Category Archives: Al Qaeda

Gassed His Own People

By JOHN TULLY
The LOS ANGELES SUN
June 20 2004

One of the unfortunate things about doing things completely different
from the Clinton administration is that you’re bound to trip all
over yourself and skin your shins doing just that.

Richard Clarke, the counter-terror chief for President Clinton, kept
on by the Bush administration and whom Vice President Cheney claimed
was “out of the loop”, repeatedly warned of planes being
used as a weapon, probably by al Qaeda, in as late as summer of 2001
to anyone on the new team who would listen.

In fact, on 31 January of 2001, The United States Commission on National
Security concludes that we are not only unprepared for an attack
on American soil but specifically mentions the phrase “weapon
of mass destruction in a high-rise building”. The report basically
states that there is a real lack of coordination between our intelligence agencies and a fragmented system to deal with threats.The White House, disregarding even their own master of hand moves,
Donald Rumsfeld, stifles the call for hearings and sets up a task
force that meets a total of once, on September the fourth.

It’s not surprising then, that a memo in July of that summer from the
FBI doesn’t raise any eyebrows. Agent Kenneth Williams worries about
Middle Eastern men attending flight schools and German and Russian
intelligence has Arabic terrorists training to fly airplanes as weapons
against the U.S. and Israel. They are ignored or not coordinated.

Scarry with two R’s.

Think of the 9/11 commission and it’s sordid history as the perfect
metaphor for this administration and the sheer chutzpah of it’s officials.

Having thwarted the very creation of such a commission, they’ve monkey wrenched every single aspect of it from the start. The families of the deceased have entire web sites set up that document the complete unwillingness of the Bush administration to hand over even the simplest of file requests.

But can anybody ever, in their lifetime, forget the brilliant appointment of Henry Kissinger as the Commission’s first Chairman?

Certainly the honorable Tom Kean, former governor of New Jersey and
general good guy would be perfect for the job. Unfortunately, Mr.
Kean is a director of Amerada-Hess, a partner with an outfit called
Delta Oil Ltd. of Saudi Arabia. Delta is partly owned by Osama Bin
laden’s brother-in-law: financier Khalid bin Mahfouz, formerly of
that whole messy BCCI bank scandal. His partner in Delta is Mohammed
Hussein al Amoudi and both are thought to have funnelled many millions to al-Qaeda and it’s network.

Co- chairmen Lee Hamilton is widely known to have looked the other
way when confronted with the evidence that former Presidents Reagan
and Bush were very much “in the loop” during the secret
Iran-Contra covert arms transactions. One would assume that this
Trilateral Commission member would give the kid the same free pass.
He also sits on the President’s Homeland Security Advisory Council.The rest of the commission doesn’t instill in one the feeling of impartiality.

Democrat Richard Ben-Veniste, the scourge of the Right, is a former
lawyer for one of the drug runners during Iran-Contra. He still represents United Airlines.

Fred Fielding is a former Nixon crony who vetted cabinet members on
the Bush transition team and works for the law firm that lobbies
for United Airlines.

Commission member Jamie Gorelick is a former lawyer for two of the
American men, Clark Clifford and Robert Altman, most responsible
when the Bank of Commerce and Credit International robbed depositors
of $10 billion. It was an early nineties transcontinental giant ponzi scheme of a bank scandal. While she was the second in command at the Justice Department in the Clinton administration she was responsible for a memo suggesting a separation of counterintelligence and criminal
investigations and their record on infiltrating and weakening al-Qaeda can only be described as less than stellar.

Her law firm is representing Muhammed al-Faisal,
the Saudi prince who allegedly financed Osama bin laden. The plaintiffs are 9/11 family members.

Former Senator Slade Gorton has ties to Boeing who built all the planes that crashed on 9/11 and his law firm represents Delta Airlines.

Two days after the attack The Seattle Times reported that he said
to a public television audience that there was “nothing government
intelligence officials could have done to thwart the attack”

By far though, the most interesting of appointees to the National Commission
on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States; the 9/11 commission’s
official name, is it’s executive director, Mr. Philip Zelicow.
He served on the President?s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board and
as a member of the Bush administration’s transition team, often briefed incoming security staff on Iraq and al-Qaeda. Of course his well known personal friendship with the President’s National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice, with whom he wrote a book, is widely known.

He’s a member of the controversial Council on Foreign Relations and
The Aspen Strategy Group, a foreign policy think-tank that counts
Dick Cheney, Paul Wolfowitz and Ms. Rice as members. Mr. Zelicow
allegedly made the claim at UVA in the fall of 2002 that the real
Iraqi threat was not to America: “Why would Iraq attack America
or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the
real threat [is] and actually has been since 1990 — it’s the threat
against Israel.

