Thursday, June 07, 2007

Trolling for Pols and Polls

dr. elsewhere here

Partially in response to Joe's provocative post below (see also my looooong comment there; a preview of my obsession with the stats issues), and partially because I have just not been able to make any sense of all the polls coming out these days, I submit this very seat-of-my-pants, off-the-cuff query of some of the numbers knockin' around out there.

In general, we all know we've been seeing a highly consistent and persistent trashing of Bush; his approval ratings have not been safely above the thirties in over two years.

And then there are the war numbers, which also consistently and persistently remain very very negative. It's also the case that, time and again, folks would rather Dems in Congress handle the war and not Repugs (scroll down in the previous link).

Also, the latest poll on the Dems v. Repugs for President in the generic "if you had to vote for prez today" question, which also consistently and persistently give the WH to the Dems (scroll down to the CBS/NYTimes poll from May).

On top of that, you also get the approval ratings for Dems over Repugs in Congress, not all overwhelmingly in love with the Dems (e.g., the Dems' numbers have dropped a bit since the war supplemental compromise), but the most recent poll showed a very strong preference for a Democratic Congress. We should keep in mind, though, that Congress in general most consistently and persistently gets low approval ratings.

Finally, you get this little jewel out in the WaPo/ABC Poll from last week, showing that the numbers of citizens claiming to be Repugs continues to fall far behind Dems currently, as it has since just after the last election (scroll down to question #901). This has also been a strong difference for a while, but the current Repug number is as low as it has ever been in the history of such poll watching, hovering at around only 25% (compared to 32% or so for Dems). Independents rule, with 38%, the highest for them ever. [UPDATE: See also this, out yesterday, with a greater Dems advantage; PDF file warning!]

Ok, now, I know that these numbers cannot be mixed and matched, and they don't represent a cumulative figure; in other words, just because all these numbers look like the mother lode for the Dems, it won't necessarily ultimately add up to a Dem lead in the presidential race.

However, we must also look at the recently polled fact that Republicans are really unhappy with their roster of hopefuls, whereas Dems are pretty ok with theirs.

And yet, fairly consistently and persistently, polls that pit particular Dem candidates against particular Repugs for President in 08 show them losing, albeit marginally, but ....still, WTF???

Something is just not adding up here. Yesterday's poll showing the high number of independents out there could conceivably account for...something, though I'm not sure just what, given that most of these independents are even more fed up with the Bush nightmare than most. Moreover, Democrats consistently and persistently outnumber Republicans, hence the desperate Rovian drive to stack the deck.

So, I submit to you, what are we to make, if anything, of these bizarre numbers???
Americans hunger for an authority figure, and while the Rep's have a plethora of them in their roster, the Dems haven't got a single one. Hillary is a woman, and is unwilling to crack the whip like Margaret Thatcher. Obama comes across as practically gay. Edwards is too darned pretty.

Most Americans share the values of liberals, but simultaneously they crave confidence and assertiveness in their President. Go back in time and listen to any JFK speech, especially his inaugural address. They send shivers down the spine. That should prove to everyone that a person can be a liberal and still project self-assuredness.

Here's a clue for Dem candidates: STOP GRINNING.
Dr Elsewhere,

I think you got pretty close but didn’t “nail on the head” the nature of the changing attitudes of not just the electorate but also the potential electorate; the potential electorate being key to any fundamental shift.

Any candidate that could truly change the course of American imperialism, as Chalmers Johnson describes it, will not be elected by likely voters; they will be elected by un-likely voters. They will be the swing vote that no one even realized was on the playground.

The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement changed the nature of left v. right in this country. This is best illustrated by a term I have heard referred to as the “counter culture” of the 60s. This is at least analogous to what is happening today.

Joe is right in his fears that this will not guaranty a Dem win in 2008, but I don’t think he fully appreciates the magnitude of the change happening. Are the Reps the primary architects of our current mess? Of course; but that does not fully illustrate the extent or the nature of the change happening. People like myself, who Joe would usually write off as anti-war or impeachment zealots, are reeling not against just the Reps but against the nature of our current political environment. While we are not so simplistic as to say the two parties are the same, on these issues we do not see a fundamental difference between the Dems and Reps. Elsewhere’s description of the changing meaning of “values” in this case is spot on, but what I think was missed is that this new meaning resonates across the left/right divide.

We had a small amount of hope that the Dems, to at least some extent, understood this and thus helped sweep them into power in 2006. I had less hope than most but still voted Dem in 2006 as I felt, at the time, that the “lesser of two evils” was an important choice to make. The Dems have since proved to us that this was wishful thinking.

It’s still very early on but if 2008 ends up being Hilary v. Rudy or another pairing of that type, which it increasingly seems it will be, the ranks of the disillusioned will only grow as realpolitic takes over even more firmly.

I firmly believe that absent some new type of candidate that reinvigorates Americans outside of the left/right divide, this country is about a generation away from ripping itself apart (maybe less). I believe that the HUGH amount of grassroots support from the internet Ron Paul has received that crosses the left/right divide illustrates how fundamentally disillusioned many are with both Dems and Reps. This is why a Dem victory is 2008 is not guaranteed even in light of the hate we feel for Bush and his kind.

Just in case you think I’m alone in my opinions on this matter, check out this link.

Just to be clear. I am NOT a Ron Paul libertarian, but I seem either him or Dennis Kucinich as the only candidates that represent the fundamental change needed. Between Paul and Hillary, I’ll vote for Paul in a heart beat.
great thoughts, folks. i agree about that authoritarian thing, unirealist, though i have to note that this is as much human as anything.

and the notions about grassroots,vividvew, are absolutely accurate. as are the notions about 'unlikely' voters.

but i have to say, though ron paul strikes me as having remarkable integrity, and i certainly appreciate his firm stance on iraq. however, his free market position scares the bejeezus outa me.

in my humble opinion, the candidate who has the cojones to state the obvious underlying fact that the source of ALL our problems these days - from global warming to empirical hubris to congressional corruption - is EXCESSIVE CORPORATE POWER, now THAT is the candidate who will light some fires.

and we don't see a single one - not even dennis kucinich - speaking that truth.
Joseph, am I the only one for whom that Buzzflash headlines and ads on the right side are overlapping the post/comment texts?
Uni's view is closest to mine.

vivid actually kind of pissed me off. Of course, I have long made clear that I get angry at the folks who claim that there isn't any difference between the two parties. We heard that kind of crap a lot in 2000. If the last six years have taught us anything...

("Oh, but Gore was so different then!" No he wasn't. Name the issue. Do NOT talk to me about style -- the present argument ain't about style.)

Let's deal with two specific paragraphs in vivid's piece:

"Any candidate that could truly change the course of American imperialism, as Chalmers Johnson describes it, will not be elected by likely voters; they will be elected by un-likely voters. They will be the swing vote that no one even realized was on the playground.

"The Vietnam War and the Civil Rights movement changed the nature of left v. right in this country. This is best illustrated by a term I have heard referred to as the “counter culture” of the 60s. This is at least analogous to what is happening today."

It's obvious -- it is really, really, REALLY obvious -- that vivid was not around during the Vietnam era, and that he has ZERO recollection of 1972.

I was young then, but precocious. And I was paying attention. One item that caught my attention was a slim, black paperback book called "Why McGovern Won and Why the Polls Were Wrong." It appeared on the bookshelves at the local supermarket about a month before the election. I read it the day after.

Basically, the book relied upon the exact same argument vivid has just tried to sell: Unlikely voters, swing voters that nobody realized were on the playground, would make all the difference.

If that trick did not work in 1972, it sure as hell ain't gonna work now. Look at how much more favorable the situation was back then...

Nixon was widely distrusted and entered the race facing many a gloomy sign. He kept the war going. The economy was faltering. He was running scared. (His fear factor is precisely why Watergate happened.) McGovern was a war hero and a better speaker than Nixon was, as few now care to admit.

As for the counterculture back then -- it was far, FAR more muscular and vital than is the anti-war movement of today. All the artists, writers and musicians who really mattered spoke out against the war. There were anti-war "teach-ins" on every college campus. Fear of the draft was a MASSIVE motivator. The Jesus movement was nascent, and it had not yet been politicized.

Good lord -- the BEATLES were against the war. No phenomenon on the current scene compares with the Beatles. (Yes, the band had broken up by 1972, but the lads were still around.)

So. What happened? Did the "youth vote" muster up for McGovern, as the slim, back paperback confidently predicted?

Nixon won by -- if I recall correctly -- the second greatest landslide in history.

Cut to: Present day. I'm scanning the horizon for some sign of those invisible progressive hordes, the folks you say are going to swarm the playground. Well, if they're there, they may come and play some tetherball, but they ain't gonna vote, not in the the numbers you think. Not nearly.

The people are still scared -- FAR more scared than they were in the early 1970s. They want Daddy. Vietnam never attacked us; the "terrists" and "AY-rabs" did. Americans are terribly insecure and thus love to identify with symbols, with things that are larger than themselves, such as flag and nation. They thus refuse to listen to anyone who even hints that the United States might have been the heavy in any scenario.

I wish I knew the surgical operation that could get certain inane notions out of your head, viv. You seem to think that just because YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS think a certain way, that the majority of Americans think as you do. You seem to think that the majority of Americans feel comfortable using terms like "American Imperialism."


You know that quasi-illiterate redneck relative or co-worker or friend-of-a-friend you have? The one who has read EVERY "Left Behind" book -- and has read NO other books in his or her life? The one who keeps saying we need someone like Ronald Reagan?

Picture fifty of those guys to every one of you.

THAT is the United States of America.

And -- horrible thought -- Dems cannot win unless they field a candidate who can scrape up some votes from that crowd.

I do NOT like the situation. In fact, I hate it. But unlike you, I can recognize reality.
35 years have passed, which explains why I got the title of that book slightly wrong. "How McGovern won the presidency: & why the polls were wrong" by Arthur Tobier. You can pick up a copy for three bucks.

Money well spent, viv -- you'll see why guys of my generation get the conniptions whenever someone trots out THAT argument yet again.

Oh, about the Buzflash haedlines: The format problem occurs whenever Buzzflash sends out an unbroken character string that exceeds the space allotted to the table. There's nothing I can do, alas. THe problem will remain until that particular headline cycles off the table, which I think has already happened.
Dr. Elsewhere
>>and we don't see a single one - not even Dennis Kucinich - speaking that truth.

Agreed, but to be fair neither Kucinich nor Paul has had much of a chance to speak on these issues at the debates.

Paul made a distinction between the free market, which he is obviously a little too in love with, and corporatism which he said he is against. Hey, it’s a start and does show an understanding that there are subtleties here to be had and that he is not a Bushco style privatizer.

Kucinich on the other hand explicitly stated that he is in favor of returning to Bi-lateral trade agreements. This goes right to the heart of WTO style transnational business that is destroying our economy.


>>I have long made clear that I get angry at the folks who claim that there isn't any difference between the two parties.
I could have sworn to god I was VERY careful to NOT say that, and tried to draw a very narrow focus on where I don’t see the difference.

>>It's obvious -- it is really, really, REALLY obvious -- that vivid was not around during the Vietnam era, and that he has ZERO recollection of 1972.

Well it’s obvious because I wasn’t trying to espouse any deep understanding, just make the best analogy I could about a generational shift in culture. And no, I was not around. I was born in 1978.

I’m not even sure where to start since you seem to have taken away something completely different that what I meant.

I can’t seem to organize my thoughts so this will come off as a rant and be even less clear but here it goes.

Dam!! I tried REALLY hard to show some deference to the die hard Dem view, which I know you share, and don’t seem to get any in return. Just cuz I used the phrase “many people”, don’t think I meant a majority. I just meant enough to make the kind of political noise that will be heard.

>>Cut to: Present day. I'm scanning the horizon for some sign of those invisible progressive hordes, the folks you say are going to swarm the playground.

I didn’t say WILL happen. I was trying to lay out how it would happen IF it did. I don’t think it will. These people, by and large, don’t participate.

>>And -- horrible thought -- Dems cannot win unless they field a candidate who can scrape up some votes from that crowd.

That’s a load of crap. You think they can beat the Reps at grabbing more mindless votes. You gotta be fucking kidding me. The Reps will be better at this until the end of time. Their only chance is to get NEW people to participate which they can’t do because of the reasons I described.

>>I wish I knew the surgical operation that could get certain inane notions out of your head, viv. You seem to think that just because YOU AND YOUR FRIENDS think a certain way, that the majority of Americans think as you do. You seem to think that the majority of Americans feel comfortable using terms like "American Imperialism."

Me and my friends?? My friends care and know very little about this shit that I don’t tell them. I’m the nut who they all wish would STFU. No shit most Americans don’t see us as an empire. Shit, they’d have to even consider the question first. Maybe I wasn’t clear on the groups I was trying to distinguish. I’m not a gifted writer by any stretch so some confusion is surely my fault.

Joe, I think you are just as out of touch with the generation of people I was referring to, as you seem to think I was with my counter culture reference. You seem to see generation X and Y through the MSM, Paris Hilton, reality TV lens. I’m not saying this is completely untrue, but it is a very myopic view. There is a hell of a lot more to this generation that you think and they are STARTING to wake up to it because they have friends like me who WONT STFU. Hell SOME of them are even starting to tell me shit I didn’t know. The dividing line in my generation and the one after is not left v. right. Its care v. don’t care.

I can’t for the life of me figure out how you thought my post was optimistic in a, the silent majority will rise up and elect a true candidate, way. I have almost no confidence that this will happen. Again, most of these people still don’t tend to participate. That’s part of the reason they’re disillusioned. So they fill them with consumerist crap to keep them happy. It worked for quite a while, but is working less and less as reality (to they’re great displeasure) is starting to intrude.

These things take time. Generations even. My children (not that I have any yet) WILL NOT grow up being fed the MSM bullshit I had to endure. They will learn critical thinking if it kills me and them.

Do we have this time? NO. While I have a shit load more faith in my generation than you seem to, I have NO illusions that they will take the actions needed in the time frame needed. Things will get worse. Hell, it’s only because things are getting so bad that they are paying any attention at all. That’s why I think this country will start to tear itself apart. When things start to get even worse (and they will, MUCH, MUCH, worse) they will be looking for someone to blame and there is NO way in HELL they will make distinctions between Dem and Rep.


I’ll bottom line it for you and then you decide if I have an appropriate handle on reality.

My generation will live to see the end of the world as we know it. A more drastic shift than has been see since this country was founded, and not in a good way. When empires fall precipitously it’s not good for anyone. Then, only then, IF it’s not too late will ENOUGH people wake up to the crimes of their leaders and do something about it in a sensible way. More likely they will just go on a witch hunt for people to blame and will burn this country down in the process.

Not sure how much of that made sense, but like I said, I suck at writing.
Joseph, I would never think to argue with you about the extent of human stupidity. And yet, the present moment strikes me as not at all like 1972 -- or, perhaps more to the point, not at all like 1968.

In March of 1968, a bunch of us went down to South Boston to watch the St. Patrick's Day parade from the stoop of a friend's parents' house. This was at the height of the busing controversy, and when Louise Day Hicks marched through, the volume of cheering for her was terrifying. (For anyone to whom that name means nothing, check Wikipedia.)

The country was massively polarized at that time and moving strongly to the right. Movement conservatism was ascendent, the Jesus freaks were encroaching on hippiedom, and George Wallace was splitting off the lumpenproletariat right of the Democratic Party and fragmenting the old New Deal coalition.

