Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Bizarre Air Force Low-level “Photo-op” Terrorizes New York

Bizarre Air Force Low-level “Photo-op” Terrorizes New York

The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN are reporting that today, April 27, 2009, an “Air Force I lookalike” and two F-16 jet fighters frightened New Yorkers with low-level maneuvers over Manhattan and New Jersey.

Photo by New York Times reader Dan Kohn, of two Air Force jets conducting low-level maneuvers over ManhattanPhoto by New York Times reader Jim Brown showing low-level flyby of Air Force AF-25 jetJim Brown's photo of Air Force Jet flying low-level maneuvers over New York

Many office buildings were evacuated and people who had lived through 9/11 were re-traumatized. The New York Times reported that during the exercise, the Dow-Jones dropped 40 points in ten minutes.

The Associated Press reported, “A Boeing 747 used by the president was escorted over lower Manhattan by an Air Force fighter jet Monday as part of a government photo opportunity and training mission, causing a brief panic among office workers near ground zero.”

The Wall Street Journal had this:

The U.S. Air Force confirmed that an “aerial photo mission,” which involved an F-16 fighter jet, had been carried out Monday in the area of New York City by the Presidential Airlift Group, which according to the White House Web site is responsible for maintaining and operating presidential airliner Air Force One.

“This mission was conducted in conjunction with normally scheduled continuation training for assigned aircrew members,” the Air Force said in a statement. The mission was scheduled to last from 10 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. EDT.

A spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration said the maneuver wasn’t an emergency and was coordinated in advance with state and local officials. The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which operates bridges, tunnels and airports in the area, said initially the agency had no knowledge of the low-flying plane, according to a spokesman. But several Port Authority executives, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to an ongoing investigation, said that the agency received a memo from the FAA, but not until sometime Monday morning.

“Information in this document shall not be released to the public or media,” the memo instructed. “Public affairs posture for this effort is passive.”

The memo specifically directed local agencies not to tell the public about the photo shoot, according to a government official. The memo detailed the nature of the event and the flight details, saying there would be a transport and fighter aircraft flying over New York Harbor.

Note WSJ story has been updated: 8th WSJ UPDATE: Airplane ‘Photo Op’ Angers 9/11 Witnesses

The WSJ now notes:

The White House had planned a second photo shoot of a jumbo jet used as Air Force One in Washington D.C next month. The follow-up session would have taken place May 5 or May 6, using the nation’s capital as a backdrop, according to two government officials.

One official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Washington photo session is being reconsidered, given the reaction to Monday’s flight in New York.

You think?

I am really curious about the “photo-op” aspect of this mission. Has nobody heard of Photoshop? Was this still photography, or part of some video project? Who and where were the photographers?

What was so important about this mission that there could be no prior public announcement, and why must the planes operate at such low altitudes over a populated area?

Very odd indeed.

see:
Air Force One Photo-Op Scares the Crap Out of Manhattan
Low-level flight panics New York
Readers: Did You See the Low-Flying Jet Over Lower Manhattan?

Update: More from CNN:

After a YouTube video showed panicked New Yorkers scrambling as a Boeing 747 flew frighteningly close to the lower Manhattan skyline, a former Homeland Security adviser questioned whether the man who approved the flyby should remain in his White House office…

Witnesses reported seeing the plane circle over the Upper New York Bay near the Statue of Liberty before flying up the Hudson River.

The YouTube video shows dozens of people standing in a parking lot, watching the plane approach. As it nears, they begin to run. Someone unleashes an expletive. “Run, run!” says one person. “Oh my God,” cries another.

Copyright © 2009 Henry Edward Hardy

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27 April, 2009 Posted by | 9/11, Air Force One, government, New York, news, photo-op, propaganda, scanlyze, state of fear, terrorism, US Air Force | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Rabih Haddad responds to ‘America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad’

I found Rabih Haddad’s blog, Enduring Mercy and linked back to my essay, America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad.

He was kind enough to post a short reply, and I replied to his reply just now, see:

Comments by Rabih Haddad on the “Detainee Bill”
America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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17 February, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, America, America the Beautiful, Ann Arbor, detention, freedom, Islam, liberty, media, memory hole, Michigan, news, politics, Rabih Haddad, repression | Leave a comment

America the Beautiful and Rabih Haddad

America the Beautiful

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain,
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed his grace on thee
And crown thy good with brotherhood
From sea to shining sea!

O beautiful for pilgrim feet
Whose stern, impassioned stress
A thoroughfare for freedom beat
Across the wilderness!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self-control,
Thy liberty in law!

