June 12, 2007
Judges Say U.S. Can’t Hold Man as ‘Combatant’
By ADAM LIPTAK
Background: Ali al-Marri, a citizen from Qatar, was arrested on Dec. 12, 2001 in Peoria, Ill., where he was living with his wife and five children while studying computer science at Bradley University. He was initially charged with credit card fraud and lying to federal agents. Then in 2003, he was transfered to military custody and designated an enemy combatant. Government officials contended that he was an al-Qaeda sleeper agent, sent to the United States to commit mass murder and disrupt the banking system. Mr. al-Marri denied the charges and challenged his detention. His case took on added significance when Mr. al-Marri was left as the only enemy combatant being held in mainland America.
The federal appeals court in Richmond, Va., ruled yesterday that the president may not declare civilians in this country to be “enemy combatants” and have the military hold them indefinitely. The ruling was a stinging rejection of one of the Bush administration’s central assertions about the scope of executive authority to combat terrorism.
The ruling came in the case of Ali al-Marri, a citizen of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., who is the only person on the American mainland known to be held as an enemy combatant. The court said the administration may charge Mr. Marri with a crime, deport him or hold him as a material witness in connection with a grand jury investigation.
“But military detention of al-Marri must cease,” Judge Diana Gribbon Motz wrote for the majority of a divided three-judge panel.…Continue reading
ACLU of Arizona Sues County Officials Over Inhumane Confinement of TB Patient (5/31/2007)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PHOENIX, AZ — The American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona today filed a lawsuit on behalf of Robert Daniels, a tuberculosis patient who has been held in the jail ward at the Maricopa Medical Center for the past nine months, charging that treating a severely ill patient like a criminal is inhumane and unconstitutional.
“Individuals quarantined because of public health risks are held under civil rather than criminal laws,” said Daniel J. Pochoda, ACLU of Arizona Legal Director. “Robert Daniels is a sick patient who has been detained for non-punitive purposes and public health officials are legally and morally obligated to treat him in a humane manner.”
Daniels was placed in quarantine at the jail ward of the county hospital in August 2006. He was diagnosed with an extremely drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis (TB) that he will probably live with for his entire life, even if he becomes non-contagious. At a hearing in July 2006, Daniels was involuntarily committed after Maricopa County Public Health Department officials claimed he was a serious public health risk for not wearing a mask while visiting a local convenience store. One month later he was thrown in jail.
“I’m slowly dying in this room,” said Daniels, who has a wife and daughter in his native Russia. “I didn’t realize how serious this was, and I regret that, but nothing justifies the kind of treatment I’ve received in here.…Continue reading
May 24, 2007
For the First Time, New York Links a Death to 9/11 Dust
By ANTHONY DePALMA
New York City’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, has for the first time directly linked a death to exposure to dust from the destruction of the World Trade Center.
In a letter made public yesterday, Dr. Hirsch said that he was certain “beyond a reasonable doubt” that dust from the twin towers contributed to the death of Felicia Dunn-Jones, 42, a civil rights lawyer who was engulfed on Sept. 11 as she ran from her office a block away from the trade center.
She later developed a serious cough and had trouble breathing, and she died five months after the terrorist attack.
Dr. Hirsch said he had decided to amend Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s death certificate to indicate that exposure to trade center dust “was contributory to her death.” The manner of death will be changed from natural causes to homicide.
Her name will be added to the official list of World Trade Center victims, and the official number of people who died as a result of the attack on the twin towers will be increased to 2,750.
By making a formal connection between Mrs. Dunn-Jones’s death and her relatively brief exposure to the dust, the medical examiner’s decision could have a wide impact on how the city deals with the growing number of illnesses and deaths linked in some way to ground zero.
The city is already under pressure to re-examine the deaths of people like James Zadroga, 34, a New York police detective who worked at the debris pile in the months after the towers fell.…Continue reading
by Adam Liptak
The New York Times
Trials are on the verge of extinction. They have been replaced by settlements
and plea deals, by mediations and arbitrations and by decisions from judges
based only on lawyers’ written submissions.
More from the New York Times
Federal courts conducted about 3,600 trials in civil cases last year, down
from 5,800 in 1962. That is not an enormous drop— until you consider that
the number of cases has quintupled in the meantime.
In percentage terms, only 1.3 percent of federal civil cases ended in trials
last year, down from 11.5 percent in 1962.
The trends in criminal cases and in the state courts are broadly similar, though
not always quite as striking. But it is beyond dispute that even as the number
of lawyers has grown twice as fast as the population and even as the number
of lawsuits has exploded, actual trials have become quite rare.
