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Obama lets CIA keep controversial renditions tool

Originally published at By Greg Miller, Washington Bureau on January 31, 2009

WASHINGTON — The CIA’s secret prisons are being shuttered. Harsh interrogation techniques are off-limits. And Guantánamo Bay will eventually go back to being a wind-swept naval base on the southeastern corner of Cuba.

But even while dismantling these discredited programs, President Barack Obama left an equally controversial counterterrorism tool intact.

Under executive orders issued by Obama last week, the CIA still has authority to carry out what are known as renditions, or the secret abductions and transfers of prisoners to countries that cooperate with the U.S.…

Eric Holder Signals No Prosecutions of Bush War Criminals

By Dennis Loo
January 30, 2009

Attorney General nominee Eric Holder in written response to a question posed to him during his Senate confirmation hearing by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) stated:

“Prosecutorial and investigative judgments must depend on the facts, and no one is above the law. But where it is clear that a government agent has acted in ‘reasonable and good-faith reliance on Justice Department legal opinions’ authoritatively permitting his conduct, I would find it difficult to justify commencing a full-blown criminal investigation, let alone a prosecution.”

Newsweek described
this written statement as “carefully vetted by Obama’s White House lawyers.”
In other words, Holder’s statement fairly reflects Obama’s and Holder’s intentions
in this regard.…

Obama and 9/11 2

Imagine yourself within the mind of Barack Obama, the first African American president of the United States of America. You are a man who knows how “the system” works.

Editor’s Note:
Part 1 of this blog entry was posted 1/28 here.

This knowledge has been accrued at hard struggle, and by a remarkable and unique ability to adapt to any environment because you spent a lifetime as an exotic specimen in every environment, from Kansas to Kenya–both African and American, Muslim and Christian, black and white.…

Obama and 9/11

by Michael Hasty Sunday

Although I was as happy as most Americans that Barack Obama took the oath of office last week, rather than his Republican alternative, there is a major reason that he did not get my vote in November, which went instead to Cynthia McKinney: Obama is unlikely to re-open an investigation into what really happened on September 11, 2001–an investigation that needs to happen.

According to polls, about four in ten Americans are suspicious that the Bush administration was complicit in the 9/11 attacks–either by deliberately ignoring intelligence that warned an attack was coming and allowing the terrorists to strike, to gain public support for the neoconservative foreign policy agenda of increasing American military power in the Middle East; or by actively coordinating the attacks themselves, for the same reason.…

PBS: NSA could have prevented 9/11 hijackings

Muriel Kane

The super-secretive National Security Agency has been quietly monitoring, decrypting, and interpreting foreign communications for decades, starting long before it came under criticism as a result of recent revelations about the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. Now a forthcoming PBS documentary asks whether the NSA could have prevented 9/11 if it had been more willing to share its data with other agencies.

Author James Bamford looked into the performance of the NSA in his 2008 book, The Shadow Factory, and found that it had been closely monitoring the 9/11 hijackers as they moved freely around the United States and communicated with Osama bin Laden’s operations center in Yemen.…

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Obama restores some of the ‘Freedom’ to FOIA

January 23, 2009
By Michael Doyle
McClatchy Newspapers

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.…

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Feds Drop Case Against Accused Iraqi Agent

Originally published at “Scoop” Independent News by Michael Collins

“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.…

Summaries of 9/11 Commission Interviews Released

Kevin Fenton
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.…

Will We Get Accountability? Obama’s Reply to Blogger Bob Fertik’s Special Prosecutor Question

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.…

Former Navy Pilot Cautions Congress: Arrogance Endangering American Lives

by Janice Matthews (link to article) 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.

Judge’s Order Could Keep Public From Hearing Details of 9/11 Trials

Among the men about to undergo military trials at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,
is the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind.

By Peter Finn
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.…

Cold War vets sue over alleged germ experiments

By Paul Elias
Associated Press
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.…

Martial Law, the Financial Bailout, and War

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.…

‘Inaugurate Yourself’ – Nationwide Caravan of Peace & Truth

Inaugurate Yourself Tour Banner

Inaugurate Yourself!

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:”


Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, the Powerful Forces That Put It in the White House,
and What Their Influence Means for America

Cover photo of Family of Secrets BLOOMSBURY PRESS

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,

Contact: Gene Taft,, m: 917/701-4072, p: 301/593-0766 Peter Miller,, 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?…

Israeli Wiretappers, the NSA, and 9/11

by Reprehensor
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.

Joel Brinkley’s Article on Richard Falk: Does It Demonstrate the Right “Frame of Mind” to Teach Journalism at Stanford?

Elizabeth Woodworth

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.…

The Pentagon is muscling in everywhere. It’s time to stop the mission creep.

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.…