There's nothing like that now. The old wedge issues are losing their power, and the country is more united in general outlook than it's been in 40 years. The under-30's are far less polarized than us oldfarts. And somehow or other, the dirty fucking hippies -- who back in the bad old days got hit on a regular basis with "America, love it or leave it" -- have managed the magic trick of turning themselves into the true patriots and heirs of the founding fathers.

Now, none of this should be a source of irrational exuberance. The United States is currently a highly militarized imperial state with a citizenry that feels entitled to skim of the best of everything the world has to offer, and that sort of thing doesn't incline people towards level-headed decision making.

But it does mean that your 1972 analogy can't hold water. And it also suggests that we have at least some elbow room in trying to wriggle out of this mess without going into complete meltdown.
First, I should apologize to viv: I came on too strong. Besides, only a churl should disabuse the young of their hopefulness.

Time, of course, is the greatest of all churls.

starroute: I question your history.

Things are more polarized now than they were in 1972, even among the young. The Jesus freaks were not a factor until '72 or after and their politics had not turned right -- in fact, they had no politics are all. Wallace stole votes from Nixon, not from the Dems. That's the main reason why Wallace sometimes said that Nixon had him shot.

Look. A FACTION of the youth vote may be more liberal, by which I mean more tolerant of gays, sexual issues being the only ones that dumb-ass Amurrkins actually care about. But so what? Young folks are still a bunch of easily-gulled, poorly-educated dolts who couldn't find America on an unlabeled map. They've had their heads filled with all sorts of fake history and supernatural codswallop and Reagan worship and whatnot. Prediction: Those same young people will one by one fall into personal trouble -- drugs, divorce or some other crisis -- and the Jesus Robot Comfort Force will be there waiting, saying "Join us and you will be free of such trauma forevermore."

My generation was better educated than the current one (no arguments: We just WERE), and even we, many of us, fell for the blandishments of the Jesus Robots, or for the seductive comforts offered by Corporate America.

The important point is this: You still haven't tried to answer doc elsewhere's question!

Why are the polls so bad when everything SHOULD be trending toward a Democratic landslide victory? The Bushies have failed so miserably that the Dems should win even if they were to run my DOG.

Oh...why bother asking? My readers will fall back on thier standard response: "Clinton and Obama and Edwards are too compromised! Too conservative! The people want a REAL progressive! They want a genuine choice! The folks in Kansas and Alabama and Texas are secretly desperate to vote for...DENNIS KUCINICH!"

Oh yeah? So tell me: How are those Kucinich/McCain poll shaping up for you, friends?
The real problem is that the religious right thrives on the misery of the American people. The weaker the nation is, the more they look toward religion and a "higher power", which always equals more money for Pat Robertson.

War is often the byproduct, used as a reminder that "there are more pressing matters" than putting food on the table and having health care coverage.

America needs true leadership,someone who is willing to reverse the damage of the last 3 administrations. Gravel anyone?
whoa again, joe!

i don't have time to get into details here, but here's my bottom line:

what use is it to rail against the stupidity of men (with all due respect to thoreau)?

and besides, as i said before, assuming this stupidity is likely THE most UNdemocratic premise one can take!!

if we insist - AS OUR REPUBLICAN PUNDITS DO, with every breath - that the masses cannot govern themselves out of a wet paperbag, then the only LOGICAL AND REASONABLE solution is some form of authoritarian government, monarchy, oligarchy, whatever, but there it is.

so, i again beseech ALL of us to step back and consider what it is that is REALLY destroying the system:
not stupidity, but those who would take advantage of it.
not ignorance, but those who would keep the masses there intentionally.

this reflects the back side of ben franklin's wisdom, that people will do the right thing IF they're educated and IF they're informed. not misinformed, not misled, not propagandized within an inch of our lives, but informed.

chew on this for a while; it doesn't take us outside of reality, but rather puts us inside it more firmly.

unless you - like our republican pundits, sadly - really think YOU have ALL the answers for EVERYONE, so therefore you can comfortably claim that all those others out there are stupid.

then add a dash of compassion, along with another trip on that cross-country bus (i'll stand up my hours on greyhound against yours ANY day, especially since my grandparents NEVER had indoor toilets!), and THEN let's have this conversation again.
Oh yeah. Right. Gravel is leading Romney and Giuliani in every poll.

You know, many of my readers claim to be admirers of Al Gore -- but have you read his damn book? If you had, you would know that uni is THE only one to get the answer to this question right. And Gore demonstrates, citing the latest studies in brain science, WHY Americans hunger for a Daddy figure in a time of fear.
Joe -- Perhaps your 1972 wasn't like my 1972, or maybe your now isn't like my now. But back then there was real hatred against anybody who looked or acted or thought differently. There was an incredible sense that the country was splitting along multiple fault lines and a fear that it might never recover. And -- though Watergate blurred the picture briefly -- there was a steady trend towards more conservative norms, both culturally and politically, from roughly 1968 to 1978. None of that is true today.

On the question of the presidential polls -- much of that, I think, is that the US, unlike countries with parliamentary systems, makes the mistake of combining both the ceremonial head of state and the effective leader of party and government in a single person. That's a serious design flaw, but the results should not necessarily be taken as an indication of any larger trends.
In many ways I agree with Joe on this issue. We are in a really tough spot though. It's either have a bad canditate that can win the general election or a candidate that will actually do the right thing and get landslided when the Nov. 2008 comes around. At this point in time, I would rather it not be Gore or Clinton, a little freshness and honesty is necessary.
It may not be easy to underestimate the fear factor caused by 9/11, but perhaps we have. For this nation has gone stark raving fascist-leaning in a most overt way, as was undoubtedly the plan described and desired (and caused?) by those forces who stated a 'new Pearl Harbor' would get them the kind of public opinion shift required to spend the money needed to try to impose an enduring American hegemony on the world.

The 'common sense' American has never had much use for the allegedly over-delicate sensibilities of the ACLU types, and our larger than life cinema and small screen 'heroes' have typically serially violated human rights and civil rights (the righteous ends justifying the illegal means, don'tcha know). Back in the day, I recall the Dick Tracy character answering a call to honor the suspect's rights with the rejoinder, 'I'll give you your rights, AND your LEFTS!!!!' as he pummeled the man into unconsciousness. Such an attitude wasn't condemned, but rather, celebrated, and there are innumerable examples in the culture to point to that reinforce this point.

Even today, with the disillusionment of the people with the particular way in which W went to war and waged it, there is no huge outcry against the war crimes it has entailed-- THOSE are fine with the average American, even as they violate the Nuremburg principles, the UN Charter, the Geneva Conventions, and every principle of morality in which Christians supposedly believe.

To counter this very basic ingredient in the American character would require a counter narrative of great power, and probably one that also wreaks of evil or lends itself to a mob reaction.

To begin with, insulting or challenging the basic American arrogance is a non-starter. Obeisance must be paid to the myths of American greatness, however tattered those banners have become.

However, populism has a very powerful message, and might do the trick, in some combination with nativism, anti-Semitism, and class resentment. I literally shudder at the prospect, however, since the evils and sins likely prompted by such tactics would be enormous.

>>First, I should apologize to viv: I came on too strong. Besides, only a churl should disabuse the young of their hopefulness.

It’s kewl. I came back at you a little stronger than I should have. The fact that you seemed to thing I’m optimistic is why I got mad, because I am SOO not. I do believe the shift in attitudes I described is happening. I just don’t think it will happen in time to wake up to all the problems we face. I irony is that the major reason it’s happening is because of all the problems we face. (If that isn’t a sad commentary on human nature, I don’t know what is.) I’d like to be optimistic because I see clear signs but, like you said, reality has to intrude at some point.

>>A FACTION of the youth vote may be more liberal,

This is where I think your disconnect is. The VAST majority of young people are leaps and bounds more liberal than the generations before. For this generation liberal or conservative don’t even mean the same thing. We’re not at a different place on the political spectrum; we’re on a different spectrum. Like I said our divide is NOT left v. right; it’s between care v. don’t care. (I’ll be a little presumptuous Joe, and say you don’t have kids?)

>>My generation was better educated than the current one

So true it’s sad, but today our ability to educate ourselves is far beyond that of previous generations. i.e. the internet. In the past year I have read Thucydides, Clausewitz, Sun Tsu, Machiavelli, and Augustine. None of this would have happened if the only sources I had were the MSM.

>>The important point is this: You still haven't tried to answer doc elsewhere's question!

I was trying to do exactly that. Let’s do a little demographic breakdown.

Die hard Dems – see our problems as problems with Reps government.
These folks don’t matter. They never voted Rep and never will.

Die hard Reps -- leaving Bush in droves but they are not flocking to the Dems. They never will. They will vote for Mitt and pray or just stay home.

These two are the of majority current participants. There political ideology is set in stone.

“swing votes” who are not younger. These are where the Dems have made some gains but most are so cynical about politics that they see them all as crooks so they will by and large stay home.

Younger people who “care” and older neutral voters with a gift I’ll call “critical thinking”. For these folks Bush is SOO bad that it has forced them to rethink the nature of our society. These people are the mother load. They are the “real” swing vote and can spot bullshit from a mile away. Bush has not made these people cynical. Those who should have been standing up to Bush from the start, but only came around once they saw votes in it, IS what has made them cynical. THIS is your missing landslide. These are the people who are soo desperate for a real leader that they WILL participate if shown one. These are a large part of the Gavel/Kucinich/Paul folks.
Joe, you think all of the above stand no chance of getting elected. Your right, but what you miss is that the very thing that makes them unelectable to the powerbrokers in both parties and shunned by the MSM is why these folks can inspire people; speaking the hard truths.

So you have a catch-22. Anyone who the powerbrokers will let at the table has no shot at these people. Anyone who would appeal to these people would change the nature of our system and will be sidelined at all cost by the MSM and the powerbrokers.

>>"Clinton and Obama and Edwards are too compromised! Too conservative! The people want a REAL progressive!

NO. NO. NO. For these people progressive (as you mean it) and conservative have no meaning in this context. Bush is SOO bad that it transcends these dividers. Not compromised, complicit. It makes all the difference in the world.

This is why even in light of Bush, your Dem landslide may not happen. If Hillary is the nominee I can guaranty it wont happen and the Dems may not even win. Your looking for your landslide in the wrong places.

Again please don’t think I’m being optimistic in my youth. I DON”T think the “reasonable” people will rise up and take power. As a matter of fact I’m probably more cynical than anyone I know. I think it’s too late too even matter if they do. The world as we have known it is ending.

The Roman Empire fell and then came the dark ages. The American/British/Western empire is starting too fall. Welcome to the beginnings of the new dark ages. For ME anyway, the Dems wont change this either. The best candidate I can imagine could only shorten or mitigate the worst of what I see coming. THIS is the important difference between Rep and Dem that I don’t see.
You know we have heard this argument for many years as to why the polls show strong dem numbers and then the repugs win.
It is a strawman argument. There is only one reason why the dems loose when all the polls tell you they shouldn't and that is election vote rigging. No I'm not a tin-foil hat person, but there again is another just wonderful strawman argument that is used to deflect from reality.
So everyone go ahead and keep coming up with all the very well thought out reasons why we can't get our acts together here in America, but keep looking at all the polls, and then watch those even more important exit polls on election day '08 and see if a repug doesn't "Magically" pull off the victory despite everything you know to be true.
Christ, how many times are we going to sit by and watch this countries free will become subverted by the powerful people who are in control? First they take away our elected president in 2000; then they flat out steal the election from Kerry in '04. Anyone want to place a bet on '08? Hell, just look at what is said here, all the numbers point to the dems but somehow when it comes down to the presidential race the numbers mysteriously flip flop. We're just being set-up well in advance psychologically for the next "Big Slap" across the face.
When it comes down to it IMHO, we sensible thinking Americans know exactly what is needed for our country and we have shown that by duly electing a democrat in the last 2 presidential elections, so all this analyzing is just the kind of game that the powerful like to see us keeping ourselves occupied with while they merrily go about stealing 3rd.
You want a dem or someone better than another terrible republican to win in '08 then we had better start putting every effort we can into making sure another election isn't stolen, and that my friends is the most important task at hand.
All the analysis in the world won’t stop election rigging. In far more ways than one this issue should bring the people out on the street in droves that far exceed what we saw in the late 60’s and early 70’s. This issue carries a much greater potential to destroy our way of life than the Viet Nam war ever did. Without our freedom to make the changes that the people of this country truly vote for we will no longer be this country and like many other great societies in the past we will continue to slide down hill from now on and unless we put an end to it we won’t stop until we hit rock bottom.
anon, this particular argument was not about the actual vote. It's about the polls.
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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

The Jefferson scandal

And then it hit me: If FOX News can do it, why can't I?
Too funny!
They play dirty pool,..

and we use extra chlorine ?

Welcome to the mud pit, splat party.
Gee...and I could have sworn it was Morgan Freeman. Silly me.
Notice how Faux didn't
"mistakenly" put a Clarence Thomas photo over the caption...wonder what Uncle Tom looked like? ;)
did i ever mention to you guys about my personal encounter with morgan freeman?

in a photo shop, of all places!
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It is unwise to view a Democratic victory in 2008 as inevitable. In fact, it's not just unwise -- it is downright foolish.

I feel much worse about our chances in 2008 than I felt in 2004. After all, the opponent was George Bush, a proven loser.

Today, the American people are sick of Bush and Cheney personally, and they are sick of the current war. But they still want conservatism. They still believe Jesus votes Republican. They still believe that the "terrists" want to establish "the Caliphate" over America. They are desperate to vote for any TAKWING -- that is, for any Terrorist-Ass-Kicker-Who-Is-Not-George.

And they still believe that all liberals are gun-stealing, immigrant-kissing, Jesus-hating wimps who talk about "Gaia" and who want YOUR SON TO SLEEP WITH OTHER BOYS.

When I saw the question about gays in the military raised at the last Democratic debate, I thought: That's it. The race is over and we have lost.

According to a recent poll, voters care more about "values" than ever before. When you see the word "values," always translate it as "sex." Americans, particularly red state Americans, are simply too damn dumb to understand that non-sexual ethics even exist.

Cheney can use the Iraq war to fatten his Haliburton holdings: Doesn't matter. The President can start a war on a false pretext: Doesn't matter. Americans can commit torture: Doesn't matter. Jack Abramoff: Doesn't matter. Stolen money earmarked to rebuild Iraq: Doesn't matter.

Americans are intellectually incapable of comprehending such things. As the Subgeniuses say: "You know how dumb the average guy is? By definition, half the guys out there are dumber than that."

Ask any group of average Americans -- the girl behind the counter at Dairy Queen, the guy stocking the shelves at Rite-Aid -- why Jim Bakker went to jail. If they are old enough to recall Jim Bakker, they'll answer: Because he had sex with Jessica Hahn. That'll be the reply, nine times out of ten. I've conducted the test. Feel free to confirm my results.

The -- and I mean the -- only ethical issues Americans understand involve penises, vaginas, and the proper and improper uses thereof.

And we have to face the fact that, on a visceral level, nothing scares American parents more than the prospect of their little Timmy growing up to kiss little Jimmie. That is what matters to them. We have to face the fact that most Americans believe that John Kerry favored gay marriage in 2004 -- even though he didn't -- and that many people voted against him because of this perceived stand.

Who lost Congress for the G.O.P. in 2006? Mark Foley. Absent a new Foley scandal, the Republicans will gain ground in 2008.

Although I've provisionally given my support to Obama, I have to agree with a recent commenter (on another blog) who said Obama does not sound like he wants to become the next president -- he sounds like he wants to be the next Tony Robbins. Middle America wants a Daddy, not a Tony.

