March 29, 2012
By Grant McCool, Reuters
Chicago Tribune News
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lawyers for the Obama administration were put to the test by a U.S. judge on Thursday to explain why civilian activists and journalists should not fear being detained under a new anti-terrorism law.
Activists and journalists are suing the government to try to stop implementation of the law’s provisions of indefinite detention for those deemed to have “substantially supported” al Qaeda and the Taliban and “associated forces.”
Government lawyers argued in federal court in New York that the plaintiffs did not have standing to challenge the National Defense Authorization Act’s “Homeland Battlefield” provisions signed into law by President Barack Obama in December.
During day-long oral arguments, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest heard lawyers for former New York Times war correspondent and Pulitzer Prize winner Chris Hedges and others argue that the law would have a “chilling effect” on their work.
While the judge said she was skeptical that the plaintiffs would win a constitutional challenge to the act, she also said she wanted to “understand the meaning to the ordinary citizen.”
“I can’t take the statute and strike it down for what it says, but can Hedges and others be detained for contacting al Qaeda or the Taliban as reporters?” she said.
Hedges told the court that “I don’t think we know what ‘associated forces’ are. That’s why I’m here.”
The lawsuit, filed in January, cited Obama’s statement of his “serious reservations with certain provisions that… Continue reading
Listening to Ed Asner I’m reminded of Michael Polanyi’s observation (to paraphrase) that we believe more than we can prove and know more than we can say.
Polanyi also talked about “growing points” in science, which I hope has an analogue in a free society where personal connections become more important, particularly when rethinking the past. Why not, after all, have an idealistic Socialist vision of what we want or a gimlet-eyed Socialist appraisal of what’s gone wrong?
This is the stuff of which optimists are made. Thanks, Ed!!
Total runtime thirty four minutes. Credo ut intelligam.
Listen at source, linked here.
By Glenn Greenwald
The ACLU is suing the Obama administration under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking to force disclosure of the guidelines used by Obama officials to select which human beings (both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals) will have their lives ended by the CIA’s drone attacks (“In particular,” the group explains, the FOIA request “seeks to find out when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the United States ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killing”). The Obama administration has not only refused to provide any of that information, but worse, the CIA is insisting to federal courts that it cannot even confirm or deny the existence of a drone program at all without seriously damaging national security; from the CIA’s brief in response to the ACLU lawsuit:
. . .
What makes this so appalling is not merely that the Obama administration demands the right to kill whomever it wants without having to account to anyone for its actions, choices or even claimed legal authorities, though that’s obviously bad enough (as I wrote when the ACLU lawsuit was commenced: “from a certain perspective, there’s really only one point worth making about all of this: if you think about it, it is warped beyond belief that the ACLU has to sue the U.S. Government in order to force it to disclose its claimed legal and factual bases for assassinating U.S. citizens without charges, trial or due process of… Continue reading
By Trevor Timm
Electronic Frontier Foundation
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signed expansive new guidelines for terrorism analysts, allowing the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to mirror entire federal databases containing personal information and hold onto the information for an extended period of time–even if the person is not suspected of any involvement in terrorism. (Read the guidelines here).
Despite the “terrorism” justification, the new rules affect every single American. The agency now has free rein to, as the New York Times’ Charlie Savage put it, “retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats ” and expands the amount of time the government can keep private information on innocent individuals by a factor of ten.
From the New York Times:
The guidelines will lengthen to five years — from 180 days — the amount of time the center can retain private information about Americans when there is no suspicion that they are tied to terrorism, intelligence officials said. The guidelines are also expected to result in the center making more copies of entire databases and “data mining them” using complex algorithms to search for patterns that could indicate a threat. (emphasis ours)
Journalist Marcy Wheeler summed the new guidelines up nicely saying, “So…the data the government keeps to track our travel, our taxes, our benefits, our identity? It just got transformed from bureaucratic data into national security intelligence.”
See also these related… Continue reading
Operation Foxden, delayed by turf war between the FBI and the CIA, given green light three days before the al-Qaida attacks
By Ian Cobain
March 27, 2012
The US government shut down a series of court cases arising from a multimillion pound business dispute in order to conceal evidence of a damning intelligence failure shortly before the 9/11 attacks, MPs were told.
Moreover, the UK government is now seeking similar powers that could be used to prevent evidence of illegal acts and embarrassing failures from emerging in court, David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, told the Commons.
