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9/11 – A Cheap Magic Trick

How false flag attacks are manufactured by the world's elite.

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Kill the 2001 authorization for war

By Jerrod Laber and Lucy Steigerwald
July 19, 2017
The American Conservative

In a late-June session of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) successfully added an amendment to a Defense Appropriations Bill that would repeal the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF).

Update, 7/19: Rep. Lee Tweeted Wednesday morning that Speaker Ryan had essentially stripped her AUMF amendment from the final defense bill “in the dead of the night” Tuesday.

The passage of this amendment sent a positive signal that America’s war-making capabilities will finally be the subject of a debate, at least on the House floor. On July 12, Lee even met with Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan to discuss the matter. Unfortunately, it appears that Lee’s amendment is being threatened by Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who has offered up a replacement bill that, instead of repealing the 2001 AUMF, would ask Congress to clarify war powers and goals.

Unsurprisingly, Lee is not satisfied with that slight improvement. Lee has objected to its powers since 2001, when the AUMF was first passed four days after the terrorist attacks of September 11. The original vote gave the president wide latitude to “use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons” that he determined were responsible for 9/11. It passed with remarkable speed, and there were no committee hearings. Lee was the only member of either chamber of Congress to vote against the bill.

Sixteen years of interventionist foreign-policy decisions have stretched this authorization to encompass any and all uses of military force broadly connected to the War on Terror, including actions against “associated groups” related to the 9/11 terrorists. The AUMF was used to justify the invasion of Iraq (though that invasion received its own resolution), even though there was no connection between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda or 9/11. Every one of the recent drone wars in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia was “authorized” by the legislation. The AUMF is the backbone of U.S. actions in Syria against the Islamic State (beyond, that is, the evergreen assertions of executive power). Special Operations forces have entered 70 percent of the world’s countries so far this year. As investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill noted in the subtitle of his best-selling book Dirty Wars, the world is indeed a battlefield, and the 2001 AUMF gets a lot of the credit for that making that a reality.

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by Lucy Steigerwald
June 17, 2017

There are more than 8,000 troops still fighting in America’s longest war. According to Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis, we need about 3,000 more. The idea that 3,000 troops will change a decade and a half long stalemate seems dubious, but that’s the number Mattis suggests. Others in the administration are reportedly arguing that that number is too small.

The war in Afghanistan seems to be never-ending, but now something is a little different. The military is making the calls more directly. That’s not how it generally works. The Constitution specifies that civilians will control the armed forces. This has been laid out more overtly in subsequent legislation.

Congress is supposed to vote on war, though that only happens sometimes, and executives feel free to use drones, missiles, and Special Forces in countless countries on which the US has never declared war.

There are a lot of “supposed tos” that aren’t happening in US foreign policy. The president decides to go to war, and congress is too timid to enforce their ability to vote on it. The post-Richard Nixon War Powers Resolution has never once been actually used against a commander in chief who engaged troops or bombs or drones, or some combination, without approval from the legislative branch.

Few expected Donald Trump to be a micromanager of the armed forces. During his campaign, the future president talked the occasional good game about the benefits of the military being less of a presence in the world. When real world politics caught up with him, that supposed skepticism towards America’s past military adventures started to look a lot more like trusting the military to handle their own affairs – and that’s the most generous way of putting it.

To some, that’s a positive step. Trump sure thinks so. In April he said that the armed forces were making their own decisions on the ground and “frankly, that’s why they’ve been so successful lately.”

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By Bob Graham and Dan Christensen
Special to the Tampa Bay Times
July 10, 2017 3:34pm

Sixteen years is a long time to expect the American public to wait to know who was behind 9/11, the most significant act of terror in modern U.S. history. Unfortunately, the wait continues because of the resistance of federal agencies to openness, the over-classification of information and the weakness of the Freedom of Information Act.