Hillary? The fact that Rupert Murdoch helped raise money for her tells the story: She cannot win in the general.
I share your pessimism and your assessment of the "American people" certainly covers a significant portion of the voting public - therein lies the problem. Too many Americans with more rational world views don't vote. They look at the candidates chosen by the big money interests for the nomination of the two parties and say "WTF is the difference?"

Certainly if the Democrats insist on nominating a wet-finger-in-the-wind, for-it-before-I-was-against-it establishment centrist (Clinton, Obama, Dodd, Biden, Richardson, and probably Edwards) they are asking for trouble. A strong daddy Republican coupled with some Rovian vote suppression gimmicks like the last 2 elections and they're toast.

To win, they need an exciting and forthright, unapologetic, unabashedly liberal with real leadership qualities. As I say, I share your pessimism.
It isn't as if there aren't enough skeletons (the sexual kind) in the Republican closets, so if Americans only respond to sexual scandals, then it seems to me that Democrats and those who hope for a Democratic Party victory should put a lot of effort in airing out those closets.
How about "Lesbian daughter produces an heir to carry the Cheney name". No wonder Dick looked so happy holding Samuel David Cheney. Was there any gender selection angle involved?
Joe, you worry too much. Take an extended break from the corporate media and you'll feel much better. The media will always paint a rosy picture for the Republicans, no matter how ridiculous it is.

They cannot win. We cannot lose. The Republicans have tortured the world for six years and broken every known record for screwing things up. Wingers would be getting the crap beat out of them every day if they were recognizable on the street.
Obama would make a great president, Clinton would be heads and shoulders above bush, but sadly to say I lbelive neither one of them can get elected over the blowhard Thompson (oh he'll get the nomination easily). He is the man you are describing as the one who can say all the language that taps into the hot points that get the attention of the stupid ones.
So who is the man for the dems in '08? The only man that can win, President Gore of course. Edwards would be a great running mate but he most likely wouldn't be interested in second fiddle a second time. As far as that goes Edwards would probably do better against Thompson but still lose.
We the People elected Al Gore once and we can do it again. We just have to figure out a way to derail the rigged election technics of the rethugs.
I agree and disagree. Yes, the next president may be a Republican, or at least the possibility cannot be summarily dismissed as one might think it should. Not, however, if their candidates maintain their Iraq positions. As to HRC's chances, my take is that if Ruppert Murdoch raised money for her, that means she can win, rather than the opposite, as you say.

WHOA, NELLIE! hold up, pardner. not only are these very bleak words, they are pretty damn insulting.

first of all, even though you're right that a faction of this country suffers from some serious sexual repression (and the reaction formation that inevitably emerges therefrom), i do think you are way overstating your case.

for one thing, though it's true that those foley and swaggard scandals likely influenced voter turnout last november, there is as much evidence that it was because of the republican HYPOCRISY more than the homosexuality of the scandals themselves. those scandals fed as much into the widespread atmosphere of republican scandal in the generic as it did into the sexual fears of our more impressionable neighbors.

for another thing, the voting population is becoming increasingly infiltrated by the youth of this country, a youth that has grown up with a far more liberal acceptance of race, gender, and - yes - sexual orientation. and these kids are pretty vocal and active; never forget those lines in ohio in 04, my friend! the last person to vote in ohio that year was a college student who'd been there for over six hours, at 3 AM, if i recall correctly!

second of all, you lose sight of a number of other factors playing into these issues. from all indications, the public is pretty tired of the gay wedge (no pun intended), and the evangelicals are pretty fed up with being used by the republican party for the 'values' wedge. MANY evangelicals have abandoned the party, not for the gay issues, but for the real values issues, like ignoring the planet and engaging in rampant corruption. people are seeing the party for what it is, a thoroughly and unrepentent corrupt and ruthless greed machine.

so i disagree that the polls saying 'values' should be translated to mean 'gayphobia'; i honestly believe it means the public is completely fed up with the corruption.

take as a case in point the fact that support for the dems has actually dropped significantly since their shift on funding the iraq supplemental. the public wants action on these matters, not more of the same. THIS is the meaning of values now, and the most powerful way it will play against the dems in 08 is if this congress continues to operate as business as usual.

(the sad thing is that the public is not watching the incredibly good work the dems ARE doing, iraq funding notwithstanding. but then, how can one watch the hearings while at work?)

finally, though your take on the intelligence of the general public is amusing, it is - forgive a didactic here - not fully informed. though it is true that 'half the population's IQ' falls below the average data point, by definition, this is actually a highly misleading (though, again, amusing) way to present the case.

the fact is, by definition, 64% of the public have IQs that fall in the average RANGE. and then, on top of that, there's 13% of the public whose IQs fall even higher than the average range. which is to say that a full 87% of the population enjoys intelligence in the average range, or higher. it's only 13% who struggle with less than average IQs.

and if you think about it, really, this has to make sense. for anyone to be AVERAGE, it has to refer to MOST of the people, right? it would NOT make any sense for average to be unusual!!

now, the stats lesson aside, i want to also say that it's not just a matter of intelligence that guides decision-making; it's a matter of conscience. for cryin' out loud, i have to bet that bill kristol (and libby and kissinger....the list goes on and on) has a fairly high IQ, but neither he nor any of his comrades can lay claim to an ounce of conscience. on the other hand, i know many folks with barely average IQs who have nonetheless the good sense and good conscience and wisdom to make decisions that effect the most good for the most people involved.

i have to say yet again that i'm with ben franklin on this one: given an education and good information, most people will make the right decision most of the time.


think about it, joe; supporting a democracy would make NO sense if you actually believed that most people are just plain TOO STUPID to ever make a reasonable decision.

in fact, that happens to be the operating position of all those patronizing folks out there who believe that the masses are just too dimwitted to govern themselves and thus must be shepherded by strong leaders, like kings and the unitary executive and such.

now, i happen to know you are NOT a member of that club, not truly.

now that we have these fundamental issues in perspective, let's get down to determining the REAL culprits here so we can throw our energies in the proper and most effective direction.

wrong decisions are being made because the people are not properly educated....
well, we easily have the republican party to blame for the shift in our budget spending from education to the military. not to mention the horrifying PR campaign to scare the bejeezus out of whomever would be frightened by non-whites and non-christians in the same room with their precious kiddies. these people are NOT in the majority in this country, but what has happened has been a precipitous decline in the quality of public education because of lack of funding, etc., then it feeds on itself when even the most liberal among us - despite our best political instincts - just can't bring ourselves to send little jimmy and jane to the nasty, run-down, violent neighborhood schools. the result? the rich are well-educated, many of them however with incredible biases and narrow, limited experience, but the general public is now so hopelessly under-educated it's frightening. if they vote, they won't do so with any amount of reasoned decision-making process involved.

and, wrong decisions are being made because people are not informed....
well, joe, your entire existence as a blogger is based on the fact that the truth cannot be found in the MSM, which is corporate owned and self-serving, by definition. i needn't belabor this point; we all know it. we don't even have a press free enough to expose the facts that folks are not educated or informed! it's not free enough to expose the fact that our leaders are DELIBERATELY misinforming us, misleading us, scaring us, into STUPID decisions that serve only their interests and NEVER our own!

i agree we're in a helluva mess. but i'll be damned if i'm going to blame my good neighbors. though i don't agree with them all the time, i'm NOT going to stoop to disparaging their good sense. i'll work like crazy to see to it that they and their kids are educated and informed, but then - as a GOOD AMERICAN CITIZEN - i'll sing along with voltaire, defending to the death their right to disagree with me.

i'll close my harangue (forgive me, you know i LOVE you, but it seems a vile waste of perfectly good righteous indignation to dump it on the innocent citizen when we have SO DAMN MANY evil perps out there!) by pointing out, again, that despite all the administration and media propaganda, despite all the poor education, and despite all the fear-mongering, THE POLLS CONTINUE TO SHOW THAT THE PUBLIC IS SEEING THROUGH MOST OF IT, AND THEY/WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH.

can't help thinking of 'network' here; we're mad as hell, and i don't think this poor public is going to take it anymore.

and the dems had better sit up and take notice; if they don't realize just how SMART - and MAD - the public has become, they're going to miscalculate in 08, too.

i'd say the country is ripe for a landslide from a 3rd party, if not in 08, then in 2012 after we watch EVERYONE fail us.
The dumbing-down is not just a matter of bad schools.

When I was home-schooling my son in the 90's, as an exercise we pulled out a world history text my mother had used in the 20's, one I had used in 1960, and the one the local high school was using currently. In each generation, the amount of text had declined, the number and size of pictures had increased, and the explanatory power had decayed.

In the specific case we looked at closely -- the decay of the Roman Republic -- the 20's text went into a whole array of social and political ills over several pages, while the 90's one gave it about a paragraph of what was essentially pablum.

That's why I ended up teaching him from "The Cartoon History of the Universe." Not only was it much meatier, but he actually still remembers most of it.
oops; i detected a typo in my stats lesson:
the percentage of folks who fall in the average range (of anything, by definition) is 74%, not 64%.

the rest of the numbers are accurate.

sorry for my obsessive-compulsive bent on this point, but it's not trivial, for at least the reasons i list in my original comment.

thanks for bearing with me on it, those who could actually bear it!
democracy lover, you do not get me AT ALL. The point of my essay was that the American people remain highly conservative, even reactionary, and highly susceptible to appeals to the Id.

Your insane response is that, to win over a conservative population, Dems must field the least conservative candidate imaginable.

Are you mad?

"They look at the candidates chosen by the big money interests for the nomination of the two parties and say "WTF is the difference?""

No, they do NOT. Wake the fuck up, will ya? That may be how YOUR friends react, but when will you people finally realize that you and your pals are a tiny minority within a nation of near-fascists?

The vast majority of the people in this country do not believe that there is no difference between the parties.

Millions of people in this country think that Hillary Clinton is a socialist.

Go to the conservative web sites. Look at the t-shirts where Clinton's name is spelled with a hammer and sickle.

Or ask anyone about the effective campaign against Bill Clinton in the 1990s. Do you have any idea how many millions -- not thousands: MILLIONS of America people believed in those absurd rumors that Clinton was preparing America for a Soviet invasion in 1994? Yes, 1994: The Speznaz forces, it was said, were gathering in Mexco, just waiting for the "go" signal to come pouring over the border.

Lecturers got up in front of halls and spewed shit like this. It was on the radio. In magazines. It was everywhere.

That's what was said about a centrist like CLINTON.

He was the only Democrat to gt elected in recent decades. And he was able to get in only when Perot split the right-wing vote.


Get it through your damn heads, people: The American people are IDIOTS and they will fall for demagogic nonsense every single time.

Your comment reminds me of the crap we heard when Clinton tried to get his health plan passed. There were lots of people like you, "demoracy lover" who told us that "the people" could and and should not support the too-compromised Clinton plan because "the people" wanted something closer to true socialized medicine. And that's why lefties sneered at Clinton's every idea.

Guess what? Something closer to a true socialized medicine bill was on the ballot in California in -- I think it was 1996.

It got about 20% of the vote.

In true-blue California.

Stop pretending that you speak for "the people." You don't understand the people AT ALL. Do as I once did: Get on a greyhound bus, And take the southern route across country. Talk to people. Be honest. Do NOT wear your rose-colored glasses. Allow yourself to see your fellow citizens as the ambulatory APES that they are. Never for a second allow yourself to see them as you wish them to be.
Dr Elsewhere.

Since when voting is something rational ? First, for intelligence to work, you need to feed it with good data, otherwise, it's garbage in, garbage out. And not a lot of people can afford the "luxury" of being well informed on issues, most rely on MSM to get their info.

The people who supported the Nazi where not just stupid dummies. I know some pretty intelligent people who will follow the Republican party like lemmings because for them, it's a matter of "us (conservatives) and them (those evil liberals)". It's closer to the rationality behind the support of a football / baseball team...

And what if there's another major terrorism event before 08, something like Big Wedding part 2, how do you think it's going to influence the elections ?
Damn right, Dems better not get giddy thinking this thing is won! It will take the right candidate running an almost flawless race to beat the daddyism of the Cans. They will need the money, GOTV maxed out, and a few pictures of Fred's young wife looking like she is "slutted-up" and ready to rape middle Americas' husbands and sons to make sure we win on election day! Pants zippers and daddy loom large in elections where I live, so far south that if I walk 6 blocks south I am swimmin in the Gulf!
Geez. Where to begin??

Well, given Joe’s reaction to democracy lover, I’ll have to focus on that first and hope it covers most of the issues raised here.

Joe, if you look closely at your comment, you’ll find that you’re actually not really exposing the American psyche; you’re actually making my point about the media’s role in distorting the democratic process. The maelstrom that targeted the Clinton’s in the 90s was media manufactured and nurtured. Scaife, Murdoch, the unleashed (thanks to Reagan’s deregulation of FCC rules, especially dropping the Fairness Doctrine) Limbaugh and Savage and Hannity and O’Reilly and FauxNews.

Those factors do NOT speak about the stupidity of the average American, but instead speaks to their gullibility. This is human, we’ve all been there, and we’ve all fallen victim to emotional and even sexual excitement even in the political arena. Given the highly emotionally charged atmosphere following 9/11, I should think we would all be a bit more understanding about how the CITIZENRY fell to emotional response. What we canNOT forgive, however, is the ways in which this administration – and the media – exploited those emotions to lead us into war.

Blaming the American voters for this is like blaming all those widows who fall victim to fraud after they lose their husbands.

Now, this trend started earlier, with the Reagan administration, and we all know how that got started on the emotional exploitation of the population after the kidnapping of US hostages in Tehran. Those events were part of a concerted effort on the part of the conservatives to take back power, and they intentionally played to the media by manipulating issues and the language, not to mention the entire democratic process.

Sadly, the Democrats have been caught flat-footed, partly because they have not been entirely guilt-free in these matters. But I don’t think any of us could have imagined just how bold and unbelievably cynical and brazen these guys could be, and intentionally so. Not to mention incompetent, to boot.

What surprises me is that you have bought the conservative talking point that this country is basically conservative. Well, that is just NOT true. Although most folks oddly believe the Bible is infallible and that creationism is real, they nevertheless believe we need a minimum wage, better education (that government supports), universal healthcare, no war, and justice for all. Increasingly they are pissed off that corporations are making out like bandits at every turn, and they are getting screwed.

Folks are not so gullible that they can be hoodwinked forever; Lincoln was right about that. In response to Hyperman’s question about another Big Wedding, I’ll be honest: I really don’t believe this country would buy into it like they did 9/11. I think the general public is highly cynical about that event now, having watched it get used and abused for the past six years. I also think that, should these idiots try to pull something like that, thinking this might be the only way to reverse the negative trends their suffering, it will backfire in an enormous way. Especially if they use it to increase their destruction of our Constitution and the freedoms and rights it guarantees.

And Hyperman, you’re right about the sports event nature of campaigns, but again, I sense the public is really sick of that. These dumb debates are geared solely to increase network revenues. Were the media required to give each candidate equal and free time, there would be NO debates, not even in the final months before election day.

It’s all a show, and folks are increasingly aware of that, and increasingly sick of it.

But thanks to the internet, we have generated a new faction that is looking beyond the MSM propaganda, and discovering that we have been lied to repeatedly, it’s opened up a whole new resource that is helping to change the terrain and what we can expect from it.

I’m going to say this yet again: all you have to do is look at the polls showing all this disillusionment, despite the MSM propaganda. People really are waking up.

Sure, there will always be those out there who live out the knee-jerk stupidity, but they are NOT in the majority. Not anymore.

