osama "Wanted: Dead or Alive" Bin Laden.
Afterall, Lay and Bin Laden have a few striking things in common. One of Osama's siblings was long-time business associate of the
_resident, just like Ken Lay, and indeed his family
was involved in the Carlyle Group until shortly after
9/11. [NOTE: "Carlyle Group Inc., a private equity
firm whose senior executives include former U.S.
cabinet members and ex-President George H.W. Bush [as
well as James Baker, John Majors and others], has
turned a $180-million 1997 investment in United
Defense Industries Inc. into $1.2 billion." Bloomberg,
8/5/03] As you probably know, we are not supposed to
draw any *unpleasant* inferences from the association
between the Bush and Bin Laden families -- because
Osama, the "conventional wisdom" assures us, is the
"black sheep" of the family. Of course, the Saudi
government is on the record as being an ally of the US
and an enemy of Al-Qaeda and yet multiple credible
sources official and unofficial report that the Saudi
government is riff from top to bottom with Al-Qaeda
sympathizers and fellow-travelers. So...But I digress,
let us return to Ken Lay...One of the pivotal
post-coup, pre-9/11 events in the US was the phoney
"California energy crisis."
Among 10 as yet to be adequately answered questions
poised by the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer
Rights (FTCR) are the following:
One question you won't hear from SeeNotNews'
"political analyst" Bill Schnooker as he "explains"
the "recall" story to you:
"How many contacts did Ken Lay have with members of
the Bush Administration or FERC, including any
meetings and phone calls between Ken Lay and President
Bush, the Vice-President, members of the Cabinet or
FERC Commissioners. What was the substance of those
contacts?"
[VICE _resident Cheney, as you probably know, despite
the best efforts of the "US mainstream news media" to
distract you, has tenaciously resisted civil suits
brought by advocacy groups on the right (Judicial
Watch) and the Left (Sierra Club) as well as the
edicts of Federal courts, the US GAO and the Senate.]
One question you will not hear from Tim Rushdirt of
Meat the Press or AnythingButSee's George
Stop&Laugh@Us: "What was the purpose and substance of
the May 11, 2001 meeting with then-Mayor Richard
Riordan, former junk bond king Michael Milken, and
Arnold Schwarzenegger? Lawmakers should obtain the
materials Ken Lay provided at that meeting."
Oh yeah, the Terminator tells Jay Leno he is going to
Sacramento to "clean house." Incredible.
"Among all the victims of Enron's shenanigans," says
the FTCR, "none have received as little attention as
the taxpayers and consumers of California, who were
squeezed out of billions of dollars by Enron and the
power industry as a result of energy deregulation."
[For more on the looting of California, by Bush
cronies in the Energy industry, check out
http://www.consumerwatchdog.org/utilities/rp/rp002193.pdf]
Another striking thing that Osama and Kenny Boy (the
_resident's nick name for the man who raised him a lot
of campaign money) have in common is that "Trifecta"
ticket the _resident was so delighted to cash in.
(Remember, "Lucky me, I won the Trifect.") There was a
political nightmare developing for the _resident
during his first Waco vacation as our
"Demander-in-Chief." Afterall, he and his cabal had
talked down the economy (to justify their tax cut),
and meanwhile allowed their pro-Bush Texas energy
industry friends to price-gouge anti-Bush California,
which drove Silicon Valley through the floor, taking
the 5th Largest Economy in the World with it. Of
course, the perpetrators of the boondoggle lost
control and the boondoogle overtook itself. Enron
crashed and burned, dealing another devastating blow
to the economy. But by that time, George "Lucky me, I
hit the Trifecta!" Bush was riding a wave of fear into
the fog of war...In a political culture in which a
free, healthy press lived out journalistic principles
with vigor, the Enron debacle, i.e., the impact of its
"business practices" on the economy of California, the
impact of its corporate governance failure on the
economy of the nation, and the personal and
politically intimate relationship of the _resident,
Ken Lay and other Bush campaign "pioneers" in the
Enron world, would have brought down the Bush
administration...My sincere hope is that Larry
Flynt(who has filed to run in the "recall"
election)takes a long hard look at the *life and work*
of the Terminator...Meanwhile, remember, we are in the
midst of a *civil* war. The struggle in the Texas
state legislature is one front, the California
"recall" election is another front, what is happening
state by state to the voting process itself is another
front, the further monopolzation that Calm 'Em
Powell's bratty son Michael and the Bush-cooked FCC is
trying to allow for the corporate giants that already
ready control "the US mainstream news media" is
another front. Remember, too, that in this *civil*
war, we have gone far beyond ideology. This struggle
is no longer aboutn right versus left or Democrat
versus Republican, this struggle is about human
decency, common sense and the values with share with
our allies in the world. There is a Popular Front
emerging, it includes military men and women of all
ranks, as well as intelligence professionals both
active and retire, as well as business tycoons and
Nobel Prize laureates. There are Republicans of human
decency and common sense in the US Senate. It is Susan
Collins (R-ME)who said recently: "It is inexcusable
that I have not received answers already. The Treasury
Department's ... response was entirely
unsatisfactory." Collins, a Committee Chair, along
with Arlen Spectre (R-PA) and other honorable
Republicans, are seeking answers. They "want to know
how many times the department's Office of Foreign
Assets Control has recommended that Saudi entities be
sanctioned as terrorism financiers and how many times
those recommendations have been overruled at higher
levels of the government." Do not be surprised if at
some point between now and election day in 2004 you
finally learn about disturbing associations between
Saudi financiers, "charities," campaign contributions
and business deals.

