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 the… 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
January 31, 2011
TO: Citizens of the World Working for Peace
ACTION NEEDED: Protest the Condemnation of Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.
WHY: Professor Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, has demonstrated courage in saying that there are “gaps and contradictions” in the official account of 9/11. He has been “condemned” for such conservative statements about 9/11 by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Ambassador Susan Rice, and Ambassador Rice has called for his removal from his unpaid post at the U.N.
Professor Falk has been devoted to world peace during his lifetime, and he is arguably the world’s most qualified legal scholar in the Palestine-Israel issue in the UN where he is very much needed.
Write as a citizen (not part of a movement) to both U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to let them know you disapprove of their censoring statements to Professor Richard Falk, and that you call for an apology to him.
Five sample letters follow. Please do this as soon as you are able. Time is of the essence. And please forward to your peace and justice contacts and those working for peace for Palestinians and Israelis.
Link to Richard Falk’s blog on this issue: http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/?s=9%2F11+gaps&submit=Search
ADDRESSES for Ambassador Susan Rice:
Hon. Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations U.S. Mission to the United Nations 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY… Continue reading
by Sibel Edmonds Boiling Frogs
Newly Released 9/11 Commission Files at Cryptome.Org
Last week John Young’s information site Cryptome.Org began publishing documents related to the interviews conducted by the 9/11 Commission which were released for the first time. On January 3, Cryptome posted the 9/11 Commission’s report on my interview (the infamous Sibel Edmonds Case), and aptly titled this particular file as “Sibel Edmonds Censored Yet Again.” Once you read the PDF document you’ll quickly see the reason for Cryptome’s appropriate label. The entire report, by that I mean the entire report, is blacked out (actually, whited-out;-). It took me less than one minute to scan the entire document; basically, scrolling down the white pages-one white page after another. Initially, I was not a bit surprised. Hey, I’ve been declared the most gagged and classified person in US history, after all- State Secrets Privilege invocation twice, gagging the entire Congress for the first (and only) time in US history, hundreds of pages of blacked out DOJ-IG report… So, as I said, I didn’t find it a bit surprising. However, after the minute it took to go over these blank pages, I started clicking and scanning all the other files (interviews by the 9/11 Commission), and that’s where I was truly surprised:
Despite some redactions here and there, and in a few cases fairly extensive redaction, there were no interviews where the entire interview (and the report on the interview) was blacked out in its entirety. Mine was the only one… Continue reading
Fiction delivers justice that reality rarely approaches. Victims en dure suffering and emerge as victors after overcoming incredible challenges. Stieg Larsson’s gripping Millennium Trilogy weaves a story of revenge and triumphs for Lizbeth Salander, locked away in a mental institution and sexually abused for years. When Salander got out and threatened to go public about a high level sexual exploitation ring, the perpetrators sought to lock her up again. In the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Salander found some justice. ( Image )
Susan Lindauer’s autobiography, Extreme Prejudice , tells a story with certain broad similarities. In her case, however, the hornet’s nest kicked back with a real vengeance. After over a decade as a U.S. intelligence asset, Lindauer was privy to information about pre war Iraq that threatened to serve up a huge embarrassment to the Bush-Cheney regime. She hand delivered a letter to senior Bush administration officials in hopes of averting what she predicted would be the inevitably tragic 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Those officials, unnamed in the indictment, were her second cousin, then White House chief of staff Andy Card, and Colin Powell.
After the invasion failed to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Lindauer went to Congress offering to testify about the quality of prewar intelligence. In early 2004, she met with staffers in the offices of Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (D-MS) in February 2004. Shortly after those visits and other offers… Continue reading
December 14, 2010
by Catherine Herridge
An Army Reserve colonel is suing the Pentagon and U.S. intelligence agencies, claiming that they violated his free speech rights by blocking the distribution of his book over concerns it threatened national security.
Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer’s First Amendment lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., targets the Defense Department for buying 9,500 copies of his book, “Operation Dark Heart” for $50,000 and destroying them. The lawsuit also names the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency as defendants.
“Because the defendants have impermissibly infringed upon Shaffer’s right to publish unclassified information in Operation Dark Heart, they have violated Shaffer’s First Amendment rights,” the lawsuit says.
The suit provides a rare insight into the internal review process for the publication of books based on the search for senior Al Qaeda leadership in post-9/11 Afghanistan.
The lawsuit was filed by national security lawyer Mark Zaid and alleges that the book was compiled by Shaffer along with a former Washington Post reporter and author, Jacqui Salmon, who used unclassified or “open source” documents and independent interviews. The manuscript was submitted to Shaffer’s Army Reserve chain of command for review in June 2009 and ultimately given “a favorable legal and operational security review” in January. The court documents state, “the Army Reserve believed that the book had been reviewed and approved as having been completely clear of any classified information.”
The suit alleges that the Defense Intelligence Agency “claims to have… Continue reading
by Susan Lindauer
Susan Lindauer is a former U.S. Intelligence Asset, accused as an “Iraqi Agent” for opposing the war. Her new book, “EXTREME PREJUDICE–The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq” relates her ordeal facing secret charges and secret evidence on the Patriot Act, and the shocking conditions of her imprisonment on a Texas military base without a trial, threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging.
If only I’d known Julian Assange, everything would have been different.
Mine was a spook’s world of black ops and counter-terrorism. The real stuff–not color coded threats. For a decade I performed as a covert back channel to Libya and Iraq at the United Nations in support of anti-terrorism.
