Thursday, July 09, 2009

SPECIAL REPORT. The 9/11 "dogfight" over rural Pennsylvania

Based on information received from five different sources within the U.S. intelligence community who worked at three different agencies, WMR can report that on the morning of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Air Force shot down two air targets over a rural Pennsylvania area near the small town of Shanksville.

In what has become a story of mythic proportions, United Flight 93 took off from Newark International Airport at 8:42 am and was bound for San Francisco. The flight departed 41 minutes late from Newark. At 9:27 am, United 93 was allegedly hijacked by terrorists who turned off the plane's transponder at 9:30 am and changed course, heading to Washington. Passenger Todd Beamer, according to folklore, made a cell phone call at 9:45 am from the plane and ended the call with an announcement that the passengers were going to revolt. Beamer allegedly said "Let's Roll," a phrase that would be used by President George W. Bush in his speech from Atlanta on November 8, 2001.

At 9:58, a Flight 93 passenger allegedly made a cell phone call and said that he saw an explosion and smoke and that the plane was "going down."

The wife of United 93 passenger Mark "Mickey" Rothenberg, Meredith, expressed curiosity why her husband, who "lived by the phone," as she put it, never bothered calling her from the plane.

What WMR has uncovered from conversations with U.S. intelligence personnel who were on duty at National Security Agency (NSA) headquarters on September 11 and at other intelligence activities is that:

  • the tactical air communications unit at the National Security Operations Center (NSOC) at NSA was broadcasting live the cockpit communications between two U.S. Air Force F-16s over Somerset County, Pennsylvania. One F-16 pilot said "we are now engaging the target."
  • the NSA CRITICOM messaging system contained a flash message called a "CRITIC" that stated a commercial aircraft was "intercepted" over Pennsylvania. The latitude and longitude of the interception was provided along with the time of the interception.
  • A highly-classified and specially encrypted special communications network that linked Air Force Chief of Staff General John Jumper to the Vice President and National Security Council, and very few other intelligence officials contained a message on the morning of September 11 that confirmed the U.S. Air Force shot down United flight 93. The message stated that a U.S. Air Force fighter jet shot the engine on flight 93 with a heat-seeking missile "over Pennsylvania." The plane, according to the report, did not break up in the sky but crashed. The engine shot off the plane by the Air Force was later located 3,000 yards from the main wreckage site and the engine was riddled with shrapnel as was the surrounding fuselage. The following day, the comments stream for the special communications system was erased, something that had never before occurred with the particular system.
  • On September 11, President George W. Bush was overheard stating: "We shot a plane down over Pennsylvania."

However, WMR has learned from sources in Shanksville and the surrounding area that the "official" Stony Creek crash site where no Boeing 757 wreckage was seen when first responders from Shanksville arrived at 10:06 am, was not the crash site of United 93 but the impact crater of what closely matches the description of a Global Hawk unmanned aerial vehicle that was first reported by one witness at a nearby junk yard to have "collided" with United flight 93 but another witness witnessed a small white aircraft pass over Ginger Hill Road and clear some trees before exploding in a small mushroom cloud on the other side of the tree line. When the aircraft passed over the trees, there were no disturbance to the foliage. The fallout from the explosion was described by the witness as "glittery." There was hardly any wind that morning in the Shanksville area. Government investigators later claimed that the reported 8-mile long debris field from United 93 was due to debris being carried by the wind.

Perpetuating the flight 93 myth with financial help from the owner of 84 Lumber. The 9/11 Memorial Chapel.

A 911 emergency call to the Somerset Hospital Critical Care unit stated that the hospital should prepare for mass casualties since "two planes collided over Pennsylvania."

Some thirty minutes after first responders arrived at the Stony Creek impact datum, helicopters and SUVs descended on the quiet community and remained there in force for up to three days. Although all planes had been ordered grounded by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), one large plane that swooped in low over the area was said at the time to be carrying Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge on an inspection tour of the crash site.

The mysterious crash site was placed under 24-hour armed guard. The area remains restricted to the public with a chain link fence to the present day. On the evening of September 11, two hapless teens who entered the restricted area around the crash datum were wrestled to the ground by security personnel and had loaded guns placed on them until they could be escorted away.

At the same time, the Air Force shot down United 93 but its crash impact area was not where the government and media claimed it had crashed -- in a reclaimed landfill area in Stony Creek Township. WMR learned that there were five different debris locations discovered on the morning of September 11: (1) the Stony Creek location where the Global Hawk drone crashed; (2) a reported engine location near the Global Hawk location but supposedly found in dense woods near the Global Hawk datum; (3) debris and reportedly a part of a body found in Indian Lake, to the east of the Global Hawk datum; (4) a debris field consisting only of singed paper on a single property on the east side of Huckleberry Highway, southeast of Indian Lake; and (5) another debris field, also consisting mostly of singed paper, in New Baltimore, some 8 miles from the fourth debris field, just off the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

At the Huckleberry Highway residential debris field, singed paper was gathered up that filled two lawn-sized plastic garbage bags. Witnesses described the paper as being insurance papers, bank statements, and stock and bond certificates. None of the neighboring homes reported any debris attributed to United 93. The New Baltimore debris field also reportedly consisted of singed bonds and insurance and bank papers.

The only witness who saw the non-Boeing 757 aircraft that crashed in the landfill in Stony Creek described it as "not a plane" with no engine, pure white, tubular, with no markings or windows, soundless, and with the appearance of a molded piece of plastic. The aircraft banked to the right before ascending over a tree line before crashing. Under the aircraft and mid-belly could be seen what the witness described as a "fin and spoiler."

The gaudy temporary United 93 memorial is run by the National Park Service before a permanent memorial is constructed.

After the crash of the reported unmanned aerial vehicle, the witness noticed two fighter jets in the area that circled and departed rapidly from the scene.

Although Shanksville and environs were far from the chaos in New York and Washington on the morning of September 11, all the phones circuits were tied up in the rural Pennsylvania area when the two aircraft went down at around 10:00 am. However, one phone call that got through to a witness from a relative in Lancaster, Pennsylvania said that a friend in the Air Force said that the service had "shot down a plane in Pennsylvania."

WMR learned that witnesses, including Amish and non-Amish farmers who were working in their fields that morning and saw U.S. Air Force fighter planes shoot down United 93 were threatened by FBI agents. One witness had a security gag order placed on him by the FBI. As the years went by, a number of farmer witnesses changed their stories to coincide with the official story that rebel passengers crashed a Boeing 757 into a reclaimed landfill and that it was simply "absorbed" into the ground with scant plane debris.

One FBI agent with an accompanying policeman, who was not wearing a uniform known to the region, pounded on one witness's door at 11:30 pm on the night of 9/11 and was extremely nasty with the witness and her family, including an ailing elderly mother. The police officer, who was neither with the Somerset County Sheriff's Department or the Pennsylvania State Police, never showed the witness a badge nor did he introduce himself. The FBI scoffed at the witness, claiming the witness had no idea what a Boeing 757 actually looked like. The witness told the FBI agent that what was seen "could have been from another country."

The temporary memorial has cockpit voice recorder transmission transcripts available with the Islamic-oriented comments of the alleged hijackers highlighted.

The next day, three FBI agents came to the same witness and told the witness: "Do not lose faith in your government. We are handling it." The FBI tried to explain the small white plane as someone flying around taking pictures of the crash scene and that the pilot was heavily fined as a result. The FBI was informed by the witness that the white aircraft was in the area before the explosion.

The "Flight 93" crash site remains fenced in and restricted. The reason is because a Boeing 757 never crashed there. It was the impact point of a Global Hawk UAV likely shot down by the Air Force. The crash site shown on TV lies beyond the small US flag in the center of the field but before the tree line.

A reporter for the Newark Star-Ledger, who arrived in Shanksville to cover the story, later was quoted as saying, "As time goes by, this is not going to the official story," a reference to the myth-lore surrounding the fate of United 93.

What was described by the closest witness nearest the Stony Creek impact area was a Global Hawk UAV.

Among the first responders was the Shanksville Fire Department. Initially, the Shanksville and New Baltimore volunteer fire departments were skeptical about the official story because neither saw any plane wreckage. However, after brand new fire trucks with "9/11" painted on them showed up shortly after 9/11, their stories changes and became much more aligned with the jingoistic explanation of brave Americans sacrificing themselves to protect the nation's capital from another attack. Shanksville's twenty-year Mayor Ernie Stull stated that when he arrived at the crash scene he saw no evidence of a plane crash. Stull died of heart failure at age 82 in 2006 after retiring as mayor in 2005.

Initial skepticism by Shanksville first responders was quickly erased with a new fire engine and a piece of the World Trade Center shaped into a cross.

Somerset coroner Wallace Miller said that when he first arrived at the crash datum he was stunned to see how small the 10 foot deep hole was and the absence of bodies. A nearby cabin belonging to Barry Hoover was destroyed by a "blast" from what he described as a tornado or hurricane.

Flight 93 temporary memorial is full of kitsch but lacking in truth.

