But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.
“Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been publicly accusing Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS for months. Several reports have detailed how private Gulf funding to various Syrian rebel groups has splintered the Syrian opposition and paved the way for the rise of groups like ISIS and others.
- From the excellent Daily Beast article, America’s Allies Are Funding ISIS
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It’s been obvious for quite some time that the so-called “war on terror” is nothing more than a fear-mongering induced power grab; a convenient excuse to strip the citizenry of its civil liberties and humanity. Many commentators, including myself, have predicted for years that the entire counter-terror juggernaut that has been constructed post-9/11 would be ultimately redirected upon the domestic population.
Snowden’s heroic whistleblowing has already proven without a doubt that the government spy apparatus (along with tech company complicity) has been zeroed in on the domestic population for quite some time, but is the situation about to escalate? Are the feds so fearful of their own people, they are about to focus all their counter-terror energy on U.S. citizens? It appears so.
I warned about this development back in 2011 in my post: The War on Freedom. In it I stated:
This whole charade shouldn’t be called “The War on Terror.” It is actually all about keeping the citizenry terrified. The government loves keeping you in a state of fear so that then they can do anything they want to the little sheep. It should be called “The War on Freedom.” Your freedom.
Before I get to the main topic of this article, I think it’s important to read excerpts from yesterday’s powerful and timely op-ed by Noam Chomsky titled: Edward Snowden, the World’s “Most Wanted Criminal. Discussing the Snowden revelations, he writes:
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Recently, the FBI made a significant change to its self-proclaimed primary focus in its fact sheet from “law enforcement” to “national security.” This change merely confirms what I and countless others have claimed to be true for quite some time. That the entire regulatory, security and intelligence apparatus of these United States has been redirected away from protecting the Constitution and the rule of law, toward a narrow focus on protecting the economic and social positions of the oligarch class at all costs under the guise of a “war on terror.” We have seen many signs of cronyism at the FBI for decades now, something most accurately pointed out in the priceless image “All My Heroes Have FBI Files.”
While this change to the FBI fact sheet is just confirmation of something we already knew, it’s still mind-boggling to see it shoved right in our faces:
TechDirt covered this story well. Here are some excerpts:
A couple years ago, it was revealed that the FBI noted in one of its “counterterrorism training manuals” that FBI agents could “bend or suspend the law and impinge upon the freedoms of others,” which seemed kind of odd for a government agency who claimed its “primary function” was “law enforcement.” You’d think that playing by the rules would be kind of important. However, as John Hudson at Foreign Policy has noted, at some point last summer, the FBI quietly changed its fact sheet, so that it no longer says that “law enforcement” is its primary function, replacing it with “national security.”
Of course, I thought we already had a “national security” agency — known as the “National Security Agency.” Of course, while this may seem like a minor change, as the article notes, it is the reality behind the scenes. The FBI massively beefed up resources focused on “counterterrorism” and… then let all sorts of other crimes slide. Including crimes much more likely to impact Americans, like financial/white collar fraud.
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The drone issue is just another topic in which President Barrack Obama has proven himself to be a world-class liar and master of deception. Despite his claims that drone strikes do little damage to civilian populations, in July we discovered that “of the 746 people killed in drone strikes in Pakistan from 2006-2009, an incredible 20% were civilians and 94 (13% of the total) were children.”
I suppose that number just isn’t good enough, because The Pentagon has decided to change the rules of engagement when it comes to drone strikes, now making it easier to target civilians. From The Washington Times:
The Pentagon has loosened its guidelines on avoiding civilian casualties during drone strikes, modifying instructions from requiring military personnel to “ensure” civilians are not targeted to encouraging service members to “avoid targeting” civilians.
Hey cops, how about you “try to avoid” beating the shit out of people and violating their constitutional rights for no reason. Yeah, because that’ll work.
In addition, instructions now tell commanders that collateral damage “must not be excessive” in relation to mission goals, according to Public Intelligence, a nonprofit research group that analyzed the military’s directives on drone strikes.
Administration officials say the strikes are legal because the U.S. is at war with al Qaeda and its associates. They also insist there is a wide gap between the government’s civilian casualty count and those of human rights groups.
Right, we are at “war with al Qaeda,” when it is convenient to be at war with them. When it is convenient to be allies with al Qaeda, we will do that too.
Despite Mr. Obama’s pledge for more transparency on drone strikes, the administration “continues to answer legitimate questions and criticisms by saying, ‘We can’t really talk about this,’” said Naureen Shah, advocacy adviser at Amnesty International.
Can’t. Make. This. Stuff. Up.
Full article here.
