By Jane Sutton Fri Feb 8, 4:43 PM ET
Guantánamo BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – Military lawyers defending Osama bin Laden’s former driver on terrorism charges in the U.S. war court at Guantánamo Bay have offered a compromise in their quest to interview September 11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
They promised not to ask Mohammed about his treatment in U.S. custody or about the CIA’s admission that it subjected him to a simulated drowning technique known as “waterboarding” during interrogations.
Bin Laden’s former driver, Salim Ahmed Hamdan, was captured in Afghanistan in November 2001 and faces life in prison if convicted in the Guantánamo court of conspiring with al Qaeda and providing material support for terrorism.
The Yemeni man said he never joined al Qaeda, had no advance knowledge of its attacks and became bin Laden’s driver in Afghanistan because he needed the salary of $200 per month.
Hamdan’s lawyers said Mohammed — the highest-ranking al Qaeda leader held at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba — can help their defense by telling them what role, if any, Hamdan had in the organization.
They likened it to somebody “on trial for organized crime and you’ve got the opportunity to bring in the godfather.”
The request was still pending when a pretrial hearing ended on Thursday but the military judge suggested he might at least let the lawyers question Mohammed via written notes.
The judge is expected to rule in the next couple of… 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
A city councilman and the cops don’t want you to have that Geiger counter without their permission
by Chris Thompson
Damn you, Osama bin Laden! Here’s another rotten thing you’ve done to us: After 9/11, untold thousands of New Yorkers bought machines that detect traces of biological, chemical, and radiological weapons. But a lot of these machines didn’t work right, and when they registered false alarms, the police had to spend millions of dollars chasing bad leads and throwing the public into a state of raw panic.
OK, none of that has actually happened. But Richard Falkenrath, the NYPD’s deputy commissioner for counterterrorism, knows that it’s just a matter of time. That’s why he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg have asked the City Council to pass a law requiring anyone who wants to own such detectors to get a permit from the police first. And it’s not just devices to detect weaponized anthrax that they want the power to control, but those that detect everything from industrial pollutants to asbestos in shoddy apartments. Want to test for pollution in low-income neighborhoods with high rates of childhood asthma? Gotta ask the cops for permission. Why? So you “will not lead to excessive false alarms and unwarranted anxiety,” the first draft of the law states.
Last week, Falkenrath made his case for the new law before the City Council’s Public Safety Committee, where Councilman Peter Vallone introduced the bill and chaired the hearing. Dozens of university researchers, public-health professionals, and environmental lawyers sat… Continue reading
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, yahoo! news
January 14, 2008
U.S. policy in preparing for a potential bird flu pandemic is veering dangerously toward a heavy-handed law-enforcement approach, the American Civil Liberties Union said on Monday.
The group, which advocates for individuals’ legal rights based on the U.S. Constitution, said federal government pandemic plans were confusing and could emphasize a police and military approach to outbreaks of disease, instead of a more sensible public health approach.
“Rather than focusing on well-established measures for protecting the lives and health of Americans, policymakers have recently embraced an approach that views public health policy through the prism of national security and law enforcement,” the ACLU report reads.
But the U.S. Health and Human Services Department (HHS) said the group had misunderstood the government’s approach and said current plans already incorporate many of the ACLU’s recommendations.
Infectious disease experts agree that a pandemic of some sort of influenza is inevitable, and most worries focus on H5N1 avian influenza. Although it mainly attacks birds, the virus has infected 349 people since 2003 and killed 216 of them.
A few mutations could turn it into a highly infectious disease for people and could kill millions globally.
Most countries are working to develop plans to deal with the potential consequences. The U.S. plans are available on Web sites such as http://pandemicflu.gov.
The ACLU said it was worried that the plan called for military and police involvement in enforcing a quarantine.
The ACLU experts said they… Continue reading
What is Probably in the Missing Tapes
By Naomi Wolf, Monday, December 13, 2007*
To judge from firsthand documents obtained by the ACLU through a FOIA lawsuit, we can guess what is probably on the missing CIA interrogation tapes — as well as understand why those implicated are spinning so hard to pretend the tapes do not document a series of evident crimes. According to the little-noticed but extraordinarily important book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, Columbia University Press, New York 2007), which presents dozens of original formerly secret documents – FBI emails and memos, letters and interrogator “wish lists,” raw proof of the systemic illegal torture of detainees in various US-held prisons — the typical “harsh interrogation” of a suspect in US custody reads like an account of abuses in archives at Yad Vashem.
