THE EAGLE AWAKES!
On Tuesday, September 11, 2001, terrorists awoke a sleeping eagle.
“They that wait upon the Lord
shall renew their strength;
They shall mount up with wings as eagles.”
– Old Testament, Isaiah 40:31
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“That we highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain … that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom … and that the government of the people … by the people … for the people … shall not perish from this earth.”
– Abraham Lincoln, Gettysbury, Pennsylvania, November 19, 1863
Sightings from The Catbird Seat
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April 24, 2002
Scores of D.C.- area Airport Workers Arrested in Security Crackdown
By Ted Bridis, Associated Press
ALEXANDRIA, Va. – authorities arrested 105 workers yesterday at airports serving the nation’s capital on charges they lied to obtain security badges that gave them access to sensitive areas.
Forty-three other employees of Washington Dulles International airport were under indictment but were still being sought.
Those arrested included construction workers, janitors, food workers and at least two baggage screeners.
Ten arrests – also on charges of immigration violations and falsified employment applications – occurred at Baltimore-Washington International Airport.
At least one employee arrested already has been deported from the United States but illegally returned and obtained an airport job, authorities said. They said those arrested included at least one baggage screener each at Reagan and Dulles airports.
The Pentagon was struck Sept. 11 by American Airlines Flight 77, which took off from Dulles with five hijackers aboard.
Attorney General John Ashcroft said the arrests “should be a wake-up call for every airport in America.”
Those arrested face up to five years in prison and fines up to $250,000, and immigrants who were caught without proper documentation could be deported. . . .
U. S. Attorney Paul McNulty described yesterday’s raids as an “anti-terrorism initiative” but said authorities have “no evidence at this point of any connection of these individuals to any terrorist organizations.”
McNulty also said authorities learned during the preceding weeks that some of those arrested yesterday improperly had access to sensitive airport areas.
“We were somewhat alarmed by the large number of people who lied on their security applications,” McNulty said. . . .
An official of a labor union that represents some airport employees and many immigrant workers said the government was not acting to improve airline security. It was going after a group that couldn’t defend itself, she said, to protect the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
“It’s scapegoating,” said Eliseo Medina, executive vice president of the Service Employees International Union.
“It’s intended to distract attention from the failure of the INS. After they issued visas to terrorists, they came in for a lot of criticism. This is an effort to distract public attention from the problems that they face.”
Similar arrests have occurred recently in Phoenix; Charlotte, N.C.; Las Vegas; Salt Lake City; and San Francisco.
About 400 workers have been arrested or indicted since Sept. 11, including those from yesterday.
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Friday, September 14, 2001
I.T.S. TO CONTINUE OPERATIONS UNDER CHAPTER 11 PROTECTION WHILE CONSUMMATING SALE
CLEVELAND (Hoovers) — International Total Services, Inc. (OTC: ITSW) said that it and its domestic subsidiaries filed voluntary petitions yesterday for protection under chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York. During the reorganization process, International Total Services (ITS) will continue business operations without interruption. ITS is a leading provider of airport service personnel and staffing and training services and commercial security services.
The company also announced that it has signed a letter of intent with Brantley Partners IV, L.P. (Brantley), an investment company, and Service Management Systems, Inc. (SMS), a privately held office and mall housekeeping and security services company, contemplating the sale of certain assets of ITS. . . .
Mark D. Thompson, ITS president and chief executive officer, said, “Our customers can be confident that ITS can and will continue serving them even in the face of heightened needs. In fact, with these latest developments, ITS is in an even better position to be able to respond to changing demands of the aviation services industry, be it increased requirements for staffing, training, technology or equipment. . . .”
Thompson said that the company’s chapter 11 filing is “absolutely not related in any way to the recent, tragic events.” ITS was not one of the providers of passenger checkpoint screening services at any of the departure points for the four planes involved in the terrorist attacks earlier this week. . . .
The airport staffing and screening industry has been under intense pricing pressure for a number of years. ITS incurred a substantial operating loss and negative operating cash flow in each of the three prior fiscal years. Thompson explained that these losses followed numerous acquisitions completed under previous management that left the company with high debt levels and low cash reserves. The company’s continued cash flow deficiency for fiscal 2002, substantial negative tangible net worth and the maturity of its credit facility made it impossible to continue to operate in its existing structure. . . .
“We believe that the proposed agreement with Brantley Partners and SMS is the best strategic alternative for all parties, including our customers and clients, our employees, and our vendors,” said Thompson. “Let me add that the past week has been an intense one for all of us. I am exceedingly proud of how our people responded in the face of the week’s tragic events. They stayed calm, they stayed focused, they stayed on the job, and they did what was required of them. We continue to stand ready to respond to the needs of our customers and their passengers.” . . .
International Total Services, Inc. is a leading provider of airport service personnel and staffing and training services and commercial security services for a wide variety of industries. ITS services include, among other things, airport passenger checkpoint screening for airlines. The company has more than 12,000 employees at operations throughout the United States, and in Guam and the United Kingdom. . . .
Sunday, September 16, 2001
U.S. citizens willing to fight
Americans are forced to weigh their freedoms against the risk of attack
By Christine Donnelly, starbulletin.com
DEFEATING TERRORISM means adjusting the “national psyche” of Americans who do not yet comprehend that military power alone will not win such a war and who will resist losing personal liberties that defending U.S. soil may demand, local analysts say.
“Normal military response is not enough. The only real role for the U.S. military when it comes to domestic terrorism is carrying out retaliation, quite frankly. And if you use that decisively enough you can reduce the prospects of future attacks if you can go in and wipe out terrorist cells. But as far as dealing with it on a day-to-day basis, it’s not really a military mission,” said Ralph Cossa, president of the Pacific Forum CSIS, a Honolulu-based foreign policy think tank affiliated with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies.
That point is underscored by the fact that while U.S. military retaliation is likely to be aimed first at Afghanistan, where the extremist Islamic Taliban government has harbored suspected terror mastermind Osama bin Laden in the past, some of the suicide pilots who actually carried out the attacks had been living and training in the United States for years.
“Who knows how many more are out there? It truly is a domestic problem as well as international problem and it will be a prolonged fight,” said Richard Baker, adjunct senior fellow at Honolulu’s East-West Center, an education and research center.
It is critical that the U.S. government and the American people as a whole limit their enmity to the “real enemies” and not spread it to all Islamic people and governments, Baker said. “I cannot overstate the importance of that. We cannot take the position of blame by (religious) association.”
Cossa predicted that increased security in the aftermath of the attacks “probably will end up being more restrictive than we’re comfortable with in our daily lives. So it will be very hard to sustain that. It’s just not in our nature, or our national psyche, to have that kind of paranoia. Eventually, we’ll just accept a certain amount of risk.”
But some security steps, especially at airports, likely will last forever. Before Tuesday’s attacks “the normal procedures to get on a plane — scanning your luggage, going through a metal detector, showing ID, answering questions — would have seemed pretty invasive 20 years ago,” said Cossa. “Now it will get even more intrusive and over time we will get accustomed to it.”
The U.S. Congress quickly approved $40 billion in emergency aid in the aftermath of Tuesday’s attacks, with half of it to be spent in the devastated areas and the rest for improving anti-terrorism efforts and overall national security, including bringing the U.S. military to the highest level of preparedness.
U.S. Sen. Dan Inouye, D-Hawaii, said it was too early to say how much of that money would eventually reach Hawaii, headquarters of the U.S. military’s far-flung Pacific Command. Lt. Col. Stephen Barger, a spokesman for the Pacific Command, refused to speculate on any future operations.
Cossa, who helped developed strategy and policy for the Pacific Command before retiring from the Air Force, predicted the Pacific Command would play a secondary role in expected U.S. military retaliation, given that both Afghanistan and neighboring Pakistan (a politically volatile country that has agreed to help the United States) are in the response region of the U.S. Central Command, headquartered in Tampa, Fla.
And he predicted that much of the new anti-terrorism spending would go to beefing up civilian security agencies, such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigation, National Security Agency and U.S. Border Patrol, plus other agencies such as the Federal Aviation Administration and disaster relief such as the Federal Emergency Management Administration.
Resources also will go to the military Special Operations Command based in Tampa, Fla., including the Army Delta Force, Navy Seals and Air Force Special Operations, to beef up units whose highly trained members infiltrate enemy lines overseas, he said.
While many have criticized the U.S. defense and intelligence forces for failing to prevent the attack, Inouye did not join that chorus, saying they have “generally done well” despite inadequate federal funding.
“We have not been providing them with much money. That is changing now,” said Inouye, who is chairman of the defense appropriations subcommittee.
Inouye said he is willing to consider relaxing government restrictions agents say hamper intelligence-gathering, “but at the same time, we should not set aside the Constitution of the United States. Any major changes will have to be made in consultation with Congress. It’s not a dictatorship,” he said. . . .
“Several of my colleagues were referring to this as the Pearl Harbor of the new century, but I’ve been trying to tell them there’s a big difference. On Dec. 7, the targets were all military. In this case, the only military target was the Pentagon, and even there many of the casualties were civilians,” said Inouye, a decorated World War II veteran.
Now “it’s the kind of war where people will have to be patient, be resolute, and they may have to be prepared, to — well, suffer casualties, because I don’t think that we can anticipate that the terrorist groups are going to roll up their tents and hide.”
After the initial wave of anguish and rage subsides, plans on how to rebuild lower Manhattan will help indicate how much Americans are willing to adapt.
In the first few days after the World Trade Center was demolished, many officials, including New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, vowed the towering skyscrapers would be rebuilt. And Inouye said restoring the towers would “send a stunning message” that the United States would not be cowed by terrorists.
“After all, they were icons of our capitalistic system,” he said.
But Baker takes a different view, noting that the WTC had already been repaired once, after it was bombed to less devastating effect by Islamic fundamentalists in 1993.
“I hope we don’t talk ourselves into rebuilding those towers just to prove that we won’t give in to terrorism. It doesn’t make sense to put so many eggs in one, or in this case, two baskets,” he said.
“There’s an element of human hubris in this. Taking smart precautions… is something that we need to do much more… consciously now.”
“The age of innocence is over.”
For more on Dan Inouye, GO TO > > > Broken Trust
For more on The Pacific Forum, GO TO > > > Birds in the Lobby
Tuesday, September 18, 2001
Security firm fined
$35,000 for violating
new airport rules
By Nelson Daraciang, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
A non-ticketed person was allowed into the terminal against new security measures
The Federal Aviation Administration fined the company that operates security checkpoints at the Honolulu Airport $35,000 for allowing a non-ticketed passenger into the international terminal, said state Department of Transportation spokeswoman Marilyn Kali.