America the Beautiful
1st and 2nd verses,
Catherine Lee Bates
1913

I sang these verses in a somewhat quavery but fairly on-key voice to a high school auditorium full of people at a town meeting called by US Rep. Lynn Rivers (D-Mich) after 9/11. One brave lady in the crowd sang with me.

One of the panelists invited by Rivers, a moderate and well-respected member of the Ann Arbor Muslim community was Rabih Haddad. Mr. Haddad was taken from his Ann Arbor home by US officials on December 14, 2001, terrorizing and traumatizing his wife and young children in the process. Haddad was then held without charges, mostly in solitary confinement, for 19 months. The ranking Democratic member (and now chair) of the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers (D-Mich), was refused admission to Haddad’s hearing in Detroit for purported reasons of national security. Following a great deal of public demonstrations, controversy, and criticism concerning the government actions, Haddad was then secretly deported. The Ann Arbor News withheld the information about his impending deportation from publication for several days at government request.

My Brother Rabih Haddad
Rabih Haddad Speaks Out

I was inspired to write this by:

I Love America by Shirley Buxton.

This is my response to Shirley:

Is this the America you love?

  • Secret trials and secret prisons?
  • Torture, rape and murder as instruments of state policy?
  • No more habeas corpus?
  • A Government which contemptuously disregards the Geneva Conventions?
  • No right to a lawyer, a trial by jury or even the right to know the charges against you?
  • A President who has utter contempt for the Constitution and the law?
  • A Nation that attacks without provocation, and lies about the putative reasons?

Shame on you, Shirley Buxton.

The patriots and ‘founding fathers’ you pretend to admire were, in fact revolutionaries who took up arms to overthrow a repressive government. That’s why we call it the American Revolutionary War! Furthermore, the original Pledge of Allegiance you quote was written by a socialist, Francis Bellamy in 1892, and did not include the words, “under God”. This phrase was added by Congress in 1954 during the height of the McCarthy repression.

Consider:

Sell not virtue to purchase wealth, nor Liberty to purchase power.

–Benjamin Franklin

The jaws of power are always open to devour, and her arm is always stretched out, if possible, to destroy the freedom of thinking, speaking, and writing.

–John Adams

Give me liberty or give me death!

–Patrick Henry

If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace. We ask not your counsels or your arms. Crouch down and lick the hands which feed you. May your chains set lightly upon you, and may posterity forget that you were our countrymen.

–Sam Adams

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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3 February, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, America, America the Beautiful, Ann Arbor, Ann Arbor News, Bush, Conyers, democratic, essay, liberty, Lynn Rivers, Michigan, patriot, patriotism, peace, Pledge of Allegiance, politics, quotations, Rabih Haddad, repression, revolution, scanlyze, Shirley Buxton, US Constitution, USA | 3 Comments

What if Bush has a strategy working as intended in Iraq and Afghanistan? What could it be?

Let’s imagine that George W. Bush is intelligent, that he is not insane, and that he has a strategy at work in Iraq and Afghanistan. Let’s imagine further that Bush’s strategy is working as intended. What could that strategy be?

The Great Game/Containment

In this theory, the bombs fall on Baghdad and Helmand but the target is Moscow.

The term, The Great Game is attributed to a British Intelligence Officer, Lt. Arthur Connoly of the 6th Bengal Light Cavalry. He used the term in, Journey to the North of India through Russia, Persia and Afghanistan, London, Richard Bentley, 1834, to describe the rivalry between the British and Russian empire in Central Asia.

A similar theory, now called containment, was proposed in a famous article by George Kennan. In The Sources of Soviet Conduct, Foreign Affairs, July, 1947, Kennan, writing as “X”, proposed that the Soviet Union be crippled economically through an economic and cultural blockade, while it would be destabilized through covert actions and propaganda. He wrote,

…it will be clearly seen that the Soviet pressure against the free institutions of the western world is something that can be contained by the adroit and vigilant application of counter-force at a series of constantly shifting geographical and political points…

…we have in Russia today a population which is physically and spiritually tired. The mass of the people are disillusioned, skeptical and no longer as accessible as they once were to the magical attraction which Soviet power still radiates to its followers abroad. The avidity with which people seized upon the slight respite accorded to the Church for tactical reasons during the war was eloquent testimony to the fact that their capacity for faith and devotion found little expression in the purposes of the regime.

In these circumstances, there are limits to the physical and nervous strength of people themselves. These limits are absolute ones, and are binding even for the cruelest dictatorship, because beyond them people cannot be driven. The forced labor camps and the other agencies of constraint provide temporary means of compelling people to work longer hours than their own volition or mere economic pressure would dictate; but if people survive them at all they become old before their time and must be considered as human casualties to the demands of dictatorship. In either case their best powers are no longer available to society and can no longer be enlisted in the service of the state.

