by Steven Aftergood
November 23rd, 2009
Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy’s Secrecy
Development of a new executive order on classification of national security information is now proceeding at an accelerated pace in order to preempt a deadline that would require the declassification of millions of pages of historical records next month.
A revised draft executive order was circulated to executive branch agencies by the Office of Management and Budget on November 16, with agency comments due back today, November 23. A final order is likely to be issued by the end of this year.
There is an incentive to complete the development of the executive order before December 31, 2009 because of a deadline for declassification of historical records that falls on that date. Under the current Bush executive order, classified records that are at least 25 years old and that have been referred from one agency to another because they involve multiple agency interests are supposed to be automatically declassified at the end of this year. (See E.O. 13292, section 3.3(e)(3)).
But in order to meet this December deadline, several agencies would have to forgo a review of the affected historical records, which they are unwilling to do. And so it seems they will simply be excused from compliance. But in order to modify the deadline in the Bush order, it will be necessary to issue another executive order. If the comprehensive new Obama order on classification policy (which would assign processing of such records to a National Declassification Center that does not yet exist) is not ready for release by December 31, then another stand-alone order would have to be issued, canceling or extending the looming deadline.…Continue reading
by Kristen Breitweiser,
9/11 widow and activist
November 16, 2009
Even after witnessing the horrors of 9/11 that included me helplessly watching the murder of my husband on live television, I still believe that we are a civilized nation of laws. And like the Nuremberg trials that brought the murderers of millions to justice, now more than ever, Americans need to trust our own judicial system to fully and openly prosecute the mass murderers of 9/11 while the rest of the world bears witness.
Because while the terrorists were successful in bringing down the Twin Towers and hijacking airplanes on 9/11, our Constitution should never be hijacked or brought down as a result of anything–let alone the potential adversity faced in prosecuting modern day monsters like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed.
Indeed, in the fight against Islamist extremism, we should never bow to the terrorists by compromising, manipulating, re-writing or flat-out ignoring the core, bedrock principles of our Constitution that speak to the very heart of who we are as a nation–a democracy.
Yet, quite alarmingly, Republicans seem to be exhibiting just this sort of crisis of confidence in our Constitution’s ability to prosecute these horrible men. Republicans argue that men like KSM are war criminals who can only be convicted in military commissions where they won’t receive the protections of our laws. Republicans seem to lack a certain faith in our Constitution’s ability and adaptability in meting out the demands of modern day justice.
So the once-brazen, chest-thumping Republicans who… Continue reading
by Nafeez Mossadeq Ahmed
Islamic fundamentalist militants are the enemies of Israel and Western governments, right? Think again. Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed reports.
Once upon a time, the CIA trained, financed and supported Osama bin Laden and his mujahidin networks in Afghanistan to repel the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. After the end of the Cold War, bin Laden turned against the West and we no longer had any use for him. His persistent terrorist attacks against us for more than a decade, culminating in 9/11, provoked our own response, in the form of the ‘War on Terror’. This is the official narrative. And it’s false. Not only did Western intelligence services continue to foster Islamist extremist and terrorist groups connected to al-Qaeda after the Cold War; they continued to do so even after 9/11.
The CIA’s jihad
The story begins in the summer of 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, when the CIA had already begun financing elements of an emerging Islamist mujahidin force inside Afghanistan. The idea, according to former US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski and former CIA Director Robert Gates, was to increase the probability of a Soviet invasion, and entrap ‘the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire’.1
Osama bin Laden arrived in the country later that year, sent by then-Saudi intelligence chief Prince Turki bin Faisal, where he set up the Maktab al-Khidamat (MAK) which helped finance, recruit and train mujahidin fighters.2 Bin Laden, the MAK, and the Afghan mujahidin in total received… Continue reading
By Philip Giraldi
November 4, 2009
Campaign for Liberty
Most Americans believe that we are in a terrible dilemma. An increasing number are uncomfortable with the continuing carnage in Iraq and Afghanistan and fearful of the consequences of yet another Middle East war, this time against Iran, but most also believe that our country is threatened by dark forces that seek to destroy us and that extreme measures are justified. Few realize that fear alone is bringing about our transformation into a country driven by constant warfare to the detriment of our constitutional liberties.
