B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran: Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater by Wayne Madsen

Dandelion Salad

by Wayne Madsen
Global Research, September 27, 2007
Wayne Madsen Report

B-52 Nukes Headed for Iran, Not For Decommissioning: Airforce Refused

Air Force refused to fly weapons to Middle East theater

By Wayne Madsen
Sept. 24, 2007
Author’s website

WMR has learned from U.S. and foreign intelligence sources that the B-52 transporting six stealth AGM-129 Advanced Cruise Missiles, each armed with a W-80-1 nuclear warhead, on August 30, were destined for the Middle East via Barksdale Air Force Base in Louisiana.

However, elements of the Air Force, supported by U.S. intelligence agency personnel, successfully revealed the ultimate destination of the nuclear weapons and the mission was aborted due to internal opposition within the Air Force and U.S. Intelligence Community.

Yesterday, the Washington Post attempted to explain away the fact that America’s nuclear command and control system broke down in an unprecedented manner by reporting that it was the result of “security failures at multiple levels.” It is now apparent that the command and control breakdown, reported as a BENT SPEAR incident to the Secretary of Defense and White House, was not the result of a command and control chain-of-command “failures” but the result of a revolt and push back by various echelons within the Air Force and intelligence agencies against a planned U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional
weapons.

The Washington Post story on BENT SPEAR may have actually been an effort in damage control by the Bush administration. WMR has been informed by a knowledgeable source that one of the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles was, and may still be, unaccounted for. In that case, the nuclear reporting incident would have gone far beyond BENT SPEAR to a National Command Authority alert known as EMPTY QUIVER, with the special classification of PINNACLE.

Just as this report was being prepared, Newsweek reported that Vice President Dick Cheney’s recently-departed Middle East adviser, David Wurmser, told a small group of advisers some months ago that Cheney had considered asking Israel to launch a missile attack on the Iranian nuclear site at Natanz. Cheney reasoned that after an Iranian retaliatory strike, the United States would have ample reasons to launch its own massive attack on Iran. However, plans for Israel to attack Iran directly were altered to an Israeli attack on a supposed Syrian-Iranian-North Korean nuclear installation in northern Syria.

WMR has learned that a U.S. attack on Iran using nuclear and conventional weapons was scheduled to coincide with Israel’s September 6 air attack on a reputed Syrian nuclear facility in Dayr az-Zwar, near the village of Tal Abyad, in northern Syria, near the Turkish border. Israel’s attack, code named OPERATION ORCHARD, was to provide a reason for the U.S. to strike Iran. The neo-conservative propaganda onslaught was to cite the cooperation of the George Bush’s three remaining “Axis of Evil” states — Syria, Iran, and North Korea — to justify a sustained Israeli attack on Syria and a massive U.S. military attack on Iran.

WMR has learned from military sources on both sides of the Atlantic that there was a definite connection between Israel’s OPERATION ORCHARD and BENT SPEAR involving the B-52 that flew the six nuclear-armed cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to Barksdale. There is also a connection between these two events as the Pentagon’s highly-classified PROJECT CHECKMATE, a compartmented U.S. Air Force program that has been working on an attack plan for Iran since June 2007, around the same time that Cheney was working on the joint Israeli-U.S. attack scenario on Iran.

PROJECT CHECKMATE was leaked in an article by military analyst Eric Margolis in the Rupert Murdoch-owned newspaper, the /Times of London/, is a program that involves over two dozen Air Force officers and is headed by Brig. Gen. Lawrence Stutzriem and his chief civilian adviser, Dr. Lani Kass, a former Israeli military intelligence officer who, astoundingly, is now involved in planning a joint U.S.-Israeli massive military attack on Iran that involves a “decapitating” blow on Iran by hitting between three to four thousand targets in the country. Stutzriem and Kass report directly to the Air Force Chief of Staff, General Michael Moseley, who has also been charged with preparing a report on the B-52/nuclear weapons incident.

Kass’ area of speciality is cyber-warfare, which includes ensuring “information blockades,” such as that imposed by the Israeli government on the Israeli media regarding the Syrian air attack on the alleged Syrian “nuclear installation.” British intelligence sources have reported that the Israeli attack on Syria was a “true flag” attack originally designed to foreshadow a U.S. attack on Iran. After the U.S. Air Force push back against transporting the six cruise nuclear-armed AGM-129s to the Middle East, Israel went ahead with its attack on Syria in order to help ratchet up tensions between Washington on one side and Damascus, Tehran, and Pyongyang on the other.

The other part of CHECKMATE’s brief is to ensure that a media “perception management” is waged against Syria, Iran, and North Korea. This involves articles such as that which appeared with Joby Warrick’s and Walter Pincus’ bylines in yesterdays /Washington Post/. The article, titled “The Saga of a Bent Spear,” quotes a number of seasoned Air Force nuclear weapons experts as saying that such an incident is unprecedented in the history of the Air Force. For example, Retired Air Force General Eugene Habiger, the former chief of the U.S. Strategic Command, said he has been in the “nuclear business” since 1966 and has never been aware of an incident “more disturbing.”

Command and control breakdowns involving U.S. nuclear weapons are unprecedented, except for that fact that the U.S. military is now waging an internal war against neo-cons who are embedded in the U.S. government and military chain of command who are intent on using nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive war with Iran.

CHECKMATE and OPERATION ORCHARD would have provided the cover for a pre-emptive U.S. and Israeli attack on Iran had it not been for BENT SPEAR involving the B-52. In on the plan to launch a pre-emptive attack on Iran involving nuclear weapons were, according to our sources, Cheney, National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley; members of the CHECKMATE team at the Pentagon, who have close connections to Israeli intelligence and pro-Israeli think tanks in Washington, including the Hudson Institute; British Foreign Secretary David Miliband, a political adviser to Tony Blair prior to becoming a Member of Parliament; Israeli political leaders like Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Likud leader Binyamin Netanyahu; and French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, who did his part last week to ratchet up tensions with Iran by suggesting that war with Iran was a probability. Kouchner retracted his statement after the U.S. plans for Iran were delayed.

Although the Air Force tried to keep the B-52 nuclear incident from the media, anonymous Air Force personnel leaked the story to /Military Times/ on September 5, the day before the Israelis attacked the alleged nuclear installation in Syria and the day planned for the simultaneous U.S. attack on Iran. The leaking of classified information on U.S. nuclear weapons disposition or movement to the media, is, itself, unprecedented. Air Force regulations require the sending of classified BEELINE reports to higher Air Force authorities on the disclosure of classified Air Force information to the media.

In another highly unusual move, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked an outside inquiry board to look into BENT SPEAR, even before the Air Force has completed its own investigation, a virtual vote of no confidence in the official investigation being conducted by Major General Douglas Raaberg, chief of air and space operations at the Air Combat Command.

Gates asked former Air Force Chief of Staff, retired General Larry Welch, to lead a Defense Science Board task force that will also look into the BENT SPEAR incident. The official Air Force investigation has reportedly been delayed for unknown reasons. Welch is President and CEO of the Institute for Defense Analysis (IDA), a federally-funded research contractor that operates three research centers, including one for Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President and another for the National Security Agency. One of the board members of IDA is Dr. Suzanne H. Woolsey of the Paladin Capital Group and wife of former CIA director and arch-neocon James Woolsey.

