susie dow's blog

PR posing as News?

  • Posted on: 8 November 2011
  • By: susie dow

Woah.

This is a bit of a turn - the mundane world of corporate media - a group notoriously lax about its own fact checking, is fact checking.

So. The story. The LA Times did a little investigative reporting into a controversial contract for $200,000 awarded to a public relations company by a small public entity, the Central Basin Municipal Water District.

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He's back - Nouriel Roubini issues NEW dire warning

  • Posted on: 2 October 2011
  • By: susie dow

First posted September 26, 2011 - 15:02, worth seeing again - standingup

Nouriel Roubini, who repeatedly issued warnings about the coming crash of the economy in 2008, is back in the news again. And what he has to say is far from upbeat. Forget Greece - it's Italy and Spain that everyone should be paying close attention to. 

It was all so avoidable. A little look back at history and the year 1931...but alas, no. 

"....One should never underestimate the power of greed, stupidity or ignorance, and narrow (unenlightened), short-term self-interest to distort decision making....."

Risk of depression is ‘huge’, Roubini warns
By Taimur Ahmad, Emerging Markets, September 23, 2011

The odds have risen sharply this week of a fresh financial crisis that will plunge the global economy into a major depression, as policymakers fall far short of the radical measures needed to address the fast approaching storm, economist Nouriel Roubini warned yesterday.

More details in the interview published by the magazine.

Interview with Nouriel Roubini
Emerging Markets, September 23, 2011

The signs from policymakers are not encouraging. Germany’s finance minister was reported to have said that the G20 was largely in agreement that a fiscal stimulus is simply not needed now. What do you make of that?

That’s nonsense. The IMF has it right. [IMF managing director] Christine Lagarde has it right. If everybody does fiscal austerity at a time when private demand is falling again you’re going to have another global depression. We’re going to make exactly the same mistake like during the Great Depression, when we took away the fiscal stimulus too soon. That is a huge risk right now.

Good times. Good times.

Pace yourself friends. 

Americans Missing in Iraq and 9/11

  • Posted on: 10 September 2011
  • By: susie dow

The longest missing American in Iraq is a contractor by the name of Kirk von Ackermann. Von Ackermann was a former counter terrorism officer, who served in the Asymmetric Threat Division, or DO5, at Joint Forces Command while in the US Air Force. In August of 2003, he went to Turkey to work for a logistics company serving US military bases in the Tikrit region of Iraq. Several hours after a meeting at a base outside of Balad, Iraq, his vehicle was found abandoned on an isolated road between Tikrit and Kirkuk.

The eight year anniversary of his disappearance is next month, on October 9. He left behind a wife and three young children. At the time, they were preparing to move to Turkey.

Kirk von Ackermann's former intelligence unit, DO5, is in the news today.

New Documents Suggest DoD Watchdog Covered Up Intelligence Unit's Work Tracking 9/11 Terrorists
By Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold
Truthout, September 9, 2011

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse

  • Posted on: 2 August 2011
  • By: susie dow

It seems like an eon since I first learned of Bunny Greenhouse's work on the Defense Base Act. Most Americans best know her as the whistleblower who blew the lid off of KBR/Halliburton no-bid contracts in the run up to the Iraq War.

Few know that she is responsible today for ushering in significant reforms the Defense Base Act, the equivalent of workers compensation for overseas contractors. Over the years, I wondered if her work with the Defense Base Act played a part in the retaliation she faced. For too many insurance companies, the Defense Base Act was a cash cow.

Victory for Bunny Greenhouse
Press Release, Web Wire, July 26, 2011

Today, the National Whistleblowers Center announced that the United States District Court in Washington D.C. gave its final approval of a settlement between Bunnatine "Bunny" Greenhouse and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. After a six year legal battle, the Army Corps agreed to pay Ms. Greenhouse $970,000 representing full restitution for lost wages, compensatory damages and attorneys fees. Ms. Greenhouse was notified that she was going to be removed from her position as the Army Corps chief contracting and procurement executive after being demoted out of the Senior Executive Service when she strongly objected, during the award of a secret contract granting Halliburton subsidiary, Kellogg Brown & Root (“KBR”), a no-compete, sole source, cost-plus $7 Billion contract as the invasion of Iraq was about to commence.