Instead of hearing testimony, ruling on objections and instructing jurors on
the law, judges spend most of their time supervising the exchange of information,
deciding pretrial motions and dealing with settlements and plea bargains.
There is, of course, nothing wrong with settlements, at least when they are
the product of reasoned and sensible compromise between evenly matched adversaries.
But trials are not disappearing simply because more cases are being settled.
Instead, they are increasingly being replaced by summary judgments, in which
judges evaluate evidence submitted to them on paper.
“During the last years of the 20th century, summary judgment in the federal
courts moved from a small fraction of dispositions by trial to a magnitude several
times greater than the number of trials,” Marc Galanter, who teaches law at
the University of Wisconsin and the London School of Economics and Political
Science, wrote last year in The Journal of Dispute Resolution.…
by Matthew Rothschild
With scarcely a mention in the mainstream media, President Bush has ordered up a plan for responding to a catastrophic attack.
In a new National Security Presidential Directive , Bush lays out his plans for dealing with a “catastrophic emergency.” (Ed.: Full text appended at end of this article.)
Under that plan, he entrusts himself with leading the entire federal government, not just the Executive Branch. And he gives himself the responsibility “for ensuring constitutional government.”
He laid this all out in a document entitled “National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51″ and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20.”
The White House released it on May 9.
Other than a discussion on Daily Kos led off by a posting by Leo Fender, and a pro-forma notice in a couple of mainstream newspapers, this document has gone unremarked upon.
The subject of the document is entitled “National Continuity Policy.”
It defines a “catastrophic emergency” as “any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function.”
This could mean another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California, I imagine, since it says it would include “localized acts of nature, accidents, and technological or attack-related emergencies.”
The document emphasizes the need to ensure “the continued function of our form of government under the Constitution, including the functioning of the three separate branches of government,” it states.
But it says flat out: “The President shall… Continue reading
By Peter Phillips, Lew Brown and Bridget Thornton
January 9, 2007
Project Censored Releases a New study on the History of US Intelligence Community
Human Rights Violations and Continuing Research in Electromagnetic Weapons.
CLICK HERE TO READ COMPLETE STUDY (pdf):
US Electromagnetic Weapons and Human Rights – application/pdf 308K
This research explores the current capabilities of the US military to use electromagnetic
(EMF) devices to harass, intimidate, and kill individuals and the continuing
possibilities of violations of human rights by the testing and deployment of
these weapons. To establish historical precedent in the US for such acts, we
document long-term human rights and freedom of thought violations by US military/intelligence
organizations. Additionally, we explore contemporary evidence of on-going government
research in EMF weapons technologies and examine the potentialities of continuing
human rights abuses.
In the 1950s and 60s the CIA began work to find means for influencing human
cognition, emotion and behavior. Through the use of the psychological understanding
of the human being as a social animal and the ability to manipulate a subject’s
environment through isolation, drugs and hypnosis, US funded scientists have
long searched for better means of controlling human behavior. This research
has included the use of wireless directed electromagnetic energy under the heading
of “Information Warfare” and “Non Lethal Weapons.” New technological capabilities have been developed in black budget projects over the last few decades — including the ability to influence human emotion, disrupt thought, and present excruciating pain through the manipulation of magnetic fields.…
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer
Thu May 3, 2:31 PM ET
Many potential jurors in the Jose Padilla terrorism-support case say they aren’t
sure who directed the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks because they don’t trust reporters
or the federal government.
“There are too many ifs, too many things going on,” one male juror
said. “I don’t know the whole story.”
Others say they just don’t pay close enough attention to world events to be
“I’m oblivious to that stuff,” one prospective female juror said
during questioning this week. “I don’t watch the news much. I try to avoid
The doubts were noted by a significant portion of the more than 160 people
who have been questioned individually since jury selection in the case began
Padilla and two co-defendants are charged with being part of a North American
support cell for Islamic extremists. A jury is expected to be seated next week,
with testimony to begin May 14.
Padilla, a U.S. citizen held for 3 1/2 years as an enemy combatant, is accused
of applying for an al-Qaida training camp in Afghanistan. He was previously
accused of an al-Qaida plot to detonate a radioactive “dirty bomb”
in a U.S. city, but that allegation is not part of the Miami case.
Before they came to court, each of the jurors filled out a 115-question form
asking about a wide range of legal, political and religious topics, particularly
their views of Arabs, Muslims and Islamic radicals. On question No.…
By Naomi Wolf, Chelsea Green Publishing
April 28, 2007
Alternet Editor’s note: This is adapted from Wolf’s forthcoming book “The
End of America: A Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot.”
autumn, there was a military coup in Thailand. The leaders of the coup took
a number of steps, rather systematically, as if they had a shopping list. In
a sense, they did. Within a matter of days, democracy had been closed down —
the coup leaders declared martial law, sent armed soldiers into residential
areas, took over radio and TV stations, issued restrictions on the press, tightened
some limits on travel and took certain activists into custody.
