Thursday, December 16, 2010

The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and almost 2008)

The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and almost 2008)

The Stolen Elections of 2000, 2004 (and almost 2008)
Did Bush actually win in 2004? (The Washington Times/Landov)

Ballot Box Thievery

Condensed and excerpted
from American Conspiraciesby
Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell,
with permission of Skyhorse
Publishing, Inc., New York, NY
Everyone knows about the hotly contested  presidential election of 2000; weeks dragged by with no official winner before the Supreme Court forced Florida to stop counting ballots and essentially handed the election to George W. Bush. Many called that a stolen election but...
2004, it turned out, was an even more blatant election theft than in 2000. The exit polls were predicting a huge victory for Kerry. But, by late that night, somehow Bush had taken a decisive lead and Kerry conceded on the day after. "There is no evidence of vote theft or errors on a large scale," the New York Times "informed" us. The Washington Post called any talk of vote fraud "conspiracy theories."

Election Fraud in Ohio

The electronic voting machines played an even bigger role in the 2004 election [than in 2000], with 36 million votes being cast on the touch-screen systems owned by four private companies that use their own proprietary software. Three of those companies had close ties to the Republican Party. One of them, Diebold (including employees and their families) had contributed at least $300,000 to GOP candidates and party funds since 1998. The company's CEO, Walden O'Dell, had gone so far in a fund-raising e-mail as to promise to deliver Ohio to Bush in '04! With enemies like that, Kerry could have used a few friends demanding a return to paper ballots.
Ohio was where Bush's "victory" put him over the top in the electoral college. From 12:20 in the morning until around 2 AM, the flow of information in Ohio mysteriously stopped while the vote count switched dramatically to Bush's side.  A comfortable 118,000-vote-plus official margin in Ohio then gave him a second term as president. But what really went down? "Officials there purged tens of thousands of eligible voters from the rolls, neglected to process registration cards generated by Democratic voter drives, shortchanged Democratic precincts when they allocated voting machines, and illegally derailed a recount that could have given Kerry the presidency," [Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. reported in Rolling Stone ]. Lou Harris, who basically invented modern political polling, said: "Ohio was as dirty an election as America has ever seen."
The fellow in charge of the vote-counting was Ohio secretary of state J. Kenneth Blackwell, who also happened to be the co-chair of Bush's reelection committee there.  When Congressman John Conyers looked into what took place in Ohio, his report in January 2005 set forth "massive and unprecedented voter irregularities and anomalies in Ohio. . . . caused by intentional misconduct and illegal behavior, much of it involving Secretary of State J. Kenneth Blackwell." [In 2006] a well-known voting rights attorney named Cliff Anebeck set out to charge Blackwell and his cronies with "election fraud, vote dilution, vote suppression, recount fraud and other violations." The judge in the case followed up with a court order that all ballot evidence relating to the 2004 election be preserved for another year (beyond the legally required 22 months, which was about to expire).
There were a lot of discussions after that between lawyer Cliff Arnebeck and government officials. They talked about a settlement, or a grand jury investigation, or Congress getting involved. Secretary of State Brunner wanted to focus on assuring the integrity of the next election, rather than be distracted by the past. So Arnebeck agreed to narrow things to taking the deposition of one man, Michael Connell, who was Karl Rove's computer expert and lived in Akron, Ohio.

Michael Connell, Whistleblower

In November 2003, Blackwell's office had enlisted a company called GovTech Solutions, owned by Mike Connell, to establish a duplicate control center for election day '04. The results would be sent directly to subcontractor SMARTech and its backup server out in Tennessee. The contract specified that there would be "a hardware VPN device [that] will allow access to a private network connecting the servers for database replication services as well as remote admin[istration]." Meaning, I'm told, that anybody could get into the network and make whatever adjustments they wanted. The election results could be observed and changed, using remote access through high-speed Internet from any location.
The primary control was SMARTech headquarters. "We have no idea what was set up in Chattanooga," Spoonamore says. "There could have been 20 Republican operatives, and from that point they could have made a direct hop to the White House. They could have been running this from the War Room!"
George W. Bush's political strategist,
Karl Rove, sits behind him
Early on Election Day, George W. Bush and Karl Rove flew into Columbus, Ohio, to meet with Blackwell. Connell managed the setup that enabled Blackwell to study maps of the precincts and voter turnout in order to figure out how many votes they needed. A third company that Connell brought into the scheme was Triad, a major donor to Bush's campaign. They were run by some far-right Christians, the Rapp family. Triad supplied the network computers that stored all the voter registration information, and hosted the county board of elections results on its Web server.
Connell admitted making Govtech, SMARTech, and Triad look like a single unit for the Ohio election returns. Congressman Conyers had written to Triad in December 2004, asking about their ability to access the vote-counting computers remotely. Triad, it seems, had changed the hard drive in the tabulator computer before the recount. The only reason to do that, [Electronic data security expert Stephen] Spoonamore says, would be to erase and destroy evidence of a software manipulation of that tabulator. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Venture on truTV]
Out of the blue, Connell called [Stephen] Spoonamore late in 2005. They'd never met before, but Connell had heard of the systems Spoonamore developed to protect democracy advocates from being hacked in hostile overseas environments. In one such location, Connell was helping out some Christian advocacy groups. Connell had created Web sites for Jeb Bush's run for governor, and for George W. in 2000. Connell's company got the first private contract to build and manage congressional e-mail servers and firewalls. This gave him the ability and means to read documents and e-mails, copy data, and set up "back doors." Then he did the Web site for Blackwell's office in Ohio; another client of Connell's was Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the group that went after Kerry on his service record!
Spoonamore told us, "Mike was a front-end guy, who built Web sites and really sophisticated databases to track voters. The way computers actually function and talk to each other, he didn't have the expertise and would have to work with others, like the guys at SMARTech." When he and Connell first met in Washington, Spoonamore didn't reveal his own interest in the electronic voting world. The two hit it off, and started working together on a couple of unrelated overseas projects.

Karl Rove's Comeuppance

As they became friends, Spoonamore sensed that Connell was having second thoughts about what he'd been doing for the Republicans. Maybe you've followed some of the flap about all of those e-mails of Karl Rove's that somehow disappeared over time. Well, it was Connell who set up the site used by Rove for 95 percent of his e-mail communication, known as At the end of a private meeting in 2006, Connell asked Spoonamore what he knew about "the complexity of trying to erase e-mail." Spoon explained that, in most cases, it can't be done. Connell pointed in the direction of the White House a few blocks away, saying that he'd "kinda been asked to look at a challenge, whether you could recover or get back e-mails." Spoonamore recalls: "He was fishing around for what the steps might be. I said, 'Mike, I'm involved in a lot of stuff to protect people's privacy and bank accounts, but I don't use those skills to destroy information. And I would encourage you to tell people to walk away from this because, one, it doesn't work and, two, the cover-up is always worse than the crime, Mike.'"
The memo prepared for [Congressman Conyer's] House Judiciary Committee said: "Well before the 2000 election, one of Connell's employees created a 'Trojan Horse' software application which, when installed on one computer, allows its remote control by another computer. Prior to the 2004 election in Ohio, Connell administered and developed important parts of the Secretary of State's computer network including the election results reporting server systems. . . . During the 2004 (and 2006) elections, Connell routed the election results from the OH SOS office through SMARTech servers in Chattanooga, Tennessee."
In July 2008, attorney Arnebeck asked U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey to hold onto all of Rove's e-mails. Rove was identified in the lawsuit as the "principal perpetrator of a pattern of corrupt activity" under the Ohio Corrupt Practices Act. "We have been confidentially informed by a source we believe to be credible that Karl Rove has threatened Michael Connell . . . that if he does not agree to 'take the fall' for election fraud in Ohio, his wife Heather will be prosecuted for supposed law lobby violations."
Then, in September, Connell got issued a subpoena. His attorney, Bill Todd, who happened to also have been legal counsel for Bush/Cheney '04, said that Connell couldn't be deposed before the election because he was too busy working for the John McCain campaign. Shortly before the November election, Connell appeared with a trio of lawyers before an Ohio judge, who ordered him to give a deposition. With the election one day away, Connell denied any role in recommending the Chattanooga SMARTech company to Ohio officials in 2004, but he did admit for the record that his company had subcontracted with SMARTech.
This might have shaken up Rove and company. In mid-October, Rove had an article in the Wall Street Journal headlined "Obama Hasn't Closed the Sale." The latest Gallup tracking poll showed nearly twice as many undecided voters than in the 2004 election, Rove said, so Obama's 7.3% lead didn't necessarily mean that much. McCain, entering the final weekend of the race, predicted a come-from-behind victory, based on how things were looking in battleground states like Ohio. But then suddenly, on Monday night, after Connell gave his deposition, it all changed. The new Rove electoral map predicted a 338-to-200 electoral vote margin in favor of Obama. Rove had basically done a 180-degree turn.

What Happens to Whistleblowers

Mike Connell (MCT/Landov)So then, on December 19, 2008, Michael Connell, 45 years old, father of four, went down in the fiery crash of his Piper Saratoga II single-engine plane. He was flying back alone from a meeting in Maryland and only two and a half miles from the Akron airport. The airplane's right wing clipped a flagpole in the front yard of an empty house before it broke up and set fire to the garage. Connell was thrown out of the burning plane and died instantly. He was an accomplished pilot, flying in decent weather. A friend told a reporter that twice over the past two months, Connell had canceled flights due to suspicious problems with his plane.
"A number of people with expertise are of the opinion that this was a hit," Ohio attorney Arnebeck told us. "There is a method called electromagnetic pulse technology, where you can disrupt the electronics in an airplane and it's very hard to detect, particularly after the fact. The motive would be that Connell was an extraordinary individual in terms of his knowledge and expertise in a fairly vast racketeering kind of conspiracy, in that it involved Karl Rove, business groups, multiple elections, and a fairly broad geography." [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Venture on truTV]
Spoonamore says this: "I found out something about the system that Mike had on board, where he fundamentally had a system without mechanical controls that was computer operated. Eyewitnesses on the ground say all the plane's lights turned off, the engine stalled. At that point, he would have regained manual control by wire, he flattens it out and tries to fix the problem. But when he turns the engine back on, the plane guns itself and dives into the ground. So what happened? Simple. You program a chip. They changed the chip that runs the plane. Despite the fact that FAA rules require you leave the site alone until daylight, completely document and photograph it, instead they pick up the entire plane and haul it to a Lockheed-Martin hangar. Trust me, by the time the FAA started pulling it apart, the right chip was back in the computer."
To say what happened to Connell was weird timing is an understatement. Here's a guy getting ready to be a whistle-blower on the biggest series of election frauds in our history. Whether it was an accident or by design, he was silenced. Gee, what bad luck this guy had. Hmmmm. . .
Spoonamore, for one, is scared that if we continue with electronic voting, stolen elections are going to happen again. He says most of these companies are run by far-right evangelical Christians. "A tiny group of people who call themselves Christians, but who clearly do not believe in Christ's message or our democracy, seem to repeatedly be behind every questionable voting outcome. They aren't Christians. They are fascists. Fascists who don't have the balls to go public, round people up, and kill them, except on very rare occasions—like Mike Connell."

