by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
June 10, 2009
In his remarkable speech at Cairo University on June 4, President Obama promised
“a new beginning.” In the words of the Israeli commentator Uri Avnery,
the speech offered “the map of a new world, a different world, whose values
and laws he spelled out in simple and clear language — a mixture of idealism
and practical politics, vision and pragmatism.”1
Much of what Obama had to say was new, and warmed the hearts of observers like
myself, who had become increasingly concerned about the new president’s
fidelity to the financial and military policies of the previous Bush-Cheney
administration. But while Obama broke new ground on Israel-Palestine issues,
he glossed over troubling issues pertaining to the US presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He also glossed over one of the fundamental issues alienating the Muslim world:
America’s relentless efforts to preserve its threatened financial status
by moves to dominate the region’s oil resources. Here his careful ambiguity
was ominously reminiscent of the Bush era.
The speech reaffirmed a complete withdrawal of US forces from Iraq by 2012,
as the U.S. committed itself to do in a signed agreement last December. In addition
Obama asserted that “we do not want to keep our troops in Afghanistan…
We would gladly bring every single one of our troops home if we could be confident
that there were not violent extremists in Afghanistan and now Pakistan.”
But Obama’s remarks did not address the statement on May… Continue reading
CIA director Leon Panetta told the New Yorker :
When you read behind it, it’s almost as if he’s wishing that this country would be attacked again, in order to make his point.
News commentator Ed Schultz said today that Cheney is wishing for a terrorist attack on the U.S.
What should we make of all this?
Well, everyone knows that Cheney is ruthless:
Cheney is also the guy who :
It’s late spring 2009 in New York City and an unannounced unidentified U.S. government plane streaks across town. Recollecting the horrors of 9/11, the incident scares the he-be-gee-bees out of the citizenry. Some miles to the north, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D/NY), while attending an April 18th “Tour of the Battenkill” annual bicycle race in Cambridge, New York, responds to a question regarding efforts here in New York City to establish a new investigation of 9/11. Lending his qualified support to such an inquiry, he said that he was positively disposed toward a new investigation into the events of 9/11, though his support for such a probe would depend on the form it would take. “I think it’s not a bad idea,” he said. “You know, you’ve got to do it in a good way, but yes, I’d be for it.”
An associate of Schumer, New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, also recommended a fresh look at the events of September 11, 2001. Commenting this past May 27th to a young reporter who himself had suffered the loss of a loved one during 9/11, the senator responded to the question of a new investigation by suggesting that “another review, or a fuller hearing” is warranted given the number of unanswered questions put forward by victims families since 9/11. “I think those questions should be answered,” she stated, going on to affirm that, “it’s important that every family member have every question answered.”
Senators Schumer and… Continue reading
Posted June 3, 2009
This may be the shortest lived Diary on Kos history, begun only one week ago, mainly in response to the banishment of Tocque DeVille. I endeavor not to stray beyond the barricades of the Rules, but if I too face exile, all I ask of Kos and Meteor Blades before the guillotine is pulled is as much thoughtful consideration of these issues as I have given them…
In The Shock Doctrine, Naomi Klein relates how nations brutalized by the Chicago School’s savage capitalism and the Dirty War juntas enforcing it have recovered and developed a healthy immunity against more eviscerating shock therapy:
Any strategy based on exploiting the window of opportunity opened by a traumatic shock relies heavily on the element of surprise… in North America, the September 11 attacks were, at first pure event, raw reality, unprocessed by story, narrative or anything that could bridge the gap between reality and understanding. Without a story, we are, as many of us were after September 11, intensely vulnerable to those people who take advantage of chaos for their own ends. As soon as we have a new narrative that offers perspective on the shocking events, we become reoriented and the world begins to make sense again.
That psychology pertains on both the individual and societal levels: a trauma that is never dealt with openly, but suppressed in the subconscious, festers, reinforcing crippling habits and sabotaging recovery. Maybe it is our reigning paradigm of dogmatic… Continue reading
Cheney said in an interview on Fox News:
“On the question of whether or not Iraq was involved in 9-11, there was never any evidence to prove that,” he told the Fox host. “There was “some reporting early on … but that was never borne out… [President] George [Bush] … did say and did testify that there was an ongoing relationship between al-Qaeda and Iraq, but no proof that Iraq was involved in 9-11.”
