9/11 survivors call for renewed probe as 8th anniversary approaches
Posted by Bob Braun/Star-Ledger Columnist August 09, 2009
The eighth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks is a month away and some survivors
of those lost believe it’s a good time to renew an investigation into the events
of that disastrous day. New York City disagrees.
"We know we never have learned the truth, it’s as simple as that,” says
Lorie Van Auken of East Brunswick, one of the most ardent supporters of the
creation of the 9/11 commission in 2002. It was headed by former New Jersey
governor Thomas H. Kean.
"Members and staff of the 9/11 commission have said many of the questions
raised by the attacks have never been answered.”
Van Auken was a founding member of Sept. 11 Advocates, originally a group of
four New Jersey widows whose husbands were killed that day. The group, informally
called "the Jersey girls,” successfully lobbied for the creation of the
The four women formed the core of a "steering committee" that was
loosely attached to the panel, and then became lobbyists for enactment of the
commission’s recommendations and critics of many of its findings after the panel’s
report was published almost exactly five years ago.
Van Auken is now affiliated with an organization called NYC-CAN — New York
City Coalition for Accountability Now — that has spent the last few months
collecting signatures on a petition designed to require New York’s city council
to place the creation… Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
August 2, 2009
CIA director and Democratic appointee Leon Panetta, in an article published
Sunday, said Democrats must recognize the “reality” of 9/11 is what drove the
conduct of George W. Bush administration in the months following September 11,
2001, which somehow justifies not looking into suspected crimes.
He added, in an apparent warning to the House Intelligence Committee, that
that “focusing on the past” could hurt the CIA’s core mission
amid a climate of recriminations over its practices.
“I’ve become increasingly concerned that the focus on the past,
especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core
missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action,” Panetta
opined in the online edition of The Washington Post.
“In our democracy, effective congressional oversight of intelligence
is important, but it depends as much on consensus as it does on secrecy,”
he continued. “We need broad agreement between the executive and legislative
branches on what our intelligence organizations do and why. For much of our
history, we have had that. Over the past eight years, on specific issues —
including the detention and interrogation of terrorists — the consensus
deteriorated. That contributed to an atmosphere of declining trust, growing
frustration and more frequent leaks of properly classified information.”
Several paragraphs later, he appears to offer a blanket excuse for torture,
CIA black sites, kidnapping, indefinite detention, the invasion of Iraq and
Afghanistan and warrantless spying, among a litany of other notable scandals.
He says: “The… Continue reading
July 16, 2009
Posted at YouTube.com: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_aTbznZDT0
A brand new, powerful music video from David Ippolito. (That Guitar Man from Central Park) Watch this video. Please leave your own comments. Be heard. Download this song for free at www.thatguitarman.com. But… PASS THIS VIDEO ON TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW! (You and me… let’s make it “cool to care” again.)
By Gareth Porter
July 8, 2009
Official government documents reveal new side of defense secretary’s legacy
Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1967, took many secrets with him when he died Monday at 93. But probably no secret was more sensitive politically than the one that would have changed fundamentally the public perception of his role in Vietnam policy had it been become widely known.
The secret was his deliberate deceit of President Lyndon B. Johnson on Aug. 4, 1964 regarding the alleged attack on US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Documents which have been available for decades in the LBJ Library show clearly that McNamara failed to inform Johnson that the U.S. naval task group commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick, had changed his mind about the alleged North Vietnamese torpedo attack on U.S. warships he had reported earlier that day.
By early afternoon Washington time, Herrick had reported to the Commander in Chief Pacific in Honolulu that “freak weather effects” on the ship’s radar had made such an attack questionable. In fact, Herrick was now saying, in a message sent at 1:27 pm Washington time, that no North Vietnamese patrol boats had actually been sighted. Herrick now proposed a “complete evaluation before any further action taken.”
These documents were reviewed by this reporter in researching my book, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam.
