September 11, 2001 Attack Victims Remains Burnt And Tossed In Trash

February 29, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – Some human remains recovered from the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa., were incinerated and dumped in a landfill, the Defense Department said Tuesday in the latest revelation about mishandled body parts at the Dover Air Force Base mortuary.

A new Pentagon review of the troubled mortuary disclosed several other problems — including fresh allegations of fraud and misplaced remains — over the past decade despite previous assurances by Air Force officials that they had adequately investigated operations at the base.

The revelation that “several portions of remains” recovered from the Pentagon and Shanksville ended up in a landfill was mentioned briefly on the latter pages of a report released Tuesday after an investigation led by retired Army Gen. John P. Abizaid.

The report said that the Sept. 11 remains in question “could not be tested or identified,” apparently because they were too small or charred to allow for DNA analysis. The remains were cremated and then mixed with biomedical waste at the Dover mortuary, where they were given to a contractor who incinerated them and dumped the residue in a landfill.

The report cites Army and Air Force memos from July and August 2002 directing that an unspecified number of “remains from the Attack on the Pentagon” be incinerated.

At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Abizaid said he didn’t know many details on what happened to the remains of Sept. 11 victims.

“We did not spend a great deal of time and effort and energy looking into what you’re talking about,” he said in response to a reporter’s questions. “That was not our charge. Our charge was to look forward.”

Abizaid declined to release the memos or other documentation on the matter, saying, “I have no authority to release anything.”

Late Wednesday, the White House issued a statement saying it was “deeply concerned” about the landfill disposals and about “the unacceptable handling of remains at Dover.” The statement said President Obama had been briefed about Abizaid’s review and that he “strongly supports the Pentagon’s efforts to make needed systemic structural changes so that these types of incidents never happen again.”

The report indicates that unidentified remains from the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Shanksville, were disposed of in a similar manner. But the Pennsylvania coroner who oversaw the handling of remains from that attack said no body parts from Shanksville were ever sent to Dover or taken to a landfill.

Wallace Miller, the Somerset, Pa., county coroner, said in news reports on Tuesday that all unidentified remains from Shanksville were buried in three caskets on Sept. 12 at a memorial site for Flight 93 as part of the 10th anniversary of the hijacking.

Seeking answers

Members of Congress pressed the Pentagon to offer a more detailed account of the handling of victims’ remains.

“The heroic passengers on United Flight 93 gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, and their families deserve to know the fate of their remains,” Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), wrote in a letter Tuesday to Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta. “It is critically important that we get to the bottom of this matter, clear up any remaining doubts, and ensure that those responsible for any mishandling of remains be held accountable.”

In November, The Washington Post reported that the Dover mortuary for years had disposed of incinerated portions of remains of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan in a Virginia landfill. The practice involved unidentified or unclaimed body parts; it was not made known to troops’ family members.

The Air Force later acknowledged that it had dumped the incinerated partial remains of at least 274 service members in the landfill between 2003 and 2008, when the practice ended in favor of a new policy of burying ashes at sea.

At the time, Air Force officials said their mortuary records went back to only 2003 and that they did not know when the landfill dumping began.

On Feb. 6, however, in response to news reports about the landfill dumping, Rep. Rush D. Holt (D-N.J.) wrote a letter to Panetta asking: Could the Defense Department confirm that “no 9/11 victims’ remains were incinerated, mixed with medical waste and sent to a landfill?”

The Pentagon has not responded, according to Holt.

In an interview Tuesday, Holt accused the Pentagon of stonewalling. He said defense officials didn’t understand the importance of clearing up questions about the remains of victims of the Sept. 11 attacks and of troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“They don’t even seem to understand the gravity of the scandal,” he said. “They don’t have the degree of chagrin or embarrassment they should have.”

The top civilian and military leaders of the Air Force — Secretary Michael B. Donley and Gen. Norton A. Schwartz, the chief of staff — both said they did not know until Tuesday that some cremated partial remains of some Sept. 11 victims were ultimately taken to a landfill.

The Air Force leaders said they were focused on fixing the problems at Dover. They said they did not have any immediate plans to follow up on the disclosure about the Sept. 11 victims.

“There will be a decision, I suppose, at some point on what more time should be invested in this work,” Donley said.

George Little, a spokesman for Panetta, said the defense secretary has asked the Air Force leadership to review Abizaid’s report “and to take all steps necessary to improve operations at Dover.”

Panetta has previously told reporters that he wanted Abizaid to look into reports that troops’ body parts were cremated and sent to the landfill. But Little declined to say whether Panetta would order a further investigation into the fate of the remains of Sept. 11 victims.

