By Spencer Ackerman
December 1, 2011
Here’s the best thing that can be said about the new detention powers
the Senate has tucked into next year’s defense bill: They don’t
force the military to detain American citizens indefinitely without
a trial. They just let the military do that. And even though the leaders
of the military and the spy community have said they want no such power, the
Senate is poised to pass its bill as early as tonight.
There are still changes swirling around the Senate, but this looks like the
basic shape of the 2012
National Defense Authorization Act. Someone the government says is “a
member of, or part of, al-Qaida or an associated force” can be held in
military custody “without trial until the end of the hostilities authorized
by the Authorization for Use of Military Force.” Those hostilities are
currently scheduled to end
the Wednesday after never. The move would shut down criminal trials for
But far more dramatically, the detention mandate to use indefinite military detention in terrorism cases isn’t limited to foreigners. It’s confusing, because two different sections of the bill seem to contradict each other, but in the judgment of the University of Texas’ Robert Chesney — a nonpartisan authority on military detention — “U.S. citizens are included in the grant of detention authority.”
Levin-McCain bill would create a presidential dictatorship. Where is the outrage?
by Justin Raimondo
Buried in the annual defense appropriations bill is a provision that would give the President the power to use the military to intern anyone — including American citizens — indefinitely, and hold them without charges or trial, anywhere in the world, including on American soil . The provision essentially repeals the longstanding Posse Comitatus Act , which prevents the military from engaging in law enforcement on US territory — the greatest fear of the Founders. Approved by a Senate subcommittee in secret hearings, the provisions open the road to a military dictatorship in this country — and for that we can thank Senators Carl Levin and John McCain , who introduced the measure. Both the FBI and the Pentagon came out against the Levin-McCain monstrosity, and Senator Mark Udall (D-Colorado) introduced an amendment striking the provision: the amendment was defeated in the Senate, 37-61 .
The mind reels. As the ACLU’s Chris Anders
puts it :
“I know it sounds incredible. New powers to use the military worldwide, even within the United States? Hasn’t anyone told the Senate that Osama bin Laden is dead, that the president is pulling all of the combat troops out of Iraq and trying to figure out how to get combat troops out of Afghanistan too? And American citizens and people picked up on American or Canadian or British streets being sent to military prisons indefinitely without even being charged… Continue reading
November 29, 2011
Secrecy News Blog
The Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board that was supposed to provide independent oversight of U.S. counterterrorism policies remains dormant and out of service because its members have still not been named and confirmed.
In a report that was newly updated this month, the Congressional Research Service traced the origins of the Board from a recommendation by the 9/11 Commission through its initial establishment as a White House agency to its reconstitution as an independent agency chartered by statute in 2007.
The Board was assigned two overriding missions: It was supposed to “analyze and review actions the executive branch takes to protect the Nation from terrorism, ensuring that the need for such actions is balanced with the need to protect privacy and civil liberties”; and to “ensure that liberty concerns are appropriately considered in the development and implementation of laws, regulations, and policies related to efforts to protect the Nation against terrorism.”
So had the Board been functional, it might have been a valuable participant in current deliberations over military detention authority, for example. It might also have conducted investigative oversight into any number of other counterterrorism policies, as mandated by law. But for all practical purposes, there is no Board.
Last January, President Obama named Elisebeth C. Cook and James X. Dempsey to serve on the Board. The Senate has not acted on their nomination. Even if they had been confirmed, however, they would not have constituted a quorum. Thus,… Continue reading
Red Dirt Report, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY — Ten years after 9/11 and 16 years after the Oklahoma City bombing, it appears the federal government continues to view some Americans who embrace their First Amendment rights — press and speech, primarily — as a danger to the State, and as a result they are listing certain investigative websites as extremist and a terroristic threat to the “homeland.”
One, labeled as “extremist” and therefore a threat to the U.S. Government, includes a well-known site, once operated by a truth-seeking Oklahoma state legislator, working to expose anomalies related to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing — OKCbombing.net . A link to the document can be seen here .
This shocking designation is indeed troubling, particularly to the local documentary film production company Free Mind Films , which is also releasing an explosive documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing, A Noble Lie.
