By Glenn Greenwald
September 20, 2011
The story of Jose Padilla, continuing through the events of yesterday, expresses so much of the true nature of the War on Terror and especially America’s justice system. In 2002, the American citizen was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, publicly labeled by John Ashcroft as The Dirty Bomber, and then imprisoned for the next three years on U.S. soil as an “enemy combatant” without charges of any kind, and denied all contact with the outside world, including even a lawyer. During his lawless incarceration, he was kept not just in extreme solitary confinement but extreme sensory deprivation as well, and was abused and tortured to the point of severe and probably permanent mental incapacity. (Bush lawyers told a court that they were unable to produce videos of Padilla’s interrogations because those videos were mysteriously and tragically “lost”).
Needless to say, none of the government officials responsible for this abuse of a U.S. citizen on American soil has been held accountable in any way. That’s because President Obama decreed that Bush officials shall not be criminally investigated for War on Terror crimes, while his Justice Department vigorously defended John Yoo, Donald Rumsfeld and other responsible functionaries in civil suits brought by Padilla seeking damages for what was done to him.
As usual, the Obama DOJ cited national security imperatives and sweeping theories of presidential power to demand that Executive Branch officials be fully shielded from judicial scrutiny (i.e., shielded from the … Continue reading
While producing our investigative podcast “Who Is Rich Blee?”, intended to be released on Sunday, our team managed to deduce the likely identities of two CIA employees at the heart of a notorious failure in the run up to the September 11th tragedy.
Savvy internet searches based on minimal background details helped us determine candidates for the two CIA employees. When the names were used by our interviewers repeatedly during interviews and never corrected by the interviewees, we began to feel more certain. Ironically, it was the response from CIA that provided final confirmation.
On Thursday, we submitted our script to CIA along with a request to interview the two employees. We wanted to be fair in giving them a chance to tell their sides of the story. Instead, the Agency sent us a message threatening that if we went forward with the names included in the piece that it would be a potential violation of federal criminal law.
A prominent civil liberties attorney has advised us that the law cited, the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, has never been used to convict a journalist. The law pertains to government employees who violate their security clearances, certainly not those who find “classified information” in open-source materials posted on the Net.
The threat of prosecution under this act may be a baseless attempt by CIA to intimidate journalists exposing wrongdoing by their employees. Or it may announce an intention by the U.S. government to dangerously expand precedent in the application… Continue reading
Former minister says group was prepared to see bin Laden put on trial prior to 9/11, but US was not interested.
The Taliban government in Afghanistan offered to present Osama bin Laden for a trial long before the attacks of September 11, 2001, but the US government showed no interest, according to a senior aide to the Taliban leader, Mullah Omar.
View the 30 second video at the end of this article: from Feb. 2001 White House Press Conference
Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil, Taliban’s last foreign minister, told Al Jazeera in an exclusive interview that his government had made several proposals to the United States to present the al-Qaeda leader, considered the mastermind of the 2001 attacks, for trial for his involvement in plots targeting US facilities during the 1990s.
“Even before the [9/11] attacks, our Islamic Emirate had tried through various proposals to resolve the Osama issue. One such proposal was to set up a three-nation court, or something under the supervision of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference [OIC],” Muttawakil said.
“But the US showed no interest in it. They kept demanding we hand him over, but we had no relations with the US, no agreement of any sort. They did not recognise our government.”
The US did not recognise the Taliban government and had no direct diplomatic relations with the group which controlled most of Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001.
But proposals by the Taliban were relayed to the US through indirect channels such as the US embassy in Pakistan or the informal Taliban office for the UN in New York, Muttawakil said.…Continue reading
by Michael Meacher MP
published at Meacher’s Blog
9/11 remains one of the most misunderstood events in modern history. The first myth is that it came out of the blue on an unsuspecting America. In fact it is known that 11 countries provided advance warnings to the US about the 9/11 attacks, including Russia and Israel which sent 2 senior Mossad experts to Washington in August 2001 with a list of terrorist suspects that included 4 of the 9/11 hijackers, none of whom was arrested. Moussaoui, now thought to be the 20th hijacker, was arrested in August 2001 after an instructor reported he showed a suspicious interest in learning how to steer large airliners, and Newsweek later revealed (20 May 2002) that an agent had written that month that Moussaoui might be planning to crash into the Twin Towers. Richard Clarke, counter-terrorism chief in the White House, has since said that “50 CIA personnel knew that al-Hamzi and al-Mihdhar (2 of the hijackers) were in the US in July-August 2001, including the Director”, but never passed the information to the FBI. And the former US federal crimes prosecutor, John Loftus, has stated that “the information provided by European intelligence services prior to 9/11 was so extensive that it is no longer possible for either the CIA or FBI to assert a defence of incompetence”.