Mr. Zelicow is also executive director of the National Commission on
Federal Election Reform and general editor of the University of Virginia’s Miller Center for Presidential Recordings Program that, among other things, transcribes presidential telephone conversations and meetings recorded during the fifties, sixties and seventies.

Unfortunately the transcriptions have been found to contain at least a hundred key mistakes that ironically have been attributed by Zelikow to his work on the 9/11 commission and have still not been corrected.

This week the commission issued it’s preliminary report, read by Mr.
Zelicow. Among other findings was the statement: “We have
no credible evidence that Iraq and Al Qaeda cooperated on attacks
against the United States” While Bin Laden was in the Sudan
he reportedly met with a senior Iraqi official after the man’s third
attempt. This was apparently at the behest of the Sudanese who wanted him to cease his support of anti-Saddam Islamists in the Kurdish north.

In case there might still be some confusion, the commission’s report
goes further and reads: “There have been reports that contacts
between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after bin Laden had returned
to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship”The next morning the President immediately chimed in, saying: “The reason I keep insisting that there was a relationship between Iraq and Saddam and al Qaeda” is “because there was a relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.

The Vice President was outraged by the outrage and blamed the New York Times and it’s headlines as the culprit. He also derided the media in general for the confusion.

But there was Mr. Cheney just this past Monday crowing that Saddam “had long-established ties with al Qaeda.” and last fall when he said that Iraq was: “the geographic base of the terrorists who have had us under assault now for many years, but most especially on 9/11. Most impressively though was the Vice President’s outright insistence Thursday night that the old battle ax herself, the “Prague meeting”, wherein Mohammed Atta, one of the nineteen highjackers, meets with Iraqi officials, actually took place. “It’s never been refuted.” he weakly snorted.

The Commission’s Staff Report 15 clearly states: “We do not believe
that such a meeting occurred.” Various intelligence has placed
Atta in Florida at the time and Commissioner Hamilton claimed Sunday
morning that the Iraqi spy wasn’t there either. Newsweek is now reporting that Commission staff members were “astonished” that the
Vice President still clings to this story.

Now that’s what you call Chuztpah.

Welcome to Dick Cheney’s America.

2004 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

Advertisements

An Open Letter To: People Who Thought This War Was a Good Idea.

A LETTER FROM THE EDITOR

An Open Letter to:
People who thought this war was a good idea.
Subtitle: You know who you are.


JUNE 19 2004

You don’t get to sneer about how the evidence was there.

You don’t get to scoff about how even Bill Clinton, Germany and France thought there were WMD’s.

You don’t get to shriek about media-elite liberals just Bush-hating, conspiracy theorists whining about Halliburton, and Saddam gassing his own people:

…Not when our leaders were so fully unprepared for this war that there was no legitimate flank or rear security support for the thousands of vehicles, many endlessly breaking down, in that convoy that stretched across the Iraqi desert at the beginning of the war.

…Not when they couldn’t even bribe Turkey into letting us enter Iraq from the north.

…Not when there weren’t enough MRE’s, tanks that would work in the sand and flack-jackets for our troops .

…Not when our Marines suddenly became gendarmes on the streets of Baghdad while we completely disbanded both the Iraqi army and police and the country was being destroyed from the bottom up as the looters demolished everything that the precision guided bombs did not.

…Not when Republican Senators Richard Shelby, Chuck Hagel and Dick Lugar had been screaming about the need for a plan post-war Iraq and what to do about the Shiites/Sunnis/Kurds on The News Hour and Charlie Rose virtually every night for the twelve months leading up to the start of the attack.

…Not when there was no budget for the war, funding was asked for on the eve of the initial strike and there have been no plans to pay for the ever-increasing cost.

…Not when Deputy Secretary Of Defense Paul Wolfowitz is asked to give the number of Americans killed in Iraq during a congressional commitee on April 29 2004 and he’s off by over two hundred soldiers.

…Not when they won’t let us see the bodies at Dover and undercount casualties received in combat by the thousands.

Now bugger off and prepare for the trials.

©2004 THE LOS ANGELES SUN

THE MISSION CREEPS


BY JOHN TULLY
THE LOS ANGELES SUN
JUNE 1 2004

The Today Show, America’s number one source for morning infotainment seemed almost obsessed by two stories in the Fall of Two-Thousand Two. Elizabeth Smart, a young girl from Utah had been abducted from her home by a man at gunpoint that summer and it continued to be a big story. In October, seemingly random citizens of the Washington D.C. metropolitan area were being gunned down by a mysterious shooter.

Remember?

Katie and Matt stoically opened the show almost every morning with these two stories.
At the same time, a war in Iraq was looming and the shadow of a vote in Congress giving the President authorization to use military force was creeping forward. The vote was even more crucial because the midterm elections were just ahead in November and the GOP was playing the Patriot card like the pros they are.

The Bush administration had strolled into power promising anyone within earshot that they would be exactly the opposite of everything the Clinton administration was and added that the “W” missing from some computer keyboards was not funny.