Vast numbers of investigative and intelligence documents related to 9/11 remain classified. The FBI alone has acknowledged it has tens of thousands of pages of 9/11 reports that it refuses to make public. To make matters worse, agencies withholding information tell what are essentially lies to make their actions seem as acceptable as possible.

For example, the FBI repeatedly has said its investigation of a Saudi family who moved abruptly out of their Sarasota home two weeks before 9/11 — leaving behind their cars, clothes, furniture and other belongings — found no connections to the attacks. Yet statements in the FBI’s own files that were never disclosed to Congress or the 9/11 Commission say the opposite — that the Sarasota Saudis had “many connections” to “individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 9/11/2001.”

Trust in government today is near historic lows. Recent polls by Gallup and the Pew Research Center found that only 20 percent of Americans trust Washington to do what’s right. When the people think government isn’t listening to them, or giving them the respect of knowing what it is doing, it feeds into that undercurrent and denies the public the opportunity to be part of the discussion about what we should be doing.

Last summer’s release of the long-hidden “28 pages” from Congress’ Joint Inquiry into 9/11 and FBI records obtained by Florida Bulldog amid ongoing FOIA litigation indicate that much about Saudi Arabia’s role in supporting the 9/11 hijackers remains classified. If the public knew the role the kingdom played in 9/11, would the United States be selling them $350 billion in sophisticated military equipment?

The Freedom of Information Act is intended to be how classified materials are unearthed. But as it is currently written and has been generally interpreted by the courts, most recently by Miami federal Judge Cecilia Altonaga in Florida Bulldog’s lawsuit against the FBI, the frequently trivial concerns of agencies trump the fundamental democratic principle that Americans deserve to know what their government is doing in their name.

The problem is illustrated by Altonaga’s June 29 order denying the public access to an FBI PowerPoint titled “Overview of the 9/11 Investigation.” The judge agreed with the FBI that much information, including classified pages about who funded the attacks, was exempt from FOIA disclosure because it might disclose law enforcement “techniques and procedures,” even though the overview doesn’t discuss those techniques and procedures. Altonaga ruled without holding a trial at which agents could be cross-examined in open court on the facts that supported the FBI’s claims.

For instance, the FBI withheld a photo taken by a security camera around the time of the attacks in 2001. The FBI argued, and the judge agreed, that the camera’s location could be deduced by viewing that photographic evidence. It is a trivialization of FOIA to use its exemptions to protect the location of a security camera 16 years ago.

The “techniques and procedures” exemption should not be used as a rationale for the nondisclosure of the image in the photograph. The camera didn’t give the American government information to avoid 9/11. Why are we covering up for this failed system 16 years later?

The classification process today is driven by the agency that’s trying to withhold the information. No disinterested third party is involved that would be free from the motivation of burying ineptitude, or worse, by the agency holding the material.

The government hasn’t always had such a tightfisted approach to records. During the Civil War, amid Northern discontent as the war grew increasingly bloody, President Abraham Lincoln instituted a policy that every diplomatic message received or sent would regularly be made public. Lincoln believed such extreme openness was needed so people could see how the Union was conducting foreign policy, particularly whether Spain, France or England were going to recognize the Confederacy as a sovereign nation, a potentially crippling blow.

Acting in the face of extreme crisis, Lincoln demonstrated an early belief in the value of open records to keep the public informed and supportive. The president, the FBI and other agencies would be wise to follow President Lincoln’s example. Congress would be wise to reform FOIA so it serves its intended purpose.

Bob Graham was chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee and co-chairman of Congress’s Joint Inquiry into the terrorist attacks. He served as Florida’s governor from 1979-87. Dan Christensen is an award-winning investigative reporter and the founder and editor of Florida Bulldog, a nonprofit news organization. They wrote this exclusively for the Tampa Bay Times.

July 7, 2017
Paul Craig Roberts

The backdrops to the Putin/Trump meeting are the aspirations of Israel and the neoconservatives. It is these aspirations that drive US foreign policy.