They were not figuring these things out as they went along. If you look at
history, you can see that there is essentially a blueprint for turning an open
society into a dictatorship. That blueprint has been used again and again in
more and less bloody, more and less terrifying ways. But it is always effective.
It is very difficult and arduous to create and sustain a democracy, but history
shows that closing one down is much simpler. You simply have to be willing to
take the 10 steps.
As difficult as this is to contemplate, it is clear, if you are willing to
look, that each of these 10 steps has already been initiated in the United States
by the Bush administration.
Because Americans like me were born in freedom, we have a hard time even considering
that… Continue reading
Working for the Clampdown: What might the president do with his new power to declare martial law?
By James Bovard
04/25/07 “American Conservative” — – How many pipe bombs might it take to end American democracy? Far fewer than it would have taken a year ago.
The Defense Authorization Act of 2006 [Ed.: Details at http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-1815], passed on Sept. 30, empowers President George W. Bush to impose martial law in the event of a terrorist “incident,” if he or other federal officials perceive a shortfall of “public order,” or even in response to antiwar protests that get unruly as a result of government provocations.
The media and most of Capitol Hill ignored or cheered on this grant of nearly boundless power. But now that the president’s arsenal of authority is swollen and consecrated, a few voices of complaint are being heard. Even the New York Times recently condemned the new law for “making martial law easier.”
It only took a few paragraphs in a $500 billion, 591-page bill to raze one of the most important limits on federal power. Congress passed the Insurrection Act in 1807 to severely restrict the president’s ability to deploy the military within the United States. The Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 tightened these restrictions, imposing a two-year prison sentence on anyone who used the military within the U.S. without the express permission of Congress. But there is a loophole: Posse Comitatus is waived if the president invokes the Insurrection Act.
Section 1076 of the John Warner National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2007 [Ed.: Details at www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h109-5122″] changed the name of the key provision in the statute book from “Insurrection Act” to “Enforcement of the Laws to Restore Public Order Act.” The Insurrection Act of 1807 stated that the president could deploy troops within the United States only “to suppress, in a State, any insurrection, domestic violence, unlawful combination, or conspiracy.” The new law expands the list to include “natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident, or other condition”–and such “condition” is not defined or limited.…Continue reading
By SUSAN EDELMAN
April 22, 2007 — Twenty-six firefighters who toiled at Ground Zero came down with sarcoidosis, an inflammatory illness that often attacks the lungs, in the five years after 9/11 – a significant increase, a new study has found.
The study has angered the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, which complains that the NYPD has refused to acknowledge that 9/11 caused sarcoidosis in cops.
Half the firefighter cases were diagnosed in the first year after 9/11 – a rate six times higher than the average for the Bravest in the 15 years before 9/11, according to a paper to be published in CHEST, a medical journal.
The results “strongly argue for improved respiratory protection” at future fires, disasters and toxic sites, says the report, whose authors include FDNY top doctors David Prezant and Kerry Kelly.
The PBA, which has its own registry of ailing WTC responders, counts 19 cops with sarcoidosis.
Unlike the FDNY, the NYPD has been reluctant to link the disease to 9/11.
The NYPD has also rejected some cops’ medical bills for sarcoidosis.
“First they denied any connection between the WTC and sarcoidosis. Now that there’s scientific evidence, they refuse to accept it,” PBA president Patrick Lynch told The Post.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Commissioner Ray Kelly welcomed line-of-duty death benefits recently given the daughter of detective James Zadroga, 34, a 9/11 responder who died of respiratory illness.
“The department hasn’t refused to acknowledge a link. The medical division is reviewing the cases,” Browne said.
Source URL: http://www.nypost.com/php/pfriendly/print.php?url=http://www.nypost.com/seven/04222007/news/regionalnews/9_11_firefighter_lung_ailments_on_the_rise_regionalnews_susan_edelman.htm
Apr 20, 2007
(CBS/AP) NEW YORK An appeals court ruling could spell trouble for New Yorkers
suing the Environmental Protection Agency and its former chief for saying that
sooty Lower Manhattan air was safe to breathe after the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
A three judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals declared this
week that EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman and other agency officials
can’t be held constitutionally liable for making rosy declarations about air
quality in the days following the World Trade Center’s destruction.
