Saturday, March 6, 2010

"It's the DEBT!"
We're Doing Something About it!
Come Join the Swarm!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mortgage Bankers Assn. Defaults on Headquarters Loan and Rep. Grayson educates Wall Street and Banksters on Capitalism

By Martin Andelman 02/11/2010

The CEO of the powerful Mortgage Bankers Association, John Courson, has said that underwater borrowers should keep paying on their mortgage loans and “should not walk away from lawful debts”. In an interview this past year, Courson appeared genuinely concerned adding: “What about the message they will send to their family and their kids and their friends?”

Obviously, Mr. Courson was not just speaking as a defender of financial institutions. Clearly, he was showing how much he cares for people and their personal relationships. He believes the children are our future. He thinks we should teach them well and let them lead the way. That we should show them all the beauty they posses inside. Give them a sense of pride. To make it easier… let the children’s laughter… remind us how we used to be.

Thank you John… you’re no Whitney Houston, but you’ve got me all teary eyed over here.

There’s just one little, teeny-tiny, almost insignificant smidgeon of a problem with what the Mortgage Bankers Association’s CEO was saying: He was completely full of shit.

This past week, the Co-Star Group, Inc., indicated that it had agreed to buy the MBA’s 10-story headquarters building in DC for $41.3 million. The only problem is that $41.3 million comes up a skosh shy of the $75 million first mortgage on the building that the MBA took out from PNC Financial Group way back in 2007, when they purchased the property for $79 million.

You remember 2007, don’t you John? That was the last year that all of those irresponsible homeowners, thinking real estate prices would go up forever, kept over leveraging themselves, buying properties without the traditional 20% down payment. What a bunch of irresponsible idiots, right Johnny Boy? Now that the bubble has popped, those homeowners should just be taking their medicine like men, don’t you agree John? The last thing they should do is walk away from their lawful debts, isn’t that what you said?

So I mean, what kind of message are YOU now sending to your family, your children, and your friends by walking away from your lawful $75 million debt? Are they being morally harmed by your decision to stick the bank with close to $25 million? And why aren’t you simply paying your mortgage as agreed, Mr. Courson? You’re not trying to destroy prices of commercial properties in Washington D.C. are you?

Just last year, you pointed out that defaults hurt neighborhoods by lowering property values, so borrowers would do less harm to our society were they just to repay what they owe. You know… like the responsible homeowners.

(Oh, and this just in from my favorite bankruptcy attorney and all-around thought leader, Max Gardner, the MBA also defaulted on their payments and secured a forbearance agreement, prior to the short sale. Nicely done, Johnny-O. Maybe you should open a loan mod firm and start helping homeowners.)

Well, I think I’ve got your message, Mr. Courson. I know exactly what you wanted to say to your family, your children and your friends…

Do as I say. Not as I pay.

Does that about sum it up for you, Mr. John Courson?

Yeah, I thought so.


Rep. Grayson educates banks on Capitalism

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Great News Only 14% of the nations 130.6 million homes are vacant.

The U.S. Census Bureau reported this week that 18.9 million out of the nations 130.6 million homes are now vacant. The Obama Administration was quick to claim victory claiming that this new data represents clear proof that the president’s plan to stabilize the U.S. housing market is working beyond anyone’s expectations.

“At this rate, our banks will have successfully foreclosed on a full one third of all of the homes in the country by 2014. We didn’t think we could get this many people bankrupt and on the street during the president’s first term,” said Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. “With this kind of success under our belt, we may even try to kill a few million more jobs this calendar year, in stead of waiting until next year as we had originally planned.”

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Obama Lives, only, at the pleasure of the Military elite

John Hankey is the author of the following compelling analysis that considers if President Obama is under threat to comply with US military orders for supporting war escalation (and its funding). This is part one of two.

John is the creator of the stunning and historically accurate documentary, "Dark Legacy: George Bush and the assassination of JFK." A 10-minute excerpt from the video is at the end of the article.

This documentary is the historical favorite of my history students and the single-best JFK assassination analysis that I’ve reviewed. “Dark Legacy” walks viewers through the independently verifiable evidence that has two-thirds to three-fourths of Americans conclude the US government story of President Kennedy's assassination is provably false (these polls include ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS).

John did not start out as an Obama admirer; he wrote that Obama looked hand-picked by the darkest fascist forces within our government and was surrounded by them in his campaign. John currently observes that perhaps Obama has burned them; leaving them behind when he became President.

John had an interview with veteran JFK assassination analyst and author, Jim Fetzer, to discuss this topic. Jim also interviewed me to discuss unlawful wars in Iraq, Iran, and the role of the CIA.

John's article, printed with his permission; part one of two:

The parallels between the administrations of Barack Obama and John Kennedy are stunning:

1. Both engaged in what might be called "Election Deception" During the 1960 election, Kennedy attacked Nixon for being soft on communism, particularly Cuba. In his book, 6 Crises, Nixon complained, bitterly and accurately, that this was an unscrupulous deception on Kennedy's part. Kennedy had been briefed that Nixon and the CIA were planning a full scale invasion of Cuba. So, even though he knew it wasn’t true, Kennedy attacked Nixon from the right, claiming that he, Kennedy, was more of a hawk on Cuba than Nixon. As soon as he got in, Kennedy told the CIA to forget their invasion plans; the CIA went ahead anyway at the Bay of Pigs; and Kennedy fired the top three men at CIA for disobeying his orders.*1 The military shared Nixon's perception that Kennedy was a liar and a traitor.

During the 2004 election, Obama surrounded himself with hawks like Zbigniew Brzezinski, and attacked Bush from the right, saying that he had neglected "the right war," the war in Afghanistan, and that he, Obama, would transfer troops and treasure to the effort in Afghanistan. However, once he got in, Obama brought none of the Brzezinski people with him. None of them. Not Richard Clark. Not Anthony Lake (both of whom were very active in Obama's campaign, and are very deep-cover operatives for the darkest side of the Pentagon). And, as you will see, Obama fought bitterly with the military over their desire for more troops.

2. Both Kennedy and Obama experienced a dramatic change of attitude toward the military early in their presidencies. Even if Obama did not perpetrate a deception to win the election, after he was sworn in got in, his thinking and attitude toward the military began to change dramatically, sharpen and harden against them. This directly parallels what happened to Kennedy.

I don't regard Bob Woodward as a fundamentally reliable source, but to be an effective liar he has to tell important truths sometimes. And I believe there is good reason to credit the story he tells below, inadvertently revealing the development of Obama's thinking on the war in Afghanistan. It describes a briefing given by Obama's National Security Advisor, Jim Jones, to the military commanders in Afghanistan:

During the briefing, [Marine Brigadier General] Nicholson had told Jones that he was "a little light," more than hinting that he could use more forces, probably thousands more. "We don't have enough force to go everywhere," Nicholson said.

But Jones recalled how Obama had initially decided to deploy additional forces this year. "At a table much like this," Jones said, referring to the polished wood table in the White House Situation Room, "the president's principals met and agreed to recommend 17,000 more troops for Afghanistan." The principals -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton; Gates; Mullen; and the director of national intelligence, Dennis C. Blair -- made this recommendation in February during the first full month of the Obama administration. The president approved the deployments, which included Nicholson's Marines.

Soon after that, Jones said, the principals told the president, "oops," we need an additional 4,000 to help train the Afghan army.

"They then said, 'If you do all that, we think we can turn this around,' " Jones said, reminding the Marines here that the president had quickly approved and publicly announced the additional 4,000.

Now suppose you're the president, Jones told them, and the requests come into the White House for yet more force. How do you think Obama might look at this? Jones asked, casting his eyes around the colonels. How do you think he might feel?

Jones let the question hang in the air-conditioned, fluorescent-lighted room. Nicholson and the colonels said nothing.

Well, Jones went on, after all those additional troops, 17,000 plus 4,000 more, if there were new requests for force now, the president would quite likely have "a Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment." Everyone in the room caught the phonetic reference to W-T-F -- which in the military and elsewhere means "What The F(expletive) ?"
-- Bob Woodward; The Washington Post; Jul 1, 2009; A.1;

My take on the above is that Obama came in somewhat open minded on Afghanistan. In his first month in office, he asked the military what they needed; they told him, and he gave them 17,000 troops without a blink. When they turned around and asked for another 4,ooo just a few months later, Obama was disconcerted. If these guys knew what they were doing, they should have been right the first time about how many troops they needed. But without a complaint, he gave them another 4 thousand men. When the generals started to press for more, Obama had his w-t-f moment, and sent Jones to straighten them out. Jones was telling the generals that requesting more troops would be showing Obama that they are clueless. Obama has tried to show his awareness that there are thousands of lives in the balance.

Kennedy had his Whiskey Tango Foxtrot moment at the Bay of Pigs, and again during the Cuban Missile Crisis*2. He came to see his military advisors and commanders as blind-to-the-point-of-insane ideologues. And the quote above I think shows that Obama's developing vision of the military has closely paralleled the development of Kennedy's vision of these professional killers.

3. Kennedy faced, and Obama faces a military full of ideologues
Curtis LeMay is the most infamous of the insanely rabid military advisors Kennedy had. LeMay, against specific orders, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, sent a U2 spy plane flying into Russian airspace, apparently hoping that the Russians would think this was an attack and push the red button. LeMay was confident that in the full-scale nuclear exchange that would follow, the US would suffer 30 to 50 million casualties, tops, but the Russians would be wiped out. Hurray! We'd win! LeMay and his peers were livid that Kennedy was refusing to send troops to Vietnam.

For the past eight years, Bush has forced into retirement those military leaders with an objective approach to fighting "terrorism"; and he has promoted Muslim-hating Christian ideologues who seek a new-age Christian Crusade against the Muslim heretics. *22

An objective military observer must question the idea of equating "insurgents" with "terrorists": There has never been even a suggestion that the Taliban were involved in attacks on the US. The Taliban government of Afghanistan offered to hand over Osama if the US could provide evidence of his guilt. But the US invaded instead of providing evidence. In this context, the "insurgents" are, essentially and merely, patriots who oppose the domination of their country by foreign troops. This is a common view within the Obama administration:

Supporters of (Vice-President Joe) Biden's view (that no more troops should be sent) argue that adding more troops would actually make the problem worse, not better, because the Taliban draw support from the fiercely nationalist Pashtun ethnic group in Afghanistan and Pakistan, who will mobilize to resist a long-term occupation. "The real fact is, the more people we put in, the more opposition there will be," says Selig Harrison, a longtime observer of Afghanistan at the Center for International Policy. (Rolling Stone *3)

One need not agree with this view to recognize that it is reasoned and legitimate. But this viewpoint is not represented in the military that Obama inherited from Bush. Senior officers with this point of view were forced into retirement under Bush. And Obama is faced with commanders such as Lt. Gen. David Barno, a "counter-insurgency" advocate who served as commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan: "We're going to be involved in this type of activity in a number of countries for the next 15 to 20 years." Barno does not just want to wipe out the Taliban. He wants to expand the conflict to other countries and carry it on for generations. What does Barno's plan, to kill Afghan patriots, have to do with eliminating "terrorism"?

And a more terrifying question: These trained killers from the military currently have the blood of hundreds of thousands of Muslims on their hands. They have watched at close range as 1000's of young American soldiers have been slaughtered. How do you supposed they feel about a Black president, born to a Muslim father, trained in Muslim schools, telling them they can't have any more troops for their holy war against Muslims? "Rabid" seems a likely answer.

I am not the first to see the parallels between Kennedy’s and Obama’s conflicts with the military.

The first article I saw on this topic was by Berkeley Professor Peter Dale Scott. *3 Robert Parry has written importantly on the topic (see *12).

Lawrence Wilkerson, a former top aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell, observed in the Rolling Stone article*3, "It's going to take John Kennedy-type courage to turn to his Curtis LeMay and say, 'No, we're not going to bomb Cuba’. It took a lot of courage on Kennedy's part to defy the Pentagon, defy the military — and do the right thing." I must assume that Wilkerson is not familiar with the details of how John Kennedy's conflict with the military ended. See section 8 below for some of those pertinent details. There can not be a reasonable doubt that the military killed JFK.