She said the incident occurred about 11 p.m. Saturday.
The FAA representative in Hawaii refused to comment on the incident.
The company, International Total Services Inc., referred inquiries to Airlines Committee of Hawaii Security Coordinator Joe Guyton.
“They will get a letter informing them of the incident, and then ITS has to notify the FAA what actions it is taking to mitigate the problem,” Guyton said.
The Airlines Committee of Hawaii is a consortium of carriers that fly into and out of Hawaii that hired ITS to operate the security checkpoints in the international terminal.
ITS also operates the checkpoints at the Keahole Airport in Kona and at all Hawaiian Airlines terminals.
“Hopefully they can get it mitigated to where there’s no fine,” Guyton said. . . .
Wednesday, September 19, 2001
AIG Chairman Makes Plea
The Honolulu Advertiser
American International Group Inc. chief executive Maurice “Hank” Greenberg wants the government to help hold down damage claims from the World Trade Center attack, according to a report by Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co. analyst Alice Schroeder.
AIG, the biggest insurer, has said its claims from last week’s attack would be about $500 million, and Schroeder said the cost may reach $800 million.
Greenberg, 76, who has run AIG since 1967, hopes to forestall litigation from the attack that destroyed the World Trade Center, which may increase insurers’ costs and delay paying claims, Schroeder’s report says. . . .
For more, GO TO > > > The Un-American Insurance Group
Thursday, September 20, 2001
From TSSI’s website:
Total Security Services International, Inc.
A world leader in prevention and response to violence.
Products and services include:
Win Against Violence Training
Win Against Terrorism Training
Our Mission: To safguard [sic] lives and property with smart, cost effective products and services.
TSSI principals and associates are internationally recognized experts in the fields of prevention and response to violence, hostage rescue, SWAT, counterterrorism [sic], special operations, and intelligence. In fact, TSSI was the only security firm to predict the Atlanta Olympic Bombing. Our staff members have worked as leaders and trainers in such organizations as:
�� Delta Force
�� FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team
�� CIA’s Counterterrorism Center
�� EMS, Fire, and Law Enforcement
�� US Army, Air Force, Navy, Marines
�� National Guard
TSSI has trained hundreds of Emergency Managers, Law Enforcement, and First Responder personnel. The following organizations have participated in TSSI training or have used TSSI products and services:
National Institute of Justice
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Washington DC Transit
Weapons of Mass Destruction Environment
20th Century Fox
Georgia Power Company
Budget Rent a Car
ABC, NBC, CNN, MSNBC
Thursday, September 20, 2001
Assign airport safety to federal enforcers
The issue: Airport security has been heightened in the past week, but private security companies remain in charge.
AIRPORT security in the United States has been the butt of mockery for years by travel industry officials in other parts of the world. The U.S. system features minimum standards imposed on security companies submitting minimum bids — resulting in minimum wages — to airlines seeking maximum profits. Last week’s terrorist attack makes clear that airport security is a life-and-death operation that should be performed by a federal law-enforcement agency.
Hawaii’s airport security is a prime example of what is wrong. The Airlines Committee of Hawaii, a consortium of carriers, pays Total Services Inc. to provide security because that company submitted the lowest bid. This may be an improvement over past years when political considerations were suspected in the selection of a security company owned by Big Island rancher Larry Mehau to do the job but not much.
Last Saturday night, a person without a ticket was discovered beyond the security checkpoints at Honolulu Airport, in violation of Federal Aviation Administration rules. The FAA fined the security company $35,000, but we expect the company to absorb the fine in its operating expenses. The airlines — ultimately the consumers — will pay the tab, through either higher plane fares or federal aid to the aviation industry.
After the terrorist attack, airport security has been tightened across the country. The American Society of Travel Agents recommends that travelers arrive at airports two hours before their fights. That is the norm for airports such as those in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Atlanta and even Washington’s Dulles International Airport, which is especially burdened because of the shutdown of Reagan National.
However, the Hawaii Department of Transportation advises travelers to arrive three hours before flights. Do Hawaii security employees need three hours to do what workers at other airports can accomplish in only two, or do Hawaii’s airports require greater precautions, and, if so, why? No explanation has been offered by Brian Minaai, the department’s director, who seems to have gone into hiding. Minaai may feel uncomfortable being in a law-enforcement role, and that is understandable because his job is for a transportation specialist.
“Money clearly was an issue with turning the airport security over to the airlines,” says Raymond W. Kelly, former U.S. Customs commissioner who was named Sunday to a new federal commission on airport security. “It doesn’t take a genius to figure out they are a profit-making organization, and they are going to cut costs in any way they can.”
September 21, 2001
Isle airport security firm at heart of national debate
Mainland parent of International Total Services has been fined millions by the FAA
By Tim Ruel, Honolulu Star-Bulletin
The company filed for bankruptcy last week and is now suing its former chairman
A mainland firm hired to manage airline security checkpoints in Hawaii has problems that strike at the heart of the debate over security at the nation’s airports.
International Total Services Inc., based in Independence, Ohio, Wednesday sued its minority owner and former chairman Robert A. Weitzel, claiming that Weitzel caused the firm to file corporate bankruptcy last week.
Financial trouble isn’t the only problem for the firm. One former employee of International Total Services, who spoke to the Star-Bulletin on condition of anonymity, says the company had security practices that were so lax that its checkpoints routinely allowed dangerous material to remain undetected at Honolulu Airport during company tests.
For example, in nine trials, fake hand grenades were taped to wheelchairs that were to pass through checkpoints at the airport. In seven cases, the grenade-strapped wheelchair passed through without detection, the employee said. In one of the two cases in which the grenade was found, the grenade had fallen from the tape on its own.
International Total Services did not respond to a request for comment.
Largely because of security concerns at U.S. airports, Congress is considering whether to take over airport security and establish it under a government umbrella, a move that has drawn the support of several experts interviewed by the Star-Bulletin.
Questions are being raised about International Total Security and other firms that handle security at the nation’s airports, in light of last week’s terrorist attacks.
Enforcing a proper standard of security at the nation’s airports is not only a weapon in the nation’s new war against terrorism; it is critical to getting Hawaii’s chief industry, tourism, back on its feet, experts say.
“You’ve got to be safe. You’ve got to tell people it’s safe,” said state Sen. Cal Kawamoto, chairman of the Transportation, Military Affairs and Government Operations Committee. Kawamoto said he would talk to the state Department of Transportation, which oversees the Honolulu airport.
International Total Services was fined $35,000 by the Federal Aviation Administration for allowing a person without a ticket into the international passenger terminal at Honolulu International Airport on Saturday, four days after the deadly terrorist attacks. The FAA has issued new standards for security at airports, but enforcement is largely up to the individual airlines.
There have been so many new complaints of uneven security at airports that the FAA yesterday began asking visitors to its Web site, www.faa.gov, to offer their own suggestions on how to improve aviation.
Between March 31, 2000, and March 31 of this year, International Total Services paid a total of $1.85 million in fines to the FAA and for damages to aircraft, according to the firm’s annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. In the previous year, the firm paid $1.76 million. It is unclear whether the fines were for violations of security procedures.
The company screens passengers at more than 100 airports in 34 states, including Honolulu airport and the Keahole Airport in Kona on the Big Island.
Like most airport security firms, International Total Services is hired directly by the airlines, and its largest customers are Delta Air Lines, Continental Airlines and Trans World Airlines. In Hawaii, the firm has contracts with the nonprofit Airlines Committee of Hawaii Inc., a consortium of airlines that serve Hawaii that was incorporated in 1988. A spokesman for the committee did not return calls seeking comment.
Earlier this year, International Total Services lost a $7.4 million contract at the Dallas/Fort Worth airport. Because of the termination, the firm reported its second quarter revenue dropped to $44.7 million from $49.8 million in the year earlier.
Last week, International Total Services filed for Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy in New York, seeking protection from its creditors. The firm has $30.2 million in assets and $48.2 million in debts, including a $25 million line of credit provided by Bank One NA and Provident Bank, the company’s two secured creditors.
International Total Services sold its stock publicly in 1997 at $11.25 a share. Using the proceeds of $31.8 million, the company bought several subsidiaries that later turned out to be bad investments, the company said in a bankruptcy filing.
In September 1999, the Nasdaq dropped the firm’s stock from its exchange because International Total Services failed to file its annual report on time.
In the lawsuit filed Wednesday, International Total Services claims its former chairman Weitzel caused the company to file bankruptcy, in part by breaking his agreement not to compete with the firm after he was forced to resign in 1999. At the time, independent auditors found that Weitzel had mismanaged the firm and manipulated its financial statements to his benefit, according to a statement from International Total Services.
Weitzel also made it difficult for the firm’s new management team to raise capital, the company said. A hearing in the bankruptcy case is scheduled for Monday. While the firm says that the bankruptcy is not affecting its business operations, the company owes money to its employees and needs approval to pay them.
International Total Services also blames its financial woes on rising costs of labor, driven by its annual turnover rate of nearly 100 percent. International Total Services has a total of about 12,000 employees.
International Total Services pays its guards little more than the minimum wage, which also explains why the company has security problems, one former employee of the company told the Star-Bulletin on condition of anonymity. Many of the firm’s Hawaii employees are recent immigrants who speak little English and receive a two-day session of training, the employee said.
High turnover has been a major problem with security at America’s airports since 1989, said Jeremy R. Spindlove, a former security manager with British Airways in the United Kingdom. “They need to address it,” said Spindlove, co-author of the 1999 book “Terrorism Today: The Past, the Players, the Future.”
Spindlove said he does not blame the employees. Rather, he blames the airlines for the practice of hiring the cheapest security firms through the lowest-bid process.
The security business is highly competitive, and low profit margins force the security firms to cut costs where they can. “It’s a recipe for disaster,” said James H. Clark, a security expert at Alderson Clark Ltd. in Ohio. . . .
While International Total Services has a number of unique legal troubles, its financial difficulties and the use of low-paid workers are a common problem throughout the air travel security industry.
Some 18,000 airport security officers work in the United States, earning $5.25 to $6.75 an hour without benefits with a turnover rate up to 400 percent, Sen. Max Cleland (D-Ga.) said yesterday at a congressional meeting on airport security.
Cleland supports turning all airport security over to the federal government, he said.
However, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta yesterday declined to commit to making airport security screeners federal employees, saying it would be too expensive. . . .
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And just how expensive is that, Mr. Mineta?
More expensive than the destruction of the World Trade Center and damages to the Pentagon, Mr. Mineta?
More expensive than the $15 billion initial bailout funds for the airlines, Mr. Mineta?