Second, 9/11 is portrayed as acts of unprovoked aggression perpetrated without cause other than wilful violence. In fact Osama bin Laden repeatedly demanded in the 1990s… Continue reading
by: Jeffrey Kaye and Jason Leopold
Senior Pentagon officials scrubbed key details about a top-secret military intelligence unit’s efforts in tracking Osama bin Laden and suspected al-Qaeda terrorists from official reports they prepared for a Congressional committee probing the 9/11 terrorist attacks, new documents obtained by Truthout reveal.
Moreover, in what appears to be an attempt to cover up the military unit’s intelligence work, a September 2008 Defense Department (DoD) Inspector General’s (IG) report that probed complaints lodged by the former deputy chief of the military unit in question, the Asymmetrical Threats Division of Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC), also known as DO5, about the crucial information withheld from Congress, claimed “the tracking of Usama Bin Ladin did not fall within JFIC’s mission.”
But the IG’s assertion is untrue, according to the documents obtained by Truthout, undercutting the official narrative about who knew what and when in the months leading up to 9/11.
Much of JFIC’s work on al-Qaeda and Bin Laden remains shrouded in secrecy and has not been cited in media reports revolving around pre-9/11 intelligence, which has focused heavily over the past decade on CIA and FBI “intelligence failures.” Only a few details about the military intelligence unit have surfaced since then, notably in two previous reports published recently by Truthout.
JFIC was the intelligence component of United States Joint Forces Command (JFCOM). In 2005, it was renamed the Joint Intelligence Command for Intelligence. Last month, JFCOM was shuttered, reportedly due to Pentagon budget cuts,… Continue reading
For more info or interviews please call Ian Henshall on 01273 326862 or 079469 39217 Today Ian was on LBC 8.30am, this evening scheduled on Talksport 11.30pm
A new opinion poll shows surprisingly high levels of doubt in the UK over the official story of the 9/11 attacks. The poll, conducted by ICM on behalf of Reinvestigate911.org , found that more people agree than disagree that the official account of what happened on 9/11 might turn out to be wrong in important respects. Only 8% strongly agree that they have been told the full story of the 9/11 attacks.
Of those who expressed an opinion 37% agreed that rogue elements in the American intelligence services may have made a decision prior to 9/11 to allow a terrorist attack to take place. Richard Clarke, White House anti-terror co-ordinator at the time, said recently that the 9/11 attacks could have been foiled but for an explicit agreement within the CIA to withhold vital information from him and the FBI. Clarke says he cannot explain this behaviour. At the time the CIA were prohibited by law from operating in the US.
The results are mirrored by a HEC poll published today in France showing that 58% have doubts compared to 31% percent who accept the official story. Half suspect that US authorities deliberately allowed the attacks to take place while a third suspect they were implicated in the execution of 9/11.
Andreas von Bulow believes the US carried out the 9/11 attacks.
September 6, 2011
By Christian Stoecker
Spiegel Online International (DerSpiegel)
Andreas von Bulow used to be a German cabinet minister and member of parliament for the Social Democrats. Now he is a best-selling author who writes books about 9/11 conspiracy theories. His former colleagues no longer want anything to do with him.
Andreas von Bulow says he’s never feared for his life. This is despite the fact that he harbors suspicions that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were not the work of 19 “suicide Muslims,” as he calls them, but rather an ingenious, cold-blooded operation in psychological warfare organized by the United States itself; and despite the fact that he has published this view in book form.
