New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
By LARA JAKES JORDAN
Associated Press Writer
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
Skeptical Democrats clashed with Mueller, who told the House Judiciary Committee
that FBI agents would no longer need solid evidence or allegations of wrongdoing
to spy on Americans even before opening investigations. Democrats also expressed
doubts that the Justice Department and FBI would protect civil liberties and
privacy rights after years of previous abuses and stymied congressional oversight.
During nearly two hours of testimony, Mueller described the tentative rules
– known as the attorney general’s guidelines – as a proactive way to prevent
The new rules would ensure that suspicious behavior is investigated, Mueller
said, citing a July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who noted a rising
trend of Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons. The agent’s warning was ignored,
and the 9/11 Commission later said it could have served as a clue to al-Qaida’s
“It is that kind of threat and identification of a very suspicious circumstance
that would warrant further investigation,” Mueller said. Additionally,
he said current guidelines make it “very difficult” for agents to
look into people believed to be traveling to terror hotspots, such as training
camps in Pakistan.…
by Peter Dale Scott
September 5, 2008
Though few Americans realize it, Cheney and Rumsfeld worked through the 1980s and 1990s on emergency nuclear-response plans which allegedly suspended the American Constitution and also Congress.1 (Through these decades Rumsfeld was CEO of a major pharmaceutical firm, and in the later 1990s Cheney was CEO of Halliburton; but their private status did not deter them from continuing to exercise a supra-constitutional planning power conferred on them by Ronald Reagan.)
Even fewer Americans know that these rules, originally dealing with a nuclear attack on America, were extended by Reagan Executive Order 12656 to cover “any occurrence, including natural disaster, military attack, technological emergency, or other emergency, that seriously degrades or seriously threatens the national security of the United States.”2 And few Americans realize that at least some of these rules, known technically as Continuity of Government (COG) rules, were invoked before 10:00 AM on September 11, 2001.3
As he did in 2007, President Bush has again, on August 28, 2008, continued for another year the national emergency first officially proclaimed on September 14, 2001, along with “the powers and authorities adopted to deal with that emergency”:
Notice: Continuation of the National Emergency with Respect to Certain Terrorist Attacks
Consistent with section 202(d) of the National Emergencies Act (50 U.S.C. 1622(d)), I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency I declared on September 14, 2001, in Proclamation 7463, with respect to the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New… Continue reading
By Liliana Segura
September 2, 2008
After five years in legal limbo, the Palestinian university professor falsely
accused of terrorism is free, but faces contempt charges.
Breaking, from ABC News.
Former professor Sami Al-Arian, who was once charged by the U.S. government
with being a top Palestinian terrorist, has been released from custody for the
first time in more than five years.
Immigration authorities released Al-Arian to the custody of his daughter,
just hours before a federal judge had ordered the agency to explain Al-Arian’s
Al-Arian, who once taught computer science at the University of South Florida,
has been in the custody of either federal marshals or immigration authorities
since February 2003, when federal prosecutors charged him with being a leader
of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad.
His trial on those charges resulted in an acquittal on some counts and a hung
jury on others. He eventually struck a plea bargain admitting to lesser charges.
He currently faces contempt of court charges in federal court in Virginia
for failing to testify to a grand jury. Prosecutors strongly opposed his release
while he awaits trial.
Read more about the government’s persecution against Al-Arian here.
Liliana Segura is a staff writer and editor of AlterNet’s Rights and Liberties
and War on Iraq Special Coverage.
Here are a few snippets from Greenwald’s post. Please go to his blog to read the entire thing, with excellent links and videos.
Protesters here in Minneapolis have been targeted by a series of highly intimidating, sweeping police raids across the city, involving teams of 25-30 officers in riot gear, with semi-automatic weapons drawn, entering homes of those suspected of planning protests, handcuffing and forcing them to lay on the floor, while law enforcement officers searched the homes, seizing computers, journals, and political pamphlets. Last night, members of the St. Paul police department and the Ramsey County sheriff’s department handcuffed, photographed and detained dozens of people meeting at a public venue to plan a demonstration, charging them with no crime other than “fire code violations,” and early this morning, the Sheriff’s department sent teams of officers into at least four Minneapolis area homes where suspected protesters were staying.
