Jun 122013
 

Risner

J.T. Waldron

For the past seven years, Pima County used every conceivable legal maneuver to evade a simple audit and forensic exam of the 2006 RTA ballots. It’s time to abandon formalities and refer to this two billion dollar bond election for what it is: a fraud perpetrated by the County against the people.

Like the scandals we are inundated with on a national level, the hard lessons learned involve judicial corruption, selective justice and complicit media. “Operation Fast and Furious”, NSA surveillance and the National Defense Authorization Act caused the nation to witness a compliant judiciary, a retaliatory justice department, and a collaborative press. Regardless of how offensive or outrageous these crimes become, the nation remains in a state of stagnation or paralysis unable to restore any semblance of law and order. In Pima County, Arizona, citizens remain in a stupor as they watch the continued destruction and construction of roads and infrastructure funded by a regressive half percent sales tax that was likely never approved by the electorate.

In the past seven years, we’ve watched Pima County’s Superior Courts rule in direct opposition to the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions, refuse to comply with the appellate court ruling and deny requests that Pima County follow existing election laws.

You might remember when Superior Court Judge Kyle Bryson ruled in defiance of the Appellate court, claiming there was no jurisdiction to provide prospective relief for rigged elections.

As a result, the Libertarian Party was forced to make the same appeal with the same arguments to the same appellate court.  Apparently, Pima County was not comfortable with that same argument being made to the same appellate court.  In a convoluted series of events, Pima County advocates succeeded in gaming the system and forcing a change in the venue.  By producing an amicus curiae brief through Republican party operatives, they managed to involve Sean Brearcliffe, a lawyer who was waiting to be selected by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as a Superior Court judge.  An amicus brief is a vehicle by which representatives of special interest groups are able to express opinions on matters before the Court.  It’s never required by the Court, but is a voluntary option.  Looking at the substance and timing of this brief, it’s clear that the intent of exercising this option was to force a change of venue for the upcoming appellate court decision in this case.

Sean Brearcliffe’s law firm, “Rusing, Lopez & Lizardi, PLLC”, recently acquired J. William Brammer, Jr. as a partner.  Brammer served as an appellate court judge in Division Two until his recent retirement.   Due to his law firm’s connection to Division Two’s appellate court, Brearcliffe’s involvement with this amicus brief created a conflict of interest and forced a move from Division Two  (where the appellate court judges ruled in favor of prospective relief) to Division One.  Brearcliffe received  his appointment and is now a Superior Court judge.

In Division One, the case will be met with a whole new set of judges.

This could be history’s most contrived conflict of interest and serves as a reminder that somebody is truly sweating a forensic exam of the RTA ballots.  If the state’s Attorney General was willing to do the dance, should we be surprised to find a new Superior Court judge directly involved with this disco?   Let’s face it.  Election integrity and Pima County’s Superior court judges just don’t mix.  Let’s assume Maricopa’s appellate court suddenly decides that  Arizona’s reputation as the “Methlab of Democracy” is unbecoming and they rule in favor of prospective relief in rigged elections just like Pima County’s appellate courts.  Do you think Pima County’s Superior Court judges will abide by that decision?   AUDIT AZ ‘s John Brakey would like to find out.

“Is this how judges are made? They have to prove their worth to the puppet masters?  If we lose this appeal, the argument that Pima County and now the Republican Party is making about the finality of an election is much more important than stopping cheating in the future, will be locked into law,” Brakey said. “No candidate of any party will be able to ever challenge an election,” which Brakey states is basically the case already, but now would be sanctioned by the courts.

The substance of the brief approved by those claiming to be in charge of the Republican party is almost diversionary in its bizarre statements.  They spend a great deal of time arguing that repeated cheating is less important than the “finality” of elections.  That is quite an endorsement of Pima County by the Republican party especially when Pima County’s bureaucrats are more closely aligned with elected officials dominated by Democrats.  Since Arizona is a party oversight state for elections, the ‘finality argument’ created by the Republican party inadvertently suggests that the Republican party would prefer to relinquish its power to oversee elections in favor of supporting the finality of the vote.  It’s little wonder that Karen Shutte, the Chairman of the Republican Election Integrity Committee, resigned shortly after the brief was filed.  It’s important to note  that a number of familiar Republicans known for transcending partisan politics on behalf of election integrity were not involved in this amicus brief.

