Originally published at the Nation by Katherine Hawkins on 11/7/13
Over four years after President Obama promised to “look forward, not backward” regarding the CIA’s brutal treatment of captives under the Bush administration, the issue has not gone away. The torture debate may fade from the headlines for weeks or months at a time, but it al
ways come back. Last year the trigger was the release of Zero Dark Thirty. A few weeks ago, it was Abu Anas al-Libi’s capture, shipboard interrogation and transfer to the United States for trial. Later this year, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) will vote on whether to begin declassification of its 6,000-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.
Often, debates about torture focuses on whether it leads to high-profile counterterrorism successes: the killing of Osama bin Laden, the capture of high-level suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the disruption of terrorist plots against Los Angeles or London. The public evidence suggests—and according to Democratic senators, the SSCI report will definitively prove—that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have greatly exaggerated the role that torture played in these events.
In all the debates about whether torture “worked,” though, there is another part of the record that is almost always forgotten: the attacks that torture did not prevent. There are no documented cases of “ticking time bombs” being defused by torture. But there are Al Qaeda plots that were not stopped,… Continue reading
Originally published at Common Dreams on 10/29/13
Despite being heralded as the first time in history that U.S. lawmakers would hear directly from the survivors of a U.S. drone strike, only five elected officials chose to attend the congressional briefing that took place Tuesday.
Pakistani schoolteacher Rafiq ur Rehman and his two children—9 year-old daughter Nabila and 13 year-old son Zubair—came to Washington, DC to give their account of a U.S. drone attack that killed Rafiq’s mother, Momina Bibi, and injured the two children in the remote tribal region of North Waziristan last October.
According to journalist Anjali Kamat, who was present and tweeting live during the hearing, the only lawmakers to attend the briefing organized by Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.), were Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.).
Before the handful of reporters and scant lawmakers, however, Rafiq and his children gave dramatic testimony which reportedly caused the translator to break down into tears.
In her testimony, Nabila shared that she was picking okra with her grandmother when the U.S. missile struck and both children described how they used to play outside but are now too afraid.
“I no longer love blue skies. In fact, I now prefer… Continue reading
Secrecy News from FAS.org
President Obama began the fourth year of his presidency with more vacant circuit and district court judgeships than when he took office, a new report from the Congressional Research Service observed.
The growing number of vacancies in the federal judiciary and the factors that increasingly impede the successful nomination and confirmation of new judges were examined by CRS.
“District court vacancies have grown in number over the course of the Obama presidency, from 42 judgeships vacant when President Obama took office to 59 at present,” the CRS report said. During that period 150 district court judges were nominated but only 117 of them were confirmed.
“During the Obama presidency thus far,… fewer Obama district court nominees have been confirmed by the Senate than were confirmed during the first terms of the four preceding Presidents,” CRS found.
A copy of the new CRS report was obtained by Secrecy News. See Nominations to U.S. Circuit and District Courts by President Obama During the 111th and 112th Congresses , June 1, 2012
Other new and updated CRS reports that have not been made readily available to the public include the following (all linked at the source):
What Is… Continue reading
by Ben Birnbaum
An Islamist who believes that the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States were an American conspiracy is the front-runner in Egypt’s presidential race, a new poll shows.
Abdel-Moneim Abolfotoh, formerly a leading figure in the Muslim Brotherhood, led the field of 13 candidates with 32 percent of the vote in a survey released Monday by the Washington-based Brookings Institution.
Mr. Abolfotoh expressed his views on the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon in an interview last year with Egypt scholar Eric Trager.
Mr. Trager, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, quoted Mr. Abolfotoh as saying:
“It was too big an operation …. They [the United States] didn’t bring this crime before the U.S. justice system until now. Why? Because it’s part of a conspiracy.”
Article continues here: WashingtonTimes.com.
February 20, 2012
by Eva Galperin
[UPDATE 2/22/2012] It is important to note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using it for internal purposes. More information at the end of this post.]
Here’s how you can do that:
Note that removing your Web History also pauses it. Web History will remain off until you enable it again.
[UPDATE 2/22/2012]: Note that disabling Web History in your Google account will not prevent Google from gathering and storing this information and using… Continue reading
Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting
vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots
by Paul Harris
16 November 2011
Fake terror plots, paid informants: the tactics of FBI ‘entrapment’ questioned
Critics say bureau is running a sting operation across America, targeting vulnerable people by luring them into fake terror plots
David Williams did not have an easy life. He moved to Newburgh, a gritty, impoverished town on the banks of the Hudson an hour or so north of New York, at just 10 years old. For a young, black American boy with a father in jail, trouble was everywhere.