Unlike New York and the Arlington-Washington areas, the rural area around Shanksville has never had a town activist meeting of those witnesses who saw things that do not fit neatly into the government's description. Most people accept the government's theory and are supporting the building of a permanent National Park Service memorial to honor Flight 93. A 100-year old church has been bought with private funds, mainly from the fortune of 84 Lumber owned Joseph Hardy, and transformed into a kitschy 9/11 chapel with letters from George W. Bush and police and fire department badges from around the country. The chapel is run by "Reverend Al" Alphonse Mascherino, whose certificate is on display: an honorary doctorate of divinity from the Midwest Seminary of Bible Theology in Missouri.

The small town of New Baltimore, some 10 miles from Shanksville had a Flight 93 debris field, one consisting of singed financial documents. New Baltimore lies alongside the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

A number of questions have arisen based on the new information about the aerial fireworks that involved at least four planes over the the Shanksville area on 9/11.

One of the primary questions is the role the U.S. Air Force Global Hawk Program office at the Air Combat Command (ACC) at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia played on 9/11. On September 6, 2001, just three working days prior to 9/11, the Air Combat Command chief, General John P. Jumper, assumed control of the Air Force as Chief of Staff. In August 2007, after just three months on the job as Commander of the 5th Bomb Wing at Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, six nuclear-armed cruise missiles were shipped to Louisiana for, what WMR reported, was a planned secret nuclear strike on Iran utilizing a separate chain-of-command from the Pentagon. The mission was aborted after three high-ranking Air Force officers leaked the movement of the weapons to the media. After being relieved of his command over the missing nuclear weapons incident, Emig was transferred to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Division at the Air Combat Command at Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. One of the Air Force's primary UAV contractors is Northrop Grumman, which has a cooperative relationship with Israel Aircraft Industries on using Israeli UAV technology, particularly for the Global Hawk UAV.

Another is who ordered FBI agents and unknown police officers to badger witnesses in the Shanksville area into silence? Was it FBI director Robert Mueller who said there was no proof that Osama Bin Laden was responsible for 9/11. Or was it someone else known for threatening people and worse: Vice President Dick Cheney whose own dubious fingerprints are all over the anomalies associated with American Airlines flight 77 that allegedly crashed into the Pentagon. One retired senior U.S. Air Force official told WMR today that what he saw make a hole in the side of the Pentagon had to have been a UAV. Like Stony Creek, there were no indications that a commercial aircraft had crashed into the Pentagon.

And those two questions are just for starters.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

How the FBI and 9/11 Commission Suppressed Key Evidence about Hani Hanjour, alleged hijack pilot of AAL 77

The evidence was crucial because it undermined the official explanation that Hani Hanjour crashed American Airlines Flight 77 into the Pentagon at high speed after executing an extremely difficult top gun maneuver. But to understand how all of this played out, let us review the case in bite-size pieces...

In August 2004 when the 9/11 Commission completed its official investigation of the September 11, 2001 attack, the commission transfered custody of its voluminous records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA).[1] There, the records remained under lock and key for four and a half years, until last January when NARA released a fraction of the total for public viewing. Each day, more of the released files are scanned and posted on the Internet, making them readily accessible. Although most of the newly-released documents are of little interest, the files I will discuss in this article contain important new information.

As we know, the 9/11 Commission did not begin its work until 2003–––more than a year after the fact. By this time a number of journalists had already done independent research and published articles about various facets of 9/11. Some of this work was of excellent quality. The Washington Post, for example, interviewed aviation experts who stated that the plane allegedly piloted by Hani Hanjour [AA Flight 77] had been flown “with extraordinary skill, making it highly likely that a trained pilot was at the helm.”[2] Yet, strangely, when other journalists investigated Hani Hanjour they found a trail of clues indicating he was a novice pilot, wholly incapable of executing a top gun maneuver and a successful suicide attack in a Boeing 757. By early 2003 this independent research was a matter of public record, which created a serious problem for the 9/11 Commission...

By all accounts Hani Hanjour was a diminutive fellow. He stood barely five feet tall and was slight of build. As a young man in his hometown of Taif, Saudi Arabia, Hanjour cultivated no great dreams of flying airplanes. He was satisfied with a more modest ambition: he wanted to become a flight attendant. That is, until his older brother Abulrahman encouraged him to aim higher. Even so, Hani Hanjour’s aptitude for learning appears to have been rather limited. Although he resided in the US for about 38 months over a ten-year period that ended on 9/11, Hanjour never learned to speak or write English, a telling observation about his capacity for learning. As we will discover, he actually flunked a written test for a driver’s license just weeks before 9/11.

While it is true that Hanjour trained at various flight schools in the US, the evidence shows he was a perpetual novice. Hanjour dropped out of his first school, the Sierra Academy of Aeronautics, located in Oakland, after attending only a few classes. Next, he enrolled at Cockpit Resource Management (CRM), a flight school in Scottsdale, Arizona. But his performance as a student at CRM was less than adequate. Duncan K.M. Hastie, owner of the school, described Hanjour as “a weak student” who was “wasting our resources.”[3] After several weeks, Hanjour withdrew from the program, then returned in 1997 for another short period of instruction. This on and off pattern of behavior was typical of the man. Hastie says that over the next three years Hanjour called him at least twice a year, and each time wanted to return for more training. By this time, however, it was obvious to Hastie that his erstwhile student had no business in a cockpit. Hastie refused to let Hanjour come back. “I would recognize his voice,” Hastie said. “He was always talking about wanting more training. Yes, he wanted to be an airline pilot. That was his stated goal. That’s why I didn’t allow him to come back. I thought ‘You’re never going to make it’.”[4]

Rejected by CRM, Hanjour enrolled at nearby Sawyer Aviation, also located in the Phoenix area. Wes Fults, a former instructor at Sawyer, later described it as the school of last resort. Said Fults: “it was a commonly held truth that, if you failed anywhere else, go to Sawyer.” Fults remembers training Hanjour, whom he describes as “a neophyte.” He says Hani “got overwhelmed with the instruments” in the school’s flight simulator. “He had only the barest understanding of what the instruments were there to do,” said Fults. “He [Hanjour] used the simulator three or four times, then disappeared like a fog.”[5] I must emphasize to the reader, I am not making this up. Other accounts by Newsday, the New York Times, as well as the FOX network, all confirm that Hani Hanjour was at best a novice pilot.

Evading the Language Requirement

In fact, because fluency in English is required to qualify for a US pilot’s license, Hanjour’s atrocious English should have barred him from ever obtaining a license. But it seems that Hanjour exploited a loophole in the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) system, which for years has outsourced the pilot certification process. According to a June 2002 story in the Dallas Morning News, Hanjour was certified in April 1999 as an “Airplane Multi-Engine Land/Commercial Pilot” by Daryl Strong, one of the FAA’s 20,000 designated pilot examiners.[6] Although an FAA official later defended the agency’s policy of using private contractors, a critic, Heather Awsumb, took issue with it. Awsumb is a spokesperson for the Professional Airways Systems Specialists (PASS) Union, which represents more than 11,000 FAA and Defense Department employees. She pointed out that the FAA does not have anywhere near enough staff to oversee its 20,000 designated inspectors, all of whom have a financial interest in certifying as many pilots as possible. Hanjour probably evaded the language requirement by finding an examiner willing to ignore the rule. Said Awsumb: “They receive between $200 and $300 for each flight check. If they get a reputation for being too tough, they won’t get any business.” According to Awsumb, the present system allows “safety to be sold to the lowest bidder.”[7]

Later, Hanjour’s horrible English prompted one flight school, Jet Tech, to question the authenticity of his FAA-approved pilot’s license. Jet Tech was another school in the Phoenix area where Hanjour sought continuing instruction. Peggy Chevrette, operation manager at Jet Tech, later told FOX News: “I couldn’t believe that he had a license of any kind with the skills that he had.”[8] She explained that Hanjour’s English was so bad it took him five hours to complete an oral exam that normally should have taken about two.

But it wasn’t just his poor English that failed to impress. In his evaluation the Jet Tech flight instructor wrote that the “student [Hanjour] made numerous errors during his performance and displayed a lack of understanding of some basic concepts. The same was true during review of systems knowledge….I doubt his ability to pass an FAA [Boeing 737] oral at this time or in the near future.” The 737 instructor concluded his evaluation with a final entry: “He [Hanjour] will need much more experience flying smaller A/C [aircraft] before he is ready to master large jets.”[9] The 9/11 Commission Report fails to discuss or even mention this negative written evaluation, even while presenting Hanjour’s substandard performance in a Boeing 737 simulator as sufficient evidence that Hanjour could fly a Boeing 757, an even larger plane![10] The wording of the final report succeeds in giving this impression, however dubious, even while obscuring the facts: an amazing achievement of propaganda.

Early in 2001, Peggy Chevrette, the operation manager at Jet Tech, repeatedly conveyed her concerns about Hanjour to the FAA. Eventually John Anthony, a federal inspector, showed up at the school and examined Hanjour’s credentials. But Anthony found them in order and took no further action. The inspector even suggested that Jet Tech provide Hanjour with an interpreter. This surprised Chevrette because it was a violation of FAA rules. “The thing that really concerned me,” she later told FOX News, “Was that John had a conversation in the hallway with Hani and realized what his skills were at that point and his ability to speak English.”[11] Evidently, the inspector also sat in on a class with Hanjour.

