January 27, 2009
A little-noticed twist in an order issued by President Barack Obama the day
after his inauguration may present problems for former White House Deputy Chief
of Staff Karl Rove and other Bush Administration officials that have been targeted
for their alleged role in various scandals.
Rove was subpoenaed Monday afternoon by House Judiciary Committee Chairman
John Conyers (D-MI). When the dogged Democrat subpoenaed him last year, Bush
Administration lawyers invoked “executive immunity” to prevent Rove
This year, however, George W. Bush is no longer in the president’s chair. Determination
of executive privilege must now also be examined by President Obama’s lawyers.
In fact, Rove’s lawyer made direct reference to Obama’s role in any future decision
to enjoin Rove’s appearance on the congressional witness stand Monday night.
“It’s generally agreed that former presidents retain executive privilege
as to matters occurring during their term,” Rove’s lawyer, Robert Luskin,
told The Washington Post. “We’ll solicit the views of the new White House
counsel and, if there is a disagreement, assume that the matter will be resolved
among the courts, the president and the former president.”
Luskin doesn’t concede that Rove isn’t covered by Bush’s blanket immunity,
but appears to acknowledge that the question of keeping Rove off the witness
stand has become more complex.
“The Attorney General and the Counsel to the President, in the exercise
of their discretion and after appropriate review and consultation under subsection
(a) of this section, may jointly determine that… Continue reading
By Scott Horton
January 22, 2009
In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.
“The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.
Manfred Nowak, an internationally renowned law professor at the University of Vienna, currently serves as an independent expert for the United Nations looking at allegations of torture affecting member states. In 2006, he undertook a special investigation of conditions at the U.S. detention facilities at Guantánamo in which he concluded that practices approved by the Bush Administration violated human rights norms, including the prohibition against torture.
The ZDF piece also includes an interview with attorney Wolfgang Kaleck, who brought charges against Rumsfeld before German prosecutors. He states that the Obama administration is “off to a good beginning” with its explicit renunciation of torture,… Continue reading
Obama limits ex-presidents’ discretion on records
By MARK SHERMAN
January 21, 2009
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has issued an executive order that limits the ability of former presidents to block the release of sensitive records of their time in the White House.
Obama’s action Wednesday in his first full day in office overturns an earlier order issued by George W. Bush.
Obama said former presidents may ask to have certain documents kept private, but they no longer may compel the National Archives to do so.
Obama’s executive order also makes clear that neither former vice presidents nor relatives of former presidents who have died have authority to keep records private.
Bush’s executive order, issued in November 2001, prompted a federal lawsuit and the partial invalidation of the order.
Obama Promises New Era of Openness
By Kim Zetter
January 21, 2009
Wired Blog Network Sunshine and Secrecy Category
United States President Barack Obama announced today that his administration will roll back the secrecy that has ruled during the Bush Administration and implement a new era of government openness and transparency.
Referring to the Freedom of Information Act as one of the most important tools of oversight the nation possesses, Obama called on all government agencies to err on the side of openness and release information whenever possible, which directly contradicts orders by the previous administration to look for reasons to withhold information whenever possible. Just because you have the legal right to withhold information, doesn’t mean you should, Obama said at a White House press conference and staff swearing-in ceremony on Wednesday.…Continue reading
A BUZZFLASH NEWS ANALYSIS
by Meg White
As Bush gives his final press conference today, lamenting the “mistakes” of his presidency, some are wondering if he and other members of his administration will get a chance to tell such tales to a special prosecutor.
“History will look back,” he told reporters, most likely hoping the next administration’s Justice Department will solely look forward. Judging from the most recent comments from his successor, that may very well be the case.
“Will you appoint a special prosecutor — ideally Patrick Fitzgerald — to independently investigate the gravest crimes of the Bush Administration, including torture and warrantless wiretapping?”
Fertik submitted the question to Change.gov, the official transition Web site for the incoming Obama Administration. The site has a forum called “Open for Questions” where people can post items of particular concern for the Obama team to review. Fertik’s question got so much attention and approval from other users on the site that it made its way to the top of the Change.gov list and onto the Sunday talk shows, finally garnering this response from Obama when George Stephanopoulos asked the question directly:
“We’re still evaluating how we’re going to approach the whole issue of interrogations, detentions and so forth. And obviously we’re going to be looking at past practices and I don’t believe that anybody is above the… Continue reading
by Peter Dale Scott
January 7, 2009
Paulson’s Financial Bailout
It is becoming clear that the bailout measures of late 2008 may have consequences at least as grave for an open society as the response to 9/11 in 2001. Many members of Congress felt coerced into voting against their inclinations, and the normal procedures for orderly consideration of a bill were dispensed with.
