Saturday, May 2, 2009

Has Cheney been Murdering Americans?

April 12, 2009

By Jim Fetzer

Madison, WI (OpEdNews) April 12, 2009 --The stunning revelation from our nation’s premiere investigative reporter, Seymour Hersh, that Vice President Dick Cheney was running an “executive assassination ring” directly under his control and outside of the normal chain of command has raised the specter that the Vice President of the United States may have been murdering Americans.  As a scholar who has invested a considerable effort in the investigation of the death of US Senator Paul Wellstone, this comes as no surprise.  I and other experts with whom I have collaborated long since concluded that the crash that took his life and those of his wife, daughter, three aides and two pilots was brought about deliberately, where Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove are the principal suspects.  Other cases in which assassination appears all too probable include those of NFL star Pat Tillman and of 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert.

According to Paul Joseph Watson, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) did not originate with Cheney but was founded in 1980, which suggests that it may have been initiated by our then-Vice President George H. W. Bush, a former Director of the CIA.  It consists primarily of Delta Force soldiers and SEALs, who are stationed at Pope Air Force Base and at Fort Bragg, NC. According to Watson, this assassination unit is still active under President Obama.  The very existence of an operation of this kind raises questions of the utmost seriousness about democracy in America.  What has become of this country when the expression of your political convictions and the pursuit of what you think best for this nation runs the risk of bringing about your termination? When our elected officials, like Hitler and Stalin, have the power to decide whether we live or die depending on their whims, this country has ceased to be the home of the brave or the land of the free.

Outing an “Executive Assassination Ring”

The story broke on Minn (March 11, 2009), when Eric Black wrote of a “Great Conversation” even at the University of Minnesota, where, during the question and answer session, Hersh reported not only that the CIA has been “deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state” but that a special unit of our military called the JSOC was set up independently of the normal chain of command, reporting only to the Vice President and to neither the Joint Chiefs or even the Secretary of Defense: 

“Congress has no oversight of it,” Hersh explained.  “It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s been going on and on and on.… Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been going into countries, not talking to the Ambassador or the CIA station chief, and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving. That’s been going on in the name of all of us.”  

If the only targets were foreign terrorists who were threatening to attack the United States, of course, many Americans might be sympathetic and even forgiving.  But, after publishing ten news columns, co-authoring a book, and following up with an expert in extending the scope of my research about the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, it would not surprise me whatsoever that Dick Cheney deployed one of these JSOC teams to bring about his death.

The crucial consideration in evaluating alternative hypotheses in cases like these—such as accident or assassination—is calculating the probability of the evidence on the assumption that each of them is true and comparing their values.   These are known as “likelihood” measures of evidential support, where the hypothesis that confers the highest probability on the evidence qualifies as the preferable hypothesis.  When the available evidence “settles down” (that is, points in the same direction), then the preferable hypothesis is also acceptable as true, in the tentative and fallible fashion of science.

The Death of Sen. Paul Wellstone

The plane crash that took the life of Senator Paul Wellstone occurred on October 25, 2002, just ten days before the election that pitted him against former St. Paul Mayor, Norm Coleman.  It was widely known in Washington that the Bush leadership had targeted Wellstone for elimination, although most would have assumed that was politically speaking rather than literally.  One of the first to raise alarms was Michael Niman, a professor at Buffalo State College, who enumerated reasons why they wanted to get rid of him.  In an early article, "Was Paul Wellstone Murdered?" (October 28, 2002), he explained that Wellstone was the only progressive in the US Senate and an outspoken critic of the Bush administration.  No one knew of Cheney’s assassination unit, but the circumstances of his death raised suspicions on their own.  Control of Congress hung in the balance, since Jim Jeffords (R-VT) had left the Republican Party and become an independent.  There were 50 Democrats and 49 Republicans.

On the day of the crash, several signs suggested to me that something was not right.  The crash had occurred at about 10:22 AM/CT, but the site was not discovered until 11 AM/CT by Gary Ulman, the Eveleth-Virginia Airport assistant manager, who then landed and picked up the local fire chief so they could fly over the crash site—which was in a wooded, swampy area—and figure out the best way to bring equipment to the scene.  Remarkably, when Rick Wahlberg, the Sheriff of St. Louis Country arrived there at 1:30 PM/CT, he encountered members of the FBI’s Rapid Response Team from St. Paul, whom he knew personally, who told him that they had been there since noon.  Christopher Bollyn, a reporter for American Free Press, noted in an article published on October 29, 2002, this was remarkable insofar as Gary Ulman had not notified them.  Indeed, when I calculated the minimal time it would have taken to fly from St. Paul to Duluth, rent a car and drive to the crash scene, they had to have taken off at about 9:30 AM/CT, which was the same time the Senator’s plane had departed.  It was very strange.

Moreover, after the plane crashed, even though the wings (which carry the fuel supply) had been sheared off by the surrounding trees and the tail had broken off (a common occurrence in plane crashes), the fuselage burned so intensely for seven hours the firemen were unable to extinguish it and the bodies would not be recovered until the following day. Nonetheless, an FBI spokesman, Paul McCabe, would announce that night that there were “no signs of terrorist involvement”.  That struck me as rather odd, because terrorists are simply assailants with specific political motivation, who do not have special access to techniques for sabotaging aircraft.  Since the cause of the crash was not yet known, how could the FBI have possibly known? It would be more than a year before the NTSB would announce its findings.  According to its official report, the plane crashed because the pilots had lost track of their airspeed and allowed the plane to crash. 

