‘Preliminary review’ looks at whether interrogations followed guidance of the Bush ‘torture memos.’
By Warren Richey
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor from the August 24, 2009 edition
In a highly contentious move, Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday appointed a special prosecutor to take a fresh look at whether US officials violated the law through harsh treatment of detainees during the Bush administration’s war on terror.
Mr. Holder said he was authorizing John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor, to conduct a “preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations.” He did not identify those detainees by name or where they were allegedly mistreated.
“I fully realize my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial,” Holder said. “In this case, given all the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.”
The announcement came shortly after the administration released a redacted version of a 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on harsh interrogation tactics.
The report said CIA interrogators threatened to kill the children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, and threatened another detainee with a power drill and suggestions that if he didn’t talk his mother would be brought into the room and raped in front of him.
The report was sent to the Justice Department for possible prosecution during the Bush administration. Prosecutors declined. The issue was resurrected by… Continue reading
By Debra Sweet
August 24, 2009
CIA Torture Report to be Released
The release of the long-anticipated CIA report, quashed since 2006 by the Bush regime, and then postponed several times by the Obama administration, is set for Monday August 24. It’s been leaked. Newsweek and the Guardian UK, “Bombshell report on CIA interrogations is leaked” report the CIA used mock executions to terrorize detainees through threatening the use of pistols and electric drills.
It’s reported that the Attorney General will make a decision in the next few days on whether to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate allegations of torture. The New York Times analyzed the problem Eric Holder is up against, having been instructed by Barack Obama not to look “backward” while saying “we do not torture”:
“Mr. Holder has told associates he is weighing a narrow investigation, focusing only on C.I.A. interrogators and contract employees who clearly crossed the line and violated the Bush administration’s guidelines and engaged in flagrantly abusive acts. But in taking that route, Mr. Holder would run two risks. One is the political fallout if only a handful of low-level agents are prosecuted for what many critics see as a pattern of excess condoned at the top of the government. The other is that an aggressive prosecutor would not stop at the bottom, but would work up the chain of command, and end up with a full-blown criminal inquiry into the intelligence agencies – just the kind of broad, open-ended criminal… Continue reading
by Lisa Pease
August 21, 2009
In any kind of major transnational event, there is the historical truth, what actually happened, and the political truth, what must have happened for the nations involved to continue on as before.
Sometimes, these accounts match; other times, these “truths” are wildly divergent, which appears to be the case with the Lockerbie bombing.
On Thursday, Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the former Libyan intelligence officer convicted of planting a bomb aboard Pan Am Flight 103 which exploded over the hills over Lockerbie, Scotland, on Dec. 21, 1988, was released. The Scottish authorities said they were letting al-Megrahi go free on “compassionate grounds” because he was terminally ill from cancer.
This decision caused an uproar in the United States. Obama administration officials lodged angry protests; family members of the victims decried the move, and TV pundits joined in the lamentations. But what do they really know about the Lockerbie bombing, beyond what they’ve read in the last few days?
The truth about what happened at Lockerbie appears quite a bit more complex than the cookie-cutter version presented by the mainstream media. Several longtime observers of the al-Megrahi case have concluded that it has always been weak, at best.
According to British journalist Hugh Miles in a 2007 article for London Review of Books, many “lawyers, politicians, diplomats and relatives of Lockerbie victims now believe that the former Libyan intelligence officer is innocent.”
Miles quoted Robert Black QC, an Edinburgh University professor emeritus of Scottish… Continue reading
“We Demand Transparency”
New York City, September 11, 12 and 13, 2009
For peace, for truth and for a new economics.
A three-day conference, with an opening concert, film premieres, and a rally for the 9/11 investigation ballot referendum.
Saturday, September 12th, 10 AM – 7 PM
Sunday, September 13th, 2 PM – 10 PM
St. Marks Church-in-the-Bowery, Manhattan
E.10th St. and 2nd Ave NYC
This is the formula for building a bigger, post-partisan, mass movement for peace, truth and real economic change. This is the beginning of bridge between the “peace” and “truth” movements. It all starts in NYC, on the anniversary weekend of the 9/11 attacks!
