Originally published at Salon by David Sirota on 8/21/14
As states move to hide details of government deals with Wall Street, and as politicians come up with new arguments to defend secrecy, a study released earlier this month revealed that many government information officers block specific journalists they don’t like from accessing information. The news comes as 47 federal inspectors general sent a letter to lawmakers criticizing “serious limitations on access to records” that they say have “impeded” their oversight work.
The data about public information officers was compiled over the past few years by Kennesaw State University professor Dr. Carolyn Carlson. Her surveys found that 4 in 10 public information officers say “there are specific reporters they will not allow their staff to talk to due to problems with their stories in the past.”
“That horrified us that so many would do that,” Carlson told the Columbia Journalism Review, which reported on her presentation at the July conference of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.
Carlson has conducted surveys of journalists and public information officers since 2012. In her most recent survey of 445 working journalists, four out of five reported that “their interviews must be approved” by government information officers, and “more than half of the reporters said they had actually been prohibited from interviewing [government] employees at least some of the time by public information officers.”… Continue reading
Witness Iraq has brought a lawsuit against key members of the Bush Administration: George W. Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Donald H. Rumsfeld, Condoleezza Rice, Colin Powell and Paul Wolfowitz.
In Saleh v. Bush, plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh alleges that the Iraq War was a premeditated war against the Iraqi people, the planning of which started in 1998. The war was not conducted in self-defense, did not have the appropriate authorization by the United Nations, and under international law constituted a “crime of aggression” — a crime first set down at the Nuremberg Trials after World War II.
See August 19 update
Originally published at Quiet Mike by Quiet Mike on7/25/14
Last summer, Inder Comar, Esq. filed a lawsuit against the Bush Administration on behalf of Iraqi refugee plaintiff Sundus Shaker Saleh. It is a noble attempt to hold the Bush Administration accountable for war crimes and a case that Quiet Mike has been following from the beginning.
Earlier this year, the Department of Justice, who is defending the six Bush Administration officials, responded to the lawsuit by requesting that the case be dismissed. The Bush tribe is claiming that the planning of the war occurred within the scope of their employment and therefore they have immunity.
Rather than dismissing the case, the Judge asked for additional information. So Mr. Comar… Continue reading
Originally published at TomDispatch by Matthew Harwood on 8/14/14
During a 2011 investigation, reporters Andrew Becker and G.W. Schulz discovered that, since 9/11, police departments watching over some of the safest places in America have used $34 billion in grant funding from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to militarize in the name of counterterrorism.
Jason Westcott was afraid.
One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott’s handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.
According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”
Around 7:30 pm on May 27th, the intruders arrived. Westcott followed the officers’ advice, grabbed his gun to defend his home, and died pointing it at the intruders. They used a semiautomatic shotgun and handgun to shoot down the 29-year-old motorcycle mechanic. He was hit three times, once in the arm and twice in his side, and pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
The intruders, however, weren’t small-time crooks looking to make a small… Continue reading
Originally published at The Guardian by Joanna Walters on 8/17/14
The New York Times reporter James Risen, who faces jail over his refusal to reveal a source and testify against a former CIA agent accused of leaking secrets, has called President Barack Obama “the greatest enemy of press freedom in a generation”.
Speaking to his colleague Maureen Dowd, Risen accused the president of aggressively pursuing journalists, including himself, who report sensitive stories that reflect poorly on the US government.
Risen faces jail over his reporting of a botched intelligence operation that ended up spilling nuclear secrets to Iran. The Justice Department has long been seeking to force him to testify and name the confidential source of the account, which is contained in his 2006 book State of War.
Risen recently failed in an attempt to have the supreme court review an order for him to testify, and acknowledges that he has exhausted all his legal options against the Justice Department’s pursuit of him under the controversial Espionage Act. In the face of incarceration that could come as early as this autumn, he is resorting instead to journalistic defiance.
Risen would be the first journalist to go to prison for failing to divulge sources since 2005, when the former New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed for contempt of court, after refusing to testify about a… Continue reading
Julian Charles interviews Kevin Ryan on The Mind Renewed on 8/16/14
In 2002, the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was tasked by the US Government with “determin[ing] why and how WTC 1 and WTC 2 collapsed following the initial impacts of the aircraft and why and how WTC 7 collapsed.” After years of work, the final reports were released (in 2005 and 2008 respectively) with the conclusion that all three had collapsed primarily due to fire. But just how “meticulous, exhaustive, and very realistic” was this research? Had it really answered all the questions and provided a trustworthy explanation that supported the official narrative of 9/11?