More expensive than the $1.4 trillion lost by investors in the stock market in less than one week, Mr. Mineta?
And what monetary value, if any, do you place on human life and suffering, Mr. Mineta?
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January 8, 2001:
BUSH’S TERRIBLE TRANSPORTATION PICK
Editor, The Chronicle
Is President-elect George W. Bush swapping integrity for diversity or caving in to the extreme left wing of the Democrat Party?
If the congressional watchdog group Judicial Watch is right, it may be both.
Democrat Norman Mineta, the pick by “Dubya” for Transportation secretary, was implicated in the Clinton administration Commerce Department trade missions scandal. It involved the selling of airline seats for campaign contributions on so-called trade junkets.
That’s not all. Mr. Mineta, who was Bill Clinton’s pick for Commerce secretary, took part in a 1994 trade mission to Indonesia which involved John Huang and others implicated in the Chinagate scandal. Also involved were Charlie Trie, James Riady and Mark Grobmyer, according to information uncovered in the course of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by Judicial Watch.
Add all this to the fact that Mr. Clinton reportedly sent Mr. Mineta to placate the family of Wen Ho Lee, the nuclear engineer and purported spy at Los Alamos Laboratory, in order to generate votes for Democrats from the Asian-American community. This occurred while Lee was being investigated by the feds for criminal espionage.
After eight long years of silliness, scandals and corruption during President Clinton’s watch in the White House, one would have hoped that George W. Bush would have a little more political acumen than to have nominated a crook like Norman Mineta to a Cabinet post…
– Frank Murphy, Aiken
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To: The Catbird Seat
From: World Pan African Movement <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: 22 September 2001
THE BALANCE OF TERROR
World pan african movement
The world is a very violent place thanks to its dominating selfish culture. A culture that believes it can verbalize virtue to clothe evil and hatred or marry love with its opposite number, capitalism. A culture that thrives on perpetually attempting to play God to the detriment of others.
Life was not always like this. A spiritual (African) culture launched mankind into the merry-ways of modern civilisation before it was abruptly aborted two thousand years ago by white culture’s excessive greed, selfishness, racism, blind arrogance and a shortsighted religion.
The dominating culture substituted spirituality with materialism and enslaved and colonized people of the old world. They rapidly annexed, stole and confiscated huge tracks of precious indigenous estates around the world to increase their holdings from about 6% to 65% or nearly 40m sq miles of the earth’s land mass by the mid 20th century. From the Americas to Canada to Australia to New Zealand, natives were massacred, their food poisoned, their homes and farms destroyed to give way to Christopher Columbus’ siblings who ‘discovered’ the ‘virgin’ estates. They layed claim to Southern Africa too because of its land, favourable weather and gold. Land is still the issue there now. Mosquitoes helped to dislodge them eventually from the rest of Africa but not before they had put neo-colonialism in place.
Whites maimed, tortured and brutalized Africans. They truncated aborigine/native populations around the world to 1.6 billion, a two-fold growth rate, while theirs jumped twelve fold to a billion by the middle of the 20th century.
The elite culture exploited the labour and resources of their slaves to herald their industrial revolution which in the last five hundred years set them up as the economic and political giants of the world. Today, with Capitalism, Christianity, Democracy and Human Rights as their war cries, they have turned the entire human race into whimps of their decadent culture and unleashed AIDS and hunger on the hapless natives of the old world.
Of course, civilisation galloped in leaps and bounds but at a price. The masters control everything including our God-given raw materials and we have nothing. Every time we raise our heads to try to pick crumbs from under their tables, they crush us with unmitigated vengeance with their jackboots so how can the world know peace?
They have caused two world wars in quick succession already, because they are not prepared to consider the equitable share of the world’s commonwealth with the rest of mankind.
They set up the UN to try to temper greed among themselves not envisaging that their erstwhile slaves would mature enough one day to begin to demand their rights at UN deliberations. To checkmate the unsavoury trend, they deviced undemocratic institutions like the Security Council, IMF and the World Bank. And despite these institutions, America, leading the NATO pack, continues to behave like a spoilt child, walking out on UN caucuses to avoid taking responsibilities and setting out on her own to police the world and impose her hegemony.
Despite the marginalization of the Soviet Union, America and her NATO family continue to build and stock pile formidable military arsenal obviously against the rest of us. A few years ago, they came up with the secret strategy called the COLOMBIA PLAN. It incorporates support for germ warfare, AIDS infestations and economic strangulation, not of the Soviet Union who has since joined their G7, but against the economically disadvantaged world.
Lenin once described capitalism as horror without end. One does not have to be a socialist or communist to agree. Capitalism without spirituality is a sin against the basic law of nature by largely trying to reap where it has not sowed. Whoever sows a wind must expect to reap a whirlwind surely. When we strike against our adversaries, they call it ‘war.’ Their atrocities against us have steeled us against them but because they employ superior military arsenal and win all the time, they call their efforts ‘peace’ or claim that they are protecting ‘Civilisation.’ The peace of the graveyard. Tacitus, the Roman historian once said: “……when they have created a wilderness they call it ‘Peace.”
Trotsky predicted before the Second World War that America would win the war and establish world hegemony but with dynamite built into its foundation. America has not only won the war, the Soviet Union disintegrated ten years ago encouraging Bush’s father to describe current American hegemony, as the ‘New World Order.’
What George Bush meant in effect is that multinational companies like the Dow Union Carbide, Exxon, AT & T, Du Pont, Shell, Mobil and ITT now determine the fate of the world. Big business corporations now fix state Presidents and economic policies leaving a trail of misery, hunger, disease, oppression, war and chaos along their tracks. From the Congo, to Angola to Liberia to Palestine the story is the same, land or raw minerals are the prizes at stake.
Palestine on the West Bank and Gaza suffer bomb attacks daily from Israeli imperialism. Their homes are being demolished and kids killed in the streets in broad day light but Bush Jr. does not see Israeli action as an “attack on civilisation.” Rather, Bush continues to give unflinching support to Israel against the Arabs.
I am not holding brief for the Arabs. I am not a Muslem. I think the Arabs are the most vicious racists in the world. From Libya to Mauritius to Muritania, Africans are catching hell in the hands of their Arab settler usurpers of their land. Arab racism is without conscience. They started the African slavery holocaust and are still at it even now. Their religion supports the exploitation of man by man. They say, the sense to cheat is like any other gift from God. All that one needs to do for receiving the blessing is give alms to the poor after. The Arabs have commandeered all of Northern Africa, condemning the indigenous Africans to the life of servitude, destroying their languages, history, customs and traditions and denying them knowledge of their scintillating past as former leaders of the Arabs and the rest of mankind.
No, I am not a mouthpiece of the Arabs, I just want justice and fair play to prevail in the world that’s all. I want the circle of violence to stop. The earth needs a breather from wars and mayhem. Mankind cannot afford another world war.
I have heard the call of war drums from several quarters. NATO says it is ready to join in the fray. They have turned Iraq to a desert already so what would they be bombing next in Iraq? Russia too wants the opportunity to finish off what they and the British left behind in Afghanistan from previous wars. A dust track outpost of the poorest people on earth. They have no electricity, no water, no homes, nothing but poverty and prayers. Don’t they have the right to be angry too and to hope? May be this is the time to put them out of their suffering permanently. Wipe them off the face of the earth once and for all. But we have been taken through that road several times before and it has not stopped the circle of violence in the world.
President Ronald Reagan invaded Grenada in 1983 after a truck bomb exploded at a US Marine Corps base in Lebanon. US aircraft bombed Tripoli and Bengazi in Libya after the 1986 discotheque explosion in Germany. Hundreds of civilians including children were killed in the mid night surprise attack. Gaddaffi whose tent-home was bombed escaped death by the whiskers.
On Christmas eve in 1989, at mid night, Bush Sr. while pretending to be fighting a drug war, invaded Panama killing over 2000 civilians and kidnapping their President, a former CIA protégé.
The US and Britain blocked the UN Security Council resolution condemning Iraq’s aggression against Iran in 1980. In exchange for technical information on Soviet weapons in 1986, the CIA gave Iraq satellite pictures of Iranian troop movements. In July 1988, Reagan blocked US congress sanction against Iraq for gassing 3,000 Kurds and armed Iraq against its neighbours while steeling Israel at the same time to defy UN resolutions 242 and 338.
When Saddam Hussain, goaded by the Americans, foolishly burgeoned, America ordered allied troops to bomb and butcher defeated and fleeing Saddam soldiers and move 100 miles into Iraq’s territory to try to force a civil war. That strategy failed so Bush destroyed Iraq’s major economic facilities and cut off water and electricity supplies to the civilian population. Then his contractors invaded Iraq like a swarm of locusts to make fortunes from cash strapped Iraq, cleaning up the oil smeared beaches of Bush’s one noonday madness. If there was order in their methods it would not be so bad. One minute they are on your side, the next minute they are blitzing your home. It has been one endless mayhem since they took control of the world from their African ancestors.
Over one million children, not to talk of adults have died from the US continued blockade and bombardment of Iraq. Cuba’s blockade has dragged for years and was designed to destroy Cuban economy and encourage the population to revolt against their government. Does this portray the US as a just and democratic society imbued with the milk of human kindness which they call human rights. Since all atrocities and aggression by the US are directed at the non-white people of the world it is difficult to see them as honest arbiters or brokers in world affairs.
The Pentagon in August 1998 destroyed the Al Shifa Pharmaceutical factory in Sudan without evidence that it was linked with the bombing of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania that same year. The factory was Sudan’s leading pharmaceutical factory and thousands of innocent Africans lost their lives as a result of the bombing.
Some three hundred and forty-seven years ago, in 1654 AD to be exact, Nostradamus predicted as follows and I quote:
In the City of God there will be a great thunder, two brothers torn apart by chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb.
The Third big war will begin when the big city is burning.
On the 11th day of the 9th month that ….. two metal birds would crash into two tall statues…..in the new city …..and the world will end soon after.
On the 11th day of September 2001, the worst terrorist attack in US history sent two planes crashing into the World Trade Center in New York at 18 minutes interval, toppling the twin storey towers. The first crash happened at about 8.45 am. Simultaneously the terrorists crashed another plane into the Pentagon, the defence headquarters of the most powerful nation on earth. The terrorists were apparently heading another hijacked plane for the White House when it crashed, either due to skirmish in the plane or it being short down in Western Pennsylvania. A car bomb exploded outside the State Department although this was promptly denied by security forces who came out to patrol the White House with automatic weapons
Military jets took to the skies of the two cities and FAA grounded civilian aircrafts nation wide, for the first time in US history. The death toll from the atrocities is still being collated and it is expected to number in the thousands of innocent souls of various nationalities of the world.