Her work with the Defense Base Act will over time save the American taxpayer billions of dollars.

Additional Reading

Iraq, Contingency Contracting and the Defense Base Act
By Susie Dow, ePluribus Media, March 4, 2007

 

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Was the failure to protect Americans on 9/11 the result of sexism?

  • Posted on: 21 July 2011
  • By: susie dow

I honestly don't know the answer. But I have this awful gnawing feeling in my gut that in some small way, it might have been a factor.

Let's hope I'm wrong.

To recap - an unidentified intelligence officer filed a complaint with the Department of Defense Inspector General for Intelligence alleging that the Joint Forces Intelligence Command withheld information from Congress during its investigation of intelligence failures on 9/11.

In his May 8, 2006, Formal Complaint to DoD Inspector General [1], the unidentified intelligence officer known only as IRON MAN wrote:

(U) Contrary to JFIC's formal report to the JCS staff, JFIC had a direct and assigned purview on international terrorism against the U.S., to include the operations of al-Qa'ida and the 9/11 attackers. JFIC was directly responsible to both Joint Forces Command (JFCOM) and its subordinate, Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS) for all-source intelligence analysis of internationai terrorism against the U.S. To ensure the quality of such analysis,  JFlC's commanding officer [redacted] established the Asymmetric Threat Branch (DO5), charged with reporting on asymmetric threats, especially terrorism. [redacted] was subsequently promoted to JFCOM J2. As a RADM and PACOM J2, she established another Asymmetric Threat branch at PACOM.)

It is my belief that the commanding officer described above is Rear Admiral (retired) Rosanne M. LeVitre, US Navy.

Who shut down the Asymmetric Threat Division at JFIC before 9-11?

  • Posted on: 27 June 2011
  • By: susie dow

Cross posted at the Missing Man

Reviewing the two recent articles over at Truth Out about the shut down on an intelligence program within Joint Forces Intelligence Command and withholding information to Congress about 9/11.

Thinking a bit out loud here and feeling my way around it all. I'm trying to figure out where the pressure was coming from.

Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission PDF
Deputy Inspector General for Intelligence
September 23, 2008


(U) JFIC's Asymmetric Threat Division (DO5)

 

(U) In 1999, the [Joint Forces Intelligence Command]created the Asymmetric Threat Division (DO5) to take a non-traditional approach to analysis. The Director of Operations recruited JFIC personnel from the command based upon their counterintelligence and counterterrorism expertise. The DO5 provided current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff. The DO5 also provided support to the Joint Task Force-Civil Support (JTF-CS). The JTF-CS assisted civil authorities with disaster assistance. The DO5 supported the JTF-CS exercises by establishing fictional terrorist organizations that would mimic real world terrorist groups.

 

Anyway, what I am trying to understand is this: why were commanding officers so opposed to the Asymmetric Threat Division's intelligence analysis regarding al Qaeda? Just what the heck was going on over there - was it a Navy thing or was there more to it than that?

Truthout - New Documents Claim Intelligence Withheld From Congress' 9/11 Probe

  • Posted on: 13 June 2011
  • By: susie dow

Jeffrey Kaye continues lifting the veil on 9-11 intelligence failures with a new article at Truthout. The Unclassified FOIA Response attached to the article is an absolute must read. The FOIA Response was the result of a 2006 complaint to the DoD Inspector General filed by a former intelligence officer known only as IRONMAN.

EXCLUSIVE: New Documents Claim Intelligence on Bin Laden, al-Qaeda Targets Withheld From Congress' 9/11 Probe
By Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold, Truthout, June 13, 2011
Attachments - Unclassified FOIA Response

The last page of the FOIA Response holds particular interest for me.

