January 23, 2009
By Michael Doyle
WASHINGTON — One curious soul on Feb. 8, 2001, filed a Freedom of Information
Act request with the State Department.
He or she is still awaiting a reply.
Nearly eight years have passed, making the early 2001 search for information
one of the State Department’s 10 oldest pending FOIA requests. While extreme,
it also reflects how information flow slowed markedly during the Bush administration.
“In the past, it’s been difficult even for a public agency like ourselves
to obtain information that affects our operations,” Tom Birmingham, general
manager of the Westlands Water District in Fresno, Calif., said on Friday.
As one of his first acts, President Barack Obama issued an order reversing
his predecessor’s approach toward the release of government documents. Scholars,
journalists, farmers and the simply curious now await the reopening of federal
information taps tightened since 2001.
In fiscal 2007, for instance, the Defense Department completely granted approximately
48 percent of the FOIA requests it processed. In fiscal 1998, by contrast, the
Clinton administration’s Defense Department completely granted approximately
61 percent of FOIA requests.
The Pentagon was not alone, a review of federal agency reports shows. Percentages
are approximate, because of how the reports are compiled, but trends are obvious.
The Interior Department completely granted approximately 64 percent of FOIA
requests processed in 1998 but only 47 percent in 2007. The State Department
completely granted 28 percent of FOIA requests processed in 1998, compared with
9 percent in 1998.
Other federal agencies, though not all, likewise lessened access to information
during the Bush administration, the review of public records reveals.…
“The Government has determined that continued prosecution of this case as to LINDAUER would not be in the interests of justice.” *
(Jan. 16, Wash. DC) The Department of Justice entered a motion to drop all charges against Susan Lindauer yesterday morning, Jan. 15, 2009. The filing (see below) at the federal district court in lower Manhattan ends the government’s attempt to prosecute her for allegedly acting as an “unregistered agent” for Iraq. Since her arrest in early 2004, she has repeatedly asked for a trial to present evidence that she had been a United States intelligence asset since the early 1990’s.
By filing this order, the government surrendered forever its ability to prosecute Lindauer as an “Iraqi foreign agent” and for lesser charges contained in the indictment, including a one week trip to Baghdad in March, 2002.
Lindauer made the following statement today, Jan 16, 2009: “I am disgusted by this case. They think that they have defeated me by denying my day in court. It could not be more wrong. If we can’t have a criminal trial, we’re going to have a civil trial for damages.”
Lindauer was arrested in March, 2004 shortly after offering to testify before a Bush appointed blue ribbon commission evaluating U.S. pre-war intelligence on Iraq. In late February, she informed the offices of two commission members, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), that she could testify that U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and… 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.
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 Janice Matthews
911truth.org (link to article)
911truth.org was contacted this week by Charles W. (Bill) White, of Houston, who provided extensive information to Russ Baker in the writing of his explosive new Bush dynasty historical expose, Family Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America. More about him is in his letter to Senator Levin, below, wherein he expresses grave concern for the safety of nearly 6,000 Sailors and Marines who will carry out their duties aboard the Navy’s new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush.
Today, that ship was christened in spite of White’s caution. An AP article, “Bush Visits Aircraft Carrier Named After Father,” describes the new ship and her christening thus:
It’s the perfect gift for an old Navy flier: 1,092 feet of flattop.
“What do you give a guy who has been blessed and has just about everything he has ever needed?” asked President George W. Bush from aboard the Navy’s newest ship. “Well, an aircraft carrier.”
The USS George H.W. Bush, a steel-gray vessel longer than three football fields and built at a cost of $6.2 billion … is one of the Nimitz class of nuclear-powered aircraft carriers, the largest warships in the world.
“The ship that bears our dad’s name is more than 95,000 tons of aluminum and steel,” Bush said from a podium tucked under the flight deck. “She will carry nearly 6,000… Continue reading
Among the men about to undergo military trials at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,
is the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind.
By Peter Finn
Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The military judge overseeing proceedings against five of the men accused of
planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks signed an order designed to protect classified
information that is so broad it could prevent public scrutiny of the most important
trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to lawyers and human rights groups.
