simuvac's blog

Expert: Osama Bin Laden probably alive

CBS News consultant on terrorism Jere Van Dyk files an update on Osama bin Laden, conditions in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the Taliban and al Qaeda.

Osama bin Laden

I believe he is alive. I know Benazir Bhutto told David Frost on al-Jazeera (11/2/07) that he is dead. The most recent outside news suggesting bin Laden is still alive comes from Pakistan's The News where on 7/21 Rahimullah Yousafzai, the only reporter to interview OBL, Mullah Omar and al-Zawahiri, more than once, writes of OBL in the present tense. He has excellent jihadi and intel contacts.

On 6/3/09, on the eve of Obama's trip to Saudi Arabia, al Qaeda issued an OBL audio tape, which experts like Richard Clarke claim is valid.

His most recent video was 9/7/07. If you recall, in this one his beard was jet black. I didn't think at the time that he, a Wahhabi, most interested in jihad, would dye his beard to look younger. I have since been around Wahhabi fighters and have seen their vanity, their dyed beards; some men with young wives, like OBL, don't want to look old. He was 52 on March 10.

Former Israeli soldier to determine if Bin al Shibh is sane

Defense seeks foreign-born experts for 9/11 case


GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- In seeking to examine whether accused 9/11 lieutenant Ramzi bin al Shibh is sane, Pentagon defense attorneys are turning to an Israeli-American and Cuban American exile as mental health experts.

The Pentagon's supervisor of the war court, Susan J. Crawford, has so far refused to fund one of the consultants, Ruben C. Gur. The other, Xavier Amador, has so far been banned from talking to bin al Shibh in the high-profile case that seeks the death penalty for five men accused as co-conspirators in the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

So defense lawyers were seeking a court order for both in motions being argued at the military commissions on Thursday. No immediate ruling was expected.

Amador, a Cuban American clinical psychologist, has testified as an expert in the Unabomber and Zacarias Moussaoui cases. He immigrated to the United States in the early 1960s.

Gur, a psychologist, is a former Israeli soldier and leading expert in neuroimaging, the study of CT scans for signs of mental illness.

Judge Hellerstein: Airlines can't question FBI in 9/11 suits

Judge: Airlines can't question FBI in 9/11 suits

By HARRY R. WEBER (AP) – 14 hours ago

ATLANTA — A federal judge ruled Thursday that airlines and other companies in the industry that are being sued by families of terrorism victims can't question FBI agents about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The defendants wanted to depose the agents and sought access to other evidence related to the investigation of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in order to show at trial that the government's failure to catch the terrorists and prevent the attacks mitigates and excuses any alleged fault on the aviation companies' part.

The government objected.

The ruling by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York said the defendants have also argued that the terrorists likely would have succeeded even if the defendants had exercised due care.

Chaos besets 9/11 court hearing

Chaos besets 9/11 court hearing

Scenes of chaos have gripped a US military court in Guantanamo Bay where five alleged 9/11 plotters were due to appear together before a judge.

All five, including alleged mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, initially refused to attend the hearing.

The judge rejected prosecution calls for them to be compelled to attend but three did appear after a recess.

The hearing focuses on whether two of the accused are mentally competent to represent themselves.

The 11 September 2001 attacks, in which hijacked airliners were flown into buildings in New York and Washington, killed nearly 3,000 people.

Microphone cut off

Walid Bin Attash, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi appeared in the courtroom after the recess.

But Mr Hawsawi asked to leave again after he was refused the opportunity to speak. He was escorted out by US military guards.

Mr Bin Attash asked the judge whether he could question a witness.

When told he could not, he asked: "Even if he told lies?"

Al Qaida: Western Spies Multiply “Like Locusts”

Al Qaida: Western Spies Multiply “Like Locusts”

From the point of view of an al Qaida military leader, Western intelligence agents are now ubiquitous in the lands of Islam, and their operations have been extraordinarily effective. The Western spies are unfailingly lethal, leaving a trail of dead Islamist fighters behind them. Worst of all, they have managed to recruit innumerable Muslims to assist their war efforts.

“The spies… were sent to penetrate the ranks of the Muslims generally, and the mujahidin specifically, and [they] spread all over the lands like locusts,” wrote Abu Yahya al-Libi, an al Qaida field commander in Afghanistan, in a new book called “Guidance on the Ruling of the Muslim Spy” (pdf).