The Justice and Security green paper being put forward by Ken Clarke’s justice ministry has already faced widespread criticism from civil rights groups, media representatives and lawyers working within the secret tribunal system that hears terrorism-related immigration cases.
Davis demanded to know how its proposals could be prevented from being used to cover up crimes and errors. “In light of previous revelations about the UK government’s complicity in torture and rendition of detainees to locations like of Libya, Afghanistan, or illegally into American hands … how will the Government prevent the Justice and Security green paper proposals being misused in a similar way to cover up illegal acts and embarrassments rather than protect national security?”
Davis said that in 1998 the FBI seized upon an opportunity to eavesdrop on every landline and telephone call into and out of Afghanistan in a bid to build intelligence on the Taliban. The Bureau discovered… Continue reading
Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.
The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.
In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.
Parsons does not examine the American empire, but in his introduction to the book he wonders whether America’s empire is really an empire as the Americans don’t seem to get any extractive benefits from it. After eight years of war and attempted occupation of Iraq, all Washington has for its efforts is several trillion dollars of additional debt and no Iraqi oil. After ten years of trillion dollar struggle against the Taliban in… Continue reading
On April 12 to 14, there will be a conference in Claremont, California, entitled “Celebrating Reenchantment: The Philosophical, Religious, and Political Thought of David Ray Griffin.”
The conference will feature scholars addressing the various topics Griffin has covered, including 9/11. Two of the lectures — those by Tod Fletcher and Peter Dale Scott — will deal with 9/11. Here is the program:
- John Buchanan, an independent scholar, will talk about Griffin’s writings on life after death.
- Philip Clayton, the dean of Claremont School of Theology and provost of Claremont Lincoln University, will address Griffin’s views on religion and scientific naturalism.
- John Cobb, emeritus professor of theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University and founding director of the Center for Process Studies, will address Griffin’s writings on evolution.
- Daniel Dombrowski, professor of philosophy at Seattle University, will talk about Griffin’s treatment of the mind-body relation.
- Gary Dorrien, professor of social ethics at Union Theological Seminary and professor of religion at Columbia University, will discuss Griffin’s process theology.
- Richard Falk, professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University and professor of global and international studies at the University of California-Santa Barbara, will discuss Griffin on postmodern politics and spirituality.
- Tod Fletcher, former professor of environmental science at the University of California-Berkeley, will discuss Griffin’s writings about 9/11 and the 9/11 Truth Movement.
March 25, 2012
Guest Post by Kevin Ryan, former Site Manager for Environmental Health Laboratories, a division of Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Mr. Ryan, a Chemist and laboratory manager, was fired by UL in 2004 for publicly questioning the report being drafted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on their World Trade Center investigation. In the intervening period, Ryan has completed additional research while his original questions, which have become increasingly important over time, remain unanswered by UL or NIST.
The U.S. Secret Service failed to do its job on September 11, 2001 in several important ways. These failures could be explained if the Secret Service had foreknowledge of the 9/11 events as they were proceeding. That possibility leads to difficult questions about how the behavior of Secret Service employees might have contributed to the success of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Answering those questions will require the release of existing interview transcripts as well as follow-up questioning, under oath, of a few key people within the agency.
The most glaring example of Secret Service failure on 9/11 was the lack of protection for the President of the United States after it was well known that the country was facing terrorist attacks on multiple fronts. The interesting thing about this was that it was not a consistent approach. That is, the president was protected by the Secret Service in many ways that day but he was not protected from the most obvious, and apparently the most imminent, danger.
President Bush had been at risk earlier that morning when Middle Eastern-looking journalists appeared at his hotel in Sarasota, Florida claiming to have an appointment for an interview.…Continue reading
By Coleen Rowley
Dear Department of Justice and Department of Treasury Officials:
We might have just helped you bag another material supporter of terrorism this week! And you’ll never believe who the culprit is! We were even able to tape record some of his own damning admissions! (That’s the reason for my calls last week to your duty attorneys and media offices.)