OKCbombing.net was formerly operated by State Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City), as a site to inform the public about reams of information discovered by the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, much of it originally ignored by the same federal agencies who now list the site as a threat to the homeland. As for Rep. Key, he concluded his role in the OBIC in approximately 2002 and Free Mind Films is now paying for access and domain rights to… Continue reading
November 28, 2011
Dr. Paul Rea
Dr. Lynn Margulis was always an iconoclast–and now, even after her tragic passing, she continues to teach us a great deal. While many know that Lynn Margulis was once married to astronomer Carl Sagan, in scientific circles she was best known for her theory of symbiogenesis. This theory proposes that inherited variation does not come from random mutations in genes but from long-lasting interaction between organisms.
Steve Goodwin, Dean of Natural Resources at the University of Massachusetts, understands that his colleague would “take the theory of evolutionary biology and see how far she could push it.” Given the prevailing Darwinian dogma, her challenge was very gutsy indeed. Strict Darwinists, Margulis pointed out boldly, “miss bacteria, protoctista, fungi, and plants. They take a small and interesting chapter in the book of evolution and extrapolate it into the entire encyclopedia of life.”
Predictably, Lynn Margulis affronted the dogmatists; some of them even called her a throwback to Jean-Baptiste Lamarck, who’d argued for a theory assuming the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Given the attitudes of conventional biologists, this was a damning dismissal. Thus when Margulis insisted on exploding the reigning paradigm, she was risking her professional reputation, even her career. Today it seems clear that it’s not either/or–that a fuller understanding of life needn’t discard all the Darwin/Wallace doctrine, but it does require looking at the full range of evidence.
David Ray Griffin has recently reminded us that for Margulis, the most difficult challenge was not… Continue reading
November 23, 2011
David Ray Griffin
The family of Lynn Margulis has announced that she died at home on Tuesday, November 22, at the age of 73. She had suffered a serious hemorrhagic stroke on Friday, November 18 – so serious that there was no chance of recovery.
Having authored dozens of books and scientific papers, Margulis was awarded the National Medal of Science in 1999.
In 2004, she began looking into the evidence against the official account of 9/11. She not only accepted it but also — always known for her courage – announced her views, writing in 2007:
“Whoever is responsible for bringing to grisly fruition this new false-flag operation, which has been used to justify the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq as well as unprecedented assaults on research, education, and civil liberties, must be perversely proud of their efficient handiwork. Certainly, 19 young Arab men and a man in a cave 7,000 miles away, no matter the level of their anger, could not have masterminded and carried out 9/11: the most effective television commercial in the history of Western civilization. I suggest that those of us aware and concerned demand that the glaringly erroneous official account of 9/11 be dismissed as a fraud and a new, thorough, and impartial investigation be undertaken.”
In early 2010, she wrote an article on WTC 7 entitled “Two Hit, Three Down — The Biggest Lie.” Asking: “Why did three World Trade Center buildings (#1,#2 and #7) collapse on 9/11, after… Continue reading
by Glenn Greenwald
November 23, 2011
A tribunal in Malaysia, spearheaded by that nation’s former Prime Minister, yesterday found George Bush and Tony Blair guilty of “crimes against peace” and other war crimes for their 2003 aggressive attack on Iraq, as well as fabricating pretexts used to justify the attack. The seven-member Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal — which featured an American law professor as one of its chief prosecutors — has no formal enforcement power, but was modeled after a 1967 tribunal in Sweden and Denmark that found the U.S. guilty of a war of aggression in Vietnam, and, even more so, after the U.S.-led Nuremberg Tribunal held after World War II. Just as the U.S. steadfastly ignored the 1967 tribunal on Vietnam, Bush and Blair both ignored the summons sent to them and thus were tried in absentia.
The tribunal ruled that Bush and Blair’s name should be entered in a register of war criminals, urged that they be recognized as such under the Rome Statute, and will also petition the International Criminal Court to proceed with binding charges. Such efforts are likely to be futile, but one Malaysian lawyer explained the motives of the tribunal to The Associated Press: “For these people who have been immune from prosecution, we want to put them on trial in this forum to prove that they committed war crimes.” In other words, because their own nations refuse to hold them accountable and can use their power to prevent international… Continue reading
Historical Judgment of Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal
by Cynthia McKinney
Kuala Lumpur War Crimes Tribunal
Bush, Blair Defense Relies On 9/11/01
That’s why we need an independent investigation of 9/11.
