Sunday, April 23, 2006

Site Reviews: Some Interesting Sites with Quirks

From now on I'll tend to do site reviews in groups - there are so many out there, I think this will work out better than trying to cover each is a separate blog. Today's reviews focus on a set of interesting sites that have some distinct caveats. I've found that in order to get the true story behind the mainstream news, it can be helpful to wade through sites that contain some strange points of views and odd material. People who distrust and want to look beyond the mainstream news tend to have idiosyncratic personalities and relish the role of the outsider; it's the nature of the beast. That doesn't mean they don't have good information or should be totally dismissed.


The first two sites I discuss, Madsen's and Hopsicker's, are essentially investigative sites.


The second two are sites with some analysis and lots of news links, and both are sites that have major caveats. Despite these, I find them useful and visit them often.


Wayne Madsen Report


Site: www.waynemadsenreport.com


Primary author: Wayne Madsen


Madsen focuses on investigative work in Washington DC. He often comes up with original material, and while it can be difficult to verify, I suspect that much, though not all, of it is accurate. He can be pretty opinionated, and occasionally he does seem to blow things out of proportion. The site can also be full of the minutiae about the details of his investigations. For example, he might list the check numbers of every financial transaction tracked down in a "follow the money" trail, or the plane numbers of every plane involved in a CIA rendition or drug smuggling operation. That can be a lot to wade through. But he does come up with original information, and he tends to update his reports daily, so I typically visit this site a few times a week.



Mad Cow Morning News


Site: www.madcowprod.com


Primary Author: Daniel Hopsicker


Like Madsen, Hopsicker does a lot of original investigative work. He has achieved a significant amount of fame in conspiracy circles for his investigation into Mohammed Atta, which is described in his book "Welcome to Terrorland". This book is, essentially, a very interesting piece of investigative journalism written in a trash novel sort of way. Luckily, the core of his findings, that the FBI timeline involving Atta and its depiction of him as a devout practicing Muslim are totally false, have been recognized and disseminated quite widely. The book also gives some insight into how the local press, after an event such as 9/11, initially does some good investigative work before that is shut down and reversed. And his investigations into the people surrounding Atta and the airports he trained at gives a feeling for the seamy side of the people involved in at least one level of the 9/11 operation.


He continues to do investigative work, almost entirely Florida based (and there's a lot going on down there to investigate), and this site publishes the results of those investigations. Unlike Madsen's reports, these come back only sporadically, so the site need not be checked frequently to keep track of what Hopsicker's up to.



What Really Happened


Site: www.whatreallyhappened.com


Primary Author: Michael Rivero


I view Rivero as being part of the "right wing" branch of conspiracy theorists, though I'm not sure that's a fair characterization - I just tend to group the anti-gun control guys that way. His site has a lot of interesting analyses on all sorts of events, and they're usually quite good; he also updates his news links every day. But there are some major caveats. The biggest is that he has an extreme - well, let's say, "focus" - on Israel, and especially Israeli spying and the Israeli influence on the US. I'm not so sure I'd go so far as to call him anti-semitic, but there's no question it's personal. His first wife was Jewish. I'm guessing it wasn't such a good experience. He's also a bit of a sarcastic wise guy.


Nonetheless, he updates the site daily with interesting news and opinion links, and I go there pretty much every day. And his own analyses of "conspiratorial" events are pretty involved and insightful. If you can get past the Israel obsession and the sarcasm, the site has a lot to offer.



Prison Planet


Site: www.prisonplanet.com (related sites: www.propagandamatrix.com, www.infowars.com)


Primary Editor: Alex Jones


Alex Jones is one of these outlandish "the world is a police state" type of radio hosts that I would have thought was crazy 10 years ago. But, alas, the powers that be have done more than meet him halfway, so his site now seems moderately, if not totally, sane. He occasionally writes an "I told you so" article. The site is also heavily commercialized, and as he gains in success due to the desire for this kind of information he gets even more shameless about peddling his wares.


The site tends to have lots of news links in this "police state" theme, and some fairly over the top articles. Jones also interviews many people, most legitimate, who are involved in attempting to expose things such as 9/11 - I can't say I've listened to these, as they're an option that requires a paid subscription, though I've read some transcripts, and they tend to be OK if you ignore the Alex Jones part. Jones himself is obsessed with such conspiracy red herrings as "Bohemian Grove" and the "Illuminati". Despite this, Jones' site does offer a lot of interesting news links, interviews, and occasionally some new information, so I tend to check it out pretty often.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Some Responses

Most of the responses I get to what I write come to me via email to articles that are published in OpEdNews, not to this blog, so I thought I'd write about them briefly here.