How important is Cheney’s admission?
Well, 5 hours after the 9/11 attacks, Donald Rumsfeld said “my interest is to hit Saddam” .
And at 2:40 p.m. on September 11th, in a memorandum of discussions between top administration officials, several lines below the statement “judge whether good enough [to] hit S.H. [that is, Saddam Hussein] at same time”, is the statement “Hard to get a good case.” In other words, top officials knew that there wasn’t a good case that Hussein was behind 9/11, but they wanted to use the 9/11 attacks as an excuse to justify war with Iraq anyway.
Moreover, “Ten days after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President Bush was told in a highly classified briefing that the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence linking the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein to the [9/11] attacks and that there was scant credible evidence that Iraq had any significant collaborative… Continue reading
Four Things You Need to Know About Barack Obama and U.S. Torture & Detention
May 27, 2009
by the writing team at World Can’t Wait.org
1. Barack Obama did NOT end torture.
Many people think that, upon taking office, Barack Obama ended torture. This is just not true. Under Obama, the U.S has continued to torture prisoners at Guantánamo, where more than 200 detainees are still being held without charge or trial.
According to a February 2009 report by the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Guantánamo guards routinely subject detainees to vicious beatings, solitary confinement, sleep deprivation, suffocation, repeated use of tear gas, and the force-feeding of tubes through the nasal passages of hunger strikers. Much of this torture is committed by Guantánamo’s Immediate Reaction Force (IRF) teams, which CCR president Michael Ratner has described as the “black shirts of Guantánamo.”
Quoting from the CCR report: “Detainees are subjected to brutal physical assaults by the Immediate Reaction Force (IRF), a team of military guards comparable to a riot squad, who are trained to respond to alleged ‘disciplinary infractions’ with overwhelming force.” And later in the report: “In Camps 5, 6 and Echo, detainees live in constant fear of physical violence. Frequent attacks by IRF teams heighten this anxiety and reinforce that violence can be inflicted by the guards at any moment for any perceived infraction, or sometimes without provocation or explanation.”
In fact, conditions at Guantánamo have gotten even worse since Obama became president. “Certainly in my experience there have been many, many more reported incidents of abuse since the inauguration,” Ahmed Ghappour, a lawyer representing several Guantánamo detainees, told Reuters in February.1
And, contrary to popular belief and to his own statements, Obama’s executive orders do not ban torture either; they contain several loopholes that allow it to continue. For instance, the order states that interrogation techniques must conform to the Army Field Manual, but Annex M of that manual allows for prolonged solitary confinement and sleep deprivation.The order also established a task force that includes Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, and Attorney General Eric Holder that is charged with determining whether to implement techniques that go beyond the Army Field Manual. Finally, the order states that prisoners shall be treated humanely, “whenever such individuals are in the custody or under the effective control of an officer, employee, or other agent of the United States Government or detained within a facility owned, operated, or controlled by a department or agency of the United States.”
This raises the obvious question: What about the many instances when the U.S. hands detainees over to other countries–or to prisons run by its puppet governments in Afghanistan and Iraq?
Protests This Week Throughout U.S. Demand Release of Torture Photos
by Obama Administration,
Prosecution of Bush Era War Crimes
What: Highly Visual, Dramatic Protest Demonstrations/Photo
When: May 26-27-28
Where: 15 cities: New York City; Los Angeles; Chicago; San
Francisco; Boston; Seattle; Atlanta; Houston; Cleveland; Philadelphia; Honolulu;
Fresno; Greensboro, NC; Portland, OR; Benton Harbor, MI
(New York City, NY) In the face of the Obama administration’s refusal
to release a reported 2,000 additional photographs of detainee abuse, in spite
of being ordered by a federal court to do so, torture opponents will hold visible
protests to demand that the government make the photos public. In 15 cities,
they will also call for prosecution of those who ordered, legally justified
and carried out torture in US detention and secret prisons during the Bush years.
