June 10, 2010
By Michael Doyle
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has forcefully put Yemeni citizen Mohammed Mohammed Hassan Odaini on the path to freedom after eight years of incarceration at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.
In a 36-page opinion formally released Thursday, U.S. District Judge Henry H. Kennedy Jr. called Odaini’s continued detention “unlawful” and said he’d “emphatically” grant Odaini’s petition for a writ of habeas corpus.
The ruling issued secretly last month but published Thursday sets the 26-year-old Odaini up for potential release, though when and where he’ll go remains unclear. The ruling also represents the latest defeat for U.S. officials in their efforts to keep Guantánamo detainees behind bars.
“(U.S.) officials kept a young man from Yemen in detention in Cuba from age eighteen to age twenty-six,” Kennedy wrote. “They have prevented him from seeing his family and denied him the opportunity to complete his studies and embark on a career.”
Pointedly, Kennedy added that “the evidence before the court shows that holding Odaini in custody at such great cost to him has done nothing to make the United States more secure.”
Kennedy’s ruling brings to 36 the number of Guantánamo Bay detainees who have successfully challenged their detentions through U.S. court proceedings. Over the Bush administration’s objections, a divided Supreme Court two years granted the Guantánamo detainees the right to file habeas corpus challenges.
In a decision striking both for its extensive redactions and its occasionally passionate language, Kennedy noted that Odaini’s story has remained consistent… Continue reading
by Jason Leopold
The Justice Department has quietly recanted nearly every major claim the Bush administration had made about “high-value” detainee Abu Zubaydah, a Guantánamo prisoner who at one time was said to have planned the 9/11 attacks and was the No. 2 and 3 person in al-Qaeda.
Additionally, Justice has backed away from claims intelligence officials working in the Clinton administration had also leveled against Zubaydah, specifically, that he was directly involved in the planning of the 1998 embassy bombings in East Africa.
Zubaydah’s name is redacted throughout the 109-page court document, but he is identified on the first page of the filing by his real name, Zayn Al Abidin Muhammad Husayn. He was the first detainee captured after 9/11 who was subjected to nearly a dozen brutal torture techniques, which included waterboarding, and was the catalyst, the public has been told, behind the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation” program. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has publicly admitted that personally approved of Zubaydah’s waterboarding.
His torture was videotaped and the tapes later destroyed. The destruction of 90 videotapes of his interrogations is the focus of a high-level criminal investigation being conducted by John Durham, a federal prosecutor appointed special counsel in 2008 by then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
In recent months, former Bush speechwriter Marc Thiessen has been on a public relations campaign promoting his book, “Courting Disaster,” in which he defended the torture of Zubaydah, claiming, among other things, that he reviewed classified intelligence that revealed Zubaydah’s torture produced actionable intelligence… Continue reading
by James Corbett The Corbett Report
FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds joined The Corbett Report last Friday to discuss the deplorable state of whistleblower “protections” in the United States, including S.372 , a bill making its way through the Senate that would allow the FBI and other “national security” agencies to dismiss whistleblowers’ claims without any form of oversight.
Or watch the YouTube video in the player below:
The details of Edmonds’ experience blowing the whistle on the FBI–where, in the wake of 9/11, she worked in the Turkish language division of the Washington field office’s translation department–are by now fairly well known amongst followers of the alternative media. The revelations that have emerged from her case have been explosive: that foreign operatives working within the translation department tried to recruit her for their operations; that there exists a nuclear spy ring aided and abetted by high ranking U.S. government officials selling America’s nuclear secrets on the black market; that foreign language intelligence directly pertaining to 9/11 was deliberately withheld from FBI agents in the field; that Osama Bin Laden had an ‘intimate relationship’ with the United States government right up until 9/11. Perhaps the only thing more remarkable than the information she has revealed is that she ever got to… Continue reading
March 5, 2010
By MIKE ROBINSON
AP Legal Affairs Writer
The Daily Journal
CHICAGO (AP) — A federal judge refused Friday to dismiss a civil lawsuit accusing former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of responsibility for the alleged torture by U.S. forces of two Americans who worked for an Iraqi contracting firm.
