TBR News October 23, 2017

Oct 23 2017

The Voice of the White House

Washington, D.C., October 23, 2017:”Many highly classified documents on the Kennedy assassination in 1963 are slated to be declassified this week and there are more  in-house documents coming out about the fouled-up administration of George W. Bush. We are printing one of these in this issue. The Internet, not the national news media, is educating the American public to the point where the constant stream of administration and governmental propaganda is no longer having its desired effect on public opinion.”


Table of Contents

  • Duty, Honor, Atrocity
  • Some unpleasant historical background on the George W. Bush administration from official sources
  • Big money stays away from booming bitcoin
  • Getting It Right On Catalonia
  • Catalan parties mull next steps as Spain prepares to impose direct rule


Duty, Honor, Atrocity

George W. Bush Receives a Character Award at West Point

by Erik Edstrom


In George W. Bush’s home state of Texas, if you are an ordinary citizen found guilty of capital murder, the mandatory sentence is either life in prison or the death penalty. If, however, you are a former president of the United States responsible for initiating two illegal wars of aggression, which killed 7,000 U.S. servicemen and at least 210,000 civilians, displaced more than 10 million people from their homes, condoned torture, initiated a global drone assassination campaign, and imprisoned people for years without substantive evidence or trial in Guantanamo Bay, the punishment evidently is to be given the Thayer Award at West Point.

On October 19th, George W. Bush traveled to the United States Military Academy, my alma mater, to receive the Sylvanus Thayer Award at a ceremony hosted by that school’s current superintendent and presented on behalf of the West Point Association of Graduates.  The honor is “given to a citizen… whose outstanding character, accomplishments, and stature in the civilian community draw wholesome comparison to the qualities for which West Point strives.”

The Thayer may be one of the most important awards that hardly anyone has ever heard of. In a sense, it’s a litmus test when it comes to West Point’s moral orientation and institutional values. Academy graduates around the world — in dusty GP medium tents as well as Pentagon offices — all sit at the proverbial table where momentous, sometimes perverse decisions are regularly made. To invade or not to invade, to bomb or not to bomb, to torture, or not to torture — those are the questions. As the Trump era has reminded us, the U.S. military’s ability to obliterate all organized human life on Earth is beyond question. So it stands to reason that the types of beliefs pounded into cadets at West Point — the ones that will serve to guide them throughout their military careers — do matter.  To the classes of cadets now there, this award will offer a message: that George W. Bush and the things he did in his presidency are worth emulating. I could not disagree more.

The United States Military Academy is, or at least should be, a steward of American military values and yet the presentation of the Thayer Award to our former president represents an unprincipled lapse in judgment. In what it condones, it has committed a brazen violation of West Point’s honor code, which instructs that “a cadet will not lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.”

George W. Bush deceived the nation, cheated noncombatants of both their bodily autonomy and moral significance, and waged unjustifiable, unnecessary wars, which misallocated trillions of dollars that would have been better used to ensure the prosperity and well-being of Americans.  And he once described his messianic mission as “this crusade.” Is the world’s premier military academy not then honoring the dishonorable?

As I recall from my time wearing cadet grey, West Point regularly indulged in talk about doing “the harder right rather than the easier wrong,” about exhibiting “moral courage,” and about “Army Values.” Our ethical compass was given to us, standard issue, early on, often in the form of quaint military parables.

These were meant to set the ethical standards for behavior in war. Despite serious transgressions of those values by West Point graduates in these years, I still believe that the majority of West Pointers, even in the most stressful situations, are challenged by a nagging little voice asking what West Point would do.  In a sense, we have all been hard-wired to follow the ethical protocols we learned at the academy. As far as I’m concerned, however, this award shifts the goal posts. It establishes a new moral paradigm for what should be considered acceptable behavior in war and foreign policy.

As someone who also fought in one of those wars, let me just say that presenting Bush’s legacy as a template for cadets to follow is — not to mince words — a moral obscenity. Once the collective “we” — that is, West Point and its alumni — acknowledge that Bush’s wars and the state-sanctioned torture that went with them are not just acceptable, but laudable, we have lost any plausible claim to the moral high ground, the ground I once believed West Point was founded on.

Now that the Thayer Award has been given to former President Bush and we, the alumni, have even officially sponsored the act (not me, of course), it seems that the values we were taught don’t stand for anything at all.

A Cadet Will Not Lie

By idolizing Bush, a man whose major legacy is defined by acts of state terrorism (rebranded “counterterrorism”), West Point and its alumni have canonized by association his now-16-year-old war on terror. West Pointers have long been placed in a precarious position in relation to that war, simultaneously helping to perpetrate it and suffering from it. Too much energy has been devoted to pursuing it and too much lost for it not to have some grand meaning. By retrofitting the past, West Point and its graduates are now attempting to lessen the sting of, the reality of, those last 16 years.  In the process, they are continuing to delude its graduates, who are still being deployed to commit political violence in, at best, a morally dubious set of wars.

The very act of misleading a generation of salt-of-the-earth people — as most West Pointers I’ve encountered are — making them willing participants (and I include myself in this) in Bush’s supreme international crime should qualify as a tragedy. Convincing cadets of Bush’s widely discredited, false narrative is also a lie by West Point’s own doctrinal definition of the word.  The academy’s honor code defines lying as “an untruth or… the telling of a partial truth and the vague or ambiguous use of information or language with the intent to deceive or mislead…”

West Point generally doesn’t teach those facts that would cause cadets to feel embarrassed by or skeptical of the state. During wars of aggression like Bush’s, cadets will never be permitted to come to the conclusion that the political violence they will be sent off to commit after graduation is illegal or morally unsavory. Acknowledging all the emotive connotations that come with the word, one could still credibly call this practice “brainwashing.”

At West Point, it’s still possible to believe that we are fighting in the interests of the Afghan people when, for 16 years, a coalition of the most powerful armies on Earth led by the United States — supposedly with the support of most Afghans — hasn’t been able to get rid of a few thousand ragtag Taliban fighters. Why is it that, at the academy, the contradictoriness of such claims never leads to an inconvenient but possibly more reasonable explanation: that we’ve failed because enough of them oppose us, that we’re part of the problem, not the solution? In his final address to the Afghan parliament in 2014, President Hamid Karzai suggested as much, claiming that the last 12 years of war had been “imposed” on Afghanistan.