McNamara later testified that he had read the message… Continue reading
GAO: Major Security Flaws at Federal Buildings
by Ed O’Keefe
Column: Federal Eye: Keeping Tabs on the Government at Washingtonpost.com
The police agency in charge of protecting thousands of federal buildings nationwide has failed to keep bomb-making materials out of several high-security facilities in the past year, according to Congressional testimony provided by Senate aides. In the past year, investigators successfully smuggled bomb-making materials into ten high-security federal buildings, constructed bombs and walked around the buildings undetected, exposing weaknesses in security provided by the Federal Protective Service.
More than one million government employees work in 9,000 facilities guarded by FPS around the country, including at least 350,000 in the Washington region. The revelations come as the Obama administration prepares to reorganize the agency in the coming weeks.
Investigators carried liquid explosives and low-yield detonators — materials investigators note are not normally carried into federal buildings. The GAO said security concerns prevent it from revealing the exact locations or cities of the affected facilities, but that eight of them were government owned, while two were leased. They included offices of a U.S. senator and House member, as well as offices for the departments of Homeland Security, Justice and State, the GAO reported. In one instance, the GAO obtained a building security tape showing an investigator walking through a security checkpoint with bomb making materials.
In the past, security experts have criticized some GAO investigators for publicizing sensational findings or “sting” operations that are not based on intelligence-driven risk assessments.…Continue reading
June 25, 2009
The highest officials in our government have trampled on our traditional ideals of making America a nation of laws, not of men, by illegally narrowing the scope of torture and authorizing waterboarding, walling and other inhumane interrogation
techniques. In doing so, they violated the Anti-Torture Act, the War Crimes Act, the Geneva Conventions, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment.
In order to enforce our laws and restore the free society that our forefathers envisioned, citizens must demand accountability for abuses of the laws pertaining to torture. In the tradition of the Civil Rights movement, change will not occur unless citizens stand up for their rights under the law.
On June 25th join us for an international day of demonstration demanding accountability for torture
in and across the country, to prosecute those responsible for torture. In Washington D.C. we have tabling starting at 9, speakers and a rally from 11 to 12 in , then a march to the Department of Justice. (Find other events across the US here. (Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Pasadena, CA, Boston, MA, Salt Lake City, UT, Tampa Bay, FL, Portland, OR, Bryn Mawr, PA, Seattle, WA, Las Vegas, NV, Honolulu, HI, Anchorage, AK)
Torture Accountability Action Day, sponsored by:
By DEVLIN BARRETT
WASHINGTON — Accused al Qaeda mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed complained that interrogators tortured lies out of him, though he proudly took credit for more than two dozen other terror plots, according to newly released sections of government transcripts.
“I make up stories,” Mohammed said at one point in his 2007 hearing at Guantánamo Bay.
In broken English, he described an interrogation in which he was asked the location of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
“Where is he? I don’t know,” Mohammed said. ‘Then he torture me. Then I said, ‘Yes, he is in this area or this is al Qaeda which I don’t know him.’ I said no, they torture me.”
Yet at the same military tribunal hearing, Mohammed ticked off a list of 29 terror plots in which he took part.
The transcripts were released as part of a lawsuit in which the American Civil Liberties Union is seeking documents and details of the government’s terror detainee programs.
Previous accounts of the military tribunal hearings had been made public, but the Obama administration went back and reviewed the still-secret sections and determined that more portions could be released.
Most of the new material centers around the detainees’ claims of abuse during interrogations while being held overseas in CIA custody.
One detainee, Abu Zubaydah, told the tribunal that after months “of suffering and torture, physically and mentally, they did not care about my injuries.”
Zubaydah was the first detainee subjected to Bush administration-approved harsh interrogation techniques, which included a simulated form of drowning known as waterboarding, slamming the suspect into walls and prolonged period of nudity.…Continue reading
Submitted to 911blogger.com by Shumonik
On May 20, 2009, General Richard Myers was at the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California to give a talk and a book signing. Bruno Bruhwiler and Jeremy Rothe-Kushel of WeAreChangeLA were there to call into question the ‘General’s’ credibility when it came to talking about 9/11 and threats to the nation.
