Op-Ed Contributors Stonewalled by the C.I.A.
By THOMAS H. KEAN and LEE H. HAMILTON
Washington: MORE than five years ago, Congress and President Bush created the 9/11 commission. The goal was to provide the American people with the fullest possible account of the “facts and circumstances relating to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001” — and to offer recommendations to prevent future attacks. Soon after its creation, the president’s chief of staff directed all executive branch agencies to cooperate with the commission.
The commission’s mandate was sweeping and it explicitly included the intelligence agencies. But the recent revelations that the C.I.A. destroyed videotaped interrogations of Qaeda operatives leads us to conclude that the agency failed to respond to our lawful requests for information about the 9/11 plot. Those who knew about those videotapes — and did not tell us about them — obstructed our investigation.
There could have been absolutely no doubt in the mind of anyone at the C.I.A. — or the White House — of the commission’s interest in any and all information related to Qaeda detainees involved in the 9/11 plot. Yet no one in the administration ever told the commission of the existence of videotapes of detainee interrogations.
When the press reported that, in 2002 and maybe at other times, the C.I.A. had recorded hundreds of hours of interrogations of at least two Qaeda detainees, we went back to check our records. We found that we did ask, repeatedly, for the kind of information that… Continue reading
December 21, 2007
Judge Refuses to Order Hearing on C.I.A. Tapes
By DAVID STOUT and DAVID JOHNSTON
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Friday declined to rule immediately on
a request to compel the government to explain in detail the destruction of C.I.A.
videotapes showing the harsh interrogation of two suspected Al Qaeda operatives.
District Judge Henry H. Kennedy said he would rule later on a request by lawyers
for a dozen Yemeni prisoners being held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that
he order such a hearing.
But Judge Kennedy, who heard a motion from the prisoners’ lawyers, appeared
at one point to be at least partly swayed by Bush administration lawyers that
he should not get more deeply involved while Attorney General Michael B. Mukasey
is undertaking one of the inquiries into the tapes’ destruction.
“Why should the court not permit the Department of Justice to do just
that?” Judge Kennedy asked David H. Remes, a lawyer for the detainees.
For Mr. Remes, the answer was simple. “Plainly, the government wants
only foxes guarding the henhouse,” he asserted in his motion. Considering
the government’s behavior so far, Mr. Remes argued, the Justice Department
is not entitled to a presumption that it will do the right thing.
The destruction in 2005 of the videotapes, disclosed earlier this month, has
caused a furor in the capital. Critics of the administration have seized on
the episode as further evidence that it may have a lot to hide in its treatment
of detainees. In… Continue reading
To the Editor:
Re “9/11 Panel Study Finds That C.I.A. Withheld Tapes” (front page, Dec. 22):
Our government’s official story regarding the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, tells us that 19 Arab hijackers successfully defeated the United States military by hijacking four commercial airliners within two hours on a budget of approximately $400,000. These men, armed only with small knives, box cutters and Mace, were able to knock down the World Trade Center towers in New York City and strike the Pentagon.
Because our loved ones were murdered on 9/11, we felt that the details of how the hijackers succeeded should be thoroughly investigated, so we fought for an independent 9/11 Commission. It seemed logical that our government would want to know what happened so as to prevent another attack.
When the legislation for the 9/11 Commission was passed, it gave the commissioners full subpoena power. Unfortunately, that subpoena power was rarely used.
You report that “the panel made repeated and detailed requests to the Central Intelligence Agency in 2003 and 2004 for documents and other information about the interrogation of operatives of Al Qaeda.” But while the panel did make “document requests” to the C.I.A., it did not subpoena the C.I.A. for the documents and tapes.
A subpoena would have meant that the C.I.A. would have had to answer the commission as to whether the documents and tapes existed, and the agency would have had to explain its reasons for not turning these documents and tapes over to the… Continue reading
Sat Dec 22, 2007
The CIA obstructed an official US investigation into the September 11 attacks
by withholding tapes of interrogations of Al-Qaeda operatives, according to
former investigators quoted in a report on Saturday.
A review of documents by former members of the 9/11 commission revealed the
panel made repeated, detailed requests to the spy agency in 2003 and 2004 for
information about the interrogation of members of the extremist network, but
were never notified of the tapes, the New York Times reported.
The review of the commission’s correspondence with the Central Intelligence
Agency came after the agency earlier this month revealed it had destroyed videotapes
in 2005 that showed harsh interrogations of two Al-Qaeda members.