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Pressed by the Democratic chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee at an oversight hearing, Gen. Keith B. Alexander admitted that the number of terrorist plots foiled by the NSA’s huge database of every phone call made in or to America was only one or perhaps two — far smaller than the 54 originally claimed by the administration.
- From Today’s Washington Times
“One or perhaps two.” Or perhaps zero. The guy has the nerve to say “perhaps.” How do you not know? What a bunch of lying assholes. How the heck does 54 turn into “one or two,” and I’ll tell you something else, I don’t believe the one or two figure for a minute. I mean there’s no way he would say “zero” when he is fighting to keep his petty little Stasi state intact. Furthermore, how about some details here. What was the one plot the NSA foiled? Some teenager throwing firecrackers on the White House lawn? These guys need to get lost already. From the Washington Times:
The Obama administration’s credibility on intelligence suffered another blow Wednesday as the chief of the National Security Agency admitted that officials put out numbers that vastly overstated the counterterrorism successes of the government’s warrantless bulk collection of all Americans’ phone records.
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I’ve said for many years that I have no idea what actually happened on 9/11, but I am highly confident the government’s official story is complete and total bullshit. A third building fell on that fateful day, WTC7. No planes hit the building and yet it came down at free fall speed. Even the government itself admitted that:
The collapse of WTC 7 is the first known instance of a tall building brought down primarily by uncontrolled fires.
- From the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) report
Quite the coincidence, and not only brought down, but brought down at free fall speed. Watch the video and make up your own mind, but remember that all the civil liberties we have given up and all the wars we have launched were justified by 9/11.
I remember 9/11 like it was yesterday. I was one year into my Wall Street career. I got up that morning just like every other morning and headed toward Union Square station to get on the subway down to 3 World Financial Center, the headquarters of Lehman Brothers. I had just purchased breakfast in the cafeteria when I saw one of the human resources folks from my floor yelling to evacuate. I was confused but I got my ass downstairs fast. When I got down there I joined the hundreds of others staring in awe skyward at the gaping hole in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. People speculated that a helicopter had hit the building, but I said no way. It looked like a bomb went off to me.
Shortly afterward, the ground started shaking and I heard an enormous explosion and saw fire and debris shooting out from behind the North Tower. The herd starting running and I was trampled on. We all retreated to safer ground, at which point I ran into some co-workers. I mentioned that I was a bit worried these things could fall, but I was ensured by a higher-up at the firm that this was impossible. It was at that point that some co-workers and I decided to take the long walk home to my apartment on east 12th street. As we walked, we saw people jumping from the buildings, and ultimately we saw the first one collapse in front of our eyes as we traversed through Soho.
In the days following the collapse, all I wanted was for the towers to be rebuilt just like before. I wanted the skyline back to what I had know since the day I came into this earth at a New York City hospital to be restored exactly as I had always known it. Career-wise, I felt I should leave Wall Street. I thought about going back to graduate school for political science, or maybe even join the newly created Department of Homeland Security (yes, the irony is not lost on me). I read a lengthy tome on Osama Bin Laden and al-Qaeda. I was an emotional and psychological mess, and it was when I was in this state of heightened distress that my own government and the military-industrial complex took advantage of me.
It wasn’t just me of course. It was an entire nation that was callously manipulated in the aftermath of that tragedy. The courage and generosity exhibited by so many New Yorkers and others throughout the country and indeed the world was rapidly transformed into terrifying fear. Fear that was intentionally injected repeatedly into our daily lives. Fear that translated into pointless wars and countless deaths. Fear that was used to justify the destruction of our precious civil rights. Fear that was used to initiate a gigantic power grab and the source of tremendous profits for the corporate-statists and crony-capitalsits. Unfortunately, that is the greatest legacy of 9/11.
While all of the above is true, I now see a very bright silver lining. Although it took me an embarrassingly long time, I did wake up from the deep haze of propaganda and am now able to see things for what they really are. Of course, I am only one of millions globally who now recognize how badly we have been duped and are working to restore all of the precious things we have lost.
So let’s take 9/11 to remember all the people that were lost on that day, as well as all of those to whom we have done injustice in the name of the Orwellian never-ending “War on Terror.” Let’s strengthen our resolve to right all of these wrongs and make us proud of these United States once again. That is how I remember September 11, 2001.
