Launching the U.S. Terror War: the CIA, 9/11, Afghanistan, and Central Asia

March 18, 2012

by Peter Dale Cott   source: Global Research   Mar 18, 2012

On September 11, 2001, within hours of the murderous 9/11 attacks, Bush, Rumsfeld, and Cheney had committed America to what they later called the “War on Terror.” It should more properly, I believe, be called the “Terror War,” one in which terror has been directed repeatedly against civilians by all participants, both states and non-state actors.1 It should also be seen as part of a larger, indeed global, process in which terror has been used against civilians in interrelated campaigns by all major powers, including China in Xinjiang and Russia in Chechnya, as well as the United States.2 Terror war in its global context should perhaps be seen as the latest stage of the age-long secular spread of transurban civilization into areas of mostly rural resistance — areas where conventional forms of warfare, for either geographic or cultural reasons, prove inconclusive.

Terror War was formally declared by George W. Bush on the evening of September 11, 2001, with his statement to the American nation that “we will make no distinction between the terrorists who committed these acts and those who harbor them.”3 But the notion that Bush’s terror war was in pursuit of actual terrorists lost credibility in 2003, when it was applied to Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, a country known to have been targeted by terrorists but not to have harbored them.4 It lost still more credibility with the 2005 publication in Britain of the so-called Downing Street memo, in which the head of the British intelligence service MI6 reported after a visit to Washington in 2002 that “Bush wanted to remove Saddam Hussein, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy.”5 False stories followed in due course linking Iraq to WMD, anthrax, and Niger yellowcake (uranium).

This essay will demonstrate that before 9/11 a small element inside the CIA’s Bin Laden Unit and related agencies, the so-called Alec Station Group, were also busy, “fixing” intelligence by suppressing it, in a way which, accidentally or deliberately, enabled the Terror War. They did so by withholding evidence from the FBI before 9/11 about two of the eventual alleged hijackers on 9/11, Khalid Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi, thus ensuring that the FBI could not surveil the two men or their colleagues.

This failure to share was recognized in the 9/11 Commission Report, but treated as an accident that might not have occurred “if more resources had been applied.”6 This explanation, however, has since been refuted by 9/11 Commission Chairman Tom Kean. Asked recently by two filmmakers if the failure to deal appropriately with al-Mihdhar and al-Hazmi could have been a simple mistake, Kean replied:

Oh, it wasn’t careless oversight. It was purposeful. No question about that .… The conclusion that we came to was that in the DNA of these organizations was secrecy. And secrecy to the point of ya don’t share it with anybody.7

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One Soldier, One Year: $850,000 and Rising

February 29, 2012

By Larry Shaughnessy   Source: CNN   Feb 29, 2012

Keeping one American service member in Afghanistan costs between $850,000 and $1.4 million a year, depending on who you ask. But one matter is clear, that cost is going up.

During a budget hearing today on Capitol Hill, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, asked Department of Defense leaders, “What is the cost per soldier, to maintain a soldier for a year in Afghanistan?” Under Secretary Robert Hale, the Pentagon comptroller, responded “Right now about $850,000 per soldier.”

Conrad seemed shocked at the number.
“That kind of takes my breath away, when you tell me it’s $850,000,” Conrad said

If that’s the case he’d really be shocked by the estimate that the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments reached about the same issue.

“The cost per troop in Afghanistan has averaged $1.2 million per troop per year,” the center’s Todd Harrison wrote in an analysis of last year’s Department of Defense budget.

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The Growing 9/11 Drone Army

February 20, 2012

Army Sees 11,000% Increase in US Army Drone Arsenal Over Last 10 Years Since: New Legislation Paves Way for 30,000 More Above the USA

Brian Romanoff       Nor Cal Truth     Feb 20, 2012

Never let it be said that the military industrial complex does not heavily rely on 9/11 to continue and thrive.

In October of 2001 the US Army had about 54 drones in its arsenal, however that would change soon after the attacks of 9/11. Some numbers are noted by the Scientific American:

The U.S. Army’s drone armada alone has expanded from 54 drones in October 2001, when U.S. combat operations began in Afghanistan, to more than 4,000 drones performing surveillance, reconnaissance and attack missions in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan (pdf).

