By Ray McGovern
What’s the difference between murder and massacre?
The answer is Terry Halbardier, whose bravery and ingenuity as a 23-year-old Navy seaman spelled the difference between the murder of 34 of the USS Liberty crew and the intended massacre of all 294.
The date was June 8, 1967; and for the families of the 34 murdered and for the Liberty’s survivors and their families, it is a “date which will live in infamy” — like the date of an earlier surprise attack on the U.S. Navy.
The infamy is two-fold: (1) the Liberty, a virtually defenseless intelligence collection platform prominently flying an American flag in international waters, came under deliberate attack by Israeli aircraft and three 60-ton Israeli torpedo boats off the coast of the Sinai on a cloudless June afternoon during the six-day Israeli-Arab war; and (2) President Lyndon Johnson called back carrier aircraft dispatched to defend the Liberty lest Israel be embarrassed — the start of an unconscionable cover-up, including top Navy brass, that persists to this day.
Given all they have been through, the Liberty survivors and other veterans — who joined Halbardier to celebrate his belated receipt of the Silver Star — can be forgiven for having doubted that this day would ever come.
In the award ceremony at the Visalia (California) office of Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican congressman pinned the Silver Star next to the Purple Heart that Halbardier found in his home mailbox three years ago.
Nunes said, “The government… Continue reading
The busiest project this week was the Civil Liberties Timeline, which has expanded
its chapter on the PROMIS application, reportedly the granddaddy of today’s
government surveillance software. Claims that the software was distributed to
other countries have been disputed, but a 1992 Congressional investigation found
two Justice Department memos saying a version of the software was about to be
passed to Israel.
In the War in Afghanistan Timeline, a contributor covers a recent statement
by UN official Philip Alston, who said that “personnel belonging to international
intelligence services” have been involved in a spate of civilian deaths
Contributors to the US Electoral Politics Timeline take a look at a Supreme
Court challenge to Indiana’s voter ID law and recall a 2007 Justice Department
probe that turned up “scant evidence” of voter fraud in the previous
The Domestic Propaganda Timeline takes a look at Fox News rising star Glenn
In the Economic Crisis Timeline a contributor highlights a recent statement
by the US Federal Reserve saying that the largest 19 banks will probably not
require any more bailouts.
Finally, in the International Relations Timeline, former State Department Chief
of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson claims that former Vice President Dick Cheney was
manipulating the Bush administration from the outset.
The History Commons needs funding to continue its operations, including maintaining
and updating the site, and undertaking new projects. Everything we do depends
on our generous readers.… Continue reading
April 23, 2009
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
Sibel gave a 75-min interview to Electric Politics on April 10. You can listen
to it here.
Mizgin has an overview of the interview here.
A partial transcript follows:
Heroin, money-laundering and terrorism
Sibel Edmonds: First of all, it has been documented in the past several decades, the importance of narcotics in the Turkish economy, but also the role of Turkish MIT – that is Turkish Intelligence – and the military having an active role. But you’re also looking at the increased role of certain Central Asian countries and the Caucuses, and if you look at some of these regimes, these are the regimes that we have been supporting. Their economies also have become dependent on narcotics, because they have become a major transit – and in some places, for certain countries such as Azerbaijan, they have become major production centers.
After they shut down the casinos in Turkey – around 1998 – many of the large casinos in Turkey which were used to launder a lot of money, that also had to do with the narcotics, they actually moved and relocated to Azerbaijan, and there were several that went to Kazakhstan. So if you go through some of those Central Asian countries and you look at the list of the casinos, and you look at the ownership, you will see mainly Turkish ownership, and these are Turkish holding companies that relocated in 1998 to those countries.
George Kenney:… Continue reading
Images and Words
Anthony Hall is like many other 9/11 skeptics. At some point, after examining the events of 9/11 and the international consequences of that foul deed, (particularly the
consequences that befell countries with a predominantly Arab/Muslim population), Mr. Hall decided to speak out. The difference between Hall and most 9/11 skeptics, is that Mr. Hall is a sitting academic at a university in Lethbridge, Alberta, in Canada.
Hall joined a growing list of Canadian academics who have chosen to speak out publicly; John McMurtry , Graeme MacQueen , Michael Keefer , and of course, Michel Chossudovsky , a pioneer in 9/11 skepticism.
He made his debut as a skeptic of the 9/11 Official Conspiracy Theory (OCT) on September 6, 2008 in Edmonton, Alberta, with a reading of his paper, The Lies and Crimes of 911 . The paper is an excellent introduction to a series of complex, related studies, that encompass globalization, US imperial tendencies, and false-flag terrorism. Hall is well-versed in these issues, and won an Alberta Book Award for his volume, The American Empire and the Fourth World .
