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
by Kevin Ryan
In the summer of 2001, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Robert Wright, a counterterrorism expert from the Chicago office, made some startling claims about the Bureau in a written statement outlining the difficulties he had doing his job. Three months before 9/11, he wrote: “The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.”
Revelations since 9/11 have confirmed Wright’s claims. FBI management did little or nothing to stop terrorism in the decade before 9/11 and, in some cases, appeared to have supported terrorists. This is more disturbing considering that the power of the FBI over terrorism investigations was supreme. In 1998, the FBI’s strategic plan stated that terrorist activities fell “almost exclusively within the jurisdiction of the FBI” and that “the FBI has no higher priority than to combat terrorism.”
A number of people are suspect in these failures, including the leaders of the FBI’s counterterrorism programs. But at the time of Wright’s written complaint, which was not shared with the public until May 2002, the man most responsible was Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001.
Agent Wright was not FBI leadership’s only detractor, and not the only one to criticize Freeh. The public advocacy law firm Judicial Watch, which prosecutes government abuse and corruption, rejoiced at the news of Freeh’s March 2001 resignation. Judicial Watch pointed to a “legacy of corruption” at the FBI under Freeh, listing the espionage scandal at Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as “Filegate, Waco, the Ruby Ridge cover-up, the Olympic bombing frame-up of Richard Jewell, [and] falsification of evidence concerning the Oklahoma City bombing.”
Judicial Watch said that Director Freeh believed he was above the law.…Continue reading
Abu Zubaydah, a man once called al-Qaeda’s “chief of operations” appears to be at the center of an unraveling of the official myth behind al Qaeda. After his capture in early 2002, Zubaydah was the first “detainee” known to be tortured. The information allegedly obtained from his torture played a large part in the creation of the official account of 9/11 and in the justification for the continued use of such torture techniques. Yet in September, 2009, the U.S. government admitted that Zubaydah was never a member or associate of al Qaeda at all. These facts raise an alarming number of questions about the veracity of our knowledge about al Qaeda, and the true identity of the people who are said to be behind the 9/11 attacks.
Unlike other alleged al Qaeda leaders, including Khlaid Sheik Mohammed and Rasmi bin Alshibh, Zubaydah has never been charged with a crime. As these other leading suspects await their continually-postponed military trial, Zubaydah is instead being airbrushed out of history. Why would the U.S. government want us to forget Zubaydah, the first and most important al Qaeda operative captured after 9/11?
The 9/11 Commission called Zubaydah an “Al Qaeda associate,” a “long-time ally of Bin Ladin,” a “Bin Ladin lieutenant,” and an “al Qaeda lieutenant.” The Commission’s claims were somewhat contradictory in that Zubaydah was, in the Commission’s report, represented as both an al Qaeda leader and simply a terrorist colleague who collaborated in the training and recruiting… Continue reading
“I don’t think the Bush administration would want to see these released,” an expert tells Salon
June 19, 2012
By Jordan Michael Smith
Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive. The documents were released after the NSA pored through the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission and sent Freedom of Information Act requests.
The material contains much new information about the hunt before and after 9/11 for bin Laden, the development of the drone campaign in AfPak, and al-Qaida’s relationship with America’s ally, Pakistan. Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn’t get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him. The CIA materials directly contradict the many claims of Bush officials that it was aggressively pursuing al-Qaida prior to 9/11, and that nobody could have predicted the attacks. “I don’t think the Bush administration would want to see these released, because they paint a picture of the CIA knowing something would happen before 9/11, but they didn’t get the institutional support they needed,” says Barbara Elias-Sanborn, the NSA fellow who edited the materials.
