Originally published at the Nation by Katherine Hawkins on 11/7/13
Over four years after President Obama promised to “look forward, not backward” regarding the CIA’s brutal treatment of captives under the Bush administration, the issue has not gone away. The torture debate may fade from the headlines for weeks or months at a time, but it al
ways come back. Last year the trigger was the release of Zero Dark Thirty. A few weeks ago, it was Abu Anas al-Libi’s capture, shipboard interrogation and transfer to the United States for trial. Later this year, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) will vote on whether to begin declassification of its 6,000-page report on the CIA’s detention and interrogation of terrorism suspects.
Often, debates about torture focuses on whether it leads to high-profile counterterrorism successes: the killing of Osama bin Laden, the capture of high-level suspects like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the disruption of terrorist plots against Los Angeles or London. The public evidence suggests—and according to Democratic senators, the SSCI report will definitively prove—that defenders of “enhanced interrogation” have greatly exaggerated the role that torture played in these events.
In all the debates about whether torture “worked,” though, there is another part of the record that is almost always forgotten: the attacks that torture did not prevent. There are no documented cases of “ticking time bombs” being defused by torture. But there are Al Qaeda plots that were not stopped,… Continue reading
Originally published at the NYPost by Paul Sperry on 12/15/13
After the 9/11 attacks, the public was told al Qaeda acted alone, with no state sponsors.
But the White House never let it see an entire section of Congress’ investigative report on 9/11 dealing with “specific sources of foreign support” for the 19 hijackers, 15 of whom were Saudi nationals.
It was kept secret and remains so today.
President Bush inexplicably censored 28 full pages of the 800-page report. Text isn’t just blacked-out here and there in this critical-yet-missing middle section. The pages are completely blank, except for dotted lines where an estimated 7,200 words once stood (this story by comparison is about 1,000 words).
A pair of lawmakers who recently read the redacted portion say they are “absolutely shocked” at the level of foreign state involvement in the attacks.
Reps. Walter Jones (R-NC) and Stephen Lynch (D-Mass.) can’t reveal the nation identified by it without violating federal law. So they’ve proposed Congress pass a resolution asking President Obama to declassify the entire 2002 report, “Joint Inquiry Into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001.”
Some information already has leaked from the classified section, which is based on both CIA and FBI documents, and it points back to Saudi Arabia, a presumed ally.
The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government officials — not just wealthy Saudi hardliners, but high-level diplomats and… Continue reading
Originally published at whowhatwhy.com by Russ Baker on 12/19/13
President Obama is apparently thinking about his presidential library. So now might be a good time to ponder whether anyone will want to visit it.
If he cared about revivifying his brief reputation as a good-guy outsider ready to shine light on the hidden recesses of our governing apparatus (remember his election-night victory speech that brought tears and rare hope to America?), Obama could certainly start at this late date by taking a stand for transparency.
Here’s how: Two Congressmen, a Democrat and a Republican, are asking Obama to declassify the congressional report on 9/11, which the Bush administration heavily redacted.
The two members of the House of Representatives have read the blacked-out portions, including 28 totally blank pages that deal largely with Saudi government ties to the alleged 9/11 hijackers.
This is apparently major connect-the-dots stuff—much more significant than what one may remember from Michael Moore’s film Fahrenheit 911, about Saudi royals and other Saudis studying and living in the US, who were allowed to go home without being interviewed in the aftermath of the attacks. This is about actual financial and logistical support of terrorism against the United States—by its ally, the Saudi government.
As a Hoover Institution media scholar wrote in the New York Post (normally no bastion of deep investigative inquiry):
The Saudis deny any role in 9/11, but the CIA in one memo reportedly found “incontrovertible evidence” that Saudi government… Continue reading
Originally published by The NY Post on 12/19/13
A U.S. appeals court on Thursday revived claims by families of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks who alleged that Saudi Arabia provided material support to al Qaeda.
Reversing a lower court ruling, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York said “the interests of justice” justified reviving the claims, in light of a 2011 decision that allowed similar claims to proceed against Afghanistan.