The protective order, which was signed on Dec. 18 by Judge Stephen R. Henley,
an Army colonel, not only protects documents and information that have been
classified by intelligence agencies, it also presumptively classifies any information
"referring" to a host of agencies, including the CIA, the FBI and
the State Department. The order also allows the court in certain circumstances
to classify information already in the public domain and presumptively classifies
"any statements made by the accused."
Three of the accused, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed
mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, are defending themselves and, under the order,
anything they say during the course of the trial could be shielded from the
"These rules turn the presumption of openness on its head, making what
is perhaps the most important trial in American history presumptively closed
to the public and the press," said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism
counsel at Human Rights Watch. "If these rules applied in all cases, there
would be no such thing as an open trial in… Continue reading
By Paul Elias
January 7, 2009
SAN FRANCISCO — Six veterans who claim they were exposed to dangerous chemicals, germs and mind-altering drugs during Cold War experiments sued the CIA, Department of Defense and other agencies today.
The vets volunteered for military experiments they say were part of a wide-ranging program started in the 1950s to test nerve agents, biological weapons and mind-control techniques.
They allege in their lawsuit filed in San Francisco federal court that they were never properly informed of the nature of the experiments and are in poor health because of their exposure. They are demanding health care and a court ruling that the program was illegal because it failed to obtain their consent.
Marie Harf, a CIA spokeswoman, declined to comment on the lawsuit, which seeks class action status on behalf of all participants allegedly exposed to harmful experiments without their knowledge.
At least 7,800 U.S. military personnel served as volunteers to test experimental drugs such as LSD at the Edgewood Arsenal near Baltimore, Md., during a program that lasted into the 1970s, the lawsuit said. Many others volunteered for similar experiments at other locations, according to the lawsuit.
“In virtually all cases, troops served in the same capacity as laboratory rats or guinea pigs,” the lawsuit said.
One notorious CIA project from the 1950s and 1960s, code-named MK-ULTRA, involved brainwashing and administering experimental drugs like LSD to unsuspecting individuals. The project was the target of at least three Congressional inquiries in the 1970s,… 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
Starting: San Diego, CA, on January 10
Ending: Washington, DC on January 20
How will the American people set an agenda in Washington that guarantees deep change?
How can we aim high, and demand the impossible?
How can we guarantee Barack Obama will fulfill the hope and promise he has represented?
(And how deep will the change really be, when you’ve put together a centrist cabinet?)
Inaugurate Yourself! will gather fellow rebels and radicals, spiritual people and political instigators, people who want to speak out and support Sander Hicks “Three New Imperatives:”
1. We can visualize the US Government renouncing violence within our lifetime. If the Democratic Party won’t embrace the radical call to peace and nonviolence of Gandhi, King, Jesus of Nazareth, Dorothy Day, and others, then it’s up to us. The US can really lead the world for the first time, not with the strength of its right arm, but with a new ideal of peaceful conflict resolution. It’s time for us to evolve. This is a natural next step.
2. We call on the US to start an innovative green venture capital program, to rejuvenate the economy, and change the whole paradigm of “dog eat dog” capitalism. Capitalism, too, must evolve. The government could have a role, not as a bumbling huge bureaucracy, but as a creative instigator and funder of conscious, sustainable new companies that act in the public interest, produce important new goods and services, and use the public markets to create a… Continue reading
FAMILY OF SECRETS: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House, and What Their Influence Means for America
By award-winning investigative journalist Russ Baker
ISBN: 1-59691-557-9; $30.00; Pub January 2009, familyofsecrets.com
Contact: Gene Taft, GeneTaftPR@aol.com, m: 917/701-4072, p: 301/593-0766 Peter Miller, Peter.Miller@bloomsburyusa.com, 646-307-5579
Revelatory new book on Bush family
publishing January 2009
How did Bush happen? How did George W. Bush, of all people, rise to the most powerful position in the world? This simple question sparked a five-year investigative odyssey by Russ Baker. What he found will force us to rethink virtually everything we thought we knew about the Bush family and its role in shaping recent American history.
In FAMILY OF SECRETS, Baker reveals that Bush, the people around him, and his policies are but an extreme, very public manifestation of what his family and its circle have always been about: an interlocking web of covert and overt machinations on behalf of a small cluster of elites-social, financial, industrial, military, intelligence-that enabled the Bush dynasty and propelled George W. Bush to the top.