The state’s organizing body claiming to serve justice in Arizona treated Pima County much the same way Eric Holder coddled megabank HSBC.  After admitting that he was aware that Pima County managed to access evidence in violation of a court order, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard refused to perform a forensic exam to make sure Pima County didn’t access the ballots during the years leading up to his investigation.  In fact, Goddard’s possession of the ballots (without allowing party oversight of the chain of custody), involved merely counting the ballots to determine if the figure was close to the tabulated 2006 election result.  A rudimentary audit characteristic of a white collar investigation comparing one set of numbers to another was certainly possible but refused by Arizona’s Department of Justice.

Poll tapes stored with the ballots could have served this auditing function.  They were also handy for detecting electronic fraud involving the memory cards from which these poll tapes are printed.  Goddard refused to examine the poll tapes despite requests by the Democratic party and a number of election integrity advocates.  One year later, the Democratic party was finally able to find out why.  Upon gaining access, they discovered that 44% of the poll-tapes were missing or didn’t match the final database and they happen to be closely matching the precincts suspected of foul play in the electronic data records.

What qualifies as more than just circumstantial evidence?  Let’s consider DNA samples in a murder case.  Whenever a DNA match is presented to the courts, prosecutors inform the jury about the probability of such a match occurring.

Why does it seem like only a pipe dream that someone may testify about the probability for the same precincts experiencing the same associated memory card errors correlating to the same missing poll tapes?  Statements claiming a lack of evidence for a crime are false claims by those who may be considered accessories after the fact.

The Republican party’s amicus brief states “there is no competent evidence that there was anything illegal or inappropriate done with regard to any of the 2006 elections in issue.”  One test of whether a judge is compromised or not is to see if he recognizes this statement as perjury.  Legal violations surrounding the RTA election have already been established in the courts.  Printing summary reports during elections is against the law.  The printing of such reports was indicated in electronic data files admitted as evidence in a previous court case.

Electronic data files containing details of this crime were first recovered in the exchange after the Democratic Party won the records lawsuit.  More detailed records remained in Pima County’s court vault until ten months later, when Pima County contractor John Moffatt somehow managed to obtain access to the remaining electronic data in violation of a court order.   Ironically, this violation was another unlawful act surrounding the 2006 RTA election.  In reality, this case is unique with the amount of evidence indicating that the 2006 RTA election was rigged.   There is a simplified RTA Fraud Flyer covering the basics and a more detailed “Statement of Facts” indicating what the Libertarian party intends to present if they receive a favorable ruling by one of the new judges in the upcoming appellate court decision.

Local media reaction to this crime has proven to be almost as scandalous as the crime itself.   We have provided past coverage showing how Pima County’s PR department uses taxpayer’s money to soak up employment slack as local media outlets shed their workforce in a failing local economy.  This results in reporters letting fear of retaliation and diminishing job prospects undermine critical coverage of the local RTA election.

The extent of public misdirection over the RTA election is best illustrated by the local weekly that actually claims to be independent and intent on informing the public with alternative news.  The Tucson Weekly’s editorial director at the time, Jim Boegle, published columns making dubious statements about a lack of evidence and chastising any public figure who suggested that the RTA election was rigged.

Their star political reporter, Jim Nintzel, actively sold the RTA plan to the public both before and after the plan had passed.  Nintzel’s primary strategy was to dismiss all evidence of fraud by drawing the public’s attention to a set of opinion polls.  Prior to our conducting a videotaped interview of pro-RTA advocate Steve Farley, Nintzel would pass along a copy of these polls hoping they would influence our discourse.  The polls were commissioned by an advertising agency called “Zimmerman and Associates”, a firm hired to promote approval of the RTA plan.