The extreme psychosocial dynamics of West Point make it a masterful teacher of such Orwellian “doublethink.” In the process, people like Bush — or former National Security Adviser and Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (another Thayer Award recipient) — are deified. They must exist as role models, not villains or war criminals. Being sure that the enemy is the enemy is an imperative of combat, so it’s essential that no one thinks about this topic too much or too deeply.

Inconvenient facts are deliberately omitted as threats to both recruitment and retention. Blind devotion is considered a virtue. Cadets are trained to proverbially place all their self-esteem eggs in the military basket. Morality is partitioned. Emphasis is put on individual actions in combat, not the morality of the war being fought. We were typically taught that, a few bad apples aside, throughout its history the United States has always been “the good guy,” never the perpetrator.

In direct combat in Afghanistan, my soldiers and I faced death, disability, and despair. But perhaps the deepest wound was coming to realize that such tragedies were in service to, at best, a quixotic cause and, at worst, political expediency.

Due to an overriding obligation to the state and a purely subordinate obligation to the truth, West Point is structurally incapable of adhering to its own honor code in practice. Dishonesty, however, has a subtler aspect to it. It leeches away whatever integrity the academy does possess beneath its granite foundation. In that sense, the latest Thayer Award is an attempt to revise history by denying the illegality of Bush’s wars and absolving him of any accountability for them.

Lest we forget: none of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Iraqi or Afghan citizens, nor did Iraq’s autocratic ruler have nuclear or other weapons of mass destruction, nor was he in any way involved with al-Qaeda. Instead, as revealed in the leaked Downing Street Memo, President Bush “wanted to remove Saddam, through military action… [T]he intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.” Meanwhile, his top officials continued to publicly push the lie that Iraq “possesses and produces chemical weapons,” as well as supposed evidence (fraudulent, as they knew at the time) indicating that Iraq was “reconstituting its nuclear weapons program.” This claim would be explicitly contradicted by the U.S. intelligence community’s prewar National Intelligence Estimate, which stated that Saddam Hussein’s regime did not have “sufficient material” to manufacture any nuclear weapons and that “the information we have on Iraqi nuclear personnel does not appear consistent with a coherent effort to reconstitute a nuclear weapons program.” The very justification for Bush’s invasion and occupation of that country, in other words, was built upon lies. This year’s Thayer Award is simply a concrete manifestation of those lies.

To former President Bush, I’d like to say: there is no betrayal more intimate than being sent to kill or die unnecessarily by your own countrymen.

… Cheat

Whatever one thinks about soldiers invading another country or the people who defend that country from those foreign aggressors, this year’s Thayer Award cheats the far more numerous victims of those wars, Iraqi and Afghan civilians, of their status as human beings. To give this award to Bush is to say that their lives didn’t matter, that they got what they deserved. Or as soldiers I came across liked to say, often with high-wattage smiles, “We freed the shit out of them.”

Osama bin Laden was connected to the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians, George W. Bush to hundreds of thousands (at least 70 September 11ths), not to speak of the unrecorded torments of millions. One can only argue that Bush’s invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan were less of a crime if Iraqi and Afghan noncombatants are counted as fractional human beings — if, that is, there is one set of rules for America and another, heavily enforced by the U.S. military, for the rest of the world. By any elementary definition, this is “cheating.”

It should be self-evident that the use of torture is a dishonorable thing. What then could be a worse crime than for a leader of a democracy to organize the state-sanctioned torture of both the innocent and the guilty on a large scale?  The very act of torture cheats people of their bodily autonomy. When West Point overlooks the hypocrisy of giving an award for “outstanding character” to a former leader who put his stamp of approval on torture — for which the U.S. once punished Japanese war criminals with hanging or lengthy prison sentences — it makes a mockery of those values. The International Criminal Court reported that, under the Bush-era torture program, members of the U.S. Army and the CIA may be guilty of war crimes. Former National Coordinator for Security and Counterterrorism Richard Clarke went further, saying, “It’s clear that some of the things [the Bush administration] did were war crimes.”

Think of this Thayer Award, then, as an undeserved rehabilitation of George W. Bush’s reputation that’s meant to cheat history. Put another way, West Point supports giving the former president this award not because he earned it, but because they wish he had.

… Steal

It’s hard to find a time in American history when more was spent to accomplish less. Even on the most practical level, the spread of terror groups and insurgencies of various kinds continues to outpace the rate at which the U.S. can kill the latest “bad guys.” The entire war is, in the long run and to the tune of trillions of taxpayer dollars, unsustainable. It’s only a question of how much damage we want to do to our own soldiers, how much public funding we intend to divert, while destroying the social fabric of other countries, before we pack it up and leave.

What did Bush, or any of us, get from stealing sovereignty from the people of Iraq and Afghanistan? Global terrorism deaths increased 4,000% from 2002 to 2014 (from 725 to 32,727). The Taliban now hold more ground in Afghanistan than at any point since the invasion of 2001.  TSA airport screenings fail to detect mock weapons in 95% of tests. The U.S.-friendly client regime established in Iraq looted billions of dollars in American aid. And that’s just to start down a long, long list.  As journalist Patrick Cockburn wrote, “The invasion and occupation of Iraq by the U.S…. destroyed Iraq as a united country and nobody has been able to put it back together again. It opened up a period when Iraq’s three great communities — Shia, Sunni and Kurds — are in a permanent state of confrontation, a situation that has had a deeply destabilising impact on all of Iraq’s neighbours.”

Bush leveraged the future prosperity of America into trillions of dollars of debt, an intergenerational heist meant to give him the appearance of being “tough on terror.” That’s a reality that should be unappealing to members of both political parties.  For fiscally conservative Republicans, it bloats the budget; for Democrats, it diverts precious funding that might otherwise have gone into crucial social programs. In short, the honored former president stole from American citizens a chance to deal adequately with climate change, infrastructure needs, education, and healthcare.

And it’s difficult to discuss stealing without recalling Bush’s illegal mass surveillance program. It’s hard to imagine how spying on one’s own citizens without a warrant could be emblematic of what the Thayer Award stands for.

