August 2nd, 2011
by Steven Aftergood
Secrecy News from the FAS Project on Government Secrecy
The Senate Intelligence Committee rejected an amendment that would have required
the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence to confront the
problem of “secret law,” by which government agencies rely on legal authorities
that are unknown or misunderstood by the public.
The amendment, proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden and Sen. Mark Udall, was rejected on a voice vote, according to the new Committee report on the FY2012 Intelligence Authorization Act.
“We remain very concerned that the U.S. government’s official interpretation of the Patriot Act is inconsistent with the public’s understanding of the law,” Senators Wyden and Udall wrote. “We believe that most members of the American public would be very surprised to learn how federal surveillance law is being interpreted in secret.”
The Senators included dissenting remarks, along with the text of their rejected amendment, in the Committee report.
Sen. Wyden and Sen. Udall also offered another amendment that would have required the Justice Department Inspector General to estimate the number of Americans who have had the contents of their communications reviewed in violation of the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. That amendment too was rejected, by a vote of 7-8. All Committee Republicans, plus Democrat Bill Nelson (D-FL), opposed the amendment.
“It is a matter of public record that there have been incidents in which intelligence agencies have failed to comply with the FISA Amendments Act, and that certain types… Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol 9, Issue 31 No 1, August 1, 2011.
Twice in the last two decades, significant cuts in U.S. and western military spending were foreseen: first after the fall of the Berlin Wall, and then in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. But both times military spending soon increased, and among the factors contributing to the increase were America’s interventions in new areas: the Balkans in the 1990s, and Libya today.1 Hidden from public view in both cases was the extent to which al-Qaeda was a covert U.S. ally in both interventions, rather than its foe.
U.S. interventions in the Balkans and then Libya were presented by the compliant U.S. and allied mainstream media as humanitarian. Indeed, some Washington interventionists may have sincerely believed this. But deeper motivations – from oil to geostrategic priorities – were also at work in both instances.
In virtually all the wars since 1989, America and Islamist factions have been battling to determine who will control the heartlands of Eurasia in the post-Soviet era. In some countries – Somalia in 1993, Afghanistan in 2001 – the conflict has been straightforward, with each side using the other’s excesses as an excuse for intervention.
But there have been other interventions in which Americans have used al-Qaeda as a resource to increase their influence, for example Azerbaijan in 1993. There a pro-Moscow president was ousted after large numbers of Arab and other foreign mujahedin veterans were secretly imported from Afghanistan, on an airline hastily organized by three former veterans of the CIA’s airline Air America. (The three, all once detailed from the Pentagon to the CIA, were Richard Secord, Harry Aderholt, and Ed Dearborn.)2 This was an ad hoc marriage of convenience: the mujahedin got to defend Muslims against Russian influence in the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, while the Americans got a new president who opened up the oilfields of Baku to western oil companies.
The pattern of U.S. collaboration with Muslim fundamentalists against more secular enemies is not new. It dates back to at least 1953, when the CIA recruited right-wing mullahs to overthrow Prime Minister Mossadeq in Iran, and also began to cooperate with the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood.3 But in Libya in 2011 we see a more complex marriage of convenience between US and al-Qaeda elements: one which repeats a pattern seen in Bosnia in 1992-95, and Kosovo in 1997-98. In those countries America responded to a local conflict in the name of a humanitarian intervention to restrain the side committing atrocities. But in all three cases both sides committed atrocities, and American intervention in fact favored the side allied with al-Qaeda.