The sophistication and audacity of the attack took the world by storm. It is obvious that some well trained pilots were among the terrorists. The logistics of the operation is mind boggling. Months if not years must have been employed to put together the staggering planning and organisation that hijacked four planes simultaneously inside America without alerting the security forces who pride themselves as the best in the world.
Alexander Cockburn a reporter for a US newspaper, The Nation, described the attacks as “near miracles of logistic calculations, timing, execution and devastation of targets.” All the missiles the terrorists needed were full tanks of jet fuel and the knowledge of how to fly the commercial planes. The devastation is already being compared with Pearl Harbour.
The experience should be used as a lesson for future planning by the US security forces who must take some blame for what happened. Of course their pride is wounded right now, but they must not plunge the world into another catastrophic war. Whoever started this war, why not go and pick him up quietly and try him in an open court of justice?
That is what civilisation is about, isn’t it?
And if bin Laden is the culprit, why create a monster and punish the rest of us for your blunder? Leaders of the west should stop to think now and accept blame for the way they have impacted on the world in the last two thousand years instead of spinning off into their usual orgy of state terrorism, massacring thousands of innocent people around the world.
May be this is the time for a New World Order in earnest. A world devoid of hatred and racism. A world in which we are all our brothers keepers. A world where the most powerful and powerless have nothing to fear from each other.
By Naiwu Osahon
CAN YOU BELIEVE THIS?
September 22, 2001
CONDIT NAMED TO SUBCOMMITTEE ON HOMELAND SECURITY
Rep. Gary Condit has been named to a House subcommittee on terrorism and security. His first move was to send a letter to law enforcement agencies to ask their thoughts on improving homeland security.
Condit, who represents Modesto and other communities in the Central Valley, is now a member of the House Permanent Select Committee’s newly formed Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security, according to William Russell, Condit’s legislative correspondent.
Condit has been a member of the House Intelligence Committee, but there was talk the Democratic leadership would have him removed because of his involvement with a Modesto woman who disappeared from Washington in May. Condit is not a suspect in her disappearance, but he has come under fire for remaining largely silent on the matter.
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July 30, 200l
THE CONDIT CASE ISN’T JUST ABOUT ADULTERY. IT’S ABOUT PUBLIC TRUST AND NATIONAL SECURITY.
from JOHN FUND’S POLITICAL DIARY
Last week, I asked a senior House member why Rep. Gary Condit was still on the Intelligence Committee. Mr. Condit himself describes the committee as concerned with “very sensitive issues of immediate and long-term national security.” I reminded the lawmaker that Mr. Condit’s behavior has clearly made him a prime candidate for blackmail. “Well, with all this coverage he no longer looks to be blackmailable,” this Condit colleague said before quickly changing the subject.
That abdication of responsibility won’t do. Mr. Condit has more to hide about his double life. That became clear when, just hours before police were to search his apartment, the California congressman was spotted throwing away a watch case another erstwhile paramour had given him. Presumably Mr. Condit’s affairs are no longer news to his wife, so from whom was he trying to hide?
It’s true that whether Mr. Condit can continue to be an effective representative is for the people in Modesto to decide. But it’s clear he has abused the public trust in the course of a criminal investigation by withholding evidence and allowing himself to be compromised in ways that are far more serious than having a discreet affair. Mr. Condit should resign his membership on the Intelligence Committee. If he won’t, it’s up to House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, who named the Democratic members of that committee, to remove him.
But there’s “no reason to act now,” Mr. Gephardt says.
Victoria Toensing, who served as chief council for the Senate Intelligence Committee in the 1980s, begs to differ. Mr. Condit is a “classic national-security risk,” she says. There must be “a marriage-like trust” between the intelligence agencies and congressional intelligence committees.
Back in 1995 President Clinton made known his concerns about the danger of blackmail against high-ranking officials. In August of that year he signed Executive Order 12968, which states that individuals eligible for access to classified material must have “strength of character, trustworthiness, honesty, reliability, discretion, and sound judgment, as well as freedom from conflicting allegiances and potential for coercion.”
Of course, three months later Mr. Clinton began his relationship with 22-year-old White House intern Monica Lewinsky. He later told her he feared their phone sessions had been monitored by a “foreign embassy.” In the end the president escaped accountability for his reckless disregard of national security. But that bad precedent is no reason for Congress to let Mr. Condit off the hook, as some of his colleague appear more than willing to do.
The House Ethics Committee has already received two separate complaints asking it to look into Rep. Condit’s behavior. The first was by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group. The second was by Rep. Bob Barr, the Georgia Republican who was the first member of Congress to call for an impeachment inquiry of President Clinton.
Mr. Barr’s complaint notes there is “already substantial evidence” that Mr. Condit obstructed a law-enforcement investigation and has brought discredit to the House. He clearly misled police during their first two interviews about Ms. Levy’s disappearance, confessing to their relationship only when cornered. In addition, stewardess Anne Marie Smith claims that Mr. Condit pressured her to deny their yearlong affair. Mr. Condit’s law firm has admitted it e-mailed a “draft” statement to her that claimed she had not had a “romantic relationship” with him. If Mr. Condit encouraged perjury, that alone merits the close attention of the House Ethics Committee.
Unfortunately, the committee has a spotty reputation. Mort Kondracke of Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, calls it a “Keystone Kops outfit” that too often will “take endless years to come up with a conclusion.”
Certainly, neither the committee nor House leaders are eager to act. Ethics Chairman Joel Hefley, a Colorado Republican, told National Public Radio: “Far as we know, Congressman Condit has not violated any laws. . . . I would hope I wouldn’t have handled it quite that way, but who knows?”
Just last Wednesday, Mr. Gephardt actually told Alan Colmes of Fox News Channel that “Gary, as far as I know from reports I’ve read, is cooperating fully with the police.” Lanny Davis, an erstwhile Clinton spinner, was “just dumbfounded. . . . He now knows that for two months, Mr. Condit misled and withheld material evidence from the police concerning his relationship, including that his wife was in town the last weekend.”
Congress is allowing its desire to protect one of its own to override its responsibility to police its own ranks. Obviously, some members of Congress have strayed from their wedding vows. Mr. Condit, though, has engaged in reckless behavior and compromised the public trust. It’s imperative that the House remove him from the Intelligence Committee and initiate an Ethics Committee probe that doesn’t interfere with the police search for Chandra Levy.
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HOUSE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE
Porter Goss, FL
Jerry Lewis, CA
Bill McCollum, FL
Michael Castle, DE
Sherwood Boehlert, NY
Charles Bass, NH
James Gibbons, NV
Ray LaHood, IL
Julian Dixon, CA
Nancy Pelosi, CA
CA Sanford Bishop, GA
Norman Sisisky, VA
Gary Condit, CA
Tim Roemer, IN
Alcee Hastings, FL
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August 26, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) —- Rep. Gary Condit has no reason to quit the House Intelligence Committee, his lawyer said Sunday, despite concerns by colleagues about his relationship with Chandra Levy and his actions since the former federal intern disappeared.
Condit may be the only committee member without any secrets left and “he’s probably the person on the Intelligence Committee who can’t be blackmailed anymore,” lawyer Abbe Lowell said on NBC’s Meet the Press.
[Catbird: What does this say for the House Intelligence Committee?]
“If it’s not punitive for some reason, there’s no good reason” for the California Democrat to leave the committee, Lowell said. “He’s served very well, as colleagues will tell you.”
House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt, D-Mo., has criticized Condit for failing to be “candid and forward” in an ABC interview last week about his relationship with Levy, a Bureau of Prisons intern who disappeared four months ago.
Asked repeatedly if he had a sexual affair with Levy, Condit said only that they had a “very close” relationship but sidestepped questions about its nature. He offered no apologies for his involvement with Levy or his level of cooperation with police.
Gephardt characterized Condit’s answers as “disturbing and wrong,” and said he would talk to House Democrats about possible action against Condit, including his removal from the committee.
Rep. Scott McInnis, R-Colo., said Gephardt “has an obligation that’s inherent to his responsibilities to immediately remove Condit.”
Service on the committee “requires very high integrity,” McInnis said on CNN’s Late Edition.
“Certainly any kind of indication that someone has not been forthcoming or truthful when put under pressure should not be in charge or sitting on the committee that oversees central intelligence and our spy networks throughout the world.”
Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Condit’s behavior was “embarrassing.” But, Rangel said on Fox News Sunday, “there’s nothing that we can do in the Congress. Unless there is something to take before the Ethics Committee, I don’t see how we can do anything.”
Later, on CNN, Rangel added: “What is it that we could possibly charge him with in the Ethics Committee? Not one thing.”
Lowell asked that Gephardt consider comments Condit made in other media interviews last week before determining any possible action.
Asked by Newsweek what message he would have liked to have relayed during the ABC interview, Condit said he would have made it clear “how disheartened and heartbroken I am that it’s been four months and we haven’t been able to find Chandra.”
“I would have liked to have been able to make a statement about that. The other thing was the Levys —- my heart goes out to the Levys. I have a tremendous amount of empathy for them.”
Condit responded to a Newsweek question about whether he was sorry by saying: “Well, some people aren’t hurt and some people are, so for the people I hurt, I’m sorry. That’s how I qualify it. It’s basically all I can say.”
Asked if anyone from the White House had spoken to him about the situation, the lawmaker said yes, but no advice was offered. “A pat on the back or hang in there,” Condit described it.
He was asked if it was because the White House view him as a potential ally in the House. “Right. I still am,” the conservative Democrat said.
Several Republicans have said Condit should resign from office because they said he has not fully cooperated with authorities searching for Levy.
“I think that his conduct is inappropriate and it brings discredit to the institution of the United States Congress,” McInnis said Sunday.
Condit’s constituents were split on whether he should resign from Congress, according to poll published Sunday in his hometown newspaper, The Modesto Bee. Six of 10 surveyed said they approve of the job he is doing in Congress.
A poll of the district by CNN-USA TODAY-Gallup found that almost half who had seen one of Condit’s televised interviews, either nationally or locally, had a less favorable impression of him afterward.
Last month, Rep. Bob Barr, R-Ga., requested an ethics investigation into Condit in a letter he sent to the House Committee on Standards and Official Conduct.
“The evidence is more than sufficient that there has been an effort by a member of Congress to impede a lawful investigation,” Barr said at the time. “That warrants an official inquiry.”
Copyright 2001 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
October 3, 2001
New Airport Safety Measures Readied
Flying: Key component involves background checks on hundreds of thousands of airline, airfield employees.