WMR has learned that neither the upper echelons of the State Department nor the British Foreign Office were privy to OPERATION ORCHARD, although Hadley briefed President Bush on Israeli spy satellite intelligence that showed the Syrian installation was a joint nuclear facility built with North Korean and Iranian assistance. However, it is puzzling why Hadley would rely on Israeli imagery intelligence (IMINT) from its OFEK (Horizon) 7 satellite when considering that U.S. IMINT satellites have greater capabilities.

The Air Force’s “information warfare” campaign against media reports on CHECKMATE and OPERATION ORCHARD also affected international reporting of the recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) resolution asking Israel to place its nuclear weapons program under IAEA controls, similar to those that the United States wants imposed on Iran and North Korea. The resolution also called for a nuclear-free zone throughout the Middle East. The IAEA’s resolution, titled “Application of IAEA Safeguards in the Middle East,” was passed by the 144-member IAEA General Meeting on September 20 by a vote of 53 to 2, with 47 abstentions. The only two countries to vote against were Israel and the United States. However, the story carried from the IAEA meeting in Vienna by Reuters, the Associated Press, and Agence France Press, was that it was Arab and Islamic nations that voted for the resolution.

This was yet more perception management carried out by CHECKMATE, the White House, and their allies in Europe and Israel with the connivance of the media. In fact, among the 53 nations that voted for the resolution were China, Russia, India, Ireland, and Japan. The 47 abstentions were described as votes “against” the resolution even though an abstention is neither a vote for nor against a measure. America’s close allies, including Britain, France, Australia, Canada, and Georgia, all abstained.

Suspiciously, the IAEA carried only a brief item on the resolution concerning Israel’s nuclear program and a roll call vote was not available either at the IAEA’s web site — www.iaea.org — or in the media.

The perception management campaign by the neocon operational cells in the Bush administration, Israel and Europe was designed to keep a focus on Iran’s nuclear program, not on Israel’s. Any international examination of Israel’s nuclear weapons program would likely bring up Israeli nuclear scientist Mordechai Vanunu, a covert from Judaism to Christianity, who was kidnapped in Rome by a Mossad “honey trap” named Cheryl Bentov (aka, Cindy) and a Mossad team in 1986 and held against his will in Israel ever since.

Vanunu’s knowledge of the Israeli nuclear weapons program would focus on the country’s own role in nuclear proliferation, including its program to share nuclear weapons technology with apartheid South Africa and Taiwan in the late 1970s and 1980s. The role of Ronald Reagan’s Director of the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency Ken Adelman in Israeli’s nuclear proliferation during the time frame 1983-1987 would also come under scrutiny. Adelman, a member of the Reagan-Bush transition State Department team from November 1980 to January 1981, voiced his understanding for the nuclear weapons programs of Israel, South Africa, and Taiwan in a June 28, 1981 /New York Times/ article titled, “3 Nations Widening Nuclear Contacts.” The journalist who wrote the article was Judith Miller. Adelman felt that the three countries wanted nuclear weapons because of their ostracism from the West, the third world, and the hostility from the Communist countries. Of course, today, the same argument can be used by Iran, North Korea, and other “Axis of Evil” nations so designated by the neocons in the Bush administration and other governments.

There are also news reports that suggest an intelligence relationship between Israel and North Korea. On July 21, 2004, New Zealand’s /Dominion Post/ reported that three Mossad agents were involved in espionage in New Zealand. Two of the Mossad agents, Uriel Kelman and Elisha Cara (aka Kra), were arrested and imprisoned by New Zealand police (an Israeli diplomat in Canberra, Amir Lati, was expelled by Australia and New Zealand intelligence identified a fourth Mossad agent involved in the New Zealand espionage operation in Singapore). The third Mossad agent in New Zealand, Zev William Barkan (aka Lev Bruckenstein), fled New Zealand — for North Korea.

New Zealand Foreign Minister Phil Goff revealed that Barkan, a former Israeli Navy diver, had previously worked at the Israeli embassy in Vienna, which is also the headquarters of the IAEA. He was cited by the /Sydney Morning Herald/ as trafficking in passports stolen from foreign tourists in Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia. New Zealand’s One News reported that Barkan was in North Korea to help the nation build a wall to keep its citizens from leaving.

The nuclear brinkmanship involving the United States and Israel and the breakdown in America’s command and control systems have every major capital around the world wondering about the Bush administration’s true intentions.

NOTE: WMR understands the risks to informed individuals in reporting the events of August 29/30, to the present time, that concern the discord within the U.S. Air Force, U.S. intelligence agencies, and other military services. Any source with relevant information and who wishes to contact us anonymously may drop off sealed correspondence at or send mail via the Postal Service to: Wayne Madsen, c/o The Front Desk, National Press Club, 13th Floor, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC, 20045.

Wayne Madsen is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Wayne Madsen

see

Simple Error My Ass – Loose Nukes by Larry C. Johnson

U.S. Staging Nukes for Iran? by Larry JohnsonA Major Mistake Involving Nuclear Warheads (video) + B-52 flew nuclear bombs across US by mistake

Why was a nuclear-armed bomber allowed to fly over the US? by Bill Van Auken


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When America Went Fascist By Chris Rowthorn

Dandelion Salad

By Chris Rowthorn
After Downing Street
Smirking Chimp
Submitted by davidswanson on Wed, 2007-09-26 18:38

“Fascism: a system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator”
— The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language: Fourth Edition. 2000

It is a truism in the blogosphere that one more terrorist attack will turn America into a fascist state. People speculate about what fascism in America will look like, or how they might fight it. Others boast that they plan to flee the country ahead of the coming fascist takeover of the United States. One cannot read these posts without a sense of bitter irony, because one thing is clear to those who are watching carefully: Continue reading

The Military Drills of September 11th: Why a New Investigation is Needed by Elizabeth Woodworth

Dandelion Salad

by Elizabeth Woodworth
Global Research, September 27, 2007

Editor’s Note

We bring to the attention of our readers this carefully researched analysis.

“Given the warnings of incipient terrorist attacks that had been repeatedly received by the Administration and the FBI, why would anyone coordinate two major annual air training exercises at this time, and divert key resources to the North Pole on an outdated mission? Who was in a position to do this?”

The 911 Commission carefully overlooked these considerations. “It ignored the issue of the drills and continuously pointed to FAA incompetence. Thus the the mock live hijackings which were apparently in progress on the morning of September 11th should be investigated as a plausible explanation for why the national defense was such an abysmal failure.”

Global Research, 27 September 2007


Information regarding military exercises is classified and difficult to research. Though there was unusually high and confusing drill activity on 9/11, this strange coincidence has not gained much public notice. This essay quotes military officials from their own magazines, and compares their statements to what the 9/11 Commission wrote about the so-called surprise factor, and also to the Commission’s position that the drills aided the response.

Though both the 9/11 Commission Report and members of the Bush Administration repeatedly stated that the use of planes as weapons could not have been predicted, other official sources indicate that military exercises had been underway to counteract this very possibility.

1. Was it a Surprise that Hijacked Planes Were Used as Weapons on 9/11?

The element of surprise has been widely given (and quoted) as the reason why the 9/11 attacks were so successful against the world’s greatest military power.

