Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Pimping Weapons to the World

Pimping Weapons to the World

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As last week ended, the American and British military in Afghanistan finally launched a long awaited operation to occupy the city of Marja in Taliban-controlled Helmand Province. According to Afghan war commander General Stanley McChrystal, to win “hearts and minds,” the U.S. Army and Marines were arriving with “a government in a box” -- Afghan governing and security structures evidently ready to be unpacked as part of the sort of nation-building operation that once would have staggered the American officer corps.

Not surprisingly, when it comes to the Afghan War, “hearts and minds” pieces are now a dime a dozen in the U.S. press. (Can McChrystal’s new counterinsurgency strategy of “protecting the people” work? Will the Afghans start to love us, love themselves, and reject the Taliban?) In one recent piece about Marines in a Taliban “stronghold” near the southern city of Kandahar, “Forces Strain to Hire Afghans,” Wall Street Journal reporter Yaroslav Trofimov described the crisis a U.S. Army captain faced. He had more than a million dollars to spend on reconstruction projects meant to gain local loyalties, and few Afghan takers. The third paragraph of his piece went like this: “Yet, the only construction work here so far has been the hammering of U.S. Navy Seabees, or construction troops, erecting a vast American base overlooking Senjaray. The town's unemployed men prefer to stay home, for fear of Taliban retribution.”

This is fairly typical of U.S. press coverage of the Afghan War. That “vast American base,” just now under construction, is noticed and mentioned in passing by an American reporter, and then never comes up again. Yet it is one of approximately 400 bases built or being built in the country, as Nick Turse of TomDispatch.com recently discovered -- a staggering Pentagon military construction splurge that is almost never reported on. It’s simply taken for granted.

As TomDispatch regular and weapons-export expert Frida Berrigan of the New American Foundation points out, the American position in what U.S. news reports always call “the global arms trade” is similarly taken for granted. If the Hollywood export Avatar sweeps the world, bringing in multi-billions, it's front-page news. If American arms exports sweep the world, bringing in multi-billions, you’re lucky to find out about it deep inside your ever-thinning daily newspaper (and such stories seldom even make it onto the TV news). If we sell weaponry repeatedly to the Indonesians or the Saudis or the Qataris or the Israelis, it’s a ho-hum matter. The norm. Like those bases in Afghanistan. It’s only if some country with clout screams bloody murder, as the Chinese recently did about a massive arms deal with Taiwan, that we have news; or if some other country sells weapons to whatever state is eager, as France recently agreed to do with the Russians, and the Americans responsible for distributing most of the advanced weaponry on the planet disapprove, is attention paid. Go figure. Tom

America’s Global Weapons Monopoly
Don’t Call It
the Global Arms Trade”
By Frida Berrigan

On the relatively rare occasions when the media turns its attention to U.S. weapons sales abroad and shines its not-so-bright spotlight on the latest set of facts and figures, it invariably speaks of “the global arms trade.”

Let’s consider that label for a moment, word by word:

*It is global, since there are few places on the planet that lie beyond the reach of the weapons industry.

*Arms sounds so old-fashioned and anodyne when what we’re talking about is advanced technology designed to kill and maim.

*And trade suggests a give and take among many parties when, if we’re looking at the figures for that “trade” in a clear-eyed way, there is really just one seller and so many buyers.

How about updating it this way: “the global weapons monopoly.”

In 2008, according to an authoritative report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS), $55.2 billion in weapons deals were concluded worldwide. Of that total, the United States was responsible for $37.8 billion in weapons sales agreements, or 68.4% of the total “trade.” Some of these agreements were long-term ones and did not result in 2008 deliveries of weapons systems, but these latest figures are a good gauge of the global appetite for weapons. It doesn’t take a PhD in economics to recognize that, when one nation accounts for nearly 70% of weapons sales, the term “global arms trade” doesn’t quite cut it.

Consider the “competition” and reality comes into focus. Take a guess on which country is the number two weapons exporter on the planet: China? Russia? No, Italy, with a relatively paltry $3.7 billion in agreements with other countries or just 9% of the U.S. market share. Russia, that former Cold War superpower in the “trade,” was close behind Italy, with only $3.5 billion in arms agreements.

U.S. weapons manufacturers have come a long way, baby, since those Cold War days when the United States really did have a major competitor. For instance, the Congressional Research Service’s data for 1990, the last year of the Soviet Union’s existence, shows global weapons sales totaling $32.7 billion, with the United States accounting for $12.1 billion of that or 37% of the market. For its part, the Soviet Union was responsible for a competitive $10.7 billion in deals inked that year. France, China, and the United Kingdom accounted for most of the rest.

Since then, the global appetite for weapons has only grown more voracious, while the number of purveyors has shrunk to the point where the Pentagon could hang out a sign: “We arm the world.” No kidding, it’s true.

Cambodia ($304,000), Comoros ($895,000), Colombia ($256 million), Guinea ($200,000), Greece ($225 million), Great Britain ($1.1 billion), the Philippines ($72.9 million), Poland ($79.8 million), and Peru ($16.4 million) all buy U.S. arms, as does almost every country not in that list. U.S. weapons, and only U.S. weapons, are coveted by presidents and prime ministers, generals and strongmen.

From the Pentagon’s own data (which differs from that in the CRS report), here are the top ten nations which made Foreign Military Sales agreements with the Pentagon, and so with U.S. weapons makers, in 2008:

Saudi Arabia $6.06 billion

Iraq $2.50 billion

Morocco $2.41 billion

Egypt $2.31 billion

Israel $1.32 billion

Australia $1.13 billion

South Korea $1.12 billion

Great Britain $1.10 billion

India $1 billion

Japan $840 million

That’s more than $17 billion in weapons right there. Some of these countries are consistently eager buyers, and some are not. Morocco, for example, is only in that top-ten list because it was green-lighted to buy 24 of Lockheed Martin’s F-16 fighter planes at $360 million (or so) for each aircraft, an expensive one-shot deal. On the other hand, Saudi Arabia (which inked $14.71 billion in weapons agreements between 2001 and 2008), Egypt ($13.25 billion) and Israel ($11.27 billion) are such regular customers that they should have the equivalent of one of those “buy 10, get the 11th free” punch cards doled out by your favorite coffee shop.

To sum up, the U.S. has a virtual global monopoly on exporting tools of force and destruction. Call it market saturation. Call it anything you like, just not the “global arms trade.”

Getting Even More Competitive?

It used to be that the United States exported goods, products, and machinery of all sorts in prodigious quantities: cars and trucks, steel and computers, and high-tech gizmos. But those days are largely over.

The Obama administration now wants to launch a green manufacturing revolution in the U.S., and in February, Commerce Secretary Gary Locke announced a new “National Export Initiative” with the aim of doubling American exports, a move he said would support the creation of two million new jobs. The U.S. could, of course, lose the renewable-energy race to China and that new exports program may never get off the ground. In one area, however, the U.S. is manufacturing products that are distinctly wanted -- things that go boom in the night -- and there the Pentagon is working hard to increase market share.

Don’t for a second think that the American global monopoly on weapons sales is accidental or unintentional. The constant and lucrative growth of this market for U.S. weapons makers has been ensured by shrewd strategic planning. Washington is constantly thinking of new and inventive ways to flog its deadly wares throughout the world.

How do you improve on near perfection? In the interest of enhancing that “competitive” edge in weapons sales, the Obama administration is investigating the possibility of revising export laws to make it even easier to sell military technology abroad. As Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morell explained in January, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates wants to see “wholesale changes to the rules and regulations on government technology exports” in the name of “competitiveness.”

When he says “government technology exports,” Morell of course means weapons and other military technologies. “Tinkering with our antiquated, bureaucratic, overly cumbersome system is not enough to maintain our competitiveness in the global economy and also help our friends and allies buy the equipment they need to contribute to global security,” he continued, “[Gates] strongly supports the administration’s efforts to completely reform our export control regime, starting ideally with a blank sheet of paper.”

The laws that regulate U.S. weapons exports are a jumbled mess, but in essence they delineate what the United States can sell to whom and through what bureaucratic mechanisms. According to U.S. law, for example, there are actually a few countries that cannot receive U.S. weapons. Myanmar under the military junta and Venezuela while led by Hugo Chavez are two examples. There are also some weapons systems that are not intended for export. Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor jet fighter was -- until the Pentagon recently stopped buying the plane -- deemed too sophisticated or sensitive to sell abroad. And there are reporting requirements that give members of Congress a window of opportunity within which they can question or oppose proposed weapons exports.

Given what’s being sold, these export controls are remarkably minimal in nature and are constantly under assault by the weapons industry. Bans on weapons sales to particular countries are regularly lifted through aggressive lobbying. (Indonesia, for example, was offered $50 million in weapons from 2006 to 2008 after an almost decade long congressional arms embargo.) The industry also works to relax controls on new technology exports to allies. Japan and Australia have mounted campaigns to win the ability to buy F-22 Raptors, potential sales that Lockheed Martin is now especially happy to entertain. The reporting window to Congress remains an important export control, but the time frame is shrinking as more countries are being “fast tracked,” making it harder for distracted representatives to react when a controversial sale comes up.

In addition to revising these export controls, the administration is looking at the issue of “dual-use” technologies. These are not weapons. They do not shoot or explode. Included are high-speed computer processors, surveillance and detection networks, and a host of other complex and evolving technologies that could have military as well as civilian applications. This category might also include intangible items like cyber-entities or access to controlled web environments.

Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and other major weapons manufacturers have invested billions of dollars from the Pentagon’s research and development budgets in exploring and perfecting such technologies, and now they are eager to sell them to foreign buyers along with the usual fighter planes, combat ships, and guided missiles. But the rules as they stand make this something less than a slam dunk. So the weapons industry and the Pentagon are arguing for “updating” the rules. If you translate updating as “loosening” the rules, then the United States would indeed be more “competitive,” but who exactly are we trying to beat?

Weapons Sales are Red Hot

“What’s Hot?” is the title of Vice Admiral Jeffrey Wieranga’s blog entry for January 4, 2010. Wieranga is the Director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency, which is charged with overseeing weapons exports, and such pillow talk is evidently more than acceptable -- at least when it’s about weapons sales. In fact, Wieranga could barely restrain himself that day, adding: “Afghanistan is really HOT!” Admittedly, on that day the temperature in Kabul was just above freezing, but not at the Pentagon, where arms sales to Afghanistan evidently create a lot of heat.

As Wieranga went on to write, the Obama administration’s new 2010/2011 budget allocates $6 billion in weaponry for Afghan Security Forces. The Afghans will actually get those weapons for free, but U.S. weapons makers will make real money delivering them at taxpayers’ expense and, as the Vice Admiral pointed out, that “means there is a staggering amount of acquisition work to do.”

It’s not just Afghanistan that’s now in the torrid zone. Weapons sales all over the world will be smoking in 2010 and beyond.

The year began with a bang when Wieranga’s Agency announced that the Obama administration had decided to sell a nifty $6 billion in weapons to Taiwan. Even as the United States leans heavily on China for debt servicing, Washington is giving the Mainland a big raspberry by offering the island of 22 million off its coast (which Washington does not formally recognize as an independent nation), a lethal cocktail of weaponry that includes $3 billion in Black Hawk helicopters. This deal comes on top of more than $11 billion in U.S. weapons exports to Taiwan over the last decade, and is certain to set Chinese-U.S. relations back a step or two.

Other bonanzas on the horizon? Brazil wants new fighter planes and Boeing is battling a French company for the contract in a deal that could be worth a whopping $7 billion. India, once a major arms buyer from the Soviet Union, is now another big buy-American customer, with Boeing and Lockheed Martin vying to equip its air force with new fighter planes in deals that Boeing estimates may reach $11 billion.