4. Kennedy sought out Military advisors not committed to or dominated by the Pentagon. Obama has done likewise. The "Jim Jones" from the long quote (in section 2 above), is a familiar figure; that is, he reminds me of the kind of man that Kennedy brought in to advise him. He is a former Marine general. He has impeccable "toughness" credentials. But he is not a Muslim-hating ideologue, out to wage a modern crusade against Islam, to win back the holy land, I mean the holy oil, for Jesus. So he was forced into retirement by Bush. But Obama picked him up out of retirement and made him National Security Advisor. Kennedy had such people in his administration. Roger Hillsman was a WWII hero, who Kennedy made his undersecretary for South East Asian affairs. Hillsman looked at Vietnam, and saw what Kennedy saw; and he saw what many observers of Afghanistan see today:

1) an utterly corrupt, inept, cowardly, self-interested puppet regime with no constituency among the local people;
2) a dedicated, heroic, entrenched opposition with roots 1000 years deep among the locals; and
3) an ideology-driven military willing to make ridiculous promises of success, "if only we can get just one more troop increase"; with a nearly unlimited thirst for "insurgent" blood; and with no understanding of the limits of their power.

5. The military overtly challenged Kennedy’s right as commander-in-chief to set policy. Their treatment of Obama has been similarly outrageous.
Kennedy rejected the military’s recommendation for an invasion of Cuba at the Bay of Pigs; and the military, led by the CIA, went ahead with it anyway. JFK rejected the military’s suggestion that the US should overthrow Diem, the president of South Vietnam; the military not only organized Diem’s overthrow, they assassinated him. And of course, for three years Kennedy steadfastly refused their pressure to commit combat troops to Vietnam. Obama's military has similarly challenged his right to set military policy.

After Obama sent Jim Jones to Afghanistan to let his generals know that they had gotten all the troops they were going to get (as described in section 2 above) Stanley McChrystal began a campaign for more troops that was insubordinate to the point of being illegal. The endnote below (*3) contains the full story as outlined in Rolling Stone. McChrystal responded to Jones' visit and message by writing a demand for 40,000 troops, which he immediately, and illegally, leaked it to the press. The Republican leadership demanded that McChrystal be brought before the Senate to have a national stage for his defiance of Obama's attempts to set policy. McChrystal went on 60 Minutes to complain that Obama was not listening to him; and then flew into London to publicly call Obama "shortsighted". Obama flew to Europe and ordered McChrystal to meet with him on his plane. Two days later, Jim Jones rebuked McChrystal for failing to “follow the chain of command."

But on December 1st, Obama caved in to McChrystal and committed to send an additional 30,000 troops; even though the American public, the Democratic leadership in the Congress, and his closest advisors were overwhelmingly dead set against it. What happened? Obama tried, in this speech, to maintain a shred of dignity and authority by saying that the primary role of these troops would be to win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people; and he promised that they would begin to head home in 18 months. Eight days later, he was roundly contradicted on every score, simultaneously, by a quartet of men we ought to regard as his underlings:

Hamid Karzai, the US installed, officially illegitimate "president" of Afghanistan, who owes his position, security, and daily bread to the US, overtly contradicted Obama's statements about the limits of the US commitment, telling a press conference that "Afghanistan's security forces will need U.S. support for another 15 to 20 years"*5

On the same podium, on the same day, Robert M. Gates, US Secretary of Defense (and Karzai's apparent puppet master) echoed this same affront to Obama, saying "it will be some time before Afghanistan is able to sustain its security forces entirely on its own ... whether that's 15 or 20 years".*5 (It should be noted in red letters that Gates was appointed by Bush, and carried over by Obama.)

On the same day, the LA Times reports McChrystal told the Senate, "that the U.S. needed to signal a long-term commitment in Afghanistan".*5

Such calls for a long term US commitment not only contradict the stated policy of the President, but they are overt provocations to legitimate Afghan nationalists. They not only undermine official US policy, but they serve the recruiting efforts of the "insurgents;" thereby putting the lives of American soldiers at greater risk; and not only constitute insubordination, but speeches by the military constitute an illegal and anti-democratic attempt by unelected military officials to dictate political policy, a virtual military coup of the President’s powers and duties.

6. Both Obama and JFK were faced with faced with overt threats of assassination. On November 22, 1963, Dallas was filled with wanted posters calling for Kennedy to be given the death penalty for treason. The NY Times carried an op-ed on September 29, 2009 talking about the “very dangerous” climate now in America, “the same kind of climate here that existed in Israel on the eve of the Rabin assassination.” Four days later, on October 3rd, the Wall Street Journal pointed to three overt physical threats to Obama: a poll on Facebook asking whether the president should be assassinated, a column on a conservative Web site suggesting a military coup is in the works and Rep. Trent Franks (R., Ariz.) calling Mr. Obama "an enemy of humanity." *7

JFK felt, and Obama feels, threatened by the military
JFK encouraged and assisted Hollywood in the making of "Seven Days in May," a fictional account of a military coup in the US. Kennedy wanted this story to be told. He thought the American people needed to be alerted to the threat to democracy posed by the military. No one knows what went on in his head, but it is reasonable to conclude that he felt this was a real and important threat. Robert Parry has written that Obama had a “Seven Days In May moment”, meaning that he felt the threat of a military coup, when he began trying to withdraw troops from Iraq. (This is another critically important news article. see *12)

The Rolling Stone article says that in October, "the Pentagon and top military brass were trying to make the President an offer he couldn't refuse." Now - "an offer he can't refuse" is a reference to the movie, The Godfather. In the movie, the man who receives the "offer he can't refuse" wakes up and finds that the head of his prized horse has been cut off and put in the bed next to him while he was asleep; in order to send the message: "We are brutal. We are killers. We got into your bedroom. If we had wanted to kill you, we would have. Next time we will. If you want to live, don't let there be an next time." The author of the Rolling Stone article does not have superhuman powers of perception. But he has written a detailed article on the relations between Obama and his military. And he has included this suggestion of overt threats of death made to Obama by the military. And the article goes on, "They (the generals) wanted the president to escalate the war — go all in by committing 40,000 more troops and another trillion dollars to a Vietnam-like quagmire — or face a full-scale mutiny by his generals." And what is "a full-scale mutiny"? It means a coup. That is what it means, clearly, plainly, and simply.

The insightful author of this insightful article, Robert Dreyfus, clearly feels that the military wants Obama to feel threatened.

7. Kennedy was plagued, and Obama is plagued, with a Secret Service that is grossly incompetent. If you need proof beyond Kennedy's murder, see the endnote*8 The failures of the Secret Service to protect Obama are worse. At the very least, it can be said in favor of Kennedy’s Secret Service that they did not allow the shooters onto the White House grounds. The incident of the so-called "Party Crashers," has to give Obama pause. The Salahis, the uninvited guests, the husband and wife team who walked into White House reception for the Indian Prime Minister, easily penetrated the most high-security affair to take place at the White House in recent memory. The Indian Prime Minister is regarded as a prime target for Muslim extremists, and everyone present could be considered at great risk from a security lapse. Whatever else can be said of the Salahis, they presented a starkly clear message to Obama: "you are not protected. Your Secret Service is criminally negligent, if not just criminal.”

8. Is the Military threatening to kill Obama? The evidence of the involvement of the military in the assassination of JFK is, I think, beyond dispute*9. Certainly, this evidence has given every president since Kennedy nightmares about the risks involved in taking on the military Kennedy, like Obama, was under fierce pressure to send troops to Vietnam.*10 And as you will see, the military has taken steps to make Obama feel that his life is in grave danger at their hands.

Vice president Biden, and Obama’s chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, have both been outspoken in their opposition to sending troops to Afghanistan. They are both Obama spokesmen. It may be assumed that at all times they speak for the president. And yet they spent the 10 months before the President's Dec. 1 speech, undercutting the President's final decision to send troops. *11 Does that make any sense? Two weeks before the President’s speech, Obama’s ambassador to Afghanistan wrote Obama a memo in which he warned against sending troops to support a regime so corrupt that it enjoyed no popular support. This ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, is a retired Army general and former commander of U.S. and allied forces in Afghanistan. He is one of the not-insane commanders that Bush pushed into retirement; and Obama brought back him back in. Eikenberry’s memo against sending troops was immediately leaked to the press, and showed up on the front pages of the LA Times and NY Times. There was no outcry from the White House about the leak, suggesting that Obama approved it. Does that make any sense? It appears that the President was undercutting his own position, 2 weeks before taking it? Pelosi and the other Democratic leaders have taken similar positions as Eikenberry. They might be accused of pandering to the American people, who are broadly opposed to sending more troops; but it would be unusual for congressional Democratic leaders to undercut their president in this way. The Bob Woodward article, presented in section 2 above, reveals a President with no plans to send troops, taking steps to confront those military leaders with desires for more troops, and telling them to forget it. Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!! What happened? Why did Obama suddenly change the position that his spokesmen had been taking for nearly a year; the position that he was promoting, through his ambassador, just two weeks before; that other leading Democrats had been promoting; and that he had stated so forcefully to his commanders in the field? Why did he suddenly decide to send 30,000 troops to kill and be killed in a cause he knows to be hopeless?

This is NOT a small deal. No? It can’t have been a whimsical decision on his part. It must have been based on something. We should be able, then, to look at the events in the news and identify some major occurrence that would cause such a shift. No? Let's see. The central feature behind Biden’s and Emmanuel’s position was that the Afghan puppet regime was too corrupt to win popular support. *13 Just recently, the regime proved too corrupt to even stage an election, even after the UN ruled the last election fraudulent and illegitimate. Could this miserable failure, to stage an election, have changed Obama's mind? No. In fact, reports from Afghanistan are that the corruption and incompetence of the puppet regime have only gotten worse. *14

When you come up with an answer, for any of these questions, I would be very grateful if you would let me know. Because I don’t like my answer. But here it is:

A military coup, of sorts, has taken place. This coup, this wresting by force of power from the hands of the President was accomplished in two separate events.

The first event involves the so-called "Party Crashers." The Salahis managed, not only to enter, but they proceeded to first shake hands with the two most outspoken opponents of sending more troops: Joe Biden, and Rahm Emanuel. And the Salahis then they shook hands with Obama himself. They had gained entrance through the intercession of the Pentagon*21. Whether or not they told the President, "Send troops or die", they unquestionably told him, through their actions, "The Secret Service can’t, or won’t, protect you. Your life is over when the Pentagon says it's over." This is not speculation; or interpretation. It is clear; unequivocal; basic. No?

But wait! There's more! The Rolling Stone article is so much better than the author intended! I know that he did not mean a "coup" when he wrote that the generals were threatening a "full scale revolt". I don't think he meant a death threat when he wrote "an offer he couldn't refuse". And I don't think he grasped the import of this remark:

Even worse, the administration has to take into account the possibility of a terrorist attack, which would allow the GOP to put the blame on the White House. "All it would take is one terrorist attack, vaguely linked to Afghanistan, for the military and his opponents to pounce all over him," says Pillar.