Watch the following 3 videos, created by Paul Wittenberger, to see what happened.
Part 1 of 3:
Part 2 of 3:
Part 3 of 3:
WeAreChangeLA questions CFR President and Bush/Obama man Richard Haas on “Wars of Agenda,” Building 7 and the CFR’s ‘big ideas’ CFR
Submitted to 911blogger.com by Shumonik on June 8, 2009
On May 18, 2009, Richard Haas… Continue reading
Waterboarding was ‘well done,’ Cheney says
BY JOHN BYRNE
Published: June 1, 2009
On Iraq and 9/11: ‘That’s not something I made up’
Former Vice President Dick Cheney is usually very careful at choosing his words.
Perhaps not so today. In a speech Monday at the National Press Club, continuing along familiar themes of terrorism, Guantánamo and his hatred for The New York Times, Cheney spoke defensively of the administration’s practice of water-boarding detainees.
“I don’t believe we tortured,” Cheney remarked, noting that the interrogation techniques approved by the Bush administration were vetted by White House lawyers. They didn’t cross a “red line,” he said.
And then he delivered the whopper: “There were three people who were water-boarded…. It was well-done.”
The former vice president also made an odd comment about detainees being held at Guantánamo Bay.
He framed their detention as a choice between two options: either we imprison them, or we kill them.
“We need Guantánamo… If we didn’t have it, we’d need to (invent) it,” Cheney remarked. “If you don’t have a place to hold these people, the only other option is to kill them.”
“We don’t operate that way,” he added.
Cheney’s comments were transcribed by The Swamp, the blog of the Chicago Tribune.
“If I had it to do all over again, I would do exactly the same thing,” he continued. “I don’t have much tolerance or patience for those who have the benefit of hindsight eight years later and have forgotten what happened on 9/11….…Continue reading
Protests This Week Throughout U.S. Demand Release of Torture Photos
by Obama Administration,
Prosecution of Bush Era War Crimes
What: Highly Visual, Dramatic Protest Demonstrations/Photo
When: May 26-27-28
Where: 15 cities: New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San
Francisco; Boston; Seattle; Atlanta; Houston; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Honolulu;
Fresno; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR; Benton Harbor, MI
(New York City, NY) In the face of the Obama administration’s refusal
to release a reported 2,000 additional photographs of detainee abuse, in spite
of being ordered by a federal court to do so, torture opponents will hold visible
protests to demand that the government make the photos public. In 15 cities,
they will also call for prosecution of those who ordered, legally justified
and carried out torture in US detention and secret prisons during the Bush years.
These protests, called by the national World Can’t Wait organization and
others, will respond to the growing body of evidence of the construction of
a torture apparatus and policies led from the top of the Bush administration
as part of the global “war on terror” after 9-11. Torture opponents are also
critical of Barack Obama’s plan for preventive “prolonged” detention of
people who the US government thinks may commit crimes as announced in his May
21 speech on national security.
“The Bush regime floated the idea of preventive detention, but never tried it.
This has never been done by the US… Continue reading
May 26, 2009
Posted by Reprehensor at 911blogger.com
Intro: This story originally appeared in the Spanish Publico on May 9, 2009. Predictably, the U.S. press ignored it. Below find an English translation, and note that the translation is cross-posted at the Daily Kos, and DemocraticUnderground.com.
U.S. Lawyers point to Bush for the tortures
The lawyer of Martin Luther King’s family contributes a thorough report to the Spanish lawsuit to reinforce the charge — The American Civil Liberties Union offers their collaboration
Pere RusiÃ±ol in Madrid (PÃºblico)
Translation: Lynn Strother
A group of lawyers in the United States, led by William F. Pepper, the veteran human rights lawyer linked to Martin Luther King’s family, have joined the Spanish lawsuit about Guantánamo and the tortures of the Bush administration. Pepper has contributed a 121 page document to the prosecution, in which he defends Spain’s right to investigate, and suggests that the proceedings be widened to charge former president George W. Bush directly.
