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
28 April 2009
by Rachel Williams
Three British Muslims were today cleared of helping the 7 July bombers choose
their targets by carrying out a reconnaissance mission in London seven months
before the attacks that killed 52 people and injured almost 1,000.
A jury at Kingston crown court unanimously found Waheed Ali, 25, Sadeer Saleem,
28, and Mohammed Shakil, 32, all from Beeston, Leeds, not guilty of conspiring
with the four bombers to cause explosions, after deliberating for eight days.
They are the only people to be charged over the attacks in 2005, which prompted
the biggest criminal investigation in British history — more than 18,450
statements were taken and at least 37,000 exhibits were collected.
Ali and Shakil were, however, convicted of conspiracy to attend a place used
for terrorist training. They were about to board a flight to Pakistan when they
were arrested in 2007. The pair will be sentenced tomorrow afternoon.
The home secretary, Jacqui Smith, welcomed those guilty verdicts, which she
said "clearly demonstrated the determined stance the UK takes against those
suspected of involvement in terrorism".
As the verdicts were read out, Ali smiled broadly, Saleem wiped his eyes and
Shakil leant forward, mouthing "thank you" to the jury. The trio had
been retried after a jury failed to reach a verdict on the charges relating
to the 7 July attacks last year after about three weeks of deliberations.
Survivors of the attacks and family members of those who died said today’s
verdicts strengthened the case for an independent inquiry into the bombings.…
April 27, 2009
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) — Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said on Monday
that the whereabouts of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden remained a mystery and
there was a suspicion that he could be dead.
Speaking to international media, Zardari said U.S. officials had told him that
they had no trace of the al Qaeda chief, although they habitually say he is
most likely in Pakistan.
Pakistan’s own intelligence agencies were no wiser, either, Zardari said.
"There is no news," the president said. "They obviously feel
that he does not exist anymore but that’s not confirmed, we can’t confirm that."
Al Jazeera aired excerpts of an audio recording in March in which the speaker’s
voice sounded like earlier messages from bin Laden, who has eluded all efforts
to catch him since al Qaeda carried out the September 11, 2001 attacks on the
Bin Laden, if he is still alive, turned 52 on March 10, but he is known to
suffer from ill-health.
There have been reports that he had died of natural causes in the past, but
they have never been corroborated, and security analysts believe intelligence
agencies monitoring jihadi websites on the Internet would have picked up some
(Reporting by Zeeshan Haider; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Dean Yates)
Source URL: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090427/ts_nm/us_pakistan_zardari_binladen
April 22, 2009
By Chris Floyd
With the release of the U.S. Senate’s report on the Bush Administration torture
program, it is now incontrovertibly clear — and officially established
by the highest, most respectable Establishment institutions — that George
W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other top officials deliberately,
willingly, and with malice aforethought, established a system of interrogation
using brutal techniques that they knew were against the law. Hence the need
for the torture memos that attempted to give retroactive legal cover for atrocities
that were already taking place at the orders of the White House and the Pentagon.
They were also told repeatedly that these tortures were ineffective at producing
What’s more, it is now undeniable that they began this program long before
they had captured even one "high-profile al Qaeda detainee," and that
they were using these heinous techniques not in a desperate bid to save the
nation from further attacks — which has long been their preening, self-serving
claim — but instead to produce spurious data about the non-existent link
between Iraq and al Qaeda. In other words, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald
Rumsfeld ordered their minions to beat and torment captives in order to get
them to say something a — anything — that could then be used to
"justify" a war of aggression that these grand statesmen had been
planning long before the September 11 attacks.
You cannot disentangle the torture program from the war… Continue reading
April 23, 2009
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
Sibel gave a 75-min interview to Electric Politics on April 10. You can listen
to it here.
Mizgin has an overview of the interview here.
A partial transcript follows:
Heroin, money-laundering and terrorism
Sibel Edmonds: First of all, it has been documented in the past several decades, the importance of narcotics in the Turkish economy, but also the role of Turkish MIT – that is Turkish Intelligence – and the military having an active role. But you’re also looking at the increased role of certain Central Asian countries and the Caucuses, and if you look at some of these regimes, these are the regimes that we have been supporting. Their economies also have become dependent on narcotics, because they have become a major transit – and in some places, for certain countries such as Azerbaijan, they have become major production centers.