Before proceeding to the statements on both sides of the issue, the context for these attacks should be understood in light of three defense procedures which were unusually and significantly changed in the months preceding 9/11:

  1. A May 8th 2001 Statement by the President gave responsibility for coordinating, training and planning all national defense programs related to weapons of mass destruction to Vice President Cheney, whose office was not part of the National Command Authority. Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta testified before the 9/11 Commission that he was present and observed Dick Cheney in the Presidential Emergency Operating Center tracking the position of Flight 77 for many miles as it approached the Pentagon.1 “Based on Norm Minetta’s testimony and other information, it appears that the military have regarded Cheney as a ‘Deputy Commander-in-Chief’. They also understand that he is the real power behind the throne…It appears that Vice President Dick Cheney was in charge of all the many air defense exercises that took place on the morning of September 11, 2001.”2

  2. The 1997 hijacking scramble protocol CJCSI 3610, which distinguished emergent situations (requiring immediate action between the FAA and the military) from non-emergent situations (requiring decision input from the highest levels of the DoD) was rewritten June 1, 2001, as ordered by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.3 As a result, the number of fighter-interceptor scrambles fell from the usual average of 7-8 per month before the rewrite, to zero during the 3.3 months before September 11th, and to zero on September 11th itself.4

  3. Changes in the dates of annual and semi-annual military air defense exercises resulted in an unprecedented concentration of air drills on September 11th, and included hijackings and drills in which planes hit buildings. These will be explored later.

The transfer of two line defense roles to senior members of the Bush-Cheney Administration, paired with the concentration of air drills on the day itself, raise serious questions regarding the success of the attacks.

Early expressions of surprise over the attacks: In response to the seemingly inexplicable success of the 9/11 attacks, a chorus of astonishment issued from the White House, the military, and the FBI. Tim Ruppert asked Donald Rumsfeld on September 30, 2001 whether he had ever imagined that the Pentagon would be attacked by a terrorist using an American commercial airline. “Oh goodness no! “Never would have crossed anyone’s mind.”5 His Commander-in-Chief had earlier said that “al Qaeda “struck in a way that was unimaginable.”6

General Richard Myer, acting air defense commander, told the military press in late October: “You hate to admit it, but we hadn’t thought about this.”7 FBI Director Robert Mueller declared a week after the attacks, “There were no warning signs that I’m aware of that would indicate this type of operation in the country.”8

White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer fell into step. “Until the attack took place, I think it is fair to say that no one envisioned that as a possibility.”9

However, on May 17, 2002, CBC News revealed that a 1999 report, “Sociology and Psychology of Terrorism: Who Becomes a Terrorist and Why?” “…warned the executive branch that bin Laden’s terrorists might hijack an airliner and dive bomb it into the Pentagon or other government building.”10

On May 19th, the London Observer quoted a New York newspaper report that “angry citizens are asking why they have suddenly learned what George W. Bush knew all along: that weeks before the event, the CIA had warned the President and other top officials of an active plot to seize civilian aircraft.”11

Later that day, Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen of the Washington Post covered the hijack briefing in more detail:

“The top-secret briefing memo presented to President Bush on Aug. 6 carried the headline, ‘Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.’. . . .The President’s Daily Briefing underscored that Osama bin Laden and his followers hoped to ‘bring the fight to America.’. . .The August 6th memo. . .suggested that bin Laden’s followers might be planning to hijack U.S. airliners.”12

The story had, several days earlier, prompted a press conference from White House spokesman Ari Fleischer, saying: “Never did we imagine what would take place on September 11th, where people use those airplanes as missiles and weapons.” His statement was echoed later in the day by National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice, as quoted below in a Baltimore Sun article.13

A 2003 Joint Inquiry into the Intelligence Community tells a different story.

The denials continued into 2004, when Donald Rumsfeld told the 9/11 Commission, “I knew of no intelligence during the six-plus months leading up to September 11 to indicate terrorists would hijack commercial airlines, use them as missiles to fly into the Pentagon or the World Trade Center towers.”14

But a Congressional Joint Inquiry report, released July 24th, 2003,15 suggested that the government had failed to act on warnings of a terrorist attack within the country, involving aircraft as missiles. The New York Times published excerpts:

“Shortly after…May 1998…the community began to acquire intelligence that bin Laden’s network intended to strike within the United States. Many of these reports were disseminated throughout the community and to senior U.S. policy makers…the totality of the information…clearly reiterated a consistent and critically important theme: bin Laden’s intent to launch terrorist attacks within the United States…In the spring of 1999, the [intelligence] community obtained information about a planned bin Laden attack on a government facility in Washington, D.C…In September 1999, the community obtained information that bin Laden and others were planning a terrorist act in the United States, possibly against specific landmarks in California and New York City…In March 2000, the community obtained information regarding the type of targets…The Statue of Liberty was specifically mentioned, as were skyscrapers, ports, airports and nuclear power plants…In April 2001, the community obtained information…that bin Laden was interested in commercial pilots as potential terrorists. The source warned that the United States should not focus only on embassy bombings, that terrorists sought “spectacular and traumatic” attacks and that the first World Trade Center bombing would be appealing.” 16

Four days later, the Baltimore Sun published the following:

“President Bush’s adviser [Condoleezza Rice] told the public in May 2002 that a pre-Sept. 11 intelligence briefing for the president on terrorism contained only a general warning of threats and largely historical information, not specific plots, the report said.

But the authors of the congressional report, released last week, stated the briefing given to the president a month before the suicide hijackings included recent intelligence that al-Qaida was planning to send operatives to the United States to carry out an attack using high explosives.

At the same May 2002 press briefing, Rice also said that “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.”

But the congressional report states that “from at least 1994, and continuing into the summer of 2001, the Intelligence Community received information indicating that terrorists were contemplating, among other means of attack, the use of aircraft as weapons.”17

The contradiction could not be more evident.

Contradictions Within the 9/11 Commission Report:

The Commission reported early in its pages:

“NORAD and the FAA were unprepared for the type of attacks launched against the United States on September 11, 2001. They struggled, under difficult circumstances, to improvise a homeland defense against an unprecedented challenge they had never encountered and had never trained to meet.”18

But the Report later documented, in reference to the use of planes as weapons, that such a “possibility was imaginable, and imagined.” It cited intelligence from the August 1999 Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Civil Aviation Security that warned about the possibility of a Bin Ladin “suicide hijacking operation,” and that NORAD had “imagined the possible use of aircraft as weapons, too, and developed exercises to counter such a threat—from planes coming to the United States from overseas.”19

The Commission further reported that on August 24, 2001, the CIA had described “subjects involved in suspicious 747 flight training,” and Zacarias Moussaoui as a possible “suicide hijacker;”20 also that the week before the attacks a Minneapolis FBI agent had told the FAA that Moussaoui, was “an Islamic extremist preparing for some future act in furtherance of radical fundamentalist goals.”21 The Commission further noted that on August 23, 2001, CIA Director George Tenet “was briefed about the Moussaoui case in a briefing entitled ‘Islamic Extremist Learns to Fly.’”22

And Louis Freeh, FBI Director from 1993 to June 2001, told the 9/11 Commission that in 2000 and 2001, the subject of “planes as weapons” was always considered in the planning of National Special Security Events (NSSE’s), in which the FBI and FEMA participated, and that “resources were actually designated to deal with that particular threat.” He confirmed that “the use of airplanes, either packed with explosives or otherwise, in suicide missions” was “part of the planning” for NSSE’s.23

A Summary of the Contradictions:

There are thus stark contradictions: 1) between White House spokespersons and each of: The Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities of July 2003; the August 6, 2001 Presidential Briefing Memo; many press reports detailing the two foregoing documents; and the testimony of FBI Director Louis Freeh; 2) between the 9/11 Commission’s findings and all of the above; and 3) within the 9/11 Commission Report itself.