Those who believe that a change of course is essential if we are to survive as a nation quite rightly demand the disengagement of the United States from two wars and the avoidance of further conflicts. They understand that the United States has acted unwisely and illegally in its interference in the affairs of others and also that the presence of American military forces all over the world has not made us safer and has in fact served as a catalyst for escalating violence. But those who see the state of the world with such clarity must first convince a majority of their fellow citizens that disengagement is not another word for national suicide. In short, the American people must come to understand that their safety is best assured when our government does not go around the world looking for dragons to slay. A key element in being able to reassure the American people could be… Continue reading
The BRAD BLOG : Exclusive: Upcoming Cover Story on Edmonds ‘Outs’ Video-taped,
‘Blackmailed’ Dem Congresswoman; Alleges State Dept. Mole at NYTimes; MUCH MORE…
‘American Conservative’ mag’s description of interview with previously-gagged
FBI whistleblower as ‘explosive’ may prove to be a gross understatement
Blackmail, bribery, infiltration, theft and sale of nuke secrets by Turkey,
Israel explained in clearer detail than ever before…
It seems it may be difficult to not notice it, given that Edmonds finally
names, on the record, for the first time, in a right-leaning periodical founded
by Pat Buchanan, the identity of the currently-serving Democratic Congresswoman
she has previously described as married with grown children and having been
“hooked” into participating in a lesbian affair with a Turkish foreign agent,
as she was secretly video-taped for blackmail purposes.
Edmonds has alluded to the Congresswoman, without naming her, in the past, most notably in her recent sworn and video-taped deposition in the Schmidt v. Krikorian case now pending before the Ohio Election Commission. In that testimony, she did manage to name the names of other Congress members she had previously identified publicly. At the time, we (and virtually no other media outlets) reported on her disclosures that Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Bob Livingston (R-LA), Dan Burton (R-IN), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Stephen Solarz (D-NY) and Tom Lantos (D-CA, deceased), were all participants in blackmail and/or bribery schemes by and with agents of the Turkish government, as she became aware while translating wiretaps in the FBI’s counterintelligence division after 9/11. Some… Continue reading
Truth was obviously censored and ncomplete in the original 9/11 Commission’s report. If anyone deserves the opportunity to press on for answers, it is the people of the City of New York. The next few weeks will tell whether they are at long last given that opportunity.
In the five years since the 9/11 Commission released its studious but timid report, Americans of all political stripes have advocated for a new investigation into the attacks of September 11, 2001. Since Obama seems intent upon putatively pardoning the Bush Administration for all of its crimes and misdemeanors, such an investigation will clearly not take place at the federal level. But a New-York based organization has been pursuing a local effort–and on the eve of the eighth anniversary of the attacks, it has achieved what could be an important step toward its goal. The New York City Coalition for Accountability Now (NYC CAN), which describes itself as “a group comprising 9/11 family members, first responders, and survivors,” has gathered signatures to place a referendum for a new 9/11 investigation on the November ballot in New York City.
The Bloomberg administration fought the effort by claiming that only about 26,000 of the 52,000 signatures submitted by NYC CAN were valid, leaving the group some 4,000 short of the requirement for a ballot measure. After the New York courts appointed a “referee” to review the tossed-out petitions, NYC CAN… Continue reading
September 5, 2009
Breaking Down the Under-Oath Disclosures of the Formerly-Gagged
It has now been over a week since the video tape and transcript from the remarkable 8/8/09 deposition of former FBI translator-turned-whistleblower Sibel Edmonds was publicly released. Previously, the Bush Administration invoked the so-called “state secrets privilege” in order to gag Edmonds, in attempting to keep such information from becoming public.