Such deals are staggering. They contribute more bang and blast to a world already bristling with particularly lethal weaponry. They are a striking American success story in a time filled with failures. Put in the lurid but everyday terms of a nation weaned on reality television, the Pentagon is pimping for the U.S. weapons industry. The weapons industry, for its part, is a pusher for every kind of lethal technology. The two of them together are working to ensure that more of the same will flow out of the U.S. in ever easier and more lucrative ways.

Global arms trade? Send that one back to the Department of Euphemisms. Pimps and pushers with a lucrative global monopoly on a killing drug -- maybe that’s the language we need. And maybe, just maybe, it’s time to launch a “war on weapons.”

'Covert' surveillance cameras coming to Chicago

'Covert' surveillance cameras coming to Chicago

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Blue-light surveillance cameras in Chicago's high-crime neighborhoods will someday be augmented by "covert" cameras that "fit inside of a match box" and keep the bad guys guessing, Police Supt. Jody Weis said.

Now that crime-ravaged communities have been saturated with hundreds of blue-light cameras, Weis says it's time to take Big Brother technology to "the next level."

That means surveillance cameras similar to the hidden cameras used to snare corrupt politicians.

"They are incredibly small. I've seen some that would fit inside of a match box. . . . These can be secreted in locations that nobody would ever detect. It's amazing where we're going with technology," Weis said during a taping of the WLS-AM Radio Program, "Connected to Chicago."

Blue-light cameras virtually announce their presence, giving drug dealers and gang-bangers a heads-up to move out of range. Covert cameras keep them guessing, the superintendent said.

"You use the covert [cameras] to perhaps push them into an area where you have coverage. If we can interrupt their intelligence cycle, we will have the upper hand," he said.

Last week, Mayor Daley ordered a review of the Chicago Police Department to make certain "every dollar possible" of its $1.2 billion a year budget is spent fighting crime.

How can the department afford the next generation of surveillance cameras at a time when it's operating more than 2,000 officers short of authorized strength?

In part, by swapping some of the blue-light cameras for the covert kind, Weis said.

"Some of these covert cameras -- because they're not across the network -- are not that expensive. You don't need that many because they're not in place forever. Maybe you need a total of 50," Weis said.

"We put some here. We move it around. We run the operation. We arrest a lot of bad guys. Then we see where there's another uptick, and we move 'em somewhere else. It's kind of like mobile pods, but they're covert. The bad guys will never know they're being watched," he said.

Ed Yohnka, a spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois, questioned how much video surveillance will be enough for the department.

"They seem committed to running light years ahead of other cities" even though there is no evidence that surveillance cameras trigger a reduction in crime, Yohnka said. He added that the advanced surveillance technology is an invitation for abuse by rogue officers.

Foreigners cut Treasury stakes; rates could rise

Foreigners cut Treasury stakes; rates could rise

Foreign demand for short-term Treasurys tumbles, led by China; chance of higher rates looms

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A record drop in foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury bills in December sent a reminder that the government might have to pay higher interest rates on its debt to continue to attract investors.

China reduced its stake and lost the position it's held for more than a year as the largest foreign holder of Treasury debt. Japan retook the top spot as it boosted its Treasury holdings.

The Treasury Department said foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury bills fell by a record $53 billion in December. That topped the previous record drop of $44.5 billion in April 2009.

Private analysts, though, were split over the significance of the decline. Some doubted that the drop in foreign holdings of short-term Treasuries signified growing unease about holding U.S. debt. They noted that net purchases of longer-term Treasury debt rose in December by $70 billion.

But other economists saw the decline as a warning signal. They fear that foreigners, especially the Chinese, have begun to worry about record-high U.S. budget deficits and are looking to diversify their holdings.

A sustained drop in foreign demand for dollar-denominated assets could lead to higher U.S. interest rates and falling stock prices. Those trends could threaten the U.S. recovery. But economists said they see no such evidence yet.

The Treasury report showed that China reduced its holdings of Treasury securities by $34.2 billion in December.

Alan Meltzer, an economics professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said China's shift should be a wake-up call for Washington.

"The Chinese are worried that we have unsustainable debt levels, and we do not have a policy for dealing with it," Meltzer said.

He said the Chinese worry that confidence in the U.S. government's ability to repay its debt could erode. That would cause the value of Treasurys and the dollar to fall -- and lead to losses on Beijing's' U.S. debt holdings.

The Obama administration on Feb. 1 released a budget plan that projects the deficit for this year will total a record $1.56 trillion. That would surpass last year's record of $1.4 trillion deficit.

The recession helped drive up the deficits. Tax revenue fell as the economy slowed. And spending undertaken to support the economy and stabilize the financial system worsened the budget gaps.

The administration has pledged to address the budget gaps. President Barack Obama has said he will appoint a commission to recommend ways to trim future deficits. But China and others have expressed doubts about the commitment of the United States to reduce the red ink.

Moody's Investors Service has warned that the U.S. government's top credit rating could be jeopardized if the nation's finances don't improve. Asked about this report, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said this month he was confident the United States "will never" loose its sterling credit rating. He predicted foreigners would keep buying U.S. Treasurys as a safe investment.

Some private economists warned against reading too much into December's drop in foreign purchases of short-term Treasury debt. They noted that the figures are volatile from month to month. They also pointed out that Europe's debt crisis has put pressure on the euro and boosted demand for U.S. Treasurys and the U.S. dollar.

"China may not be too happy with us right now, but you have to ask, what else are they going to do with their money?" said David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York.

The Treasury International Capital report showed that net foreign demand for long-term securities totaled $63.3 billion in December. This figure includes Treasury debt, debt of government sponsored enterprises such as Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the bonds sold by private corporations and private company stock.

John Taylor, chairman of hedge fund FX Concepts, predicted that the drop in short-term Treasury holdings would likely be reversed in coming months. In part, he thinks that's because the euro, the main alternative to the dollar, has fallen about 10 percent against the U.S. currency since mid-January.

For December, Japan boosted its holdings of Treasurys by $11.5 billion to $768.8 billion. That figure exceeded China's December total of $755.4 billion and restored Japan's position as the largest foreign owner of Treasurys.

The $53 billion decline in holdings of Treasury bills came primarily from a drop in official government holdings. They fell by $52.3 billion. Holdings of foreign private investors dropped by $700 million in December.

For all of 2009, foreign holdings of U.S. Treasury bills dipped by $500 million. In 2008, foreigners had increased their holdings of short-term U.S. Treasuries by $456 billion. That occurred as a global financial crisis triggered a flight to the safety of U.S. government debt. As a result, the rates the government was paying on its debt fell to record lows. Rates on some short-term securities sank into negative territory for brief periods.

China's holdings are a result of the huge trade deficits the United States runs with China. The Chinese take the dollars Americans pay for Chinese products and invest them in Treasury securities and other dollar-denominated assets.

American manufacturers argue that China's huge dollar reserve reflect Beijing's efforts to keep its currency artificially low against the dollar. That can help boost Chinese exports and dampen demand in China for American products.

The Richest 1% Have Captured America's Wealth -- What's It Going to Take to Get It Back?

The Richest 1% Have Captured America's Wealth -- What's It Going to Take to Get It Back?

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This is Part II of David DeGraw's report, "The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA." Click here for Part I.

"The war against working people should be understood to be a real war.... Specifically in the U.S., which happens to have a highly class-conscious business class.... And they have long seen themselves as fighting a bitter class war, except they don't want anybody else to know about it." -- Noam Chomsky

As a record amount of U.S. citizens are struggling to get by, many of the largest corporations are experiencing record-breaking profits, and CEOs are receiving record-breaking bonuses. How could this be happening, how did we get to this point?

The Economic Elite have escalated their attack on U.S. workers over the past few years; however, this attack began to build intensity in the 1970s. In 1970, CEOs made $25 for every $1 the average worker made. Due to technological advancements, production and profit levels exploded from 1970 - 2000. With the lion's share of increased profits going to the CEO's, this pay ratio dramatically rose to $90 for CEOs to $1 for the average worker.

As ridiculous as that seems, an in-depth study in 2004 on the explosion of CEO pay revealed that, including stock options and other benefits, CEO pay is more accurately $500 to $1.

Paul Buchheit, from DePaul University, revealed, "From 1980 to 2006 the richest 1% of America tripled their after-tax percentage of our nation's total income, while the bottom 90% have seen their share drop over 20%." Robert Freeman added, "Between 2002 and 2006, it was even worse: an astounding three-quarters of all the economy's growth was captured by the top 1%."

Due to this, the United States already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the average worker much harder than CEOs, the gap between the top one percent and the remaining 99% of the US population has grown to a record high. The economic top one percent of the population now owns over 70% of all financial assets, an all time record.

As mentioned before, just look at the first full year of the crisis when workers lost an average of 25 percent off their 401k. During the same time period, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans increased by $30 billion, bringing their total combined wealth to $1.57 trillion, which is more than the combined net worth of 50% of the US population. Just to make this point clear, 400 people have more wealth than 155 million people combined.

Meanwhile, 2009 was a record-breaking year for Wall Street bonuses, as firms issued $150 billion to their executives. 100% of these bonuses are a direct result of our tax dollars, so if we used this money to create jobs, instead of giving them to a handful of top executives, we could have paid an annual salary of $30,000 to 5 million people.

So while US workers are now working more hours and have become dramatically more productive and profitable, our pay is actually declining and all the dramatic increases in wealth are going straight into the pockets of the Economic Elite.
Buy the Book: The  Economic Elite Vs. The People of the United States of America
If our income had kept pace with compensation distribution rates established in the early 1970s, we would all be making at least three times as much as we are currently making. How different would your life be if you were making $120,000 a year, instead of $40,000?

So it should come as no surprise to see that we now have the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world and the highest inequality of wealth in our nation's history. The backbone of America, a hard working middle class that has made our country a world leader, has been devastated.

Now that we have a better understanding of how our income has been suppressed over the past forty years, let's take a look at how the economy has been designed to take the limited money we receive and put it into the hands of the Economic Elite as well.

Costs of Living

Other than in the workplace, in almost all our costs of living the system is now blatantly rigged against us. Let's take a look at it, starting out with our tax system.

In total, the average US citizen is forced to give up approximately 30% of our income in taxes. This tax system is now strategically designed to flow straight into the hands of the Economic Elite. A huge percentage of our tax dollars ultimately end up in their pockets. The past decade proves that -- whether it's the Republicans or the Democrats running the government -- our tax money is not going into our community, it is going into the pockets of the billionaires who have bought off both parties - it is obscene.

For an example of how this system flows to the Economic Elite, just look at the Wall Street "bailout." The real size of the bailout is estimated to be $14 trillion - and could end up costing trillions more than that. By now you are probably also sick of hearing about the bailout, but stop and think about this for a momentÖ Do you comprehend how much $14 trillion is?

What could be accomplished with this money is almost beyond common comprehension.

And this is just the tip of the iceberg that has hit us. On top of the trillions given to the Wall Street elite, we already have a record $12.3 trillion in national debt - and we now have to pay $500 billion in interest to the Economic Elite on this debt every year, yet another way they are milking us dry. When you add in unfunded liabilities owed, like social security payments, we actually owe a stunning $74 trillion. That adds up to a debt of $242,000 for every man, woman and child in America.

Trillions more, 25% of taxpayer dollars allocated to military spending goes unaccounted for every year, not to mention the billions spent on overcharging and outright fraud. During the War on Terror, the Economic Elite have used our tax money to build a private army that has more soldiers deployed than the US military - a congressional study revealed that 69% of the "US" fighting forces deployed throughout the world in our name are in fact private mercenaries, 80% of them are foreign nationals. Private contractors regularly get paid three to five times more than our soldiers, and have been repeatedly caught overcharging and committing fraud on a massive scale. A congressional investigation revealed this and strongly recommended that we seize wasting tax dollars on these private military contractors. However, under Obama, there has actually been a drastic increase in total tax dollars spent on them.

In 2009, just over $1 trillion tax dollars were spent on the military, it's safe to say that at least $350 billion of that was needlessly wasted.