The review, written up in a December 13 memo prepared by Philip Zelikow, the
former executive director of the 9/11 commission, said that “further investigation
is needed” to resolve whether the CIA’s failure to hand over the tapes
violated federal law.
The memorandum does not assert that withholding the tapes was illegal but states
that federal law penalizes anyone who “knowingly and wilfully” withholds
or “covers up” a “material fact” from a federal inquiry,
the newspaper said.
The revelation adds to pressure on President George W. Bush’s administration,
already under fire over the affair by human rights groups and lawmakers who
allege that destroying the tapes covered up proof of torture.
Responding to the New York Times report, the CIA said the commission never
specifically asked for interrogation videos.
CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield told… Continue reading
What is Probably in the Missing Tapes
By Naomi Wolf, Monday, December 13, 2007*
To judge from firsthand documents obtained by the ACLU through a FOIA lawsuit, we can guess what is probably on the missing CIA interrogation tapes — as well as understand why those implicated are spinning so hard to pretend the tapes do not document a series of evident crimes. According to the little-noticed but extraordinarily important book Administration of Torture: A Documentary Record from Washington to Abu Ghraib and Beyond (Jameel Jaffer and Amrit Singh, Columbia University Press, New York 2007), which presents dozens of original formerly secret documents – FBI emails and memos, letters and interrogator “wish lists,” raw proof of the systemic illegal torture of detainees in various US-held prisons — the typical “harsh interrogation” of a suspect in US custody reads like an account of abuses in archives at Yad Vashem.
More is still being hidden as of this writing — as those in Congress now considering whether a special prosecutor is needed in this case should be urgently aware: “Through the FOIA lawsuit,” write the authors, “we learned of the existence of multiple records relating to prisoner abuse that still have not been released by the administration; credible media reports identify others. As this book goes to print, the Bush administration is still withholding, among many other records, a September 2001 presidential directive authorizing the CIA to set up secret detention centers overseas; an August 2002 Justice Department memorandum advising the CIA about the lawfulness of waterboarding [Italics mine; nota bene, Mr.…Continue reading
CORRECTED & UPDATED
CIA claims it destroyed videotapes of interrogations central to the official story of September 11th. Writing in TIME magazine, former CIA agent and occasional “conspiracy theory” debunker, Robert Baer concedes that 9/11 skeptics seem all the more credible in the aftermath. Full-time debunker Gerald Posner also sees a cover-up.
The most important document in the official mythology of September 11th, The 9/11 Commission Report, is based largely on the reported statements of three prisoners: Khalid Shaikh Mohamed, Ramzi Binalshibh, and Abu Zubaydah. The Report describes these men as high-ranking members of Al Qaeda. U.S. authorities announced the captures of the three in the course of separate raids in 2002 and 2003. According to the CIA and U.S. military, they have been held ever since at “undisclosed locations,” and have had contacts only with a handful of interrogators. No U.S. agency has ever produced any of them in a public proceeding, or even provided photographs of them in captivity.
Khalid Shaikh Mohamed (see entries in the “Complete 9/11 Timeline”) was originally reported as killed during an attempt to capture him in Pakistan on September 10, 2002. He apparently survived, for he was reported as captured alive in March 2003. Until 2004, it was considered a security breach for a U.S. government source even to mention his name, although he was publicly identified as the “9/11 mastermind” in 2002.
The 9/11 Commission asked to see Mohamed and other prisoners, and was denied. The CIA… Continue reading
December 6, 2007
By MARK MAZZETTI
WASHINGTON, Dec. 6 — The Central Intelligence Agency in 2005 destroyed at least two videotapes documenting the interrogation of two Al Qaeda operatives in the agency’s custody, a step it took in the midst of Congressional and legal scrutiny about the C.I.A’s secret detention program, according to current and former government officials.
The videotapes showed agency operatives in 2002 subjecting terror suspects — including Abu Zubaydah, the first detainee in C.I.A. custody — to severe interrogation techniques. They were destroyed in part because officers were concerned that tapes documenting controversial interrogation methods could expose agency officials to greater risk of legal jeopardy, several officials said.
The C.I.A. said today that the decision to destroy the tapes had been made “within the C.I.A. itself,” and they were destroyed to protect the safety of undercover officers and because they no longer had intelligence value. The agency was headed at the time by Porter J. Goss. Through a spokeswoman, Mr. Goss declined this afternoon to comment on the destruction of the tapes.