FOX News was unable to reach John Anthony for comment, but FAA spokesperson Laura Brown defended the FAA employee. “There was nothing about the pilot’s actions” she said, “to signal criminal intent or that would have caused us to alert law enforcement.”[12] This is true enough. The Jet Tech staff never suspected that Hani Hanjour was a terrorist. According to Marilyn Ladner, vice-president Pan Am International, the company that owned Jet Tech, “It was more of a very typical instructional concern that ‘you really shouldn’t be in the air’.”[13] Although Pan Am dissolved its Jet Tech operation shortly after 9/11, a former employee who knew Hanjour expressed amazement “that he [Hanjour] could have flown into the Pentagon. [because] He could not fly at all.”[14]

The “Scouting” Flights

We know that in the months before the September 11, 2001 attack Hani Hanjour rented planes at several small airports on the outskirts of New York City and Washington DC. The 9/11 Commission Report mentions these local flights and suggests that Hanjour was scouting the terrain: familiarizing himself with possible suicide targets.[15] But the record also shows the same pattern described above. For example, on May 29, 2001 Hanjour rented a plane at a small airport in Teterboro, New Jersey and flew “the Hudson Tour,” accompanied by a flight instructor. However, the next day, when Hanjour returned for a repeat flight the same instructor “would not allow it because of Hanjour’s poor piloting skills.”[16] The 9/11 Commission Report actually cites this incident, but in a context that diminishes its significance.[17]

The pattern played out again on August 16-17, 2001 when Hanjour attempted to rent a plane at Freeway Airport, in Bowie, Maryland, about twenty miles from Washington. Although Hanjour presented his FAA license, according to Newsday the Freeway Airport manager insisted that instructors first accompany him on a test flight to evaluate his piloting skills. During three such flights over two days in a single-engine Cessna 172, instructors Sheri Baxter and Ben Conner observed what others had before them. Hanjour had trouble controlling and landing the aircraft. Afterward, Baxter interviewed Hanjour extensively about his flight training and experience, and also reviewed his flight log, which documented 600 hours of flight time. On this basis she and Conner declined to approve a current license rating until Hanjour returned for more training. On their recommendation, Freeway’s chief instructor Marcel Bernard refused to rent Hanjour a plane.[18] Notice, this was less than a month before 9/11. When I reached Bernard by phone he confirmed the details of the story by Newsday.[19] So did Ben Conner when I spoke with him.[20] Conner also emphasized that the issue was not simply Hanjour's poor English. It was everything, i.e., his general ineptitude.

Curiously, The 9/11 Commission Report acknowledges Hanjour’s poor English and sub-standard flying skills. The report even mentions that flight instructors had urged Hanjour to give up trying to become a pilot.[21] Strangely, however, another passage (in a footnote) describes Hanjour as “the [al Qaeda] operation’s most experienced pilot,” suggesting that the commission had a mixed opinion about Hanjour.[22] In the end the official investigation evidently interpreted Hanjour’s FAA license as sufficient proof that he had “persevered” in overcoming his issues.[23] The word “persevered” is straight out of the report.

But why did the commission ignore the multiple open-sourced accounts cited above, all mutually corroborative, indicating that Hanjour would have been lost in the cockpit of a Boeing 757 and was barely qualified to fly a single-engine Cessna? It is notable that The 9/11 Commission Report fails to mention the negative written evaluation by Hanjour’s Jet Tech flight instructor. The omission is serious because a glance at the timeline shows that Hanjour’s 5-6 weeks of training at Jet Tech occurred in February-March 2001, that is, after he had already earned his FAA license. Perseverance obviously was not enough. The instructor’s negative evaluation was based on Hanjour’s actual skill-set at the time, license or no license. Nor does the final report so much as mention Hanjour’s test flight at Freeway airport, or the fact that he failed it. These are telling omissions. Obviously, the commission screened out testimony that conflicted with the official narrative of what happened on that terrible day. But there is more to the story. As we are about to learn, the recently released 9/11 files have raised important new questions.

The Other Flight Instructor

It turns out that just three days after Hani Hanjour failed a flight evaluation in a Cessna 172 at Freeway airport he showed up at Congressional Air Charter, located down the road at Gaithersburg airport, also in the Washington suburbs. Once again Hanjour attempted to rent a plane, and again he was asked to go up with an instructor for a flight evaluation to confirm his flight skills. The plane was the same: a Cessna 172. Yet, on this occasion Hanjour passed with flying colors and, later, this other instructor gave testimony to the 9/11 Commission that turned out to be crucial. The final report mentions the instructor’s name only once in a brief endnote buried at the back of the report. The note states:

"Hanjour successfully conducted a challenging certification flight supervised by an instructor at Congressional Air Charter of Gaithersburg, Maryland, landing at a small airport with a difficult approach. The instructor thought Hanjour may have had training from a military pilot because he used a terrain recognition system for navigation. Eddie Shalev interview. (Apr. 9, 2004)" [24]

The note gives a name, Eddie Shalev, but no other information about him. Indeed, his identity remained a mystery until January 2009, when NARA released the 9/11 files.[25] Nonetheless, David Ray Griffin had already identified the key questions in his 2008 book The New Pearl Harbor Revisited. Wrote Griffin: “How could an instructor in Gaithersburg [i.e., Shalev] have had such a radically different view of Hanjour’s abilities from that of all of the other flight instructors who worked with him? Who was this instructor? How could this report be verified?”[26]

These are important questions because the two assessments of Hani Hanjour’s flight skills are so radically different that both cannot be correct. The evaluations, made just days apart, are contradictory, hence, mutually exclusive; which raises the disturbing possibility that someone could be lying.

The FBI File

Fortunately, another newly released document, the FBI file on Hani Hanjour, sheds additional light on the case.[27] The file includes a timeline and evidently was compiled to document the government’s case against Hanjour. I learned about it from a source on the commission, a staffer who insisted to me in an email that it authenticates Hani Hanjour’s flight training. At a glance it appears to do that. However, on closer examination the file is much less impressive and I have to wonder if the staffer actually studied it. As we will see, the document not only falls short of confirming Hanjour’s flight skills, it shows signs of having been “enhanced” to obscure the record.

Crucially, the FBI file includes not a scintilla of evidence that Hani Hanjour ever trained in a Boeing 757. Although Hanjour did some sessions a Boeing 737 simulator, as we have already seen, the press accounts, more importantly, his own instructor’s written evaluation, offer a clear and unambiguous assessment of his actual skills. It is also important to realize that even if Hanjour had mastered the controls of a Boeing 737, this would not have qualified him to execute a high-speed suicide crash in a Boeing 757, a significantly larger and less maneuverable aircraft. Such is the view of commercial pilots who fly these planes every day.[28]

One such pilot, Philip Marshall, who is licensed to fly Boeing 727s, 737s, 747s, as well as 757s and 767s, recently authored a book, False Flag 911, in which he states categorically that the alleged 9/11 hijacker pilots, including Hani Hanjour, could never have flown 767s and 757s into buildings at high speed without advanced training and practice flights in that same aircraft over a period of months. As Marshall put it: “Hitting a 90-foot target [i.e., the Pentagon] with a 757 at 500 mph is extremely difficult -- absolutely impossible for first-time fliers of a heavy airliner. It’s like seeing Tiger Woods hit a 300-yard one-iron and someone telling you he never practiced the shot.”[29] Marshall speculates that the hijackers may have received advanced flight lessons from Arabic-speaking instructors at a secret desert base somewhere in Arizona or Nevada, possibly arranged by complicit Saudi diplomats, or by members of the Saudi royal family.[30] This is why Hanjour’s inability to pass a test flight evaluation at Freeway airport just weeks before 9/11 is so significant: It tends to rule out Marshall’s theory of advanced instruction.

Close inspection of the FBI file also shows that someone padded the record to put the best face on Hanjour’s flight training. This was done in a curious way. Instead of simply informing us that Hanjour took courses “x,” “y” and “z” at such-and-such a flight school between certain dates, the FBI file gives an itemized record of every single day that Hanjour showed up for training at the various schools. The effect creates the appearance of more extensive instruction than actually occurred. Even so, the enhancement is transparently obvious. Imagine the reaction of a potential employer if you or I engaged in this dubious practice in a resume. On closer examination, another reason for padding the record is also obvious. Enhancement tends to obscure Hanjour’s tendency to jump around from school to school and his inability to finish anything he started.

The FBI file also conspicuously fails to mention the Jet Tech instructor’s written evaluation of Hani Hanjour’s flying skills. The omission easily qualifies as suppression of evidence because we know the FBI had the document in its possession. It was made public at the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui when the document was submitted as evidence. This means, of course that the 9/11 Commission also surely had it and similarly suppressed it. (See note #9.)

The FBI file also grossly mischaracterizes what happened at Freeway airport. The file mentions Hanjour’s visits but wrongly states that Hanjour received flight instruction. Not true. When I specifically asked Marcel Bernard about this he denied the fact and emphasized that Hanjour’s test flights included no lessons and were strictly for the purpose of evaluation.[31] The FBI should have known this because after 9/11 Bernard and his two flight instructors notified the FBI about Hanjour’s visit and were subsequently interviewed by FBI agents. The file also conspicuously fails to mention that Hanjour flunked his test flight evaluation! Whether through incompetence or deception, the FBI failed on every point to state the facts correctly

The FBI file does offer some fresh insight into Hani Hanjour the man. On August 2, 2001, according to the timeline, Hanjour showed up at the Virginia Division of Motor Vehicles (DMV) in Arlington, where he flunked a standard written test for a Virginia driver’s license. The fact is astonishing and ought to make us wonder how Hanjour ever managed to acquire his previous Arizona driver’s license issued in 1991 and his Florida license issued in 1996, let alone master the controls of a Boeing 757.