The plane, a King Air A-100, was akin to the Rolls-Royce of small aircraft and had an excellent maintenance record.  While there had been many exaggerated reports about the weather—Wolf Blitzer, for example, attributed the crash to freezing rain and heavy snow—those of us in the vicinity knew that was not true.  Indeed, a local TV-news anchorman, Denny Anderson, who was himself a pilot, spent much of the day correcting those false impressions.  It turned out that other planes had landed there earlier in the day and that Ulman had had no hesitation in taking off to search for the plane when he noticed it was overdue.  A pilot in the local vicinity, who had been out taking pictures across water in close proximity of the airport, sent them to me.  It was clear by studying them that there was no rain, much less freezing rain.  Indeed, the NTSB would eventually conduct simulations of the flight with pilots from Charter Aviation and, even though they had them fly abnormally slowly, they were unable to cause the plane to crash.

The NTSB Report

The NTSB pinned responsibility for the crash on the pilots.  The principal pilot, Richard Conry, however, had some 5,200 hours of experience, an Air Transport Pilots certification--which is the highest civilian qualification short of astronaut—and had passed his FAA “flight check” just two days before the fatal flight.  His co-pilot, Michael Guess, was not as highly qualified, but he was a competent pilot for a plane that did not require two.  Indeed, one of the ironies of the FBI’s announcement is that Guess turned out to have known Zacharias Moussaoui, an accused 9/11 conspirator, whom he had met at the Pam Am International Flight Academic in Eagan, MN, where he had allegedly “inadvertently” allowed Moussaoui access to a computer program about flying a Boeing 747.  So not only could the FBI not have known there was “no terrorist involvement” the evening of the crash but the co-pilot would turn out to have actually had contact with an alleged terrorist.

Several features of the crash caught my attention early on.  Although there were two pilots, there had been no distress call.  A loss of air speed brings with it a loss of altitude, and the plane had crashed two miles south of the airport, apparently flying on the wrong azimuth.  I began to ask myself the probability that two pilots would neglect their air speed, their altitude, and their azimuth.  If we assume that these are independent events that might happen, say, one time in a hundred—an absurdly high frequency—then for one pilot to neglect all three would be equal to 1/100 x 1/100 x 1/100 = 1/1,000,000 or one time in a million.  And there had been two of them, where the probability that they would both neglect those factors was equal to 1/1,000,000 x 1/1,000,000, a very small number.  And the plane was equipped with a loud warning alarm to alert them of any risk of stalling.

The more I investigated the case, the more peculiar it seemed.  An odd cell-phone anomaly was reported to me, where the driver, passing just south of the airport en route to the funeral the senator had planned to attend, heard a loud wailing and war-belling sound, unlike anything he had heard before.  I contracted an Australian colleague, John P. Costella, who has a Ph.D. in electromagnetism, and asked him if this could have been an effect of the use of a high-tech weapon, which could take out all the planes electronics, including its navigation system, communication system, and stall warning alarm.  It would turn out that the props were on idle when it crashed, which the NTSB was unable to explain.  A directed-energy weapon could not only have taken out the plane’s electronics, including its communications and navigation systems, but flipped the solenoids that control the pitch of the props and set them to “idle”. The more that I studied the case, the more it appeared that the plane was not under their control. They had apparently been unable to stop it.


By this time, I had published ten columns on the case in an alternative newspaper in Duluth, which had led a Native American scholar from Northern Arizona University to contact me and offer to be co-author if I were disposed to turn my research into a book.  We had both learned of an incident shortly before the crash where veterans at a meeting in Wilmer, MN, had learned from Wellstone that he had been threatened by Cheney, who told him that, if he opposed the administration on Iraq, there would be “severe ramifications” for him personally and for the state of Minnesota, which I confirmed with veterans who were there.  He (Wellstone) had gone ahead and made a speech opposing the invasion of Iraq, which he thought might end his political career.  Instead, he surged ahead of Coleman and was running 6-8 points and gaining at the time of the crash.  Rove’s hand-picked candidate was going to lose to Wellstone.

We announced the publication of AMERICAN ASSASSINATION (2004) at the National Press Club exactly two years after the crash. My co-author, Don “Four Arrows” Jacobs, and I observed that the official account of the crash had a vanishing probability and that the NTSB had only considered accident-compatible alternatives, but that if you considered the possible use of a small bomb, a gas canister or a high-tech, directed-energy device, then the latter would confer a high probability upon the evidence, including the lack of any distress call, the odd cell-phone anomaly, and reports I had confirmed that garage doors in the vicinity had opened spontaneously that morning. I flew John to Minnesota and we visited the crash scene together in 35 degree-below-zero weather, picking up pieces of debris, studying the damage to the trees, and making other observations.  He and I would also review some 2,500 pages of official documents and studies on which the NSTB report was purportedly based, where its report ran only sixty pages.

John Costella made the remarkable discovery of an odd meteorological phenomenon in the atmosphere above the crash site, where clouds that were normally loaded with ice were filled with water instead.  This would be otherwise inexplicable, since the heat from the intense fire would fall off as a function of distance from its location.  But it would be a predictable effect of the use of a directed-energy weapon.  We authored a report, “The NTSB Failed Wellstone", summarizing our findings, which Michael Ruppert would publish in his “From the Wilderness” newsletter.  Indeed, his own research would lead him to the same conclusion, as he explained in his CROSSING THE RUBICON (2004).  Ruppert had even been contacted by someone in the business of assassinations (“wet work”), who told him that some reinvigorated old white guys were in charge, that they were nobody to screw around with, and that he could anticipate there would be other “strategic accidents” in the future.