After they shut down the casinos in Turkey – around 1998 – many of the large casinos in Turkey which were used to launder a lot of money, that also had to do with the narcotics, they actually moved and relocated to Azerbaijan, and there were several that went to Kazakhstan. So if you go through some of those Central Asian countries and you look at the list of the casinos, and you look at the ownership, you will see mainly Turkish ownership, and these are Turkish holding companies that relocated in 1998 to those countries.
George Kenney:… Continue reading
April 21, 2009
by Glenn Greenwald
Blue Dog Rep. Jane Harman — once the most vigorous Democratic cheerleader
of Bush’s NSA warrantless eavesdropping program — is rip-roarin’ angry today.
Apparently, her private conversations were eavesdropped on by the U.S. Government!
This is a grave outrage that, as she told Andrea Mitchell just moments ago,
demands a probing investigation:
That’s what I asked Attorney General Holder to do — to release any tapes,
I don’t know whether they were legally made or not, of my conservations about
this matter . . . and to hope that he will investigate whether other members
of Congress or other innocent Americans might have been subject to this same
treatment. I call it an abuse of power in the letter I wrote him this morning.
. . .
I’m just very disappointed that my country — I’m an American citizen just
like you are — could have permitted what I think is a gross abuse of power
in recent years. I’m one member of Congress who may be caught up in it, and
I have a bully pulpit and I can fight back. I’m thinking about others who have
no bully pulpit, who may not be aware, as I was not, that someone is listening
in on their conversations, and they’re innocent Americans.
So if I understand this correctly — and I’m pretty sure I do — when the U.S.
Government eavesdropped for years on American citizens with no warrants and
in violation of… Continue reading
America is devolving into a third-world nation. And if we do not immediately halt our elite’s rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty. This is the inevitable result of unchecked corporate capitalism. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them. We can resist, which means street protests, disruptions of the system and demonstrations, or become serfs.
We have been in a steady economic decline for decades. The Canadian political philosopher John Ralston Saul detailed this decline in his 1992 book “Voltaire’s Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West.” David Cay Johnston exposed the mirage and rot of American capitalism in “Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill),” and David C. Korten, in “When Corporations Rule the World” and “Agenda for a New Economy,” laid out corporate malfeasance and abuse. But our universities and mass media, entranced by power and naively believing that global capitalism was an… 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 1, 2009
By Chris Floyd
Empire Burlesque – Chris-floyd.com
Here’s a purely hypothetical scenario. Let’s say you were a dedicated imperial militarist who believed that your country’s security, prestige and financial interests could best be served by war and the ever-present threat of war. Let’s say you had some really hot and juicy operations going on, endless deadly conflicts that were pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into your war machine and entrenching national policy even more deeply in the militarist philosophy — the machtpolitik – that you believe in.
But there’s a problem. The general public — the cow-like herd out there that doesn’t understand grand strategy the way you and your fellow elites do — is growing weary, and wary, of your Long War. The national treasury is bankrupt, the national infrastructure is rotting, the nation’s communities are dying; millions of people are out of work, losing their homes, losing their dreams, spiraling down into want, privation and despair. Yet you have big plans to escalate the war, expand your war machine, and maintain the global dominance that you believe is the right and natural role for your special nation — and its elites. What to do? How to galvanize the truculent, self-absorbed herd into enthusiastically supporting your vital agenda once more?
Well, here’s one purely hypothetical approach you might try. You goad and provoke violent extremist groups into retaliating against your attacks, your civilian-slaughtering invasions and incursions into their territory. Being unable to confront directly your… Continue reading
March 21, 2009
UN envoy Richard Falk, who
wrote the foreword for David Ray Griffin’s New Pearl Harbor, and has
also praised Peter Dale Scott’s book, The Road to 9/11, was yesterday
quoted by Haaretz
speaking out strongly against Israel’s attacks in Gaza as war crimes;
A United Nations human rights investigator said on Thursday that Israel’s offensive against Hamas in densely populated Gaza appeared to constitute a war crime of the “greatest magnitude.”
Richard Falk, UN special rapporteur on human rights in the Palestinian territories, said the Geneva Conventions required warring forces to distinguish between military targets and surrounding civilians.