While the prosecution of President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair for the crime of aggression, crimes against the peace, took two days to present because the docket was so full of important evidence, including their own books written after the Iraq War, the Defense (by way of Amicus Curiae) sought to conclude its proceedings by invoking the emotionalism of the tragedy that took place on 11 September 2001. Amid multiple rebukes by the Chief Justice of the Tribunal to avoid emotionalism, the Defense team could not help itself.
Lead Defense Counsel continued, “Had George W. Bush said ‘We know who you are, we know what you did, and we forgive you,’ the world could have been a much different place. But, instead, Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantánamo happened. We are fallible human beings. We make mistakes.” And the Defense stated that the defense of Bush and Blair defense is that the accused “are human.”
The Judges interjected at this point that perhaps the correct defense should have been “temporary insanity” or “provocation” since the prosecution had already stated that 9/11 was a pretext for the war that was desired by certain personalities as far back as 1998.
The Defense noted that what happened was human fallibility and in the end, the information that prompted the war… Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
The Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (Protect IP) and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) “are like two peas in a pod,” Sen. Ron Wyden, the bills’ most vocal opponent in the U.S. Senate, explained to Raw Story in an exclusive interview.
“These are Web blacklisting bills, Web censorship bills, and anybody with a Web site would be vulnerable,” he said, a tone of urgency prevailing in his voice.
“Had I not put a hold on it in May, it would have simply passed at that time,” Wyden continued. “I put a hold on the previous version back in December, and had I not put a public hold on it then, that version would have passed.”
Now, the Protect IP Act and SOPA are back, and this time seemingly with enough momentum to make it through Congress — but that could be changing.
The Business Software Alliance, a major industry advocacy group that once supported the bills, changed its mind just this week and is now working to oppose them.
Now companies like Apple, Microsoft and Intel are working to significantly alter the legislation, which critics say would fundamentally change the architecture of the Internet. Even Google and Facebook have come out against the bills, aruging that they simply go too far.
But they’re pitted against a collection of very powerful lobbies: the movie and music industries, along with other digital content providers like Sony and Nintendo.… Continue reading
I have repeatedly demonstrated that — despite the false divide-and-conquer tactics of the mainstream parties and mainstream media — the overwhelming majority of Americans agree on the most important issues facing our country . And see this .
NO MORE BAILOUTS!
As I’ve noted since 2008 , Americans are united in their overwhelming disapproval for bailouts to the big banks.
This has remained true right up to today.
As Rassmussen found only last month (as summarized by KXLF news ):
Today’s Rasmussen Reports survey finds that most Americans don’t like bailouts for financial institutions.
60% Oppose Financial Bailouts; 74% Say Wall Street Benefited Most
Survey of 1,000 American Adults
- Just 20% think it was a good idea for the government to provide bailout funding to banks and other financial institutions, but 60% say otherwise .
- While many activists try to link the Republican Party and Wall Street, Republicans think the bailouts were a bad idea by an eight-to-one margin.
- Those not affiliated with either major party think they were a bad idea by a four-to-one margin. Democrats are much more evenly divided. Thirty-four percent (34%) of those in the president’s party say the bailouts were a good idea while 42% disagree.
- Overall, 68% believe that most of the bailout money went to the very people who created the nation’s ongoing economic crisis , but 12% disagree and 21% aren’t sure.
by Peter Dale Scott
November 22, 2011
Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus (The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 47 No 2)
I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency [the National Security Agency] and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return.” – Senator Frank Church (1975)
I would like to discuss four major and badly understood events – the John F. Kennedy assassination, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and 9/11. I will analyze these deep events as part of a deeper political process linking them, a process that has helped build up repressive power in America at the expense of democracy.