The existence and subsequent destruction of the tapes are likely to reignite the debate over the use of severe interrogation techniques on terror suspects, and their destruction raises questions about whether C.I.A. officials withheld information about aspects of the program from the courts and from the Sept. 11 commission appointed by President Bush and Congress. It was not clear who within the C.I.A. authorized the destruction of the tapes, but current and former government officials… Continue reading
Informant gave advance warning to Civil Guard
By Paul Bond
7 November 2007
The sentences handed down at the culmination of the Madrid train bombing trial have served to underscore its political character.
The court placed the main responsibility for organising the March 2004 bombings, which killed 191 people, on the suspects who blew themselves up in the Madrid suburb of Leganes three weeks later. Much of the case against the accused related to their links to these men. However, many of the 29 accused were petty criminals and informants, who claim to have given the police information that could have prevented the attacks. In addition one of the chief suspects was acquitted for lack of evidence.
The 20 Arabs and nine Spaniards were charged with offences ranging from murder, stealing explosives, and forging documents to membership in terrorist organisations. All pleaded not guilty. The prosecution was seeking sentences of 38,656 years for the three men suspected of having masterminded the attacks, who were charged with 191 murders and 1,841 attempted murders. Other defendants faced sentences of between four and 27 years.
Seven of the defendants were acquitted. Maximum sentences were passed down against three of the main suspects but another accused of having been the mastermind behind the atrocity was acquitted because of the flimsiness of the evidence against them.
In his sentencing, Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez said that the convictions were based on “solid evidence” of involvement. The trial had established the chain of events leading up to… Continue reading
The National Lawyers Guild on Friday unanimously and enthusiastically passed a resolution supporting the impeachment of Bush and Cheney.
Resolution on Impeachment of Bush and Cheney
Whereas George W. Bush and Richard B. Cheney:
1. deliberately misled the nation and doctored intelligence, as described in the Downing Street minutes, http://www.downingstreetmemo.com/memos.html about the threat from Iraq in order to justify a war of aggression and an occupation of Iraq, as further described in House resolution H.Res. 333: http://kucinich.house.gov/UploadedFiles/int3.pdf and as listed in House Resolution H. Res. 635: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/billtext.xpd?bill=hr109-635
2. committed crimes against peace by initiating war against Iraq in violation of the UN Charter http://www.worldpress.org/specials/iraq/ ;
3. committed crimes against humanity in… Continue reading
The Fourth Amendment
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Retroactive immunity for telecom companies who engaged in illegal spying at the behest of the NSA is at the heart of a bill currently being considered by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The bill, even before having been officially introduced, is being hotly debated by bloggers, electronic privacy groups, and civil libertarians, as well as presidential contenders (CT Senator Chris Dodd has actually posted a petition at his election website, encouraging readers to support his threatened “hold” on the bill). We should compare the issues involved here with the retroactive immunity provided CIA interrogators in the September, 2006 Military Commissions Act, who could otherwise have been accused of war crimes.
Below, we direct readers to an important series of programs from PBS’ Frontline to help readers investigate the background of this issue, and a deeper consideration of some of what’s at stake in continually ceding power to a rogue Executive bent on dissolving the few civil liberties which currently remain untouched.
Lest readers be swayed by the Administration’s repeated argument that “9/11 makes this necessary,” the Rocky Mountain News reported (emphasis added) on October 11, 2007 that this spying was underway well before 9/11/01:
… Continue reading
“The National Security Agency and other government agencies retaliated against Qwest because the Denver telco refused to go along with a phone spying program, documents released Wednesday suggest.
American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007 (Introduced in House)
HR 3835 IH
To restore the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against
government abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 15, 2007
Mr. PAUL introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee
on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committees on Armed Services, Foreign
Affairs, and Select Intelligence (Permanent Select), for a period to be subsequently
determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions
as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned
To restore the Constitution’s checks and balances and protections against government
abuses as envisioned by the Founding Fathers.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States
of America in Congress assembled,
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
This Act may be cited as the `American Freedom Agenda Act of 2007′.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS AND PURPOSE.
(a) Findings- Congress makes the following findings:
(1) Unchecked power by any branch leads to oppressive transgressions on individual
freedoms and ill-considered government policies.