How did the 9/11 Commission deal with these contradictions? It did not: it simply left out the findings of the Joint Inquiry report and the Louis Freeh testimony, and though it copied the August 6th Presidential Briefing Memo into its Report,24 it did not include the memo in its entirety as quoted by CNN on April 10, 2004.25 And further to that Memo, the Commission referred to Condoleezza Rice’s April 8th Hearing testimony, but did not include it. In it she had said, “I was concerned about possible threats inside the United States.”26

As the foregoing summary shows the element of surprise to have been very much in doubt, a new investigation should question how a non-surprise attack could have been so successful.

2. What did the Military Training Drills Reveal about US Expectations?

The military exercises of 9/11 will be examined in relation to two of the things that the Commission blamed for the critical element of surprise:

  1. the unheard of concept of using hijacked planes as weapons—a departure from predictable, traditional hijackings, and

  2. the fact that the attacks originated, unpredictably, from within the country, and not from outside it.

Two 9/11 Commission Report quotations below document these perceptions:

“In sum, the protocols in place on 9/11 for the FAA and NORAD to respond to a hijacking presumed that. . .the hijacking would take the traditional form: that is, it would not be a suicide hijacking designed to convert the aircraft into a guided missile.”27

“America’s homeland defenders faced outward. NORAD itself was barely able to retain any alert bases. Its planning scenarios occasionally considered the danger of hijacked aircraft being guided to American targets, but only aircraft that were coming from overseas.”28

The Pre 9/11 Military Training Drills: Though neither the White House nor the FBI had envisaged planes as weapons, the military, supposedly adrift from its government and bereft of communication –no small feat with a 2001 budget of over $400 billion — had.

According to Professor John Arquilla, a Special Operations expert at the Naval Postgraduate School, “The idea of such an attack (like 9-11) was well known. It had been wargamed as a possibility in exercises before Sept. 11, 2001.”29

The following exercises demonstrate that many military minds were concerned with the express idea of planes hitting buildings.

In October 2000, a military exercise created a scenario of a simulated passenger plane crashing into the Pentagon. The exercise was coordinated by the Defense Protective Services Police and the Pentagon’s Command Emergency Response Team.30

US Medicine reports that two health clinics housed within the Pentagon trained for a hijacked airplane to hit the Pentagon in May 2001. “Though the Department of Defense had no capability in place to protect the Pentagon from an ersatz guided missile in the form of a hijacked 757 airliner, DoD medical personnel trained for exactly that scenario in May.”31

The Department of Transportation in Washington held an exercise on August 31, 1001, which was described by a participant, Ellen Engleman:

“Ironically, fortuitously, take your choice, 12 days prior to the incident on September 11th, we were going though a tabletop exercise. It was actually much more than a tabletop…in preparation for the Olympic…which was a full intermodal exercise…Part of the scenario, interestingly enough, involved a potentially highjacked plane and someone calling on a cell phone, among other aspects of the scenario that were very strange when twelve days later, as you know, we had the actual event.”32

According to USA Today:

“In the two years before the Sept. 11 attacks, the North American Aerospace Defense Command conducted exercises simulating what the White House says was unimaginable at the time: hijacked airliners used as weapons to crash into targets and cause mass casualties…One of the imagined targets was the World Trade Center…NORAD, in a written statement, confirmed that such hijacking exercises occurred…‘Numerous types of civilian and military aircraft were used as mock hijacked aircraft,’ the statement said…The exercises differed from the Sept. 11 attacks in one important respect: The planes in the simulation were coming from a foreign country…But there were exceptions in the early drills, including one operation, planned in July 2001 and conducted later, that involved planes from airports in Utah and Washington state that were “hijacked… Until Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD conducted four major exercises a year. Most included a hijack scenario, but not all of those involved planes as weapons.”33

The New Yorker reported:

“A former top F.B.I. official said that the bureau had been concerned about an attack in New York City ever since…associates of Osama bin Laden…were convicted in federal court in connection with the 1998 bombing of American embassies in Africa. …During the last several years, the government regularly planned for and simulated terrorist attacks, including scenarios that involved multiple-plane hijackings.”34

One such multiple hijacking drill using planes from inside the United States was Amalgam Virgo 2002, planned for 1500 people in July 2001 and scheduled for operation in June 2002. In the Second 9/11 Commission Hearing, Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste was foiled in several attempts to extract information from General McKinley and Colonel Scott regarding this drill:

MR. BEN-VENISTE: …My question is: The concept of terrorists using airplanes as weapons was not something which was unknown to the U.S. intelligence community on September 10th, 2001, isn’t that fair to say?

GEN. MCKINLEY: I’d like the intelligence community to address that. I would find it hard to believe that they hadn’t speculated against that. But it was unavailable to us at the time.

MR. BEN-VENISTE: Well, let’s start, for example, with September 12th, 1994, a Cessna 150L crashed into the South Lawn of the White House, barely missing the building, and killing the pilot. Similarly, in December of 1994, an Algerian armed Islamic group of terrorists hijacked an Air France flight in Algiers and threatened to crash it into the Eiffel Tower. In October of 1996, the intelligence community obtained information regarding an Iranian plot to hijack a Japanese plane over Israel and crash it into Tel Aviv. In August of 1988, the intelligence community obtained information that a group of unidentified Arabs planned to fly an explosive-laden plane from a foreign country into the World Trade Center. The information was passed on to the FBI and the FAA.

In September of 1998, the intelligence community obtained information that Osama bin Laden’s next operation could possibly involve flying an aircraft loaded with explosives into a U.S. airport and detonating it. In August 2001, the intelligence community obtained information regarding a plot to either bomb the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi from an airplane, or crash an airplane into it. In addition, in the Atlanta Olympics, the United States government and the Department of Justice and my colleague Jamie Gorelick were involved in planning against possible terrorist attacks at the Olympics, which included the potential of an aircraft flying into the stadium. In July 2001, the G-8 summit in Genoa, attended by our president, among the measures that were taken were positioning surface-to-air missile ringing Genoa, closing the Genoa airport and restricting all airspace over Genoa.

Was not this information, sir, available to NORAD as of September 11th, 2001?

GEN. MCKINLEY: … we had not postured prior to September 11th, 2001, for the scenario that took place that day.

MR. BEN-VENISTE: Well, obviously it would be hard to imagine posturing for the exact scenario. But isn’t it a fact, sir, that prior to September 11th, 2001, NORAD had already in the works plans to simulate in an exercise a simultaneous hijacking of two planes in the United States?

This question was followed by a wall of obfuscation from General McKinley and Colonel Scott, and Ben-Veniste never did get an answer.35 Nor was the matter included in the Commission Report.

Ben-Veniste also questioned the officers on the “vestigial” nature of planning primarily for Cold War attacks from Russia and other nations beyond US borders.36 (And on this point, Major Arias had told the News Herald in June 2001 that “The Cold War is over”.)

These two points raise disturbing questions as to why Vigilant Guardian diverted much of the US defense fleet to the North Pole that day; who made the decision that this should occur; and why NORAD and the Commission were so silent about the hijacking drills.

Air Training Drills the Morning of September 11th:

On the morning of September 11th, two nationwide annual air defense drills were in full stride.

NORAD was in the midst of one of its four major annual exercises, the week-long “Vigilant Guardian”, which the Commission described as “postulat[ing] a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union.”37

A second annual global readiness exercise, Global Guardian, which had traditionally been held in October or November, and which, according to NBC News military analyst William Arkin, had been scheduled for October 22-31, 2001,38 was also underway. The Space Observer, a military newspaper, reported on March 23rd 2001 that this exercise was scheduled for October 2001,39 which meant that sometime after March 23rd, Global Guardian was rescheduled for early September.