And Joe, please place your point about CA’s voting out universal healthcare in 1996 in that post-Reagan media era. Your state also bought the recall of Grey Davis and blamed him for Enron’s mess, and then bought the Ahnuld nonsense. I only lived there a few years, but it is not as blue as folks like to believe.

But take note: things have changed considerably. Not only would that healthcare bill pass now, it would in every state in the country (and just wait till Sicko comes out). And CA quickly soured on the governator’s antics, to the point where he had to become extremely liberal to win the last election.

In sum, I’m with democracy lover on this point, which I actually echoed in our discussions a couple of weeks ago regarding Gore. This country is aching for a radically honest candidate who will speak sincerely about what we all need, and what we all need is no more of this conservative nightmare. To interpret that as calling for an extreme liberal is really itself an extreme reaction. The past 25 years have seen the Republicans move the notion of the center so far to the right that what was once a centrist can now be easily targeted as leftwing. We need to start by rejecting all this labeling and, like democracy lover asserted, insist on what this country needs.
Joe: All of this presupposes there WILL be an election. Hyperman raises the possibility of another Big Wedding and the effect that might have on the election. Bush has already anticipated that when he signed into law the proposals that give him the power to suspend the constitution in the event of some major event such as Big Wedding Mark 2. As one who believes that Big Wedding mark 1 was a domestically grown product, and American history is replete with false flag operations to justify a range of self serving options, discussion of the likely presidential candidates may be naively optimistic.
If you're right, and I believe you are, the best thing we can do is get as many liberals to register as Republicans as possible. Perhaps we could then help the worst wackjob through the primaries, or attempt to promote the best (liberal) conservative candidate.
Good call onthelelction and "values"

I just wish we here in CA could break off and do our own thing. Sure there are plenty of Red Statist idiots here, but they don't stand too much in the way of getting things done or trying new govermental/ social experiments. I am tired of Washington and nation politics, what does America get from CA? Lots of tax money, What does CA get? Nothing, we are stuck with the whole lot of backward "values" idiots in the "heartland" constantly trying to drag us back to the stone ages for 6000 years ago when the Earth was created - whatever.
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Tuesday, June 05, 2007

The terrorist who worked at JFK Airport: Update

I'm gratified that the previous post in this series, which discusses terror plotter Russell DeFreitas' employment by the CIA's primary airline, received so much attention. Some readers seem to have used my piece as the basis for rather specific conspiracy theories. My purpose is not to propose answers but to ask questions, and to encourage journalists with greater resources to ask the same questions. I do not pretend to understand these events -- but as they say in Lucas-land, "I've got a bad feeling about this."

This following collection of data points may relieve or exacerbate that feeling of unease.

The Complaint. I'd still like to know how a court document "under seal" made its way to the internet so rapidly. As far as I can tell, the first person to point to the document's online location was Michelle Malkin. She says she received it from "Robert Nardoza at the United States Attorney's Office in the Eastern District of New York."

He is the public affairs officer under USA Roslynn Mauskopf. Some cynics have suggested that Mauskopf, who is poised to become a judge, wanted a big terrorist bust on her resume.

"Consensual recordings." The Complaint frequently cites "consensual" recordings of the bad guys plotting their activities. I doubt that the recorded parties actually gave their consent; criminals are, by nature, paranoid. If these recordings are not admitted into evidence in a court case, we may never hear these men say the words ascribed to them.

The whole issue of when incriminating recordings may or may not be used is, of course, quite complex. When a prosecutor prepares an indictment, the pretense of consent simplifies matters greatly.

When did DeFreitas work for Evergreen? We still have no clear notion as to the length and nature of DeFreitas' employment by the CIA's favorite airline. Some news reports still point to 1995, while others speak of 2001. Obviously -- and as I have noted before -- it would be quite embarrassing to the administration if someone involved with a foreign criminal organization worked at JFK airport after September 11, 2001.

An Oregon news station reports that DeFreitas trained at the main Evergreen headquarters in McMinnville, Oregon:
Cable News Network (CNN) tells KOIN News 6 that DeFreitas trained at Evergreen Aviation in McMinnville, Ore. DeFreitas did not enter a plea during his initial arraignment in New York City's federal court.

Investigators call him a former J-F-K airline cargo worker who, according to CNN, trained at Evergreen Aviation between July 2000 and May 2001. Officials at Evergreen refused to comment, saying confidentiality policies keep them from confirming or commenting on past and present clients or employees.
This article says something similar, but subtly different:
KGW obtained public records that indicated Defreitas worked for Evergreen from July 2000 to May 2001.
DeFreitas was, at this time, a man in his mid-50s. It seems odd that he would train for the better part of a year. Also keep in mind that we still have no clear idea as to what the man actually did. Evergreen Eagle offers "support services" at a number of airports, including JFK.

The fact that we have yet to receive a straight story about the man's employment history leads me to ask whether he continued to work at JFK -- not necessarily for Evergreen -- after May, 2001.

What you are about to read is HIGHLY SPECULATIVE. I don't mind engaging in blue-sky surmise as long as it comes clearly labeled as such -- and in this case, I've used boldface.

Flight 587. A month after the 9/11 attacks, American Airlines Flight 587 crashed soon after departure from from JFK airport. Although there were scattered witnesses who spoke of explosions in the air, everyone now agrees that the aircraft was doomed when it lost its vertical stabilizer -- that is, the tail.

The vertical stabilizer was later fished out of the water intact. As the photo demonstrates, it was sheered off with remarkable precision, even though the bolts and lugs holding it place were composed of titanium and an ultra-strong composite material. Without the tail, the aircraft spun like a boomerang.

(A haunting report holds that investigators found, in the center of the craft, the body of a man holding a baby.)

What could have caused such clean breakage? The NTSB says that pilot Sten Molin was guilty of "over aggressive rudder inputs." However:
A group of aviation experts do not agree with the findings of the NTSB in their entirety. The Airbus, climbing at VY (the best rate-of-climb airspeed) was well below the maneuvering speed range VA. According to FAA certification standards, operating at or below VA does not cause structural damage at full control deflection. While that doesn't mean one can violently yank the controls such as the rudder back and forth, this will also not cause a structural failure of such severity unless the structure was weakened beforehand.
(Emphasis added.) Another source put the matter more colorfully:
At the time, an official of the Allied Pilots Association said, “Building a plane where the tail falls off if you over-control the rudder is like building a car where the wheels fall off every time you hit the brakes too hard.
For these reasons, some continue to believe that Flight 587 was sabotaged. Those presuming such a scenario tend to argue that a member of the ground crew would have found some way to weaken the tail assembly.

Evergreen Eagle does not list American Airlines as one of its "clients."

And that's why I would be very interested to know if Russell DeFreitas, or anyone associated with him, worked for any other firm at JFK airport after May, 2001.
Joseph, the following applies in general to consensual recordings:


'Secret recordings made by a party to a conversation without the knowledge or consent of the other party to the conversation are commonly referred to as “surreptitious recordings.” Such recordings are also referred to as “one-party consensual recordings.” The issue is not whether such recordings are legal. Under federal law it is not unlawful “for a person not acting under color of law to intercept a wire, oral, or electronic communication where such person is a party to the communication or where one of the parties to the communication has given prior consent to such interception unless such communication is intercepted for the purpose of committing any criminal or tortious act in violation of the Constitution or laws of the United States or of any State.” 18 U.S.C. § 2511(2)(d)(1994).'


So, it is permissible for an informant or mole (or, in the jargon of the underworld, a "rat") to record telephone conversations, even if those who subsequently become defendants don't realize they are being recorded. But I am not a lawyer, so those who havemore familiarity with the laws can feel free to jump in.
This is too far out for me.

Weakened beforehand yes, but manually? How? How to weaken a flight surface enough to fail but invisible to visual inspection which planes get on maintanence and prior to take off.

Use Occum's Razor here. Firstly, the weakness issue gets to the real question at hand -- about composite materials, age, and stress. Dig around on the web, and aviation forums about this topic and see how much there is out there about this, even finding pilots who won't fly certain Airbus models, and the lack of testing and knowledge about what happens to these composites.

If someone wanted to sabatoge a flight, the most reliable way would be explosives, the next most reliable via powerplants, Trying to pre-engineer a material failure due to fatigue that would escape visual detection seems far-fetched to say the least. If it wasn't done with explosives, it hardly seems possible. And that would leave chemical signatures.

I love the blog and I know you had a Caveat, but.....
Re DeFreitas as being "trained" at Evergreen International in 2000-01, your previous post quotes the Newsday story as saying the documents show he was a "trainee supervisor" there. Someone has concluded and everyone seems to be repeating (I'm not sure why), that this title means he was the trainee. I took it as he supervised trainees. I also take it that working at EI means he spent that time in Oregon and apparently returned to NYC sometime later in 2001. These stories specify that he worked as a "contract" baggage handlier for an EI subsidiary at JFK, while Newsday reports EI documents showing he was an EI "employee." I may not be putting the pieces together right, but that makes me think he worked at JFK for some time before or after June 2000-May 2001.

My point: He couldn't have been a "contract baggage handler" for the subsidiary and a "trainee superviser" for the parent company during the same time period. Of course, the MSM reporting somewhere could always be wrong, too.

The Newsday reminiscences of acquaintances have DeFreitas living normally in NYC in 1997 and coming to friends around 2001 ("six years ago) as homeless and injured from a car accident, which I assume the source knew only from DeFreitas saying that was why he wore a back brace and collected welfare. Was he really injured, and if so was it really from an accident with a "gypsy cab"? That was odd specificity on the cab, too. The only reason I can think of anyone (DeFreitas) would contribute that to the injury story is to explain why no liability suit and so why he was claiming to be broke.

But, as you pointed out Joseph, who can afford to transport junk by plane to South America? Who would he have sold this junk to for transport? I hope the Newsday reporter is following this up on that money trail.

And, that story also referenced he had a brother he was enmeshed with (over a junk fridge?!) and that brother since died. Your previous post referred to the indictment or some document referencing a "brother," and your speculation was something different than mine. I thought that document referred to DeFreitas' brother. But, I wasn't reading that portion closely.

And, one last observation: You ask a good question about how an "under seal" indictment got out. I think those don't even get press releases, so I wonder if it was really ever "under seal" at all. The press releases are real and seem routine.

Under normal circumstances, it is not odd that Malkin called the flak and received by email a copy of the indictment in pfd. We do that all the time. I wonder why the NYC MSM didn't do that in this story, or if they did and were denied, or if they did and received it and just were shortsighted not to have included that detail in reporting or posted online themselves. Whichever MSM referred to it as "under seal" should explain that one in folo.

But the weirder thing there, even if not under seal it is highly unusual for prosecutors at any level to give out tapes and transcripts of the evidence. I can't say I've ever seen that, certainly not within a day of the grand jury handing up an indictment. That's very stange -- and suspect.
In re to the other two comments:

1) One- and two-party consent is a matter of state law and varies greatly, except where federal jurisdiction applies. A case comes to mind involving a Dem congressman from the NW who was convicted of using for political campaign purposes a slanderous recording about his opponent a few years ago. The recording was legal in Florida, where it was taped, but for reasons I don't remember -- probably interstate commerce, transfer, use, whatever -- the lower courts deemed it wasn't protected under federal law requiring two-party consent (I think .... my memory is cloudy on this). In short, the "consensual recordings" is something I, too, find curious and surely something any defense lawyer will pick apart to get the case thrown out, right down the old memory hole (but it will have served it's purpose today, right?)

2) I've reported on certain airline issues as they involve intelligence agencies (I'll leave it at that), and it's viable that this plane was sabatoge. The commenter who pointed out the CIA has someone at every airport is pretty much correct, and access to sabatoge planes is one of the main reasons they are there. Sometimes, that agent also is military personnel, a great cover. The CIA is very good at the plane sabatoge game. It has ways to crash them -- in particular when there is someone on board they want out of the picture -- and it has ways to disable them as a warning to the airline owner. In the later, the process is gradual. If one were pursuing that sheered tail story, they should ask the owner if there had been other unusual complications with his/her company planes soon before that crash, and they would inspect the passenger manifest very closely. Often, the work histories of the passengers give good indications of NOC status (I think it's not unheard of that the black ops side needs someone from white ops out of the way, although I can't officially prove that). Disclaimer here: This understanding comes from confidential sources and isn't substantiated to the level of responsible reporting. Sources in this arena have questionable motives, but I'm relating what I believe to be true based on cumulative information over years.
Joseph: You don't need to post this, but I would advise you not to be shy about asking the reporters with holes in stories or with contradictory reports to follow up or explain. We appreciate the interaction, really, and with the tight pursestrings sometimes just don't have time to dwell on a story as long as you might assume.

Or, call or email the source, if it's provided, and ask for the scoop.

People often express how impressed they are at information I get and think it's something special. It's not a mystery. When I wonder about something, I just pick up the phone and call, or send an email, whether I'm asking as a MSM journalist, a private blogger or just a private person (I ID myself appropriately to the source). Most times, people answer unreluctantly.

It's America. Anyone can ask anything they want of anyone they want. The source can answer or not, but nothing prevents anyone at all from asking.
Joseph, this is very interesting stuff. I'm going to be looking into the politics of Guyana -- one alleged plotter was an MP there -- which are as byzantine and at times violent and CIA infested as the politics of small Caribben countries can get.

One correction though. When Newsday says that De Freitas sold incense on the streest of "Jamaica," they mean the African-American neighborhood in Queens not far from JFK airport -- ie Jamaica, Queens. "Downtown Jamaica" as it's called has a very dense commercial strip called Jamaica Avenue where, in fact, there are lots of peddlers, including incense peddlers.

As for making money shipping junk to the Caribbean, it's not that far fetched. Import restrictions make appliances and parts ridiculously expensive for small business people and there is a flourishing black market in such junk. Because of the huge Caribbean immigrant community here in Queens, as well as in Brooklyn, there are literally hundreds of Caribbean shipping companies that will ship your junk to the Caribbean easily and cheaply.

Other than those quibbles, it's a fascinating story -- it kind of gave me a kind of Duh! moment when you connected drug trafficking, JFK, baggage handlers, a drug dealing informant and the CIA.


HamdenRice from DU
Joseph, here are a few very unconnected dots that may interest you. When I first heard about the "terrorist plot" suspects being Muslims from Trinidad and Guyana, I immediately thought of V.S. Naipul's famous essay about the "Black Power Killings" in Trinidad. That's because the "Muslim" movement in both Trinidad and Guyana are extremely strange and play a somewhat bizarre role in those country's bizarre politics -- especially Afro-Caribbean nationalism or "Black Power" politics.

Trinidad and Guyana do not have traditional Islam as part of the religious mix. Muslims are a fringe group of do-it-yourself converts, more like Louis Farrakan's Nation of Islam. The overwhelming majorities of both countries are divided very evenly between Afro-Caribbean Christians and Indo-Caribbean Hindus.

As for their role in politics, rather than try to become familiar with lots of party acronyms and politicians names, you can understand the politics of both countries in this simple way: It's the Afro-Caribbeans versus the Indo-Caribbeans. When slavery was abolished, the British brought in "cooley" labor from India. In both countries, the population is almost perfectly divided between Blacks and Indians and most party politics follow ethnic lines. All politics is about whether the Black party or the Indian party gets to govern.

When a charismatic figure has come along to try to end racial politics (such as academic historian Walter Rodney of Guyana) he has been assassinated, it is said, with CIA help. We think of the Caribbean as friendly, relatively stable vacation destinations, but the US supported several Afro-Caribbean nationalist despots, such as Forbes Burnham of Guyana, Eric Gairy of Grenada, and seemed especially intent on preventing the development of Afro-Indian cooperation and substance-based politics in Guyana.

