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 Peter Dale Scott
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 29, No. 1, July 29, 2013
For almost two centuries American government, though always imperfect, was also a model for the world of limited government, having evolved a system of restraints on executive power through its constitutional arrangement of checks and balances.
Since 9/11 however, constitutional practices have been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism. The latter have mushroomed in size, reach and budget, while traditional government has shrunk. As a result we have today what the journalist Dana Priest has called two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1
More and more, it is becoming common to say that America, like Turkey before it, now has what Marc Ambinder and John Tirman have called a deep state behind the public one.2 And this parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which according to the New York Times, “has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court.”3 Thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA Court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, to any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.…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
It’s eleven years since the world changing events of 11th Sept 2001, used to justify wars abroad and erosion of civil liberties at home.
Outside the NATO area, world wide opinion polls indicate a highly sceptical public attitude to the Washington account of 9/11. (3)
Last year’s 9/11 opinion poll in the UK conducted by ICM on behalf of www.reinvestigate911.org showed only 7% of respondents believe they have been told the whole story of the 9/11 attacks. (4), (5)
The media in the NATO countries have failed to look into the many unanswered questions feeding public disquiet. Recent revelations have confirmed collusion between the New York Times and intelligence agencies (6).
Meanwhile most members of the 9/11 Commission have now distanced themselves from its findings. (16)
Here are some of the unanswered questions.
Could 9/11 have been nipped in the bud by the CIA’s then secret Osama Bin Laden unit who identified at least two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers as they entered the US, or the FBI’s three field offices which were refused permission to investigate individuals connected with the attacks?
Was 9/11 really such a surprise, as claimed by the… Continue reading
CIA Criminal Revolving Door: CIA Officer “Albert” Involved in False Intelligence Linking Al-Qaeda to Iran, Iraq
by Kevin Fenton
Reprimanded for Torture, Retired, then Back to CIA as a Contractor
A recent book by former FBI agent Ali Soufan shows that the same CIA officer was involved in generating intelligence that falsely linked al-Qaeda to first Iran and then Iraq. The officer was also involved in a notorious torture episode and was reprimanded by the Agency’s inspector general.
The officer, who Soufan refers to as “Fred,” but whose real first name is “Albert” according to a February 2011 Associated Press article, served at the CIA station in Jordan in 1999. During that time, al-Qaeda, aided by a collection of freelance terrorists headed by Abu Zubaidah, attempted to commit a series of attacks in the country, known as the Millennium Plot. However, the attacks were foiled by the local Jordanian intelligence service, working with the CIA and FBI.
During the investigations of the plotters, Albert drafted a series of official cables that were later withdrawn. Although the withdrawing of the cables was first mentioned in a July 2006 article by Lawrence Wright for the New Yorker, Wright did not mention what was in the cables or by whom they were drafted. The content of one of them and the drafter were first revealed upon the publication of Soufan’s book in mid-September 2011.
According to Soufan, one of the twelve withdrawn cables falsely stated that the group of… Continue reading
12 September 2011
A former FBI agent has told the BBC that he is being prevented from telling the truth about the events of 9/11 and what has happened since.
Ali Soufan alleges that crucial intelligence was not passed on from the CIA before the attacks in 2001.
He has written a book detailing some of his claims and has been speaking to the BBC’s Security Correspondent Gordon Corera in his first on camera interview on the subject.
In response to the allegations in this report the CIA issued a statement to the BBC that said: “Any suggestion that the CIA purposely refused to share critical lead information on the 9/11 plots with the FBI is baseless.”
“The suggestion that the Central Intelligence Agency has requested redactions on this publication because it does not like the content is ridiculous.”
The CIA decline to comment on the record about the accusations regarding waterboarding and interrogation.
Unofficial transcript of video, “Former FBI Agent says truth of 9/11 remains hidden” :
Gordon Corera: Stepping out of the shadows, appearing for the first time on camera, Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent with an eyewitness account some people don’t want him to tell.
Ali Soufan: They are trying to stop me and others from telling the world what really happened over there.
Gordon Corera: He believes huge mistakes were made with devastating consequences. Born in Lebanon, Soufan had… Continue reading
April 23, 2009
by Prof. Marjorie Cohn
Hayden had confirmed that the Bush administration only waterboarded Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Abu Zabaydah, and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashirit for one minute each. I told Franks that I didn’t believe that. Sure enough, one of the newly released torture memos reveals that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times and Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times. One of Stephen Bradbury’s 2005 memos asserted that “enhanced techniques” on Zubaydah yielded the identification of Mohammed and an alleged radioactive bomb plot by Jose Padilla. But FBI supervisory special agent Ali Soufan, who interrogated Zubaydah from March to June 2002, wrote in the New York Times that Zubaydah produced that information under traditional interrogation methods, before the harsh techniques were ever used.
Why, then, the relentless waterboarding of these two men? It turns out that high Bush officials put heavy pressure on Pentagon interrogators to get Mohammed and Zubaydah to reveal a link between Saddam Hussein and the 9/11 hijackers, in order to justify Bush’s illegal and unnecessary invasion of Iraq in 2003. That link was never established.