My own inference is that this was a small-scale conspiracy, which might have involved as few as ten persons.  The King Air A-100 is manufactured by Beechcraft, which is owned by Raytheon.  A military-industrial colossus, this company also owns numerous patents for directed-energy weapons.  I believe it could have been as simple a matter as a phone call from one of the directors of Charter Aviation to Dick Cheney, telling him that Wellstone would be aboard.  After consultation with Rumsfeld and Rove, a phone call to Raytheon would provide the information necessary about the best way to take the plane down. A small team from the JSOC could be entrusted with the assignment, where the crucial problem would be to lure the plane into the kill zone, apparently by manipulating the on-board GPS system, which is completely under military control.  I even discovered corroboration that this is how it was done, as I have explained in a one-hour video lecture about 25-30 minutes into the program.

The Death of Cpl. Pat Tillman

There are typical signs that something is wrong in the case of deaths that have political ramifications.  These include obfuscation about the cause of the event, especially by creating a false “first impression”, which tends to stick in the minds of most Americans.  In the Wellstone case, it was that the cause had been the weather.  In the case of Pat Tillman, it was that he had been killed in a fire-fight in Afghanistan.  Although I shall not discuss it with the same degree of detail, the Tillman death appears to bear the signs that this, too, was an assassination.  An article on Tillman in Wikipedia, exclusively based upon public sources, provides ample indications of the blatancy with which political killings can take place and then be covered up, especially by assassins who were themselves members of the military. (To insure its availability, I have archived it here under “Assassination”.)

An NFL star who enlisted in the Army in May 2002, he apparently became disenchanted with the conduct of the war.  He not only did not support President Bush for reelection, but encouraged others to vote for John Kerry.  According to his mother, a friend of his had arranged for him to meet with Noam Chomsky, professor emeritus from MIT and one of our nation’s most respected public intellectuals, who, no doubt, could have launched him into prominent orbit as an outspoken opponent of the war.  In my opinion, the prospect of having a macho, NFL-complement to Cindy Sheehan—one who might inspire the nation to reconsider our involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan—would have been a powerful incentive for removing him from the public arena in the minds of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and Karl Rove.  The use of these special operations military serving as an 'assassination ring' in this situation may very well have been irresistible.

According to Wikipedia’s entry about him, Tillman was redeployed to Afghanistan and, on April 22, 2004, he was killed.  The Army initially claimed that he and his unit were hit by an ambush on a road outside a village not far from the Pakistan border.  The Army Special Operations Command initially claimed that there was an exchange with hostile forces, but an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Defense concluded that his death was due to friendly fire “aggravated by the intensity of the firefight”.  Another, more thorough investigation, concluded that hostile forces had not been involved in the firefight and that two allied groups fired on each other in confusion after a nearby explosive device was detonated.  But it also makes these points:
*  No evidence of enemy fire at the scene has ever been produced;
*  The lieutenant general who withheld details of Tillman's death from his parents for months told investigators "he had a bad memory, and could not recall details of his actions" on more than 70 occasions;
 * According to The Washington Post, on May 4, 2005, the Army’s own investigators were aware that Tillman had been killed by being shot three times in the head;
 *  Senior Army commanders, including Gen. John Abizaid, knew of this fact within days of the shooting but nevertheless approved him for the Siver Star, the Purple Heart, and a posthumous promotion;
 *  Army doctors told the investigators that these wounds suggested   murder and urged them to launch a criminal investigation, which would not be pursued; and
* Army attorneys congratulated each other in emails for impeding criminal investigation as they concluded that Tillman's death was the result of friendly fire, and that only administrative, or non-criminal, punishment was indicated.

Evidence and Likelihoods

When we consider the alternatives of accident or assassination in this case, we have to compare their likelihoods In relation to the available evidence.  If Tillman had been killed accidentally, even by “friendly fire”, then what is the probability that no evidence of friendly fire would be produced, that the Lt. General would suffer 70 “memory lapses”, that the corporal would have been shot three times in the head, that honors would be bestowed upon him, that the doctors would have suspected he was murdered, and that Army attorneys would impede criminal investigations?  You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to conclude that something is very wrong here.  The probability of these effects appears to be very high if he was deliberately taken out and very low if his death was accidental, friendly fire or not.

And there is more.  On July 26, 2007, for example, the AP received official documents stating that the doctors who performed the autopsy suspected that Tillman was murdered.  High ranking officers knew better at least four days before his nationally televised memorial service during which he “was lauded as a war hero for dying while engaging the enemy”.   Members of Tillman's unit burned his body armor and uniform. Tillman's diary was never returned to his family, and its whereabouts are not publicly known As a former Marine Corps commissioned officer, I affirm that this treatment of the personal property of a deceased is not proper procedure. The missing diary is especially striking, since diaries are legally admissible as evidence in courts of law and would have attested to his state of mind.

Some prominent news personalities have figured out that something seems to be wrong.  On July 26, 2007, for example, Chris Matthews reported that Tillman's death might have been a case of fragging (of the deliberate killing of a soldier by his comrades at arms) because the bullet holes were tight and neat, suggesting that he was shot at close range. Matthews based his speculation on a report from the doctors who investigated Tillman's body. The following day the AP reported that a doctor who examined Tillman's body after his death wrote, "The medical evidence did not match up with the, with the scenario as described," also noting that the wound entrances appeared as though he had been shot with an M16 rifle from less than 10 yards (9 m) away.”   Even his mother, in her disturbing book, BOOTS ON THE GROUND BY DUSK (2008), has been shaken by the way the military has handled the death of her son.