The excuse for bypassing normal legislative procedures was the existence of an emergency. But one of the most reprehensible features of the legislation, that it allowed Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to permit bailed-out institutions to use public money for exorbitant salaries and bonuses, was inserted by Paulson after the immediate crisis had passed.
According to Congressman Peter Welch (D-Vermont) the bailout bill originally called for a cap on executive salaries, but Paulson changed the requirement at the last minute. Welch and other members of Congress were enraged by “news that banks getting taxpayer-funded bailouts are still paying exorbitant salaries, bonuses, and other benefits.”1 In addition, as AP reported in October, “Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. questioned allowing banks that accept bailout bucks to continue paying dividends on their common stock. `There are far better uses of taxpayer dollars than continuing dividend payments to shareholders,” he said.”2
Even more reprehensible is the fact that since the bailouts, Paulson and the Treasury Department have refused to provide details of the Troubled Assets Relief Program spending of hundreds of billions of dollars, while the New York Federal Reserve has… Continue reading
Dear 9/11 Truth Advocates,
As 2009 arrives, 911Truth.org wishes you all the best, and extends our gratitude to each of you for your persistent courage and dedication to hard truths!
For nearly five years, 911Truth.org has served as your portal to reliable information about 9/11, its precedents and consequences, as an umbrella for hundreds of local truth activism groups, as a catalyst for national campaigns and new 9/11 truth special interest groups, and so much more. We are at a very critical juncture right now, as monthly donation pledges total about $500. We need to raise $15,000 for this first quarter of 2009 if we are to continue to provide these valuable services.
As we enter a new year, with a new administration coming into office, we are excited to continue this important work with some new opportunities–though admittedly, significant challenges remaining–in front of us!
Having witnessed the international reaction to the election of Barack Obama, we believe that a new dawn in political responsibility may be approaching. We therefore encourage the 9/11 community to take an optimistic, and persistent, educational approach to the new administration, one which will speak truth to power in a new relationship based on positive expectations of honesty and good faith. The approach we envisage continues to be based on the expectation that individuals within the United States Government and its citizens, once educated about 9/11, will recognize that only strength and respect would flow from… Continue reading
December 8, 2008
by Carol Brouillet
December 8, 2008 – Pearl Harbor Day
Sixty-seven years ago, on Sunday, December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, killing over two thousand people and wounding over a thousand. The attack enabled FDR to enter World War II, and prompted huge numbers of Americans to volunteer for military service. In the book
Day of Deceit: The Truth About FDR and Pearl Harbor (2000), Robert Stinnett unveiled a memo outlining an 8 point plan to provoke Japan into attacking the US.
Admiral Kimmel, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, was removed from office and demoted, taking the blame for the losses at Pearl Harbor soon after the attacks. Researchers over the course of many years believe that critical information was withheld from Kimmel and that he was unjustly punished. One of those researchers was his grandson, Manning Kimmel IV, who persuaded the U.S. Senate in 1999 to pass a nonbinding resolution exonerating Admiral Kimmel and Army Lieutenant General Short.
In addition to shifting public opinion and gaining popular support for the US entry into World War II, Pearl Harbor was the justification for the passage of the National Security Act of 1947; the creation of the National Security Council, the CIA, and the Department of the Air Force; and the reorganization of the Department of War and the Department of the Navy into the Defense Department. Manning Kimmel IV, who worked for the FBI and the CIA, noted that emblazoned on the CIA’s walls is the reminder that the CIA was created “To Prevent Another Pearl Harbor.”
Philip Zelikow, author of the US “Pre-Emptive War Doctrine,” has studied and written about the use, and misuse, of history in policymaking, including “beliefs thought to be true (although not necessarily known to be true with certainty)”…“Searing events that take on ‘transcendent’ importance and, therefore, retain their power even as the experiencing generation passes from the scene.” In 1998 he co-authored the article Catastrophic Terrorism: Elements of a National Policy, which speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center had succeeded,
… Continue reading
“the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it.