There is clearly an intent on the part of law enforcement authorities here to engage in extreme and highly intimidating raids against those who are planning to protest the Convention. The DNC in Denver was the site of several quite ugly incidents where law enforcement acted on behalf of Democratic Party officials and the corporate elite that funded the Convention to keep the media and protesters from doing anything remotely off-script. But the massive and plainly excessive preemptive police raids in Minnesota are of a different order altogether. Targeting people with automatic-weapons-carrying SWAT teams and mass raids in their homes, who are suspected of nothing more than planning dissident political protests at a political convention and who have engaged in no illegal activity whatsoever, is about as redolent of the worst tactics of a police state as can be imagined.…Continue reading
August 30, 2008
by John Byrne
As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President
Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring
that America remains in a state of permanent war.
Buried in a recent proposal by the Administration is a sentence that has received
scant attention — and was buried itself in the very newspaper that exposed
it Saturday. It is an affirmation that the United States remains at war with
al Qaeda, the Taliban and "associated organizations."
Part of a proposal for Guantánamo Bay legal detainees, the provision before
Congress seeks to “acknowledge again and explicitly that this nation remains
engaged in an armed conflict with Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and associated organizations,
who have already proclaimed themselves at war with us and who are dedicated
to the slaughter of Americans.”
The New York Times‘ page 8 placement of the article in its Saturday
edition seems to downplay its importance. Such a re-affirmation of war carries
broad legal implications that could imperil Americans’ civil liberties and the
rights of foreign nationals for decades to come.
It was under the guise of war that President Bush claimed a legal mandate for
his warrantless wiretapping program, giving the National Security Agency power
to intercept calls Americans made abroad. More of this program has emerged in
recent years, and it includes the surveillance of Americans’ information and
"War powers" have also given President Bush cover to hold… Continue reading
August 8, 2008
Assuming the federal government has, after almost seven years, finally identified
the perpetrator of the anthrax attacks in 2001–admittedly a generous assumption
given that for most of those years, it pursued, hounded, embarrassed, and ruined
the career of the wrong man–larger dangers remain. As is normally the
case with issues surrounding terrorism, the average citizen will probably be
shocked to learn that their government is often a bigger threat than the terrorists.
Remember the CIA’s creation of the 9/11 threat by supporting the most
radical Islamist groups fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan during the 1980s
and then the U.S. government’s provocation of terrorist attacks from those
same militants by its non-Islamic military presence in Islamic Persian Gulf
countries in the 1990s, which had continued unnecessarily subsequent to the
first Gulf War.
Similarly, in the case of bioterrorism, the threat from the government is greater
than from foreign groups such as al Qaeda. Although U.S. intelligence has created
fear among the U.S. public by saying that al Qaeda has made efforts to obtain
biological weapons, the capabilities of small terrorist groups to make, handle,
weaponize, and disperse biological agents is very limited. Even Aum Shinrikyo,
a well-funded Japanese terrorist group that hired Ph.D. scientists, could not
successfully carry out a biological weapons attack. (Even their chemical attacks,
which are technologically easier to accomplish, were ham-handed and did not
result in mass deaths.) The sophisticated weaponization and dispersion of biological
agents are difficult for technologically… Continue reading
by Robert Parry
August 7, 2008
The U.S. military commission’s split guilty verdict on Ahmed Hamdan,
a former driver for Osama bin Laden, has drawn praise from the Bush administration
and criticism from civil rights groups, but what has been overlooked is the
chilling message that “the Hamdan principle” sends about future
prosecutions in the “war on terror.”
This new principle holds that anyone — regardless of how tangential a
connection to actual acts of terrorism — can be prosecuted through the
kangaroo court of the military commissions and be sentenced to a long prison
term (or even death). Though Hamdan is a Yemeni, the principle would seem to
apply to U.S citizens, too.
In effect, a parallel legal system has been created outside the U.S. Constitution
in which the President can order someone locked up indefinitely simply by calling
the person an “enemy combatant” and then subjecting the person to
what amounts to a “star chamber” proceeding that permits use of
secret evidence and coerced testimony.
Though some legal experts insist these special courts don’t apply to
U.S. citizens, the language of the Military Commissions Act of 2006 and a recent
federal court ruling make clear that President George W. Bush’s asserted
wartime power to order indefinite detentions covers citizens and non-citizens.
In July, the conservative-dominated U.S. Appeals Court in Richmond, Virginia,
opened the door for Bush or a successor to throw American citizens as well as
non-citizens into a legal black hole by designating them “enemy… Continue reading
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
In a dramatic confluence of events today, two kangaroo courts announced their
pre-determined guilty verdicts.