Here's where the Muslims fit in. They are not orthodox Muslims. They are more like the old "Nation of Islam" in the US in the 1960s -- ultra nationalist pan Africanists, often former criminals. Politicians on the Black political party side tend to use them to stir up the most extremist parts of their constituency for political purposes.

These then are the kind of "Muslims" that were involved in the JFK airport plot.

Now here are some interesting coincidences for the conspiracy minded. The second most notorious "Muslim" in Trinidad's history after Bakr and the JAM gang was a man named Abdul Malik aka Michael X aka Michael Dereitas. (Any relation to Russell?) He can probably be thought of as the founder of Black Nationalist Islam in Trinidad.

Michael Defreitas immigrated from Trinidad to England where he became a pimp, drug dealer and petty criminal in London of the swinging 1960s. He became a minor celebrity after he restyled himself as England's Malcom X -- hence Michael X. He published a book and some poetry and was patronized by several celebrities, including John Lenon and Yoko Ono. He founded a commune in England, but it failed. He migrated back to his island of origin, Trinidad, in the early 70s.

Coincidentally, there is quite a bit of press and internet buzz about him lately after being forgotten for some 30 years because a historically-based scandal film premiered at Cannes in which Derreitas plays a minor role. It seems that in his role as London's Michael X, Defreitas had obtained sexually explicit photos of Princess Margaret and deposited them in a safety deposit box in a bank. The film claims that MI5 staged a bank robbery in order to get the pictures.

Sometime thereafter Defreitas aka Michael X aka Abdul Malik arrived back in Trinidad where he founded the Muslim movement of which JAM is I believe a sort of successor. Again he set up a "revolutionary" compound that was also a mixture of incoherent politics, drugs and sex. He was invited by Guyana's Afro-Caribean semi-dictator at the time, president Forbes Burnham, presumably to stir up the ultra nationalists. Unfortunately for Defreitas, while he was in Guyana, the body of a dead white girl was discovered in a shallow grave in the compound. (Even back then the press went crazy over missing or dead white girls, but especially if they were found in the compound of ultra Black-nationalists.) Defreitas fled just ahead of the police into the Guyanese outback. He was captured in Linden (the same town of which JFK plotter, former Guyanese MP and Afro-Guyanese nationalist party member Abdul Kadir was mayor). Defreitas was brought back to Trinidad, tried and sentenced to death. Stupefyingly, he became the subject of a celebrity campaign that treated him as a political prisoner, which was not successful inasmuch as he eventually was hanged. His reputation was utterly eviscerated by the famous essay be VS Naipul I mentioned above.

JAM was also founded by an Afro-Trinidadian convert to unorthodox Islam, Yasin Abu Bakr, born Lennox Philip. The same pattern emerged -- an organization that combines incoherent but radical Islamic politics, ultra Afro-Caribbean nationalism, extortion, drug trafficking and murder, but with seemingly inexplicable protection in very high places. JAM got its reputation as a terrorist organization when it launched a coup against the elected government of Trinidad in the early 1990s, taking over the television station, holding the Prime Minister and several cabinet members and parliament members hostage for 10 days, leading to several deaths and millions in property damage when looting broke out. Inexplicably, they were not prosecuted, supposedly because they had negotiated an amnesty during the coup attempt as a condition of surrender. Even more inexplicably, they participate in national politics, again, stirring up anti-Indian hatred around election time.

I realize these dots are perhaps just coincidences, but the do form an interesting pattern -- ultra nationalism, drug trafficking, CIA surveillance at least, extortion, and terrorism.

HamdenRice at DU

PS Just so you know I don't have an ax to grind, I'm not Indo-Caribbean, but African American. It's just that I have some Guyanese friends (Afro-Caribbean) who have educated me about that country's horrible politics and how their population, which is basically agreed on the substance of their political goals (mild socialism) have been maniuplated and divided for the last 40 years.
Ye Olde Simple Breakdown of How Terror Enters the World:

1. Crooked Iran-Contra/BCCI connected Intel Spooks - these guys planned it. They are multi-national crooks.

2. Compromised Informant/Agent Provocateurs - these guys are the link to the top. They are compromised and dirty so either no one believes what they say. Or they keep quiet to hide their secrets and avoid getting sent to jail by the guys in #1. Or they keep quiet and go to jail anyways to avoid something worse.

3. Dupes / Patsies / and Dumbasses - The idiots, morons,clowns and general bozos who don't understand the nature of top-down conspiracies and that get framed up for what the guys at the top did and planned and then go to jail.
You may find this article on Global Research to be interesting. It's entitled "The JFK 'plot': another grossly inflated threat".
This article reports that Defreitas "exports broken air conditioners to Guyana." The question is, what would someone working for a CIA-connected airline be shipping back in the empty plane?
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Propaganda operation gainst Iran

I would be remiss if I did not direct your attention to Larisa Alexandrovna's latest on CIA propaganda operations against Iran, Syria and Lebanon:
One former intelligence case officer did explain that the CIA's program is operating largely outside of the Middle East and is aimed at identifying potential allies, as well as using already existing well known groups through whom information can be delivered. The type of “information” and the “groups” and “organizations” involved were not identified.
We'll be on the lookout for that. As most of you know, Bushco has been making use of the anti-Iranian terror group MEK:
Sources say that MEK has been used for intelligence collection, an activity which has traditionally fallen under the CIA. The administration also appears to be looking the other way as groups such as MEK commit acts of violence.

Intelligence sources interviewed for this article all expressed concern over the lack of attention to the Pentagon’s covert activities. Some believe illegal activities like those of the Iran-Contra days are now being hidden under the loophole of “traditional military activities” to avoid Congressional oversight.
There's a problem with the link to RawStory... http://http://
To many, the alleged actions being undertaken by MEK in Iran would be considered "terrorism" if they were to occur in certain other countries friendly to the United States. It seems that one man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. It's all semantics. Not to mention, hypocrisy.
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Monday, June 04, 2007

The terror Complaint

Let me ask one additional question about the terror plot. The official Complaint, dated June 1, is listed as "under seal." I was under the impresion that "under seal" means secret. So why are we reading it on the internet?

The same happened in 2004 just before the Democrat convention. They released a bogus terrorist "alert" to divert the attention from the Democrat debate. I wonder if they will restart their color coded terror alerts for the 2008 elections...

Toying With Terror Alerts?
"The 18 months prior to the 2004 presidential election witnessed a barrage of those ridiculous color-coded terror alerts, quashed-plot headlines and breathless press conferences from Administration officials. Warnings of terror attacks over the Christmas 2003 holidays, warnings over summer terror attacks at the 2004 political conventions, then a whole slew of warnings of terror attacks to disrupt the election itself. Even the timing of the alerts seemed to fall with odd regularity right on the heels of major political events. One of Department of Homeland Security chief Tom Ridge's terror warnings came two days after John Kerry picked John Edwards as his running mate; another came three days after the end of the Democratic convention.

So it went right through the 2004 election. And then not long after the champagne corks stopped popping at Bush campaign headquarters, terror alerts seemed to go out of style. The color codes became yesterday's news."
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Terror plot suspect worked for the CIA's airline

The following may be the most important story I have ever written.

It's an incomplete story -- indeed, we have, at present, only about 50 pieces of a 500 piece jigsaw puzzle. Perhaps some of you can help find missing parts of the picture.

In a previous post, I argued that the "terrorist ring" led by Russell DeFreitas -- the man who had targeted JFK airport, where he once worked -- was actually a drug smuggling ring. Now we have a Newsday piece on the bomb plot which functions as a sort of palimpsest: The surface text shows hints of a more important tale which lies beneath.
Authorities were tipped to the plot by a confidential informant, a convicted drug trafficker who has been working with law enforcement since 2004, according to the complaint....
The author of this piece does not ask the obvious question: Why was a drug trafficker tasked to get close to former baggage handler DeFreitas? The criminal complaint makes clear that DeFreitas vouched for this drug trafficker to his contacts in the Caribbean criminal underworld.

The author of the Complaint -- Robert Addonizio, an investigator with the New York Joint Terrorism Task Force -- prefaces his findings as follows:
Because the purpose of this Complaint is to state only probable cause to arrest, I have not described all the relevant facts and circumstances of which I am aware.
In other words, he does not feel obligated to discuss any subjects other than terrorism. Subjects such as smuggling.

Although some media accounts have correctly identified Jamaat al Muslimeen -- a criminal organization based in Trinidad -- as a party to the JFK airport plot, none of these stories have seen fit to mention that JAM is in the business of illegal drugs and weapons.

The Complaint makes clear that a JAM leader was cognizant of and involved with the plot. Although the leader is not named, the reference almost certainly goes to head honcho Abu Bakr, one of the world's most dangerous men.

(On page 29 of the Complaint, Kadir is quoted as saying that this JAM leader -- whose name is redacted -- has strong ties to Libyan strongman Mohamar Qadafi. So does Bakr.)

This CBS story claims that JAM did not offer the plotters support. That claim is directly contradicted by paragraphs 53-58 of the Complaint, which few in the media seem to have read with any care.

So why isn't the Bush administration, which loves a good scare story, talking about JAM and its leader, Abu Bakr? Bakr knew about this plot. Why is the media focused on four relative small fry? Why the odd reticence to mention a Qadafi associate?

I don't have an answer to those questions right now. But I did discover a genuinely astounding connection.

The afore-cited Newsday piece gives this account of Russell DeFreitas' employment history:
[New York City Police Commissioner Ray] Kelly said Defreitas last worked at Kennedy in 1995 as a baggage handler with a subsidiary of Evergreen International Airlines Inc., an airline services company based in McMinnville, Ore. Kelly said Defreitas was unemployed and lived alone.
[Emphasis added.] Oddly enough, the chronology is contradicted by another Newsday story -- a profile of DeFreitas -- which reports:
Defreitas was hired by a cargo transportation company at Kennedy Airport, Watts said. Documents show he was employed as a "trainee supervisor" in 2001 with Evergreen Eagle, a subsidiary of Oregon-based Evergreen International Aviation. Officials there declined to comment.
When in 2001? After September 11? More to the point, was he a baggage handler or a supervisor?

All of this is of no small importance, for one simple reason:

Evergreen is CIA.

Of all the airlines used by the CIA -- and they have used many -- Evergreen has the closest, most longstanding ties to the agency. So close are they that we may fairly say that the two entities are kept separate only by a polite legal fiction.

This is not a questioned fact. This is not "tin foil hat" speculation.

For example, this San Diego Union Tribune story (on a non-political subject) refers to "Evergreen Airlines – the CIA's (contract) airline that replaced Air America of the Vietnam era." A number of respected books on the Agency refer to Evergreen as the CIA's airline. Also see this fascinating affidavit by a pilot who became involved with these operations.

Evergreen aircraft have, it seems, been used for "extraordinary renditions" (the transport of captured prisoners for torture): See here and here.

I have elsewhere argued that, in many cases, these flights make more sense if viewed as smuggling operations, as opposed to "torture flights." Although CIA aircraft have undeniably carried prisoners to remote locations for grisly interrogation, the pattern suggests that many of these flights have another purpose. (If that suggestion seems outlandish at first blush, I can only beg you to read my earlier piece before offering judgment.)

In short and in sum: The CIA has long been accused of using Evergreen for smuggling purposes. (I do not here refer, necessarily, to drugs. The CIA must often transport all sorts of items which it would prefer not to pass through customs.)

Thus, it is of great importance to determine just what DeFreitas did while working -- in essence -- for the CIA. The disparate and contradictory reports of his tenure and job title are suspicious in and of themselves.

It is fair to presume that the CIA vets everyone connected with its ultra-sensitive air operations. I do not believe that the Agency would accidentally hire someone linked to a foreign criminal organization.

But the DeFreitas story gets even stranger.

For someone living in poverty, he did an astonishing amount of international travel. The Complaint mentions the trip he made late last year to Guyana, where he met with various shady characters.

Take a look at this paragraph from the Newsday profile:
Acquaintances said that in recent years Defreitas made much of his money shipping junk appliances, car parts and anything else he could get his hands on to Guyana, where he would sell them. He also sometimes sold books and incense on Jamaica street corners, his retired truck-driver countryman said.
Get real. Nobody goes from New York to Jamaica to sell "incense."

And nobody can earn a living selling junk in a place like Guyana -- at least, not the sort of "junk" described above. Travel and shipping costs far outstrip the amount of money one can earn, if one keeps one's business on the up-and-up. If DeFreitas were just a used appliance salesman, then why does the Complaint portray him as a man well-known to the underworld?

Newsday's strange claim inevitably calls to mind our recent discussion of Daniel Hopsicker's latest on the mysterious Agape airlines. A source who caught a glimpse of the operation told Hopsicker:
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Its obviously a very well-funded operation, but the stuff they’re flying down to Haiti is junk,” he told us bluntly.

“Stuff that didn’t sell at garage sales. Used silverware and plates, used bedding. Every so often we’d see a new coffeepot, or a portable generator. But it was mostly all junk.”

“With the price of aviation gasoline today, it costs them between $6000 and $8000 just to fly down and back to Haiti. And for what? A couple hundred bucks worth of toasters?”
Cross out "Haiti" in that last sentence and scribble in "Guyana," "Jamaica" or "Trinidad."

I think we need to know a lot more about Russell DeFreitas, associate of the dangerous Jamaat al Muslimeen -- and former employee of the CIA.

How can we get the media to ask the right questions?
Terrific work, Joseph. Any thoughts on the relationship of Defreitas to the "confidential informant?" If Defreitas was essentially employed by the CIA, why would the Terrorism Task Force bust him? A turf war of some sort between agencies?
You hit the nail on the head highlighting Evergreen. If Newsday's fact is accurate -- and I am confident in its reporting -- there's no doubt in my mind DeFreitas at least initially was employed by the CIA.

That changes the picture on this "terror plot."

But to offer another speculation: Could it be this was part of the sting, to make him think he was CIA and wasn't? That would raise entrapment to a new level. Could defense lawyers prove entrapment or any CIA employment connection to DeFreitas? I recall a few bagmen the agency abandoned, left to rot in prisons.
HOLY CRAP!! joe, you've done it again. amazing work!

and unirealist, as ever, our suspicious minds are in synch. in a previous comment on joe's earlier post on this topic, i mused that - what with all these criminals now cut loose by our 'leadership of integrity' - there are bound to be turf wars.

and this could be their undoing. we can only hope.

one minor thing i'd like to add is just that pat robertson's 'missionary' efforts in africa were notable for sending over supplies and such (no doubt, such similar 'junk'), but returning with cargoes of diamonds and other precious resources. i was never convinced that those imports were completely legal, to boot.

very very messy stuff. note also that the doj is not really out front on this. one would think the AGAG would be all over this like stink on dog poop to make sure not only that the world knows that his people are protecting the american people from turrists, but also to make sure that the story detracts from his many scandals currently in the news.

the thought that bush and gonzo are actually sweating about the implications in this story, instead of pouncing on it to use and abuse it like 9/11, is just - well, really - delicious.
I think I'm having a Iran-contra moment. Shades of Ollie North, Jose Posada, ahem "Max Gomez" and gang.

I'm posting an archived article (May, 2006)from Guyana Chronicle.
Great work.. keep looking.

Welcome to our ARCHIVES
News Editor
Sports Editor


Trini terrorist suspect gave false name
-- How did Abu Bakr right hand man get Guyana passport?
THE Trinidad terrorist suspect nabbed in a Joint Services raid on a house south of Georgetown earlier this week, is not the man he claims to be, sources confirmed yesterday.

