The Pentagon Report and “Off-the-Books” Bases

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Bases, Bases, Everywhere…
Except in the Pentagon’s Report

Nick Turse

The U.S. military is finally withdrawing (or not) from its base at al-Tanf. You know, the place that the Syrian government long claimed was a training ground for Islamic State (ISIS) fighters; the land corridor just inside Syria, near both the Iraqi and Jordanian borders, that Russia has called a terrorist hotbed (while floating the idea of jointly administering it with the United States); the location of a camp where hundreds of U.S. Marines joined Special Operations forces last year; an outpost that U.S. officials claimed was the key not only to defeating ISIS, but also, according to General Joseph Votel, the commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East, to countering “the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue.” You know, that al-Tanf.

Within hours of President Trump’s announcement of a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria, equipment at that base was already being inventoried for removal. And just like that, arguably the most important American garrison in Syria was (maybe) being struck from the Pentagon’s books — except, as it happens, al-Tanf was never actually on the Pentagon’s books. Opened in 2015 and, until recently, home to hundreds of U.S. troops, it was one of the many military bases that exist somewhere between light and shadow, an acknowledged foreign outpost that somehow never actually made it onto the Pentagon’s official inventory of bases.

Officially, the Department of Defense (DoD) maintains 4,775 “sites,” spread across all 50 states, eight U.S. territories, and 45 foreign countries. A total of 514 of these outposts are located overseas, according to the Pentagon’s worldwide property portfolio. Just to start down a long list, these include bases on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia, in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa, as well as in Peru and Portugal, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. But the most recent version of that portfolio, issued in early 2018 and known as the Base Structure Report (BSR), doesn’t include any mention of al-Tanf. Or, for that matter, any other base in Syria. Or Iraq. Or Afghanistan. Or Niger. Or Tunisia. Or Cameroon. Or Somalia. Or any number of locales where such military outposts are known to exist and even, unlike in Syria, to be expanding.

According to David Vine, author of Base Nation: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Harm America and the World, there could be hundreds of similar off-the-books bases around the world. “The missing sites are a reflection of the lack of transparency involved in the system of what I still estimate to be around 800 U.S. bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., that have been encircling the globe since World War II,” says Vine, who is also a founding member of the recently established Overseas Base Realignment and Closure Coalition, a group of military analysts from across the ideological spectrum who advocate shrinking the U.S. military’s global “footprint.”

Such off-the-books bases are off the books for a reason. The Pentagon doesn’t want to talk about them. “I spoke to the press officer who is responsible for the Base Structure Report and she has nothing to add and no one available to discuss further at this time,” Pentagon spokesperson Lieutenant Colonel Michelle Baldanza told TomDispatch when asked about the Defense Department’s many mystery bases [. . .]

 

via The Pentagon Report and “Off-the-Books” Bases

Seattle lawmakers warn New York over Amazon

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Two lawmakers from Amazon’s hometown in Seattle traveled to New York on Monday to warn the city of potential unintended consequences of the tech company’s planned new headquarters. Lisa Herbold and Teresa Mosqueda, members of Seattle’s city council, addressed a summit of activist groups fighting Amazon’s plan for a new campus in Long Island City, Queens. They told the New Yorkers that Amazon’s presence in the west coast city had driven up housing costs, that the company had ducked efforts to make them help pay to address the crisis, and that they should resist it.

At the event at the offices of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union, which is attempting to organize workers at a Staten Island Amazon warehouse, the council members urged their New York counterparts to learn from Seattle’s mistakes and demand concessions like labor standards before the company gains a foothold in the city.

“Don’t be the city or state that flinches every time a corporation flexes its muscles,” Mosqueda said.

“You have the opportunity that Seattle didn’t,” she added. “We didn’t respond fast enough.”

Amazon opted to split its vaunted HQ2 into two campuses, in New York and Arlington, Virginia, at the end of a nationwide competition. In Long Island City, the company plans to hire 25,000 employees making an average wage of $150,000. The state and city have promised it up to $3bn in tax breaks and public subsidies, sparking a backlash among local politicians, labor unions, and activist groups.

But public opinion polls show that a majority of voters back the project, and Amazon has launched an ad campaign touting the benefits it says it will bring, including $27bn in tax revenue.

In Seattle, Amazon occupied 20% of the city’s office space, the politicians said. They said New York could expect many of the well-paying jobs to go not to existing city residents, but to people who will move there. A thousand people a week move to the Seattle region, with an influx of more than 115,000 since the beginning of the decade, Mosqueda said [. . .]

via ‘We didn’t respond fast enough’: Seattle lawmakers warn New York over Amazon – Erin Durkin Last modified on Mon 7 Jan 2019 16.49 EST — Just Sayin’

Ten Irrefutable, Devastating 9/11 Facts

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Global Research, January 06, 2019
Global Research 2 April 2018

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This incisive article was originally published on GR in April 2018.

