Why Such Secrecy about Private Military Contractor’s Men Working the Event?
There is something very wrong with all of the stories. This is a good job of investigative newspaper reporting that has discovered an attempted cover-up of something. Who knows how big or how small? Impossible to know….
by Dave Lindorff
Speaking as an investigative reporter with almost 40 years’s experience, I can say that when government officials won’t talk, they’re generally hiding something embarrassing or worse.
I tried, and nobody will talk about those Craft International Services private security personnel who were widely observed and photographed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, wearing security ear-pieces, hats and T-shirts bearing the company’s skull logo, and all wearing the same dark coats, khaki pants and combat boots, some carrying what appear to have been radiation detectors. (I got no hard answers, though there were some inadvertent hints given.)
I first contacted a man identifying himself as Jack Fleming, a public affairs person with the Boston Athletic Assn., sponsor of the marathon. Fleming advised me that “If you want to ask about that you should contact the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) Executive Office of Public Safety.”
I called that agency and spoke with the public information office there, a man named Terrell. He first said, “Did you call the Marathon organizers?” When I replied that I had, and that they had said to call his office, he replied, “They did?” Then he said, “You should call the City of Boston Police Department. They released a security plan to some media organizations.”
Indeed they had released that plan to the Boston Globe. Based upon the information it got from the police the article the Globe ran, did report that the Police had deployed “air patrols, K9 units, and more than 1,000 uniformed officers and soldiers along the 26-mile course and the finish line,” but it made no mention of the private contracting of soldiers-for-hire, which is what Craft International does (see the Craft website). News agency Reuters reported, meanwhile, that a top official for the Massachusetts state Homeland Security Department, Undersecretary Kurt Schwartz, told a group at Harvard U. that his agency had “planned” for a possible bombing attack on the marathon, even running a “table-top” exercise about such an event a week before the race.
I called the Boston Police to ask if they had hired the Craft International personnel who were observed at the scene just before and after the bombing, and was told by the public affairs office there that “Anything having to do with the investigation of the bombing would have to be referred to the FBI Boston Division office.” When I pointed out that I wasn’t asking anything about the investigation, but was simply asking who had hired the security personnel from Craft International, the answer was simply repeated: “You’ll have to ask the FBI.”
So I called the FBI, and got a public affairs person there named Amanda Cox. Her initial response to my question was, “I do not have any information on that.”
Seven apparent Craft International rent-a-soldiers behind and departing (top rt. with backpack) a communications van
I then said I had been referred to her by the Boston Police Department, and said that photos of the scene after the bombing had shown Craft International personnel conversing with FBI agents. She then put down the phone, and I could hear her turn to a supervisor and ask, her voice muffled, “This guy’s asking about the Craft Security Consultants — who hired them and what they were doing.”
I next overheard the muffled voice of another woman to whom she had been speaking reply, “I think you could safely say, ‘I do know we worked with a lot of people who worked on security at the marathon…’” After that I couldn’t make out what was being said.
Cox later returned to the phone, and instead told me, “I’d refer you to the company on any information about who hired them.” (Taken together the overheard conversation and the official answer from Cox would at least seem to confirm that Craft’s people were hired for the event, and that the FBI knows a lot more than it is willing to say about them.)
Next I called Craft International. The company has no phone number listed on its website — just a general email address of email@example.com (to which I wrote to asking for information, but which elicited no response)–but I found one listed for their headquarters office at 2101 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 1400, Dallas, TX, in a listing on the company published in a directory in Bloomberg Businessweek, This entry noted that the company, in addition to “providing security, defense, and combat weapons training services for military, police, corporate and civilian clients in the US and internationally,” also “offers corporate and private and civilian training services…” The number, published in a business magazine, was clearly meant as a contact for potential customers to call.