What is Syria about? Why is Washington so focused on overthrowing the elected president of Syria? What explains the sudden 21st century appearance of “the Muslim threat”? How is Washington’s preoccupation with “the Muslim threat” consistent with Washington’s wars against Saddam Hussein, Gaddafi, and Assad, leaders who suppressed jihadism? What explains the sudden appearance of “the Russian threat” which has been hyped into dangerous Russophobia without any basis in fact?

The Muslim threat, the Russian threat, and the lies used to destroy Iraq, Libya, and parts of Syria are all orchestrations to serve Israeli and neoconservative aspirations.

The Israel Lobby in the United States, perhaps most strongly represented in Commentary, The Weekly Standard and The New York Times, used the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon to urge US President George W. Bush to begin “a determined effort to remove Saddam Hussein from Power in Iraq.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century
See also: http://www.ihr.org/leaflets/iraqwar.shtml

Saddam Hussein was a secular leader whose job was to sit on the animosities of the Sunni and Shia and maintain a non-violent political stability in Iraq. He, Assad, and Gaddafi suppressed the extremism that leads to jihadism. Saddam had nothing whatsoever to do with 9/11, and under his rule Iraq constituted a ZERO threat to the US. He had been a faithful vassal and attacked Iran for Washington, which had hopes of using Iraq to overthrow the Iranian government.

Removing secular leaders is what unleashes jihadism. Washington unleashed Muslim terrorism by regime change that murdered secular leaders and left countries in chaos.

Fomenting chaos in Iraq was the beginning for spreading chaos into Syria and then Iran. Syria and Iran support Hezbollah, the militia in southern Lebanon that has twice driven out the Israeli Army sent in to occupy southern Lebanon so that Israel could appropriate the water resources.

The neoconservatives’ wars against the Middle East serve to remove the governments that provide military and financial support to Hezbollah. By spreading jihadism closer to the Russian Federation, these wars coincide perfectly with the US neoconservative policy of US World Hegemony. As expressed by Paul Wolfowitz, US Undersecretary of Defense for Policy:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere, that poses a threat on the order of that posed formerly by the Soviet Union. This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Israel wants Syria and Iran to join Iraq and Libya in American-induced chaos so that Israel can steal the water in southern Lebanon. If Syria and Iran are in chaos like Iraq and Libya, Hezbollah will not have the military and financial support to withstand the Israeli military.

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By Daniel Larison
June 30, 2017
The American Conservative

Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky also judge Mohammed bin Salman’s record to be very poor:

But one thing is already stunningly clear when it comes to his handling of foreign policy: In two short years, as the deputy crown prince and defense minister, MBS has driven the Kingdom into a series of royal blunders in Yemen, Qatar and Iran, and he has likely over promised what Saudi Arabia is able and willing to do on the Israeli-Palestinian peacemaking front. Far from demonstrating judgment and experience, he’s proven to be reckless and impulsive, with little sense of how to link tactics and strategy. And sadly, he’s managed to implicate and drag the new Trump administration into some of these misadventures, too.

Miller and Sokolsky are right about MBS’ shoddy record, but their warning to the Trump administration is very likely too late. They urge the administration to rethink its position before “its Middle East policy becomes a wholly owned subsidiary of Saudi Arabia,” but I fear that that already happened at the Riyadh summit. Unfortunately, some top U.S. officials are only just now realizing it and don’t know how to stop it. There could be some belated efforts to undo this, but Trump isn’t interested. He doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with identifying the U.S. so closely with the Saudis, and he doesn’t see their recklessness and destructive behavior for what they are. Since he is impulsive, careless, and has poor judgment, it isn’t surprising that he has such an affinity for the aging Saudi despot and his favorite incompetent son. On top of all that, MBS is a short-sighted, foolish hard-liner on Iran, and as far as we can tell Trump is much the same, so we should expect them to be on the same page.