More is still being hidden as of this writing — as those in Congress now considering whether a special prosecutor is needed in this case should be urgently aware: “Through the FOIA lawsuit,” write the authors, “we learned of the existence of multiple records relating to prisoner abuse that still have not been released by the administration; credible media reports identify others. As this book goes to print, the Bush administration is still withholding, among many other records, a September 2001 presidential directive authorizing the CIA to set up secret detention centers overseas; an August 2002 Justice Department memorandum advising the CIA about the lawfulness of waterboarding [Italics mine; nota bene, Mr.…Continue reading
According to Jessica Lee of Indypendent and Kamau Karl Franklin of the Center for Constitutional Rights, the Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act was penned with plenty of help from the RAND Corporation.
“Rep. Jane Harman, Democrat from California, has had a lengthy relationship with the Rand Corporation,” Lee tells Democracy Now, although she was unable to determine if RAND wrote the bill. On the 12th anniversary of the OKC bombing, Rep. Harman, as chair of the Homeland Security Subcommittee on Intelligence, Information Sharing and Terrorism Risk Assessment, introduced the bill in the House of Representatives.
“The ‘Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007′ seeks to address the roots causes of radicalization, and would establish a grant program to provide funds to States to foster badly needed vertical information sharing from the Intelligence Community to the local level and from local sources to state and federal agencies,” explains Harman’s website. “It also creates a Center of Excellence for the Prevention of Radicalization and Home Grown Terrorism to examine the social, criminal, political, psychological and economic roots of domestic terrorism and to propose solutions, and promotes international collaboration on strategies to combat radicalization.”
Franklin mentions Brian Michael Jenkins, an “expert” on “terrorism, counterinsurgency, and homeland security,” according to RAND. Jenkins is “someone who helped the United States in counterinsurgency measures in Vietnam,” states Franklin. “In addition to that, he wrote a book, and in his own book” Jenkins declared that “in their international campaign, the jihadists will seek common ground… Continue reading
Ministry of Mythinformation Blog
Concerning the graduated repression of the Nazi regime, the Reverend Martin Niemoller, in 1945, stated, to the effect:
First they came for the Communists, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I didn’t speak up, because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me, and by that time there was no one left to speak up for me.
Though this quote has taken on many forms and endured several disputes, the ultimate interpretation stands. That silence about liberty infractions equals civil death.
Further, on the notion of leading the public headstrong into oblivion, the Nazis said it best:
“Naturally the common people don’t want war; neither in Russia , nor in England, nor in America, nor in Germany . That is understood. But after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” Hermann Goering, 1946… Continue reading
During today’s [11/5/07] White House press briefing, spokeswoman Dana Perino condemned Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of “emergency rule” in Pakistan. She said that the administration is “deeply disappointed” by the measure, which suspends the country’s constitution, and believes it is never “reasonable” to “restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism”:
Q: Is it ever reasonable to restrict constitutional freedoms in the name of fighting terrorism?
MS. PERINO: In our opinion, no.
Watch it at http://thinkprogress.org/2007/11/05/musharraf-freedom/.
The Bush administration never suspended the U.S. Constitution; instead, it interpreted the document so broadly as to provide all the powers they desired. A look at some of the ways the White House has overstepped its constitutional powers in the name of national security:
First Amendment: In September, a federal judge ruled that the FBI’s use of secret “national security letters” to obtain citizens’ personal data from private companies for counterterrorism investigations “violate[d] the First Amendment and constitutional provisions on the separation of powers.”
First Amendment, Fourth Amendment: In Aug. 2006, a federal district court in Detroit ruled that the Bush administration’ss NSA warrantless wiretapping program was unconstitutional, violating the “separation of powers doctrine, the Administrative Procedures Act, the First and Fourth amendments to the United States Constitution, the FISA and Title III.”
Article I: Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee in June, then Attorney General Alberto Gonzales attempted to justify the administration’s detainee policy by claiming, “There is no express grant… Continue reading
by Naomi Wolf
November 4, 2007
I have argued that in the closing stages of a ‘fascist shift’, events cascade. I am hearing about them, even across the globe. Here in Australia I hear from the nation’s best-know feminist activist, and former adviser to Paul Keating, Anne Summers, who was also at the time this took place Chair of the Board of Greenpeace International. Summers was detained by armed agents for FIVE HOURS each way in LAX on her way to and from the annual meeting of the board of Greenpeace International in Mexico, and her green card was taken away from her. ‘I want to call a lawyer’, she told TSA agents. ‘Ma’am, you do not have a right to call an attorney,’ they replied. ‘You have not entered the United States.’