Bulow doesn’t commit himself definitively to the position, but he feels fairly certain that either the Bush administration or other, far more powerful groups operating behind the scenes allowed more than 3,000 people to die in order to construct an unassailable argument supporting geopolitically desirable military operations such as those in Iraq and Afghanistan.
These are astonishing theories on the part of a former German government minister, one who spent 25 years representing the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD) in Germany’s federal parliament, the Bundestag. He’s not saying his theories necessarily represent what really happened, Bulow explains, he’s simply posing questions. “This is just another way of thinking,” he says. But, the former minister adds, it’s a way of thinking that appears… Continue reading
By Will Bunch
Philadelphia Daily News
IF YOU THINK that on the 10th anniversary you know the whole story of 9/11 – and here I’m addressing conspiracy-minded “truthers” and the 13 percent who approved of the job Dick Cheney did as vice president – actually, you don’t.
Time has upheld the broad story line of how hijackers loyal to Osama bin Laden hijacked four planes and killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001 – claims about holograms being used to attack buildings instead of jetliners notwithstanding. At the same time, the dictum of famed investigative reporter I.F. Stone about all governments – i.e., they lie – is no less true about 9/11 than any other event.
Here are 10 questions about 9/11 that remain unanswered.
Richard Clarke, the national counterterrorism czar on 9/11, thinks so. In an interview for an upcoming radio documentary, Clarke claimed that top-level CIA officials deliberately withheld from the White House and the FBI knowledge as early as 2000 that two al Qaeda members – Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar – were living in San Diego.
The former anti-terror chief said he believes that the CIA kept the info under wraps because it wanted to recruit the two Saudis to serve as double agents within bin Laden’s organization. Instead, the two terrorists ended up hijackers on American Flight 77. George Tenet, who was CIA director, claims that Clarke… Continue reading
Introduction: 9/11 Ten Years Later
The words in the title of this book – “9/11 Ten Years Later” – are often followed with an exclamation point. The exclamation point may be a way of expressing, by members of the 9/11 Truth Movement, amazement that the truth has not already been publicly revealed. The exclamation point might be used by detractors of this movement — perhaps along with an expletive — to express their feeling that it is time for these people to “get a life.” The exclamation point might reflect a position somewhat in the middle — of spouses of members hoping that no more years of their family life will be oriented around the work of trying to get the truth revealed.
In any case, for reasons discussed in this book (especially the final two chapters), there is nothing surprising about the fact that the 9/11 crime has not been revealed. Those who have gained control of a state in an ostensible democracy have many means not only for orchestrating major crimes, but also for preventing those crimes (including their crimes against democracy itself) from being publicized.
What is somewhat surprising, perhaps to the perpetrators themselves, is the fact that the 9/11 Truth Movement is still alive and, in fact, continues to grow. The first professional 9/11 organization, Scholars for 9/11 Truth, was formed in 2005, and since then a dozen professional organizations have been created. It was not until 2006 that architect Richard Gage started… Continue reading
By Russ Baker
Another original investigation by WhoWhatWhy.com
Article Summary: When you look closely, nothing seems right about what will surely become the accepted account of the raid that nailed America’s enemy number one. And then things get even weirder…
The establishment media just keep getting worse. They’re further and further from good, tough investigative journalism, and more prone to be pawns in complicated games that affect the public interest in untold ways. A significant recent example is The New Yorker ‘s vaunted August 8 exclusive on the vanquishing of Osama bin Laden.
The piece, trumpeted as the most detailed account to date of the May 1 raid in Abbottabad Pakistan, was an instant hit. “Got the chills half dozen times reading @NewYorker killing bin Laden tick tock…exquisite journalism,” tweeted the digital director of the PBS show Frontline . The author, freelancer Nicholas Schmidle, was quickly featured on the Charlie Rose show, an influential determiner of “chattering class” opinion. Other news outlets rushed to praise the story as “exhaustive,” “utterly compelling,” and on and on.