By RICHARD A. SERRANO and RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
WASHINGTON — A key component of a Bush administration initiative to make air travel safer will address the largely untested security status of hundreds of thousands of employees at the nation’s airports and airline companies.
According to some security experts, about 800,000 current airport and airline employees did not undergo stringent background investigations before they were hired, and the government now is weighing not only how extensively to review employees, but also who should pick up the bill for scrutinizing baggage handlers, food preparers, ground and cleaning crews and other airport employees.
Such a program could cost more than $1 billion to implement, some experts have said. Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta will reveal a series of key decisions and recommendations today on how the government aims to improve safety at airports and in the air. While many of the measures could be imposed immediately, others–such as the extensive background checks for employees–may require congressional action. . . .
President Bush, who went to Reagan National on Tuesday to announce that it was being reopened, said that new safety measures are in the works.
“We’re doing the right thing. We’ve taken our time. We can assure the American public . . . that we’re taking the necessary safety precautions,” the president said. “We’re spending a lot of time consulting with local officials to make sure that the security that all of us expect is in place.”…
Bill Mosley, a Department of Transportation spokesman, said that conducting tougher background checks of airport and airline employees is among the recommendations that Mineta is considering. How extensive–and expensive–those checks will be has not been determined.
One option is to have a law enforcement agency perform the background investigations as part of an even more ambitious proposal to have the government handle airport security, including passenger and baggage screening. . . .
On Capitol Hill, a bipartisan group of senators expressed support for some federal role in passenger and baggage screening. The Senate appeared likely to take up an air security bill within the next few days.
But Republicans in the GOP-controlled House appeared to be sticking with the idea that the screeners should come under federal supervision but remain private employees.
Daya Khalsa, senior vice president of Akal Security, which provides security personnel at federal courthouses around the nation and at the Honolulu airport, estimated that it would cost about $1.6 billion just for thorough background checks on some 800,000 airport and airline employees who he said were not properly scrutinized when they were hired.
Khalsa, a member of the Sikh community in New Mexico, also met last week with Bush to discuss safety measures and problems that members of his religion have experienced since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
In the days after those attacks, four employees at Dulles International Airport were taken into custody, two former Detroit airport employees were arrested, and dozens of others at airports in Denver and Miami were picked up in immigration sweeps.
“All of that is certainly alarming today,” Khalsa said, noting that a good background check by an experienced law enforcement agency or private security company would likely have weeded out many of the problem employees.
“And it’s not cheap to do a good one,” he said, estimating that a thorough review of an applicant’s background could cost between $2,000 and $2,500.
At Dulles, four employees of Middle Eastern descent have been detained on alleged immigration violations since Sept. 11, including two who worked for a private security firm at the airport.
In Detroit, two former employees of a company that provided meals at the airport were arrested on alleged immigration violations after FBI agents found they still had their airport security badges and other documents.
In Denver, 29 undocumented workers from Mexico were seized and deported last month after airport authorities implemented a new security identification system and found that they were using counterfeit credentials and other fraudulent documents.
They were working at airport restaurants and other businesses there, and might have gone undetected had it not been for security measures imposed after the terrorist attacks.
“They were trying to get new badges and had some phony papers, Social Security cards and driver’s licenses,” said airport spokesman Chuck Cannon.
In Miami, federal prosecutors have charged 12 airport workers with using fake immigrant registration and Social Security cards to get airport jobs with outside contractors that gave them security clearance.
But authorities said the arrests were not related to the Sept. 11 attacks or their aftermath.
October 8, 2001
ATTACKS TAKE TOLL ON BIN LADEN COMPANY
MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) – Respected across the Middle East, the Saudi Bin Laden Group renovated Islam’s holiest sites, helped build the skyline in Saudi Arabia’s capital – and forged ties with the kingdom and royal family that are critical to its business.
Since Sept. 11, these carefully nurtured business connections have been threatened.
The family has disowned Osama bin Laden, the main suspect behind the Sept. 11 assault, and there is no evidence of financial links between the suspected terrorist and the business conglomerate.
Yet, some of the Bin Laden Group’s international bankers and business associates said they are reconsidering or even cutting their ties. . . .
Cadbury Schweppes, the London-based beverage and candy maker, has severed ties with a Saudi distributor owned by a Lebanese holding company in which the bin Ladens have a minority stake.
Michael Walker, chief executive of Multitone wireles networking of Britain, suspended dealings with Baud Telecommunications, a Bin Laden Group subsidiary, after the attacks.
Citigroup, which provides banking services to the Bin Laden Group, would not discuss specific banking ties. But spokeswoman Susan Weeks said: “Given the events of the past two weeks, we will be monitoring the situation closely.”
The Saudi Bin Laden Group did not respond to requests for comment. About a dozen of Osama bin Laden’s 53 siblings work in the conglomerate, which has $3 billion to $5 billion in annual revenue and businesses including mining and telecommunications.
However, the Dutch ABN Amro Bank that has counted the Bin Laden Group among its clients for seven decades, says it has no evidence of wrongdoing.
Chas W. Freeman, Jr., a former U.S. ambassador to Saudi Arabia, attributed what he called a run for “public relations cover” to ignorance and noted that the bin Laden name remains “a very honored name” in the kingdom.
Freeman, now board chairman of Projects International Inc., a Washington company that helps arrange global business deals, says he’s discussing proposals with the Bin Laden Group – and that won’t change.
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For more, GO TO > > > The Nests of Osama bin Laden
October 9, 2001
Suppressed Details of Criminal Insider Trading
Lead Directly Into the CIA’s Highest Ranks
CIA Executive Director “Buzzy” Krongard Managed Firm That Handled “Put” Options On UAL
by Michael C. Ruppert
FTW, October 9, 2001 — Although uniformly ignored by the mainstream U.S. media, there is abundant and clear evidence that a number of transactions in financial markets indicated specific (criminal) foreknowledge of the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In the case of at least one of these trades — which has left a $2.5 million prize unclaimed — the firm used to place the “put options” on United Airlines stock was, until 1998, managed by the man who is now in the number three Executive Director position at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Until 1997 A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard had been Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown. A.B. Brown was acquired by Banker’s Trust in 1997. Krongard then became, as part of the merger, Vice Chairman of Banker’s Trust-AB Brown, one of 20 major U.S. banks named by Senator Carl Levin this year as being connected to money laundering.
Krongard’s last position at Banker’s Trust (BT) was to oversee “private client relations.” In this capacity he had direct hands-on relations with some of the wealthiest people in the world in a kind of specialized banking operation that has been identified by the U.S. Senate and other investigators as being closely connected to the laundering of drug money.
Krongard joined the CIA in 1998 as counsel to CIA Director George Tenet. He was promoted to CIA Executive Director by President Bush in March of this year. BT was acquired by Deutsche Bank in 1999. The combined firm is the single largest bank in Europe. And, as we shall see, Deutsche Bank played several key roles in events connected to the September 11 attacks.
The Scope of Known Insider Trading
Before looking further into these relationships it is necessary to look at the insider trading information that is being ignored by Reuters, The New York Times and other mass media. It is well documented that the CIA has long monitored such trades — in real time — as potential warnings of terrorist attacks and other economic moves contrary to U.S. interests. Previous stories in FTW have specifically highlighted the use of Promis software to monitor such trades.
It is necessary to understand only two key financial terms to understand the significance of these trades, “selling short” and “put options”.
“Selling Short” is the borrowing of stock, selling it at current market prices, but not being required to actually produce the stock for some time. If the stock falls precipitously after the short contract is entered, the seller can then fulfill the contract by buying the stock after the price has fallen and complete the contract at the pre-crash price. These contracts often have a window of as long as four months.
“Put Options” are contracts giving the buyer the option to sell stocks at a later date. Purchased at nominal prices of, for example, $1.00 per share, they are sold in blocks of 100 shares. If exercised, they give the holder the option of selling selected stocks at a future date at a price set when the contract is issued. Thus, for an investment of $10,000 it might be possible to tie up 10,000 shares of United or American Airlines at $100 per share, and the seller of the option is then obligated to buy them if the option is executed. If the stock has fallen to $50 when the contract matures, the holder of the option can purchase the shares for $50 and immediately sell them for $100 — regardless of where the market then stands. A call option is the reverse of a put option, which is, in effect, a derivatives bet that the stock price will go up.
A September 21 story by the Israeli Herzliyya International Policy Institute for Counterterrorism, entitled “Black Tuesday: The World’s Largest Insider Trading Scam?” documented the following trades connected to the September 11 attacks:
>> Between September 6 and 7, the Chicago Board Options Exchange saw purchases of 4,744 put options on United Airlines, but only 396 call options�� Assuming that 4,000 of the options were bought by people with advance knowledge of the imminent attacks, these “insiders” would have profited by almost $5 million.
>> On September 10, 4,516 put options on American Airlines were bought on the Chicago exchange, compared to only 748 calls. Again, there was no news at that point to justify this imbalance;�� Again, assuming that 4,000 of these options trades represent “insiders,” they would represent a gain of about $4 million. [The levels of put options purchased above were more than six times higher than normal.]
>> No similar trading in other airlines occurred on the Chicago exchange in the days immediately preceding Black Tuesday.
>> Morgan Stanley Dean Witter & Co., which occupied 22 floors of the World Trade Center, saw 2,157 of its October $45 put options bought in the three trading days before Black Tuesday; this compares to an average of 27 contracts per day before September 6. Morgan Stanley’s share price fell from $48.90 to $42.50 in the aftermath of the attacks. Assuming that 2,000 of these options contracts were bought based upon knowledge of the approaching attacks, their purchasers could have profited by at least $1.2 million.
>> Merrill Lynch & Co., which occupied 22 floors of the World Trade Center, saw 12,215 October $45 put options bought in the four trading days before the attacks; the previous average volume in those shares had been 252 contracts per day [a 1200% increase!]. When trading resumed, Merrill’s shares fell from $46.88 to $41.50; assuming that 11,000 option contracts were bought by “insiders,” their profit would have been about $5.5 million.
>> European regulators are examining trades in Germany’s Munich Re, Switzerland’s Swiss Re, and AXA of France, all major reinsurers with exposure to the Black Tuesday disaster. [FTW Note: AXA also owns more than 25% of American Airlines stock making the attacks a “double whammy” for them.]
On September 29, 2001 — in a vital story that has gone unnoticed by the major media — the San Francisco Chronicle reported, “Investors have yet to collect more than $2.5 million in profits they made trading options in the stock of United Airlines before the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks, according to a source familiar with the trades and market data.
