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
By Peter Phillips
The Barack Obama administration is continuing the neo-conservative agenda of US military domination of the world–albeit with perhaps a kinder-gentler face. While overt torture is now forbidden for the CIA and Pentagon, and symbolic gestures like the closing of the Guantánamo prison are in evidence, a unilateral military dominance policy, expanding military budget, and wars of occupation and aggression will likely continue unabated.
The military expansionists from within the Reagan, George H. W. Bush, Clinton, G. W. Bush administrations put into place solid support for increased military spending. Clinton’s model of supporting the US military industrial complex held steady defense spending and increased foreign weapons sales from 16% of global orders to over 63% by the end of his administration.
The neo-conservatives, who dominated the most recent Bush administration, amplified this trend of increased military spending. The neo-cons laid out their agenda for military global dominance in the 2000 Project for a New American Century (PNAC) report Rebuilding America’s Defenses . The report called for the protection of the American Homeland, the ability to wage simultaneous theater wars, to perform global constabulary roles, and to control space and cyberspace. The report claimed that in order to maintain a Pax Americana , potential rivals–such as China, Iran, Iraq, and North Korea–needed to be held in check. This military global dominance agenda required forward deployment of US forces worldwide and increasing defense/war spending well into the 21st century. The result was a doubling of the US military budget to… Continue reading
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 3, 2009
Contact: Zach Goldberg 202-225-5801 (office)
HOLT INTRODUCES ANTHRAX COMMISSION LEGISLATION Bill Would Create 9/11 Commission-Style Panel to Investigate Anthrax Attacks and Government Response
(Washington, D.C.) — Rep. Rush Holt (NJ-12) today introduced the Anthrax Attacks Investigation Act of 2009, legislation that would establish a Congressional commission to investigate the 2001 anthrax attacks and the federal government’s response to and investigation of the attacks. The bipartisan commission would make recommendations to the President and Congress on how the country can best prevent and respond to any future bioterrorism attack. The attacks evidently originated from a postal box in Holt’s Central New Jersey congressional district, disrupting the lives and livelihoods of many of his constituents. Holt has consistently raised questions about the federal investigation into the attacks.
“All of us — but especially the families of the victims of the anthrax attacks — deserve credible answers about how the attacks happened and whether the case really is closed,” Holt said. “The Commission, like the 9/11 Commission, would do that, and it would help American families know that the government is better prepared to protect them and their children from future bioterrorism attacks.”
Under Holt’s legislation, the commission would be comprised of no more than six members of from the same political party. The commission would hold public hearings, except in situations where classified information would be discussed. The commission would have to consult the National Academies of Sciences for recommendations on scientific staff to serve on… Continue reading
by Stephen C. Webster
The President of Mexico has an unfortunate message for Americans still ignorant of the Drug War’s cold realities: Some of your politicians are involved.
Yes folks, it is long-past time to start thinking about alternative strategies for combating both the harmful effects of drug addiction and the deadly effects of forcing an economy outside of the law.
“It is impossible to pass tons of drugs and cocaine to U.S. without some great complicity of some American authorities,” said Mexican President Felipe Calderone.
“There is traffic in Mexico because there is corruption in Mexico. And that is true. But with the same argument, if there is traffic in United States, it is because there is some corruption in United States.”
Calderone’s comments come at 3:01 in the following video.
For MUCH more excellent reporting about drug running in and out of US/Mexico, see investigative journalist Daniel Hopsicker’s site, Mad Morning News, at www.madcowprod.com . Hopsicker’s latest film is “New American Druglords” .
A few recent story headlines –
Carlos Slim, the Mexican billionaire whose $250 million cash infusion bailed the New York Times out of a tight cash crunch last week, has long-standing business ties with wealthy Mexican businessmen suspected of involvement in Mexico’s so-called “Cartel of the Southeast,” the drug trafficking organization (DTO) based in Cancun which came to light two years ago with the crash on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula of an American-registered (N987SA) Gulfstream jet… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 5, 2009
I used to take a certain pride by association with prominent Bronxites who have “made it.” Cancel that for Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
You might think that as African-Americans, they would be especially outraged by torture, given what blacks have suffered at the hands of white torturers in this country and abroad.