A woman answered the phone brightly with the company’s name. However, when I identified myself as a reporter, and said I was wondering if someone could tell me who had hired personnel from the firm to work at the Boston Marathon, she responded with a flummoxed: “Um, I um, don’t really have any information on that. I’m just an answering service.”
I replied, “Look, the number I called is listed as the number of the company’s corporate headquarters at 2101 Cedar Springs Road. You’re not an answering service.”
At that point she said, “Let me see who I can transfer you to.”
However, after a long pause, she was back, and said, “The answer I’ve been given is that you should go to the website, where there’s an email address you can write to with your question.”
I had already done that, I told her. She then said she couldn’t help me and hung up.
I also called the US Department of Homeland Security, but a women named Angela who answered the press office number for this public government agency (she refused to provide her last name despite being the public information office) said the DHS media office was “only taking inquiries sent in by email.” I sent in an inquiry asking if any unit of the DHS had hired Craft International to provide security at the Boston Marathon, but so far have received no response.
As things stand, since it’s highly unlikely that Craft International, a private for-profit enterprise founded by the late ace Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, would have “hired” itself to police the Marathon gratis, it seems pretty clear that we had rent-a-special forces-soldier people, hired by some agency, at the scene of the bombing ahead of the bombing.
And we have no reporting on this in the mainstream corporate media.
Why? I have no answer to that.
I did write to Andrea Estes, the lead writer of the Globe’s piece on police security planning mentioned above, who is described in her bio on the Globe’s website staff page as an “investigative reporter specializing in government accountability.”
I called and left a message on her phone, and sent her an email, asking if she had looked into the Craft Security personnel, to see who hired them, what they were doing at the race finish line, and why they appeared be carrying radiation detectors. She has so far not responded to my request for information and assistance concerning anything she had done or learned about this, or whether she had looked into it at all.
Certainly there is a big accountability question. A bunch of them actually. Here are a few:
* If Craft International people were hired, who hired them and why?
* If it was the Boston Police or the FBI that hired them, why won’t they just say so? Simply hiring outside security help should not be a secret, and could in no way affect the investigation into the bombing and the captured suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, so why the secrecy about that? Given all the police presence, and the size of the FBI’s Boston division, why did they need those extra guys from a private rent-a-soldier firm?
* If it was not the Boston Police or the FBI, what agency did hire the company, and why?
* If it was the state’s Homeland Security Dept. or or the state Executive Office of Public Safety, or perhaps more likely, the US Department of Homeland Security, did they notify the FBI that they had done so, and tell the agency what had prompted them to do this?
* The big overarching question when it comes to who hired Craft International is, what possible gain in security could have been achieved by adding what appears to be seven guys (or perhaps a few more who didn’t appear in photos) from a private security firm when the Boston Police had in place over 1000 armed security people from their office and the National Guard, and when, as became evident immediately after the bombs went off, a large number of FBI personnel were also on hand?
Unless, of course, the Craft Security people were aware of something that we, the public, including the race participants and spectators, and perhaps even the police and FBI, were not aware of.
Transparency is critical to accountability. At this point, it is clear that we have had a massive failure of the national security state. Despite the fact that the FBI was aware of concerns about Tarmelan Tsarnaev, and the fact that the CIA had him on a watch list, he appears to have been able to work on line to learn how to build a powerful homemade bomb, to obtain the materials, including a substantial quantity of black powder, to build a number of them, and, allegedly with the help of his younger brother Dzhokhar, to place them near the finish line and detonate two of them, killing three people and injuring as many as 200. That’s a huge intelligence fail.
It would be an even bigger fail if it turns out that some agency had awareness of a credible threat and that it hired Craft International personnel to prevent it. We clearly need to know, and have a right to demand to know, who hired those men and why. After all, at a minimum, on the face of things, they did an abysmal job of preventing a bombing right in front of their supposedly well-trained noses.