Germs Gone Wild: The Horrific Secrets of Plum Island

Germs Gone Wild: The Horrific Secrets of Plum Island

Germs Gone Wild: The Horrific Secrets of Plum Island

What Is on the Island?

Lurking in the dark waters of Long Island Sound is a mysterious place known as Plum Island. Just ten miles off the coast of Connecticut, this tiny speck of land has long been rumored to be the epicenter of top-secret biowarfare research. The U.S. government acknowledges that the island is home to a scientific facility. Its stated purpose is to study animal-borne diseases. But investigators are beginning to uncover startling new facts about this forbidding place. Insiders and ex-employees have come forward to tell their stories. From security breaches in germ labs, to escaped diseases and potential mass epidemics, this is the real Plum Island story.
But the government denies anything is wrong.
Plum Island's Secret Past
Although the origins of Plum Island are shrouded in secrecy, investigations have revealed the startling fact that, in the 1950s, the lab was run by a German scientist named Erich Traub, who was brought to America after the Second World War. His specialty in the Third Reich was virus and vaccine research. Along with rocket scientists like Werner von Braun, Traub was spirited out of post-war Germany to help jump-start the Cold War against the Soviet Union. The well-documented U.S. government project to recruit German scientists and technicians was known as Operation Paperclip. President Truman approved the project, so long as only nominal Nazi party members without SS affiliation were recruited. However, because the Nazi party promoted so many of its top scientists, Operation Paperclip ended up white-washing the pasts of many of its recruits in order to get them into the U.S.
Traub's particular expertise was in disease-carrying insects—in particular, the common tick. Ticks are often carried aloft by birds, and can therefore quickly spread over large swaths of territory. Called "vectors," ticks and mosquitoes are also genetically similar. Both contain bacteriophages or plasmids that transfer genetic material into a cell, or from one bacterium to another. In other words, they can infect whatever host animal with which they come in contact. Multiply this by millions, and ticks become the perfect insect army.
Plum Island (Reuters)During the Cold War, both the Soviets and Americans searched for ways to cripple each other, short of a doomsday nuclear attack. One idea was to destroy Russia's food supply. This is where Traub's tick army came into play. If the bugs could be injected with lethal pathogens, and somehow released over the Soviet Union, we could literally starve our mortal enemy to death. It's well documented that Traub was using Plum Island for this research.
In November 1957, U.S. military intelligence explored the elimination of the food supply of the Sino-Soviet bloc, right down to determining the calories required for victory:
In order to have a crippling effect on the economy of the USSR, the food and animal crop resources of the USSR would have to be damaged within a single growing season to the extent necessary to reduce the present average daily caloric intake from 2,800 calories to 1,400 calories; i.e., the starvation level. Reduction of food resources to this level, if maintained for twelve months, would produce 20 percent fatalities, and would decrease manual labor performance by 95 percent and clerical and light labor performance by 80 percent.
Attempts to obtain records about Traub's past, and his possible connection to Third Reich war crimes, have been regularly rebuffed by Army Intelligence and the CIA. Traub died in Germany at the age of 78.

The Lyme Disease Connection

Traub regularly experimented with injecting dangerous pathogens into insects. The Joint Chiefs of Staff authorized this and similar research in 1952. Dusty files labeled "Tick Research" in the National Archives revealed this quote:
"Vigorous, well-planned, large-scale [biological warfare] test, with results to the secretary of defense. Steps should be taken to make certain adequate facilities are available, including those at Fort Detrick, Dugway Proving Ground, Fort Terry (Plum Island) and an island field testing area."
In November 1957, the Joint Chiefs also advised that "'research on anti-animal agent-munition combinations should continue, as well as field testing of anti-food agent munition combinations'"
In the mid-1970s, a mysterious disease broke out in the area around the town of Old Lyme, CT. This severely debilitating syndrome was given the name Lyme disease. At first, doctors were mystified as to why the disease was clustered around this particular town. To this day, some medical authorities question whether the disease isn't partly psychosomatic.
But its victims know differently.
Lyme disease is marked by powerful fatigue, muscle aches, inability to focus and, in some cases, almost total incapacity. After cases mushroomed throughout the Northeast, it was finally investigated seriously. Health researchers determined that Lyme disease had only one cause: deer ticks.
In the 80s, scientists were able to isolate the infectious bacteria carried by the ticks. It was named Borellia burgdorferi, after the Austrian biochemist who made the initial breakthrough. Modern gene-sequencing techniques cracked the code of borellia; in fact, it was only the third microbial gene ever sequenced (after influenza and a rare form of genital herpes).   [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
When the data came in, it rocked the scientific world.
Borellia burgdorfieri turned out to be the single most complex bacterium known to man. Nothing like it had ever been seen before. As time went on, other subsidiary diseases were discovered to go hand in hand with Lyme. These include chronic schizophrenia, psychosis, severe osteoarthritis, lupus, bladder problems, bipolar delusions, vertigo, encephalitis, infection of the brain stem and many others. Some researchers believe that multiple sclerosis is also a cofactor of Lyme.
This leads us back to Erich Traub, the German scientist who participated in research at Plum Island.
Once they had the genetic footprint of the Lyme disease germ, researchers began to comb through disease cluster histories. It didn't make sense that Lyme would suddenly emerge, seemingly out of nowhere, in one town in rural Connecticut. Some of these investigators believe they found traces of borrelia in preserved insect and animal samples taken from nearby Shelter Island, as well as Long Island. The samples dated from the late 1940s to the early 1950s—the timeframe in which Erich Traub was infecting ticks on Plum Island.

Building 257's Super Secret Research

A local television reporter named Karl Grossman took up the cause of Lyme disease victims. He discovered that more than 140 species of birds frequent and nest on Plum Island. Suspicion then fell heavily on one particular building on the island—the ominous and supposedly super-secure Building 257.
A maintenance worker on the island named James McKoy repeatedly complained about shoddy security at Building 257and was summarily fired for his trouble. Tom Ridge, then head of Homeland Security, the agency ultimately responsible for operations at Plum Island, refused to comment on the firing even when the firing was personally questioned by Senator Clinton. McKoy told an alarming tale about a cold December day in 2002. The power in the labs failed, and the emergency generators were unable to pick up the load. For four hours, workers were frantically trying to seal the doors of Building 257 with duct tape, which is good for a lot of things, but not stopping microscopic particles.
And there are other stories like Jim McKoy's.
But something happened that was even more bizarre.
Monsters and Mutants
Drawing of human body with elongated fingers
that washed up on Long Island (truTV)
One sunny day in the summer of 2008, vacationers in Montauk, Long Island, ran screaming from the beach. Something unspeakable had washed ashore. At first glance, it appeared to be the carcass of large animal—but what kind? The dead beast emitted a sickening odor. Bloated and leathery, it had patches of coarse hair spread unevenly across its body. With its hideous elongated, almost dinosaur-like skull, and odd matchstick-shaped fingers, it looked like nothing anyone had ever seen before.
The beach where the monster was found is just 10 miles from Plum Island.
Local officials offered no explanation. Socialites in the ritzy Hamptons were thrown into a panic. Speculation immediately mounted that the creature was the result of an animal experiment gone horribly wrong. Official denials were quick to come from Plum Island, which was now operated by the Department of Homeland Security. But this monster wasn't the only one.
In spring of 2009, a second hideous corpse came ashore at Montauk. This one was almost identical—same elongated skull, same weird claw-like fingers. Once again, local officials had no explanation. The carcass was quickly spirited away and, to anyone's knowledge, was never examined by an independent zoologist.
And just when you think the story couldn't get freakier, it did.
Police were called to Plum Island in January, 2010. A human body—a mutated human body—had been found by workers on the island. The official police report described "very elongated fingers." The body had no identification. Moreover, five symmetrical holes had been drilled into its skull. At first, Suffolk County police said it was the body of a white man.
A day later, they changed their story and claimed it was a black man. To date, they have offered no explanation for the two conflicting reports, except to say it was an "oversight."
Mutated corpses, hideous monsters, terrifying germ leaks, secret experiments? Could the stories about Plum Island get any more frightening?
What if they moved this dangerous research to the middle of America's breadbasket?