The cause of intervention was fostered in all three cases by blatant manipulation and falsification of the facts. What a historian has noted of the Bosnian conflict was true also of Kosovo and is being echoed today in Libya: though attacks were “perpetrated by Serbs and Muslims alike,” the pattern in western media was “that killings of Muslims were newsworthy, while the deaths of non-Muslims were not.”4 Reports of mass rapes in the thousands proved to be wildly exaggerated: a French journalist “uncovered only four women willing to back up the story.”5 Meanwhile in 1994 the French intellectual Bernard-Henri Levy (BHL) traveled to Bosnia and fervently endorsed the case for intervention in Bosnia; in 2011 February BHL traveled to Benghazi and reprised his interventionist role for Libya.6
In all of the countries mentioned above, furthermore, there are signs that some American and/or western intelligence groups were collaborating with al-Qaeda elements from the outset of conflict, before the atrocities cited as a reason for intervention.. This suggests that there were deeper reasons for America’s interventions including the desire of western oil companies to exploit the petroleum reserves of Libya (as in Iraq) without having to deal with a troublesome and powerful strong man, or their desire to create a strategic oil pipeline across the Balkans (in Kosovo).7
That the U.S. would support al-Qaeda in terrorist atrocities runs wholly counter to impressions created by the U.S. media. Yet this on-going unholy alliance resurrects and builds on the alliance underlying Zbigniew Brzezinski’s 1978-79 strategy of provocation in Afghanistan, at a time when he was President Carter’s National Security Adviser.
The Shah (left), Brzezinski (right), Carter (second right)
by Kevin Fenton
Introduction to Chapter 15 of Disconnecting the Dots , for publication at 911Truth.org :
In January 2000, several high-ranking al-Qaeda operatives, including alleged Flight 77 hijackers Khalid Almihdhar and Nawaf Alhazmi, held a summit in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The meeting was monitored by the CIA and a local Malaysian service, although the agency reportedly failed to exploit this opportunity to learn what bin Laden’s organization was planning. In addition, the CIA deliberately withheld information about the two men, in particular that Almihdhar had a US visa, from the FBI. The agency then allegedly suffered the misfortune of losing Almihdhar, Alhazmi and another al-Qaeda operative in Bangkok, Thailand. The surveillance of the Malaysia summit was run by Alec Station, the CIA’s bin Laden unit, its chief Richard Blee and his deputy Tom Wilshire. On January 12 and 14 Blee gave his superior, Cofer Black, incorrect briefings about what was happening with the surveillance. Chapter 15 picks up the story on January 15.
I know nobody read that cable
After the CIA allegedly lost Khalid Almihdhar, Nawaf Alhazmi, and Khallad bin Attash in Bangkok, it asked the Thais… Continue reading
One lawyer’s relentless quest for information reveals fresh hints of a coverup.
By James Ridgeway
July 21, 2011
In 2007, Mother Jones was the first national media outlet to tell the full story of Jesse Trentadue and his quest for the truth, which began four months after the attack on Oklahoma City’s Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995, killed 168 people. It was then that Trentadue, a Salt Lake City lawyer, learned that his brother, a construction worker and one-time bank robber, had died in a federal prison in Oklahoma City. [Photo: Timothy McVeigh is escorted from the courthouse in Perry, Oklahoma. Bob Owen/Zuma]
Prison officials said the prisoner had hanged himself. But Kenney Trentadue, who had never revealed any suicidal inclination, was shipped home for burial with bruises all over his body and lacerations on his face and throat–suggesting something more sinister. Even Oklahoma City’s chief medical examiner would later say, publicly, that it was “very likely he was murdered.” But the most compelling evidence in the case was altered or turned up missing. Jesse Trentadue was never able to prove what had actually happened to his brother–though he did win a $1.1 million civil suit for “emotional distress” to his family, based on the way the government had handled the aftermath of Kenney’s death.