… Or Tolerate Those Who Do

When cadets, soldiers, and other servicemen swear an oath, they trust that the president will be guided by sound principles. By sending us to fight his bogus war on terror, George W. Bush betrayed that commitment. In giving the Thayer Award to him, West Point and its graduates not only put their stamp of approval on a president who broke with their stated values, they glorified and cleansed him. This award, in Dubya’s hands, is distinctly stolen valor.

There are many Americans who exemplify the very best of what our country — and West Point — could be. As graduates of the academy, none of us should have difficulty finding deserving Thayer Award recipients. George W. Bush’s terror wars, however, were not just a tragedy but also a crime. It’s now a secondary tragedy that West Point lacked both the honor and conviction to say so.

The former president deserves a cold metal bench in a stockade awaiting trial, not an award and a warm round of applause from the academy. No coffee table books featuring his paintings — a perverse form of macabre exhibitionism — will atone for his actions. If West Point and its Association of Graduates want to maintain any credible pretense of adhering to the values they claim to espouse, they should revoke the most recent Thayer Award immediately.


Some unpleasant historical background on the George W. Bush administration from official sources

October 23, 2017

by Christian Jürs


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In this final overview treatment of the economic warfare that has had disastrous consequences for the United States, we investigate the Saudi terrorists attacks on American targets of prominence on September 11, 2001. This report, in all rights, ought to be dedicated to dramatis personae:Karl Rove who conceived it, George W. Bush who approved it and Dick Cheney who implemented it.

We should like to give especial thanks to Mr. Leszek Kobiernicki, of the British Ministry of Defense, for all of his very valued assistance. Mr. Kobiernicki is a specialist in official documentation and has access to very high level intercepted American military and diplomatic transmissions. His assistance has been absolutely vital and his extensive material fundus will be dealt with in further articles. ed

The deadly attacks by a team of Saudi terrorists against American targets on September 11, 2001, was in no way a secret venture. Almost from its inception, its progress was known to, and closely followed by, the intelligence agencies of Britain, Russia, Germany and Israel. All of these countries, without exception, duly notified the American authorities about a pending attack, by aircraft, against American targets. The Israeli Foreign Intelligence agency, the Mossad, had actually penetrated the leadership of the group centered in Hollywood, Florida, and made regular reports on the pending attack to their government. The Israeli government, in turn, made full disclosure to the highest level of authority in Washington.

Interestingly enough, the man who formulated the attack, Osama bin Ladin, was a personal friend of the American president, George Bush, and his very wealthy Saudi family had been investors in Bush’s Arbusto Energy Oil Company, founded in 1978.Another big investor was BCCI (Bank of Credit & Commerce) that later was shut down in July of 1991, charged with multibillion-dollar fraud and which had been heavily involved in drug money laundering, arms brokering, covert intelligence work, bribery of government officials and aid to terrorists.

Several members of the Bush family were heavy investors in the Carlyle Group, a defense contractor and investment fund with numerous interests in the Middle East, run by former Reagan administration Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci. Former President George H. W. Bush attended an investment meeting at the Washington, D.C. Ritz-Carlton hotel on September 10, 2001 and also a meeting with Shafiq bin Laden, representing joint interests of the Saudi Binladin Group and Carlyle.

In addition to the question of American control of oil and natural gas deliveries, there was also an internal political issue. It should be noted that during the previous administration of William Clinton, the American right wing, personified by the Republicans, fought a long, loud and effective public relations battle against what they saw was Clinton’s left wing policies. There was a steady drumfire of attacks, mostly from the far right Evangelicals, about Clinton’s various affairs and also about alleged financial peculations when he was governor of Arkansas.

Always extremely manipulative and often very vicious, the Republican leadership, coupled with outside business interests, manoevered George Bush into the Oval Office by a mixture of bribery, political presssure and deliberate vote fraud in Florida.

When a narrow Supreme Court majority placed Bush into office, Dick Cheney, a fixture of the very far right Republicans, appointed himself to the office of Vice President.

Richard Bruce “Dick” Cheney was born in Nebraska in 1941, Cheney grew up in Casper, Wyoming., later attending  Yale University. Cheney dropped out during his sophomore year, and eventually earned a political science degree at the University of Wyoming in 1965.

After winning a postgraduate fellowship that took him to Washington, Cheney was employed by the Nixon administration as a special assistant to Donald Rumsfeld, who at that time was director of the Office of Economic Opportunity, and later White House counsel.

In August 1974, after President Nixon resigned from office in disgrace , Rumsfeld was called to join the White House staff as an assistant to Ford, and Cheney moved along with Rumsfeld. Hard-working, loyal and good-natured, Cheney made a good impression and became Ford’s chief of staff from 1975 to 1977.

A very strong neo-conservative and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Cheney is the former CEO of Halliburton Company, which greatly benefitted from contracts with the U.S. government, especially in the war with Iraq Cheney has ties to the Carlyle Group, is a former Senior Fellow with the American Enterprise Institute,has  served on the Advisory Board of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and has been linked to the Project for the New American Century (PNAC).

Cheney opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, has  an anti-abortion advocate, and supports prayer in school. While serving in Congress, he was one of 21 members opposing the sale ban of armor-piercing bullets; was one of only four to oppose the ban on guns that can get through metal detectors; opposed sanctions against the apartheid-era South Africa in the mid-1980s along with voting against a resolution calling for the release of Nelson Mandela; voted for a constitutional amendment to ban school busing; voted against Head Start; and voted against extending the Clean Water Act in 1987.

Cheney was appointed head of Halliburton in 1995. This company was, and still is, the largest worldwide providers of equipment and services to the oil industry, Cheney was appointed to head this company solely because of his previous government employments and the contacts this supplied. During his five years as CEO, Cheney nearly doubled the size of Halliburton’s government contracts, totaling $2.3 billion.

Cheney continued to draw a $1,000,000 per year paycheck from Halliburton while serving as the Vice President.He stated a number of times that he saw no conflict of interest between taking this paycheck, and participating in White House decisions that have allocated billions of dollars of bids to Halliburton that have not gone to open tender.

Since he and Bush occupied the White House, Cheney  managed to accomplish a great deal in the fields of personal enrichment and political gain. As Vice President, Cheney met with the heads of oil, gas, and nuclear power companies, asked for and got their needs and requirements and turned them into a new national Energy Plan. Cheney’s close relations with the later-convicted swindler, Ken Lay of Enron, is a case in point. Given his key role in determining the policy and practice of the Bush administration, an understanding of Cheney’s history is important

While Cheney was running Halliburton, there was a 91`% increase in U.S. government contracts with that firm.