By Dave Lindorff
December 2, 2008
Before the odor of burned gunpowder has left the air of the Taj Mahal Hotel
in Mumbai, the US is lecturing India not to go off half-cocked and attack Pakistan,
simply because all of the attackers in the terrorist assaults in that city arrived
by boat, apparently from neighboring Pakistan. US officials, including Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, are calling on India to engage in a “transparent”
and “thorough” investigation into the attacks to establish who was
How different this is from the American government’s response to the
9-11 attacks in the US!
Instead of a “transparent” investigation, we got secret sessions
of the Congressional intelligence committees, closed-door interviews of key
officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the 9-11 Commission,
and of course the secret round [up] of thousands of mostly Islamic people living
in the US, many of whom were held for months incommunicado and without charge,
some of whom were subjected to torture, and many other of whom were deported
to likely arrest, torture and even death.
Instead of a calm assessment of what had happened and who was responsible,
the Bush Administration rounded up Saudi members of the Bin Laden family, and
others connected to the regime in Saudi Arabia, whence came most of the people
reportedly involved in the hijacking of the four planes used in the attacks,
and, with no attempt at interrogation, flew them home to Saudi Arabia.
Then, again with only minimal evidence, the US launched an all-out war within
days upon Afghanistan, with the goal of ousting and destroying the Taliban government
of that country.…
by Kevin Ryan
Learning about self-deception is important for all people today. That’s because many of our problems, both as individuals and as a society, are rooted in self-deception, and many of the ways in which others abuse us relate to our inherent tendency to self-deceive. We can overcome these problems, and have a decent chance at long-term survival as a species, only if we learn about such limitations, and strive to control them. One great way to rapidly learn about self-deception, and other forms of deception, is to learn about the events of September 11th.
It’s easy to see widespread self-deception with regard to 9/11. For one thing, most people don’t know the actual official story, given by the 9/11 Commission and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). This is despite the fact that everyone, at least in the US, has invested essentially their entire future in that story, whether they know it or not.
Some have gone beyond simple avoidance of the facts, in an attempt to prevent themselves and others from looking closely at 9/11. These folks have gone to the extent of changing the definitions of common words, engaging in wild speculation and exaggerations, and suggesting that long strings of unprecedented events, including violations of the laws of nature, were possible on just that one day. These painful self-deceptions help some people dodge the emotional stress that accompanies careful examination of the events of 9/11.
In order to understand the extreme self-deception surrounding… Continue reading
We understand that good people may disagree with our vision. But this is a private effort not connected to the Obama campaign or transition team, and we reserve the right to keep the competition and its content aligned with the stated mission and overall spirit of the project.
Thank you for your understanding. As mentioned above, we welcome you to directly petition the Obama administration about your proposal at http://change.gov/page/s/ofthepeople. And we hope you continue your work to advance change.
– The Ideas for Change in America Team
[End of email]
Donna Marsh O’Connor’s idea that a scientist be appointed to head the National Institute of Standards and Technology (imagine that!) is still listed here.
Donna Marsh O’Connor submitted this idea at change.org on November 9 (language below), which was then promoted at both 911truth.org and 911blogger. But at this point, the newly posted initiative has 297 votes, and is in this category’s first place. Those of you who acted quickly to support Donna’s initiative should nonetheless now vote for the new one, which has gained much more attention. And another initiative for the same thing was posted today… let’s try to focus on ONE of these now, and thus honestly reflect the demand for a new investigation.
This week’s international edition of Newsweek (Dec 1, 2008) includes an interesting article entitled “President 2.0,” discussing potentials of the internet use in an Obama presidency. In particular, it mentions a site called (www.change.org), which is collecting and allowing people to vote on ideas for the Obama administration.…Continue reading
Debunking the ‘9/11 Debunkers’ With Stewart Bradley
by John-Michael Talboo
Debunking the Debunkers
John-Michael Talboo (JMT)-Q:
JURIST Contributing Editor Mary Ellen O’Connell of Notre Dame Law School and panel colleagues at a recent Washburn University School of Law symposium on “The Rule of Law and the Global War on Terrorism” offer their consensus on the appropriate way forward on critical issues in international law and policy that will confront President Barack Obama’s Administration when it takes office on January 20, 2009…
Within hours of the attacks of 9/11 the Bush Administration decided to treat the attacks as part of a worldwide war–a new kind of war that would free the Administration to re-write the rules. A “global war on terrorism” was declared and new rules for the targeting, detention and trials of persons suspected of acts of terrorism or membership in terrorist organizations were created. Seven years later, upon the election of a new president, there is an intense debate under way in the United States as to what to do about the “global war” and the laws and institutions resulting from it.