Why is it that they seem to value more their admittance into a privileged white-dominated ruling class than doing the right thing? How else to explain their stunning reluctance to hold torturers accountable and thus remove the stain of torture from our nation’s soul and reputation?
One might say that Attorney General Holder is proving himself to be part of that “nation of cowards” that he called the United States in a different context, i.e. our unwillingness to address the issue of race. What about when the victims of torture are Muslims? Where’s Holder’s courage then?
Surely, I was not the only one stunned by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s public admission that he helped authorize waterboarding of detainees. But, on reflection, there seems to have been a method to his madness; and, so far at least, the method seems to be working.
Have Holder and Colin Powell forgotten from their days growing up in the Bronx the typical reaction of bullies when caught in the act? “Okay, so waddaya gonna do ’bout it!” It was an attempt at intimidation, and it was generally… Continue reading
April 23, 2009
by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zabaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in the New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.
Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established.
President Obama released the four memos in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. They describe unimaginably brutal techniques and provide “legal” justification for clearly illegal acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In the face of monumental pressure from the CIA to keep them secret, Obama demonstrated great courage in deciding to make the grotesque memos public. At the same time, however, in… Continue reading
May 6, 2009
(Article revised 11/12/10)
John-Michael is the creator and administrator of 911debunkers.blogspot.com where he and Bradley debunk the “debunkers” of the 9/11 truth movement. He has been a 9/11 activist since late 2004, is a grassroots organizer listed on 911truth.org for the state of Indiana, a member of the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth video team, and a founding member of the central Indiana chapter of the activist organization We Are Change.
Stewart Bradley is an artist, documentary journalist, and political activist living in Lancaster Pennsylvania who runs an independent mulit-media studio. Stewart was already investigating covert government operations before 9/11 and since 9/11 has re-dedicated himself to exposing the public misconceptions behind the attack. In 2004 he wrote and produced a 9/11 docudrama titled “The Proof” and has been actively promoting 9/11 research through his website, blogs, videos, and internet debates. More at: http://bradleyinfotainment.com
Topics discussed include the debunkers’ take on the new scientific paper, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” and defence thereof.
The MO and possible motives of defenders of the official story is also spoke of and put into a larger historical context. Mentioned is a declassified CIA memo from April 1967 entitled, “Countering Criticism of the Warren Report.” which states that one way to achieve this goal is to:
Employ propaganda assets… Continue reading
May 10, 2009
by Andy Worthington
The Arabic media is ablaze with the news that Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, the emir of an Afghan training camp — whose claim that Saddam Hussein had been involved in training al-Qaeda operatives in the use of chemical and biological weapons was used to justify the invasion of Iraq — has died in a Libyan jail. So far, however, the only English language report is on the Algerian website Ennahar Online, which reported that the Libyan newspaper Oea stated that al-Libi (aka Ali Abdul Hamid al-Fakheri) “was found dead of suicide in his cell,” and noted that the newspaper had reported the story “without specifying the date or method of suicide.”
This news resolves, in the grimmest way possible, questions that have long been asked about the whereabouts of Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, perhaps the most famous of “America’s Disappeared” — prisoners seized in the “War on Terror,” who were rendered not to Guantánamo but to secret prisons run by the CIA or to the custody of governments in third countries — often their own — where, it was presumed, they would never be seen or heard from again.
The emir of the Khaldan training camp in Afghanistan, al-Libi was one of hundreds of prisoners seized by Pakistani forces in December 2001, crossing from Afghanistan into Pakistan. Most of these men ended up in Guantánamo after being handed over (or sold) to US forces by their Pakistani allies, but al-Libi was, notoriously, rendered to Egypt by the CIA to be tortured on behalf of the US government.…Continue reading
Guest Editorial by Sibel Edmonds
May 22, 2009
“In politics we presume that everyone who knows how to get votes knows how to administer a city or a state. When we are ill…we do not ask for the handsomest physician, or the most eloquent one.” — Plato
During the campaign, amid their state of elation, many disregarded Presidential Candidate Senator Barack Obama’s past record and took any criticism of these past actions as partisan attacks deserving equally partisan counterattacks. Some continued their reluctant support after candidate Obama became grand finalist
and prayed for the best. And a few still continue their rationalizing and defense, with illogical excuses such as ‘He’s been in office for only 20 days, give the man a break!’ and ‘He’s had only 50 days in office, give him a chance!’ and currently, ‘be reasonable – how much can a man do in 120 days?!’ I am going to give this logic, or lack of, a slight spicing of reason, then, turn it around, and present it as: If ‘the man’ can do this much astounding damage, whether to our civil liberties, or to our notion of democracy, or to government integrity, in ‘only’ 120 days, may God help us with the next [(4 X 365) - 120] days.