Apparently a section of LAX just beyond the security line is asserted to be ‘not in the United States’ — though it is squarely inside the airport — so the laws of the US do not apply. (This assertion, by the way, should alarm any US citizen who is aware of how the White House argued that Guantánamo is not ‘in the United States’ – is a legal no-man’s land — so the laws of the US do not apply.) Toward the end of her second five-hour detention she asked, `Why am I being detained?’ `Lady, this is not detention,’ the TSA agent told her. `Detention is when I take you to the cells out… Continue reading
Naomi Wolf on “The End of America”
It not only can happen here, it is happening here. Mussolini created the blueprint (with inspiration from Lenin), Hitler elaborated on it, Stalin studied Hitler…
Here’s how it works (notice how many Bush & Co. is using now.):
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy 2. Create a gulag 3. Develop a thug caste 4. Set up an internal surveillance system 5. Harass citizens’ groups 6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release 7. Target key individuals 8. Control the press 9. Dissent equals treason 10. Suspend the rule of law
Wolf’s conclusion? Impeachment of Bush and Cheney is not enough. Prosecuting (and jailing) them for crimes committed is the only rational solution.
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The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot is now available. Highly regarded among reviewers, Ms. Wolf’s book is a timely and urgent read for anyone concerned with the future of our Republic.
In a stunning indictment of the Bush administration and Congress, best-selling author Naomi Wolf lays out her case for saving American democracy. In authoritative research and documentation Wolf explains how events of the last six years parallel steps taken in the early years of the 20th century’s worst dictatorships such as Germany, Russia, China, and Chile.
The book cuts across political parties and ideologies and speaks directly to those among us who are concerned about the ever-tightening noose being placed… Continue reading
The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Retroactive immunity for telecom companies who engaged in illegal spying at the behest of the NSA is at the heart of a bill currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, even before having been officially introduced, is being hotly debated by bloggers, electronic privacy groups, and civil libertarians, as well as presidential contenders (CT Senator Chris Dodd has actually posted a petition at his election website, encouraging readers to support his threatened “hold” on the bill). We should compare the issues involved here with the retroactive immunity provided CIA interrogators in the September, 2006 Military Commissions Act, who could otherwise have been accused of war crimes.
Below, we direct readers to an important series of programs from PBS’ Frontline to help readers investigate the background of this issue, and a deeper consideration of some of what’s at stake in continually ceding power to a rogue Executive bent on dissolving the few civil liberties which currently remain untouched.
Lest readers be swayed by the Administration’s repeated argument that “9/11 makes this necessary,” the Rocky Mountain News reported (emphasis added) on October 11, 2007 that this spying was underway well before 9/11/01:
… Continue reading
“The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.
A CALL TO ACTION – EMERGENCY MEETING
“First they came for the terrorists but I wasn’t a terrorist so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those suspected of terrorism, but I certainly wasn’t a suspect so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then they came for those who defended those who were suspected of terrorism, but I wasn’t defending such people so I stayed silent and went about my business. Then, one day, they came and began to “suspect” me, so I stayed very, very silent and went about my business.
And that is how I lost my soul.”
You can feel it in the air: many of us are living in the fear that we are one “bad event” away from this administration seizing power over the people in such a way that we will find ourselves swept up in a nightmare of tyranny such as we’ve never seen before.
Others before us have also lived in such times. Others before us have also witnessed the tyranny of empire, the fear it unleashes, and the trance it imposes on its population. There is a story in the Gospel of Mark (this Sunday I’ll be preaching about it) that has Jesus encountering a man in a graveyard, chained to the tombs and possessed by a powerful demon that has caused the man to become violent, insane, and out of control. The name of the demon is Legion, a military term that… Continue reading
Editor’s Note: Should an actual “showdown” occur over the constitutionality of Cheney’s stonewalling, we would welcome it. Let’s know exactly where we stand with respect to the willingness of elected officials to stand up to the criminals-in-chief.
It’s well past the time Leahy and company should have been pressing for these sorts of answers. Get on with it.
By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 28 June 2007
The Bush administration may soon face a courtroom showdown over its secret eavesdropping programme after subpoenas were issued to the White House, Vice-President Dick Cheney, and the Justice Department.
There is a storm gathering over Mr Cheney in particular, with increasingly vocal demands for his impeachment for “political crimes against the nation”.
The Senate Judiciary Committee wants to know the legal basis, if any, for the placing of wiretaps on American citizens without court warrants, as part of the war on terror.
These taps were placed by the National Security Agency, which runs a vast international electronic eavesdropping and codebreaking web with Britain’s GCHQ. When reports emerged in the media of the wiretaps, it provoked widespread anger.
The Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy gave the Bush administration until 18 July to hand over documents which the White House described last week as highly classified and off limits.
Senator Leahy wrote: “Over the past 18 months, this committee has made no fewer than nine formal requests to the Department of Justice and to the White House, seeking information and documents about the authorisation of and legal justification for this programme.”
The eavesdropping programme began after the attacks of 11 September 2001.…Continue reading
By MICHAEL DONNELLY
Whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of nonresistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.