Monsters in the Heartland

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) recently announced that the island was slated for permanent closure. The germ labs and research facilities will move to Kansas State University—the epicenter of U.S. agriculture. Known as the "beef belt," this swath of the Midwest contains huge herds of livestock.
One of the major contagions studied at Plum Island is the deadly hoof-and-mouth disease. In England and Europe, untold thousands of beef cattle were slaughtered and the carcasses burned when they were found to be infected with hoof-and-mouth. People on the ground in Kansas—among them professors at Kansas State—banded together to oppose the move. But so far, their protests have been futile. DHS seems determined to carry out its plan.
Congressman Tim Bishop represents the district that contains Plum Island. In repeated interviews, he has stated his satisfaction with the official explanations given about mishaps and safety violations at the lab. He claims to have been concerned at earlier times, but now believes security has been stepped up.
Others beg to differ.
Karl Grossman, the reporter who originally broke the Lyme disease story, says that shadowy terrorist figures have been caught with dossiers about Plum Island. Aafia Siddiqui is a Pakistani scientist who, at one time, was named one of the seven most wanted al-Qaeda fugitives. They called her "Lady al-Qaeda." When captured in 2008, she was carrying handwritten documents about a "mass casualty attack" and a list of targets.  [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
At the top of that list was Plum Island.
Grossman points out that the island is still not heavily secured or guarded. Pleasure boats often come within hailing distance of the labs—including Building 257. As Grossman points out, it would be a relatively simple matter for terrorists on a rented boat to blow the place sky-high with a shoulder-fired Stinger missile. He says it terrifies him to speculate on the human devastation that would result from a mass release of pathogens. As he says, it keeps him up at night.

Unanswered Questions

Plum Island from the air (USDA)But the litany of official denials just keep coming. Dr. Roger Breeze was the director of the Plum Island research center in the 1990s. Breeze has given several interviews claiming that the island poses absolutely no danger to civilians, animals or the environment. However, a recent interview with Breeze revealed a startling slip of the tongue.
While trying to explain all the "good work" done at Plum Island, Breeze vehemently denied the existence of biowarfare research. He repeated the official line that only animal diseases are studied. He flatly denied that Lyme disease originated on the island. He even claimed to have no knowledge of German scientist Erich Traub. But  he did state that workers in the lab where hoof-and-mouth disease is studied actually inhale the virus in the course of a normal day. The deadly virus is trapped, according to the good doctor, in the back of the throat. Breeze then made the astonishing admission that there has always been a Plum Island rule that workers inside the lab cannot visit a zoo or circus or even a pet store.
None of these people have pets at home? After Breeze's amazing revelation, are we actually supposed to believe that we are safe from Plum Island's deadly germs?
One thing is sure: the terrifying stories about Plum Island aren't going to disappear. The victims of Lyme disease demand answers. A skeptical public, used to government lies and cover-ups, demands answers. The people of Kansas demand answers. So stay tuned. Courageous researchers and scientists will keep digging. You haven't heard the last of the mysterious place called Plum Island.

The Moon-Landing Hoax: Did Man Really Walk on the Moon?

The Moon-Landing Hoax: Did Man Really Walk on the Moon?
One small step for man, but to where?

One Giant Leap of Faith

On July 20th, 1969, half a billion people gathered around televisions to watch the iconic, shadowy images of Neil Armstrong climbing down from the lunar lander to take man's first step onto the moon. The Apollo 11 mission was one of mankind's most awe-inspiring technological feats and captured the world's imagination.
But many people believe that the "giant leap for mankind" was really a historic hoodwink and that Armstrong never set foot on the moon. Instead, they claim the famed astronaut walked around a fake lunar landscape built on a massive Hollywood-style soundstage, a scenario that inspired the plot of the 1977 conspiracy film Capricorn One.
A Gallup poll in 1999 found that six percent of Americans doubt that the moon landings ever happened. A 2005-06 poll by space consultant Mary Lynne Dittmar found that 27 percent of U.S. 18- to 24-year-olds question the reality of the moon landings. And a 2009 survey in Great Britain found that one in four believe the moon landings never occurred.

Rumors of a Conspiracy Started Early

Speculation that the moon landings were faked began circulating almost as soon as the Apollo 11 capsule splashed back down to Earth.
Bill Kaysing, author of We Never Went to the Moon: America's 30 Billion Dollar Swindle, is often credited with being the father of the moon-landing conspiracy theories. A former writer and librarian at Rocketdyne, a major aerospace contractor, Kaysing was among the most vocal and visible hoax adherents from the publication of his book in 1976 until his death in 2005.
He was featured prominently in Conspiracy Theory: Did We Land on the Moon?, a 2001 film that presented the evidence skeptics claim as proof that the missions were staged. The show created a stir and is credited with reviving waning speculation that the landings were a hoax. Following the broadcast, NASA was bombarded with so many questions from the public that it was compelled to post an official rebuttal on its website.
On the program, Kaysing claimed that in the late 1950s, Rocketdyne conducted a feasibility study that concluded the probability of a successful trip to the moon by 1969 was only .0017 percent. He said this report made it clear that a lunar landing was "virtually impossible."
(Getty Images)On May 25th, 1961, President John F. Kennedy stated his belief "that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth." And the end of the decade was looming. So conspiracy buffs say the United States, compelled by Kennedy's self-imposed ticking clock, was forced to fake the landings in order to secure a key victory in the space race with the Soviet Union, thus achieving a major propaganda coup in the Cold War.
Other theorists claim the motivation was to draw attention away from the unpopular war raging in Vietnam, raise national pride and quell growing political unrest at home.
Wernher von Braun's place at the helm of NASA's space program at the time is reason enough to question the entire operation, many hoax adherents say. During World War II, Braun headed the German team of scientists who developed the V-2 ballistic missiles for the Nazis, and is thought by some film historians to be one of the real-life figures that inspired the title character from Stanley Kubrick's classic cold war comedy Dr. Strangelove. The missiles, used against targets in Europe during the war, were allegedly built by forced labor.

A Phalanx of Hoax Theories

Among the most prominent hoax theorists carrying Kaysing's mantle today are David Percy and Mary Bennet, coauthors of Dark Moon: Apollo and the Whistle Blowers, and Bart Sibrel, who produced the film, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way to the Moon. Sibrel is notorious for a 2002 incident in which he ambushed Apollo 11 lunar-module pilot Buzz Aldrin in an interview and asked him to swear on a Bible that he'd been to the moon. The astronaut not only refused, but famously punched Sibrel in the face in front of news cameras after the conspiracy theorist called him "a coward, a liar and a thief." Sibrel and other advocates of the hoax theory maintain websites where photos and videos from the moon landings are pored over to discover new evidence that they were faked.
A Sequel to 2001: A Space Odyssey?
Some make the specific charge that footage of the first moonwalk was shot by Stanley Kubrick, acclaimed director of the 1968 film, 2001: A Space Odyssey, which won an Academy Award for its special effects. The lack of visible stars in the photographs of the Apollo moon landings is most often cited as proof that the astronauts were actually bounding around a soundstage and not on the surface of the moon.
But scientists, photographers and firm believers in the moon landing have set up websites of their own to debunk—point by point—the hoax theories.
Phil Plait, who writes the Bad Astronomy blog for Discover magazine, says the simple explanation for the starless heavens is the extreme brightness of the moon's surface, caused by the lunar dawn. The brief exposure times required in these conditions were too fast to register the faint stars on film.
Then there's the infamous photo of a moon rock that appears to have the letter "C" on it. Moon-landing skeptics say it is a prop marking that was carelessly left visible. But debunkers say the "C" has been found to be a fiber on the original print that was digitized and reproduced. There is no sign of the "C "on the original negative.
How Can a Flag Wave on the Airless Moon?
In images from the Apollo missions, the American flag appears to be rippling in the breeze. But hoax believers point out that this is impossible without an atmosphere. They are right. However, a special flagpole was constructed with a telescoping rod along the top to hold the stars and stripes out. The Apollo 11 astronauts weren't able to deploy the rod fully, leaving folds in the flag like those in a curtain. On subsequent missions, the astronauts chose to only partially expand the rod because they liked how the flag appeared to be waving.
The Case of the Disappearing Camera Crosshairs
Conspiracy theorists claim the camera crosshairs in many photos disappear as though blocked by objects within the picture. But debunkers point out that the crosshairs always disappear over a bright white object, which causes overexposure and the resulting crosshair fade-out.

The Hoax Theories Keep Coming

Shadows of a Doubt
(NASA/Landov)Hoax believers say shadows cast by the astronauts, the lunar module and moon rocks go in different directions, which would be impossible with the sun as the sole light source. They believe the lack of perfectly parallel shadows reveals the use of multiple light sources, like those employed on a film set. However, NASA's website and other hoax debunkers counter that the uneven lunar surface caused the divergent shadows, a phenomenon that can be viewed on sunny days even here on Earth.
Photos where the astronauts are clearly in the shadow of the lunar lander, yet are lit enough to show details on their space suits, are held out as more evidence of multiple light sources.
But debunkers counter that sunlight bouncing up off the brilliant lunar surface would illuminate any astronaut or object that was in its shadow.
Moon-Landing Skeptics Kicking Up Dust
Doubters point to multiple clues in the fine, light quality of the moon's soil. They offer pictures where the lunar module's disk-like "feet" are completely free of dust following the landing. Others question why footprints are visible in the dust mere yards from the spacecraft. Wouldn't exhaust from the landing have cleared a larger swath of the lunar surface?
Moonwalk adherents state that these theories rest on a misconception that dust on the moon would act like dust on Earth. Without air, they say, any particles moved around by the landing would drop like rocks the moment they were no longer being pushed by the exhaust. Dust doesn't kick up, swirl and drift in a vacuum, so it makes sense that the lander's feet were clean and dust stayed pretty close to the module.
Apollo Missions and the Van Allen Belts
Kaysing and other hoax adherents claim a moon mission was impossible because the astronauts would have become gravely ill or died when passing through two powerful bands of radiation that encircle the Earth. The donut-shaped Van Allen Belts are filled with high-energy particles from the solar wind and the Earth's ionosphere that are trapped by the planet's magnetic field.
But debunkers say conspiracy buffs don't have their science right. While extremely radioactive, the belts were of little danger to the astronauts, who passed through them quickly and within the relatively safe confines of their shielded command capsule. Monitoring devices found the astronauts' exposure was minimal for the round trip.

How Could So Many Keep Such a Secret for So Long?