Circuit Judge Chester Straub wrote for a three-judge panel that it would be “especially anomalous” to treat both sets of plaintiffs differently. He returned the case to U.S. District Judge George Daniels in Manhattan for further proceedings.
The litigation was brought on behalf of families of the nearly 3,000 people killed in the September 11 attacks, as well as insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.
Most of the attackers were Saudi nationals who hijacked planes and flew them into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., and – when passengers revolted – into a field in Pennsylvania.
“This opinion is eminently correct and will give 9/11 victims their day in court,” said Stephen Cozen, a partner at Cozen O’Connor representing the plaintiffs. “The parties will start over, and we are very, very satisfied that we will meet any defenses, both legal and factual, that are raised.”
Cozen said damages could reach tens of billions of dollars.
Michael Kellogg, a partner at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd,… Continue reading
The Colorado Democratic Party (CDP) is the only Democratic party in the U.S., so far, that has a plank within its platform that calls for a new 9/11 investigation. This plank (or a similar one) has been included in the platform since 2008.
Rumor has it, however, that some of the 2014 CDP Platform Committee members want to remove it, believing that claims by 9/11 skeptics have been answered. Therefore, this document was written to inform these platform committee members that our claims have not been answered, and furthermore, President Obama’s call for an “Open and Transparent Government” has been thoroughly unfulfilled regarding the events of September 11, 2001.
This document is part of a letter to the CDP Platform Committee members. It is far from complete, but it gives ample examples of how we have not had transparency regarding September 11, 2001.
We hope it will be useful to you.
The Colorado 9/11 Truth Team
Concerning the September 11, 2001, Attacks: What Are Some Ways That Obama’s Call for Transparency Has Remained Unfulfilled?
I. Lack of transparency, in general, by the 9/11 Commission Report
1. Lee Hamilton and Thomas Kean concealed from the staff of the 9/11 Commission the fact that Philip Zelikow, the Commission’s executive director, had written a detailed outline of the Commission’s final report, complete with “chapter headings, subheadings, and sub-subheadings,” before the staff had its first meeting. (David Ray Griffin, 9/11 Ten Years Later, 71; original source is Philip Shenon,… Continue reading
Originally posted By Stephanie Condon at CBS News on March 13, 2014
The White House has played a larger role in the serious dispute between the CIA and the Senate Intelligence Committee over an ongoing investigation, according to reports.
President Obama’s team has been withholding about 9,400 documents that the Intelligence Committee requested as part of its review of the CIA’s now-defunct detention and interrogation program, McClatchy reports. Since 2009, the White House has ignored or rejected multiple requests from the committee to review the documents.
Mr. Obama said Wednesday he supports the committee’s efforts. “We have worked with the Senate committee so that the report that they are putting forward is well-informed, and what I’ve said is that I am absolutely committed to declassifying that report as soon as the report is completed,” he said.
The White House said in a statement to McClatchy that it withheld “a small percentage” of the 6.2 million pages of documents provided to the committee “because they raise executive branch confidentiality interests.” The White House added it has worked closely with the committee “to ensure access to the information necessary to review the CIA’s former program.”
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif. — who blew the lid open on the clash between the committee and the CIA on the Senate floor on Tuesday — has reportedly… Continue reading
Originally published by Kevin Ryan on April 7, 2014
As discussed in my book, Another Nineteen, there are good reasons to believe that some 9/11 suspects were involved in previous deep state operations. For example, evidence suggests that Stratesec manager Barry McDaniel and Carlyle Group director Frank Carlucci might have participated in the Iran-Contra crimes. There are also interesting links between several 9/11 suspects and Ted Shackley, a leader of the “CIA within the CIA.” Shackley was close friends with Frank Carlucci and had a long, close relationship with Richard Armitage, whose State department provided express visas to the alleged hijackers. Additionally, Porter Goss, who led the initial cover-up of the 9/11 crimes, had worked with Shackley in several CIA operations.