KICK OFF EVENT
9/11 Anniversary Concert
Friday, September 11th, Walker Stage, 8pm, 56 Walker Street, Manhattan
All-Night Concert of New Rock and Hip Hop Artists: Jordan Page, The Madeleine Haze, Sturgeon Scott (from Leftover Crack), and many others
Saturday, September 12, 10 AM – 7 PM
Featured Experts on the Real History of 9/11:
* Richard Gage, AIA (founder Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth)
* Erik Lawyer (founder, Firefighters for 911 Truth)
* Steve Alten (author, “The Shell Game”)
* Kevin Barrett (author, “Truth Jihad Against the 911 Big Lie”)
* Barry Zwicker and Ian Woods (Canadian journalists)
* Barry Kissin (critic of the FBI anthrax investigation)
* Sander Hicks (author, “The Big Wedding”, investigative journalist)
* Graham McQueen (Canadian peace and truth activist)
Saturday, September 12, 5-7 PM
Saturday Night NYC CAN Rally
With 9/11 Family Members, First… Continue reading
by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
” In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Dwight David Eisenhower, “Military-Industrial Complex Speech,” 1961, 1
” My observation is that the impact of national elections on the business climate for SAIC has been minimal. The emphasis on where federal spending occurs usually shifts, but total federal spending never decreases. SAIC has always continued to grow despite changes in the political leadership in Washington.” Former SAIC manager, quoted in Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele, “Washington”s $8 Billion Shadow.” Vanity Fair, March 2007 2
“We make American military doctrine” Ed Soyster, MPRI 3
In The Road to 9/11 I summarized the dialectic of open societies: how from their energy they expand, leading to a higher level of more secretive corporations and agencies, which eventually weaken the home country through needless and crushing wars. 4 I am not alone in seeing America in the final stages of this… Continue reading
August 12, 2009
by Jeremy R. Hammond
Shahid R. Siddiqi contributed to this report
In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, retired Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul responds to charges that he supports terrorism, discusses 9/11 and ulterior motives for the war on Afghanistan, claims that the U.S., Israel, and India are behind efforts to destabilize Pakistan, and charges the U.S. and its allies with responsibility for the lucrative Afghan drug trade.
Retired Lieutenant General Hamid Gul was the Director General of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989, during which time he worked closely with the CIA to provide support for the mujahedeen fighting the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Though once deemed a close ally of the United States, in more recent years his name has been the subject of considerable controversy. He has been outspoken with the claim that the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were an “inside job”. He has been called “the most dangerous man in Pakistan”, and the U.S. government has accused him of supporting the Taliban, even recommending him to the United Nations Security Council for inclusion on the list of international terrorists.
In an exclusive interview with Foreign Policy Journal, I asked the… Continue reading
by Kevin R. Ryan
Scoop Independent News
Kevin R. Ryan: Demolition access to the WTC Towers
Who could have placed explosives in the World Trade Center (WTC) towers? This is the second essay in a series that attempts to answer that question. The first installment began by considering the tenants that occupied the impact zones and the other floors that might have played a useful role in the demolition of the WTC towers.  The result was a picture of connections to organizations that had access to explosive materials and to the expertise required to use explosives. Additionally it was seen that, in the years preceding 9/11, the impact zone tenants had all made structural modifications to the areas where the airliners struck the buildings.
The management representatives of these tenant companies were seen to be secretive and powerful. Through these powerful people, the tenants were connected to organizations that benefited greatly from the 9/11 attacks, including the defense contractors Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, General Dynamics, Halliburton, and Science Applications International Corp (SAIC). The tenants also had strong connections to the Bush family and their corporate network, including Dresser Industries (now Halliburton) and UBS, and to Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries, reported to have brokered the insider trading deals. There were also links between these tenant companies and the terrorist-financing Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI).
Throughout this review we should keep in mind that, according to 2009 estimates, the membership of Al Qaeda’s conspiracy network is… Continue reading
By Tom Burghardt
August 2, 2009
The 2001 anthrax attacks underscore the dangers posed to our health and safety
by the Bioweapons-Industrial Complex.
The killer(s) employed a military-grade version of the deadly pathogen, a four-mutation
blend of anthrax prepared at the government’s test site at the remote Dugway
Proving Ground in Utah. Based on available evidence it’s a near certainty that
the weapon came from stockpiles at the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute
of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) in Ft. Detrick, Maryland.
Before the dust cleared prominent opposition politicians had been attacked,
five people were murdered, 10,000 more were exposed and representative government
ground to a halt as panic set in.
According to multiple media reports, federal investigators concluded that the
anthrax spores in the letters addressed to former Senate leader Tom Daschle
(D-SD) and Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) could only have been
produced in a state-run lab. The weaponized version of the pathogen contained
as many as one trillion spores per gram, a concentration sufficient enough
to kill half the American population if widely distributed.
But rather than giving pause to Pentagon weaponeers, Big Pharma who profit handsomely
from vaccine production, the $100 billion agribusiness empire that drives research
and the politicians who do their bidding, decades-long U.S. biowar programs
have miraculously morphed overnight into a new growth industry: “biodefense.”