How do hoax believers account for the complicity and 41-year silence of hundreds of NASA employees involved in the massive scheme to fool the world? And what of the spectators who watched the Apollo rockets lift off with their own eyes?
Kaysing and other theorists claim only a handful of key players actually knew about the fraud and most of the people in mission control were also duped. They say the astronauts took off in the rocket and orbited the Earth until it was time to splash down again in front of a worldwide audience.
Some hoax adherents say many would-be whistle-blowers were too fearful to reveal the truth.
Apollo 1 astronauts Virgil "Gus" Grissom, Edward H. White II and Roger Chaffee died in a flash fire that erupted in the cockpit of their rocket during a launch-pad test in 1967. Kaysing said the three astronauts were killed because they were threatening to tell the truth.
An extensive investigation into the fire found no evidence of sabotage. The report concluded, however, that conditions in the command module were extremely hazardous and the accident could have been prevented. The Apollo missions were put on hold as major safety modifications were made.
Footage Destroyed to Preserve the Hoax?
In 2006, news broke that the original taped footage from the Apollo 11 moon landing had been misplaced. The famous dark, hazy images were the result of conversions necessary for broadcast, but clear recordings of the direct transmissions were also made.
In July 2009, days before the 40th anniversary of the moon landing, NASA revealed that an investigation found the magnetic tapes had been mistakenly erased in order to be reused. This revelation was heartbreaking for most people. For hoax theorists, it was more convincing evidence of a cover-up.
Then came news that, in an odd way, brings the possibly faked first moon landing full circle from claims that it was originally filmed on a movie set by 2001: A Space Odyssey director Stanley Kubrick. NASA announced that the best available Apollo 11 footage would be digitally restored by a Hollywood production company. Chosen for the job was none other than Lowry Digital of Burbank, California—the company that was the force behind the digital remastering of George Lucas's Star Wars trilogy. More fuel for the conspiracy theorists' fire, no doubt.


Your Government Dealing Drugs

Your Government Dealing Drugs

Your Government Dealing Drugs

Drugs, Guns, and Government

The heroin epidemic that ravaged our cities during the 50s and 60s basically originated with the CIA out of Southeast Asia. Almost from the moment of their founding in 1947, the CIA was giving covert support to organized drug traffickers in Europe and the Far East, and eventually the Middle East and Latin America. During the Vietnam War—hold onto your hats!—heroin was being smuggled into this country in the bodies of soldiers being flown home, coded ahead of time so they could be identified at various Air Force bases and the drugs removed.
Condensed and excerpted
from American Conspiraciesby
Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell,
with permission of Skyhorse
Publishing, Inc., New York, NY
Toward the end of American involvement over there in 1975, a former Green Beret named Michael Hand arranged a 500-pound shipment of heroin from Southeast Asia's "Golden Triangle" to the U.S. by way of Australia. That's where Hand had set up shop as vice chair of the Nugan Hand Bank, which was linked by the Australian Narcotics Bureau to a drug smuggling network that "exported some $3 billion [Aust.] worth of heroin from Bangkok prior to June 1976." Several CIA guys who later came up in the Iran-Contra affair (Ted Shackley, Ray Clines and Edwin Wilson) used the Nugan Hand bank to channel funds for covert operations. By 1979, the bank had 22 branches in 13 countries and $1 billion in annual business. The next year, chairman Frank Nugan was found shot dead in his Mercedes, a hundred miles from Sydney, and the bank soon collapsed. Two official investigations by Australia uncovered its financing of major drug dealers and the laundering of their profits, while collecting an impressive list of "ex"CIA officers.

Drugs Funding Reagan's War in Nicaragua

After the CIA's involvement with the Southeast Asian drug trade had been partly disclosed in the mid-1970s, and the U.S. left Vietnam to its fate, the Agency started distancing itself from its "assets." But that only left the door open to go elsewhere. Which the Reagan Administration did big-time, to fund its secret war in Nicaragua. The 1979 Sandinista revolution that overthrew Anastasio Somoza, one of our favorite Latin dictators, was not looked upon fondly by Ronnie and his friends. He called the counterrevolutionary Contras "freedom fighters," and compared them to America's founding fathers. In his attempt to get Congress to approve aid for the Contras, Reagan accused the Sandinista government of drug trafficking. Of course, Nancy Reagan had launched her "Just say no" campaign at the time, but I guess she hadn't given the word to her husband. After his administration tried to mine the Nicaraguan harbors and got a hand slap from Congress, it turned to secretly selling missiles to Iran and using the payments—along with profits from running drugs—to keep right on funding the Contras. Fifty thousand lost lives later, the World Court would order the U.S. to "cease and to refrain" from unlawful use of force against Nicaragua and pay reparations. (We refused to comply.)
The fact is, with most of the cocaine that flooded the country in the 80s, almost every major drug network was using the Contra operation in some fashion. Colombia's Medellin cartel began quietly collaborating with the Contras soon after Reagan took office. Then, in 1982, CIA Director Casey negotiated a little Memorandum of Understanding with the attorney general, William French Smith. Basically what this did was give the CIA legal clearance to work with known drug traffickers without being required to report it, so long as they weren't official employees but only "assets." This didn't come out until 1998, when CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz issued a report that implicated more than 50 Contra and related entities in the drug trade. And the CIA knew all about it. The trafficking and money laundering tracked right into the National Security Council, where Oliver North was overseeing the Contras' war.
Here's what was going on behind the scenes: In the mid-1980s, North got together with four companies that were owned and operated by drug dealers, and arranged payments from the State Department for shipping supplies to the Contras. Michael Levine, an undercover agent for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration), later said that "running a covert operation in collaboration with a drug cartel . . . [is] what I call treason." The top DEA agent in El Salvador, Celerino Castillo III, said he saw "very large quantities of cocaine and millions of dollars" being run out of hangars at Ilopango air base, which was controlled by North and CIA operative Felix Rodriguez (he'd been placed in El Salvador by Vice President Bush's office, as a direct overseer of North's operations). The cocaine was being transshipped from Costa Rica through El Salvador and on into the U.S. But when Castillo tried to raise this with his superiors, he ran into nothing but obstacles.

Iran-Contra Affair: Drugs, Arms and Hostages

Early in 1985, two Associated Press reporters started hearing from officials in D.C. about all this. A year later, after a lot of stonewalling by the editors, the AP did run Robert Parry and Brian Barger's story on an FBI probe into cocaine trafficking by the Contras. This led the Reagan Administration to put out a three-page report admitting that there'd been some such shenanigans when the Contras were "particularly hard pressed for financial support" after Congress voted to cut off American aid. There was "evidence of a limited number of incidents." Uh-huh. It would be awhile yet before an Oliver North note surfaced from July 12, 1985, about a Contra arms warehouse in Honduras: "Fourteen million to finance came from drugs."
Contra rebels (MAI/Landov)Also in 1986, an FBI informant inside the Medellin cartel, Wanda Palacio, testified that she'd seen the organization run by Jorge Ochoa loading cocaine onto aircraft that belonged to Southern Air Transport, a company that used to be owned by the CIA and was flying supplies to the Contras. There was strong corroboration for her story, but somehow the Justice Department rejected it as inconclusive.  Senator John Kerry started looking into all this and said at one closed-door committee meeting: "It is clear that there is a network of drug trafficking through the Contras...We can produce specific law-enforcement officials who will tell you that they have been called off drug-trafficking investigations because the CIA is involved or because it would threaten national security."
What became known as the Iran-Contra affair came to light in November 1986. We were selling arms to Iran, breaking an arms embargo in order to fund the contras. Fourteen Reagan Administration officials got charged with crimes and eleven were convicted, including Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger. Of course, Poppa Bush pardoned them all after he got elected president. And do you think a word about drug-running came up in the televised House committee hearings that made Ollie North a household name? Fuhgedaboutit. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV.]
The thousand-page report issued by Senator Kerry about his committee's findings did discuss how the State Department had paid more than $800,000 to known traffickers to take "humanitarian assistance" to the Contras.  The New York Times then set out to trash Kerry in a three-part series, including belittling him for relying on the testimony of imprisoned (drug-running) pilots. The Washington Post published a short article heavy on criticisms against Kerry by the Republicans. Newsweek called him "a randy conspiracy buff." (Wonder what they were snorting.)
But are we surprised? In 1987, the House Narcotics Committee had concluded there should be more investigation into the Contra drug allegations. What was the Washington Post's headline? "Hill Panel Finds No Evidence Linking Contras to Drug Smuggling." The paper wouldn't even run Chairman Charles Rangel's letter of correction! That same year, a Time correspondent had an article on this subject blocked and a senior editor privately tell him: "Time is institutionally behind the Contras. If this story were about the Sandinistas and drugs, you'd have no trouble getting it in the magazine."

Drugs, Panama and Beyond

The list of government skullduggery goes on, and it's mind-boggling. Remember when Poppa Bush ordered our military to invade Panama back in 1990? The stated reason was that its leader, Colonel Manuel Noriega, had been violating our laws by permitting drugs to be run through his country. In fact, Noriega had been "one of ours" for a long time. After Noriega was brought to the U.S. and convicted by a federal jury in Miami and sentenced to 40 years, filmmaker Oliver Stone went to see him in prison. There Noriega talked freely about having spied on Castro for the U.S., giving covert aid to the Contras and visiting with Oliver North. Noriega and Bush Sr. went way back, to when Bush headed the CIA in 1976. The brief prepared by Noriega's defense team was heavily censored, but it did reveal significant contact with Bush over a 15-year period. In fact, Bush had headed up a special anti-drug effort as vice president called the South Florida Task Force, which happened to coincide with when quite a few cargoes of cocaine and marijuana came through Florida as part of the Contra support network. So why did we finally go after Noriega? Some said it's because he knew too much and was demanding too big a cut for his role in the Agency's drug dealing.
It's a proven fact that the CIA's into drugs; we even know why. It's because they can get money to operate with, and not have to account to Congress for what they're doing. All this is justified because of the "big picture." But doesn't it really beg for a massive investigation and trials and a whole lot of people going to jail? This includes the big banks that allow the dirty money to be laundered through them.
Go back to Chicago and Prohibition, when Al Capone became more powerful than the government because we'd outlawed the selling of liquor. Legalize marijuana and you put the cartels out of business! Instead, we're going to further militarize our border and go shoot it out with them? And if a few thousand poor Mexicans get killed in the crossfire, too bad. I don't get that mentality. I don't understand how this is the proper way, the adult answer, when they could do it another way. Eventually, after thousands more people get killed, they'll probably arrive at the same answer: legalization. Because there's nothing else that will work.  [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
And legalization would go a long way toward giving us a more legitimate government, too—a government that doesn't have to shield drug dealers who happen to be doing its dirty work. There are clearly people in government making money off drugs. Far more people, statistically, die from prescription drugs than illegal drugs. But the powers that be don't want you to be able to use a drug that you don't have to pay for, such as marijuana. Thirteen states now have voted to allow use of medical marijuana. Thank goodness Barack Obama just came out with a new policy stating that the feds are not going to interfere as long as people are following state law. That's a great step toward legalization.
'You can't legislate stupidity' is an old saying I used in governing. Just because you make something illegal doesn't mean it's going away; it just means it'll now be run by criminals. But is using an illegal drug a criminal offense or a medical one? I tend to believe medical, because that's customarily how addictions are treated; we don't throw you in jail for them. In a free society, that's an oxymoron—going to jail for committing a crime against yourself.
The government is telling people what's good for them and what's not, but that should be a choice made by us, not those in power. Look at the consequences when it's the other way around.