U.S. District Judge Wayne R. Andersen’s ruling did not say the two contractors had proven any of their claims. But it did say they had alleged enough specific mistreatment to warrant hearing evidence of exactly what happened.
Andersen said his decision “represents a recognition that federal officials may not strip citizens of well settled constitutional protections against mistreatment simply because they are located in a tumultuous foreign setting.”
Andersen did throw out two of the lawsuit’s three counts but gave former contractors Donald Vance and Nathan Ertel the green light to go forward with a third count alleging they were unconstitutionally tortured under procedures personally approved by Rumsfeld.
In Washington, Justice Department spokesman Charles Miller said by telephone only that the department, which is representing Rumsfeld in the suit, “is reviewing the court’s decision.”
Vance and Ertel were described by their attorney, Mike Kanovitz of Chicago, as being in their early thirties. He said the two Americans went to Iraq in the fall of 2005 to work for the Iraqi-owned contracting firm of Shield Group Security.
The suit filed in 2006 alleges that while working for the company they saw fellow employees making payments to “certain Iraqi sheikhs” and… Continue reading
February 19, 2010
By DEVLIN BARRETT and PETE YOST
WASHINGTON — After seven frustrating years probing the deadly 2001 anthrax
mailings, the FBI closed the case Friday, concluding a mentally unhinged government
researcher acted alone in the attacks that killed five people and unnerved Americans
Many details of the case have been known, but newly released FBI documents
paint a fuller portrait of Dr. Bruce Ivins as a troubled scientist whose career
was teetering toward failure at the time the letters were sent. As the U.S.
responded to the mailings, his work was given new importance by the government
and he was even honored for his efforts on anthrax.
The documents also describe what investigators say was Ivins’ bizarre, decades-long
obsession with a sorority. The letters were mailed from a mailbox near the sorority’s
office in Princeton, N.J.
The anthrax letters were sent to lawmakers and news organizations as the nation
reeled in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Postal facilities,
Capitol buildings and private offices were shut down for inspection and cleaning
by workers in hazardous materials "space suits" from Florida to Washington
to New York and beyond.
The FBI and Justice Department announced the decision closing the case while
disclosing reams of evidence collected in the case. Officials also released
a nearly 100-page summary of their findings.
The document said Ivins made comments to a former colleague that showed "immediately
prior to the anthrax letter attacks, his life’s work was in jeopardy."
Ivins… Continue reading
The new decade finds the US working class suffering a level of social misery not seen since the Great Depression. Unemployment, poverty, hunger, utility cutoffs, homelessness, foreclosures and bankruptcies have become common experiences for millions.
But unlike in the Great Depression, when limited reforms were put in place in response to the crisis, the Obama administration, Congress, and state and local governments are taking no serious measures to provide relief. On the contrary, the two parties of big business are exacerbating the crisis through budget cuts at the state and local level and the federal government is preparing new austerity measures.
Unemployment: At over 10 percent, the official US jobless rate reached in October and November was the highest since June of 1983. A broader measure of unemployment, taking into account those who have fallen out of the official workforce, reveals that something approaching one in five workers is unemployed or underemployed.
The economy has not added jobs since December 2007, and in that same time span has lost 7.2 million jobs overall. Coupling these losses with population growth–the economy must add about 150,000 jobs per month to break even–the net jobs deficit in the period is well over 10.5 million.
It is widely acknowledged that most of the jobs lost will not return for years, if ever. Even by the optimistic forecast of the Federal Reserve Board, the jobless rate will remain above 7 percent through 2011.…Continue reading
by Chris Hedges
Syed Fahad Hashmi can tell you about the dark heart of America. He knows that our First Amendment rights have become a joke, that habeas corpus no longer exists and that we torture, not only in black sites such as those at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan or at Guantánamo Bay, but also at the federal Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in Lower Manhattan. Hashmi is a U.S. citizen of Muslim descent imprisoned on two counts of providing and conspiring to provide material support and two counts of making and conspiring to make a contribution of goods or services to al-Qaida. As his case prepares for trial, his plight illustrates that the gravest threat we face is not from Islamic extremists, but the codification of draconian procedures that deny Americans basic civil liberties and due process. Hashmi would be a better person to tell you this, but he is not allowed to speak.