Russ Baker’s deep background profile of the Bushes reveals a family with ongoing connections to the shadow world of intelligence, utilizing the dark arts of the trade to achieve their positions at the pinnacle of America’s political elite. Baker lays bare the stealth substructure that created the Bush dynasty, powered its rise, and brought America to its current state of crisis. Given the disastrous results of the last… Continue reading
Sunday, January 04, 2009
(James Bamford has done another great deed for the public by revealing the extent of the NSA’s wiretapping on U.S. soil, and how the NSA sub-contracts the vast majority of its work to Israeli high-tech firms bristling with “former” Israeli military intelligence agents, and in the case of Verint, a company with serious corruption issues. It was Bamford who popularized the existence of Operation Northwoods in his 2001 book, Body of Secrets. In The Shadow Factory, he sheds light in the secret rooms of Verizon and AT&T, and shows the NSA to be a very poor custodian of the nation’s security.)
Bamford Brings the Goods
On October 14, 2008, James Bamford talked about some of the shocking research in his new book on Democracy Now!, with Amy Goodman:
Along with the mass surveillance being conducted on all U.S. users of AT&T and Verizon by Narus and Verint, (according to Bamford), two other Israeli-owned companies, Amdocs and NICE Systems, have their fingers in the wiretapping pie as well.
Christopher Ketcham preceded Bamford in September, with with the article “Trojan
Horse,” that focuses on Verint, Amdocs, and CALEA (the legislation which
brought all of these problems into existence):
“Together, Verint and Amdocs form part of the backbone of the government’s domestic intelligence surveillance technology. Both companies are based in Israel — having arisen to prominence from that country’s cornering of the information technology market — and are heavily funded by the Israeli government,… Continue reading
In a companion essay (reprinted below), I discussed the response of some articles in the mainstream press to the claim, made by some defenders of Israel, that Professor Richard Falk should be removed from his current position of UN rapporteur on human rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories — a claim that was reflected in the refusal of Israel on December 14, 2008, to allow him to enter the country. I included in this essay a discussion of an article by reporter Joel Brinkley because, although it was published before Israel’s action against Falk 1 , it could be read as a defense of that action. Brinkley, who had previously worked for the New York Times , argued that Falk did not have the right “frame of mind” for his UN position. In the present essay, I will focus on Brinkley’s argument for this charge, suggesting that it shows that he does not have the right frame of mind for his own current position as visiting professor of journalism at Stanford University.
Brinkley’s Discussion of 9/11
Brinkley’s charge that Falk is unfit for his UN role is quite remarkable, given Falk’s stature. He is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has had published (as author or editor) over 60 books by academic and other mainstream presses. He is also widely respected and sought after as a speaker and conference participant.… Continue reading
By Thomas A. Schweich
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.
President-elect Barack Obama’s selections of James L. Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, to be his national security adviser and, it appears, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director of national intelligence present the incoming administration with an important opportunity — and a major risk. These appointments could pave the way for these respected military officers to reverse the current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d’etat that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.
While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over the past four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much of the U.S. government. The first assault on civilian government occurred in faraway places — Iraq and Afghanistan — and was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.
The White House, which basically let the Defense Department call the budgetary shots, vastly underfunded efforts by the State Department, the Justice Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to train civilian police forces, build… Continue reading
by David Edwards and Muriel Kane
December 19, 2008
As the departing Bush administration frantically attempts to shore up its place in history, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann stands ready to kick the props out from under it again. A renewed claim that “no one could have anticipated” the attacks of 9/11 attracted his scorn in particular on Thursday’s Countdown.
“This is a White House talking point still, even though your average three-year-old could disprove it using an etch-a-sketch.” Olbermann sneered on Thursday, over the heading, “Insult the Dead-gate.”
Olbermann’s specific target was White House press spokesman Tony Fratto, who responded to a Fox News interviewer’s suggestion on Wednesday that before 9/11, “nobody was thinking that there’d be terrorists flying 767s into buildings” by agreeing, “No one could have anticipated that kind of attack — or very few people.”
“Yeah, well, it ain’t true,” Olbermann remarked, with open contempt dripping from his words, “and out of respect for the people who died that
day you damn well better stop saying it.”