When you research our tax system you see an unprecedented level of waste and fraud rampant throughout most expenditures. Our tax system is a national disaster of epic proportions. It is literally an organized criminal operation that continues to rob us in broad daylight, with zero accountability.

Politicians and mainstream "news" outlets will not tell you this, but most every serious economist knows that due to so much theft and debt created in the tax system, the only way to fix things, other than stopping the theft and seizing the trillions that have been stolen, will be for the government to cut important social funding and drastically raise our taxes. Other than the record national debt, many states are running record deficits and ìbarreling toward economic disaster, raising the likelihood of higher taxes, more government layoffs and deep cuts in services.î Our nation's biggest state economies, like California and New York, are the ones in most trouble.

To merely say that things will not be improving economically is to be a delusional optimist. The truth that you will not hear: we have been hit by an economic deathblow and the United States lay in ruins.

It's not just this criminal tax system; the theft is now built into all our costs of living.

Trillions more in our spending on food and fuel has been stolen due to fraudulent stock transactions and overcharging. Just ten years ago, in 2000, American families paid 7% of our income on food and fuel. We now pay 20%. This drastic increase is primarily driven by fraudulent market manipulation that drives up stock prices. Congress uncovered this in 2006, as part of the Enron investigation they found that companies manipulated the oil market to create major spikes in stock values, and then they didn't do anything about it - nothing to see here, just move on.

As mentioned before, we have the most expensive health care system in the world and we are forced to pay twice as much as other countries, and the overall care we get in return ranks 37th in the world. On average, US citizens are now paying a record high 8% of their income on medical care.

Part of the reason why foreclosure rates are so high is because the percentage of income Americans pay on their housing has risen to 34%.

So for these basic necessities - taxes, food, fuel, shelter and medical bills - we have already lost 92% of our limited income. Then factor in ever-increasing interest rates on credit cards, student loans, rising prices for cable, internet, phone, bank fees, etc., etc., etcÖ. We are being robbed and gouged in all costs of living, in every aspect of our life. No wonder bankruptcies are skyrocketing and the amount of people suffering from psychological depression has reached an epidemic level.

The American worker is screwed over every step of the way, and it all starts with the explosion in the cost of a college education. This is one of the Economic Elite's most devastating weapons. To have any chance of succeeding in this economy, it is commonly believed that you must attend the best college possible. With the rising costs involved, today's students are graduating with record levels of debt from student loans. At the same time, the unemployment rate among recent college graduates has risen higher than the national average, and those that do find work are making significantly less than they expected to make. This combination of extreme debt and reduced pay has crippled an entire generation right from the start and has put them in a vicious cycle of spiraling debt that they will struggle with for the rest of their lives. The most recent college graduates are now known as a "lost generation."

The American dream has turned into a nightmare. The economic system is a sophisticated prison cell; the indentured servant is now an indebted wage slave; whips and chains have evolved into debts.

"There are two ways to conquer and enslave a nation. One is by sword. The other is by debt." --
John Adams

Concealing National Wealth

"Liberty in the concrete signifies release from the impact of particular oppressive forces; emancipation from something once taken as a normal part of human life but now experienced as bondage... Today, it signifies liberation from material insecurity and from the coercions and repressions that prevent multitudes from participation in the vast cultural resources that are at hand."-- John Dewey

When you take the time to research and analyze the wealth that has gone to the economic top one percent, you begin to realize just how much we have been robbed. Trillions upon trillions of dollars that could make the lives of all hard working Americans much easier have been strategically funneled into the coffers of the Economic Elite. The denial of wealth is the key to the Economic Elite's power. An entire generation of massive wealth creation has been strategically withheld from 99% of the US population.

The US public doesn't have any understanding of how much wealth has been generated and concentrated into the hands of the Economic Elite over the past 40 years; there is no historical frame of reference. This withholding of wealth is truly the greatest crime against humanity in the history of civilization.

What could be done with all the money that has been hoarded by the Economic Elite is extraordinary!

Let's consider what we could do with the money that has been stolen from us? On top of what should be our average six-figure yearly income, we could have:

* Free health care for every American,
* A free 4 bedroom home for every American family,
* 5% tax rate for 99% of Americans,
* Drastically improved public education and free college for all,
* Significantly improved public transportation and infrastructure,

The list goes on...

This is not some far-fetched fantasy. These are all things that Franklin D. Roosevelt talked about doing in the 1940's, long before the explosion of wealth creation in our technologically advanced global economy. The money for all this is already there, stashed into the claws of the Economic Elite. The denial of wealth to the masses is the key to the Economic Elite's power. Outside of outdated and obsolete economic models and theories -- and incredibly short-sighted greed -- there is no reason why all this money should be kept in the hands of a few, at the immense suffering and expense of the many.

If Americans could just understand how much wealth is being withheld from us, we would have a massive uprising and the Economic Elite would be swept away, into the history books alongside the evil despots of the past.

This is Part II of David DeGraw's report, "The Economic Elite vs. People of the USA." Click here for Part I Read the rest of the series on Amped Status.

Hiring Death Squads Is Coming Back to Haunt U.S. Companies

Hiring Death Squads Is Coming Back to Haunt U.S. Companies

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A federal judge recently refused to dismiss a civil suit filed against Chiquita which charges that the company paid leftist (FARC) guerrillas operating near its plantations in Columbia -- during a period when the FARC killed four American missionaries, according to CNN.

The company's position -- which it has held consistently since it voluntarily disclosed the payments to the Department of Justice -- has been that both left-wing guerrillas and right-wing paramilitaries forced the company in an extortionate manner to make the payments "to protect the lives of its employees."

But that's become an increasingly untenable position -- especially since some of the same paramilitaries who took the payments have come in from the cold, disarming and submitting to Columbia's "Justice and Peace" process -- which allows them to receive reduced jail time for confessing to all of their terrorist crimes. The problem for Chiquita -- and now for Dole (and potentially for Del Monte) -- is that the confessions reveal a much different story.

One of the ex-paramilitaries -- Jose Gregorio Mangones Lugo (aka "Carlos Tijeras") -- was the former commander of the William Rivas Front of the United Defense Forces ("AUC") -- the group that operated in northern Columbia, in the zone where the companies and their suppliers grew bananas. In a sworn statement Tijeras described the AUC's relationship with the multinational banana companies as "an open public relationship" involving everything from "security services" to the kidnapping and extrajudicial assassination of labor leaders fingered by the companies as "security problems."

Tijeras' statement -- which reads like the confessions of a corporate death squad leader and directly refutes his paymasters' version of events -- has now been entered into the record in a case filed against Dole last April in California by attorneys with Conrad and Scherer:

"I've been told that Chiquita has asserted that they paid the AUC funds, but that this was coerced and was a form of extortion. I have also heard that Dole claims to have never paid us any funds. Both of these assertions are absolutely false. In fact, my agreement with Chiquita and Dole was to provide them with total security and other services."

Tijeras is not a lone whistleblower by any means. Salvatore Mancuso, the overall commander of the AUC, also testified in early 2008 that Dole and Del Monte, like Chiquita, had been providing major support to the AUC since its inception. He repeated the accusation to "60 Minutes," which originally aired the segment in September, 2008.

According to these and other witnesses as well as investigators familiar with the bloody history of Columbia, the AUC was originally hired by the companies to drive the leftist FARC guerillas out of the banana-growing region and protect their plantations from "the gangs of common delinquents that robbed their supplies and equipment." (Tijeras) Once the FARC was vanquished and order restored, the banana companies continued to pay the AUC to "pacify" their work force, suppress the labor unions and terrorize peasant squatters seeking their own competing land claims.

Tijeras: "After we restored order and became the local agents of law enforcement, managers for Chiquita and Dole plantations relied upon us to respond to their complaints...We would also get calls from the Chiquita and Dole plantations identifying specific people as "security problems" or just "problems." Everyone knew that this meant we were to execute the identified person. In most cases those executed were union leaders or members or individuals seeking to hold or reclaim land that Dole or Chiquita wanted for banana cultivation, and the Dole or Chiquita administrators would report to the AUC that these individuals were suspected guerillas or criminals."

According to Tijeras, for years the companies provided up to 90% of the AUC's income.

When a case was filed by the families and heirs of dozens of victims against Dole this past April (2009), the company immediately rejected the charges as "baseless allegations" that "are the product of the most untrustworthy sources imaginable" and "nothing more than the false confessions of convicted terrorists from Columbia, who had every motive to lie about their activities in order to minimize their jail time."

(The plaintiffs' complaint is a horrific litany of summary executions, off-the-bus abductions, forced-entry murders and kidnappings, ghoulish disappearances and other crimes committed against trade unionists and land reform activists.)

Of course Dole is correct to refer to the AUC as "terrorists" -- a designation that the U.S. State Department assigned to the group (coincidentally) on September 10, 2001. But if the payments are proven, then, as Chiquita learned, the consequences will be harsh: Payments to designated terrorists are illegal -- whether coerced or not -- and whether or not the company is cognizant or indifferent to the consequences.

As mentioned, Chiquita pleaded guilty in March 2007 after voluntarily disclosing the payments, and ended up agreeing to pay a $25 million criminal fine for violating U.S. antiterrorism laws. The Chiquita criminal case was remarkable for numerous reasons, not least because the company continued to make the payments against the advice of its own outside counsel, and even AFTER notifying the Justice Department.

As part of that settlement, Chiquita acknowledged that it had also made payments to the FARC from 1989 to at least 1997 -- the period when the missionaries were abducted and killed. Now the families are suing Chiquita under the civil provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act of 1991, which allows American citizens and their heirs to be compensated for injuries resulting from international terrorism.

Meanwhile, an "independent" review commissioned by the company's board reinforced Chiquita's claim that its sole motivation was to protect the lives of its employees -- from both the FARC and the AUC.

That report may help deflect derivative lawsuits filed by the company's own shareholders, but the conclusion won't pass the laugh test in Columbia, where attorney general Mario Iguaran has roundly rejected Chiquita's explanation and reportedly threatened to extradite as many as eight Chiquita executives (including John Paul Olivo, Charles Dennis Keiser and Dorn Robert Wenninger) who he says were responsible for approving the payments and maintaining a "criminal relationship" with the paramilitaries.

Another remarkable thing about the Chiquita case is the fact that its attorney at the time is now the U.S. Attorney General.

When he was Chiquita's attorney, Eric Holder told the Washington Post that it would be unfair to treat any company "harshly" that voluntarily discloses payments to designated terrorists, and that if the company is penalized, the individuals within the firm should not be. Yet just a few years before he first passed through the revolving door, when he was Deputy Attorney General, Holder himself had authored a famous corporate crime policy memo (known as the "Holder Memo") which suggested that the "prosecution of a corporation is not a substitute for the prosecution of criminally culpable individuals within or without the corporation."

At this point you'd think Holder would automatically and very publicly recuse himself from any decision concerning the requested extradition of Chiquita execs (would the U.S. tolerate it if a government official tied to the cartels blocked an extradition request?) or any other matter related to the investigation of multinational complicity in violence in Columbia.

Maybe it's time for Congress to peel away any doubts. Rep. William Delahunt (D-MA), chair of the House Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight, launched an investigation into U.S. multinationals' complicity with human rights violations in Columbia back in 2007 with a hearing in which witnesses testified about a pattern of multinational complicity with Columbian terrorists -- including the Alabama-based Drummond Co., Inc., which allegedly paid members of a Colombian terrorist group to kill three union organizers. (Drummond denies all of the allegations that have been made against the company and its employees by attorneys working for relatives of murdered Drummond employees, even while the Miami Herald reported just days before the hearing that paramilitaries had also come forward to talk in detail about payments Drummond made to the paramilitaries).