“The uncollected money raises suspicions that the investors — whose identities and nationalities have not been made public — had advance knowledge of the strikes.” They don’t dare show up now. The suspension of trading for four days after the attacks made it impossible to cash-out quickly and claim the prize before investigators started looking.
“…October series options for UAL Corp. were purchased in highly unusual volumes three trading days before the terrorist attacks for a total outlay of $2,070; investors bought the option contracts, each representing 100 shares, for 90 cents each. [This represents 230,000 shares]. Those options are now selling at more than $12 each. There are still 2,313 so-called “put” options outstanding [valued at $2.77 million and representing 231,300 shares] according to the Options Clearinghouse Corp.”
“…The source familiar with the United trades identified Deutsche Bank Alex. Brown, the American investment banking arm of German giant Deutsche Bank, as the investment bank used to purchase at least some of these options��” This was the operation managed by Krongard until as recently as 1998.
As reported in other news stories, Deutsche Bank was also the hub of insider trading activity connected to Munich Re. just before the attacks.
CIA, The Banks and the Brokers
Understanding the interrelationships between CIA and the banking and brokerage world is critical to grasping the already frightening implications of the above revelations. Let’s look at the history of CIA, Wall Street and the big banks by looking at some of the key players in CIA’s history.
Clark Clifford — The National Security Act of 1947 was written by Clark Clifford, a Democratic Party powerhouse, former Secretary of Defense, and one-time advisor to President Harry Truman. In the 1980s, as Chairman of First American Bancshares, Clifford was instrumental in getting the corrupt CIA drug bank BCCI a license to operate on American shores. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and banker.
John Foster and Allen Dulles — These two brothers “designed” the CIA for Clifford. Both were active in intelligence operations during WW II. Allen Dulles was the U.S. Ambassador to Switzerland where he met frequently with Nazi leaders and looked after U.S. investments in Germany. John Foster went on to become Secretary of State under Dwight Eisenhower and Allen went on to serve as CIA Director under Eisenhower and was later fired by JFK. Their professions: partners in the most powerful – to this day – Wall Street law firm of Sullivan, Cromwell.
Bill Casey — Ronald Reagan’s CIA Director and OSS veteran who served as chief wrangler during the Iran-Contra years was, under President Richard Nixon, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. His profession: Wall Street lawyer and stockbroker.
David Doherty – The current Vice President of the New York Stock Exchange for enforcement is the retired General Counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency.
George Herbert Walker Bush — President from 1989 to January 1993, also served as CIA Director for 13 months from 1976-7. He is now a paid consultant to the Carlyle Group, the 11th largest defense contractor in the nation, which also shares joint investments with the bin Laden family.
A.B. “Buzzy” Krongard — The current Executive Director of the Central Intelligence Agency is the former Chairman of the investment bank A.B. Brown and former Vice Chairman of Banker’s Trust.
John Deutch – This retired CIA Director from the Clinton Administration currently sits on the board at Citigroup, the nation’s second largest bank, which has been repeatedly and overtly involved in the documented laundering of drug money. This includes Citigroup’s 2001 purchase of a Mexican bank known to launder drug money, Banamex.
Nora Slatkin — This retired CIA Executive Director also sits on Citibank’s board.
Maurice “Hank” Greenburg — The CEO of AIG insurance, manager of the third largest capital investment pool in the world, was floated as a possible CIA Director in 1995. FTW exposed Greenberg’s and AIG’s long connection to CIA drug trafficking and covert operations in a two-part series that was interrupted just prior to the attacks of September 11. AIG’s stock has bounced back remarkably well since the attacks. To read that story, please go to copvcia.com/stories/part_2.html.
One wonders how much damning evidence is necessary to respond to what is now irrefutable proof that CIA knew about the attacks and did not stop them. Whatever our government is doing, whatever the CIA is doing, it is clearly NOT in the interests of the American people, especially those who died on September 11.
November 15, 2001
U.S. Policy Towards Taliban Influenced by Oil – Say Authors
By Julio Godoy, Inter Press Service
PARIS, Nov 15 (IPS) – Under the influence of U.S. oil companies, the government of George W. Bush initially blocked U.S. secret service investigations on terrorism, while it bargained with the Taliban the delivery of Osama bin Laden in exchange for political recognition and economic aid, two French intelligence analysts claim.
In the book “Bin Laden, la verite interdite” (“Bin Laden, the forbidden truth”), that appeared in Paris on Wednesday, the authors, Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquie, reveal that the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s deputy director John O’Neill resigned in July in protest over the obstruction.
Brisard claims O’Neill told them that “the main obstacles to investigate Islamic terrorism were U.S. oil corporate interests and the role played by Saudi Arabia in it”.
The two claim the U.S. government’s main objective in Afghanistan was to consolidate the position of the Taliban regime to obtain access to the oil and gas reserves in Central Asia.
They affirm that until August, the U.S. government saw the Taliban regime “as a source of stability in Central Asia that would enable the construction of an oil pipeline across Central Asia”, from the rich oilfields in Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan, through Afghanistan and Pakistan, to the Indian Ocean.
Until now, says the book, “the oil and gas reserves of Central Asia have been controlled by Russia. The Bush government wanted to change all that”.
But, confronted with Taliban’s refusal to accept U.S. conditions, “this rationale of energy security changed into a military one”, the authors claim.
“At one moment during the negotiations, the U.S. representatives told the Taliban, ‘either you accept our offer of a carpet of gold, or we bury you under a carpet of bombs’,” Brisard said in an interview in Paris.
According to the book, the government of Bush began to negotiate with the Taliban immediately after coming into power in February. U.S. and Taliban diplomatic representatives met several times in Washington, Berlin and Islamabad.
To polish their image in the United States, the Taliban even employed a U.S. expert on public relations, Laila Helms.
The authors claim that Helms is also an expert in the works of U.S. secret services, for her uncle, Richard Helms, is a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
The last meeting between U.S. and Taliban representatives took place in August, five weeks before the attacks on New York and Washington, the analysts maintain.
On that occasion, Christina Rocca, in charge of Central Asian affairs for the U.S. government, met the Taliban ambassador to Pakistan in Islamabad.
Brisard and Dasquie have long experience in intelligence analysis. Brisard was until the late 1990s director of economic analysis and strategy for Vivendi, a French company. He also worked for French secret services, and wrote for them in 1997 a report on the now famous Al Qaeda network, headed by bin Laden.
Dasquie is an investigative journalist and publisher of Intelligence Online, a respected newsletter on diplomacy, economic analysis and strategy, available through the Internet.
Brisard and Dasquie draw a portrait of closest aides to President Bush, linking them to oil business.
Bush’s family has a strong oil background. So are some of his top aides. From the U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, through the director of the National Security Council Condoleeza Rice, to the Ministers of Commerce and Energy, Donald Evans and Stanley Abraham, all have for long worked for U.S. oil companies.
Cheney was until the end of last year president of Halliburton, a company that provides services for oil industry; Rice was between 1991 and 2000 manager for Chevron; Evans and Abraham worked for Tom Brown, another oil giant. . . .
The book confirms earlier reports that the U.S. government worked closely with the United Nations during the negotiations with the Taliban.
“Several meetings took place this year, under the arbitration of Francesc Vendrell, personal representative of UN secretary general Kofi Annan, to discuss the situation in Afghanistan,” says the book.
“Representatives of the U.S. government and Russia, and the six countries that border with Afghanistan were present at these meetings,” it says.
“Sometimes, representatives of the Taliban also sat around the table.”
These meetings, also called “6+2” because of the number of states (six neighbours plus U.S. and Russia) involved, have been confirmed by Naif Naik, former Pakistani Minister for Foreign Affairs.
In a French television news programme two weeks ago, Naik said during a “6+2” meeting in Berlin in July, the discussions turned around “the formation of a government of national unity. If the Taliban had accepted this coalition, they would have immediately received international economic aid.”
“And the pipe lines from Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan would have come,” he added.
Naik also claimed that Tom Simons, the U.S. representative at these meetings, openly threatened the Taliban and Pakistan.
“Simons said, ‘either the Taliban behave as they ought to, or Pakistan convinces them to do so, or we will use another option’.
The words Simons used were ‘a military operation’,” Naik claimed.
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May 30, 2001:
BUSH ADMINISTRATION CUTS FAUSTIAN DEAL WITH TALIBAN
Columbia Daily Tribune (MO)
Enslave your girls and women, harbor anti-U.S. terrorists and destroy every vestige of civilization in your homeland, and the Bush administration will embrace you. All that matters is that you line up as an ally in the drug war, the only international cause that this nation still takes seriously.
That’s the message sent with the recent gift of $43 million to the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, the most virulent anti-American violators of human rights in the world today.
The gift, announced two weeks ago by Secretary of State Colin Powell, in addition to other recent aid, makes the United States the main sponsor of the Taliban and rewards that “rogue regime” for declaring that opium growing is against the will of God. So, too, by the Taliban’s estimation, are most human activities, but it’s the ban on drugs that catches this administration’s attention.
Never mind that Osama bin Laden still operates the leading anti-American terror operation from his base in Afghanistan, from which, among other crimes, he launched two bloody attacks on American embassies in Africa in 1998.
Sadly, the Bush administration is cozying up to the Taliban regime at a time when the United Nations, at U.S. insistence, imposes sanctions on Afghanistan because the Kabul government will not turn over bin Laden.
The war on drugs has become our own fanatics’ obsession and easily trumps all other concerns. How else could we come to reward the Taliban, who have subjected the female half of the Afghan population to a continual reign of terror in a country once considered enlightened in its treatment of women?
At no point in modern history have women and girls been more systematically abused than in Afghanistan, where in the name of madness masquerading as Islam, the government in Kabul obliterates their fundamental human rights. Women may not appear in public without being covered from head to toe with the oppressive shroud called the burkha, and they may not leave the house without being accompanied by a male family member. They’ve not been permitted to attend school or be treated by male doctors, yet women have been banned from practicing medicine or any profession, for that matter.
The lot of males is better if they blindly accept the laws of an extreme religious theocracy that prescribes strict rules governing all behavior, from a ban on shaving to what crops may be grown. It is this last power that has captured the enthusiasm of the Bush White House.
The Taliban fanatics, economically and diplomatically isolated, are at the breaking point, and so, in return for a pittance of legitimacy and cash from the Bush administration, they have been willing to appear to reverse themselves on the growing of opium.
That a totalitarian country can effectively crack down on its farmers is not surprising. But it is grotesque for a U.S. official, James P. Callahan, director of the Department of State’s Asian anti-drug program, to describe the Taliban’s special methods in the language of representative democracy: “The Taliban used a system of consensus-building,” Callahan said after a visit with the Taliban, adding that the Taliban justified the ban on drugs “in very religious terms.”