Scholars who attempt to elucidate the crime perpetrated on 9/11 – who are commonly referred to as 9/11 truthers – are often criticized for relying on conjecture and speculation in support of their claims. Such criticism may at times be justified, though often made in bad faith. There is actually no need to resort to speculative arguments that the official account of 9/11 is a fraud since there are hard facts that support this conclusion. Here are 10 such undisputed facts:

1. U.S. authorities have failed to trace, arrest, try (prosecute), and punish anyone responsible for the crime against humanity committed on 9/11.

The mass murder committed on September 11, 2001 represents, under international law, a crime against humanity. The State where it was committed – in this case the United States of America – bears the obligation to the international community to trace, arrest, try, and punish individuals responsible for that crime.

Since 2002, U.S. authorities admit they have detained a handful of persons at Guantánamo Bay who are accused of helping to orchestrate 9/11. Their identities remain in doubt; their alleged confessions were made behind closed doors; and their trial by a military court does not fulfill minimal international norms of due process.

U.S. authorities claim to have sentenced Zacarias Moussaoui to life imprisonment for not having warned the FBI about the preparations for 9/11, an allegation he denied. No evidence was presented that he was involved in the preparations for 9/11 or knew anything about these preparations. No evidence was presented that he even knew the alleged hijackers. U.S. authorities also claim to hold, since 2003, a man by the name of Khalid Sheikh Mohamed (KSM) in Guantánamo who allegedly confessed to have masterminded 9/11 and more than 30 other terrorist operations. He also allegedly confessed to having planned an attack on a bank in Washington State that did not exist until after he was already in Guantánamo. The man, whose identity remains murky and whose connection to 9/11 is limited to what he said in his ludicrous confession, has not been prosecuted, let alone sentenced. No one seriously expects him to be ever brought to trial, let alone a trial fulfilling international norms.

2. When announcing to the United Nations their decision to attack Afghanistan, U.S. authorities failed to provide evidence that the crime of 9/11 was in any way connected to Afghanistan. In fact, such evidence has still not been produced.

See the letter from U.S. Representative John Negroponte to the President of the UN Security Council, October 7, 2001 (mirrored here).

3. The United States government did not authorize an investigation of the events of 9/11 that could have fulfilled minimal international standards: The 9/11 Commission was neither independent nor impartial, and its investigation was neither thorough nor transparent.

Regarding minimal standards of investigation, see Elias Davidsson, “The Events of 11 September 2001 and the Right to the Truth.” (See this or this)

4. Despite vilifying Osama bin Laden as a terrorist leader, judicial authorities in the United States have failed to charge him in connection with 9/11. He was not even wanted in connection with this crime.

The FBI admitted in June 2006 that it possesses no concrete evidence linking Osama bin Laden to 9/11. (See: Ed Haas, “FBI says, it has no ‘hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11,” Information Clearing House, June 18, 2006, mirrored here)

5. Authorities in the United States have failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that the 19 persons named by the FBI as 9/11 hijackers even boarded aircraft that they are alleged to have subsequently hijacked. 

To be precise: U.S. authorities have failed to produce authenticated passenger lists that would include the names of the alleged hijackers; witnesses who saw these alleged hijackers in the airports or boarding the aircraft; authenticated security-camera videos proving their presence in the airports of departure; and DNA identification of these individuals’ bodily remains (see detailed analysis in Elias Davidsson, Hijacking America’s Mind on 9/11 [Algora Publishers, New York, 2013], Chapter 2).

6. U.S. authorities have failed to produce clear and convincing evidence that passenger airliners crashed at the known landmarks on 9/11.

The FBI admitted in a letter to the Nevada District U.S. Court on March 14, 2008, signed by Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick A. Rose, that records detailing the collection and positive identification of the wreckage of the crashed aircraft do not exist (Letter mirrored here). He thus admitted that the FBI failed to formally identify the wreckage found at the various crash sites as belonging to the allegedly hijacked aircraft. It is, therefore, not established that the allegedly hijacked aircraft crashed at these locations.

7. U.S. authorities have failed to explain why more than 1,100 persons, who were present at the World Trade Center on 9/11, vanished into thin air.