New Hampshire Constitution Bill of Rights, Article 10
“The message to the community is we will not tolerate acts of violence to affect public debate.”
— Federal Judge Ann Aiken
With the hectoring tone of a petty hall monitor, Clinton Judge Ann Aiken let out what the Operation Backfire/Green Scare prosecutions are really about. In an era of state-sponsored terrorism as “liberation,” where the United States has over 700 military bases in over 140 countries, a US judge actually deems the minor league violence of a handful of young, misguided idealists “terrorism” and scolds the larger, non-indicted community those activists came from this truly belongs to Orwell, Kafka, Cheney or Gonzales.
Just what “Community” is the judge chastising/profiling? The Eugene, Oregon community of radical environmentalists in particular, eco-activists in general and/or anyone who ever justified destroying the property of those who they viewed as oppressors. We’re not even talking about those like Golda Meir or Osama bin Laden who justified not just property destruction, but attacks on the persons of their enemies. All that ever happened in the Operation Backfire cases… 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
Update from Jonathan Simon, on EDA Data Analysis findings
To Everyone Keeping Score At Home–
My apologies for being out-of-touch over much of the past two very eventful days. I have been holed-up with Bruce O’Dell and a few others crunching numbers, lots of numbers, including historical data, pre-election polling trends, authentic(!) and adjusted official exit polls, independent exit polls and Election Day canvasses, and of course the reported returns. The analysis will go on for quite some time. But I want to give a very brief preliminary impression of what we see so far.
It is simply this: there are, venue for venue, plenty of “anomalies” and vote-shifting patterns to go around. So far, once again, the “glitch” pattern and the shift patterns do not appear to be random. Without pursuing a detailed analysis, it would be easy to overlook this while oohing and ahhiing at the overall results.
The danger here in our view is that E2006, because the Democrats “won,” will be spun as a triumph for electoral honesty and security–when in fact it appears that the combination of massive public revulsion and heightened public scrutiny may simply have made this one too high and risky a mountain for the prospective manipulators to climb to the top. There are numerous signs emerging that the climbing party brought its gear and tackled the slopes, reaching a good way up this Everest before meeting the howling winds and bitter cold that kept them from reaching the summit, as they had in prior expeditions up less lofty and forbidding peaks.…Continue reading
Tax Dollars to Fund Study on Restricting Public Data
by Richard Willing
With state, church, academia and the armed forces all slamming Constitutional windows and breaking out the duct tape, wonder whether the insiders or outsiders will end up suffocating first. Just as wholesale Internet surveillance is “justified” by kiddie porn, this clampdown on FOI protections is being peddled as “critical infrastructure defense.” Next time you want to know about the toxic waste your corporate neighbor is exuding, the graft that’s driving our energy policies, or the environmental impact of the new nuclear plant they’re planning down the street, remember you’re in state secrets land now, children. You want the terrorists to win?
The federal government will pay a Texas law school $1 million to do research aimed at rolling back the amount of sensitive data available to the press and public through freedom-of-information requests.
Beginning this month, St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio will analyze recent state laws that place previously available information, such as site plans of power plants, beyond the reach of public inquiries.
Jeffrey Addicott, a professor at the law school, said he will use that research to produce a national “model statute” that state legislatures and Congress could adopt to ensure that potentially dangerous information “stays out of the hands of the bad guys.”
“There’s the public’s right to know, but how much?” said Addicott, a former legal adviser in the Army’s Special Forces.
“There’s a… Continue reading
Churchill’s Ashes Still Hot;
Barrett Next to be Burned at Stake
– Freedom of speech in jeopardy as university instructor speaks up about 9/11
by Cathy Garger
Jul 7, 2006, 12:34
This week brought disturbing news to the 9/11 Truth community as Dr. Kevin Barrett, co-founder of the Muslim Christian Jewish Alliance for 9/11 Truth (MUJCA) faces more than summertime heat as his livelihood stands in the balance with a possible loss of his fall teaching assignment at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Apparently, those in positions of power in the state of Wisconsin don’t care for Barrett’s political views. The instigator of Dr. Kevin Barrett’s inquisition is Rep. Steven Nass, a Republican State Legislator from Whitewater, Wisconsin, who has begun the process of skewering Dr. Barrett, a Muslim, apparently readying him for the stake (which, according to modern day acceptable methods of punishment, is actually more along the lines of taking a number in the Wisconsin State unemployment line). After remarks Barrett made on June 28 on Jessica McBride’s local WTMJ-AM (620) Wisconsin radio talk show, Rep. Nass expressed the desire to see Barrett barred from teaching an introductory course on Islam at the University of Wisconsin-Madison… Continue reading