(U) [unclassified] My motivation for this complaint is multi-faceted. I do believe that knowledge of the work done by DO5 would add to DoD's understanding of its role in the events leading up to 9/11 and how to avoid future attacks. For this reason, and other more personal reasons, I believe that DO5's work, when I am certain that that information is not and has not been classified since 9/11, and I do want to see myself cleared of that false accusation. In addition, I and the deputy of that team, [redacted] especially carried the burden of knowledge of how close DoD came to bin Laden and perhaps being able to reduce the number of lives lost on 9/11. I do not want that burden any longer. [redacted] [redacted] and I discussed this issue the last time we spoke. He remains the longest missing man in Iraq in this war, and I want, one day, to be able to explain to his children what their father foresaw.

The former deputy of the Asymmetric threat Division and still the longest missing man in Iraq is Kirk von Ackermann. The complicated and contentious history of the company he worked for in Iraq, Ultra Services, was featured in a 2006 article at ePluribus Media.

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Memorial Day

  • Posted on: 30 May 2011
  • By: susie dow

The small town I grew up in was founded in the early 1700's. Pre-Revolutionary War - better known amongst my friends as the Shot-Heard-Round-the-World-War. A name that evoked a war worthy of Orson Wells. And predecessor in our minds to World War 1 and 2. (Rock solid logic of a 6-year old.)

Each Memorial Day, small American flags were placed on the graves of the veterans from wars past. Far too many wars, some of them now long forgotten. There were cast iron rods with stars set into the ground to hold the flags. I hope they haven't all been stolen by now. There was a problem with looting gravestones back in the 1980's. Antique dealers have no honor when it comes to the dead.

I can remember skipping through the wet grass of the cemetery to look at the flags and read the names on the gravestones. It took effort to watch out for dips and hollows where unsteady ground was evidence of a collapsed casket buried deep under ground.

The gravestones had lovely penmanship chiseled into the slate with winged smiling skulls of the late 1700's hovering over the deceased. The veterans names on the old stones sounded so exotic to me as a child, like Ebeneezer and Elijah. Far more interesting than their modern equivalents of Bob and Ben.

The Common, where a small group of veterans would form a line, salute and raise a flag, still held an old cannon. Yet another childhood plaything - sometimes a horse, sometimes a rocket. On occasion, someone would dig up an old cannonball somewhere - though a relic of what war was a mystery. The Revolution never did make it to our little corner of the world.

Those days, the flags would stay in the graveyard through July 4th. Somebody - I don't know who - collected the little flags shortly after Independence Day. Some things, even a kid could figure out, no one ever stole a flag.

 

Truthout - Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

  • Posted on: 23 May 2011
  • By: susie dow

A slight detour from what I had originally intended to post today.

Regular readers know that for years now I've been following the story of the 2003 disappearance of a contractor in Iraq, Kirk von Ackermann. In a strange twist, the Department of Defense recently released a report about the joint forces counter terrorism division he worked with. Truthout has released an article about that report.

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden
By Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout, May 23, 2011

Tracking Bin Laden had been undertaken by a secret unit within the JFIC, the Asymmetric Threats Division, formed in 1999 "to take a non-traditional approach to analysis." Known by its DoD acronym, DO5, it was tasked with providing "current intelligence briefings and produced the Worldwide Terrorist Threat Summary in support of the USJFCOM Intelligence staff [J2]." Almost no public source material exists on DO5 activities, except what is in the IG report.

Based on 7+ years of research, I can with 100% confidence say that the above Asymmetric Threats Division, is the same division that Capt. Kirk von Ackermann USAF was assigned to. (I've provided some of the background research as to why on my blog - including two scans of Capt. Kirk von Ackermann's JFIC awards See: Counter Terrorism and JFIC, By Susie Dow, Missing Man, May 6, 2011).

Meditation - an Introduction of Sorts

  • Posted on: 16 May 2011
  • By: susie dow

I’d like to welcome you to the first of what (I hope) will be a regular series on meditation.

