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Are Illegal Drugs, Money Laundering, Cruise Ships, and 9/11 Terrorists Connected?
And if so, does the connection involve a shady Republican money-man?
By Joseph Cannon on 8/14/2005 11:44pm PT  

Guest bloged by Joesph Cannon

A little bird has chirped in my ear, telling me to look closer at the possible connection between shady Republican money-man Jack Abramoff and the 9/11 terrorists. Uncharacteristically cryptic, the bird said no more.

I knew about the Associated Press story (referenced here) which reported that Atta and company had hopped aboard a SunCruz casino ship on September 5, 2001. Abramoff owned SunCruz. He acquired the company under circumstances many consider strange --- so strange as to have resulted in his recent indictment. So strange as to involve the murder of the former owner, Konstantinos "Gus" Boulis.

The feds had long suspected that SunCruz ships have been used for money laundering, and perhaps even drug importation. The ships are beyond all regulation --- nothing stops criminals from operating them.

Al Qaida operatives have made many a strange visit to casinos --- visits that most investigators feel had more to do with criminal activity than with gambling.

So what further information was the little bird chirping about?

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




The right attempts to spin away a Bush intelligence failure
By Joseph Cannon on 8/12/2005 4:52pm PT  

The Republicans have attempted to put a favorable spin on the Curt Weldon charges. Weldon claims that a DIA "data mining" operation named ABLE DANGER had identified Mohammed Atta and other 9/11 terrorists at least a year before the September 11 attacks.

Originally, we were told that an unnamed DIA lawyer directed the team not to notify the FBI and not to pursue Atta further. We were even told that the data miners literally placed tape over Atta's picture in their organizational charts of the terror cell within the United States.

After the initial account made the news, rightist pundits used Weldon's story as a cudgel against the Clinton administration. The revised version of the story (as gleaned from Hannity, NewsMax, and similarly "trusty" sources) maintains that the White House was the ultimate power behind the DIA's decision to keep mum about the extraordinary find. According to the egregious NewsMax, the Clinton administration caused the problem by erecting a "wall" between the FBI and the rest of the intelligence community.

So far, the public has seen no documentary evidence proving the existence of ABLE DANGER. In my view, the Weldon account nevertheless rests on a credible foundation --- not least because it inconveniences the official version of Atta's doings.

According to the standard version, Atta did not enter the United States until June of 2000 --- a chronology which conflicted with strong eyewitness testimony, such as the story told here of Johnelle Bryant, the loan officer for the Department of Agriculture who swore that she had encountered Atta earlier.

The spokesman for the independent 9/11 commission, Al Felzenberg, now claims that the commission did learn about ABLE DANGER and did know that the DIA team had identified Atta, but did not include this information in the final report because the data conflicted with the Authorized Standard Version of his pre-attack whereabouts. (Previously, commission members said: 1. They knew nothing about ABLE DANGER, and 2. They did know that such an operation existed but were never told of the Atta connection.) According to Felzenberg, the DIA team had told them that Atta entered the country in 1999.

Despite the frustrating contradictions, it now seems fairly safe to stipulate that ABLE DANGER did exist and did uncover Atta's ring. Even so, the right-wing spin on this matter amounts to pure bullshit...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Joseph Cannon on 8/10/2005 8:09pm PT  

Guest-blogged by Joseph Cannon

UPDATE: As you read the piece below, keep in mind the report by Laura Rozen here. Weldon was peddling claims about the Iranian "threat," using information derived from a poor source. I do not think that this fact necessarily discredits what Weldon has to say about ABLE DANGER, since that story has a different source --- one which the New York Times interviewed directly, and apparently found credible.

Two separate sources have revealed startling new information about Mohammed Atta. Taken separately, these
revelations are disturbing. Taken together, they could prove explosive.

As I write, the mainstream media is paying much attention to the first of these revelations, but seems chary of the second. Let's start with the big news:

Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has revealed that a specialized unit of the DIA, code-named ABLE DANGER (which was being run by the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida) had identified Mohammed Atta and other terrorist associates weeks before the presidential election of 2000. Atta was photographed and named as a member of al Qaida.

Although the unit had recommended action against Atta and the cell, a DOD lawyer allegedly nixed the idea, arguing that green card holders deserved the same privacy rights as American citizens. This argument strikes me as highly questionable.

Representative Weldon learned about his operation earlier this year. (I've called his office to find out exactly when, but have yet to hear back from his communications director.) Weldon's source was a former intelligence officer who has requested anonymity in news accounts. He has met with journalists for Government Security News and the New York Times. (See also here and here.)

According to the NYT, the office requested anonymity because "he did not want to jeopardize political support and the possible financing for future data-mining operations by speaking publicly."

His reasoning indicates that Washington has become a very bizarre place indeed. The successful identification of Atta proved the value of "data mining;" the problem was the refusal by DIA higher-ups to act upon the information. Why would discussion of a success story jeopardize future funding for similar operations?

Which brings us back to the more fundamental question: Why did higher-ups at the DOD refuse to share the information with the FBI?

"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN.

DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau's disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.

This explanation seems particularly dubious when we recall the publicity given to pre-9/11 al Qaida attacks.

Partisans may suspect that presidential politics might have played a role. The 2000 campaign was underway; conceivably, Bush supporters within the DOD may have felt uneasy at the prospect of handing the outgoing Clinton administration a last-minute "win" against Osama bin Laden. Of course, this theory does not explain why the Bush administration took no action against Atta between inauguration and 9/11.