“The secretary never would have supported a landfill policy,” said Little, noting that the practice ended in 2008, years before Panetta took office in 2011. “Our focus now is on ensuring that lapses that occurred in the past do not happen in the future.”

Family members of victims of the Sept. 11 attack on the World Trade Center have previously alleged that some remains of their relatives were taken to a Staten Island landfill. Family members filed a lawsuit in 2005 to force New York to search for the remains, but a federal judge ruled that the plaintiffs could not successfully prove that they had a claim to any remains.

Other incidents reported

In Abizaid’s report, an appendix lists several previously undisclosed incidents of mismanagement, mishandled body parts and other botched cases at the Dover mortuary.

In August 2009, the Air Force opened an investigation into allegations of fraud at the mortuary. The report did not disclose the nature of the alleged fraud but said the case remains open and that federal prosecutors are still deciding whether to file charges.

In January 2008, the report said, the Air Force paid a $25,000 settlement to the unidentified widow of a Marine “for mental anguish and medical costs due to loss of personal effects” that were “inadvertently destroyed” along with the Marine’s remains.

Separately, in July 2006, remains from four military personnel who died in an airplane crash were “cremated and disposed of as medical waste rather than being interred in group burial.” Abizaid’s report blamed “poor communication” among branches of the military but did not give details.

In September 2005, an Air Force investigation found that “human remains were mis-routed in a fashion constituting dereliction of duty,” according to the report, which again did not give details.

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US Has Secret Charges Against WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange After He Embarrassed US Goverment By Exposing Lies And Information

February 29, 2012

United States prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, according to a confidential email obtained from the private US intelligence company Stratfor. embarrassing

In an internal email to Stratfor analysts on January 26 last year, the vice-president of intelligence, Fred Burton, responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks with the comment: ”We have a sealed indictment on Assange.”
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Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks speaks at a press conference in London, Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. WikiLeaks said on Monday that it was publishing a massive trove of leaked emails from U.S. intelligence analysis firm Stratfor, shedding light on the inner workings of the Texas-based think tank. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

”If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done I don’t think I’d have too much of a problem.” … Stratfor’s Chris Farnham on Assange. Photo: AP

He underlined the sensitivity of the information – apparently obtained from a US government source – with warnings to ”Pls [please] protect” and ”Not for pub[lication]”.

Mr Burton is well known as an expert on security and counterterrorism with close ties to the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. He is the former deputy chief of the counter-terrorism division of the US State Department’s diplomatic security service.

Stratfor, whose headquarters are in Austin, Texas, provides intelligence and analysis to corporate and government subscribers.

On Monday, WikiLeaks began releasing more than 5 million Stratfor emails which it said showed ”how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients”.

The Herald has secured access to the emails through an investigative partnership with WikiLeaks.

The news that US prosecutors drew up a secret indictment against Mr Assange more than 12 months ago comes as the Australian awaits a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned in relation to sexual assault allegations.

Mr Assange, who has not been charged with any offence in Sweden, fears extradition to Stockholm will open the way for his extradition to the US on possible espionage or conspiracy charges in retaliation for WikiLeaks’s publication of thousands of leaked US classified military and diplomatic reports.

Last week the US Army Private Bradley Manning was committed to face court martial for 22 alleged offences, including ”aiding the enemy” by leaking classified government documents to WikiLeaks.

In December the Herald revealed Australian diplomatic cables, declassified under freedom of information, confirmed WikiLeaks was the target of a US Justice Department investigation ”unprecedented both in its scale and nature” and suggested that media reports that a secret grand jury had been convened in Alexandria, Virginia, were ”likely true”.

The Australian embassy in Washington reported in December 2010 that the Justice Department was pursuing an ”active and vigorous inquiry into whether Julian Assange can be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act”.

In recent answers to written parliamentary questions from the Greens senator Scott Ludlam, the former foreign affairs minister Kevin Rudd indicated Australia had sought confirmation that a secret grand jury inquiry directed against Mr Assange was under way.

Mr Rudd said ”no formal advice” had been received from US authorities but acknowledged the existence of a ”temporary surrender” mechanism that could allow Mr Assange to be extradited from Sweden to the US. He added that Swedish officials had said Mr Assange’s case would be afforded ”due process”.

The US government has repeatedly declined to confirm or deny any reported details of the WikiLeaks inquiry, beyond the fact that an investigation is being pursued.