  • In 2000, before assuming office as Vice President, Cheney’s income from Halliburton:was $36,086,635
  • American energy companies gave the 2000 Bush/Cheney presidential campaign $1,800,000
  • He convinced the Export-Import Bank of the U.S. to lend Halliburton and oil companies another $1.5 billion, backed by U.S. taxpayers. Unfortunately some of these loans went to a Russian company with ties to drug dealing and organized crime. Under Cheney’s leadership Halliburton and its subsidiaries supported, or even ordered, human rights violations and broke international laws.
  • Libya engaged a foreign subsidiary of Halliburton company, Brown & Root, to perform millions of dollars worth of work. At the time, Libya was strongly suspected of harboring and encouraging terrorist activity, Brown & Root was subsequently fined $3.8 million for violating Libyan sanctions. (Although Cheney wasn’t leading Halliburton when these sales started, subsidiaries’ sales to Libya continued throughout his tenure.)
  • Halliburton became the biggest oil contractor for Iraq, selling more than $73 million in goods and services to Saddam Hussein’s regime although there were firm U.S. sanctions on Iraq at the time. ,

Karl Christian Rove became Senior Advisor and Deputy Chief of Staff to President George W. Bush until his sudden resignation on August 31, 2007. He once headed the Office of Political Affairs, the Office of Public Liaison, and the White House Office of Strategic Initiatives..

Rove influenced dealings with Iraq and North Korea, according to Bush administration sources. For instance, when the U.S. was notified, through formal diplomatic channels, that North Korea had nuclear technology, Congress was in the midst of discussing the Iraqi war resolution. Rove counseled the president to keep that information from Congress for 12 days, until the debate was finished, so it would not affect the vote. He was also reported to be present at a war strategy meeting concerning whether to attack Syria after Iraq. Rove said the timing was not right.

Yet. having the political advisor involved in that decision is wrong. It was Rove who kept President Bush relentlessly adherent to his obsessive goal of a permanent Republican-controlled executive, making the argument that America is safe only in their hands – Rove, highly intelligent and extremely arrogant, firmly believed himself an expert in both policy and politics because he could see no distinction between the two.

This matters for a number of reasons. There is always a time during any president’s administration when what is best for the future of the country diverges from what best serves that president’s political future. It was always Rove’s firm intention to push the president in the direction of reelection rather than the country’s best interests.

What Rove always wanted to achieve, was nothing less than a major alignment in US politics, making the Republicans the sole party of government for a generation or more.

In June 2003 powerful far right wing writer, Grover Norquist wrote “In crafting its agenda for economic reform, the Bush administration has the luxury of being able to think and plan over a full eight years…This guarantee of united Republican government has allowed the Bush administration to work and think long-term….Republicans are looking at decades of dominance in the House and Senate and having the Presidency with some regularity.”  According to Norquist “every time the government gets smaller there are fewer Democratic precinct workers in the world…It is a virtuous cycle.”.

Now that we have some background on the players, let us consider the origins of the 9/11 attacks on American targets.

We have taken a brief look at the major players in the game and have taken even a briefer look at some of the attending circumstances behind the Saudi terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001. Now it is time to outline what lay behind the actual attack. High level people in the government are laboring under the misapprehension that they are speaking over secured telephone lines or email or faxing over other secure services but in the main, they are living in a fool’s paradise.

The President does have very secure lines of communications but neither Cheney nor Rove did. Not only can our very own NSA listen in to conversations held from Cheney’s “Secret Command Post” but so can others, to include the British and Russian intelligence agencies. Our Army has been reading top secret Israeli diplomatic, military and intelligence messages for some time And even the PRC and the French are not without success in pulling messages off the air and breaking even the most complicated algorithmic encryption.

It is from these sources that  it has been possible to put together a plot that not even the most creative of the bloggers could possibly have imagined.

It is well known that the far right wing of the Republican Party was determined to get control of the White House just as they then had control of Congress. They were well on their way to stacking the third branch of our government, the judicial. The main architect of this ambitious plan was Karl Rove. Very intelligent but totally amoral and personally vicious, Rove was a powerful influence over George Bush, converting him to a form of aggressive Evangelical Christianity and getting him elected to the Governorship of Texas. Rove was instrumental in convincing the power elite of the time to support Bush as the Republican candidate for President in 2000 and the manipulations to put the colorless Bush into the Oval Office have been covered extensively in the media and on the Internet. There were deliberate voter frauds including fixed voting machines, machines made and controlled by a strong Bush supporter. There was obvious and deliberate voter fraud in Florida, a state run by Bush’s brother and Rove had seen to it that there was a bare majority of the Supreme Court to, in effect, job Bush straight into the White House.

Now, the plotters reasoned, they had control of the executive, the legislative and the judicial. There was only one more factor to take into account in the final securing of absolute power and that was the American public.

Not even the most accomplished of the watchers can say with certainty when the final chapter was first broached but enough has been pieced together to make a thoroughly believable scenario. In all probability it was Rove, a man with a good understanding of history, who realized that a so-called wartime President could gather unto himself, and his supporters, almost unlimited powers and among these was the power to frighten the public into obeying his dictates and the excuse for establish these dictates in the first place.

During the First World Ear, Woodrow Wilson set up a virtual dictatorship in the United States during his war with Germany and, of course, there was the seizure of power by Hitler in 1933 after he had been appointed a Chancellor with limited powers. Coupled with this burning desire for long-term, if not permanent, political control in the United States, there was also the issue of economic control but with a cowed public and control over all three branches of government, economic control would be a very easy matter to accomplish.

It was well known that the United States was in growing need of natural gas and, most especially oil. It was also less well known that the once-enormous Saudi fields were running dry and that Iraq had more oil than Saudi Arabia. Also, the Iraqi dictator, Hussein, had physically bombarded Israel during the Gulf War and he was viewed by that country as a great menace. The strong, overly strong many asserted, influence Israel and its organs in the United States had was another factor in the plan.