Third, Richard Clarke, in his book “Against All Enemies”, noted that acting Joint Chiefs of Staff (JSC) Chairman Richard Myers told him in a videoconference on 9/11, “Not a pretty picture, Dick…We are in the middle of Vigilant Warrior, a NORAD exercise.”40

Information about military drills is classified and difficult to research. There have been suggestions that Richard Clarke confused this drill with Vigilant Guardian (the North Pole drill) but Vigilant Guardian is a NORAD exercise, apparently without JSC involvement. It has also been reported41 that the “Warrior” designation equates to JSC involvement and includes “live-flies”. A NORAD press release, reported in USA Today in 2004, stated that, “These ‘mock hijacked aircraft,’ otherwise called ‘live-flies,’ are used sometimes in air-based war games involving hijacking scenarios. They are actual planes of a variety of makes, in the air (manned or under remote control), pretending to be hijacked for the benefit of effective training.”42

Thus the evidence suggests that mock hijacks were in progress on September 11th, which would explain the reports of military officers in the next section.

There were more “planes into buildings” scenarios going on that morning. “In what the government describes as a bizarre coincidence, one U.S. intelligence agency was planning an exercise last Sept. 11 in which an errant aircraft would crash into one of its buildings… The National Reconnaissance Office had scheduled an exercise…in which a small corporate jet would crash into…the agency’s headquarters building after experiencing a mechanical failure. …The agency is about four miles from the runways of Washington Dulles International Airport.”43

Finally, USA Today reported that “a joint FBI/CIA anti-terrorist task force that specifically prepared for this type of disaster” was on a “training exercise in Monterey, Calif.” Thus, “as of late Tuesday, with airports closed around the country, the task force still hadn’t found a way to fly back to Washington.”44 Furthermore, the FBI had deployed “all of its anti-terrorist and top special operations agents at a training exercise (complete with all associated helicopters and light aircraft) in Monterey, California.” While the attacks were in progress, then, “the chief federal agency responsible for preventing such crimes was being AWOL.”45

A Summary of the Contradictions:

There is a strong and clear contradiction between the White House and 9/11 Commission claims of wildly unpredictable surprise attacks, and the training exercises which were running to counter such attacks. In short, these training exercises reflected an expectation that multiple, simultaneous, internal hijackings using planes as weapons were very imaginable indeed.

How did the Commission deal with this problem? With the exception of one footnote mentioning Northern Vigilance, it simply failed to mention the drills at all. By repeatedly claiming that no one had expected such attacks to have originated from within the United States, it diverted attention away from the drills, and away from warnings that there were Muslim operatives within the country who were learning to fly commercial airliners.

Were these diversions merely cowardly flights from a failed responsibility, or were they more ominous indications of foreknowledge? This crucial question should be the subject of a new impartial investigation.

If, as the evidence suggests, the White House and the Commission were not surprised by such attacks (whereas in fact they were aware of such events)46 the new investigation should ask why they said they were.

  1. Did the 9/11 Military Training Drills Help or Harm the Response?

As mentioned above, the only reference made by the 9/11 Commission to the September 11th training exercises was to Vigilant Guardian, in footnote 116 from Chapter 1 of the Report:

“On 9/11, NORAD was scheduled to conduct a military exercise, Vigilant Guardian, which postulated a bomber attack from the former Soviet Union. We investigated whether military preparations for the large-scale exercise compromised the military’s response to the real-world terrorist attack on 9/11. According to General Eberhart, “it took about 30 seconds” to make the adjustment to the real-world situation. Ralph Eberhart testimony, June 17, 2004. We found that the response was, if anything, expedited by the increased number of staff at the sectors and at NORAD because of the scheduled exercise. See Robert Marr interview (Jan. 23, 2004).”47

Unfortunately for the Commission, this conclusion has been contradicted by many military participants that day.

Remember, all of NORAD was participating in Vigilant Guardian that morning. Other exercises were also running. As one research organization noted, “NORAD is thus fully staffed and alert, and senior officers are manning stations throughout the US. The entire chain of command is in place and ready when the first hijacking is reported.”48

Almost immediately, however, confusion and bewilderment set in:

At 8:40, Deskins noticed senior technician Jeremy Powell waving his hand. Boston Center was on the line, he said. It had a hijacked airplane.

“It must be part of the exercise,” Deskins thought.
At first, everybody did. Then Deskins saw the glowing direct phone line to the Federal Aviation Administration.
On the phone she heard the voice of a military liaison for the FAA’s Boston Center.
“I have a hijacked aircraft,” he told her.

Six minutes later, at 8:46, the exercises were still causing confusion: “Deskins ran to a nearby office and phoned 1st Air Force Chief Public Affairs Officer Major Don Arias in Florida. She said NEADS had a hijacked plane, no, not the simulation likely heading for JFK.

ABC News quoted NORAD Commander Major General Arnold, from a command center at the Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida. “First thing that went through my mind was, ‘Is this part of the exercise? Is this some kind of a screw-up?'”49

NEADS Major Nasypany later recalled:

“When they told me there was a hijack, my first reaction was ‘Somebody started the exercise early,'” Nasypany later told me. The day’s exercise was designed to run a range of scenarios, including a “traditional” simulated hijack in which politically motivated perpetrators commandeer an aircraft, land on a Cuba-like island, and seek asylum. “I actually said out loud, ‘The hijack’s not supposed to be for another hour.'”50

Later yet, at 9:09 AM, Richard Clarke reports that FAA Command Center Head Jane Garvey told him by videoconference, “We have reports of eleven aircraft off course or out of communications.”51 This was verified in an aviation report, “…the FAA command center then reported 11 aircraft either not in communication with FAA facilities, or flying unexpected routes.”52

Major-General Larry Arnold recalled,

“As I walked out of a video teleconference with NORAD, someone came up and told me that the Northeast Air Defense sector had a possible hijacking. My first thought was the hijacking was part of the exercise…Then we began getting calls of other potential hijackings. Not all the calls were true. These hijacking reports added to the confusion… We were receiving many reports of hijacked aircraft. When we received those calls, we might not know from where the aircraft had departed. We also didn’t know the location of the airplane…By the end of the day, we had twenty-one aircraft identified as possible hijackings.”53

In a 2006 interview with Vanity Fair, Arnold went further: “I’ll be the first to admit that immediately after—-in fact, for a long time after—-we were very confused with who was what and where, what reports were coming in.”54

Robert Marr, head of NEADS on 9/11, says, “At one time I was told that across the nation there were some 29 different reports of hijackings.”55

General Richard Meyers at the Pentagon confirmed that “conflicting reports throughout the morning led to confusion in the Command Center.”56 The Commission itself documented, “During the course of the morning, there were multiple erroneous reports of hijacked aircraft in the system.”57

Thus it would appear that simultaneous air defense drills were fogging the defense data streams and that personnel were chasing 4 real hijacked airplanes among 29 unidentified blips.

And so there is a profound contradiction between the Commission’s position that the drills enhanced the defense response, and the reports by officers on duty that day.

Summary of the Contradictions:

Why, when only 4 planes were hijacked, were there so many reports of other hijacked planes? And why were the military personnel so ready to interpret these hijacking reports as being part of the exercises, when no one had ever “imagined” such a thing?

