July 06, 2011
by Ron Paul
The Daily Bell
The press reports are horrifying: 95 year-old women humiliated; children molested; disabled people abused; men and women subjected to unwarranted groping and touching of their most private areas; involuntary radiation exposure. If the perpetrators were a gang of criminals, their headquarters would be raided by SWAT teams and armed federal agents. Unfortunately, in this case the perpetrators are armed federal agents. This is the sorry situation ten years after the creation of the Transportation Security Administration.
The requirement that Americans be forced to undergo this appalling treatment simply for the “privilege” of traveling in their own country reveals much about how the federal government feels about our liberties. The unfortunate fact that we put up with this does not speak well for our willingness to stand up to an abusive government.
Many Americans continue to fool themselves into accepting TSA abuse by saying “I don’t mind giving up my freedoms for security.” In fact, they are giving up their liberties and not receiving security in return. Last week, for example, just days after an elderly cancer victim was forced to submit to a cruel and pointless TSA search, including removal of an adult diaper, a Nigerian immigrant somehow managed to stroll through TSA security checks and board a flight from New York to LA — with a stolen, expired boarding pass and an out-of-date student ID as his sole identification! He was detained and questioned, only to be released to do… Continue reading
by Ray McGovern
Published on Saturday, July 2, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Yes, that was I standing before the U.S. Embassy in Athens on the eve of the July Fourth weekend holding the American flag in the distress mode — upside
[Photo (right): Ret. US Army Colonel Ann Wright, 64, from Honolulu, chants slogans as she and other activists rally in protest outside the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, Friday, July 1, 2011. The activists hope to join an international flotilla and to sail to Gaza.]
Indignities experienced by me and my co-guests on “The Audacity of Hope,” the American boat to Gaza, over the past ten days in Athens leave no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama’s administration has forfeited the right to claim any lineage to the brave Americans who declared independence from the king of England 235 years ago.
In the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to a new enterprise of freedom, democracy and the human spirit. The outcome was far from assured; likely as not, the hangman’s noose awaited them. They knew that all too well.
But they had a genuine audacity to hope that the majority of their countrymen and women, persuaded by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the elegant words of Thomas Jefferson, would conclude that the goal of liberty and freedom was worth the risk, that it was worth whatever the cost.
These days we have been seduced into thinking that such principles have become “quaint”… Continue reading
By ALEX KATZ
It took years of lobbying and partisan bickering, but the 9/11 Zadroga Act to help ailing Ground Zero responders finally took effect today.
The law provides $4.3 billion in guaranteed federal funding to cover health costs and financial compensation for emergency responders, recovery workers, volunteers, and residents who were affected by the attacks almost 10 years ago.
Advocates celebrated with a ceremonial ribbon-cutting against a backdrop of Star Spangled Banners at Mount Sinai’s 9/11 health clinic this morning.
National and city pols were also on hand, including Mayor Bloomberg, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and U.S. Reps. Jerrold Nadler, Charlie Rangel, and Carolyn Maloney.
“This is an historic milestone, not only for the more than 36,000 Americans who lost their health as a result of 9/11 and are in the program, but also for our moral obligation to care for those who rise to the defense of our nation in a time of war,” Maloney said.
The Manhattan Democrat — who was introduced at the event as the “bulldog of the Upper East Side” — helped write the landmark legislation along with Nadler and Rep. Peter King (R-L.I.), spearheading the fight for its approval in the House and ultimately the Senate.
The original bill’s price tag was scaled back from $7.4 billion as part of a compromise with conservatives in both parties, which allowed the legislation to pass through Congress and get President Obama’s signature in early January.
“As you all know, nothing… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
In August, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder — under continuous , aggressive prodding by the Obama White House — announced that three categories of individuals responsible for Bush-era torture crimes would be fully immunized from any form of criminal investigation and prosecution: (1) Bush officials who ordered the torture (Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld); (2) Bush lawyers who legally approved it (Yoo, Bybee, Levin), and (3) those in the CIA and the military who tortured within the confines of the permission slips they were given by those officials and lawyers (i.e., “good-faith” torturers). The one exception to this sweeping immunity was that low-level CIA agents and servicemembers who went so far beyond the torture permission slips as to basically commit brutal, unauthorized murder would be subject to a “preliminary review” to determine if a full investigation was warranted — in other words, the Abu Ghraib model of justice was being applied, where only low-ranking scapegoats would be subject to possible punishment while high-level officials would be protected.