Of course, Callahan also reported, those who didn’t obey the theocratic edict would be sent to prison.
In a country where those who break minor rules are simply beaten on the spot by religious police and others are stoned to death, it’s understandable that the government’s “religious” argument might be compelling.
Even if it means, as Callahan concedes, that most of the farmers who grew the poppies will now confront starvation. That’s because the Afghan economy has been ruined by the religious extremism of the Taliban, making the attraction of opium as a previously tolerated quick cash crop overwhelming.
For that reason, the opium ban will not last unless the United States is willing to pour far larger amounts of money into underwriting the Afghan economy.
As the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Steven Casteel admitted, “The bad side of the ban is that it’s bringing their country – or certain regions of their country – to economic ruin.” Nor did he hold out much hope for Afghan farmers growing other crops such as wheat, which require a vast infrastructure to supply water and fertilizer that no longer exists in that devastated country. There’s little doubt that the Taliban will turn once again to the easily taxed cash crop of opium in order to stay in power.
The Taliban might suddenly be the dream regime of our own drug-war zealots, but in the end this alliance will prove a costly failure.
Our long, sad history of signing up dictators in the war on drugs demonstrates the futility of building a foreign policy on a domestic obsession.
November 16, 2001
AIR SECURITY OVERHAUL CLEARED FOR VOTE
House, Senate reach agreement; bill would federalize screeners
By Richard Benedetto, USA Today
WASHINGTON – Congress is poised to pass overwhelmingly today an aviation security bill that would put the federal government in charge of security at the nation’s 420 commercial airports within a year.
President Bush is expected to sign the bill as early as Monday . . .
“It’s exactly what is needed – a complete overhaul of the system,” said Sen. Fritz Hollings, D-S.C., prime author of the bill.
The aviation security bill would be the fourth major piece of legislation passed by Congress in response to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Lawmakers already have approved a $40 billion emergency spending bill, a $15 billion bailout of the airline industry and a major rewrite of the nation’s counter-terrorism laws.
Although the new aviation law would take time to phase in, its enactment is seen as crucial to restoring public confidence in flying. It would cost about $2.5 billion a year to administer and would be paid for with a $2.50 passenger fee on each flight . . .
Bush hailed the agreement that produced the bill and said that the legislation would make air travel safer:
“Safety comes first. And when it comes to safety, we will set high standards and enforce them.”
The action comes after weeks of impasse and partisan debate, mostly over whether baggage screeners should be federal or private employees.
Most Democrats wanted federal screeners. Most House Republicans wanted to keep them private.
Under a compromise reached Thursday, the federal government would take control of airport screening immediately. Within a year, all 28,000 baggage screeners and supervisors, now employees of private security firms, would become federal workers.
All screeners also would have to be U. S. citizens.
All airports would have to stay within the federal system for 3 years. But the deal would allow five airports of varying size to have private baggage screeners with federal supervision. After studying the experience of those sites, airports could choose a federal-private combination.
[Catbird questions: 1. Will we travelers be told which airports will be used to test the private screeners program? 2. Does the system with the least number of hijacked planes win?]
The deal would also allow pilots to carry weapons in cockpits, increase the number of undercover federal marshals on flights and require all checked baggage to be screened for explosives by the end of next year.
Republicans would get their way in putting the aviation security system under the Transportation Department (i.e., NORMAN MINETA), rather than the Justice Department, as Democrats wanted.
The deal was not favored by many Republicans, but they grudgingly decided to go along.
The alternative was to hold out and continue to take a political beating in the media and the court of public opinion. . . .
And just where did that deadly ‘weapons grade’ strain of Anthrax come from??? . . .
November 30, 2001
Ames Strain of Anthrax Limited to Few Labs
By Steve Fainaru and Joby Warrick, Washington Post
Since the mid-1980s, the U.S. Army laboratory that is the main custodian of the virulent strain of anthrax used in the recent terrorist attacks distributed the bacteria to just five labs in the United States, Canada and England, according to government documents and interviews.
Two of the labs — both in the private sector — received the strain this spring, only a few months before letters tainted with anthrax spores were mailed to New York and Washington, the records show.
The documents, obtained by The Washington Post, offer the first official accounting of how the microbes, known as the Ames strain, were originally disseminated. They show that the distribution of Ames was much narrower than recently thought, and a top anthrax researcher said the strain may be limited to a dozen labs.
The five original labs also provide a starting point for investigators trying to determine how the Ames strain fell into the hands of a terrorist or terrorists. . . .
Transfer records obtained by The Post under the Freedom of Information Act show that USAMRIID, which is located in Frederick, shared the Ames strain last March with scientists at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, an Albuquerque research institute, and in May and June with the Battelle Memorial Institute, a Columbus, Ohio, corporation involved in anthrax vaccine research. . . .
Scientists have identified USAMRIID as the primary distributor of Ames. . . .
The U.S. biological weapons program had been officially dismantled for more than a decade when Fort Detrick received the strain around 1980 from Department of Agriculture researchers in Ames, Iowa. . . .
The fact that few labs appear to have worked with Ames could narrow the search for the person or group behind the deadly attacks, Friedlander suggested. . . .
– Staff writer Dan Eggen contributed to this report.
For more, GO TO > > > Nests in the Pentagon
December 6, 2001
Smart Bombs Made Dumb?
Did Faulty Batteries Cause Failure Of Precision Guided Weapons?
JOPLIN, MO (CBS) – In Afghanistan, American aircraft have dropped more so-called smart bombs than in any other war, reports CBS News Correspondent Vince Gonzales.
But dozens of these missiles and guided bombs have missed their target, some hitting civilians, allied troops, even our own soldiers.
Sometimes faulty coordinates or bad weather are to blame, but in other cases the weapons’ guidance systems fail, as happened twice one October weekend.
“Preliminary indications are that the weapons guidance system malfunctioned,” said Victoria Clarke, assistant Secretary of Defense.
A 1,000-pound smart bomb went off target and hit a senior citizens’ center near Herat. In Kabul, 500-pound guided bombs went astray and slammed into a residential area, reportedly killing 25 civilians.
“People’s lives depend on those weapons working and chances are, they’re not going to work,” said Rick Peoples.
Peoples used to work at Eagle-Picher Technologies in Joplin, Mo. The plant makes sophisticated batteries that power the guidance systems inside virtually all of America’s precision guided weapons.
“It’s very possible that these failures, and it’s very likely these failures are happening because of the batteries,” Peoples said.
Due to production and testing problems at the plant, Peoples said, some were duds. Others exploded. Many developed cracks and should have been discarded, costing the company hundreds of thousands of dollars.
But employees tell us after-hours – with government inspectors gone – that they were ordered to seal the cracks with an unapproved material called loctite.
“And Eagle Picher did this not on hundreds, not on thousands, but on millions of batteries that they sold,” Peoples said. . . .
Peoples, a former Marine, has filed a whistle-blower suit against Eagle-Picher.
The alleged cover-up, Peoples said, “has jeopardized our national defense to the point where it is criminal fraud and someone should pay.”
© MMI, CBS Worldwide Inc. All Rights Reserved.
* * *
A TIP OF THE CATBIRD’S WING TO RICK PEOPLES FOR HIS COURAGE, INTEGRITY AND SENSE OF DUTY!
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For more, GO TO > > > Nests in the Pentagon
December 7, 2001
Director of Transportation Norman Mineta says goal of screening all bags may be unrealistic.
WASHINGTON (Gannett News Service) – The goal of screening all checked airline luggage through bomb-detection machines by the end of 2002 could be difficult, even with a multibillion-dollar government investment in new equipment, lawmakers and security technology experts said today.
An aviation security law approved by Congress and signed by President bush in response to the Sept 11 terrorist attacks requires screening all bags using a variety of methods by Jan 18. Bomb-detection machines must screen all checked bags by the close of 2002.
Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta has conceded that the January deadline may be too optimistic. Airports now are using bomb-detection machines, passenger bag matching, bomb-sniffing dogs and manual searches to check luggage.
The government estimates that it will need 2,000 bomb-detection machines – with purchase and installation costs of up to $5 billion – over the next year to meet the timetable. Only about 50 airports now use the 161 machines recognized by the Federal Aviation Administration. . . .
Only two companies – InVision Technologies of Newark, Calif., and L-3 Communications of New York – have produced bomb-detection machines certified by the FAA. Other companies hope to achieve FAA approval next year. . . .
December 13, 2001
An Overdue Tightening
THE UNITED STATES is a big melting pot. Most Americans want it to be.
But the terrorist attacks awakened all of us to the reality of how easy the melting in can be. It’s not at all unusual for foreigners to turn temporary visits into indefinite stays.
One way they have been able to do this is by getting driver’s licenses. Kentucky has been a driver’s license haven.
Illegal immigrants have come here from all over the country to get “legitimized.” Kentucky not only gave them licenses on the spot. It also helped them get Social Security cards.
With a driver’s license and Social Security card, folks are able to get jobs, open bank accounts, and blend in.
Circuit Court clerk Tony Miller’s office says 10 percent of the licenses issued in Jefferson County have been for foreign applicants. That’s a percentage way out of sync with our population.
Circuit Court clerks have long known they had a problem. But the Department of Transportation sets policy, and it – and groups like Catholic Charities that work with immigrants – didn’t want to set up obstacles for foreigners.
But in September, the need to tighten standards became obvious. The FBI reported that some suspected terrorists got their licenses here.
Now common sense is finally being applied to Kentucky’s licensing system. Applicants have to show proof of Kentucky residence. They have to wait 30 days for their visas, passports and paperwork to be authenticated. And the authentication letter they need to obtain a license is sent by mail.
These things should have been done long ago. It’s shocking that they weren’t.
But until Sept. 11, it was hard to imagine what kind of devastation a little old driver’s license could lead to.
December 14, 2001
Concourses closed over security lapse
BOSTON – US Airways concourses at Logan International Airport were closed for 90 minutes yesterday afer the FAA discovered some employees at security checkpoints were improperly trained.
The checkpoints were being run by Argenbright Security Inc., Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Jim Peters said. . . .
Argenbright, the nation’s largest airport security company, agreed last month to cease operations at Logan after several breaches. Its final day at Logan is today. . . .
December 14, 2001
U.S. admits making powdered form to test defenses
by William J. Broad and Judith Miller, The New York Times
As the investigation into the anthrax attacks widens to include federal laboratories and contractors, government officials have acknowledged that Army scientists in recent years have made anthrax in a powdered form that could be used as a weapon.