Robert Dreyfuss, the Rolling Stone writer, is saying that Obama caved because of the threat of another "terrorist" attack. Now. The suggestion that US military was complicit in the crimes of 9/11 is similar to saying that the Secret Service was complicit in the crashing of the Obama’s White House party: it’s indisputable. The Salahis could not have entered if the White House had the Secret Service not let them in. Indisputably. And none of the planes could have hit any of the buildings on 9/11 if the US air defenses had not gone completely to sleep. The Pentagon attack is particularly egregious. The official story is that 50 minutes after the 1st plane hit the World Trade Center, US air defenses, on flaming red alert, designed to defend against supersonic missiles and jet fighters, not only failed to stop a slow moving humongous 757, they failed to get off a shot! Not a single shot in defense of the most highly defended building on the planet. The following week, Richard Meyers, who was in charge of US air defenses on 9/11, instead of being court-marshaled and shot, as he clearly ought to have been, was promoted, to the highest position in the military: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.*15

*1 Kennedy's cancellation of the invasion is not widely known; but it is documented in the US Government publication of the official investigation, a document entitled Operation Zapata.
*2 During the missile crisis, Kennedy's advisors told him that the Russian missiles in Cuba were not armed, and advised an attack and invasion. It has come out from the Russian side, that the missiles were ready, armed with nuclear warheads, and the local commanders were authorized to use them. Robert McNamara, the Secretary of Defense at the time, has made much of this his book and DVD The Fog of War.
*3 P.D. Scott:
Robert Parry: See also *12
The following are highlights from the Rolling Stone article depicting the efforts by McChrystal to force Obama to implement McChrystal's foreign policy, rather than Obama's:
The military's campaign to force Obama's hand started in earnest in September, when the Commander's Initial Assessment of the war — a highly classified report prepared by McChrystal — was leaked to The Washington Post. In the report, McChrystal paints a dire picture of the American effort in Afghanistan, concluding that a massive increase in troop levels is the only way to prevent a humiliating failure.
On Capitol Hill, hawkish GOP congressmen seized the opening to turn up the heat on Obama by demanding that he allow McChrystal and Petraeus to come to Washington to testify at high-profile hearings to ask for more troops. "It is time to listen to our commanders on the ground, not the ever-changing political winds whispering defeat in Washington," declared Sen. Kit Bond, a Republican from Missouri. Attempting to usurp Obama's authority as commander in chief, Sen. John McCain introduced an amendment to compel the two generals to come before Congress, but the measure was voted down by the Democratic majority.
As the pressure from the military and the right built, McChrystal went on 60 Minutes to complain that he had only talked to Obama once since his appointment in June. Then, upping the ante, the general flew to London for a speech, where he was asked if de-escalating the war, along the lines reportedly suggested by Vice President Joe Biden, might work. "The short answer is: no," said McChrystal, dismissing the idea as "shortsighted." His comment — which bluntly defied the American tradition that a military officer's job is to carry out policy, not make it — shocked political observers in Washington and reportedly angered the White House.
For his part, Obama moved quickly to handle the insurrection. One day after McChrystal's defiant London speech, the president unexpectedly summoned the general to a one-on-one meeting aboard an idling Air Force One in Copenhagen. No details of the discussion were released, but two days later Jim Jones, the retired Marine general who now serves as Obama's national-security adviser, publicly rebuked McChrystal, declaring that it is "better for military advice to come up through the chain of command."
"Petraeus and McChrystal have put Obama in a trick bag," says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a former top aide to Secretary of State Colin Powell. "We had this happen one time before, with Douglas MacArthur" — the right-wing general who was fired after he defied President Truman over the Korean War in 1951.
*4 Eichenberry, 18 days before Obama's Dec. 1 speech announcing 30,000 more troops, wrote a memo to Obama urging him not to send Americans to die defending a regime as utterly corrupt and worthless as the puppet regime in Afghanistan.,0,2561752.story
*5 LA Times 12/9/09,0,224382.story
*6 LA Times, 12/16/09,0,2135079.story
*8 The secret service manual requires the planners of a motorcade to pour on extra protection when there is a sharp turn in the route, which requires that the car slow down. Agents should, therefore, have been positioned all over Dealey Plaza to insure that there were no open windows. That is standard procedure. Instead, there were no secret service agents at all on the ground in Dealey Plaza. The protective motorcycle escort was ordered to stay behind the President's vehicle. The limo is equipped with handles on the rear trunk lid, and steps built into the bumper, to accommodate agents riding on the back. The agents were waived off this position and moved into a following car. The driver should have stepped on the gas when the first shot was fired. Instead, the driver braked and slowed, for the next 6 seconds. Only after Kennedy was shot in the head did the driver take off.
*9 I've spent 40 years researching, and 10 years making a documentary that makes this point in spades. (I'll gladly provide you with a copy. It is available on Amazon if you'd like to read the reviews.) In the video, you will see a video interview with Aubrey Rike, the man who loaded Kennedy's body into a bronze casket. You will also see a video interview with Paul O,Neil, the Bethesda Naval Hospital sailor who unloaded the body from a grey shipping casket, 20 minutes before the bronze casket arrived at the facility. An FBI memo, shown in a section of the video narrated by Walter Cronkite, says that it was obvious that Kennedy's wounds had been altered. Pre-autopsy photos also show this mutilation of the body. And one of the doctors from the Dallas emergency room, in an excerpt from a NOVA special, points to an autopsy photo of the entrance wound on Kennedy's right temple and says that the photos show it was altered before the autopsy began. The military had complete control of the body and the autopsy. They, and no one else, altered the critical head wound. This was an entrance wound to Kennedy's right temple. It was fired from the so-called "grassy knoll". It exited the back leaving a gaping 4-inch hole in the rear of Kennedy's head. The wound to Kennedy’s temple was altered to disguise it’s characteristic appearance as an entrance wound. But the alterations were done at least 5 hours before Oswald was charged. The autopsy room was full of admirals and generals. These men were acting as part of the conspiracy to murder. There is no room for reasonable debate on any of these points.
*10 The movie JFK does an amazing job of making this point. The movie presents a "Mr. X." This is not a fictional character. The man's name was Fletcher Prouty. He was the Pentagon liaison to the CIA. And he was deeply and directly involved, as shown in the movie, in the dual efforts of JFK both to eliminate the CIA, and to withdraw from Vietnam.
*11 Biden:

*12 Robert Parry says the same things has happened to Obama's stated plans to withdraw from Iraq

*13 You can NOT win a war against an insurgency that is more popular than you. You can go on fighting forever, which is what the generals have stated is their anticipated outcome. But you can not win a peace without a government that is a just and fair and popularly supported.
*14 In fact, conditions in Afghanistan continue to deteriorate.
Dec. 11, 2009
Top UN official in Afghanistan to leave in March
Gareth Price, head of the Asia program at Chatham House, a think tank in London, said “it's clear now that the Afghan government isn't working."
*15 My favorite is a lecture given by a physics professor, Steven Jones. Jones was a tenured, admired physics professor at Brigham Young University. Jones is a devout and conservative Christian and Mormon. He voted for Bush. But his physics students asked him to explain the collapse of the buildings at the World Trade Center, particularly building 7. He enthusiastically approached the question as a teachable moment. At first he approached the question as one of basic physics: "Can the heat from jet fuel and office supplies explain the collapse of a steel structure?" He concluded, with enormous anguish, that it cannot. He was tortured by the implications for many months. And then he woke up one morning and remembered that he was a leading expert, on a world-class level, at chemical analysis. (The first time I googled his name, his published papers on his techniques for determining the chemical content of crystalline structures is what came up first.) And, having determined that the official story of airplanes and jet fuel could not account for the collapse of the buildings, he determined to use his expertise to analyze samples of dust from the World Trade Center to search for evidence of what did, in fact, bring down the buildings. He found abundant of evidence (metallic microspheres) of steel having been evaporated (such tiny microspheres are created when steel is evaporated) and also abundant samples of the military grade demolition explosive, thermate, including the wrappers for the explosive. Thermate is virtually the only way that steel can be heated to sufficiently high temperatures that it evaporates. But I have several other DVD's besides the one by Professor Jones. All of this information, including the videos, are available online.

Local perspective: Part of my professional duties as a teacher of economics and government is to produce competent adult citizenry. This includes realization that our nation’s policies and money are managed at a broad community level, and these issues have tremendous local impact. Of course, we all want human beings to be individually successful and enjoy their unique, beautiful and powerful self-expressions. Concurrently, we recognize our commitment to local success is strongly dependent upon the success of the community, and that government policy and economics are drivers.

Our status in early 21st Century human history is that we suffer from a long history in government and money of human interrelationship well-described as vicious antagonism. Governments frequently use war as a foreign policy, despite its illegality and dependent upon public ignorance, with horrific consequences.
John Hankey is the author of the following compelling analysis that considers if President Obama is under threat to comply with US military orders for supporting war escalation (and its funding). This is part two of two; for part one, click here.

John is the creator of the stunning and historically accurate documentary, "Dark Legacy: George Bush and the assassination of JFK." A 10-minute excerpt from the video is at the end of the article.

This documentary is the historical favorite of my history students and the single-best JFK assassination analysis that I’ve reviewed. “Dark Legacy” walks viewers through the independently verifiable evidence that has two-thirds to three-fourths of Americans conclude the US government story of President Kennedy's assassination is provably false (these polls include ABC, CBS, FOX, PBS).

John did not start out as an Obama admirer; he wrote that Obama looked hand-picked by the darkest fascist forces within our government and was surrounded by them in his campaign. John currently observes that perhaps Obama has burned them; leaving them behind when he became President.

John had an interview with veteran JFK assassination analyst and author, Jim Fetzer, to discuss this topic. Jim also interviewed me to discuss unlawful wars in Iraq, Iran, and the role of the CIA.

John's article, printed with his permission; part two of two. For part one, click here:

So the military, under the Bush administration, was indisputably complicit in the events of 9/11, if only by the most jaw-dropping incompetence; incompetence that was warmly rewarded by the Republican White House. So when the Republican leadership says Obama's attempts to reduce troops and spending in Iraq and Afghanistan threaten to unleash a new terrorist attack, this is a genuine threat from genuine blood-covered terrorists.

The Fort Hood shooting is this “terrorist” threat made real. There is much in the story of Malik Hasan, the Fort Hood shooter, to suggest that he was a Manchurian Candidate, that he was “programmed,” through hypnosis, to do what he did. Though such a thing can never, by it's very nature be proved. (If you have ever seen a demonstration by a professional hypnotist, you already know that anyone will do anything under hypnosis and that they will have no recollection afterward) *16. However, there are a number of things about the case of Malik Hasan that are especially persuasive that he was under military control: *17

1) Hasan had at least 13 email contacts with a radical Muslim imam. The Imam told Al JaZeera that the first of these emails, sent 11 months before the shooting, sought the Imam’s approval for Hasan’s shooting his fellow soldiers. *17b Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee's intelligence subcommittee, said that he has confirmed that Hasan wired money to Pakistan. *18 There has been much discussion in the “news” about the fact that the FBI took no steps to apprehend or otherwise stop Hasan. But the contents of his emails have not been released. That is highly suspicious. Can we conjecture that if the contents were innocuous, that they would have been released? Sure we can. The Imam found his house under attack within 24 hours of his publicizing the contents of those emails. But this discussion is a distraction from the flashing red light: the FBI did not even open a file on Hasan. That is not preposterous. It is very clear in its meaning. There is only one conceivable explanation, and an obvious one. If the FBI failed to take steps as basic as opening a file, it is because they were ordered not to do so; by another agency of the federal government. Again, that is hardly speculative. It should be basic common knowledge: if a drug dealer gets picked up by some police agency in possession of a bag full of drugs; and walks out the door, without being arrested, with his bag of drugs, and without a file being opened, it’s because he’s undercover. Apparently some agency of the federal government ordered Hasan to send these emails. That is speculative, but no other explanation will suffice.*19 And certainly, the FBI was ordered not to open a file. Of this there cannot be any doubt.

2) Similarly, the FBI's excuse for not opening a file, was that they discovered that Hasan was doing research on the attitudes of Muslims serving in the US military. How they made this determination, without opening a file, is a mystery to me. But let that alone for the moment. For whom was Hasan doing this research? Duh. No? But the attitude of the media to such obvious questions is “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

3) Lee Harvey Oswald had been set up by the CIA to appear to be an agent of Fidel Castro. But the FBI investigated all this evidence and determined that it was a fraud. *20 So for Hasan to have been set-up in a similar fashion would be par for the course. Fletcher Prouty (see endnote 11) was tipped off that Kennedy's murder was a military plot by the fact that Oswald's entire bio appeared in the papers in Australia, where Prouty was when he learned of the crime, before Oswald was even charged. The NY Times and Fox news were spreading the contents of the FBI's non-files / non-investigation, showing Hasan to be an Arab terrorist, while they were still reporting that he was dead, before they knew that he was still alive. That is, someone on the inside was distributing this insider knowledge about a guy who supposedly was of no interest. It seems clear as day to me that it was a set-up.

4) Now, this is my favorite part. In the 1944 detective movie, "Double Indemnity”, Edward G. Robinson, the detective, is alerted that something foul is going on because the insured dead man had an insurance policy with disability as well as death benefits; but when he broke his leg, he didn't try to use the disability benefits in his policy. Why didn't he use it? He must not have known he had an insurance policy. His wife purchased the policy behind his back, and then killed him. OK. Now answer this:
If Obama actually wanted to send troops to Afghanistan; if he actually wanted to move the American people to see the necessity of "fighting terrorism there before it becomes terrorism here;" why did he not wave the bloody shirt from the Fort Hood shooting? Why did he not claim Hasan to be a terrorist? Why did he not use him as an example of the continued threat? Obviously, then, Obama was not part of any plot to kill soldiers at Fort Hood to justify a continued war on "terror".