These protests, called by the national World Can’t Wait organization and
others, will respond to the growing body of evidence of the construction of
a torture apparatus and policies led from the top of the Bush administration
as part of the global “war on terror” after 9-11. Torture opponents are also
critical of Barack Obama’s plan for preventive “prolonged” detention of
people who the US government thinks may commit crimes as announced in his May
21 speech on national security.
“The Bush regime floated the idea of preventive detention, but never tried it.
This has never been done by the US… Continue reading
By Lars Sobiraj
May 24, 2009
Questions to Niels Harrit concerning the study “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe”.
Some time ago, gulli.com featured the news about the work of a team of independent scientists from Denmark, USA and Australia. They claim to have found a substance called Nano Thermite in the dust of the World Trade Center attacks of September 11, 2001 in New York City. Nano Thermite is an explosive, normally only used by the military, not available on the normal market. It is a relative to thermite, a substance used for welding.
On the Gulli board one of the biggest discussions ever broke loose between so called conspiracy theorists and people who trust the official version about 9/11. More than 28.000 views. More than 800 postings. We gave sceptical gulli users the chance to ask their questions directly to Dr. Niels Harrit, one of the scientists. The gulli users asked really tough questions and didn’t censor anything. We gave all those questions to Mr. Harrit and were really curious how he would respond. He answered. So now, here’s the promised interview. The whole interview is released under this Creative Commons license, so you can copy it and spread it everywhere at no charge and without asking. You can download the PDF here.
Copenhagen / Düsseldorf, May 2009
gulli.com: Your full name and title?
Dr. Niels Harrit: Dr. Niels Holger Harrit.
gulli.com: Your age?
Dr.… Continue reading
By the now, it’s maddeningly familiar. A scary terrorist plot is announced. Then it’s revealed that the suspects are a hapless bunch of ne’er-do-wells or run-of-the-mill thugs without the slightest connection to any terrorists at all, never mind to Al Qaeda. Finally, the last piece of the puzzle: the entire plot is revealed to have been cooked up by a scummy government agent-provocateur.
I’ve seen this movie before.
In this case, the alleged perps — Onta Williams, James Cromitie, David Williams, and Laguerre Payen — were losers, ex-cons, drug addicts. Al Qaeda they’re not. Without the assistance of the agent who entrapped them, they would never have dreamed of committing political violence, nor would they have had the slightest idea about where to acquire plastic explosives or a Stinger missile. That didn’t stop prosecutors from acting as if they’d captured Osama bin Laden himself. Noted the Los Angeles Times:
Prosecutors called it the latest in a string of homegrown terrorism plots hatched after Sept. 11.
“It’s hard to envision a more chilling plot,” Assistant U.S. Atty. Eric Snyder said in court Thursday. He described all four suspects as “eager to bring death to Jews.”
Actually, it’s hard to imagine a stupider, less competent, and less important plot. The four losers were ensnared by a creepy FBI agent who hung around the mosque in upstate New York until he found what he was looking for. Here’s the New York Times account:… Continue reading
By Thomas C. Fletcher
Review of new book by David Ray Griffin, Osama Bin Laden: Dead or Alive?
OSAMA BIN LADEN: DEAD OR ALIVE? by David Ray Griffin is a crucially important and timely examination of the whole range of evidence bearing on the question, is Osama bin Laden still alive? The importance of this question for the present comes from the fact that the United States under its new president is escalating its offensive in Afghanistan and expanding the war into Pakistan, and has claimed that the “hunt for bin Laden” is one of its principal motivations for doing so. Either explicitly or implicitly, the US government and major media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post continue to assert that bin Laden is alive, hiding in the tribal territories on the “AfPak” border, posing an undiminished threat to US security.
