October 7, 2008
By William Glaberson
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Bush administration to release 17 detainees at Guantánamo Bay by the end of the week, the first such ruling in nearly seven years of legal disputes over the administration’s detention policies.
The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court, ordered that the 17 men be brought to his courtroom on Friday from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they have been held since 2002. He indicated that he would release the men, members of the restive Uighur Muslim minority in western China, into the care of supporters in the United States, initially in the Washington area.
“I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for detention,” Judge Urbina said.
Saying the men had never fought the United States and were not a security threat, he tersely rejected Bush administration claims that he lacked the power to order the men set free in the United States and government requests that he stay his order to permit an immediate appeal.
The ruling was a sharp setback for the administration, which has waged a long legal battle to defend its policies of detention at the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, arguing a broad executive power in waging war. Federal courts up to the Supreme Court have waded through detention questions and in several major cases the courts have rejected administration contentions.
The government recently conceded that… Continue reading
Guidelines Released Amid Protest from Congress, Privacy Groups and American Public
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — 10/3/2008
CONTACT: (202) 675-2312 or email@example.com
(212) 519-7829 or 549-2666 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Washington, DC — New FBI guidelines governing investigations were released today after being signed by Attorney General Michael Mukasey. The American Civil Liberties Union quickly blasted the Department of Justice and FBI for ignoring calls for more stringent protections of Americans’ rights. The guidelines replace existing bureau guidelines for five types of investigations: general criminal, national security, foreign intelligence, civil disorders and demonstrations. The ACLU has been vocal in its disapproval of the overly broad guidelines, citing both the FBI’s and DOJ’s documented records of internal abuse.
The new guidelines reduce standards for beginning “assessments” (precursors to investigations), conducting surveillance and gathering evidence, meaning the threshold to beginning investigations across the board will be lowered. More troubling still, the guidelines allow a person’s race or ethnic background to be used as a factor in opening an investigation, a move the ACLU believes may institute racial profiling as a matter of policy.
“The attorney general today gave the FBI a blank check to open investigations of innocent Americans based on no meaningful suspicion of wrongdoing,” said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. “The new guidelines provide no safeguards against the FBI’s improperly using race and religion as grounds for suspicion. They also fail to sufficiently prevent the government from infiltrating groups whose viewpoints it doesn’t like. The FBI has shown time and… Continue reading
By Matt Taibbi and David Ray Griffin
October 6, 2008
A poll of 17 countries that came out September of this year revealed that majorities in only nine of them “believe that al Qaeda was behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the United States.” A Zogby poll from 2006 found that in America, 42% of respondents believed the US government and 9/11 Commission “covered up” the events of 9/11. It’s safe to say that at least tens of millions of Americans don’t believe anything close to the official account offered by the 9/11 Commission, and that much of the outside world remains skeptical.
Over the years, AlterNet has run dozens of stories , mostly critical, of the 9/11 Movement. Matt Taibbi has taken on the 9/11 Truth Movement head on in a series of articles, and most recently in his new book, The Great Derangement .
In April, I asked Taibbi if he would be interested in interviewing David Ray Griffin, a leading member of Scholars for 9/11 Truth & Justice , Emeritus Professor of Philosophy of Religion and Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University and author of seven of books on 9/11 , about his recent book, 9/11 Contradictions . After months of back and forths between them and some editorial delays, I’m pleased to share their written exchange — all 24,000 words of it. What we have here are the preeminent writers on both sides of the 9/11 Truth argument; a one-of-a-kind debate.… Continue reading
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
By LARA JAKES JORDAN
Associated Press Writer
New rules for national security investigations will help protect Americans
from terror attacks, FBI Director Robert Mueller told lawmakers Tuesday, even
if they single out people from the Middle East.
Skeptical Democrats clashed with Mueller, who told the House Judiciary Committee
that FBI agents would no longer need solid evidence or allegations of wrongdoing
to spy on Americans even before opening investigations. Democrats also expressed
doubts that the Justice Department and FBI would protect civil liberties and
privacy rights after years of previous abuses and stymied congressional oversight.
During nearly two hours of testimony, Mueller described the tentative rules
– known as the attorney general’s guidelines – as a proactive way to prevent
The new rules would ensure that suspicious behavior is investigated, Mueller
said, citing a July 2001 memo from an FBI agent in Phoenix who noted a rising
trend of Middle Eastern men taking flight lessons. The agent’s warning was ignored,
and the 9/11 Commission later said it could have served as a clue to al-Qaida’s
“It is that kind of threat and identification of a very suspicious circumstance
that would warrant further investigation,” Mueller said. Additionally,
he said current guidelines make it “very difficult” for agents to
look into people believed to be traveling to terror hotspots, such as training
camps in Pakistan.…
by P. Devlin Buckley
September 5, 2008
The American Monitor
Law firms representing victims of the 9/11 attacks in an ongoing legal dispute with wealthy Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda have recently turned their attention to two individuals with unique ties to the U.S. government.
Lawyers for victims of the attacks, as well as insurance companies of property owners in New York, have filed a motion of discovery in federal district court in Manhattan targeting the Saudi-owned National Commercial Bank (NCB) and two of its former executives, Khalid bin Mahfouz and Yassin al-Qadi.
Both Mahfouz and al-Qadi have a murky history that includes alleged ties to the CIA, the White House, the Bush family, al-Qaeda, and organized crime on a global scale.
The discovery motion, if granted, would advance the case by requiring both sides to disclose and exchange all available pertinent facts regarding the defendants. The motion comes just days after a circuit court ruled members of the Saudi government are immune from terrorism lawsuits in the United States, a setback in the plaintiffs’ case against Saudis suspected of financing al-Qaeda in the years leading up to 9/11. There are some defendants, however, the ruling does not protect, including Khalid bin Mahfouz, Yassin al-Qadi, and the NCB.