The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Thursday night announced that the man held in the raid in the continuing search for 30 AK-47 rifles and five pistols stolen from its Georgetown headquarters, had identified himself as Mustafa Abdullah Muhammad, also known as Edmund DeFreitas.

He has, however, now been identified as David Millard, well-known in Trinidad as ‘Buffy’, who fled from New York after a shooting incident and returned to Trinidad where he moved up the ranks of the radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group led by coup leader Abu Yasin Bakr.

A top source yesterday said authorities are trying to find out how Millard found his way here and acquired a Guyana passport in the name of Edmund DeFreitas, recorded in the travel document as born in March 1960 at Bartica in Guyana.

A 9 mm pistol and 57 rounds of matching ammunition, electronic equipment, cell phones and computers were among items seized in the raid on a Nandy Park house where Millard and four others were arrested and investigators here are trying to find out what the Trinidad fugitive was up to while here.

He is now thought to have been hiding out in Guyana since late 2003 when he fled Trinidad after his leader Abu Bakr was charged with conspiracy to murder.

Mustafa Abdullah Muhammad, now uncovered as the dangerous and wanted `Buffy’, also claimed he was a bodyguard for a known local narcotics trafficker (name given) and that he was involved in the coup by the Jamaat Al Muslimeen against the Trinidad and Tobago Government in 1990.

The Army said Muhammad is wanted in Trinidad for his alleged involvement in a murder attempt on a former member of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, led by Abu Bakr.

But the Guyana Chronicle understands that Millard was not involved in the 1990 attempted coup.

At the time of the attempted coup, he was in New York, but fled sometime later as a result of a shooting incident. He returned to Trinidad and moved up the ranks of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen.

He never used his Christian name and everyone in Trinidad knew him as Buffy, this newspaper understands.

Trinidad reporters following the case yesterday said that when the Jamaat's number three man, Mark Guerra, was killed in March 2003, ‘Buffy’ assumed that position and was considered a right hand man of leader Abu Bakr.

On June 4, 2003, in his bedroom in Diego Martin, six miles west of

Port-of-Spain, ‘Buffy’ allegedly met Bakr and two others to plan the murder of two expelled members of the Jamaat. There was a shooting incident that night outside of Port-of-Spain in which one of the two expelled members was shot, but an innocent woman was killed.

On August 21, 2003, Bakr was charged with conspiracy to murder the two expelled members.

But ‘Buffy’ was missing and his last departure was for Guyana, investigators believe.

Bakr went on trial, but on March 16, 2005, the jury failed to arrive at a verdict. His retrial is fixed for October 2 and he remains in custody.

Last November 7, he was charged with sedition, terrorism, and incitement and that trial is yet to be held.

‘Buffy’ was jointly charged with Bakr with conspiracy to murder and if he is returned to Trinidad, he will be placed in custody and tried.

Police here yesterday said he remained in custody.

Word of the arrest of the wanted Trini came as the GDF announced progress in the shocking theft of the AK-47s and pistols from a bond at its Camp Ayanganna headquarters in Georgetown.

The GDF Thursday said the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is “working closely” with it and has helped local investigators identify several suspects in the case.

It said the GDF investigation is progressing and several suspects have been identified.

The FBI assisted the GDF in conducting several polygraph examinations and interviews and the investigation produced additional leads that are being analysed by the FBI, the Joint Services and other organisations here and in the U.S., the release said.

The Army said the FBI is continuing to assist with the investigation.

The wanted Trinidadian was one of five persons arrested Wednesday morning, when the Joint Services swooped on a home in Nandy Park, East Bank Demerara.

Bakr is being prosecuted with conspiracy to murder several of the group's former members who had spoken out publicly against the Jamaat al Muslimeen and its practices, and who were suspected of becoming witnesses in legal proceedings against its members.

They are under surveillance by the local National Security Agency as well as the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency for suspected terrorist relations with the Middle East, as are two other Muslim factions.
Good find Joseph.
I just was thinking the same thing about Hopsickers piece when I read down further on yours and voila !, you caught it.
It would be a hoot if the reporters figured out the 'junk out, drugs in' scenario and reported it before they connected Evergreen to "The Boys".
I'm sure the investigation and reporting would immediately stop after that though I'm afraid.
Er, by "selling incense on Jamaica street corners", I believe they mean nearby Jamaica, Queens... not the island country.
Hey, just thought I'd toss in my two cents on this. Great call on the link to Hopsicker's Agape piece, I was going to post it as a comment until I finished reading the article.

One thing which I'm not sure has been pointed out yet is that Guyana was the home of a little place called Jonestown. Anyone else remember the culpability of the Guyanese goverment in that one? Not to mention the reports of massive stashes of money being found and partaken of by the Guyanese.
These clowns are PATSIES. Idiots and fools under the control of informants who lead them around for years doing illegal activities and then use these morons as scapegoats so law enforcement can say hey look, we're doing something important. We're putting three idiots in jail! While the informant goes right back out and entraps a new bunch of idiots.

Why can't the government ever catch any criminal masterminds? Why can't they ever catch the guy who RUN this stuff? As Hopsicker always asks, why can't they catch the drug Kingpins on THIS side of the border? ANSWER: Cuz they don't want to. They're joined at the hip with them.

BTW - Malvo and Muhammed also travelled back and forth to that part of the world with no apparent means of income. And were also said to be involved in smuggling. They too played a major role in scaring the crap out of Americans and pumping "TERRA"
The link to Guyana here is unmistakable. Unlike the version of events there in 1978 we were fed, many have since come to believe the following:

1. The People's Temple was one big CIA mind control experiment gone bad. The people there were experimental rats drawn from targeted populations. All of members there received daily medical exams and wore medical identification bracelets;

2. Thousands of pages of "data" from these "exams" kept in locked steel file cabinets were seized by the CIA in the aftermath of this tragedy and have never been declassified. See: Operation

3. Guyanese government officals were not only complicit, they made millions in payoffs to insure that most would never survive.

A few additional oddities I find somehow noteworthy here are:

Former SF Mayor Mascone had been a political supporter of Jim Jones, said after tragedy that "those that are yet to be found, ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." He was assassinated within a week of making this statment;

CIA operative Richard Dwyer accompanied Congressman Ryan to Guyana. He somehow separated from Ryan's group minutes before the shootings began;

Dan Mitrione was a boyhood friend of James Jones in Indiana. Mitrione later joined the CIA and worked in counter-insurgency units all over the world. Many belive that Mitrione was Jones' original benefactor, and may have been involved in the conception of the People's Temple in Guyana. In other words, he made his old friend a useful idiot to the CIA;

Lastly, does it strike anyone as odd that Larry Layton, who admitted to shoting at least two people in cold blood including Congressman Leo Ryan, was sentenced to life in prison but was released in November 2002. Clinton refused the Pardon, however, the US Parole and Sentencing Commission, led by Gonzo Gonzalez at DOJ, approved his early relase.

Oh and one more weird thing - The site of the People's Temple was on one of the seven originally proposed as a relocation site for the Jews after WWII.

Lots of potential dots sensing but not yet seeing a clear connection. Yet the link to Guyana here cannot be ignored.

Kim in PA
Good sleuthing, Joe. However, what airline is NOT CIA-connected?
FYI, DeFreitas reportedly trained at Evergreen's Oregon headquarters shortly before the 9/11 attacks.
Note Guyana is contiguous with Venezuala. The CIA has a pattern of setting up base in neighboring countries when it has a target in its sites.

As for this last comment, yes, the CIA has at least one person inside just about every airline in America, but Evergreen really is THE agency airline, the original commercial morph of Air America when Congress told the CIA it could not operate a national intel airline with taxpayer dollars. That Evergreen is CIA, there is no doubt, really. The question is, is Freitas black op, white op or patsy? He's NOT just some nobobdy wannabe turrist.
Keep digging. Defreitas seems to be a popular pseudonym with the CIA. The name belonged to once wealthy Portuguese merchants long departed from Guyana. It is not a common name in that country.
if this suspect had cia ties???? queston is did binlaudin have any cia ties???? and able danger tied mahhamid atta to cia!!!if these ties are correct then,we can understand that we are really screwed if the presidential directive is ever used and it would seem that their is more domestic terrorist than abroad
If suspect had cia ties in past????
Did Binlaudin have cia ties in past????????
Mahhamid Atta was maybe linked with cia through able danger program??????????
If these things are true we're all screwed if the presidential directive is ever used because????????????????????????????
who is the terrorist if their linked to the states
"Former SF Mayor Mascone had been a political supporter of Jim Jones, said after tragedy that "those that are yet to be found, ought to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law." He was assassinated within a week of making this statment;"

Both Moscone and Harvey Milk were killed; the trial of the guy who did it was the source of the infamous "Twinkie defense".
I think they meant street corners in Jamaica, Queens, not Jamaica the country
In a previous post, I argued that the "terrorist ring" led by Russell DeFreitas -- the man who had targeted JFK airport, where he once worked -- was actually a drug smuggling ring.

Very interesting... say, now I wonder if there has ever been another "terrorist ring" accused of airplane-related naughtiness that was actually just a drug smuggling ring?
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The 1990 coup had all the characteristics of a CIA funded operation via its Al Qaeda creation and its T&T tentacle Abu Bakrs' JAM. ANR Robinson was a Nationalist and International Criminal Court founding contributor who asked the ICC to prosecute those involved in DRUG SMUGGLING in particular! CIA planes used in THAT activity? Need I say more?
Hmmmmm funky things happen. I have been involved for more than 30 years of operations around the world. This is nothing new just the craft in which we live.
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Stop gas price gouging

Angry about the prospect of $4-a-gallon gas while the oil companies are aking record profits? Go here and do something about it.

what a joke. you continue to demonstrate your failure to grasp basic economics. Oil company margins are below overall corporate averages. You're so concerned about global warming? - well part of the solution is curbing demand, which is primarily done through higher prices.
Try $10 dollars a gallon - that is not to even start to count its true value. I pay $6 a gallon in Europe. It hurts to fill it should.
Joe - I am afraid that yuo are sharing a narrow and wrong headed view when you post like this. You shoul dbe saying "great gas prices are through the roof."
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Saturday, June 02, 2007

More on the JFK airport terror plot (BIG update)

(I've added much to this account, and have taken the research into areas visited by few other bloggers. Yes, it's a big, long, weird story -- but I beg you to stay with it.)

An FBI informant was involved with the JFK airport terror plotters:
The plan was foiled with the help of an informant who recorded conversations with the suspects as recently as last month.
But so far, we have no reason to believe that the informant encouraged criminality, as has occurred in previous instances.

An initial report on CNN fleetingly suggested that the plot actually concerned drugs in some way. Certain factors make the idea intriguing -- after all, the story involves airport personnel who have strange connections to the Caribbean. Stranger still, two of the four accused, Russell Defreitas and Abdul Kadir, come from the South American nation of Guyana.

Accused plotter Abdul Kadir, a former member of parliament in Guyana (!), was on his way to an Islamic religious conference in Iran. His daughter denies that he has any association with either the other accused conspirators or with any anti-American activity. However:
Kadir's wife, Isha, said that her husband was nabbed while boarding a flight to Venezuela, where he planned to pick up a travel visa to attend an Islamic religious conference in Iran. He had flown from Guyana to Trinidad on Thursday.
That sort of travel has a cost. This guy is getting money from somewhere. According to the Australian,
Authorities said Kadir and Nur were associates of Jamaat Al Muslimeen, a Muslim group behind a 1990 coup attempt in Trinidad.
This Sunni group, led by former police officer Yasin Abu Bakr, is a nasty bit of business with a long and continuing history of rape, kidnapping and murder. So far, I've seen no evidence that Jamaat Al Muslimeen is related to Al Qaeda. Keep in mind, as you read the following, that Trinidad/Tobago has an ethnically diverse population, and that less than ten percent of the citizens of that island nation is Muslim.

Regarding that 1990 coup:
A court ruling, questioned by many as patently absurd on the facts, upheld an amnesty agreement obtained during the incarceration of parliament by the group. This led to the non-prosecution of its members for this crime despite the contention that the fact that guns and force were used to obtain said amnesty constituted duress.
Obviously, the court was paid off. Think money, think drugs, think smuggling.
In many respects, the Jammat al-Muslimeen’s ideology and rhetoric mirror that of militant Black ethno-nationalist movements, including the most radical fringes of the Nation of Islam. Abu Bakr’s supporters see him as a hero fighting for social justice. Interestingly, although most Trinidadians did not support his 1990 coup attempt, many at the time agreed with the issues raised by the Jammat during the crisis, especially impoverished Afro-Trinidadians. At the same time, the Jammat is seen by many locally as a well organized criminal empire involved in everything from drug smuggling, money laundering, kidnapping for ransom, and extortion, with Abu Bakr running the show.
(Emphasis added.) Interestingly, the arms for the 1990 coup came from Florida. Paging Daniel Hopsicker!

Right now, I suspect this matter goes beyond any simplistic scenarios of Bushco attempting to gin up a terror threat in order to bolster his poll numbers.

I think these guys were involved with smuggling.
I think CNN's early whispered suggestion of "drugs" was right on the money. Indeed, we can hardly come to any other conclusion -- after all, we're talking about airport security personnel allying themselves to a criminal group in control of a nation's illicit activities.

If my suspicions are correct, the FBI didn't need a terror tale to shut down this operation. And that's intriguing.

Update: One of our commenters made a point which should have occurred to yours truly. If Kadir belongs to a Sunni sect, why is he attending a religious meeting in Iran, a Shi'ite country?

And why go to Iran through Venezuela?

(Second update: A reader says that Kadir was Shi'ite and that Venezuela has the only direct flight to Iran; see the fourth comment, below.)

We are told that this plot has been in the working for two years, but Kadir was a member of the Guyanese parliament as recently as last year.

This blogger and I are not sympatico politically (although I too am a fan of good ol' Andy Jackson), but he has done some good digging. He introduces us to a key Jammat al-Muslimeen lieutenant named David Millard, who goes by the nomme de guerre of -- I'm not making this up -- Buffy.

Buffy was not directly involved with the coup -- he was in New York at the time -- but he was fingered for several mafia-like murders in his home country. And just like the guys involved with the JFK airport plot, Buffy tends to hop between Trinidad and Guyana.

How does he hook up with the JFK thing? Well, a year ago, Buffy was nabbed by the Guyanese Defense Forces:
The Guyana Defence Force (GDF) Thursday [ 4 May] night announced that the man held in the raid in the continuing search for 30 AK-47 rifles and five pistols stolen from its Georgetown headquarters, had identified himself as Mustafa Abdullah Muhammad, also known as Edmund DeFreitas.

He has, however, now been identified as David Millard, well-known in Trinidad as 'Buffy', who fled from New York after a shooting incident and returned to Trinidad where he moved up the ranks of the radical Jamaat Al Muslimeen group led by coup leader Abu Yasin Bakr.

A top source yesterday said authorities are trying to find out how Millard found his way here and acquired a Guyana passport in the name of Edmund DeFreitas, recorded in the travel document as born in March 1960 at Bartica in Guyana.
(Emphasis added.) He had used the name DeFreitas for years; the name even appeared on his driver's license. Here's the interesting part: One of the JFK terror suspects goes by the name of Russell DeFreitas.

A mere coincidence of nomenclature? My "Spidey sense" indicates otherwise.