And now, you do the math. Add 1 + 1. Add “Party Crashers” to “programmed shooter” and what do you get? You get Nancy Pelosi as president.

But things have changed since 1963, haven’t they? The military has matured. It is not so rabid, blood thirsty, and wild, as it used to be. They wouldn’t overtly threaten to kill the President in this way, would they? The threats to which Obama caved were political threats, not physical ones. No? No. 1) Obama is a master politician. He’s not afraid of a political fight. He is more capable of winning support for his position than any of his opponents. And besides, the American people are against sending troops, so this is an easy victory. I don’t see how political threats could force him to send young men and women to their deaths, for a cause he and everyone around him knows is hopeless. Counter insurgency in support of a corrupt regime is killing for the sake of killing. 2) The military was, at the very least, complicit in the 9-11 murders of 3,000 Americans. 3) They were apparently involved in the murder of 13 soldiers at Ft. Hood. 4) So it doesn’t seem times have changed for the better. Eisenhower said that the greatest threat to our national security came from what he called “the military industrial complex” in this country; a ruling elite with enormous political power. These people had the deepest support for Hitler during WWII. And they orchestrated a performance by the media, the Secret Service, the FBI, the mafia, and the military that murdered JFK; and they have kept the truth suppressed ever since, the ridiculousness of their cove-story not withstanding. They just passed a 630 billion dollar defense budget, in a world where the primary threat is a few hundred men with hand-held weapons. What reason is there to think that they would hesitate to kill Obama? Do you suppose they like having a Black man as President?

So. Perhaps you are convinced that Obama was persuaded, by threats against his life, to send troops. If so, there is a more terrible question lurking out there. Were they threatening? Or were they practicing? Or both?

When I was first confronted with these ideas, my impulse was to see Obama as a coward, as lacking the courage that Lawrence Wilkerson suggests Obama needs to stand up to the generals (see the end of segment 3 above). But a "full scale revolt" of the generals does not merely imply the death of Obama. A military seizure of the government would entail far more deaths than his, certainly many thousands. President Johnson, in choosing not to pursue Kennedy's killers (no-doubt well known to him), faced a similar choice: the threat of a full scale revolt – that is, a military coup; civil war, death and prison camps for many thousands, if not millions. But Johnson and Obama are not the only ones confronted with difficult choices. The information presented here suggests that your democratic government has already been seized. It is not in the hands of your democratically elected President. And what are YOU going to do about it, Patriot? Are you going to be a sheep and a traitor, a collaborator? Or an insurgent?

In our political system, it is virtually a given that all politicians are corrupt. The politician wants to get elected; so he takes money from thieves; the best do small things to help the people; but they all do what they think they have to to keep the money flowing in. But people are people. They occasionally get carried away by an idea, or by the moment, and they get inspired to think that real virtue is possible, even for them. And for such people, at such times, there are other forms of coercion. Blackmail, for example. Further, all politicians know, and the media too, that to admit certain truths means, at least, political death. And on occasion, there is the real murder of an individual who thinks he can, and does, serve the interests of the people. John Kennedy was such a one. And such a murder is a great lesson to all the living about the facts of life. My point is that “coercion with the threat of death” is a real tool used by the ruling elite. Typically its use is extremely low key, I’m sure. But on occasion its use may be sufficiently high profile to be identified. And I think we can see this clearly with Obama. I believe that the evidence shows that the military has overtly threatened, at the very least, to kill Obama. I believe they are also, in preparation for the day that he stands up to them, practicing to kill him. I would ask you please to disseminate this as widely as possible, as the most practical way to oppose their ability to do this. I apologize for its length.

I’m full of misgivings about this article. It seems plausible that Obama is a Kerry-like operative, and this “threat” provides Obama a pretext to explain to people in his immediate base the reason for his actions. When I see his continuation of Bush policies at every level and in every area (I’m sure you have your own list) it disheartens me to the point of despair. But a close study of John Kennedy’s history is useful; and demonstrates that it is plausible that, like Kennedy, Obama is choosing his battles and trying to accomplish what he feels he can without throwing away the midterm elections. It is certainly the case that if this were 1963, the people who are criticizing Obama and calling him a sellout, would be criticizing Kennedy, and calling him a sellout. It is not unimportant that 40 million people who were without xxxare going to have medical insurance.

John Hankey is the author of JFKII, the Bush Connection; a 103-minute documentary detailing the evidence linking George Bush Sr. to the assassination of John Kennedy. The video is available for free on the web, at, and at You can reach him at


*16 The assassin of Robert Kennedy, Sirhan Sirhan, is the best example, since his case was the most thoroughly examined. The papers splashed the idea of his being a radical West-hating Palestinian across the front page. But Sirhan was a Christian. He and his family liked the Kennedys. He had no recollection of the shooting. And every eye-witness says that his gun never got with 3 feet of Kennedy’s front, while Kennedy had powder burns on the back of his head, that the coroner said were left by a shot from not more than 1 inch. Photographs showing CIA operatives, known Kennedy haters, around the Biltmore hotel that night, have been recently uncovered.

The shooters of John Lennon, George Wallace, and Ronald Reagan fit similar profiles, but their cases have not been so carefully investigated.

The CIA spent 30 years researching hypnotism, but they learned nothing and there are no files. As I said, if you’ve ever seen a hypnotist at work, you will see that a person under hypnosis can be gotten to do anything. But that not everyone is susceptible. Sirhan was hypnotized by court appointed psychiatrists. He was demonstrably susceptible.
*17 The link will take you to a stunning report on the shooter from the NY Times. You have to read through to the end to get to the most amazing quotes from his neighbors. He was, apparently, a friendly, lovable guy.
The tenants generally saw him leave early and come home late in the afternoon, usually in his fatigues. He never had visitors, they said, but he was friendly with his neighbors.
“The first day he moved in, he offered to give me a ride to work,” said Willie Bell, 51, who lived next door. “He’d give you the shoes and shirt and pants off him if you need it. Nicest guy you’d want to meet. (Boy! you sure don't find that quote in the headlines.)
“The very first day I seen him, he hugged me like, ‘My brother, how you doing?’ ”
17b “Fort Hood: Hasan Asked Awlaki If It Was Okay to Kill American Soldiers” Please note that this is ABC news online. This story has been utterly suppressed. It was never broadcast by ABC, or carried by any major newspaper. Within 24 hours of the publication of this report, Awlaki’s home was bombed by Yemeni war planes. You didn’t know Yemen had an airforce?
"I have confirmed through independent sources that there were communications and wire transfers made to Pakistan," McCaul said in a prepared statement provided by his spokesman. "This Pakistan connection just raises more red flags about this case and demonstrates why it's important for Congress to exercise its oversight authority."
*19 Curiouser and curiouser. Obama ordered the FBI to investigate themselves to determine “whiskey tango foxtrot” they were doing in this case. And the day they finished their investigation, he ordered them to do it again, only this time with outside supervision. Immediately after the shooting, Obama ordered a total clampdown on leaks of information about the case. There is clearly much more going on here than meets the eye:,0,399074.story
*20 John Connally, who is implicated in the JFK assassination, called LBJ to urge him to pursue this avenue in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. The call was recorded and is available on line both in transcript and audio form. The CIA claimed to have a photo of Oswald visiting the Cuban embassy. But the photo does not remotely resemble Oswald, and the FBI investigation says Oswald was elsewhere at the time. Further, Oswald's representation of himself as a member of the genuine pro-Castro "Fair Play for Cuba Committee" (FPCC) proved to be a complete fraud. He was the only "member" of his local chapter. He set it up without authorization from the actual FPCC. The address he used on his leaflets for the FPCC was that of a CIA office run by the former head of the Chicago FBI, Guy Bannister.
“People familiar with the inquiry into how the Salahis were able to attend Tuesday's gala, even though they weren't on the official guest list, said the Salahis exchanged e-mails with Michele S. Jones, special assistant to the secretary of defense and the Pentagon-based liaison to the White House. It was unclear how well the Salahis know Jones, but Jones includes the Salahis' lawyer, Paul W. Gardner, as one of her 50 friends on Facebook.
*22 Both Obama’s National Security Advisor, Jim Jones, and his ambassador to Afghanistan, Karl Eichenberry, were pulled by Obama out of retirement, where Bush had forced them. The most egregious case of the promotion of Christian ideologues is that of Lieutenant-General William "Jerry" Boykin, the Deputy Under Secretary of Defense Intelligence under Bush and a leading figure behind the prisoner abuses in Iraq and at Guantanamo.

Writing for the Los Angeles Times on October 16, 2003, columnist William Arkin pointed out that Boykin sees the "war on terror" as a religious war between Judeo-Christian civilization and Satan, with Islam of course cast in the latter role. According to Arkin, Boykin told a religious group in Oregon, in June, that radical Islamists hate the United States "because we're a Christian nation, because our foundation and our roots are Judeo-Christian ... and the enemy is a guy named Satan." He continued to say that "our spiritual enemy will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus".
Boykin, a 30-year veteran of the US Army's Delta Force, the Central Intelligence Agency and Army Special Forces, told another audience, in reference to operations he was involved in in Somalia in 1993, that "I knew that my God was bigger than his. I knew that my God was a real God and his was an idol." Arkin further reports that Boykin believes that President George W Bush was not elected to the White House by mere mortals, but chosen by God, and that he himself received his orders from God. Arkin also noted that Boykin's concept of "war on terror" is quite different from the way the US president looks at it. Boykin sees it as a war against Muslims.

Though most individuals in the military have the common sense not to speak as openly as Boykin did, the entire notion that "insurgents" need to be killed, held by all the leading brass, is fundamentally similar. That is, upon what basis do we condemn these men to death? Because they are insurgents against a foreign occupier? How can that be? There is a justification that is not stated. Clearly. And why not? Because it is racist, and/or religious.

That concludes John's essay. Thank you for your attention.

Local perspective: Part of my professional duties as a teacher of economics and government is to produce competent adult citizenry. This includes realization that our nation’s policies and money are managed at a broad community level, and these issues have tremendous local impact. Of course, we all want human beings to be individually successful and enjoy their unique, beautiful and powerful self-expressions. Concurrently, we recognize our commitment to local success is strongly dependent upon the success of the community, and that government policy and economics are drivers.

Our status in early 21st Century human history is that we suffer from a long history in government and money of human interrelationship well-described as vicious antagonism. Governments frequently use war as a foreign policy, despite its illegality and dependent upon public ignorance, with horrific consequences.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Indict Secretaries of The Treasury Geithner & Paulson

Bad decisions or intentional economic collapse??

Is The U.S. Economy Being Tanked By Mistake or By Intent?

by Bill Sardi

Recently by Bill Sardi: Who Is Left Holding the Bag on US Debt?

The government wants Americans to believe the greatest economic collapse in history was the result of ineptness and mistakes yet still have confidence in their financial institutions.

Should American bankers be let off the hook because they self-declare, before an investigational panel, that the failure of their newly invented risk swaps and other highly leveraged investment schemes was simply due to "mistakes"? Not malfeasance – just every-day mistakes? Bankers just fell asleep at the helm at a critical juncture in American history. Is that what we are being led to believe?

Oh well, it’s just 18 million American homes that now lay empty in the wake of unprecedented foreclosures, and the bankers have collected obscene bonuses for reckless lending of their depositors’ money. It’s like the captain and crew of a ship saying, not to worry, twenty-percent of the passengers were lost overboard, but this was due to unavoidable mistakes, and then being rewarded with bonuses when they reach port.

Are Americans to believe that the Federal Reserve lowered interest rates to create a false bubble in the economy, at the same time the Securities Exchange Commission allowed investment banks risky reserve ratios and exerted lax control over investment tycoons like Bernie Madoff, and in lock step, the credit rating agencies (Fitch, Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s) handed out sterling A+ credit ratings on risky mortgage-backed securities, while the US Treasury Department stood by and did nothing?

Shall Americans conclude the world’s largest economy is beyond the management skills and regulation of virtually every financial arm of government and the private sector? If so, widespread incompetence would suggest Americans had better come up with some institution or instrument of their own invention to protect their money.

Whatever or whomever did bring down the American economy, it appears to be an orchestrated effort. If one arm of the financial industry had objected or performed their job responsibly, the whole economic collapse could have been averted. The credit rating agencies alone could have put an abrupt halt to what amounts to a financial collapse of western civilization.

Lenses into the future: a planned default?