Vast parts of the Twin Towers were literally pulverized as can be seen from video recordings, photos, and testimonies. Of more than 1,100 missing persons, not a single tooth, nail, or bone has been found as of 2011 (See, inter alia, Anemona Hartocollis, “Connecting with lost loved ones, if only by the tips of fingers,” The New York Times, September 11, 2011 [mirrored here]). U.S. authorities have never explained what could have caused more than 1,100 persons to vanish without leaving a trace. They bear the obligation, under human rights law, to determine the reason for such disappearances.

8. U.S. authorities compensated families of 9/11 victims that agreed to waive their right to further court action. The compensation exceeded by at least seven times what was paid to the families of firefighters who died in rescue operations on 9/11.

The families of 9/11 victims received from the U.S. Compensation Fund, established in October 2001, an average of $2.1 million if they agreed to waive their right to engage in civil proceedings (see, inter alia, Brian Bernbaum, “9/11 Fund Chief Faults Payments,” CBS News, 4.9.2003 [mirrored here]). As of 2013, spouses of firefighters who die in line of duty can obtain $333,605 under the Public Safety Officers’ Benefits (PSOB) Act (42 U.S.C. 3796). The figure for 2001 was undoubtedly lower. The 95 families, who did not apply to the Compensation Fund and preferred to let courts determine their rights, obtained an average of $5.5 million in out-of-court settlements (see, Ashby Jones, “The 9/11 Victim Settlements: A Chat with Skadden’s Sheila Birnbaum,” The Wall Street Journal, 13.3.2009 [mirrored here]).

9. U.S. authorities have failed to explain the effect of numerous military drills conducted on the morning of 9/11 – including the simulation of aircraft hijackings – on the commission of the mass murder.

Military drills caused confusion and surprised military and civilian personnel responsible for air traffic, as reported in U.S. media. For example, NORAD Major General Larry Arnold said that, “By the end of the day, we had twenty-one aircraft identified as possible hijackings.” (See, Eric Hehs, “Conversation with Major General Larry Arnold,” One Magazine, January 2002 [mirrored here]). Colonel Robert Marr, NEADS battle commander, said he had been told that across the nation there were “29 different reports of hijackings.” (See, Robert A. Baker, “Commander of 9/11 Air Defenses Retires,” Newhouse News Service, March 31, 2005 [mirrored here]). U.S. authorities failed to explain how these drills affected the commission of the crime, including the apparent failure to intercept hijacked aircraft.

10. U.S. authorities promoted numerous officials who, according to the official account on 9/11, had failed to carry out their duties with regard to 9/11. Not a single person has been held accountable anywhere in government for what went wrong on or prior to 9/11 [. . .]

 

via Ten Irrefutable, Devastating 9/11 Facts

Mexico Set to Become Third Country to Fully Legalize Marijuana

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21st Century Wire | January 5, 2019

Following in the footsteps of Uruguay and Canada, as well as 30 US states, Mexico is set to adopt a new law which will make cannabis legal for both medicinal and recreational use. New legislation by Mexico’s ruling majority party hopes to “cut the chain” of illegal supply.

Olga Sánchez Cordero, interior minister in Mexico’s new leftist nationalist government, has recently submitted a Bill to Congress which would effectively end prohibition of cannabis, placing the new rescheduled substance under a regime of state regulation.

Mexico had a brief foray into the legalization of drugs back in 1940 when Lázaro Cárdenas, the former Mexican president who had nationalized Mexico’s oil sector in 1938. Cárdenas lifted all state restrictions on narcotics like heroin, morphine and cocaine, which allowed addicts to be treated as patients, rather than felons. State dispensaries sold small amounts to individuals at prices which vastly undercut those of illegal street dealers. The move was reversed after only after 6 months – because of intense diplomatic pressure from the US.

The new law could also open up numerous opportunities for independent entrepreneurs like 17-year-old Nicolás Calderón who hopes to open a cannabis shop and art venue in Mexico City, as well as develop his own cultivation site and supply chain.

“I don’t just see an opportunity to make money but also to help Mexico […] I think this is going to help reduce el narco [the cartels] a lot,” said Calderón to the Financial Times.

However, as on the world’s largest producers of illegal narcotics, the Mexican state will no doubt face intense competition from black markets run by the country’s vast organized crime cartels on which former president Felipe Calderón had unsuccessfully declared ‘war’ 12 years ago.

“I think the cartels will lose 40 per cent of their income with [marijuana] legal here and in the US,” said Vicente Fox, Mexico’s president from 2000 to 2006, in an interview with the FT. Fox currently sits on the board of Canadian cannabis company Khiron Life Sciences – which hopes to enter the Mexican cannabis market later this year [. . .]