To be sure, it is the kind of granular, heroic story that the public loves, that generates follow-up bestsellers and movie options. The takedown even has a Hollywood-esque code name: “Operation Neptune’s Spear”
Here’s the introduction to the mission commander , full of minute details that help give it a ring of authenticity and suggest the most… Continue reading
Lorie Van Auken
Lorie Van Auken joins us and shares with us her reflections ten years on about the events of 9/11 and her loss. She discusses the still-classified 28 pages of the JICI dealing with terrorist financing, the 9/11 families’ stalled lawsuit to bankrupt the terrorists and the direct interventions by the White House to protect the Saudi regime against the justice-seeking families, and the many uninvestigated questions and facts covered up by the 9/11 Commission. She questions our current many-fronted wars and the senselessness of the occupation of and our military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan with Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden both dead, while our economy is crashing here at home. Ms. Van Auken talks about the three versions of the NORAD timeline, the passage of the Patriot Act as a vehicle to erode our civil liberties, NSA’s illegal wiretapping of our domestic communications under the guise of security, and more!
Lorie Van Auken, the mother of two children, lost her husband Kenneth Van Auken in the September 11th terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. She is one of the “Jersey Girls” who, along with Kristen Breitweiser, Mindy Kleinberg, and Patty Casazza, fought the Bush administration for a commission to investigate the attacks. Ms. Van Auken is also a member of the September 11 Advocates.
Here is our guest Lorie Van Auken unplugged! Click here to listen to interview with Lorie Van Auken [48:26].
By Kevin Zeese
October2011.org seeks to Stop the Machine and Create a New World. It can be done. Indeed, it must be done and now is the time to do it. The thousands who have joined October2011.org know the challenges we face but we also know that the disastrous direction the country is going is unacceptable. We have seen that the normal tools – elections, lobbying and education – do not work. The U.S. is facing a crisis on many fronts – economic, environmental and in foreign relations – and the government does not respond or even makes things worse.
We certainly understand the despair, lost hope and discouragement that many Americans feel about the U.S. political system. The system seems designed to make change impossible. We also see the power and sophistication of the corporate propaganda media machine. But, we also see people in the United States seeing through the propaganda, understanding the truth and getting angry. In every rebellion around the world that has occurred in the last year – from Egypt to Spain – the view that it can’t be done, the people will not rise up would have been the belief of 95% of the population before it happened. Predicting the future is not as easy as it looks. There is a lot of evidence that the time may be right for an American Awakening. The past is not always the future.
TORONTO, August 8, 2011 — A decade after the events of September 11, 2001, which resulted in the immediate deaths of nearly 3,000 people on American soil, countless victims from toxic dust, and hundreds of thousands of deaths in Afghanistan and Iraq, international hearings on this pivotal event will begin in Toronto in September.
The events of September 11 provided a pretext for a War on Terror that has led to military invasions and occupations, and attacks upon civil and human rights throughout the world. The credibility of the official investigation into the events of September 11, 2001, carried out by the U.S. Government between 2003 and 2005, has been questioned by millions of citizens in the United States and abroad, including victim family members, expert witnesses and international legal experts.
To date, open and transparent judicial hearings to question the official evidence provided by the U.S. Government have never taken place in the United States or abroad. Similarly, no perpetrators of the events of September 11 have ever been brought to justice on American soil.
A group of international citizens has therefore undertaken to privately fund and cause these independent hearings to take place. Because of the global ramifications of the events of 9/11, the initiators of this inquest have opted to select an international location outside of the United States for these hearings to proceed. The city of Toronto, Canada was chosen as an ideal “international” location because of its proximity to New York, Washington and Shanksville (the… Continue reading
By Noah Shachtman
July 28, 2011
Danger Room blog at Wired.com
ASPEN, Colorado — Ground the U.S. drone war in Pakistan. Rethink the idea of spending billions of dollars to pursue al-Qaida. Forget chasing terrorists in Yemen and Somalia, unless the local governments are willing to join in the hunt.
Those aren’t the words of some human rights activist, or some far-left Congressman. They’re from retired admiral and former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair — the man who was, until recently, nominally in charge of the entire American effort to find, track, and take out terrorists. Now, he’s calling for that campaign to be reconsidered, and possibly even junked.