The Official Finding

On March 26, 2007, the Pentagon released their report on the events surrounding Tillman's death and cover-up.  The report reads in part:

we emphasize that all investigators established the basic facts of CPL   Tillman's death -- that it was caused by friendly fire, that the occupants of one vehicle in CPL Tillman's platoon were responsible, and that circumstances on the ground caused those occupants to misidentify friendly forces as hostile. None of the investigations suggested that CPL Tillman's death was anything other than accidental. Our review, as well as the investigation recently completed by Army CID, obtained no evidence contrary to those key findings.

The denial of contrary evidence appears to be contrived.  If the doctors even suspected murder, if there were three shots to the head, and if they were tightly grouped and appeared to have been fired from close range by an M-16 from less than 10 yards away, the “friendly fire” scenario looks more and more like deliberate misinformation.  Tillman is not the kind of man his fellow soldiers would frag.  On the contrary, he is just the kind of guy—and football star, no less—his fellow soldiers would have respected and admired.  He’s the kind of guy they would have written home about! Indeed, the article confirms that Tillman "was popular among his fellow soldiers and had no enemies".  They harbored no reason to murder him.

He may have been killed by a member of the armed forces, which could have been obscured by the use of the phrase, “friendly fire”, but it would not have been by his comrades in arms.  

Interestingly, there are reports of snipers in a second group of troops that encountered Pat's squad shortly before an explosive device went off and the shooting started.  This looks like an ideal situation in which a designated assassin, who was a member of this second group, could have used the chaotic conditions created by the detonation of a distracting explosive device to take out a man who could have become an outspoken opponent of the war, especially if the members of this ring are military.  In my opinion, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rove would not have let his opposition to the war become public knowledge.  His death does not appear to have been an accident.

The Death of a 9/11 Activist

The plane crash that took the life of 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert troubled me because of its striking similarities to the crash that took the life of Paul Wellstone.  The plane, a Bombardier Q400, was an excellent commuter carrier with a 74-passenger capacity.  Like the King Air A-100, it had no history of mechanical problems.  Philip Trenary, the head of the Pinnacle Airlines that operated the plane, stated, “It’s an aircraft that’s had flawless service.” Reports of the weather appear to have been greatly exaggerated, where the plane, like the King Air A-100, was equipped with sophisticated de-icing equipment.  Moreover—and this is especially notable—there was no distress call from the plane.  According to an early report, Flight 3407 came straight down out of the sky, killing 50 persons, including Eckert.

There have been several stories about the crash in The New York Times, for example, including “Crew Reported 'Significant Ice Buildup' Before Crash” (February 14, 2009), “In Plane Crash, Loss of Momentum Still a Mystery” (February 15, 2009), and “Recreating a Plane Crash” (February 19 2009), where Matthew L. Wald offers speculation that the crew might have “overreacted” to a computerized flight-control system “trying to protect the aircraft from flying too slowly, going into a stall and crashing”.

Unfortunately, there are a number of disturbing signs that what we are being told does not add up. Consider the alleged ice-buildup.  That report seems to be contradicted by the transcript of the final communications, as What Really Happened has highlighted, which has been compounded by another exaggerated report about the ice build-up in The New York Times. A very different impression comes from Last moments of Buffalo Flight 3407, Webmaster's Commentary, What Really Happened, on February 13, 2009 ( as follows:

Read the transcript of the final communications from Colgan Flight 3407 in Buffalo.

No mention of ice being a problem for aircraft.

There is a brief incidental mention that there is an area of icing, but it is clear that nobody sees this as a problem.  No mention of any problems at all.

3407 is there one moment, then gone the next.

Now, look at this line from the transcript:

17:40 - Delta 1998: Uh negative, Delta 1998, we're just in the bottoms and nothing on the TKs …
Listening to the tape, it sounds like what the pilot of 1998 said was 
"... nothing on the TCAS."

TCAS (pronounced T-cass) stands for Traffic Collision Avoidance System, which sends out a lower power non-directional radar pulse and listens for any aircraft transponders in the vicinity in order to warn pilots of close approaching aircraft.

So, what the pilot of Delta 1998 is saying is that at the time Air Traffic Control asked him to look for a Dash-8 [Bombardier] at 2300 [feet altitude], 3407's radar transponders had quit working.

One final note:

If the Air Traffic Controller is telling the pilot of Delta 1998 to look at 2300 feet altitude for the Dash 8, then that means the last altitude reading returned to the ATC was 2300 feet.

Air Traffic Radar never received a return showing a loss of altitude, which strongly suggests that the aircraft's entire avionics (aircraft electronic control) system quit working while the plane was still half a mile in the air.

Now this suggests to me that the reason there was no distress call is that the aircraft's entire avionics system quit working while the plane was still half a mile in the air.  What could possibly explain this?  There are several disturbing parallels with the Wellstone crash:  the plane was an excellent aircraft, very forgiving, with sophisticated equipment, including for de-icing; the weather reports have exaggerated conditions, which were actually rather mild, where other planes had had no problems coping with them on their approach into Buffalo; and both of the pilots were well-qualified.  I am also struck that Beverly Eckert, a 9/11 widow, was aboard the plane.  The situations here, including political motivation, appear to be parallel.

Why Beverly Might Matter

She was a prominent 9/11 activist whose husband had died that day in the South Tower of the World Trade Center.  She had actually met with none other than President Barack Obama shortly before flying back to Buffalo to honor her late husband's birthday. She was a member of “The Jersey Girls”, four 9/11 widows, whose efforts to promote an investigation of 9/11 made a crucial contribution to the creation of the commission, which President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney had opposed. It is no exaggeration to observe that Cheney and the Neo-Cons—to this day—fear more than anything else a bona-fide, objective investigation into 9/11 (motive).   