Zimmerman and Associate’s work included television commercials showing Steve Farley attempting to cross a busy intersection, an ambulance driver indicating how his precious cargo would continue to suffer if the RTA didn’t pass and a cluster of City and County employees pretending to voluntarily and spontaneously scream “Yes” in favor of the plan.   Bill Risner, the attorney representing the Democratic party during the RTA records lawsuit, spoke with a colleague who shared office space on the same floor of the Pioneer Hotel.  This colleague was involved with bundling the money from contributors for the RTA plan and passing the money onto the vendors.  He was complaining to Risner  about the  pro-RTA group’s last minute scramble to obtain more funds due to claims that polls are indicating that the RTA election is too close to call.

The circumstances leading up to the election were truthfully related by the actual money handler for the RTA, but no hard copy of the polls prompting this last minute scramble ever surfaced.  As a result,  Nintzel adopted a strategy to discredit election integrity advocates by using a strawman technique which attempts to dismiss the more valid evidence by placing emphasis on this perceptively weaker link.

Zimmerman and Associates were the only organization that paid for opinion polling for the RTA election.  Was the public privy to all the polling information provided to Zimmerman and Associates?  Opinion polling has only peripheral relevance to the rest of the evidence indicating election fraud, but for those choosing to ignore all the other evidence to place so much emphasis on Zimmerman and Associate’s opinion polls, it’s only fair to present this account by Carolyn Campbell, the environmental activist working on the pro-RTA campaign:

Would we have realized how overtly biased Nintzel’s reporting was without the ill-conceived decision to place the reference to polling among the eighteen various points surrounding the RTA election?   Probably not.  Months later,  watchful eyes did discover that Jim Nintzel’s brother Doug Nintzel was the chief spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), a stakeholder in the RTA election.  Some of the weakest moments for the Tucson Weekly can be found in the bottom of a 2008 Time Initiative article where the comments thread sheds light on this potential conflict of interest.

Would election integrity activists have the opportunity to see just how far Pima County was willing to go to avoid transparency if they allowed Attorney General Terry Goddard’s recount to dissuade them?   Probably not.  Unfortunately for election integrity advocates, the opportunity to conduct a real investigation of the RTA ballots was a secondary goal.  The most important accomplishment behind this pursuit was to prevent cheating in future elections.  This case had implications for both Pima County and the rest of the country.

It appears for now that citizens will not be able to vote in the United States with confidence in an accurate outcome.  Pima County advocates gaming the system to change the venue of the appellate court decision from Pima County to Maricopa County know integrity will likely be abandoned.  There is some satisfaction, however, in watching Pima County jump through all these hoops just to avoid a simple investigation.  No doubt the cost of cheating was certainly raised in this instance.

Obviously, Pima County’s efforts to prevent this litigation from proceeding would not be needed if the 2006 RTA election was not rigged.  If the RTA was not rigged, Pima County only needed to make the effortless gesture of allowing a simple audit and forensic exam of the RTA ballots.  Nothing undermines the legitimacy of elections more than way Pima County reacts to scrutiny.

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Jun 072013
 

 
Internet Users Targeted In Massive NSA Spy Program

According to a report released by The Washington Post, the National Security Agency and the FBI have been partnering up to take user data from nine major Internet companies. Meghan Lopez explains the PRISM program.

 

POLICE STATE: Obama Administration Caught Spying on your emails, phones calls, bank records & Internet usage.

 

In what could be one of the largest scandals, and breach of public trust to come out of the white house, information is coming today suggesting that our government is involved in one of the largest collections of private American public data in the history of our country.

 

They’re Specifically Targeting Americans

 

The National Security Agency has long argued that their power allows them to spy on those outside the United States, while always maintaining that private American Communications were off limits. But it looks like the latest Obama Administration scandal has The FBI, on the NSA’s behalf, forcing Verizon Communications to turn over data on millions of U.S. customers.

 

The order specifically targeted American Citizens, and explicitly excluded those outside of America.