Managed chaos

The idea here is that the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan is not an aberration but is in fact calculated and intended. Doctrines of “asymmetrical warfare” hold that terrorism and armed propaganda are “force multipliers”… therefore we destroy the pillars of civil society so that our own “freedom fighters” can do their asymmetrical thing. This could be considered similar to the Sudanese strategy in Darfur, or the Contra war the US has conducted in Latin America, most notably in the 1980’s.

Peter Beaumont et al After the surge … what next? The Observer, Sunday January 14, 2007
David L. Grange, Asymmetric Warfare: Old Strategy, New Concern, National Strategy Forum Review Winter 2000
James Johnson Implications for the Ten Division Army: Selective Engagement or Managed Chaos Masters Thesis, US Army Command and Military Staff College, 1994

Opium Wars

Afghanistan

world’s largest producer of opium; cultivation dropped 48% to 107,400 hectares in 2005; better weather and lack of widespread disease returned opium yields to normal levels, meaning potential opium production declined by only 10% to 4,475 metric tons; if the entire poppy crop were processed, it is estimated that 526 metric tons of heroin could be processed; source of hashish; many narcotics-processing labs throughout the country; drug trade source of instability and some anti-government groups profit from the trade; 80-90% of the heroin consumed in Europe comes from Afghan opium; vulnerable to narcotics money laundering through informal financial networks

CIA Word Factbook, Field Listing, Illicit Drugs

This is the full report of the opium survey of Afghanistan that the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime made public in September 2006. There was considerable alarm when it was announced that opium cultivation in Afghanistan rose to 165,000 hectares in 2006, a 59% increase over 2005.

This 6,100 tons of opium gives Afghanistan the dubious distinction of having nearly a monopoly of the world heroin market.

Major traffickers, warlords and insurgents are reaping the profits of this bumper crop to spread instability, infiltrate public institutions, and enrich themselves. Afghanistan is moving from narcoeconomy to narco-state.

While criminals prosper, the rest of society suffers. In Afghanistan, opium is choking development and democratization. The rule of the bullet and the bribe exists where there is no rule of law.

UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Opium Survey 2006

Britain fought two Opium Wars from 1834 to 1860 to force China to buy British opium. After World War II, the United States has fought a series of wars and proxy wars in the worlds major opium growing areas, including Burma, Laos, Thailand, Columbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, and Kurdistan.

see also,

William E. Colby, Heroin, Laos, and the USA New York Review of Books, November 22, 1990.
Gary Webb, The Dark Alliance, San Jose Mercury News, 1996.
Jensen-Stevenson, Monika and Stevenson, William. Kiss the Boys Goodbye: How the United States Betrayed Its Own POWs in Vietnam. New York: Dutton (Penguin Books), 1990 [namebase entry]
Kwitny, Jonathan. The Crimes of Patriots: A True Tale of Dope, Dirty Money, and the CIA. New York: W.W. Norton, 1987. [namebase entry]

Oil War

This is a common theory, the only twist here being that the intent would be not to obtain the oil but simply to drive up prices by restricting supply. As long as Saudi Arabia remains on board (how much longer?) the US-aligned corporations have enough excess capacity to meet the oil demand. So to guarantee profits, the Seven Sisters need not to obtain more supplies, thus putting yet more oil on the market; but to simply insure the destruction of the productive capacity of their rivals.

Divide and rule

In this scenario, the US would intentionally foment sectarian conflict between Sunni and Shiite in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and elsewhere. The US would favor the Shiia because they are in the minority and the idea would be to destabilize the Sunni regimes in particular Saudi Arabia, which has an economic stranglehold on the US by means of its massive investment portfolio and oil reserves.

Divide and Rule (wikipedia)

Permanent war

The theory of Permanent War is eloquently articulated in George Orwell’s novel, 1984:

The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labour. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent. Even when weapons of war are not actually destroyed, their manufacture is still a convenient way of expending labour power without producing anything that can be consumed…

War, it will be seen, accomplishes the necessary destruction, but accomplishes it in a psychologically acceptable way. In principle it would be quite simple to waste the surplus labour of the world by building temples and pyramids, by digging holes and filling them up again, or even by producing vast quantities of goods and then setting fire to them. But this would provide only the economic and not the emotional basis for a hierarchical society. What is concerned here is not the morale of masses, whose attitude is unimportant so long as they are kept steadily at work, but the morale of the Party itself. Even the humblest Party member is expected to be competent, industrious, and even intelligent within narrow limits, but it is also necessary that he should be a credulous and ignorant fanatic whose prevailing moods are fear, hatred, adulation, and orgiastic triumph. In other words it is necessary that he should have the mentality appropriate to a state of war. It does not matter whether the war is actually happening, and, since no decisive victory is possible, it does not matter whether the war is going well or badly. All that is needed is that a state of war should exist.