Americans cannot see the economy as the elites do. The elites have lenses into the future. They have access to information that foretells the future of our economy. They can see a better picture of when mounting debt will rise beyond the ability to repay.

They certainly can see pension funds, private and public, are under-funded and there is no way, with Baby Boomers now entering their retirement years, these obligations can be met. Medicare expenses are totally out of control with enrollees able to rack up bills in the tens of thousands of dollars beyond what they ever paid into the system.

At some point, seeing no way out, maybe a decision was made to default on our debts. There are rumblings that the world economy is being intentionally brought to its knees in order to usher in a one-world currency.

There are other hints that the US is intentionally tanking its economy.

Normally the US Patent & Trademark Office could be seen as a pathway to jump-start the economy. Some 6300 patent examiners hold the future fate of the American economy in their hands. But the patent office is backlogged. It embarrassingly has 6 years of patent applications, what amounts to over 1 million filings, waiting to be evaluated. Over $700 million of fees have been siphoned off by Congress to pay for other extraneous government projects, slowing the patent approval process to an agonizingly pace. About 7 of every 10 applicants were granted a patent in the past. But today, less than half are approved.
In the past decade there also appeared to be an effort to drive States into debt. Colorado, a State that had a mandated spending limit, was belittled for stifling its economy. Lies were told that Colorado was so bogged down with this limitation that it repealed its spending limit bill. That was far from the truth.
Another business stifling practice has been to limit the amount of large funds actually available to the economy in what is called M3 money supply. M1 is the amount of currency and traveler’s checks in circulation outside banks, along with demand deposits and other checkable deposits. M2 is M1 plus savings deposits, such as money market accounts. M3 is M2 plus large time-restricted deposits, institutional money-market funds and other large liquid assets. M3 is the best official measure of the total supply of money.
As of March 23, 2006, the M3 money supply is no longer published by the US central bank. So Americans can’t get a full view of what government is doing with the total money supply. The M3 is now estimated by two websites – and A severe contraction in the M3 money supply began to be reported in August of 2008. It appears there has been a sudden downturn in M3 funds, which could choke the economy at a critical time.

"Total money"
M3 plus credit, recent time

By plan or mistake?

It would be difficult for the American public to even contemplate the idea that their government may be intentionally tanking the economy. So we are left with the commonly-heard claim that people in government are just incompetent, there is no conspiracy of any kind. Regardless, heads should roll, and we still have the same derelict captains (Bernanke, Geithner) at the helm.

Whatever is planned for the future US economy, there certainly must be contingency plans in place to devalue the dollar, issue new currency, declare banking holidays, reappraise the value of real estate to true market value (~ 30% drop), sell off government-held real estate assets to hedge funds, confiscate guns, invoke marshal law, etc. If these events occur, they won’t be without forethought. Call it conspiracy if you will.

On November 21, 1933, President Franklin Roosevelt stated, "The real truth of the matter is, as you and I know, that a financial element in the large centers has owned the government of the United States since the days of Andrew Jackson."

Few Americans recognize the merger of state and corporate powers, with the news media also subservient to those in power. How gullible the public has been over recent decades to not see how government and business have conspired to raise the price of goods.

The oil embargo of the 1970s

I can recall the gasoline crisis/OPEC oil embargo of the 1970s. I was traveling around the US on business at the time and I noticed that shortages of gasoline were not nationwide but were actually being staged in different regions. In Seattle there was no shortage of gasoline, but there were long lines at gas stations in Los Angeles. There was no scarcity of gasoline in Atlanta, but later there were long lines at gas pumps throughout Georgia. TV screens around the nation made it falsely appear the shortage was nationwide.

The 1970s gasoline crisis was a concerted effort between government, oil producers and the news media to fool Americans into thinking there was a pervasive shortage of gasoline despite the fact OPEC, the oil-producing cartel, was founded because of an over-abundance of oil.

I recall reading an article in Fortune Magazine in 1963 how oil companies longed to find a way to raise the price of gasoline to European levels. Pre-OPEC, oil was sold at competing prices. That couldn’t be tolerated. A spot-price had to be introduced. Then one country couldn’t undersell another and prices would "stabilize." The OPEC cartel eliminated competition, except for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela in recent times. Of course, Chavez is demonized. We do not have free markets, we have controlled markets based upon contrived events.

Graph of oil prices from 1861–2007, showing a sharp increase in 1973, and again during the 1979 energy crisis. The orange line is adjusted for inflation.

Examine this map of failed banks in 2008–2009. There are over 2000 failed banks the FDIC indicates it needs to dissolve. Notice how evenly the bank failures are spread geographically across the US. The geographical locus of home foreclosures is centered in California, Nevada, Arizona and Florida. But bank closures appear to be more evenly spread, as if to create public awareness (and fear) in every geographic region that banks are in trouble. This is eerily similar to the geographically revolving gasoline shortages in the 1970s.

Tax cut or payoff to oil companies?

Another example of complicity between government and industry is the most recent run up in gasoline prices which began early in the past decade. The news media failed to note that when GW Bush passed his first tax cut in 2001, early in his first term in office, it was rapidly followed by an increase in gasoline prices at the pump. Had President Bush cut taxes in order to put money into consumers’ hands so they could then pay ghastly high gasoline bills? The tax cut appears to have been a hand-in-hand arrangement between oil producers and the federal government. Gasoline prices rose till the public began curtailing their driving. The oil companies had now determined the top price they could get for their refined oil without collapsing demand.

There is nothing wrong with companies determining the top price consumers will pay for their goods, but there is something wrong when government secretly schemes with oil companies to create false market value, as they have also done in real estate.

Looking back in recent American history, there were also shortages of coffee and bananas in the 1970s and 80s, all staged events blamed on storms in South America that ruined crops. In those days, Americans didn’t have easy access to weather maps and information via the internet. These shortages were prolonged and prices rose until usage declined. Then the barons who ruled the coffee and banana industries had found the top price they could sell their products at without dampening demand. Suddenly, the shortages disappeared. The public never imagined these shortages were all artificially created.

Just as the price of oil, bananas and coffee were covertly engineered by a hidden alliance between government, industry and news outlets, is currency being gamed in the same fashion today? If so, current economic events are not by mistake.

Since President Roosevelt banned citizens from owning gold in 1933, the people were left holding increasingly worthless pieces of paper.

Americans can’t imagine how monetary policy has eroded their purchasing power. The US was officially taken off the gold standard in 1971. Issuance of silver certificates ceased in 1964. Had the US dollar continued to be backed by gold, the rise in the value of gold would have offset recent increases in gasoline prices at the pump, a fact Ron Paul has brought to the public’s attention.

For example, a portion of the rise in oil prices in recent years is due to erosion in the value of the dollar. Had the dollar remained strong the relative price of a barrel of oil would only have been around $65 in 2007-2008. If you compare the spot price of oil to gold, there has been almost no increase. Imagine what a gold-backed currency would do for America? Again, government (the Federal Reserve) has now admitted that it has arranged gold swaps with foreign banks in a prearranged way to suppress the value of gold.

Is inflation inevitable? Or is it planned? Will the American public ever imagine the value of their money has long been manipulated just as the price of coffee, bananas, gasoline and gold have been engineered in an unholy alliance between government and bankers and corporate enterprise? Will the American public ever realize their government is working against them, plunder their wealth, in a growing fascist alliance with American corporations? The enemy is not the underpants airplane bomber as we are falsely being led to believe. The enemy is not a towelhead in Afghanistan. The enemy is not China. As Pogo once said, "we have met the enemy, and he is us."

January 19, 2010

Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political topics. His health writings can be found at He is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Cancer Anymore.

Copyright © 2010 Bill Sardi Word of Knowledge Agency, San Dimas, California. This article has been written exclusively for and other parties who wish to refer to it should link rather than post at other URLs.

The Best of Bill Sardi

There is no genuine economic recovery happening. There will be no recovery for those who lost their jobs!!

By: Julie Crawshaw

Author, investor and longtime Wall Street observer James Dale Davidson says our government is lying to us: There is no genuine economic recovery happening.

“I think what we have seen ... is a simulated recovery which has been generated by the government faking it in a lot of different ways," putting out what he calls statistical falsehoods on economic numbers "to make it seem that the economy is stronger than it is,” Davidson told Newsmax.

For example, calculations for the recently released unemployment figures released failed to include the fact that the Bureau of Labor Statistics had undercounted the number of unemployed people in 2009 by 824,000 persons.

Video — Davidson: Obama White House Is Lying to You

“They’re supposed to be doing a benchmark adjustment ... and if they do, the unemployment rate will shoot up even higher,” Davidson says.

"A lot of the supposed improvements have been faked by the government," Davidson says.

Davidson believes the government secretly used quantitative easing as an excuse to funnel money into U.S. capital markets.

“It’s not a coincidence that the market started to rally in March at the same time they announced they were going to do the quantitative easing,” he observes.

“In my view, it’s all created by the government as a hoax.”

The whole administration is based on one lie after another, he says.

As revealed in recently uncovered e-mail correspondence with AIG, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner effectively told the huge insurer to violate U.S. securities laws.

“I think the way he (Geithner) handled the AIG bonuses last year is a very telling story,” Davidson notes, referring to the media uproar over the bonuses that distracted the public’s attention from the billions of dollars that were being poured into AIG.

The uproar over those bonuses kept people from getting excited over the real issue, Davidson notes. Investors can get excited about only so many AIG-related scandals at once, he says.

At some point, Davidson believes that AIG’s having violated practically every securities law there is will be revealed.

“They’ve done everything they can to create a false impression of stability and strength in a rebounding economy, and I can understand that from the point of view of public policy they want people to think the economy is strong," he says.

"But if you hoax people into going out and spending money on false assumptions … a lot of people are going to lose a lot of money,” he points out.

Davidson believes all investors should hold some gold in their portfolios because the dollar is on its way out as the world’s reserve currency.

“The dollar is cooked,” he says.

“Our ratios are much worse than Brazil was 15 years ago when they had hyperinflation. When you have this kind of spending out of an empty pocket, there’s never anything good as a result. You can’t go on forever spending money you don’t have.”

“It has to stop, and when it does, you’ll be glad you have some gold.”

The heart of the matter, Davidson points out, is that there are huge, gaping holes in everyone’s balance sheets.

“We’ve lost a couple of decades of demand in the U.S. economy because of the de-leveraging that’s happened,” he says.

Americans’ debt loads are still high, and government encouragement to consumers to spend more now is a major misdirection.

As far as other investments go, Davidson feels there’s a strong case to be made for small, special situation companies.

"There’s one company called interCLICK that I like a lot,” he says, “and I’m also invested in Brazil.”

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Eurasian Strategy for America

Murder at Guantanamo? The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle

The Guantánamo “Suicides”: A Camp Delta sergeant blows the whistle
By Scott Horton

This is the full text of an exclusive advance feature by Scott Horton that will appear in the March 2010 Harper’s Magazine. The issue will be available on newsstands the week of February 15.
1. “Asymmetrical Warfare”
When President Barack Obama took office last year, he promised to “restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great.” Toward that end, the president issued an executive order declaring that the extra-constitutional prison camp at Guantánamo “shall be closed as soon as practicable, and no later than one year from the date of this order.” Obama has failed to fulfill his promise. Some prisoners are being charged with crimes, others released, but the date for closing the camp seems to recede steadily into the future. Furthermore, new evidence now emerging may entangle Obama’s young administration with crimes that occurred during the Bush presidency, evidence that suggests the current administration failed to investigate seriously—and may even have continued—a cover-up of the possible homicides of three prisoners at Guantánamo in 2006.

Late in the evening on June 9 that year, three prisoners at Guantánamo died suddenly and violently. Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, from Yemen, was thirty-seven. Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, from Saudi Arabia, was thirty. Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, also from Saudi Arabia, was twenty-two, and had been imprisoned at Guantánamo since he was captured at the age of seventeen. None of the men had been charged with a crime, though all three had been engaged in hunger strikes to protest the conditions of their imprisonment. They were being held in a cell block, known as Alpha Block, reserved for particularly troublesome or high-value prisoners.

As news of the deaths emerged the following day, the camp quickly went into lockdown. The authorities ordered nearly all the reporters at Camp America to leave and those en route to turn back. The commander at Guantánamo, Rear Admiral Harry Harris, then declared the deaths “suicides.” In an unusual move, he also used the announcement to attack the dead men. “I believe this was not an act of desperation,” he said, “but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us.” Reporters accepted the official account, and even lawyers for the prisoners appeared to believe that they had killed themselves. Only the prisoners’ families in Saudi Arabia and Yemen rejected the notion.