 

The Obama administration, who had to respond to yet another scandal this morning, tried to defend the actions by claiming that the massive amount of telephone records were part of U.S. counterterrorism efforts that were critical to protecting Americans from attacks.

 

Do they really expect us to believe that millions of Americans are terrorists?

 

So based on the Obama administration’s admission, one would have to believe that millions of Americans are now in some way taking part in terrorist activity or plotting to attack America. Do they really think that people are going to buy this crap.

http://offgridsurvival.com/obamaadministration-caughtspying/

Phone Sex, Banks & Google for Emails: The NSA Spying Is Bigger Than Verizon

“And the NSA isn’t just collecting the things we say. It’s also tracking what we buy and where we go”

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2013/06/nsa-spying-verizon-analysis/65963/

CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher…

CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through Smart Products.

Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” — that is, wired devices — at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm.

All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community. Once upon a time, spies had to place a bug in your chandelier to hear your conversation. With the rise of the “smart home,” you’d be sending tagged, geolocated data that a spy agency can intercept in real time when you use the lighting app on your phone to adjust your living room’s ambiance.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/

Whistleblowers: NOT JUST VERIZION.. NSA DEMANDED records from Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile

http://www.kval.com/news/national/Whistleblowers-NSA-wanted-phone-records-from-Verizon-ATT-T-Mobile-210458811.html

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Jun 042013
 

News.com.au

IRAN has dismantled a “terror network” backed by Israel’s Mossad intelligence services which planned to disrupt the upcoming presidential election in the Islamic republic, the state broadcaster says.

“The intelligence ministry has identified and arrested the members of this terror network, and confiscated their weapons,” IRIB said on its website on Sunday, quoting a statement by the ministry.

It said the arrested group was made up of 12 members, but did not say when it had been busted.

The ministry neither identified any of those arrested nor mentioned their nationality, but said the cell leader originated from an unnamed “regional Arab” country.

On June 14, Iran is to hold its first presidential election since massive street protests, stifled by a brutal state crackdown, marred the disputed re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in 2009.

Iran accuses its arch foes Israel and the United States of waging a deadly campaign of sabotage against its disputed nuclear program, announcing from time to time the arrest of suspected Israeli or US spies, but provides little or no public evidence supporting the accusations.

The statement on Sunday said the group had been instructed “to conduct terrorist acts ahead of, and in particular, on election day” as well as “creating ethnic and religious divisions” in restive areas of Iran.

It said the group had already “hit several targets in a town,” and that “its main culprit was in contact with a headquarters in Britain”. It did not elaborate.

Last month the Islamic republic said it had hanged two convicted spies, one found guilty of working for Israel, and the other for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

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Jun 032013
 

The Blaze
Jason Howerton

A high-ranking Mexican drug cartel operative currently in U.S. custody is making startling allegations that the failed federal gun-walking operation known as “Fast and Furious” isn’t what you think it is.

It wasn’t about tracking guns, it was about supplying them — all part of an elaborate agreement between the U.S. government and Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa Cartel to take down rival cartels.

The explosive allegations are being made by Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, known as the Sinaloa Cartel’s “logistics coordinator.” He was extradited to the Chicago last year to face federal drug charges.

Sinaloa Cartel Operative Jesus Vincente Zambada Niebla Makes Explosive Allegation About Operation Fast and Furious

Zambada-Niebla claims that under a “divide and conquer” strategy, the U.S. helped finance and arm the Sinaloa Cartel through Operation Fast and Furious in exchange for information that allowed the DEA, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and other federal agencies to take down rival drug cartels. The Sinaloa Cartel was allegedly permitted to traffic massive amounts of drugs across the U.S. border from 2004 to 2009 — during both Fast and Furious and Bush-era gunrunning operations — as long as the intel kept coming.

This pending court case against Zambada-Niebla is being closely monitored by some members of Congress, who expect potential legal ramifications if any of his claims are substantiated. The trial was delayed but is now scheduled to begin on Oct. 9.

