Thursday, May 31, 2007

Live and Let Spy

Al Qaeda's most recent video release was accompanied in the media with comments from IntelCenter, a company that provides intelligence services and products, offering packages for federal government agencies, state and local government agencies, and corporate consumers.

In an interesting comment in the About Us page, CEO Ben N. Venzke writes:

It is impossible to prevent every act of terrorism. We are no sooner likely to wipe it out then we are to rid the world of hate and crime.

This comment does make me wonder what the mission of the War on Terror is. We are told it is not going to end anytime soon. That's an understatement; as long as there are people on Earth, it is reasonable to assume there will be hatred and violence and crime -- and don't take Yankee Doodle's word for it; read the comments of your consultant! There will also be politics; and where all those ingredients mix, there will be terrorism. Consequently, either the War on Terror goes on forever, or it ends someday and by default Terror wins.

Our primary client base is comprised of military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies in the US and other allied countries around the world.

I can understand why some allied countries may need to contract out their intelligence operations. They may not have much of an intelligence apparatus, and, what they do have may be tailored to spying on their own citizens.

But why would the US Government need the services of these rent-a-spooks? The US Government has such a large intelligence apparatus, consisting of many different agencies; although they are intended to do slightly different jobs, there is in fact redundancy. And, one would hope they would be providing assistance as needed to state and local governments. If the US Government doesn't have enough of the right kind of resources for a war they know will go on for a long time, then they need to develop those resources in-house: hire the appropriate analysts, interrogators, translators, etc. Why, five and a half years into the War on Terror, are they still contracting all this out?

From UK's The Guardian in 2004, when the Abu Ghraib scandal was breaking:

Graphic photographs showing the torture and sexual abuse of Iraqi prisoners in a US-run prison outside Baghdad emerged yesterday from a military inquiry which has left six soldiers facing a possible court martial and a general under investigation.

The scandal has also brought to light the growing and largely unregulated role of private contractors in the interrogation of detainees.

According to lawyers for some of the soldiers, they claimed to be acting in part under the instruction of mercenary interrogators hired by the Pentagon.

Notice the "M"-word: these contractors and consultants in the security industry are basically mercenaries.

The US army confirmed that the general in charge of Abu Ghraib jail is facing disciplinary measures and that six low-ranking soldiers have been charged with abusing and sexually humiliating detainees.

Lawyers for the soldiers argue they are being made scapegoats for a rogue military prison system in which mercenaries give orders without legal accountability.

A military report into the Abu Ghraib case - parts of which were made available to the Guardian - makes it clear that private contractors were supervising interrogations in the prison, which was notorious for torture and executions under Saddam Hussein.

One civilian contractor was accused of raping a young male prisoner but has not been charged because military law has no jurisdiction over him.

These mercenaries operate "without legal accountability" and "military law has no jurisdiction over" them.

Hired guns from a wide array of private security firms are playing a central role in the US-led occupation of Iraq.

The killing of four private contractors in Falluja on March 31 led to the current siege of the city.

The actions of these mercenaries are resulting in battles that our uniformed service personnel then have to fight, and those actions are resulting in ill-will among the civilian population which only prolongs and intesifies the war.

Why is this allowed?

From Possible Interrogation Contractor Influence Cited In Senate Vote by Elaine M. Grossman June 24, 2004, which had been reprinted from Inside Washington:

Two defense contracting companies that provide interrogators or translators to the Army have strongly favored the Republican Party in their political donations over the past year and a half, according to data reviewed by Inside the Pentagon.

Military contracting expert Peter Singer of the Brookings Institution believes industry influence played a role in defeating proposed Senate legislation last week that would have banned private contractors from conducting or translating detainee interrogations at U.S. military installations. The legislation was introduced after a CACI International interrogator and two linguists associated with Titan Corp. were implicated in the Abu Ghraib Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal.

The article then goes on to detail how much money was flowing to politicians, especially Republicans, from these contractors.

There's big bucks to be made in the counterjihad.

Indeed, the profit incentive is at the very heart of the issue. If the War on Terror were ever suddenly over, if ever we suddenly won it, what would all these people do? Where would they make their money?

It is in their best economic interests to fight the war, but NOT to win it. In fact, it is in their best economic interests to prolong and intensify the war, by alienating and angering the people of Iraq, for example.

It's a gravy train for them, one where they can leach off government contracts, knowing their client will pay them, and will pay them at a competitive rate. Why would anyone want that to end through something as silly as a victory?

Don't work yourselves out of a job, guys!