Two years later, the U.S. Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which has primary investigative jurisdiction within the naval base, issued a report supporting the account originally advanced by Harris, now a vice-admiral in command of the Sixth Fleet. The Pentagon declined to make the NCIS report public, and only when pressed with Freedom of Information Act demands did it disclose parts of the report, some 1,700 pages of documents so heavily redacted as to be nearly incomprehensible. The NCIS report was carefully cross-referenced and deciphered by students and faculty at the law school of Seton Hall University in New Jersey, and their findings, released in November 2009, made clear why the Pentagon had been unwilling to make its conclusions public. The official story of the prisoners’ deaths was full of unacknowledged contradictions, and the centerpiece of the report—a reconstruction of the events—was simply unbelievable.

According to the NCIS, each prisoner had fashioned a noose from torn sheets and T-shirts and tied it to the top of his cell’s eight-foot-high steel-mesh wall. Each prisoner was able somehow to bind his own hands, and, in at least one case, his own feet, then stuff more rags deep down into his own throat. We are then asked to believe that each prisoner, even as he was choking on those rags, climbed up on his washbasin, slipped his head through the noose, tightened it, and leapt from the washbasin to hang until he asphyxiated. The NCIS report also proposes that the three prisoners, who were held in non-adjoining cells, carried out each of these actions almost simultaneously.

Al-Zahrani, according to the report, was discovered first, at 12:39 a.m., and taken by several Alpha Block guards to the camp’s detention medical clinic. No doctors could be found there, nor the phone number for one, so a clinic staffer dialed 911. During this time, other guards discovered Al-Utaybi. Still others discovered Al-Salami a few minutes later. Although rigor mortis had already set in—indicating that the men had been dead for at least two hours—the NCIS report claims that an unnamed medical officer attempted to resuscitate one of the men, and, in attempting to pry open his jaw, broke his teeth.

The fact that at least two of the prisoners also had cloth masks affixed to their faces, presumably to prevent the expulsion of the rags from their mouths, went unremarked by the NCIS, as did the fact that standard operating procedure at Camp Delta required the Navy guards on duty after midnight to “conduct a visual search” of each cell and detainee every ten minutes. The report claimed that the prisoners had hung sheets or blankets to hide their activities and shaped more sheets and pillows to look like bodies sleeping in their beds, but it did not explain where they were able to acquire so much fabric beyond their tightly controlled allotment, or why the Navy guards would allow such an obvious and immediately observable deviation from permitted behavior. Nor did the report explain how the dead men managed to hang undetected for more than two hours or why the Navy guards on duty, having for whatever reason so grievously failed in their duties, were never disciplined.

A separate report, the result of an “informal investigation” initiated by Admiral Harris, found that standard operating procedures were violated that night but concluded that disciplinary action was not warranted because of the “generally permissive environment” of the cell block and the numerous “concessions” that had been made with regard to the prisoners’ comfort, which “concessions” had resulted in a “general confusion by the guard and the JDG staff over many of the rules that applied to the guard force’s handling of the detainees.” According to Harris, even had standard operating procedures been followed, “it is possible that the detainees could have successfully committed suicide anyway.”

This is the official story, adopted by NCIS and Guantánamo command and reiterated by the Justice Department in formal pleadings, by the Defense Department in briefings and press releases, and by the State Department. Now four members of the Military Intelligence unit assigned to guard Camp Delta, including a decorated non-commissioned Army officer who was on duty as sergeant of the guard the night of June 9–10, have furnished an account dramatically at odds with the NCIS report—a report for which they were neither interviewed nor approached.

All four soldiers say they were ordered by their commanding officer not to speak out, and all four soldiers provide evidence that authorities initiated a cover-up within hours of the prisoners’ deaths. Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman and men under his supervision have disclosed evidence in interviews with Harper’s Magazine that strongly suggests that the three prisoners who died on June 9 had been transported to another location prior to their deaths. The guards’ accounts also reveal the existence of a previously unreported black site at Guantánamo where the deaths, or at least the events that led directly to the deaths, most likely occurred.

Satellite photograph from Terraserver.
2. “Camp No”
The soldiers of the Maryland-based 629th Military Intelligence Battalion arrived at Guantánamo Naval Base in March 2006, assigned to provide security to Camp America, the sector of the base containing the five individual prison compounds that house the prisoners. Camp Delta was at the time the largest of these compounds, and within its walls were four smaller camps, numbered 1 through 4, which in turn were divided into cell blocks. Life at Camp America, as at all prisons, was and remains rigorously routinized for both prisoners and their jailers. Navy guards patrol the cell blocks and Army personnel control the exterior areas of the camp. All observed incidents must be logged. For the Army guards who man the towers and “sally ports” (access points), knowing who enters and leaves the camp, and exactly when, is the essence of their mission.

One of the new guards who arrived that March was Joe Hickman, then a sergeant. Hickman grew up in Baltimore and joined the Marines in 1983, at the age of nineteen. When I interviewed him in January at his home in Wisconsin, he told me he had been inspired to enlist by Ronald Reagan, “the greatest president we’ve ever had.” He worked in a military intelligence unit and was eventually tapped for Reagan’s Presidential Guard detail, an assignment reserved for model soldiers. When his four years were up, Hickman returned home, where he worked a series of security jobs—prison transport, executive protection, and eventually private investigations. After September 11 he decided to re-enlist, at thirty-seven, this time in the Army National Guard.

Hickman deployed to Guantánamo with his friend Specialist Tony Davila, who grew up outside Washington, D.C., and who had himself been a private investigator. When they arrived at Camp Delta, Davila told me, soldiers from the California National Guard unit they were relieving introduced him to some of the curiosities of the base. The most noteworthy of these was an unnamed and officially unacknowledged compound nestled out of sight between two plateaus about a mile north of Camp Delta, just outside Camp America’s perimeter. One day, while on foot patrol, Hickman and Davila came across the compound. It looked like other camps within Camp America, Davila said, only it had no guard towers and it was surrounded with concertina wire. They saw no activity, but Hickman guessed the place could house as many as eighty prisoners. One part of the compound, he said, had the same appearance as the interrogation centers at other prison camps.

The compound was not visible from the main road, and the access road was chained off. The Guardsman who told Davila about the compound had said, “This place does not exist,” and Hickman, who was frequently put in charge of security for all of Camp America, was not briefed about the site. Nevertheless, Davila said, other soldiers—many of whom were required to patrol the outside perimeter of Camp America—had seen the compound, and many speculated about its purpose. One theory was that it was being used by some of the non-uniformed government personnel who frequently showed up in the camps and were widely thought to be CIA agents.

A friend of Hickman’s had nicknamed the compound “Camp No,” the idea being that anyone who asked if it existed would be told, “No, it doesn’t.” He and Davila made a point of stopping by whenever they had the chance; once, Hickman said, he heard a “series of screams” from within the compound.

Hickman and his men also discovered that there were odd exceptions to their duties. Army guards were charged with searching and logging every vehicle that passed into and out of Camp Delta. “When John McCain came to the camp, he had to be logged in.” However, Hickman was instructed to make no record whatsoever of the movements of one vehicle in particular—a white van, dubbed the “paddy wagon,” that Navy guards used to transport heavily manacled prisoners, one at a time, into and out of Camp Delta. The van had no rear windows and contained a dog cage large enough to hold a single prisoner. Navy drivers, Hickman came to understand, would let the guards know they had a prisoner in the van by saying they were “delivering a pizza.”

The paddy wagon was used to transport prisoners to medical facilities and to meetings with their lawyers. But as Hickman monitored the paddy wagon’s movements from the guard tower at Camp Delta, he frequently saw it follow an unexpected route. When the van reached the first intersection, instead of heading right—toward the other camps or toward one of the buildings where prisoners could meet with their lawyers—it made a left. In that direction, past the perimeter checkpoint known as ACP Roosevelt, there were only two destinations. One was a beach where soldiers went to swim. The other was Camp No.

3. “Lit up”
The night the prisoners died, Hickman was on duty as sergeant of the guard for Camp America’s exterior security force. When his twelve-hour shift began, at 6 p.m., he climbed the ladder to Tower 1, which stood twenty feet above Sally Port 1, the main entrance to Camp Delta. From there he had an excellent view of the camp, and much of the exterior perimeter as well. Later he would make his rounds.

Shortly after his shift began, Hickman noticed that someone had parked the paddy wagon near Camp 1, which houses Alpha Block. A moment later, two Navy guards emerged from Camp 1, escorting a prisoner. They put the prisoner into the back of the van and then left the camp through Sally Port 1, just below Hickman. He was under standing orders not to search the paddy wagon, so he just watched it as it headed east. He assumed the guards and their charge were bound for one of the other prison camps southeast of Camp Delta. But when the van reached the first intersection, instead of making a right, toward the other camps, it made the left, toward ACP Roosevelt and Camp No.

Twenty minutes later—about the amount of time needed for the trip to Camp No and back—the paddy wagon returned. This time Hickman paid closer attention. He couldn’t see the Navy guards’ faces, but from body size and uniform they appeared to be the same men.

The guards walked into Camp 1 and soon emerged with another prisoner. They departed Camp America, again in the direction of Camp No. Twenty minutes later, the van returned. Hickman, his curiosity piqued by the unusual flurry of activity and guessing that the guards might make another excursion, left Tower 1 and drove the three quarters of a mile to ACP Roosevelt to see exactly where the paddy wagon was headed. Shortly thereafter, the van passed through the checkpoint for the third time and then went another hundred yards, whereupon it turned toward Camp No, eliminating any question in Hickman’s mind about where it was going. All three prisoners would have all reached their destination before 8 p.m.

Hickman says he saw nothing more of note until about 11:30 p.m, when he had returned to his preferred vantage at Tower 1. As he watched, the paddy wagon returned to Camp Delta. This time, however, the Navy guards did not get out of the van to enter Camp 1. Instead they backed the vehicle up to the entrance of the medical clinic, as if to unload something.

At approximately 11:45 p.m.—nearly an hour before the NCIS claims the first body was discovered—Army Specialist Christopher Penvose, preparing for a midnight shift in Tower 1, was approached by a senior Navy NCO. Penvose told me that the NCO—who, following standard operating procedures, wore no name tag—appeared to be extremely agitated. He instructed Penvose to go immediately to the Camp Delta chow hall, identify a female senior petty officer who would be dining there, and relay to her a specific code word. Penvose did as he was instructed. The officer leapt up from her seat and immediately ran out of the chow hall.

Another thirty minutes passed. Then, as Hickman and Penvose both recall, Camp Delta suddenly “lit up”—stadium-style flood lights were turned on, and the camp became the scene of frenzied activity, filling with personnel in and out of uniform. Hickman headed to the clinic, which appeared to be the center of activity, to learn the reason for the commotion. He asked a distraught medical corpsman what had happened. She said three dead prisoners had been delivered to the clinic. Hickman recalled her saying that they had died because they had rags stuffed down their throats, and that one of them was severely bruised. Davila told me he spoke to Navy guards who said the men had died as the result of having rags stuffed down their throats.

Hickman was concerned that such a serious incident could have occurred in Camp 1 on his watch. He asked his tower guards what they had seen. Penvose, from his position at Tower 1, had an unobstructed view of the walkway between Camp 1 and the medical clinic—the path by which any prisoners who died at Camp 1 would be delivered to the clinic. Penvose told Hickman, and later confirmed to me, that he saw no prisoners being moved from Camp 1 to the clinic. In Tower 4 (it should be noted that Army and Navy guard-tower designations differ), another Army specialist, David Caroll, was forty-five yards from Alpha Block, the cell block within Camp 1 that had housed the three dead men. He also had an unobstructed view of the alleyway that connected the cell block itself to the clinic. He likewise reported to Hickman, and confirmed to me, that he had seen no prisoners transferred to the clinic that night, dead or alive.