Zambada-Niebla is reportedly a close associate of Sinaloa Cartel kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman and the son of Ismael “Mayo” Zambada-Garcia, both of which remain fugitives, likely because of the deal made with the DEA, federal court documents allege.

Based on the alleged agreement  ”the Sinaloa Cartel under the leadership of defendant’s father, Ismael Zambada-Niebla and ‘Chapo’ Guzman, were given carte blanche to continue to smuggle tons of illicit drugs into Chicago and the rest of the United States and were also protected by the United States government from arrest and prosecution in return for providing information against rival cartels which helped Mexican and United States authorities capture or kill thousands of rival cartel members,” states a motion for discovery filed in U.S. District Court by Zambada-Niebla’s attorney in July 2011.

A source in Congress, who spoke to TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity, said that some top congressional investigators have been keeping “one eye on the case.”  Another two members of Congress, both lead Fast and Furious Congressional investigators, told TheBlaze they had never even heard of the case.

One of the Congressmen, who also spoke to TheBlaze on the condition of anonymity because criminal proceedings are still ongoing, called the allegations “disturbing.” He said Congress will likely get involved once Zambada-Niebla’s trial has concluded if any compelling information surfaces.

“Congress won’t get involved in really any criminal case until the trial is over and the smoke has cleared,” he added. “If the allegations prove to hold any truth, there will be some serious legal ramifications.”

Earlier this month, two men in Texas were sentenced to 70 and 80 months in prison after pleading guilty to attempting to export 147 assault rifles and thousands of rounds of ammunition to Mexico’s Los Zetas cartel. Compare that to the roughly 2,000 firearms reportedly “walked” in Fast and Furious, which were used in the murders of hundreds of Mexican citizens and U.S. Border Agent Brian Terry, and some U.S. officials could potentially face jail time if they knowingly armed the Sinaloa Cartel and allowed guns to cross into Mexico.

If proven in court, such an agreement between U.S. law enforcement agencies and a Mexican cartel could potentially mar both the Bush and Obama administrations. The federal government is denying all of Zambada-Niebla’s allegations and contend that no official immunity deal was agreed upon.

To be sure, Zambada-Niebla is a member of one of the most ruthless drug gangs in all of Mexico, so there is a chance that he is saying whatever it takes to reduce his sentence, which will likely be hefty. However, Congress and the media have a duty to prove without a reasonable doubt that there is no truth in his allegations. So far, that has not been achieved.

Zambada-Niebla was reportedly responsible for coordinating all of the Sinaloa Cartel’s multi-ton drug shipments from Central and South American countries, through Mexico, and into the United States. To accomplish this, he used every tool at his disposal: Boeing 747 cargo planes, narco-submarines, container ships, speed boats, fishing vessels, buses, rail cars, tractor trailers and automobiles. But Guzman and Zambada-Niebla’s overwhelming success within the Sinaloa Cartel was largely due to the arrests and dismantling of many of their competitors and their booming businesses in the U.S. from 2004 to 2009 — around the same time ATF’s gun-walking operations were in full swing. Fast and Furious reportedly began in 2009 and continued into early 2011.

According Zambada-Niebla, that was a product of the collusion between the U.S. government and the Sinaloa Cartel.

Sinaloa Cartel Operative Jesus Vincente Zambada Niebla Makes Explosive Allegation About Operation Fast and Furious

The claims seem to fall in line with statements made last month by Guillermo Terrazas Villanueva, a spokesman for the Chihuahua state government in northern Mexico who said U.S. agencies ”don’t fight drug traffickers,” instead “they try to manage the drug trade.”

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May 242013
 

Memory Hole
Professor James Tracy

To posit that one’s government may be partially composed of unaccountable criminal elements is cause for serious censure in polite circles. Labeled “conspiracy theories” by a corporate media that prompt and channel emotionally-laden mass consent, such perspectives are quickly dispatched to the memory hole lest they prompt meaningful discussion of the political prerogatives and designs held by a global power elite coordinating governments and broader geopolitical configurations.