In the first, 6 "military jurors" hand-picked by the Pentagon for
their loyalty to the U.S. government and its views, convicted Bin Laden’s alleged
driver, Salim Hamdan, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional
to try Gitmo detainees before a military tribunal, the former chief Gitmo prosecutor
said the trials were unfair and rigged, and even though Hamdan was unlawfully
The entire case for the "war on terror" has fallen apart, with a
advisor to the U.S. military confirming that the war on terror is a hoax because
there is no battlefield solution to terrorism" and the case for the
Iraq war being laid bare as a forgery
and a sham
(and the government’s whitewash of 9/11 being understood by many Americans).
The government needed a conviction against someone in Arab clothing
so that it could pretend that the multi-trillion dollar, economy-busting, war
crime-based war in the Middle East was justified.
In the second, Dr. Bruce Ivins has been convicted
by the FBI as being the anthrax killer without
any persuasive evidence. After falsely
accusing 2 other scientists as being the anthrax killer, and only weeks
after being forced to pay $6 million dollars to one of the scientists for such
false accusations, the FBI decided that it had to pin it on somebody.
So they launched a campaign… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 5, 2008
In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch,
Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal
prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science
who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists”
in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s
assault on US civil liberties.
The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could
not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of
the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.
In open view, the US Department of Justice (sic) proceeded to trash every known
ethical rule of prosecution. I don’t need to repeat the facts, as they
are covered by Cockburn’s articles and in The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Instead, I want to point out another meaning of the Al-Arian case. The Justice
(sic) Department itself knows that it is persecuting a totally innocent person
for reasons of a political agenda–the need to convince gullible Americans of
an ongoing terrorist threat. The existence of this threat is used to justify
the Bush Regime’s adoption of police state measures, such as spying on
Americans without warrants, arresting them without charges, and refusing to
let go of them when they are cleared by juries.
Sami Al-Arian is a fabricated terrorist created by federal prosecutors and
judges in behalf of an undeclared agenda. The Al-Arian case proves that terrorists
are in short… Continue reading
By Naomi Wolf
August 1, 2008
Is it possible to fall out of love with your own country? For two years, I,
like many Americans, have been focused intently on documenting, exposing, and
alerting the nation to the Bush administration’s criminality and its assault
on the Constitution and the rule of law — a story often marginalized at
home. I was certain that when Americans knew what was being done in their name,
they would react with horror and outrage.
Three months ago, the Bush administration still clung to its devil’s
sound bite, “We don’t torture.” Now, Doctors Without Borders
has issued its report documenting American-held detainees’ traumas, and
even lie detector tests confirm they have been tortured. The Red Cross report
has leaked: torture and war crimes. Jane Mayer’s impeccably researched
exposé “The Dark Side” just hit the stores: torture, crafted
and directed from the top.
The Washington Post gave readers actual video footage of the abusive interrogation
of a Canadian minor, Omar Khadr, who was seen showing his still-bleeding abdominal
wounds, weeping and pleading with his captors.
So the truth is out and freely available. And America is still napping, worrying
about its weight, and hanging out at the mall.
I had thought that after so much exposure, thousands of Americans would be
holding vigils on Capitol Hill, that religious leaders would be asking God’s
forgiveness, and that a popular groundswell of revulsion, similar to the nineteenth-century
anti-slavery movement, would emerge. To paraphrase Abraham Lincoln, if torture
is… Continue reading
Tuesday July 22, 2008
Guantánamo BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – The judge in the first American war crimes
trial since World War II barred evidence on Monday that interrogators obtained
from Osama bin Laden’s driver following his capture in Afghanistan.
Prosecutors are considering whether to appeal the judge’s ruling — a
development that could halt the trial of Salim Hamdan that began earlier Monday
after years of delays and legal setbacks.
"We need to evaluate … to what extent it has an impact on our ability
to fully portray his criminality in this case, but also what it might set out
for future cases," said Army Col. Lawrence Morris, the tribunals’ chief
Hamdan, who was captured at a roadblock in Afghanistan in November 2001, pleaded
not guilty at the start of a trial that will be closely watched as the first
full test of the Pentagon’s system for prosecuting alleged terrorists. He faces
a maximum life sentence if convicted of conspiracy and aiding terrorism.