There is another interesting item. The record indicates that on September 5, 2001, just six days before 9/11, Hanjour showed up at the First Union National Bank in Laurel, Maryland where he made four failed bank transactions. The file cites bank records showing that Hanjour was unable to make balance inquiries and withdraw funds from his account because he failed to enter the correct pin number, which he evidently had forgotten! Two days later, Hanjour returned to the bank, this time accompanied by an unidentified male, and made another unsuccessful attempt to withdraw $4900.

It is astonishing the FBI file was ever touted as authenticating Hanjour’s flight credentials. The document falls short on that score and actually raises new questions. How likely is it that a man who was unable to remember his own pin number, and who just weeks before 9/11 flunked a simple test for a driver’s license, could have executed a top gun maneuver in a commercial airliner? The odds, I would submit, are approximately zero.

The FBI file includes one other curious entry. On August 20, 2001 Hanjour shopped at for information about September 5, 2001 flights from Dulles International Airport to Los Angeles. This suggests that as of August 20 Hanjour did not yet know the date of the planned attack, either because he had not been briefed or because the date had not yet been selected. By the end of the month, however, the die was cast. On August 31 Hanjour and another “middle-eastern male” purchased one-way tickets for AA Flight 77 from a New Jersey travel agent. The date of departure: September 11, 2001. Yet, given Hanjour’s level of skill, one has to wonder what the waif from Taif believed was supposed to happen on that fateful morning.

So, Who is Eddie Shalev?

The record compiled by the FBI for the purpose of to authenticating Hani Hanjour‘s flight skills fails to provide convincing substantiation. Notice, for this reason it also fails to support the testimony of the other flight instructor, Eddie Shalev, who certified Hanjour to rent a Cessna 172 from Congressional Air Charters just three days after Marcel Bernard, the chief instructor at Freeway, refused to rent Hanjour the very same plane. The 9/11 Commission Report makes no mention of the incident at Freeway airport, nor does it discuss Eddie Shalev, other than alluding to Hanjour’s certification flight in a brief endnote. All of which is curious, since it now appears that Shalev’s testimony was crucial. By telling the commission what it was predisposed to hear, Shalev gave the official investigation an excuse to ignore the preponderance of evidence, which pointed to the unthinkable.

So, who is Eddie Shalev? His identity remained unknown for more than seven years, but was finally revealed in one of the files released in January 2009 by the National Archives. The document, labelled a “Memorandum for the Record,” is a summary of the April 2004 interview with Eddie Shalev conducted by commission staffer Quinn John Tamm.[32] The document confirms that Shalev went on record: “Mr Shalev stated that based on his observations Hanjour was a ‘good’ pilot.” It is noteworthy that Tamm also spoke with Freeway instructors Sheri Baxter and Ben Conner, as revealed by yet another recently-released document.[33] Although I was unable to reach Tamm or Baxter for comment, I did talk with Conner, who confirmed the conversation.[34] Conner says he fully expected to testify before the commission. Perhaps not surprisingly, the call never came.

But the shocker is the revelation that Eddie Shalev is an Israeli and served in the Israeli army. The file states that “Mr. Shalev served in the Israeli Defense Forces in a paratroop regiment. He was a jumpmaster on a Boeing C-130. Mr. Shalev moved to the Gaithersburg area in April 2001 and was sponsored for employment by Congressional Air Charters...[which] has subsequently gone out of business.”

The memorandum raises disturbing questions. Consider the staffer’s strange choice of words in describing Shalev’s employment. What did Quinn John Tamm mean when he wrote that Shalev “was sponsored for employment”? Did the commission bother to investigate Congressional Air Charters? It is curious that the charter service subsequently went out of business. But the most important question is: just how thoroughly, if at all, did the commission vet Eddie Shalev? Does his military record include service in the Israeli intelligence community?

Real people have known addresses. But Eddie Shalev’s whereabouts has been unknown for years. As reported by David Griffin, a 2007 search of the national telephone directory, plus Google searches by research librarian Elizabeth Woodworth, turned up no trace of him. A LexisNexis search by Matthew Everett also came up dry.[35] Not satisfied, I conducted my own search and did turn up two possible addresses for an "Eddy Shalev" in the Gaithersburg-Rockville, Maryland area. But the lead went nowhere. The phone number had been disconnected. The 9/11 memorandum indicates that Shalev’s US visa was about to expire in July 2004, suggesting that Shalev may have returned to Israel. Clearly, the man needs to be found, subpoenaed and made to testify under oath before a new investigation, even if this requires extradition. Quinn John Tamm and the two Freeway instructors, Sheri Baxter and Ben Conner, should also be subpoenaed. All are key witnesses and obvious starting points for a new investigation.

Given his identity, the search for and possible extradition of Eddie Shalev could become controversial. But 9/11 investigators must not be turned aside. We must follow the trail of evidence, regardless. Should it lead into a dark wood, we must resolve to go there; and if it takes us to the gates of hell, so be it. Truly, no force, certainly no political force, can withstand the power of truth. If and when our search obtains a certain critical mass, momentum will shift decisively in our favor. Public support for a new 9/11 investigation will become irresistible. The light of truth will do the rest.

Mark Gaffney is the author of The 9/11 Mystery Plane (2008). For more details check out Mark's web site Mark can be reached for comment at

1 Many of the documents have been posted at History Commons: Also see

2 Marc Fisher and Don Phillips, “On Flight 77: ‘Our Plane is Being Hijacked’,” Washington Post, September 12, 2001.

3 Amy Goldstein, Lena H. Sun and George Lardner Jr., "Hanjour an Unlikely Terrorist," The Cape Cod Times, October 21, 2001.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.
6 A copy of Hanjour’s FAA license is posted at

7 Kellie Lunney, “FAA contractors approved flight licenses for Sept. 11 suspect,”, June 13, 2002.

8 “FAA Probed, Cleared Sept. 11 Hijacker in Early 2001,” FOX News, May 10, 2002.

9 Hani’s Jet Tech evaluation and other documentation were entered as evidence during the trial of Zacharias Moussaoui. Training Records, Hani Hanjour, B-737 Initial Ground Training, Class 01-3-021, Date: 2/8/01, Jet Tech International, posted at
10 The 9/11 Commission Report, Final Report of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, W.W. Norton & Co., New York, 2004, pp. 226-227.

11 “FAA Probed, Cleared Sept. 11 Hijacker in Early 2001,” FOX News, May 10, 2002.

12 Ibid.

13 Jim Yardley, “A Trainee Noted for Incompetence,” New York Times, May 4, 2002.

14 “Report: 9/11 Hijacker Bypassed FAA,” AP story, June 13, 2002.
15 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 242.
17 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 242.

18 Thomas Frank, “Tracing Trail of Hijackers,” Newsday, September 23, 2001. This story was confirmed by one of the newly-released 9/11 files. See
19 Phone conversation with Marcel Bernard, June 26, 2009.
20 Phone conversation with Ben Conner, June 28, 2009.

21 The 9/11 Commission Report, pp. 226-227.
22 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 530, note 147.
23 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 227.
24 The 9/11 Commission Report, p. 531, note 170.
26 David Ray Griffin, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, Olive Branch Press, Northhampton, 2008, p.80.
28 Numerous testimonials by commercial pilots, all of whom question the official story, can be found here:
29 Philip Marshall, False Flag 911, , 2008, pp. 6-7.
30 Ibid., pp. 34-37.
31 Phone conversation with Marcel Bernard, June 26, 2009.
33 Memo from John Tamm to Dieter Snell, April 15, 2004. Posted at
34 Phone conversation with Ben Conner, June 28, 2009.
35 The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, p. 286, note 99.

Mark H. Gaffney

Message from Cynthia McKinney after her prison time in the revolting Zionist hell-hole known as "Israel"


Well, all I can say is "Thank you!" Your calls, faxes, protests, and prayers all made a huge difference and helped to secure our protection and our release. I would also like to thank those at the Tel Aviv Embassy for their work on behalf of the three U.S. citizens held by the Israelis. For those of you who missed it, here is the statement I put out from the Israeli prison. Please forgive the undone, but needed edits. I have tried twice, now, to get into Gaza. I just got off the phone with George Galloway who extended a personal invitation to me to join him and the US convoy in Viva Palestina! I'm certainly excited about that. Maybe I will finally make it to Gaza.

Here's my "Letter from an Israeli Prison:"

Original audio message available here:

A funny thing happened to me on my way to Gaza. Before I left for Gaza, I was giddy with excitement. The children needed school supplies. It was a last-minute, but urgent request. Please bring crayons for the children. And so I accepted contributions of crayola crayons, #2 pencils, pencil sharpeners, paint brushes, and crayola watercolors.

When I told people that I was going shopping to buy crayons for the children of Gaza, everyone wanted to donate. By the time I left, my suitcase could hold no more. So, full of expectation, I entered the airport in the U.S. headed once again to Larnaca, Cyprus where the Hope Flotilla, consisting of the free Gaza" and the "Spirit of Humanity" were to embark to Gaza.