Big Brother is Watching

Big Brother is Watching

Orwell's 1984 has Arrived

 George Orwell in his novel, 1984, posited a time when civil liberties were a thing of the past and the government—with the help of informants and electronic surveillance—controlled every aspect of its citizens’ lives. In 1949, when the story was published, it was pure science fiction, and its title was an inversion of 1948, the year Orwell was composing it. The advanced technology that enabled his imaginary dictator, known as Big Brother, to monitor individuals closely had not yet been developed.
Skip ahead to today. On our increasingly wired planet, with video cameras not just on every corner, but in people’s smart phones, computers and wireless devices, such a scenario is entirely plausible. All it would take for us to slip into that nightmarish world is a totalitarian-leaning government or government-business alliance. If you are wondering how to prevent such an eventuality, you may be a bit behind the curve. Many believe this Orwellian future has already taken hold and, although still in its infancy, is growing up fast.
In the summer of 2002, less than a year after the attacks of September 11, President George W. Bush proposed a new corps of civilian informants to help bolster his War on Terror. Dubbed “Operation TIPS” (Terrorism Information and Prevention Systems), it would recruit Americans to spy on their fellow citizens. TIPS was to use truckers, letter carriers, train conductors, ship captains, utility employees and other workers who frequently came into contact with the general public and who could poke their noses into places law enforcement could not, especially private homes. In the operation's own words, it would be “a national reporting system that allows these workers, whose routines make them well-positioned to recognize unusual events, to report suspicious activity.” Operation TIPS's initial goal was to have one million civilian informants, more than even the notorious East German Secret Police, the Stasi.
Possible abuses under this new informant program were immediately evident. Even TIPS proponent, Attorney General John Ashcroft, admitted that there would be no way for average people to know if they had been reported on—or for them to correct or explain any erroneous information. A neighbor harboring a grudge could report people in his neighborhood with no accountability. A wife desperate to get back at an ex-husband could spin lies to the government with no adverse repercussions. Citizens spying on citizens was the ultimate goal, and in the TIPS logo, the all-seeing eye was an all-too-obvious symbol of this out-of-control spying.  Abraham Lincoln once famously said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and the blatant divisiveness engendered by this program might very well threaten the very fabric of the country that it was ostensibly trying to defend.
Fortunately, a brave journalist, Ritt Goldstein at the Sydney Morning Herald, reported on this nefarious program, and its dark plans withered under the harsh light of public scrutiny. In the Homeland Security Act, the formation of the TIPS program was expressively prohibited. The right to privacy had seemingly won the day. But if the government can try it once, what is to stop it from trying again, under a new name, under a different set of objectives? What will happen the next time the government tries to infringe on our privacy rights? How can average citizens protect themselves from the ever-present threat of Big Brother?
Using existing technology, one or more chilling acts of collusion between big business and big government could allow Big Brother to watch your every step, know exactly what you watch, exactly what you say, exactly what's in your home and exactly what you think. Even if you didn’t broadcast all of your personal information to the public through use of social media, your neighbor could be recruited to be Big Brother's accomplice, your license plate a hidden tracking tool, your telephone a secret microphone into your life. If you carefully parse corporate-government doublespeak, you will discover that not only is the technology in place, but so are the actual programs. A prime example is InfraGard.

Technology as Spymaster

RFID Identifies and Tracks You
Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, is a device that sends out an identification/tracking signal using radio waves. This device can be applied or attached to products, animals or people, and the signal it sends can be read from several yards away. There are three types of RFID tags—Active RFID, which contains a power source and can transmit signals continuously and autonomously; Passive RFID, which contains no battery and requires an outside source to provoke signal transmission; and Battery-Assisted Passive, which requires an outside source to trigger transmission, but whose battery allows a greater signal range.
RFID was invented and first utilized by the Soviet Union as an espionage tool to help facilitate covert listening.  Nowadays, the technology is everywhere: RFID is used in the E-ZPass and other electronic toll-paying devices in many public-transportation systems around the world, in quick-pay systems such as the Exxon Mobil Speedpass, and in U.S., Korean and European passports.
ECHELON Monitors Your Communication
ECHELON is the name given to the system of signal-collection and analysis networks run by the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. ECHELON was created during the Cold War to monitor the military and diplomatic communications of the Soviet Union and its satellite countries. Following the fall of the Iron Curtain, it was used to monitor communications to help spot terrorist chatter, drug-cartel information and other illegal activities. The exact locations of ECHELON listening posts are unknown, but likely sprinkled across the globe in order to increase the vast spider web making up the program's area of coverage. ECHELON is thought to be capable of collecting virtually any form of communication—including telephone calls, faxes, emails and other data traffic—by intercepting satellite transmissions, microwave links and public-switched telephone networks, as well as tapping into fiber-optic networks.
But Who Watches the Watchmen?
ECHELON was born out of the pitched frenzy of the Cold War. Nuclear obliteration and the destruction of the human race were very real possibilities in the early atomic age. Today, however, the outlook is not as apocalyptic. Terrorists may want to hurt America but the chances of their ending life on Earth as we know it are slim. In addition, electronic conversations and communications, while common enough in the 1960s and 1970s, are now completely ubiquitous. Electronic records of commerce, banking statements, medical records, personal identification numbers and private conversations are whizzing through the air in a way that barely seemed possible even 10 years ago. Emails, texts, tweets, cellphone calls and Internet traffic can each contain information both deeply personal (religious beliefs and romantic gestures) and highly private (social-security numbers and credit-card details).
Can the average Joe really trust the government not to train its billion-dollar spy systems on his private conversations and transactions? The government claims that it is only after bad guys, but is there any way to be certain? And how does one define "bad guy?" Is it a known lawbreaker, a suspected terrorist, or could it be stretched to a member of the political opposition? It might sound paranoid if there was not already ample evidence of the government listening in and spying on citizens without required court-ordered warrants.

Big Government and Big Businesses Working Together to Spy on You

Spying Through Your Phone
In 2006, AT&T was sued in a class-action lawsuit for cooperating with the National Security Agency (NSA) and allowing them access to massive amounts of data from AT&T customers. The NSA was reportedly given a "direct hook-up" to the AT&T database, which stores information about all calls made on its systems, including duration, time and place.  Federal agents also reportedly contacted communications giant Qwest in hopes that they could gain access to its databases.
Jeff Dahlstrom, a former Air Force pilot and current government watchdog who monitors government disaster drills, related his own brush with the fearsome reach of unauthorized government wiretapping. In the middle of a normal business phone exchange with his bank, Dahlstrom learned that the representative to whom he was speaking was based in Portland, OR. Just as a friendly heads-up, Dahlstrom helpfully informed her to avoid downtown in the coming week because it would be hosting "a drill where they're gonna simulate setting off a nuclear bomb."
Whether the trigger was the word "nuclear" or "bomb" or some combination of the words Dahlstrom used, the call was picked up by the government, recorded, analyzed and flagged for further investigation. Dahlstrom continued, "Within six hours I have two Secret Service agents at my house. They had a transcript of every word that was said on the telephone."
Over-eager government agents plucked his words out of the ether, unconcerned about his privacy and civil rights.
Spying Through Your License Plate
As noted, RFID tags were born out of Soviet spy craft and, some worry, their ultimate purpose may have changed little. With increasing amounts of household items tagged with RFID devices, it's increasingly possible that every purchase made—every brand, every amount and every time—will be recorded in some database somewhere, open to government agencies or corporate monoliths. But RFID may not simply end in our kitchen cabinets or chest of drawers. It may soon track our every movement, whether by land, air or foot.
RFIDs are are small as the point of a needle
The automobile has been a symbol of freedom to generations of Americans, from teenagers who are given their first real sense of independence from their parents, to those who hit the open road in search of their share of the American dream. The idea that the automobile could be an instrument of control is a horrifying possibility that many Americans would prefer to not think about. However, license plates with RFID chips have already been introduced in many European countries. These chipped plates can transmit their identification information a distance of more than 300 feet. Anyone with a reader can merely point it at your vehicle to gain personal information about you. Moreover, the government can use them to track your every move—they can see where you've been, when you went, and study and make conclusions based upon your driving history. And in certain countries, there is a new RFID-enabled program being tested that would allow traffic citations and tickets to be issued based on the information transmitted by RFID plates. If the RFID chip thinks you're following the car in front of you too closely or believes you to be speeding, the chip can inform the local traffic authority of your alleged infractions.  Leaving aside the indignity of being fined by your inanimate license plate, there are the unfair impracticalities—what if you were speeding to the hospital or closely following the next car in a funeral procession? Beyond that, the ability for the government to know precisely when and where you go is a chilling one. Why would the government need to track its citizens so precisely? How is it anyone's business as to where you might go? RFID-enabled license plates are already a reality in Europe, and here in America a local politician in Texas has introduced a bill mandating them in the Lone Star state.
No Limits on Spying
And it's not just government intrusion we need to fear. What if someone were to read all the personal identification from every car parked at a particular rally? Or a religious gathering? All one would need is the right equipment, and the desire for ill-gotten political or financial gain.
Privacy expert Katherine Albrecht tells just how easy it is to build a device to read RFID transmissions. "The type of RFID technology that they've put into these licenses can be picked up by anybody. I can spend a couple hundred bucks and buy a reader to pick this up. I could be standing here right now reading the number off of your ID card right though your pocket. Right through your wallet."