It was the gradual inclusion of top Israeli political and military leaders in the plan that allowed the Russian GRU to discover it. Rove saw a brief, Bismarckian campaign against Iraq that would gain the United States access to that country’s oil and to establish even stronger ties with Israel and its domestic support of Republican policies.

What was lacking was a casus belli, a cause for war. It was in this area that Bush and Cheney had excellent prospects. Osama bin Ladin was the son of a very powerful Saudi businessman who had the highest-level connections in his country and whose family activities were well known to Cheney because of his tenure as head of Halliburton.

The bin Ladins also had very good connections with George Bush and had invested heavily in his company, Arbusto. Certain favors could then certainly be asked and, if everyone could see profit in them, granted. It is known that the great bulk of the actual 9/11 terrorists were Saudi citizens (1 Egyptian, two UAE, 1 Lebanese and 15 Saudis) and they were ordered  to attack the United States, again (there had been one unsuccessful attack on the WTC on February 26, 1993, when a car bomb was detonated in the parking garage below the North Tower of the WTC. The 1,500 lb explosive device  was intended to knock the North Tower  into the South Tower , bringing both towers down and killing thousands of people.)

The bomb was badly situated and it killed six people and injured over a thousand. Herein lay the seed for the Rovian casus belli, only this time, a more spectacular attacks needed to be launched to achieve any hoped for results in both supplying a Pearl Harbor-type excuse for war but also a power tool to be used to frighten the mass of the public into terribled obedience to the wishes of a protecting government.

There were so many contacts with the Saudi elements that no one could possibly keep track of them but it was obvious to most foreign agencies after the attack that its origins were never in doubt. And to further assist the plot, the Israelis were brought into the fold. Their competent foreign intelligence, the Mossad, was already at work undercover in the United States, spying on anti-Israel Moslim activists so it surprised no one when the Mossad, using Yemini Jews, infiltrated the Atta group in Hollywood, Florida. The incident would be executed by people controlled by bin Ladin but supervised by the Mossad.

But it was all very well and good for a trio of highly-placed plotters to scheme inside a relatively secure White House but as the plans were developed and others brought into the execution of it, the chnce for serious leaks became greater.

Although the government quickly enlisted the aid of a legion of conspiracy people to cloak their actions with absurd rumors and distracting fictions, there were still many who questioned the attacks but as the years have passed, the subject has grown stale and so grown over by a huge jungle of lies, fictions and confusion that like the earlier Kennedy assassination, it will pass into the oblivion of history.

The attacks went off as planned, Bush played the role of savior and in the wake of the attack, fear became the order of the day and fear was constatly being cultivated by the Bush people and harvested at the polls.

But the Rove people failed in two areas and it was a failure that eventualy brought down their plans. The Saudi attack that was aborted in the fields of Pennsylvania was intended to crash into the Capitol building when Congress was in session, causing huge casualties and giving Bush the excuse to govern by decree until some vague future time when new elections to replace the dead or crippled members of that body could be held.

The second area of failure was the refusal of the senior commanders of the Army to become involved in neo-Fascistic roundups of any dissident citizenry or to run any barbed wire detention centers.

By constantly crying about the wolves, the Bush conspirators exceeded their brief and eventually, the public ignored the color coding and the exhortations to use duct tape on windows to prevent radioactive matrial from entering their homes.

In short, the plotters could only go so far without eventually enforcing their wishes and the plot, which killed a huge number of people and bankrupted the country, fell apart.

But fortunately, so also did the far right Republicans and God willing, we shall not see their like again.

Here is a very brief timeline that contains items of interest:

July 4-14, 2001: Osama bin Laden receives treatments for kidney disease at the American hospital in Dubai and meets with a CIA official who returns to CIA headquarters on July 15. [Le Figaro, October 31st, 2001]

July 5, 2001: The government’s top counter-terrorism official, Richard Clarke, states to a group gathered at the White House: “Something really spectacular is going to happen here, and it’s going to happen soon.” The group included the FAA, the Coast Guard, the FBI, the Secret Service, and the INS. Clarke directs every counter-terrorist office to cancel vacations, defer non-vital travel, put off scheduled exercises and place domestic rapid response teams on much shorter alert.

July 26, 2001: Attorney General Ashcroft stops flying commercial airlines due to a threat assessment. [CBS, 7/26/01]

Late July 2001: The U.S. and UN ignore warnings from the Taliban foreign minister that bin Laden is planning an imminent huge attack on US soil. The FBI and CIA also fail to take seriously, warnings that Islamic fundamentalists have enrolled in flight schools across the U.S. [Independent, 9/7/02]

August 2001: Russian President Vladimir Putin orders Russian intelligence to warn the U.S. government “in the strongest possible terms” of imminent attacks by suicide pilots on airports and government buildings. [MS-NBC interview with Putin, September 15, 2001,]

August 6, 2001: The CIA also presents a warning to the President, explicitly concerned with terrorism inside the United States, indicating that bin Laden might be planning to hijack commercial airliners. Actual content of this message has been the subject of considerable debate, with White House officials understandably downplaying its significance. [Time magazine, May 16, 2002; New York Times, May 16, 2002]

August 8-23, 2001: Two high ranking Israeli Mossad agents come to Washington to warn the FBI and CIA that up to 200 terrorists have slipped into the U.S. and are planning an imminent major assault in the U.S. Indications point to a highly visible target. [Telegraph, 9/16/01; Los Angeles Times, 9/16/01; “Fox News,” 5/17/02] The Mossad gives the CIA a list of terrorists. A major Israeli spy ring was hard on the heels of at least four members of the 9/11 hijackers, including lead hijacker Mohammed Atta. [BBC, 10/2/01]

September 10, 2001: NSA intercepts two messages in Arabic. One message read: “Tomorrow is zero hour,” and the second: “The match begins tomorrow.” [New York Times, August 10, 2002; Reuters, June 19, 2002] On June 19, 2002, CNN reported the contents of these two National Security Agency intercepts. Other news outlets, including the Washington Post, also reported on the intercepts. [New York Times, August 10, 2002]

September 10, 2001: A particularly urgent warning was received the night before the attacks, causing some top Pentagon brass to suddenly cancel travel plans for the next morning, apparently because of “sudden security concerns.” [Newsweek, 9/12/2001] “Why that same information was not available to the 266 people who died aboard the four hijacked commercial aircraft may become a hot topic on the Hill.” [Newsweek, 9/13/2001]