Cultural historian Jack Bratich terms such phenomena “conspiracy panics.” Potentially fostered by the coordinated actions of government officials or agencies and major news organs to generate public suspicion and uncertainty, a conspiracy panic is a demonstrable immediate or long-term reactive thrust against rational queries toward unusual and poorly understood events. To be sure, they are also intertwined with how the given society acknowledges and preserves its own identity—through “the management and expulsion of deviance.”[1]

In the American mass mind, government intelligence and military operations are largely seen as being directed almost solely toward manipulation or coercion of unfortunate souls in foreign lands. To suggest otherwise, as independent researchers and commentators have done with the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the CIA-Contra-crack cocaine connection, and 9/11, has been cause for sustained conspiracy panics that act to suppress inquiry into such events by professional and credentialed opinion leaders, particularly journalists and academics.

At the same time a conspiracy panic serves a subtle yet important doctrinal function of manifesting and reproducing the apt ideational status quo of the post-Cold War, “War on Terror” era. “The scapegoating of conspiracy theories provides the conditions for social integration and political rationality,” Bratich observes. “Conspiracy panics help to define the normal modes of dissent. Politically it is predicated on a consensus of ‘us’ over against a subversive and threatening ‘them.’”[2] These days especially the suggestion that an official narrative may be amiss almost invariably puts one in the enemy camp.

Popular Credence in Government Conspiracy Narratives

The time for a conspiracy panic to develop has decreased commensurately with the heightened spread and availability of information and communication technology that allows for the dissemination of news and research formerly suppressed by the perpetual data overload of corporate media. Before the wide access to information technology and the internet, independent investigations into events including the JFK assassination took place over the course of many years, materializing in book-length treatments that could be dismissed by intelligence assets in news media and academe as the collective activity of “conspiracy buffs”—amateurish researchers who lack a government or privately-funded sinecure to overlook or obscure inquiry into deep events.

Not until Oliver Stone’s 1991 blockbuster film JFK, essentially an adoption of works by author Jim Marrs, Colonel L. Fletcher Prouty, and New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison, did a substantial conspiracy panic take shape as a response to such analysis thrust upon the public in popular narrative form. This panic arose from and centered around Hollywood’s apt challenge to traditional journalism’s turf alongside commercial news outlets’ typically deceptive  interpretation of the event and almost wholly uncritical treatment of the Warren Commission Report.

Shortly thereafter investigative journalist Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series for the San Jose Mercury News demonstrated the internet’s capacity to explain and document a government conspiracy. With Webb’s painstaking examination of the CIA’s role in the illicit drug trade hyperlinked to a bevy of documentation and freely distributed online, the professional journalistic community and its intelligence penumbra fell silent for months.

In the interim the story picked up steam in the non-traditional outlets of talk radio and tabloid television, with African Americans especially intrigued by the potential government role in the crack cocaine epidemic. Then suddenly major news outlets spewed forth a vitriolic attack on Webb and the Mercury News that amazingly resulted in the Mercury‘s retraction of the story and Webb’s eventual departure from the paper and probable murder by the US government.[3]

Criticism of Webb’s work predictably focused on petty misgivings toward his alleged poor judgment—specifically his intimation that the CIA intentionally caused the crack epidemic in African American communities, an observation that many blacks found logical and compelling. So not only did Webb find himself at the center of a conspiracy panic because of his assessment of the CIA’s role in the drug trade; he was also causing mass “paranoia” within African American communities allegedly predisposed toward such thinking.