Other companies with operations in Columbia that were mentioned at Delahunt's hearing include Occidental, Coca-Cola and ExxonMobil

Attorney General Eric Holder is the nation's top cop, overseeing a department that we are regularly reminded has fighting terrorism (and presumably punishing those Americans who aid and abet it here or abroad) as its top priority - so it's worth asking where the Department's investigation is regarding companies like Dole, which unlike Chiquita won't volunteer any facts, and patently deny any allegations - when there is so much obvious evidence pointing their way.

The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9/11 Truth Movement.

Part II: A Survey of Attitude Change in 2009-2010

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Abstract

In the past year, in response to emerging independent science on the 9/11 attacks, nine corporate, seven public, and two independent media outlets aired analytic programs investigating the official account.

Increasingly, the issue is treated as a scientific controversy worthy of debate, rather than as a "conspiracy theory" ignoring science and common sense.

This essay presents these media analyses in the form of 18 case studies.

Eight countries – Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Russia – have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.

This more open approach taken in the international media – I could also have included the Japanese media – might be a sign that worldwide public and corporate media organizations are positioning themselves, and preparing their audiences, for a possible revelation of the truth of the claim that forces within the US government were complicit in the attacks – a revelation that would call into question the publicly given rationale for the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The evidence now being explored in the international media may pave the way for the US media to take an in-depth look at the implications of what is now known about 9/11, and to re-examine the country's foreign and domestic policies in the light of this knowledge.

I. Introduction

Until 2009, doubts about the official 9/11 story were briefly entertained by the mainstream media on each anniversary of the event, allowing the independent research community only a fleeting moment once a year to publicly voice its findings.

But after crucial scientific evidence emerged in April 2009 to challenge the official story of how the towers fell, a spate of European media reports followed. The news coverage of this evidence seems to have opened the door to more serious reflection on all aspects of the 9/11 issue in the major media.

The first paper in my series, "The Media Response to 9/11," dealt with the New Statesman's grudging recognition of Dr. David Ray Griffin, the world's "top truther" (as it dubbed him), placing him number 41 among "The 50 People Who Matter Today."1 Since this admission in September 2009, the issue has gathered increasing momentum.

The collective content issuing from this new momentum is presented here in the hope that it will embolden other major media to take up the pivotal controversy concerning 9/11, and pursuing the truth wherever it may lead.

Observations on the Analysis

While carrying out my analysis, I observed five new features in the media treatment of the 9/11 issue that developed as 2009 progressed. They are listed here, so that readers might look for them in the case studies that follow below:

1. The 9/11 issue is increasingly framed not as conspiracy theories versus hard science, but as a legitimate controversy resting on unanswered questions and a search for truth.

2. News reports and television programs examining these controversies have become longer and more balanced.

3. Major media outlets have begun to present the claims of the truth movement first, followed by counter-arguments from defenders of the official story.

4. Major media outlets have begun to include, and even to introduce, extensive evidence to support the claims of the 9/11 truth community.

5. The media treatments increasingly suggest the possibility of a re-investigation into the events of September 11, 2001.

The first part of this essay deals with the crucial scientific evidence that emerged in early 2009, the significance of this evidence in relation to the official story of 9/11, and the immediate news coverage it received.

II. Scientific Paper Finds Nano-thermite Explosives in World Trade Center Dust, April 3, 2009

A peer-reviewed paper published in the Open Chemical Physics Journal on April 3, 2009,2 reported that a little known high-tech explosive called nano-thermite was found throughout the World Trade Center dust.

These physicists and chemists involved in this study discovered "distinctive red/gray chips in significant numbers"3 in four samples of dust collected from the area. The presence of aluminum and iron oxide in the red material provided one of the signs that it might be nano-thermite, which is a high explosive (whereas ordinary thermite is an incendiary.)

Another clue was provided when putting a flame to the chips produced an explosive reaction.

On the basis of these and other observations, the team concluded that "the red layer of the red/gray chips we have discovered in the WTC dust is active, unreacted thermitic material, incorporating nanotechnology, and is a highly energetic pyrotechnic or explosive material."4

The article's first-named author, Dr. Niels Harrit – a University of Copenhagen chemistry professor who specializes in nano-chemistry5 –explained on Danish TV2 News:

"Thermite itself dates back to 1893. It is a mixture of aluminum and rust-powder, which react to create intense heat. The reaction produces iron, heated to 2500 degrees Centigrade. This can be used to do welding. It can also be used to melt other iron.

"So in nano-thermite, this powder from 1893 is reduced to tiny particles, perfectly mixed. When these react, the intense heat develops much more quickly. Nano-thermite can be mixed with additives to give off intense heat, or serve as a very effective explosive. It contains more energy than dynamite, and can be used as rocket fuel.

"You cannot fudge this kind of science. We have found it: unreacted thermite."6

What was the significance of this sophisticated material?

Reported Evidence that Nano-thermite is a Military Substance

In a German interview in May 2009, Dr. Harrit said: "There are no experts on nano-thermite without connections to the military…. This stuff has only been prepared under military contracts in the USA and probably in bigger allied countries. This is secret military research…It was not prepared in a cave in Afghanistan."7

Chemist Kevin Ryan, another co-author, had reported in an earlier article that explosive nano-thermite, which may be painted onto surfaces, was developed by US government scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories.8

A United States Department of Defense special publication confirms that work on these "energetic materials" has long been "performed in laboratories within all military services."9

According to a June 2009 statement by Britain's prestigious Institute of Nanotechnology,10 the Harrit study "provides indisputable evidence that a highly engineered explosive called nano-thermite was found in the dust of all three buildings that came down on 9/11 2001 in New York city. [sic] This advanced explosive incorporating nanotechnology is only available to sophisticated military labs."11

It thus became known by mid-2009 that explosives of military origin, probably in the United States, had been involved in the World Trade Center collapses.

Early Coverage of the Nano-thermite Finding in the European Mainstream Press

Although the new scientific evidence against the official story of 9/11 was not reported in the mainstream British or North American media, it did receive attention in continental Europe.

The day the article was published, a thorough essay in the Danish journal Videnskab (Science) examined both sides of the controversy about controlled demolition.12

The same issue of Videnskab also carried an interview with Professor Harrit, who answered pointed questions about the peer-review history of the article, and the military nature of nano-thermite.13

The following day, Denmark's politiken.dk reported the scientific nano-thermite paper in an article called (in Danish) "Conspiracy theories about 9/11 get new life."14

Then, the day after Professor Harrit's April 6 interview Danish TV2 News, he was featured on the popular talk show, "Good Morning Denmark", on which he said:

"The material we found is super hi-tech frontline military research. It's not a mixture of random chemicals. It's an advanced material which is difficult to get information on. But some conference papers and internal reports have been published…There has to be a normal forensic investigation of this attempt. Our research is high-level forensic work. We have provided technical evidence that can be used in the future investigation."15

On April 13, an online Croatian political newspaper posted the Danish TV2 video interview with Harrit along with an article titled "VIDEO: 9/11 No Longer Taboo Topic in Denmark".16

Russia also took notice. On July 9, Laura Emmett, the London correspondent for RT, interviewed Dr. Niels Harrit for over 10 minutes. (RT, previously known as Russia Today, is a globally broadcast English-language channel sponsored by the state-owned news agency RIA Novosti. It reaches 1.5 million people monthly, including half a million Americans.) Stating that "the evidence for controlled demolition is overwhelming", Harrit reported that the nano-thermite reaction produced pools of molten iron beneath the rubble and inextinguishable fires that lasted for months.17

I turn now to ways that the mainstream news coverage of the case against the official story has changed since the appearance of the nano-thermite paper.

III. The Changing Mainstream Media Treatment of 9/11 Evidence from early 2009 to early 2010: 18 Case Studies

Two February 2009 news items illustrate the wary mainstream attitude towards conspiracy theorists early in the year. A New York Times article said about actor Daniel Sunjata:

The second episode of "Rescue Me's" fifth season, starting in April, may represent the first fictional presentation of 9/11 conspiracy theories by a mainstream media company…Mr. Sunjata's character delivers a two-minute monologue…describing a "neoconservative government effort" to control the world's oil, drastically increase military spending and "change the definition of pre-emptive attack."

Mr. Sunjata surprised some of the TV reporters when he said that he "absolutely, 100 percent" supports the assertion that "9/11 was an inside job."18

Fox News was somewhat less constrained, saying:

An upcoming episode of the drama "Rescue Me" is about 9/11 being an inside job. The actor who spews the theories on camera, Daniel Sunjata, actually believes in it too.

Look, the fact is, actors who barf this crap are doing it for their own egos. It makes them feel smart, because for once they're spouting something provocative instead of puerile. Never mind that it's an insidious insult to the victims of 9/11 – as it is to the rest of us, who may or may not be guilty, according to Sunjata's theory.19

However, things started to change after the appearance of the nano-thermite paper on April 3, as may be seen from the following case studies of media reports, each of which is identified as having corporate, public, or independent ownership.

The case studies reveal the evidence which has been introduced into public consciousness during the past year.

Case Study 1: The Dutch TV Mock Trial of Osama bin Laden, April 25, 2009

On April 8, 2009, a popular TV program called "Devil's Advocate" held a mock trial of Osama bin Laden with lawyers arguing before a politically balanced civil jury of five people.

The case against bin Laden was argued by two real-world opponents: former American correspondent Charles Groenhuijsen, and Dutch-American Glenn Schoen of a US security firm. Real-world lawyer Gerald Spong acted as bin Laden's defense attorney.20

Spong presented new evidence from a videotape of Professor Emeritus of Islamic Studies Gernot Rotter, saying that the American translators who transcribed the bin Laden tapes of the November 9, 2001 "confession video" have "clearly added things in many places – things that are not there even when listening multiple times."21

Spong won. Although the jury found bin Laden to be a terrorist, it said there was no proof that he had ordered the 9/11 attacks.

Through this method, this program on AVRO – the Dutch public broadcasting organization – presented evidence, not previously seen in the major media, against the likelihood that bin Laden ordered the attacks.

On April 15, Fox News reported the Dutch jury findings in a long and unusually balanced article, in which former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani was quoted six times, saying that bin Laden's exoneration sent a "disturbing message" to the world and fueled conspiracy theories. Giuliani variously called this message "bizarre," "dangerous," "aberrational," "irrational," and "unfortunate."22

However, referring to Spong as a "well-known yet controversial attorney," Fox mentioned him 10 times, and more substantively, reporting his evidence that the bin Laden videos seemed inauthentic, as well as his point that the FBI has not indicted bin Laden for the attacks.

Concluding Comment: (AVRO is publicly owned, but Fox News is corporate.) Neither of these two mainstream treatments of doubts about the official story was broadcast on the customary anniversary date, and both reached millions of people.

Case Study 2: Architect Richard Gage in Canada's "Financial Post", April 25, 2009

One of Canada's top four English-language newspapers, the conservative National Post, publishes its business section as the Financial Post.

Three weeks after the nano-thermite story broke, Jonathan Kay, a National Post columnist and editor with degrees in both engineering and law, wrote an article about Richard Gage, the "lucid" San Francisco architect who heads up the 1,000-strong "Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth."23

Kay, who himself endorses the official story of 9/11, described Gage as a "respectable-looking middle-aged" architect, "complete with suit and tie, and receding hairline," and reported that Gage's organization "scored a booth at the upcoming American Institute of Architects conference from April 30 to May 2."

In the midst of references to thermite reactions and iron-oxide-based explosives, Kay wrote of controlled demolitions:

"As radical as Gage's theory may sound to readers, it's surprisingly popular. The '9/11 Truth Movement'…has millions of adherents across the world. Many believe that the World Trade Center was destroyed on Sept. 11 through controlled demolition set in motion by officials within America's own government and military."

Gage's presentation was also described as "effective":

"In one particularly effective segment, he puts up shots of the localized fires that broke out in the lower floors of WTC Building 7 hours before it collapsed. Seconds later, he shows footage of Beijing's Mandarin Oriental hotel – which suffered an epic top-to-bottom conflagration in 2009...and remained standing."