For the last thirty years and more, Americans have been pushing their nervous systems into continual overload with various kinds of stimulation, and I’ve come to think that this is another symptom of the deeply troubled national conscience …

A mind that’s constantly flooded with noise from television, video games, or what have you, is a mind that never has the time or space to think its own thoughts, and in a nation that’s trying not to notice that it’s sold its own grandchildren down the river, that’s probably the point of the exercise. Be that as it may, recovering the ability to think one’s own thoughts, to clear one’s mind of media-driven chatter, manufactured imagery, and all the other thoughtstopping clutter we use to numb ourselves to the increasingly unwelcome realities of life in a failing civilization, is an indispensable tool for surviving the challenges ahead...[1]

The passage above is from The Archdruid Report, a weekly blog written by John Michael Greer on the changes modern society will need to make to adapt to diminishing supplies of cheap oil. It’s a fascinating blog and one I try to read every week.

His post last week made me think of meditation and the relentless pixel wars of our modern lives.

Alan Grayson for President - 2012 write in campaign

  • Posted on: 21 January 2011
  • By: susie dow

Yet another disastrous decision from President Obama. Is he a closet Republican or something? Because I haven't seen even a hint that he cares about the working stiff down here in the rapidly disappearing middle class.

Every so often a flirtatious little wave gets thrown in this general direction and a few poor souls break out in goosebumps shouting, 'He smiled at me!'

It's junior high without the pimples.

Missing Americans in WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs

  • Posted on: 16 December 2010
  • By: susie dow

Cross posted at dKos

There are an estimated 18 Americans still missing in Iraq.

The missing cover a wide range of citizens, from a civilian installing water bottling equipment to military personnel to civilian and government contractors to private security. At least four of the missing are Iraqi American - one of whom is a Staff Sargent.

The WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs (mirror site) includes a number of the earliest known incident reports for the kidnappings of most of these Americans. And of some of the kidnapping victims, absolutely nothing is known beyond what is in these early reports.

To this day, some of the victim's identities have never been revealed to the public.

Kidnapping Reports at WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs

  • Posted on: 1 November 2010
  • By: susie dow

While it's very slow going, I am currently searching the WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs for the preliminary incident reports of kidnappings of Americans in Iraq. It is - most definitely - not a speedy project. That said, I thought I'd share some of my findings as well as search methodology that seems to work fairly well in terms of maneuvering around the database.

For whatever reasons, navigating the WikiLeaks' site is a bit clunky.

Here is a sample incident report for the kidnapping of American photojournalist, Paul Taggart, abducted on October 10, 2004. Taggart was released several days later:

US ___ KIDNAPPED IN BAGHDAD (ZONE ___)
2004-10-10 11:00:00


AT 1600C, /___ MP REPORTS THAT AN ___ WAS KIDNAPPED NEAR THE ___ HOSPITAL. THE E___ DRIVER AND ___ REPORTED THE KIDNAPPING TO THE ___ IP STATION. HE WAS WEARING A LIGHT BLUE GOLF SHIRT AND BLUE JEANS. E___ NAME IS ___. KIDNAPPERS WERE DRIVING A BLACK ___ PLATES. IPS CASE NUMBER ___, INVESTIGATING OFFICER ___ BADGE # ___.

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Depression

  • Posted on: 6 September 2010
  • By: susie dow

I feel kinda depressed today. I think the Depression is getting to me.

A very large number of my friends and former colleagues are out of work or grossly under employed. Those with jobs have seen their earnings severely scaled back. Those lucky enough to land a job face employers who are offering lower wages while expecting longer hours and more responsibility (often wearing two or more hats).

I am so not liking where this highway is taking us.

Americans Missing in Iraq as of August 2010

  • Posted on: 7 August 2010
  • By: susie dow


Cross posted at the Missing Man

There are currently 7 American men publicly known to be missing in Iraq. Those men are:

Kirk von Ackermann
Timothy E. Bell
Aban Abdel Malek Mahmoud Elias (also Aban Elias)
Radim Sadeq Mohammed Sadeq (also Dean Sadek)
Jeffrey Ake
Spc. Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie (also Ahmed K. Altaie)
Maj. Troy L. Gilbert (deceased)

Based on news reports, as many as an additional 10 Americans may also be missing. Attached below is a chart showing the incident date, name and status of those Americans known to be missing and/or held hostage in Iraq in table format.