Experts said this appeared to be the first disclosure of government production of anthrax in its most lethal form since the United States renounced biological weapons in 1969 and began destroying its germ arsenal.
Officials at the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground in Utah said that in 1998 scientists there turned small quantities of wet anthrax into powder to test ways to defend against biowarfare attacks. . . .
The disclosure at Dugway comes as federal criminal investigators are trying to figure out where stores of anthrax are housed around the nation and who has the skill to create the powered form – a major technical step needed to make the anthrax used in the terror attacks.
The FBI has subpoenaed records from dozens of laboratories that do pathogen research, drawing up a list of places that possess the Ames strain. The bureau, citing the criminal investigation, will not release the list or identify the labs being scrutinized. . . .
January 6, 2002
Consider people with disabilities for airport screening jobs
By Joyce Lain Kennedy, Los Angeles Times
Standing the idea of airline security on its head, the Transportation Department now says it hopes to retain as many experienced airport screeners as possible when creating a new federalized airline security workforce.
WHAT A CONCEPT!
The plan is to pay the newly federalized screening job today, a starting salary of $31,000 a year, which is nearly double what entry-level screeners earn for some private airport security companies.
What’s more, one quarter of the recycled hires don’t have a high school diploma, and they won’t need one under the new rules announced December 19 by the Transportation Security Administration, the agency newly created by Congress to oversee aviation security. Current screeners can substitute one year of relevant experience for the diploma.
HERE’S A BETTER IDEA.
Do not hire screeners who lack the minimum education of a high school diploma. Replace them with college-educated people who have disabilities and who would be thrilled to have a decent job.
Analytically monitoring a computer screen hour after hour to detect sophisticated and trained individuals who are trying to blow up our commercial aircraft with us on it is a task for the dedicated and dutiful mind. Physically robust legs aren’t required. . . .
The employment rate of people with disabilities has hovered around 35 percent since World War II, despite the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act and endless consciousness-raising activities. . . .
SCREENERS ARE VITAL.
Study after study shows that people with disabilities long for meaningful employment – and that once hired, they work hard to keep it. . . .
The aviation security law that President Bush signed was designed to upgrade the quality and professionalism of the screener ranks. Why have federal transportation officials backed up and lowered the bar for education in a linchpin industry that dramatically impacts such others as tourism and hospitality?
Members of the flying public are dismayed at the incomprehensible intent to fix the airline passenger security problem by federal rehiring – at double the salary – of the same screeners. . . .
January 12, 2002
Terror-probe figure sentenced to prison
An Alexandria, Va. security guard whose name and phone number were found in a car left behind by a Sept 11 hijacker was sentenced yesterday to four months in prison on an unrelated forgery charge and ordered to report his movements and all of his contacts with people overseas for the next three years to authorities.
After hearing from prosecutors that the government has no hard evidence linking Mohamed Abdi, 45, to the terrorists of attacks, U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III handed down a sentence that will set Abdi free next week but keep his under court supervision for three years.
“There are still lingering suspicions the court has,” Ellis said. “I am concerned. It is your name and phone number” found at Dulles International Airport in a car registered to Nawat Alhazmi, one of the five hijackers aboard American Flight 77 that crashed into the Pentagon.
Abdi will be released next week because of the time already in custody.
February 7, 2002
Japan shares in responsibility for civilian deaths
By Hirotsugu Mochizuki, Asahi Shimbun
TOKYO – The sight that greeted my eyes in Afghanistan was always the same – mounds of finely broken, earth-colored bricks. Obviously, the heaps of debris that remained where the twin towers of the World Trade Center in New York collapsed made a different sight.
But what essential difference is there between the two kinds of heaps of rubble? The thought invariably struck me whenever I made a tour of the ruins of private Afghan houses destroyed in the U.S. bombing campaign. I was in Afghanistan late last year to report on the activities of nongovernmental organizations there.
The bombing campaign was part of America’s effort to capture Osama bin Laden, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. But it also deeply scarred the local population, who had desperately endured years of repressive rule under the fundamentalist Taliban regime.
A 13-year-old boy I met was the only survivor of a family of nine who were sleeping when a bomb hit their house directly. He was injured above the left eye. The wound left an ugly scar because he was unable to receive proper medical treatment at the hospital.
A former police officer who was driven out of his job after the Taliban takeover said he had lost his 5-year-old daughter to the bombing campaign. Worse yet, someone sneaked into his house while he was away for the girl’s funeral and stole what little possessions he had.
Lost in sorrow, his wife said: “When I wake up in the morning, I start looking for my daughter in the house. The U.S. forces should send a flower for her. That is the least I want them to do for her.”
The capital, Kabul, showcases the havoc that was wreaked on the land during more than 20 years of civil war in Afghanistan. The buildings are in ruins, while the roads are full of potholes.
A sense of liberation was in the air, a phenomenon that was obviously attributable to the departure of the Taliban. On the other hand, U.S. air strikes must have left many Afghans more traumatized.
Based on media reports, Mark Herold, a professor of economics at the University of New Hampshire, made a private tally of civilian victims of the air strikes in Afghanistan.
In two months after the start of the bombing campaign, the death toll reached 3,767, or more than the victims in the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes, according to the tally.
During my stay in Afghanistan, a group of 65 Afghans were killed in a U.S. air strike while they were en route to Kabul to attend the inauguration ceremony of the interim government. I also heard of reports that U.S. bombs killed more than 100 in eastern Afghanistan.
Despite the interim government’s pleas for an early halt to the air war in light of its casualty toll, U.S. forces persisted in carrying it out.
In their reporting on air strikes taking a civilian casualty toll, the media have often described them as cases of “gobaku,” or mistaken bombing in which bombs go astray and hit unintended objects. The Asahi Shimbun is no exception to the rule. But the word is a kind of euphemism.
U.S. warplanes are said to have hit 85 percent of their targets. In other words, 15 percent of the bombs they drop could possibly go astray. The U.S. military carries on the air war knowing it is inevitable that some of the stray bombs hit civilian houses.
The use of the word gobaku could serve to blur the responsibility for conducting the air war at the risk of the civilian population.
And it is not clear who will make amends for the innocent Afghans who fell victim to air strikes and how their deaths will be compensated.
Some of the Afghans I met called for Japan to work for the relief of victims and their families. By providing logistical support, Japan was a party to the U.S. bombing campaign. It may be a source of pride for some of my fellow Japanese, but they should also pay attention to the fact that Japan bears some responsibility for making amends for the victims of air strikes. . . .
– The author is an Asahi Shimbun reporter working for the paper’s City News Department.
March 8, 2002
FINAL RULES SET FOR VICTIMS’ COMPENSATION FUND
WASHINGTON – Final rules for distributing money to victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks will expand the federal fund to cover more people and give them more money.
The average award will be about $1.85 million, roughly $200,000 more than calculated under draft guidelines released in December, Kenneth Feinberg, the special master of the victims fund, said yesterday.
President Bush delivered on the $20 billion in federal aid to help New York City recover from the attacks.
Bush announced proposed spending that brought the federal package to about $21 billion, including a $5 million “Liberty Zone” tax relief plan for lower Manhattan. The assistance is subject to congressional approval. . . .
The base award for families of people killed will be $250,000. A surviving spouse and each surviving child would get $100,000 each, up from $50,000 called for in the draft guidelines.
Families also will receive money for the lost earning potential of victims, which will be based on an equation that takes into consideration age and salary at the time of death.
[Catbird Comment: If you look carefully behind the smoke screen, you’ll see that this lawyer-devised formula not only favors the rich over the poor, as usual, but will probably reduce by billions the ultimate payouts that the big insurance companies are facing. Could, then, this be ‘Victims’ Compensation Fund’ actually be a cleverly-disguised ‘Insurance Company Bail-Out Fund’ ???]
That amount will be reduced by life insurance insurance claims and certain pension payments, but Feinberg said every family approved for compensation will get a minimum of $250,000.
There will be no minimum compensation for the injured because the injuries varied so greatly – from severe burns to bumps and bruises.
The fund was set up as part of the$15 billion airline bailout bill passed after the attacks.
New York has already received about $10.7 billion in federal aid, but some have complained that money is not coming fast enough and questioned whether Bush’s promise of $20 billion would be kept.
The new aid announced by Bush yesterday includes $2.75 billion from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which could be used for cleanup and rebuilding costs. It also contains $1.8 billion for transit upgrades and $750 million in community development money.
March 13, 2002
Secret Service among new U.S. air security chiefs
By Niala Boodhoo
WASHINGTON, March 13 (Reuters) – A former police officer, an active Secret Service agent and a military officer were among those sworn in on Wednesday to take charge of security at major U.S. airports, including Atlanta’s Hartsfield International and Chicago’s O’Hare.
The seven men and women were the first federal security directors named to oversee all aspects of an airport’s security, including passenger and baggage screening. It marked another step in the government takeover of aviation security following the Sept. 11 attacks in which hijackers slammed airliners into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.
An eighth appointee, the new director of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, was not at the ceremony because Secret Service agent Anthony Zotto was doing his current job, protecting Vice President Dick Cheney, who was traveling overseas.
“They will be the field marshals for the Department of Transportation’s part on the war on terrorism,” said Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta.
At an airport ceremony, Mineta also announced a 60-day extension of federal emergency war-risk insurance for airlines and an April 15 return to full flight operations at Reagan National, the last commercial airport to reopen after the September 2001 attacks and currently cleared for just under 80 percent of its former capacity.
Under legislation passed by Congress last year, the government is recruiting 30,000 passenger and baggage screeners to replace private services operating under Federal Aviation Administration guidelines.
The federal security directors will report to a new Transportation undersecretary for security.
At Atlanta’s Hartsfield, the security director will be former Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams.
Isaac Richardson, a retired Navy rear admiral, will head security at Chicago’s O’Hare.
Other directors sworn in on Wednesday will manage security at Baltimore-Washington International and for airports in Denver, San Diego, Phoenix and Mobile, Alabama.
About 81 of the country’s biggest airports will have directors initially, with all 429 U.S. airports eventually getting at least some type of Transportation Security Administration representative.
Mineta said the government would continue to assess the adequacy of private insurance coverage.
The U.S. government’s six-month coverage of airlines’ third-party war-risk liabilities, in excess of $50 million, had been set to expire on March 20.
It was assumed that private insurers, possibly backed by government reinsurance, would eventually step in to take the risks but so far only a handful of insurers, such as American International Group Inc. and Berkshire Hathaway Inc., have returned to the market.
Meanwhile, U.S. airlines are trying to set up their own risk retention group with the help of broker Marsh & McLennan Cos Inc.
© 2002 Reuters
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Last Updated December 19, 2002, by The Catbird