Trentadue had all but given up, when, in the spring of 2003, he got a call from a small-town newspaper reporter in Oklahoma named… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
In August, 2009, Attorney General Eric Holder — under continuous , aggressive prodding by the Obama White House — announced that three categories of individuals responsible for Bush-era torture crimes would be fully immunized from any form of criminal investigation and prosecution: (1) Bush officials who ordered the torture (Bush, Cheney, Rice, Powell, Ashcroft, Rumsfeld); (2) Bush lawyers who legally approved it (Yoo, Bybee, Levin), and (3) those in the CIA and the military who tortured within the confines of the permission slips they were given by those officials and lawyers (i.e., “good-faith” torturers). The one exception to this sweeping immunity was that low-level CIA agents and servicemembers who went so far beyond the torture permission slips as to basically commit brutal, unauthorized murder would be subject to a “preliminary review” to determine if a full investigation was warranted — in other words, the Abu Ghraib model of justice was being applied, where only low-ranking scapegoats would be subject to possible punishment while high-level officials would be protected.
Yesterday, it was announced that this “preliminary review” by the prosecutor assigned to conduct it, U.S. Attorney John Durham, is now complete, and — exactly as one would expect — even this category of criminals has been almost entirely protected, meaning a total legal whitewash for the Bush torture regime:
The Justice Department has opened full criminal investigations of the deaths in CIA custody of two detainees , including one who perished at Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison,… Continue reading
Not All Sources and Experts Are Equal–Here Are some Real Ones!
There are ‘experts’ views,’ and then there are experts’ views. There are ‘government sources,’ and then there are government sources. Not all experts are equal. And, not all sources are reliable. Am I talking in riddles? Of course not; give me a chance and I’ll explain.
We have members of the popular media (mainstream and quasi-alternatives alike) ever anxious to market and disseminate government conspiracy and propaganda. They, members of the popular media, have their own rolodex of ‘experts’ and analysts, some on their payroll, to help them propagate the delivery and execution of government-given propaganda-conspiracy. The same principle applies to ‘sources.’ The popular media relies on their government sources who act as middle-men-government messengers who’ve been given a government written and approved script to be delivered; almost always anonymously. Well, this is exactly what we have been getting from our media, around the clock, since the announcement of the Bin Laden Death Operation: ever-changing government scripts, delivered mainly by anonymous government sources to the US media, and further embellished and expanded upon by government-connected experts and analysts on the payroll.
On the other hand, there are many independent real experts whose analyses and views you won’t, or rarely, get to hear or read about; at least not in the mainstream media or at quasi-alternative sites. And there are current and former government sources not tasked with messenger duties; many of whom… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts
May 17, 2011
In a sensational and explosive TV report, the Pakistani News Agency has provided a live interview with an eye witness to the US attack on the alleged compound of Osama bin Laden. The eye witness, Mohammad Bashir, describes the event as it unfolded. Of the three helicopters, “there was only one that landed the men and came back to pick them up, but as he [the helicopter] was picking them up, it blew away and caught fire.” The witness says that there were no survivors, just dead bodies and pieces of bodies everywhere. “We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing.”
I always wondered how a helicopter could crash, as the White House reported, without at least producing injuries. Yet, in the original White House story, the SEALs not only survived a 40-minute firefight with al Qaeda, “the most highly trained, most dangerous, most vicious killers on the planet,” without a scratch, but also survived a helicopter crash without a scratch.
The Pakistani news report is available on you tube. The Internet site, Veterans Today, posted a translation along with a video of the interview. Information Clearing House made
it available on May 17.
If the interview is not a hoax and the translation is correct, we now know the answer to the unasked question: Why was there no White House ceremony with President Obama pinning medals all over the… Continue reading
The Associated Press
First published May 11, 2011
Updated May 12, 2011
Salt Lake Tribune
A federal judge in Utah on Wednesday ordered the FBI to produce more information about its record-keeping in response to an inquiry by a man who contends unreleased video and other records from the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing will show more people were involved in the attack.
U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said he believes Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue has raised valid questions about whether the agency has done enough to find a pair of videotapes sought as part of a Freedom of Information Act request.
Waddoups also wants to know whether bureau officials believe they can conceal information from the public and the courts and ordered a Department of Justice attorney to detail how difficult it would be for the FBI to manually search for the records in evidence control centers in Oklahoma City, Washington, D.C., and at an FBI crime lab.