Again from IntelCenter's About Us:

May we be ever vigilant and never lose our clarity of purpose in this gravest of conflicts.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thank You to Flanders Fields

And this post thanking you is long overdue!

From the comments at The Killing, Ver 1.0: Jihad Me:

Flanders Fields said...
Yankee Doodle, you have been designated as "A Thinking Blogger". For details, please refer to:

There are some obligations, but I don't think you will find them to be too difficult.

You have a great site and you do a wonderful job with your posts. You have a perceptive and entertaining way of getting your point across. I enjoy reading your posts and learn each time I do. Thanks for your work.

March 26, 2007 5:48 PM

Thank you!

I need to get that "Thinking Blogger" bug posted on here somewhere and start fulfilling those obligations.

Thanks again, your comments are very appreciated and very humbling.

Al Qaeda's Latest Threats

Al Qaeda's latest threats are in an article in the news today, American Al Qaeda Member Threatens Attack, subtitled: "Says U.S. Faces Attack Worse Than 9/11 If It Refuses To End Involvement In Muslim Territory" -- CAIRO, Egypt, May 29, 2007

An American member of al Qaeda warned President Bush on Tuesday to end U.S. involvement in all Muslim lands or face an attack worse than the Sept. 11 suicide assault, according to a new videotape.

Wearing a white robe and a turban, Adam Yehiye Gadahn, who also goes by the name Azzam al-Amriki, said al Qaeda would not negotiate on its demands.

"Your failure to heed our demands ... means that you and your people will ... experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq and Virginia Tech," he said in the seven-minute video.

I previously addressed the possibility that Al Qaeda has nuclear weapons and that they might be targeting the US: Nuclear Strike on US Imminent?

The threat that we may "experience things which will make you forget all about the horrors of September 11th, Afghanistan and Iraq and Virginia Tech" may indicate that Al Qaeda is finalizing preparations for their use.

Gadahn, who has been charged in a U.S. treason indictment with aiding al Qaeda, spoke in English and the video carried Arabic subtitles. The video appeared on a Web site often used by Islamic militants and carried the logo of al Qaeda's media wing, as-Sahab.

Gadahn, who appeared in an al Qaeda video last September in which he called on Americans to convert to Islam, demanded that Bush remove all U.S. military and spies from Islamic countries, free all Muslims from U.S. prisons and end support for Israel. He said a withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq alone would not satisfy al Qaeda.

Ben Venzke at IntelCenter, a U.S. government contractor that monitors al Qaeda messages, said the group likely did not believe any of its demands would be met.

"It essentially allows al Qaeda to say that it has provided fair warning and is thus no longer responsible for the outcome," Venzke said in a statement.

Typical of the militant Islamic world: blame the target.

There's a chance, of course, that it's not their nuclear weapons, but rather something else.

Possibly it might be an assault on a school that they're planning. Remember, it was buddies of theirs that did Beslan. If it's a strike on a school, they will likely be selective about the age of the students in the school they attack. They may not want high school students, some of whom might be able to resist them a little. At Beslan, they killed several of the strongest men from among the group early on. There's a good chance they will want females old enough to rape; again, though disputed, there are persistent reports that the terrorists raped some of the adolescent girls at Beslan. Assuming all of this is accurate, schools with sixth-to-ninth graders, logically, would probably be in the most danger.

Gadahn, a California native, is the first American to be charged with treason in more than 50 years and could face the death penalty if convicted. He also was indicted on a charge of providing material support to terrorists.

Monday, May 28, 2007

You Can't Touch This

This post is dedicated to Kristen Breitweiser and all the other people who lost someone as a result of that day.

The truth is coming out, and the bad guys are gonna pay. It's Doodle Time -- and you can't touch this!

Fact: The on-site construction manager for the World Trade Center stated in an interview that the Twin Towers "probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners". (Falling Down and Something Heavy Going Down, Part I)

Frank Demartini's Statement

Frank A. Demartini, on-site construction manager for the World Trade Center, spoke of the resilience of the towers in an interview recorded on January 25, 2001.

"The building was designed to have a fully loaded 707 crash into it. That was the largest plane at the time. I believe that the building probably could sustain multiple impacts of jetliners because this structure is like the mosquito netting on your screen door -- this intense grid -- and the jet plane is just a pencil puncturing that screen netting. It really does nothing to the screen netting."