The opinion, written by the court’s chief judge, Dennis Jacobs, said opening
EPA workers up to lawsuits for giving out bad information during a crisis could
have a catastrophic side effect.
“Officials might default to silence in the face of the public’s urgent
need for information,” Jacobs wrote.
The ruling, filed Thursday, applied only to a suit brought by five government
employees who did rescue and cleanup work at ground zero, but it contained language
suggesting that similar legal claims could face trouble.
It specifically mentioned a class action lawsuit brought by lower Manhattan
residents who claim Whitman jeopardized their health by declaring that “the
air is safe to breathe” at a time when, according to the EPA inspector
general, a quarter of dust samples were recording unhealthy asbestos levels.
Last year, U.S. District Judge Deborah A. Batts, refused to dismiss that case,
calling Whitman’s statements “conscience-shocking.”
That decision is now on appeal and has yet to be argued before the 2nd… Continue reading
Terrorized by ‘War on Terror': How a Three-Word Mantra Has Undermined America
By Zbigniew Brzezinski
Sunday, March 25, 2007
The “war on terror” has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration’s elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy, on America’s psyche and on U.S. standing in the world. Using this phrase has actually undermined our ability to effectively confront the real challenges we face from fanatics who may use terrorism against us.
The damage these three words have done — a classic self-inflicted wound — is infinitely greater than any wild dreams entertained by the fanatical perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks when they were plotting against us in distant Afghan caves. The phrase itself is meaningless. It defines neither a geographic context nor our presumed enemies. Terrorism is not an enemy but a technique of warfare — political intimidation through the killing of unarmed non-combatants.
But the little secret here may be that the vagueness of the phrase was deliberately (or instinctively) calculated by its sponsors. Constant reference to a “war on terror” did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. The war of choice in Iraq could never have gained the congressional support it got without the psychological linkage between the shock of 9/11 and the postulated existence of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.…Continue reading
The American Freedom Agenda’s (AFA) mission is twofold: the enactment of a cluster of statutes that would restore the Constitution’s checks and balances as enshrined by the Founding Fathers; and, making the subject a staple of political campaigns and of foremost concern to Members of Congress and to voters and educators. Especially since 9/11, the executive branch has chronically usurped legislative or judicial power, and has repeatedly claimed that the President is the law. The constitutional grievances against the White House are chilling, reminiscent of the kingly abuses that provoked the Declaration of Independence.
The 10-point American Freedom Agenda would work to restore the roles of Congress and the federal judiciary to prevent such abuses of power and protect against injustices that are the signature of civilized nations. In particular, the American Freedom Agenda would:
Bloomberg Seeks U.S. Aid for Treatment of 9/11 Illnesses
By SEWELL CHAN
WASHINGTON, March 21 — Testifying at a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg pleaded for at least $150 million in annual federal aid to monitor and treat thousands of people who became ill after being exposed to dust and debris at ground zero.
The mayor also called for the creation of a special fund to compensate those who became sick, urging that the city and its contractors be protected from potentially ruinous liability as a result of lawsuits brought by rescue and recovery workers who have argued that they were not adequately protected from the environmental hazards left by the World Trade Center’s collapse.
Senators from both parties expressed sympathy for the mayor’s arguments, which were delivered at the start of a three-hour hearing of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
A panel appointed by Mr. Bloomberg last month put the total cost of evaluating and treating everyone potentially affected by the trade center attack at $392.6 million a year. The panel called for the federal government to provide, at a minimum, $153 million a year to sustain health programs run by the Mount Sinai Medical Center, the Fire Department and Bellevue Hospital Center.
Mr. Bloomberg told the committee’s chairman, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, Democrat of New York, that he supported a bill they introduced that would provide $1.9 billion for 9/11 health monitoring and treatment between 2008 and 2012.…Continue reading
Note: The Mt. Sinai study, referred to by David Miller, can be found here, with other resources from Mt. Sinai for individuals affected by WTC toxins.
Report from NY911Truth.org:
“9/11 First Responders: Voices From The Pit”
Sunday, June 25th at Community Church
I’m not sure how David Miller found us, but he has been attending our Sunday events for at least 3 months. NY 911 Truth has been enriched by his presence. Between hearing of his experience as a first responder with his National Guard unit, reading the many recent articles about the plight of responders, and meeting several other responders at a conference sponsored by SUNY-New Paltz, we’ve had our eyes and hearts opened to a unique aspect of the 9/11 tragedy.