The under-oath, detailed allegations include bribery, blackmail, espionage and infiltration of the U.S. government of, and by current and former members of the U.S. Congress, high-ranking State and Defense Department officials and agents of the government of Turkey. The broad criminal conspiracy is said to have resulted in, among other things, the sale of nuclear weapons technology to black market interests including Pakistan, Iran, North Korea, Libya and others.
Even as many of these allegations had been previously corroborated to varying extents, by a number of official government reports, documents and independent media outlets (largely overseas), not a single major mainstream media outlet in the U.S. has picked up on Edmonds’ startling claims since her deposition has been made fully available.
Granted, last week was a busy news week, with the death of Ted Kennedy, the release of the CIA Inspector General’s report on torture, and the announcement that Michael Jackson’s death was ruled a homicide. And, it’s true, a 4-hour deposition and/or 241-page transcript [PDF] is a lot of material to review, particularly given the wide scope of the charges being… Continue reading
The Silence of the Antiwar Movement is Deafening
Cindy Sheehan’s Lonely Vigil in Obamaland
By JOHN V. WALSH August 26, 2009 Counterpunch.com
A funny thing has happened on Cindy Sheehan’s long road from Crawford, Texas, to Martha’s Vineyard. Many of those who claim to lead the peace movement and who so volubly praised her actions in Crawford, TX, are not to be seen. Nor heard. The silence in fact is deafening, or as Cindy put it in an email to this writer, “crashingly deafening.” Where are the email appeals to join Cindy from The Nation or from AFSC or Peace Action or “Progressive” Democrats of America (PDA) or even Code Pink? Or United for Peace and Justice. (No wonder UFPJ is essentially closing shop, bereft of most of their contributions and shriveling up following the thinly veiled protest behind the “retirement” of Leslie Cagan.) And what about MoveOn although it was long ago thoroughly discredited as principled opponents of war or principled in any way shape or form except slavish loyalty to the “other” War Party. And of course sundry “socialist” organizations are also missing in action since their particular dogma will not be front and center. These worthies and many others have vanished into the fog of Obama’s wars.
Just to be sure, this writer contacted several of the “leaders” of the “official” peace movement in the Boston area — AFSC, Peace Action, Green Party of MA (aka Green Rainbow Party) and some others. Not so much as the courtesy of a reply resulted from this effort – although the GRP at least posted a notice of the action.…Continue reading
(Aug. 23, 2009) — In a study published in the most recent issue of
the journal Sociological Inquiry, sociologists from four major research
institutions focus on one of the most curious aspects of the 2004 presidential
election: the strength and resilience of the belief among many Americans that
Saddam Hussein was linked to the terrorist attacks of 9/11.
Although this belief influenced the 2004 election, they claim it did not result
from pro-Bush propaganda, but from an urgent need by many Americans to seek
justification for a war already in progress.
The findings may illuminate reasons why some people form false beliefs about
the pros and cons of health-care reform or regarding President Obama’s citizenship,
The study, "There Must Be a Reason: Osama, Saddam and Inferred Justification"
calls such unsubstantiated beliefs "a serious challenge to democratic theory
and practice" and considers how and why it was maintained by so many voters
for so long in the absence of supporting evidence.
Co-author Steven Hoffman, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor of sociology
at the University at Buffalo, says, "Our data shows substantial support
for a cognitive theory known as ‘motivated reasoning,’ which suggests that rather
than search rationally for information that either confirms or disconfirms a
particular belief, people actually seek out information that confirms what they
"In fact," he says, "for the most part people completely ignore
"The study demonstrates voters’ ability to develop elaborate rationalizations
based on faulty information," he explains.