 

via Mexico Set to Become Third Country to Fully Legalize Marijuana

Two Weeks Into Shutdown, Hundreds of TSA Agents Have Stopped Showing Up for Work

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Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images Donald Trump recently suggested that he has the upper hand in the government shutdown fight because “most of the people not getting paid are Democrats.” By this, the president meant that his party depends less on the support of federal workers than Chuck Schumer’s does, and that Democrats will therefore have a harder time standing their ground during a prolonged shutdown than he will.

Beyond the moral odiousness of this position, there was one strategic flaw in Trump’s reasoning: Precisely because they’re aligned with Democratic Party, public-sector unions are likely to be more willing to engage in work stoppages under a GOP president than they might be under a pro-labor one.

Two weeks into the shutdown, formal labor militancy has yet to materialize. But an informal pseudo-strike is already taking shape at America’s major airports [. . .]

via Two Weeks Into Shutdown, Hundreds of TSA Agents Have Stopped Showing Up for Work – Eric Levitz@EricLevitz5:25 P.M. — Just Sayin’

Mumia Abu-Jamal Wins Major Court Victory

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By Jeff Mackler | CounterPunch | January 3, 2019

On December 27, Philadelphia Superior Court Judge Leon Tucker ruled in favor of Mumia Abu-Jamal, holding that the actions of former Pennsylvania Supreme Court Judge Ronald Castille demonstrated a “lack of impartiality” and “the appearance of bias.”

Tucker’s decision represents a major victory for Abu-Jamal that opens the door to a new trial–or dismissal of the murder charges against him–after an appeal to the Pennsylvania courts.

Incarcerated in 1981 in a racist frame-up murder trial of police officer Daniel Faulkner and on death row for most of the past 37 years, Mumia was a prize-winning journalist and today the author of 10 books on various aspects of the freedom struggle. His latest book, Murder Incorporated: Empire, Genocide, Manifest Destiny, 2017, co-authored by filmmaker Stephen Victoria (Long Distance Revolutionary, 2014) with a forward by Chris Hedges, is invaluable reading for revolutionary activists who seek the truth about capitalist imperialism’s centuries of horrors and the historic resistance against them.

Mumia’s freedom struggle has been supported by scores of trade unions across the U.S. and in Europe as well as by Amnesty International, the NAACP and numerous city council resolutions from San Francisco to Detroit.

Tucker’s 27-page ruling was in two parts. He held in Part Two that with regard to all of Mumia’s numerous denied Post Conviction Relief Act (PCRA) appeals between 1998 and 2014, Supreme Court Judge Ronald Castille’s actions in campaigning for the Pennsylvania governor to sign death penalty warrants for all “convicted cop killers” and other biased acts, violated Mumia’s fundamental constitutional rights.

Castille had participated in PA Supreme Court decisions that denied all of Mumia’s appeals, including a request from Mumia’s attorneys that he recuse himself from deciding the case he had helped to prosecute and another decision where the same Castille court refused to consider documented evidence submitted by court stenographer Terri Maurer Carter that Mumia’s trial judge Albert “the hanging judge” Sabo had stated in his antechambers before entering the courtroom to adjudicate Mumia’s case, “Yeah, I’m going to help ‘em fry the nigger.” Mumia’s decades long sojourn through the racist U.S. “criminal justice system” is replete with what has become infamously known as “the Mumia exception,” that is, contorted applications of the “law” aimed at denying its applicability to the facts in Mumia’s case. These include systematic exclusion of eyewitness testimony proving his innocence, intimidation of witnesses, falsification of exonerating ballistics findings, fabrication of testimony that Mumia admitted to the killing of police officer Daniel Faulkner and Mumia’s physical exclusion from a majority of his trial proceedings – to name a few of the legal atrocities attendant to his trial and subsequent proceedings.

Judge Tucker’s ruling opens the door for Mumia to appeal all of Castille’s decisions over a 17-years period. Tucker denied Part One of Mumia’s appeal that pertained to whether or not Castille had been significantly or personally involved in Mumia’s prosecution in order to qualify under the provisions of the 2016 Supreme Court William’s case. Mumia’s attorneys may appeal this decision in order to fight on both legal fronts [. . .]

via Mumia Abu-Jamal Wins Major Court Victory

In 2019, Scientists Funded by Bill Gates to Spray Particles Into the Sky in First Experiment to Dim the Sun

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It’s been going on for several decades, this “experiment” is soft social conditioning. Notice how the public has no say at all in any of this…~TS

In 2019, researchers plan to spray particles into the stratosphere to test the geoengineering method of dimming the sun.