The "Free Gaza" was to be donated to the people of Gaa so they could replace some of the boats confiscated or bombed by the Israelis during Operation Cast Lead.

It was a beautiful dream. And dream it had to be because I had tried to get to Gaza before. At the outbreak of Israel's Operation Cast Lead, I boarded a Free Gaza boat, with one day's notice, and tried, as the U.S. representative in a multinational delegation, to deliver trhee tons of medical supplies to an already-besieged and ravaged Gaza. But, during Opertion Cast Lead, U.S.-supplied F-16s raised hell fire on a trapped people. Ethnic cleansing became full-scale, outright genocide.

U.S.-supplied white phosphorus, depleted uranium, robotic technology, DIME weapons, and cluster bombs - new weapons creating injuries never treated before by Jordanian and Norwegian doctors. I was later told by doctors who were there in Gaza during Israel's onslaught that Gaza had become Israel's veritable weapons testing laboratory; and the people used to test and improve the kill ratio of their weapons.

The world saw Israel's despicable violence thanks to al-Jazeera Arabic and Press TV that broadcast in English. I saw those broadcasts live and around the clock, not from the USA but from Lebanon, where my first attempt to get into Gaza had ended because the Israeli military rammed the boat I was on in international waters that carried medical supplies. That boat, the Dignity, was completely destroyed in its encounter with the Israeli military.

Again, on a humanitarian mission aborted by the Israeli military. I am now known as Israeli Prisoner #88794. I am in cell number 5, Ramle Prison. How could I be in prison for collecting crayons for kids and trying to get the crayons to them?

The Israeli authorities have tried to get us to confess that we committed a crime. And while in the cellblock, I have access to my clothes and a cell phone, but not the crayons or any clothing that has the word "Gaza" on it. Zionism has surely run out of its last legitimacy if this is what it does to people who believe so deeply in human rights for all that they put their own lives on the line for someone else's children. Israel is the fullest expression of Zionism, but if Israel fears for its security because Gaza's children have crayons then not only has Israel lost its last shred of legitimacy, but Israel must be declared a failed state.

I am facing deportation from the state that brought me here at gunpoint after commandeering our boat. I was brought to Israel against my will. I am being held in this prison because I had a dream that Gaza's children could color & paint, that Gaza's wounded could be healed, and that Gaza's bombed-out houses could be rebuilt.

But I've learned an interesting thing by being inside this prison. First of all, it's incredibly black: populated mostly by Ethiopians who also had a dream. My five cellmates have been here for about six months each. One is pregnant; they are all in their twenties. They thought they were coming to the Holy Land. They had a dream that their lives would be better. The CIA-installed puppet in Addis Ababa, President Meles, whom I have met, has put the once-proud, never-colonized Ethiopia into the back pocket of the United States, and become a place of torture, rendition, and occupation. Ethiopians must flee their country because superpower politics became more important than human rights and self-determination.

My cellmates came to the Holy Land so they could be free from the exigencies of superpower politics. They committed no crime except to have a dream. They came to Israel because they thought that Israel held promise for them. Their journey to Israel through Sudan and Egypt was arduous. I can only imagine what it must have been like for them. And it wasn't cheap. Many of them represent their family's best collective efforts for self-fulfillment. They made their way to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees. They got their yellow paper of identification. They got their certificate for police protection. They are refugees from tragedy, and they made it to Israel. Only after they arrived, Israel told them "There is no UN in Israel."

The police have license to pick them up and suck them into the black hole of a farce for a justice system. These beautiful, industrious, proud young women represent the hopes of entire families. The idea of Israel tricked them and the rest of us. In a widely propagandized slick marketing campaign, Israel represented itself as a place of refuge and safety for the world's first Jews and Christians. I, too, believed that marketing and failed to look deeper. The truth is that Israel lied to the world. Israel lied to the families of these young women. Israel lied to the women themselves who are now trapped at Ramle.

And what are we to do? One of my cellmates cried today. She has been here for six months. As an American, crying with them is not enough. The policy of the United States must be better, and while we watch President Obama give 12.8 trillion dollars to the financial elite of the United States it ought now be clear that "hope," "change," and "yes we can" were powerfully presented images of dignity and self-fulfillment, individually and nationally, that besieged people everywhere truly believed in.

It was a slick marketing campaign, as slickly put to the world and to the voters of America as was Israel's marketing to the world. It tricked all of us but, more tragically, these young women.

We must cast an informed vote about better candidates seeking to represent us. I have read and re-read Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Never in my wildest dreams would I have ever imagined that I, too, would one day have to do so. It is clear that taxpayers in Europe and the U.S. have a lot to atone for, for what they've done to others around the world.

What an irony! My son begins his law school program without me because I am in prison, in my own way trying to do my best, again, for other people's children. Forgive me, my son. I guess I'm experiencing the harsh reality which is why people need dreams. I'm lucky. I will leave this place. Has Israel become the place where dreams die?

Ask the people of Palestine. Ask the stream of black and Asian men whom I've seen being processed at Ramle. Ask the women on my cellblock. [Ask yourself:] what are you willing to do?

Let's change the world together and reclaim what we all need as human beings: Dignity.

I appeal to the United Nations to get these women of Ramle, who have done nothing wrong other than to believe in Israel as the guardian of the Holy Land, resettled in safe homes.

I appeal to the United States Department of State to include the plight of detained UNHCR-certified refugees in the Israel Country Report in its annual Human Rights Report.

I appeal, once again, to President Obama to go to Gaza: send your special envoy, George Mitchell there, and to engage Hamas as the elected choice of the Palestinian people.

I dedicate this message to those who struggle to achieve a free Palestine, and to the women I've met at Ramle.

Cynthia McKinney, July 2nd 2009, also known as Ramle prisoner number 88794.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The Role of the International Republican Institute (IRI) in the Honduran Coup

The International Republican Institute talks of “coup” in Honduras, months before
By Eva Golinger

The International Republican Institute (IRI), considered the international branch of the U.S. Republican Party, and one of the four “core groups” of the congressionally created and funded National Endowment for Democracy (NED), apparently knew of the coup d’etat in Honduras against President Zelaya well in advance. IRI is well known for its role in the April 2002 coup d’etat against Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez and its funding and strategic advising of the principal organizations involved in the ouster of President Jean Bertrand Aristide of Haiti in 2004. In both cases, IRI funded and/or trained and advised political parties and groups that were implicated in the violent, undemocratic overthrow of democratically elected presidents.

After the 2002 coup d’etat occured in Venezuela, IRI president at the time, George Folsom, sent out a celebratory press release claiming, “The Institute has served as a bridge between the nation’s political parties and all civil society groups to help Venezuelans forge a new democratic future…” Hours later, after the coup failed and the people of Venezuelan rescued their president, who had been kidnapped and imprisoned on a military base, and reinstalled constitutional order, IRI regretted its premature, public applause for the coup. One of its principal funders, the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), was furious that IRI had publicly revealed the U.S. government had provided funding and support for the coup leaders. NED President Carl Gershman was so irritated with IRI’s blunder, that he sent out a memo to Folsom, chastising him: “By welcoming [the coup] – indeed, without any apparent reservations – you unnecessarily interjected IRI into the sensitive internal politics o Venezuela”. Gershman would have much prefered that NED and IRI’s role in fomenting and supporting the coup against President Chávez have remained a secret.

IRI, chaired by Senator John McCain, was created in 1983 as part of the National Endowment for Democracy’s mission to “promote democracy around the world”, a mandate from President Ronald Reagan. In reality, one of NED’s founders, Allen Weinstein, put it this way in a 1991 interview with the Washington Post, "A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA." IRI’s own history, according to its website ( also explains that its original work was in Latin America, at a time when the Reagan administration was under heavy scrutiny and pressure from the U.S. Congress for funding paramilitary groups, dictatorships and death squads in Central and South America to install U.S.-friendly regimes and supress leftist movements. “Congress responded to President Reagan’s call in 1983 when it created the National Endowment for Democracy to support aspiring democrats worldwide. Four nonprofit, nonpartisan democracy institutes were formed to carry out this work – IRI, the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI), the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), and the American Center for International Labor Solidarity (ACILS).”“In its infancy, IRI focused on planting the seeds of democracy in Latin America. Since the end of the Cold War, IRI has broadened its reach to support democracy and freedom around the globe. IRI has conducted programs in more than 100 countries.”

In its initial days, IRI, along with the other coup groups of the NED, funded organizations in Nicaragua to foment the destabilization of the Sandinista government. Journalist Jeremy Bigwood explained part of this role in his article, “No Strings Attached?”, "’When the rhetoric of democracy is put aside, NED is a specialized tool for penetrating civil society in other countries down to the grassroots level’ to achieve U.S. foreign policy goals, writes University of California-Santa Barbara professor William Robinson in his book, A Faustian Bargain. Robinson was in Nicaragua during the late ‘80s and watched NED work with the U.S.-backed Nicaraguan opposition to remove the leftist Sandinistas from power during the 1990 elections.”

The evidence of IRI’s role in the 2002 coup d’etat in Venezuela has been well documented and investigated. Proof of such involvement, which is still ongoing in terms of IRI’s work, funding, strategic advising and training of opposition political parties in Venezuela, is available through documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act posted here: , and also available in my book, The Chávez Code: Cracking U.S. Intervention in Venezuela (Olive Branch Press 2006). None of the claims or evidence regarding IRI’s role in fomenting and supporting the April 2002 in Venezuela and its ongoing support of the Venezuelan opposition has ever been disclaimed by the institution, primarily because all evidence cited comes from IRI and NED’s own internal documentation obtained under FOIA.

