By Scott Horton
January 22, 2009
In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.
“The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.
Manfred Nowak, an internationally renowned law professor at the University of Vienna, currently serves as an independent expert for the United Nations looking at allegations of torture affecting member states. In 2006, he undertook a special investigation of conditions at the U.S. detention facilities at Guantánamo in which he concluded that practices approved by the Bush Administration violated human rights norms, including the prohibition against torture.
The ZDF piece also includes an interview with attorney Wolfgang Kaleck, who brought charges against Rumsfeld before German prosecutors. He states that the Obama administration is “off to a good beginning” with its explicit renunciation of torture,… Continue reading
The Dallas 9/11 Truth Group gave out more than 4,000 newspaper-sized flyers ( http://www.911blogger.com/node/18142 ) and over 1600 DVDs during their marches in both Dallas MLK Parades.
There was the Dallas MLK Parade on Saturday, the 17th.
Monday, the 19th, 9/11 Truth also was represented in The Elite News Dr. Martin Luther King Parade-”The People’s Parade.” This parade is the second largest of its kind in the country, and has always been dubbed “The Peoples Parade.” In 2008, it was reported to have had a turnout of an estimated 200,000 people.
The press was favorable. The live radiostation DJ announces that “9/11 was an inside job”…that he knows, because he saw Loose Change.
The Dallas Morning News wrote: “…and conspiracy theorists offered free computer disks EXPLAINING WHAT REALLY HAPPENED ON Sept. 11.”
Members of the Dallas based “North Texans for 9/11 Truth” marched carrying signs, handing out newspaper-sized flyers and DVDs to the eagerly receptive crowds along the street. “Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth” was represented in the group with an engineer driving in from a hundred miles away to join in the march.
People in the crowds would shout out: “Right on!” “I know it was!” (an inside job) “Yea!” “We know that is right!” “Expose the coverup!” “Inside job!”
There are many unique stories and anecdotes to tell about these two dynamic marches!
People clamored for DVDs and printed material. A lady watching the parade asked for a… Continue reading
Obama limits ex-presidents’ discretion on records
By MARK SHERMAN
January 21, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that limits the ability of former presidents to block the release of sensitive records of their time in the White House.
Obama’s action Wednesday in his first full day in office overturns an earlier order issued by George W. Bush.
Obama said former presidents may ask to have certain documents kept private, but they no longer may compel the National Archives to do so.
Obama’s executive order also makes clear that neither former vice presidents nor relatives of former presidents who have died have authority to keep records private.
Bush’s executive order, issued in November 2001, prompted a federal lawsuit and the partial invalidation of the order.
Obama Promises New Era of Openness
By Kim Zetter
January 21, 2009
Wired Blog Network Sunshine and Secrecy Category
United States President Barack Obama announced today that his administration will roll back the secrecy that has ruled during the Bush Administration and implement a new era of government openness and transparency.
Referring to the Freedom of Information Act as one of the most important tools of oversight the nation possesses, Obama called on all government agencies to err on the side of openness and release information whenever possible, which directly contradicts orders by the previous administration to look for reasons to withhold information whenever possible. Just because you have the legal right to withhold information, doesn’t mean you should, Obama said at a White House press conference and staff swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.…Continue reading
Of course, we still wonder why the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists list, which puts Usama bin Laden at the top, still doesn’t list the 9/11 attacks as one of the crimes for which they list him as a terrorist … Long-time readers will recall that The Muckraker Report’s Ed Haas spoke with Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI in June 2006:
When asked why there is no mention of 9/11 on Bin Laden’s Most Wanted web page, Tomb said, “The reason why 9/11 is not mentioned on Usama Bin Laden’s Most Wanted page is because the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.”
Surprised by the ease in which this FBI spokesman made such an astonishing statement, I asked, “How this was possible?” Tomb continued, “Bin Laden has not been formally charged in connection to 9/11.” I asked, “How does that work?” Tomb continued, “The FBI gathers evidence. Once evidence is gathered, it is turned over to the Department of Justice. The Department of Justice than decides whether it has enough evidence to present to a federal grand jury. In the case of the 1998 United States Embassies being bombed, Bin Laden has been formally indicted and charged by a grand jury. He has not been formally indicted and… Continue reading
January 21, 2009
by Philippe Naughton
Barack Obama has wasted no time in getting down to the business of government,
asking prosecutors to halt controversial military trials at Guantánamo Bay within
hours of his inauguration.
The request was issued via the Department of Defence even as President Obama
and his wife Michelle waltzed their way through a series of glitzy inaugural
Mr Obama pledged during his campaign to close the prison camp on Cuba set up
in 2001 to hold detainees from the ‘War on Terror’. The camp’s legality has
always been questioned, and former inmates and human rights experts said the
harsh interrogation techniques deployed inside it amounted to torture.