Given the warnings of incipient terrorist attacks that had been repeatedly received by the Administration and the FBI, why would anyone coordinate two major annual air training exercises at this time, and divert key resources to the North Pole on an outdated mission? Who was in a position to do this?

Commissioner Richard Ben-Veniste resolved to pursue these questions “very very diligently”, and made determined efforts to do so.

But what did the Commission do about his unanswered questions? It ignored the issue of the drills and continuously pointed to FAA incompetence.58 However, blaming the FAA lacked credibility, because the failures of duty were not followed up and no one was disciplined.

Thus the the mock live hijackings which were apparently in progress on the morning of September 11th should be investigated as a plausible explanation for why the national defense was such an abysmal failure.

If the drills impeded the response, a new investigation should question why the two strange departures from longstanding air defense protocols were made in the months before 9/11.

And if the drills enhanced the response, a new investigation should ask how the attacks could have succeeded on a day when the country was especially prepared to handle them.

Either way, the situation cries out for clarification.

NOTES

1
9/11 Commission Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta Testimony. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=norman+mineta

2 Colonel Robert Bowman, PhD, U.S. Air Force(ret.)

Director of Advanced Space Programs Development under Presidents Ford and Carter. Email, September 26, 2007.

3 The flight base commanders were required by the June 1st “Joint Chiefs of Staff Instruction” to seek approval from the Secretary of Defense before responding to hijackings, whereas before the rewrite they could have responded routinely. Robin Hordon, retired pilot and FAA officer, has ”emphasized that the debate has deliberately been channeled by NORAD and the government to focus on reactions to hijackings, when the real issue is the emergency condition of the aircraft well before a hijacking is even confirmed.” http://www.unexplained-mysteries.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=36598&st=90

4 Guns and Butter. Interview with Robin Hordon, former FAA ATC, Boston Center. KPFA Radio, April 18, 2007.) (http://www.kpfa.org/archives/index.php?arch=19792)

The original and the rewritten documents are available at
http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/cjcsd/cjcsi/3610_01.pdf (7/31/1997: CJCSI 3610.10 and

http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/cjcsd/cjcsi/3610_01a.pdf (6/01/2001: CJCSI 3610.10A)

5
“Text: Rumsfeld on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’”, September 30, 2001. (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/nbctext_093001.html)

6
White House News Release. “President Meets with Muslim Leaders,” Sept. 26, 2001.
http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2001/09/20010926-8.html

7 American Free Press Service, Oct. 23rd, 2001. (http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=44621)

8
Text: Justice Department Briefing, Washington Post, Monday, Sept. 17, 2001. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/nation/specials/attacked/transcripts/justice091701.html

9 What Bush Knew Before Sept. 11,” Washington, May 17, 2002 (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/05/16/attack/main509294.shtml )

10 Ibid.

11 Ed Vulliamy. “A Bad Call?” Observer, May 19, 2002 (citing Joe Conason of the New York Observer.) http://64.233.167.104/search?q=cache:aRE6kgAMwpwJ:observer.guardian.co.uk/bush/story/0,,718265,00.html+%22warnings+that+might+have+averted%22+guardian&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=1&gl=ca )

12 Bob Woodward and Dan Eggen. “Aug. Memo Focused On Attacks in U.S.” Washington Post, May 19, 2002.
(http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A35744-2002May17&notFound=true).

A transcript of this presidential briefing was later published by CNN: “Transcript: Bin Laden detrmined to strike in US,” April 10, 2004.
(http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/10/august6.memo/index.html)

13 The White House. “Press Briefing by Ari Fleischer,” May 16, 2002. (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020516-4.html) Rice’s statement is at (http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/05/20020516-13.html)

14 “Bush, Clinton figures defend terrorism policies,” CNN Report, March 24, 2004. http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/23/911.commission/index.html

15
“9/11 Report: Joint Congressional Inquiry. Report of the Joint Inquiry into the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001 – by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Comminttee on Intelligence. 858 p. Published 2002 and publicly released on July 24, 2003. http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/911rpt/

16
“Excerpts From Report on Intelligence Actions and the Sept. 11 Attacks,” NYT, July 25, 2003. Available for purchase at (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/07/25/national/25TTEX.html?ex=1189569600&en=87b62bfc380ea076&ei=5070 See also, “9/11: Threats about airplanes as weapons prior to 9/11,” Dr. Matthew Robinson, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice, Appalachian State University, http://www.justiceblind.com/airplanes.html, and see, “US Received Warnings of “Airplanes As Weapons,” By Dana Priest, Washington Post, Sept. 19, 2002. http://www.globalpolicy.org/wtc/analysis/2002/0918warn.htm

(article has disappeared from the WP website and the Lexis Nexis database) See also: Michael Isikoff and Mark Hosenball, “The Secrets of September 11. The White House is battling to keep a report on the terror attacks secret. Does the 2004 election have anything to do with it?” Newsweek, April 30, 2003. The quoted material, printed in December 2002, became available to the public on July 24, 2003, at http://www.gpoaccess.gov/serialset/creports/pdf/fullreport_errata.pdf, and is found on pp. 124-5.

17 “9/11 report, Rice remarks in conflict: Investigators say Bush got specific data on threats,” Associated Press, July 29, 2003

http://www.baltimoresun.com/business/nationworld/bal-te.rice29jul29,0,2620591.story?coll=bal-business-headlines

18 9/11CR, p. 45.

19
9/11CR, pp. 345-6.

20
9/11CR, p. 274.

21
9/11CR, p. 273.

22
Ibid., p. 275.

23
Public hearings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 10th, April 13, 2004, p. 28. http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/index.htm

24
9/11CR, pp.261-2.

25
CNN Report. “Transcript: Bin Laden determined to strike in US”, Saturday, April 10, 2004. (http://www.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/04/10/august6.memo/index.html) This transcript includes a sentence left out by the 9/11 Commission Report: “An Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) operative told – – service at the same time that bin Laden was planning to exploit the operative’s access to the U.S. to mount a terrorist strike.”

26 Public hearings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 9th, April 8, 2004, p. 8. http://www.9-11commission.gov/hearings/index.htm

27 9/11CR, p. 18.

28
9/11CR, p. 352.

29 Kevin Howe. “Expert Stresses Need for Intelligence.” Monterey County Herald, July 18, 2002. (http://web.archive.org/web/20021128002557/http://www.montereyherald.com/mld/montereyherald/3686928.htm)

30 Dennis Ryan. “Contingency planning Pentagon MASCAL exercise simulates scenarios in preparing for emergencies,” Nov. 3, 2000.
http://www.mdw.army.mil/content/anmviewer.asp?a=290

31 Matt Mientka.”Pentagon Medics Trained For Strike,” U.S .Medicine, October 2001. (http://www.usmedicine.com/article.cfm?articleID=272&issueID=31)

32 National Transportation Security Summit. Washington, DC, Oct. 30, 2001. “MTI Report S-01-02,” Mineta Transportation Institute, San José State University,2001. http://transweb.sjsu.edu/mtiportal/research/publications/documents/terrorism/Terrorism%20Symposium%202001.htm

33 Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri. “NORAD had drills of jets as weapons,” USA Today, April 18, 2004, http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-04-18-norad_x.htm

34 “September 11, 2001,” The New Yorker, September 24, 2001. (http://web.archive.org/web/20020215175752/http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?010924fa_FACT)

35 Public hearings of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, 2nd, Day 2, May 23, 2003. (http://www.9-11commission.gov/archive/hearing2/9-11Commission_Hearing_2003-05-23.htm) This lack of cooperation with Commissioner Ben-Veniste is underscored by the fact that the 10-member Commission panel was forced to issue subpoenas to both NORAD and the FAA, and encountered “serious delays” in obtaining information from the Defense Department. “We are especially dismayed by problems in the production of records of activities of NORAD and certain Air Force commonds on Sept. 11th,” the panel reported.(In the Commission’s November 7 Press Release, see http://www.fas.org/irp/news/2003/11/911-110703.pdf)

A second subpoena served on the Pentagon was similarly unsuccessful in obtaining records. (Philip Shenon. 9/11 Panel Issues Subpoena to Pentagon. Washington Post, Nov. 8, 2003. http://nucnews.net/nucnews/2003nn/0311nn/031108nn.htm#501)

36 Ibid.

37 9/11CR, p. 458.