By far the most came to the Israel Lobby piece. They come out of the woodwork for that kind of stuff. (By the way, the NY Times, the Great Satan of the printed press, actually had a pretty good oped piece about that a few days ago, and Normon Solomon wrote an excellent article on it - almost as good as mine.) The response to that was essentially half favorable, a quarter calling me an anti-semitic Israel hater, and a quarter calling me a zionist Israel lover. Can't please everybody.


Surprisingly, I've gotten a number of responses to my little Go Army ditty. Pretty much a number people saying "right on, put those MFers in the brig". There's a lot of pent up anger out there - good to know I'm not the only one.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

GO ARMY!!!

If anyone had told me, years ago, that I'd be behind a military coup in America, I would've laughed in their faces. Are you kidding? Please.


But right now, I'd welcome one. The people in uniform are so much better, so much more in touch with reality, than our civilian leadership.


There's a reason for this. They experience war. It's their friends that die. It's their friends that are maimed. They understand war firsthand.


Right now, they're calling for Rumsfeld's resignation. Good call. Excellent call.


As usual, there are public reasons, and private reasons.


The public reasons are that he's screwed up Iraq and intimidates our soldiers' leaders into following his ill-laid plans. Those are excellent reasons, and do cut to the heart of the matter.


But there are other reasons that do not show up in the news.


I think the main one, and the one that is driving the issue and its publicity right now, is the plan to bomb, and very possibly nuke, Iran.


This has been reported for a while, and has been brought to the attention of the mainstream media by Seymour Hersh's article about it.


This seems to have drawn a line for those in service. There have been so many travesties, and this was the last straw. They had to speak up.


Bad enough to kill Americans by doing 9/11. Bad enough to bring false pretenses to start a war in Iraq. Bad enough to foment a civil war in Iraq in order to weaken the country and keep it under American control.


But nuking a country? Breaking that taboo? That was crossing a line even a good soldier has trouble crossing.


I want to give my greatest thanks to the generals that are standing up, and standing for what is right in America. We'd be a lot better off if they were in charge.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

JFK and 9/11

Doug Thompson recently recounted a discussion he had many years ago with John Connally, the Texas governor who was shot during the Kennedy assassination.



Connolly was both gracious and charming and told us many stories about Texas politics. As the evening wore on and the multiple bourbon and branch waters took their effect, he started talking about November 22, 1963, in Dallas.


"You know I was one of the ones who advised Kennedy to stay away from Texas," Connally said. "Lyndon (Johnson) was being a real asshole about the whole thing and insisted."


Connally's mood darkened as he talked about Dallas. When the bullet hit him, he said he felt like he had been kicked in the ribs and couldn't breathe. He spoke kindly of Jackie Kennedy and said he admired both her bravery and composure.


I had to ask. Did he think Lee Harvey Oswald fired the gun that killed Kennedy?


"Absolutely not," Connally said. "I do not, for one second, believe the conclusions of the Warren Commission."


So why not speak out?


"Because I love this country and we needed closure at the time. I will never speak out publicly about what I believe."



I'd gone back and forth on the JFK thing, it seemed possible to make arguments both ways. But once I started researching 9/11, and understood more about how this kind of thing is done, it became quite obvious that JFK, as well as RFK, were not shot by "lone gunmen".


When I'd looked at this before, it didn't seem that relevant. At worst, a historical injustice.


My point of view has changed.


In many, many ways, the JFK assassination set the stage. It proved to those who did it that you could do something that dramatic, that heinous to the average citizen, and get away with it. It proved that you could fabricate a cover story and that the press would cooperate . It proved that you could quash dissent and investigation. And it proved that you could do it in America.


There seems to be a strong feeling on the left that, somehow, 9/11 is irrelevant. That to focus on it distracts from "real" issues such as Iraq and domestic spying. Again, almost to minimize the importance of 9/11, treat it as bygone history, and concentrate only on the misuse of the event by the administration.