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). Besides reporting Gage's evidence without any attempted refutation, this corporate-press writer remarked that "no major media outlet has done a truly comprehensive profile or investigation of the Truther movement." He thereby seemed to be suggesting that it is now time to take the 9/11 truth movement seriously.

Case Study 3: Norwegian State Radio's Public Debate on 9/11 Truth, May 21, 2009

Professor Harrit, who was lecturing in Norway in late May 2009, was interviewed by public radio program "Here and Now",24 on NRK (the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation).

Harrit presented the findings of the nano-thermite paper, which were then discussed by three Norwegian scientists who did not support his conclusions.

Following the radio program, an extended email debate continued between Dr. Ola Nilsen, who teaches chemistry at the University of Oslo, and Dr. Steven Jones, a co-author of the nano-thermite paper who formerly taught physics at Brigham Young University. This debate, during which Nilsen somewhat modified his original view, was posted to a Norwegian blogsite in English.25

Concluding Comment: (Public). Although NRK in this April program challenged the findings of the Harrit paper, this was to change by late summer, as we shall see below.

Case Study 4: Architect Richard Gage on Fox News, May 28, 2009

The hosts of Fox News on KMPH in Fresno, California, began their 7-minute interview by saying, "He's an architect experienced in steel structures. Now Richard Gage is…here to show us why he's calling for a more thorough investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings."26

These two anchors actively encouraged Gage's discussion of the ten key features of controlled demolition. He was allowed to explain the free-fall acceleration of WTC 7 (shown on his two video frames as dropping at the same rate as a second building felled by controlled demolition) and the "uncanny" failure of 40,000 tons of structural steel columns that were designed to resist its collapse.

Although normal office fires were said to have caused the collapses, he explained, various firefighters had reported large pools of molten iron at ground level.

"What produced all that molten iron?" he asked.

The answer, he said, was found in the inches of dust covering lower Manhattan. "The by-product of thermite is molten iron and it's dispersed throughout all this dust…and there are small chips of unignited thermite as well. This is very high-tech thermite – nano-thermite. It's not found in a cave in Afghanistan; it's produced in very sophisticated defense department contracting laboratories…[its] particles are one-thousand times smaller than a human hair."

Asked whether bin Laden might have had access to the buildings, Gage said probably not – that someone else who had access to nano-thermite, and to the buildings' security systems, would need to be investigated. Someone who had access to the elevator modernization, which was going on nine months earlier and was "immediately adjacent to the core columns and beams in the building."

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This Fox News show began by asking Gage about his credentials, saying "We ask that for clarification so that as we get into this, we want people to make sure that you're not just someone with a wacky idea…you come with some science to you." The program ended with a sincere thank-you to Gage for "opening up a lot to think about," and an announcement that there is "a great deal of information" on the KMPH.com website. In short, Gage was treated with the respect due to any serious participant in an important and controversial issue.

The next major mainstream event was the Russia Today program of July 9, 2009, which was covered above, so we will move directly to the anniversary period of September 2009, when further evidence of the impact of the nano-thermite discovery became apparent.

Case Study 5: The National Geographic Documentary, "9/11: Science and Conspiracy", August 31, 2009

In late August, 2009, the National Geographic Channel (NGC) aired a two-hour documentary, "9/11: Science and Conspiracy," which sought to answer several questions, "What caused the collapse of the Twin Towers? Was it from the fires, or were explosives placed inside the buildings, causing them to implode? Did a missile, rather than a commercial airline jet, strike the Pentagon?"27

This "NatGeo" program purported to explore evidence about controlled demolition presented by the 9/11 truth movment. It interviewed Dylan Avery (the maker of the "Loose Change" films), Richard Gage, David Ray Griffin, and Steven Jones. But in reality this NatGeo program was entirely devoted to debunking their claims by using pseudo-scientific demonstrations to refute claims that none of these men have made.

For example, in order to refute the claim that nano-thermite could have brought down the buildings, NatGeo used ordinary thermite (with the narrator explaining that they had no access to nano-thermite). Moreover, instead of using the thermite to make shaped charges, which can cut through steel, the NatGeo experimenter simply placed a bag of thermite next to a steel column and lit it. When the burning thermite (entirely predictably) did not melt the column, the narrator concluded, triumphantly, that science had disproved the claim of the conspiracy theorists.

A review in Media Life Magazine, while not fully exposing the phoniness of the program's claim to represent "science," did point out some shortcomings, saying:

Some of the issues raised by the truthers, however, aren't addressed, or are addressed in brief asides. This leaves this documentary open to charges of picking and choosing which points to cover. "9/11: Science and Conspiracy" spends too much time discussing the psychology behind conspiracy theories – which isn't really a hard science.28

A review in the New York Post quoted Sander Hicks, a journalist who is openly a member of the 9/11 truth community, as saying that its representatives on the program "come off as careful and professional, unemotional, but compassionate about the truth," and that the program, in spite of its faults, shows "that the topic is still relevant and that the case isn't closed."29

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This program by National Geographic provides a good reminder of how the 9/11 truth issue has generally been handled by the corporately-controlled media. But it also demonstrates the fact that the controversy is very much alive in the major media.

Case Study 6: Germany's Weekly TV Guide, "TV Hören und Sehen," August 31, 2009

"TV Hören und Sehen", with a paid circulation of nearly a million copies, is owned by the Bauer Media Group, which publishes 308 magazines in 14 countries. The TV magazine features interviews and articles by prominent German authors.30

It is therefore significant that on August 31, 2009, this magazine published "Die Geheimakten von 9/11" ("The Secret Files of 9/11") as a full double-page spread, continuing with photos on two subsequent pages. It opened by saying: "9/11 is officially the largest criminal case in history – but classified documents and witness accounts are surfacing, that speak against the official versions of the CIA and Pentagon."31

It then asks what force could pulverize 200,000 tons of steel in 11.4 seconds, quoting US engineer Neel Ginson: "In order to bring down this kind of mass in such a short period of time, the material must have been artificially exploded outwards." Ginson added that, looking closely, one can see small explosions in the Twin Towers always occurring before the floors are reached by the collapse line. The fact that the towers were the first steel-frame buildings in the world to collapse because of fire, he added, was even admitted by NIST (the National Institute of Science and Technology, the government agency that produced the official reports).

Among many other questions, the article raises the issue of adjacent World Trade Center 7, the 47-storey steel-frame building with a base the size of a football field that collapsed at 5:20 PM the same day: "But the official 9/11 investigation never mentions the building once."

With reference to the Pentagon, this article asks: How were the victims identified by their fingerprints, when even the airplane steel had melted?

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). Although this article does not specifically mention nano-thermite, it clearly suggests that artificial explosions brought down the buildings. By not defending the official story at all, this large-chain corporate media outlet was among the first to give an open hearing to the independent 9/11 research community.

Case Study 7: Two California Newspapers Review the Role of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, September 2009

In September 2009, Metroactive (Silicon Valley's number-one weekly magazine) and the Santa Barbara Independent, each published slightly different versions of a long article on the controversy surrounding the WTC building collapses.32

The Independent article – entitled "Twin Towers, Twin Myths?" – begins:

"One of the crucial technical disputes in American history, perhaps second only to global warming, is underway. It pits hundreds of government technicians who say the World Trade Center buildings were brought down by airplane impact against hundreds of professional architects and building engineers who insist that the Twin Towers could never have collapsed solely due to the planes and are calling for a new independent investigation. It is a fight that is not going away and is likely to get louder as more building trade professionals sign on to one side or the other."33

The version in MetroActive – called "Explosive Theory" – says "[E]ight years after 9/11, a growing organization of building trades professionals suspect that there was more to the event than the government will admit." It then gives a short history of Gage's now 1,000-strong organization, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE).34

Deputy Director Michael J. Heimbach of the FBI's counter-terrorism division, this article adds, had recently acknowledged in a letter to the organization that Gage's presentation is "backed by thorough research and analysis."

One local AE member was quoted as saying "it takes too much energy" – energy that was not there – to collapse the buildings at free-fall speed, given the resistance that steel offers. This was borne out, this member continued, by a team of scientists "working at technical laboratories in the United States and Denmark [who] reported in April that analysis of dust …gathered at the World Trade Center found evidence of the potent incendiary/explosive 'super thermite,' used by the military."

Almost half of this article deals with the controversy over whether nano-thermite was used, with most of the space allotted to evidence supplied by the 9/11 Truth Movement. Near the end, however, spokesman Michael Newman is brought in to defend NIST's research, saying there was "no need" to test the dust for thermite.

But the last word was given to engineer Ed Munyak of AE, who said:

"The fact is that the collapses don't resemble any fire-induced behavior of structures, but it exactly mimics a controlled demolition, so why not investigate that? It's all very suspicious and that's why an independent investigation is needed so we can all learn from this."

"Explosive Theory" also focuses pointedly on the growing number of professional organizations and retired officials calling for a new investigation, including:

…two dozen retired U.S. military brass and eight former U.S. State Department officials, along with a number of Republicans who have served in high federal positions since President Reagan, including former Assistant Treasury Secretary Paul Craig Roberts and former Reagan administration Assistant Defense Secretary (and retired Marine Corps colonel) Ronald D. Ray.

The version in the Santa Barbara Independent concludes with an unusually candid observation:

And how would America deal with such an investigation against the backdrop of suppositions that some officials in government were complicit? This idea is virtually unthinkable to most of the public, much less something the American political system can handle…The forces of denial, in the system and in most of our minds, are innately powerful and probably sufficient to mitigate against a reopened investigation. Despite this, [Richard] Gage [of AE] sees his role as provoking a better investigation.

Concluding Comment: (Independent). The authors of this article, rather than referring to "conspiracy theorists," present the 9/11 issue as a "technical dispute" of historic importance. Both versions of the article represent a 180-degree turnaround in American newspaper reporting, providing a useful introduction to the long-ignored research by independent professionals. The Santa Barbara Independent, curious about public opinion rather than seeking to hide it, published a local poll asking if conspiracy was behind the collapses: 75% of respondents answered "yes".35

Case Study 8: Dr. Niels Harrit on NRK1's "Schrödinger's Cat," September 10, 2009

NRK1 is the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation's main TV channel. It's program "Schrödinger's Cat", which is about scientific research and technology, comes on every Thursday following the evening news. It has won several awards, and averages 487,000 viewers.

For the September 10 program, Dr. Harrit was interviewed for about ten minutes in his office and laboratory at the University of Copenhagen Nano-Science Center, where he demonstrated the magnetic quality of a WTC dust sample. He also showed videotape of molten iron flowing from the upper South Tower, which was iron, not aluminum (which melts at a much lower temperature than steel or iron). Emphasizing that an office fire, even if fed by jet fuel, could not possibly get hot enough to melt steel, thereby producing iron, he concluded that the flowing iron had to have been caused by something such as nano-thermite, which produces "an enormous amount of heat", and molten iron is created in the process, with a temperature of 4530 F.36

Although Harrit did not know who placed the explosives, he said, he had no doubt that a crime had occurred.

In the final third of the program, three other people were asked for comments. Two of the people tried to cast doubt on Harrit's conclusions, but their comments were weak, even absurd. An architect argued that the energy from the airliners brought the Twin Towers down and then Building 7 came down because the collapse of the towers acted like an earthquake to weaken the ground. American buildings are weak, he explained, because they don't use reinforced concrete.

Finally, Dr. David Ray Griffin has stated that "for scientists and people who study the facts, the official story about the Twin Towers is completely ludicrous, but for the general public it has seemed plausible. Jet fuel fires – they seem so hot. Jet fuel's just kerosene."