Hence, when the recent coup d’etat occured in Honduras, against democratically-elected President Manuel Zelaya, there was little doubt of U.S. fingerprints. IRI’s name appeared as a recipient of a $700,000 Latin American Regional Grant in 2008-2009 from NED to promote “good governance” programs in countries including Honduras. An additional grant of $550,000 to work with “think tanks” and “pressure groups” in Honduras to influence political parties was also given by the NED to IRI in 2008-2009, specifically stating, IRI will support initiatives to implement [political] positions into the 2009 campaigns. IRI will place special emphasis on Honduras, which has scheduled presidential and parliamentary elections in November 2009.” That is clear direct intervention in internal politics in Honduras.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) also provides approximately $49 million annually to Honduras, a large part of which is directed towards “democracy promotion” programs. The majority of the recipients of this aid in Honduras, which comes in the form of funding, training, resources, strategic advice, communications counseling, political party strengthening and leadership training, are organizations directly linked to the recent coup d’etat, such as the Consejo Nacional Anticorrupción, the Archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran Private Enterprise Council (COHEP), the Council of University Deans, the Confederation of Honduran Workers (CTH), the National Convergence Forum, the Chamber of Commerce (FEDECAMARA), the Association of Private Media (AMC), the Group Paz y Democracia and the student group Generación X Cambio. These organizations form part of a coalition self-titled “Unión Cívica Democrática de Honduras” (Civil Democratic Union of Honduras) that has publicly backed the coup against President Zelaya.

IRI’s press secretary, Lisa Gates, responded to claims that IRI funded or aided (which also involves non-monetary aid, such as training, advising and providing resources) groups involved in the Honduran coup as “false reports”. However, there are several interesting links between the republican organization and the violent coup d’etat against President Zelaya that do indicate the institute’s involvement, as well as to the above mentioned funding that exceeds $1 million during just this year. In addition to its presence on the ground in Honduras as part of its “good governance” and “political influence” programs, IRI Regional Program Director, Latin America and the Carribean, Alex Sutton, has recently been closely involved with many of the organizations in the region that have backed the Honduran coup. Sutton was a featured speaker at a recent 3-day conference held in Venezuela by the U.S.-funded ultraconservative Venezuelan organization CEDICE (Centro para la Divulgación de Conocimiento Económico). CEDICE’s director, Rocío Guijarra, was one of the principal executors of the 2002 coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez, and Guijarra personally signed a decree installing a dictatorship in the country, which led to the coup’s overthrow by the people and loyal armed forces of Venezuela. The conference Sutton participated in, held from May 28-29 in Venezuela was attended by leaders of Latin America’s ultra-conservative movement, ranging from Bolivian ex president Jorge Quiroga, who has called for President Evo Morales of Bolivia’s overthrow on several occasions, Peruvian Mario Vargas Llosa and his son Alvaro, both of whom have publicly expressed support for the coup against President Zelaya in Honduras, and numerous leaders of the Venezuelan opposition, the majority of whom are well known for their involvement in the April 2002 coup and subsequent destabilization attempts. The majority of those present at the CEDICE conference in May 2009, have publicly expressed support for the recent coup against President Zelaya.

But a more damning piece of evidence linking IRI to the Honduran coup, is a video clip posted on the institute’s website at The clip or podcast, features a slideshow presentation given by Susan Zelaya-Fenner, assistant program officer at IRI, on March 20, 2009, discussing the “good governance” program in Honduras. Curiously, at the beginning of the presentation, Zelaya-Fenner explains what she considers “a couple of interesting facts about Honduras.” These include, “Honduras is a very overlooked country in a small region. Honduras has had more military coups than years of independence, it has been said. However, parodoxically, more recently it has been called a pillar of stability in the region, even being called the U.S.S. Honduras, as it avoided all of the crisis that its neighbors went through during the civil wars in the 1980s.”

Important to note is that what Zelaya-Fenner refers to as “U.S.S. Honduras” and “avoid[ing] all of the crisis that its neighbords went through during the civil wars in the 1980s” was because the U.S. government, CIA and Pentagon utilized Honduras as the launching pad for the attacks on Honduras’ neighbors. U.S. Ambassador at the time, John Negroponte, and Colonel Oliver North, trained, funded and planned the paramilitary missions of the death squads that were used to assassinate, torture, persecute, disappear and neutralize tens of thousands of farmers and “suspected” leftists in Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

Zelaya-Fenner continues, “Thus, Honduras has been more recently stable, and it’s always been poor, which means that it’s below the radar, and gets little attention. The current president, Manuel Zelaya and his buddies, the leftists in the Latin American region have caused a lot of political destabilization recently in the country. He is a would-be emulator of Hugo Chavez and Hugo Chavez' social revolution. He has spent the better part of this administration trying to convince the Honduran people, who tend to be very practical and very 'center' that the Venezuelan route is the way to go. Zelaya's leftist leanings further exarcerbate an already troubled state. Corruption is rampant, crime is at all time highs. Drug trafficking and related violence have begun to spill over from Mexico. And there's a very real sense that the country is being purposefully destabilized from within, which is very new in recent Honduran history. Coups are thought to be so three decades ago until now (laughs, audience laughs), again.”

Did she really say that? Yes, you can hear it yourself on the podcast. Is it merely a coincidence that the coup against President Zelaya occured just three months after this presentation? State Department officials have admitted that they knew the coup was in the works for the past few months. Sub-secretary of State Thomas Shannon was in Honduras the week before the coup, apparently trying to broker some kind of deal with the coup planners to find another “solution” to the “problem”. Nevertheless, they continued funding via NED and USAID to those very same groups and military sectors involved in the coup. It is not a hidden fact that Washington was unhappy with President Zelaya’s alliances in the region, principally with countries such as Venezuela and Nicaragua. It is also public knowledge that President Zelaya was in the process of removing the U.S. military presence from the Soto Cano airbase, using a fund from the Bolivarian Alliance of the Americas (ALBA – Bolivia, Cuba, Ecuador, Dominica, Honduras, Nicaragua, St. Kitts, Antigua & Barbados and Venezuela) to convert the strategically important Pentagon base into a commercial airport.

IRI’s Zelaya-Fenner explains the strategic importance of Honduras in her presentation, "Why does Honduras matter? A lot of people ask this question, even Honduran historians and experts. Some might argue that it doesn't and globally it might be hard to counter. However, the country is strategic to regional stability and this is an election year in Honduras. It's a strategic time to help democrats with a small “d”, at a time when democracy is increasingly coming under attack in the region.”

There is no doubt that the coup against President Zelaya is an effort to undermine regional governments implementing alternative models to capitalism that challenge U.S. concepts of representative democracy as “the best model”. Countries such as Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador, are building successful models based on participatory democracy that ensure economic and social justice, and prioritize collective social prosperity and human needs over market economics. These are the countries, together now with Honduras, that have been victims of NED, USAID, IRI and other agencies’ interventions to subvert their prospering democracies.

Cynthia McKinney arrives back in United States without her laptop computer, video camera, and cell phone

Cynthia McKinney arrives back in United States

Former U.S. Representative and Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney has arrived in New York from her over one week incarceration in an Israeli prison cell for trying to bring toys, medicine, and other urgently-needed humanitarian supplies to the beleaguered people of Gaza, Israel's own version of the infamous Nazi "Warsaw Ghetto" in World War II.

McKinney arrived in New York without her laptop computer, video camera, and cell phone, which were confiscated by Israel's Shin Bet spy agency and are presumably being examined for their contents, including e-mail and cell phone contacts. This editor spoke to Representative McKinney on her cell phone shortly before her departure for Cyprus to board a boat for Gaza.

Recently, a civil rights delegation headed by the Reverend Joseph Lowery, who gave the benediction at President Obama's inauguration, visited the Israeli Consulate General in Atlanta to demand McKinney's immediate release. The pleas of Lowery, who marched with Dr. Martin Luther King during the civil rights era, went unheeded by the Zionist regime's authorities who continued to hold McKinney in prison immediately after Lowery's request.

NSA trains allied surveillance services in Russia's "Near Abroad"

Cyberspace is not the only place where the National Security Agency (NSA) is extending its electronic surveillance tentacles. WMR has learned from NSA sources that NSA has been training a new generation of signals intelligence operators for the electronic security services of nations that are considered within Russia's sphere of influence, also known as Russia's "near abroad."

Through the Defense Language Institute English Language Center (DLIELC) at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio is also home to NSA Texas, a Regional Security Operations Center (RSOC), and the Air Force's new Cyber-Command, which works closely with NSA to conduct surveillance of the Internet.

DLIELC, which has been in operation since 1954, has trained foreign signals intelligence and other intelligence gathering specialists English. lMost of those trained are from Kazakhstan, however, others have been trained from Georgia, Ukraine, Moldova, and Uzbekistan. In addition, prospective English-speaking signals intelligence operators from the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have also been trained by DLIELC for duty back in their home countries.

In some cases, after receiving training at DLIELC, special security troops are trained by tactical infantry U.S. Special Forces at Fort Benning, Georgia.