The U.S. lawyers also contribute 45 documents to the lawsuit — some, declassified recently; others, of public knowledge for years — that permit the “tracking of the process of decision making” that led to the application of methods equivalent to torture with the detainees of the “war against terrorism”.
All of these documents are now part of the lawsuit that the judge Eloy Velasco is preparing in the National High Court against six lawyers who built the “legal scaffolding” which led to Guantánamo. They will also be… Continue reading
Ex CIA Analyst Ray McGovern on Tell Somebody
Tuesday, May 26, 2009 – 6pm CDT
Tell Somebody, with host Tom Klammer, on KKFI 90.1 FM Kansas City Community Radio, streaming on the Net
“Why do they hate us?”
Does torture work?
Former Vice President Dick Cheney has come out of his non-disclosed location, “oozing out a slimy speech” at the American Enterprise Institute and making multiple TV appearances in defense of torture.
Ray McGovern has been listening- – to Cheney, but also to retired Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell’s former Chief of Staff.
Ray McGovern was a 27 year CIA analyst under seven presidents, and he’s talking to Tell Somebody this week. Tune in this Tuesday at 6pm Central Time on 90.1 FM, KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio to hear what he has to say. If you can’t get by a radio, stream the show live at www.kkfi.org.
Last week’s show on the Free Press Summit: Changing Media is now online – link to a downloadable mp3 of the show (and lots of other past shows) at www.tellsomebody.us. Or subscribe to the pod cast via iTunes. Last week’s show includes an interview with Free Press Senior Program Director Craig Aaron, and a short speech by FCC Commissioner Michael Copps.
Tell Somebody airs every Tuesday at 6pm Central on 90.1 FM KKFI.
Ventura: I question my government on 9/11 because–for most lay people out there they accept what they hear on TV, they accept the government’s explanation–but once you start getting in and studying what actually happened that day, there are a lot of problems.
Stern: Bottom line, what are you saying?
Ventura: I believe if our government didn’t actually participate in it they certainly knew it was going to happen and allowed it to happen.
Stern: That’s mind blowing. And you’re going to write a book backing that up?
Woman co-host: What would be the purpose of letting it happen?
Ventura: We’re in two wars, aren’t we, that we wouldn’t have been in? How much money has Halliburton made in the war? How much money has Blackwater made in the war? People fail to realize there are war profiteers out there.
Stern: So you’re talking about treason. Who are you accuse them of treason in your next book.
Ventura: Mass murder. I’m simply writing about the questions I have about it.
Stern: Is this the reason you called Bush administration the worst administration ever?
[Continues, with Ventura answering a caller by discussing building collapses...]
by Chris George
May 19, 2009
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today that the White House Office of Administration (OA) does not need to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, writing for the 3-0 majority, concluded: “the Office of Administration is not [covered by FOIA] because it performs only operational and administrative tasks in support of the President and his staff and therefore, under our precedent, lacks substantial independent authority.”
The Office of Administration, “which handles personnel, technology and financial support for the White House,” had complied with FOIA for much of its history, “until 2007, when the Bush Administration abruptly asserted that the office was exempt.” The reversal prompted a lawsuit in August 2007 from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after millions of Bush White House e-mails were allegedly lost.
CREW filed a FOIA request seeking “records about the EOP’s e-mail management system, reports analyzing potential problems with the system, records of retained e-mails and possibly missing ones, documents discussing plans to find the missing e-mails, and proposals to institute a new e-mail record system.” Initially, CREW and OA agreed on a time table for the release of these records, but shortly thereafter the Bush administration claimed that the office was exempt from FOIA. The administration’s position was that the administrative support and services provided by the OA to the Executive Office of the President placed it “outside FOIA’s definition of ‘agency.’”… Continue reading
Democrats were routinely briefed on Bush torture techniques, document
By John Byrne
May 8, 2009
The CIA has leaked a devastating document detailing the dates and explicit details
of secret Congressional briefings in which members of Congress were told of the
Bush administration’s torture techniques and when they had been used.