The Stratfor emails show that the WikiLeaks publication of hundreds of thousands of US diplomatic cables triggered intense discussion within the ”global intelligence” company.

In the emails, an Australian Stratfor ”senior watch officer”, Chris Farnham, advocated revoking Mr Assange’s Australian citizenship, adding: ”I don’t care about the other leaks but the ones he has made that potentially damage Australian interests upset me. If I thought I could switch this dickhead off without getting done I don’t think I’d have too much of a problem.”

But Mr Farnham also referred to a conversation with a close family friend who he said knew one of the Swedish women who had made allegations of sexual assault against Mr Assange, and added: ”There is absolutely nothing behind it other than prosecutors that are looking to make a name for themselves.”

While some Stratfor analysts decried what they saw as Mr Assange’s ”clear anti-Americanism”, others welcomed the leaks and debated WikiLeaks’s longer-term impact on secret diplomacy and intelligence.

Stratfor’s director of analysis, Reva Bhalla, observed: ”WikiLeaks itself may struggle to survive but the idea that’s put out there, that anyone with the bandwidth and servers to support such a system can act as a prime outlet of leaks. [People] are obsessed with this kind of stuff. The idea behind it won’t die.”

Stratfor says it will not comment on the emails obtained by WikiLeaks. The US embassy has also declined to comment.

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Paybacks Coming: Interpol Doing Everything Possible To Piss Off Anonymous Hacker Group

February 29, 2012

LYON, FRANCE – Interpol has arrested 25 suspected members of the Anonymous hackers group in a swoop covering more than a dozen cities in Europe and Latin America, the global police body said Tuesday.

“Operation Unmask was launched in mid-February following a series of coordinated cyber-attacks originating from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain,” Interpol said.

The statement cited attacks on the websites of the Colombian Ministry of Defense and the presidency, as well as on Chile’s Endesa electricity company and its National Library, among others.

The operation was carried out by police from Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Spain, the statement said, with 250 items of computer equipment and cell phones seized in raids on 40 premises in 15 cities.

Police also seized credit cards and cash from the suspects, aged 17 to 40.

“This operation shows that crime in the virtual world does have real consequences for those involved, and that the Internet cannot be seen as a safe haven for criminal activity,” said Bernd Rossbach, acting director of police services at Interpol, which is in the French city of Lyon.

However, it was not clear what evidence there was to prove those arrested were part of Anonymous, an extremely loose-knit international movement of online activists, or “hacktivists.”

Spanish police said earlier they had arrested four suspected hackers accused of sabotaging websites and publishing confidential data on the internet.

They were accused of hacking the websites of political parties and companies and adding fangs to the faces of leaders in photographs online, and publishing data identifying top officials’ security guards, Spanish police said.

The operation, carried out after trawling through computer logs in order to trace IP addresses, also netted 10 suspects in Argentina, six in Chile and five in Colombia, Spanish police said.

Anonymous has in recent weeks targeted the websites of a series of police organizations, with subgroup Antisec vandalizing the website of a major US prison contractor last Friday.

Anonymous took credit Thursday for an online raid on the Los Angeles Police Canine Association and previously attacked websites of the CIA and FBI.

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Obama Sends US Tax Dollars To Pay For Indonesians To Get Masters Degrees – $16 To $20 Million Down The Drain In Third World Hellhole

February 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – A program providing training and scholarships to Indonesian professionals is about to be expanded by the Obama Administration, which hopes to increase the “number of Indonesian future leaders holding advanced degrees (Masters) from U.S. and in-country institutions of higher education.”

According to a Statement of Work (SOW) posted today to the FedBizOpps database, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is seeking contractors capable of carrying out Phase II of the “Program to Extend Scholarships and Training to Achieve Sustainable Impacts,” or PRESTASI.

The selected vendor will continue to assist existing Phase I participants while identifying and placing new candidates for the extended program—which will cost an additional $16-$20 million.

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US Taxpayers Pay $750,000 For New Soccer Field At US Torture Prison In Cuba

February 28, 2012

WASHINGTON, DC – At a time of record deficits, a new soccer field for detainees at Camp 6 in Guantanamo Bay is just getting the finishing touches — at a cost of $750,000 to taxpayers.

The project was the highlight of a tour Tuesday of the detention camp for reporters at the facility covering the arraignment in a military court of Majid Khan, a former Baltimore resident and the the only legal U.S. resident on trial at Guantanamo.

The project began in April 2011 and is due to finish this spring. The detainees will now have three recreation facilities at Camp 6, which is home to “highly compliant” detainees who live in a communal setting.