Because Obama kept Robert Gates on as Secretary of Defense, no doubt, lingering elements of Cheney’s operation, including members of the assassination ring, almost certainly still exercise influence within the Pentagon (means), where, as in the case of Wellstone, this flight could very well have offered the perfect occasion to take her out of the equation (opportunity). 

The argument has been made that Beverly was not committed to 9/11 as “an inside job”, which may have made her all the more threatening.  For a woman whose husband was killed on 9/11, who had refused to take the government’s proffered compensation—widely regarded as “hush money” in the 9/11 movement—her insistence upon further investigation of the case would have been alarming to those who were involved.  Bush and Cheney were adamantly opposed to any investigation and, when they were forced to create a commission of inquiry, they did their best to manage it from within. In fact, Mike Ruppert’s book, CROSSING THE RUBICON (2004) makes a powerful case for the inference that Bush had placed Cheney in control of the 9/11 attack. While Henry Kissinger’s appointment as Executive Director was thwarted, that of Philip Zelikow was not, even though his self-described area of expertise is neither science nor history but the creation and maintenance of public myths.  (Since these entries are subject to alteration, I have archved the original to which I refer here.)

He thus appears to have been perfect for the task he was assigned, since THE 9/11 COMMISSION REPORT (2004) has been refuted on virtually very significant count.  The buildings were designed to withstand even multiple impacts of commercial aircraft, the fires burned neither long enough nor hot enough to cause the steel to weaken, much less melt.  The towers were destroyed from the top down, largely turned into very fine dust in just 10 seconds apiece, which is nearly the speed of free fall, even though, from the 80th floor down in the South Tower and the 96th in the North, they were both stone cold steel.  The method by means of which this was done remains a matter of intense debate, but there are indications that, among other means, explosives and incendiary devices were employed.  Public discussion of 9/11 is something they desperately want to suppress, since it has been the justification for the “War on Terror”, including the attacks upon Iraq and Afghanistan, restrictions upon civil liberties, and all the rest.

Where Things Stand

Use of plane crashes to take out your political opponents offers a virtually “fool proof” method.  Unless the Attorney General declares a crash site to be a crime scene, the NTSB is restricted to the investigation of only accident-compatible alternatives, such as that the plane, the pilots, or the weather were responsible for the crash.  Indeed, an even more peculiar policy of the NSTB is that its “official reports” are not admissible evidence in courts of law [49 USC 1441(e)].  The procedure, therefore, is simple.  Take out your opponent using a plane crash, have a complicit or compliant Attorney General decline to declare it a “crime scene”, and the only recourse for the NTSB is to investigate it as an accident.  That is what happened in the case of Paul Wellstone and will undoubtedly be followed in the case of Beverly Eckert. If Ruppert is right—and I believe that he is—then the murder of 50 more Americans to protect himself would have been “small potatoes” for Cheney.

While the evidence concerning Wellstone establishes his death as an assassination beyond a reasonable doubt, the same cannot yet be said about Eckert.  There are reports that she was heading on to Chicago to meet with Federal Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald with new evidence related to 9/11 and that Russian satellites detected (what is described as) a “low level” electromagnetic pulse emanating from an area near the eastern part of Lake Erie shortly before the plane plunged to the ground.  The probability that a reliable airplane with qualified pilots would lose its capacity to communicate and fall to the ground absent a precipitating cause appears to be negligible.  Indeed, the recent death via plane crash of Mike Connell, an IT wizard who appears to have been in a position to have stolen elections for Bush, occurred at a time the attorneys who were deposing him thought he was about to “spill the beans”.

Even though this assassination unit does not appear to have originated with Cheney, it appears all too probable that these groups or sub-units within it have been the cover for “wet work”, including assassinations and unofficial acts of terrorism, since their inception.  In the case of Senator Paul Wellstone, no alternative to assassination can explain the evidence.  In the case of Cpl. Pat Tillman the only alternative would appear to be that the Army, knowing he had been killed by "friendly fire", wanted to capitalize upon his death for the sake of recruiting, a motive that can be subsumed by the assassination alternative.  The phrase "friendly fire" is a euphemism for "an American soldier", who appears to have committed this killing.  I expect additional evidence to clarify the death of the 9/11 activist Beverly Eckert, but there is a discernable pattern here.  In relation to the question with which we began, therefore, “Has Cheney been murdering Americans?”, the research I have reviewed suggests that the answer, alas!, appears to be an unequivocal “Yes!”

Author's Website:

Author's Bio: McKnight Professor Emeritus, University of Minnesota, Duluth; Founder, Scholars for 9/11 Truth; Editor, Assassination Research.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Was McConnel's Plane Crash and Accident

....or did Cheney's hit squads have something to do with it?

Shannon Connell of Madison says her brother Michael rarely talked about work. She knew he ran an Ohio company called New Media Communications that set up websites for Republicans including former President George H.W. Bush and Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. But it wasn't until after he died last December, when the small plane he was piloting crashed, that she learned via the Internet of his tie to a voter fraud case and to allegations that presidential adviser Karl Rove had made threats against him.

"At first, it was really hard for me to believe Mike was dead because somebody wanted him dead," says Shannon, a buyer for a local children's resale shop. "But as time goes on, it's hard for me not to believe there was something deliberate about it."

A native of Illinois, Shannon moved to Madison in 2002, the same year as her sister, Mary Jo Walker. Walker, a former Dane County Humane Society employee, has similar concerns about their brother's death: "It doesn't seem right to me at all."

Michael Connell — who died at age 45, leaving a wife and four kids — was a computer networking expert who lived near Akron. Last July 17, an attorney who's filed a federal civil rights lawsuit alleging a conspiracy to rig elections in Ohio held a press conference at which he identified Connell as a principal witness.

