9-11. A Different Perspective


Literally every day since September 11, 2001 – no matter where I am or what I’m doing – I look at a clock at exactly 9:11.  I feel a connection with that day that I cannot explain.  Like most Americans, I can tell you where I was and what I was doing when the second plane hit the south tower of the World Trade Center.  But, although I feel connected, I have a very different perspective of that day than most Americans.

We are upon the 10th anniversary of the horrific event that took the lives of 2,819 people and changed the lives of every American forever.  Every day at 9:11, my heart goes out to those who lost a loved one.  But I don’t feel the sympathy for America that comes every year at this time.  Why not?  Because I value every life the same, whether it’s an American life, a Palestinian life, a Jewish life, a Christian life or a Muslim life.  I value humanity and it doesn’t matter if that human lives in Palestine, Israel, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa or America.

So, what does that mean?

That means that the Arabs and Muslims that have been killed in Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank are just as human as the 2,819 that died on American soil on 9-11.

That means that the 56,000 military plus 3,500 civilians – all Muslims – killed in Desert Storm were just as loved by their families as the 2,819 that died on 9-11.

That means that the 32,000 civilians killed in Afghanistan since 2001 were just as valued by their country as the 2,819 that died on 9-11.

That means that the 100,000 people who have died due to UN sanctions on Iraq were just as important as the 2,819 that died on 9-11.

Every death is equally important.  No more.  No less.

So, when we – Americans – speak of 9-11 as if that one incident started the war on terror or signaled the end of the world, those in other countries who know what terror really is and those who know what war and the end of the world really feels like because they live in it every day, wonder why we –  Americans – can’t see the hypocrisy, the arrogance, the elitism and the national supremacy that is so obvious in how we look at what has been happening to them over many of their lifetimes compared to what happened to us on that one day – September 11, 2001.

When we, the most powerful country in the world, begin to value life – every life – as much as we value an American life, others will do the same.  They will value American lives just as they value their own lives.  Maybe then we can prevent another terror attack on American soil.

You HAVE to watch this free documentary

It’s a comprehensive look at the brutal, murderous, police state crack-down on the peaceful G20 protesters less than a year ago:


Just unreal. “They” quit even the pretense of democracy here in North America. Our democracy is pretty much like Mubarak’s Egypt, and we little people can suck it.


Also, join the hive-mind here:



They (we?) are pro-Oct2011 and pro-#occupywallstreet.

Hyper-local movements are also being organized there.



We do not forget. We do not forgive.

Expect us.







Late Late Night FDL: Barbecue Hound

Huckleberry Hound in Barbecue Hound.  This Hanna-Barbera cartoon first aired on January 29, 1959.

Produced and Directed by William Hanna, Joseph Barbera. Written by Charles Shows. Dialogue and Story Sketches by Charles Shows and Dan Gordon. Animation by Kenneth Muse with additional animation (uncredited) by Carlo Vinci, Lew Marshall, Michael Lah, Don Patterson, Ed Love, George Nicholas, Dick Lundy, Gerard Baldwin, Hicks Lokey, Allen Wilzbach, Don Williams, LaVerne Harding, Edwin Parks, Bob Carr, Hugh Fraser, Ed Aardal, Ken O’Brien, Ed De Mattia, and Art Davis. Layouts by Dick Bickenbach. Backgrounds by Art Lozzi. Titles by Lawrence Goble. Production Supervision by Howard Hanson. Voices by Daws Butler (Huckleberry Hound). Music by John Seely.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please.  This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in.  What’s on your mind?

Why I won’t be watching the NFL tomorrow

Since the Supreme Court Coup of 2000 I have become a progressive political junkie. I despise the Corporate Media. For me, the New York Times isn’t Dowd and Krugman, it is the Unholy Trinity of Judith Miller, Thomas Friedman and David Brooks. The CIA News Network? Just Say No to Nancy Grace and the Grave Robbers. Shove your fund drive National Pentagon Radio.