Concluding Comment: (Public). This prime-time coverage by Norway's largest TV channel was quite a turnaround from the earlier NRK radio coverage in May. Most of the time was given to Drs. Harrit and Griffin; the content was groundbreaking; and the opposing views were obviously insubstantial. Considering Norway's NATO membership and military participation in the US-led operations in Afghanistan, the program could prove to be significant.

Case Study 9 : London's "Daily Mail" asks whether Osama bin Laden is Dead, September 11, 2009

This long and detailed article opens with the menacing bin Laden audiotape of June 3, 2009, timed to coincide with Barack Obama's arrival on his Middle East tour, and then moves to the new Anglo-American offensive to "hunt and kill" the al Qaeda leader.

But, the Daily Mail asks, what if bin Laden isn't alive?

What if everything we have seen or heard of him on video and audio tapes since the early days after 9/11 is a fake – and that he is being kept 'alive' by the Western allies to stir up support for the war on terror?

Incredibly, this is the breathtaking theory that is gaining credence among political commentators, respected academics and even terror experts.37

Professors Angelo Codevilla of Boston University and Bruce Lawrence of Duke University point out that the early, verifiable videotapes of bin Laden do not match the tapes that have emerged since 2002 – and even one in late 2001.

Telltale distinguishing features include a changed facial structure and increasing secularism in the content of the messages.

The article then presents the findings of Dr. Griffin's book on the topic – Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? – as "provoking shock waves".

This book presents evidence that bin Laden died, probably due to kidney failure, in mid-December 2001, which would mean that his taped messages since then have been faked to "stoke up waning support for the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Perhaps the most controversial of all the tapes was released by the Pentagon on December 13, 2001, claiming that it had been found in a home in Jalalabad. Prior to this tape, bin Laden had, while praising the 9/11 attacks, consistently denied responsibility for them. But the bin Laden of this tape boasts about having planned them.

President Bush, the Blair Government, and the mainstream media all hailed this message as offering conclusive proof of bin Laden's guilt.

The Daily Mail, however, points to various reasons provided in Griffin's book to believe that the man in this video was an imposter. It refers to the existence of a "highly sophisticated, special effects film technology to morph together images and vocal recordings."

And it quotes Griffin as saying: "The confession tape came exactly when Bush and Blair had failed to prove Bin Laden's responsibility for 9/11 and both men were trying to win international public support, particularly in the Islamic world, for the anti-terrorist campaign."

Far from seeking to ridicule Griffin's book, the Daily Mail concluded thus: "[T]he Bin Laden tapes have emerged with clockwork regularity as billions have been spent and much blood spilt on the hunt for him. Bin Laden has been the central plank of the West's 'war on terror'. Could it be that, for years, he's just been smoke and mirrors?"

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This 2400-word article is the first serious mainstream coverage the evidence that Osama bin Laden is dead – and has been for many years.

Case Study 10. The New Statesman announces Dr. David Ray Griffin as No. 41 in "The Fifty People who Matter Today," September 24, 2009

Two weeks after the Daily Mail article, a second corporate British publication put Griffin in 41st place in a list of people who "matter today.”38

Because this article was discussed in my earlier paper, Part I of this series, it is mentioned here only as a significant milepost, one that gave (grudging) recognition to the fact that the movement challenging the official account of 9/11 can no longer be ignored.

Its impact on the media is shown by the fact that the New Statesman placed Dr. Griffin (who scores 200,000 results when googled) above Venezuela's President, Hugo Chavez, (who scores over 11 million results) on its list of influential people.

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). Although the New Statesman called the movement represented by Dr. Griffin "pernicious", its evaluation of his importance represents a point of no return in the media coverage of 9/11 – as we shall see.

Case Study 11: Jean-Marie Bigard on France 2 Public Television, October 28, 2009

Back in September 2008, Jean-Marie Bigard, France's most popular stand-up comedian, was led to apologize for claiming 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government.39 But by July 2009, Bigard had started to post humorous videos on his website ridiculing the official account of the September 11 attacks.

In October 2009, Bigard and award-winning French filmmaker Mathieu Kassovitz appeared for an hour in a debate on France 2, the publicly owned French national television channel.40

The hosts, who had refused to include the scientist who was originally supposed to be on the show (Dr. Niels Harrit) attempted to center the debate on "straw man" theories that neither Bigard nor Kassovitz held. This led to arguments, which then allowed Le Figaro, France's second largest newspaper, to dismiss the debate as "noisy sophistry".41

Concluding Comment: (Public). Although this program was aimed at debunking the 9/11 movement, as shown by its refusal to include a scientist, the fact that it was aired on this state-owned network was a breakthrough, ending the era in which 9/11 questioning was ignored in France.

Case Study 12: "The Unofficial Story", by CBC's The Fifth Estate, November 27, 2009

On November 26, 2009, Canada's largest newspaper, The Globe and Mail, noting in an objective review42 that the 9/11 truth movement is "gathering steam," reported that a documentary airing that evening "follows up on some fairly startling public-opinion polls of late."

It was referring to "The Unofficial Story",43 a program in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's weekly award-winning investigative series, The Fifth Estate.44

Host Bob McKeown, himself a recipient of multiple awards45, opened by saying that eight years after the "most scrutinized day in history", there may be "more questions than ever", and that an increasing number of people now believe the US government was behind the 9/11 attacks. "Incredibly", he adds, "public opinion polls now show that a majority of Americans believe the Bush Administration had advance knowledge of those attacks, and one way or another allowed them to happen, and polls show that one Canadian in three believes that, too."

"The Unofficial Story" then allows leading members of the 9/11 truth community to present a spectrum of evidence on various issues:

Architect Richard Gage on how the towers were brought down by controlled demolition

Canadian scientist A.K. Dewdney on the impossibility of cell phone calls at high altitude

David Ray Griffin on the FBI's 2006 admission that, although US Solicitor General Ted Olson had reported receiving two calls from his wife, CNN commentator Barbara Olson on Flight 77, the evidence indicates that she attempted only one call and that it was "unconnected" and hence lasted "zero seconds"

Dr. Griffin and Canadian media commentator Barrie Zwicker on the military's explanation of why it did not intercept the airliners

9/11 documentary filmmaker Craig Ranke on the fact that footage of the Pentagon attack is virtually unavailable to the public in spite of many cameras trained on the building

Dewdney on evidence that Flight 93 was shot down by the US military

Richard Gage on the presence of nano-thermite in the World Trade Center dust

In response, defenders of the official account, such as Johnathan Kay (of Canada's National Post) and 9/11 Commission counsel John Farmer, focus more on why the American public is susceptible to conspiracy theories, than on the disputed evidence itself 46 – although Kay does credit Richard Gage for being involved in a serious quest for truth.

Jim Meigs, Editor-in-Chief of Popular Mechanics, also directs comments against the skeptics themselves rather than their evidence. Conspiracy theorists, he says, are deluded by "the myth of hyper-competence" in relation to the failure of the US Air Force to intercept the planes.

However, Brent Blanchard, presented as a demolition expert, argues against the controlled demolition theory by producing seismographs showing the absence of spikes that, he says, would have been produced by explosions.

He also expressed concern that people around the world, by reporting US government complicity in 9/11 "as fact", are affecting how people view America.

But actor Daniel Sunjata (of "Rescue Me") ponders the price of not asking the hard questions: "Sometimes boils need to be lanced. Sometimes poison needs to be brought to the surface in order for real healing to take place."

McKeown concludes: "We did it not to promote one side or the other, but to shine some light on some of those unresolved issues and unanswered questions."

And indeed, the program website published links to both sides of the issue.47

Concluding Comment: (Public). This hour-long documentary was the first truly fair opportunity in North America for advocates of the "unofficial story" of 9/11 to present some of their case on mainstream television. Representatives of the "official story" were also given time to speak, but their case was patently weaker. This imbalance was allowed by the producers, and indeed by the Canadian government, to stand. Aired several times across Canada, this program drew unusually high viewer commentary.

Case Study 13: New Zealand TV's "Close Up" hosts Architect Richard Gage, November 27, 2009

The same day "The Unofficial Story" was broadcast by the CBC, Richard Gage appeared on New Zealand TV's popular public affairs program, Close-Up, for a six-minute interview.48

"WTC 7 was never hit by a plane but it still came down," the host begins, "and that's what troubles internationally respected architect Richard Gage."

Gage is then allowed to explain that the building fell straight down in 6.5 seconds, and that NIST, the agency tasked with explaining the collapse, admitted that it had come down in absolute free-fall for the first hundred feet or so. "That means the structure had to have been removed," says Gage. "There is evidence of very high-tech explosives in all the dust throughout lower Manhattan – nanothermite."

Normal office fires, Gage added, would start "a large, gradual deformation – the building would tip over – it wouldn't go straight down through the path of greatest resistance."

This is why 1,000 engineers and architects around the world are demanding a real investigation that includes all of the evidence at the crime scene, not just the planes and the fires, says Gage.

"In the nine months prior to 9/11, we had the largest elevator modernization in history going on inside the towers…We're looking for an investigation that includes elevator companies, security companies, etcetera."

Concluding Comment: (Public). New Zealand's national television station allowed open and unopposed discussion, by the founder of the world's largest professional organization calling for a new 9/11 investigation, of the claim that nano-thermite was used in a controlled demolition of the World Trade Center. The coincidence that this program and the CBC's "The Unofficial Story" both aired on the same day may prove to be a turning point in media coverage of the 9/11 issue.

Case Study 14 : "9/11 Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," TruTV, Premiere December 9, 2009

TruTV is an American cable television network owned by Time Warner through its subsidiary, Turner Broadcasting. Historically, its has given live homicide trial coverage and other criminal justice programming, though it has recently expanded into more caught-on-video reality, which it calls "actuality" television.

"Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura" premiered December 2, 2009, to an audience of 1.6 million television viewers.

The former Governor of Minnesota has good cause to look into conspiracies, as seen in his December 29 episode, which shows personal experience that the "secret state" holds more power than the senior elected representatives of the people:

"About a month after I was elected governor, I was requested into the basement of the capitol to be interviewed by 23 members of the Central Intelligence Agency, the CIA…And I said to them, "look before I answer any of your questions, I want to know what you're doing here." Because in the CIA mission statement it says that they're not to be operational inside the United States of America. Well, they wouldn't really give me an answer on that. And then I said, "I want to go around the room, and I want each one of you to tell me your name and what you do." Half of them wouldn't. Now isn't that bizarre? I'm the governor, and these guys won't even answer questions from me."49

Ventura made the 9/11 documentary after being approached by Donna March O'Connor, whose daughter died in the World Trade Center and wanted "every American exposed to the questions" about 9/11.50

Ventura's documentary contained interviews with the following people:

Janitor William Rodriguez, the last man out of the North Tower and who was decorated for heroism by President Bush, who reported enormous explosions in the basements just before the plane hit up above, and whose testimony to the 9/11 Commission was ignored

Physicist Steven Jones, formerly of Brigham Young University, who isolated super-thermite from the enormous dust clouds of the Twin Towers and Building 7, after which he was contacted by a consultant engineer from the Department of Homeland Security, who warned Jones that, if he published his findings "the pain would be great."

Explosives expert Van Romero, of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, demonstrating how super-thermite can be painted onto a steel beam, causing it to burn through

Ground Zero rescue worker Mike Mallone, who reported seeing one of the four black boxes removed from the site, and was told of two others – and who was told by the FBI that if he talked about it, "there would be a problem."

Investigative journalist Dave Lindorff, who was told "off the record" by a contact in the National Transportation Safety Board, which investigated the boxes, that all four had been recovered by the FBI and taken away, though officially, the contact said, this would be denied

Air crash investigator Dale Leppard, who said that the bright orange heat-resistant boxes are never lost

Yet the 9/11 Commission Report claimed that the boxes from American 11 and United 175 were never found.

Ventura concluded by asking: "If everything they told us was true, then why would they need to stonewall us?"

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). By calling his series "Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura", he openly declares that conspiracies do exist, and that they are a legitimate subject to investigate. According to TruTV, the first episode drew 1.6 million viewers, a record for a new series on this network.