The cover features provocative imagery; Apache-like helicopters in place of stars on the American flag, giving no doubt as to Hall’s intent. The image is a very un-subtle, ironic reinterpretation of one of the prime symbols of the American dream; the very banner of Liberty itself is subverted to shock the viewer into a reevaluation of the iconic Red, White and Blue. Just as… Continue reading
by Dave Lindorff
For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.
There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).
I’ll admit that I considered the idea of blackmail a bit far out. But now suddenly there is at least some evidence that such seemingly wild speculation may not have been off the mark, with reports that the NSA was indeed monitoring Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and that the Bush Administration used the evidence it had obtained of her improper conversations with and promises to assist agents of the Israeli government and its lobby here in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to blackmail her into supporting the NSA’s warrantless spying program–the very kind of spying that led to her being caught on tape plotting with an agent of a foreign power.
At the time of the taping of Harman’s incriminating phone conversations, the administration was trying desperately (and ultimately successfully) to get the New York Times to hold off on publishing a shocking investigative report by journalist James Risen about a massive campaign of warrantless tapping of Americans’ phone and internet communications.…Continue reading
By Matt Corley
In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, “more people” were “coming forward” to talk to him now that “the president and vice president are no longer in power.” Hersh replied that though “a lot of people that had told me in the last year of Bush, ‘call me next, next February,’ not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney.
“Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward,” asked Gross. “I’ll make it worse,” answered Hersh, adding that he believes Cheney “put people back” in government to “stay behind” in order to “tell him what’s going on” and perhaps even “do sabotage”:
HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind… Continue reading
Waterboarding, Rough Interrogation of Abu Zubaida Produced False Leads, Officials
By Peter Finn and Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 29, 2009; A01
When CIA officials subjected their first high-value captive, Abu Zubaida, to
waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods, they were convinced that
they had in their custody an al-Qaeda leader who knew details of operations
yet to be unleashed, and they were facing increasing pressure from the White
House to get those secrets out of him.
The methods succeeded in breaking him, and the stories he told of al-Qaeda
terrorism plots sent CIA officers around the globe chasing leads.
In the end, though, not a single significant plot was foiled as a result of
Abu Zubaida’s tortured confessions, according to former senior government officials
who closely followed the interrogations. Nearly all of the leads attained through
the harsh measures quickly evaporated, while most of the useful information
from Abu Zubaida — chiefly names of al-Qaeda members and associates — was
obtained before waterboarding was introduced, they said.
Moreover, within weeks of his capture, U.S. officials had gained evidence that
made clear they had misjudged Abu Zubaida. President George W. Bush had publicly
described him as “al-Qaeda’s chief of operations,” and other top officials
called him a “trusted associate” of al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
and a major figure in the planning of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
None of that was accurate, the new evidence showed.
Abu Zubaida was not even an official member… Continue reading
March 12, 2009
“There is a special irony in having been accused of improper regard for the opinions of foreign governments and societies by a group so clearly intent on enforcing adherence to the policies of a foreign government — in this case, the government of Israel. I believe that the inability of the American public to discuss, or the government to consider, any option for US policies in the Middle East opposed by the ruling faction in Israeli politics has allowed that faction to adopt and sustain policies that ultimately threaten the existence of the state of Israel. It is not permitted for anyone in the United States to say so. This is not just a tragedy for Israelis and their neighbors in the Middle East; it is doing widening damage to the national security of the United States.” – Charles Freeman.
For a one-hour introduction to the Israel Lobby; please check out this excellent Dutch documentary on the controversy that erupted following the publication of Mearsheimer and Walt’s academic paper, “The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy”, in its condensed form at the London Review of Books (The book which then followed is highly recommended.);
Charles Freeman’s statement as published by the Wall Street Journal (!);
Charles Freeman, a veteran diplomat slated to become the top U.S. intelligence analyst, withdrew from consideration Tuesday. He released a statement denouncing the “Israel Lobby” for “character assassination.” Here is the text of the statement.… Continue reading
March 2, 2009 — Washington, DC ( electionfraudnews.com )
I first wrote about Susan Lindauer’s struggle against the Bush-Cheney regime in October 2007, ” American Cassandra: Susan Lindauer’s Story .” This was initially published in “Scoop” Independent Media ( complete series ) and carried by a wide variety of concerned Internet news sites and blogs. This interview follows the full dismissal of charges against her just before President Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009. This is the first in-depth interview that Lindauer has offered regarding 9/11. Below is part one of the interview.