Fact: The head structural engineer for the World Trade Center said of the Twin Towers, regarding the possibility of an airliner crashing into one: "Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed. The building structure would still be there." (Falling Down and Something Heavy Going Down, Part I)

In the wake of the WTC bombing, the Seattle Times interviews John Skilling who was one of the two structural engineers responsible for designing the Trade Center. Skilling recounts his people having carried out an analysis which found the twin towers could withstand the impact of a Boeing 707. He says, "Our analysis indicated the biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel (from the airplane) would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire. A lot of people would be killed." But, he says, "The building structure would still be there." [Seattle Times, 2/27/1993] The analysis

Skilling is referring to is likely one done in early 1964, during the design phase of the towers. A three-page white paper, dated February 3, 1964, described its findings: "The buildings have been investigated and found to be safe in an assumed collision with a large jet airliner (Boeing 707—DC 8) traveling at 600 miles per hour. Analysis indicates that such collision would result in only local damage which could not cause collapse or substantial damage to the building and would not endanger the lives and safety of occupants not in the immediate area of impact."

According to the calculations of engineers who worked on the Towers' design, all the columns on one side of a Tower could be cut, as well as the two corners and some of the columns on each adjacent side, and the building would still be strong enough to withstand a 100-mile-per-hour wind.

Fact: The head structural engineer for the World Trade Center said of the Twin Towers, "I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that he could do it." (Falling Down and Something Heavy Going Down, Part I)

Skilling - a recognized expert in tall buildings - doesn't think a single 200-pound car bomb would topple or do major structural damage to a Trade Center tower. The supporting columns are closely spaced and even if several were disabled, the others would carry the load.

"However," he added, "I'm not saying that properly applied explosives - shaped explosives - of that magnitude could not do a tremendous amount of damage."

Although Skilling is not an explosives expert, he says there are people who do know enough about building demolition to bring a structure like the Trade Center down.

"I would imagine that if you took the top expert in that type of work and gave him the assignment of bringing these buildings down with explosives, I would bet that he could do it."

Fact: At least one dozen firefighters and emergency workers, experienced and most of them senior in rank, who responded to the World Trade Center on 9/11 reported seeing and hearing signs of a controlled demolition in the Twin Towers. (Falling Down and Something Heavy Going Down, Part II)

Battalion Chief Brian Dixon

it actually looked -- the lowest floor of fire in the south tower actually looked like someone had planted explosives around it because the whole bottom I could see -- I could see two sides of it and the other side -- it just looked like that floor blew out.

Firefighter Christopher Fenyo

At that point a debate began to rage because the perception was that the building looked like it had been taken out with charges.

Battalion Chief Dominick DeRubbio

It was weird how it started to come down. It looked like it was a timed explosion

Paramedic Daniel Rivera

At first thought it was -- do you ever see professional demolition where they set the charges on certain floors and then you hear "Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop"? That's exactly what -- because I thought it was that.

Firefighter Edward Cachia

It actually gave at a lower floor, not the floor where the plane hit, because we originally had thought there was like an internal detonation explosives because it went in succession, boom, boom, boom, boom, and then the tower came down.

Chief Frank Cruthers

there was what appeared to be at first an explosion. It appeared at the very top, simultaneously from all four sides, materials shot out horizontally. And then there seemed to be a momentary delay before you could see the beginning of the collapse.

Firefighter James Curran

everything was getting blown out of the floors before it actually collapsed

Captain Karin Deshore

Somewhere around the middle of the World Trade Center, there was this orange and red flash coming out. Initially it was just one flash. Then this flash just kept popping all the way around the building and that building had started to explode. The popping sound, and with each popping sound it was initially an orange and then a red flash came out of the building and then it would just go all around the building on both sides as far as I could see. These popping sounds and the explosions were getting bigger, going both up and down and then all around the building.

Firefighter Kenneth Rogers

One floor under another after another and when it hit about the fifth floor, I figured it was a bomb, because it looked like a synchronized deliberate kind of thing. I was there in '93.

Firefighter Richard Banaciski

It seemed like on television they blow up these buildings. It seemed like it was going all the way around like a belt, all these explosions.

Assistant Commissioner Stephen Gregory

You know like when they demolish a building, how when they blow up a building, when it falls down? That's what I thought I saw.

Deputy Commissioner Thomas Fitzpatrick

My initial reaction was that this was exactly the way it looks when they show you those implosions on TV.

Fact: After the first attempt on the WTC, and before 9/11, the FBI had information that plans and other data for US skyscrapers had been sent overseas; the information had been mistranslated: "After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and re-translated verbatim, the field agent's hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas." (For reference and blockquote, see next Fact.)

