For immediate release
January 23, 2009
The Guantánamo Bay Detention Center continues to be an enormous stain on America’s
reputation. Newly elected President Obama has taken the first step in removing
this stain by keeping his campaign promise to the American people.
The temporary halting of proceedings at Gitmo gives us the “audacity
to hope” that President Obama will be able to restore America’s good name,
which has been repeatedly tarnished during the past eight years.
We appreciate the tough decisions that President Obama has been forced to make
and admire him for taking these difficult tasks on. We look forward to hearing
his plan for closing Guantánamo Bay forever, finding a just way to try the detainees
and putting an end to this horrific chapter in America’s history.
# # #
Lorie Van Auken
Additonally, please see earlier statement below, which further explains our
April 3, 2008
As women whose husbands were killed on September 11 2001, we feel strongly
that the perpetrators of that horrific crime should be brought to justice. But
first it is imperative to prove that these six detainees are indeed the guilty
Unfortunately, the Administration insists on trying the suspects in the broken
military commissions system. Prosecuting these men within a system that is secretive
in nature and lacking in due process, and which uses evidence tainted by questionable
interrogation methods and possibly even torture, is a dangerous endeavor. All
Americans, and… Continue reading
By Scott Horton
January 22, 2009
In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.
“The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.
Manfred Nowak, an internationally renowned law professor at the University of Vienna, currently serves as an independent expert for the United Nations looking at allegations of torture affecting member states. In 2006, he undertook a special investigation of conditions at the U.S. detention facilities at Guantánamo in which he concluded that practices approved by the Bush Administration violated human rights norms, including the prohibition against torture.
The ZDF piece also includes an interview with attorney Wolfgang Kaleck, who brought charges against Rumsfeld before German prosecutors. He states that the Obama administration is “off to a good beginning” with its explicit renunciation of torture,… Continue reading
By Bob Woodward
Washington Post Staff Writer
The top Bush administration official in charge of deciding whether to bring Guantánamo Bay detainees to trial has concluded that the U.S. military tortured a Saudi national who allegedly planned to participate in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, interrogating him with techniques that included sustained isolation, sleep deprivation, nudity and prolonged exposure to cold, leaving him in a “life-threatening condition.”
“We tortured [Mohammed al-]Qahtani,” said Susan J. Crawford, in her first interview since being named convening authority of military commissions by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in February 2007. “His treatment met the legal definition of torture. And that’s why I did not refer the case” for prosecution.
Crawford, a retired judge who served as general counsel for the Army during the Reagan administration and as Pentagon inspector general when Dick Cheney was secretary of defense, is the first senior Bush administration official responsible for reviewing practices at Guantánamo to publicly state that a detainee was tortured.
Crawford, 61, said the combination of the interrogation techniques, their duration and the impact on Qahtani’s health led to her conclusion. “The techniques they used were all authorized, but the manner in which they applied them was overly aggressive and too persistent. . . . You think of torture, you think of some horrendous physical act done to an individual. This was not any one particular act; this was just a combination of things that had a medical impact on him, that hurt his… Continue reading
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.
“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
by Peter Dale Scott
January 7, 2009
Paulson’s Financial Bailout
It is becoming clear that the bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by “news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.”1 In addition, as AP reported in October, “Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. `There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,” he said.”2
Even more reprehensible is the fact that since the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department have refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve has… Continue reading
It’s not about them–it’s about us
December 15, 2008
by Mike Ferner
During the rush to get the Nuremberg Tribunals underway, the Soviet delegation wanted the tribunal’s historic decisions to have legitimacy only for the Nazis. U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Robert Jackson, serving as the chief prosecutor for the Allies, strong-armed the Soviets until the very beginning of the tribunal before changing their minds.
In his opening statement Jackson very purposely stipulated, “…Let me make clear that while this law is first applied against German aggressors, the law includes, and if it is to serve a useful purpose it must condemn aggression by any other nations, including those which sit here now in judgment.”