There are a number of problems with this approach. It leaves in place the people that did it, and the mechanisms used for covering it up. It leaves in place the use of the "war on terror" as justification for the current administration's abuses, and allows the 9/11 rallying cry to continued to be used, and often accepted, to justify these abuses. And it leaves open the very distinct possibility that this kind of attack will be used again to justify further abuses.


There's a misconception that there is no proof for 9/11 being an inside job. There's plenty of proof. Obstruction of investigation before and after the fact, the NORAD failure, buildings collapsing in ways that could only be explained by planted explosives, planes being flown in ways the alleged hijackers could not have flown them, some of those very hijackers still being alive. There isn't just one smoking gun here - there are dozens of them (this is a good place to start research). What the left seems to want is some sort of "official" acknowledgement, one that will never come - just as Connally would never acknowledge publicly what he knew.


There is a strong tendency to deny and try to explain away the evidence. Part of the difficulty in accepting the reality behind 9/11 is confronting the significance not just of the nature of the event but what it and the surrounding cover-up implies. The harder part is not necessarily believing that some people in our own country would do such a thing, but that the entire government and media would assist in the deception that followed. An essay in 911truth.org says it best:



Understanding the full truth of 9/11 seems to require two separate awakenings.


The first, awakening to the fraudulence of the "official 9/11 story," is a pretty simple brain function and only requires a little study, logic or curiosity. ...


The second step, however, consciously confronting the implications of that knowledge -- and what it says about our media, politics and economic system today -- is by far the harder awakening ...



I found that reflected exactly what I had to go through. After seeing the overwhelming evidence on 9/11, it was Kristina Borjesson's essay on her experience investigating TWA800 in her book "Into the Buzzsaw" that was the final straw. It showed that the prototypical "conspiracy theorist" mechanisms of false investigations by the FBI and suppression of investigation by the media were, in fact, in place well before 9/11; that even under the Clinton administration, one that was far less repressive than the current one, such things occurred.


This is one of the reasons it is important to confront 9/11 directly. In a sense it is like a flare that was sent up to illuminate and expose those willing to do such an act and those willing to go along with it. Not acknowledging it means living under the illusion that the media honestly reports the news, something that I've learned is patently false. And this dishonesty is pervasive: most people understand that Fox distorts the news; far fewer realize that the New York Times does as well.


One of the keys to changing the current system is to discuss events such as 9/11 as openly as possible. To not be afraid of the "conspiracy theorist" label, which is exactly one of the fears those doing this use to try to socially isolate and ridicule people who understand their actions and try to publicize them.


What they do works because they create a world view, a "reality", so that people who question it, especially about something so important, seem crazy. As a Bush aide once said, "We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality". Nowhere was this more successfully done than with 9/11. Given the patriotic fervor the cover story for the event generated, it was relatively simple to suppress any expressions of doubt in its veracity.


But this changes as more and more people begin to connect the dots and see how the administration uses 9/11. Most of those trying to publicize problems with the official version now, such as David Ray Griffin and Steven Jones (1,2), only looked into it when they noted the abuse of the event by the government; many more are doing that every day, and the notion is not nearly as outlandish to most now as it might have seemed a few years ago.


There is a fairly direct lineage from the perpetrators of the sixties assassinations, through the Watergate and Iran-Contra scandals, to 9/11; the group of people who seem to enjoy and are able to implement covert actions in the name of maintaining power and modifying policy is alive and well and stronger than ever. They're currently attempting to consolidate their control through vote fraud, an effort that started showing results in the 2000 elections. There's no reason to think they won't continue to use these techniques if they continue to go unrecognized and unpunished.


There have been a number of false terrorist attacks abroad since 9/11, and domestic ones still appear to be on the table as an option. A GOP memo conjectured how another "terrorist" attack might help Bush's ratings, and Cheney discussed the possibility of a 9/11-like event precipitating an attack on Iran. As more people catch on, it makes the selling of the false reality of an attack difficult, and the attack less likely to take place. So, for example, when Ron Paul says "Fear of imaginary nuclear weapons or an incident involving Iran – whether planned or accidental – will rally the support needed for us to move on Muslim country #3" he may actually be lessening the possibility of such a "planned incident".


A lot is at stake here. Jim Garrison once said that "fascism will come to America in the name of national security." Incredibly prescient; that's exactly what's happening now. It's no coincidence that this administration has borrowed on the "big lie" technique perfected by the nazis. In fighting it, it's best to face reality, and not believe one of their biggest lies.