“The spies are busy day and night carrying out their duties in an organized and secret manner… How many heroic leaders have been kidnapped at their hands? How many major mujahidin were surprised to be imprisoned or traced? Even the military and financial supply roads of the mujahidin, which are far from the enemy’s surveillance, were found by the spies.”

The case against The Crash conspiracy theory

I have no interest in defending bankers; however, in the interest of considering as many facts as possible, here is an opinion contrary to the dominant one that the banks and bankers gamed the system.

The case against The Crash conspiracy theory
Neil Reynolds

Last updated on Wednesday, Jul. 08, 2009 10:15AM EDT

In a column earlier this week, New York Times op-ed writer Frank Rich perfectly articulates the dominant mythology of the 2008 market meltdown. Wall Street caused The Crash, he says, by manipulating the U.S. mortgage market in so vast and so venal a fashion that Bernard Madoff's criminal Ponzi scheme was insignificant in comparison - "merely a one-off next to the esoteric (and often legal) heists by banks and bankers." These bankers, Mr. Rich says, "gamed the entire system, then took the money and ran before the bubble burst, sticking the rest of us with fear, panic and loss."

Drills successful planting bombs in 10 buildings, including DHS offices: GAO

Might this be considered circumstantial evidence in response to the claim that bombs could not have been planted unnoticed in the WTC?

GAO: Major Security Flaws at Federal Buildings

The police agency in charge of protecting thousands of federal buildings nationwide has failed to keep bomb-making materials out of several high-security facilities in the past year, according to Congressional testimony provided by Senate aides. In the past year, investigators successfully smuggled bomb-making materials into ten high-security federal buildings, constructed bombs and walked around the buildings undetected, exposing weaknesses in security provided by the Federal Protective Service.

More than one million government employees work in 9,000 facilities guarded by FPS around the country, including at least 350,000 in the Washington region. The revelations come as the Obama administration prepares to reorganize the agency in the coming weeks.

The Great American Bubble Machine

The Great American Bubble Machine
Matt Taibbi on how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since the Great Depression

Posted Jul 02, 2009 8:38 AM

In Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83, Matt Taibbi takes on "the Wall Street Bubble Mafia" — investment bank Goldman Sachs. The piece has generated controversy, with Goldman Sachs firing back that Taibbi's piece is "an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories" and a spokesman adding, "We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance in being a force for good." Taibbi shot back: "Goldman has its alumni pushing its views from the pulpit of the U.S. Treasury, the NYSE, the World Bank, and numerous other important posts; it also has former players fronting major TV shows. They have the ear of the president if they want it." Here, now, are excerpts from Matt Taibbi's piece and video of Taibbi exploring the key issues [please note the videos are available at the source].

New book claims Bin Laden spent 2 weeks in America

June 30, 2009
Osama in America: The Final Answer

The question of whether Osama bin Laden has ever visited the United States, a subject on which I have expended an unhealthy amount of energy in the course of various journalistic and biographical research, has now seemingly been settled. Osama was here for two weeks in 1979, it seems, and he visited Indiana and Los Angeles, among other places. He had a favorable encounter with an American medical doctor; he also reportedly met in Los Angeles with his spiritual mentor of the time, the Palestinian radical Abdullah Azzam. All this is according to a forthcoming book by Osama’s first wife, Najwa Bin Laden, and his son Omar Bin Laden, to be published in the autumn by St. Martin’s Press.

First, some context for the book’s disclosures:

By-the-mile road tax could replace by-the-gallon federal fuel tax

The most disturbing quality of this story, IMO, is the surveillance grid made possible by GPS devices in every car.

By-the-mile road tax could replace by-the-gallon federal fuel tax
The Kansas City Star

The year is 2020 and the gasoline tax is history. In its place you get a monthly tax bill based on each mile you drove — tracked by a Global Positioning System device in your car and uploaded to a billing center.

What once was science fiction is being field-tested by the University of Iowa to iron out the wrinkles should a by-the-mile road tax ever be enacted.

Besides the technological advances making such a tax possible, the idea is getting a hard push from a growing number of transportation experts and officials. That is because the traditional by-the-gallon fuel tax, struggling to keep up with road building and maintenance demands, could fall even farther behind as vehicles’ gas mileage rises and more alternative-fuel vehicles come on line.

