Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Joe Stack’s Intriguing Connections With Defense Contractors, Intelligence Agencies

Austin suicide pilot jointly leased hangar with manager of air defense systems

Paul Joseph Watson
Prison Planet
February 23, 2010

Austin suicide pilot Joe Stack kept some very interesting company as far as the client list for his software programming company is concerned, including a defense contractor with NSA and Homeland Security connections that ironically dealt with air defense systems.

The Georgetown Airport hanger in which Stack’s ill-fated Piper Cherokee was kept was jointly leased by Stack and a man called John Podolak, records show.

The Of Goats and Men blog highlights the fact that Podolak was appointed in 2004 to manage L-3 Avisys’ Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Counter-MANPADS (Man-Portable Air Defense Systems) initiative.

L-3 Avisys is a defense contractor with its main headquarters based in Austin, Texas which sells products and works closely with the Department of Defense and unnamed “U.S. Government intelligence agencies.”

Podolak was hired to “oversee a strong team of more than 10 IRCM defense suppliers who will perform research studies and lead the transition of the team’s proposed CAPS (Commercial Airliner Protection System) technology to the airline industry.”

L-3 was also a key client for Stack’s software programming business. Stack helped develop a GPS-based Fight Management System for IEC, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of L-3.

L-3 was also investigated by the SEC for its role in the suspicious number of “put options” on United and American Airlines, speculation that a company’s stock will fall, in the days before 9/11.

Indeed, former NSA official Wayne Madsen wrote in September 2008 that, “A long-time L-3 Communications consultant for the National Security Agency (NSA) was, according to our source, one of the very few recipients of the live video stream that caught the first plane hitting the North Tower.”

“Other clients on the list such as DMC Stratex Networks and Sorrento Electronics also are defense contractors and probably a closer examination of these and other corporations on Stack’s client list will reveal more interesting details,” notes the blog.

The blog also highlights transponder flight tracking records of Stack’s plane which show that its last journey took place on August 6, 2009, and not on February 18 last week when the aircraft was slammed into the Echelon building.

One poster on the Prison Planet forum speculates, “This plane may still be in a hanger at GTU.”

Could Stack’s lightweight Piper Cherokee really have caused such drastic damage to the facade of the Echelon building when compared with other small planes that have crashed into buildings like that of New York Yankees pitcher Cory Lidle?

The huge fireball reported by eyewitnesses could well have been as a result of extra fuel canisters Stack had loaded onto the plane to inflict maximum damage, but this has yet to be confirmed by authorities.

Intimate ties with defense contractors, not just through his software company, but on a personal level with L-3’s John Podolak will only serve to deepen the intrigue surrounding the motivation behind Stack’s attack on the IRS building, with scant details having emerged since the tragic incident last week.

Another startling contradiction comes in the form of Stack’s last words, which were reported by the media and apparently confirmed by audio from air traffic control tapes to be, “Thanks for your help, have a good day.”

However, audio taken from radio scanners who also recorded Stack’s last words is slightly different from that being forwarded as the official version. The second version of the audio, Stack’s final words are, “I’m definitely checking out, have a good day.”

A comparison of the two clips can be heard at this link.

While one eyewitness described seeing no pilot in the cockpit, another told, “The pilot looked like he was in a comatose state; leaning back and going on in.”

Another interesting discrepancy to have emerged is the fact that Stack’s daughter told the Associated Press that Stack’s suicide note did not sound like it was written by him.

“It’s not him. The letter itself sounds like it’s coming from a different person. It didn’t sound like it came from him,” Samantha Dawn Bell told the AP.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Scanners Coming to Capitol?

During closed-door meeting, officials discuss possible checkpoints and more cameras.

Mike Ward
Austin American-Statesman
January 28, 2010

One week after a man opened fire with a pistol outside the Texas Capitol's south entrance, legislative leaders took a possible first step toward beefing up security at the storied landmark with checkpoints and more surveillance cameras.

The move came Thursday during a closed-door meeting at which top officials with the Department of Public Safety briefed key aides to Gov. Rick Perry, Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and state House Speaker Joe Straus, as well as other legislative leaders, about the Jan. 21 shooting and recommendations to enhance Capitol security.

Although officials declined to comment on the details of the recommendations, citing security concerns, participants confirmed that security checkpoints at Capitol entrances could be on the way.

One possible sticking point: how to allow Texans with concealed-weapons permits to get through security with their guns. Perry, Dewhurst and Straus probably will make the final decision.

If approved, enhanced security or controlled access to the statehouse would mark a historic change. Public entry at the Capitol has been open to all comers over the years — even though surveillance cameras and the presence of troopers in the halls have been beefed up since the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building in 1995 and the terrorist attacks in 2001.

Metal detectors and package scanners have been used temporarily several times in recent years at the entrances to public galleries of the legislative chambers during sessions and for a time during the second Gulf War. Driveways are staffed by troopers who check motorists, and steel bollards block vehicle access.

"We are examining a number of options for additional security at the Capitol and have not yet hit upon a final plan," said DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange. "We can't discuss Capitol security beyond that."

A Perry spokesman said the governor's comment last week about enhanced security still stands: "I'm always up for looking at new ways to protect our citizens, but the last thing I want is the Texas Capitol to turn into" Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport.

In a statement, Dewhurst said, "While we want to encourage people to visit the Texas Capitol, in a post-9/11 world and in light of last week's shooting incident, we need to seriously consider the DPS' enhanced security recommendations, including metal detectors, to help ensure everyone's safety."

Straus had no immediate comment.

"Everyone has the message now: We want to make the building secure, and we want to use common sense in doing that," said state Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston , who participated in Thursday's meeting. "We're not going to turn it into DFW airport."

In 2009, long before the shooting occurred, DPS officials who oversee Capitol security had ordered a security review by the U.S. Secret Service. The report is said to have recommended major increases in staffing and the installation of package scanners and metal detectors at entrances and added surveillance cameras.

In the week since the shooting, an increasing chorus of lawmakers has called for boosting Capitol security.

Fausto Cardenas, 24, most recently of Houston, remains jailed on a felony charge in the shooting. He had visited the office of Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston , just before the shooting. He unsuccessfully pressed to visit privately with a Patrick staffer, and left .

Earlier this week, Patrick — who holds a state concealed-handgun permit, along with a number of other Texas lawmakers — sent his colleagues a letter advocating increased Capitol security. "However ... I do not want to see those who have a legal right to carry a gun denied their constitutional right.

"Whatever new measures we may adopt, I would not want to stop law-abiding CHL holders from carrying their guns in the Capitol," he stated in the letter. "The goal is to stop those who bring illegal weapons into the Capitol, not those who have a legal right to do so."

Patrick proposed a system where credentials would be issued to Capitol employees, media and others who come to the Capitol regularly — after they pass a background check — "so they can come and go easily." A minimum-security entrance could also be designated for schools and other groups that do not need to undergo major screening. Everyone else would have to go through other entrances with metal detectors and package scanners.

Reached by phone Thursday, Patrick said Texans with concealed-handgun licenses might "put their gun in a tray, go through the detector, pick it up and go," or perhaps they could show their state-issued license and walk around security-screening devices.

Holders of concealed weapons permits must undergo training and pass a background check, among other things.

Why not make the Capitol a gun-free zone altogether, like schools and businesses?

"If you continue to restrict more and more places where CHL holders can carry their weapons, you're tearing away at the intent of the legislation that established this program," Patrick said.