Fact: Even after 9/11, the FBI translation unit knowingly disseminated inaccurate translations of key documents regarding the events of 9/11. (A Glimpse Under the Rug, Part II)

In October 2001, approximately one month after the September 11 attack, an agent from a [city name omitted] field office, re-sent a certain document to the FBI Washington Field Office, so that it could be re-translated. This special agent, in light of the [September 11] terrorist attacks, rightfully believed that, considering his target of investigation (the suspect under surveillance), and the issues involved, the original translation might have missed certain information that could prove to be valuable in the investigation of terrorist activities. After this document was received by the FBI Washington Field Office and re-translated verbatim, the field agent's hunch appeared to be correct. The new translation revealed certain information regarding blueprints, pictures, and building material for skyscrapers being sent overseas. It also revealed certain illegal activities in obtaining visas from certain embassies in the Middle East, through network contacts and bribery. However, after the re-translation was completed and the new significant information was revealed, the unit supervisor in charge of certain Middle Eastern languages, Mike Feghali, decided not to send the re-translated information to the special agent who had requested it. Instead, this supervisor decided to send this agent a note stating that the translation was reviewed and that the original translation was accurate.

Fact: The FBI had information that Al Qaeda would attack US cities with aircraft. Sibel Edmonds reported: "I saw papers that show the US knew al-Qaeda would attack cities with airplanes." (A Glimpse Under the Rug, Part I)

...more than four months prior to the September 11 terrorist attacks, in April 2001, a long-term FBI informant/asset who had been providing the bureau with information since 1990, provided two FBI agents and a translator with specific information regarding a terrorist attack being planned by Osama bin Laden. This asset/informant was previously a high-level intelligence officer in Iran in charge of intelligence from Afghanistan. Through his contacts in Afghanistan he received information that: 1) Osama Bin Laden was planning a major terrorist attack in the United States targeting four to five major cities, 2) the attack was going to involve airplanes, 3) some of the individuals in charge of carrying out this attack were already in place in the United States, 4) the attack was going to be carried out soon, in a few months. The agents who received this information reported it to their superior, Special Agent in Charge of Counter-terrorism Thomas Frields, at the FBI Washington Field Office, by filing "302" forms, and the translator translated and documented this information. No action was taken by the special agent in charge, and after [September 11] the agents and the translators were told to "keep quiet" regarding this issue.

These are the facts. They will not go away.

And, you can't touch them.

(Adapted from Can't Touch This by MC Hammer.)

You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this

Hey, hey, hey, facts hit me so hard
Makes me cry "Foul!"
Hey cyberworld thank you for telling me
With a mind for logic and some computer keys
It feels good when you know you're right
Blogger gonna bust crooks whose plan was tight
Yankee Doodle known as such
And this is a post, uh, you can't touch

I told you crook (You can't touch this)
Yeah, facts don't go away and we know (You can't touch this)
Look at my blog, man (You can't touch this)
Yo, let me bust the cold, hard facts (You can't touch this)

Plenty of hard evidence
Undeniable facts, truth makes sense
Public servants working with terrorist worms
Facts are getting out, crooks gonna squirm
Truth comin' out, just read on
Crime of the century being exposed, we know what's going on
Like that, like that
Cold on a mission so fall them back
Let 'em know, that we're too much
And this is a beat, uh, you can't touch

Yo, I told you (You can't touch this)
What up in Washington, man? (You can't touch this)
Yo, pound the gavel, court in session, sucka (You can't touch this)

Give me the facts plus some rhythm
Make 'em sweat, that's what I'm giving 'em
Now, they know
You talking about Doodle you talking about a show
The facts are known and they are tight
Bad guys are sweating so pass them a wipe
They did the crime
Doodle exposing them so they do their time
In the pen. Legit
Cover up failed they might as well quit

That's word because you know...

You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this

Break it down! (Cover up breaks down) Stop, Doodle time!

Airplane crash and fire brought the towers down, so it was ruled
But they were designed to withstand the impact and heat, don't play me for a fool
So wave your facts in the air
Bust a few posts, fun your fingers through your hair
This is it, they were brought down with explosives
Follow the money to confirm their motives
Read, investigate, work your brain
On the bad guys' parade we gonna rain, rain, rain

Yeah... (You can't touch this)
Look, man (You can't touch this)
You better go hide, crook, because you know (You can't touch this)
Bang the gavel, court's in session (You can't touch this)

Break it down! Stop, Doodle time!
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this

Break it down! (Nice blog, Doodle) Stop, Doodle time!

