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.
By Paul Craig Roberts
December 05, 2008
The US government
does not have a monopoly on hypocrisy, but no other government can match the
hypocrisy of the US government.
It is now well documented and known all over the world that the US government
tortured detainees at Abu Ghraib and Guantánamo and that the US government has
had people kidnaped and “rendentioned,” that is, transported to
third world countries, such as Egypt, to be tortured.
Also documented and well known is the fact that the US Department of Justice
provided written memos justifying the torture of detainees. One torture advocate
who wrote the DOJ memos that gave the green light to the Bush regime’s
use of torture is John Yoo, a Vietnamese immigrant who somehow secured a US
Justice Department appointment and a tenured professorship at the University
of California, Berkeley, Boalt Hall School of Law. John Yoo is the best case
against immigration that I know.
Members of Berkeley’s city council believe that Yoo should be charged
with war crimes. The US government has charged lesser offenders than Yoo with
war crimes. Yoo helped the DOJ achieve the Bush regime’s goal of finding
a way around the torture prohibitions of both US statutory law and the Geneva
The way around the law that Yoo provided for the sadistic Bush regime was closed
down by the US Supreme Court, which voided Yoo’s arguments, and Yoo’s
torture memo was rescinded by the Department of Justice. Nevertheless, Yoo’s
obvious… Continue reading
by Michael Parenti
December 7, 2008
Author’s website: www.michaelparenti.org.
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan.
Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something
about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.
Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan,
the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist
organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened
to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive
writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated
the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good
thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.
Some Real History
Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged,
with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only
3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary
elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973,
the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic,
corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration
in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side
of the demonstrators.
The military officers who took charge invited the… Continue reading
On October 27, 2008, WeAreChangeLA’s Jeremy Rothe-Kushel was on hand to cover an event with William Bratton, the Chief of the LAPD. Bratton was at a Townhall LA event at the Omni Hotel in Downtown LA to give a talk entitled “Crime and Your Bottom Line.” Although Bratton was there to focus on the future of the LAPD in relationship to development and crime-prevention, there was still a media buzz humming about an article Bratton had penned a week earlier with ‘terrorism expert’ R.P. Eddy in the NY Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/opinions/2008/10/21/2008-10-21_osama_bin_lade…
The article, entitled “Osama Bin Laden wants a vote, so beware a late October surprise,” warned that if “Bin Laden wants to engineer a late-October surprise in 2008, an attack on a significant American economic target may be one of the most tempting opportunities he has had in recent years.” In addition to asserting that “U.S. intelligence is worried” because a “2007 National Intelligence Estimate said that Al Qaeda has reconstituted and may again be capable of hitting the U.S. mainland,” the article also claimed that “Bin Laden may have already begun to weigh in on our coming elections,” because in September, “Al Qaeda launched an assault against the American Embassy in Yemen.”
Bratton, who had worked under Rudolph Giuliani at the helm of NYPD in the 90’s pursuing the “broken windows” policy, became LAPD Police Chief in 2002. He came to the LAPD directly out of a strong working relationship with Kroll Inc. (see: http://fluxrostrum.blogspot.com/2007/05/who-killed-john-oneil.html… Continue reading