Can there be a better reason for prosecuting George Bush and his administration for war crimes than those words from the chief prosecutor of the Nazis, a U.S. Supreme Court Justice, with the full support of the U.S. government? Robert Jackson’s words and the values this nation claims to stand for provide sufficient moral basis for putting Bush and Cheney, their underlings who implemented their policies and the perverted legal minds who justified them all in the dock. If those are not sufficient reasons, there is a long list of binding law and treaties — written in black and white in surprisingly plain English.
Bush imagined, and his attorneys advised, that he could simply wave aside these laws with “they don’t apply.” Imagine how a judge would treat even a simple traffic court defendant who… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
Without integrity and courage, all virtue is specious, and no amount of structural or organizational reform will make any difference.
Though a 2004 law gave most of the DCI’s intelligence community-wide authority to the new position of Director of National Intelligence — after the failure to prevent the 9/11 attacks and after the false intelligence analysis on Iraq’s WMDs — the same principles regarding integrity and courage apply to the DNI.
Instructive lessons can be drawn from the performance of George Tenet, the sixteenth CIA director since the establishment of the Central Intelligence Agency in 1947, and from his predecessors regarding what attributes a director needs to discharge the duties of the office as the National Security Act of 1947 intended.
Consortiumnews.com Editor’s Note:
An underlying factor in the national security crises confronting the United States has been the corruption of the U.S. intelligence process, with analyses tailored to fit the desires of the policymakers and with laws bent to permit torture and other abuses.In this guest essay, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern reflects on what went wrong and what now needs to go right.
911truth.org Editor’s Note:
Ray McGovern is now a regular guest on “Tell Somebody,” hosted by Tom Klammer, broadcasting Tuesday evenings from 6-7pm CENTRAL time.… Continue reading
by Kevin R. Ryan
In a famous book by Antoine de Saint Exupery, a little prince from another planet asks the narrator to draw a sheep. After several unsatisfactory attempts, the narrator simply draws a box and tells the little prince that the sheep is in the box. The little prince then exclaims — “That is exactly the way I wanted it!” 1
Just so, the Bush Administration asked its scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) for an explanation as to what happened at the World Trade Center (WTC) on 9/11. In response to this request, NIST drew up a series of fanciful stories over a period of years, each story differing from the previous one. Finally, after seven long years, NIST published its last story for WTC 7 by simply saying, in effect: “The explanation is in our computer.” 2
As expected, however, this explanation in a box leaves much to be desired for those of us who prefer to live in reality, instead of in a fictional world. On the other hand, we are learning something from NIST with this new report, and that is that when government scientists begin working for a political agenda above all else, there is no limit to the extent of deception that they will engage in. We also know that those who have produced the NIST WTC reports must now assume personal responsibility for the ongoing 9/11 Wars, and the millions of deaths that will result from those wars.…Continue reading
by P. Devlin Buckley
September 5, 2008
The American Monitor
Law firms representing victims of the 9/11 attacks in an ongoing legal dispute with wealthy Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda have recently turned their attention to two individuals with unique ties to the U.S. government.
Lawyers for victims of the attacks, as well as insurance companies of property owners in New York, have filed a motion of discovery in federal district court in Manhattan targeting the Saudi-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and two of its former executives, Khalid bin Mahfouz and Yassin al-Qadi.
Both Mahfouz and al-Qadi have a murky history that includes alleged ties to the CIA, the White House, the Bush family, al-Qaeda, and organized crime on a global scale.
The discovery motion, if granted, would advance the case by requiring both sides to disclose and exchange all available pertinent facts regarding the defendants. The motion comes just days after a circuit court ruled members of the Saudi government are immune from terrorism lawsuits in the United States, a setback in the plaintiffs’ case against Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. There are some defendants, however, the ruling does not protect, including Khalid bin Mahfouz, Yassin al-Qadi, and the NCB.