In recent years I have been talking about a dark force behind these events — a force which, for want of a better term, I have clumsily called a “deep state,” operating both within and outside the public state. Today for the first time I want to identify part of that dark force, a part which has operated for five decades or more at the edge of the public state. This part of the dark force has a name not invented by me: the Doomsday Project, the Pentagon’s name for the emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.”1
My point is a simple and important one: to show that the Doomsday Project of the 1980s, and the earlier emergency planning that developed into it, have played a role in the background of all the deep events I shall discuss.…Continue reading
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger Editor of NaturalNews.com
(NaturalNews) When I read a story yesterday about an 89-year-old woman being water-boarded by nursing home staff over an argument about ice cream, I knew something terrible was amiss across the American landscape. Spontaneous acts of tyranny have been cropping up lately like cancer tumors: a food tyrant in Nevada raids a farm picnic and orders everyone to destroy their food ( http://www.naturalnews.com/034125_f… ); student protesters in California get pepper-sprayed by thuggish cops who clearly enjoy causing pain and suffering ( http://fieldnotes.msnbc.msn.com/_ne… ); and now nursing home staffers torture their own resident using techniques borrowed from Guantánamo Bay ( http://atlanta.cbslocal.com/2011/11… ). I watched all this with a sense of sadness and disgrace for the human race. And then a realization hit me like a sledgehammer…
And On a Related Theme…
Chancellor Katehi’s impressive learning skills
By Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com
The UC-Davis Chancellor responsible for the pepper-spraying of her students, Linda Katehi, today went on Good Morning America and explained why she should not resign or otherwise be held accountable: “we really need to start the healing process and move forward.” On a radio program in the afternoon, she expanded on this view by saying: “We need to move on.” So apparently — yet again — the only way everyone can begin to “heal” and “move forward” is if everyone agrees that those in power with the greatest responsibility be fully shielded from any consequences and that… Continue reading
Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting
vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots
by Paul Harris
16 November 2011
Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned
Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots
David Williams did not have an easy life. He moved to Newburgh, a gritty, impoverished town on the banks of the Hudson an hour or so north of New York, at just 10 years old. For a young, black American boy with a father in jail, trouble was everywhere.
Williams also made bad choices. He ended up going to jail for dealing drugs. When he came out in 2007 he tried to go straight, but money was tight and his brother, Lord, needed cash for a liver transplant. Life is hard in Newburgh if you are poor, have a drug rap and need cash quickly.
His aunt, Alicia McWilliams, was honest about the tough streets her nephew was dealing with. “Newburgh is a hard place,” she said. So it was perhaps no surprise that in May, 2009, David Williams was arrested again and hit with a 25-year jail sentence. But it was not for drugs offences. Or any other common crime. Instead Williams and three other struggling local men beset by drug, criminal and mental health issues were convicted of an Islamic terrorist plot to blow up Jewish synagogues and shoot down… Continue reading
By Pete Kasperowicz
November 19, 2011
A bipartisan group of senators proposed legislation this week that would overturn a court interpretation of current law that has blocked a lawsuit brought by 9/11 victims against Saudi Arabia for supporting al Qaeda.
The bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) would amend the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) and the Anti-Terrorism Act (ATA) to clarify that victims of terrorist acts in the U.S. can hold the foreign sponsors of those attacks responsible in U.S. courts. Co-sponsoring the bill are Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.).
Schumer said the bill is needed because some U.S. courts have interpreted FSIA and ATA that Americans injured during the 9/11 attacks have no recourse against foreign states that should be held responsible. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York threw out a victims’ suit against Saudi Arabia in 2008, based on the argument that Saudi Arabia did not direct the 9/11 attacks, and that FSIA did not apply to this case.
But Schumer said this decision reflects an incorrect interpretation of FSIA and ATA, and is “contrary to the plain language” of those laws.
“[T]aken together, the FSIA and ATA were designed to enable terrorism victims to bring suit against foreign states and terror sponsors when they support terrorism against the United States,” Schumer said. “I am introducing this bill… Continue reading
November 17, 2011
Today, November 17th, over 30,000 New Yorkers took to the streets to resist austerity, rebuild our economy, and reclaim our democracy. It was our largest action to date.
Our will was only emboldened by Mayor Bloomberg’s heavy-handed attempt to eradicate Occupy Wall Street; our brutal eviction from our homes at Liberty Square has strengthened both our resolve and our legitimacy. Together, we raised our voices to declare: “No to evictions! No to the 1% that profits from our collective impoverishment.” We showed the world we are not a fringe group of naive idealists–we are truly a people’s uprising embodying the revolutionary spirit of economic justice, mutual aid, and participatory, consensus-based democracy. We are the 99%.
And the world responded.
Protestors across the United States occupied our most tangible symbols of oligarchic neglect: bridges–essential public infrastructure the 1% has blithely let decay:
Los Angeles, CA: protestors peacefully shut down a bridge into the financial district. 16 were arrested.
Portland, OR: the Steel Bridge was occupied.
