By Peter Dale Scott
The Asia-Pacific Journal, Vol. 11, Issue 29, No. 1, July 29, 2013
For almost two centuries American government, though always imperfect, was also a model for the world of limited government, having evolved a system of restraints on executive power through its constitutional arrangement of checks and balances.
Since 9/11 however, constitutional practices have been overshadowed by a series of emergency measures to fight terrorism. The latter have mushroomed in size, reach and budget, while traditional government has shrunk. As a result we have today what the journalist Dana Priest has called two governments: the one its citizens were familiar with, operated more or less in the open: the other a parallel top secret government whose parts had mushroomed in less than a decade into a gigantic, sprawling universe of its own, visible to only a carefully vetted cadre – and its entirety…visible only to God.1
More and more, it is becoming common to say that America, like Turkey before it, now has what Marc Ambinder and John Tirman have called a deep state behind the public one.2 And this parallel government is guided in surveillance matters by its own Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, known as the FISA court, which according to the New York Times, “has quietly become almost a parallel Supreme Court.”3 Thanks largely to Edward Snowden, it is now clear that the FISA Court has permitted this deep state to expand surveillance beyond the tiny number of known and suspected Islamic terrorists, to any incipient protest movement that might challenge the policies of the American war machine.…Continue reading
By Nafeez Ahmed
A whistleblower has revealed extraordinary information on the U.S. government’s support for international terrorist networks and organised crime. The government has denied the allegations yet gone to extraordinary lengths to silence her. Her critics have derided her as a fabulist and fabricator. But now comes word that some of her most serious allegations were confirmed by a major European newspaper only to be squashed at the request of the U.S. government.
In a recent book Classified Woman, Sibel Edmonds, a former translator for the FBI, describes how the Pentagon, CIA and State Department maintained intimate ties to al-Qaeda militants as late as 2001. Her memoir, Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, published last year, charged senior government officials with negligence, corruption and collaboration with al Qaeda in illegal arms smuggling and drugs trafficking in Central Asia.
In interviews with this author in early March, Edmonds claimed that Ayman al-Zawahiri, current head of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden’s deputy at the time, had innumerable, regular meetings at the U.S. embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, with U.S. military and intelligence officials between 1997 and 2001, as part of an operation known as ‘Gladio B’. Al-Zawahiri, she charged, as well as various members of the bin Laden family and other mujahideen, were transported on NATO planes to various parts of Central Asia and the Balkans to participate in Pentagon-backed destabilisation operations.
According to two Sunday Times journalists speaking on condition of anonymity, this and related revelations had… Continue reading
Preface: This is not a partisan post. We have repeatedly documented that Obama is as bad or worse than the Bush administration.
In the run up to the Iraq war – and for several years thereafter – the program of torture carried out by the Bush administration was specifically specifically aimed at establishing a false justification for war. Dick Cheney is the guy who pushed for torture, pressured the Justice Department lawyers to write memos saying torture was legal, and made the pitch to Congress justifying torture. (The former director of the CIA said Cheney oversaw American torture policies).
The type of torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects is of a special type. Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions (see this, this, this and this).
According to NBC News:
In fact, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on third-hand… Continue reading
by Ryan Gallagher
When a former senior White House official describes a nationwide surveillance effort as “breathtaking,” you know civil liberties activists are preparing for a fight.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the little-known National Counterterrorism Center, based in an unmarked building in McLean, Va., has been granted sweeping new authority to store and monitor massive datasets about innocent Americans.
After internal wrangling over privacy and civil liberties issues, the Justice Department reportedly signed off on controversial new guidelines earlier this year. The guidelines allow the NCTC, for the first time, to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, using “predictive pattern-matching,” to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. The data the counterterrorism center has access to, according to the Journal, includes “entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others.”
Notably, the Journal reports that these changes also allow databases about U.S. civilians to be handed over to foreign governments for analysis, presumably so that they too can attempt to determine future criminal actions. The Department of Homeland Security’s former chief privacy officer said that it represents a “sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public.”