Since the mid-1990s conspiracy panics have increasingly revolved around an effort by mainstream news media to link unorthodox political ideas and inquiry with violent acts. This dynamic was crystallized in Timothy McVeigh, the principal suspect in the April 19, 1995 Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building bombing,  who through the propaganda-like efforts of  government and major news media was constructed to symbolize the dangers of “extremist” conspiratorial thought (his purported fascination with white supremacism and The Turner Diaries) and violent terrorist action (the bombing itself). Conveniently overlooked is the fact that McVeigh was trained as a black ops technician and still in US Army employ at the time of his 2001 execution.[4]

Through a broad array of media coverage and subsequent book-length treatments by the left intelligentsia on the “radical right,” the alleged lone wolf McVeigh and the Oklahoma City bombing became forever coupled in the national memory. The image and event seemingly attested to how certain modes of thought can bring about violence–even though McVeigh’s role in what took place on April 19 was without question one part of an intricate web painstakingly examined by the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee [5] and in the 2011 documentary A Noble Lie: Oklahoma City 1995.

The Quickening Pace of Conspiracy Panics

Independent researchers and alternative media utilizing the internet have necessitated the rapid deployment of conspiracy panic-like reactions that appear far less natural and spontaneous to neutralize inquiry and bolster the official narratives of  momentous and unusual events. For example, wide-scale skepticism surrounding the May 1, 2011 assault on Osama bin Laden’s alleged lair in Pakistan was met with efforts to cultivate a conspiracy panic evident in editorials appearing across mainstream print, broadcast, and online news platforms. The untenable event supported only by President Obama’s pronouncement of the operation was unquestioningly accepted by corporate media that shouted down calls for further evidence and alternative explanations of bin Laden’s demise as “conspiracy theories.”

Indeed, a LexisNexis search for “bin Laden” and “conspiracy theories” yields over five hundred such stories and opinion pieces appearing across Western print and broadcast media outlets for the week of May 2, 2011.[6] “While much of America celebrated the dramatic killing of Osama bin Laden,” the Washington Post opined, “the Sept. 11 conspiracy theorists still had questions. For them and a growing number of skeptics, the plot only thickened.”[7]

Along these lines retired General Mark Kimmitt remarked on CNN, “Well, I’m sure the conspiracy theorists will have a field day with this, about why it was done? Was it done? Is he still alive?”[8] “The conspiracy theorists are not going to be satisfied,” Glenn Beck asserted. “Next thing you know, Trump is going to ask for the death certificate, and is it the real death certificate? And then all hell breaks loose.”[9]

Like 9/11 or the Gulf of Tonkin, the narrative has since become a part of official history, disingenuously repeated in subsequent news accounts and elementary school history books—a history handed down from on high and accepted by compromised, unintelligent, or simply lazy journalists perpetuating nightmare fictions to a poorly informed and intellectually idle public.

This psycho-symbolic template is simultaneously evident in the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and Boston Marathon bombing (BMB) events and their aftermaths. Indeed, the brief yet intense Sandy Hook conspiracy panic, and to a lesser degree that of the BMB, revolved at least partially around the “conspiracy theory professor,” who, as a credentialed member of the intellectual class, overstepped his bounds by suggesting how there are many unanswered questions related to the tragedies that might lead one to conclude—as social theorist Jean Baudrillard observed concerning the 1991 Gulf War—that the events did not take place, at least in the way official pronouncements and major media have represented them. It is perhaps telling  that critical assessments of domestic events and their relatedness to a corrupt media and governing apparatus are so vigorously assailed.

Yet to suggest that the news and information Americans accept as sound and factual on a routine basis is in fact a central means for manipulating their worldviews is not a matter for debate. Rather, it is an empirically verifiable assertion substantiated in a century of public relations and psychological warfare research and practice. Such propaganda efforts once reserved for foreign locales are now freely practiced in the US to keep the population increasingly on edge.

Still, a significant portion of the population cannot believe their government would lie to or mislead them, especially about a traumatic and emotional event involving young children or running enthusiasts. To suggest this to be the case is not unlike informing a devoted sports fan that her team lost a decisive game after she’s been convinced of an overwhelming win. Such an allegation goes against not only what they often unconsciously accept to be true, but also challenges their substantial emotional investment in the given mediated event.