There are more than 6,000 of them throughout the U.S. military as a whole, and continued developments promise to make these controversial aircraft—blamed for the deaths of militants as well as citizens—far more intelligent and nimble.

From 54 drones in 2001 to the current 6,000 in-stock, within 10 years of 9/11 the US Army saw a net increase of their drone arsenal by 11,000%.

That was then. This is now:

new law signed by Obama last week, HR 658,  is set to increase the amount of drones in the skies over the USA.  The Washington Times has this:

The legislation would order the FAA, before the end of the year, to expedite the process through which it authorizes the use of drones by federal, state and local police and other agencies.

Section 332 of the new FAA legislation also orders the agency to develop a system for licensing commercial drone flights as part of the nation’s air traffic control system by 2015.

The provision in the legislation is the fruit of “a huge push by lawmakers and the defense sector to expand the use of drones” in American airspace, she added.

The agency projects that 30,000 drones could be in the nation’s skies by 2020.

Business Insider points out important facts to remember:

This new bill follows up the Army’s January directive to use  drone fleets in the U.S. for training missions and “domestic  operations.”

And both of these initiatives are mandated in the NDAA  (section 1097) that calls for six drone test ranges to be operational within six  months of that bills signing December 31.

The commercial drone market would be worth hundreds of millions more  if the bill passes.

Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin and many other ‘Corporate Partners‘ are poised to profit heavily from the legislation. They are the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International or AUVSI, a conglomerate of ‘defense’ companies that essentially lobbied for and drafted HR 658.

Republic Report highlights the fact that AUVSI doubled its lobbying expenses last year:

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No 9/11 Trial This Year at Guantánamo War Court

October 4, 2011

source: Miami Herald    Oct 4, 2011

The trial of five Guantánamo captives accused of the Sept. 11 mass murder won’t begin until next year at the earliest under a timetable set out Monday by the legal authority in charge of the war court.

Retired Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald notified lawyers on both sides of the case that he will accept recommendations on whether the case should go forward as a death penalty prosecution until Jan 15, 2012. Moreover, he also set the same deadline for Pentagon-appointed lawyers to offer their opinions on whether all five men should be tried simultaneously.

Prosecutors swore out a capital case against confessed 9/11 plot mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed and his four alleged co-conspirators in May after Attorney General Eric Holder abandoned a plan to have a civilian judge and jury hear the case in a Manhattan federal court.

Since then, the case has been mired in delay while some members of the Pentagon-paid defense teams try to obtain security clearances to meet the accused at Guantánamo and start work on their cases.

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Rise of the Drones – UAVs After 9/11

October 4, 2011

by Randy Roughton    source: Armed with Science    Oct 4, 2011

Hummingbird drones fly at 11 mph and can perch on windowsills. The 3-foot-long Raven can be tossed into the air like a model airplane to spy over the next hill in Afghanistan. The Air Force’s new Gorgon Stare aerial drone sensor technology can capture live video of an entire city. From the RQ-4 Global Hawk and MQ-1 Predator to considerably smaller aerial drones in recent years, the Air Force has experienced an unmanned aircraft revolution in the decade since Sept. 11, 2001.

….

Long before 9/11, former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. John P. Jumper, then U.S. Air Forces in Europe commander, envisioned giving unmanned aerial vehicles offensive capability that would allow immediate action when their surveillance cameras spotted high-value targets. In 1999, RQ-1 Predators flew over Kosovo 24 hours per day in surveillance of hostile forces.

Almost seven months before 9/11, a Predator successfully fired a Hellfire missile in flight near Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. The same Predator was among the first three UAVs to deploy overseas on Sept. 12, 2001. By the height of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2005, Jumper told Congress he wanted to buy every Predator the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems in San Diego could build, and the Air Force announced it would buy 144 Predators and increase the squadrons of robotic spy planes from three to 12 in the next five years.

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9/11 and the Economy: Counting the $5 Trillion in Costs to America

September 2, 2011

Nor Cal Truth   Sep 2, 2011

Al Jazeera provided an interactive breakdown on how much 9/11 has cost  to the American economy in 10 years.