WMR has learned from NSA sources that two past graduates of the DLIELC were deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and "Al Qaeda" leader Osama bin Laden.

Rigging the Game From the US Intelligence Community:

Guest input --

Rigging the Game

9 simple steps for rolling up whistleblowers in the Intelligence Community using the Patriot Act.

1. First Determine who it is you need to silence.

2. Find something, anything that you can label classified, even formerly unclassified information they may have talked about in any unclassified setting.

3. Now, use the Counterintelligence provisions of the “Patriot Act” to the fullest extent of this new found freedom to violate Americans' civil rights.

4. Meet with that person under the guise of a simple investigation.

5. DO NOT advise said person of their civil rights since they have none under the “Patriot Act”.

6. Collect data from all the different environments the guilty party had access to, like their e-mails and personal computers systems and use that to incriminate said individual.

7. Simply use whatever excuse to deny the guilty party access so they can't defend themselves and send them on their merry way.

8. Done.

9. NEXT!

Personally J. Edgar Hoover is now laughing since the Patriot Act allows his Agency to do something they can actually be good at. Don't think this is possible in America? Then wake up a smell the coffee.

Why is it that 17 Intelligence Agencies that spend 44+ billion dollars a year can't find two guys on this planet?

Maybe they don't want to, since “Terrorism” is the best game in town. The rest of you might want to read the whole Patriot Act and see where your rights went. Just remember “

Members of the Congress and Senate who really want to know more about what's really going on with

our Intelligence Agencies, contact this reporter and he can contact me. I will gladly testify before the House and/or the Senate about everything I have witnessed and reported over the past 10 years with zero results.

Eagles may soar but Weasels don't get sucked through jet engines”.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Global Capitalism, Why He Won’t Renew the US Base in Manta, Chevron in the Amazon, Obama’s War in Afghanistan

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on Global Capitalism, Why He Won’t Renew the US Base in Manta, Chevron in the Amazon, Obama’s War in Afghanistan, and More


In a national broadcast exclusive, we speak with the President of Ecuador, Rafael Correa. He was in New York attending the United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development. In a wide-ranging interview, we speak with President Correa about global capitalism, his decision not to renew the license for the US military base in Manta, the $12 billion lawsuit against Chevron brought by thousands of Amazon residents for toxic oil pollution, Ecuador’s relationship with Colombia, and his advice to President Obama: “To learn more and come to better understand the region, and that [Obama] not let himself be taken along by the power of certain media outlets that are compromised with certain ideological fundaments, and that the heroes aren’t necessarily heroes, and the villains aren’t necessarily villains.” [includes rush transcript]


Rafael Correa, President of Ecuador.

Rush Transcript

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AMY GOODMAN: We turn now to our national broadcast exclusive, a wide-ranging discussion with Ecuador’s President Rafael Correa, who today is in Nicaragua, a meeting with Zelaya.

Last week, President Correa was in New York attending the United Nations Conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development. Correa was the only world leader to attend the conference.

He spoke at the General Assembly last Thursday. And President Correa is an economist by training. He outlined the steps by which Latin America could free itself from relying on international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. The former finance minister of Ecuador was elected president in 2006, then reelected to a second term earlier this year.

I interviewed President Correa on Thursday in the Ecuadorian mission here in New York. It was before the coup in Honduras. I began by asking him to comment on the absence of so many heads of state at the UN conference. According to press reports, Western diplomats said the conference was just a platform to attack capitalism.

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, if this is an attack on capitalism, I think it’s well deserved. Look at the problem it’s got us into. So I don’t understand those who say they’re not here because it might descend into an attack on capitalism. They must have a strong ideological bias, because certainly if they thought maybe there would be an attack on socialism, or had they thought it was going to be an attack on socialism, they would have been delighted to have come.

    AMY GOODMAN: Talk about why you think at this point capitalism should be criticized, what you think needs to happen now.

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, what we’ve undergone in recent decades worldwide has been totally insane, and all of this in function of capitalism. If you look at what was done with the workforce in Latin America, it was treated as a vulgar instrument for capital accumulation. Mechanism of exploitation were imposed, such as outsourcing, labor intermediation and the like. Efforts were made to destroy nation states, or at least to minimize nation states, especially in key areas such as the economy, on grounds that were closer to religion than to science, that everything would be resolved by the marketplace.

    I could speak at much greater length on this, but the results are plain to see: greater inequality in Latin America. We haven’t resolved the unemployment problem. Indeed, unemployment is higher than in previous decades. We haven’t resolved the problem of poverty. We’ve lost a great deal of sovereignty by implementing policies that didn’t answer to our international reality.

    And finally, we’re facing a crisis that we have not provoked, yet we are the main victims, the greatest crisis since the 1930s of last century, where there was a crisis in global capitalism. But it’s not been generated by factors external to the system, but by factors that are of the very essence of the system: exacerbated individualism, deregulation, competition and so on. This clearly shows us that something has to change.

    AMY GOODMAN: Ecuador is joining ALBA, the Bolivarian alliance, seen as an alternative to the whole push to expand NAFTA to Latin America. Why? Talk about what you’re doing now.

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [in English] Why not? [translated] Why not? We are friendly countries, sister countries. We coincide on many points of view. So why not take that step towards integration, and which, among other things, is moving forward much more quickly than other integration schemes that have made the mistake of wanting to include everyone so we are moving at the pace of those who don’t want integration? Those of us who have acceded to ALBA voluntarily want to see the integration of Latin American peoples. And it’s gone forward much more quickly than other integration arrangements. In any event, my answer is “why not?” Why not join ALBA?

    Now I’ll tell you why. Just one piece of information to illustrate. At this time in the ALBA, we have 30 percent of all the votes in the Organization of American States. So we now have very specific weight in order to propose other points of view. For example, the Organization of American States—that’s just mentioned in the Organization of American States. But we could say something similar about the United Nations. That alone would justify our entering ALBA, but there are many additional factors.

    AMY GOODMAN: You are not talking about a free trade agreement with the United States, but you are with the European Union. Why?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] No, we’re not talking about a free trade agreement with the European Union; we’re talking about fair trade for development. And that’s how the agreement was originally posed. First, a block-to-block agreement between the European Union and the Andean community, with three pillars: a political dialogue, cooperation and trade. And this last one, trade, is understood as trade for development.

    Unfortunately, all of that has been deteriorating. Among the reasons, because two of the Andean community countries already have a free trade agreement with the United States, and I’m referring to Colombia and Peru. And they have very little to lose in the negotiations with the European Union. So, the first thing that collapsed was the block-to-block negotiation.

    And it’s clear that the emphasis was focused on the trade aspect. And I should also recognize that from the European Union, they tried to approach it as a free trade agreement, which has always been rejected by Ecuador. We’re interested in all three dimensions of the agreement: political dialogue, cooperation and trade. And within trade, we’re talking about fair trade, not the idea of free trade, which we see as simplistic, liberalizing everything. And we’re engaged in tough negotiations with the European Union on this.

    Now, in the event that we’re not satisfied with the agreements that result, then we simply won’t sign. But I reiterate, we’re not negotiating a free trade agreement with the European Union.

    AMY GOODMAN: The US contract with Ecuador over one of the largest US military bases in Latin America, Manta, expires later this year. You will not renew it. Why?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Why renew it? Now, if you’d like, I would renew it with one condition: that they allow me to set up an Ecuadorian military base here in New York. If there’s no problem with foreign bases, then let’s reach an agreement on that. I think that everybody listening is going to find that impossible. And for us Ecuadorians, it also seems impossible, based on our outlook informed by sovereignty, at least with the current government, to have a foreign military base on our soil.

    AMY GOODMAN: You also recently threw out a US diplomat, Armando Astorga, calling him insolent and foolish and saying he treated Ecuador like a colony.

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Yes. I don’t know if you’re aware that, among other things, because of the dismantling of the state that Ecuador has suffered in recent years, but money for certain police units to operate, including certain intelligence units, police and military, was provided by the US embassy. Well, this itself is sufficiently serious. But it wasn’t even unconditional or spontaneous assistance. Rather, they would choose the directors of those police units. They had them take lie-detector tests at the US embassy. So those units answered more to the US embassy than to the Ecuadorian state.

    And we, in the exercise of our sovereignty, wanted to change the director of one of those units. Mr. Astorga, in a totally arrogant manner, sent a letter saying that we need to return or give back everything that the United States has given us—computers, automobiles and so on. Well, they should take it all back then. But Mr. Astorga would also have to leave the country, because we are no one’s colony.

    AMY GOODMAN: Mr. President, do you think President Obama represents something different to Latin America and specifically to Ecuador?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Yes, I’m convinced that that is the case. Indeed, we’ve already begun very fruitful bilateral dialogues at a very high level, which never happened with the Bush administration. And not just that, there’s a question of building trust, and I think that President Obama offers trust. Personally, I think he is a transparent individual with the right intentions. So I think things are going to change in terms of foreign policy, US foreign policy, especially with respect to Latin America.

    AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you about President Chavez and his comments recently supporting the Iranian president Ahmadinejad. What are your views toward what’s happening right now in the disputed Iranian elections?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] We’ve spoken with our chargé d’affaires in Tehran, and he tells me that it’s an exaggerated reaction, because President Ahmadinejad won by too large a margin. We’re talking about at least six million votes. All the surveys show that he was the winner. So this reaction on the part of the opposition can’t be explained. Now, I don’t want to meddle in internal Iranian affairs, but a response of this sort vis-à-vis such a broad victory is somewhat suspect.