In his gripping new book, Griffin strikes at the root of this pretext for war by closely examining all the evidence that has come out since September 11, 2001, either indicating that bin Laden is still alive or that he is in fact dead. His conclusion is that bin Laden is certainly dead, and that in all likelihood he died in very late 2001. Griffin shows that many US experts in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency came to this very same conclusion long ago, but their views, which do not support the continuation of what President Obama, borrowing the term from Dick Cheney, calls “the long… Continue reading
The US’s political discourse and foreign policy in recent years has been based on the assumption that Osama bin Laden is still alive. George W. Bush promised as president that he would get Osama bin Laden “dead or alive” and has been widely criticized for failing to do so. The US’s present military escalation in Afghanistan is said to be necessary to “get Osama bin Laden.” The news media regularly announce the appearance of new “messages from bin Laden.” But what if Osama bin Laden died in December 2001–which is the last time a message to or from him was intercepted?
In this book, David Ray Griffin examines the evidence for the claim–made by everyone from former CIA agent Robert Baer to Oliver North–that bin Laden is surely no longer with us. He analyzes the purported messages from bin Laden and finds that, as many have suspected, they do not provide evidence of bin Laden’s existence after 2001. This leads naturally to the question: if Osama bin Laden did indeed die in 2001, how and why have dozens of “messages from bin Laden” appeared since then?
Griffin’s meticulous analysis supports above all one simple and urgent conclusion: if Osama bin Laden is dead, the US should not be using its troops and treasure to hunt him down.
David Ray Griffin has published 35 books on philosophy, religion, and politics. His most recent book, The New Pearl Harbor Revisited, was a Publishers Weekly “Pick of the Week” in 2008. His… Continue reading
May 20, 2009
INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION: Islamist dies in Tripoli shortly after human
rights group visit from Fred Bridgland in Libya
THE ISLAMIST terrorist who was the key source of the false intelligence used
to trigger the US and UK 2003 military invasion of Iraq has been found dead
in a Libyan prison cell.t
Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi allegedly committed suicide by hanging in the prison where
he was being held in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. His death followed a visit
by a team from Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading independent organisations
dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.
The al-Libi affair opens a window on an extraordinarily close espionage link
that existed between the government of the former US president, George Bush,
and the authoritarian Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
Al-Libi was the unnamed source that Bush, his former secretary of state, Colin
Powell, and other administration officials relied upon prior to the Iraq invasion
to assert that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was helping a terrorist organisation
run by al-Qaeda. Al-Libi was known to Powell and Bush by the codename “Curveball”.
Powell’s speech to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003
was largely based on al-Libi’s coerced testimony – which was extracted from
him in Egyptian torture chambers – even though many US intelligence officials
questioned it at the time and later dismissed it completely. In his address,
aimed at drumming up support for the invasion, Powell said he could “trace
the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training
in these chemical and biological weapons to al-Qaeda”.…
My lecture is entitled “9/11: Time for a Second Look.” In suggesting that it is time for people to take a second look at 9/11, I have in mind primarily people who decided long ago that the attacks of 9/11 happened essentially the way the Bush-Cheney administration and the official reports about 9/11 said they happened, and who therefore decided that the so-called 9/11 Truth Movement, which disputes that account, is comprised of crazy conspiracy theorists with no capacity to evaluate evidence objectively. Having formed these views long ago, such people, including most journalists, have been impervious to any arguments presented by the Truth Movement. They simply roll their eyes and move on.
However, both the Truth Movement and the available evidence have changed dramatically in the past three years. Because of these changes, it is not rational to reject the claims of this movement out of hand, without taking a second look. If you are a person who has had such an attitude, you cannot, in the face of these changes, simply roll your eyes without exhibiting the very irrationality of which you accuse the people you dismiss as “conspiracy theorists.”
My lecture is also addressed, albeit indirectly, to fellow members of the Truth Movement. Some members have decided that, now that Bush and Cheney are out of office and the Obama administration has reversed some of their 9/11-based policies, getting the truth about 9/11 revealed is no longer so important. Other members of the… Continue reading
May 11, 2009 “New Karala” — Washington, May 11: Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari has alleged that elusive Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was a US operator who had tried to destabilise his late wife Benazir Bhutto’s government back in 1989.
Meet the Press transcript here.
In fact, as premier Bhutto had “warned America about Osama bin Laden in 1989 with a call to then US president George H. Bush”, Zardari said on NBC’s Meet the Press programme Sunday.