As you know, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has an ongoing investigation into several high profile former political figures, trying to discover their financial transactions with the terrorists in the Mujaheddin e Khalq aka “MEK”. One of the former political officials apparently being investigated for his financial transactions and paid advocacy on behalf of MEK is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Well Mukasey happened to get tapped on March 15 to give an “ethical leadership” speech at the University of St. Thomas Law School and some of us went to hear what he had to say. As an aside, the overall thrust of his speech was anything but ethical. Instead he mostly defended the Bush Administration and its lawyers for having used their talents “to push the legal limits” of what the Executive Branch could do in its “war on terror.” (Of course there are many legal scholars who think those Bush attorneys pushed over the legal limits.) He especially defended John Yoo and Robert Delahunty (now a St. Thomas law professor) who working in Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, co-wrote memos in early… Continue reading
AN ASIA TIMES ONLINE EXCLUSIVE INVESTIGATION
By Lars Schall
Is there any truth in the allegations that informed circles made substantial profits in the financial markets in connection to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, on the United States?
Arguably, the best place to start is by examining put options, which occurred around Tuesday, September 11, 2001, to an abnormal extent, and at the beginning via software that played a key role: the Prosecutor’s Management Information System, abbreviated as PROMIS. [i]
PROMIS is a software program that seems to be fitted with almost “magical” abilities. Furthermore, it is the subject of a decades-long dispute between its inventor, Bill Hamilton, and various people/institutions associated with intelligence agencies, military and security consultancy firms. 
One of the “magical” capabilities of PROMIS, one has to assume, is that it is equipped with artificial intelligence and was apparently from the outset “able to simultaneously read and integrate any number of different computer programs or databases, regardless of the language in which the original programs had been written or the operating systems and platforms on which that database was then currently installed.” 
And then it becomes really interesting:
What would you do if you possessed software that could think, understand every major language in the world, that provided peep-holes into everyone else’s computer “dressing rooms”, that could insert data into computers without people’s knowledge, that could fill in blanks beyond human reasoning, and also predict what people do – before they did it? You would probably use it, wouldn’t you?…
By Dennis Romboy
Deseret News March 21 2012
This file photo taken May 5, 1995, shows thousands of search and rescue crews attending a memorial service in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. A Utah attorney is seeking security tapes from the the bombing scene as part of his unofficial inquiry into the explosion that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Jesse Trentadu already received more than two dozen tapes from security cameras on the buildings around the Federal Building, but he claims the FBI edited portions of them.
Photo credit: Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge on Wednesday continued to question the FBI’s explanation for not producing videotapes associated with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that a Salt Lake lawyer has sought for nearly six years.
“It’s quite astounding that documents as important as these went missing and the FBI says, ‘Well, they’re gone,’” U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said during a motion hearing.
At issue is whether the FBI adequately responded to Jesse Trentadue’s Freedom of Information Act request for footage of Timothy McVeigh parking a truckload of explosives at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Specifically, the Salt Lake attorney is after a building surveillance tape and dashcam video from the Oklahoma state trooper who stopped McVeigh 90 minutes after the explosion that killed 168 people.
The FBI has submitted several declarations from its top records manager to show the agency has searched electronic databases and evidence warehouses without success.…Continue reading
By James Bamford
March 15, 2012
The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.
Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978–and the number of plural marriages has tripled–so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive,… Continue reading
By Brandon Turbeville
In a stunning move, on March 16, 2012, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) stating that the President and his specifically designated Secretaries now have the authority to commandeer all domestic U.S. resources including food and water. The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing American citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of national defense.
Not only that, but the authority claimed inside the EO does not only apply to National Emergencies and times of war. It also applies in peacetime.
The Act to which this Executive Order refers is the national Defense Resources Act, first passed September 8, 1950, at the beginning of the Korean conflict, as the Cold War began. Wikipedia states (please read original for full links):
The Defense Production Act (Pub.L. 81-774) is a United States law enacted on September 8, 1950, in response to the start of the Korean War. It was part of a broad civil defense and war mobilization effort in the context of the Cold War. Its implementing regulations, the Defense Priorities and Allocation System (DPAS), are located at 15 CFR §§700 to 700.93. The Act has been periodically reauthorized and amended, and remains in force as of 2012.
The Act contains… Continue reading
Dr. Laurence H. Shoup
Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation into 9-11 , By Paul W. Rea, PhD
As Dr. Paul Rea states in Mounting Evidence , the 9-11 story is the 21st Century’s “ultimate mass murder mystery.”