38 Arkin, William M. “Code Names: Deciphering U.S. Military Plans, Programs and Operations in the 9/11 World”, Steerforth, 2005, p. 379.

39 “21st Space Wing Priorities,” Space Observer, March 23, 2001, p. 2. http://web.archive.org/web/20030320100542/http:/www.peterson.af.mil/21sw/observer/23mar01.pdf

40 Richard A. Clarke. “Against all Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror”, Free Press, 2004, pp. 4-5.

41 “Wargame IV: Vigilant Warrior.” http://they-let-it-happen.blogspot.com/2007/01/wargame-iv-vigilant-warrior.html

42 Steven Komarow and Tom Squitieri. “NORAD had drills of jets as weapons,” USA Today, April 18, 2004, http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2004-04-18-norad_x.htm

43 John J. Lumpkin, Associated Press. “Agency planned exercise on Sept. 11 built around a plane crashing into a building,” August 21, 2002. http://www.boston.com/news/packages/sept11/anniversary/wire_stories/0903_plane_exercise.htm

44 Bill Nichols, Homeland defense needs now ‘grim reality,’ Sept. 11, 2001. (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/09/11/security.htm)

45 .” U.S. Devastated by Terrorist Attacks: Bush Faces Defining Moment, As Others Scramble For Advantage.” USA Today, Sept. 11, 2001. http://web.archive.org/web/20030312214742/http://www.evote.com/features/2001-09/091101attack.asp

46 See Commissioner Ben-Veniste’s long list of prior incidents, cited above.

47 9/11CR, p. 458.

48 Cooperative Research. “Complete 9/11 Timeline. Military Exercises up to 9/11.” (http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=complete_911_timeline&before_9/11=militaryExercises)

49 “Moments of Crisis, Part 1: Terror Hits the Towers: How Government Officials Reacted to Sept. 11 Attacks.” ABC News, September 14, 2002. http://s3.amazonaws.com/911timeline/2002/abcnews091402.html

50 Michael Bronner. “9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes.” Vanity Fair, August 2006, p. 2. http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2006/08/norad200608?currentPage=10

51
Richard A. Clarke. “Against all Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror”, Free Press, 2004, pp. 4-5.

52 William B. Scott. “Exercise Jump-Starts Response to Attacks, Aviation Week & Space Technology, June 3, 2002. http://web.archive.org/web/20020917072642/http://www.awstonline.com/ or http://911research.wtc7.net/cache/planes/defense/aviationnow_jumpstart.htm

53 “Conversation With Major General Larry Arnold, Commander, 1st Air Force, Tyndall AFB, Florida.” Code One, An Airpower Projection Magazine, 1st Quarter, 2002. http://www.codeonemagazine.com/archives/2002/articles/jan_02/defense/

54 Michael Bronner. “9/11 Live: The NORAD Tapes.” Vanity Fair, August 2006, p. 10.

55 Robert A. Baker. “Commander of 9/11 Air Defenses Retires.” Newhouse News Service, March 31, 2005. (http://web.archive.org/web/20050519084002/http://www.newhousenews.com/archive/baker033105.html

56 Kathleen Rehm, “Myers and Sept. 11: ‘We Hadn’t Thought About This,’” American Forces Press Service, Oct. 23, 2001. http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=44621

57 9/11CR, p. 28.

58 9/11CR. The first 30 pages of the Commission Report alone contain statements criticizing the FAA for delays and false assumptions on pages 11, 26, 27, 29, and 30.

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U.S. Ramps Up Threats Against Iran by Larry Everest

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Everest
Global Research, September 26, 2007
rwor.org

The air is thick with intensifying U.S. threats against Iran. New diplomatic and economic assaults by the U.S. are in the works, and there are reports that discussion within the Bush regime has “tilted” toward war with Iran. Since our last alert (“Alert: Bush Regime Escalates Iran War Preparations” in issue #101, online at revcom.us), the trajectory toward confrontation, possibly war, has accelerated.

Six years into the bloody conquests and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. is bogged down and facing major difficulties. Its global war was launched post-9/11 with the aim of crushing anti-U.S. Islamic fundamentalism and remaking the Middle East and Central Asian regions, as part of a sweeping plan to create an unchallenged and unchallengeable empire. But in many ways this has backfired. Anti-U.S. anger rages across the region; Islamist movements have been further unleashed and fueled; the U.S. has been unable to secure its imperial grip on Iraq and faces years, perhaps decades, of combat; and the U.S. military is strained.

The U.S. rulers have staked their global power on this war for greater empire, waged under the banner of a “war on terror.” So now they’re increasingly focusing on Iran, a prime target of this war from day one. The imperialists’ problem with Iran’s Islamic Republic is not that it’s a reactionary theocracy that has imprisoned or executed thousands of progressives and revolutionaries and enforces very oppressive social relations. Far from it: the U.S., in fact, has supported—or inflicted—bloody repression and oppressive relations across the region, including in Iran during the reign of the tyrant Shah. No, the U.S. rulers’ problem with the Islamic Republic is that it’s a growing obstacle to their predatory agenda of unfettered hegemony and regional transformation. Iran’s fundamentalist regime has been strengthened by the fall of Saddam Hussein to its west and Afghanistan’s Taliban to its east. In Iraq, Shi’a parties with close ties to Tehran are the predominant faction in the new government, and Iranian influence has greatly increased. It has a nuclear energy program, which has the potential to give it the ability to make nuclear weapons at some point in the future. It’s an ideological and material center of support for Islamist groups and trends throughout the region.

In recent speeches on the U.S. war in Iraq, Gen. Petraeus, Ambassador Crocker, and Bush all targeted Iran. Winning in Iraq, Bush argued, was key to countering the “destructive ambitions of Iran” and not allowing it to “dominate the region.” Crocker declared that “Iran plays a harmful role in Iraq.” Petraeus denounced Iran’s “malign actions.”

This week both Bush and Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad are speaking at the UN, and New York has become a stage for whipping up anti-Iran hysteria and hatred. New York authorities refused Ahmadinejad’s request to visit “ground zero” where the World Trade Center stood. Controversy swirls over Columbia University’s decision to allow Ahmadinejad to speak there. And right-wing tabloids are in an anti-Iranian frenzy—the NY Post ran a picture of Ahmadinejad with the caption “NO DOGS ALLOWED.” No doubt Bush will attempt to stoke this belligerent atmosphere in his September 25 UN speech.