September 11, 2001: General Mahmud of the ISI, a friend of Mohammed Atta, is visiting Washington on behalf of the Taliban. [MS-NBC, Oct. 7, 2001]

September 11, 2001: Employees of Odigo, Inc. of Israel, one of the world’s largest instant messaging companies, with offices in New York, receives threat warnings of an imminent attack on the WTC less than two hours before the first plane hits the WTC. Law enforcement authorities have gone silent about any investigation of this. Odigo Research and Development offices in Israel are located in the city of Herzliyya, a suburb of Tel Aviv which is the same location as the Institute for Counter Terrorism which breaks early details of insider trading on 9-11. [Ha’aretz, 9/26/2001; Reuters, June 19, 2002]

September 13-19, 2001: Members of bin Laden’s family are driven or flown under FBI supervision to a secret assembly point in Texas and then to Washington, where they leave the country on a private charter plane when airports reopen three days after the attacks. [New York Times, September 30, 2001]

September 19, 2001: The FBI claims there may have been six hijacking teams on the morning of 9/11. [New York Times, 9/19/01; CBS, 9/14/01; Guardian, 10/13/01] Authorities have identified teams that total as many as 50 infiltrators who supported or carried out the strikes. About 40 of the men have been accounted for. [Los Angeles Times, 9/13/01]

October 10, 2001: U.S. Ambassador Wendy Chamberlain paid a call on the Pakistani oil minister. A previously abandoned Unocal pipeline from Turkmenistan, across Afghanistan, to the Pakistani coast, for the purpose of selling oil and gas to China, is now back on the table “in view of recent geopolitical developments.” [Pakistan, the Frontier Post]

September 23, 2006: the French newspaper L’Est Républicain quoted a report from the French secret service (Direction générale de la sécurité extérieure, DGSE) stating that Osama bin Laden had died in Pakistan on 23 August 2006, after contracting a case of typhoid fever that paralyzed his lower limbs. Saudi security services first heard of bin Laden’s death on 4 September 2006. The Osama death was reported by the Saudi Arabian secret service to its government, which in turn quickly reported it to the French secret service. It is to be noted, however, that since his death, bin Ladin has released a number of tape recorded interviews that somehow seemed to have strongly supported the Bush administrations’s continued terrorization of the American public.

These tapes have been, and are being, made by a CIA-owned firm in Texas. Any educated Arabic person will tell you that while the language is technically correct, it is badly flawed in that no Arab would use such wooden and improbable phrases in his speech. This is not particularly surprising because the CIA is not known for either its intelligence, subtlety or creative ability.


Big money stays away from booming bitcoin

October 23, 2017

by Jemima Kelley and Maiya Keidan


LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin is booming, digital currency hedge funds are sprouting at the rate of two a week and the value of all cryptocurrencies has surged tenfold this year to more than $170 billion.Yet for all the hype, mainstream institutional investors are steering clear of the nascent market, taking the view that it is too lightly regulated, too volatile and too illiquid to risk investing other people’s money in.

Bitcoin, the biggest and most well-known cryptocurrency, has outperformed all the world’s traditional currencies each year since 2011, except for 2014. But many investors still view it as an opaque, esoteric instrument used by gun-runners and drug-dealers on the Dark Web that should be avoided.

This year, though, a flood of new hedge funds focused on cryptocurrencies has offered institutional investors who might be unfamiliar with the market a potential route into the world of digital currencies.

According to Autonomous NEXT, a financial technology research house, 84 so-called crypto hedge funds have been launched this year, taking the total to 110 with about $2.2 billion in assets altogether.

But the fact most of the funds are relatively small with a limited track record – and that cryptocurrency price swings have been so pronounced – means the world’s pension funds, insurance companies and large mutual funds are staying away.

“While cryptocurrencies are probably here to stay, they are difficult to analyze, wildly volatile and some may be prone to fraud,” said Trevor Greetham at Royal London Asset Management (RLAM), part of the Royal London life insurance company.

“Diversification is a good thing but that doesn’t mean investing in everything just because it’s there. We favor assets with a long track record in producing returns or reducing risks,” said Greetham, who heads RLAM’s multi asset team.

For a graphic on top cryptocurrencies, click tmsnrt.rs/2gWgyLc

Autonomous NEXT partner Lex Sokolin said there were probably only a couple of funds worth several hundred million dollars with most in the $5 million to $20 million range – well below the threshold most institutional investors would consider.

“For many institutional, discretionary fund managers, those funds wouldn’t get cleared because the big question would be around liquidity,” said James Butterfill, head of investment strategy at ETF Securities in London.


One way mainstream money managers could get exposure is by investing in a basket of hedge funds that includes a crypto fund. But the head of hedge funds at a major European bank that invests in more than 100 hedge funds said there were no crypto funds in his portfolio.

“It’s a very controversial proposition,” said the banker, who declined to be named. “It’s unlikely that the most established hedge funds will make big bets on this because you could put your core business at risk.”

Determining the value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is tricky. There are almost 17 million bitcoins in existence now but the total supply is limited to 21 million, and that won’t be reached until the next century.

Bitcoin’s total value, or market capitalization, is close to $100 billion, bigger than U.S. investment bank Morgan Stanley. At the start of the year it was just $15 billion. Ethereum, the second-biggest cryptocurrency, is now worth almost $30 billion.

“If the supply is truly fixed then the price of these securities are determined purely by demand which, in turn, is determined largely by sentiment,” said Ken Dickson, investment director, money markets and FX at Aberdeen Standard Investments.

“This means huge price swings with bubbles, booms and busts. Unless the supply processes of these instruments are reformed then it is unlikely that they will play any part of an investment portfolio,” he said.

Bitcoin has been on a rollercoaster ride this year. After hitting what was then a record high just below $5,000 in early September it lost about a third of its value in less than two weeks. It has since almost doubled in price again, to new highs near $6,000.

Ethereum has been even more erratic. Its price surged almost 50 times from the start of the year to June, before falling back by about a fifth, according to industry website CoinDesk.

That kind of volatility means committees at institutional investment firms looking at the relative risks of asset classes are likely to rule out cryptocurrencies, asset managers said.