For me, politics is almost a contact sport. I have been banned from any political discussions at family holidays because I give no quarter on political hypocrisy. I’m sure my ‘no holds barred’ political discussions comes from a lifetime of watching NFL football.

I followed the lockout and didn’t see it as Billionaires versus Millionaires. I saw it as workers versus owners. I think it was only when it appeared that player solidarity was sincere, the owners showed a willingness for compromise. I also thought of the lost jobs from all the restaurants, bars, stadium workers etc that would only add to the misery of the post Hope & Change reality of economic decline.

But I won’t be watching the NFL tomorrow. The 10th Anniversary of the 9/11 Massacre.

My personal revulsion of first hearing about the attacks was hoping it was something homegrown and domestic. I called my friend and asked him, “Do you know if Randy Weaver or Timothy McVeigh’s birthday is Sept. 11?” I didn’t want to think it was Transcontinental Jihad. I knew what that meant: No post Cold War “Swords into Plow Shares”. We had just traded Hammer & Sickle for Turban & Beard.

About six weeks later, our local Multiplex was showing the Director’s Cut of Coppola’s Apocalypse Now; the Redux. As we waited for our showing, the theater was showing NFL Football on massive jumbotron TV screens. Sports gave way to news as Operation Grim Revenge (or whatever noble name they gave for the carpet bombing of Afganistan) showed the full weight of America’s airpower in its most turgid, phallic glory.

That juxtaposition between reality and cinema seemed like a bad omen that we certainly didn’t learn the real lesson from Vietnam’s failure: you can’t bomb foreign counties into Neoliberal Democracy.

Ten years on, no victory in sight. No glorious resolution. 9/11 has become a celebration of death. A constant reminder of America’s worst failure. A horrifying reality that our government is woefully clueless, sloppy and lazy.

I never understood how Bush became celebrated for his heroic response. Why wasn’t Bush impeached for gross negligence of duty? Why weren’t the heads of the multi hydra alphabet soup of domestic and foreign surveillance agencies fired and reprimanded for not seeing this on the “chatter lines”? Doing nothing to stop the attacks and a massive fail as the hijackings were under way. Instead, many of them got Medals of Honor for their unpreparedness.

Why do we reward failure in this country?

When I see the militarization of the commemoration of the victims of 9/11 at sporting events – the color guards, the jet flyovers, the solemnity – I get nervous. I feel like a private moment has been co opted for propagandistic reasons. Why do we militarize these sporting memorials? I feel a tad manipulated into a causal link between the dead on 9/11 as the reason for our perpetual participation in a Central Asian Civil War.

Can’t we dispense with the pomp and circumstance of public mourning and have a sincere, communal expression of private reflection? A prayer, a poem, something anything not connected to any militarized expression?

Look, I don’t see those murdered on 9/11 as an abstraction. I faced, then and now, anguish for the three thousand (including 300 plus American Muslims) killed that day. But I feel an equal sorrow for the tens of thousands of innocents killed in our response.

My personal sorrow also extends to the survivors who have to deal with the confusion and innuendo of how The Government failed so spectacularly that day. Not once, not twice, not three times but FOUR times! As suspicions arose over questions of complicity, not incompetence, terms like controlled demolition, thermite, 10 second free fall, Building 7 cast doubt on the official story. “They are ten miles out. Does the order still stand, Mr. Cheney?”

If you have read this far you have probably sized me up as one of those koo-koo 9/11 Conspiracy Nuts. But isn’t the Government’s story a Conspiracy Theory?

That 19 Arabs overwhelmed the CIA, the DIA, DARPA, the DOT, The FAA, FBI, NORAD and a bunch of other air and defense entities to get together in a giant orchestra of synchronized failure. Not once. Not twice. Not three times, but FOUR TIMES!