I asked Ms. Lindauer to make her own statement about why she’s willing to go into detail now about 9/11 and the government’s handling of pre-9/11 intelligence.
For five years, I was the poster child for President Bush’s retaliation against Americans who opposed his War Policy in Iraq. In March, 2004 the Justice Department indicted me for acting as an “unregistered Iraqi Agent” (not espionage), because I delivered a prescient letter to my second cousin, Andy Card, former Chief of Staff to President Bush, warning of the dire consequences of War. More dangerously, I had decided to talk. In February, 2004 I approached the senior staff of Senators Trent Lott and John McCain and asked to testify in front of the new blue ribbon Presidential Commission on Iraqi Pre-War Intelligence. Within a month, I was astounded to wake up one morning to hear FBI agents pounding on the door of my house in Maryland with an arrest… Continue reading
Liberal Leaders Betray Antiwar Cause To Serve Dems and Obama — Again
by John Walsh
February 25th, 2009
In the Wall Street Journal of January 24, the loathsome McCarthyite neocon David Horowitz gazed approvingly on the inauguration of Barack Obama. To Horowitz it meant the removal of an obstacle to war. Thus he wrote:
Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us . . .
Horowitz is now locked in fast embrace with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor in chief of The Nation and Leslie Cagan and her cohorts at United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Vanden Heuvel’s most recent piece in The Nation runs under a title in the form of a query, “Obama’s War?” Whose war does she think it is anyway? Even the mainstream media calls it Obama’s war — sans question mark. Her piece ran shortly after Obama ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan and almost a month after both Afghan and Pakistani civilians were first bombed at Obama’s orders. She concludes her piece, after citing the deployment of additional troops, “Up to this point the Afghan war belonged to George W.…Continue reading
Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror.
Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College.
Arnold has worked as a crisis management consultant for several Federal agencies, including The State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the author of numerous books on terror*. Arnold is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean war.
I spoke with Arnold by phone.
GW: Your essay It is Vital to Move Beyond 9/11 is insightful and hard-hitting, and I agree with virtually everything you say. I have previously written on many of the topics you touch on, such as false pretenses for war , torture and illegal spying .
Initially, you write:
“As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”
As a leading counter-terrorism expert, I am curious to hear why you believe this.
Terry Arnold: The military approach doesn’t cover all of the elements of the problem. We need to capture and confine the individuals who are up to… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 04, 2009
According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.
If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harrassments when they fly.
The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.
I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.
The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.
Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible… Continue reading
From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine, Occupation is a Crime
Jobs & Education – Not Wars & Occupation
Saturday, March 21, 2009 – Gather at 12 noon at 23rd St. & Constitution Ave. NW in Washington, D.C.!
Various coalitions, organizations, and networks are joining together in a March
21 National Coalition to bring people from all walks of life and from all cities
across the United States to take part in a March on the Pentagon on the sixth
anniversary of the Iraq war: Saturday, March 21.
More than 1,000 organizations and individuals have now endorsed the March 21,
2009, March on the Pentagon to say “Bring the Troops Home NOW!”
on the sixth anniversary of the criminal invasion of Iraq.
The thousands who march will demand “From Iraq to Afghanistan to Palestine,
Occupation is a Crime” and “We Need Jobs and Education, Not Wars
and Occupation.” They will insist on an end to the war threats and economic
sanctions against Iran. They will say no to the illegal U.S. program of detention
Members of the March 21 National Coalition and supporters of the March on the
– ANSWER Coalition (http://www.answercoalition.org/)
– Muslim American Society Freedom
– National Council of Arab Americans
– National Assembly to End the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars and Occupations (http://www.natassembly.org/)
– Veterans For Peace-National
– United States Labor Against the War (USLAW)
– Ramsey Clark
– Cindy Sheehan
– The World Can’t Wait
– Code Pink
– Middle East Children’s Alliance… Continue reading
January 10, 2009
Electric Politics Podcast Schedule Resumes January 16
Well, I enjoyed having two weeks off, but I’m glad to get back to podcasting.
So here’s the starting lineup for the new season. Friday, January 16, my guest
is Martin Fletcher of The Times of London (not to be confused with
Martin Fletcher of NBC news). Martin is a roving reporter without portfolio
and previously the Times‘ foreign editor, their Washington Bureau Chief,
and a foreign correspondent. He talks to me from Israel. The Friday following,
January 23, my guest is Dr. James Petras, who’s got a lot to say about Zionism
in America. After that, I’m not sure — a couple interviews are pending,
on arms control and on the economy. So we’ll see… And as I say, I’m glad to
January 16, 2009
Barbarism in Gaza (and Zimbabwe)
Come To Palestine antique posterOne wonders whether, if it weren’t for the
excessive delay between election and inauguration, Israel would still have attacked
Gaza. In any case, Israel’s assault being less a war than a hunt for naked prey,
it’s difficult, particularly here in the U.S., to get a feeling for what’s happening.