“Your risk-budgeting committee will say: you can’t hold a lot of that because of the amount it increases risk in your portfolio,” said Butterfill. “I do expect volatility to decrease over time but risk budget teams tend to look historically.”


For now, those investing in crypto funds are high-net worth individuals, companies managing money for wealthy families, private wealth managers and some venture capital investors.

“It’s clear there’s money piling into these funds,” said Emad Mostaque, co-chief investment officer at the London office of South African hedge fund firm Capricorn Fund Managers. “There’s just not that institutional investor comfort yet.”

Alistair Milne, co-founder of the Mayfair-based Altana Digital Currency Fund, likens investment in crypto funds to the start of the hedge fund boom in the early 1990s, when wealthy individuals were the first to invest in a raft of new funds making high returns.

“It always starts with the high-net worth individuals,” he said. “It wasn’t until 2004-2005 that institutional investors started getting involved in those.”

The new crypto hedge funds take a variety of approaches, betting on new coins issued to raise funds via so-called initial coin offerings (ICOs), price direction or differentials between rates on the many cryptocurrency exchanges.

One new fund, the London-based BitSpread, says its $25 million market-neutral fund – which trades on price differentials alone – gives major investors a way into the market without exposing them to violent price swings.

The fund is up 32 percent so far this year, having managed to exploit the kind of arbitrage possible in a young market where large price gaps exist.

“(Institutional investors) haven’t invested in this ecosystem yet because they haven’t yet found the right vehicle,” said Cedric Jeanson, BitSpread’s founder.

Reporting by Jemima Kelly and Maiya Keidan; additional reporting by Claire Milhench; editing by David Clarke


Getting It Right On Catalonia

October 23, 2017

by Justin Raimondo


There’s something very wrong with an ideological movement that calls for opposition to centralism, protests high taxation, and defends the right to cultural and political autonomy – and yet, when it comes down to actually supporting these ideals in real life, cannot bring itself to rise to the occasion.

While Ed Krayewski has been writing sympathetically in Reason magazine about the Catalonian independence movement – which is now under threat from the Spanish central government – as has John Stossel, the idea that any libertarian could possibly oppose secession in this case seems radically counterintuitive. After all, here is a relatively prosperous region of Spain that is being systematically milked of its wealth by the central authorities in Madrid. Catalonia is subsidizing the rest of the country to the tune of some $11.8 billion annually. And so secession is justified on economic grounds alone, but the case for independence doesn’t end there.

Catalonia is a unique national-ethnic-historical entity: it has its own language, a long and distinguished history as a nation, and a record of repression by the Spanish government that dates back to the Spanish civil war and the depredations of the Francoist corporate state. In short, the independence cause is a nearly perfect case of the libertarian principle of the devolution of power, away from a centralized authority and closer to where people actually live.

You would think any libertarian worth his or her salt would have absolutely no problem endorsing the Catalonian cause – and yet even as the Spanish authorities were moving in their police, beating people at the polls and threatening worse, one prominent representative of an ostensibly “libertarian” institution had this to say:

“With regard to the crackdown, a couple of things should be kept in mind. First, nobody died, which is a bit of a miracle, considering the red-hot passion on the Catalan side. From the film footage I saw, it seemed to me that the Spanish police were remarkably restrained and only responded with batons and rubber bullets when under physical threat from the pro-independence protesters. Second, given the Supreme Court ruling, the Spanish government was obliged to enforce the rule of law and should not be unduly blamed for the unpleasantness that followed.”

That’s Marian Tupy, of the Cato Institute’s Center for Globalist Liberty and Prosperity. Imagine if such had been written after the Ferguson incidents: the PC crowd would be out there with torches and pitchforks! Oh, those poor helpless Spanish cops – armed to the teeth and “under physical threat” from unarmed civilians who were trying to vote. No wonder they were beating the crap out of women, old people, and just anyone they could get their hands on! The Spanish government cannot be blamed – after all, they’re just holding an entire nation hostage. It’s not their fault!

Has there ever been a more obsequious apologia for State violence coming out of a “libertarian” mouth? I highly doubt it.

Coming from a different perspective, but with a weirdly similar result, is Sheldon Richman writing in Reason magazine opposing Catalonian independence on the grounds that a referendum violates the “rights” of Catalans who want to stay citizens of Spain. Yet there is no “right” to be ruled by Madrid, any more than a former citizen of the USSR has the “right” to live under Soviet rule: proponents of such a “right” have to tell us from where this “right” is derived.

Given Richman’s premise – that a democratic referendum is inherently illegitimate and a violation of rights – one has to assume that any and all attempts to achieve any form of autonomy, never mind independence, are to be considered impermissible so long as a single person within Catalonia opposes it. Which means that any change in government cannot be allowed – not now, not ever. Which means that any an all revolutions are inherently oppressive – yes, including the American Revolution, which should never have happened to begin with because it violated the “right” of Tories to live under a despotic monarchy.

Oh, but wait! Richman has a solution! Here it is:

“Does this mean we libertarians have no remedy for people who wish not to live under the central government of a large nation-state? Of course we have: anarchism, in which each individual is sovereign and free to contract with market firms for security and dispute resolution. I realize anarchism isn’t on the menu today, but there’s an idea that may be more acceptable to people: panarchism. Roderick Long explains:

“’The concept of panarchy comes from an 1860 work of that title by the Belgian botanist and political economist Paul Émile de Puydt (1810-1891). The essence of his panarchist proposal is that people should be free to choose the political regime under which they will live without having to relocate to a different territory.’

“Under panarchism, individuals could in effect secede, but their next-door neighbors need not. Problem solved! This may not satisfy nationalists big and small, but it would protect individuals.”

So instead of joining with the people of Catalonia as they fight off rampaging cops, the abrogation of their autonomy, censorship of the media, and the threat of even worse violence, libertarians are supposed to peddle the cockamamie theories of an obscure nineteenth century Belgian botanist whose ideas have nothing whatsoever to do with anything that is happening in Catalonia, or, indeed, anywhere in the world. According to Richman, the people of Catalonia had best forget about the dream of freeing themselves from the tax and regulatory burden imposed by Madrid, and wait until the anarchist millennium is upon us – then and only then can they take any action to advance their interests against the Spanish state.

This is the classic sectarian stance: no transition demands, no “halfway measures,” are allowed. It’s anarchy or neo-Francoism.