Waddoups, who set a June 30 deadline for government attorneys, wants the information before deciding whether the FBI has complied with federal freedom of information laws in Trentadue’s case.
Trentadue sued the FBI and the CIA in 2008 seeking release of tapes and records from the fatal bombing at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal building.
The lawsuit came two years after Trentadue first sought the information.
In papers filed in U.S. District Court, Trentadue contends the FBI’s efforts to locate the information he wants have been inadequate, and he argues… Continue reading
His CIA ties are only the beginning of a woeful story
By Michael Moran
August 24, 1998 MSNBC
BRAVE NEW WORLD
NEW YORK, Aug. 24, 1998 — At the CIA, it happens often enough to have a code name: Blowback. Simply defined, this is the term describing an agent, an operative or an operation that has turned on its creators. Osama bin Laden, our new public enemy Number 1, is the personification of blowback. And the fact that he is viewed as a hero by millions in the Islamic world proves again the old adage: Reap what you sow.
Befpre up [sic] click on my face and call me naive, let me concede some points. Yes, the West needed Josef Stalin to defeat Hitler. Yes, there were times during the Cold War when supporting one villain (Cambodia’s Lon Nol, for instance) would have been better than the alternative (Pol Pot). So yes, there are times when any nation must hold its nose and shake hands with the devil for the long-term good of the planet.
But just as surely, there are times when the United States, faced with such moral dilemmas, should have resisted the temptation to act. Arming a multi-national coalition of Islamic extremists in Afghanistan during the 1980s – well after the destruction of the Marine barracks in Beirut or the hijacking of TWA Flight 847 – was one of those times.…Continue reading
A look back at the years of false reports that preceded Sunday night’s announcement of the real thing
By Justin Elliott
The false reports of Osama bin Laden’s death began almost immediately after Sept. 11, 2001, and persisted at a rate of at least once or twice a year, every year. The reports — generated by (usually anonymous) statements by American officials and a dizzying array of foreign sources — often generated international headlines.
Here’s a sampling:
July 2002 FBI counterterrorism chief Dale Watson tells a law enforcement conference of bin Laden: “I personally think he is probably not with us anymore, but I have no evidence to support that.”
August 2002 Popular conspiracy-mongering radio host Alex Jones announces, citing high-level Bush administration sources, “that bin Laden died of natural causes and that his family has given the body to the CIA.” Jones added, “they’re gonna roll him out right before the election, he’s on ice right now.”
May 2003 French military analyst announces that bin Laden was killed in an American air raid in Tora Bora shortly after the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.
Obama: Osama bin Laden is dead
By Kase Wickman
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the number one most-wanted fugitive for nearly a decade, was killed in Pakistan Sunday, the White House announced.
President Barack Obama made a live statement shortly after 11:30 p.m. from the East Room of the White House.
“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children,” he began.
The U.S. received an intelligence lead last August about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Obama said, and that he had enough information by Sunday to launch a targeted military operation on the compound pinpointed as bin Laden’s location, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability,” Obama said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
White House officials said that the operation was in cooperation with Pakistani authorities, and was carried out by Navy SEALs in helicopters who rehearsed the operation to avoid civilian casualties. Reportedly, one woman who was used as a human shield was killed.
Crowds gathered outside the White House and around the country after the speech, waving flags and singing the National Anthem. U.S. diplomatic centers are reportedly on high alert in… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
Of the many unanswered questions about the attacks of September 11, one of the most important is: Why were none of the four planes intercepted? A rough answer is that the failure of the US air defenses can be traced to a number of factors and people. There were policy changes, facility changes, and personnel changes that had recently been made, and there were highly coincidental military exercises that were occurring on that day. But some of the most startling facts about the air defense failures have to do with the utter failure of communications between the agencies responsible for protecting the nation. At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two people stood out in this failed chain of communications. One was a lawyer on his first day at the job, and another was a Special Operations Commander who was never held responsible for his critical role, or even questioned about it.