Arabs who had never actually taken off or landed passenger jets flown with military precision. One of these Arab hijackers was so bad he couldn’t get rated to fly a Cessna.

From simulator to flying into buildings is like saying because my ten year old nephew plays Indy 500 computer game, he could navigate traffic in a real Indy car.

But I take issue with the 9/11 Truthers too. If it was a missile that hit the Pentagon, where is the plane and its passengers? Are you saying there was a high level conspiracy to murder dozens of Americans to play out the hoax?

Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Rice? Sure, nothing is beyond the pale to those blackhearted vampires. But no way I believe Powell had knowledge of such a treasonous act. Nor do I believe Bush knew. The Black Baggers couldn’t trust Bush’s smirk wouldn’t give them all away.

Nor do I believe the Israelis had anything to do with it. Ariel Sharon was bragging that American Foreign Policy was crafted in Jerusalem. Israel had much more to lose than gain by playing the bagmen on that day.

There needs to be a full investigation into the failures of the Government that day. Not a government white wash but a non partisan scientific CSI style who dunnit. Let the healing begin by snuffing out the ghoulish theorizing. Name names, assess blame. Hold bureaucrats accountable.

When Obama announced his re-election campaign by giving the go ahead to kill Bin Laden, I was sickened by the chants of U! S! A! That boorish and sickening outpouring of cheers is goading dozens of dispossessed Muslims to take up arms in an eye for an eye, tit for tat retaliation.

Oh and don’t you dare call such jingoism and frat boy high fiving as boorish. NFL player Rashard Mendenhall called the troglodytes on their bullshit when he Tweeted about how sick it was to cheer for killing someone. But his true sin was doubting the Sacred Truth and scoffing at the event that has never happened before or since, planes hitting skyscrapers which caused a 10 second free fall. An old Vegas casino style implosion. YouTube any clip of them blowing up those old Ratpack era casinos. Looks familiar. They do that by igniting explosives placed in the basement of the hotel.

I thought it was better to see Bin Laden living as a hunted rat watching video porn and playing World of Warcraft. I didn’t think his obituaries properly credited the man most responsible for the bankruptcy of two venal and corrupt political systems: the Soviet Union and Neoliberal America.

A thousand words later, that is why I am going to see Contagion on Sunday instead of watching the NFL. I don’t want to see any gloating or vengeance displays. And keep the goddam military out of 9/11 Public Requiems. There is a whiff of fascism in the air that is picking up an odor.

PS – Easy for me to skip football tomorrow because I am a lifelong Packers fan and they played Thursday. I’m hoping for big wins coming out of Wisconsin this year. Aaron Rogers hoisting another Lombardi Trophy would be awesome. And I hope to see Scott Walker doing the Walk of Shame after he is recalled as Governor.

Late Night FDL: In Which Fred Hiatt is Invited to Preach His Neocon Sermons in Fallujah

Fallujah - click to embiggen (photo: Lance Cpl. James J. Vooris)

There are things one reads that uplift one; things that bore one; things that irritate one.

And then there are things that make you want to hunt down the author and slap the taste out of his or her mouth.

Such was WaPo editor Fred Hiatt’s panegyric to the last misbegotten ten years of Treasury-draining wars of choice, planned well in advance, and for which the pretext was a terror attack that would have been best dealt with as a crime, not a casus belli and a curtailing of civil liberties:

ON THE 10TH anniversary of al-Qaeda’s attack on New York and Washington, the conventional wisdom seems to be evolving from “We will be hit again” to “Osama bin Laden won by provoking us into a decade of overreaction.”

The feeling is understandable but incorrect, and it would be dangerous if it took hold. Yes, the nation made big mistakes over the past decade. When has America ever geared up without excess and error? But the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon alerted Americans to genuine dangers that only a relative few had previously noticed. We have lived safely for the decade since not because we misread those dangers but because we responded to them in a manner in which, on balance, Americans can take pride.