The attorney, Cliff Arnebeck of Columbus, Ohio, tells Isthmus he doesn't believe Connell was engaged in criminal activity but may have been a "data-processing implementer" for those who were. "I was told he was at the table when some criminal things were discussed."

A week after the press conference, on July 24, Arnebeck wrote U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey seeking protection for Connell, whom he said had been "threatened" by Rove, a key player in the campaigns of George W. Bush. Arenebeck says Connell was told through an intermediary that unless he agreed to "take the fall" for election fraud in Ohio, his wife [and New Media partner] faced prosecution for lobby law violations. There was no claim of a threat on Connell's person.

Arnebeck was permitted to depose Connell last Nov. 3. The portion of this deposition that dealt with the alleged threats was sealed, but Arnebeck is preparing a motion to make it all public. He affirms that Connell denied any involvement in voter fraud, but thinks Rove still had reason to regard him as a threat.

"The problem that Mike Connell represented is [he was] a guy of conscience," says Arnebeck. "If it came right down to it, he would not commit perjury." Arnebeck "absolutely" would have called Connell as a witness in his lawsuit.

Shannon and Mary Jo both say their brother, a devout Catholic, seemed upset in the weeks before his death. Mary Jo feels he was "stressed out and depressed" on his birthday last November; Shannon says he atypically did not respond to an email she'd sent.

On Dec. 19, Connell flew alone in his single-engine Piper Supercub from a small airport near Washington, D.C. The plane crashed on its final approach to his hometown Akron-Canton Airport, between two houses. The cause is still under investigation but is presumed accidental.

The blogosphere refuses to accept this. "Mike was getting ready to talk," writes one online journalist who labels Connell a source. "He was frightened."

Connell's widow has rejected such speculation. "He wasn't about to talk, because there was nothing to talk about," Heather Connell told the Huffington Post. "Nobody did anything wrong."

Shannon Connell, for her part, dismisses reports that her brother was warned not to fly, but still considers the crash that killed him "very suspicious." Michael was an experienced pilot, and his plane had recently been serviced. Plus there's the timing — "after the deposition and before the trial. It just seems very convenient."
Arnebeck goes further in suggesting foul play. "I have been told by multiple sources," he says, "that this plane crash was not an accident, and by multiple sources that the technology is available to bring down a plane in this way."

What's his evidence? Arnebeck repeatedly cites a recent online article by Minnesota emeritus professor Jim Fetzer. The article, datelined Madison and headlined "Has Cheney Been Murdering Americans?", mentions Connell along with other possible victims, including Sen. Paul Wellstone and Pat Tillman, the former NFL player killed in Afghanistan.

Michael Connell's sisters don't know what to believe. Says Shannon, "I really just want the truth to come out." So does Mary Jo, who doubts this will happen: "With so many things that people in power get away with in this country, I don't expect anyone to ever be named, much less prosecuted, in the death of my brother."

Links to referenced articles:

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Did the NYT Help Bush Win the 2004 Election by Sitting on the Illegal NSA Wiretapping Story at the Request of Jane Harman?


by Christine Bowman

A Disturbing Picture Emerges If You Connect the Dots: Rep. Jane Harman's Israeli-Spy Wiretap Story Ties-in with NYT's More Than Year-Long Delay in Breaking the Warrantless Wiretap Domestic Spying Story.

Maybe the details of the Jane Harman/AIPAC wiretapping story are too overwhelming for many political observers to wrap their heads around. Okay. TPM Muckraker and CQ Politics and The Daily Show and Salon and others have done a good job of presenting the basic outlines of the Harman story, for anyone who missed it or wants to bone up on the details. Suffice it to say, the complex plot would translate beautifully into a big-screen, film-noir thriller. One to rival "All the President's Men," in fact.

But step back from the enigmatic, five-year-long whodunit of twists and turns and accusations, and what is the big picture? Try this theory on for size: The conscious manipulation by powerful forces of the American democratic process and the outright throwing of a presidential election. (Just a theory.)

The key points to focus on are that it seems like the nation's arguably top news publisher (The New York Times) was swayed by the nation's arguably top Executive Branch attorney (Alberto Gonzales) and a self-serving, duly elected Congresswoman sitting on the House Intelligence Committee (CA Rep. Jane Harman) to cover up a program of illegal government spying on US citizens -- on the eve of an incredibly close presidential election. Are you paying attention yet?

In the Fall of 2004, prior to the November 2 presidential election, The New York Times knew about the Bush Administration's new warrantless domestic wiretapping program, thanks to hard investigative work by their crack reporters. Yet the paper's Washington bureau chief and executive editor kept that information to themselves for well over a year -- sitting on the story until December 16, 2005.

What if they had not done that? The vote count in Ohio, just to pick one very critical state in the 2004 presidential election, was very close, with allegations of many irregularities, to boot. (Iowa and New Mexico were even closer.) If The Times had let voters know -- as soon as they themselves knew -- that the Bush Administration had an ongoing program of intercepting American citizens' domestic emails and phone calls, without FISA approval, wouldn't a good many more voters have pulled the lever for Democrat John Kerry? Almost certainly, some lower level Democratic candidates would have benefited from the release of that news, too.