While numerous scholars have blamed a campaign of false information and innuendo
from the Bush administration, this study argues that the primary cause of misperception
in the 9/11-Saddam Hussein case was not the presence or absence of accurate
data but a respondent’s desire to believe in particular kinds of information.…
Note: The author is indebted to a few particularly useful sources of information and inspiration, including Russ Baker’s book “Family of Secrets”, the websites nndb.com, sourcewatch.org and secinfo.com, and Richard Gage.
On occasion, the public has been asked by George W. Bush to refrain from considering certain conspiracy theories. Bush has made such requests when people were looking into crimes in which he might be culpable. For example, when in 1994 Bush’s former company Harken Energy was linked to the fraudulent Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI) through several investors, Bush’s spokeswoman, Karen Hughes, shut down the inquiry by telling the Associated Press — “We have no response to silly conspiracy theories.” On another occasion, Bush said in a televised speech — “Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September the 11th.”
But paradoxically, we have also been asked to believe Bush’s own outrageous conspiracy theory about 9/11, one that has proven to be false in many ways. One important way to see the false nature of Bush’s conspiracy theory is to note the fact that the World Trade Center buildings could only have fallen as they did through the use of explosives. A number of independent scientific studies have pointed out this fact [1, 2, 3, 4], but it was Bush’s own scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), through their inability to provide a convincing defense of… Continue reading
Yesterday, something very interesting was reported on. However, before I tell you about it, I have a few things to say. Over the years, I have promoted information regarding the Pakistani ISI’s connection to “Al-Qaeda” and “terrorism.” I get a lot of flack for this, and am portrayed as someone who wants to see Pakistan and all Muslims killed. I am also portrayed as someone that doesn’t want to expose Israel’s alleged role in the 9/11 attacks. This is simply not true. Here’s an article I wrote about Ray McGovern and Israel on 5/7/2006. I added an introduction to address this issue. Another article I wrote addressed the “I want all Muslims killed” argument. In that I said, “you may have seen me say on occasion that 9/11 was not a Zionist crime, not a Muslim crime, not an American crime, etc… but a crime, and should be treated as such. A horrible crime took place on 9/11. 2,973 people were brutally murdered. When it first happened, our “leaders” told us it was an “act of war.” It wasn’t. It was a crime. Carried out by men. Those men may have been American. They may have been Saudi Arabian. They may have been Pakistani. They may have been Israeli. They may have been Muslim. They may have been Jewish. They may have been Episcopalian. It doesn’t matter. No nationality or religion committed the crimes of 9/11. Men did. Men who should be punished to the fullest extent… Continue reading
“War on Terror” advocates want civilians to die to justify “War
The Corbett Report
6 July, 2009
CIA analyst Michael Scheuer’s recent call for bin Laden to kill more Americans
would be shocking if we hadn’t already heard it dozens of times before from
other “War on Terror” advocates. “It’s an absurd situation,”
FOX News personality Glenn Beck on his program last week. “Only Osama
can execute an attack that will force Americans to demand that their government
protect them effectively, consistently, and with as much violence as necessary.”
The comments have provoked much shock and outrage among pundits and websites like Jon Stewart and NewsHounds who may have considered him to be on their side. After all, he seemed to be a vociferous and effective critic of the neocons, having authored books like Imperial Hubris and having supported Ron Paul during the 2008 Presidential debates by asserting that 9/11 was merely blowback for American interventionism in the Middle East. With his latest comments, Scheuer is now relegated to the ignoble company of neocon shills like Stu Bykofsky of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who dreamed of another terrorist attack back in 2007 to rally people around the flag (and, presumably, George W. Bush) once again; Donald Rumsfeld, who complained in 2006 that the Bush regime was a victim of its own success in the “War on Terror” and that another terrorist attack was needed to remind people that the war was still necessary; and… Continue reading
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
For immediate release
— (May 26, 2009) — 9/11 Press for Truth, an independent documentary that claims
a 9/11 cover-up, has been shown in theatres and broadcast overseas, but it hasn’t
been aired on a U.S. broadcast station.
That will change next week when KBDI-Channel 12 premiers the controversial
documentary Wednesday, June 3 at 7 p.m.