Hey, Fred, here’s a handy way to test that statement of yours:

1) Find somebody willing and skilled enough to translate it into Arabic for you. (I can recommend this guy.)

2) Hop on a plane heading to Baghdad, taking the translation with you.

3) Hire a driver or eight to take you to Fallujah.

4) Read the speech aloud, preferably in one of the spots in town still without water or electricity after half the city got hyper-Lidiced in the wake of the killing of four US-paid Blackwater mercenaries.

Bet it’ll go over really well there.

Hundreds of NC faith leaders stand together to oppose the anti-LGBT hate amendment

Here’s how you throw down against the religion-based bigotry. In the last week we’ve seen embarrassing public spectacles by political leaders and purported men of god in the  media pushing a vote on a marriage amendment, such as Sen. James Forrester,  Johnny “two locks don’t go together” Hunter, and Donald “Faggots!” Fozard. That recent pitiful public press conference in support of “saving marriage” from gays and lesbians was sponsored by state elected official Dale Folwell, someone who should know better than to foment hate in this manner.

The bottom line is they all know this is a civil matter; it has nothing to do with the bible, personal faith, or, quite honestly about anyone’s existing marriage in a house of worship, though these alleged educated public officials have chosen to appear ignorant about church-state separation in order to institutionalize discrimination as public policy.

Religion in North Carolina, like much of the South, plays an important part in its culture, and it’s essential that the religious arguments made to justify making LGBT North Carolinians permanent second-class citizens not be dismissed, but addressed head on. The mistake that many have made in the past  is to avoid addressing how and why religious opposition to equality under the law is part of the overarching debate. Just saying it shouldn’t apply is not making a full case for rejecting the amendment.

We cannot cede any ground to religion-based bigotry because there are many people of faith who understand what this amendment is about;  it is meant to split coalitions for perceived political advantage on the fringe right. Otherwise, why would you see the documented hate organization Family Research Council pouring money into the state?

While the NC Republicans running the gen assembly trot out a few pastors to make bible-based arguments, Equality North Carolina today released the names of 242 clergy and faith leaders from across North Carolina who have, in the past two weeks, signed on to a statement publicly denouncing a proposed anti-gay constitutional amendment and calling on state lawmakers to join them in opposing the legislation. The clergy join 526 additional people of faith every corner of the state who have also signed a public declaration against the amendment.

See the impressive breadth of religious support for fairness and governance that is free of bigotry below the fold.


IG Report Cover-up: Top Military Officials Hid Evidence of Pre-9/11 Al Qaeda Intelligence

Between the fight between differing camps of 9/11 Truthers, the incredulity, if not laziness, of many mainstream bloggers and the MSM press itself, and the apparent disinterest (if not collusion) of Congress, actual evidence of an important government cover-up must struggle to gain notice and credibility.

Such is the case with the story of how top military intelligence officials working at U.S. Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) lied to Congressional investigators about the work of one of its top secret intelligence components, which included tracking of Osama bin Laden, and identification of the World Trade Center and Pentagon as top targets of Al Qaeda, including briefings to military and intelligence figures in summer 2002 that such attacks could come from hijacked civilian aircraft.

As reported in a new story at Truthout, by myself and Jason Leopold, these top military officials censored the answers Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) gave to a questionnaire from the 2002 Joint Intelligence Inquiry of the U.S. Congress, meant to investigate the details behind how the different intelligence agencies performed prior to 9/11, what they knew, what might have went wrong, and what really happened.