There’s no question that every foreign policy initiative associated with MBS has “turned into a hot mess,” but this has been obvious in Yemen for the last two years. If no one in the Trump administration noticed that before, what is going to make them realize it now? The authors are also right that Trump’s decision “to side with Saudi Arabia in its conflict with Qatar and in Yemen is akin to pouring gasoline on a fire,” but until very recently uncritical backing of the Saudis in their regional adventurism enjoyed broad bipartisan support that helped make it possible for things to get this bad. There were very few in Washington who thought that pouring gasoline on the fire was the wrong thing to do, and for more than two years the U.S. poured a lot of gas on the fire in Yemen that has been consuming thousands of lives and putting millions at risk of starvation.

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“The 9/11 truthers focus on minutiae like the melting point of steel in the World Trade Center buildings that caused their collapse because they think the government lies and conducts ‘false flag’ operations to create a New World Order.” Michael Shermer

Shermer article offers glib dismissals of ‘conspiracy theories’

By Craig McKee
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth
June 24, 2017

In his articles and talks, Michael Shermer puts a great deal of emphasis on the perils of self-deception. What he seems less concerned about are actual deceptions.

The founder of Skeptic Magazine is a professional conspiracy denier. Name a potential conspiracy, and Shermer will tell you why it didn’t happen. But rather than offer solid evidence that can stand up to scrutiny, he’ll reach for a humorous one-liner that he knows will satisfy an uncritical audience.

For example, in his 2010 TED Talk “The pattern behind self-deception,” Shermer uses a joke to dispense with people who challenge the official 9/11 narrative:

“They think it was an inside job by the Bush administration. You know how we know that 9/11 was not initiated by the Bush administration? It worked.”

The line gets a big laugh, as it is intended to do. But is the inherent argument rational? Or is it rhetorical manipulation? The audience members leave not only pleased with Shermer but with themselves. They get to feel superior to those incompetent government types who could simply never pull off a conspiracy this clever.

In his articles and presentations, Shermer offers colorful examples of “theories” that he claims have no credibility, and he deftly hints that these are typical of many or most “conspiracy theories.” Using one flimsy example or another, he guides the audience to pat dismissals of any challenges to mainstream narratives. After all, why go through the hard work of confronting real evidence when flippancy is so much more economical?

In the same TED Talk, Shermer points to the unsubstantiated theory that the Bush administration placed explosive devices in the levees around New Orleans so that the city would be flooded during Hurricane Katrina. He alleges that there are those who purport to have found some of these devices after the fact.

Why is this example typical? We never find out. We are just expected to accept that it is.

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John D. Wyndham
Scientists for 9/11 Truth
Academic Editor: Alan Singleton

Received: 18 February 2017 / Accepted: 31 May 2017 / Published: 6 June 2017

Abstract

Beginning with an historical reminiscence, this paper examines the peer review process as experienced by authors currently seeking publication of their research in a highly controversial area. A case study of research into the events of 9/11 (11 September 2001) illustrates some of the problems in peer review arising from undue influences based on financial and political considerations. The paper suggests that ethical failures, rather than flaws in the process itself, are mainly responsible for perceived problems. The way forward lies in improved ethics and a more open process. In addition, editorial review boards and peer review strategies would help to improve the ethics of peer review in general.

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Another Middle East debacle

By Gareth Porter
June 22, 2017
The American Conservative


Free Syrian Army fighters in Saqba, a suburb of Damascus (Photo: Freedom House / CC-BY-2.0)

Three-term Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, a member of both the Armed Services and Foreign Affairs committees, has proposed legislation that would prohibit any U.S. assistance to terrorist organizations in Syria as well as to any organization working directly with them. Equally important, it would prohibit U.S. military sales and other forms of military cooperation with other countries that provide arms or financing to those terrorists and their collaborators.

Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists Act” challenges for the first time in Congress a U.S. policy toward the conflict in the Syrian civil war that should have set off alarm bells long ago: in 2012-13 the Obama administration helped its Sunni allies Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar provide arms to Syrian and non-Syrian armed groups to force President Bashar al-Assad out of power. And in 2013 the administration began to provide arms to what the CIA judged to be “relatively moderate” anti-Assad groups—meaning they incorporated various degrees of Islamic extremism.

That policy, ostensibly aimed at helping replace the Assad regime with a more democratic alternative, has actually helped build up al Qaeda’s Syrian franchise al Nusra Front into the dominant threat to Assad.

The supporters of this arms-supply policy believe it is necessary as pushback against Iranian influence in Syria. But that argument skirts the real issue raised by the policy’s history. The Obama administration’s Syria policy effectively sold out the U.S. interest that was supposed to be the touchstone of the “Global War on Terrorism”—the eradication of al Qaeda and its terrorist affiliates. The United States has instead subordinated that U.S. interest in counter-terrorism to the interests of its Sunni allies. In doing so it has helped create a new terrorist threat in the heart of the Middle East.

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The National Interest
June 20, 2017
Doug Bandow

It’s sadly evident that President Donald Trump doesn’t know much about other nations or international affairs. Still, during the campaign he had at least one very sensible foreign policy belief: the United States should stay out of purposeless wars in the Middle East.

Now his own appointees are dragging the country into the Syrian conflict. Jumping into a multisided civil war, filled with parties who deserve to lose, would be dubious even if America had some recognizable interest at stake. But the United States does not. Worse, if Washington becomes an active combatant, it would find itself in a military standoff with Shia-giant Iran, NATO ally Turkey and nuclear-armed Russia over minimal geopolitical stakes.

In short, the administration’s slide toward confrontation in Syria policy is mad.

Syria almost certainly is the greatest tragedy growing out of the 2011 Arab Spring. President Bashar al-Assad refused to compromise with peaceful demonstrators. But the latter, backed by Washington’s seeming commitment to his ouster, saw little reason to accept anything less. Minority religious and other groups, having seen how the play ended in Iraq when the secular dictator was overthrown, preferred the devil they knew. Outsiders—individuals, groups and nations—joined the bloody fray. From whence developed one of the more horrid civil wars in human history.

The good news, such as it was, for America was that the United States had no cause for involvement. Syria had been a Soviet client state during the Cold War, but had neither attacked nor threatened America. Assad was essentially a geographical nullity for Washington.

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Secretary Mattis’s ‘mini-surge’ will have no impact on 16-year Afghanistan war

By Daniel L. Davis
June 19, 2017
The American Conservative

Last week President Trump delegated to Secretary of Defense James Mattis the authority to determine how many more troops to deploy into Afghanistan. Mattis has reportedly settled on 4,000. He claims that this will help end the stalemate in that war. He is wrong. This deployment will have no impact on the outcome of the 16-year-old war in Afghanistan, but more importantly, continues a troubling trend in U.S. foreign policy: The military move has no ties to a strategic outcome.

Astonishingly, the day before the increase in troop strength was announced by the White House, Mattis admitted in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the United States was in a “strategy-free time and we’re scrambling to put it together.” As should be clear by now, the problem isn’t the number of troops, but in the fact the military is being used, without a strategy, to solve a political problem. Until Washington comes to grips with this fundamental error, it is a virtual certainty that the use of force abroad will continue to fail in its attempt to accomplish strategic objectives. Let me explain why.

Throughout my military career, I fought in high-end tank warfare, served in counterinsurgency operations, and performed duty as a foreign-military trainer. I also served on the staffs at the division level, corps level, and in the Pentagon. Since retirement, I have traveled multiple times to the Middle East as a civilian. In short, I have observed or participated in a broad spectrum of combat operations and observed the formation of policy from the lowest to highest levels.

I can say with a high degree of confidence that Washington’s reliance on the military instrument to solve international problems has served to degrade national security.

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