The snooping effort, which officials say is subject to “rigorous oversight,” is reminiscent of the so-called Total Information Awareness initiative, dreamt up in the aftermath of 9/11 by the Pentagon’s research unit DARPA. The aim of the TIA initiative was essentially to create… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
In the summer of 2001, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Robert Wright, a counterterrorism expert from the Chicago office, made some startling claims about the Bureau in a written statement outlining the difficulties he had doing his job. Three months before 9/11, he wrote: “The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.”
Revelations since 9/11 have confirmed Wright’s claims. FBI management did little or nothing to stop terrorism in the decade before 9/11 and, in some cases, appeared to have supported terrorists. This is more disturbing considering that the power of the FBI over terrorism investigations was supreme. In 1998, the FBI’s strategic plan stated that terrorist activities fell “almost exclusively within the jurisdiction of the FBI” and that “the FBI has no higher priority than to combat terrorism.”
A number of people are suspect in these failures, including the leaders of the FBI’s counterterrorism programs. But at the time of Wright’s written complaint, which was not shared with the public until May 2002, the man most responsible was Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001.
Agent Wright was not FBI leadership’s only detractor, and not the only one to criticize Freeh. The public advocacy law firm Judicial Watch, which prosecutes government abuse and corruption, rejoiced at the news of Freeh’s March 2001 resignation. Judicial Watch pointed to a “legacy of corruption” at the FBI under Freeh, listing the espionage scandal at Los Alamos National Laboratories, as well as “Filegate, Waco, the Ruby Ridge cover-up, the Olympic bombing frame-up of Richard Jewell, [and] falsification of evidence concerning the Oklahoma City bombing.”
Judicial Watch said that Director Freeh believed he was above the law.…Continue reading
Abu Zubaydah, a man once called al-Qaeda’s “chief of operations” appears to be at the center of an unraveling of the official myth behind al Qaeda. After his capture in early 2002, Zubaydah was the first “detainee” known to be tortured. The information allegedly obtained from his torture played a large part in the creation of the official account of 9/11 and in the justification for the continued use of such torture techniques. Yet in September, 2009, the U.S. government admitted that Zubaydah was never a member or associate of al Qaeda at all. These facts raise an alarming number of questions about the veracity of our knowledge about al Qaeda, and the true identity of the people who are said to be behind the 9/11 attacks.
Unlike other alleged al Qaeda leaders, including Khlaid Sheik Mohammed and Rasmi bin Alshibh, Zubaydah has never been charged with a crime. As these other leading suspects await their continually-postponed military trial, Zubaydah is instead being airbrushed out of history. Why would the U.S. government want us to forget Zubaydah, the first and most important al Qaeda operative captured after 9/11?
The 9/11 Commission called Zubaydah an “Al Qaeda associate,” a “long-time ally of Bin Ladin,” a “Bin Ladin lieutenant,” and an “al Qaeda lieutenant.” The Commission’s claims were somewhat contradictory in that Zubaydah was, in the Commission’s report, represented as both an al Qaeda leader and simply a terrorist colleague who collaborated in the training and recruiting… Continue reading
By Eric Lichtblau
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.
Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
His former Senate colleague, Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, a Democrat who served on the separate 9/11 Commission, said in a sworn affidavit of his own in the case that “significant questions remain unanswered” about the role of Saudi institutions. “Evidence relating to the plausible involvement of possible Saudi government agents in the September 11th attacks has never been fully pursued,” Mr. Kerrey said.
Their affidavits, which were filed on Friday and have not previously been disclosed, are part of a multibillion-dollar lawsuit… Continue reading
By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
In a ferocious legal battle pitting government lawyers against victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Justice Department is fighting to block thousands of individuals and businesses from taking $6.6 million in frozen al-Qaeda assets seized from an alleged terrorism financier.
Frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007, the money is sought by the attorneys for 6,000 individual victims and insurers who suffered billions in losses from the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The money, in a Chicago brokerage account controlled by senior al-Qaeda operative Abu al-Tayyeb until his arrest in Saudi Arabia in 2006, drew little public notice until lawyers for 9/11 victims moved in June to collect on a 2007 default judgment.