Let’s start there. In 2000 and 2001, the CIA began using Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Afghanistan. “The idea of using UAVs originated in April 2000 as a result of a request from the NSC’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism to the CIA and the Department of Defense to come up with new ideas to go after the terrorists in Afghanistan,” a 2004 document summarizes.…Continue reading
by Philip Giraldi
The most recent issue of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s annual Report on Terrorism [.pdf] came out last week, covering the year 2011. I would like to say that it is well worth a read, but actually it is quite tedious. For those who are interested, it is essentially a statistical and analytical breakdown of the terrorism phenomenon derived from the U.S. government–maintained Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, or WITS, which is based on publicly available open-source material reporting alleged terrorist activity around the globe. Most often the analysis is bare bones and avoids political coloration, not, for example, going deeply into the motives of the various terrorist groups but instead providing information in a pie chart and chronological fashion. This year’s report is 33 pages long.
The United States is engaged in what most Americans still refer to as a global war on terror or, in shorthand form, a war on terror. The Obama administration avoids the expression because it is a legacy of the Bush years and because it uses the expression “war,” so it refers to “overseas contingency operations,” which has a nicer sound and does not appear to be so preemptive or premeditated. It also fudges the reality of what is taking place by pretending that the process is reactive, which it is not. The unrelenting expansion of U.S. military intervention is in response to many diverse overseas developments, most of which are not genuine threats. This was recently demonstrated by the White… Continue reading
Top Secret CIA Documents on Osama bin Laden Declassified
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 381
Posted June 19, 2012
Edited by Barbara Elias-Sanborn with Thanks to Archive Senior Fellow Jeffrey T. Richelson
Washington, D.C., June 19, 2012 — The National Security Archive today is posting over 100 recently released CIA documents relating to September 11, Osama bin Laden, and U.S. counterterrorism operations. The newly-declassified records, which the Archive obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, are referred to in footnotes to the 9/11 Commission Report http://www.9-11commission.gov/report/index.htmand present an unprecedented public resource for information about September 11.
The collection includes rarely released CIA emails, raw intelligence cables, analytical summaries, high-level briefing materials, and comprehensive counterterrorism reports that are usually withheld from the public because of their sensitivity. Today’s posting covers a variety of topics of major public interest, including background to al-Qaeda’s planning for the attacks; the origins of the Predator program now in heavy use over Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran; al-Qaeda’s relationship with Pakistan; CIA attempts to warn about the impending threat; and the impact of budget constraints on the U.S. government’s hunt for bin Laden.
Today’s posting is the result of a series of FOIA requests by National Security Archive staff based on a painstaking review of references in the 9/11 Commission Report.
… Although the collection is part of a laudable effort by the CIA to provide documents on events related to September 11, many of these materials are heavily… Continue reading
June 19, 2012
John-Michael Talboo’s blog at 911blogger.com
- Who: President Barak Obama
In a new documentary, 43 high-rise architects, structural engineers, metallurgists, scientists, physicists, and explosives experts provide compelling proof of explosive controlled demolition in the destruction of three World Trade Center (WTC) skyscrapers on September 11, 2001.
Their examination of scientific evidence suggests that the collapse of the Twin Towers and WTC7 was not adequately explained by the 9/11 Commission, FEMA, and NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) reports, all of which contain serious errors and omissions.
Why should this film matter to you, the reader, 11 years later? How will it help for President Obama to see this film?
9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out challenges the roots of the policies that gave rise to (1) the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which have already cost more than a million lives and $1.3 trillion and have substantially contributed to our financial crisis; and (2) legislation such as the Patriot Act and NDAA [National Defense Authorization Act], which has severely impacted our civil liberties.
9/11 family members Michele Little, Jane Pollicino, Bob McIlvaine, and Josef Princiotta sponsored this documentary, produced and directed by Richard Gage, AIA, founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth. This nonprofit… Continue reading
Jon Gold, 9/11 Truther: The Fight for Peace, Justice and Accountability . Foreword by Cindy Sheehan. ePublishPartners.com, 2012.
9/11 Truther is an important book because it both renders leading personalities in the movement and also displays wide, well researched knowledge of many key issues.
