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9/11 Commission Shield

Detainee Tortured, Says U.S. Official–Trial Overseer Cites ‘Abusive’ Methods Against 9/11 Suspect

By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
Page A01

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

Summaries of 9/11 Commission Interviews Released

Kevin Fenton
January 14, 2009
Posted at History Commons Groups

The National Archives today released a set of records the 9/11 Commission gave it. It did so today because the commission told it it had to wait until 2009 to do so, presumably on the off chance that people would have forgotten about it all by then. The records are in two groups, Memorandums for the Record (MFR), which are available online, and other
records
, which are not available online.

Editor’s Note: The National Archives 9/11 Commission Records URL’s have been updated.

Kevin Fenton, who wrote this blog entry today, is one of the great researchers working with Paul Thompson and so many other fine people at HistoryCommons.org (formerly known to most of us as CooperativeResearch.org) to document our history. Not just about 9/11, but about aspects of our lives so appallingly rewritten by media and textbooks. The work underway at HistoryCommons is absolutely invaluable, and we encourage readers to get involved and otherwise support that work.

I have been trawling through the ones that are available online and I have learned a few things of interest.

(1) Stacks of the MFR are not actually available. Either they have not been reviewed yet (pending), or have been withdrawn because they are very classified, or they have been made available, but have had the bejesus redacted out of them.

(2) Two of the two key MFR, of interviews of Tom Wilshire, a CIA officer involved in just about everything… Continue reading

(Some) 9/11 Commission Records Released

From The National Archives Legislative Branch – The Center for Legislative Archives
January 14, 2009

FAQs on the 9/11 Commission Records

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, known as the 9/11 Commission, was an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress. The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting” of the attacks of September 11, 2001 and to provide recommendations as to how to prevent such attacks in the future. The Commission, extant from 2003 – 2004, held hearings, conducted interviews, and produced a report.

When the 9/11 Commission closed on August 21, 2004, it transferred legal custody of its records to the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). The Commission encouraged the release of its records to the fullest extent possible in January 2009. Because the Commission was part of the legislative branch its records are not subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

Approximately 35% of the Commission’s archived textual records are now publicly available. Due to the collection’s volume and the large percentage of national security classified files, NARA staff was unable to process the entire collection by January 2009. Review and processing focused on the portion of the collection that contains unique documents created by the Commission and those that reveal the most about the scope of the investigation and the internal workings of the Commission and its staff.

Read more about the Commission Records

Continue reading

Live Broadcast: Eric Holder Senate Confirmation Hearing for Attorney General

Click Here To Listen: http://noliesradio.org
LIVE Thursday, Jan 15th at 6am Pacific – 9am Eastern – 14:00 GMT

Who is the real Eric Holder? Is he a real civil rights advocate who recently
made a speech advocating the closing of Gitmo and the stopping of rendition,
torture, and warrantless secret domestic searches and wiretaps? Is he a coverup
attorney who has been accused of deflecting press attention from a possible
murder of a witness regarding the government’s culpilbility in the Oklahoma
Federal Building bombing and defending Chiquita Brands role in the funding of
death squads in Columbia? Or is he simply a slimy lawyer accused of infuence
peddling in his role in the pardon of Mark Rich in the Clinton Whitehouse? See
our website for the sources on these statements.
http://noliesradio.org

Listen to the hearings and YOU DECIDE.

Then call in your questions to our Pacifica experts after the hearings at:
1800 958 9008 TOLL FREE

No Lies Radio will broadcast LIVE the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation
hearing for Attorney General nominee Eric Holder. This is Pacifica Radio Network’s
exciting live coverage of the hearing including alternative viewpoints of the
process with special progressive guests and analysts.
HOSTED by KPFA’s Aimee Allison and Philip Maldari. PRODUCED by Mitch Jeserich
and Laura Prives.

http://noliesradio.org

(Hearings will be archived there after the broadcast)

‘Rescue Me’ braces for controversy

Michael J. Fox to play paraplegic on FX series

By DANIEL FRANKEL
January 14, 2009

It’s been a hot-potato even for the most heavyweight of political pundits
in recent years, but the fifth season of the FX series “Rescue Me”
will intrepidly delve into the controversial theory that the 9/11 attacks were
aided or perpetrated by the U.S. government.