I know there are those who have been tackling President Obama’s changes on change; they have been challenging his flipping, or rather flopping, on issues central to getting him elected. While some have been covering the changes… Continue reading
Posted June 3, 2009
This may be the shortest lived Diary on Kos history, begun only one week ago, mainly in response to the banishment of Tocque DeVille. I endeavor not to stray beyond the barricades of the Rules, but if I too face exile, all I ask of Kos and Meteor Blades before the guillotine is pulled is as much thoughtful consideration of these issues as I have given them…
In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein relates how nations brutalized by the Chicago School’s savage capitalism and the Dirty War juntas enforcing it have recovered and developed a healthy immunity against more eviscerating shock therapy:
Any strategy based on exploiting the window of opportunity opened by a traumatic shock relies heavily on the element of surprise… in North America, the September 11 attacks were, at first pure event, raw reality, unprocessed by story, narrative or anything that could bridge the gap between reality and understanding. Without a story, we are, as many of us were after September 11, intensely vulnerable to those people who take advantage of chaos for their own ends. As soon as we have a new narrative that offers perspective on the shocking events, we become reoriented and the world begins to make sense again.
That psychology pertains on both the individual and societal levels: a trauma that is never dealt with openly, but suppressed in the subconscious, festers, reinforcing crippling habits and sabotaging recovery. Maybe it is our reigning paradigm of dogmatic… Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
June 10, 2009
In his remarkable speech at Cairo University on June 4, President Obama promised “a new beginning.” In the words of the Israeli commentator Uri Avnery, the speech offered “the map of a new world, a different world, whose values and laws he spelled out in simple and clear language — a mixture of idealism and practical politics, vision and pragmatism.”1
Much of what Obama had to say was new, and warmed the hearts of observers like myself, who had become increasingly concerned about the new president’s fidelity to the financial and military policies of the previous Bush-Cheney administration. But while Obama broke new ground on Israel-Palestine issues, he glossed over troubling issues pertaining to the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan. He also glossed over one of the fundamental issues alienating the Muslim world: America’s relentless efforts to preserve its threatened financial status by moves to dominate the region’s oil resources. Here his careful ambiguity was ominously reminiscent of the Bush era.
The speech reaffirmed a complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by 2012, as the U.S. committed itself to do in a signed agreement last December. In addition Obama asserted that “we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan… We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan.”
But Obama’s remarks did not address the statement on May… Continue reading
July 12, 2009
by Christina Lamb in Karachi
Osama bin Laden and the top Al-Qaeda leadership are not in Pakistan, making US missile attacks against them futile, according to the country’s interior minister.
“If Osama was in Pakistan we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months,” Rehman Malik told The Sunday Times. “If he and all these four or five top people were in our area they would have been caught, the way we are searching.”
He added: “According to our information Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar.”
Washington does not directly acknowledge its missile attacks on Pakistani territory by unmanned drone aircraft but Pakistani officials say the US has carried out more than 40 attacks inside its borders in the past 10 months, killing hundreds of people.
CIA officials claim these attacks have been highly effective in disrupting Al-Qaeda’s ability to operate. However, Malik insists they are a waste of time because the Al-Qaeda leadership is on the other side of the border in eastern Afghanistan.
“They’re getting mid-level people not big fish,” he said. “And they are counterproductive because they are killing civilians and turning locals against our government. We try to win people’s hearts, then one drone attack drives them away. One attack alone last week killed 50 people.”
US officials in Islamabad say Pakistan’s government is being disingenuous, claiming to oppose the… Continue reading
Paul Zarembka will be interviewed today on his excellent 9/11 book, The Hidden History of 9/11 . The one-hour broadcast will aired on Bonnie Faulkner’s KPFA program ‘Guns and Butter: The Economics of Politics’, where she has given considerable attention to 9-11 on her program for many years.