Government documents, expert testimony, and media reports dating back several years suggest Mahfouz and al-Qadi have raised millions of dollars for al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Evidence indicates some of the defendants’ activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government.
During the late… Continue reading
Debunking NIST’s conclusions about WTC 7 is as easy as shooting fish in a barrel
By George Washington
NIST lamely tried to explain the symmetrically (sic) collapse as follows:
WTC 7′s collapse, viewed from the exterior (most videos were taken from the north), did appear to fall almost uniformly as a single unit. This occurred because the interior failures that took place did not cause the exterior framing to fail until the final stages of the building collapse. The interior floor framing and columns collapsed downward and pulled away from the exterior frame. There were clues that internal damage was taking place, prior to the downward movement of the exterior frame, such as when the east penthouse fell downward into the building and windows broke out on the north face at the ends of the building core. The symmetric appearance of the downward fall of the WTC 7 was primarily due to the greater stiffness and strength of its exterior frame relative to the interior framing.
NIST can’t have it both ways. If the exterior frame was so stiff and strong, then it should have stopped the collapse, or – at the very least – we would have seen a bowing effect where tremendous opposing forces were battling each other for dominance in determining the direction of the fall. See also this .
In real life, the thick structural beams and “stiff [and strong]” exterior frame used in the building should have quickly stopped any partial collapse, unless… Continue reading
Email from Rep. Robert Wexler, FL
Capitol Hill is buzzing today with major developments regarding our campaign for impeachment hearings for President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. Just today, in what could be described as a perfect impeachment storm:
• Karl Rove once again thumbed his nose at Congress and the American people by brazenly ignoring a lawful congressional subpoena to testify before the House of Representatives;
• Judiciary Chairman John Conyers indicated his willingness to use the power of inherent contempt against Rove if necessary;
• Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced another article of impeachment on Bush’s lies regarding the Iraq war; and
• Speaker Nancy Pelosi was quoted today saying that the House Judiciary Committee should address the issues that Kucinich raises in the House Judiciary Committee.
After years of work by so many of you, the time appears ripe to finally hold Bush and Cheney accountable.
Conyers Opens Door to Inherent Contempt for Rove
Karl Rove has simply refused to appear, as he is legally required to do. His actions, endorsed by the Bush/Cheney Administration, are a challenge to our system of checks and balances and Congress must respond to this type of outrageous behavior with appropriate severity.
Today, Judiciary Chairman John Conyers courageously stated today that inherent contempt will remain an option for the House of Representatives so long as Rove and this Administration refuses to abide by the law.
We must now bring Mr. Rove (and other renegade Bush officials) in compliance with… Continue reading
Intro, continued: Scott Horton, of AntiwarRadio.com, interviewed Sibel Edmonds and the blogger who’s long covered her important case (which the corporate media still refuses to touch), Luke Ryland, to shine some light on what might be happening here. Again, Congress refuses to hold hearings, and hold anyone to account. This interview reviews some of the information that’s come to light in Sibel’s 6-year case, as well as the utter lack of action by Congress with regard to the entire network of whistleblowers with whom she’s associated.
Sibel on Congress: “What happened to all those promises you made? All the promises they made, none of them were fulfilled! They may look like champions, but all we have gotten with people like Chairman Waxman and Chairman Conyers is all barking … as soon as the issue dies down in the media, they just go away. They don’t do anything. They haven’t brought about any type of accountability, any type of meaningful hearings … nothing that in any way would bring with it type of accountability or further action, and they do have the power. … (Before, the blamed the Republicans) now we see that with the Democrats across the House, like Pelosi. … If the mainstream media were to do their job that would create the necessary pressure on Congress so that Congress would do what it’s supposed to do; it’s not doing favors, it’s basically fulfilling their obligation to the American public. This is why we are in this sorry… Continue reading
Wed May 21, 2008 8:57pm EDT
By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI counterterrorism units are dangerously ill-equipped and barely 60 percent of the supervisory positions in the division that tracks al Qaeda were filled as of March, a bureau agent told Congress on Wednesday.