What had once been Washington’s dirty little secret has now blossomed into a
$50 billion cash-cow for academic and corporate grifters, according to the Washington,… Continue reading
By Stephen C. Webster
August 2, 2009
CIA director and Democratic appointee Leon Panetta, in an article published
Sunday, said Democrats must recognize the “reality” of 9/11 is what drove the
conduct of George W. Bush administration in the months following September 11,
2001, which somehow justifies not looking into suspected crimes.
He added, in an apparent warning to the House Intelligence Committee, that
that “focusing on the past” could hurt the CIA’s core mission
amid a climate of recriminations over its practices.
“I’ve become increasingly concerned that the focus on the past,
especially in Congress, threatens to distract the CIA from its crucial core
missions: intelligence collection, analysis and covert action,” Panetta
opined in the online edition of The Washington Post.
“In our democracy, effective congressional oversight of intelligence
is important, but it depends as much on consensus as it does on secrecy,”
he continued. “We need broad agreement between the executive and legislative
branches on what our intelligence organizations do and why. For much of our
history, we have had that. Over the past eight years, on specific issues —
including the detention and interrogation of terrorists — the consensus
deteriorated. That contributed to an atmosphere of declining trust, growing
frustration and more frequent leaks of properly classified information.”
Several paragraphs later, he appears to offer a blanket excuse for torture,
CIA black sites, kidnapping, indefinite detention, the invasion of Iraq and
Afghanistan and warrantless spying, among a litany of other notable scandals.
He says: “The… Continue reading
Before you hear what she has to say, you should know a little about Sibel Edmonds’ background.
Edmonds is a former FBI translator, who the Department of Justice’s Inspector General and several senators have called extremely credible (free subscription required).
Some of Edmonds allegations’ have been confirmed in the British press.
Now, Edmonds is saying that Osama Bin Laden worked for the U.S. right up until 9/11, and that that fact is being covered up because the US outsourced terror operations to al Qaeda and the Taliban for many years.
Is there are confirmation of Edmonds’ claim?
According to one of the most reputable French papers, CIA agents met with Bin Laden two months before 9/11, when he was already supposedly wanted for the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole.
Two days before 9/11, Bin Laden called his stepmother and told her “In two days, you’re going to hear big news and you’re not going to hear from me for a while.” US officials later told CNN that “in recent years they’ve been able to monitor some of bin Laden’s telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded.” Indeed, before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother.
So American forces had many opportunities to capture Bin Laden, and yet failed to do so.
Indeed, even after… Continue reading
By Luke Ryland
July 31, 2009
Against All Enemies blog
In the interview, Sibel says that the US maintained ‘intimate relations’ with Bin Laden, and the Taliban, “all the way until that day of September 11.”
These ‘intimate relations’ included using Bin Laden for ‘operations’ in Central Asia, including Xinjiang, China. These ‘operations’ involved using al Qaeda and the Taliban in the same manner “as we did during the Afghan and Soviet conflict,” that is, fighting ‘enemies’ via proxies.
As Sibel has previously described, and as she reiterates in this latest interview, this process involved using Turkey (with assistance from ‘actors from Pakistan, and Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia’) as a proxy, which in turn used Bin Laden and the Taliban and others as a proxy terrorist army.
Control of Central Asia
The goals of the American ‘statesmen’ directing these activities included control of Central Asia’s vast energy supplies and new markets for military products.
The Americans had a problem, though. They needed to keep their fingerprints off these operations to avoid a) popular revolt in Central Asia ( Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan), and b) serious repercussions from China and Russia. They found an ingenious solution: Use their puppet-state Turkey as a proxy, and appeal to both pan-Turkic and pan-Islam sensibilities.
Turkey, a NATO ally, has a lot more credibility in the region than… Continue reading
By Harry R. Weber (AP)
July 17, 2009
ATLANTA — A federal judge ruled Thursday that airlines and other companies in the industry that are being sued by families of terrorism victims can’t question FBI agents about the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
The defendants wanted to depose the agents and sought access to other evidence related to the investigation of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in order to show at trial that the government’s failure to catch the terrorists and prevent the attacks mitigates and excuses any alleged fault on the aviation companies’ part.
The government objected.
The ruling by U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in New York said the defendants have also argued that the terrorists likely would have succeeded even if the defendants had exercised due care.
“The issues to be tried relate to the acts and omissions of the aviation defendants, not the government,” Hellerstein wrote in his ruling. “The government’s failures to detect and abort the terrorists’ plots would not affect the aviation defendants’ potential liability.”
There was no immediate comment from the defendants or their lawyers. Spokespersons for UAL Corp.’s United Airlines, AMR Corp.’s American Airlines and US Airways Group Inc. declined to comment. Lawyers for several airlines did not immediately return calls seeking comment. Other defendants include Delta Air Lines Inc., Continental Airlines Inc., AirTran Airways, Boeing Co. and several airport authorities and security companies.