Another key question: Why was this information kept secret from the independent commission looking into the 9/11 tragedy? Although committee members were made aware that ABLE DANGER existed, they were not told about the identification of Atta. Why the secrecy?

Answers to these posers might lurk within the folds of the second story about Atta to come out in recent days...

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Joseph Cannon on 8/10/2005 7:42pm PT  

(NOTE: This entry guest blogged by Joseph Cannon)

Two separate sources have revealed startling new information about Mohammed Atta. Taken separately, these revelations are disturbing. Taken together, they could prove explosive.
Two separate sources have revealed startling new information about Mohammed Atta. Taken separately, these revelations are disturbing. Taken together, they could prove explosive.

As I write, the mainstream media is paying much attention to the first of these revelations, but seems chary of the second. Let's start with the big news:

Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has revealed that a specialized unit of the DIA, code-named ABLE DANGER (which was being run by the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida) had identified Mohammed Atta and other terrorist associates weeks before the presidential election of 2000. Atta was photographed and named as a member of al Qaida.

Although the unit had recommended action against Atta and the cell, a DOD lawyer allegedly nixed the idea, arguing that green card holders deserved the same privacy rights as American citizens. Almost needless to say, this argument is highly questionable.

Representative Weldon learned about his operation earlier this year. (I've called his office to find out exactly when, but have yet to hear back from his communications director.) Weldon's source was a former intelligence officer who has requested anonymity in news accounts. He has met with journalists for Government Security News and the New York Times. (See also here and here.)

According to the NYT, the office requested anonymity because "he did not want to jeopardize political support and the possible financing for future data-mining operations by speaking publicly."

If true, his reasoning indicates that Washington has become a very bizarre place indeed. The successful identification of Atta proved the value of "data mining;" the problem was the refusal by DIA higher-ups to act upon the information. Why would discussion of a success story jeopardize future funding for similar operations?

Which brings us back to the fundamental question: Why did higher-ups at the DOD refuse to share the information with the FBI?

"We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN.

DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau's disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.

This explanation seems particularly dubious when we recall the publicity given to pre-9/11 al Qaida attacks.

Partisans may suspect that presidential politics might have played a role. The 2000 campaign was underway; conceivably, Bush supporters within the DOD may have felt uneasy at the prospect of handing the outgoing Clinton administration a last-minute "win" against Osama bin Laden. Of course, this theory does not explain why the Bush administration took no action against Atta between inauguration and 9/11.

Another key question: Why was this information kept secret from the independent commission looking into the 9/11 tragedy? Although committee members were made aware that ABLE DANGER existed, they were not told about the identification of Atta.

Answers to these posers might lurk within the folds of the second story about Atta to come out in recent days....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




By Joseph Cannon on 8/10/2005 7:40pm PT  

i>(NOTE: This entry guest blogged by Joseph Cannon)Two separate sources have revealed startling new information about Mohammed Atta. Taken separately, these revelations are disturbing. Taken together, they could prove explosive.

As I write, the mainstream media is starting to carry the first of these revelations, but seems chary of the second. Let's start with the big news:

Representative Curt Weldon (R-PA), Vice Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee has revealed that a specialized unit of the DIA, code-named ABLE DANGER (which was being run by the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida) had identified Mohammed Atta and other terrorist associates weeks before the presidential election of 2000. Atta was photographed and named as a member of al Qaida.

Although the unit had recommended action against Atta and the cell, a DOD lawyer allegedly nixed the idea, arguing that green card holders deserved the same privacy rights as American citizens. Almost needless to say, this argument is highly questionable.

Representative Weldon learned about his operation earlier this year. (I've called his office to find out exactly when, but have yet to hear back from his communications director.) Weldon's source was a former intelligence officer who has requested anonymity in news accounts. This story was first covered by Government Security News and was later carried by the New York Times. (See also here and here.)

According to the NYT, the office requested anonymity because "he did not want to jeopardize political support and the possible financing for future data-mining operations by speaking publicly."

If true, his reasoning indicates that Washington has become a very bizarre place indeed. The successful identification of Atta proved the value of "data mining;" the problem was the refusal by DIA higher-ups to act upon the information. Why would discussion of a success story jeopardize future funding for similar operations?

Which brings us back to the fundamental question: Why did higher-ups at the DOD refuse to share the information with the FBI?

We were directed to take those 3M yellow stickers and place them over the faces of Atta and the other terrorists and pretend they didn't exist," the intelligence officer told GSN.

DoD lawyers may also have been reluctant to suggest a bold action by FBI agents after the bureau's disastrous 1993 strike against the Branch Davidian religious cult in Waco, TX, said Weldon and the intelligence officer.

This explanation seems particularly dubious when we recall the publicity given to pre-9/11 al Qaida attacks.

Partisans, such as yours truly, may suspect that presidential politics might have played a role. The 2000 campaign was underway; conceivably, Bush supporters within the DOD may have felt uneasy at the prospect of handing the outgoing Clinton administration a last-minute "win" against Osama bin Laden. Of course, this theory does not explain why the Bush administration took no action against Atta between inauguration and 9/11.

Another key question: Why was this information kept secret from the independent commission looking into the 9/11 tragedy? Although committee members were made aware that ABLE DANGER existed, they were not told about the identification of Atta.

Answers to these posers might lurk within the folds of the second story about Atta to come out in recent days....

--- Click here for REST OF STORY!... ---




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