In a revealing yet characteristic move the reaction by corporate media outlets such as the New York Times, FoxNews, CNN, and in the case of the BMB the New York Times-owned Boston Globe, has been not to revisit and critique their own slipshod coverage of the Newtown massacre or BMB that often bordered on blatant disinformation, but rather to divert attention from any responsible self-evaluation by vilifying the messenger in what have been acute conspiracy panics of unusual proportion.

As a disciplinary mechanism against unsettling observations and questions directed toward political leaders and the status quo, conspiracy panics serve to reinforce ideas and thought processes sustained by the fleeting yet pervasive stimuli of infotainment, government pronouncements, and, yes, the staged events that have been part and parcel of US news media and government collaboration dating at least to the Spanish-American war. Despite (or perhaps because of) the immense technological sophistication at the dawn of the twenty-first century a majority of the population remains bound and shackled in the bowels of the cave, forever doomed to watch the shadows projected before them.

Notes

[1] Jack Z. Bratich, Conspiracy Panics: Political Rationality and Popular Culture, Albany NY: State University of New York Press, 2008.

[2] Bratich, Conspiracy Panics, 11.

[3] Alex Jones and Paul Joseph Watson, “Evidence Begins to Indicate Gary Webb Was Murdered,” prisonplanet.com, December 15, 2004; Charlene Fassa, “Gary Webb: More Pieces in the Suicided Puzzle, Pt. 1,” Rense.com, December 11, 2005.

[4] Death Certificate of Timothy James McVeigh, June 11, 2001, http://www.autopsyfiles.org/reports/deathcert/mcveigh,%20timothy.pdf

[5] Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, Final Report on the Bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, April 19, 1995, 2001. See also Oklahoma City: What Really Happened? Chuck Allen, dir., 1995.

[6] See James F. Tracy, “State Propaganda, Historical Revisionism, and Perpetuation of the 911 Myth,” memoryholeblog.com and GlobalResearch.ca, May 6, 2012.

[7] Emily Wax, “Report of bin Laden’s Death Spurs Questions From Conspiracy Theorists,” Washington Post, May 2, 20111.

[8] Gen. Mark Kimmitt on CNN Breaking News, “Osama bin Laden is Dead,” CNN, May 2, 2011.

[9] Glenn Beck, “Beck for May 2, 2011,” Fox News Network, May 2, 2011.

-JFT
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May 242013
 

Salon
Justin Elliott

Amnesty International and other groups asked Swiss authorities to investigate the former president for torture

Will George W. Bush set foot in Europe again in his lifetime?

A planned trip by Bush to speak at the Switzerland-based United Israel Appeal later this week has been canceled after several human rights groups called for Swiss authorities to arrest Bush and investigate him for authorizing torture. Bush has traveled widely since leaving office, but not to Europe, where there is a strong tradition of international prosecutions.

The Swiss group and Bush’s spokesman claim that it was threats of protest, not of legal action, that prompted the cancellation. But facing protests is nothing new for Bush. What was different about this trip was that groups including Amnesty International and the Center for Constitutional Rights argued that Switzerland, as a party to the UN Convention against Torture, is obligated to investigate Bush for potential prosecution.

Amnesty’s memo to Swiss authorities cites, among other things, Bush’s admission in his own memoir that he approved the use of waterboarding. From Amnesty’s press release:

“To date, we’ve seen a handful of military investigations into detentions and interrogations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Guantánamo. But none of these has had the independence and reach necessary to investigate high-level officials such as President Bush,” said Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

“Meanwhile, there has been virtually zero accountability for crimes committed in the CIA’s secret detention program, which was authorized by then-President Bush.”

Anywhere in the world that he travels, President Bush could face investigation and potential prosecution for his responsibility for torture and other crimes in international law, particularly in any of the 147 countries that are party to the UN Convention against Torture.

“As the US authorities have, so far, failed to bring President Bush to justice, the international community must step in,” said Salil Shetty.

The Center for Constitutional Rights, meanwhile, intended to file a 2,500-page complaint against Bush in Swiss court on behalf of two Guantanamo detainees. The group will release that complaint to the public today.

Here is the Amnesty memo:

 

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