They vowed to be different from President Clinton: different on the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, and a plan of disengagement was put in place as a way to “back off” and let the two sides work it out for a while.

Mr. Clinton had “coddled” North Korea they said, and now the Bush White House was going to get tough. Moscow and Beijing would know who the new boss was with the plan going forward to build a missile defense shield.

Throw out Kyoto because it’s bad for business and bad for America, and by the way, tell the domestic bad guys that John Ashcroft was putting law and order back into the Justice Department where it belonged.

Presidential transition teams notwithstanding, the grownups were now in charge, and in the first nine months of this new administration they made that fact perfectly clear.

Then the whole world watched in horror as airplanes struck New York, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

This was truly a call to leadership for Mr. Bush.
But perhaps as a sign of things to come, his initial statements thereafter and his address in the pit at Ground Zero on a bullhorn was almost universally praised by the mainstream media though neither speech had much substance or style. Various pundits declared that simply “everything had changed.”

The rest is history.

Two wars, three tax cuts, and the whole world is watching in horror. Sixty miles outside of Kabul, Afghanistan the Taliban have taken over again. Opium production has tripled by some accounts, sure to sweep obscene amounts of heroin into Europe this year. The same conditions that led the country to harbor Al-Qaeda before that war are present once again and we have too few troops there to do the job.

Iraq and Afghanistan have taken close to a thousand lives and wounded at least five-thousand troops. There have been over thirteen-thousand medi-vacs or medical evacuations-mostly American forces. The Bush administration, while publically trying to form a coalition of countries willing to put boots on the ground in Iraq for violations of the United Nations Security Council resolution 1441, had privately trashed that very same U.N. as “irrelevant” at every opportunity.

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld scoffed and sneered his way through press conferences, dismissively declaring that he knew where the Weapons of Mass Destruction were, and did we mention that the U.N. is irrelevant? And FRANCE.

The CIA, DIA, FBI, independent intelligence, Congressman Jim McDermott, The Dixie Chicks and The Pope all expressed concern about the attack on Iraq but the administration pooh-poohed all dissent. While Prime Minister Tony Blair was getting absolutely grilled by the House of Commons, the U.S. Congress was eerily silent and on the first day of the War on Iraq Kent Conrad seemed to be all alone on the Senate floor as he lamented the lack of even a basic budget for the conflict and it’s aftermath.

There was a complete breakdown of even basic diplomacy shown by President Bush, failing to privately convince skeptical nations to join him in the fight as his father had done in the first Gulf War and using words like “crusade” “bring ’em on” and “axis of evil” to further alienate the Muslim world.

The mealy-mouthed-chicken-hawk-think tankers in Northwest D.C. kept the pot stirring as well with talks of regime change, disarmament and virtual screaming about resolution 1441. Despite the evidence of dissipating mustard and sarin gas over the last ten years in Iraq, continued flyovers, sanctions and inspections, we were told there may be nuclear program-related activities; the ultimate McGuffin of the war debate. While the term imminent threat was never officially used, the talk of a nuke mushroom cloud not being our smoking gun got the point across stoutly. Throw in chatter about forty-five minute deployment and unmanned aerial vehicles and the cake was baked.

The military and diplomatic tracks never intersected. Spring came around, and the U.S. demanded that Saddam destroy his conventional Al -Samoud missiles even while almost 100,000 troops were amassed on Iraq’s border and CNN was reporting that the first attack was only days away. “Might as well go in now that we’ve gone in” was all the noise that week.

President Bush of course had the complete support of Congress to go right ahead in, and everyone north of MacArthur Boulevard knew he didn’t really have to go back for more approval. That crucial vote in Congress, that blank check, is now brought up whenever there is criticism of the war and rightly so. Because not one of these Senators or Congressmen were really pressed by the Press on this vote, they showed no guts in standing up to the march to Baghdad. Perhaps if the morning shows and popular media had pumped up the voting issue and specific plans for post-war Iraq like the Laci Peterson/MichaelJackson/Elizabeth Smart/Sniper stories with full saturation coverage a real debate would have resulted.

We’ll never know.

In the middle of a War on Terrorism The United States Of America invaded a sovereign Muslim nation of twenty-five million people. Because there were no real plans for the occupation, and no substantive debate about it, we’ve got eighteen year-olds from Cedar Rapids, Iowa negotiating foreign policy on the streets of Fallujah.

This arrogant smug administration has made our country less safe. We’ve lost credibility and our moral standing in the world. Most importantly there can be no doubt that this invasion has created more terrorists that hate America.

Goodness Gracious.