A short time later, the Justice Department initiated legal proceedings to claim the money for itself – and keep it out of the hands of the 9/11 victims and insurers.
That triggered a fierce response from the victims’ lawyers, among them the Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor, who accuse the Justice Department of duplicity in seeking to prevent them from getting access to… Continue reading
January 23, 2012
By Agence France-Presse
Monday, January 23, 2012
A former CIA official who publicly confirmed the waterboarding of top Al-Qaeda operative Abu Zubaydah was charged Monday with leaking classified information to journalists, including the identities of two CIA officers.
John Kiriakou, who served with the CIA between 1990 and 2004, was charged with violating a law that makes it illegal to disclose the identity of a covert officer, leaking classified information and lying to a CIA publications review board, the department said.
He faces up to 20 years in prison if convicted on all charges.
“Safeguarding classified information, including the identities of CIA officers involved in sensitive operations, is critical to keeping our intelligence officers safe and protecting our national security,” Attorney General Eric Holder said.
“Today’s charges reinforce the Justice Department’s commitment to hold accountable anyone who would violate the solemn duty not to disclose such sensitive information,” he said in a statement.
Kiriakou first came to public attention in an interview with ABC News in December 2007 in which he became the first US official to describe Abu Zubaydah’s waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning widely viewed as torture.
He acknowledged later in his memoir, however, that he was not present when the interrogation took place.
CIA director David Petraeus said the spy agency had supported the investigation, and reminded CIA employees of their oath to safeguard classified information.
“Given the sensitive nature of many of our agency’s operations and the risks we ask our… Continue reading
Red Dirt Report, editor
OKLAHOMA CITY — Ten years after 9/11 and 16 years after the Oklahoma City bombing, it appears the federal government continues to view some Americans who embrace their First Amendment rights — press and speech, primarily — as a danger to the State, and as a result they are listing certain investigative websites as extremist and a terroristic threat to the “homeland.”
One, labeled as “extremist” and therefore a threat to the U.S. Government, includes a well-known site, once operated by a truth-seeking Oklahoma state legislator, working to expose anomalies related to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing — OKCbombing.net . A link to the document can be seen here .
This shocking designation is indeed troubling, particularly to the local documentary film production company Free Mind Films , which is also releasing an explosive documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing, A Noble Lie.
OKCbombing.net was formerly operated by State Rep. Charles Key (R-Oklahoma City), as a site to inform the public about reams of information discovered by the Oklahoma Bombing Investigation Committee, much of it originally ignored by the same federal agencies who now list the site as a threat to the homeland. As for Rep. Key, he concluded his role in the OBIC in approximately 2002 and Free Mind Films is now paying for access and domain rights to… Continue reading
by Brian Romanoff
News of the Saudi Crown Prince passing in the U.S. and his new successor to the post warrant a refresher on the attempts to name them in 9/11 lawsuits years ago.
ONE BIG FAMILY
Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, died just a weeks ago in a New York hospital due to ill health. The world’s largest oil-exporting nation has quickly found an heir to the Crown Prince, a position directly under the most powerful of the King. The new Crown Prince has been named as Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, brother of the deceased Crown Prince Sultan. Both were half-brothers to the current King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, and both are a part of the powerful Sudairi Seven.
Photo, left: The recently deceased Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz
The old Crown Prince Sultan is the father of Prince Bandar. Bandar is known to many in the world as “Bandar Bush” for his extremely close relationship with the Bush family. Bandar served as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.S. from 1983 until 2005. The Royal family’s relationship with the Bush family goes back even further.
Photo, right: “Bandar Bush” and Condoleezza Rice join the Saudi King and Bush at Bush’s Texas property.
Prince Bandar has a history of involvement in scandals, undoubtebly we only know so much. A biography of Prince Bandar was written by William Simpson… Continue reading
By Rory O’Connor and Ray Nowosielski
October 14, 2011
A growing number of former government insiders — all responsible officials who served in a number of federal posts — are now on record as doubting ex-CIA director George Tenet’s account of events leading up to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States. Among them are several special agents of the FBI, the former counterterrorism head in the Clinton and Bush administrations, and the chairman of the 9/11 Commission, who told us the CIA chief had been “obviously not forthcoming” in his testimony and had misled the commissioners.