Last night’s request was for a 120-day stay in the trials of five alleged 9/11
plotters – including the self-proclaimed ‘mastermind’ behind America’s worst
terror attack – and of a Canadian accused of killing a US soldier in Afghanistan.
Mr Obama had been expected to issue an executive order as early as today for
the full closure of the camp, but accepts that it might take months to rehouse
some 250 inmates still held there.
Clive Stafford Smith, the British human rights lawyer who has represented Guantánamo
Bay suspects, welcomed the announcement and said that he thought Mr Obama could
close the camp within his first 100 days in office.
“It’s great isn’t it? It isn’t much like the original
executive order that President Bush issued,” he said. “There is
no doubt it will stop the practices… Continue reading
By Sam Greenhill
Last updated at 1:16 AM on 20th December 2008
Her sinking with the loss of almost 1,200 lives caused such outrage that it
propelled the U.S. into the First World War.
But now divers have revealed a dark secret about the cargo carried by the Lusitania
on its final journey in May 1915.
Munitions they found in the hold suggest that the Germans had been right all
along in claiming the ship was carrying war materials and was a legitimate military
Doomed: A contemporary view of the sinking of the Lusitania off Ireland in
The Cunard vessel, steaming from New York to Liverpool, was sunk eight miles
off the Irish coast by a U-boat.
Maintaining that the Lusitania was solely a passenger vessel, the British quickly
accused the ‘Pirate Hun’ of
The disaster was used to whip up anti-German anger, especially in the U.S.,
where 128 of the 1,198 victims came from.
A hundred of the dead were children, many of them under two.
Robert Lansing, the U.S. secretary of state, later wrote that the sinking gave
him the ‘conviction we would ultimately become the ally of Britain’.
Americans were even told, falsely, that German children were given a day off
school to celebrate the sinking of the Lusitania.
The disaster inspired a multitude of recruitment posters demanding vengeance
for the victims.
One, famously showing a young mother slipping below the waves with her baby,
carried the simple slogan ‘Enlist’.
Two years later, the Americans joined the Allies as an associated power – a
decision that turned the war decisively against Germany.…
January 10, 2009
Electric Politics Podcast Schedule Resumes January 16
Well, I enjoyed having two weeks off, but I’m glad to get back to podcasting.
So here’s the starting lineup for the new season. Friday, January 16, my guest
is Martin Fletcher of The Times of London (not to be confused with
Martin Fletcher of NBC news). Martin is a roving reporter without portfolio
and previously the Times‘ foreign editor, their Washington Bureau Chief,
and a foreign correspondent. He talks to me from Israel. The Friday following,
January 23, my guest is Dr. James Petras, who’s got a lot to say about Zionism
in America. After that, I’m not sure — a couple interviews are pending,
on arms control and on the economy. So we’ll see… And as I say, I’m glad to
January 16, 2009
Barbarism in Gaza (and Zimbabwe)
Come To Palestine antique posterOne wonders whether, if it weren’t for the
excessive delay between election and inauguration, Israel would still have attacked
Gaza. In any case, Israel’s assault being less a war than a hunt for naked prey,
it’s difficult, particularly here in the U.S., to get a feeling for what’s happening.
So I was fortunate in being able to turn to Martin Walker of The Times,
who spoke to me from Jerusalem. We also talk about Zimbabwe, where Martin has
spent much of the past year. And Somalia. I highly value Martin’s insights and
experience and I’m grateful for his making himself available. Hopefully we can
What Obama Must Do A Letter to the New President
Dear Mr. President:
Like FDR three-quarters of a century ago, you’re taking charge at a moment when all the old certainties have vanished, all the conventional wisdom been proved wrong. We’re not living in a world you or anyone else expected to see. Many presidents have to deal with crises, but very few have been forced to deal from Day One with a crisis on the scale America now faces.
So, what should you do?
In this letter I won’t try to offer advice about everything. For the most part I’ll stick to economics, or matters that bear on economics. I’ll also focus on things I think you can or should achieve in your first year in office. The extent to which your administration succeeds or fails will depend, to a large extent, on what happens in the first year — and above all, on whether you manage to get a grip on the current economic crisis.