This corruption of our legal system, if history is any guide, will not be reserved by the state for suspected terrorists, or even Muslim Americans. In the coming turmoil and economic collapse, it will be used to silence all who are branded as disruptive or subversive. Hashmi endures what many others, who are not Muslim, will endure later. Radical activists in the environmental, globalization, anti-nuclear, sustainable agriculture and anarchist movements–who are already being placed by the state in special detention facilities with Muslims charged with terrorism–have discovered that his fate is their fate. Courageous… Continue reading
By Cain Burdeau (AP)
November 18, 2009
NEW ORLEANS — A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Army Corps of Engineers’ failure to properly maintain a navigation channel led to massive flooding in Hurricane Katrina.
U.S. District Judge Stanwood Duval sided with five residents and one business who argued the Army Corps’ shoddy oversight of the Mississippi River-Gulf Outlet led to the flooding of New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward and neighboring St. Bernard Parish. He said, however, the corps couldn’t be held liable for the flooding of eastern New Orleans, where one of the plaintiffs lived.
Duval awarded the plaintiffs $720,000, or about $170,000 each, but the decision could eventually make the government vulnerable to a much larger payout. The ruling should give more than 100,000 other individuals, businesses and government entities a better shot at claiming billions of dollars in damages.
Joe Bruno, one of the lead plaintiffs lawyer, said the ruling underscored the Army Corps’ long history of failure to properly protect the New Orleans region.
“It’s high time we look at the way these guys do business and do a full re-evaluation of the way it does business,” Bruno said.
The corps referred calls seeking comment to the Justice Department. The corps had argued that it is immune from liability because the channel is part of New Orleans’ flood control system, but the judge allowed the case to go forward.
Many in New Orleans have argued that Katrina, which struck the region Aug. 29, 2005,… Continue reading
October 21, 2009 by Bryant Jordan Military.com
After seven years of forced silence, a government whistleblower is opening up on what she learned while working as a Turkish translator for the FBI in the wake of 9/11.
In sworn testimony to attorneys on Aug. 8, Sibel Edmonds described a Pentagon where key personnel helped pass defense secrets to foreign agents or provided them names of knowledgeable officials who were vulnerable to blackmail or co-option.
And firmly rooted in this espionage program in the 1990s, according to Edmonds’ deposition, were two men who, with the election of George W. Bush as president in 2000, found themselves in the Pentagon: Douglas Feith, who would head the Office of Special Plans, and Richard Perle, who would become chairman of the Defense Advisory Board.
“They were 100 percent directly involved,” Edmonds told Military.com. “They were not in the Pentagon [in the late 1990s] but they had their people inside the Pentagon.” One of those people, she said, was Larry Franklin, an Air Force officer assigned to the Office of Special Plans who, in 2003, passed classified information to representatives of the American Israel Public Affairs Office, or AIPAC. By then Feith was leading the OSP.
Edmonds cautioned that she does not know if these practices are continuing, since she was fired by the FBI in April 2002 after pressing for an investigation into an attempt by a colleague to recruit her for an organization that was itself a target of FBI surveillance.
Perle, today… Continue reading
From the ACLU
August 30, 2009
ACLU Safe and free – Restore our Constitutional Rights
ACLU Obtains Detailed Official Record Of CIA Torture Program
The Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) documents describe enhanced interrogation techniques used as late as 2007.
We need a full and thorough investigation.
Attorney General Eric Holder appointed an independent prosecutor to investigate torture. However, the very limited scope is nowhere near as thorough and broad as the investigation America really needs.
The recent release of the long-secret CIA Inspector General’s report, detailing horrific prisoner abuse, only reinforces the need for a full and thorough, independent investigation of the Bush torture program.
We need to make it clear that, while we’re pleased the Attorney General has launched an independent investigation, the limits he has set don’t meet the demands of justice. Urge Attorney General Holder to conduct a thorough examination of the Bush torture program.