In addition to an indoor recreation field and the existing outdoor recreation field, the new soccer field — selected because it is such a popular sport with detainees — is half the size of an American football field.

The new field has been specially constructed so that the detainees “have maximum access” — about 20 hours a day. Special passageways allow the detainees to pass into the new recreation yard without being escorted by the military.

On the tour, a military police representative who asked not to be identified by name said allowing high levels of activity outdoors helped reduce behavioral problems at the camps, and it also limited the amount of interaction between detainees and the guards.

Since the detention camps opened in 2002, some half dozen cases have been prosecuted — four ended in plea agreements with minimal jail time.

Khan, accused of being hand-selected by Sept. 11, 2001, mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for a second wave of attacks inside the U.S., including a plot to blow up gas stations, is expected to cut a deal. He is also implicated in an assassination plot against former Pakistani President Pervez Musharaff and a car bombing at the Marriott hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, in 2003.

His appearance will be the first time anyone outside the U.S. military or intelligence community has seen him since his capture after Sept. 11 and transfer to secret prisons formerly maintained by the CIA.

Even some of President Obama’s most ardent supporters suggest the administration seems eager to close the camps and reduce the detainee population, and plea agreements with minimal jail time are a sweetheart deal for all involved.

Detainees like Usama bin Laden’s personal cook and his driver are spending less time in prison than American citizens prosecuted in federal courts on lesser charges.

By example, Zachary Chesser of Charlottesville, Va., who was convicted for making threats against the creators of “South Park” and for supporting a Somali terror group, but who never fired a shot on the battlefield, is now serving a 25-year sentence.

By contrast, Omar Khadr, who killed an American soldier on the battlefield in Afghanistan is nearly half way through his eight-year sentence at Guantanamo, and may finish out his term in Canada.

On Tuesday, Attorney General Eric Holder, testifying about the Justice Department budget on Capitol Hill, said the recidivism rate for Guantanamo detainees overall is in the mid-20s. But the recidivism rate for those transferred during the Obama administration is 7 percent. Holder acknowledged that part of that comparison may be because the former detainees have been out for a shorter period of time, but also because the determinations about each of their release had to be unanimously approved by a task force.

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Los Angeles California Deputy Sheriff Khajana Jones Connected To Burglary Ring – Raid Found Stole Items In Her Home

February 28, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA – A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy was one of six people arrested recently during a multiagency probe of a burglary ring that hit at least 15 homes across Southern California, including seven in Ventura County, authorities said Tuesday.

Wearing collared shirts and using new rental cars to blend into their surroundings, a group composed largely of alleged Los Angeles gang members stole hundreds of thousands of dollars in jewelry, cash and other items, Ventura County sheriff’s officials said.

Khajana Jones, a Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, lived with one of the suspects, officials said. While she is not suspected of participating directly in the burglaries, authorities believe she knew her live-in boyfriend was obtaining cash and jewelry illegally and allowed him to keep the items at the residence, officials said. She has been relieved of duty pending the investigation.

The group targeted homes from Thousand Oaks and Oak Park to Pasadena and Tustin, said Sgt. Bill Schierman of the Ventura County sheriff’s gang unit.

Sometimes working with girlfriends, the suspects hit upscale homes across a wide area in an apparent attempt to avoid apprehension, then used the proceeds to support lavish lifestyles, officials allege. Investigators believe the suspects would knock on the front door, go around the back when no one answered and enter through open doors or force their way inside, Schierman said.

“This was a very sophisticated group,” Schierman said. “If you want to talk about a professional burglary crew, this was them.”

The break in the case came after the Jan. 20 burglary of an unoccupied home in the 1300 block of Doral Circle in Thousand Oaks, officials said.

Three men forced their way into the home, then fled when the residents returned home. A witness was able to describe the vehicle and give authorities a partial license plate number, officials said.

Investigators determined it was a sport utility vehicle rented by Merchuria Cooper, 31, of Los Angeles, officials said. That led detectives to identify another suspect, Kenneth Hall, 37, of Los Angeles, officials said.

Hall was Cooper’s boyfriend and had previously been stopped in a vehicle associated with her, officials said. He went to prison for a 1999 burglary attempt in Camarillo’s Spanish Hills, Schierman said. An alleged Los Angeles gang member, Hall was on parole for a 2005 residential burglary and was wanted for violating the terms of his release, officials said.

To find other suspects, authorities launched an investigation that included Los Angeles County sheriff’s detectives. They later identified Los Angeles residents Dennis Coleman, 33, Miles Chaissions, 20, and Don Mosley, 32, as suspects, officials said.