Bassem Youssef told a congressional hearing that the bureau has failed to recruit, retain and promote experienced personnel and experts in Arabic culture and language.
The shortfall has contributed to problems such as the improper use of FBI demands for personal and business records, said Youssef, who helped uncover the abuse.
Youssef, who was born in Egypt, has also sued the FBI alleging discrimination because of his race and ancestry.
“The FBI’s counterterrorism division is ill-equipped to handle the terrorism problems we’re facing,” said Youssef, a 20-year veteran who investigated bombings in 1993 at the World Trade Center and in 1996 at the Khobar Towers residence at a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia.
Asked how much use the FBI had made of his own experience, he replied, “The bureau used my background and experience very extensively — up to September 11.”
Youssef, who heads the FBI counterterrorism division’s communications analysis unit, attributed the shift to a name mix-up with another agent, discrimination and cultural ignorance.
Members of the House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism urged the bureau to revise an “up or out” policy that makes supervisors move from the field to Washington headquarters after five years, or take a demotion or retire.…Continue reading
UPDATE: Watch this hearing online–Mr. Youssef’s testimony will shed light on significant problems in the FBI’s Counterterrorism program, and I urge everyone who can to attend this hearing (details below). For those who are not in Washington, you can watch a live webcast of the proceedings on the House Judiciary Committee website. Click here to visit their webpage and then click “View Live Webcast.”
FBI WHISTLEBLOWER TO TESTIFY ON MISTAKES INSIDE COUNTERTERRORISM PROGRAM
Unit Chief to disclose shortfalls in war on terror
WHAT: FBI Whistleblower and Supervisory Special Agent Bassem Youssef testifying before Congress
WHEN: Wednesday, May 21, 1:30 p.m. EDT
WHERE: Rayburn House Office Building, Room 2141
Washington, D.C. — FBI Counterterrorism Whistleblower Bassem Youssef will testify before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
During the oversight hearing, titled On The FBI Whistleblowers: Exposing Corruption and Retaliation Inside the Bureau, Supervisory Special Agent Bassem Youssef will for the first time alert Congress and the American people to the grave deficiencies within the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division since 9/11.
It is expected that Youssef’s testimony will include previously undisclosed information.
Youssef is the Unit Chief of the FBI’s Communications Analysis Unit. He is the highest-ranking Arab-American agent in the Counterterrorism Division, and the highest-ranking fluent Arabic speaker. In 1994, he earned the Intelligence Community’s prestigious and coveted award, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, awarded by the Director of Central Intelligence. The award was for outstanding accomplishments in a terrorism case involving an al-Qaeda-related investigation.… Continue reading
By Larry Neumeister
April 22, 2008
New York (AP) — Former EPA chief Christine Todd Whitman cannot be held liable for telling residents near the World Trade Center site that the air was safe to breathe after the 2001 terrorist attacks, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said Whitman apparently made comments reassuring people about the safety around the site based on conflicting information and reassurances by the White House.
The appeals court said legal remedies are not always available for every instance of arguably deficient governmental performance.
A Department of Justice lawyer had argued late last year that holding the former head of the Environmental Protection Agency liable would set a dangerous precedent in future disasters because public officials would fear making public statements.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit by residents, students and workers in lower Manhattan and Brooklyn who said they were exposed to hazardous dust and debris from the fallen twin towers after Sept. 11.
They said Whitman, who also is a former New Jersey governor, should be forced to pay damages to properly clean homes, schools and businesses.
A lower court judge had earlier refused to dismiss Whitman as a defendant, saying her actions were “conscience-shocking.”