The judge, Navy Capt. Keith Allred, said the prosecution cannot use a series
of interrogations at the Bagram air base and Panshir, Afghanistan, because of
the "highly coercive environments and conditions under which they were
At Bagram, Hamdan says he was kept in isolation 24 hours a day with his hands
and feet restrained, and armed soldiers prompted him to talk by kneeing him
in the back. He says his captors at Panshir repeatedly tied him up, put a bag
over his… Continue reading
Israel Planning a September/October Surprise?
By Ray McGovern
International Clearing House — You say you expected more rhetoric than reality from Senators Obama and McCain yesterday in their speeches on Iraq and Afghanistan? Well, that’s certainly what you got.
What I find nonetheless amazing is how they, and the pundits, have taken such little notice of the dramatic change in the political landscape occasioned by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s bombshell on July 7 — his insistence on a “timetable” for withdrawal of US troops before any accord is reached on their staying past the turn of the year.
Responding to a question at his press conference yesterday, President George W. Bush showed that he was vaguely aware that the timetable is, as Robert Dreyfuss says (in Truthout, July 7), a “big deal.” Bush even alluded haltingly to the possibility of extending the UN mandate still further.
But it is far from clear that Maliki, who is under great domestic pressure, would be able to sell that to the various factions upon which he depends for support, much less to those which he must keep at bay. As Dreyfuss points out, Maliki and his Shiite allies are also under considerable pressure from Iran, which remains the chief ally of the ruling alliance of Shiites. Most important, Maliki is by no means in control of what happens next.
Here’s where it gets sticky. No one who knows about third rails in US politics would expect the candidates or the fawning corporate media (FCM) to address how those now running Israel are likely to be looking at the implications of a large US troop withdrawal from Iraq next year.…Continue reading
Wednesday 16 July 2008
By Adam Liptak, The New York Times
Indefinite military detentions of persons apprehended within the United States
are legal, according to a Tuesday federal appeals court decision. (Read text
of decision.) However, a concurrent decision allows detainee Ali al-Marri (pictured)
to challenge his detention in court.
President Bush has the legal power to order the indefinite military detentions
of civilians captured in the United States, the federal appeals court in Richmond,
Va., ruled on Tuesday in a fractured 5-to-4 decision.
But a second, overlapping 5-to-4 majority of the court, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled that Ali al-Marri, a citizen
of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., must be given an additional
opportunity to challenge his detention in federal court there. An earlier court
proceeding, in which the government had presented only a sworn statement from
a defense intelligence official, was inadequate, the second majority ruled.
The decision was a victory for the Bush administration, which had maintained
that a 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force after the Sept.
11 attacks granted the president the power to detain people living in the United
The court effectively reversed a divided three-judge panel of its own members,
which ruled last year that the government lacked the power to detain civilians
legally in the United States as enemy combatants. That panel ordered the government
either to charge Mr. Marri or to release him. The case is likely to reach… Continue reading
FISA "Compromise" Completes Transformation of US into Full Police
by Larry Chin
Global Research, July 11, 2008
On July 9, 2008, the US Congress overwhelmingly passed legislation permitting
government spying, including immunity to telecommunications companies involved
in secret domestic surveillance programs. With the stroke of George W. Bush’s
pen, the US is now a police state by definition.
The extent of the spying program, and its larger implications, have been revealed
by Mark Klein, who blew the whistle on secret domestic spying program of Bush/Cheney’s
National Security Agency (NSA) and AT&T:
The update of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, called the "FISA
compromise", or more appropriately, the "spy bill", largely completes
the triumph of the Bush/Cheney administration and a bipartisan criminal consensus.
By convenient design, the FISA revision derails pending law suits filed against
the Bush administration’s corporate spying partners (AT&T, Sprint
Nextel, and Verizon), silences (the largely empty-to-begin-with) congressional
investigations into Bush administration’s illegal domestic spying program.
Presidential nominee Barack Obama and the Democrats have now moved to silence
all discussion about the issue.
Fear itself, a.k.a. spying itself
Between the false flag mass murder of 9/11 and the creation of the "war
on terrorism", the USA Patriot Act and this new FISA revision, the Bush-Cheney
administration and its enthusiastically complicit congressional partners, have
achieved total victory–world war, open criminality, and the end of law itself.
It gives the US government unprecedented new spying powers and sweeping new
legal… Continue reading
By SHAUN WATERMAN
UPI Homeland and National Security Editor
June 30, 2008
WASHINGTON, June 30 (UPI) — The U.S. military is looking for a contractor to
patrol cyberspace, watching for warning signs of forthcoming terrorist attacks
or other hostile activity on the Web.