Every time you read me
The Doodle's just so tight
I'm dope on the net and I'm magic on the right
Now why would we ever stop doing this?
The media making "news" that just don't hit
We blog the world, from London to the Bay
It's "Bloggers, go Bloggers, Blogosphere, yo Bloggers"
And the MSM can just go and play

You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this
You can't touch this

Minor edit May 29:

Fact: After the first attempt on the WTC, and before 9/11, the FBI had information that plans and other data for US skyscrapers had been sent overseas to terrorist organizations;

Changed to

Fact: After the first attempt on the WTC, and before 9/11, the FBI had information that plans and other data for US skyscrapers had been sent overseas;

It is not established in this post that the data went to terrorist organizations.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Moderate Islam

I was out scouting the Islamic world today.

I found a blog post entitled Moderate in the Extreme, which, in turn links to an article at Christian Science Monitor entitled Why I am not a moderate Muslim (I linked here to the print version, the Muslim Matters link is to the HTML version -- in case that is significant).

If I understand this correctly, the key point seems to be summed up here:

The term moderate Muslim is actually a redundancy. In the Islamic tradition, the concept of the "middle way" is central. Muslims believe that Islam is a path of intrinsic moderation, wasatiyya. This concept is the namesake of a British Muslim grass-roots organization, the Radical Middle Way. It is an initiative to counter Islam's violent reputation with factual scholarship.

This was demonstrated through a day-long conference that the organization sponsored in February. The best speaker of the night was Abdallah bin Bayyah, an elderly Mauritanian sheikh dressed all in traditional white Arab garb, offset by a long gray beard.

The words coming out of the sheikh's mouth – all in Arabic – were remarkably progressive. He confronted inaccurate assumptions about Islam, spoke of tolerance, and told fellow Muslims an un­pleasant truth: "Perhaps much of this current crisis springs from us," he said, kindly admonishing them. He chastised Muslims for inadequately explaining their beliefs, thereby letting other, illiberal voices speak for them.

I was shocked by his blunt though nuanced analysis, given his traditional, religious appearance. And then I was troubled by my shock. To what extent had I, a hijabi Muslim woman studying Middle Eastern/Islamic studies, internalized the untruthful representations of my own fellow Muslims? For far too long, I had been fed a false snapshot of what Islamic orthodoxy really means.

The sheikh continued, challenging Mr. bin Laden's violent interpretation of jihad, citing Koranic verses and prophetic narrations. He referred to jihad as any "good action" and recounted a recent conversation with a non-Muslim lawyer who asked if electing a respectable official would be considered jihad. The sheikh answered "yes" because voting for someone who supports the truth and upholds justice is a good action.

The sheikh, not bin Laden, is a depiction of true Islamic orthodoxy. The sheikh, not bin Laden, is the man trained in Islamic jurisprudence. The sheikh, not bin Laden, is the authentic religious scholar. But to call him a moderate Muslim would be a misnomer.

Please go to the links provided and read for yourselves what these people have to say. I think their message is one that needs to get out.

The viewpoint expressed in the passage that I cited is very interesting. It is a viewpoint that I very much respect -- very much! -- but one that I also disagree with.

The Koran, for anyone who is not aware, is put together in a way that I consider to be rather strange: With the exception of the first Sura ("chapter"), which is rather short, generally the longest "chapters" are first, and the shortest ones are last. I would expect a book like that to be organized historically, perhaps, with the earliest "chapters" first and the latest ones last. The latter is not the case, as the early chapters, when Mohammad (and I truly do wish Mohammad peace) was at Mecca, are scattered throughout, and the later chapters, when Mohammad was at Medina, are scattered throughout.

Consequently, I began reading the Koran, and thus began with the longest chapters first. Some of those chapters were written at the beginning of Mohammad's career, and some were written at the end of his career.

I must comment here that to properly understand the Koran, one is advised to read the traditions recounted in the ahadith (plural of hadith), which seem to provide background to what the Koran means by offering historical glimpses of how Mohammad lived.

(Those of you who know more about this than I do, or who are able to explain it better, feel free to leave a comment that will be greatly appreciated!)

Admittedly, I have not read all of the Koran, and only a tiny fraction of the volumes of ahadith.

However, I am most emphatically not "cherry-picking" verses and passages to read. I am taking them as they come.

My impression is that Islam is a belief system that lends itself to violent interpretation.

I believe the point that is made in the passage I quoted above and in the links is that such a violent interpretation is a perversion.

I am not going to argue in this post whether or not such a violent interpretation is a perversion; instead, the point I am making here is one that I have made elsewhere in this blog. Regardless of whether or not a violent interpretation is the correct interpretation, a violent and intolerant interpretation is very much the interpretation that is being propagated by powerful circles in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Those powerful circles are very well-funded with the world's petrodollars.