“If it is not possible to do so, then launching the attacks is inherently unlawful and would seem to constitute a war crime of the greatest magnitude under international law”
Falk’s assessment is bolstered by statements from IDF soldiers, recently debriefed in Tel Aviv. This was covered last night by UK’s Channel 4;
IDF in Gaza: Killing civilians, vandalism, and lax rules of engagement
By Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondent – 19/03/2009
During Operation Cast Lead, Israeli forces killed Palestinian civilians under permissive rules of engagement and intentionally destroyed their property, say soldiers who fought in the offensive.
The soldiers are graduates of the Yitzhak Rabin pre-military preparatory course at Oranim Academic College in Tivon. Some of their statements made on Feb. 13 will appear Thursday and Friday in Haaretz. Dozens of graduates of… Continue reading
It’s not the bonuses. It’s that AIG’s counterparties are getting paid back in
By Eliot Spitzer
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Everybody is rushing to condemn AIG’s bonuses, but this simple scandal is obscuring
the real disgrace at the insurance giant: Why are AIG’s counterparties getting
paid back in full, to the tune of tens of billions of taxpayer dollars?
For the answer to this question, we need to go back to the very first decision
to bail out AIG, made, we are told, by then-Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson,
then-New York Fed official Timothy Geithner, Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein,
and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke last fall. Post-Lehman’s collapse, they feared
a systemic failure could be triggered by AIG’s inability to pay the counterparties
to all the sophisticated instruments AIG had sold. And who were AIG’s trading
partners? No shock here: Goldman, Bank of America, Merrill Lynch, UBS, JPMorgan
Chase, Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and on it goes. So now we know
for sure what we already surmised: The AIG bailout has been a way to hide an
enormous second round of cash to the same group that had received TARP money
It all appears, once again, to be the same insiders protecting themselves against
sharing the pain and risk of their own bad adventure. The payments to AIG’s
counterparties are justified with an appeal to the sanctity of contract. If
AIG’s contracts turned out to be shaky, the theory goes, then the whole edifice
of the financial system would collapse.…
Listen to Seymour Hersh’s entire speech regarding US Death Squads.
In a “Great Conversations” event this week at the University of Minnesota, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.” He went on to say: “Yuh. After 9/11, I haven’t written about this yet, but the Central Intelligence Agency was very deeply involved in domestic activities against people they thought to be enemies of the state. Without any legal authority for it. They haven’t been called on it yet. That does happen. … Right now, today, there was a story in the New York Times that if you read it carefully mentioned something known as the Joint Special Operations Command — JSOC it’s called. It is a special wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly to the Cheney office. They did not report to the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff or to Mr. [Robert] Gates, the secretary of defense. They reported directly to him. … “Congress has no oversight of it. It’s an executive assassination ring essentially, and it’s… Continue reading
March 12, 2009
“There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government — in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.” – Charles Freeman.
For a one-hour introduction to the Israel Lobby; please check out this excellent Dutch documentary on the controversy that erupted following the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt’s academic paper, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, in its condensed form at the London Review of Books (The book which then followed is highly recommended.);
Charles Freeman’s statement as published by the Wall Street Journal (!);
Charles Freeman, a veteran diplomat slated to become the top U.S. intelligence analyst, withdrew from consideration Tuesday. He released a statement denouncing the “Israel Lobby” for “character assassination.” Here is the text of the statement.… Continue reading
by Eric Black
March 11 2009
At a “Great Conversations” event at the University of Minnesota last night, legendary investigative reporter Seymour Hersh may have made a little more news than he intended by talking about new alleged instances of domestic spying by the CIA, and about an ongoing covert military operation that he called an “executive assassination ring.”
Hersh spoke with great confidence about these findings from his current reporting, which he hasn’t written about yet.
In an email exchange afterward, Hersh said that his statements were “an honest response to a question” from the event’s moderator, U of M Political Scientist Larry Jacobs and “not something I wanted to dwell about in public.”
Hersh didn’t take back the statements, which he said arise from reporting he is doing for a book, but that it might be a year or two before he has what he needs on the topic to be “effective…that is, empirical, for even the most skeptical.”
The evening of great conversation, featuring Walter Mondale and Hersh, moderated by Jacobs and titled “America’s Constitutional Crisis,” looked to be a mostly historical review of events that have tested our Constitution, by a journalist and a high government officials who had experience with many of the crises.