“If someone wants to blow us up, we want to know about it,” Robert
Hembrook, the deputy intelligence chief of the U.S. Army’s Fifth Signal Command
in Mannheim, Germany, told United Press International.
In a solicitation posted on the Web last week, the command said it was looking
for a contractor to provide “Internet awareness services” to support
“force protection” — the term of art for the security of U.S. military
installations and personnel.
“The purpose of the services will be to identify and assess stated and
implied threat, antipathy, unrest and other contextual data relating to selected
Internet domains,” says the solicitation.
Hembrook was tight-lipped about the proposal. “The more we talk about
it, the less effective it will be,” he said. “If we didn’t have to
put it out in public (to make the contract award), we wouldn’t have.”
He would not comment on the kinds of Internet sites the contractor would be
directed to look at but acknowledged it would “not (be) far off” to
assume violent Islamic extremists would be at the top of the list.
The solicitation says the successful contractor will “analyze various
Web pages, chat rooms, blogs and other Internet domains to aggregate and assess
data of interest,” adding, “The… Continue reading
By Jeffrey Denning
July 2, 1008
Washington Post, Aviation Security
Just when you thought you’ve heard it all…
A senior government official with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) has expressed great interest in a so-called safety bracelet that would
serve as a stun device, similar to that of a police Taser®. According to
this promotional video found at the Lamperd Less Lethal, Inc. website, the bracelet
would be worn by all airline passengers (video also shown below).
This bracelet would:
- take the place of an airline boarding pass
- contain personal information about the traveler
- be able to monitor the whereabouts of each passenger and his/her luggage
- shock the wearer on command, completely immobilizing him/her for several
The Electronic ID Bracelet, as it’s referred to, would be worn by every
traveler “until they disembark the flight at their destination.”
Yes, you read that correctly. Every airline passenger would be tracked by a
government-funded GPS, containing personal, private and confidential information,
and would shock the customer worse than an electronic dog collar if the passenger
got out of line.
Clearly the Electronic ID Bracelet is a euphuism for the EMD Safety Bracelet,
or at least it has a nefarious hidden ability (thus the term ID Bracelet is
ambiguous at best). EMD stands for Electro-Musclar Disruption. Again, according
to the promotional video, the bracelet can completely immobilize the wearer
for several minutes.
So is the government really that interested in this bracelet?
According… Continue reading
by Jeffrey St. Clair
June 26th, 2008
Oklahoma to feds: Don’t tread on me
State House defends its sovereignty from D.C. intrusion
Steamed over a perceived increase in federal usurping of states’ rights, Oklahoma’s House of Representatives told Washington, D.C., to back off.
Joint House Resolution 1089, passed by an overwhelming 92-3 margin, reasserts Oklahoma’s sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and, according to the resolution’s own language, is “serving notice to the federal government to cease and desist certain mandates.”
The Tenth Amendment states, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.”
Traditionally, this language has meant that the federal government is limited in its scope and cannot usurp the sovereign powers of states. In recent decades, however, as the size and reach of the federal government has expanded, many have come to question whether Washington has stepped on states’ rights and gotten too big for its breeches.
Charles Key, the Republican state representative who authored the resolution, told WND that he introduced it because he believes the federal government’s overstepping of its bounds has put our constitutional form of government in danger.
Oklahoma State Rep. Charles Key
“The more we stand by and watch the federal government get involved in areas where it has no legal authority, we kill the Constitution a little at a time,” he said. “The last few decades, the Constitution has been hanging by a thread.”
Specifically, Resolution 1089 says the following:
“The State of Oklahoma hereby claims sovereignty under the Tenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States over all powers not otherwise enumerated and granted to the federal government by the Constitution of the United States.”
The resolution resolves that Oklahoma will “serve as notice and demand to the federal government, as our agent, to cease and desist, effective immediately, mandates that are beyond the scope of these constitutionally delegated powers.”
It also instructs that “a copy of this resolution be distributed to the president of the United States, the president of the United States Senate, the speaker of the United States House of Representatives, the speaker of the House and the president of the Senate of each state’s legislature of the United States of America, and each member of the Oklahoma congressional delegation.”
The resolution does not, as some have speculated, amount to secession, but it does send a warning signal to Washington: Oklahoma does not intend to be bullied by big brother government.…Continue reading