George Orwell, 1984

The basic authority of a modern state over its people resides in its war powers. (There is, in fact, good reason to believe that codified law had its origins in the rules of conduct established by military victors for dealing with the defeated enemy, which were later adapted to apply to all subject populations. ) On a day-to-day basis, it is represented by the institution of police, armed organizations charged expressly with dealing with “internal enemies” in a military manner. Like the conventional “external” military, the police are also substantially exempt from many civilian legal restraints on their social behavior. In some countries, the artificial distinction between police and other military forces does not exist. On the long-term basis, a government’s emergency war powers – inherent in the structure of even the most libertarian of nations – define the most significant aspect of the relation between state and citizen.

In advanced modern democratic societies, the war system has provided political leaders with another political-economic function of increasing importance: it has served as the last great safeguard against the elimination of necessary social classes. As economic productivity increases to a level further and further above that of minimum subsistence, it becomes more and more difficult for a society to maintain distribution patterns insuring the existence of “hewers of wood and drawers of water.” The further progress of automation can be expected to differentiate still more sharply between “superior” workers and what Ricardo called “menials,” while simultaneously aggravating the problem of maintaining an unskilled labor supply.

The arbitrary nature of war expenditures and of other military activities make them ideally suited to control these essential class relationships. Obviously, if the war system were to be discarded, new political machinery would be needed at once to serve this vital subfunction. Until it is developed, the continuance of the war system must be assured, if for no other reason, among others, than to preserve whatever quality and degree of poverty a society requires as an incentive, as well as to maintain the stability of its internal organization of power.

Lewis Lewin, Report From Iron Mountain

Shock and Awe: A Strategy of Terror

The purpose of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq might be to establish for the world and the internal population, the utter ruthlessness of the Government and its willingness to use maximum force against those who disagree with its agenda.

Harlan K. Ullman and James Wade Shock and Awe: Achieving Rapid Dominance, National Defense University, 1996
Scanlyze review of The Power of Nightmares by Adam Curtis

Establish dictatorship

A strategy of permanent war could be a means to establish dictatorship inside the US, suppress dissent, co-opt the media, and take control of the reins of power at home and abroad. The use of torture and concentration camps abroad will provide the legal and social acceptance of such measures in the Fatherland, er, Homeland.

And finally the ever-popular,

All of the above!

Copyright © 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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31 January, 2007 Posted by | 1984, 6th Bengal Light Cavalry, 9/11, Afghanistan, Arthur Connoly, Bush, capitalism, containment, corporations, covert operations, dictatorship, Gary Webb, George Kennan, grand strategy, Great Game, intelligence, Iraq, Lewis Lewin, managed chaos, military, oil, opium, Opium War, Opium Wars, Orwell, peace, permanent war, politics, Report from Iron Mountain, scanlyze, shock and awe, strategy, war, William Colby, X | 1 Comment

Comedian Bill Maher talks about Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce, Condi Rice, 9/11

Comedian Bill Maher talks about Steve Allen, Lenny Bruce, Condi Rice, 9/11

by Henry Edward Hardy


I did this interview with Bill Maher back around October of 2004 in conjunction with a local appearance he was making at EMU in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Bill Maher is probably the funniest and one of the cleverest people I have interviewed (or met). I was really enjoying myself during this interview.

I understand that your career got helped along by [originator and first host of The Tonight Show] Steve Allen?

That’s one I haven’t been asked about in a while. That’s true — you’re making me feel old here. When I first started in New York, there was like three clubs, and you had to belong to one of them … I was a Catch a Rising Star act. And Steve Allen was doing a show in New York called Seymour Gluek is Alive But Sick, which was silly, you know his silly songs, and then there was an MC in the middle of it. When he moved out here [to California], he just, you know, picked me to take over his part — he didn’t want to keep doing it the rest of his life. So you know, when I was 25, that was a kind of feather in my cap.

You had an illustrious film career. I noted Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death.

Henry, I can hear your sarcasm dripping there, and it’s appropriate, because it certainly was not illustrious. You know, everybody in show business has to find their way, and when we were young comics coming up, all we cared about, all we thought that mattered, was getting on a sitcom. That was our whole thing — we kind of didn’t realize that we were sitting on the golden goose, which was stand-up. What we were really doing was so much better than trying to get on Benson, or Mork and Mindy. We were young, and that was Hollywood, and that was more money and fame. And so that’s the route I went.