InfraGard: From Virtual Reality to Actual Reality

 Much as the ECHELON program began in a different era, the InfraGard program had its inception in an intelligence world unlike the present. In those pre-9/11 days, wide-scale terrorism at home did not seem possible—the previous attacks on the World Trade Center and Oklahoma City federal building seemed like isolated incidents—and our financial cyber infrastructure appeared to be the more likely venue of attack. However, after the deaths of almost 3,000 people, suddenly the likelihood of domestic terrorism seemed to increase, and InfraGard was meant to be one of the first lines of defense.
The private nonprofit group known as InfraGard was founded in 1996 by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) field office in Cleveland, OH. Starting as a local effort to gain support from tech industries and academia to help combat cyber crime, it expanded to other FBI field offices and went nationwide in 1998. This self-described partnership between the private sector and the FBI is an information-sharing network that connects various state and local law-enforcement agencies, businesses, academic institutions and federal law-enforcement officials. After the attacks of September 11, InfraGard's purview was expanded beyond cyber attacks on American infrastructure to actual physical terrorist attacks, and oversight was transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security. The stated goal of the program is “to promote ongoing dialogue and timely communication between members and the FBI. InfraGard members gain access to information that enables them to protect their assets and in turn give information to government that facilitates its responsibilities to prevent and address terrorism and other crimes.”
FBI field offices gather interested individuals to form local InfraGard chapters. Each chapter is governed by an executive board that meets with an FBI agent. Participants have access to a secure InfraGard website that “provides members with information about recent intrusions, research related to critical infrastructure protection and the capability to communicate securely with other members.”
Matthew Rothschild, investigative reporter and editor of The Progressive, explains just who makes up the ranks of InfraGard: “More than 350 of the top Fortune 500 companies are represented. It’s agriculture, it’s computers, it’s energy, it’s utilities, it’s food industry, it’s transportation, it’s banking, it’s everything.” And what's more, it has grown exponentially in a very short period of time. “In November 2001 there were just 1,700 members,” says Rothschild. “Now there are 32,000 members and there are chapters in every state.”
And this hidden group of informants is granted special rights and privileges not afforded the average citizen. An InfraGard whistleblower revealed to Rothschild that “they get privileges, special phone numbers to call in times of emergency. They can get their family out maybe in times of an emergency or their friends, so they know about these threats. They’re getting secret intelligence on almost a daily basis that the American public isn’t getting, so they’re in the know in a way that we aren’t in the know.”

A Corporate License to Kill

Most frightening of all is that this secret group of informants has been given a license to kill. Rothschild's whistleblower informed him that he "was at a meeting where there was an FBI member and a Homeland Security member telling him and the other business people in the room that there's gonna be martial law in the United States. Not if, but when, and when martial law comes down the pike, it's the responsibility of the business owners to protect their little corner of the infrastructure and that they have the right to use lethal force to protect [it]."George W. Bush got the ball
rolling with the Patriot Act

InfraGard is nothing less than a secret, quasi-governmental organization made up of your friends and neighbors who have a direct line to the FBI, access to secret information and privileges, and the government-given right to exercise lethal force with little fear of reprisal. Could this be the much-reviled wolf once known as Operation TIPS clad in sheep's clothing?
As technology races forward, the citizenry of any country must have assurances that their privacy will not be lost to the insatiable maw of information gathering. So many private and personal details can be collected with so little effort that average persons might easily find themselves completely catalogued, marked and tagged by anyone with the power to do so—be it government, business or military. While the conveniences of speeding past a vacant tollbooth or tapping out our payments with our cellphones are evident, the dangers of such devices must be more readily and easily known. Convenience is wonderful, but like all things, it comes at a cost. And our cherished right to privacy is a price too high to pay.
But while technology can always be modified and retrofitted, regulated and bypassed, the use of citizens to spy on their neighbors is a much more insidious blow to our rights. When people begin to fear their own neighbors, when bitter suspicion replaces easy acceptance between coworkers and friends, and when a man can mistrust the intentions of his own brother, that's when a nation begins to falter and fail.
A country depends on its average citizens to right the ship of state when it begins to pitch. And so, like Operation TIPS before it, InfraGard must be exposed and investigated. Only through the harsh daylight of truth can the all-seeing eye of Big Brother be blinded.

Penetrating the Secrets of Area 51

Penetrating the Secrets of Area 51
What is landing in the desert? (Landov)

What is Area 51?

 Does America have a secret base for captured UFOs? Or a home for the blackest of black government projects? Or a sinkhole where billions of tax dollars disappear with no record? The answer may be “all of the above.”
Area 51 is the most secret location in America’s military network. No other base on Earth has so captured the public’s imagination. And yet, to this day, the U.S. government will neither confirm nor deny the existence of a place called “Area 51.”
The story begins in the wastelands of Nevada, 83 miles north of Las Vegas. Among the dry lakebeds, jackrabbits and scrub vegetation, there lies a massive stretch of parched emptiness known as Groom Lake. Officially, it’s part of Nellis Air Force Base, and is used as a test and training range. Military pilots regularly practice bombing, strafing and dog-fighting tactics over Groom Lake. It also shares a border with the Yucca Flat region of the Nevada Test Site (NTS), the location of 739 of the 828 recorded nuclear tests on American soil.

The History of Area 51

  Groom Lake began life as a practice facility during World War II, mainly as a gunnery and artillery range. It was then provided to a team from Lockheed's super-secret Skunk Works division, as the ideal location to test the experimental U-2 spy plane. The dry lakebed made it possible to work in total isolation, an especially important attribute during the heightened paranoia of the Cold War. The mountain ranges of the nearby Emigrant Valley and the NTS perimeter protected the test site from spies.
In the early 50s, Lockheed constructed a makeshift base at the location. In only three months, a 5,000-foot runway was built. The first U-2 took off from Groom on August 4, 1955. The U-2s, under CIA control, began flying over the Soviet Union in mid-1956.
The U-2 itself has always been an object of intense speculation. In fact, the plane is one of the major reasons people believe Area 51 is a storehouse of extraterrestrial knowledge. Using mid-1950s design and technology, the U-2 could do amazing things. It could fly at 73,000 feet, so high that the pilot had to wear a spacesuit, which was unheard of in the 50s.
In 1964, Area 51/Groom Lake spawned Son of U-2, the incredible SR71 Blackbird. The SR71 was the U-2 on steroids. Its capabilities are still astonishing, especially for a plane that first flew in 1962. In fact, it was the world's fastest and highest-flying manned airplane throughout its career. In 1976, it broke the world record for non-space flight: an absolute altitude record of 85,069 feet. The Blackbird also holds the "Speed Over a Recognized Course" record for flying from New York to London at a speed of 1435 mph, making the journey in 1 hour, 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]
How did a plane built with 1950s technology accomplish these feats? Area 51 may hold the answer. For years, rumors have swirled that the U.S. government possesses knowledge that outstrips anything known to modern science. It is speculated that this incredibly advanced engineering has been culled from captured or crashed UFOs—or given to us by extraterrestrials—and then retrofitted onto existing technology by top-secret personnel. It’s believed that only a tiny number of people with super-secret security clearances know the real truth. There have been fantastical stories of alien containment chambers, airlocks and anti-gravity examining rooms—10 stories below ground at Area 51.
The government, of course, tells a different story. According to official documents, Area 51 is a myth, and Nellis AFB is merely a testing ground for aircraft design and other unnamed “research” projects.
But eyewitnesses beg to differ.

Along the Line of Death

    Area 51 border? (WireImage/Getty Images)A middle-aged man named Chuck Clark used to live in a trailer in Rachel, NV. The closest town to Area 51, Rachel is known as the terminus of the “Extraterrestrial Highway,” aka Nevada State Road 375. Chuck was intrigued by the local rumors and decided to investigate. He began asking questions, taking photographs and combing through any material he could find. One thing he was careful about—never crossing the boundary of the base. Marked by orange traffic-like cones every 50 feet or so, the border is known as the “line of death.” The ridges above the line bristle with advanced electronic sensors, listening devices and heavily armed guards. Signs warn that trespassers will be detained, arrested… or even shot.
One day Chuck stumbled on something in the ground and stopped to dig it up. He checked carefully to make sure he wasn’t on the Area 51 property itself. Chuck’s find turned out to be a highly sensitive “ground sensor,” designed to detect minute vibrations or movement on the surface. With the help of another researcher, a man named Joerg Arnu, Chuck found several of these sensors. He always checked to make sure they weren’t inside the boundary line. And he was careful to rebury them after he logged their location. Like many people, Chuck wondered why they would need sophisticated ground sensors so far from the base. What doesn’t the U.S. government want us to know about Area 51?
But soon, idle speculation turned to stark terror.
One day in late 2003, Chuck came home to find his trailer completely ransacked. His
written records, photos, computers, hard drives—and even personal effects—had been
taken. The phone was ringing urgently; it was the FBI. They demanded that Chuck come to a meeting in Las Vegas right away, which led him to believe the FBI was behind the raid. Las Vegas CBS affiliate, KLAS-TV, reported that "FBI agents have confirmed that a search warrant was served [the same night] on the home of a self-described military watchdog in the tiny town of Rachel, near the mysterious Area 51 military base." The warrant was sealed and the target's name not disclosed.
At the meeting, Chuck admitted to the FBI that he had dug up the early-warning devices, but denied he ever took one or interfered with their operation. In a quiet “arrangement,” Chuck agreed to stop his Area 51 research. He left Rachel, NV, and now lives in a
location he chooses not to reveal.
Local Las Vegas TV-news reporter named George Knapp has been on the Area 51 beat for two decades. Knapp believes there are a huge number of CIA dark projects at the base. He’s heard all the stories, from wild to mild. One thing Knapp knows for sure: every day at McCarren Las Vegas airport, a secret airline shuttles workers to and from Area 51. Known informally as “Lisa Airlines,” it loads and unloads passengers at unmarked gates. Questions directed to McCarren airport and local government officials go unanswered. The truth about Area 51 is kept hidden behind multiple layers of security and secrecy. But there may be some clues in plain sight—clues involving the SR71 and U-2 spy planes.