Hall and Coleman appeared to be unemployed but owned or rented luxury vehicles, went on shopping sprees and spent thousands of dollars at nightclubs, officials said.

Investigators believe Coleman, Chaissions and Hall are responsible for burglarizing seven homes in Ventura County since the beginning of December. They and Mosley are suspected of committing eight more residential burglaries in Los Angeles and Orange counties during the same period, officials said.

Mosley was arrested Feb. 12 after he and two others allegedly burglarized two homes in Pacific Palisades, officials said.

Ventura County investigators learned about the burglary, and when Los Angeles police tried to pull over the suspects, they led police on a chase that reached 100 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway, officials said.

The suspects threw jewelry out of the vehicle during the chase before abandoning the vehicle in Santa Monica, officials said. Mosley was caught a short distance away. The other two escaped, officials said.

Mosley was booked into Los Angeles County jail, where he remained this week in lieu of $1 million bail.

Hall was arrested on a parole warrant in Las Vegas, where he remained in custody without bail this week, authorities said.

The other suspects were arrested around the time authorities served a series of search warrants in the Los Angeles area on Feb. 22, officials said.

Cooper was arrested at her residence and booked into Ventura County jail on suspicion of burglary and conspiracy, authorities said.

Investigators found large sums of cash and apparent stolen property at the home deputy Jones shared with Coleman, officials said. Jones was arrested on suspicion of burglary and being an accessory to commit burglary, Schierman said.

A 35-year-old Los Angeles resident, the deputy was booked into Ventura County jail Feb. 22 and released the next day, jail records show.

A six-year veteran of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Jones was most recently assigned to its custody division, said Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the department.

Jones has been relieved of duty with pay, Whitmore said. The department is monitoring the investigation, and if Jones is charged with a felony, she could be stripped of her pay, he said. If convicted, Jones could be fired.

Coleman and Chaissions pleaded not guilty Friday to charges related to the alleged thefts of more than $200,000 in cash, jewelry and other items.

The investigation is continuing, and authorities said they expect to uncover more burglaries and make more arrests.

Schierman said he wouldn’t be surprised if the value of goods stolen reaches $1 million.

“This is the largest burglary investigation I’ve seen,” said the sergeant, a 23-year veteran of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.

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Busted – PETA Killed More Than 95% Of Pets In Its Care

February 26, 2012

VIRGINIA – Documents published online this month show that People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, an organization known for its uncompromising animal-rights positions, killed more than 95 percent of the pets in its care in 2011.

The documents, obtained from the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, were published online by the Center for Consumer Freedom, a non-profit organization that runs online campaigns targeting groups that antagonize food producers.

Fifteen years’ worth of similar records show that since 1998 PETA has killed more than 27,000 animals at its headquarters in Norfolk, VA.

In a February 16 statement, the Center said PETA killed 1,911 cats and dogs last year, finding homes for only 24 pets.

“PETA hasn’t slowed down its slaughterhouse operation,” said Rick Berman, CCF’s executive director. “It appears PETA is more concerned with funding its media and advertising antics than finding suitable homes for these dogs and cats.”

In a statement, Berman added that PETA has a $37 million dollar annual budget.

His organization runs, which reports that in 2010 a resident of Virginia called PETA and asked if there was an animal shelter at the group’s headquarters. PETA responded that there was not.

The Virginian, the website reports, then called his state’s agriculture department. Dr. Daniel Kovich investigated, and conducted an inspection of PETA’s headquarters.

“The facility does not contain sufficient animal enclosures to routinely house the number of animals annually reported as taken into custody,” Kovich concluded in his report.

Kovich also determined that PETA employees kill 84 percent of the animals in their custody within 24 hours of receiving them.

“[PETA’s] primary purpose,” Kovich wrote, “is not to find permanent adoptive homes for animals.”

PETA media liaison Jane Dollinger told The Daily Caller in an email that “most of the animals we take in are society’s rejects; aggressive, on death’s door, or somehow unadoptable.”

Dollinger did not dispute her organization’s sky-high euthanasia rate, but insisted PETA only kills dogs and cats because of “injury, illness, age, aggression, or because no good homes exist for them.”

PETA’s own history, however, shows that this has not always been the case.

In 2005, two PETA employees described as “adorable” and “perfect” some of the dogs and cats they killed in the back of a PETA-owned van. The two were arrested after police witnessed them tossing the animals’ dead bodies into a North Carolina dumpster.

PETA had no comment when the Daily Caller asked what sort of effort it routinely makes to find adoptive homes for animals in its care.

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