(2) The Founding Fathers enshrined checks and balances in the Constitution
to protect against government abuses to derail ill-conceived domestic or foreign
(3) Checks and balances make the Nation safer by preventing abuses that would
be exploited by Al Qaeda to boost terrorist recruitment, would deter foreign
governments from cooperating in defeating international terrorism, and would
make the American people reluctant to support aggressive counter-terrorism measures.…
The Hidden History of 9-11-2001: Prof. Paul Zarembka
THE HIDDEN HISTORY OF 9-11-2001: PROF. PAUL ZAREMBKA (SUNY Buffalo) — New video available
On August 9, 2007 at Chautauqua Institution, Paul Zarembka confronted Philip Zelikow. exec. director of the official 9/11 investigation, with a couple of uncensored questions. Professor Zarembka had done his homework. He is the editor of The Hidden History of 9-11-2001 . In this video, Zarembka outlines the book’s chapters: What we now know about the 9-11 hijackers (Jay Kolar); Initiation of the 9-11 operation, with evidence of insider trading beforehand (Zarembka); The destruction of the World Trade Center: why the official account can’t be true (David Ray Griffin); The military drills on 9-11: bizarre coincidence or something else? (Four Arrows aka Don Jacobs); Terrorism and Statecraft: Al-Qaeda and western covert operations after the Cold War (Nafeez Mossaddeq Ahmed); September 11 as Machiavellian State Terror (David MacGregor); Making History: the compromised 9-11 Commission (Bryan Sacks); Islamophobia and the War on Terror: the continuing pretext for US imperial conquest (Diana Ralph). Filmed Aug 9, 2007, Chautauqua, NY. See also abstract of Zarembka’s book
27 min interview with Prof. Zarembka
You can watch a shorter 10 minute interview that includes the August 9, 2007 questions asked of Phillip Zelikow here:
911Truth finally hit progressive primetime on 9/11/07. Richard Greene, host of Air America program “Clout,” welcomed four guests to the show to discuss 9/11 truth, while broadcasting live from the candlelight commemoration in L.A. Guests included “Jersey Girl” Lorie Van Auken , 911truth.org’s Janice Matthews, Colonel Ann Wright , who resigned her State Department post in protest of the Iraq occupation, and Gina Belafonte, daughter of outspoken justice activist and 911truth supporter, Harry Belafonte.
At the end of the program, Richard tells listeners that demanding a congressional reinvestigation of 9/11 should become a “project” of Air America. many readers are aware that other Air America hosts, such as Thom Hartmann, have also been talking 911truth lately. Bravo to Mr. Greene for placing the issue in prime time.
On a related note, the People’s Email Network issued a campaign to demand Congressional reinvestigation of 9/11 within days of this interview. Their text reads:
TELL CONGRESS WE WANT THE TRUTH ABOUT 9/11 AND NOTHING LESS
By the admission of the chairmen of the 9/11 commission itself, they did not get to the truth, and were deliberately impeded and deceived through their entire investigation.
We are not going to attempt… Continue reading
By Luke Ryland|
September 11, 2007
Former FBI translator Sibel Edmonds has made a number of disturbing claims about the 911 attacks, but perhaps the most disconcerting is her oft-repeated statement that the US authorities have covered up an entire organizational layer within al-Qaeda.
In the documentary, Kill The Messenger, Sibel says:
“They haven’t mentioned anybody who actually is connected to Al Qaida, in mid or higher level.”
Similarly, Sibel often says:
“And I would like to give an analogy – if you take the War on Drugs, imagine if they only went after street dealers and they refused to investigate the mid-level dealers or the drug lords. This is very similar.”
As we approach another 911 anniversary, it’s time we learnt:
Sibel Edmonds is the most gagged woman in US history making it a little it difficult for us, the public, to have a detailed understanding of everything she knows about al-Qaida and the 911 attacks, but she has given interviews and written a number of great articles and letters which enable us to put some of the pieces together.
Immediately after the release of the 911 Commission report, Sibel wrote an open letter to Thomas Kean and the Commission in which she chided the 911 Commission panel for ignoring important issues related to the attacks, and she also made public some of her closed-door testimony to the 911 Commission.
The Spitzer scandals continue.
On the 6th anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Brooklyn activist newspaper the New York Megaphone breaks this exclusive story:
NY Governor Eliot Spitzer filed an amicus brief on 1/15/03 on behalf of the World Trade Center’s controversial lease-holder, the real estate magnate Larry Silverstein. This document shows that Spitzer, as Attorney General, helped Silverstein get the whopping $4.5 billion windfall for the 9/11 attacks. The record is clear: Spitzer helped reverse a lower court’s decision, by making credible Silverstein’s argument that the two different plane crashes on 9/11/01 should be compensated as two different terrorist attacks.