What's Being Hidden at Area 51?

    Several conferences of aeronautical engineers and specialists have reached the startling conclusion that, quite simply, the SR71 and U-2 aircraft couldn’t have been built in the 1950s. We just didn’t have the know-how; in fact, no country did. So where did they come from? A man named Bob Lazar thinks he knows the answers.
Lazar claims he is a physicist who worked at the super-secret area at Groom Lake called S-4. According to Lazar, S-4 is where the reverse engineering of extraterrestrial craft takes place. In a series of interviews with George Knapp, Lazar said he first thought “flying saucers” were actually our own experimental aircraft and that those test flights were responsible for many UFO reports. Gradually, on closer examination and having seen briefing documents, Lazar came to the conclusion that the discs were actually extraterrestrial in origin. In his filmed testimony, Lazar explained how this realization came to him when he was allowed to board a craft and study its interior.
Lazar claims that atomic Element 115, called Ununpentium (Uup), serves as the propellant. It reportedly “provided an energy source which would produce antigravity effects under proton bombardment along with antimatter for energy production. As the intense strong nuclear force-field of Element 115's nucleus would be properly amplified, the resulting large-scale gravitational effect would be a distortion of the surrounding space-time continuum.”
Whatever all that science jargon means, one thing is for sure. If Lazar is telling the truth, Area 51 contains secrets of staggering importance. This again begs the question: Are they hiding UFOs there?
Advanced Experimental Aircraft
Using both known and speculative data, experts have come up with an astonishing list of advanced aircraft in the U.S. arsenal. Some of these craft are featured in articles that have been published in authoritative publications like Jane’s Aircraft. The list includes:
  • Aurora. A top-secret spy plane capable of Mach 5 to Mach 6 speeds, and an altitude of 120,000 feet. The plane uses exotic hybrid propulsion and delta-shaped wings made of a material so secret that there are no published studies of the engineering basics.
  • The Darpa Disc Rotor. A combination of airplane and helicopter. Unnamed witnesses claim that it looks like a UFO in the night sky.
  • Polecat. The next-generation unmanned aircraft, it supposedly has incredible capabilities and technology never before seen.

F-15C Eagle (Getty Images)But the list gets even wilder. Michael Schratt is an aerospace researcher and expert on black projects and advanced aircraft. He has many contacts inside the military defense establishment. Schratt has revealed the existence of something called the TR3B. This mysterious and ultra-top-secret flying machine is located at—surprise—Area 51. It’s jet-black, with a distinctive triangular shape. According to Schratt, the TR3B is nuclear-powered. Schratt believes the nuclear engine is mated to a plasma-filled accelerator ring, called the Magnetic Field Disrupter. It permits gravity to be neutralized and creates a true antigravity craft; in other words, a flying disc. If true, this is far ahead of any imaginable technology.

The Phoenix Lights

     Phoenix Lights (truTV)On March 13, 1997, thousands of people in the Phoenix area saw a huge triangular shape, outlined by bright lights, moving slowly in the night sky. The formation was seen by air-traffic controllers, airline pilots, cops—even the governor of Arizona. UFO hysteria soon descended over the Valley of the Sun. But a writer named Randall Fitzgerald began asking hard questions about the “Phoenix Lights” phenomenon. He theorized that the lights might not have been a UFO at all. Working from eyewitness accounts, Fitzgerald recreated the flight path. He discovered that the huge triangle seemed to originate from the area around Groom Lake. Then it followed Interstate 10 almost exactly. Why, he asked, would an extraterrestrial craft with the ability to cross space, need an interstate highway to navigate its way to Phoenix?
It’s widely known that the U.S. has advanced cloaking and stealth technology. What isn’t realized is America’s robust holographic technology. This is the ability to project images of startling reality from unknown sources. Some scientists claim we are far more advanced with these exotic optical effects than we admit. There are even rumors that this technology has been used on the battlefields of Iraq. After his research, Fitzgerald came to believe that the Phoenix Lights phenomenon was an incredibly advanced lighter-than-air craft originating from Area 51. The goal was to experiment with holograms over a populated area, to test the public’s reactions. And Fitzgerald has what he believes is a smoking gun: what appears to be a secret CIA document authorizing experiments with holograms. He theorizes that stories about aliens at Area 51 are planted by the government itself. The idea is to distract the public—and our enemies—from the real work going on at Groom Lake, and incidentally, to make sure we don’t question how much it all costs. [Watch Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV]

The Human Costs of Area 51

  But all the research at Area 51, whether alien or human, has created frightening side effects. In 1994, several civilian employees filed a federal lawsuit claiming toxic poisoning from their work at Area 51. The suit claimed that exotic chemicals and rocket fuel were burned in open pits. After several allegations of premature deaths, the families took action. In response, the Pentagon again denied the existence of Area 51. In a classic example of government double-talk, military lawyers claimed the deceased employees could not possibly have inhaled “non-existent” fumes from “non-existent” disposal sites at a “non-existent” air-force base. President Bill Clinton then issued a Presidential Declaration, exempting what it called "The Air Force's Operating Location Near Groom Lake, Nevada" from environmental disclosure laws. Soon after, the judge dismissed the suit due to lack of evidence. The families appealed all the way the U.S. Supreme Court, but the court refused to hear the case. George Bush and Barack Obama have annually issued determinations continuing the so-called “Groom Exception.” This, and similarly tacit wording used in other government communications, is the only formal recognition the U.S. government has ever given that a facility near Groom Lake exists at all.
(WireImage/Getty Images)Area 51 will continue to be a source of rumors, plots, scenarios and yes, conspiracy theories. But evidence is mounting that there is something very mysterious going on out there. Currently, the base is expanding. Huge new hangars are being built, along with gigantic excavations, presumed to be for underground facilities. The public will never be told what its dollars are buying. Once again, we have to rely on the government’s assurance that it knows what’s best for you and me

The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?

The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?
Osama bin Laden (Getty Images)

The Questions of 9/11

September 11, 2001. A disaster so profound that its name is derived not from the horrifying events that took place that day, but by the date alone—as though what happened was so unspeakable that the only way to properly encompass the enormity of it is to invoke when it happened; a date that, to paraphrase Franklin Roosevelt's description of Pearl Harbor Day, truly lives in infamy. When Al-Qaeda operatives struck at the heart of America's financial and military might—the World Trade Center (WTC) in New York City and the Pentagon just outside of Washington, DC—killing more than 3,000 Americans, our country was changed forever. In the aftermath came two wars and passage of the Patriot Act, which redefined how the U.S. could spy on its own citizens.
But after nine years, most Americans have as many questions about the details and aftermath of the savage attacks as they do about the motives of the monsters behind it. Why did some at Ground Zero claim to hear explosions before the first plane even hit? How could two planes crash in a major metropolis and not a single flight data recorder be found? Why did WTC Tower Seven collapse when it was not hit by either of the two airliners? And why won't the government admit that some tests have found traces of explosives in the wreckage from the towers?
While some are merely puzzled, or unworried about these questions, others track down answers like bloodhounds, subjecting themselves to the scorn and ridicule of many who feel that these questions shouldn't be asked. Commissions have been formed, reports issued and books written, but these questions and others like them remain unanswered by the federal government, leading to much speculation that perhaps the U.S. government had advance knowledge of—or even helped plan—the attacks.

The 9/11 Conspiracy: Was the U.S. Government Behind It?

A 9/11 Timeline

In the early morning of September 11, nineteen Al-Qaeda terrorists boarded planes in Boston, Newark, NJ and Washington, D.C. American Airlines Flight 11 and United Airlines Flight 175 departed Boston at 7:59 a.m. and 8:14 a.m., respectively. American Airlines Flight 77 left Dulles International Airport outside of D.C. at 8:20 a.m. United Airlines Flight 93 was the last to take off, departing from Newark at 8:42 a.m. after a nearly 40-minute delay on the tarmac. Each airliner was bound for California, its tanks filled with tens of thousands of gallons of jet fuel for the transcontinental trip. At 8:46 a.m., Flight 11 crashed into the north facade of the World Trade Center's Tower One. Many assumed the collision was the result of pilot or mechanical error. It was not until Flight 175 slammed into Tower Two, 17 minutes later, that many Americans' worst fears were realized—that this was a coordinated attack on America and her people.
But the assault was not yet finished. At 9:37 a.m., Flight 77 ploughed into the western side of the Pentagon and, at 10:03 a.m., Flight 93 came down in a field near Shanksville, PA, after its passengers stormed the cockpit. Its unreached target was thought to be either the Capitol Building or the White House in Washington, D.C.
After burning for 56 minutes, Tower Two collapsed at 9:59 a.m. Tower One fell shortly thereafter at 10:28 a.m. World Trade Center Building Seven (7 WTC), though not struck by the planes, had caught fire and toppled completely by 5:21 p.m. The thick plume of black smoke that billowed to the south and east over Brooklyn and moved out across the Atlantic Ocean was visible from space. The flames at the Pentagon were not contained until 6 p.m. the following day.
Nearly 3,000 people died that day—aboard the planes, in the towers, on the streets below and inside the Pentagon. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in American history.
The Aftermath
Reactions to this massacre were swift. All commercial flights in the U.S. were grounded for three days. Fighter jets patrolled Manhattan. Wall Street stock exchanges were closed for six days, an unheard-of suspension for the lifeblood of American finances. All the while, Ground Zero smoldered as rescue workers and volunteers frantically combed through the wreckage in a search for survivors that, tragically, would be almost completely for naught.
But while the United States grieved, the world rallied around it in an unprecedented show of solidarity. French newspaper Le Monde declared, "We Are All Americans Now." Ireland held a national day of mourning, while Canada's flags flew at half-mast for a month in commiseration. Even foes of the U.S.—including North Korea, Cuba, Libya and Iran—denounced the attacks, and the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution declaring that the United States had a right to defend itself. The world at large seemed to be standing squarely with America.
President George W. Bush's approval ratings soared to 86 percent in the days after September 11, and American flags began appearing on bumpers, porches, windows and lapels. As the US attempted to rally, on October 24, Congress passed the U.S.A. Patriot Act, aimed at rooting out terrorists at home and abroad. It greatly expanded the power and purview of American intelligence and law-enforcement agencies. Due to the actions of 19 terrorists on an early September morning, the world had changed forever.
Questions Still Remain
Nearly a decade has passed. The Pentagon has been repaired. Construction of a new World Trade Center Freedom Tower has begun. But we are still living with the repercussions of September 11. Children who were in elementary school that day are now fighting in one of the two wars spawned by the attacks. The Patriot Act, passed in the fervor of the moment, still gives the government the right to listen to our conversations without a warrant, and to delve into our financial and medical records with little oversight. The power of the federal government has grown exponentially.
Yet while the aftershocks linger, many questions about the events of 9/11 remain, questions that the government either cannot or will not answer. This lack of transparency has led to suspicions, with more than a third of Americans believing the government was either complicit in the attacks or knew about them beforehand and refused to act.