As one of the first 9/11 memoirs, 9/11 Truther takes readers into the life of an activist, now 40, who’s been an important player on the East Coast and in the blogosphere. Jon Gold went to Hebrew school and took his Bar Mitzvah. Later, as he moved into “calling out” people he believed were hurting the movement with their wild speculations, Gold encountered vicious anti-Semitism. Consequences included high blood pressure, chronic depression, and, later, panic attacks (pp. 112-115). The book does not, however, explore broader questions of anti-Semitism in the 9/11 movement.
The first few dozen pages recount how Gold got into drugs, attempted suicide, and joined narcotics anonymous. Though the first 55 pages or so could strike readers as largely, perhaps overly autobiographical, they do capture key moments in the movement.
Unlike some “truthers,” Gold doesn’t claim to have “woken up” right away, almost before the smoke had cleared. After 9/11, he worked as a web developer and did the “patriotic” things, placing a small American flag on the company website.
Gold’s Entry into the 9/11 Truth Movement
By 2004, however, questions… Continue reading
Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.
The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.
In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.
Parsons does not examine the American empire, but in his introduction to the book he wonders whether America’s empire is really an empire as the Americans don’t seem to get any extractive benefits from it. After eight years of war and attempted occupation of Iraq, all Washington has for its efforts is several trillion dollars of additional debt and no Iraqi oil. After ten years of trillion dollar struggle against the Taliban in… Continue reading
By Coleen Rowley
Dear Department of Justice and Department of Treasury Officials:
We might have just helped you bag another material supporter of terrorism this week! And you’ll never believe who the culprit is! We were even able to tape record some of his own damning admissions! (That’s the reason for my calls last week to your duty attorneys and media offices.)
As you know, Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has an ongoing investigation into several high profile former political figures, trying to discover their financial transactions with the terrorists in the Mujaheddin e Khalq aka “MEK”. One of the former political officials apparently being investigated for his financial transactions and paid advocacy on behalf of MEK is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Well Mukasey happened to get tapped on March 15 to give an “ethical leadership” speech at the University of St. Thomas Law School and some of us went to hear what he had to say. As an aside, the overall thrust of his speech was anything but ethical. Instead he mostly defended the Bush Administration and its lawyers for having used their talents “to push the legal limits” of what the Executive Branch could do in its “war on terror.” (Of course there are many legal scholars who think those Bush attorneys pushed over the legal limits.) He especially defended John Yoo and Robert Delahunty (now a St. Thomas law professor) who working in Bush’s Office of Legal Counsel, co-wrote memos in early… Continue reading
Trust us, Attorney General Eric Holder says — we’ll only assassinate Americans after administrative “due process.” That’s not how the Constitution works, buddy.
By Jonathan Turley
On Monday, March 5, Northwestern University School of Law was the location of an extraordinary scene for a free nation. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder presented President Barack Obama’s claim that he has the authority to kill any U.S. citizen he considers a threat. It served as a retroactive justification for the slaying of American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki last September by a drone strike in northeastern Yemen, as well as the targeted killings of at least two other Americans during Obama’s term.
What’s even more extraordinary is that this claim, which would be viewed by the Framers of the U.S. Constitution as the very definition of authoritarian power, was met not with outcry but muted applause. Where due process once resided, Holder offered only an assurance that the president would kill citizens with care. While that certainly relieved any concern that Obama, or his successor, would hunt citizens for sport, Holder offered no assurances on how this power would be used in the future beyond the now all-too-familiar “trust us” approach to civil liberties of this administration.
In his speech, Holder was clear and unambiguous on only one point: “The president may use force abroad against a senior operational leader of a foreign… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 20, 2012
Information Clearing House
In 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of peace activists in several states and seized personal possessions in what the FBI–the lead orchestrator of fake “terrorist plots”–called an investigation of “activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”
Subpoenas were issued to compel antiwar protestors to testify before grand juries as prosecutors set about building their case that opposing Washington’s wars of aggression constitutes giving aid and comfort to terrorists. The purpose of the raids and grand jury subpoenas was to chill the anti-war movement into inaction.
Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.
Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government’s efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran. Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform. Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda. Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights to free condoms.
The western media demonizes those at whom Washington points a finger. The lies pour forth to justify Washington’s naked aggression: the Taliban… Continue reading
By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
In a ferocious legal battle pitting government lawyers against victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Justice Department is fighting to block thousands of individuals and businesses from taking $6.6 million in frozen al-Qaeda assets seized from an alleged terrorism financier.
Frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007, the money is sought by the attorneys for 6,000 individual victims and insurers who suffered billions in losses from the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The money, in a Chicago brokerage account controlled by senior al-Qaeda operative Abu al-Tayyeb until his arrest in Saudi Arabia in 2006, drew little public notice until lawyers for 9/11 victims moved in June to collect on a 2007 default judgment.
A short time later, the Justice Department initiated legal proceedings to claim the money for itself – and keep it out of the hands of the 9/11 victims and insurers.
That triggered a fierce response from the victims’ lawyers, among them the Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor, who accuse the Justice Department of duplicity in seeking to prevent them from getting access to… Continue reading
January 20, 2011
by Dr. Paul Rea
Even more than its predecessors, Censored 2012 makes for highly engaging and
informative reading. This collection is a well mixed bag containing much that
we need to know but too often don’t.
This deficit occurs because many Americans are, in Neil Postman’s memorable
phrase, “amusing ourselves to death” and in part because many exhibit
an aversion to discussing issues. But above all the deficit results from increased
media malpractice and censorship. When a study shows that regular viewers of
Fox News are less informed–and likely more misinformed–than those
who don’t follow the news, something is seriously amiss.
According to editor Mickey Huff, the corporate media are serving up a diet
of “junk-food news to avoid telling the public what is really going on
at home and abroad” (p. 12). If this strikes many readers as obvious,
fewer seem fully aware of just how pervasive this censorship has become–how
very little coverage many significant issues receive.
As a result, even Americans who consider themselves informed don’t understand
how their government attempts to minimize or even eliminate public awareness.
On the climactic final day of the Durban Conference on Climate Change, NPR’s
“Science Friday” featured a long segment on bedbugs (12/9/11). Censored
2012 reveals that even less coverage–none at all, in fact–is afforded
to ongoing federal preparations to… Continue reading
By Russ Baker
December 26, 2011
A growing body of evidence points to a concerted campaign to prepare Americans and the world for war against Iran. This is not idle speculation. It fits a pattern that repeatedly preceded previous hostilities.
Here are the recent examples on Iran:
-The claim that Iran is a WMD threat. Pretty much everyone is familiar with the long-term, continuing efforts to paint Iran as some kind of nuclear threat. This ignores the possibility that Iran is telling the truth in contending it is embarked on solely non-military nuclear research (debatable), and serious doubts among many experts that Iran is preparing nuclear weapons. Perhaps most important, it discounts the fact that many countries (including Iran’s arch-enemy Israel) have nuclear weapons, and disregards the undoubted truth that if a country like Iran ever did launch nuclear weapons, it would be wiped out in a nanosecond, creating a very strong disincentive for offensive use. At the same time, by encouraging other countries and internal foes to believe that it has nuclear weapons, Iran creates an inexpensive protective shield for its regime. A dangerous game, to be sure, but without further evidence of Iranian nukes, hardly a reason to launch a war that would surely cause even more death and destruction than the misguided Iraq invasion.
-The claim that Iran tried to hire Mexican drug cartel hit squads to kill a Saudi ambassador on US soil (fizzled). Remember this one? So ludicrous that even ultra-cautious corporate news organizations… Continue reading
by Jon Gold
December 20, 2011
Before I begin, I’d like to say that I am neither a fan of Iran, or an opponent of Iran. I just don’t want anymore damn wars.