Mounting Evidence makes good on the promise implied in this tantalizing quote with a 555 page book that is not only well researched and comprehensive, but is presented in a lively and engaging writing style, ensuring a good read. These characterizations only begin to describe the book’s relevance, however, for Mounting Evidence focuses directly on the larger importance of 9-11. What does this event mean, in terms of its origins, in terms of the cover-up of the true facts by a rigged “investigation” by a rigged 9-11 Commission and in terms of the negative effects on U.S. foreign and military policy, even now? With his multiple foci on “meaningful contexts,” the “Global Domination Project” of the United States, the “Official Story,” and the currently available evidence about 9-11, Rea uses his excellent command of all sources to explicate a very complex and multi-faceted subject clearly and compellingly.
Dr. Rea’s ultimate goal is “restorative truth” to help revitalize our failing democracy, which must have an educated and active population if it is to be maintained even at its current low level. Mounting Evidence points out that such truth can only be arrived at through a new investigation by a truly independent group with the power to get to the bottom of… Continue reading
Trust us, Attorney General Eric Holder says — we’ll only assassinate Americans after administrative “due process.” That’s not how the Constitution works, buddy.
By Jonathan Turley
On Monday, March 5, Northwestern University School of Law was the location of an extraordinary scene for a free nation. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder presented President Barack Obama’s claim that he has the authority to kill any U.S. citizen he considers a threat. It served as a retroactive justification for the slaying of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki last September by a drone strike in northeastern Yemen, as well as the targeted killings of at least two other Americans during Obama’s term.
What’s even more extraordinary is that this claim, which would be viewed by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution as the very definition of authoritarian power, was met not with outcry but muted applause. Where due process once resided, Holder offered only an assurance that the president would kill citizens with care. While that certainly relieved any concern that Obama, or his successor, would hunt citizens for sport, Holder offered no assurances on how this power would be used in the future beyond the now all-too-familiar “trust us” approach to civil liberties of this administration.
In his speech, Holder was clear and unambiguous on only one point: “The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign… Continue reading
By John Bursill
Unfortunately, it now appears that a war between the US and its allies with Iran is imminent. By any military analyst’s assessment this has a real chance of changing the current multi-theatre war against terrorism and so called rogue/terrorist states into a real World War III scenario!
Following the Mainstream media (MSM) in the West over the last few months, you would be sensing that many things have happened to support the war-with-Iran rationale: hearing that Iran wants a Nuclear bomb and would be prepared to use it against Israel and the US, other alarming stories include Iran trading in weapons with “rogue states,” Iran killing innocent people abroad, Iran‘s president is insane and wants to “wipe Israel off the map,” Iran has been involved in terrorist plots/bombings and may attack inside the US and Iran is trading drugs. The list of baseless accusation goes on and on.
Interesting to remember that after 9/11 the MSM did little to question the actual events and who benefited but devoted massive media speculation to Iraq being involved while no evidence existed, managing to convince the vast majority of the American public that Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks leading to growing public support for the 2003 invasion.
Many times over the last decade it was obvious by the rhetoric out of Washington and from their many think tanks like PNAC (The Project for the New American Century) and leaked memos from the Pentagon that the… Continue reading
By Eric Lichtblau
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.
Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.
Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit… Continue reading
Secret legal files show that conviction in aircraft bombing case
would probably have been overturned.
February 27, 2012
Fresh scientific evidence unearthed by a Scottish legal review undermines the
case against the man convicted of being responsible for the Lockerbie aircraft
bombing, an investigation for Al Jazeera has found.
The Scottish Criminal Case Review Commission (SCCRC) report details evidence
that would probably have resulted in the verdict against Abdel Baset al-Meghrahi,
a Libyan man convicted of carrying out the bombing of Pan-Am flight 103 in 1988,
‘Lockerbie: Case Closed’, an hour-long documentary to be aired on Al Jazeera
on Monday, examines the evidence uncovered by the SCCRC as well as revealing
fresh scientific evidence which is unknown to the commission but which comprehensively
undermines a crucial part of the case against the man known as the Lockerbie
Among the evidence examined by the SCCRC was the testimony of Tony Gauci, a
shop owner from Malta, and the most important prosecution witness in the case.
Special Al Jazeera programme
Gauci identified Megrahi as a man who had bought clothing and an umbrella from
him on December 7, 1988 – remnants of which were later recovered from among
debris recovered from the disaster scene.
The SCCRC found a number of reasons to seriously question this identification
and Gauci’s account of events on that date, which was also the only day
on which Megrahi could have been present in Malta to make such purchases
The report also raises concerns… Continue reading