‘Preliminary review’ looks at whether interrogations followed guidance of the Bush ‘torture memos.’
By Warren Richey
Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor from the August 24, 2009 edition
In a highly contentious move, Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday appointed a special prosecutor to take a fresh look at whether US officials violated the law through harsh treatment of detainees during the Bush administration’s war on terror.
Mr. Holder said he was authorizing John Durham, a career Justice Department prosecutor, to conduct a “preliminary review into whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations.” He did not identify those detainees by name or where they were allegedly mistreated.
“I fully realize my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial,” Holder said. “In this case, given all the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.”
The announcement came shortly after the administration released a redacted version of a 2004 CIA Inspector General’s report on harsh interrogation tactics.
The report said CIA interrogators threatened to kill the children of alleged 9/11 mastermind Khaled Shaikh Mohammed, and threatened another detainee with a power drill and suggestions that if he didn’t talk his mother would be brought into the room and raped in front of him.
The report was sent to the Justice Department for possible prosecution during the Bush administration. Prosecutors declined. The issue was resurrected by… Continue reading
Announcing Sibel Edmonds Podcast Show with Co-Host Peter B. Collins
– “THE BOILING FROGS”
July 12, 2009
Sibel Edmonds (If you’re not already famliar with Sibel, read more about her here )
I am pleased to announce the launch of my Podcast show, ‘The Boiling Frogs.’ This site will present two in-depth interviews per month, one-hour each, with well-respected and controversial guests. My guest list will include:
* Investigative reporters * Authors with controversial and bold track records * Courageous and legitimate whistleblowers * Well-respected academic and legal experts on our relevant issues
…and maybe even a few guests from the other side whom we have bashed. You can listen to the show on this site and discuss your take and views in the comments section.
I am thrilled to have Peter B. Collins as my co-host for this project. Knowing that I have been giving interviews, not the other way around, I needed a partner to collaborate with; someone who is a solid and experienced radio host, who is very good at interviewing, who is very knowledgeable, and who I respect and trust. Lucky me, I found one, and he has accepted this partnership. I am honored to have Peter as my co-host and partner. Peter’s show was one of the first radio interviews I gave years ago, and over the years he had me back many times. He has always ranked at the very top of my radio show list. If you are not familiar with Peter,… Continue reading
By Graham Rayman
July 08, 2009
Last month, police and the FBI arrested four Newburgh men on charges that they had plotted to bomb synagogues in the Riverdale neighborhood of the Bronx and fire a missile at a military jet.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly held press conferences at the synagogues to reassure New Yorkers about their safety. During Kelly’s remarks, it was startling to hear the commissioner refer to al-Qaeda by name, if only to say that the four purported home-grown terrorists had no ties to Osama Bin Laden’s organization.
As more details emerged, however, the less the four defendants sounded like men with the skills to plan a sophisticated terror plot. They were small-time crooks, felons with long criminal records whose previous activities revolved around smoking marijuana and playing video games. One defendant, Laguerre Payen, was arrested in a crack house surrounded by bottles of his own urine; his lawyer describes him as “mildly retarded.”
It seemed fairly astounding that, for a full calendar year, such a group could remain interested in and plan anything more complex than a backyard barbecue, let alone a multipronged paramilitary assault, as the indictment against them alleged.
But what the indictment didn’t say, and what the initial news reports didn’t fill in, was the extent to which the fifth man in the plot, an unnamed FBI informant, had provided the glue to hold the Newburgh 4 together.
That informant was a Pakistani man named Shahed Hussain, code-named… Continue reading
Court won’t hear Sept. 11 claims vs. Saudi Arabia
June 29, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has refused to allow victims of the Sept.
11 attacks to pursue lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and four of its princes over
charitable donations that were allegedly funneled to al-Qaida.
The court, in an order Monday, is leaving in place the ruling of a federal
appeals court that the country and the princes are protected by sovereign immunity,
which generally means that foreign countries can’t be sued in American courts.
The Obama administration had angered some victims and families by urging the
justices to pass up the case.