President Obama released the four memos in response to a Freedom of Information Act request by the ACLU. They describe unimaginably brutal techniques and provide “legal” justification for clearly illegal acts of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. In the face of monumental pressure from the CIA to keep them secret, Obama demonstrated great courage in deciding to make the grotesque memos public. At the same time, however, in… Continue reading
January 14, 2009
Posted at History Commons Groups
The National Archives today released a set of records the 9/11 Commission gave it. It did so today because the commission told it it had to wait until 2009 to do so, presumably on the off chance that people would have forgotten about it all by then. The records are in two groups, Memorandums for the Record (MFR), which are available online, and other records, which are not available online.
Editor’s Note: The National Archives 9/11 Commission Records URL’s have been updated.
Kevin Fenton, who wrote this blog entry today, is one of the great researchers working with Paul Thompson and so many other fine people at HistoryCommons.org (formerly known to most of us as CooperativeResearch.org) to document our history. Not just about 9/11, but about aspects of our lives so appallingly rewritten by media and textbooks. The work underway at HistoryCommons is absolutely invaluable, and we encourage readers to get involved and otherwise support that work.
I have been trawling through the ones that are available online and I have learned a few things of interest.
(1) Stacks of the MFR are not actually available. Either they have not been reviewed yet (pending), or have been withdrawn because they are very classified, or they have been made available, but have had the bejesus redacted out of them.
By Jim Loney
Originally published July 22, 2008
Someone has just brought to my attention a possible interpretation of this statement different than what I had come to, so in the spirit of accurate reporting and non-sensationalism, I am adding this for your consideration. As always, we hope you carefully interpret all information coming to you, no matter what the source, (including ours, of course). My interpretation of these comments was that Stone was simply making the case (the crux of the case) that Hamdan knew the target, therefore Hamdan must have been a party to the attack. I had not considered that Stone may have been (supposedly) quoting Hamdan fully, and that Hamdan may have been the one reported as having said, “If they hadn’t shot it down…,” not Stone. Nonetheless, it seems quite odd that the US prosecution, led by military officers, would have made any reference to Flight 93 having been shot down… [End of update.]
A couple key points here from the Gitmo show trials not really being shown:
1) Defense attorney for bin Laden’s driver, Salim Hamdan, stated: “There will be no evidence that Mr. Hamdan espoused or believed or embraced any form of what you will hear about, radical Islam beliefs, extremist Muslim beliefs.” Where have we heard that before? A little like Atta and friends drinking Dewars scotch, paying for lap dances, partying it up… fundamentalist Muslims who hate Americans’ ‘freedoms’? I think not…… Continue reading
Submitted by Jon Gold
Some of you may have noticed that I have started a new “Who Is?” series with regard to 9/11. The reason I started this was because I thought too much emphasis was being placed on the physical aspects of 9/11, and not enough on the background information, the people who may have had something to do with it, the people who participated in the cover-up, the whistleblowers, the family members, the people who represent discrepancies, and so on.
I am using the work compiled by Paul Thompson at www.cooperativeresearch.org. There are links available to each of the stories sourced on the original website. Unfortunately, it’s just too much work to duplicate what Paul and others have done with regard to links. I want to thank them all for their tremendous efforts.
I also want people to know that the information provided is not the “end all/be all” of 9/11. However, it is most definitely an excellent starting point.
Here are the articles archived. As more are produced, they will be added here.
Who Is Jack Abramoff?
Who Is Elliott Abrams?
Who Is David Addington?
Who Is Lt. Gen. Mahmood Ahmed?
Who Is Omar Al-Bayoumi?
Who Was Khalid Almihdhar?
Who Is Prince Turki Al-Faisal?
Who Is Ahmed Al-Hada? With Introduction By Kevin Fenton
Who Was Nawaf Al-Hamzi?
Who Is Yassin al-Qadi?
Who Is Michael Anticev?
Who… Continue reading
by Derek Rose
New York Daily News
The feds bungled a key opportunity to possibly nix the 9/11 terror plot, it was reported yesterday.
An Arabic-speaking FBI agent had requested information about a Jan. 5, 2000, Al Qaeda meeting in Malaysia, but the CIA never turned it over, The New Yorker reported.
The ambitious FBI detective, Ali Soufan, was so upset when he eventually got the information – after 9/11 – that he vomited.
Soufan, who had been investigating the 2000 attack on the U.S. Navy destroyer Cole that killed 17 sailors, realized the two plots were linked.
“And if the CIA had not withheld information from him he likely would have drawn the connection months before Sept. 11,” The New Yorker reported. The intelligence Soufan had sought showed that a one-legged jihadi named Khallad – a key Al Qaeda lieutenant linked to the Cole bombing – had attended the Malaysia meeting where the Sept. 11 plot was hatched.
According to the magazine, the CIA also learned in March 2000 that Al Qaeda operative Nawaf Alhazmi was in the United States, but the CIA never alerted the FBI. Alhazmi ended up on the American Airlines flight that crashed into the Pentagon.
The CIA may not have told the FBI about Alhazmi and another Qaeda operative, Khalid… Continue reading