Season five will find the men of Engine 62 divided over the polarizing theory
after a journalist working on a 10-year-anniversary story delves up painful
memories.

“I think there are a lot of well-thought-out ideas and theories (about
9/11) that to me make more sense than has been popularly espoused, and I’m
glad we could explore it in the context of the show,” said cast member
Daniel Sanjata, addressing tube journos at the Television Critics Assn. confab
in Universal City Tuesday.

That storyline, and others, including a five-episode arc featuring Michael
J. Fox as an alcoholic paraplegic, will punctuate “Rescue Me’s”
fifth campaign — one which series masterminds Denis Leary and Peter Tolan hope
puts the show back on track creatively after what they felt was a lackluster
season four.

“We didn’t have the clarity of vision we had in previous years,”
noted Tolan. “There was a lack of focus.”

Added series star and exec producer Leary: “We’re five years in.
You’ve got to have some suck parts, and we got those out of the way.”

Source URL: http://www.variety.com/article/VR1117998478.html?categoryid=14&cs=1

New information sheds more light on GOP IT guru’s tragic death

January 13, 2009
by Larisa Alexandrovna
RawStary.com

New information surrounding the December plane crash which killed GOP internet
consultant Michael Connell casts doubt on some of the rumors and speculation
surrounding his death but doesn’t close the books on the circumstances surrounding
the Republican technology star’s tragic end.

Michael Connell, a high-level IT guru for the Republican National Committee
and the US Chamber of Commerce, died Dec. 19, 2008 at 5:53 PM ET when his airplane
crashed near Ohio’s Akron-Canton airport.

Although there has been speculation in the media about the possibility of sabotage in Connell death, authorities do not suspect foul play. The official investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has not yet determined the cause of the crash; their final report is required to be produced within a year.

rsilogoConnell’s ten year-old, seven-passenger, single engine Piper Saratoga II crashed into an empty house on Charolais Street in Lake Township, Ohio. The plane’s right wing clipped a flagpole in the front yard before it broke up, set fire to the garage, and tumbled some 50–60 feet along the ground toward the back yard of a neighboring home.

Connell was thrown from the burning plane and killed instantaneously by massive blunt force trauma, according to the Stark County coroner’s report. Although the body was not burned, fingerprints were required to confirm identity, according to Captain Lorin Geisner of the Greentown Fire Department.

According to Geisner, Connell’s personal items recovered from the crash site included a passport, a driver’s… Continue reading

Dennis Kucinich Explains His ‘NO’ vote against endorsing Israel’s violent campaign in Gaza — (and a petition to sign)

by Reprehensor
911blogger.com

Yesterday, (1.12.2008), Rep. Kucinich explained why he voted against a resolution endorsing Israel’s over-the-top aggression in Gaza. Also, please take a moment to sign this petition at AVAAZ.org:

GAZA: STOP THE BLOODSHED

Kucinich Part 1 of 2


Kucinich Part 2 of 2


 

Image of Palestinian Funeral Editor’s Note:
Every second there is a bomb
Adham Khalil writing from Jabaliya refugee camp, the occupied Gaza Strip, Live from Palestine, 13 January 2009 … We are living under complete siege with daily killings and our houses destroyed. Hamas and other Palestinian factions are trying to defend Palestinians from the continuing massacres, invasions and air strikes. The Israeli occupation and actions in Gaza are terrorist actions, as are many of their actions and policies dating back to their ethnic cleansing campaign in 1948.But I think this, right now, is the worst catastrophe I will see in my life.I don’t have any guns or weapons. I struggle by simply telling the truth. Many people have asked me if there is a way to send money or food. But what we really need is our freedom and an end to the fire.

Don’t keep silent about the Israeli massacres and Holocaust against Palestinians. The demand for an end to this siege must be louder than the bombs that rain down upon us.