During Channel 12′s premiere, Bob McIlvaine, who lost his son Bobby at
the World Trade Center, and 9/11Press for Truth producer Kyle Hence will join
KBDI-Channel 12′s Shari Bernson in KBDI’s studio.
9/ll Press for Truth emerged from a group of grieving activist families that
joined together to demand a press for truth. Five of the families — including McIlvaine and three of the famous “Jersey Girls” — tell their story in the documentary, providing argument for why 9/11 still needs investigation.
The families found an ally in Paul Thompson, who wrote a definitive 9/11 timeline, and also found allies in the filmmakers who stitch together rare, overlooked news clips, buried stories and government press conferences, revealing what is portrayed as a pattern of lies, deception and spin.
The documentary asserts that although independent investigations began within weeks of both Pearl Harbor and the Kennedy assassination, the same was not true of the attacks of September 11, and the formation of the 9/11 Commission was strongly opposed by many in Washington, including the Bush Administration. It was only due to pressure from the 9/11 families, led by twelve calling themselves the Family Steering… 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”.…
by Chris George
May 19, 2009
The United States Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled today that the White House Office of Administration (OA) does not need to respond to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests.
Circuit Judge Thomas Griffith, writing for the 3-0 majority, concluded: “the Office of Administration is not [covered by FOIA] because it performs only operational and administrative tasks in support of the President and his staff and therefore, under our precedent, lacks substantial independent authority.”
The Office of Administration, “which handles personnel, technology and financial support for the White House,” had complied with FOIA for much of its history, “until 2007, when the Bush Administration abruptly asserted that the office was exempt.” The reversal prompted a lawsuit in August 2007 from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) after millions of Bush White House e-mails were allegedly lost.
CREW filed a FOIA request seeking “records about the EOP’s e-mail management system, reports analyzing potential problems with the system, records of retained e-mails and possibly missing ones, documents discussing plans to find the missing e-mails, and proposals to institute a new e-mail record system.” Initially, CREW and OA agreed on a time table for the release of these records, but shortly thereafter the Bush administration claimed that the office was exempt from FOIA. The administration’s position was that the administrative support and services provided by the OA to the Executive Office of the President placed it “outside FOIA’s definition of ‘agency.’”… 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
Democrats were routinely briefed on Bush torture techniques, document
By John Byrne
May 8, 2009
The CIA has leaked a devastating document detailing the dates and explicit details
of secret Congressional briefings in which members of Congress were told of the
Bush administration’s torture techniques and when they had been used.
The document is explicit (PDF here). Most damningly, perhaps, is its description
of a meeting held between CIA staff and then-House Intelligence Committee Chairman
Porter Goss and now-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which shows that Pelosi was
briefed on the Bush Administration’s torture techniques in 2002 —
even though she’s publicly said she was never told about the use of waterboarding.
Equally striking, however, are the volume of the briefings that have been conducted
on the CIA’s interrogation practices since 2002. The document runs ten
pages, with up to four briefings a page.
Briefings given to Democrats are of particular significance because the party
has been the most vocal about the Bush Administration’s torture practices.
Apparently, however, they had known about the practices for years. At least
19 Democrats were briefed about the techniques in detail by end of 2006.
Pelosi was briefed on waterboarding in 2002, despite saying she wasn’t:
May 7, 2009
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was briefed on the Bush Administration’s torture
techniques in 2002 — even though she’s publicly said she was never
told about the use of waterboarding, according to a new report.
ABC News’ Rick Klein revealed Thursday evening that a report from the
Director of National Intelligence fingered Pelosi as having been briefed in
2002, even though she denied last month ever having knowledge of the Bush administration’s
so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
“The report, submitted to the Senate Intelligence Committee and other
Capitol Hill officials Wednesday, appears to contradict Pelosi’s statement
last month that she was never told about the use of waterboarding or other special
interrogation tactics,” Klein writes.…