http://www.newsday.com/news/opinion/ny-vpcoc073404676aug07,0,4849578.column

Marie Cocco
U.S. Clamps Secrecy on Warnings Before 9/11
U.S. Should Take the Shackles Off 9/11 Probe
Jul 10, 2003


August 7, 2003


It's not just the Saudi secret that's being kept.

The recent report of the joint congressional committee
that probed intelligence failures before the terrorist
attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon
reveals what the Bush administration doesn't want
Americans to know about the American government.

You would not know this from media accounts about this
report. They have dwelled on what the Bush
administration doesn't want us to know about the Saudi
government.

This is the famous 28-page chapter, a series of blank
lines across page after page, that the president
refuses to declassify despite the pleadings of the
bipartisan group of lawmakers and the Saudi government
itself.

The dustup over Saudi secrets is exquisitely
convenient. It obscures George W. Bush's relentless
hold on U.S. secrets and on information he maintains
should be secret, though it has not necessarily been
before now.

The report's appendix hints at what these secrets are,
and why they are kept. "Access Limitations Encountered
by the Joint Inquiry," the section is titled.

The White House refused to provide contents of the
president's daily brief. This would clear up questions
about how much specific information President Bush
received about an impending attack during the spring
and summer of 2001 - a period in which the
intelligence community was reporting with alarm that a
"spectacular" attack against the United States
involving "mass casualties" was in the works.

"Ultimately, this bar was extended to the point where
CIA personnel were not allowed to be interviewed
regarding the simple process by which the (brief) is
prepared," the panel said.

The committee managed, "inadvertently," it says, to
get some contents of a key briefing Bush received in
August 2001. It included "FBI judgments about patterns
of activity consistent with preparations for
hijackings or other types of attacks; as well as
information acquired in May 2001 that indicated a
group of Bin Ladin (sic) supporters was planning
attacks in the United States with explosives." In an
extraordinary footnote, the panel cites public
statements by National Security Adviser Condoleezza
Rice that characterized the August briefing as general
and having provided historical perspective on Osama
bin Laden's methods of terror.

The lawmakers, though, were barred from interviewing
Rice. They sought to "obtain a better understanding of
the development of counterterrorism policy in the Bush
administration before September 11, 2001." The panel
was forced to submit written questions to a deputy.

Lawmakers also were barred from getting information on
an intelligence reform commission chaired by former
National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft. The
Scowcroft commission's findings already had been
widely reported in the press.

The administration blocked the congressional
investigators from obtaining information showing how
intelligence agency funding requests were handled by
the White House budget office, dating back to the
Reagan administration. The lawmakers were kept from
interviewing an FBI informant who had contact with two
of the Sept. 11 hijackers while they were living in
San Diego.

Not once, but twice, the panel was forced to tangle in
court with the Justice Department over information
about its handling of Zacarias Moussaoui.

Moussaoui was detained nearly a month before the
attack and now is charged as the "20th hijacker." The
Justice Department argued, to no avail, that Congress
is covered by a local rule in Virginia, where the
Moussaoui case is being heard, that bars prosecutors
and defense lawyers from making out-of-court
statements. The rule contains explicit language
stating that it doesn't cover "hearings or the lawful
issuance of reports" by legislative or investigative
bodies.

The inquiry's report devotes 15 pages to describing a
pattern of Bush administration denials and delaying
tactics that prevented a fuller account of national
failure before the attack. Last month the independent
9/11 commission still probing the attack issued a
similar compendium of complaint. Worry, if you will,
about those 28 pages involving the Saudi sheiks. But a
deeper, darker problem is our own government's refusal
to fill in the blanks about itself.

Email: cocco@newsday.com

Copyright 2003, Newsday, Inc.


Posted by richard at August 8, 2003 09:22 AM