Adham Khalil is a resident of Jabaliya refugee camp and a youth leader at the al-Assria Children’s Library. His blog, Free Free Palestine , is at http://nagyelali.blogspot.com . (Reprinted from Electronic Intifada )… Continue reading

Center for Constitutional Rights Call to Action

January 13, 2008
Center for Constitutional Rights

The inauguration is almost upon us, and I am writing you with two important related matters. The first is a call to action to phone your senators with questions for Eric Holder’s hearing on his nomination to be the next Attorney General. The second is to send you a link to a report we released yesterday on the simple steps to closing Guantánamo.

While President-Elect Obama has said he will close the base,he has yet to say how or when, which are the most important questions. We are all excited at the chance for a new beginning: it is up to us to make it one we can be proud of. Please call your senators, and please download and distribute our report so we can end this terrible chapter in our history.

I. This Thursday, January 15th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to decide whether nominee Eric Holder should be confirmed as the new Attorney General. While Holder’s public statements suggest he would be a marked improvement over Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, it is critical that the American public be certain that our nation’s chief lawyer has an unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law.

Senate Judiciary Committee members have a serious responsibility to put an end to subverting law to politics – and to ensure that President-Elect Obama appoints an Attorney General who will help him restore, protect and expand our human rights. And it is… Continue reading

Ten Crucial Questions Congress Should Ask Shinseki

At 10am EST tomorrow morning, General Eric Shinseki, President-elect Obama’s choice for VA Secretary, will try to convince Congress he’s the right person for the job.

In advance of the hearing, IAVA released ten crucial questions that Congress needs to ask the nominee. And I’m going to be live-blogging about the hearing straight from DC, watching to see what issues are addressed.

Click here to follow along with my commentary in real time.

If he’s confirmed, General Shinseki will be facing an urgent and critical fight to improve support for our nation’s veterans. As a wounded and decorated combat veteran, and the first Asian-American in US history to be a four-star general, he has the potential to lead the second-largest bureaucracy in the US government into the 21st century.

However, the challenges facing today’s veterans are radically different than the issues faced by previous generations. General Shinseki must demonstrate knowledge on issues ranging from implementation of the new GI Bill to providing the best health care possible for our newest generation of heroes.

All of this makes Wednesday morning’s hearing one of the most important events for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans in a long time. As an Iraq veteran who was wounded in combat, I’m looking forward to watching the process unfold.

Click here for our top ten questions for General Shinseki and live commentary during the hearing.

Thank you for standing with us.

Sincerely,

Todd Bowers
Iraq Veteran
Director of Government Affairs
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Clinton Confirmation Hearings–Live Coverage on NoLiesRadio

Live Broadcast: Hillary Clinton Senate Confirmation Hearing for Secretary of State

The broadcast is scheduled for Tuesday Jan 13th at 6am Pacific — 9am Eastern. Information at the top of:
http://noliesradio.org
or
http://67.18.54.205/~nolies

Will We Get Accountability? Obama’s Reply to Blogger Bob Fertik’s Special Prosecutor Question

A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White

As Bush gives his final press conference today, lamenting the “mistakes” of his presidency, some are wondering if he and other members of his administration will get a chance to tell such tales to a special prosecutor.

“History will look back,” he told reporters, most likely hoping the next administration’s Justice Department will solely look forward. Judging from the most recent comments from his successor, that may very well be the case.

It all started when Bob Fertik, progressive writer and co-founder of Democrats.com, posed this question to President-elect Barack Obama:

“Will you appoint a special prosecutor — ideally Patrick Fitzgerald — to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?”

Fertik submitted the question to Change.gov, the official transition Web site for the incoming Obama Administration. The site has a forum called “Open for Questions” where people can post items of particular concern for the Obama team to review. Fertik’s question got so much attention and approval from other users on the site that it made its way to the top of the Change.gov list and onto the Sunday talk shows, finally garnering this response from Obama when George Stephanopoulos asked the question directly:

“We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the… Continue reading

Will Defense Run the ‘Real’ Stimulus Package?

Catherine Austin Fitts
January 9, 2009
Solari.com/blog

In fiscal 1999, the Department of Defense was “missing” $2.3 trillion dollars. To put that amount of money in perspective, it is approximately 3X what President-elect Obama is proposing to spend to revitalize America.

In fiscal 2000, the Department of Defense was “missing” $1.1 trillion, about 1.5X what President-elect Obama wants to invest in America.