These doubts about the CIA first emerged among a group of 9/11 victims’ families whose struggle to force the government to investigate the causes of the attacks, we chronicled in our 2006 documentary film “Press for Truth.” At that time, we thought we were done with the subject. But tantalizing information unearthed by the 9/11 Commission’s
final report and spotted by the families (Chapter 6, footnote 44) raised a question too important to be put aside:
Did Tenet fail to share intelligence with the White House and the FBI in 2000 and 2001 that could have prevented the attacks? Specifically, did a group in the CIA’s al-Qaida office engage in a domestic covert action operation involving two of the 9/11 hijackers, that — however legitimate the agency’s goals may have been — hindered the type of intelligence-sharing that could have prevented the attacks?…Continue reading
by Ron Paul
October 11, 2011
According to the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution, Americans are never
to be deprived of life, liberty, or property without due process of law. The
Constitution is not some aspirational statement of values, allowing exceptions
when convenient, but rather, it is the law of the land. It is the basis of our
Republic and our principal bulwark against tyranny.
Last week’s assassination of two American citizens, Anwar al-Awlaki and Samir
Khan, is an outrage and a criminal act carried out by the President and his
administration. If the law protecting us against government-sanctioned assassination
can be voided when there is a "really bad American," is there any
meaning left to the rule of law in the United States?
If, as we learned last week, a secret government committee, not subject to
congressional oversight or judicial review, can now target certain Americans
for assassination, under what moral authority do we presume to lecture the rest
of the world about protecting human rights? Didn’t we just bomb Libya into oblivion
under the auspices of protecting the civilians from being targeted by their
government? Timothy McVeigh was certainly a threat, as were Nidal Hassan and
Jared Lee Loughner. They killed people in front of many witnesses. They took
up arms against their government in a literal way, yet were still afforded trials.
These constitutional protections are in place because our Founders realized
it is a very serious matter to deprive any individual of life or… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
September 20, 2011
The story of Jose Padilla, continuing through the events of yesterday, expresses so much of the true nature of the War on Terror and especially America’s justice system. In 2002, the American citizen was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, publicly labeled by John Ashcroft as The Dirty Bomber, and then imprisoned for the next three years on U.S. soil as an “enemy combatant” without charges of any kind, and denied all contact with the outside world, including even a lawyer. During his lawless incarceration, he was kept not just in extreme solitary confinement but extreme sensory deprivation as well, and was abused and tortured to the point of severe and probably permanent mental incapacity. (Bush lawyers told a court that they were unable to produce videos of Padilla’s interrogations because those videos were mysteriously and tragically “lost”).
Needless to say, none of the government officials responsible for this abuse of a U.S. citizen on American soil has been held accountable in any way. That’s because President Obama decreed that Bush officials shall not be criminally investigated for War on Terror crimes, while his Justice Department vigorously defended John Yoo, Donald Rumsfeld and other responsible functionaries in civil suits brought by Padilla seeking damages for what was done to him.
As usual, the Obama DOJ cited national security imperatives and sweeping theories of presidential power to demand that Executive Branch officials be fully shielded from judicial scrutiny (i.e., shielded from the … Continue reading
by Sibel Edmonds
CIA’s Maneuver: A Case of Bluffing? Buying Time? Or Something More?
Last week we broke the story of the CIA issued legal threats against producers Ray Nowosielski and John Duffy on their discovery of the identities of the two key CIA analysts who executed the Tenet-Black-Blee cover-up in the case of two key 9/11 hijackers. The analysts were referred to only by first names initially, but were going to be fully named in a follow up segment. It appears the story is still developing, but we now have further details on the case, an analysis by an expert producer, and a few comments on assessing the nature and possible implication of this move by the CIA.