But the top management of The Times decided not to let voters have that knowledge. It was top management's judgment that such news was "not fit to print," to reference the paper's classic slogan.
Here's a partial synopsis of the quashing of that huge story -- which was about the Executive Branch ignoring the US Constitution's Fourth Amendment guarantee of privacy rights -- as reported by The Times on April 23, 2009:
Ms. Harman had weighed in beginning in 2004 in urging The Times not to publish an article about the secret surveillance program.
Bill Keller, the executive editor of The Times, said in a statement this week that Ms. Harman spoke with Philip Taubman, then the newspaper’s Washington bureau chief, in October or November 2004, urging that the article not be published.
One former official said Thursday that Michael V. Hayden, then the director of the security agency, and John E. McLaughlin, then the acting director of the C.I.A., prepared talking points for Ms. Harman to use in her discussion with Mr. Taubman.
Ms. Harman’s spokesman said she “has absolutely no recollection of any talking points for a phone call that took place five years ago.”
Mr. Keller said Ms. Harman had told Mr. Taubman that she was calling at the request of Mr. Hayden.
Mr. Keller added that Ms. Harman had not spoken with him and that he did not remember her position’s being “a significant factor” in his decision not to publish the article at the time. The article was published in December 2005.

It's interesting to note that, when urging The Times in 2004 not to break the domestic spying story, Harman was doing the bidding of the heads of the NSA and the CIA. Interesting, too, that The Times still, to this day, has not published the exact date of Harman's (or anyone else's) intervention. Nor have they quoted Taubman on what was said or how the quashing went forward.

Furthermore, the newspaper's latest 2009 account of that intervention makes no reference to the hotly contested national election that was then the top news-making event in America. That aspect was addressed, but only up to a point, by the paper's public editor, Byron Calame, on August 13, 2006:
Internal discussions about drafts of the article had been “dragging on for weeks” before the Nov. 2 election, Mr. Keller acknowledged. That process had included talks with the Bush administration. He said a fresh draft was the subject of internal deliberations “less than a week” before the election.
“The climactic discussion about whether to publish was right on the eve of the election,” Mr. Keller said. The pre-election discussions included Jill Abramson, a managing editor; Philip Taubman, the chief of the Washington bureau; Rebecca Corbett, the editor handling the story, and often Mr. Risen. Arthur Sulzberger Jr., the publisher, was briefed, but Mr. Keller said the final decision to hold the story was his.
... Holding a fresh draft of the story just days before the election also was an issue of fairness, Mr. Keller said. I agree that candidates affected by a negative article deserve to have time — several days to a week — to get their response disseminated before voters head to the polls.
... Were the wording and the sensitivity of the election-day timing issue discussed internally? “I don’t remember,” Mr. Keller said in an interview.
... Given the importance of this otherwise outstanding article on warrantless eavesdropping — and now the confirmation of pre-election decisions to delay publication — The Times owes it to readers to set the official record straight.

There's more in the public editor's 2006 column to suggest that Keller carefully parsed his words, at a minimum, and avoided coming clean about the events surrounding the timing of the release of the story. In 2009, Keller again remains circumspect, to put it generously. First he released a statement to Greg Sargent at the Plumline saying, "Ms. Harman did not influence my decision. I don’t recall that she even spoke to me." A few days later, in his statement published in The Times, he says that Harman didn't speak to him, but did speak to the DC bureau chief. So much for "I don't recall ..."

Is The New York Times ready to update the "official record" now that their spiking of this bombshell of a story has repercussions for a story of congressional corruption and international spying? Can the Public Editor tell us exactly when Jane Harman talked to the DC bureau chief?

It does not seem insignificant either that, later, when Attorney General Alberto Gonzales learned (presumably from Keller?) that The Times was finally going to release their report on domestic spying, he stepped in to block a nascent probe of Rep. Harman and AIPAC and alleged Israeli spying -- because he "needed Jane" to help deflect criticism of the domestic spying program:
But according to the two former national security officials, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the Times. Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program."

And the investigation of Harman was dropped like a hot potato. Its existence only became public this month.
Since major players in this game of intrigue -- most notably Gonzales, but also Harman now -- have acquired the stench of corruption about them, is it reasonable to assume that The New York Times Executive Editor Bill Keller has nothing to hide, and nothing to apologize for? His way of addressing the questions raised by his own public editor three years back and in an earlier column does not instill confidence. A few more excerpts:
"I don't remember."
The eavesdropping information "first became known to Times reporters" a year ago, he said.
[then] "... more than a year ago ..."
Mr. Keller declined to explain in detail his pre-election decision to hold the article, citing obligations to preserve the confidentiality of sources.
“Whether publishing earlier would have influenced the 2004 election is, I think, hard to say. Judging from the public reaction to the N.S.A. eavesdropping reflected in various polls, one could ask whether earlier disclosure might have helped President Bush more than hurt.”
“... old business ...”

Like it or not, this story is now about a media big shot who helped top government officials hide the fact that they had been spying on citizens without judicial oversight. It's also about a powerful media figure or figures who hid a dubious activity by GOP and White House insiders from voters on the eve of a very important and close election -- even while recognizing that their decision would likely change votes. Why did they do that?
Echoes of Watergate? Well, at least in that little caper, the media were the good guys. Seems like The New York Times still has more explaining to do.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

What Should Obama Do?

Editor’s Note: Almost by their nature, Democratic politicians look for bipartisan compromises and try to avoid nasty confrontations. But there are times when legal and moral imperatives demand courage, truth and clarity.
In this guest essay, former CIA analyst Melvin A. Goodman says President Barack Obama finds himself in one of those moments:
As a political leader with an extensive policy agenda, however, he wants to limit the investigation of the crimes that were committed in order to avoid a fractious political fight that could compromise his agenda.

The fact is that U.S. and international laws were broken and immoral actions were conducted. Moral and legal issues, unlike political ones, should not be compromised. Pursuing the proper moral course, as opposed to the political course, is central to the identity of President Obama as a leader and to the United States as a nation.