And of course, as I wrote earlier, there is also another question, which is really disturbing: The image of the exploded backpack released by the FBI and identified as the remains of the pack that was carrying one of the two pressure-cooker bombs, prominently displays a white square on a black background. This is not a doctored photograph; it’s the photograph that was released by the FBI. There are also at least two photos depicting one of the Craft International men who is wearing a black backpack identical to several of the other Craft International personnel. The same white square is also visible on the top of his pack.
There does not appear to be any such white marking — square or otherwise — on the top of the black backpack worn by Tarmelan Tsarnaev, as observed in several security photos taken of him (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shown carrying a smaller white or light-colored pack, slung over one shoulder). Check out the images below of Tarmelan, the exploded bag and the Craft International character:
FBI image of exploded pack with white square, white square on Craft guy’s pack, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev (rt.) with pack but clearly no white square marking
I am not drawing any conclusions from any of this, but I will say that when government agencies at all levels and a private contracting firm are all this obtuse and secretive (and in some cases even deceptive) about what should be a simple question — who hired these men? — my suspicions are aroused.
Somebody’s clearly hiding something.
And by the way, why aren’t the mainstream media asking about this? Are corporate media journalists so intimidated about being labeled “conspiracy nuts” that they can’t do their jobs? At a minimum, this goes to the question of accountability. It also goes to the question of inter-agency communication or lack of it. And given what we know about how many times the FBI has been an active encourager and enabler of terror plots which it later thwarts and claims credit for preventing, there’s the question, too of potential official culpability. Furthermore, when an horrific incident like this is used to justify such new threats to our Constitutional freedom as an unprecedented martial law-style lockdown of an entire 1-million-person metropolitan area and a precedent-setting deliberately Miranda-free, attorney-free interrogation of a hospitalized, gravely wounded and sedated suspect, it is critical that the whole story be told, not just the official one.
FBI Responsibility for US Terror Plots
By Stephen Lendman
Boston’s marathon bombings leave disturbing questions unanswered. Official accounts lack credibility. Mounting evidence suggests FBI responsibility. It doesn’t surprise.
Project Censored’s fourth top 2013 censored story headlined “FBI Agents Responsible for Majority of Terrorist Plots in the United States.” More on that below.
Post-9/11, George Bush declared war on terrorism. It continues under Obama. America needs enemies. When none exist, they’re invented.
Muslims are America’s target of choice. Numerous innocent victims are entrapped. It occurs when law enforcement officials or agents induce, influence, or provoke crimes that otherwise wouldn’t be committed.
Project Censored discussed Russia Today’s report. It headlined “FBI organizes almost all terror plots in the US.”
Mother Jones covered the same issue. Its article titled “The Informant” said “(T)he FBI has built a massive network of spies (allegedly) to prevent another domestic attack. But are they busting terrorist plots – or leading them?”
The FBI employs around 15,000 undercover agents. In 1975 they numbered 1,500. In 1980 it was 2,800. By 1986 it was 6,000.
They’re involved in sting operations designed to entrap. They’re well paid. They earn around $100,000 per assignment or more.
Law-abiding people are targeted. According to Mother Jones, “in case after case, the government provides the plot, the means, and the opportunity.”
FBI informants target Muslim communities. They seek members unhappy with America’s imperial war agenda. Mother Jones said their names are “cross-referenced with existing intelligence data, such as immigration and criminal records.”
“FBI agents may then assign an undercover operative to approach the target by posing as a radical. Sometimes” a plot is proposed. Explosives and/or other weapons are provided.
Once “enough incriminating information” is gotten, an arrest follows. A press conference announces another “foiled plot.”
The process repeats ad nauseam. From fall 2010 – fall 2011 alone, Mother Jones and the Investigative Reporting Program at UC-Berkeley examined 508 alleged terrorism prosecutions. They found:
nearly half involved paid informants;
sting operations targeted 158 defendants;
agent provocateurs were involved in 49 plots;
“with three exceptions, (all) high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings;”
most often, “key encounters” between informants and targets aren’t recorded;
proving entrapment is hard to impossible; and
even when evidence is suspect or lacking, beating terrorism-related charges in court rarely happens.