The Missing Black Boxes

The flight data recorder—or black box—is integral to the investigation of any plane crash. No less so in the case of the 9/11 attacks. A recovered black box could provide crucial information about the last moments in the cockpit, such as: What language were the hijackers speaking? Did they have any contact with associates on the ground? What were their motivations? What group was directing their actions?
Titanium-reinforced and engineered to survive intense fire, flight data recorders are highly resistant to damage. They are painted bright orange, despite their black-box nickname, and equipped with both radio and sonar beacons. Thanks to this design, they have survived and been recovered even after the most dire of crashes. TWA Flight 800, for example, exploded in a gigantic fireball off of Long Island, NY, and the flight recorder was still recovered in less than a week more than 100 feet down on the ocean floor.  Yet despite this durability, the government claims that no flight recording device from either plane was ever recovered from Ground Zero.
(Getty Images)The government insists that the devices were destroyed in the initial impact or melted in the conflagration that followed. Yet somehow the passport for Satam al-Suqami, one of the hijackers, survived this hellish inferno and was found days later on the street below.  Miraculously, this passport flew from either a pocket or a bag, escaped the licking flames and floated nearly entirely intact to the ground below.
There is an eyewitness, however, who contradicts the official report. He asserts that the flight data recorders actually survived and that he saw rescue officials carting off one from the World Trade Center site.
Mike Bellone was a volunteer at Ground Zero, where he performed recovery and rescue work for 257 straight days. One evening, as Bellone was working, he saw the FBI combing through the rubble for the recorders and watched as they discovered one of the planes' black boxes. "They had found one [flight recorder] that I know of," Bellone stated definitively. "That I actually physically saw." Speaking later that night to an FBI agent whom he had befriended, Bellone learned that the FBI had found two more flight recorders, three of the four that would have been on the two planes.
Award-winning investigative journalist Dave Lindorff claims he has a source at the National Transportation and Safety Administration who corroborates the recovery of the supposedly obliterated flight data recorders from Ground Zero. Lindorff recounted asking his contact what had happened to the black boxes: "And he said, 'Do you want the real answer or the official answer?' Of course I want the real answer. And he said, 'Well, the real answer is, we got all four of them. And that they are now in the possession of the FBI, which took them away from us.'"
Given that the black boxes were recovered, what motive could the government possibly have to deny their discovery? Some conspiracy theorists believe these "missing" flight recorders may contain evidence linking the Bush administration to the attacks.

Incendiary Discoveries

Explosion Before Impact
Mike Bellone wasn't the only eyewitness who has information that flies in the face of the official government report.
William Rodriguez was a maintenance worker in Tower Two and was one of the last people out of the building before it collapsed. Rodriguez testified behind closed doors to the 9/11 Commission but found his testimony was stricken from the record. He says that from his position near the ground floor, he felt the building vibrate up due to an explosion that occurred—before and separate from the impact of the plane. Remembering the fateful day, Rodriguez explained: "All the walls shake. They cracked. The false ceiling fell on top of us. The sprinkler system got activated. Water started spewing everywhere. Everybody's screaming in horror...this is before the plane hitting the tower."
The initial explosion Rodriguez felt was enough to cause noticeable physical damage seven or eight seconds before the definitive pow! That, Rodriguez states, was the building being hit by Flight 175. But, if Rodriguez is right about an earlier explosion, wouldn't there be some telltale residue from chemicals used in the alleged munitions? Yes, and there is.
Explosive Residue at Ground Zero
When Professor Steven Jones of Brigham Young University conducted tests on dust from the World Trade Center, he found traces of the highly flammable explosive super-thermite, also known as nano-thermite. A combination of powdered iron oxide and aluminum, super-thermite burns at 2,500 degrees Celsius when ignited—much, much hotter than even jet fuel.
The presence of super-thermite residue in the ashes of Ground Zero might also explain another mystery of September 11: the destruction of World Trade Center Building Seven.
Though not hit by either plane, 7 WTC was struck by debris from the collapsing Twin Towers, causing fires to erupt. In seven hours, 7 WTC collapsed completely. Suspiciously, it is the only skyscraper, before or since, known to have collapsed primarily from uncontrolled fire.  But the presence of a highly flammable explosive could account for how such a large building, kindled by the odd bit of burning debris, could simply fold in on itself as if professionally demolished. Interestingly, the Twin Towers also both collapsed almost directly into their own footprints. "We have good evidence for the use of explosives," Professor Jones says. "True, they were hit by planes. I'm not challenging that. But I'm saying that's not the full story."
So, how did this supercharged explosive find its way into the dust at Ground Zero? Did it help feed the flames that could not have eaten away at the steel-reinforced infrastructure of the World Trade Center buildings alone? Or did it bring down the towers by itself, leaving the fires as a scapegoat? And did the government know about the explosives—or perhaps even order them planted?

False Flag Operation

Missing Video of Pentagon Attack It's not only at the World Trade Center where nagging questions remain. Why is it that there are a dozen angles of footage of the Twin Towers being stuck by airliners, and not a single one of the Pentagon? After the Pentagon was hit, the FBI immediately mobilized and commandeered security-camera footage from nearby private businesses. For years, the FBI denied that they had confiscated anything and the only footage that existed was recorded by two grainy security cameras from the Pentagon itself. Eventually, after years of Freedom of Information Act requests, the FBI released two videotapes—one from a local hotel, the other from a nearby gas station. They revealed nothing. Why did the government refuse to admit it had additional tapes in its possession? Did they somehow alter the footage they eventually released in order to cover up something?
Operation Northwoods
Collating all the facts, it is possible to come to a chilling possible conclusion: The attacks of September 11 may have been a false-flag operation; that is, a covert operation designed to appear as if it were carried out by another nation or group. This tactic has been used by many regimes throughout history to justify war or domestic oppression. Some suspected cases of false-flag operations include the 1898 explosion that sunk the USS Maine in Havana Harbor and served as a protest for the U.S. declaration of war against Spain; and the 1933 Reichstag fire that brought the Nazis to power.
More recently there was Operation Northwoods. Submitted by the Head of the Joint Chiefs in 1962, it proposed that the CIA and military attack certain U.S. cities and American citizens under the guise of Cuban agents. They believed this falsely attributed act of belligerence would justify an American invasion of Cuba and ensure the public's support. Fortunately, President Kennedy nixed the proposal and the insidious, treasonous operation was never carried out.
NORAD Stand-Down
Certainly the U.S. Air Force's failure to intercept any of the hijacked planes on 9/11 could be evidence that the government wanted the attack to proceed unimpeded. Lt. Jeff Dahlstrom, a Vietnam veteran who served in the Air Force, has revealed that just months prior to the attack, hijacking protocols were changed to disallow military commanders from issuing orders to shoot down hijacked commercial airliners. After May 2001, sole permission lay with civilian authorities, such as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and President George W. Bush. Transportation Secretary Norman Minetta testified to the 9/11 Commission that he overheard Vice President Cheney reiterate his stand-down order to NORAD (the North American Aerospace Defense Command).
Further, NORAD claimed that it was unable to scramble any fighters to intercept the hijacked September 11 flights, even though systems are in place to intercept in just 15 minutes. And in 2000, they were able to investigate errant airplanes in that time frame 129 separate times. On September 11, they failed four times. How did NORAD explain this fiasco? With misinformation. Obfuscation was so severe that the 9/11 Commission considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation.
False Flag Revealed?
9/11 Commission (Getty Images)Lt. Dahlstrom pointed to a possible motive to this false-flag theory: the passage of the Patriot Act and the undeclared war against Iraq and Afghanistan. The Patriot Act severely curtailed many individual freedoms and greatly expanded the power of the federal government, nominally in the service of fighting terrorism. The bill was designed to be temporary but was renewed in 2004 and is still in use today.
September 11 may also have offered the casus belli that many in the government sought to justify an invasion of the oil-rich Middle East. Much as Operation Northwoods was ultimately designed to foment support for war with Cuba, a 9/11 false-flag operation may have been executed by some rogue elements in the U.S. government to give it an excuse for a new war in Iraq and beyond.
It may be decades before the true story of the attacks on September 11 is revealed. But much as Operation Northwoods eventually came to light, thanks to constant and diligent pressure by concerned patriots, so too may the truth of that terrible day be uncovered by those who are unwilling to accept pat government answers at face value. The ranks of those who have refused to swallow the government's line on 9/11 are deep and varied—theologian David Ray Griffin, architect Richard Gage, physicist Steven E. Jones, actors Ed Asner and Charlie Sheen, Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, journalists Thierry Meyssan and Robert Fisk, and many others. As Time magazine noted in regard to 9/11 conspiracy theories, "This is not a fringe phenomenon. It is a mainstream political reality."