    In any event, it’s my understanding that the Council of Guard has ordered that the vote be recounted and so on. I would hope that things could be worked out peacefully and that a determination is reached as to who won that electoral contest. But I reiterate, the reports that we are getting from Tehran is that President Ahmadinejad’s victory is too broad, and therefore there’s no way to imagine that he could have lost or that he would have won by fraud.

    AMY GOODMAN: And the killings of a number of the protesters, do you condemn that?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, one would have to see in what situation those deaths took place. We’re talking about a country of 80 million, in which there have been serious street protests. I am not familiar with the specific conditions in which the lamentable deaths have taken place. Everybody should lament their deaths and be in solidarity with the victims and their families. But obviously, if there’s protest and violence in a country of 80 million, it’s likely that such things can come to pass without that necessarily meaning repression, violations of human rights and so forth. But all the investigations should be undertaken to determine.

    AMY GOODMAN: Let me ask you, Mr. President, about another violent crackdown, and it was in Peru against those in the Amazon who were protesting the opening up of the area to mining interests, that has ultimately led to the resignation of the prime minister. Do you condemn President Garcia for what happened in Peru?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, I insist we are not going to meddle in the internal matters of any country. That will have to be worked out within Peru’s institutional framework determining the responsibilities that lie in this matter.

    AMY GOODMAN: Now, you know exploitation by large corporations in your own country. Tens of thousands of indigenous people have brought suit against Chevron, now ChevronTexaco. An expert appointed by the Ecuadorian judge has said that Chevron should pay $27 billion. Where do you stand on this?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] This is private litigation brought by social organizations in the Amazon region against this transnational corporation, Texaco Chevron. And there, the Ecuadorian government has nothing to do, in judicially speaking. Obviously, we have borne witness to the harm caused in the Amazon, and we’re in solidarity with those social organizations. But I reiterate, as the executive branch, we are not a party, and we cannot meddle in judicial matters.

    AMY GOODMAN: You have gone to the area, though, and shown support. What is the harm done?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] It’s terrible. The oil companies continue doing whatever they please. But at that time, it was really the law of the jungle. There was no processing of waste, of contaminated water. Everything was dumped in the rivers. There were pits created that were totally non-technical. If you go into the Ecuadorian Amazon and you stick your hand in the ground, what you get is oil sludge. They dumped the oil wherever with total impunity, because there was no oversight by the state. And these countries really did abuse the country. These countries have done in our country something they never would have dared to have done even by far in the United States. And it is time that they answer to the justice system.

    AMY GOODMAN: Have you heard about Shell settling with the Saro-Wiwa family, the Nigerian activist who was killed in Nigeria fourteen years ago? He was protesting Shell’s exploitation of the Niger Delta. And they just settled for something like $15 million to be paid to the family and the Ogoni people. Do you see that as a positive example?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, of course. I’m not familiar with the case, but, of course, for these countries need to be held accountable for and answer for everything they’ve done, because I am indignant as a Latin American about the dual reality of certain transnationals. It’s not that they couldn’t have done it otherwise. The technology existed, the measures were available, to prevent environmental harm and so forth. But they didn’t want to do so, probably because we’re poor countries, so they consider that we’re inferior. But what they did in our country, they never would have dared to have done that in the United States.

AMY GOODMAN: We’ll return to my conversation with the Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa after break.


AMY GOODMAN: We return to our national broadcast exclusive, my conversation with the Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa.

    AMY GOODMAN: Now, indigenous people, campesinos, recently protested your policies around the issue of large-scale mining and opening up the region. You called them extremists and nobodies.

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] I didn’t call them “nobody.” I said they didn’t represent anyone. And the last elections gave [inaudible] right. The person who headed up the effort against mining won only four percent, and we won, by overwhelmingly so, in all the mining regions. And the areas with the greatest protests are in the province of Azuay. That’s where we have good, strong support. So, clearly the population trusts us. But three or four people are enough to make a lot of noise, to appear in the media, and so on. But, quite sincerely, they don’t have the popular backing or the representation.

    In any event, there are many contradictions on these kinds of positions. First, it’s not that we’re inaugurating mining in Ecuador. Mining goes back to the Preclassic Inca period in Ecuador. To the contrary, finally, we’re regulating mining in Ecuador—because it was a matter of total anarchy—with a very tough law that protects the state, that protects the environment, that protects society.

    Second, one of the main criticisms of the groups that oppose mining, or, as you put it, large-scale mining, is the environmental impact of mining. But this is where the contradiction comes up. Small-scale mining causes much more pollution than large-scale mining. So if that’s the reason why they oppose large-scale mining, there is a big contradiction there. And if you begin to analyze, some of these leaders—not all of them, but some—have their own interests in small-scale mining.

    So I would say, in general—indeed, we’ve carried out surveys—there’s more than 70 percent support for the new mining law, but as I say, three or four fundamentalists who take over a highway are enough to appear in the newspaper and for them to say that there’s opposition to such mining in Ecuador.

    AMY GOODMAN: President Correa, in the Wall Street Journal, there was just a piece talking about documents that the Colombian government uncovered on a laptop when Colombia raided Ecuador and killed a FARC leader, linking you to the FARC. What is your response?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] If they show that I have some connection to the FARC, then I’ll step down. It’s a big lie, and we have presented a denunciation through the Foreign Ministry. And if they don’t rectify that, we will take the appropriate legal actions. We are tired of such infamies, which are not based on facts. They’re based on interests that seek to treat certain governments which are their allies as superheroes and other governments as villains.

    So, we think that a daily newspaper should report the news, not play at geopolitics. In any event, the editorial—I think it was an editorial—is based on information that long ago was shown to be unreliable: supposed computers with supposed messages in which supposedly there is talk of a former member of the national government, not the president of the republic, negotiating with the FARC. Indeed, those computers also talk about—supposedly talk about the Workers’ Party of Lula da Silva having ties with FARC, but they don’t say that. So, as I say, it’s really just a geopolitical game that they’re pursuing.

    And the woman who wrote the article recently admitted to RCN that she published that article resenting President Obama, because he called me to offer his support upon my reelection. And this is an extremely right-wing journalist who’s angry because he didn’t call Alvaro Uribe. Instead, he called Rafael Correa. That reflects the level of professionalism of the person who wrote that.

    AMY GOODMAN: How do you think peace can be achieved in Colombia, and do you think the US can play a role in that? I mean, the US has poured a tremendous amount of money into the war on terror there, into the war on drugs, so-called, so-called. What do think could achieve peace in Colombia?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Einstein said if somebody time and again does something, or tries to do something, with the same negative results, and continues to insist on doing so, then he’s a fool. This strategy carried out, applied by the United States in Colombia has been a total failure. Drugs have not been eradicated. It could be that the FARC have been weakened. But quite sincerely, I don’t think there’s any military solution to the conflict with the FARC, but rather a political solution. And what they have accomplished in pursuing a military solution is extending the conflict to neighboring countries and destabilizing the region.

    Ecuador has about 700 kilometers of border with Colombia, and a lot of it is impenetrable jungle. Colombia’s strategy has been to attack the FARC from north to south. They have two military units in the south, but far from the border. We have thirteen. So, it seems to be a strategy to try to draw us into the conflict.

    So I hope that the United States and the Obama administration understand this, that as [inaudible] into drawing us in neighboring countries into this conflict, which is not our own, which pains us greatly, but it’s not ours, and that they carefully analyze the matter, whether the anti-drug strategy, despite the billions spent, has yielded no results and whether this conflict with the FARC has any military solution.

    AMY GOODMAN: Last two questions. One is, do you support President Obama expanding the war into Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: Can you say again, please?

    AMY GOODMAN: Do you support President Obama expanding the war in Afghanistan and Pakistan?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, I’m a pacifist by nature. I would hope that the Afghanistan problem could be solved as quickly as possible. I also think the strategy there, as in Iraq, was totally mistaken, that the United States has a big problem on its hands that’s going to be very complex to resolve. But I’m practically convinced that it’s not going to be resolved by more war.

    AMY GOODMAN: And finally, your overall advice to the new President of the United States, President Obama, in how he approaches Latin American and, just overall, how he approaches the world?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] Well, I’m not accustomed to giving advice to those who haven’t asked for it. I would just want to wish President Obama the best of luck, and that he should bear in mind that just as he is a good person, there are many of us presidents in Latin America who are also good people.

    AMY GOODMAN: And is there one single message you could give to President Obama to improve relations with Latin America, what he could do?

    PRESIDENT RAFAEL CORREA: [translated] To learn more and come to better understand the region, and that he not let himself be taken along by the power of certain media outlets that are compromised with certain ideological fundaments, and that the heroes aren’t necessarily heroes, and the villains aren’t necessarily villains, that he should get to know the region better and get to understand the region a little better.

    AMY GOODMAN: President Correa, thank you very much.


AMY GOODMAN: Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa. He’s in Nicaragua today meeting with other Latin American leaders as well as the ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya over the coup in Honduras. Meanwhile in Washington, DC, President Obama is meeting with Colombian President Alvaro Uribe.