Recently, a Judge ruled “that Iran was complicit in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people, including 18 Bucks County residents.” Here is the evidence according to the article:
Using a team of experts, including former members of the 9/11 Commission, and the testimony of three Iranian defectors, the lawyers put on a four-hour presentation for Daniels on Thursday.
During the hearing, defector Abdolghassem Mesbahi, who was once an aide and close confidant of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, revealed that he had firsthand knowledge of terrorist plots dating to the 1980s.
Mesbahi, whose identity was kept secret until the hearing, said he knew in August 2001 that there was a plan in place to hijack airplanes and fly them into buildings.
Another defector testified that he was with al-Qaida’s second in command, Ayman al-Zawahiri, when the terrorist attended four days of meetings with top Iranian officials in January 2001 to plan the 9/11 attacks.
The third defector told the judge that he helped write up the debriefing reports of Iran’s al-Qaida liaison, Imad Mugniyeh, after he returned to Iran from Afghanistan following 9/11.
To further prove Iran’s complicity in the attacks, Mellon presented the testimony of Janice Kephart, a former counsel to the U.S. Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism… Continue reading
Engineering Consent For Attack On Iran
US Court Claims Iranian 9/11 Link
By RT (Russia Today)
December 17, 2011 — A US court has won a default judgement that Iranian officials, including its supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, provided help to the 9/11 hijackers behind the worst terror attack on American soil. The lawsuit was filed by the families of the atrocity’s victims. There was no Iranian representation in court. RT talks to Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.
Iran Accused Of 9/11 Role
By Fox News
May 20, 2011 “Fox News” — NEW YORK: Two defectors from Iran’s intelligence service have testified that Iranian officials knew in advance about the attacks of September 11, 2001, says a US court filing that seeks damages for Iran’s “direct support for, and sponsorship of, the most deadly act of terrorism in American history”.
Iran Accused Of September 11 Role To Plan, Train & Escape WTC Attacks 21/5/11:
One of the defectors also claimed that Iran was involved in designing the attacks, the filing said. The defectors’ identities and testimony were not revealed in the filing but were being submitted to a judge under seal, said lawyers who brought the original suit against Iran on behalf of families of dozens of September 11 victims.
The suit says Iran and Hezbollah, the Lebanese militant group with close ties to Tehran, helped al-Qaeda with planning the attacks and with the hijackers’ training and travel. After the attacks, the suit says, Iran and Hezbollah helped al-Qaeda operatives and their families to escape, in some cases providing them with a safe haven in Iran.…Continue reading
December 13, 2011
By politicizing who is and who is not a “terrorist” — pinning the label on American adversaries and sparing purported American friends — the U.S. government created confusion at FBI headquarters that contributed to the failure to stop the 9/11 attacks, reports ex-FBI agent Coleen Rowley.
By Coleen Rowley
Glenn Greenwald’s critique — regarding the recent U.S. indictment of 38-year-old Iraqi Faruq Khalil Muhammad Isa (currently in Canada) — is spot on about “terrorism” coming to simply mean opposing United States’ interests or resisting U.S. military invasions.
U.S. authorities have now dropped any requirement that the “terrorists” target or kill civilians as part of a political objective, the classic definition of terrorism. Isa stands accused of “providing material support to a terrorist conspiracy” because he allegedly backed a 2008 attack in Mosul, Iraq, killing five U.S. soldiers.
As Greenwald wrote, “In other words, if the U.S. invades and occupies your country, and you respond by fighting back against the invading army — the ultimate definition of a ‘military, not civilian target’ — then you are a . . . Terrorist.”
But the reverse of Greenwald’s example is also true, that those “terrorist” groups throughout the world who commit violent acts or kill civilians at U.S. instigation, encouragement or in line with U.S. interests are NOT considered “terrorists.”
For example, before 9/11, the Chechen “rebels” — who had orchestrated mass civilian hostage takings, suicide bombings and hijackings and who were accused of having planted bombs in… Continue reading