Yesterday, it was announced that this “preliminary review” by the prosecutor assigned to conduct it, U.S. Attorney John Durham, is now complete, and — exactly as one would expect — even this category of criminals has been almost entirely protected, meaning a total legal whitewash for the Bush torture regime:
The Justice Department has opened full criminal investigations of the deaths in CIA custody of two detainees , including one who perished at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison,… Continue reading
June 29, 2011
By Liz Goodwin
The Lookout blog at Yahoo.com
A new report out of Brown University estimates that the U.S. wars in Afghanistan and Iraq–together with the counterinsurgency efforts in Pakistan–will, all told, cost $4 trillion and leave 225,000 dead, both civilians and soldiers.
The group of economists, anthropologists, lawyers, humanitarian personnel, and political scientists involved in the project estimated that the cost of caring for the veterans injured in the wars will reach $1 trillion in 30 or 40 years. In estimating the $4 trillion total, they did not take into account the $5.3 billion in reconstruction spending the government has promised Afghanistan, state and local contributions to veteran care, interest payments on war debt, or the costs of Medicare for veterans when they reach 65.
The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, has assessed the federal price tag for the wars at $1.8 trillion through 2021. The report says that is a gross underestimate, predicting that the government has already paid $2.3 trillion to $2.7 trillion.
More than 6,000 U.S. troops and 2,300 contractors have died since the wars began after Sept. 11. A staggering 550,000 disability claims have been filed with the VA as of 2010. Meanwhile, 137,000 civilians in Afghanistan and Iraq have died in the conflict. (Injuries among U.S. contractors have also not yet been made public, further complicating the calculations of cost.) Nearly 8 million people have been displaced. Check out Reuters’ factbox breaking down the costs and casualties here.
Perhaps the most sobering… Continue reading
Whether celebrated or condemned, the American Dream endures, though always ambiguously. We are forever describing and defining, analyzing and assessing the concept, and with each attempt to clarify, the idea of an American Dream grows more incoherent yet more entrenched.
The literature of this dream analysis is virtually endless, as writers undertake the task of achieving, saving, chasing, restoring, protecting, confronting, pursuing, reviving, shaping, renewing, and challenging the American Dream. Other writers are busy devouring, recapturing, fulfilling, chasing, liberating, advertising, redesigning, rescuing, spreading, updating, inventing, reevaluating, financing, redefining, remembering, and expanding the American Dream. And let’s not forget those who are deepening, building, debating, burying, destroying, ruining, promoting, tracking, betraying, remaking, living, regulating, undermining, marketing, downsizing, and revitalizing the American Dream.
We are exhorted to awaken from, and face up to, the dream, as we explore the myths behind, crisis of, cracks in, decline of, and quest for the American Dream.
My favorite book title on the subject has to be Andy Kaufman: Wrestling with the American Dream , which explores the comedian’s career “within a broader discussion of the ideology of the American Dream.” According to the book’s publisher, the author “brilliantly decodes Kaufman in a way that makes it possible to grasp his radical agenda beyond avant-garde theories of transgression. As an entertainer, Kaufman submerged his identity… Continue reading
From Naomi: The movie was made by Steve Bates of Wake Up Productions. Just FYI, he issued a disclaimer with the movie as follows:
This film should be viewed as a whole body of work, as it is NOT about the life, career or CREDIBILTY of any one particular Hollywood Celebrity.
Celebrities do have the right to FREEDOM OF SPEECH and are free to verbally express their own opinion (so long as it doesn’t cause personal injury to others).
If I wanted RESPECTABILTY, I would have made a boring film about the dozen or so ACADEMICALLY ACCREDITED scientists who have actually tested the World Trade Center dust and found UN-EXPLODED military grade NANO-THERMITE.