There is, however, one area where I feel the need to break discipline. I’m an economist, but I’m also an American citizen — and like many citizens, I spent the past eight years watching in horror as the Bush administration betrayed the nation’s ideals. And I don’t believe we can put those terrible years behind us unless we have a full accounting of what really happened. I know that most of the inside-the-Beltway crowd is urging you to let bygones be bygones, just as they urged Bill Clinton to let the truth about scandals from the Reagan-Bush years, in particular the Iran-Contra affair, remain hidden.…Continue reading
January 17, 2009
DC 911Truth has produced an attractive new brochure to be distributed at the
Obama Inauguration and surrounding events. On the cover, President Obama is
asked to “help America learn the truth about 9/11,” but the interior
aimed at general audiences who may not be aware of problems with the
official account, or who may be quick to dismiss any questions as conspiracy
In a concise and straightforward way, the brochure presents the many facts
that challenge the 9/11 Commission Report (including doubts expressed by
Co-Chairs Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton themselves), as well as
contradictions in the accepted narrative about air defense, the alleged
hijackers, the destruction of the World Trade Center, and the anthrax
attacks. Only statements that could be verified in mainstream news sources
were included and carefully footnoted, so as to maximize the credibility of
At the end, readers are asked to face a difficult reality: 9/11 could not
have occurred without high-level complicity from inside the U.S. government.
They are urged to learn the truth and tell others-especially the media and Congress-with the goal of opening a new, truly independent investigation.
The brochure can be downloaded and printed on the front and back of a letter-size sheet of paper (8.5 x 11in.), folded and distributed by mail or as a handout.
The DC Truth group considers this brochure an effective communication tool and will soon release another version not geared to the Obama Inauguration.
Sat Jan 17, 2009
By Louis Charbonneau
BEIRUT, Jan 17 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday
he was relieved about an Israeli ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and urged the Jewish
state to withdraw all of its troops as soon as possible.
"I am relieved that the Israeli government has decided to cease hostilities
as of midnight GMT," Ban told reporters. "This should be the first
step leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza," he said,
adding that he wanted the withdrawal "as soon as possible".
He said that Hamas militants also needed to do their part to bring an end to
the violence by halting their rocket attacks against southern Israel.
"Hamas militants must stop firing rockets now," he said.
Ban said that humanitarian access for the people of the Gaza Strip was the
top priority and the United Nations was ready to act immediately.
"Any durable solution must include the reopening of the (Gaza border)
crossings and the prevention of illicit trafficking in arms," he said.
Ban flies to Damascus on Sunday to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
before heading to the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit
meeting on aid and reconstruction efforts for Gaza hosted by Egypt’s President
Israel accuses Syria and Iran of supporting and arming Hamas, an accusation
Ban said he and European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela… Continue reading
by Steven Jones
The 116th peer-reviewed paper was published today in the Journal of 9/11 Studies : “The Missing Jolt: A Simple Refutation of the NIST-Bazant Collapse Hypothesis” by Prof. Graeme MacQueen and Tony Szamboti. Take a look! http://journalof911studies.com/volume/2008/TheMissingJolt4.pdf
This fine paper underwent several months of rather arduous peer-review preceding its publication in the Journal of 9/11 Studies. The paper supports work by James Gourley published in the Journal of Engineering Mechanics and recent analysis by David Chandler. A few quotes from the paper should wet your interest:
“In its Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, the National Institute of Standards and Technology summarizes its three year study and outlines its explanation of the total collapse of WTC 1 and WTC 2. Readers of the report will find that the roughly $20 million expended on this effort have resulted in an explanation of the total collapse of these buildings that is so vague it barely qualifies as a hypothesis. But it does have one crucial feature of a hypothesis: it is, in principle, falsifiable. In fact, it is easy to demonstrate that it is false.
In this paper we will, concentrating on the North Tower, offer a refutation that is:
[snip] Zdenek Bazant and Yong Zhou, with whose September 13, 2001 back-of-the-envelope theory (with subsequent revisions and additions) NIST largely… Continue reading
Published: Saturday January 17, 2009
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A 45-year-old man who died of cancer due to breathing
in toxic dust following the collapse of the World Trade Center on September
11, 2001 has become the latest addition to the attacks’ overall toll.
Leon Bernard Heyward, 45, died on October 18, 2008 from "lymphoma complicating
sarcoidosis," bringing the overall death toll from the attacks to 2,752,
the New York City medical examiner’s office said.
Heyward’s is the second name to be added to the list in the years following
the attacks. Officials in May 2007 also linked the death of Felicia Dunn-Jones
five years earlier to dust she inhaled at the World Trade Center site.
The cause of death for all the official victims of the attacks is homicide,
said medical examiner’s spokeswoman Ellen Borakove.
"We are not saying that other people are linked or not linked," said
Borakove, referring to the hundreds of other emergency personnel stricken with
health problems from working at the collapse site in the weeks and months after
"In order to be classified as a homicide the person had to have been there
at the time the towers collapsed … not just subsequently working there,"
“The Government has determined that continued prosecution of this case
as to LINDAUER would not be in the interests of justice.”*
(Jan. 16, Wash. DC) The Department of
Justice entered a motion to drop all charges against Susan
Lindauer yesterday morning, Jan. 15, 2009. The filing (see
below) at the federal district court in lower Manhattan ends
the government’s attempt to prosecute her for allegedly
acting as an “unregistered agent” for Iraq. Since her
arrest in early 2004, she has repeatedly asked for a trial
to present evidence that she had been a United States
intelligence asset since the early 1990′s.