Attorney General Michael Mukasey expressed his views at a meeting of the Federalist Society November 20 and had this to say about the future:
The next Administration will have the opportunity to review the institutions and the legal structures that this Administration has relied upon in keeping the nation safe over the past seven years. I am neither so proud as to think that the next Administration will be unable to make improvements, nor so naÃ¯ve as to think that the policy choices,… Continue reading
The nearly 40% of American people who doubt the official account regarding
the September 11, 2001 attacks will be gratified to learn that their misgivings
have become recommended reading by a pillar of the book trade, Publishers
The leading starred review on PW‘s “Web
Pick of the Week” is Dr. David Ray Griffin’s newly released The
New Pearl Harbor Revisited (Interlink/Olive Branch press, 2008).
In its November 24, 2008 online issue, PW writes:
Griffin “addresses many points in exhaustive detail, from the physical
impossibility of the official explanation of the towers’ collapse to
the Commission’s failure to scrutinize the administration to the NIST’s
contradiction of its own scientists to the scads of eyewitness and scientific
testimony in direct opposition to official claims.
“Citing hundreds, if not thousands, of sources, [Griffin’s] detailed
analysis is far from reactionary or delusional, building a case that, though
not conclusive, raises enough valid and disturbing questions to make his call
for a new investigation more convincing than ever.”
Weekly reviews from this trusted and prestigious publisher have guided the
book trade, including booksellers, publishers, librarians, and literary agents,
for 136 years.
Dr. Griffin’s book can be found at good bookstores or purchased at a discounted price from 911Truth.org.
The review is copied below.
Victoria, BC, Canada
Web Pick of the Week
The New Pearl Harbor Revisited: 9/11, the Cover-Up, and the Exposé
David Ray Griffin. Interlink/Olive Branch, $20 (386p) ISBN 9781566567299
Author and professor Griffin (9/11 Contradictions: An Open Letter to Congress and the Press) knows his work is referred to by officials and the media as conspiracy theory, and he has a rebuttal: “the official theory is itself a conspiracy theory.” In this companion volume to 2004’s The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About the Bush Administration and 9/11, Griffin provides corrections, raises new issues and discusses “the two most important official reports about 9/11,” the 9/11 Commission Report and the National Institute of Standards and Technology report on the Twin Towers, both “prepared by people highly responsive to the wishes of the White House” and riddled with “omission and distortion from beginning to end.” Griffin addresses many points in exhaustive detail, from the physical impossibility of the official explanation of the towers’ collapse to the Commission’s failure to scrutinize the administration to the NIST’s contradiction of its own scientists to the scads of eyewitness and scientific testimony in direct opposition to official claims.…Continue reading
November 21, 2008
By William Glaberson
New York Times
A federal judge issued the Bush administration a sharp setback on Thursday, ruling that five Algerian men have been held unlawfully at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp for nearly seven years and ordering their release.
It was the first hearing on the government’s evidence for holding detainees at Guantánamo. The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington, said the government’s secret evidence in the case had been weak: what he described as “a classified document from an unnamed source” for its central claim against the men, with little way to measure credibility.
“To rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court’s obligation,” Judge Leon said. He urged the government not to appeal and said the men should be released “forthwith.”
The habeas corpus case was an important test of the administration’s detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with hardened fighters and terrorist commanders.
The judge also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda, arranging travel for others to fight the United States, and planned to become a fighter himself.
The six men are among a group of Guantánamo inmates who won a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling in June that the detainees had a constitutional right to seek their release in federal court. The decision said a 2006 law unconstitutionally stripped them of their right to contest their imprisonment in habeas corpus lawsuits.…Continue reading
Refuse to Tolerate Torture
By Linda Rigas
November 18, 2008
Posted at FireJohnYoo.org
Excerpts from Scott Horton’s Justice After Bush: Prosecuting An Outlaw Administration in Harper’s Magazine.