So I was fortunate in being able to turn to Martin Walker of The Times,
who spoke to me from Jerusalem. We also talk about Zimbabwe, where Martin has
spent much of the past year. And Somalia. I highly value Martin’s insights and
experience and I’m grateful for his making himself available. Hopefully we can
Sat Jan 17, 2009
By Louis Charbonneau
BEIRUT, Jan 17 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday
he was relieved about an Israeli ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and urged the Jewish
state to withdraw all of its troops as soon as possible.
"I am relieved that the Israeli government has decided to cease hostilities
as of midnight GMT," Ban told reporters. "This should be the first
step leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza," he said,
adding that he wanted the withdrawal "as soon as possible".
He said that Hamas militants also needed to do their part to bring an end to
the violence by halting their rocket attacks against southern Israel.
"Hamas militants must stop firing rockets now," he said.
Ban said that humanitarian access for the people of the Gaza Strip was the
top priority and the United Nations was ready to act immediately.
"Any durable solution must include the reopening of the (Gaza border)
crossings and the prevention of illicit trafficking in arms," he said.
Ban flies to Damascus on Sunday to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad
before heading to the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit
meeting on aid and reconstruction efforts for Gaza hosted by Egypt’s President
Israel accuses Syria and Iran of supporting and arming Hamas, an accusation
Ban said he and European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy,
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela… Continue reading
Action Alert re. Kucinich’s Bill, HR66
January 12th, 2009
Last Friday, the House of Representatives voted 390 yes, 5 no, and 22 present to pass H.Res.34, “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” and “reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel.” To see if your Representative cosponsored this resolution, click here.To see how your Representative voted, click here. Last Thursday, the Senate voted on a similarly worded resolution, S.Res.10, which passed by unanimous consent.To see if your Senator cosponsored the resolution, click here.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation opposed these resolutions because they failed to call for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access to the occupied Gaza Strip as required under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1860. The resolutions also blamed the victims–the Palestinians–for the civilian casualties and humanitarian catastrophe Israel is inflicting upon them and absolved Israel of any responsibility for its actions.
Thankfully these resolutions will not be the final words of Congress on the issue. Yesterday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced a resolution calling for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire” and “unrestricted humanitarian access” to the occupied Gaza Strip. The US Campaign is supporting this resolution, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
National Call-In Day for Gaza!
Today – January 16, 2009
We designate Friday, January 16th as National Call-In Day for Gaza. Calling is quick, easy, and effective, and will take about 5-10 minutes. We need… Continue reading
Kucinich: UN should investigate Israeli Gaza strikes
by Nick Juliano
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for an independent investigation to be led by the United Nations into the recent eruption of violence between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza strip that has killed scores of innocent civilians.
Monday brought a third day of Israeli bombing Gaza in what the state is calling its “all-out” war on Hamas. So far, 345 people have been killed by the bombs. At least 57 of the dead are civilians, including 21 children, according to the UN.
Kucinich said he wrote to UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon urging an “independent inquiry of Israel’s war against Gaza.” The Democratic lawmaker said Israel’s attacks are an example of “collective punishment,” which violates the Geneva Conventions.
“The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better,” Kucinich said in a news release Monday. “The world community, which has been very supportive of Israel’s right to security and its right to survive, also has a right to expect Israel to conduct itself in adherence to the very laws which support the survival of Israel and every other nation.”
Kucinich compared the latest bombing campaign to Isreal’s earlier strikes at southern Lebanon targeted at Hezbollah. Then too, he said, civilians were killed, infrastructure was destroyed and lawlessness took hold… Continue reading
Yesterday, (1.12.2008), Rep. Kucinich explained why he voted against a resolution endorsing Israel’s over-the-top aggression in Gaza. Also, please take a moment to sign this petition at AVAAZ.org:
Kucinich Part 1 of 2
Kucinich Part 2 of 2
Don’t keep silent about the Israeli massacres and Holocaust against Palestinians. The demand for an end to this siege must be louder than the bombs that rain down upon us.
Adham Khalil is a resident of Jabaliya refugee camp and a youth leader at the al-Assria Children’s Library. His blog, Free Free Palestine , is at http://nagyelali.blogspot.com . (Reprinted from Electronic Intifada )… Continue reading