Starting with the drone attacks. Yes, they take out some mid-level terrorists, Blair said. But they’re not strategically effective. If the drones stopped flying tomorrow, Blair told the audience at the Aspen Security Forum, “it’s not going to lower the threat to the U.S.” Al-Qaida and its allies have proven “it can sustain its level of resistance to an air-only campaign,” he said.
It’s one of many reasons why it’s a mistake to “have that campaign dominate our overall relations” with countries like Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. “Because we’re alienating the countries concerned, because we’re treating countries just as places where we go attack groups that threaten us, we are threatening the prospects of long-term reform,” Blair said.
The “unilateral” strikes in Pakistan have to come to an end, he added, and be replaced with operations that had the full cooperation of the government in Islamabad.…Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 31 No 1, August 1, 2011.
Twice in the last two decades, significant cuts in U.S. and western military spending were foreseen: first after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But both times military spending soon increased, and among the factors contributing to the increase were America’s interventions in new areas: the Balkans in the 1990s, and Libya today.1 Hidden from public view in both cases was the extent to which al-Qaeda was a covert U.S. ally in both interventions, rather than its foe.
U.S. interventions in the Balkans and then Libya were presented by the compliant U.S. and allied mainstream media as humanitarian. Indeed, some Washington interventionists may have sincerely believed this. But deeper motivations – from oil to geostrategic priorities – were also at work in both instances.
In virtually all the wars since 1989, America and Islamist factions have been battling to determine who will control the heartlands of Eurasia in the post-Soviet era. In some countries – Somalia in 1993, Afghanistan in 2001 – the conflict has been straightforward, with each side using the other’s excesses as an excuse for intervention.
But there have been other interventions in which Americans have used al-Qaeda as a resource to increase their influence, for example Azerbaijan in 1993. There a pro-Moscow president was ousted after large numbers of Arab and other foreign mujahedin veterans were secretly imported from Afghanistan, on an airline hastily organized by three former veterans of the CIA’s airline Air America. (The three, all once detailed from the Pentagon to the CIA, were Richard Secord, Harry Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn.)2 This was an ad hoc marriage of convenience: the mujahedin got to defend Muslims against Russian influence in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, while the Americans got a new president who opened up the oilfields of Baku to western oil companies.
The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new. It dates back to at least 1953, when the CIA recruited right-wing mullahs to overthrow Prime Minister Mossadeq in Iran, and also began to cooperate with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.3 But in Libya in 2011 we see a more complex marriage of convenience between US and al-Qaeda elements: one which repeats a pattern seen in Bosnia in 1992-95, and Kosovo in 1997-98. In those countries America responded to a local conflict in the name of a humanitarian intervention to restrain the side committing atrocities. But in all three cases both sides committed atrocities, and American intervention in fact favored the side allied with al-Qaeda.
The cause of intervention was fostered in all three cases by blatant manipulation and falsification of the facts. What a historian has noted of the Bosnian conflict was true also of Kosovo and is being echoed today in Libya: though attacks were “perpetrated by Serbs and Muslims alike,” the pattern in western media was “that killings of Muslims were newsworthy, while the deaths of non-Muslims were not.”4 Reports of mass rapes in the thousands proved to be wildly exaggerated: a French journalist “uncovered only four women willing to back up the story.”5 Meanwhile in 1994 the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy (BHL) traveled to Bosnia and fervently endorsed the case for intervention in Bosnia; in 2011 February BHL traveled to Benghazi and reprised his interventionist role for Libya.6
In all of the countries mentioned above, furthermore, there are signs that some American and/or western intelligence groups were collaborating with al-Qaeda elements from the outset of conflict, before the atrocities cited as a reason for intervention.. This suggests that there were deeper reasons for America’s interventions including the desire of western oil companies to exploit the petroleum reserves of Libya (as in Iraq) without having to deal with a troublesome and powerful strong man, or their desire to create a strategic oil pipeline across the Balkans (in Kosovo).7
That the U.S. would support al-Qaeda in terrorist atrocities runs wholly counter to impressions created by the U.S. media. Yet this on-going unholy alliance resurrects and builds on the alliance underlying Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1978-79 strategy of provocation in Afghanistan, at a time when he was President Carter’s National Security Adviser.