This film is about Hollywood’s GUT FEELING that something is just not right, and the dozens of UNANSWERED QUESTIONS they have.
Charlie Sheen (Actor: Platoon, Wall Street, Two and a Half Men)
Alex Jones (Radio Host/Film Producer)
Daniel Sunjata (Actor: Rescue Me, Grey’s Anatomy, The Devil Wears Prada)… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
In the last few years, a series of peer-reviewed scientific articles has been published that establish the presence of thermitic materials at the World Trade Center (WTC). [A-D]
Although we know that nanothermite has been found in the WTC dust, we do not know what purpose it served in the deceptive demolition of the WTC buildings. It could be that the nanothermite was used simply to drive fires in the impact zones and elevator areas — fires which would otherwise have gone out too early or not been present at all — and thereby create the deception that jet fuel-induced fires could wreak the havoc seen. Nanothermite might also have been used to produce the explosions necessary to destroy the structural integrity of the buildings.
Nanothermite, also called superthermite, is the common name for a subset of metastable intermolecular composites (MICs) characterized by a highly exothermic reaction after ignition. Nanothermites contain an oxidizer and a reducing agent that are intimately mixed on the nanometer scale. Such nano-energetics are produced for various applications including propellants, explosives, and pyrotechnics.
There are various ways to make nanothermites. They can be made as solid mixtures of aluminum and metal oxides which are typically produced using techniques like dynamic vapor phase condensation and arrested reactive milling. These mixtures are much like typical thermite mixtures, but with the components introduced on a much smaller scale. Alternatively, nanothermites can be made in a liquid solution that later gels, capturing the reactive components in… Continue reading
By NEDRA PICKLER
June 11, 2011
WASHINGTON (AP) — A Yemeni detainee ordered to be freed from Guantánamo Bay has to stay now that a U.S. appeals court has overturned his release.
The U.S Court of Appeals in Washington says circumstantial evidence of terrorist ties can be enough to keep a prisoner like Hussain Salem Mohammad Almerfedi at the U.S. naval prison in Cuba.
Almerfedi was captured in Iran after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and eventually transferred to U.S. authorities through Afghanistan. Government attorneys argue he was staying at an al-Qaida-affiliated guesthouse, based on the testimony of another Guantánamo detainee. Almerfedi denied it, and a lower court judge found the testimony against him unreliable and ordered him released.
But the appeals court said the judge erred in finding the testimony unreliable and found it was likely Almerfedi was part of al-Qaida.
Richard Gage, AIA, a member of the American Institute for Architects, has studied the evidence at length and concluded the official story of 9/11 cannot be true in respect of the three (sic) building collapses in New York.
He has signed up over 1500 professionals to the demand for a new inquiry. His talk is entitled 9/11 Blueprint for Truth – Architecture of Destruction. For full details of other venues please check www.ae911truth.org.
20 June London. The Royal Institute Of British Architects (RIBA) 66 Portland Place, London W1B 1AD. 7.00pm. £15, £10 concs at door or for £3 discount please send your name to ae911london [at} yahoo.co.uk
21 June Bristol, Colston Hall, Bristol City Centre. 7.30pm. Entry £6.00, £4.00 concs.
11 June Dublin; 12 June Dundalk ; 15 June Cork; 17 June Edinburgh; 18 June Cambridge University; 19 June Cardiff: The Atrium at Glamorgan University; 24 June Rotterdam 25 June Amsterdam
Siena Research Institute Poll Commissioned by “Remember Building 7″
Campaign Shows Significant Skepticism of Official Account
June 8, 2011
NEW YORK CITY, NY — Amid its June 6th launch of 425 advertising spots
on New York television, Remember Building 7 — an advocacy campaign calling
for a new investigation into the collapse of a third skyscraper on 9/11 —
has released findings from a new poll it commissioned on what New Yorkers believe
about that day.