This week we welcome to the programme once again Kevin Ryan, co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies and author of the book Another Nineteen, who joins us to share with us his assessment of the NIST reports, and why he believes them to be “false and unscientific.”
Originally published at Time by Sam Frizell on 8/13/14
Expecting mothers who lived near the World Trade Center when the twin towers fell on September 11, 2001 were more likely to give birth prematurely and have babies with low birth weights, according to new research.
The massive dust cloud that enveloped Lower Manhattan after the collapse of the Twin Towers was a highly toxic environmental hazard that consisted of asbestos, cement, gypsum, glass fibers, lead and other metals and was highly alkaline. Past research has shown it caused asthma and cancer in many first responders and local residents.
A new working study, released this month by Janet Currie and Hannes Schwandt of Princeton University, shows that the 9/11 dust caused pregnancy complications in expecting mothers. The study has not been peer-reviewed.
“These findings provide the first consistent evidence that the 9/11 dust cloud had detrimental impacts on pregnancy outcomes,” said the authors. “Residence in the affected area increased prematurity, low birth weight, and admission to the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) after birth, especially for boys.”
For mothers who were in their first trimester during 9/11, exposure to the dust cloud more than doubled the probability of premature delivery. Newborn boys were more likely than girls to have birth complications, and there was an increase in low birth weight of about 5 percentage points among boys as well… Continue reading
Originally published by the New York Daily News by Dan Friedman on 8/10/14
WASHINGTON — The government has recognized that first responders became ill from working near Ground Zero — but the 9/11 Museum isn’t so sure.
Responders and surviving family members are furious that panels at the museum’s “After 9/11″ exhibit present the connection between the toxic dust around Ground Zero and the subsequent health issues of many workers as uncertain.
It’s the latest in a long list of complaints about the museum’s management and mission by victims’ families and responders, who point out that the 2011 James Zadroga Act, which helped cover victims’ health needs, settled the issue.
“It is inexcusable that the museum would project skepticism about the link between health impacts and WTC exposures, despite overwhelming medical evidence,” write the chairs of two committees created to help beneficiaries of the Zadroga Act in letter sent to museum head Joseph Daniels on Friday.
Museum spokesman Michael Frazier said the letter was under review. “Among our visitors… Continue reading
Originally published at The Broward Bulldog by Dan Christensen and Anthony Summers on 5/9/14
The Justice Department late Friday made public four new, heavily censored documents confirming that by 2002 the FBI had found “many connections” between 9/11 terrorist figures and the Florida family of “an allegedly wealthy international businessman” with ties to the Saudi Royal family.
“On or about 8/27/01 his family fled their house in Sarasota leaving behind valuable items in a manner
indicating they left quickly without prior preparation,” says an FBI “case narrative” written on April 16, 2002.
The name of the international businessman, Esam Ghazzawi, is blanked out in the narrative. Ghazzawi’s name, however, is included on another page – an FBI form that accompanied a letter acquired by FBI agents in Tampa as “evidence” in July 2002. Details about the letter were not released.
The release of Ghazzawi’s name is the first time the government has confirmed Ghazzawi’s involvement in the FBI investigation that lasted until at least 2004, yet was never disclosed to the 9/11 Commission or congressional investigators.
Ghazzawi, adviser to a senior Saudi prince, owned the upscale south Sarasota home where his daughter, Anoud, and her husband, Abdulaziz al-Hijji lived prior to 9/11. Law enforcement sources have said that after 9/11 investigators found evidence – telephone records and photographs of license tags and security gate log books – showing that hijack pilot Mohamed Atta, former Broward resident and fugitive al Qaeda leader Adnan Shukrijumah and… Continue reading
Originally published at The Blaze by Elizabeth Kreft on 8/1/14
♦ ♦ ♦
It has been nearly 13 years since terrorist hijackers turned passenger planes into weapons and flew innocent civilians into the twin towers of the World Trade Center, turning the sunny New York City skyline black from flaming debris and burning buildings.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks — while towers of mangled metal still smoldered in Manhattan, piles of concrete and glass rested below a gaping hole in the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field was littered with aluminum and dead bodies — national security experts from nearly every government agency frantically raced to uncover just what had happened.