In their appeal, the more than 6,000 plaintiffs said the government’s court
brief filed in early June was an “apparent effort to appease a sometime
ally” just before President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
At issue were obstacles in American law to suing foreign governments and their
officials as well as the extent to which people can be held financially responsible
for acts of terrorism committed by others.
The appeal was filed by relatives of victims killed in the attacks and thousands
of people who were injured, as well as businesses and governments that sustained
property damage and other losses.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York previously upheld a federal
judge’s ruling throwing out the lawsuits. The appeals court said the defendants
were protected by sovereign immunity and the plaintiffs would need to prove
that the princes engaged in intentional actions aimed at U.S.…
by Jon Gold
On 1/8/2008, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that “a huge lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia and key members of its royal family was put to a crucial test today as lawyers for victims of the 9/11 attacks urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the government of Saudi Arabia as a defendant.” The Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philadelphia “was the first to file suit against the government of Saudi Arabia in 2003, charging that the desert kingdom bears responsibility for the attacks because it permitted Islamic charities under its control to bankroll Osama bin Laden and his global terror movement.” The lawsuit “suffered a setback in 2005 when New York federal district court judge Richard Conway Casey ruled that the federal foreign sovereign immunity act barred lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and members of the royal family.”
On… Continue reading
By James Risen and Eric Lichtblau
June 16, 2009
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.
The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.
Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.
Both the former analyst’s account and the rising concern among some members of Congress about the N.S.A.’s recent operation are raising fresh questions about the spy agency.
Representative Rush Holt, Democrat of New Jersey and chairman of the House Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, has been investigating the incidents and said he had become increasingly troubled by the agency’s handling of domestic communications.
In an… Continue reading
U.S. May Permit 9/11 Guilty Pleas in Capital Cases
By WILLIAM GLABERSON
June 5, 2009
Full story published at New York Times
The Obama administration is considering a change in the law for the military commissions at the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, that would clear the way for detainees facing the death penalty to plead guilty without a full trial.
The provision could permit military prosecutors to avoid airing the details of brutal interrogation techniques. It could also allow the five detainees who have been charged with the Sept. 11 attacks to achieve their stated goal of pleading guilty to gain what they have called martyrdom.
The proposal, in a draft of legislation that would be submitted to Congress, has not been publicly disclosed. It was circulated to officials under restrictions requiring secrecy. People who have read or been briefed on it said it had been presented to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates by an administration task force on detention.
The proposal would ease what has come to be recognized as the government’s difficult task of prosecuting men who have confessed to terrorism but whose cases present challenges. Much of the evidence against the men accused in the Sept. 11 case, as well as against other detainees, is believed to have come from confessions they gave during intense interrogations at secret C.I.A. prisons. In any proceeding, the reliability of those statements would be challenged, making trials difficult and drawing new political pressure over detainee treatment.
Some experts on the commissions said such a proposal would raise new questions about the fairness of a system that has been criticized as permitting shortcuts to assure convictions.…Continue reading
May 29, 2009
Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
In Response to the Solicitor General’s Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families’
Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court
(In Re: Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development
Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (RCC) In Re: Terrorist Attacks on September
11, 2001, MDL 1570)
WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement
of 9/11 Family Members: Mike Low, Father of Sara Elizabeth Low, AA Flight 11;
Bill Doyle, Father of Joseph M. Doyle, WTC North Tower; Tom & Beverly Burnett,
Sr., Parents of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., UA Flight 93; and Terry Strada, Wife
of Thomas Strada, WTC North Tower on Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt
Terrorism in Response to the Solicitor General’s Refusal to Support The 9/11
Families’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court:
Today the Obama Administration filed in the Supreme Court a document that expressed
the Administration’s decision to stand with a group of Saudi princes and against
the right of American citizens — 9/11 family members — to have our day in
court. Let there be no doubt: The filing was political in nature and stands
as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11,
We are deeply dismayed by this decision, filed by the solicitor general of
the United States in response to the Supreme Court’s February 23, 2009 invitation
for the government to express its views in the 9/11 families’ request to appeal
a portion of the case to the Court.…