Perhaps the most interesting historical link between Shackley and 9/11 is that Shackley’s activities in Kuwait paralleled those of Wirt Walker, the KuwAm Corporation director. KuwAm was the parent company of Stratesec, the security company for several 9/11 facilities. As I’ve written before, these companies appeared to be part of a private intelligence network.
Shackley had a long career in covert CIA operations and was the agency’s Associate Deputy Director of Operations from 1976 to 1977. Described by former CIA Director Richard Helms as “a quadruple threat – Drugs, Arms, Money and Murder,” Shackley was a central character in many off-the-books operations. He was a leader of the CIA’s anti-Castro plan Operation Mongoose, its secret U.S. war in Laos, and the overthrow of Salvadore… Continue reading
Originally posted at Portland Press Herald on 3/31/14 by Tom Bell
A producer for the National Geographic Channel is coming to Portland this week hoping to interview people who encountered Mohamed Atta and Abdulaziz Alomari, the al-Qaida terrorists who spent about 12 hours in Portland before joining the terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2001.
But there’s one problem with the project: There’s hardly anyone in Portland to interview.
With the exception of one retired ticket agent who lives in Scarborough, nobody else will come forward to talk about any encounters with the terrorists, said Erik Nelson, president of Creative Differences, a Los Angeles production company that is producing the film for National Geographic.
“We have one guy,” he said. “But where is everybody else? It’s like they dropped off the face of the Earth.”
The Portland footage will be part of a two-hour documentary focusing on the 24 hours prior to the moment the first plane crashed into the North Tower at the World Trade Center in New York City. It will air in September.… Continue reading
Originally published at WashingtonsBlog by Kevin Ryan on 6/26/14
Douglas Valentine’s The Phoenix Program is vital for understanding the history of terrorism and its role in political warfare. Few other historical accounts provide as much detail on how the U.S. government and the CIA began to use programs for counterterrorism to implement political policy through secretive, coldblooded actions. Understanding such history is critical to making sense of what is happening in our world today.
Although implemented as a means of countering terrorism, Valentine shows how the Phoenix Program was in practice a CIA-controlled campaign of terror in Vietnam. Hidden behind terms like pacification and neutralization, Phoenix implemented a program of terror and psychological warfare against the civilian population. Under the guise of counterterrorism, tens of thousands of civilians were kidnapped, tortured, and murdered.
Valentine explains how the purpose of Phoenix was to terrorize the people into submission, not only causing them to fear any possible association with the enemy but also as a means to crush dissent. Unfortunately for many Vietnamese peasants, they were caught in a world in which they were terrorized by both sides in the long-lasting conflict. Using psychological warfare techniques, Phoenix promised to protect the people from terrorism while simultaneously terrorizing them.
The book describes the history of the program well. Phoenix and its precursor ICEX aligned the CIA-supported Provincial Reconnaissance Units (PRUs) with police and paramilitary programs to create a system for capturing or killing suspects in targeted ways. Once captured and brought in for… Continue reading
Originally published at Dig Within by Kevin Ryan on 7/27/14
After becoming Director of the CIA (DCI) in 1997, George Tenet did what Louis Freeh had done after his appointment as FBI Director. He began to cultivate close personal relationships with the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Like Freeh, Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington yet Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own officers who were handling Saudi issues at the Agency. The CIA’s Saudi specialists only learned about Tenet’s dealings with the Saudi authorities inadvertently, through their Saudi contacts. It seems that Tenet was operating within a network that surpassed the interests of the American public. Therefore the unsolved crimes of 9/11, attributed largely to young men from Saudi Arabia, should be considered in light of Tenet’s actions.
As Deputy Director for the CIA, in 1996, Tenet had worked to install one of his closest friends and confidants, John Brennan, as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan is now the DCI but, in his previous role, Brennan often communicated directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. At the time, as an apparent favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts were discouraged from questioning Saudi relationship to Arab extremists.
The unusual relationship that both George Tenet and Louis Freeh had with Saudi intelligence (and George H.W. Bush) recalls the private network that was created in the mid-1970s to accomplish covert… Continue reading