The Guardian: Eight years and counting...

Eight years and counting ...

Osama bin Laden is believed to be in mountains on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border. But is he any nearer to being captured?

Julian Borger and Declan Walsh
The Guardian, Thursday 25 June 2009

He is still alive. That is the one thing that can be said about Osama bin Laden these days with any degree of certainty. At least, he was still alive at the beginning of the month, when an audio tape was delivered to al-Jazeera bearing words in a familiar voice.

The tape, aired by al-Jazeera on 3 June, is genuine, according to British and US intelligence, and his references to recent events are proof that it is contemporary. It is a muttered sermon, mainly devoted to decrying Barack Obama on the day the new US president arrived in Saudi Arabia on the start of a Middle East tour - to sow "seeds of hatred", Bin Laden claimed.

Former Canadian political candidate and journalist suing Jewish groups for defamation over 9/11 comments

Jun 24, 2009 04:30 AM

WINNIPEG – A former Liberal candidate who was dumped before last fall's federal election is suing cabinet minister Peter Kent, the Canadian Jewish Congress, B'nai Brith of Canada and four senior members of the two organizations.

Lesley Hughes claims the defendants made untrue and defamatory accusations that she was anti-Semitic. She says that, as a result, former federal Liberal leader Stéphane Dion revoked her candidacy in the Manitoba riding of Kildonan-St. Paul last September.

The allegations made by Hughes in her statement of claim have not been heard or proven in court.

Hughes acknowledges in her lawsuit that she wrote a column in a Winnipeg newspaper in 2002 that suggested Israeli businesses in the World Trade Center had advance knowledge of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Hughes claims senior members of the Canadian Jewish Congress and B'nai Brith persuaded Dion to revoke her candidacy on the grounds she was anti-Semitic.

The CIA and US Media Roles in Destabilizing Iran

June 22, 2009

The CIA and US Media Roles in Destabilizing Iran

By Michael Green

While everyone who writes about the recent Iranian election has very strong opinions, very few have very many, if any, firm facts. Even such a seemingly solid article by Mr. ZMag, Stephen Zunes, i.e., "Has the Election Been Stolen in Iran?" Posted on June 13, 2009, Printed on June 14, 2009,
makes broad claims and assertions of patent theft without citing a single source or providing a satisfactory example of any of his claims. I have emailed Professor Zunes for solid examples and have asked him how he obtained so much information so quickly, but have not had a reply (his sites advises that he typically cannot answer all inquiries). For example, Zunes writes from the omniscient perspective:

US Official: The CIA bribed Iranian government officials, businessmen, and reporters, and paid Iranians to demonstrate

Sunday, 21 June 2009
Iran Faces Greater Risks Than It Knows
by Paul Craig Roberts

Stephen Kinzer’s book, All the Shah’s Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror, tells the story of the overthrow of Iran’s democratically-elected leader, Mohammed Mosaddeq, by the CIA and the British MI6 in 1953. The CIA bribed Iranian government officials, businessmen, and reporters, and paid Iranians to demonstrate in the streets.

The 1953 street demonstrations, together with the Cold War claim that the US had to grab Iran before the Soviets did, served as the US government’s justification for overthrowing Iranian democracy. What the Iranian people wanted was not important.

Today, the street demonstrations in Tehran show signs of orchestration. The protesters, primarily young people, especially young women opposed to the dress codes, carry signs written in English: "Where is My Vote?" The signs are intended for the western media—not for the Iranian government.

Fort Detrick Army Lab Finds 9,200 Uncounted Vials
June 18, 2009
Associated Press

HAGERSTOWN, Md. - An inventory of deadly germs and toxins at an Army biodefense lab in Frederick found more than 9,200 vials of material that was unaccounted for in laboratory records, Fort Detrick officials said Wednesday.

The 13 percent overage mainly reflects stocks left behind in freezers by researchers who retired or left Fort Detrick since the biological warfare defense program was established there in 1943, said Col. Mark Kortepeter, deputy commander of the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

He said the found material included Korean War-era serum samples from patients with Korean hemorrhagic fever, a disease still of interest to researchers pursuing a vaccine. Other vials contained viruses and microbes responsible for Ebola, plague, anthrax, botulism and host of other ailments, Kortepeter said in a teleconference with reporters.