As a result, he must deal decisively with the Bush administration’s use of torture, secret prisons and extraordinary renditions.
The citizens of the United States, indeed the entire international community, know that war crimes were committed and that domestic and international laws were broken. Acts of sadism were committed — not only against those responsible for terrorist activities, but also against innocent victims. 
We need to establish that these activities were wrong and will never be repeated.

Only a serious high-level investigation can achieve these objectives. The investigation must focus on the senior officials of the Bush administration who were responsible for this descent into depravity, but there are individuals serving in high-level positions at the CIA, including the deputy director and the acting general counsel, who must be replaced if there is to be a convincing repudiation of the abuses of the past eight years.
CIA officials sought protection from the Justice Department because they knew their actions violated international law (the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture); U.S. law (which treats any breach of Geneva as a crime); and the 8th amendment to the Constitution.

President Obama has given senior CIA officials too much say with respect to releasing documents and limiting both congressional inquiry and the appointment of a special prosecutor. 
Senior CIA officials, past and present, are making a case that is patently false. They have told the President that an investigation will harm the CIA and that operations officers will be less willing to take risks in the future  if some of them are held accountable now.

President Obama must understand that very few CIA officers were involved in these crimes; that the overwhelming majority of National Clandestine Service officers are professionals who understand the need to combat terrorism and are committed to supporting their President and defending their nation’s security.
The overwhelming majority of NCS officers was not involved in the illegal activities and did not support them.

The current CIA leadership has argued falsely that foreign intelligence services will be less willing to share secrets with the United States if we pursue an investigation of these criminal activities. In fact, it was the Bush administration’s resort to torture, abuse, and secret prisons that led many nations to withhold information from the United States.
CIA leaders believe that past investigations of CIA scandals, such as attempts to conduct political assassinations, had a chilling effect on CIA morale.

This is also untrue! CIA director William Colby’s cooperation in the 1970s with a Senate investigation of CIA assassination plots brought an end to these counterproductive actions, and CIA director John Deutch’s limits in the 1990s on the recruitment of Central American agents linked to death squads in their countries led to more effective recruitment.

Unfortunately, President Obama has made the journey toward an investigation more difficult by appointing former CIA veteran John Brennan as an intelligence adviser.
Brennan was a major player in the era of cover-up at the CIA, serving as an executive assistant to CIA Director George Tenet when the practices of detention and torture were introduced. He was a cheerleader in selling renditions and secret prisons to the media, and he lobbied against release of any torture memoranda. He has a personal interest in perpetuating the cover-up of CIA’s rendition and detention practices.

Leon Panetta’s appointment as Director of Central Intelligence has proved a major disappointment.  He has accepted the position being advanced by those Agency officers seeking to cover up the abuses of the past eight years.
He has retained Steven Kappes as CIA deputy director, although Kappes was one of the ideological drivers for these practices. He has retained John Rizzo as acting general counsel, although Rizzo was a key figure in the Agency’s lobbying for Justice Department protection for its policies for nearly a decade; the Senate intelligence committee refused to confirm Rizzo as general counsel for that reason.

Panetta also has not named a new Inspector General for the CIA, raising the question of whether he shares the preference of former DCI Hayden and Deputy DCI Kappes for a weakened Office of Inspector General.
Presumably, Hayden and Kappes prefer a weak OIG because that office is the only institution to have conducted a critical investigation of the Agency’s torture practices (2004); they surely seek to prevent any further such investigations by the IG.
President Obama and Senator Dianne Feinstein, D-California, should be deeply concerned that there is not a statutory and independent individual serving as Inspector General of the CIA at this delicate juncture.

What Needs to Be Done?

The Obama administration must stop coddling those CIA leaders who continue to try to cover up Agency actions against the best interests of the Agency itself. It is time to uncover, understand, and reject the painful truths about CIA’s use of torture and abuse.

The release of the memoranda by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has begun the process of open disclosure, but President Obama must continue that process.
He cannot expect the Senate and House intelligence committees to do a rigorous investigation because too many congressional leaders, including Jay Rockefeller, Nancy Pelosi, Peter Hoekstra and Richard Shelby, knew about the practices of torture and abuse and did nothing to challenge, let alone prevent, them.

He must appoint a special prosecutor, perhaps John Dunlop, who has been investigating for months the CIA’s destruction of the torture tapes, which now appears to have a blatant act of obstructed justice.
President Obama has ruled out the type of commission that investigated 9/11, but Pandora’s box has been opened and he will have to create or turn to some institution to confront the truths that have been unleashed.
There is no perfect institution, but he must choose one — congressional, blue-ribbon, special investigator, Inspector General. Otherwise the President will continue to be hung up by an inability to confront the very real moral challenges posed by this country’s use of torture and abuse.

It is time to recognize that the policy of torture and abuse was only one of many steps taken by President Bush and Vice President Cheney to expand and abuse presidential powers.
The Bush administration was responsible for warrantless eavesdropping in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978; the Terrorist Surveillance Program in violation of the National Security Act of 1947; more presidential signing statements than all previous presidents signed in order to undermine the will of the people; and the outing of CIA clandestine operative Valerie Plame in violation of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982.
The Obama administration may not have the time and energy to address all of these abuses, but the program of torture and abuse was by far the worst of these; it must be repudiated.
Melvin A. Goodman, a regular contributor to The Public Record where this essay first appeared, is senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and adjunct professor of government at Johns Hopkins University. He spent more than 42 years in the U.S. Army, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of Defense. His most recent book is Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA.
(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The News

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. I.U. has no affiliation whatsoever with the originator of this article nor is I.U endorsed or sponsored by the originator.)

The Nazis, Fascists and Communists were political parties before they became enemies of liberty and mass murderers.