By Matt Agorist | The Free Thought Project

The controversial subject of geoengineering or weather modification – which was popularized, and oversimplified with the term “chemtrails” – is once again stepping from the shadows and into the light of public scrutiny. And it may soon be a reality as scientists plan first-ever experiment to spray particles in the sky to dim the sun.

What was once a conspiracy theory is now the subject of congressional debate, peer-reviewed studies, and now a Harvard experiment. Harvard scientists will attempt to replicate the climate-cooling effect of volcanic eruptions with a world-first solar geoengineering experiment set for early 2019.

What was once a conspiracy theory will soon be a reality, in only months.

Known as the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx), the experiment will spray calcium carbonate particles high above the earth to mimic the effects of volcanic ash blocking out the sun to produce a cooling effect.

The experiment was announced in Nature magazine last month, who was one of few outlets to look into this unprecedented step toward geoengineering the planet:

“If all goes as planned, the Harvard team will be the first in the world to move solar geoengineering out of the lab and into the stratosphere, with a project called the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx). The first phase — a US$3-million test involving two flights of a steerable balloon 20 kilometres above the southwest United States — could launch as early as the first half of 2019. Once in place, the experiment would release small plumes of calcium carbonate, each of around 100 grams, roughly equivalent to the amount found in an average bottle of off-the-shelf antacid. The balloon would then turn around to observe how the particles disperse.”

Naturally, the experiment is concerning to many people, including environmental groups, who, according to Nature, who say such efforts are a dangerous distraction from addressing the only permanent solution to climate change: reducing greenhouse-gas emissions.

The idea of injecting particles into the atmosphere to cool the earth also seems outright futile considering what scientists are trying to mimic—volcanic eruptions. If we look at the second largest eruption of the 20th century, Mount Pinatubo, which erupted in the Philippines in 1991, it injected 20 million tons of sulfur dioxide aerosols into the stratosphere. Scientists from the USGS estimated that this 20 million tons only lowered the temperature of the planet by about 1°F (0.5°C) and this only lasted a year because the particles eventually fell to back to Earth.

The Harvard team, led by scientists Frank Keutsch and David Keith, has been working on the SCoPEx project for several years but they haven’t always been in total agreement. In fact, as nature reports, Keutsch—who is not a climate scientist—previously thought the idea to be “totally insane.” But he’s since changed his mind. As Nature reports:

“When he saw Keith talk about the SCoPEx idea at a conference after starting at Harvard in 2015, he says his initial reaction was that the idea was “totally insane”. Then he decided it was time to engage. “I asked myself, an atmospheric chemist, what can I do?” He joined forces with Keith and Anderson, and has since taken the lead on the experimental work.”

Adding to the questionable nature of this experiment is the fact that it is largely funded by none other than Microsoft co-founder, Bill Gates. Gates is no stranger to controversial experiments as he’s publicly funded many of them including one that would implant devices into babies to automatically give them vaccines. 

While the Harvard team’s experiment may sound like something out of a dystopian science fiction movie, the reality is that it has long been on the table of governments and think tanks from around the world. In fact, just last month, a new study published in Environmental Research Letters, talked about doing the exact same thing—geoengineering and planes spraying particulates into the atmosphere to curb global warming.

What’s more, that study echoed the sentiments of then-CIA director John Brennan when he addressed the Council on Foreign Relations in 2016, detailing a similar process of spraying chemical particulates in the atmosphere to cool the planet.

At the meeting, Brennan addressed instability and transnational threats to global security at a meeting with the Council on Foreign Relations. During his long-winded talk of threats to US interests and how the largely CIA-created ISIL threat is impacting the world, Brennan brought up the topic of geoengineering:

“Another example is the array of technologies—often referred to collectively as geoengineering—that potentially could help reverse the warming effects of global climate change. One that has gained my personal attention is stratospheric aerosol injection, or SAI, a method of seeding the stratosphere with particles that can help reflect the sun’s heat, in much the same way that volcanic eruptions do.”

Brennan went on to echo the calls from some scientists who have called for aerial spraying:

“An SAI program could limit global temperature increases, reducing some risks associated with higher temperatures and providing the world economy additional time to transition from fossil fuels. The process is also relatively inexpensive—the National Research Council estimates that a fully deployed SAI program would cost about $10 billion yearly.”

The extent at which Brennan talked about stratospheric aerosol injection shows that he and the CIA have likely been considering this for some time [. . .]
 

 

via In 2019, Scientists Funded by Bill Gates to Spray Particles Into the Sky in First Experiment to Dim the Sun — A Sweet Dose of Reality | The Mad Truther