We knew we had to have an event dedicated to calling attention to the cause of responders, survivors, and also downtown residents who were all told by the EPA, the air was safe to breath. However, 14 rescue dogs died and nearly 5 years later many responders have died, thousands are very sick, can’t work, and are in dire straits financially. Adding insult to injury, 1 billion dollars of federal funds are sitting in an offshore bank account and many have had to fight to get workers comp due to incredibly slick maneuvering by government agencies. Our event began with comments from Father Frank Morales who served as chaplain at Ground Zero in the early weeks after the attacks. He shared an essay about his experience which was deeply moving.…Continue reading
by Sid Shniad
The Hidden History of 9-11-2001
Research in Political Economy
2006 Volume 23.
Ed. by Paul Zarembka
Governments have long found it useful to manufacture rationale for pursuing war and repression. The sinking of the Battleship Maine at the outset of the Spanish-American-Cuba War is the classic example. When President Harry Truman wanted to offer assistance to anti-Communist forces in Greece and Turkey in 1947, Republican senator Arthur Vandenburg promised his support if Truman would “scare the hell out of the American people.” In 1962, the Pentagon mounted Operation Northwoods, a plan involving false-flag actions, state-sponsored terrorism and the hijacking of planes on U.S. and Cuban soil designed to generate American public support for an invasion of Cuba. Then there was the case of the distraught young Iraqi woman testifying before U.S. Congressional hearings in the run-up to Gulf War I about babies being tossed out of incubators by Saddam Hussein’s soldiers.
The essays included in The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 lead to the conclusion that the attack on the World Trade Center may have been the biggest false-flag operation of them all. This 2006 issue of Research in Political Economy examines different aspects of 9-11, which, taken together, provide a serious challenge to those who dismiss the possibility that a government-based conspiracy was behind the events of 9-11.
The first section of the journal debunks the information provided by the U.S. government about the number and identity of the hijackers. Following that, other authors provide evidence indicating that it was impossible for the burning jet fuel from the planes to have caused the collapse of the World Trade Center towers; that a series of military war games taking place on 9-11 caused confusion in military circles and prevented normal emergency response operations to kick in; and that the insider trading in the shares of the airlines that were hijacked that day lays open the possibility that huge sums were made by people who were aware in advance of what was coming.…Continue reading
Information about New Film and Interviews at Visibility911.com
Visibility 9-11 last week published a three-part series focusing on the 9-11 dust and its aftermath. One week after September 11th, Christie Todd Whitman, then Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, stated, “Given the scope of the tragedy from last week, I am glad to reassure the people of New York and Washington D.C., that their air is safe to breathe and their water is safe to drink”, even though the EPA had information to the contrary.
In fact, the 9-11 dust was extremely caustic and in August of 2003, the EPA issued a report documenting changes made by the Bush administration to the EPA’s initial cautionary statements, which were originally worded to warn the public of the dangers in the dust. These warnings were changed to reassurances and the public never heard the truth. These lies have resulted in at least 70,000 people getting sick from breathing the toxic dust, and now, over five years later, they are dying. If you think our own government isn’t capable of deliberately allowing its own citizens to become sickened and die, think again.
Interviewed in this series:
Jenna Orkin of the World Trade Center Environmental Organization
Penny Little, producer of the new 9-11 documentary 9-11 Dust and Deceit at the World Trade Center
John Feal, president of the Feal Good Foundation.
You can hear this series of interviews and watch the trailer of the new film, “9/11 Dust and Deceit at the World Trade Center” at the Visibility 9-11 Dust Special webpage.…Continue reading
by Catherine Komp
Dec. 11 — A US Department of Homeland Security program that compiles data on millions of travelers and determines how likely they are to be terrorists may be operating illegally, according to privacy advocates and some members of Congress.
The Automated Targeting System (ATS) gathers travelers’ data from foreign governments, from numerous Customs and Border Protection sources, and from the Passenger Name Record, a controversial system used by the United States and Europe to gather travelers’ information from airlines and travel agencies.
ATS has long been used to track imported and exported cargo. But recent revelations by the Department show ATS is also being used to scrutinize airline passengers and cars entering or leaving the United States. The system draws on the collected data to assign a risk factor to each person or vehicle in order to help border patrol agents decide whether travelers “should receive additional screening because the traveler may pose a greater risk for violation of US law.”
It is unclear how long ATS has been used to screen humans. The DHS announced it had expanded ATS to include monitoring people in a November 2 notice in the Federal Register. However, the Department did not say when the expansion took place and some DHS officials have said the program has been in place for years.
Calling the program “equitable,” the agency said it “uses the same risk assessment process” for all individuals.
The DHS has announced it will keep the personal data gathered by ATS for up to 40 years to “cover the potentially active lifespan of individuals associated with terrorism or other criminal activities.…Continue reading