If forty percent of the world's known oil reserves were under Mauritania, instead of under Saudi Arabia, then the interpretation of Islam held by the sheikh mentioned in the quote would be the one getting the funding and getting spread.

That, however, is not the case. Radicalized Wahhabism has the backing of the petrodollars, bin Laden is the billionaire, not bin Bayyah, and the world faces on onslaught of Islamic conquest.

Make no mistake about it: If bin Laden, the radicalized Wahhabis, and the other Khawarij get their way, bin Bayyah will be takfir, and will suffer a fate perhaps worse than that of us kuffar.

Since puts forth a view of Islam, I will link to them under "Islam: You Decide". Maybe I should link to them under "Islam as Seen by Apostates and Infidels", like I did to Tariq Nelson. Maybe I should put Tariq Nelson under "Islam: You Decide". I don't know.

This much I do know: To stop Islamic conquest, the civilized world needs to offer the Khawarij terrorists two choices: 1) renounce terrorism and violence, and live peacefully, or 2) die.

And if the terrorists refuse to live peacefully, then they need to die violently.

Saturday, May 26, 2007


To all America's enemies, both foreign and domestic...

For all you do, this song's for you!

(to the tune of Jimmy Buffet's Margaritaville)

Takin' in bribe money
Hearin' them talk funny
All those honest folks we've had to gag
Countin' our greenbacks
Comin' from kickbacks
Money is one thing we got in the bag

Wasted away again in Corruptionville
Callin' up my arms-traffickin' friends
Some people say Washington is all that way
But I know
It's nobody's fault

I can't say it's easy
Being so damn sleezy
No conscience at all, just a big wad of cash
But it's a pile of Benjamins
Comin' from dirty friends
You should see the size of their money stash

Wasted away again in Corruptionville
Callin' up my drug-traffickin' friends
Some people say Washington is all that way
Now I think
Hell, it could be my fault

We're traffickin' narcotics
Sellin' nuclear secrets
Helpin' bring terror to the folks here at home
Imploded World Trade Center
And that act did render
All that green paper that helps me hang on

Wasted away again in Corruptionville
Callin' up my terrorist friends
Some people say Washington is all that way
But I know
It's my own damned fault

Yes and some people say Washington is all that way
And I know
It's my own damned fault

(All you good guys out there: don't forget to check out this: Woman Honor Thyself)

Friday, May 25, 2007

The Interview

"Alot of people died that day, Mr. Wayne." The visitor joined his host, looking out in the direction of where Gotham Towers once stood. "That you know. The Wayne Foundation Charity Hospital treated many people that day. Smoke and dust inhalation, exhaustion, stress...." Nygma's voice trailed off into the distance. "The human tragedy continues to this day."

Nygma noticed his host nodding thoughtfully.

"The economic devastation was pretty bad, too," Nygma added. "A great many people lost a great deal of money that day. As a result, many businesses were closing, or at least cutting back on staff to survive. This left many people out of work, many families in economic hardships."

"Yes. It was the first time in history that Wayne Enterprises considered lay-offs. Fortunately, we were able to recover, and lay-offs weren't necessary."

"But not everybody lost money because of that, Mr. Wayne. Some people made money. A lot of money." Nygma paused, looking at his host. "The collapse of the Gotham Towers was blamed on arson -- fires set by Gotham's new crime syndicate, the Mujahideen. It was the crime of the century, and it prompted the Mayor to declare Gotham's War on Crime, a war that we are now in the midst of. That War on Crime required new equipment, not just for the Gotham Police Department. Private security firms also saw a surge in business, and began placing orders for equipment. Other municipal services also required new equipment -- Gotham's Fire Department among them. Other cities also got into the act, joining Gotham City in its War on Crime." Nygma was now looking very intently at his host. "Wayne Enterprises has a division that makes security and police equipment, and even some fire equipment. That division isn't doing too badly these days."

Bruce Wayne sat back down, disappointed. "Yes, the city contracts were instrumental in helping us recover without lay-offs," Wayne almost sighed. He was beginning to feel like this had been a set-up: some hotshot reporter trying to link Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises to organized crime. Perhaps the riddles were Nygma's way of making sure he would get in to see Mr. Wayne after he talked to Alfred in the park. "Our competitors aren't doing too badly these days, either," Wayne added.