The document is explicit (PDF here). Most damningly, perhaps, is its description
of a meeting held between CIA staff and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Porter Goss and now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which shows that Pelosi was
briefed on the Bush Administration’s torture techniques in 2002 —
even though she’s publicly said she was never told about the use of waterboarding.
Equally striking, however, are the volume of the briefings that have been conducted
on the CIA’s interrogation practices since 2002. The document runs ten
pages, with up to four briefings a page.
Briefings given to Democrats are of particular significance because the party
has been the most vocal about the Bush Administration’s torture practices.
Apparently, however, they had known about the practices for years. At least
19 Democrats were briefed about the techniques in detail by end of 2006.
Pelosi was briefed on waterboarding in 2002, despite saying she wasn’t:
May 7, 2009
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the Bush Administration’s torture
techniques in 2002 — even though she’s publicly said she was never
told about the use of waterboarding, according to a new report.
ABC News’ Rick Klein revealed Thursday evening that a report from the
Director of National Intelligence fingered Pelosi as having been briefed in
2002, even though she denied last month ever having knowledge of the Bush administration’s
so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
“The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other
Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement
last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special
interrogation tactics,” Klein writes.…
30 April 2009
By Dennis Loo
If you ask most people what Obama has done about Guantánamo, most would say,
“He shut it down.”
Most don’t know that Obama has said he might take as much as a year to shut
If you ask most people what Obama has done about torture and rendition, most
would say, “He’s ended them.”
Most don’t know that Obama has declared that he will continue rendition,
that he reserves the right to go beyond the Army Field Manual for interrogations,
and that by
not acting affirmatively to ensure otherwise, he has allowed conditions to worsen
If you ask most people what Obama’s done about restoring habeas corpus, most
people would first say, “What’s habeas corpus?”
Then, after you explain to them that habeas corpus is your right to challenge
your detention, most people would say, “He’s restored habeas corpus, hasn’t
Most people don’t know that Obama has said that Bagram prisoners have no
right to habeas corpus and that Gitmo detainees don’t have a right
to it prior to June 2008.
The latest news about what Obama is up to on these fronts follows.
Obama’s DOJ pressed the Court of Appeals to rule that Gitmo prisoners aren’t
“persons,” aren’t entitled to the rights of “persons,” and
that if the Court does find that they are indeed “persons,” then US
officials who ordered and carried out torture and abuse of prisoners should
be immune from prosecution for… Continue reading
April 25, 2009
by Ray McGovern
Well, well. The New York Times has finally put a story together on the key role that two controversial psychologists played in devising the Bush administration’s torture policies. Guess we should be thankful for small favors.
Apparently, a NYTimes “exposé” requires a 21-month gestation period; just by way of pointing out that the substance of the Times “exposé” appeared in an article the July 2007 issue of Vanity Fair.
Katherine Eban, a Brooklyn-based journalist who writes about public health, authored that article and titled it “Rorschach and Awe.” It was the result of a careful effort to understand the role of psychologists in the torture of detainees in Guantánamo.
She identified the two psychologists as James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, who she reported were inexperienced in interrogations and “had no proof of their tactics’ effectiveness” but nevertheless sold the Bush administration on a plan to subject captives to “psychic demolition,” essentially severing them from their personalities and scaring them “almost to death.”
In Wednesday’s New York Times, reporters Scott Shane and Mark Mazzetti plow much the same ground. But please do not misunderstand. They deserve praise for finally pushing their own article past the Times‘ censors, but let’s not pretend the startling revelations are new.
The Times ought to allow the likes of Shane and Mazzetti to publish these stories when they are fresh. Alternatively, the “newspaper of record” might at least report the findings of the likes of… Continue reading