4. “He Could Not Cry out”
The fate of a fourth prisoner, a forty-two-year-old Saudi Arabian named Shaker Aamer, may be related to that of the three prisoners who died on June 9. Aamer is married to a British woman and was in the process of becoming a British subject when he was captured in Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in 2001. United States authorities insist that he carried a gun and served Osama bin Laden as an interpreter. Aamer denies this. At Guantánamo, Aamer’s fluency in English soon allowed him to play an important role in camp politics. According to both Aamer’s attorney and press accounts furnished by Army Colonel Michael Bumgarner, the Camp America commander, Aamer cooperated closely with Bumgarner in efforts to bring a 2005 hunger strike to an end. He persuaded several prisoners to break their strike for a while, but the settlement collapsed and soon afterward Aamer was sent to solitary confinement. Then, on the night of June 9, 2006, Aamer says he was the victim of an act of striking brutality.

He described the events in detail to his lawyer, Zachary Katznelson, who was permitted to speak to him several weeks later. Katznelson recorded every detail of Aamer’s account and filed an affidavit with the federal district court in Washington, setting it out:

On June 9th, 2006, [Aamer] was beaten for two and a half hours straight. Seven naval military police participated in his beating. Mr. Aamer stated he had refused to provide a retina scan and fingerprints. He reported to me that he was strapped to a chair, fully restrained at the head, arms and legs. The MPs inflicted so much pain, Mr. Aamer said he thought he was going to die. The MPs pressed on pressure points all over his body: his temples, just under his jawline, in the hollow beneath his ears. They choked him. They bent his nose repeatedly so hard to the side he thought it would break. They pinched his thighs and feet constantly. They gouged his eyes. They held his eyes open and shined a mag-lite in them for minutes on end, generating intense heat. They bent his fingers until he screamed. When he screamed, they cut off his airway, then put a mask on him so he could not cry out.

The treatment Aamer describes is noteworthy because it produces excruciating pain without leaving lasting marks. Still, the fact that Aamer had his airway cut off and a mask put over his face “so he could not cry out” is alarming. This is the same technique that appears to have been used on the three deceased prisoners.

The United Kingdom has pressed aggressively for the return of British subjects and persons of interest. Every individual requested by the British has been turned over, with one exception: Shaker Aamer. In denying this request, U.S. authorities have cited unelaborated “security” concerns. There is no suggestion that the Americans intend to charge him before a military commission, or in a federal criminal court, and, indeed, they have no meaningful evidence linking him to any crime. American authorities may be concerned that Aamer, if released, could provide evidence against them in criminal investigations. This evidence would include what he experienced on June 9, 2006, and during his 2002 detention in Afghanistan at Bagram Airfield, where he was subjected to a procedure in which his head was smashed repeatedly against a wall. This torture technique, called “walling” in CIA documents, was expressly approved at a later date by the Department of Justice.

5. “You All Know”
By dawn, the news had circulated through Camp America that three prisoners had committed suicide by swallowing rags. Colonel Bumgarner called a meeting of the guards, and at 7 a.m. at least fifty soldiers and sailors gathered at Camp America’s open-air theater.

Bumgarner was known as an eccentric commander. Hickman marveled, for instance, at the colonel’s insistence that his staff line up and salute him, to music selections that included Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony and the reggae hit “Bad Boys,” as he entered the command center. This morning, however, Hickman thought Bumgarner seemed unusually nervous and clipped.

According to independent interviews with soldiers who witnessed the speech, Bumgarner told his audience that “you all know” three prisoners in the Alpha Block at Camp 1 committed suicide during the night by swallowing rags, causing them to choke to death. This was a surprise to no one—even servicemen who had not worked the night before had heard about the rags. But then Bumgarner told those assembled that the media would report something different. It would report that the three prisoners had committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells. It was important, he said, that servicemen make no comments or suggestions that in any way undermined the official report. He reminded the soldiers and sailors that their phone and email communications were being monitored. The meeting lasted no more than twenty minutes. (Bumgarner has not responded to requests for comment.)

That evening, Bumgarner’s boss, Admiral Harris, read a statement to reporters:

An alert, professional guard noticed something out of the ordinary in the cell of one of the detainees. The guard’s response was swift and professional to secure the area and check on the status of the detainee. When it was apparent that the detainee had hung himself, the guard force and medical teams reacted quickly to attempt to save the detainee’s life. The detainee was unresponsive and not breathing. [The] guard force began to check on the health and welfare of other detainees. Two detainees in their cells had also hung themselves.

After praising the guards and the medics, Harris—in a notable departure from traditional military decorum—launched his attack on the men who had died on his watch. “They have no regard for human life,” Harris said, “neither ours nor their own.” A Pentagon press release issued soon after described the dead men, who had been accused of no crime, as Al Qaeda or Taliban operatives. Lieutenant Commander Jeffrey Gordon, the Pentagon’s chief press officer, went still further, telling the Guardian’s David Rose, “These guys were fanatics like the Nazis, Hitlerites, or the Ku Klux Klan, the people they tried at Nuremberg.” The Pentagon was not the only U.S. government agency to participate in the assault. Colleen Graffy, a deputy assistant secretary of state, told the BBC that “taking their own lives was not necessary, but it certainly is a good P.R. move.”

The same day the three prisoners died, Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly completed a reporting trip to the naval base, where, according to his account on The O’Reilly Factor, the Joint Army Navy Task Force “granted the Factor near total access to the prison.” Although the Pentagon began turning away reporters after news of the deaths had emerged, two reporters from the Charlotte Observer, Michael Gordon and photographer Todd Sumlin, had arrived that morning to work on a profile of Bumgarner, and the colonel invited them to shadow him as he dealt with the crisis. A Pentagon spokesman later told the Observer it had been expecting a “puff piece,” which is why, according to the Observer, “Bumgarner and his superiors on the base” had given them permission to remain.

Bumgarner quickly returned to his theatrical ways. As Gordon reported in the June 13, 2006, issue of the Observer, the colonel seemed to enjoy putting on a show. “Right now, we are at ground zero,” Bumgarner told his officer staff during a June 12 meeting. Referring to the naval base’s prisoners, he said, “There is not a trustworthy son of a bitch in the entire bunch.” In the same article, Gordon also noted what he had learned about the deaths. The suicides had occurred “in three cells on the same block,” he reported. The prisoners had “hanged themselves with strips of knotted cloth taken from clothing and sheets,” after shaping their pillows and blankets to look like sleeping bodies. “And Bumgarner said,” Gordon reported, “each had a ball of cloth in their mouth either for choking or muffling their voices.”

Something about Bumgarner’s Observer interview seemed to have set off an alarm far up the chain of command. No sooner was Gordon’s story in print than Bumgarner was called to Admiral Harris’s office. As Bumgarner would tell Gordon in a follow-up profile three months later, Harris was holding up a copy of the Observer: “This,” said the admiral to Bumgarner, “could get me relieved.” (Harris did not respond to requests for comment.) That same day, an investigation was launched to determine whether classified information had been leaked from Guantánamo. Bumgarner was suspended.

Less than a week after the appearance of the Observer stories, Davila and Hickman each heard separately from friends in the Navy and in the military police that FBI agents had raided the colonel’s quarters. The MPs understood from their FBI contacts that there was concern over the possibility that Bumgarner had taken home some classified materials and was planning to share them with the media or to use them in writing a book.

On June 27, two weeks later, Gordon’s Observer colleague Scott Dodd reported: “A brigadier general determined that ‘unclassified sensitive information’ was revealed to the public in the days after the June 10 suicides.” Harris, according to the article, had already ordered “appropriate administrative action.” Bumgarner soon left Guantánamo for a new post in Missouri. He now serves as an ROTC instructor at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg.

Bumgarner’s comments appear to be at odds with the official Pentagon narrative on only one point: that the deaths had involved cloth being stuffed into the prisoners’ mouths. The involvement of the FBI suggested that more was at issue.

6. “An Unmistakable Message”
On June 10, NCIS investigators began interviewing the Navy guards in charge of Alpha Block, but after the Pentagon committed itself to the suicide narrative, they appear to have stopped. On June 14, the interviews resumed, and the NCIS informed at least six Navy guards that they were suspected of making false statements or failing to obey direct orders. No disciplinary action ever followed.

The investigators conducted interviews with guards, medics, prisoners, and officers. As the Seton Hall researchers note, however, nothing in the NCIS report suggests that the investigators secured or reviewed the duty roster, the prisoner-transfer book, the pass-on book, the records of phone and radio communications, or footage from the camera that continuously monitored activity in the hallways, all of which could have helped them authoritatively re-construct the events of that evening.

The NCIS did, however, move swiftly to seize every piece of paper possessed by every single prisoner in Camp America, some 1,065 pounds of material, much of it privileged attorney-client correspondence. Several weeks later, authorities sought an after-the-fact justification. The Justice Department—bolstered by sworn statements from Admiral Harris and from Carol Kisthardt, the special agent in charge of the NCIS investigation—claimed in court that the seizure was appropriate because there had been a conspiracy among the prisoners to commit suicide. Justice further claimed that investigators had found suicide notes and argued that the attorney-client materials were being used to pass communications among the prisoners.

David Remes, a lawyer who opposed the Justice Department’s efforts, explained the practical effect of the government’s maneuvers. The seizure, he said, “sent an unmistakable message to the prisoners that they could not expect their communications with their lawyers to remain confidential. The Justice Department defended the massive breach of the attorney-client privilege on the account of the deaths on June 9 and the asserted need to investigate them.”

If the “suicides” were a form of warfare between the prisoners and the Bush Administration, as Admiral Harris charged, it was the latter that quickly turned the war to its advantage.

7. “Yasser Couldn’t Even Make a Sandwich!”
When I asked Talal Al-Zahrani what he thought had happened to his son, he was direct. “They snatched my seventeen-year-old son for a bounty payment,” he said. “They took him to Guantánamo and held him prisoner for five years. They tortured him. Then they killed him and returned him to me in a box, cut up.”

Al-Zahrani was a brigadier general in the Saudi police. He dismissed the Pentagon’s claims, as well as the investigation that supported them. Yasser, he said, was a young man who loved to play soccer and didn’t care for politics. The Pentagon claimed that Yasser’s frontline battle experience came from his having been a cook in a Taliban camp. Al-Zahrani said that this was preposterous: “A cook? Yasser couldn’t even make a sandwich!”

“Yasser wasn’t guilty of anything.” Al-Zahrani said. “He knew that. He firmly believed he would be heading home soon. Why would he commit suicide?” The evidence supports this argument. Hyperbolic U.S. government statements at the time of Yasser Al-Zahrani’s death masked the fact that his case had been reviewed and that he was, in fact, on a list of prisoners to be sent home. I had shown Al-Zahrani the letter that the government says was Yasser’s suicide note and asked him whether he recognized his son’s writing. He had never seen the note before, he answered, and no U.S. official had ever asked him about it. After studying the note carefully, he said, “This is a forgery.”

Also returned to Saudi Arabia was the body of Mani Al-Utaybi. Orphaned in youth, Mani grew up in his uncle’s home in the small town of Dawadmi. I spoke to one of the many cousins who shared that home, Faris Al-Utaybi. Mani, said Faris, had gone to Baluchistan—a rural, tribal area that straddles Iran, Pakistan, and Afghanistan—to do humanitarian work, and someone there had sold him to the Americans for $5,000. He said that Mani was a peaceful man who would harm no one. Indeed, U.S. authorities had decided to release Al-Utaybi and return him to Saudi Arabia. When he died, he was just a few weeks shy of his transfer.

Salah Al-Salami was seized in March 2002, when Pakistani authorities raided a residence in Karachi believed to have been used as a safe house by Abu Zubaydah and took into custody all who were living there at the time. A Yemeni, Al-Salami had quit his job and moved to Pakistan with only $400 in his pocket. The U.S. suspicions against him rested almost entirely on the fact that he had taken lodgings, with other students, in a boarding house that terrorists might at one point have used. There was no direct evidence linking him either to Al Qaeda or to the Taliban. On August 22, 2008, the Washington Post quoted from a previously secret review of his case: “There is no credible information to suggest [Al-Salami] received terrorist related training or is a member of the Al Qaeda network.” All that stood in the way of Al-Salami’s release from Guantánamo were difficult diplomatic relations between the United States and Yemen.

8. “The Removal of the Neck Organs”
Military pathologists connected with the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology arranged immediate autopsies of the three dead prisoners, without securing the permission of the men’s families. The identities and findings of the pathologists remain shrouded in extraordinary secrecy, but the timing of the autopsies suggests that medical personnel stationed at Guantánamo may have undertaken the procedure without waiting for the arrival of an experienced medical examiner from the United States. Each of the heavily redacted autopsy reports states unequivocally that “the manner of death is suicide” and, more specifically, that the prisoner died of “hanging.” Each of the reports describes ligatures that were found wrapped around the prisoner’s neck, as well as circumferential dried abrasion furrows imprinted with the very fine weave pattern of the ligature fabric and forming an inverted “V” on the back of the head. This condition, the anonymous pathologists state, is consistent with that of a hanging victim.