The 9/11 Commission wrote in its report that — “On 9/11, the defense of U.S. airspace depended on close interaction between two federal agencies: the FAA and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).”
According to the Commission, this interaction began with air traffic controllers (ATCs) at the relevant regional FAA control centers, which on 9/11 included Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. In the event of a hijacking, these ATCs were expected to “notify their supervisors, who in turn would inform management all the way up to FAA headquarters. Headquarters had a hijack coordinator, who was the director of the FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security or his or her designate.…Continue reading
by Andy Worthington
Published April 24, 2011
On Sunday April 24, 2011 WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files from the
notorious Guantánamo Bay prison camp. The details for every detainee will be
released daily over the coming month.
WikiLeaks Reveals Secret Files on All Guantánamo Prisoners
PLEASE NOTE: This article has been published in languages other than English
at WikiLeaks, linked here.
In its latest release of classified US documents, WikiLeaks is shining the
light of truth on a notorious icon of the Bush administration’s “War on
Terror” — the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, which opened on January
11, 2002, and remains open under President Obama, despite his promise to close
the much-criticized facility within a year of taking office.
In thousands of pages of documents dating from 2002 to 2008 and never seen
before by members of the public or the media, the cases of the majority of the
prisoners held at Guantánamo — 758 out of 779 in total — are described
in detail in memoranda from JTF-GTMO, the Joint Task Force at Guantánamo
Bay, to US Southern Command in Miami, Florida.
These memoranda, which contain JTF-GTMO’s recommendations about whether the
prisoners in question should continue to be held, or should be released (transferred
to their home governments, or to other governments) contain a wealth of important
and previously undisclosed information, including health assessments, for example,
and, in the cases of the majority of the 171 prisoners who are still held, photos
(mostly for the… Continue reading
A large number of new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons. Most of these describe events from the day of 9/11 itself, although a few entries look at pre-9/11 and post-9/11 events.
This is one of an ongoing series of irregular email alerts notifying the community of additions to a specific project.
New Entries Added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline
One new entry reveals that in April 2001, CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black warned that “something big [is] coming and that it very likely could be in the US.” Then, about a month before 9/11, White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke visited Wall Street, to investigate the security precautions there.
Two new entries look at the time Ziad Jarrah, the alleged hijacker pilot of Flight 93 on 9/11, spent in Philadelphia. This included two days at a flight school, which refused to rent Jarrah a plane due to his inadequate piloting skills.
Some entries look at a little-known government agency called the National Communications System (NCS). The NCS happened to turn on a special backup communication system for use in emergencies for “exercise mode” the day before 9/11, and on the morning of 9/11, the CIA was briefing the NCS on the terrorist threat to the US’s telecommunications infrastructure. The NCS’s coordinating center subsequently played an important role in the government’s response to the 9/11 attacks.
Entries reveal that special emergency transmitters carried by aircraft went off in… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 6, 2011
The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.
The Likud Lobby and their allied U.S. legislators can chalk up a significant victory for substantially shrinking any opportunity for the accused planners of 9/11 to tell their side of the story.
What? I sense some bristling. “Their side of the story?” Indeed! We’ve been told there is no “their side of the story.”
For years, President George W. Bush got away with offering up the risible explanation that they “hate our freedoms.” The stenographers of the White House press corps may have had to suppress smiles but silently swallowed the “they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms” rationale.
The only journalist I can recall stepping up and asking, in effect, “Come on; now really; it’s important; why do the really hate us” was the indomitable Helen Thomas.
In January 2010, just weeks after the “underpants bomber” tried to down an airliner over Detroit, President Barack Obama asked White House counter-terrorism guru, John Brennan, to field questions from the White House press.
Helen Thomas took the opportunity to ask why the would-be bomber did what he did. The exchange with Brennan is, hopefully, more instructive than it is depressing — highlighting a limited mindset still stuck in bromides.