Williams also made bad choices. He ended up going to jail for dealing drugs. When he came out in 2007 he tried to go straight, but money was tight and his brother, Lord, needed cash for a liver transplant. Life is hard in Newburgh if you are poor, have a drug rap and need cash quickly.
His aunt, Alicia McWilliams, was honest about the tough streets her nephew was dealing with. “Newburgh is a hard place,” she said. So it was perhaps no surprise that in May, 2009, David Williams was arrested again and hit with a 25-year jail sentence. But it was not for drugs offences. Or any other common crime. Instead Williams and three other struggling local men beset by drug, criminal and mental health issues were convicted of an Islamic terrorist plot to blow up Jewish synagogues and shoot down… Continue reading
Story posted here at 7:00pm EST, updated above:
Not that the situation hasn’t been urgent before, and not that the similar situations in Oakland, Denver, Portland and everywhere else aren’t urgent (see RSS feeds on 175 cities here, www.occupynews.blogspot.com/, but … here’s a call, posted tonight at 5:59pm EST, from New York City OWS for assistance TONIGHT, Tuesday, November 15th. Please read the details at OccupyWallSt.org, but here’s a summary —
Early this morning (1am) NYPD, on orders of Bloomberg, violently cleared the citizens of Zuccotti Park due to concerns over ‘health and fire concerns’ to OWS’s neighboring communities, trashed citizens’ belongings, injured some, arrested many …
This morning, a NY court found, after the National Lawyers guild requested an injunction, the citizens COULD be in the park, WITH their stuff…
This afternoon, the NY Supreme Court found, after New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU.org) lawyers filed suit, that the citizens COULD be in the park but NOT with their stuff…
Nonetheless, New York’s Finest (yes, part of the 99% themselves…) apparently don’t want any citizens in the park and have decided to once again clear the park IN DEFIANCE of the court order.
#OWS is calling on everyone to get to the park to stand firm, NONVIOLENTLY (and have linked in the call to a resource on “how to fight back nonviolently”).
At the moment I’m watching with 94,000 other people what’s happening — for instance, Sgt. Thomas, a Marine veteran, just appealed to other veterans to come out and protect the people — available on the live-streaming video of Zuccotti Square at the livelink, which we’ve embedded below.…Continue reading
By Eric W. Dolan
November 7, 2011
Chicago police on Monday issued citations to 43 senior citizens and their supporters who linked arms to block an intersection near the city’s financial district.
The action was part of a protest against proposed cuts to Social Security, Medicare and other benefits.
The Jane Addams Senior Caucus (JASC), their supporters and “Occupy Chicago” began the demonstration with a rally outside the office of Illinois Sens. Mark Kirk (R) and Dick Durbin (D). The group, which organizers claimed was nearly 1,500-strong, then marched to the Federal Plaza.
Traffic at the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Clark Street was blocked for about an hour, according to the Chicago Tribune.
“At every level of society, Americans are under attack,” said Karen Bocker, an “Occupy Chicago” participant and grandmother of four.
“When the economy tanks, social programs are cut, not corporate tax breaks. We are under attack, and frankly, I’m tired of it. The very people who are hurt most from cuts to social services — services that our tax money are supposed to guarantee — are those who can least afford it.”
The protesters were joined by Durbin, and Reps. Jan Schakowsky (D), Danny Davis (D), and Mike Quigley (D) in the morning.
Watch video, courtesy of independent YouTube reporter John Sheehan, below:
by Justin Berton, Will Kane, Chronicle Staff Writers
SFGate.com (San Francisco Chronicle online)
Photo (left): Jay Finneburgh / AP — Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen lays on the ground bleeding from a head wound after being struck by a projectile during an Occupy Wall Street protest in Oakland, Calif. Olsen suffered a fractured skull while marching with other protesters attempting to reestablish a presence in the area of the disbanded camp, said Dottie Guy, of the Iraq Veterans Against the War. Police Chief Howard Jordan says an internal review board and local prosecutors have been asked to determine if officers on the scene used excessive force.
OAKLAND — Scott Olsen, a 24-year-old Marine who served two tours of duty in Iraq, stood calmly in front of a police line as tear gas canisters that officers shot into the Occupy Oakland protest Tuesday night whizzed past his head.
“He was standing perfectly still, provoking no one,” said Raleigh Latham, an Oakland filmmaker shooting footage of the confrontation between police and hundreds of protesters at 14th Street and Broadway. “If something didn’t hit him directly in the face, then it went off close to his head and knocked him down.”
The something was a projectile that apparently came from police lines, fractured Olsen’s skull and put him in Highland General Hospital. Doctors upgraded his condition Thursday from critical to fair, and said they expect him to make a full recovery.