This war of words is being accompanied by new diplomatic and economic assaults on Iran. Bush officials were furious when the UN International Atomic Energy Agency recently reported that Iran was being “unusually cooperative,” and the IAEA director, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that “This is the first time Iran is ready to discuss all the outstanding issues. It’s a significant step.” U.S. officials dismissed the agreement between Iran and the IAEA and denounced ElBaradei for “irresponsible meddling.” This reveals that the U.S. imperialists have never just wanted to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons—they’re out for “regime change,” whether Iran’s ayatollahs want to make a deal or not.

Rather than lessen tensions, the U.S. is intent on further tightening the screws. The U.N. Security Council has so far has passed two punitive measures against Iran, and the U.S. and Europe are waging what some are calling a “financial war” against Iran, designed to cripple its imperialist-dominated economy. Now the U.S. wants yet more sanctions—“with teeth” in the words of Condoleezza Rice. U.S. officials are meeting with other major powers to try and push this through, although China and Russia remain opposed at this point.

On Sept. 20, U.S. forces seized and arrested another Iranian official in Iraq, claiming that he is part of an elite Iranian military unit. Iraqi President Jalal Talabani condemned the action and demanded that the official—who is part of a trade delegation—be released immediately. And the stream of U.S. military “briefings” charging Iran with arming and directing anti-U.S. militias continues.

“A CAREFULLY CALIBRATED PROGRAMME OF ESCALATION”?

Within the Bush administration, a sharp debate has reportedly been taking place between Secretary of State Rice and Vice President Cheney over whether to deal with Iran through continued diplomatic and economic pressure (at least for now), or to more immediately use military means. Rice and Defense Secretary Gates insist that the U.S. still wants to deal with Iran “through diplomatic and economic means,” but a number of recent news stories report that those advocating war are winning the debate. Senior officials believe that “Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran,” the Sunday Telegraph reported (9/16). “Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.” The Telegraph also states that Rice “is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.” The New York Times (9/16) says Bush’s recent speeches “indicated that the debate, at least for now, might have tilted toward Mr. Cheney.”

These stories come in the wake of French President Sarkozy’s statement (immediately after his “heart-to-heart” meeting with Bush this August) that war with Iran is a real possibility—and the ominous declaration by the French Foreign Minister, who said in mid-September that France must “prepare for the worst” and that “The worst, sir, is war.”

Meanwhile, two U.S. naval battle groups are positioned near Iran, including an aircraft carrier battle group headed by the U.S.S. Enterprise and the Kearsarge Expeditionary Strike Group, with some 10 warships, two submarines, and attack aircraft. The U.S. reportedly plans to build a military base on the Iraq-Iran border. And Adm. Fallon, the U.S. commander for the Middle East, is touring the region, “pressing Arab allies to form a more united front against Iran.” (AP 9/18)

While publicly discounting the possibility of a U.S. attack, Iran’s leaders are making counter-threats of their own. Iran has been shelling Iraqi bases of anti-Iranian Kurdish forces and warns that they will send troops into Iraq if the attacks in Iran by these Kurdish forces don’t stop. The new leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards publicly warned that Iran has identified U.S. “weak points” in Iraq and Afghanistan and would “launch a crushing response to any attack.” Iranian officials have declared that they will launch missile strikes at U.S. and Western targets across the region, including Israel, if Iran is attacked.

THE DANGER OF WAR & THE URGENCY OF RESISTANCE

The U.S.’s belligerent threats, “financial war,” demand for tougher sanctions, and its funding of covert operations and anti-regime groups inside Iran (as reported by Seymour Hersh last year) may be aimed at forcing the Islamic Republic to capitulate to U.S. demands or to trigger an internal collapse short of war. The Bush regime could also be waiting to see how these moves play out before deciding on war. But it’s also quite possible that the rulers have begun a “calibrated programme of escalation,” as the Telegraph puts it, in preparation for war.

In any case, Iran is increasingly the focus of U.S. imperialist bullying, and the current trajectory is clearly moving toward confrontation. Given these extreme and growing tensions, war could even start by accident or miscalculation by either side—perhaps as the result of a border clash, a naval incident in the Persian Gulf, or some other event. War could also be triggered by what Steve Clemons (Salon.com, Sept. 19) calls an “engineered provocation” by those close to Cheney (perhaps Israel), leading to an “end run” around the rest of the U.S. decision-making apparatus. A dry run for such a provocation may have already taken place on Sept. 6 when, under still mysterious circumstances, Israeli planes attacked targets in Syria. Bush’s former UN Ambassador John Bolton called this air strike “a clear message to Iran that its continued efforts to acquire nuclear weapons are not going to go unanswered.”

What are the Democrats doing as Bush pours gasoline on the flames in the Middle East? A few leading Democrats say they’re opposed to attacking Iran, but when Congressional Democrats have actually done anything, it’s been to pave the way for war—first, by removing legislative language early this year demanding that Bush consult Congress before any attack on Iran; and second, by voting overwhelmingly this summer for a war-like resolution blaming Iran for killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq. The top Democrats all agree, as Barack Obama recently put it, that Iran “poses a grave challenge.” Obama, Hillary Clinton and John Edwards have all said at one time that “all options” against Iran were on the table. As a ruling class party, the Democrats share with Bush and the Republicans the imperialist goal of defeating Islamic fundamentalism, giving full support to Israel, and maintaining the U.S. stranglehold on the region—even as they have various differences over just how to navigate all the roiling contradictions their empire faces.

Any U.S. attack on Iran—no matter the pretext—would be launched to further America’s imperialist aims, not to liberate anyone, save lives, or lessen the danger of nuclear war. It would be unjust and criminal, and could cause enormous suffering and death in Iran and spark bloodshed across the region. U.S. aggression and war threats are already fueling a very bad dynamic in which the reactionary poles of imperialism on one side and Islamic fundamentalism on the other reinforce each other, even as they clash.

All this makes it urgent for people to speak out and protest U.S. bullying and war preparations now. The organization World Can’t Wait-Drive Out the Bush Regime has called for people broadly to take up the “Declare It Now! Wear Orange!” campaign. Anti-war protests are scheduled for September 29 and October 27. (See www.worldcantwait.org for details.) Read and distribute Revolution so that many, many more can get the truth and be inspired to politically resist the crimes that the U.S. imperialists are committing and further crimes that they are planning.

Larry Everest is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Larry Everest

 


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Cost, Abuse and Danger of the Dollar by Rudo de Ruijter (2006)

by Rudo de Ruijter
Guest Writer
Dandelion Salad
courtfool.info
[this article was originally published in 2006]
September 26, 2007

Those who use dollars outside the US continuously pay a contribution to the US. It comes in the form of an inflation of 1.25 million dollars per minute. This is the result of the fast increase of the US foreign debt. Half of all US’ imports are simply added to the foreign debt and paid for by the foreign dollar holders through inflation. Continue reading

NH Democratic Debate Sept 26, 2007 (videos; updated)

Dandelion Salad

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

SEPTEMBER 26, 2007 MSNBC

NEW HAMPSHIRE DEMOCRATIC DEBATE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAbQyx44nKk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5W0U278zwqU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0R8jArInYuk

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mD6DHcTKObA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WnyD46RCsuA

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jLNRiNmGaDg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ou7xIc_mJ1U

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bhec-f6hEZ8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GhgUdVqchOs

updated:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBwCUw60aZI

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OsMt8AVtibc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tpG2CshQ7xU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wRvhPcv4rL8

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luFzzazXbgw

***

Vote here.

h/t: Dennis 4 President in 2008!

see

PBS Republican Debate Sept 27, 2007 (videos; links)