So, what happened to Buffy after the Guyanese scooped him up? He was investigated on arms charges -- something to do with a whole bunch of missing AK-47s. According to one report, crack cocaine was found at his residence, and he bragged about working as a "bodyguard" for the local drug kingpin. The Guyanese brought the United States FBI into the investigation:
The FBI assisted the GDF in conducting several polygraph examinations and interviews and the investigation produced additional leads that are being analysed by the FBI, the Joint Services and other organisations here and in the U.S., the release said.
(Emphasis added.) Then the Guyanese sent him to Trinidad to face those pesky murder charges. He stayed in jail for a few months...

...then walked free last December!

So, what do we know?

1. Buffy had connections to still-mysterious organizations in the United States.

2. He spent time in New York, home of the most recent terror plot.

3. He used fake ID with the name "DeFreitas," the same last name as the leader of the alleged terror plot.

4. Both Russell and Buffy have links to Trinidad and Guyana.

5. Buffy has links to drug smuggling. For reasons given above, I believe (but cannot yet prove) that the JFK "terror ring" was originally a smuggling operation.

6. In the criminal complaint, the informant quotes Russell DeFreitas as saying that the "brothers" from Trinidad and Guyana will assist in the terror plot. I feel fairly safe in taking this as a reference to
Jamaat Al Muslimeen.

Did Russell DeFreitas know Buffy? Did the latter inspire the former's pseudonym?

Frankly, the two look like they could be related, if the sketch is anything to go by. Russell DeFreitas is 63, while Buffy's "DeFreitas" ID lists a 1960 birthday.

Oh. I forgot one "fun fact":
When he was arrested Millard told Guyanese investigators that he was an American citizen and had served in the US Army.

The Saturday Express was told that Millard did in fact serve in the US Army but was deported from that country and is a Trinidadian citizen.
Deported when? Served when?

In Guyana, Millard claimed to be a bodyguard to a local drug kingpin, which arguably buttresses my surmise that this terror cell was involved with smuggling. The criminal complaint here offers some further clues, especially when you compare the information about Russell DeFreitas' Guyana trip to the information given above about Buffy's antics in that country.

Also worth noting: The FBI informant (known only as the Source in the complaint) was -- you guessed it -- a convicted drug smuggler. This background, it seems, is what endeared him to DeFreitas.

If you put it all together, you may agree that my major hypothesis -- these guys were all about drugs -- is, if not proven, quite likely.

I realize that many visitors to this site want to see a simple scenario: Bushco created a fake terror threat to buttress the President's sorry poll numbers. I think that just such a scenario has played out in the past -- but this ain't that.

Neither do I think that anything here redounds to Bush's credit.

One thing I'd like to know is just when the 63 year-old Russell DeFreitas retired from his job. It would be terribly embarrassing if the administration allowed a man with connections to Jamaat Al Muslimeen to work as a baggage handler after September 11, 2001.
Unless ... what if these guys are operatives of the FBI, CIA or NSA? It wouldn't be the first time, if so, and it wouldn't be the first time the other agencies were clueless (read: Luis Posada) The smuggling aspect leaves that possibility open in my mind. The CIA is addicted to smuggling.

If we take the story at face value, I have to flag the reference to the man whose wife said he was going to Iran for a Muslim conference. To 99.9% of readers, that's an indictment in itself. But what would our gut reaction be if it said he were en route to a Southern Baptist Convention meeting? Being Muslim or going to Iran doesn't mean he's a bad guy!
If Kadir were involved with a Sunni group, wouldn't that make it a bit odd that he was planning to attend a Muslim conference in Iran, which is a primarily Shiite nation? That's not to say that Sunni are necessarily unwelcome in Iran, but it would seem a bit odd, especially for someone who allegedly had terroristic intentions in mind.

Any chance that this association gets played up by the Iran-haters as a link between Iran and terror plots? That's ultimately what will allow them to gin up enough support to strike Iran in a "pre-emptive" fashion.
Damn good point, drew.

And why go to Venezuela, of all places, to get a connecting flight to Iran?
I am originally Iranian and came to this blog by searching in Internet.
1. Abdul Kadir is Shia, and this is first time that one shia is involved in trorrist activities.
2. The reason that he went to Venezuela is that the only direct flight from America continent to Iran is from that country.
3. This flight was started month ago, although it is not economical decision, but it was decided during Honey moon of Chavez-Ahmadi nejad.
4. Now in Iran is anniversary of Khomeini's death- first leader of Islamic Revolution- and that is the reason for their trip. Iranian government never discloses the name of guests from around the world in this ceremony (Government pays for all their costs).
Hope this enlighten you.
And why go to Venezuela, of all places, to get a connecting flight to Iran?

Well, of course because is part of the wide network of evil doers! I mean look, he even shuts down Television stations for gods sake!.. and besides we got to show the people how reaching and wide this terror thing is.

Note: the above is tongue planted firmly in cheek, Chávez is not closing any TV station. The license of one station that helped to run a coup against him ran out and wasn't renewed. In any other country, such a station would have been closed years ago.

Who knows what really happened here, the crucial thing is, most people do not trust, and even fear this admin; as Bob Wilson says, the more the people fear the gov, the more the gov fears the people hence
a paranoid feedback loop.
I don't know whether this is in any way relevant to the matter at hand, but I do recall that the infamous Rev. Jim Jones and his suicidal(?) Kool-aid drinkers committed their act in Guyana. Its government has flipped flop back and forth from socialism to being more Western-friendly, with a good deal of intervention by our CIA and other spooks.
I don't want to underestimate the ability of idiots to wreak havoc, but I am increasingly troubled by the government's legal right to arrest and indict someone for so-called "planning."

If I daydream about a revolution that is initiated when a mob storms a federal building in SF, am I planning such an attack? What if I decide to write a novel based on the premise, and so take (completely legal) photos of the building? What if I talk to friends about this great idea I have for a novel? Have I broken any of the kind of laws that prohibited certain behaviors in the America I grew up in?

Did these guys accused of being terrorists actually possess any explosives? Did they trespass on JFK property in restricted areas? Did they do anything more than boast about how they could strike a serious blow against the US?

Does this sound like the planning of a terrorist act: "To hit John F. Kennedy, wow... they love John F. Kennedy like he's the man... if you hit that, this whole country will be mourning. You can kill the man twice."

Get real. It's arrests like these that led the Founding Fathers to write Habeas Corpus into the US Constitution. This bust sounds exactly like the chickenshit accusations of "conspiracy" that the kings and queens of Europe used whenever they wanted to jail political enemies.

Here is a relevant story: my wife was death-threatened on the phone by an ex-boyfriend. The police explained there was really nothing they could do. Why? The guy was in another state, so the threats were not proximate. He could have gotten on a plane, caught a cab from the airport, and killed her in the morning. BUT IT DIDN'T MATTER, LEGALLY. If the threat was not immediately realistic, it wasn't a true threat.

As far as these terrorists are concerned, I await any evidence that they broke any laws, or were at least a realistic threat. If not, we live in some country that isn't America.
Unirealist...good points. While I certainly believe there's something else going on here that very well may involve drugs (could have been planning to blow the fuel tanks as a very effective diversion as they proceeded to load/unload vast quantities of contraband), the specifics offered by the authorities in this case seem very sketchy, at best. Very similar, in fact, to the very nebulous threats uncovered last summer and again this summer, followed by big press conferences and front page headlines...mostly over some very, VERY minor players who had no backing, no concrete plans, no weapons, etc.

Certainly, such potentially bogus busts do nothing at this point to help Bush's public standing, per se. As a second term, post-mid-term election prez, poll numbers are a thing of the past as a concern for Bushco. But continuing to bolster support for our involvement in Iraq (after all, we're keeping a lid on terrorism by being there, right?) and eventual involvement in Iran, these types of "fear mongering" arrests serve to keep the "war on terror" front and center in the public's mind.

A report from the WaPo (appeared in this morning's Dallas Morning News) indicates that the "alleged conspirators, authorities said, were initially detected through information gathered by the CIA in South America and the Caribbean. That led authorities in the New York region to launch a 16-month sting operation focused on the activities of Mr. DeFreitas..."

So, both CIA involvement and an FBI informant. Hmmmmm.

Another quote from the article: "The new case, officials say, also shows how extremists in the U.S. can use the Internet to reach out for help, domestically and internationally, to turn their rage into an assault."

Could this be used as fuel for further erosion of our constitutional protections? After all, we have to root out the evil doers here at home now. Can't do that with too much freedom gettin' in the way.

Also, this: "Authorities noted that the cell had not targeted passenger terminals or airplanes. Officials and airport security experts said that an explosion at the cell's primary targets - JFK's fuel tanks and a small segment of the 40-mile petroleum pipeline that supplies the airport - probably would have resulted in major damage but relatively limited loss of life."

So, they were nowhere close to executing this horrific plan that, apparently, had no plans to target people. Yet, an arrest had to be made and the case had to be trumpeted far and wide to the media, including all manner of press conferences and such. Oooooo-kay. Something just ain't right about that.

If it was related to a big drug operation, why would that fact not be made apparent? Are the authorities involved? Are they still working that angle of the plot? Or, is it just more of the "gin up" for entrenchment in Iraq and new activities targeting Iran? Whatever it is, it certainly doesn't appear to be just another bust of a terrorist cell intent on killing innocent Americans. Far from it.

On another note, how does the anonymous Iranian who commented earlier know that Kadir is a Shia rather than a Sunni Muslim? If so, then why would a Shia be associated with a know Sunni Muslim group like the Jamaat Al Muslimeen? Sure, he might be more likely to go to Iran, but he certainly wouldn't be involved with Jamaat. Would he?

So many questions to be answered.
i'm totally with unirealist on this, especially since his point has been made several times in reality (chuckle). consider the plot in england that was revealed prematurely, royally (chuckle again) ticking off the bobbies, but also royally serving bush on the timing. those poor slobs had not even bought plane tickets or ANY explosives, and some didn't have a passport. yet they were arrested on the sayso of an informant. i think we should start calling these types 'ferments', for what i hope are obvious reasons.

still, unirealist's point actually supports joe's, that the headline is not fully supported by the deeper facts.

i confess i'm way out of the loop on this story, but it smacks to me of something i've been waiting to see for a while. namely, there are SO many criminals now involved with gubmint bidness, it's just a matter of time before they start warring with one another for turf. all they have to do is expose their competitors to authorities.

and in order to keep all the damning connections and evidence under wraps, they call it terrorism and cry 'national security.' case closed, perps walk.
My head's spinning. I'm going to have to re-read this and let it sink in. These two pieces are very useful foundations to discuss real versus Orwellian news in the fading days of the Bush administration.

How will we, the public, distinguish between serious terror plots and politically convenient fabrications? This story came up and my first thought was, is it real or is it some stretch of the imagination to make the WH look vigilant? You provide a useful framework and also a reminder, things are strange out there, much stranger than we know.

Perhaps the biggest danger is a government in place here that is so palpably disrespectful of the law, we question its veracity as a first course. When I say "we" I'm not talking about an aggressive bunch of bloggers and news junkies, I'm talking about a huge segment of the public. The very nature of this administration should have us all attuned to the potential "blow back" from the ill will created around the world.

Thanks. I'm getting a "Wilkes" sort of feeling from this story.
So am I, Michael Collings.

Be careful, Joe.
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False flag terror: Follow-up

A few posts down, I discuss the ramifications of the BBC report (based on a hitherto-secret UK government file) that the terrorist hijacking which led to the famed Entebbe raid was engineered by Israel. Although this scenario may seem, at first, highly unlikely, we should look at the precedents.

Former Israeli intelligence officer Ari Ben-Menashe wrote a book called The Profits of War in which he revealed the following about the notorious Achille Lauro hijacking:
An example is the case of the "Palestinian" attack on the cruise ship Achille Lauro in 1985. That was in fact, an Israeli "black" propaganda operation to show what a deadly, cutthroat bunch the Palestinians were.
Terrorist Abu Abbas, says Ben-Menashe, received funds from Israeli agents posing as mafiosi.

We should note that Ben-Menashe has been often denounced as a fraud and a liar. Most of these denunciations stem from the early 1990s, when he offered support for the "October Surprise" story. At that time, his attackers tended to be guys like Steve Emerson, whom I never trusted.

That said, I don't trust Ben-Menashe either. If you want to know why, this remarkable article will give several excellent reasons. Like Ghorbanifar, he's one of those guys who keeps popping in and out of spook-land, even though the intelligence services of various nations have labeled him an unreliable scammer.

On the other hand:
Ben-Menashe was, I believe, the first to expose Robert Maxwell as an Israeli intelligence asset, a claim later proven true. (I recommend Gordon Thomas' book on the Maxwell affair.) So perhaps the Achille Lauro tale deserves greater scrutiny...
Ari Ben Menasche's bona fides were essentially proven over the course of the Israeli denials turned into forced partial admissions.

First, they said he was a confabulator, never an Israeli intel service agent or employee.

When that line of defense failed, it was admitted that he worked at one or another Israeli security organization, but supposedly only as a 'lowly' translator, who certainly didn't do, and was in no position to do, say and overhear, the things he alleged he had done, seen, and heard.

Then, his extensive visa stamps proved his foreign travels were not consistent with their 'only a translator' story, and the Israeli backtrack was nearly complete, similar to the same official Israeli denial behaviors for other Israeli agents, such as Pollard.

But was it Abu Abbas, or Abu Nidal, at the Achille Lauro?

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Neat coinki-dink: On the same day that Salon publishes a good expose on the dangers of outsourcing intelligence, the Washington Post tells us of a lawsuit filed by veteran Brain Scott, who hopes to stop America's use of private security contractors, such as Blackwater.

Terror plot against JFK airport

Three people have been charged and a fourth is sought. (See here and here.) Prediction: Within hours or days, we will discover that FBI infiltrators within the group encouraged this action. And we will be shocked. Shocked. Yet again. You may also want to read the story below, which is completely unrelated.
This is very - VERY - reminiscent of last summer when the government seemed to bust up a new terrorist cell about every 4 weeks or so. See my blog entry from last July:

Now, here we are again with a new bust every few weeks. First it was the Fort Dix plot and now the JFK plot. And these all are, for all intents and purposes, rinky dink operations with dubious crediblity as legitimate terrorist activities.

If it's summer, it must be terror-busting season! Surf's up, dudes!
Greg Palast rules out controlled demolition.
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Entebbe: The revised edition

Younger folk may not recall the 1976 "Raid on Entebbe," an Israeli commando operation in Uganda, which was then under the control of the psychotic despot Idi Amin. The operation -- which took place on the eve and morning of the American bicentennial -- freed hostages captured by Palestinian terrorists who had hijacked an airliner that had flown out of Tel Aviv. The Entebbe incident gave rise to several films (I saw the one with Richard Dreyfuss, but missed the others) and did much to bolster Israel's image in the United States and around the world. The official IDF account of the action is here.

A startling new version of the event holds that the hijacking was secretly sponsored by Israel itself. Normally, I'd take such an allegation with enough grains of salt to sculpt a replica of Lot's wife. But the source for this claim is the BBC, which gained access to a hitherto-secret government report on the incident.

We do not have precise details regarding the actual author of this report or how he acquired his information. So keep the Morton's close at hand, because it may yet come in handy. What the BBC gives is, in pertinent part, this:
An unnamed contact told a British diplomat in Paris that the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Bet, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) collaborated to seize the plane.
In the document, written on 30 June 1976 when the crisis was still unresolved, DH Colvin of the Paris Embassy writes of his source: "According to his information, the hijack was the work of the PFLP, with help from the Israeli Secret Service, the Shin Beit.