The May polling of 643 New Yorkers (including respondents in all of New York
City’s five boroughs) by the independent Siena Research Institute shows
meaningful levels of doubt and concern regarding the truth about what happened
that day, with only 60 percent of New Yorkers ready to “move on”,
and 48 percent in favor of the Manhattan District Attorney or New York City
Council opening a new investigation into the collapse of World Trade Center
The poll finds:
1 in 3 New Yorkers were unaware of Building 7′s collapse (the
skyscraper was not hit by an airplane; it collapsed seven hours after the Twin
Towers), only 25 percent have ever seen video footage of the collapse, and 86
percent were unable to name the building;
Of those aware of Building 7′s collapse, 24 percent believe it
was a controlled demolition that brought the building down, 23… Continue reading
May 10, 2011
Dr. Steven Jones
Blog at 911blogger.com
Here I field questions that come to me fairly often, to help get the facts out and to counter misrepresentations and misunderstandings. I expect to make edits for a while and welcome comments.
1. Can nanothermites (also called superthermites) be explosive?
The definition of “explosive” can lead to endless debates. Is a flash of light required? Is a loud sound required? How loud? What rate of energy generation is required for a material to be called an explosive? Where is the line between low explosives and high explosives? Rather than getting mired into ad nauseum debates, I will use the term “explosive” in conjunction with superthermites/nanothermites IF the national defense laboratories which developed these materials use the term. Here we go.
“Researchers can greatly increase the power of weapons by adding materials known as superthermites that combine nanometals such as nanoaluminum with metal oxides such as iron oxide, according to Steven Son, a project leader in the Explosives Science and Technology group at Los Alamos. “The advantage (of using nanometals) is in how fast you can get their energy out,” Son says. Son says that the chemical reactions of superthermites are faster and therefore release greater amounts of energy more rapidly… Son, who has been working on nanoenergetics for more than three years, says that scientists can engineer nanoaluminum powders with different particle sizes to vary the energy release rates. This enables the material to be used in many applications, including underwater explosive devices… However, researchers aren’t permitted to discuss what practical military applications may come from this research.” (Gartner, John (2005).…Continue reading
by Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office of ACLU.org
The House just passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including a provision to authorize worldwide war, which has no expiration date and will allow this president — and any future president — to go to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. The new authorization wouldn’t even require the president to show any threat to the national security of the United States. The American military could become the world’s cop, and could be sent into harm’s way almost anywhere and everywhere around the globe.
Read details of this extremely important bill, H.R. 1540, at Thomas.gov with final vote results here. Bravo to Rep. Justin Amash (D, Mich) for introducing Amendment 327 to strike section 1034 of the bill, relating to the authorization for use of military force. Sadly, the amendment failed 187-234 (see roll call vote results). Rep. Jason Chaffetz (D., Utah) introduced an amendment requiring US ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and require the Secretary of Defense to submit a withdrawal plan to Congress within 60 days. It, too, failed, 123-294. List of all amendments and results here.
Before the vote, the House debated an amendment that would have struck the worldwide war provision. That amendment was introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.),… Continue reading
By PETE YOST
WASHINGTON — Four Democratic senators won the promise Thursday of a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing into what they say is a secret and expansive Justice Department interpretation of the information collection the Patriot Act allows.
The criticism by Intelligence Committee members Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado came as Congress moved to extend the government’s Patriot Act powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps.
Wyden said there is a growing gap between what the law says and what the senators call a classified interpretation of the law by the Justice Department.
Udall said his constituents “would be alarmed if they knew” how the Patriot Act was being carried out.
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon complained that “the government won’t even tell the American people how it interprets these provisions, or whether it sees any limits on its authority at all.” Sen. Tom Udall of New Mexico said almost 10 years after the Patriot Act’s passage, “we still haven’t had the debate that we need to have on this piece of legislation.” All four senators voted against the Patriot Act extension. Merkley and Tom Udall are not on the intelligence committee.
The four senators proposed an amendment that would require Attorney General Eric Holder to file a public report on the legal rationale for intelligence collection activities. Wyden vowed to offer the amendment in the fall “if we don’t get results” through the hearing process.
The wording of the amendment seemed… Continue reading
By Pete Kasperowicz
The House Thursday night approved the Senate version of the Patriot Act extension bill, a clean extension of three surveillance authorities until June 1, 2015.