The falsification was meant in particular to hide the work of the 9-person unit within JFIC, known as the Asymmetrical Threats Division, or DO5 in military lingo. DO5 had analysts with expertise in all areas of intelligence, including signals intel, humint (human intelligence), and geospatial mapping. They received reports from NSA and CIA, and had access to NSA databases. According to “Iron Man,” the government’s own cover name for the former deputy chief of DO5, his unit had been hunting Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda from late 1999 until early 2001, until it was shut down by higher ups in the months leading up to 9/11. This aspect of the story was reported in earlier articles. (more…)

The Idea That DoS Attacks Against WikiLeaks are War Crimes

Julian Assange (photo: ssoosay)

A recent interview WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange did with Sueddeutsche Zeitung in Germany features Assange’s take on what happened with the Cablegate release, how the organization has managed to withstand cyber attacks, the organization’s suspicions about OpenLeaks founder and former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg and how the organization thinks it has impacted the world.

One section that sticks out is Assange’s discussion of the denial of service (DoS) attacks the site has managed to withstand.

From a translation of the interview:

SZ: Last week there was a hacker attack which paralyzed the WikiLeaks website with a Denial-Of-Service attack. How capable of action are you technical wise?

Assange: Our website is almost daily under attack. But we have developed enough countermechanisms to fight off such attacks.

SZ: Who’s behind these attacks?

Assange: This ranges from mentally confused persons to governments.

SZ: Do you have evidence for that?

Assange: After our releases about China we witnessed attacks launched by Chinese government computers. Attacks on websites by governmental institutions however are a war crime, same asassaults on every other civilian infrastructure.

SZ: Is that enshrined in international law?

Assange: The international law is not that far yet.

The notion that the attacks on WikiLeaks are war crimes is something the organization has been promoting. On August 23, when it was hit with a DoS attack as it released 130,000 cables, the organization tweeted, “Are state directed Denial of Service attacks, legally, a war crime against civilian infrastructure?” and “Should we, legally, declare war on state agressors that commit infrastructure war crimes against us?”  [cont’d.] (more…)

Water Cooler – Lovin’ Small Town Life


Okay it is official, I have moved to freaking Star’s Hollow! Tonight Liz and I went down the Damascus Community Fair, which is enjoying it’s 66th year. Now, it would be easy to be cynical and snide about something like this, but that would completely miss the point.

You see I have basically been a big city guy for most of my life. My hometown in Michigan (Ypsilanti) is 28,000 and the auto factories in the area were the primary source of employment. When we had street fairs they ran to muscle car shows and art and such. There was never a pedal tracker pull for the little kids, and for sure there was not a live stock auction.

What really got me about the fair was the crafts competitions. There was baking and wood working and sewing and photography and more. The competitors were all ages and skill levels and some of the skill was high indeed. Take a look at the champion hand craft, these hand-woven baskets.


But more impressive than the winners was the amount and level of skill that seemed to pervade the competition. This is town of 11,430 people as of the last census. It is very much a small town for all that it is 45 miles from the nations capital, and yet I saw food and crafts that would easily have won the Colorado State Fair competitions.

Pivoting Off the Pivot: Deficit Agenda Poised to Re-Enter Debate


The fact that Pete Peterson endorsed the American Jobs Act, and that he did so with a focus on an element not actually in the American Jobs Act, is pretty revealing.

President Obama rightly called for the ‘super-committee’ to go beyond its $1.5 trillion goal and find even more long-term deficit reduction. The President made a commitment to pay for the policies he proposed and put forward a detailed deficit reduction plan, which is a necessary ingredient in any effort to improve our economy. Everyone who has an interest in America’s economic health looks forward to hearing the President’s specific recommendations for addressing our long-term fiscal challenges.

Especially anyone on Pete Peterson’s payroll.

And this is the danger, the follow-on to the American Jobs Act. As Jon Walker reported, there are signs of support for raising the Medicare retirement age coming from a variety of corners, including the American Hospital Association, who are trying to save themselves from trigger cuts on reimbursement rates by sticking it to 65 and 66 year-olds. The report from Ways and Means Committee Democrats that included raising the eligibility age as an option is bad news too.

But there are other troubling signs. The New York Times declares the subject dead and buried and moves on to the mechanics rather than the question of whether we should slash the safety net at all.  [cont’d.] (more…)