My special access made me one of the very few Assets covering Baghdad before the War. Our team started talks for the Lockerbie Trial with Libyan diplomats. We also held preliminary talks to resume the weapons inspections with Iraq’s Ambassador, Dr. Saeed Hasan. Once Baghdad agreed to rigorous U.S. conditions for transparency in the inspections, I notified the Security Council myself, and within 72 hours the UN invited Iraq to attend formal talks to ratify the technical language. By then it was a done deal. Contrary to official reports, Iraq always welcomed the return of weapons inspectors as a necessary step to ending the sanctions. Ordinary people just didn’t know it.
My world was “black.” Off radar. So deeply secretive that my father, brother, aunts and cousins had no knowledge of my work in Washington.…Continue reading
December 8, 2010
The Real News Network
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. And it’s the first perhaps annual Real News Webathon. We’re heading towards our $200,000 target by the end of December 9, where I think we’re getting upwards of $165,000 now, with another tonight and tomorrow night to go. So we’re doing very well, and I want to thank everybody so far for donating. And if you like what The Real News is doing, please give us a little tap on the donate button here, or you can call 888-449-6772, or you can also email us at contact (at) therealnews (dot) com if you’re having any other trouble. But the best thing is just to hit the donate button. The $200,000, I’ve explained before, covers just barely four months of the work that we’re doing now at the level we’re doing now, but we really want to expand in 2011. We need producers that specialize in certain areas. And one of the areas we want to specialize is the military-industrial complex. We’d like to have a producer who does nothing but cover stories about the sort of underpinnings of US foreign policy and the real issues that don’t get discussed very much in terms of what’s driving much of global politics, and even, as I–in the current WikiLeaks there’s a layer of truth, one could say, that is not really revealed in these WikiLeaks, because they’re not top secret, as we’ve… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
Foreign Policy Journal
Just after September 11th 2001, many governments began investigations into possible insider trading related to the terrorist attacks of that day. Such investigations were initiated by the governments of Belgium, Cyprus, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Luxembourg, Monte Carlo, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the United States, and others. Although the investigators were clearly concerned about insider trading, and considerable evidence did exist, none of the investigations resulted in a single indictment. That’s because the people identified as having been involved in the suspicious trades were seen as unlikely to have been associated with those alleged to have committed the 9/11 crimes.
This is an example of the circular logic often used by those who created the official explanations for 9/11. The reasoning goes like this: if we assume that we know who the perpetrators were (i.e. the popular version of “al Qaeda”) and those who were involved in the trades did not appear to be connected to those assumed perpetrators, then insider trading did not occur.
That’s basically what the 9/11 Commission told us. The Commission concluded that “exhaustive investigations” by the SEC and the FBI “uncovered no evidence that anyone with advance knowledge of the attacks profited through securities transactions.” What they meant was that someone did profit through securities transactions but, based on the Commission’s assumptions of guilt, those who profited were not associated with those who were guilty of conducting the attacks. In a footnote, the Commission report acknowledged “highly suspicious trading on its face,” but said that this trading on United Airlines was traced back to “A single U.S.-based institutional investor with no conceivable ties to al Qaeda.” 1
With respect to insider trading, or what is more technically called informed trading, the Commission report was itself suspect for several reasons.…Continue reading
October 1, 2010
By Michael Calderone
Publishers know that controversy fuels book sales. Apparently, so does burning them.
The Pentagon has only helped build buzz around “Operation Dark Heart,” a firsthand account of special operations in Afghanistan, by burning 9,500 copies — nearly all the first run. (Some review copies, released before publication, have filtered out and sold for more than $2,000 on eBay, according to Time magazine.)
Destroying books isn’t an everyday occurrence. In fact, the Pentagon says it has never destroyed copies of a book before. But in this case, the Pentagon contends that Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer’s work includes classified information that shouldn’t have been published and therefore it was the only option.
On Sept. 24, four days after the burning, publisher St. Martin’s Press printed 50,000 copies of the book with supposedly classified information now blacked out. Even with redactions, the second run — five times larger than the first — is selling well. Time magazine noted that “Operation Dark Heart” hit No. 1 on Amazon’s biography list and No. 2 on Barnes & Noble’s political list.
The Pentagon may have succeeded in keeping thousands of unredacted copies from hitting the shelves, but it cannot be certain that the book’s contents won’t ever reach readers. In the digital age, it’s nearly impossible to completely destroy anything. WikiLeaks, the secretive whistleblower site, called the Pentagon “Nazi punks” for burning the books and has already threatened to post an unredacted copy on the Internet.… Continue reading
by Philip Shenon
September 10, 2010
The Daily Beast.com
Why didn’t the commission investigating the devastating 2001 al Qaeda attacks thoroughly scrub the NSA’s files? Philip Shenon on the crucial records the government has never explored.
Are many of the secrets of 9/11 still hidden in top-secret government files?
Almost certainly, say former staff members of the 9/11 Commission. With the nation scheduled to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks this weekend, former staffers tell The Daily Beast it is clear that the 9/11 Commission, which went out of business in 2004, failed to conduct a thorough inspection of the government’s most important library of raw intelligence on al Qaeda and the 9/11 plot. And nobody appears to have inspected that intelligence since.
The archives, maintained by the National Security Agency at its headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland, were reviewed — in a cursory fashion — only in the final days of the commission’s investigation, and then only because of last-minute staff complaints that the NSA’s vast database was being ignored.
Throughout its investigation, staffers complained, the commission’s leaders were fixated on what could be found in the terrorism files of the CIA and the FBI, the two big targets for criticism in the panel’s final report, and largely ignored the NSA, the government’s chief eavesdropping agency.
When the commission did get into… Continue reading