So between October 1998 and September 2000, the Department of Defense was “missing” $3.3 trillion. Because the amount of money disappearing is so enormous, years ago we started a archive of articles on the “missing money” to try to keep up with the trillions sliding out of the federal accounts.

From 1997 to March 2001, the Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) who served as the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense was William J. Lynn III. In that position, he was the chief financial officer for the Department of Defense and was the principal advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Secretary of Defense for all budgetary and fiscal matters. That means he was the person responsible to make sure no money went missing and that the Department of Defense published audited financial statements — which it failed to do in those years and every year since.

When Mr. Lynn left Defense in 2001, he joined DFI International and then in 2005 became the chief lobbyist for Raytheon. He was replaced at Defense by Dov Zakheim.

defense 2

Today, President Elect Obama nominated William J. Lynn… Continue reading

David Ray Griffin’s audio presentation of “9/11 and Nationalist Faith” online

The audio of Griffin’s excellent DVD, “9/11 and Nationalist Faith” was broadcast on Bonnie Faulkner’s KPFA program, Guns and Butter, on Wednesday, January 07, 2009, and is now available at her archives for online listening.

In “9/11 and Nationalist Faith,” Dr. David Ray Griffin shows that the greatest obstacle to seeing the truth – that 9/11 was an inside job – is not the lack of evidence, but what  can be called “nationalist faith” …

Guns And Butter – On the Air Wednesdays at 1:00pm, at KPFA 94.1fm radio in Berkeley, CA.
Guns & Butter investigates the relationships among capitalism, militarism and politics.

David Ray Griffin on Guns and Butter

 

Many other excellent shows are archived at KPFA here.

Listen to KPFA live.

KPFB 89.3 FM (16k mp3)
KPFA ogg vorbis (stereo)
iTunes Radio: “Public”
Comcast Digital Cable 967

Remains of the Day: Nineteen hijackers died on 9/11. What should be done with what’s left of them?

by Eve Conant NEWSWEEK
From the magazine issue dated Jan 12, 2009

In the grim, sleepless months of excavation after the September 11 attacks, forensic pathologists in New York City worked day and night to identify the dead. They didn’t have much to go on. The collapsed World Trade Center towers had burned at temperatures reaching 2,000 degrees, incinerating those trapped inside. Many of the bodies of the passengers aboard the two airplanes that struck the buildings were consumed by burning jet fuel, leaving only traces of DNA, much of it so damaged that it was impossible to read. Few bodies were found intact. Most of the human remains culled from the vast wreckage at Ground Zero were little more than tiny fragments of charred tissue and bone. The volume was overwhelming. Robert Shaler, who headed the city’s Department of Forensic Biology and was a leader of the identification effort, worried his lab would be paralyzed if it tried to identify every piece. At first, they decided they would only attempt to test samples that were “the size of a thumb or larger,” he says. But when they saw how small many of the fragments were, they changed their minds. “If we were really going to make an honest effort,” Shaler says, “we had to do everything that came along.”

Shaler and his colleagues at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner gave weekly updates to family members of the victims, reporting how many of the dead had been identified and reassuring them that the city was doing everything to identify their loved ones.…

Continue reading

Our Broken Government – A Center for Public Integrity Investigation

by Josh Israel
January 7, 2009
A Center for Public Integrity Investigation

cpibrokengovt

As America
approaches a historic transfer of power, it is becoming ever-clearer what a
daunting set of tasks awaits the new administration. When Barack Obama takes
the oath of office at noon on January 20 he will inherit an economy collapsing
before our eyes and a pair of ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. But he will
also inherit a federal government whose machinery should bear an “out of order” sign.

Obama has often stated his desire to have a more efficient government — one that is open, transparent, and accountable. “We are not going to be hampered by ideology in trying to get this country back on track,” he said in December. “We want to figure out what works.”

The Center for Public Integrity’s Broken Government project makes clear what an imposing assignment that will be by cataloging what hasn’t worked. In a comprehensive assessment of systematic failures over the past eight years, the Center found more than 125 examples of government breakdown. The failures occurred in areas as diverse as education, energy, the environment, justice and security, the military and veterans’ affairs, health care, transportation, financial management, consumer and worker safety, and more. While some of the failures are, by now, depressingly familiar, many are less well-known but equally distressing.