“She rang senior Bush and asked of him: ‘Are you destabilizing my government?’
because he (apparently referring to bin Laden) paid the then opposition $10
million to overthrow the first woman elected (prime minister) in an Islamic
country,” Zardari added.
“So, we knew that he was your operator,” said Zardari responding to a question about bin Laden’s whereabouts.
“You’ll have been there (in Afghanistan) for eight years. (So) you tell
me. You lost him in Tora Bora, I didn’t, I was in prison,” he countered
when asked where bin Laden was before hurling the allegation at Washington.
Asked if Pakistan was actively looking for bin Laden, Zardari replied: “The world is looking for him and we are part of the world look-out brigade.”
Zardari also reiterated his belief that bin Laden is dead. “I have a strong feeling and I have reason to believe that because I’ve asked my counterparts in the American intelligence… Continue reading
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
By David Edwards and Jeremy Gantz
May 10, 2009
Two weeks ago, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari suggested that Osama bin Laden might be dead, saying that U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies had been unable to detect any sign of the world’s most wanted man since an audio recording of his voice was released in March.
Sunday morning, Zadari went further: “I don’t think he’s alive,” the president told NBC’s David Gregory. “I have a strong feeling and reason to believe that.” Zadari continued: “I have asked my counterparts in the American intelligence services and they haven’t heard [from] him in seven years.”
The CIA has not confirmed that the voice purporting to be bin Laden in the March recording was in fact bin Laden. U.S. officials have claimed that bin Laden could be hiding in the mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Just before saying that he believes bin Laden is dead, Zadari told Gregory that America has “been looking [in Afghanistan] for eight years… You lost him in Torah Borah, I didn’t.”
But Pakistan is still part of the worldwide “lookout brigade” for the alleged terrorism mastermind, Zadari said.
This video is from NBC’s Meet the Press, broadcast May 10, 2009.
A strange feeling of déjÃ vu arises while listening to the administration sell further U.S. military intervention in Pakistan (our Predator drones are already there).
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen claimed in late March that Pakistan’s intelligence service has “close links with al Qaeda and the Taliban network.” In fact, Mullen warned, the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, is “offering logistical support to them (the Taliban).”
In early April, veteran foreign policy icon and special advisor to the president on Afghanistan and South Asia, Richard Holbrook, let us know what this meant. There is a fundamental difference between the Pakistan conflict and the Viet Nam war, he argued. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Holbrook went on to say this:
“And the people who are in this area who we are fighting either pose a direct threat, having committed 9/11, having done Mumbai, having killed (Benazir) Bhutto, and they have publicly said they are going to do more of the same. That is: al Qaeda of course and their allies the Taliban.” Richard Holbrooke, May 5, 2009 (Repeating April 19, 2009 statement)
On May 9, General David Petraeus supported his superiors as he announced that Pakistan was now “the world headquarters for the al Qaeda senior leadership.”
There is even talk in the U.S. media that Pakistan is at risk of becoming a failed state controlled by Muslim extremists. Using Holbrooke’s logic, the U.S. would then be faced… Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
May 8, 2009
One of the most frustrating features of observing American foreign policy is to see the gap between the encapsulated thinking of the national security bureaucracy and the sensible unfettered observations of the experts outside. In the case of Afghanistan, outside commentators have called for terminating current specific American policies and tactics — many reminiscent of the US in Vietnam.
Observers decry the use of air strikes to decapitate the Taliban and al Qaeda, usually resulting in the death of other civilians. They counsel against is the insertion of more and more US and other foreign troops, in an effort to secure the safety and allegiance of the population. And they regret the on-going interference in the fragile Afghan political process, in order to secure outcomes desired in Washington.1
One root source for this gap between official and outside opinion will not be addressed soon — the conduct of crucial decision-making in secrecy, not by those who know the area, but by those skilled enough in bureaucratic politics to have earned the highest security clearances. However it may be more productive to criticize the mindset shared by the decision-makers, and to point out elements of the false consciousness which frames it, and which should be corrigible by common sense.
Why One Should Think of So-Called “Failed States” as “Ravaged States”
I have in mind the bureaucratically convenient concept of Afghanistan as a failed or failing state. This epithet has been… Continue reading