Read Court ruling here
Source URL: http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5jP7-QdspaAc0ZXjyQ3Oha-tbeIogD906VF2O0
Ex-EPA Chief Not Liable for Clean Air Assurances After 9/11
ABA Journal – 1 hour ago
Posted 1 hour, 46 minutes ago
By Molly McDonough
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled today that former EPA head Christine Todd Whitman cannot be held liable for saying that the air near the collapsed World Trade Center site was safe to breathe after the 9/11 attacks.…Continue reading
EFF Applauds House Passage of Surveillance Bill with No Telecom Immunity Bill Would Allow Spying Cases to Proceed Fairly and Securely
Washington, D.C. – This morning the House of Representatives passed a compromise surveillance bill that does not include retroactive immunity for phone companies alleged to have assisted in the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program. The bill would allow lawsuits like the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s case against AT&T to proceed while providing specific security procedures allowing the telecom giants to defend themselves in court.
The House bill succeeded 213 to 197 despite the president’s threat to veto any bill that does not include immunity.
“We applaud the House for refusing to grant amnesty to lawbreaking telecoms, and for passing a bill that would allow our lawsuit against AT&T to proceed fairly and securely,” said Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston. “Amnesty proponents have been claiming on the Hill for months that phone companies like AT&T had a good faith belief that the NSA program was legal. Under this bill, the companies could do what they should have been able to do all along: tell that story to a judge.”
The Senate is expected to consider the House bill when it returns from recess on Monday, March 31. House and Senate staff are expected to spend much of the break negotiating over differences between the new House bill and a previous Senate bill that includes immunity provisions.
“This newly-passed House bill represents a true compromise on the amnesty issue:… Continue reading
by Philip Giraldi
Sibel Edmonds is the FBI translator turned whistleblower who decided to go public late in 2002 and has been seeking to tell her story about high level corruption in the United States government involving Turkey and Israel. What makes her story particularly compelling is that the corruption relates to the theft and sale of United States defense secrets, most particularly nuclear technology. Sibel obtained her information while translating Turkish language telephone intercepts directed against several Turkish lobbying groups who had contact with senior officials in the Bush Administration, both at the Pentagon and in the State Department. Many of the officials involved are apparently the same neoconservatives who cooked the books to enable the rush to war against Iraq and who are continuing to urge more wars in the Middle East, most notably against Iran and Syria. Several of them are close allies of leading Republican presidential candidate John McCain.
To stop Sibel from telling her story, then Attorney General John Ashcroft subjected her to a state secrets privilege gag order after her appearance on CBS’s 60 Minutes in October 2002 that not only forbade her providing details of her employment with FBI but also made the ban retroactive so that anything relating to her case would be considered a state secret. Edmonds had been discouraged by her experience with CBS as her most important points wound up on the cutting room floor. Then came the gag order, which she has observed while working assiduously to get… Continue reading
By Jason Charles
In his usual form, former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter told a packed crowd at the Oriental Theater in Denver to stop whining about corporate media and become their own intelligence operatives. We the people have the same resources and tools that intelligence networks rely heavily on; it’s called “Google” he said.
In his hilarious analogy, the American people like baby birds wait each night in front of their television sets for the corporate news bird to land in their living room and lovingly puke down our necks with that day’s regurgitated news. Suggesting that as our own intelligence operatives we can’t allow CNN, FOX, NBC, and ABC to edit and cherry pick information, but ask questions and find the answers ourselves.
In that vein TruthAlliance.net Editor Jason Charles had a few questions for Mr. Ritter which he graciously allowed us to film. We explored 3 topics, if the Bush admin got its way in the mid-east what would it look like, how can these dis-separate yet justice driven revolutions in America unite, and his amazing thoughts on a new, fully empowered investigation into the cause of 9-11.
He asked, “Did Bush and Cheney Plan the demise of the building? Was this a terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda? Or was it something in between? Well frankly we don’t know.” How important is this to establishing justice? Mr. Ritter seems to think it is an “absolute requirement to know what happened on 9-11.”