John Hannah

Will Shifting Loyalties in the Middle East (and Fracking) Bring Truth about 9/11?

More at The Real News

As the IBT reported yesterday, Congressman Walter Jones recently managed to get intelligence gatekeeper Mike Rogers to share the 28 redacted pages of the Joint Intelligence Committee Inquiry into 9/11 that show Saudi involvement in the plot.

It took Jones six weeks and several letters to the House Intelligence Committee before the classified pages from the 9/11 report were made available to him. Jones was so stunned by what he saw that he approached Rep. Lynch, asking him to look at the 28 pages as well. He knew that Lynch would be astonished by the contents of the documents and perhaps would join in a bipartisan effort to declassify the papers.

He has now joined with Stephen Lynch in an effort to allow all of us to read about Saudi involvement in 9/11.

“I was absolutely shocked by what I read,” Jones told International Business Times. “What was so surprising was that those whom we thought we could trust really disappointed me. I cannot go into it any more than that. I had to sign an oath that what I read had to remain confidential. But the information I read disappointed me greatly.”

The public may soon also get to see these secret documents. Last week, Jones and Lynch introduced a resolution that urges President Obama to declassify the 28 pages, which were originally classified by President George W. Bush.

And it’s not just the original findings about Saudi financial support for the terrorists. As IBT also notes, more recent reporting from Florida reveals possible ties between Saudi princes and the hijackers. Senator Bob Graham continues his efforts to get people to look more closely at the Saudi role (the entire Real News Network interview with him is a worthy review). And there is reason to believe NSA intercepts that were reviewed neither by the JICI nor the 9/11 Commission implicate Saudis in the attack.

All that — as well as details on how the Saudis refused to cut off funding for terrorism until at least 2009 — has been suppressed for 12 years because our relationship with the Saudis was deemed more important than our need to publicly understand the roots of the worst terrorist attack on US soil.

While it’s very early yet — Congress, many members of which who are funded indirectly by Saudis — are doing everything they can to ensure the Saudis remain ascendant in the Middle East. But if an Iran deal succeeds, and if we continue to wean ourselves from Saudi oil by replacing our ill-considered reliance on them with ill-considered efforts that ruin our own groundwater via fracking, then it may become politically possible to admit that individual Saudis had much more responsibility for 9/11 than, say, Saddam.

But there may be good reason to admit to that now. After all, Bandar flunkie (and the aide of a man who formally suppressed this information) just issued this warning.

An atmosphere this poisonous is dangerous, to say the least. The incentive for the Saudis to engage in all kinds of self-help that Washington would find less than beneficial, even destructive, is significant and rising. Driven into a corner, feeling largely abandoned by their traditional superpower patron, no one should doubt that the Saudis will do what they believe is necessary to ensure their survival. It would be a mistake to underestimate their capacity to deliver some very unpleasant surprises: from the groups they feel compelled to support in their escalating proxy war with Iran, to the price of oil, to their sponsorship (and bankrolling) of a much expanded regional role for Russia and China at America’s expense.

While the suppressed evidence shows more evidence that individual princes supported 9/11 than that the Saudi state did, plenty of still powerful princes have proven their ability to foster terrorism when need be. Particularly as Syria remains a rising source of volatility in the Middle East, it would be well for us to understand how deeply support for 9/11 extended 12 years ago.

“Bandar is now clearly the tip of the spear”

Back in October, in response to the Saudis taking their toys and going home from the UN, I warned, “I worry they disengaged from the UN because they are considering alternative means of pursuing their interests, means that would be loudly condemned in that body.”

Yesterday, Dick Cheney lackey John Hannah wrote a remarkable screed about Saudi complaints. It starts by warning that Obama’s Iran deal’s “greatest impact is not ensuring that Iran doesn’t get the bomb, but that the Saudis will.” In part to support this, he describes Mr. Tip of the Spear’s close consultations with the Pakistanis (who not only have the bomb but have thousands of our troops held hostage to supply lines through Pakistan).

Bandar is now clearly the tip of the spear in King Abdullah’s efforts to combat the Iranian threat around the region — not to mention the principal point of contact in the kingdom’s thick relationship with Pakistan’s military and intelligence establishment.

Then after laying out the Saudi complaints (basically, that the US is not serving as meat in its efforts to extend its hegemony over the region), and after condemning John Kerry with a mix of emasculation and Saudi distrust, Hannah issues the threat Bandar likely suggested he issue:

An atmosphere this poisonous is dangerous, to say the least. The incentive for the Saudis to engage in all kinds of self-help that Washington would find less than beneficial, even destructive, is significant and rising. Driven into a corner, feeling largely abandoned by their traditional superpower patron, no one should doubt that the Saudis will do what they believe is necessary to ensure their survival. It would be a mistake to underestimate their capacity to deliver some very unpleasant surprises: from the groups they feel compelled to support in their escalating proxy war with Iran, to the price of oil, to their sponsorship (and bankrolling) of a much expanded regional role for Russia and China at America’s expense.

Ultimately, Hannah is warning that the Saudis will get — and, the suggestion is, with his language about “a very, very high price in blood, treasure, and U.S. interests,” use — the bomb.

But I can’t help but return to his focus on Bandar bin Sultan, who had financial ties (via donations to charities) and potential foreknowledge of Saudi ties to the 9/11 attacks. Former Senator Bob Graham has renewed his effort to bring attention to the Saudi role in the attack, though that never seems to go anywhere. And whether you consider ops like Iran-Contra terrorism or not, Bandar is clearly the master of covert ops.