Three years after the attacks, everything those… Continue reading
Originally published at The Dollar Vigilante by Jeff Berwick on 8/5/14
An absolutely monumental shift is in process that most have not recognized yet. The truth, or at least some truth, is about to be shown to the American masses about 9/11. I say American masses because everywhere I’ve gone in the world outside of the US, with few exceptions, almost everyone knows that the US government conspiracy theory on 9/11 is for people with tinfoil hats that are either completely zombified or are under mass hypnosis. Most of the rest of the world looks on the US like “The Truman Show” and can’t believe how many people in the show don’t realize it’s not real.
Before we delve into what is about to happen let’s just take one last look at the official conspiracy theory of 9/11 by one of the great freedom-minded investigative journalists on the planet, James Corbett … because this theory is about to evaporate in front of our very eyes:
It’s hard to believe but there are still millions of people in the US who believe that is what happened!
The first event is a 40-minute broadcast that went out on C-SPAN on August 1st with Richard Gage, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. This is an absolute must-see interview for the reasons I will explain.
C-SPAN is operated by the National Cable Satellite… Continue reading
Originally posted here on 8/1/14
It’s the kind of rare opportunity that members of the 9/11 Truth Movement wish would come more often.
Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth founder Richard Gage, AIA, was invited to bring the evidence for the explosive demolition of the three World Trade Center towers to viewers of C-SPAN today on its morning program Washington Journal. His 45-minute appearance — which can be viewed here by those who did not see it live — is enabling the 9/11 Truth message to reach a national television audience of millions.
Gage explained to viewers that his organization, representing more than 2,200 architects and engineers, is focused on the science of the event and on calling for a new, independent investigation. He encouraged viewers to visit the AE911Truth.org website and watch the landmark video 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out.
“Every one of our [C-SPAN] viewers today should be calling their Congressmen and Senators and finding out why they’re not investigating the worst act of mass murder in U.S. history and the third-worst structural failure in modern history,” Gage said. “This is an extraordinary and unacceptable situation.”
Host Peter Slen told viewers that Gage was brought in as a guest because Washington Journal had received so many calls in recent months asking its other guests to address the issue of how Building 7 fell on 9/11 when it was not hit by a plane. The invitation shows that the continuing efforts of 9/11… Continue reading
Originally published at CNN by Ray Sanchez on 8/3/14
(CNN) — President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that the United States “crossed a line” and tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The comments at a White House news conference were the President’s strongest on the controversial subject since he came into office denouncing what he described as the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”
“When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” Obama said. “And that needs to be … understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.”
In the remarks, Obama was referring to a soon-to-be-released Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program following the 9/11 attacks.
The document is a nearly 700 page summary of the full 6,800 page report that was approved a year and a half ago by a committee sharply divided along party lines.
Senators on the committee have said the report is critical of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects, saying it amounted to torture — an allegation CIA officials have denied. It also finds that those harsh interrogation techniques did not help disrupt future terrorist attacks as many in intelligence community have claimed.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said later Friday that the report’s public release… Continue reading
Originally published at FOX13 by Ben Winslow on 7/31/14
SALT LAKE CITY — A trial over evidence and conspiracy theories from the Oklahoma City bombing wrapped up here, with a shocking twist.
As a trial over documents and videotape the FBI had from the 1995 bombing that killed 168 ended on Thursday, the man suing the federal government claimed one of his witnesses had been told not to show up — or else.
Jesse Trentadue said John Matthews, whom he claimed worked as an undercover government operative in the militia movement in the 1990s, had been contacted by an FBI agent and told “it would be best if he didn’t show up to testify.”
“He was told he should take a vacation and that if he did testify he should suffer from a case of the ‘I don’t remembers,’” Trentadue told U.S. District Court Judge Clark Waddoups.
Trentadue told FOX 13 that Matthews had known convicted bomber Timothy McVeigh and worked for the government in an operation targeting the patriot militia movement known as “PATCON.”
“He was part of an operation the FBI ran for a decade during the ’90s where they would infiltrate, and it’s questionable whether they incited the right wing,” he told FOX 13.
Lawyers for the FBI denied the allegation and said it was Matthews who had contacted them asking how he could get out of testifying. Matthews could not be located to testify, they told the judge.