His parents flew in from Wisconsin and spent Thursday at his bedside.… Continue reading
By Michael Collins 911Truth.org
(Washington, DC) A faction of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard called the Quds Force (QF) is center stage in the War on Terror for the second time in five years. In 2007, President George W. Bush hauled out the group of middle and upper level Iranian government officials as a rationale for military action against Iran. The decisive shutdown of the Bush effort marks a critical turning point in recent history and will be discussed later in the article.
QF II began last Tuesday when FBI Director Robert Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder unified the terror storyline between the rabid neoconservatives of the Bush era and the low key loyalists to the national security state in the Obama administration.
Holder and Mueller accused, “elements of the Iranian government of plotting to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to Washington,” the Washington Post reported on Tuesday. In essence, this military faction allegedly hired an outsider to murder the Saudi ambassador to the United States. With the full knowledge of the Iranian government, the outsider tried to hire a Mexican drug lord for the high level hit. Attorney General Holder announced that the United States is “holding the Iranian government accountable.” Holder went on to state the official position of the government, namely that the Iranian government entity behind the plot was the Quds Force.
The current version of Quds Force-as-archvillain was met with challenges from the start. Early on in the Post article, an unnamed White House official offered… Continue reading
By Michael Collins 911truth.org
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) just issued an environmental report on its enhanced security plan to cover an area extending from the East Coast to the West Coast, from the northern border of the United States to 100 miles south of the border. While there are few specifics on the new security measures, the environmental report offers enough to see how we will be protected against threats to national security coming from Canada. The Department of Homeland security will enhance efforts and technologies to reduce the danger from “known terrorist affiliates and extremist groups [that] have an undisputed presence along the Northern Border in both the United States and Canada.” Northern Border Security Programs, p. 1-3, September 2011 (Northern Border) ( Image: thelastminute )
In 2006 the American Civil Liberties Union exposed the expansion of border control activities to within 100 miles of any point on the U.S. border. ACLU labeled this area the Constitution Free Zone . Search and seizure options at border checkpoints are not constrained by the Fourth Amendment to the U.S Constitution, which protects against unreasonable search and seizure. Now, thanks to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), just because they’re within 100 miles of the nearest border nearly 200 million citizens are subject to searching and procedures that previously were used exclusively at border checkpoints.
What do they have in store for citizens on the northern border?
Some highlights of the program include: Checkpoints far from the border (but within… Continue reading
September 24~October 1, 2011
American Library Association
Banned Books Week (BBW)
is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
Intellectual freedom–the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular–provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.
The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged–and possibly banned or restricted–if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.
By Will Bunch
Attytood – Will’s blog at Philly.com
UPDATE: Corrected and edited to reflect the fact the one of Colin Moynihan’s earlier blog posts was reverse published in New York Times editions delivered to New York City residents — but not here in Philly and elsewhere — still doesn’t change the basic fact of undercoverage, at least until the mass arrests and pepper-spray incidents in the second weekend.
What do you think was running in the pro-government, pro-Mubarek newspapers in Egypt back in February, when crowds of unhappy and often un- or under-employed citizens began crowding into Tahrir Square? I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say there probably wasn’t a lot of coverage of what was happening in Tahrir Square, at least at first. They were probably running cute feature stories about an old-time falafel stand in a changing Cairo neighborhood, or maybe articles on parking problems at the Great Pyramids. They certainly weren’t going to call attention to the elephant in the room that was about to knock over a corrupt and decadent society.
I was thinking about that this week, during the extra time I had on my hands because I wasn’t reading in the pages of the New York Times or the Washington Post about the Wall Street protests that have been going on now for four days, with hundreds of disenchanted and disaffected youth camping out nightly in a lower Manhattan park, marching on… Continue reading
Note from former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds
Sunday, 11. September 2011
On Thursday, September 8, 2011, the CIA issued legal threats against producers Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy on their discovery of the identities of the two key CIA analysts who executed the Tenet-Black-Blee cover-up in the case of two key 9/11 hijackers. The analysts were referred to only by first names initially, but were going to be fully named in a follow up segment.
Nowosielski and Duffy are working with legal advisors and we will have more on this soon. Meanwhile you can listen to our recent exclusive interview with the producers and their discovery here at Boiling Frogs Post:
Podcast Show #55: The Boiling Frogs Presents Ray Nowosielski & John Duffy (see link below)
Also, here are related interviews with Paul Thompson based on the expose by the two producers: Part 1 & Part 2. (also at story below)
The producers’ website was taken down yesterday. We are in touch with them, and we will keep you informed. Please disseminate this stunning new development, the CIA’s panic, and the content of their interview. Thank You.