But you see yourself as coming pretty much out of the stand-up or vaudeville tradition?

Yeah. Vaudeville. There’s nothing that’s really different about vaudeville and a guy going out on the road performing an act in different cities — that is vaudeville. In the ’80s, when comedy was exploding, that was vaudeville. We were all on the road, we’d all see each other in the train stations — we were all together back then as young comics — Jerry Seinfeld, Paul Reiser, Eddie Murphy. I worked my first gig with Eddie Murphy for 50 dollars at a Chinese restaurant.

You were born in New York City in 1956, is that true?

Yes, ’56, yep.

So obviously you weren’t going out to clubs and listening to Lenny Bruce. He comes to mind because he was so topical, and so trenchant and political…

… and ballsy.

Brave guy.

Brave guy. I just contributed to his liner notes on … a book coming out about him. I said one of my favorite quotes about Lenny was a Chinese proverb, “One generation plants the trees, the other gets the shade.” And I really feel like with Lenny, he planted the trees and a lot of us got the shade. Because I am talking about those kind of subjects that got him in trouble.

Because now you can say “cocksucker” on the air and the police aren’t going to pull you off …

Not just “cocksucker” because lots of guys say that. But I mean talking about religion, criticizing the government. Things like that. You know, Lenny Bruce had nine trials. He went to trial nine times. That’s a lot.

So he paid some dues.

He paid the dues; he planted the trees.

You have a routine about the 9/11 Commission. What degree, if any degree, of foreknowledge about the 9/11 attacks do you think there was by the Bush Administration?

Well, I don’t think there was foreknowledge of the specific attack. You know, when the commission was being set up, issuing their reports and Bush was sort of under the heat of…that he kept saying [Maher imitates Bush voice and mannerisms], “If I’d known there was an attack coming on this country, I would have done everything I could.” No kidding, asshole! We get that. I mean, I’m not your fan, but I don’t think if you knew something about the specific attack, you wouldn’t have done something about it. The bigger point is when Condolezza Rice says things like, [does Rice voice impression] “Who could have ever imagined that they would take planes and fly them into buildings.” Well, you know what, lots of people imagined it. Moviemakers had imagined it. Those two little pricks at Columbine had imagined it.

She had a briefing that said, “Al Qaeda to use airplanes …”

Yes, yes! Exactly.

“…to attack buildings.”

Plus…when your name, what you had is “National Security Advisor,” it’s your job to think about things like that.

So you don’t think she’s done a very good job?

No, I don’t. And you know, this week something else came out that didn’t reflect well on her, which is stuff about the aluminum tubes. The main argument that the Bush administration used for attacking Saddam Hussein was that he, you know, “the smoking gun might be a mushroom cloud.” Remember that?

Right. Just to background that, the aluminum tubes they claimed were to be used for processing nuclear fuel; it turned out they were missile parts?

Exactly. And the intelligence community really knew this. Again she claims, “Not my job,” like Freddie Prinze [does impression] “Not my zhob, no, its not my zhob.” She tells the President …

Well, whose job was it?

Exactly. If she had been doing her job she would have said, “You know, if you want to attack Iraq, go ahead, but I’ve got to tell you, its not because he’s building nuclear bombs in these tubes. Just stop running around the country and saying that.”

What you’re saying seems to me to say … well, let’s take an analogy of Pearl Harbor. After Pearl Harbor, Admiral Kimmel and General Short who were the Navy and Army commanders at Pearl were court-martialed and dismissed from the service. Now who has been held accountable in any way for 9/11?

No, nobody.

Aside from you.

It always gets a rip-roaring response in my act when I say, “you know the only person to have been fired for terrorism is me?”

Bill Maher
HBO: Real Time with Bill Maher
Bill Maher (wikipedia)

By the way, it is interesting to note that Kimmel and Short were exonerated in 1999 by an act of Congress. According to wikipedia (permalink): On May 25, 1999, the United States Senate passed a resolution exonerating Kimmel and Short. They were denied vital intelligence that was available in Washington, said Senator William V. Roth Jr. (R-DE), noting that they had been made scapegoats by the Pentagon. Senator Strom Thurmond (R-SC) called Kimmel and Short, the two final victims of Pearl Harbor.

A version of this article appeared previously in Current Magazine and on Electric Current

Copyright © 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 Henry Edward Hardy

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25 January, 2007 Posted by | 9/11, archives, Bill Maher, comedy, Condoleezza Rice, EMU, interviews, Lenny Bruce, media, national security, politics, Steve Allen, television, WWII, Ypsilanti | 3 Comments