"Indeed, Mr. Wayne, not too badly," Nygma agreed. Then he sat down again, and looked right at his host, intensely now. "Some of them, though, are doing a whole lot better than Wayne Enterprises." Nygma slowly rolled his head back, gazing high up on the wall, or perhaps toward the ceiling, a deliberate non-chalance, a theatrical effect to emphasize what he was about to say. "Unlike Wayne Enterprises, which lost money when many of its investments lost their value as a result of the events of that day, some of your competitors' investments made money. They had incredible luck in choosing which stocks to buy, and which to sell, and when. Some of them borrowed money to invest it, even though they had never previously borrowed money to make an investment. Some of those investments were risky -- options, futures. Then, after they got a tremendous return on their investment, they paid back their loans, and haven't borrowed money for investments since." Nygma looked back at Wayne. "It's as if they knew with great certainty that the arson was going to happen, and that it was going to be so devastatingly destructive."

Bruce Wayne was interested again.

Nygma leaned forward, and continued. "Tell me, Mr. Wayne. This skyscraper that we are in ... is it built to code?"

"Of course. My grandfather built it when my father was young. It was one of the first major construction projects of what would later become Wayne Enterprises. It has been maintained over the years, with ongoing, state-of-the-art upgrades. We request the fire marshall to periodically inspect it. The insurance company that we have it insured with inspects it periodically, too. It passes with flying colors. It was overengineered. It's considered one of the safest buildings in Gotham City."

"But, despite all that, there have been fires here."

"Yes, a couple over the years. But nothing major, and no one ever got hurt. We're proud of our safety record."

"And indeed you should be, Mr. Wayne." Nygma leaned back in his chair and smiled.

Just then, Mrs. Jones entered. "Your guests have arrived for the meeting, Mr. Wayne."

"Thank you, Mrs. Jones. Would you please have them taken on a tour of Wayne Enterprises. Have them see as much as possible. I'll catch up in a little while."

Mrs. Jones glanced at Mr. Nygma, wondering why he would take priority over the senior leadership of Wayne Enterprises' German operation and the German ambassador. "Yes, sir," she said, closing the door again on her way out.

Nygma looked again at his host. "It's a wonderful company you have here, Mr. Wayne. Wonderful people, and a wonderful safety record." Nygma smiled. "Not all of the other businesses in Gotham are as nice. Some of those businesses have a terrible safety record." He leaned forward again. "In fact, their skyscrapers can be real fire-traps. Many people have died in the fires that some of your competitors have had...." Nygma's voice trailed off as he leaned closer. "But none of their skyscrapers had ever collapsed because of a fire," he said conspiratorially, "until one day -- Bam! -- three skyscrapers collapse, all at once, all in the Gotham Trade Center, all within hours of each other. Then, never again."

Despite trying to appear in control of himself, Bruce Wayne found himself glancing now at Nygma, now at where the Gotham Trade Center had been.

"Do you know what was in those three skyscrapers of the Gotham Trade Center, Mr. Wayne? The Gotham Towers, and the smaller one?"

"Financial and insurance brokerages, investment firms, some government offices..."

"Exactly. While the fire was burning, while Gotham's firefighters were rushing up dozens of flights of stairs on their way to put the fire out, while the people trapped above the fire in the buildings were getting so desperate that they were jumping out of the building to their deaths...." Nygma was speaking faster now, as Wayne looked at where the Gotham Towers had stood, and Nygma paused. "While the newscrews were filming the crime of the century...." Wayne stood up and stepped towards the window, with Nygma right behind him. "The computers were hard at work, with record numbers of stock trades for record amounts of money whizzing through them."

Wayne looked at Nygma, picking up on where Nygma was going with his story: "Making those profits you were talking about...."

"Laundering money for organized crime..." Nygma continued, as Wayne looked back out the window, " the billions," Nygma whispered.

"Then, when the operation was done," Wayne picked up again, "they imploded the towers, burying the computers that the stock trades had been run through."

"And burying the government agencies that regulate stock trading, as well as law enforcement agencies that investigate white-collar financial crime!" Nygma added.

"With all the evidence of the crime buried in the smoldering rubble, along with the files for past improprieties. No evidence, no files, no more investigating agency -- no investigation...." Wayne's mind was racing, as one of the riddles he had received ran through his head:

I'm widely loved, despite being green;
In order to get me, even friends can be mean.
I corrupt, because I mean power;
Many use me to build their towers.
These towers rise very high from ground;
In order to get me, two were brought down.

Nygma certainly had Wayne's attention now.