©2004 NY HERALD SUN

Little Boys With Their Toys

Little Boys With Their Toys
September 22 2002
By John S. Tully

Los Angeles–It has become the age of “muddled thinking” around Washington D.C. and throughout this great nation. The debate about Mr. Hussein never materialized and now the war drums are beating hideously loud. No politician it seems is even questioning the administration’s stance that regime change must take place now. The non-debate is currently focusing on when to strike and whether the rest of the world will be cooperative.

This is a time when we are still actively engaged in Afghanistan, searching for remnants of Al-Quaeda amongst the Taliban regime; one that still has a viable presence in a country that our troops will be engaged in for many years to come. In this “War On Terrorism” Osama Bin Laden has not been found and dozens of military experts can still find no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq. The Middle East peace process is in shambles; the two sides continue to tear one another apart and there are no concrete plans in place to change this paradigm. Indeed, Mr. Sharon has declared that he will strike back if Iraq launches scud missiles on Israel as it did during the Gulf War.

Meanwhile, both India and Pakistan have nuclear capability at a time of increased reports of Al Quaeda presence in both countries. There is serious uneasiness in the entire region about the ramifications of a power play in an Islamic country by a foreign power.

Administration officials asked the United Nations for permission to go back into Iraq and hold meaningful inspections of their weapons program; permission was granted unconditionally with disarmament being the ultimate goal. Now it seems that nothing short of a “regime change” will satisfy officials in the White House and the State Department.

Experts from the military, scholars of international diplomacy, recognized leaders of democratic countries have warned the United States that an attack on Iraq could be disasterous for the entire region and in fact the entire globe. Saddam Hussein is a very dangerous man in a very dangerous neighborhood. Evidence shows that he does have chemical and biological weapons. There is however absolutely no conclusive evidence of any kind that Mr. Hussein has “Weapons of Mass Destruction”

Young American men and women are about to go to a war with Iraq that may take more lives than that devastating day last September. With six weeks until the elections United States Congressman and Senators have fallen silent; their hollow echoes frightening the rest of the world.

Who will speak up?

©2002 The Los Angeles Sun

Cruise Missiles Strike Yemen Four Days Before Underwear Bomber's Christmas Day Attack

Obama Ordered U.S. Military Strike on Yemen Terrorists

ABC NEWS


Cruise Missiles Launched Thursday Hit Two Suspected al Qaeda Sites; Major Escalation of US Efforts Against Terrorists

By BRIAN ROSS, RICHARD ESPOSITO, MATTHEW COLE, LUIS MARTINEZ and KIRIT RADIA

On orders from President Barack Obama, the U.S. military launched cruise missiles early Thursday against two suspected al-Qaeda sites in Yemen, administration officials told ABC News in a report broadcast on ABC World News with Charles Gibson.

One of the targeted sites was a suspected al Qaeda training camp north of the capitol, Sanaa, and the second target was a location where officials said “an imminent attack against a U.S. asset was being planned.”

The Yemen attacks by the U.S. military represent a major escalation of the Obama administration’s campaign against al Qaeda.

In his speech about added troops for Afghanistan earlier this month, President Obama made a brief reference to Yemen, saying, “Where al Qaeda and its allies attempt to establish a foothold — whether in Somalia or Yemen or elsewhere — they must be confronted by growing pressure and strong partnerships.”

Until tonight, American officials had hedged about any U.S. role in the strikes against Yemen and news reports from Yemen attributed the attacks to the Yemen Air Force.

President Obama placed a call after the strikes to “congratulate” the President of Yemen, Ali Abdallah Salih, on his efforts against al Qaeda, according to White House officials.

A Yemeni official at the country’s embassy in Washington insisted to ABC News Friday that the Thursday attacks were “planned and executed” by the Yemen government and police.

Along with the two U.S. cruise missile attacks, Yemen security forces carried out raids in three separate locations. As many as 120 people were killed in the three raids, according to reports from Yemen, and opposition leaders said many of the dead were innocent civilians.

American officials said the missile strikes were intended to disrupt a growing threat from the al Qaeda branch in Yemen, which claims to coordinate terror attacks against neighboring Saudi Arabia.

The al Qaeda presence in Yemen has been steadily growing in the last two years. “Al Qaeda generally has been pushed into these ungoverned areas, whether it is the Afghanistan-Pakistan border area [or Yemen],” said Richard Barrett, coordinator of the U.N.’s Taliban al-Qaeda Sancitions Monitoring Committee. “I think many of the key people have moved to Yemen.”

The U.S. embassy was attacked by suspected al Qaeda gunmen last year.

And the presumed leader of al Qaeda in Yemen, Qaaim al-Raymi, has frequently appeared on internet videos, offering an alternative to the training camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

“If they can go to Yemen just as easily or easier and get training there and come out again,” said Barrett, “all your efforts in Pakistan and Afghanistan are a waste of time.”

Qaaim al-Raymi was considered a prime target of the attack Thursday but was reported to have escaped the attack. However, U.S. officials believe one of his top deputies may have been killed.