The fact that the C.I.A. was embedded within the NYPD for a decade after 9/11 is not a new story, but what is new are details regarding involvement in domestic surveillance, which the agency is not permitted to engage in. The questions that I want to ask in light of this are: Which other police forces around the nation had or have C.I.A. agents embedded in them and what are their roles? Let’s not forget what Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Carl Bernstein has told us in 1977:
In 1953, Joseph Alsop, then one of America’s leading syndicated columnists, went to the Philippines to cover an election. He did not go because he was asked to do so by his syndicate. He did not go because he was asked to do so by the newspapers that printed his column. He went at the request of the CIA.
Alsop is one of more than 400 American journalists who in the past twenty‑five years have secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters.
The history of the CIA’s involvement with the American press continues to be shrouded by an official policy of obfuscation and deception.
We should all feel extremely uncomfortable that this agency was embedded within a domestic police force given it’s history.
Now, from the New York Times:
WASHINGTON — Four Central Intelligence Agency officers were embedded with the New York Police Department in the decade after Sept. 11, 2001, including one official who helped conduct surveillance operations in the United States, according to a newly disclosed C.I.A. inspector general’s report.
That officer believed there were “no limitations” on his activities, the report said, because he was on an unpaid leave of absence, and thus exempt from the prohibition against domestic spying by members of the C.I.A.
Another embedded C.I.A. analyst — who was on its payroll — said he was given “unfiltered” police reports that included information unrelated to foreign intelligence, the C.I.A. report said.
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If the IRS scandal wasn’t enough to convince you that bloated, corrupt, bureaucratic government institutions pose a greater threat to our freedoms than any terrorist attack ever could, this story should settle it once and for all. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is not only wasteful, power hungry, and entirely unnecessary, it is also rapidly transforming itself into the Vampire Squid of government. In light of the fact that pretty much every terrorist plot the U.S. government has “thwarted” since 9/11 has been either FBI or CIA hatched schemes rooted in entrapment, the DHS has a lot of spare time on its hands to hunt frightening acts of “domestic terrorism.” You know, like fake Gucci bags. This story is beyond unacceptable. From WIVB Channel 4 News:
AMHERST, N.Y. (WIVB) – Federal agents swept through two shopping malls Monday, seizing fake merchandise and shutting down stores.
The Department of Homeland Security spearheaded the investigation that targeted mostly kiosks in the Walden Galleria and Boulevard Mall. Agents hauled bags and boxes out of the Boulevard Mall after stripping three kiosks of their merchandise.
Jim Spero, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Buffalo office of Homeland Security, says the sale of counterfeit goods – in Buffalo and beyond – poses a major security threat.
Oh please. Get over yourself Jim.
“When you purchase counterfeit goods, when you sell counterfeit goods, you don’t know who you’re dealing with. You don’t know what kind of criminal activity you’re supporting,” Spero said. “It’s actually organized crime that is behind the distribution of these goods. It could be terrorists as well.”
9/11 was bad, but the government created “war on terror” and all that has come with it, is far, far worse.
Full article here.
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Even a mainstream media dinosaur like the New York Times will publish something decent and in the public interest from time to time. In case you aren’t familiar with the AUMF (Authorization for Use of Military Force), it was the law enacted three days after 9/11 to provide the President of the United States with the flexibility to fight the now never-ending “war on terror.” It is very important that we deal with the AUMF and get rid of it once and for all, since it is the key law used by the Obama Administration to justify the NDAA, and very soon may be used to kill “associates of associates” (basically anyone they want) of Al Qaeda without charges or a trial. This editorial published l over the weekend calls for a repeal of the AUMF and I completely agree. We can’t trust our current or future leaders to not abuse this authority. From the New York Times:
Three days after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Congress approved the Authorization for Use of Military Force. It was enacted with good intentions — to give President George W. Bush the authority to invade Afghanistan and go after Al Qaeda and the Taliban rulers who sheltered and aided the terrorists who had attacked the United States.
Mr. Bush used the authorization law as an excuse to kidnap hundreds of people — guilty and blameless people alike — and throw them into secret prisons where many were tortured. He used it as a pretext to open the Guantánamo Bay camp and to eavesdrop on Americans without bothering to obtain a warrant. He claimed it as justification for the invasion of Iraq, twisting intelligence to fabricate a connection between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 attacks.
Unlike Mr. Bush, Mr. Obama does not go as far as to claim that the Constitution gives him the inherent power to do all those things. But he has relied on the 2001 authorization to use drones to kill terrorists far from the Afghan battlefield, and to claim an unconstitutional power to kill American citizens in other countries based only on suspicion that they are or might become terrorist threats, without judicial review.
The concern that many, including this page, expressed about the authorization is coming true: that it could become the basis for a perpetual, ever-expanding war that undermined the traditional constraints on government power. The result is an unintelligible policy without express limits or protective walls.
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