And Then What?

by William Skink

I want to expound on yesterday’s post about Oath Keepers in Lincoln, Montana. I think I’ll start with Rob’s comment:

Yes, James makes a very level headed argument. His only mistake is that he ends it with a period and not a question mark. We all suspect that it is only a matter of time before someone is shot in these anti-government militia encounters with people trying to do their jobs. And then what?

That’s the same question I have for all of the awake folk who believe that the shadow forces of what our government has become have us so thoroughly under their thumb that the Sheeple are terrified to do anything about it. Violence happens either in the Ukraine, Ferguson Mo, or Lincoln Montana. And then what?

I guess the simple answer is simple: Blog posts, and more blog posts ranking on someone else’s blog posts. Surely the Sheeple will awaken any day now … unless somebody else’s blog post silences the alarm of a blog post. And then what?

These are tedious times we are living through. Why even try to understand, or write silly blog posts to inform and influence others? It’s almost football season. There are more important things to be doing I guess.

For me, I want to understand as best I can what the hell is going on. I want to know why our government gets to regularly spy on its citizens in violation of the constitution without consequence. I want to know why James Clapper can perjure himself in front of Congress and escape indictment. I want to know why General Hayden can tell a whopper about pre-9/11 intelligence gathering while anyone who questions the government’s version of events that day is denigrated as a borderline mentally ill truther. Since questioning 9/11 is so vehemently ridiculed, I’m going to include a rather lengthy excerpt because I think it’s incredibly important information:

In a recent piece published by Foreign Policy Bamford examines a phone call to a clandestine operations center run by Osama bin Laden in Yemen during March of 2000. The phone call was dialed by one of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, from his apartment in San Diego. In fact, there were a number of such phone calls made by 9/11 hijackers living in San Diego. Why didn’t our security services immediately launch investigations?

According to then Director of the NSA, Michael Hayden, the NSA was unable to determine the geographic origin of these calls despite the fact that the phone line in Yemen (967-1-200-578) was under intense scrutiny by NSA. The Yemen number was tracked using a form of surveillance known as “cast-iron” coverage where dedicated resources were allocated to continuously monitor the line 24/7.

Years later, in 2014, Hayden claimed that technical difficulties prevented exact geolocation. By the way, this is the same justification that he relied on post-9/11 to help institute the bulk collection program for phone metadata. Hayden told interviewers from Frontline:

“Two guys, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, living in San Diego… come to the United States, call home, call Yemen, call a safe house in Yemen seven times. We intercepted every one of the calls, right?

Nothing in the physics of the intercept, nothing in the content of the call told us they were in San Diego. If we’d have had the metadata program, OK, if we’d have had that basket of stuff and that phone number of that safe house in Yemen, which we knew, and we would have walked up to that metadata and said, ‘Hey, any of you guys talked to this number in Yemen?,’ those numbers in San Diego would have popped up.”

James Bamford, himself a former NSA whistleblower, digs into Hayden’s assertions. Leveraging the technical expertise of former NSA insiders he unearths an unsettling find. The narrative spun by Hayden is “an absolute lie.” The NSA knew damn well that these calls were coming from San Diego. According to former NSA senior executive Thomas Drake:

“Every number that comes into that switchboard, if you’re cast-iron coverage on that switchboard, you know exactly what that number is and where it comes from.… You know exactly—otherwise it can’t get there.”

Former NSA senior analyst Kirk Wiebe expounds on Drake’s counterpoint, noting that telephone communiques are bundled with the bits of information necessary to bill the correct phone company:

“You know the phone numbers involved, who’s making the phone call, and who it’s going to because the billing system has to have that metadata to charge you.”

So Drake, Wiebe, and other NSA veterans charge that Hayden is full of it. That the NSA was aware of terrorists in San Diego phoning home to Yemen. This raises some important questions. For example, how on earth could an intelligence agency with billions in resources neglect to follow up on these calls? From people whom they knew to be associated with bin Laden? How could internal security services not request court authorization for wiretaps and launch an inquiry? It’s a given that any investigator worth their salt would’ve linked and correlated the San Diego callers to other 9/11 terrorists in the United States and almost certainly put a halt to the operation.

There may be those who point to incompetence and embarrassment as a possible explanation. Such people would argue that the NSA is an agency like other agencies made up of people and that people are fallible; the San Diego call was somehow overlooked or was accidentally lost in the commotion of the NSA’s monolithic bureaucracy.

Your author questions this account, as it would indicate an organization that’s way beyond dysfunctional. Recent disclosures by WikiLeaks describe economic espionage by the United States which depict an NSA that’s more than capable of performing SIGINT missions. Other Snowden-era documents also indicate that the NSA runs a world class spy outfit. Consider also that foreign countries like Germany are just itching to be brought into the Five Eyes fold. No keystone cops here, no sir!