The House finished voting at about 7:50 p.m., and approved the measure in a 250-153 vote. In the final vote, 54 Democrats voted for it, along with all but 31 Republicans.
The hastily arranged debate happened just minutes after the Senate approved the same bill by a 72-23 vote. With the House vote, the White House is expected to be able to approve it tonight with the help of an automated presidential signature, as President Obama is still in Europe.
House members rushed to approve the bill before three surveillance authorities expired at midnight, but spent some time debating it, even though the debate covered mostly familiar ground. Democrats generally opposed the bill, calling it something that would extend the government’s invasion of privacy.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said the death of Osama bin Laden in particular means the three authorities should be reconsidered.
“At a time like this, we should re-examine the restoration of our constitutional protections,” he said. “This is the type of government intrusion which the bill of right was designed to prevent.”
The legislation would extend the ability of U.S. intelligence authorities to conduct roving wiretaps, gain access to business records, and survey “lone-wolf” operators, non-U.S citizens believed to be acting alone to commit terrorist acts. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) argued Thursday night that there are problems with each of these authorities.…Continue reading
May 24, 2011
By Laurie Kellman
WASHINGTON–The tortoise-like Senate is under uncommon pressure to pass
a four-year extension of the anti-terrorist Patriot Act before key provisions
expire Friday. But the deadline is even tighter, because President Barack Obama
is in Europe.
Any extension passed by the Senate must be sent to the House and passed there,
then flown overseas to be signed into law.
So the Senate’s deadline for passage is more like midweek. And that’s no accident.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who not long ago vowed to have a
full week of debate on the Patriot Act extension, has instead backed up the
vote against a tighter deadline to limit debate over legislation some say is
less necessary now that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden is dead.
Another motivator: The Senate’s weeklong Memorial Day break begins just after
the Patriot Act deadline.
The White House urged the Senate to do what it typically does not: work quickly.
“It is essential to avoid any hiatus” in the law’s powers, the Obama
administration said in a statement.
But the Senate does not rush, even when it’s clear that there probably isn’t
time for changes. Senators voted 74-8 Monday to begin debate on the bill.
Members of both parties demanded time to talk about their amendments, some
of which would require tougher oversight on how the government uses the law’s
powers. Reid was negotiating Monday on which amendments would be considered,
and for how long.
The legislation would extend three… Continue reading
23 May 2011
by Jeffrey Kaye
A great deal of controversy has arisen about what was known about the movements and location of Osama bin Laden in the wake of his killing by US Special Forces on May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Questions about what intelligence agencies knew or didn’t know about al-Qaeda activities go back some years, most prominently in the controversy over the existence of a joint US Special Forces Command and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) data mining effort known as “Able Danger.”
What hasn’t been discussed is a September 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general (IG) report, summarizing an investigation made in response to an accusation by a Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) whistleblower, which indicated that a senior JFIC commander had halted actions tracking Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. JFIC is tasked with an intelligence mission in support of United States Joint Force Command (USJFCOM).
The report, titled “Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission,” was declassified last year, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists.
The whistleblower, who the IG report identified as a former JFIC employee represented only by his codename “IRON MAN,” claimed in letters written to both the DoD inspector general in May 2006 and, lacking any apparent action by the IG, to the Office of the National Director of Intelligence (ODNI) in October 2007, that JFIC had withheld operational information about al-Qaeda when queried in March 2002 about its activities by the DIA and higher command officials on behalf of the 9/11 Commission.…Continue reading
By Kase Wickman
Thomas Drake worked for the National Security Agency before he was indicted by it. Drake felt that taxpayer money was being misused on unnecessary intelligence, not the information that would lead to the successful capture of terrorists.
While the government says he betrayed his country, Drake, facing 35 years in prison if convicted, says he only pointed out government mismanagement. Drake was imprisoned under the Espionage Act of 1917.
“The entire national security establishment — it was a failure, a fundamental systemic breakdown,” Drake told “60 Minutes”‘ Scott Pelley in his first televised interview.
Watch the full interview below, which originally aired on “60 Minutes” on May 22, 2011, embedded courtesy of CBS.