"The operation was designed to torpedo the PLO's standing in France and to prevent what they see as a growing rapprochement between the PLO and the Americans."

He adds: "My contact said the PFLP had attracted all sorts of wild elements, some of whom had been planted by the Israelis."
To my knowledge, this is the first time that the Entebbe raid has given rise to so bold a charge, even though Israel is a lint trap for conspiracy theories. A few skeptics have noted the odd coincidence that the hostages at Entebbe airport were kept in a building built by the Israelis themselves, which allowed the commandos to practice in an exact replica. The timing of the raid -- July 4, 1976 -- certainly played to the American psyche.

If I understand the BBC account aright, a faction of the PFLP -- a secular, socialist Palestinian group, then at odds with the PLO -- was infiltrated by Israeli agents, who goaded the others into committing the atrocity. Such a ploy is, in broad outline, familiar enough. Those who recall the Vietnam era know that infiltrators often prompted peace marchers to take illegal actions. The same thing has happened within other protest movements.

If we take the BBC account at face value -- if we provisionally accept that the hijacking of Air France Flight 139 (the triggering event) was, ultimately, set in motion by Israel -- then we have much history to reconsider.

The leaders of the hijacking were, according to the standard account, two Germans named Wilfried Böse and Brigitte Kuhlmann, both members of a German left-wing terror group called the Revolutionäre Zellen, or Revolutionary Cells. (The gloriously evil Klaus Kinski played Böse in one of the Entebbe movies!) In the 1970s, we took these "red" terrorists at face value. Later, in the wake of the P2 scandal, investigations revealed that much "left-wing" terror in Western Europe, especially in Italy, was actually orchestrated by far rightists and their sympathizers within the intelligence services. This Wikipedia entry on the "Strategy of Tension" gives a good brief overview of the relevant history.

All the studies I've seen on "false flag" terror in the Age of Disco have concentrated on Italy. I'm far more ignorant than I should be of the situation in Germany -- and I know of no previous allegations linking Böse and Kuhlmann to the Israeli services. Readers who know German may be able to educate me here.

More to the point: If (if) Israel did infiltrate the PFLP -- in itself, a reasonable presumption -- and if Shin Bet did prompt that group to take hostages in 1976, we must ask hard questions about other PFLP actions. The group conducted a series of horrifying hijackings in the late 1960s and early 1970s, actions which did much to make Americans disdain the Palestinian cause.

Wadie Haddad -- a close friend to PFLP founder George Habash -- was in charge of PFLP-EO, the activist group-within-a-group that carried out the 1976 hijacking. (The "EO" stands for External Operations.) At the time, Haddad struck many as having divided loyalties, and many people accused him of being an agent working for the Soviets. Vasili Mitrokhin, whom I do not trust, confirmed this accusation.

The neocons of that era obsessively promulgated the theory that Moscow controlled all the world's terrorism. (Never forget how Ledeen and his cronies tried to convince the world that the KGB ordered the shooting of Pope John Paul II.) Neocons then lied just as readily as they do today.

If the BBC's source is accurate, then it seems fair to ask whether Haddad's sponsor was actually Israel. Perhaps he was recruited outright. Much more likely, he was manipulated through means that we outsiders can only guess at.

Not long after the Entebbe affair, Mossad killed Haddad by spiking his Belgian chocolates, or so claims a recent book called "Striking Back." Simple justice -- or the silencing of someone who might reveal something awkward?

I'll keep an eye on this story -- and I'm keeping my salt shaker within easy reach.
I had heard previously that this incident, like the Achille Lauro incident with Abu Abbas, was an Israeli false flag set up. Possibly second hand via hearing what Victor Ostroupsky (sp? something like that) had published in his 'By Way of Deception.'

To my knowledge, this is the first time that the Entebbe raid has given rise to so bold a charge, even though Israel is a lint trap for conspiracy theories.

Try this one (not from the most reliable site, but still):
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Friday, June 01, 2007

The 1990s: The NIGHTMARE decade!

Giuliani attacks Hillary Clinton:
"She wants to go back to the 1990s. ...It would hurt our economy. It would hurt this area dramatically."
In my boyhood, pundits confronting such an inane statement might have made a joking reference to the famed Uncle Remus story: "Please don't throw us in that briar patch!" Is that phrase politically incorrect nowadays? If so, is there a pop cultural reference that conveys the same idea?
When Bush was first selected in 2000, I predicted that in short time Americans would look back on the Clinton years as a golden age.

The reality is that it's almost too painful to look back at all.
You nailed it, unirealist.

I avoid thinking about the Roaring '90s because dwelling on those years is possibly the only thing more upsetting than thinking about what BushCo. might be planning for Iran.
This brings to mind The Onion's "inaugural address" of 2000: At Long Last, America's Long Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity is Over.

Many a true word is spoken in jest.

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Will the dollar collapse?

A U.N. report says that our unsustainable debt may trigger the "disorderly adjustment and the steep fall of the dollar". I blame Clinton.
i blame greenspan
i do, too, bookman; and reagan, too.
How can you blame Greenspan or Reagan ? It's not a matter of macro-economic or interest rate VS inflation... The main problem is the gigantic deficit. and that's not Reagan (Clinton fixed this) or Greenspan.

You have a president who spends like a teenager in a shopping mall with daddy's platinum credit card.

When the current mortgage "house of cards" bubble explodes, brace yourself for a rough ride. Most of the last years economic growth has been stimulated by consumers spending, stretching their mortgage to the maximum to finance their consumption.
ah, well, hyperman makes good points. it is true that the housing bubble is barely holding things together, and when it goes, the sand castle will definitely collapse.

he also makes the good point that consumer spending is out of control, but remember that many of the measures of economy depend on that spending. those indicators that all the elites keep parading as signs of 'health' are just plain stupid, as far as i'm concerned. they don't even begin to address the real economic losses and struggles on the front line; that spending is shifting dramatically from the millions of everyman to the very very few filthyrichman.

it's true that clinton fixed reagan's deficit, and he did it by relying on reasonable, though not entirely equitable taxes (the rich should have to pay higher taxes, in my opinion). he also had a little help from the dotcoms.

but clinton also sold out the concerns of the american workforce with nafta, as well as his playing footsie with corporate interests.

hyperman's biggest point, though, is the best one. this particular excuse for a president has done more to throw us fully into economic ruin than all our blamees combined. this godforsaken war is sucking all our tax dollars into a black hole of no returns. that's typical in a war - those bullets and bombs are made to be destroyed as well as to destroy - but add to that waste the jaw-dropping waste from corruption and graft from all the privatization mess, mix in a huge tax relief for the rich, and voila! massive, terminal debt and an instantly trashed dollar!
What I fear the most is what will happen after the shit hit the fan and the American economy bubble burst.

Economic despair is a very fertile ground for fascism.
Jeeze, how often do I see five consecutive comments that I agree with? But I would take it back further, to LBJ and Nixon, who severed the last connections the US dollar had with a precious metals standard. We sacrificed Constitutional money for empire, and the current problems follow inevitably from that, just as they have in every other nation that has tried to fake out reality with fiat money.

That having been said, Greenspan should be drawn and quartered, as well as Bush (and Reagan's corpse), and yes, hyperman, what's coming is not going to be pretty. The housing crash has only begun, and this time I don't think the money-manipulators are going to slither out of the mess they have made of our economy. Get down to your local coin/pawn shop, and stock up on silver coins. They, at least, are real and always will be.
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Brad Friedman and Greg Palast have produced a must-read article. Remember Tim Griffin, the close Rove friend who became the U.S. Attorney in Arkansas after the honest and effective Bud Cummins was "axed" to leave? (Cummins had been looking into G.O.P. corruption.) Well, Congressman John Conyers requested Palast's evidence that Tim Griffin was involved in "caging" voters. (Slate has a great new piece on caging.) Within hours of that request, Griffin quit. He may play a role in Fred Thompson's campaign.
In your Hopsicker rendition below, you say, "6. The United States government has given Agape special permission to make regular flights to Cuba."
Lets tie that in with where Fred "Reagan" Thompsons cigars come from.
Why Not ?
It would make for some interesting campaign comedy.
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The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spooks

Agape Flights is a Florida-based aviation firm servicing missionaries in Haiti and other third world spots. Daniel Hopsicker has put together a remarkable skein of evidence suggesting that the firm may be transporting something other than the Word of the Lord.

In the 1980s, Christian Century magazine published a series of articles demonstrating that several well-known missionary organizations -- including the famed World Vision -- provided cover for CIA personnel operating in faraway lands.

Is Agape one such enterprise? I can offer no definitive answer; I ask only that you consider the possibility. While I cannot here summarize all of the indicators, the following summary should evince a Spock-like rise of the left eyebrow.

1. Agape operates at the world-infamous Venice airport, where Mohammed Atta trained. The firm is locally notorious for secrecy. They usually do their business behind closed hangar doors.

2. A pilot named Mark Mikarts flies for Agape. The same pilot was Atta's flight instructor. He also has been known to use the name Mark Wierdak. His sister works for the American consulate in Venezuela, and, when contacted, would not offer any rational explanation for the use of two last names.

(To read the rest, click "Permalink" below)

3. In 2006, an Agape pilot named Steve Huisman was flying a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 90 in Florida -- during a tropical storm predicted to attain hurricane status. The aircraft crashed into a private home, killing the pilot instantly.

There was no flight plan.
Agape said that Huisman was releasing sterilized Med flies. In a near-hurricane.

4. Huisman also worked for Dynamic Aviation, a Virginia Company which hired him to fly in and out of Afghanistan. Nobody knows what he was shipping.

5. Agape rents office space and a hangar for the remarkable sum of $2,114 a month. (To put that sum into perspective, I recently saw a small storefront in a dismal area of the San Fernando Valley going for over $5K a month.) Agape leases out part of their office space for $5000 a month, which puts them into the black for doing nothing. (Interestingly, Agape faced eviction in 1999, back when they were in their old digs in Sarasota.)

6. The United States government has given Agape special permission to make regular flights to Cuba.

7. When Agape first moved to Venice, they shared hangar space with a man named Coy Jacob, who gave Hopsicker this startling report:
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Its obviously a very well-funded operation, but the stuff they’re flying down to Haiti is junk,” he told us bluntly.

“Stuff that didn’t sell at garage sales. Used silverware and plates, used bedding. Every so often we’d see a new coffeepot, or a portable generator. But it was mostly all junk.”

“With the price of aviation gasoline today, it costs them between $6000 and $8000 just to fly down and back to Haiti. And for what? A couple hundred bucks worth of toasters?”
When Jacobs asked Agape executive Charlie Gardner about this mysterious cargo, Gardner became visibly uncomfortable and refused to say more.

I find Jacobs' report the most compelling indication that Agape may be involved with a "protected" smuggling operation.

(Perhaps I'm reaching, but while reading this material, my mind flashed back to those notorious Israeli "mover" companies which shipped trucks filled with junky furniture back and forth across the U.S.-Canada border.)

I'd like to add one connection which Hopsicker didn't catch.

Agape appears to be linked with the mysterious, cult-like missionary group Youth With a Mission, or YWAM. See here, here, and here.

If YWAM seems familiar to you, think back to the brouhaha surrounding the propaganda film Path to 911. That's the one which faked the facts to blame the "Osama problem" on Clinton. For still-unknown reasons, the Disney Corporation broadcast the thing commercial-free last year. The film's director, David Cunningham, is a member of YWAM, which was founded by his father, Loren.

I wrote a few stories about YWAM last September; see here and here.

Although YWAM does much legitimate missionary work, I discovered some troubling indications that the organization may have fit the "spooky" profile outlined in those old Christian Century articles. The stories on the other side of the afore-mentioned links should explain the reasons for my suspicions. Suffice it to say that YWAM had connections to Guatemalan tyrant Rios Montt, who rose to power with Agency help. When questioned about Path to 911, David Cunningham cryptically told an interviewer "We have our CIA consultants and Clinton has his."

Can I prove that Agape has any involvement with either smuggling or American intelligence? No. Not in the sense that one can offer proof for a mathematical problem. But the evidence offered by Daniel Hopsicker raises some troubling questions.

As the Book says: "Behold, I show you a mystery."
One name that caught my eye in the Hopsicker was the Summer Institute of Linguistics. This is a name that pops up mainly among people who direct their paranoia towards the Rockefellers (though Nelson Bunker Hunt was involved with it as well), so I haven't paid much attention to it. But now I'm wondering.

For example, there's this, from an anti-Council for National Policy site:

Incredibly, the Wycliffe Bible Translators, who were trained in modern anthropological methods and linguistics, were employed by Nelson Rockefeller and the CIA to gather anthropological and psychological information on Latin American tribes. In return, Wycliffe was recompensed with land, high-tech equipment and expensive airplanes, courtesy of the American government and corporations. . . .

The indigenous peoples of Latin America did not subvert their own governments, but rather the American robber barons overthrew legitimate governments and then used Wycliffe Bible Translators to bring native populations into subjection. Through the misapplication of Scripture, Cam Townsend taught the Latin American tribes to passively accept the overthrow of their governments and to submit to the puppet dictators installed by the multinational corporations

I speculate that Mark uses the Wierdak pseudonym because he is such a "wierd act to follow."
Best. Post title. Ever.
Delightful CENTS of humor going on in the author's head - sometimes, more often than KNOT.
I live about 15 miles from Dynamic Aviation. I wouldn't be surprised if there were intel-type spooks relating to that company and doing stuff that pushes many ethical boundaries. They have a DoD contract to do work in Iraq to detect IEDs from the air. I wonder how this meshes with the Mennonite practice of peacemaking and non-resistance since the owner is a practicing Mennonite.

It seems to me that what DA, Agape Flights, SIL/Wycliffe, and other Christian or quasi-Christian organizations get wrong when they do military or intelligence work is that they think that being "Christian" means that they need to be patriotic. That's a big problem with the Fundamentalist Christians (not the only one) which undermines their claims to be people who bring "good news".
Several items in this article are just flat wrong:

"3. In 2006, an Agape pilot named Steve Huisman was flying a twin-engine Beechcraft King Air 90 in Florida -- during a tropical storm predicted to attain hurricane status. The aircraft crashed into a private home, killing the pilot instantly.

There was no flight plan. Agape said that Huisman was releasing sterilized Med flies. In a near-hurricane."

This is plain wrong. There was a flight plan, look it up on the FAA site. Also, Steve Huisman did not work for Agape at the time of his death. He had not worked for them for at least 2 years before he died. He only worked for Dynamic under a contract with the Florida Agriculture Dept. He did release sterilized MedFlies. That the only way to control them here in Florida.

Hurricane Alberto was not "predicted to attain hurricane status." It was barely a tropical storm. More like a very strong thunder storm. His plane had mechanical problems. The wreck was not at all weather related.

"4. Huisman also worked for Dynamic Aviation, a Virginia Company which hired him to fly in and out of Afghanistan. Nobody knows what he was shipping."

He went to Afganistan for Dynamic, under US Gov't contract, for two reasons. To fly NGO's (non-gov't officials) around, because, at the time, it was not safe to drive them around, and to witness and reach out to the local Afgan people.
In addition to the inaccuracies that the last poster revealed, Agape only recently moved to Venice airport, well after 911. They were forced to relocate because their lease at Sarasota-Bradenton airport was up and the owner of the hanger would not allow them to renew as he had other plans for it.

Yes, they do release sterilized med flys in florida, no, the crash was not weather related. I don't know about the flight plan but that can certainly be verified easily enough.

Seems to me the author has done a fine job of drawing his own conclusions from a collection of poor research and incorrect facts.
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