Olbermann then ran through a list of pre-9/11 warnings of potential al Qaeda hijackings, noting, “A president’s daily brief as far back as December 1998 said bin Laden was ‘preparing to hijack US aircraft in hopes of trading hostages for jailed radicals.’ … The August 6, 2001 brief, of course, told President Bush — if he read it — that there were ‘patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.'”
Olbermann did not mention either the… Continue reading
Stephen C. Webster
A career Army officer who survived the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, claims that no evacuation was ordered inside the Pentagon, despite flight controllers calling in warnings of approaching hijacked aircraft nearly 20 minutes before the building was struck.
According to a time-line of the attacks, the Federal Aviation Administration notified NORAD that American Airlines Flight 77 had been hijacked at 9:24 a.m. The Pentagon was not struck until 9:43 a.m.
On behalf of retired Army officer April Gallop, California attorney William Veale has filed a civil suit against former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Vice President Dick Cheney and former US Air Force General Richard Myers, who was acting chairman of the joint chiefs on 9/11. It alleges they engaged in conspiracy to facilitate the terrorist attacks and purposefully failed to warn those inside the Pentagon, contributing to injuries she and her two-month-old son incurred.
“The ex-G.I. plaintiff alleges she has been denied government support since then, because she raised ‘painful questions’ about the inexplicable failure of military defenses at the Pentagon that day, and especially the failure of officials to warn and evacuate the occupants of the building when they knew the attack was imminent” said Veale in a media advisory.
Gallop also says she heard two loud explosions, and does not believe that a Boeing 757 hit the building. Her son sustained a serious brain injury, and Gallop herself was knocked unconscious after the roof collapsed onto her office.
The suit also named… Continue reading
By Joe Dwinell
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Three families who have vowed to hold the airlines and Massport responsible for failing to stop the Sept. 11 terrorists have to wait until March to find whether they’ll get their day in court.
Manhattan federal Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein yesterday delayed his decision on setting a trial date, saying he must decide first on a defendant motion to have FBI and CIA agents testify about the increased terror threat in the weeks before the attacks.
Plaintiff attorney Donald A. Migliori called the motion a ploy to “politicize” the case.
Migliori is representing the families of terror victims Sara Low, 28, a resident of Arkansas who was a Boston-based airline attendant; Mark Bavis, 31, of West Newton, a pro hockey scout; and Barbara Keating, 72, of Palm Springs, Fla., a native of Framingham.
He said the families are blaming Massport, American Airlines [AMR], United Airlines and security companies who allowed terrorists onboard Flight 11 and Flight 175 on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, armed with box cutters and pepper spray.
“My clients are adamant it will go to trial,” said Migliori. He said these last three plaintiffs have kept up the fight fora public trial and an open archive for all to study the national nightmare, as 3,000 other victims’ cases have been settled.
The lead attorney for the airlines could not be reached yesterday.
Hellerstein said he will set a trial date March 2, once he rules on if the CIA and FBI should be called into the case.…Continue reading
by Nat Hentoff
December 10, 2008
Since I live in the Village, my Congressman is Jerrold Nadler, a civil libertarian for all seasons. Unlike many of his Democratic colleagues, he has never been in fear of being targeted as “soft on terrorism” for opposing the Bush-Cheney war on the Bill of Rights. Nadler certainly does not underestimate the jihadists: The 9/11 attacks exploded in his district.
In The Almanac of American Politics, Michael Barone describes Nadler’s reaction to that day of terror: Securing “$20 billion for the cleanup and eventual rebuilding, he spearheaded numerous actions on behalf of affected families . . .” but “Nadler remained true to his civil libertarian views. He vigorously opposed the USA Patriot Act and the Iraq War Resolution.” And since 2007, he has chaired the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights, and Civil Liberties.
In that subcommittee, and on the floor of the House, he fought Bush (and some Democrats) in order to give “enemy combatants” their habeas corpus rights. (The Supreme Court has agreed.) And, unlike many Democrats, he has worked to narrow the very definition of “enemy combatant,” which is especially important. Under the Military Commissions Act of 2006, voted for by too many Democrats, anyone held as a captured “detainee” in a military prison can be charged with giving “material support” to the enemy and can be locked up indefinitely. American citizens have also been held on this charge–which could include giving money to a charity they weren’t aware… 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.