I asked Mr. Nowosielski how the CIA was informed about the schedule and the content of their upcoming segment, and he provided us with the following details:
We emailed CIA Public Affairs on Thursday morning telling them of our intention to name two current agents in our journalism piece and explained the context of their use — the things they were accused of. We also explained that their names had been deduced through open-source materials and that our sources had told us they were working from headquarters.
As for the CIA’s reaction and response Mr. Nowosielski recounted the following:
Their media spokesperson called back almost immediately. After a brief discussion, we emailed him the script for official reply. We also requested an interview with the two to ensure that we were telling the full story accurately.…
By Will Bunch
Philadelphia Daily News
IF YOU THINK that on the 10th anniversary you know the whole story of 9/11 – and here I’m addressing conspiracy-minded “truthers” and the 13 percent who approved of the job Dick Cheney did as vice president – actually, you don’t.
Time has upheld the broad story line of how hijackers loyal to Osama bin Laden hijacked four planes and killed nearly 3,000 people on Sept. 11, 2001 – claims about holograms being used to attack buildings instead of jetliners notwithstanding. At the same time, the dictum of famed investigative reporter I.F. Stone about all governments – i.e., they lie – is no less true about 9/11 than any other event.
Here are 10 questions about 9/11 that remain unanswered.
Richard Clarke, the national counterterrorism czar on 9/11, thinks so. In an interview for an upcoming radio documentary, Clarke claimed that top-level CIA officials deliberately withheld from the White House and the FBI knowledge as early as 2000 that two al Qaeda members – Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar – were living in San Diego.
The former anti-terror chief said he believes that the CIA kept the info under wraps because it wanted to recruit the two Saudis to serve as double agents within bin Laden’s organization. Instead, the two terrorists ended up hijackers on American Flight 77. George Tenet, who was CIA director, claims that Clarke… Continue reading
A Significant Stimulus for the Reform that Never Came
10 August 2011
by Kevin Fenton
Zacarias Moussaoui, one of the numerous “20th hijackers,” was arrested ten years ago next Tuesday, outside the Residence Inn in Eagan, Minnesota. The arrest was one of the first events in a case that gave the FBI a chance to blow open the 9/11 plot, but resulted in abject humiliation for the bureau when its headquarters’ string of errors was exposed in the press.
The Moussaoui case is a poster boy for the state of our knowledge about the attacks: we have some of the details, but know some are missing. Also, two key questions remain unanswered. This despite the wealth of information that came out at the trial and the fact that Moussaoui, although largely ignored by the 9/11 Commission’s final report–partly due to the forthcoming trial–was a major topic of the Justice Department inspector general’s report into the FBI’s pre-attack failings.
These are the bare bones of the case: Moussaoui had been a known extremist for years prior to his arrest. Before the bureau first heard his name on August 15, he had been under surveillance by French and British intelligence and the CIA, although the agency would claim it only knew him under an alias. He was sent to the US for flight training by alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, possibly to participate in 9/11, possibly to participate in a follow-up operation. However, he was a poor student and… Continue reading
Breathlessly, six members of Congress have requested that the FBI investigate the “outrageous” allegations that News Corp might have hacked into the cell phones of 9/11 victims and their families. Lickety split, the Justice Department has done so.
First off, does it surprise me that a corporation like News Corp. might try to hack into the information of private citizens for their own financial gain? Nope.
Much like it wouldn’t surprise me if my own government hacked into the private information of its citizens for political gain or… er, I mean, “reasons of national security.” Just ask Dick Cheney and Karl Rove about that.
Of course, any such “accidental netting” on their part would be immediately explained away under the protections of FISA and the Patriot Act, because clearly it would have been necessary “in the ongoing fight against terrorism.”
Too bad, Congress doesn’t want to investigate those types of indiscretions. Sigh.
But truly, I am awestruck when people like Congressman Peter King, Chairman of the House Committee for Homeland Security is so quickly moved to demand an investigation into such vague, seemingly hollow allegations as someone hacking into the cell phones of people like me.
Is this the same Congressman King who when faced with actual hard, incontrovertible facts and figures regarding the vulnerabilities posed by dangerous chemical and water plants across the country remains disinterested? And, I might add firmly on the side of… Continue reading