"No investigation -- or so they thought." Nygma said, then sat down, as Wayne turned around and looked at him. "As the rubble was being removed, some of the computers were found, hardly in working condition." Nygma gazed at the ceiling again, thoughtfully. "But, a German firm contacted Gotham authorities, claiming to be able to read information from those hard drives."

"I remember hearing something about that. In all the chaos, we didn't pay much attention to it, but it was of interest to one of our divisions, because the firm that got the contract was a competitor. The German Embassy helped arrange it...." Bruce Wayne's voice trailed off.

Nygma smiled and nodded knowingly. "It was high-profile in the industry." Nygma leaned forward. "But, when your competitor got the hard disk drives, many of the drives were in much worse shape than they had thought. Even the new technology that your competitor was boasting of couldn't read some of the drives." Nygma was lowering his voice as he continued. "So they subcontracted some of the work out to one of their competitors that had an experimental technology that no one had ever heard of -- something developed for military intelligence that was only in the most preliminary of stages... an even newer technology that could read data from computer equipment that had been damaged in battle. A technology that could extract useful information off computers from ships that had sunk, planes that had been shot down, and tanks that had been destroyed...." Nygma was whispering now. "That competitor is Wayne Enterprises, GmbH, in Germany."

Wayne remembered another riddle he had received:

Bought new and thrown out unread,
What once was news is trash instead.
Found by another and read for good measure,
One man's trash is another man's treasure.

It didn't refer to a newspaper, like he had thought. It referred to those disk drives! And the people who had been in charge of that project and who had arranged it all were in the very same building with him right at that moment, touring the corporate world headquarters of Wayne Enterprises!

Bruce Wayne, the "Prince of Gotham", a martial arts expert with years of training from the best martial arts instructors money could buy, a physical fitness fanatic, an experienced executive with a secret, dangerous hobby... and he felt like a little boy, his heart pounding, his mind racing, taking it all in.

With a sudden calm, professional air about him, an uncanny sense of control, he turned to his guest:

"Mr. Nygma, I have guests waiting."

Nygma looked like an inflatable doll that had just had all the air let out of him, very surprised, anticipating -- no, dreading -- what must be Bruce Wayne's next comment.

"Would you care to join me for a tour of Wayne Enterprises Corporate Headquarters? We'll join the tour in progress. There you will have the opportunity to meet the senior leadership of our German operation and the German ambassador, who are also visiting us today," Wayne spoke professionally, with a certain degree of detached boredom, almost mechanically, as if he were the tour guide at the end of a very long day.

Nygma jumped out of his seat. "I'd love to!"

Thursday, May 24, 2007

The Killing, Ver 2.0 (ARMAGEDDON NOW)

Originally posted at The Killing, Ver 2.0 (ARMAGEDDON NOW)

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MR. X: Our company and many of our investors were able to turn our knowledge of the terrorists' attacks into real money by planning appropriate stock trades around the attacks. (laughs) As those financial whizkids were jumping out of the Twin Towers to get away from the fire, whizzing down and splatting on the ground, our stock trades were whizzing through their computers unmonitored. We made a hell of a killing that week! And, when the towers then collapsed, all the evidence of our trades was buried in the rubble, so nobody could tie it to us!

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AN: Yeah, this just gets better and better.

MR. X: It sure does. The destruction of the World Trade Center prompted the President to declare a War on Terror, a war which everyone in his adminstration promises will not end any time soon! That's great news for the arms industry. The gift that keeps on giving! And, since we're now fighting a War on Terror, our business partners' investments in narcotics trafficking just aren't a priority for government interference anymore.

AN: Why is that important, Mr. X?

MR. X: Well, some of our biggest clients for arms sales are Pakistan and Turkey. Both of those countries are very undemocratic and have terrible human rights records. Both are very corrupt, and heavily involved in smuggling heroin. Remember, too, that Pakistan is a state sponsor of terror. Nobody in their right minds would sell America's best weapons to those thugs! But, by lobbying Congress effectively, we not only make the sale to support the War on Terror; we get U.S. foreign aid to pay for the purchase! And let's face it, that lobbying wouldn't be possible without proceeds from international heroin trafficking to pay off people all over Washington.

AN: Wow, you're really making a killing!

MR. X: I sure am. When I saw those Twin Towers come down, I knew we had picked a winner! And, to top it all off, our terrorist friends hijacked and crashed two other planes that day, and that just made everyone all the more convinced that the hijackings were the real crime of the day. Nobody's even looking for the money that we made, and that's a good thing, because if they ever find it, they might find us!

AN: Well, your secret is safe with me. Thank you, Mr. X.

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That number again:


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