I have outlined it below in short; further down is the longer version with explanation details for each main and sub-category. It is stated that many of these categories are conservative calculations and that many categories are certain to rise in cost.

Note: $5 trillion dollars is equal to 5 million millions.

Counting the Cost:   $5,000,000,000,000   ($5 Trillion)

DEBT – $983 billion:

  • Interest to Date……………..$183 Billion
  • Future Interest………………$800 Billion

MILITARY – $1.73 trillion:

  • War in Iraq…………………….$758 billion
  • War in Afghanistan…………$416 billion
  • Pentagon Base Budget…..$425 billion
  • State/USAID: ………………..$67 billion
  • Health Care……………………$31 billion
  • Operation Noble Eagle…..$29 billion
ECONOMY – $278 billion:
  • Tourism ………………………..$163 billion
  • NYC Economy……………….$52 billion
  • Insurance……………………..$39 billion
  • Property Damage………….$18 billion
  • First Responders…………..$5 billion
  • Aviation………………………..$1 billion

FUTURE MILITARY – $1.38 trillion:

  • Disability……………………….$586 billion
  • Future War Spending……$441 billion
  • Future Health Care ………$348 billion

DOMESTIC – $540 billion:

  • DHS Base Budget……….$311 billion
  • Intelligence…………………$168 billion
  • TSA…………………………….$57 billion
  • State/Local…………………$3 billion

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Former Bush Official Promises to Testify if Someone will ‘Pinochet’ Cheney

September 1, 2011

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson: If someone will ‘Pinochet’ Cheney, I’ll testify

 

source: Raw Story   Sep 1, 2011

The former chief of staff to Secretary of State Colin Powell pledged Tuesday to testify against former Vice President Dick Cheney if he is ever tried for war crimes.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson told Democracy Now‘s Amy Goodman that he would participate in a trial even if it meant personal repercussions.

“I, unfortunately — and I’ve admitted to this a number of times, publicly and privately — was the person who put together Colin Powell’s presentation at the United Nations Security Council on 5 February, 2003,” Wilkerson said. “It was probably the biggest mistake of my life. I regret it to this day. I regret not having resigned over it.”

In an interview that aired on NBC Monday, Cheney told Jamie Gangel that unlike President George W. Bush, he did not have a “sickening feeling” when they discovered there were no weapons of mass destruction after the invasion of Iraq.

“I think we did the right thing,” Cheney said.

Joining Wilkerson and Goodman to discuss Cheney’s new book “In My Time,” Salon’s Glenn Greenwald said that it was disturbing to see the former vice president treated simply as an “elder statesman.”

“The evidence is overwhelming… that Dick Cheney is not just a political figure with controversial views, but is an actual criminal, that he was centrally involved in a whole variety not just of war crimes in Iraq, but of domestic crimes, as well, including the authorization of warrantless eavesdropping on American citizens in violation of FISA, which says that you go to jail for five years for each offense, as well as the authorization and implementation of a worldwide torture regime that, according to General Barry McCaffrey, resulted in the murder — his word — of dozens of detainees, far beyond just the three or four cases of waterboarding that media figures typically ask Cheney about,” Greenwald explained.

“And as a result, Dick Cheney goes around the country profiting off of this, you know, sleazy, sensationalistic, self-serving book, basically profiting from his crimes, and at the same time normalizing the idea that these kind of policies, though maybe in the view of some wrongheaded, are perfectly legitimate political choices to make. And I think that’s the really damaging legacy from all of this.”

“Colonel Wilkerson, do you think the Bush administration officials should be held accountable in the way that Glenn Greenwald is talking about?” Goodman asked.

“I certainly do,” Wilkerson replied. “And I’d be willing to testify, and I’d be willing to take any punishment I’m due. And I have to say, I agree with almost everything [Greenwald] just said. And I think that explains the aggressiveness, to a large extent, of the Cheney attack and of the words like ‘exploding heads all over Washington.’ This is a book written out of fear, fear that one day someone will ‘Pinochet’ Dick Cheney.”

Wilkerson was referring to former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, who was arrested in London in 1998 after being indicted for crimes against humanity. It was the first time the principle of universal jurisdiction had been applied to a former foreign head of state.

Watch this video from Democracy Now, broadcast Aug. 30, 2011.