By filing this order, the government surrendered forever its ability to prosecute
Lindauer as an “Iraqi foreign agent” and for lesser charges contained in the
indictment, including a one week trip to Baghdad in March, 2002.
Lindauer made the
following statement today, Jan 16, 2009: “I am disgusted by
this case. They think that they have defeated me by denying
my day in court. It could not be more wrong. If we can’t
have a criminal trial, we’re going to have a civil trial for
Lindauer was arrested in March, 2004 shortly
after offering to testify before a Bush appointed href="http://edition.cnn.com/2004/ALLPOLITICS/03/15/iraq.tm/"
target="_blank">blue ribbon commission evaluating U.S.
pre-war intelligence on Iraq. In late February, she
informed the offices of two commission members, Sen. McCain
(R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), that she could testify that
U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and effective, not a… Continue reading
Action Alert re. Kucinich’s Bill, HR66
January 12th, 2009
Last Friday, the House of Representatives voted 390 yes, 5 no, and 22 present to pass H.Res.34, “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” and “reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel.” To see if your Representative cosponsored this resolution, click here.To see how your Representative voted, click here. Last Thursday, the Senate voted on a similarly worded resolution, S.Res.10, which passed by unanimous consent.To see if your Senator cosponsored the resolution, click here.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation opposed these resolutions because they failed to call for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access to the occupied Gaza Strip as required under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1860. The resolutions also blamed the victims–the Palestinians–for the civilian casualties and humanitarian catastrophe Israel is inflicting upon them and absolved Israel of any responsibility for its actions.
Thankfully these resolutions will not be the final words of Congress on the issue. Yesterday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced a resolution calling for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire” and “unrestricted humanitarian access” to the occupied Gaza Strip. The US Campaign is supporting this resolution, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
National Call-In Day for Gaza!
Today – January 16, 2009
We designate Friday, January 16th as National Call-In Day for Gaza. Calling is quick, easy, and effective, and will take about 5-10 minutes. We need… Continue reading
Kucinich: UN should investigate Israeli Gaza strikes
by Nick Juliano
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for an independent investigation to be led by the United Nations into the recent eruption of violence between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza strip that has killed scores of innocent civilians.
Monday brought a third day of Israeli bombing Gaza in what the state is calling its “all-out” war on Hamas. So far, 345 people have been killed by the bombs. At least 57 of the dead are civilians, including 21 children, according to the UN.
Kucinich said he wrote to UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon urging an “independent inquiry of Israel’s war against Gaza.” The Democratic lawmaker said Israel’s attacks are an example of “collective punishment,” which violates the Geneva Conventions.
“The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better,” Kucinich said in a news release Monday. “The world community, which has been very supportive of Israel’s right to security and its right to survive, also has a right to expect Israel to conduct itself in adherence to the very laws which support the survival of Israel and every other nation.”
Kucinich compared the latest bombing campaign to Isreal’s earlier strikes at southern Lebanon targeted at Hezbollah. Then too, he said, civilians were killed, infrastructure was destroyed and lawlessness took hold… Continue reading
By Columbia Journalism Review
January 14, 2009
Advocates for open and transparent government are quick to note that no American
presidential administration has, in practice, been enthusiastic about reducing
secrecy in the executive branch–for some obvious and sometimes quite legitimate
reasons. There are secrets that almost everyone agrees should remain secret.
But secrecy must be balanced with the citizens’ right to examine the operations
of their government–to learn, to improve, to enforce, and sometimes to
shame. That’s especially true when there are political or bureaucratic
incentives for secrecy that deserve far less respect than true matters of national
security. And despite the bipartisan resistance from those in power, the arc
of history has trended, if unevenly, toward openness. Claims of excessive secrecy
have become a tried and true political battering ram, easily wielded by the
party in opposition. Technological evolution has not only made the dissemination
of information easier and faster, but also has heightened our appetite for disclosure.
The trend isn’t confined to the political sphere. Betty Ford’s frank
discussion of her struggles with cancer and alcoholism in the 1970s marked a
new era of openness in our personal medical lives, and the invention of the
personal video camera spawned a cottage industry around moments–gaffes,
goofs, tragedies–that were once private.
Against that backdrop, there is wide agreement among journalists and openness
advocates that the administration of George W. Bush was an aberration, at least
in the modern era. Bush and his advisers came into office with a broad vision… Continue reading
By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantánamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a “life-threatening condition.”
“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.
Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantánamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.
Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani’s health led to her conclusion. “The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his… Continue reading