Case Study 15: German Federal Judge Dieter Deiseroth Questions the Official 9/11 Investigation, December 15, 2009

Heinz Heise is a German publishing house, which publishes Europe's most popular computer and technology journals. It also owns Heise Online (heise.de), which is a top-50 site in Germany, and a top-1000 website in the world as a whole.

On December 15 2008, Heise Online carried an interview with German Federal Judge Dieter Deiseroth on the legality of the Afghanistan war and the question of whether the attacks were adequately investigated in the US.51

In his response, Deiseroth made the following points:

The 9/11 Commission consisted of Bush Administration officials who were very close to the military industrial complex.

Now, over eight years after 9/11, no independent court has applied legal procedures to review the available evidence on who was responsible for the attacks.

It is not acceptable for a constitutional state to dispense with the necessary steps in identifying suspects and instead to declare war, bomb a foreign country where suspects reside, and place it under military occupation.

Having made the claim that bin Laden was responsible for the terrorism of 9/11, the United States was under burden of proof, and yet America's own FBI admits that it has no evidence presented in court of Osama bin Laden's responsibility for the 9/11 attacks.

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This “top-50” online journal exposed many German people to the illegal and unconstitutional responses to the 9/11 attacks – which were the underpinning for the subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq – and even to questions about the truth of the official account of 9/11 itself.

Case Study 16: Germany's “Focus Money” says: “We Do Not Believe You!” January 8, 2010

With 450,000 to 720,000 readers, Focus Money is the second most popular German weekly business magazine. In January 2010, it published a 5-page, highly detailed, and comprehensively researched glossy feature, "We do not believe you!"52

The article first looks at the many professional 9/11 groups, as well as a 2,000-strong list of prominent and qualified people who question the 9/11 Commission Report at the Patriots Question 9/11 website.

It quotes Richard Gage saying: "The towers accelerated without interruption in free fall…as if the lower 90 floors of the building did not exist. The only way to bring them down like that is controlled demolition."

The article weighs Gage's list of ten features of a controlled demolition, which were exemplified in the World Trade Center collapses, against the three features of a fire-caused destruction, which were absent.

Focus Money also explores the case of Barry Jennings, a former Deputy Director of Emergency Services in New York's Housing Authority, who reported being trapped in WTC 7 after massive explosions in this building occurred in the morning – before the Twin Towers fell. Focus Money also reported that Jennings, aged 53, died mysteriously just days before NIST's report on WTC-7 was to be released in August 2008.

The article recommends films that challenge the official report, including "Loose Change", which has been seen 125 million times on Google video alone, "9/11 Mysteries," and "Zero" – all available online.

Regarding the Pentagon, experienced commercial pilots are cited as maintaining that no one, let alone a Cessna pilot, could fly the route that Flight 77 allegedly took to hit the building.

The article pointed out the lack of debris to support the official story: "There was no tail, there were no wings, no confirmation of the crash of a Boeing 757." And there were no titanium engines, which would have survived the crash.

Also cited was Sergeant Lauro Chavez of the US Central Command in Florida, who was involved in exercises the morning of 9/11 to hijack planes and fly them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and the White House. He asks why, when it became clear that the attacks were real, were the rogue planes not intercepted?

Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta's testimony to the 9/11 Commission, in which he reported a conversation between Dick Cheney and a young officer prior to the strike on the Pentagon, supports Chavez' conviction that there had been a stand-down order.

Concluding Comment: (Corporate). This 5,400-word article presented strong evidence against the official 9/11 account to Germany's economic and political decision-makers.

Case Study 17: Televised documentary, "The BBC's Conspiracy Files: Osama bin Laden – Dead or Alive?" January 10, 2010

In January 2010, a BBC News article53 summarized evidence supporting both sides of the question stated in the title of its upcoming documentary, "Osama bin Laden – Dead or Alive?" – a title taken from the David Ray Griffin book that was previously discussed in a Daily Mail article.54

The documentary, which was part of the BBC Conspiracy Files series, opened by presenting evidence that bin Laden has long been dead, including the following points:

Bruce Riedel, chair of President Obama's policy review on Afghanistan and Pakistan, says the bin Laden trail is cold, "frozen over," meaning that there has been no intelligence on bin Laden since Tora Bora, either by sightings or intercepted communications.

Various lines of evidence suggest that bin Laden was suffering from advanced kidney disease: CBS News reported, for example, that he was being treated in the kidney ward of a hospital in Pakistan the night before the 9/11 attacks, and the last of the undoubtedly authentic videotapes showed him frail and gaunt, with a whitish beard.

There were reports of his funeral in mid-December 2001 in Pakistani and Egyptian newspapers.

Former CIA agent Robert Baer, who believes bin Laden to be dead, reported that none of his friends in the CIA could state for certain that bin Laden was still alive.

Colonel Iman, Pakistan's former troop trainer, also believes him to be dead.

The only proof of bin Laden's continuing existence is the audio and videotapes, and Dr. Griffin has presented evidence (about the structure of bin Laden's face and hands, and the secular content of his messages)that some of them are clearly faked, leading to the suspicion that they all are.

Pakistan's former Lieutenant General Hamid Gul, who knew bin Laden, supports this conclusion with regard to the alleged confession video.

Professor Bruce Lawrence of Duke University, a student of the bin Laden tapes, also declared it a fake, especially because bin Laden always loved the spotlight. He asks why bin Laden has been seen so infrequently on video and why his contemporary, Ayman al-Zawahiri is seen so often.55

The BBC narrator says that only six of bin Laden's 40 messages were videotapes, and only two have appeared since Tora Bora in 2001.

Dr Griffin says the first video appeared conveniently just before the 2004 US election, which helped Bush to win; and the second appeared in 2007, showing a very black beard, which had formerly been almost white.56

CIA agent Robert Baer confirmed that the alleged bin Laden audio and video tapes could have been faked through digital manipulation.

The BBC program also presented evidence that is believed by some to show that the US may not have been intent on capturing or killing bin Laden:

Dalton Fury, commander of the secret Delta Force, says it was "odd" that Washington denied him nearby troops and artillery when he had bin Laden trapped at Tora Bora in December 2001.

Mike Scheuer, formerly of the CIA bin Laden Unit, said the US had ten chances to easily kill bin Laden between May 1998 and May 1999. Each time the CIA briefed the White House of the opportunity, the decision was made not to shoot.

In the final third of the program, the BBC provided rather weak evidence against "the theory that Osama bin Laden died 8 years ago and the US government is keeping him alive, faking videos, and sending troops to battle and allowing them to die in pursuit of an imaginary foe." However, a reviewer for the TV and Radio section of the The Independent, one of London's leading newspapers, complained that this rebuttal was too little, too late, saying:

"The Conspiracy Files film about Osama Bin Laden was a dubious affair, which gave regrettable amounts of air time to an obsessive 9/11 "truther" called David Ray Griffin. . . . Griffin only got the airtime, as it turned out, so that Conspiracy Files could systematically work their way through his claims and dismiss them. But I think they grievously overestimated the capacity of common sense to mop up the pollution of paranoid fantasy that they actively helped to spread around in the first 45 minutes of the film."57

This seemed to be the commentator's way of saying that the BBC's show probably increased the number of people who believe that bin Laden is probably dead.

Concluding Comment: (Public). This program attempts to neutralize the evidence that bin Laden has been dead for 8 years, which if true would mean that fabricated tapes are helping to justify a continuing Western offensive in the Middle East. That the program was made at all shows how seriously the BBC is taking the growing challenge to the official story of 9/11.

Case Study 18 : An American Union Paper Calls for a New Probe, February 1, 2010

The New Hampshire Union Leader is a daily union newspaper seen by 143,000 people per month in the United States.

Beth Lamontagne Hall of the Union Leader wrote in February 2010 that "Keene resident Gerhard Bedding doesn't buy the government's version of what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, so he's working on a statewide campaign calling for another investigation into the terrorist attacks.58

Bedding and others, she reported, are petitioning New Hampshire's congressional delegates to push for an independent investigation into "all the evidence and unanswered questions" pertaining to the 9/11 attacks.

Quoting Bedding's statement that a new investigation is needed "in light of new evidence that has appeared in the last two years," she pointed out that he mentioned, in particular, the report that scientists had found traces of explosives at the World Trade Center.

Concluding Comment: (Independent). This article in a daily union newspaper is a significant indicator, more than eight years after the attacks, of the broadening concern over the truth about 9/11, and is another example of the widespread influence of the nano-thermite paper published by Dr. Harrit and his co-authors.

IV. Summary and Concluding Observations

1. In the past year, in response to emerging independent science on the 9/11 attacks, nine corporate, seven public, and two independent media outlets aired examinations of the issue, which were all – with the exception of the National Geographic special – reasonably objective, examining the issue as a legitimate scientific controversy worthy of debate (not as "conspiracy theorists" vs. science and common sense).

2. Eight countries – Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, and Russia – have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.

3. These developments may reflect a relaxation in the international media following the change in the US and British leaderships.

4. These developments definitely reflect, in any case, the fact that scientists in the 9/11 Truth Movement have recently succeeded in getting papers, such as the nano-thermite paper, published in peer-reviewed journals.

5. These developments surely also reflect the general professionalism of the 9/11 Truth Movement, as exemplified by the emergence of not only Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth but also Firefighters, Intelligence Officers, Lawyers, Medical Professionals, Pilots, Political Leaders, Religious Leaders, Scholars, and Veterans for 9/11 Truth.

6. These developments seem to reflect, moreover, an increased recognition of the importance of the 9/11 Truth Movement, which is demonstrated by two honors given to its most influential member, Dr. David Ray Griffin, that would have been unthinkable only a few years ago: the choice by Publishers Weekly of one of his books as a "Pick of the Week," and his inclusion in the New Statesman's list of the most important people in the world today.

This more open approach taken in the international media – I could also have included the Japanese media – might be a sign that worldwide public and corporate media organizations are positioning themselves, and preparing their audiences, for a possible revelation of the truth of the claim that forces within the US government were complicit in the attacks – a revelation that would call into question the publicly given rationale for the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.

The evidence now being explored in the international media may pave the way for the US media to take an in-depth look at the implications of what is now known about 9/11, and to re-examine the country's foreign and domestic policies in the light of this knowledge.

Elizabeth Woodworth is a retired professional health sciences librarian, and a freelance writer. She is the author of two published books and many articles on political and social justice issues.

Notes

1 "The 50 People Who Matter Today," New Statesman, September 24, 2009 (http://www.newstatesman.com/global-issues/2009/09/world-fashion-gay-india-church ). Note that Part I of this series, entitled "The Media Response to the Growing Influence of the 9 /11 Truth Movement: Reflections on a Recent Evaluation of Dr. David Ray Griffin," was published by Global Research, December 12, 2009 (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16505)

2 Niels H. Harrit, Jeffrey Farrer, Steven E. Jones, Kevin R. Ryan, Frank M. Legge, Daniel Farnsworth, Gregg Roberts, James R. Gourley, Bradley R. Larsen, "Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe," Open Chemical Physics Journal, Vol. 2 (April 3, 2009): 7-31 (http://www.bentham.org/open/tocpj/openaccess2.htm)

3 Ibid., p. 29.

4 Ibid., p. 29.

5 Dr. Harrit is Associate Professor of the Department of Chemistry, and has been a faculty member at the Nano-Science Center at the University of Copenhagen since this Center started in 2001. (http://nano.ku.dk/english/ )

6 "Danish Scientist Niels Harrit on Nano-thermite in the WTC Dust (English subtitles)," TV2 News, Denmark, April 6, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8_tf25lx_3o).