Detroit, MI: in one of the cities hardest hit by foreclosures and evictions, 1000s marched across the 2nd Ave Bridge.
Washington, DC: protestors demonstrated in support of increased infrastructure projects on the Key Bridge.
Philadelphia, PA: 1500 people marched on the Market St Bridge where at least 25 people were arrested during a nonviolent sit-in.
Miami, FL: over 2,000 people gathered under the overpass at Jose Marti Park.
Hartford, CT: 200 people blocked the entrance ramp to 1-84, with 10 arrests.
Houston,… Continue reading
Former 9/11 commission director talks at lecture
By Travis Alford
The Daily Cougar
As the crowd of students, professors and Houstonians brushed off the cold, Philip Zelikow stepped to the podium in The Honors College Commons on Thursday to discuss the US government’s defense against terrorism.
Zelikow, the executive director of the 9/11 Commission, an executive on the President Intelligence Advisory Board and a history professor at the University of Virginia, focused his lecture, “The Twilight of War,” on America’s resiliency and his experience with the horrific events of 9/11.
“It’s my job to make meaning of 9/11,” Zelikow said.
During the lecture, Zelikow spoke of his personal experiences on the scene during Sept. 11.
“I can still smell the sulfur, it stands out,” Zelikow said. “It was as if the terrorist opened up a special path to hell.”
“After the attack, the event entered popular culture,” Zelikow said. “9/11 opened up our eyes to zealousy.”
In the days following the attack, President Bush labeled Osama bin Laden as America’s enemy and the ringleader of 9/11.
“I disagreed with President Bush when he openly pointed the finger at bin Laden,” Zelikow said.
“It made Osama glorious and that’s what he wanted, to be glorified. These people think we are important and they develop complexes about us, so for our President to recognize one of them was a big deal.”
Since Sept. 11, officials have charged Khalid Sheikh Mohammed in connection with the attack, labeling him as the mastermind. Mohammed is… Continue reading
by Rev. Rich Lang
Sent by email November 16, 2011, 4:53 a.m. PST
America, America, my country tis of thee,
Sweet land of liberty
Of thee I sing
America, oh America
America the Beautiful has fallen.
You could feel the tension and raw energy crinkling throughout the air as the marchers once again began their journey into downtown Seattle. The Occupy Movement is the prophetic voice of God calling out to the nation to “repent” and turn from its ways of corruption. Those who camp are a rag-tag, motley crew made up of mostly young adults, mostly unemployed, almost all of whom are alienated and cast out of America’s promise of liberty and justice for all. They are our canaries, the first fruits being devoured by the Beast of Empire.
The police were once conceived to be a citizen force created to serve and protect the public. Today however, the police have been militarized and view the populace as enemy combatants, as threats to their well being. The police, like our Armed Forces, are well trained, disciplined and exceptionally talented. They follow a chain of command and are increasingly apprenticed into a culture of institutional conformity. Because America has always affirmed the right of dissent, the role of the police is to keep the peace. They are trained to enter the protesting arena as unfeeling protectors of property and people. What has changed in our time is that the police are entering the arena of protest as agents of provocation.… Continue reading
Public Lecture – The Collapse of the Seventh Tower: A Physical & Chemical Analysis
Niels H. Harrit, Center for Molecular Movies, Copenhagen University
When: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 @ 7:15-9:15 p.m.
Where: Morrison Hall 007
Departmental Sponsors: College of Arts and Sciences, American Studies Program
To most people, the image of the World Trade Center (WTC) is confined to the famous twin towers, which dominated the New York skyline until September 11th, 2001, when they collapsed after each one being hit by an airliner. However, the trade center was an assembly of seven buildings around a plaza. The youngest of these, WTC7, was a huge office building, reaching 186 meters and 47 stories into the air. The ground-plan area was little less than a soccer field.
WTC7 was not hit by an airliner. Still, it collapsed seven hours after the twin towers in a totally symmetric movement with free-fall speed. It was the most unexpected collapse in the history of modern building construction.
The talk outlines the factual circumstances around this event. These facts are held up against the official account of the event as it has been presented in a report from National Institute of Standards and Technology. According to this report, WTC7 collapsed due to fire. But never before – or since – in history has a steel-framed high-riser collapsed due to fire.
In the second part of the talk it is proposed that the collapse of WTC… Continue reading