And it was mostly historical, and a great conversation, in which Hersh and Mondale talked about the patterns by which presidents seem to get intoxicated by executive power, frustrated by the limitations on that power from Congress and the public, drawn into improper covert actions that exceed their constitutional powers, in the belief that they can get results and will never be found out.…Continue reading
Intro from 911blogger.com:
“Experimental Virus Material” – Live Avian Flu & Human Flu Viruses “Accidentally” mixed, then sent to several Euro facilities
The Czech press is all over this story, but not much so far in the US. A quick search shows this blog entry;
And the following report in the mainstream Canadian press: The Toronto Sun;
By Helen Branswell, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Last Updated: 27th February 2009, 3:26pm
The company that released contaminated flu virus material from a plant in Austria confirmed Friday that the experimental product contained live H5N1 avian flu viruses.
And an official of the World Health Organization’s European operation said the body is closely monitoring the investigation into the events that took place at Baxter International’s research facility in Orth-Donau, Austria.
“At this juncture we are confident in saying that public health and occupational risk is minimal at present,” medical officer Roberta Andraghetti said from Copenhagen, Denmark.
“But what remains unanswered are the circumstances surrounding the incident in the Baxter facility in Orth-Donau.”
The contaminated product, a mix of H3N2 seasonal flu viruses and unlabelled H5N1 viruses, was supplied to an Austrian research company. The Austrian firm, Avir Green Hills Biotechnology, then sent portions of it to sub-contractors in the Czech Republic, Slovenia and Germany.
The contamination incident, which is being investigated by the four European countries, came to light when the subcontractor in the Czech Republic inoculated ferrets with the product… Continue reading
By Chris Hedges
February 17, 2009.
The Director of National Intelligence argued that Wall Street, rather than
Islamic jihad, has produced our most dangerous terrorists.
We have a remarkable ability to create our own monsters. A few decades of meddling
in the Middle East with our Israeli doppelgnger and we get Hezbollah, Hamas,
al-Qaida, the Iraqi resistance movement and a resurgent Taliban. Now we trash
the world economy and destroy the ecosystem and sit back to watch our handiwork.
Hints of our brave new world seeped out Thursday when Washington’s new director
of national intelligence, retired Adm. Dennis Blair, testified before the Senate
Intelligence Committee. He warned that the deepening economic crisis posed perhaps
our gravest threat to stability and national security. It could trigger, he
said, a return to the "violent extremism" of the 1920s and 1930s.
It turns out that Wall Street, rather than Islamic jihad, has produced our
most dangerous terrorists. We will see accelerated plant and retail closures,
inflation, an epidemic of bankruptcies, new rounds of foreclosures, bread lines,
unemployment surpassing the levels of the Great Depression and, as Blair fears,
The United Nations’ International Labor Organization estimates that some 50
million workers will lose their jobs worldwide this year. The collapse has already
seen 3.6 million lost jobs in the United States. The International Monetary
Fund’s prediction for global economic growth in 2009 is 0.5 percent–the worst
since World War II. There are 2.3 million properties in the United States that
received… Continue reading
Human Rights Watch Mourns Loss of Alison Des Forges
Alison’s loss is a devastating blow not only to Human Rights Watch but also
to the people of Rwanda and the Great Lakes region.
Kenneth Roth, executive director
Leading Rwanda Expert Killed in Plane Crash
February 13, 2009
(New York) – It is with enormous sadness that Human Rights Watch announces
the death of our beloved colleague Dr. Alison Des Forges, who was killed in
the crash of Flight 3407 from Newark to Buffalo on February 12, 2009. Des Forges,
senior adviser to Human Rights Watch’s Africa division for almost two decades,
dedicated her life to working on Rwanda and was the world’s leading expert on
the 1994 Rwanda genocide and its aftermath.
“Alison’s loss is a devastating blow not only to Human Rights Watch but
also to the people of Rwanda and the Great Lakes region,” said Kenneth
Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “She was truly wonderful,
the epitome of the human rights activist – principled, dispassionate, committed
to the truth and to using that truth to protect ordinary people. She was among
the first to highlight the ethnic tensions that led to the genocide, and when
it happened and the world stood by and watched, Alison did everything humanly
possible to save people. Then she wrote the definitive account. There was no
one who knew more and did more to document the genocide and to help bring the
perpetrators to justice.”
Des Forges, born in Schenectady, New… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 04, 2009
According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.
If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harrassments when they fly.
The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.
I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.
The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.
Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible… Continue reading