The interview can be heard at 4 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m. Pacific, available at http://www.kpfa.org/
It will also be available as an archive thereafter at http://www.kpfa.org/node/34
UPDATE 7/25/09 Paul Zarembka will be a guest on John Rodger’s blogtalk radio show tomorrow, Sunday, July 26, at 5pm PST. Listen here. UPDATE 7/23/09
Audio of this interview is now available online: http://informationclearinghouse.info/article23122.htm
How much insider trading occurred in the days leading up to 9/11? How compromised is the evidence against alleged hijackers because of serious authentication problems with a key Dulles Airport videotape? To what extent does the testimony of more than five hundred firefighters differ from official reports of what happened at the World Trade Center buildings that day? How inseparably connected are Western covert operations to al-Qaeda? How is Islamophobia used to sustain US imperialism?
Paul Zarembka is a professor of economics at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Since 1977, he has been the general editor for Research in Political Economy . He has authored Toward a Theory of Economic Development , edited Frontiers in Econometrics , and co-edited Essays in Modern Capital Theory.…
August 12, 2009
by Jeremy R. Hammond
Shahid R. Siddiqi contributed to this report
In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul responds to charges that he supports terrorism, discusses 9/11 and ulterior motives for the war on Afghanistan, claims that the U.S., Israel, and India are behind efforts to destabilize Pakistan, and charges the U.S. and its allies with responsibility for the lucrative Afghan drug trade.
Retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul was the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989, during which time he worked closely with the CIA to provide support for the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Though once deemed a close ally of the United States, in more recent years his name has been the subject of considerable controversy. He has been outspoken with the claim that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were an “inside job”. He has been called “the most dangerous man in Pakistan”, and the U.S. government has accused him of supporting the Taliban, even recommending him to the United Nations Security Council for inclusion on the list of international terrorists.
In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, I asked the… Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
” In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Dwight David Eisenhower, “Military-Industrial Complex Speech,” 1961, 1
” My observation is that the impact of national elections on the business climate for SAIC has been minimal. The emphasis on where federal spending occurs usually shifts, but total federal spending never decreases. SAIC has always continued to grow despite changes in the political leadership in Washington.” Former SAIC manager, quoted in Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, “Washington”s $8 Billion Shadow.” Vanity Fair, March 2007 2
“We make American military doctrine” Ed Soyster, MPRI 3
The Myth of the Grand Chessboard: Geopolitics and Imperial Folie de Grandeur
In The Road to 9/11 I summarized the dialectic of open societies: how from their energy they expand, leading to a higher level of more secretive corporations and agencies, which eventually weaken the home country through needless and crushing wars. 4 I am not alone in seeing America in the final stages of this… Continue reading
Sibel Edmonds finally gets to tell her story
August 24, 2009
The newspaper of record for Brown County, Ohio
Ohio Second District Congresswoman Jean Schmidt, R-Cincinnati, filed nine election complaints against independent candidate David Krikorian concerning the 2008 election in May this year.
Krikorian opposed Schmidt in the Second District Congressional race as an independent in 2008 and is seeking the Democratic nomination for the 2010 race in April. The complaints focus on Krikorian’s statements during the election stating that Rep. Schmidt was taking money from organizations related to the Turkish government in exchange for denying the occurrence of what Krikorian called the Armenian Genocide at the hands of the Turks during World War I.
The complaints also relate to Election Commission records on campaign contributions Schmidt received from the Turkish American Heritage PAC and the Turkish Coalition USA PAC.
Since filing the complaints, Schmidt’s counsel has withdrawn four complaints, and an Ohio Elections Commission three-person panel decided there was probable cause to hear the remaining complaints on Thursday, Aug. 13. The five remaining complaints will be reviewed by the entire Commission on Sept. 3.
In preparation for the Sept. 3 hearing, Krikorian’s lawyer requested a subpoena for well known whistleblower and former interpreter for the FBI, Sibel Edmonds. The OEC declined to enforce the subpoena, however Edmonds agreed to speak to Krikorian and Schmidt’s lawyers on a voluntary basis.
The video deposition was brought forward by Krikorian’s counsel to provide background on the alleged involvement of the Turkish government in Congressional affairs through blackmail, bribery, and campaign contributions filtered through various organizations.…Continue reading