Read the report, and much more, at the Center for Public Integerity

By the Numbers – Forty ways in which the federal government failed to perform… Continue reading

Former Navy Pilot Cautions Congress: Arrogance Endangering American Lives

January 10, 2009
by Janice Matthews
911truth.org (link to article)

911truth.org was contacted this week by Charles W. (Bill) White, of Houston,
who provided extensive information to Russ Baker in the writing of his explosive
new Bush dynasty historical expose, Family Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful
Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America
. More about him is in his letter to Senator Levin, below, wherein he expresses grave concern for the safety of nearly 6,000 Sailors and Marines
who will carry out their duties aboard the Navy’s new nuclear-powered aircraft
carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush.

Today, that ship was christened in spite of White’s caution. An AP article,
Bush Visits Aircraft Carrier Named After Father,” describes the new
ship and her christening thus:

It’s the perfect gift for an old Navy flier: 1,092 feet of flattop.

“What do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything
he has ever needed?” asked President George W. Bush from aboard the Navy’s
newest ship. “Well, an aircraft carrier.”

The USS George H.W. Bush, a steel-gray vessel longer than three football
fields and built at a cost of $6.2 billion … is one of the Nimitz class
of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the largest warships in the world.

“The ship that bears our dad’s name is more than 95,000 tons of aluminum
and steel,” Bush said from a podium tucked under the flight deck. “She
will… Continue reading

White House: Increase in terror attacks since 9/11 a success

Eric Brewer
Saturday January 10, 2009

One of the many sad ironies of the Bush era that is rapidly and mercifully drawing to a close is that after the president created a “central front in the war on terror” by invading Iraq, the amount of “terrorism” in the world skyrocketed. I call it the Bush Bubble:

At first, the administration seemed a little embarrassed by this result, and it engaged in various attempts, which I’ve documented over the years and summarized here, at disguising the increase. Interestingly, the public face for many of those shenanigans was John Brennan, formerly head of the National Counterterrorism Center and currently Obama’s transition intelligence adviser and pick for the newly created position of deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism.

In July 2005, announcing a new web-accessible database of terrorism incidents compiled by the RAND corporation and available at tkb.org, Brennan said, “We’re trying to be as open and transparent to the public as possible.”

That lasted a little over two years. Funding was withdrawn from the project on March 31, 2008, probably because people like me were using the analytical tools on the site to produce embarrassing graphs like the one above. Note that the data used in that graph was accessed a couple of months before the site’s demise, and the decrease shown for 2007 may reflect incomplete data. The government’s own figures, put out by the National Counterterrorism Center but going back only to 2004, show an increase in… Continue reading

National Archives to Open 9/11 Commission Textual Materials

Media Alert
January 8, 2009
NationalArchives.org

WHAT: The National Archives will open more than 150 cubic feet of records of
the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, known as
the 9/11 Commission, an independent, bipartisan commission created by Congress.
The Commission’s mandate was to provide a “full and complete accounting”
of the attacks of September 11, 2001, and recommend how to prevent such attacks
in the future.

On January 14th at 9 AM EST, Memoranda for the Record (summaries of 709 interviews
conducted by the Commission), series descriptions, and folder title lists will
be available online (www.archives.gov). These records include information on
the terrorists, past terrorist events, al Qaeda in general, and related subjects.
The records also include information concerning the emergency responses to the
attacks in New York City and Washington, DC.

WHO: Steven Tilley, Director of the National Archives Textual Archives Services
Division, will brief the media about the review process and content of the records.

WHEN: Wednesday, January 14, 2009
9 AM (EST) on the web at www.archives.gov
9 AM (EST) – Briefing
9:15 AM (EST) – Records opening
** Members of the press who need to obtain researcher cards should arrive at
8:30 am, or obtain their cards in advance of the opening. ***

WHERE: West Research Room, National Archives Building
700 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20408
Please use the Pennsylvania Avenue entrance.

Please Note: No artificial light may be used in the Research Room.
Background

When the 9/11 Commission closed on… Continue reading