This administration did more than commit crimes. It waged war against the law itself. It transformed the Justice Department into a vehicle for voter suppression, and it also summarily dismissed the U.S. attorneys who attempted to investigate its wrongdoing. It issued wartime contracts to substandard vendors with inside connections, and it also defunded efforts to police their performance. It spied on church groups and political protestors, and it also introduced a sweeping
surveillance program that was so clearly illegal that virtually the entire senior echelon of the Justice Department threatened to (but did not in fact) tender their resignations over it. It waged an illegal and disastrous war, and it did so by falsely representing to Congress and to the American public nearly every piece of intelligence it had on Iraq. And through it all, as if to underscore its contempt for any authority but its own, the administration issued more than a hundred carefully crafted “signing statements” that raised pervasive doubt about whether the president would even accede to bills that he himself had signed into law.
No prior administration has been so systematically or so brazenly lawless. […] Indeed, in weighing the enormity of the administration’s transgression against the realistic prospect of justice, it is possible to determine not only the crime that calls most clearly for prosecution but also the crime that is most likely to be successfully prosecuted.…Continue reading
by Justin A. Martell
Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) took one of the first steps in holding the Bush Administration accountable when he introduced House Resolution 1531 on Thursday.
The official title of HR 1531, which was introduced to the House Judiciary Committee, is “Expressing the sense of the House of Representatives that the President of the United States should not issue pardons to senior members of his administration during the final 90 days of his term of office.”
The resolution notes, “President George W. Bush may have committed crimes involving the mistreatment of detainees, the extraordinary rendition of individuals to countries known to engage in torture, illegal surveillance of United States citizens, unlawful leaks of classified information, obstruction of justice, political interference with the conduct of the Justice Department, and other illegal acts,” and that, “Bush has been urged to grant preemptive pardons to senior administration officials who might face criminal prosecution for actions taken in the course of their official duties.”
Rep. Nadler is the current chairman of the House Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties . According to an email sent out by Democrats.com, Nadler’s leadership on this issue is crucial because he “can use his credibility and clout to move the resolution forward either during the lame duck session in December or when the next Congress convenes on January 6.”
Democrats.com has also urged the public to persuade their representatives to co-sponsor H.R. 1531. You can contact your representative on your… Continue reading
By Joaquin Sapien
November 19, 2008
Whether it’s relaxing pollution control standards for power plants or allowing loaded weapons into national parks, the Bush Administration is scrambling to approve or change as many federal rules as it can before it hands off power to President-elect Barack Obama. This surge of “midnight regulations” presents a thorny question for the next administration: What can it do to void rules it thinks should be undone?
An Obama spokesman told ProPublica that the transition team can’t comment on the new administration’s strategy yet. However, John Podesta, a leading member of the transition team, has said Obama will use his “executive authority without waiting for congressional action” to reverse many of Bush’s policies.
But that authority has its limits.
While executive orders and rules that are not yet in effect can swiftly be reversed or altered by Obama’s appointees or his own executive orders, rules that go into effect before he takes office will be extremely difficult to undo. Rescinding a rule would require the new administration to re-start the rule-making process, which can take years and prompt legal challenges. Another strategy that has been talked about lately — getting Congress to disapprove the rules through the Congressional Review Act — carries political risks and has been used only once before.
“The problem with what the Bush administration is doing is that these rules are extremely cumbersome to adopt, and they are every bit as cumbersome to undo,” said David Vladeck, an administrative law… Continue reading
David Ray Griffin on 9/11
The Building Revolution by Increasing Community Knowledge (BRICK), student organization
from SPSCC is proud to announce a free presentation by David Ray Griffin at
the Capitol Theater, Dec 3rd at 7pm. His talk entitled “The New Pearl
Harbor Revisited: 9/11, The Cover-up and the Exposé,” will discuss
new evidence that has come to light regarding 9/11 since the 2004 publication
of his now classic book “The New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions About
the Bush Administration and 9-11.”
David Ray Griffin is a retired professor of philosophy of religion and theology
who taught for more than 30 years at the Claremont School of Theology in California.
He has written over 30 books, many of which deal with the 9/11 attacks and the
implausibility of the Government’s explanation of how they happened. Howard
Zinn had this to say about him “Griffin’s status as a renowned theologian
and his systematic approach to the documented evidence lend this work unique
importance and authority. Although still shunned by the mainstream media, his
book has already encouraged many thousands to debate the case for possible government
complicity and at the very least to demand a full, transparent and truly independent
Last Word Books will have available copies of Griffin’s books and DVDs
for sale and signing.
For more information please contact BRICK at (360)870-7637.
Location: Capitol Theater
206 5th Ave SE
Olympia, WA 98501