For more info or interviews please call Ian Henshall on 01273 326862 or 079469 39217 Today Ian was on LBC 8.30am, this evening scheduled on Talksport 11.30pm
A new opinion poll shows surprisingly high levels of doubt in the UK over the official story of the 9/11 attacks. The poll, conducted by ICM on behalf of Reinvestigate911.org , found that more people agree than disagree that the official account of what happened on 9/11 might turn out to be wrong in important respects. Only 8% strongly agree that they have been told the full story of the 9/11 attacks.
Of those who expressed an opinion 37% agreed that rogue elements in the American intelligence services may have made a decision prior to 9/11 to allow a terrorist attack to take place. Richard Clarke, White House anti-terror co-ordinator at the time, said recently that the 9/11 attacks could have been foiled but for an explicit agreement within the CIA to withhold vital information from him and the FBI. Clarke says he cannot explain this behaviour. At the time the CIA were prohibited by law from operating in the US.
The results are mirrored by a HEC poll published today in France showing that 58% have doubts compared to 31% percent who accept the official story. Half suspect that US authorities deliberately allowed the attacks to take place while a third suspect they were implicated in the execution of 9/11.
By Nancy A. Youssef
August 1, 2011
WASHINGTON — The last-minute deal that Congress is considering to raise the federal debt limit probably will mean trillions of dollars in government spending reductions for most agencies. But one department stands to gain: the Pentagon.
Rather than cutting $400 billion in defense spending through 2023, as President Barack Obama had proposed in April, the current debt proposal trims $350 billion through 2024, effectively giving the Pentagon $50 billion more than it had been expecting over the next decade.
With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan winding down, experts said, the overall change in defense spending practices could be minimal: Instead of cuts, the Pentagon merely could face slower growth.
“This is a good deal for defense when you probe under the numbers,” said Lawrence Korb, a defense expert at the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning research center. “It’s better than what the Defense Department was expecting.”
To be sure, the numbers could change. Under the current debt deal the department would have to reduce its budget by $600 billion over the next decade if Congress can’t agree on the deficit-reduction proposals of a new 12-member, bipartisan legislative committee that’ll be tasked with recommending further spending cuts.
But the proposed figures — after weeks of drawn-out, vitriolic debate between both political parties — raise questions about what, if anything, could lead to substantial defense reductions. Military spending has more or less survived the drawdown of two wars and a domestic… Continue reading
One lawyer’s relentless quest for information reveals fresh hints of a coverup.
By James Ridgeway
July 21, 2011
In 2007, Mother Jones was the first national media outlet to tell the full story of Jesse Trentadue and his quest for the truth, which began four months after the attack on Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killed 168 people. It was then that Trentadue, a Salt Lake City lawyer, learned that his brother, a construction worker and one-time bank robber, had died in a federal prison in Oklahoma City. [Photo: Timothy McVeigh is escorted from the courthouse in Perry, Oklahoma. Bob Owen/Zuma]
Prison officials said the prisoner had hanged himself. But Kenney Trentadue, who had never revealed any suicidal inclination, was shipped home for burial with bruises all over his body and lacerations on his face and throat–suggesting something more sinister. Even Oklahoma City’s chief medical examiner would later say, publicly, that it was “very likely he was murdered.” But the most compelling evidence in the case was altered or turned up missing. Jesse Trentadue was never able to prove what had actually happened to his brother–though he did win a $1.1 million civil suit for “emotional distress” to his family, based on the way the government had handled the aftermath of Kenney’s death.
Trentadue had all but given up, when, in the spring of 2003, he got a call from a small-town newspaper reporter in Oklahoma named… Continue reading
The Associated Press
First published May 11, 2011
Updated May 12, 2011
Salt Lake Tribune
A federal judge in Utah on Wednesday ordered the FBI to produce more information about its record-keeping in response to an inquiry by a man who contends unreleased video and other records from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing will show more people were involved in the attack.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said he believes Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue has raised valid questions about whether the agency has done enough to find a pair of videotapes sought as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.
Waddoups also wants to know whether bureau officials believe they can conceal information from the public and the courts and ordered a Department of Justice attorney to detail how difficult it would be for the FBI to manually search for the records in evidence control centers in Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C., and at an FBI crime lab.
Waddoups, who set a June 30 deadline for government attorneys, wants the information before deciding whether the FBI has complied with federal freedom of information laws in Trentadue’s case.
Trentadue sued the FBI and the CIA in 2008 seeking release of tapes and records from the fatal bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building.
The lawsuit came two years after Trentadue first sought the information.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court, Trentadue contends the FBI’s efforts to locate the information he wants have been inadequate, and he argues… Continue reading