What kind of self-help has Bandar insinuated to Hannah he plans to pursue?

The Crazy Man Above the Garage

cheney-wheelchair.thumbnail.pngSorry for being so late on this, but I wanted to come back to this bizarre Barton Gellman article on Cheney. Amidst news including 1) Cheney took notes, exactly none of which were introduced at trial and, 2) Cheney apologists like John Hannah are out giving interviews, Gellman provides the following weird two paragraphs, which provide the great drama of the story.

The depths of Cheney’s distress about another close friend, his former chief of staff and alter ego I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, have only recently become clear. Bush refused a pardon after Libby’s felony convictions in 2007 for perjury and obstruction of an investigation of the leak of a clandestine CIA officer’s identity. Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby’s fall, scrawling in a note made public at trial that he would not let anyone "sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder." Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts — and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald — suggested that Libby’s false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president.

Last month, an account in Time magazine, based on close access to Bush’s personal lawyer and White House counsel, described Cheney’s desperate end-of-term efforts to change Bush’s mind about a pardon. Cheney, who has spent a professional lifetime ignoring unflattering stories, issued a quietly furious reply. In the most explicit terms, he accused Bush of abandoning "an innocent man" who had served the president with honor and then become the "victim of a severe miscarriage of justice." Cheney now says privately that his memoir, expected to be published in spring 2011, will describe their heated arguments in full.

 This bit–which is what stuck in my craw–deserves some really close unpacking.

Cheney tried mightily to prevent Libby’s fall, scrawling in a note made public at trial that he would not let anyone "sacrifice the guy that was asked to stick his neck in the meat grinder." Cheney never explained the allusion, but grand jury transcripts — and independent counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald — suggested that Libby’s false statements aimed above all to protect the vice president. 

Now, Gellman is ostensibly talking about Cheney’s efforts to get Bush to pardon Libby, actions that started in 2007 (and which, at the earliest, he might have first contemplated in 2005, when Judy Miller testified to the grand jury). Continue reading

John Hannah: Unitary Executives Can Assassinate Enemy Leaders

In his appearance tonight on Wolf Blitzer, Sy Hersh said the same thing I said about his "revelation" that JSOC had assassination squads that bypassed normal reporting channels–Hersh pointed out that he had reported all that previously, last July. The biggest news in that part of his appearance is that Hersh revealed the number of countries–twelve–in which JSOC could work its assassination teams.

After Hersh appeared, Wolf had John Hannah, Cheney’s replacement Scooter and by far the biggest hack witness at the Libby trial, to try to rebut Hersh’s reporting.

Though Hannah didn’t really do that.

Instead, he dismissed Hersh’s concerns about the legality of the operations by insisting that the Chairs of the Intelligence and Armed Services committees, and Congressional leadership, could learn about these operations. Aside from the fact that Hannah admitted he didn’t actually know that to be true, he’s working on the assumption that they’ll come and ask about something that Hannah admits is a very close hold. 

Wolf: And when he says this JSOC, the Joint Special Operations Command has this authority that they don’t even tell Congress about?

Hannah: It is extremely hard for me to believe, I, I, don’t know exactly what the consultations are with the Congress but it’s hard for me to believe that those committee chairmen and the leadership on the Hill involved in intelligence and armed services, if they want to know about these operations, cannot get this information from the Defense Department.

Wolf: And so this would be, from your perspective–and you worked for the Bush Administration for many years–it would be totally constitutional, totally legal to go out, find these guys, and to whack them. 

Hannah: There’s no question, in a theater of war, when we are at war–and there’s no doubt, we are still at war against Al Qaeda in Iraq, Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. and on that Pakistani border–that our troops have the authority to go out after and capture and kill the enemy, including the leadership of the enemy. 

Ultimately, though, Hannah resorts to the Cheneyesque justification for all abuses of power, the AUMF, arguing that troops "in the theater of war" can capture and kill the enemy. 

Of course, we’ve already seen that, until last November at least, the Bush Administration considered the US to be in the theater of war.  And Hannah pretends these assassinations are only going on in Iraq (if you’re Nuri al-Maliki or Continue reading

Emptywheel Twitterverse
bmaz It's amazing that @ESPN can't quite get the feed on the ASU/Huskies game right for squat, but they can always, oh so easily, parrot Goodell.
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bmaz RT @teddysanfran: @bmaz I wonder if she saw it coming? http://t.co/sTrMmqBMB4
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bmaz Say what you will about Obamacare, but internet+media fanboys saying Dems losing ground in both House+Senate is "winning" issue are insane.
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JimWhiteGNV RT @WilliamsJon: CDC: Health Care Workers volunteering to combat #Ebola epidemic in West Africa are heroes. We must treat them with respect…
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bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @emptywheel @ddayen @CitizenCohn Also can't wait for the next time @speechboy71 opportunistically wants to shit on my family
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bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @emptywheel @ddayen @CitizenCohn Guess when yer a soul patched whiz kid of internet like @speechboy71 you can shit on others
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JimWhiteGNV RT @teddysanfran: I wonder if she saw it coming? http://t.co/sTrMmqBMB4
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bmaz @ColMorrisDavis @emptywheel @ddayen @CitizenCohn I'd have to be senile and willing to lie out of my ass like @speechboy71 but, hey, someday.
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