The Shah (left), Brzezinski (right), Carter (second right)
July 14, 2011
By Robert Koehler
Published at Antiwar.com
Leon Panetta, on his first visit to Iraq as secretary of defense last weekend, reached for a Bush moment ten years too late.
“The reason you guys are here is because on 9/11 the United States got attacked,” he said to the assembled troops at Camp Victory in Baghdad, according to the Washington Post. “And 3,000 Americans — 3,000 not just Americans, 3,000 human beings, innocent human beings — got killed because of al-Qaeda. And we’ve been fighting as a result of that.”
Yeah, oops, gaffe, Mr. Secretary, right? That Iraq-al-Qaeda connection thingy isn’t in the spin anymore, and Panetta’s assistant had to mop up afterwards, making sure no one misinterpreted the boss’s remarks as reopening an old “debate” by reiterating a long-abandoned lie.
In point of fact, Panetta told the embarrassing truth: 9/11, day of unspeakable tragedy, was a goldmine for the Pentagon and the corporate war interests and was quickly used to launch two wars, both of which are long past the need for justification and require, it seems, nothing more than the first law of physics to stay in motion. You guys are here because of 9/11, the tragic all-purpose justification for global hegemony and the pursuit of empire.
Of course, Panetta was trying to be inspirational. That’s what’s missing from the Obama game plan: the old-time patriotism the Bush administration milked till the cow dropped dead. The new secretary of defense apparently felt a need to connect… Continue reading
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, July 11th, 2011
Newly appointed US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta told American troops in Baghdad on Monday that 9/11 was the reason they were in Iraq, before he was quickly corrected by his spokesman.
“The reason you guys are here is because of 9/11. The US got attacked and 3,000 human beings got killed because of Al-Qaeda,” Panetta told about 150 soldiers at the Camp Victory US base.
“We’ve been fighting as a result of that,” he said.
The administration of former US President George W. Bush had hastily linked Saddam Hussein, the ousted Iraqi dictator, to the 9/11 attacks.
That was one of the justifications for the 2003 US-led invasion, but the argument has since been widely dismissed [Ed.: by the Bush Administration itself].
Doug Wilson, Panetta’s spokesman, quickly jumped in after his boss, who just took office on July 1, made the statement.
“I don’t think he’s getting into the argument of 2002-2003,” as the reason for the Iraq invasion, Wilson he told reporters, adding that his boss was “a plain-spoken secretary.”
“He has made clear that the major threat to this country is coming from Al-Qaeda and terrorist groups and he has also made clear that wherever we are in the world today, that (Al-Qaeda) is a principle reason for a military presence,” Wilson said.
The new defence secretary also committed a faux pas in Afghanistan on Saturday, telling reporters the United States intends to keep 70,000 troops there until 2014.
President Barack Obama’s administration has said it plans a steady withdrawal of US forces until the Afghans can take over their own security.…Continue reading
by Ray McGovern
Published on Saturday, July 2, 2011 by CommonDreams.org
Yes, that was I standing before the U.S. Embassy in Athens on the eve of the July Fourth weekend holding the American flag in the distress mode — upside
[Photo (right): Ret. US Army Colonel Ann Wright, 64, from Honolulu, chants slogans as she and other activists rally in protest outside the U.S. embassy in Athens, Greece, Friday, July 1, 2011. The activists hope to join an international flotilla and to sail to Gaza.]
Indignities experienced by me and my co-guests on “The Audacity of Hope,” the American boat to Gaza, over the past ten days in Athens leave no doubt in my mind that Barack Obama’s administration has forfeited the right to claim any lineage to the brave Americans who declared independence from the king of England 235 years ago.
In the Declaration of Independence, they pledged their lives, fortunes and sacred honor to a new enterprise of freedom, democracy and the human spirit. The outcome was far from assured; likely as not, the hangman’s noose awaited them. They knew that all too well.
But they had a genuine audacity to hope that the majority of their countrymen and women, persuaded by Thomas Paine’s Common Sense and the elegant words of Thomas Jefferson, would conclude that the goal of liberty and freedom was worth the risk, that it was worth whatever the cost.
These days we have been seduced into thinking that such principles have become “quaint”… Continue reading