This amicus brief has never been reported before today, in print or online. It was discovered in the court archives on the 17th floor of the 2nd Circuit Court (NYC), and released to the New York Megaphone by attorney Carl Person. In reporter Sander Hicks’s exclusive story, author and lawyer Carl Person says: “I was surprised to see that Spitzer had used his position as attorney general to support one private litigant over another. Normally, this is not done.”
Hicks’ story also covers Governor Spitzer’s recent scandals with police spying on rival Joe Bruno, the Roger Stone voice mail threat, as well as new information and interviews regarding the Spitzer links to Kroll executives Michael Cherkasky and Jerome Hauer. Hicks hands in an original interview with Jerome Hauer, probing his documented links to anthrax suspect Steven Hatfill. Hauer is widely believed to be the source of the White House’s foreknowledge… Continue reading
By Dr. Peter Dale Scott
In American history there are two types of event: ordinary events which the information systems of the country can understand and establish. There are also deep events, or meta-events, which the mainstream information systems of the country cannot digest. I mean by a “deep event” an event in which it is clear from the outset that there are aspects which will not be dealt with in the mainstream media, and will be studied only by those so-called “conspiracy theorists” who specialize in deep history.
The events I shall discuss today exhibit continuities with each other and with other deep events, notably the Iran-Contra affair of the mid 1980s and the Oklahoma City bombing of 1995. But the three I shall discuss today — the JFK assassination, the initial Watergate break-ins, and 9/11 — are outstanding in this respect: that while they were attributed to insignificant and very marginal people, they had momentous impact, far more than most daily events by more important people, in redirecting American history. 1
If history is what is recorded, then deep history is the sum of events which tend to be officially obscured or even suppressed in traditional books and media. Important recent deep events include the political assassinations of the 1960s, Watergate, Iran-Contra, and now 9/11. All these deep events have involved what I call the deep state, that part of the state which is not publicly accountable, and pursues its goals by means which will not be approved… Continue reading
By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, June 24, 2007
“Another [9/11 type terrorist] attack could create both a justification
and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets”
(Statement by Pentagon official, leaked to the Washington Post, 23 April 2006)
The US media consensus is that “the United States faces its greatest
threat of a terrorist assault since the September 11 attacks” (USA Today,
12 February 2006) The American Homeland is threatened by ” Islamic terrorists”,
allegedly supported by Tehran and Damascus.
America is under attack” by an illusive “outside enemy”.
Concepts are turned upside down. War becomes Peace. “Offense” becomes
a legitimate means of “self-defense”. In the words of President Bush:
“Against this kind of enemy, there is only one effective response:
We must go on the offense, stay on the offense, and take the fight to them.”
(President George W. Bush, CENTCOM Coalition Conference, May 1, 2007)
The intent is to seek a pretext to wage a preemptive war.
A “terrorist attack on America” could be used to justify, in the
eyes of an increasingly credulous public opinion, on “humanitarian grounds”,
the launching of a major theater war directed against Iran and Syria.
Allegedly supported by Iran, the terrorists are said to possess nuclear capabilities.
They are supposedly planning to explode “radiological dispersion devices”
(RDD) or “dirty bombs” in densely populated urban areas in the US.… Continue reading
The Jersey Girls Deserve Answers
It has been said that the intelligence agencies have to be right 100% of the time. And the terrorists only have to get lucky once. This explanation for the devastating attacks of September 11th, simple on its face, is wrong in its value,” because the 9-11 terrorists were not just lucky once. They were lucky over and over again. When you have this repeated pattern of broken protocols, broken laws, broken communication,” one cannot still call it luck. If at some point, we don’t look to hold the individuals accountable for not doing their jobs, properly, then how can we ever expect for terrorists to not get lucky again?
–Mindy Kleinberg, one of the Jersey Girls
September 11, 2001 is a day etched in our memories. No more so than for the victims’ families, including the Jersey Girls–four widows of men who died in the Twin Towers.
Mindy Kleinberg, along with Kristen Breitweiser, Patty Casazza, and Lorie Van Auken did what you might do under similar circumstances–they asked questions. They began collecting information and following news accounts. They began seeing several things that troubled them. Before long, they had made contact with each other. They worked together, publicly, to get answers. Somewhere along the line they became known as “the Jersey Girls.”
Their story is told in 9/11 Press for Truth.
It’s been said that, “Our quality of life is determined in large part by the quality of the questions we ask ourselves.” Well, the quality and size of our government is determined by the questions we ask when things like the 9-11 attacks happen.…Continue reading