According to defense attorney Martin Stolar:
“The problem with the cases we’re talking about is that defendants would not have done anything if not kicked in the ass by government agents.”
The FBI “create(s) crimes to solve crimes so they can claim a victory in the war on terror.”
Attorney General Eric Holder defends entrapment. He’s done so publicly. He’s done it by calling provocative targeting terrorism stings. He’s unapologetic.
In March 2012, he spoke at Northwestern University School of Law. “We are a nation at war,” he said. ”And, in this war, we face a nimbleand determined enemy that cannot be underestimated.”
Justice Department lawyers and agents aim to “detect and disrupt terrorist plots, to prosecute suspected terrorists, and to identify and implement the (so-called) legal tools necessary to keep the American people safe.”
He defended disturbing practices involved, as well as military commissions and targeted assassinations of individuals alleged to be “imminent threat(s).”
He justified lawless practices on grounds of national security.
Earlier in December 2010, he addressed a San Francisco area Muslim audience. He called tactics used an “essential law enforcement tool in uncovering and preventing terror attacks.” He did so despite evidence many times they’re used to entrap.
Attendees weren’t pleased. Muslim Advocates president, Farhana Khera said entrapment operations “may be getting people involved in (alleged) terrorism who otherwise would not have done anything.”
“These operations also divert investigators from actual threats and provoke widespread anti-Muslim sentiment,” she added.
According to Council on American-Islam Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper:
“We maintain concerns about FBI policies regarding informants in mosques and provocateurs in our community.”
“There’s a sense of being under siege in many Muslim communities. People just assume there are agents or informants in their mosque now. It’s a fact of life.”
Law Professor David Cole says beating terrorism-related charges is near impossible. He told Mother Jones:
“The plots people are accused of being apart of – attacking subway systems or trying to bomb a building – are so frightening that they can overwhelm a jury.”
It dares not convict. Members are intimidated to do so. Disturbing unconstitutional issues aren’t addressed. Prosecutorial and FBI claims about keeping Americans safe don’t wash. Many cases explain why.
In December 2010, the Washington Post headlined “Tension grows between Calif. Muslims, FBI after informant infiltrates mosque,” saying:
Craig Monteilh, aka Farouk al-Aziz, code name Oracle, spied on dozens of Irvine Islamic Center Muslims. He did so “in a quest for potential terrorists….But the FBI’s approach has come under fire from some Muslims.”
“In the Irvine case, Monteilh’s mission….backfired. Muslims were so alarmed by his talk of violent jihad that they obtained a restraining order against him.”
They reported him to the same FBI office that recruited him. He helped build terrorism charges against a mosque member. It collapsed.
The Justice Department “took the extraordinary step of dropping charges against the worshipper, who Monteilh had caught on tape(allegedly) agreeing to blow up buildings, law enforcement officialssaid.”
“Prosecutors (falsely) portrayed the man as a dire threat.”
Monteilh went public. He revealed FBI tactics. He said his “handlers” trained him to entrap Muslims in mosques, at home and at work.
He was a well-paid informant. Court records and other documents showed he got $177,000 tax free in 15 months.
Southern California Muslims cited a pattern of pervasive surveillance and entrapment. According to Islamic Shura Council of Southern California Executive Director Shakeel Syed:
“The community feels betrayed. They got a guy, a bona fide criminal (just out of prison for grand theft), and obviously trained him and sent him to infiltrate mosques.”
“And when things went sour, they ditched him and he got mad. It’s like a soap opera, for God’s sake.”
Most FBI informants are either charged suspects, convicted felons, or undocumented immigrants facing deportation. In return for cooperation, leniency is offered.
Monteilh was a convicted felon. He was involved in ripping off cocaine dealers. He became a Drug Enforcement Administration asset. He later agreed to be an FBI informant.
