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  • The War on Terror gravy train

    by Sunny
    21st February, 2011 at 9:50 am    

    The New York Times yesterday published this incredible article:

    A onetime biomedical technician with a penchant for gambling, Mr. Montgomery is at the center of a tale that features terrorism scares, secret White House briefings, backing from prominent Republicans, backdoor deal-making and fantastic-sounding computer technology.

    Interviews with more than two dozen current and former officials and business associates and a review of documents show that Mr. Montgomery and his associates received more than $20 million in government contracts by claiming that software he had developed could help stop Al Qaeda’s next attack on the United States. But the technology appears to have been a hoax, and a series of government agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency and the Air Force, repeatedly missed the warning signs, the records and interviews show.

    WTF? As examples, the article offers:

    The software he patented — which he claimed, among other things, could find terrorist plots hidden in broadcasts of the Arab network Al Jazeera; identify terrorists from Predator drone videos; and detect noise from hostile submarines — prompted an international false alarm that led President George W. Bush to order airliners to turn around over the Atlantic Ocean in 2003.

    The software led to dead ends in connection with a 2006 terrorism plot in Britain. And they were used by counterterrorism officials to respond to a bogus Somali terrorism plot on the day of President Obama’s inauguration, according to previously undisclosed documents.

    Kind of tells you how insane the ‘War on Terror’ got and how officials were willing to believe almost anything.

    It’s all very much like the useless ‘bomb detector’ story isn’t it? Wonder what else will be exposed in the WoT Gravy Train.

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    1. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 10:21 am  

      Well considering American customs officials operate by stopping and demeaning any brown face, be that my little old mum or the very Hindu Nitin Sawhney, they hardly need to spend any money at all finding terrorists. They see them everywhere

    2. Boyo — on 21st February, 2011 at 10:37 am  

      It’s the other side of faith-based WoT: Americans have faith in technology, they always have and will: it’s a totem of the American Way.

    3. Nadeem — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:09 am  

      Cheer up Kismet Hardy, in ten years brown faces will be fine and yellow faces will be subject to harassment, right?

    4. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:10 am  

      Indeed, indeed. Attention well paid. Thank you for making me feel noticed. Now I do not have to kill Mother tonight with spade to head

    5. jamal — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:32 am  

      we have had our own jumping on the anti terror bandwagon here in england.

      hassan butt

      quilliam foundation

    6. Tan — on 21st February, 2011 at 11:52 am  

      Looks more like they were all in on the joke with public funds as opposed to the CIA actually thought this stuff will work.

    7. fug — on 21st February, 2011 at 7:23 pm  

      Wishfull techno fetish. Expect more of the same as they ramp up the geo engineering did to climate change

    8. Chandni Choker — on 21st February, 2011 at 7:50 pm  

      The Pentagon backed a phony technology. Gotta be careful with fraudsters marketing crap. However this blog nor any other wouldn’t be there if the pentagon hadn’t developed the technology for the internet.

      You have to try various things if you want to be successful and that includes backing a few lemons.

      Sure there’s a war on terror gravy train being abused too. But Islamic Terror is real and you have to do something about it.

      Life has changed forever in India since multiple Islamic attacks. Now every station has x-ray machines, a personal search, machine gun toting police and army and bunkers all over city prominent places.

      Just near where I am typing (100 yards) there are machine gun holding army men. Another 200 yards away bombs went off targeting shoppers and foreigners in an evening attack killing many.

      Islamic terror is a real problem that requires tackling and addicted gambler fraudsters milking the pentagon don’t make that any less true.

    9. Kismet Hardy — on 21st February, 2011 at 8:02 pm  

      “Just near where I am typing (100 yards) there are machine gun holding army men.”

      Yeah calm down. It’s only a soldier. He gets paid to carry a gun. He did that before the attacks. Lay off the bang lassi fella

    10. Cauldron — on 22nd February, 2011 at 9:03 am  

      Not convinced about the causality here. There were plenty of scandals in defence procurement well before the WoT. Remember the $500 loo seats?

      Equally, there are plenty of examples of screw ups in other areas of public procurement.

      The only conclusion one can draw is that big spending projects are always hard to manage and especially hard to manage if the procurer is a bureaucrat and the supplier a capitalist. It doesn’t matter if it is Rumsfeld buying drones or Fidel Castro/Gordon Brown trying to make the public sector 100% of GDP. Ultimately this kind of spending fails because of its sheer size, not its ideology.

    11. Golam Murtaza — on 22nd February, 2011 at 3:12 pm  

      We need a technology-expert version of Dr Ben Goldacre to get on the case. Frauds like Montgomery must be publicly debunked before they do any damage, or cause millions of pounds worth of taxpayers money to be wasted.

    12. Don — on 22nd February, 2011 at 6:42 pm  


      Most sectors would benefit from having a version of Ben taking them to task. He’s one of the last few reasons to take the Guardian.

    13. Golam Murtaza — on 22nd February, 2011 at 7:18 pm  

      Yes, definitely.

    14. CC — on 23rd February, 2011 at 8:28 am  

      “Just near where I am typing (100 yards) there are machine gun holding army men.”

      Yeah calm down. It’s only a soldier. He gets paid to carry a gun. He did that before the attacks. Lay off the bang lassi fella

      Twat, I was seeing this same area since 20 years and the machine gun toting guys only started in the last 8-10 year period since bombing attacks. Also many places have full on security with checking that was never there.

      I spoke to poor people in the area who lost relatives in sneaky bomb blasts.

      Mumbai style atrocities are a reality that we have to deal with…

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