Thomas: “Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation?… Continue reading
Friday, March 11, 2011
by Staff Report
The Daily Bell
A controversial congressional hearing Thursday on the radicalization of
Muslim Americans touched on sensitive questions involving terrorism and tolerance
a decade after the 9/11 attacks. At times emotional and theatrical, the four-hour
session of the House Homeland Security Committee included calls from moderate
Muslims for support in overcoming extremists seeking to indoctrinate their children,
as well as protests from Democratic legislators who complained the hearing unfairly
implicated all Muslims for the criminal acts of a small minority. In the end,
committee Chairman Peter King (left), R-New York, said the hearing that generated
widespread media coverage “actually went a lot easier than it could have.” He
… promised additional hearings in coming months, with the next perhaps focusing
on the radicalization of Muslims in U.S. prisons. — CNN
Dominant Social Theme: Don’t trust the Muslims.
Free-Market Analysis: Yesterday’s hearing on radicalization
of Muslim Americans brings up a larger perspective regarding what is going on
in America and a close look into Western-style democracy. The incessant harping
on “terrorist Islam” as presented in these US congressional hearings (see above
article excerpt) does seem to indicate a trend regarding America’s — in fact
the entire West’s — descent into authoritarianism, driven by hysteria over
a religion that many of its worshipers (ironically) conflate with “peace.”
Peter King is promising more hearings on Islamic terror and one has no reason
to doubt they will occur. King has come under attack for these hearings, which
some believe are deliberately whipping up hysteria against Muslims, but he has
branded such accusations as false and baseless.…
by Kevin Ryan
Published on his blog at 911blogger.com
Having read a few of Peter Dale Scott’s earlier books, I was looking forward to his new work, American War Machine. I was not disappointed. Published by Roman & Littlefield in late 2010, this book examines a wide-ranging number of covert US operations since World War II, and, among other things, demonstrates that many of these operations were intimately connected with, and dependent on, illicit drug trafficking. Although my background and experience do not qualify me to write an authoritative review of this important book, I hope that my impressions will compel others to read it.
Scott previously defined concepts such as deep events, deep politics and the deep state, to refer to covert mechanisms that facilitate the strategies of the politically minded rich, a group otherwise referred to as the overworld. Deep events, which Scott defines as those which are “systematically ignored or falsified in the mainstream media and public consciousness,” can be seen as sharing certain features, such as cover-up of evidence and irresoluble controversy over what happened. These features contribute to a suppressed memory of the event among the general public. Deep events are often associated with illegally sanctioned violence, and involve little known, but historically evident, cooperation between leaders of the state and organized crime.
In American War Machine, Scott sets out to write the first “deep history” of such events, politics and state entities. As he writes: “In my experience, deep… Continue reading
By Robert Parry
February 17, 2011
Sometimes the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. So, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would deliver a speech hailing the peaceful protests that changed Egypt while 71-year-old Ray McGovern was roughed up and dragged away for standing quietly in protest of her support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“So this is America,” said McGovern as he was hustled from the room by two security guards. “This is America.”
McGovern, a former Army intelligence officer and a 27-year veteran of the CIA, was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” t-shirt and, according to witnesses, was standing silently with his back to Secretary Clinton before he was set upon by the two agents who bruised, bloodied and handcuffed McGovern, a cancer survivor. [For video, see below.]
McGovern, who writes for Consortiumnews.com, has been detained at other events protesting both the illegality of U.S. wars and the hypocrisy of demanding accountability for others but not for senior U.S. officials implicated in war crimes, like the torture authorized by former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney.
For instance, last December, McGovern joined a Veterans for Peace protest at the White House, which he described in an article “Thoughts at the White House Fence.”
In the article, McGovern described thinking about “Casey Sheehan and 4,429 other U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, and the 491 U.S. troops killed this year in Afghanistan (bringing that total to 1,438). And their… Continue reading