According to Mother Jones, informants’ “first assignment is often a fishing expedition.” They’ve testified in court that “FBI handlers tasked them with infiltrating mosques without a specific target….”
They’re “directed to surveil law-abiding Americans with no indication of criminal intent.”
They’re told to infiltrate mosques without probable cause. They look for likely targets to entrap. Muslims are America’s target of choice. Innocence is no defense.
Guilt by accusation works. Prosecutors claim another war on terror victory. Innocent people suffer.
Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaeve is Washington’s latest victim. Media scoundrels convicted him in the court of public opinion. Authorities claim he confessed. His last Facebook message said:
“This will be the last message before the police get me. I never ‘done’ it. They set me up. Father please forgive me. I am sorry it has come to this.”
It bears repeating. Innocence is no defense. Lies substitute for truth. Imperial priorities matter most.
America’s war on terror shows no mercy. It’s institutionalized. Everyone’s harmed. Freedom is fast disappearing.
America’s war on humanity continues. Full-blown tyranny looms.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity.”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.
Boston bombing suspect was unarmed when shot by police despite early claims
US authorities have admitted that the second Boston Marathon bombing suspect shot and severely injured by police gunfire just before his arrest was unarmed, disputing earlier official claims that he was heavily armed and fired shots from the boat in which he was hiding.
Accused bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, “had no firearms” when he came under a barrage of police gunfire, despite statements by police officials following his capture that “he had fired from the boat” and that he was “captured with several weapons,” The Washington Postreported Thursday citing “multiple federal law enforcement officials.”
There were also reports that the gunshot wound the 19-year-old suspect suffered to his throat may have been “an attempt to kill himself as police moved in,” the report adds.
Moreover, despite claims by the US authorities that they “were desperate to capture” Tsarnaev to question him, the FBI has refused to explain what prompted the massive police gunfire, which has now been blamed for striking and injuring a police officer, in spite of earlier suggestions that he was shot by the suspect during a gunfire exchange with police, according to the daily.
Justifying the shooting of the unarmed suspect, however, another law enforcement official is quoted as saying, “You can’t second-guess what they were doing on that scene. Their own lives were in danger.”
Other local press reports have described the scene of police shooting just before Tsarnaev’s capture as “a war zone,” citing residents ofnearby houses who witnessed the unfolding events out of their homewindows.
The development comes as a US state lawmaker recently blamed the American government for the Boston Marathon bombings, describing it as a “Black Ops terrorist attack.”
Republican New Hampshire state legislator Stella Tremblay said on April 19 that the twin bombings in Boston, which killed three and wounded over 250 individuals, and the subsequent hunt for suspects was a plot by the US federal government.
Describing the official account of the events surrounding the twin bombings as suspicious, Tremblay accused the Obama administrationof bombarding innocent people with “drone and now terrorist attacks.”
“Sad day, but a wake up to all of us,” she added.
“One suspect killed, the other one will be too before they even have a chance to speak…First there was a suspect then there wasn’t,” said Tremblay.
Meanwhile, Tsarnaev continues to be treated at a Boston hospital, where his condition has been upgraded from critical to fair. He began communicating in writing and some speech with a special team of FBI interrogators Saturday night and was officially charged on Monday while on a hospital bed.
This while the US Vice President Joe Biden denounced Tsarnaev and his dead brother as “two twisted, perverted, cowardly knockoff jihadis” at a Wednesday event honoring an MIT Campus police officer killed during a reported gunfire exchange with the bombing suspects.
The Islamophobic rhetoric used by the top American official reflects the highly prejudiced attitude of senior American authorities in their continuing efforts to investigate the terrorist bombings at the BostonMarathon.
Concerning those who continue to mouth off about how everyone should be loyal to our government, ignore them, they believe what they don’t know, and the threat of hell won’t change them.
They are STUPID!
Continue your research and spread the truth!