“This is a serious accusation,” Judge Waddoups said.… Continue reading
Originally published at The Guardian by Spencer Ackerman on 7/31/14
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, issued an extraordinary apology to leaders of the US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, conceding that the agency employees spied on committee staff and reversing months of furious and public denials.
Brennan acknowledged that an internal investigation had found agency security personnel transgressed a firewall set up on a CIA network, which allowed Senate committee investigators to review agency documents for their landmark inquiry into CIA torture.
Among other things, it was revealed that agency officials conducted keyword searches and email searches on committee staff while they used the network.
The admission brings Brennan’s already rocky tenure at the head of the CIA under renewed question. One senator on the panel said he had lost confidence in the director, although the White House indicated its support for a man who has been one of Barack Obama’s most trusted security aides.
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd acknowledged that agency staff had improperly monitored the computers of committee staff members, who were using a network the agency had set up, called RDINet. “Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between [the committee] and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to the RDINet,” he said.
Asked if Brennan had or would offer his resignation, a different CIA spokesman, Ryan Trapani, replied: “No.”
Originally posted by Human Rights Watch on 7/21/14
The 214-page report, “Illusion of Justice: Human Rights Abuses in US Terrorism Prosecutions,” examines 27 federal terrorism cases from initiation of the investigations to sentencing and post-conviction conditions of confinement. It documents the significant human cost of certain counterterrorism practices, such as overly aggressive sting operations and unnecessarily restrictive conditions of confinement.
“Americans have been told that their government is keeping them safe by preventing and prosecuting terrorism inside the US,” said Andrea Prasow, deputy Washington director at Human Rights Watch and one of the authors of the report. “But take a closer… Continue reading
The New York Post says that Mount Sinai Hospital’s World Trade Center Health Program reported 1,140 cancer cases last year. Now the number is up to more than 2,500.
Among the cancers being diagnosed at a much higher rate than the general population: prostate cancer, thyroid cancer, leukemia and multiple myeloma.
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is expected to receive more claims by the Oct. 14 deadline. So far, there are 1,145 claims listing cancer.
Originally published at Dig Within by Kevin Ryan on 7/27/14
After becoming Director of the CIA (DCI) in 1997, George Tenet did what Louis Freeh had done after his appointment as FBI Director. He began to cultivate close personal relationships with the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Like Freeh, Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington yet Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own officers who were handling Saudi issues at the Agency. The CIA’s Saudi specialists only learned about Tenet’s dealings with the Saudi authorities inadvertently, through their Saudi contacts. It seems that Tenet was operating within a network that surpassed the interests of the American public. Therefore the unsolved crimes of 9/11, attributed largely to young men from Saudi Arabia, should be considered in light of Tenet’s actions.
As Deputy Director for the CIA, in 1996, Tenet had worked to install one of his closest friends and confidants, John Brennan, as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan is now the DCI but, in his previous role, Brennan often communicated directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. At the time, as an apparent favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts were discouraged from questioning Saudi relationship to Arab extremists.
The unusual relationship that both George Tenet and Louis Freeh had with Saudi intelligence (and George H.W. Bush) recalls the private network that was created in the mid-1970s to accomplish covert… Continue reading
Originally published at the Guardian by Spencer Ackerman on 7/21/2014
Nearly all of the highest-profile domestic terrorism plots in the United States since 9/11 featured the “direct involvement” of government agents or informants, a new report says.
Some of the controversial “sting” operations “were proposed or led by informants”, bordering on entrapment by law enforcement. Yet the courtroom obstacles to proving entrapment are significant, one of the reasons the stings persist.
The lengthy report, released on Monday by Human Rights Watch, raises questions about the US criminal justice system’s ability to respect civil rights and due process in post-9/11 terrorism cases. It portrays a system that features not just the sting operations but secret evidence, anonymous juries, extensive pretrial detentions and convictions significantly removed from actual plots.
“In some cases the FBI may have created terrorists out of law-abiding individuals by suggesting the idea of taking terrorist action or encouraging the target to act,” the report alleges.
Out of the 494 cases related to terrorism the US has tried since 9/11, the plurality of convictions – 18% overall – are not for thwarted plots but for “material support” charges, a broad category expanded further by the 2001 Patriot Act that permits prosecutors to pursue charges with tenuous connections to a terrorist act or group.
In one such incident, the initial basis for a material-support case alleging a man provided “military gear” to al-Qaida turned out to be waterproof socks in his luggage.
Several cases featured years-long solitary confinement for… Continue reading