Precluding ineptitude leaves us with a more disturbing scenario. That the calls from San Diego were intentionally ignored. In other words, certain people didn’t want them investigated. Thus raising even more disturbing questions.

And then what?

I don’t have any answers. Divide and conquer works, so they will keep doing it, with our help.

Maybe that’s something to focus on. The criminal consolidators of wealth can’t do what they are doing without our help. Why don’t we stop helping them?

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About William Skink

I'm a poet and political cynic living and writing in Montana. You can contact me here: willskink at yahoo dot com
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11 Responses to And Then What?

  1. I don’t see anything terribly difficult to understand. “Distrubing” depends on your level of understanding. Patsies are protected during the run up to the events they are designated to take thr fall for, kept out of jail. It would do no good to have them discovered. There are stables of them kept in reserve for the various events used to keep us in a state of constant tension. The San Diego “hijackers” were obviously firewalled.

    Osama, for instance, was visited by a CIA agent in an American hospital prior to 9/11, as his kidney condition was serious and he had to be kept alive for his big event..

    Please, someone, stop and think: Four supposed plane crashes, not one identifiable aircraft part recovered. Not one.

    But that’s crazy talk, right? The TV said there were four place crashes. if it is on TV, it’s true.

    We’ve been in Canada for a week, now re-entering the bubble. Reality is hereby suspended. We are back in the land of la la.

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  2. Rob Kailey says:

    Matt Bors pretty well nails this one:
    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/08/05/1408729/-Cartoon-Internet-police-Hands-up?detail=hide
    Demeaning the concerns of others because they don’t share your focus has very little to do with them, and vastly more to do with you. It says nothing about what they understand or don’t, and a great deal about what you assume they understand. The point of my question is one of consequence and how able we are to deal with what may come. That includes the consequence of heightened understanding, either on the part of bloggers or those who read them. My opinion, but the answer is not very. If you and Don have a disagreement about the Oath Keepers, it strikes me that it’s one of consequence, a topic that both of you rather meticulously avoided. That was my only ‘complaint’.

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    • Objective reality … Is no longer important.

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      • Rob Kailey says:

        As Wittgenstein would ask, important to who, and why?

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      • Pretending to be a philosophy student again, are we? You forget who you address. The schtick does not work on me.

        There is an objective reality, and systematic disciplined research and come reasonably close to it. It does not depend on anyone’s opinion, about which I care very little.

        Quite a bit of it is in learning to recognize lies and liars.

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        • Rob Kailey says:

          Really, Headcase? Who do you think you’re fooling? Only yourself. There is an objective reality and you know nothing of it because you filter it through your fears and stupid biases. Systemic and disciplined research “and” might come reasonably close to it. ‘Might even find it. You never will.

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        • Really, now, tooting your horn. Here’s something: The smartest man that I have met on the blogs was Dave Budge. He was well read, insightful, and really did matriculate in a prestigious university. He was also extremely witty. But I noticed something with him: his essential economic philosophy, about which he was deeply schooled and had read the greats of the ages, led to nothing but disaster when implemented. (This is the same problem Swede has, by the way, and needs to be addressed. It is extremely difficult to sift this world down to a philosophy that works. The libertarian outlook is defective, but so is liberalism, communism, pragmatism … true conservatism is the only political philosophy I have encountered that has solid footing.)

          Dave was also an honest man. That came through, by the way. I can spot that, so can most people.

          You are a dishonest man. The nice thing about you, however, is that there is no essential philosophy to unravel, no deeper search for meaning. I never read anything you have written that has that true intellectual quality about it, that honest search for truth. You don’t appear to have a political philosophy beyond currying favor in the two-party setup. You lack a religious view, and things like economics and human psychology are beyond your grasp. When you write, your words become more dense and unfathomable as you go on. So you stick to short paragraphs of no matter, and of course, football.

          In seeing that about you, I can easily see that you did not graduate a small town land grant enfgineering school as a distinguished philosophy student. If you did, it’s not much of a school. You don’t exhibit those kinds of qualities. You’re shallow, a horn tooter, an empty kettle, a phony, and a liar.

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        • Rob Kailey says:

          God Bless ‘Murika, where the rock solid critiques of our academics and philosophies comes from ~accountants~. (Sadly, a truth that goes well beyond the Colorado Headcase.)

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  3. Big Swede says:

    “The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to fill the world with fools”

    English philosopher Herbert Spencer 1899

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    • My favorite insight from great men came from Napoleon, and I cite it because it strikes me as actually having meaningful content. I won’t quote him directly, but will summarize: Most men do not know or care about true freedom. That is reserved to a precious few “of noble mind.”

      He also observed that me. Will give their lives up for a shiny ribbon.

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