7 By Lars Sobiraj, May 24, 2009,"Germany's gulli.com (link obsolete now) Interviews Dr. Niels Harrit on Nanothermite at the WTC," Sunday May 24th, 2009 1:28 PM, http://911truth.org/article_for_printing.php?story=20090525150347423

8 Kevin R. Ryan, "The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermite," July 2, 2008, (http://www.journalof911studies.com/volume/2008/Ryan_NIST_and_Nano-1.pdf )

9 Dr. Andrzej W. Miziolek, "Nanoenergetics: An Emerging Technology Area of National Importance," In: US Department of Defense. "Special Issue: DOD Researchers Provide a Look Inside Nanotechnology," Amptiac Quarterly, Vol. 6, No. 1, Spring 2002, p. 44 (http://www.p2pays.org/ref/34/33115.pdf ) The article reports that, "Very simply, nanoenergetics can store higher amounts of energy than conventional energetic materials and one can use them in unprecedented ways to tailor the release of this energy so as to maximize the lethality of the weapons." p. 43.

10 See the IoN Advisory Group at http://www.nano.org.uk/aboutus/ukboard.htm

11 My italics. [News]: "Active Thermitic Material Confirmed in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe," June 15, 2009 (http://www.nano.org.uk/news/jun2009/latest1881.htm)

12 Thomas Hoffmann, "Danish scientist: an explosive nano material found in dust from the World Trade Center", Videnskab.dk, April 3, 2009 (http://www.videnskab.dk/composite-1945.htm )

13 Thomas Hoffmann, "Niels Harrit: Scientific evidence of long-time knowledge of 9/11," Videnskab.dk, April 3, 2009 (http://www.videnskab.dk/composite-2019.htm )

14 Milla Mølgaard, April 4, 2009, (http://politiken.dk/indland/article684567.ece )

15 "Niels Harrit presents evidence for nano-thermite in WTC, on GoodMorning Denmark," (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zAUUKPfdeQA )

16 Posted at: http://www.javno.com/en-world/video--911-no-longer-taboo-topic-in-denmark_250703

17 "Did nano-thermite take down the WTC?" (http://rt.com/Best_Videos/2009-07-09/Did_nano-thermite_take_down_the_WTC.html , and

http://rt.com/Politics/2009-07-09/Did_nano-thermite_take_down_the_WTC.html?fullstory ) . Also available on youtube as "Dr. Niels Harrit on Russia Today – We need a real 9/11 investigation," (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uVbF1ndquZI&feature=PlayList&p=4B3A9D67894B7184&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=20 )

18 Brian Stelter, "The Political Suspicions of 9/11," New York Times, February 1, 2009 (http://www.nytimes.com/2009/02/02/business/media/02fx.html?_r=2&ref=business )

19 Fox News, "'Rescue Me' From 9/11 Conspiracy Theories," February 4, 2009, http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,487906,00.html )

20 The mock trial is available on youtube in 4 parts: "911 Devil's Advocate – English subs – Part 1 of 4", starts at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aOdlA_eu-Lw

21 This is said at the beginning of "911 Devil's Advocate – English subs – Part 2 of 4", at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJX-rIaAbA4&feature=related. See also, Craig Morris, "Mistranslated Osama bin Laden Video – the German Press Investigates," December 23, 2001 (http://dc.indymedia.org/newswire/display/16801 )

22 Joshua Rhett Miller, "Dutch TV Show Feeds Conspiracy Theories on Bin Laden's Role in 9/11," Fox News, April 25, 2009 (http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,516195,00.html )

23 Johanthan Kay, "Richard Gage: 9/11 truther extraordinaire," Financial Post, Saturday, April 25, 2009 (http://www.financialpost.com/scripts/story.html?id=f54cf9ee-4637-44de-8819-19d918b3241b&k=21893 )

24 The radio program may be heard at this link, in Norwegian, without subtitles http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iHZHGUd82wc )

25 Norwegian State Radio initiates public debate on 9/11 Truth (update), (http://zelikow.wordpress.com/2009/05/22/norwegian-state-radio-initiates-public-debate-on-911-truth/ )

26 Richard Gage interviewed by Kim Stephens and Kopi Sotiropulos on KMPH Fox 26 in Fresno, CA, May 28, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oO2yT0uBQbM&feature=related )

27 "9/11: Science and Conspiracy", (http://www.shallownation.com/2009/08/31/national-geographic-9-11-science-and-conspiracy-video-photos/). National Geographic Channel is a joint venture of National Geographic Television & Film and Fox Cable Networks.

28 Tom Conroy. "'9/11: Science and Conspiracy' not quite," Media Life Magazine, August 31, 2009 (http://www.medialifemagazine.com/artman2/publish/TV_Reviews_21/9_11_Science_and_Conspiracy_not_quite.asp )

29 Maxine Shen, "The Story Behind 9/11: Hit or Myth? Taking on the Truthers," New York Post, September 2, 2009 (http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/item_tPXUgMFRZVQywHJg28ON7J;jsessionid=5113BAC6DC385827B1486E60DAA759A8#ixzz0eY7F97Dx)

30 The website for this publication is http://www.tvhus.de/home/home.html

31 Hannes Wellmann, "Die Geheimakten von 9/11," TV Hören und Sehen, August 31, 2009. The article and its English translation have been downloaded to http://www.911video.de/news/020909/

32 Whereas the article focuses primarily on Bay-Area resident Richard Gage, Santa Barbara is the home of David Ray Griffin, so the Independent version gave more space to him, even including his photo.

33 Jay Levin and Tom McKenzie, "Twin Towers, Twin Myths?" Santa Barbara Independent, September 17, 2009 (http://www.independent.com/news/2009/sep/17/twin-towers-twin-myths/ )

34 Jay Levin and Tom McKenzie, "Explosive Theory," MetroActive, September 9, 2009, (http://www.metroactive.com/metro/09.09.09/cover-0936.html)

35 "Is conspiracy behind the World Trade Center's collapse?" (http://www.independent.com/polls/2009/sep/wtc09/results/ )

36 "Norwegian TV examines 911 part 1," September 10, 2009, (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UlHuYt_u-kI ) The TV program was followed by a written account of it: Lars Ole Skjønberg, "World Trade Center ble sprengt" ("World Trade Center was Blown Up,") September 10, 2009, http://www.nrk.no/programmer/tv/schrodingers_katt/1.6769275 ). Further information and partial transcripts are available at "Norwegian State Television presents 9/11 Truth (en subs), (update)

(http://zelikow.wordpress.com/2009/09/17/norwegian-state-television-presents-911-truth/ )

37 Sue Reid, "Has Osama Bin Laden been dead for seven years – and are the U.S. and Britain covering it up to continue war on terror?" Daily Mail, September 11, 2009 (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1212851/Has-Osama-Bin-Laden-dead-seven-years--U-S-Britain-covering-continue-war-terror.html )

38 New Statesman, "The 50 People who Matter Today."

39 "French comedian apolgises for claiming 9/11 was orchestrated by the US government," Belfast Telegraph, September 10, 2008 (http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/world-news/french-comedian-apologises-for-claiming-911-was-orchestrated-by-the-us-government-13968453.html )

40 "L'objet du scandale, 11 septembre, Bigard, Kassovitz," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1uc4Mb9rF0c The program is also available with English subtitles, at http://world911truth.org/911-debate-with-kassovitz-and-bigard/ . The debate was originally intended to include journalist Éric Laurent and Prof. Niels Harrit, but apparently France 2 could not find anyone to debate them. See "France 2 backs away from real debate, censors Niels Harrit and Éric Laurent," October 24, 2009, http://world911truth.org/france-2-backs-away-from-real-debate-censors-niels-harrit-and-eric-laurent/ .

41 Hervé de Saint Hilaire, «L'objet du scandale» : sophismes bruyants, Le Figaro, 30 octobre 2009 (http://www.lefigaro.fr/programmes-tele/2009/10/30/03012-20091030ARTFIG00348-l-objet-du-scandale-sophismes-bruyants-.php )

42 Andrew Ryan, "Was 9/11 a conspiracy? 'Truthers' make their case: CBC's fifth estate airs The Unofficial Story," The Globe and Mail, November 26, 2009

(http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/arts/was-911-a-conspiracy-truthers-make-their-case/article1378976/ )

43 CBC. The Fifth Estate. "The Unofficial Story", November 27, 2009 (http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/the_unofficial_story/ )

44 The Fifth Estate has won 243 awards, including an Oscar for best documentary, three international Emmy Awards, and 31 Geminis.

45 McKeown's awards include two Emmys, two Geminis, two Edward R. Murrow awards, two Gracies, two National Headliner awards and a National Press Club award. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bob_McKeown )

46 It is worth noting that attempts to derail critics of the official story have often framed the issue as "conspiracy theorists" vs. "the science" or vs. "the facts." But as the current essay illustrates, the debate is now increasingly being framed in the media as science on one side of the issue vs. science on the other side.

47 The Fifth Estate, at http://www.cbc.ca/fifth/2009-2010/the_unofficial_story/links.html

48 "Richard Gage AIA on New Zealand National Television," November 27, 2009 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2INIOXe_WI )

49 "Conspiracy Theory Episode 4 Big Brother with Jesse Ventura," December 29, 2009 (http://conspiracytheoryjesseventura.com/forums/index.php?board=2.0 )

50 "9/11 Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura," TruTV, Premiere Wed, December 9 at 10PM (http://www.conspiracytheoryjesseventura.com/2009/12/watch-episode-2-911-conspiracy-theory-jesse-ventura/ ) Also at "Conspiracy theory with Jesse Ventura – 9/11 part 1," http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Uw5Bz-oL3w )

51 Marcus Klöckner, "Das schreit geradezu nach Aufklärung," December 15, 2009 (http://www.heise.de/tp/r4/artikel/31/31729/1.html ). The English Google translation is at http://translate.google.ca/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.heise.de%2Ftp%2Fr4%2Fartikel%2F31%2F31729%2F1.html&sl=de&tl=en )

52 Oliver Janich, Focus Money, No. 2/2010, January 8, 2010 (http://www.focus.de/finanzen/news/terroranschlaege-vom-11-september-2001-wir-glauben-euch-nicht_aid_467894.html ). For English Google translation, see http://translate.google.ca/translate?js=y&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=1&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.focus.de%2Ffinanzen%2Fnews%2Fterroranschlaege-vom-11-september-2001-wir-glauben-euch-nicht_aid_467894.html&sl=de&tl=en . For English introduction and commentary, see http://www.911video.de/news/080110/en.html .

53 Mike Rudin, "The Conspiracy Files," BBC News, January 9, 2009 (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/8444069.stm )

54 David Ray Griffin, "Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?" Interlink Books, 2009. The documentary, "The BBC's Conspiracy Files: Osama bin Laden – Dead or Alive?" January 10, 2010, is now periodically available on BBC stations throughout the world, and presently available on youtube:

"BBC: Osama Bin Laden; Dead or Alive (1/6)," (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cpqg9SF2x50&feature=related ).

55 A Wikipedia article lists 34 videos of Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri that have been released since May 2003. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Videos_of_Ayman_al-Zawahiri)

56 Frames from the 2004 and 2007 videos may be seen side by side in the online article: David Ray Griffin, "Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive?" Global Research, October 9, 2009 (http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=15601 )

57 Tom Sutcliffe, "Last Night's Television: By The People: The Election of Barack Obama, Sat, BBC2; Conspiracy Files: Osama Bin Laden – Dead or Alive?, Sun, BBC2," The Independent, January 11, 2010 (http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/tv/reviews/last-nights-television-by-the-people-the-election-of-barack-obama-sat-bbc2brconspiracy-files-osama-bin-laden-ndash-dead-or-alive-sun-bbc2-1863741.html )

58 Beth Lamontagne Hall, "NH group cites need for new 9/11 probe," New Hampshire Union Leader, February 1, 2010 (http://www.unionleader.com/article.aspx?articleId=c2822a9b-f0c3-4f03-b8c3-09c3e0765b2f&headline=NH+group+cites+need+for+new+9%2f11+probe )