The judge said he plans to set a trial date for the lawsuits involving three wrongful… Continue reading
July 15, 2009
For eight years I have lobbied and supported investigations and litigation in an effort to learn the whole truth behind the death of my son Joseph and the murder of so many others. I’ve always been hopeful we’d get the answers we deserve and that we’d see accountability exacted within the halls of Congress, the White House, DoD, CIA, FBI, State and Justice Departments.
However, there are still too few answers to too many questions even as promotions and medals are handed out rather than pink slips or prosecutions. Excessive secrecy and redactions still cover-up the truth and leave us in the dark about: terrorist financing from still unnamed foreign nations, suspicious pre-9/11 stock market activity, pre-9/11 warnings to the President, the Attorney General and others, the infamous 28 pages of the Joint Inquiry Report, The Holy Land Trial, Riggs Bank wire transfers, faulty NYFD radios that didn’t work in ’93, Ground zero toxins breathed by thousands, a 9/11 narrative derived from torture induced testimony, etc., etc. I could go on and on.
No American who believes in his country should settle for being in the dark about all this over seven years after the event. I won’t and I can’t for the sake of my son and for the country. For this reason I feel compelled to support a new investigation in NYC led by family members and others who will produce an accounting we can be proud of.
Three thousand dead civilians. A President… Continue reading
The CIA assassination programme that was recently in the media was actually first partially revealed by the Washington Post in 2005, when details enabling his originator to be identified were published. The programme made news in the last few days as CIA Director Leon Panetta admitted that the agency withheld information about it from Congress, although the CIA never actually used it to assassinate anybody. Nevertheless, the programme’s “duties” seem to have been taken over by something journalist Seymour Hersh called an “executive assassination wing” that was run out of the Office of Vice President Dick Cheney, and this grouping did go on missions and kill people.
The programme was first mentioned in Dana Priest’s groundbreaking article that highlighted the existence of the CIA’s network of black sites, CIA Holds Terror Subjects in Secret Prisons, which was published in November 2005. Priest wrote of the programme:
The CTC’s chief of operations argued for creating hit teams of case officers and CIA paramilitaries that would covertly infiltrate countries in the Middle East, Africa and even Europe to assassinate people on the list, one by one.
But many CIA officers believed that the al-Qaeda leaders would be worth keeping alive to interrogate about their network and other plots. Some officers worried that the CIA would not be very adept at assassination.
“We’d probably shoot ourselves,” another former senior CIA official said.
This section of the article was ignored… Continue reading
July 12, 2009
by Christina Lamb in Karachi
Osama bin Laden and the top Al-Qaeda leadership are not in Pakistan, making US missile attacks against them futile, according to the country’s interior minister.
“If Osama was in Pakistan we would know, with all the thousands of troops we have sent into the tribal areas in recent months,” Rehman Malik told The Sunday Times. “If he and all these four or five top people were in our area they would have been caught, the way we are searching.”
He added: “According to our information Osama is in Afghanistan, probably Kunar, as most of the activities against Pakistan are being directed from Kunar.”
Washington does not directly acknowledge its missile attacks on Pakistani territory by unmanned drone aircraft but Pakistani officials say the US has carried out more than 40 attacks inside its borders in the past 10 months, killing hundreds of people.
CIA officials claim these attacks have been highly effective in disrupting Al-Qaeda’s ability to operate. However, Malik insists they are a waste of time because the Al-Qaeda leadership is on the other side of the border in eastern Afghanistan.
“They’re getting mid-level people not big fish,” he said. “And they are counterproductive because they are killing civilians and turning locals against our government. We try to win people’s hearts, then one drone attack drives them away. One attack alone last week killed 50 people.”
US officials in Islamabad say Pakistan’s government is being disingenuous, claiming to oppose the… Continue reading
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on US government plans to launch swine flu vaccinations in the fall, a report of widespread torture at the US secret prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, revelations that weapons inspector David Kelly’s mysterious death may have been related to his intention to expose a worldwide black market in weaponized anthrax, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. The most important sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
With best wishes,
Tod Fletcher and Fred Burks for PEERS and the WantToKnow.info Team
Important Note: We’ve been hit hard by the ecomonic downturn. Donations this year are less than half what they were at this time last year. We would deeply appreciate support from any of you that can afford it. To help further this work, please click here.
July 10, 2009, Washington Post
School-age children will be a key target= population for a pandemic flu vaccine in the fall, and they may be vaccinated at school in a mass campaign not seen since the polio epidemics of the 1950s.…Continue reading
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