The pathologists place the time of death “at least a couple of hours” before the bodies were discovered, which would be sometime before 10:30 p.m. on June 9. Additionally, the autopsy of Al-Salami states that his hyoid bone was broken, a phenomenon usually associated with manual strangulation, not hanging.

The report asserts that the hyoid was broken “during the removal of the neck organs.” An odd admission, given that these are the very body parts—the larynx, the hyoid bone, and the thyroid cartilage—that would have been essential to determining whether death occurred from hanging, from strangulation, or from choking. These parts remained missing when the men’s families finally received their bodies.

All the families requested independent autopsies. The Saudi prisoners were examined by Saeed Al-Ghamdy, a pathologist based in Saudi Arabia. Al-Salami, from Yemen, was inspected by Patrice Mangin, a pathologist based in Switzerland. Both pathologists noted the removal of the structure that would have been the natural focus of the autopsy: the throat. Both pathologists contacted the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, requesting the missing body parts and more information about the previous autopsies. The institute did not respond to their requests or queries. (It also did not respond to a series of calls I placed requesting information and comment.)

When Al-Zahrani viewed his son’s corpse, he saw evidence of a homicide. “There was a major blow to the head on the right side,” he said. “There was evidence of torture on the upper torso, and on the palms of his hand. There were needle marks on his right arm and on his left arm.” None of these details are noted in the U.S. autopsy report. “I am a law enforcement professional,” Al-Zahrani said. “I know what to look for when examining a body.”

Mangin, for his part, expressed particular concern about Al-Salami’s mouth and throat, where he saw “a blunt trauma carried out against the oral region.” The U.S. autopsy report mentions an effort at resuscitation, but this, in Mangin’s view, did not explain the severity of the injuries. He also noted that some of the marks on the neck were not those he would normally associate with hanging.

9. “I Know Some Things You Don’t”
Sergeant Joe Hickman’s tour of duty, which ended in March 2007, was distinguished: he was selected as Guantánamo’s “NCO of the Quarter” and was given a commendation medal. When he returned to the United States, he was promoted to staff sergeant and worked in Maryland as an Army recruiter before settling eventually in Wisconsin. But he could not forget what he had seen at Guantánamo. When Barack Obama became president, Hickman decided to act. “I thought that with a new administration and new ideas I could actually come forward, ” he said. “It was haunting me.”

Hickman had seen a 2006 report from Seton Hall University Law School dealing with the deaths of the three prisoners, and he followed their subsequent work. After Obama was inaugurated in January 2009, he called Mark Denbeaux, the professor who had led the Seton Hall team. “I learned something from your report,” he said, “but I know some things you don’t.”

Within two days, Hickman was in Newark, meeting with Denbeaux. Also at the meeting was Denbeaux’s son and sometime co-editor Josh, a private attorney. Josh Denbeaux agreed to represent Hickman, who was concerned that he could go to prison if he disobeyed Colonel Bumgarner’s order not to speak out, even if that order was itself illegal. Hickman did not want to speak to the press. On the other hand, he felt that “silence was just wrong.”

The two lawyers quickly made arrangements for Hickman to speak instead with authorities in Washington, D.C. On February 2, they had meetings on Capitol Hill and with the Department of Justice. The meeting with Justice was an odd one. The father-and-son legal team were met by Rita Glavin, the acting head of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; John Morton, who was soon to become an assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security; and Steven Fagell, counselor to the head of the Criminal Division. Fagell had been, along with the new attorney general, Eric Holder, a partner at the elite Washington law firm of Covington & Burling, and was widely viewed as “Holder’s eyes” in the Criminal Division.

For more than an hour, the two lawyers described what Hickman had seen: the existence of Camp No, the transportation of the three prisoners, the van’s arrival at the medical clinic, the lack of evidence that any bodies had ever been removed from Alpha Block, and so on. The officials listened intently and asked many questions. The Denbeauxs said they could provide a list of witnesses who would corroborate every aspect of their account. At the end of the meeting, Mark Denbeaux recalled, the officials specifically thanked the lawyers for not speaking to reporters first and for “doing it the right way.”

Two days later, another Justice Department official, Teresa McHenry, head of the Criminal Division’s Domestic Security Section, called Mark Denbeaux and said that she was heading up an investigation and wanted to meet directly with his client. She went to New Jersey to do so. Hickman then reviewed the basic facts and furnished McHenry with the promised list of corroborating witnesses and details on how they could be contacted.

The Denbeauxs did not hear from anyone at the Justice Department for at least two months. Then, in April, an FBI agent called to say she did not have the list of contacts. She asked if this document could be provided again. It was. Shortly thereafter, Fagell and two FBI agents interviewed Davila, who had left the Army, in Columbia, South Carolina. Fagell asked Davila if he was prepared to travel to Guantánamo to identify the locations of various sites. He said he was. “It seemed like they were interested,” Davila told me. “Then I never heard from them again.”

Several more months passed, and Hickman and his lawyers became increasingly concerned that nothing was going to happen. On October 27, 2009, they resumed dealings with Congress that they had initiated on February 2 and then broken off at the Justice Department’s request; they were also in contact with ABC News. Two days later, Teresa McHenry called Mark Denbeaux and asked whether he had gone to Congress and ABC News about the matter. “I said that I had,” Denbeaux told me. He asked her, “Was there anything wrong with that?” McHenry then suggested that the investigation was finished. Denbeaux reminded her that she had yet to interview some of the corroborating witnesses. “There are a few small things to do,” Denbeaux says McHenry answered, “then it will be finished.”

Specialist Christopher Penvose told me that on October 30, the day following the conversation between Mark Denbeaux and Teresa McHenry, McHenry showed up at Penvose’s home in south Baltimore with some FBI agents. She had a “few questions,” she told him. Investigators working with her soon contacted two other witnesses.

On November 2, 2009, McHenry called Mark Denbeaux to tell him that the Justice Department’s investigation was being closed. “It was a strange conversation,” Denbeaux recalled. McHenry explained that “the gist of Sergeant Hickman’s information could not be confirmed.” But when Denbeaux asked what that “gist” actually was, McHenry declined to say. She just reiterated that Hickman’s conclusions “appeared” to be unsupported. Denbeaux asked what conclusions exactly were unsupported. McHenry refused to say.

10. “They Accomplished Nothing”
One of the most intriguing aspects of this case concerns the use of Camp No. Under George W. Bush, the CIA created an archipelago of secret detention centers that spanned the globe, and authorities at these sites deployed an array of Justice Department–sanctioned torture techniques—including waterboarding, which often entails inserting cloth into the subject’s mouth—on prisoners they deemed to be involved in terrorism. The presence of a black site at Guantánamo has long been a subject of speculation among lawyers and human-rights activists, and the experience of Sergeant Hickman and other Guantánamo guards compels us to ask whether the three prisoners who died on June 9 were being interrogated by the CIA, and whether their deaths resulted from the grueling techniques the Justice Department had approved for the agency’s use—or from other tortures lacking that sanction.

Complicating these questions is the fact that Camp No might have been controlled by another authority, the Joint Special Operations Command, which Bush’s defense secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had hoped to transform into a Pentagon version of the CIA. Under Rumsfeld’s direction, JSOC began to take on many tasks traditionally handled by the CIA, including the housing and interrogation of prisoners at black sites around the world. The Pentagon recently acknowledged the existence of one such JSOC black site, located at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, and other suspected sites, such as Camp Nama in Baghdad, have been carefully documented by human-rights researchers.

In a Senate Armed Services Committee report on torture released last year, the sections about Guantánamo were significantly redacted. The position and circumstances of these deletions point to a significant JSOC interrogation program at the base. (It should be noted that Obama’s order last year to close other secret detention camps was narrowly worded to apply only to the CIA.)

Regardless of whether Camp No belonged to the CIA or JSOC, the Justice Department has plenty of its own secrets to protect. The department would seem to have been involved in the cover-up from the first days, when FBI agents stormed Colonel Bumgarner’s quarters. This was unusual for two reasons. When Pentagon officials engage in a leak investigation, they generally use military investigators. They rarely turn to the FBI, because they cannot control the actions of a civilian agency. Moreover, when the FBI does open an investigation, it nearly always does so with great discretion. The Bumgarner investigation was widely telegraphed, though, and seemed intended to send a message to the military personnel at Camp Delta: Talk about what happened at your own risk. All of which suggests it was not the Pentagon so much as the White House that hoped to suppress the truth.

In the weeks following the 2006 deaths, the Justice Department decided to use the suicide narrative as leverage against the Guantánamo prisoners and their troublesome lawyers, who were pressing the government to justify its long-term imprisonment of their clients. After the NCIS seized thousands of pages of privileged communications, the Justice Department went to court to defend the action. It argued that such steps were warranted by the extraordinary facts surrounding the June 9 “suicides.” U.S. District Court Judge James Robertson gave the Justice Department a sympathetic hearing, and he ruled in its favor, but he also noted a curious aspect of the government’s presentation: its “citations supporting the fact of the suicides” were all drawn from media accounts. Why had the Justice Department lawyers who argued the case gone to such lengths to avoid making any statement under oath about the suicides? Did they do so in order to deceive the court? If so, they could face disciplinary proceedings or disbarment.

The Justice Department also faces questions about its larger role in creating the circumstances that lead to the use of so-called enhanced interrogation and restraint techniques at Guantánamo and elsewhere. In 2006, the use of a gagging restraint had already been connected to the death on January 9, 2004, of an Iraqi prisoner, Lieutenant Colonel Abdul Jameel, in the custody of the Army Special Forces. And the bodies of the three men who died at Guantánamo showed signs of torture, including hemorrhages, needle marks, and significant bruising. The removal of their throats made it difficult to determine whether they were already dead when their bodies were suspended by a noose. The Justice Department itself had been deeply involved in the process of approving and setting the conditions for the use of torture techniques, issuing a long series of memoranda that CIA agents and others could use to defend themselves against any subsequent criminal prosecution.

Teresa McHenry, the investigator charged with accounting for the deaths of the three men at Guantánamo, has firsthand knowledge of the Justice Department’s role in auditing such techniques, having served at the Justice Department under Bush and having participated in the preparation of at least one of those memos. As a former war-crimes prosecutor, McHenry knows full well that government officials who attempt to cover up crimes perpetrated against prisoners in wartime face prosecution under the doctrine of command responsibility. (McHenry declined to clarify the role she played in drafting the memos.)

As retired Rear Admiral John Hutson, the former judge advocate general of the Navy, told me, “Filing false reports and making false statements is bad enough, but if a homicide occurs and officials up the chain of command attempt to cover it up, they face serious criminal liability. They may even be viewed as accessories after the fact in the original crime.” With command authority comes command responsibility, he said. “If the heart of the military is obeying orders down the chain of command, then its soul is accountability up the chain. You can’t demand the former without the latter.”

The Justice Department thus faced a dilemma; it could do the politically convenient thing, which was to find no justification for a thorough investigation, leave the NCIS conclusions in place, and hope that the public and the news media would obey the Obama Administration’s dictum to “look forward, not backward”; or it could pursue a course of action that would implicate the Bush Justice Department in a cover-up of possible homicides.

Nearly 200 men remain imprisoned at Guantánamo. In June 2009, six months after Barack Obama took office, one of them, a thirty-one-year-old Yemeni named Muhammed Abdallah Salih, was found dead in his cell. The exact circumstances of his death, like those of the deaths of the three men from Alpha Block, remain uncertain. Those charged with accounting for what happened—the prison command, the civilian and military investigative agencies, the Justice Department, and ultimately the attorney general himself—all face a choice between the rule of law and the expedience of political silence. Thus far, their choice has been unanimous.

Not everyone who is involved in this matter views it from a political perspective, of course. General Al-Zahrani grieves for his son, but at the end of a lengthy interview he paused and his thoughts turned elsewhere. “The truth is what matters,” he said. “They practiced every form of torture on my son and on many others as well. What was the result? What facts did they find? They found nothing. They learned nothing. They accomplished nothing.”