While Richman says nothing that justifies the Spanish state’s crackdown, and even claims “that nation-states have no right to use force to stop any component from seceding,” it’s not clear – to me, at least – why, given all this, the use of force to protect the alleged “rights” of pro-Madrid Catalonians is supposed to be illegitimate.

However, perhaps I’m going about this the wrong way: Richman’s argument is so divorced from reality that any attempt to put it in a realistic context is simply unfair. Like most sectarian schemas, it isn’t meant to be applied to reality: it exists as a self-contained floating abstraction, meant to signal abstention from the real world. It is, in short, just a lot of words strung together in sentences, the intent of which is to tell us everything about the writer and nothing about his subject.

And while Richman and Tupy seem to have little if anything in common, you’ll note that neither has anything of any real consequence to say to libertarian Catalonians: they provide no guidance, either practical or theoretical, and certainly give no encouragement to the independence movement. Indeed, Tupy defends – or, at least, minimizes – the violence perpetrated by Madrid, and Richman seems almost comically unaware of the absurdity of telling Catalonians to wait for the advent of anarchism while they’re being invaded by the Spanish military.

The Catalonian revolution is a tax revolt against a predatory state, a cultural liberation movement overthrowing the last vestiges of Castillian supremacism, and a body blow aimed at the socialist super-state of the EU, which fears any and all nationalism but its own sterile bureaucratic substitute. As such, all libertarians must give it unconditional support – or else find themselves acting as apologists for the worst sort of statism.

So why this odd libertarian cognitive dissonance on the Catalonian question coming from two rather disparate sources? My guess is that this is part and parcel of an erroneous reaction to the rise of nationalism across the globe. The Beltway types (Tupy and his “Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity” are simply going along with the conventional Washington wisdom, which is decidedly anti-Catalonian, and which opposes any change in the status quo unless it has been mandated by Washington. The hostility of the European Union – a project often praised by Beltway libertarians – is another factor. And also in the mix is the hostility to Trumpian ideology that is now manifesting itself as hostility to any and all nationalism, which is evident in Richman’s screed against “Little Nationalism.” The whole idea of national sovereignty is disdained in the Imperial City, because, after all, Washington is the epicenter of an empire that claims the right to intervene anywhere, for any reason whatsoever.

To get Catalonia wrong is to completely misunderstand what is going on in the world at the present moment. It is a failure to see what is the real role of nationalism is in the age of globalism; it is to blind oneself to emerging forces that are fighting against statism, mistake friends for enemies and vice-versa, and, tragically, it is to disarm the libertarian movement at the very moment when it needs to arm itself against error.


Catalan parties mull next steps as Spain prepares to impose direct rule

The Catalan parliament will meet Thursday to decide their response after Spain announced unprecedented measures to stop secession. A Catalan spokesman says the EU will lose credibility if Madrid imposes direct rule.

October 23, 2017


The Catalan parliament will meet on Thursday to discuss how to respond to the Spanish government’s threat it would impose direct rule, a lawmaker with the ruling separatist coalition said Monday.

The parliamentary session could provide Catalan separatist politicians with another opportunity to declare unilateral independence following an unauthorized referendum on October 1 that saw a huge majority voting for secession — albeit with a turnout of just 43 percent.

“What happens now, with everyone in agreement and unity, is that we will do and how,” said Catalan government spokesman Jordi Turull.

He denounced Madrid’s planned dismissal of Catalonia’s regional government as “a fully-fledged coup against Catalan institutions.”

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Saturday announced that he would dismiss Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and his administration and that Madrid would take over control of ministries in a bid to prevent the region from breaking away from Spain.

Catalonia, a region proud of its individual language and culture, has previously enjoyed autonomous control over its policing, school system and health care.

‘Worst attack since Franco’

Puigdemont has accused Rajoy of wanting to carry out “the worst attack on institutions and the Catalan people” since the 1939-1975 dictatorship of Francisco Franco, who took Catalonia’s powers away and forbade the official use of the Catalan language.

The foreign affairs spokesman for the Catalan goverment has called on the European Union to intervene to stop Madrid taking over in Catalonia.

“How can the European Union live with that situation if it appears?” Raul Romeva told BBC radio.

“How can they be credible if they allow this to happen? Because what I can tell you is that the people and the institutions in Catalonia would not let this … happen.”

The crisis in Catalonia comes as the EU continues to grapple with the problems posed by Britain’s imminent departure from the bloc and a wave of renewed nationalist tendencies in a number of countries.’Not a coup’

The Spanish government insists it is abiding by the rules in implementing Article 155 of its constitution.

“What we are doing is following strictly the provisions of our constitution,” Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis told BBC television.

Dastis also rejected accusations that Madrid was carrying out a “coup.”

“If there is a coup d’etat, it is one that has been followed by Mr. Puigdemont and his government,” he said.

The Spanish Senate, where support is high for the measures proposed by Rajoy, is set to approve them by the end of the week. Among other things, Madrid plans to take control of the Catalan police force, and call new elections for the regional parliament within six months as required by the constitution.

Call to disobedience

However, political analysts have warned of trouble ahead if Madrid tries to take control of the region, saying that Catalan police and civil servants could refuse to obey orders if they come from central authorities.

The far-left, pro-Catalan independence party Popular Unity Cadidacy (CUP) on Monday issued a call to “massive civil disobedience” in the face of Madrid’s planned takeover.

It described the coming few days as “a crucial week for the future of Catalonia,” and repeated a call for the Catalan parliament to proclaim independence as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, political analysts say that while Madrid’s actions are within the confines of the constitution the execution of the order raises a host of logistical questions.

What happens, for instance, if Catalan police and civil servants refuse to obey orders from the central authorities.

“What is going to happen if they don’t abide by it?” said Xavier Arbos Marin, a constitutional law professor at the University of Barcelona, raising the prospect of the government trying to “take them out by force.”

Some experts even question whether the government’s actions are legal altogether.

Separatists may also attempt to thwart Madrid’s plans by engaging in civil disobedience, such as blockading regional ministries to prevent officials sent by Madrid from entering.

“If police try to enter one of the Catalan institutions, there will be peaceful resistance,” said Ruben Wagensberg, spokesman for a new activist group En Pie de Paz.

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