Government documents, expert testimony, and media reports dating back several years suggest Mahfouz and al-Qadi have raised millions of dollars for al-Qaeda and other militant groups. Evidence indicates some of the defendants’ activities were sanctioned by the U.S. government.
During the late… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
August 5, 2008
In last weekend’s edition of CounterPunch,
Alexander Cockburn updates the ongoing persecution of Sami Al-Arian by federal
prosecutors. Al-Arian was a Florida university professor of computer science
who was ensnared by the Bush Regime’s need to produce “terrorists”
in order to keep Americans fearful and, thereby, amenable to the Bush Regime’s
assault on US civil liberties.
The charges against Al-Arian were rejected by a jury, but the Bush Regime could
not accept the obvious defeat. If Al-Arian was not a terrorist, then other of
the Bush Regime’s fabricated cases might fall apart, too.
In open view, the US Department of Justice (sic) proceeded to trash every known
ethical rule of prosecution. I don’t need to repeat the facts, as they
are covered by Cockburn’s articles and in The Tyranny of Good Intentions.
Instead, I want to point out another meaning of the Al-Arian case. The Justice
(sic) Department itself knows that it is persecuting a totally innocent person
for reasons of a political agenda–the need to convince gullible Americans of
an ongoing terrorist threat. The existence of this threat is used to justify
the Bush Regime’s adoption of police state measures, such as spying on
Americans without warrants, arresting them without charges, and refusing to
let go of them when they are cleared by juries.
Sami Al-Arian is a fabricated terrorist created by federal prosecutors and
judges in behalf of an undeclared agenda. The Al-Arian case proves that terrorists
are in short… Continue reading
August 01, 2008
ABC News’ David Wright reports: Answering a question at the Urban League about
his approach to combating crime, John McCain suggested that military strategies
currently employed by US troops in Iraq could be applied to high crime neighborhoods
here in the US.
McCain at first praised the crime-fighting efforts of Rudolph Giuliani when
he was mayor of New York City. Then he down-shifted into an approach that sounded
McCain called them tactics "somewhat like we use in the military."
"You go into neighborhoods, you clamp down, you provide a secure environment
for the people that live there, and you make sure that the known criminals are
kept under control," he said. "And you provide them with a stable
environment and then they cooperate with law enforcement."
The way he described it, his approach sounded an awful lot like the surge.
Urban League president Marc Morial countered that while New York did experience
a drop in crime under Giuliani, there were several major instances of police
In response, McCain promised aggressive prosecution of civil rights violations
and a Justice Department free from political cronyism.
"U.S. attorneys will be appointed strictly on the basis of qualifications
and not political connections," McCain said, a swipe at the Bush Administration
Justice Department under Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
ABC News’ Bret Hovell contributed to this report.
July 24, 2008
Kucinich, Barr, Bugliosi among those testifying
The House Judiciary Committee has released a witness list for its hearing to
examine “the imperial presidency” of George W. Bush.
Testifying Friday morning will be Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who has introduced
several resolutions calling for President Bush’s and Vice President Dick Cheney’s
impeachment; former Rep. Bob Barr, the Libertarian presidential candidate who
led the charge to impeach Bill Clinton in 1998; Vincent Bugliosi, author of
the just-released book The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder; and 10
other current and former members of Congress, constitutional experts and human
The hearing, which was announced last week, seems to be the one Judiciary Chairman
John Conyers promised to Kucinich after he introduced his second impeachment
resolution aimed at Bush earlier this month. Any action on Kucinich’s articles
of impeachment still seems unlikely, but the Ohio Democrat has previously said
he just wants to be able to present his case.
Late Thursday afternoon, the committee released the full witness list, broken
down into two panels.
The Honorable Dennis Kucinich, Representative from Ohio
The Honorable Maurice Hinchey, Representative from New York
The Honorable Walter Jones, Representative from North Carolina
The Honorable Brad Miller, Representative from North Carolina
The Honorable Elizabeth Holtzman, Former Representative from
The Honorable Bob Barr, Former Representative from Georgia,
2008 Libertarian Nominee for President
The Honorable Ross C. “Rocky” Anderson, Founder and President, High Roads for Human Rights
Stephen Presser, Raoul Berger Professor of Legal History, Northwestern University School of Law
Bruce Fein, Associate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82, Chairman, American Freedom Agenda
Vincent Bugliosi, Author and former Los Angeles County Prosecutor
by Eric Brewer
It’s been almost seven years since — in the weeks immediately following 9/11 — anthrax powder sent through the mail killed five people, threatened the lives of two Democratic senators, terrorized the entire nation, and helped prod a panicky Congress into passing the so-called Patriot Act.
In the intervening years, not only has the killer remained free, but missteps in the investigation have had major negative consequences. Just last month, in fact, the Department of Justice agreed to pay $4.6 million to former bioweapons expert Stephen Hatfill to settle a lawsuit Hatfill brought against the Justice Department, the FBI, and former Attorney General John Ashcroft for destroying his reputation and career by publicly implicating him in the case. And Glenn Greenwald has pointed out that in 2001, ABC News was fed false information by several “well-placed sources” (presumably officials in the Bush administration) suggesting an Iraq-anthrax link. That imaginary link was widely cited by pro-war cheerleaders.
At Monday’s White House briefing, I asked if President Bush was satisfied with the progress of the investigation into the attacks. Press Secretary Dana Perino told me that she didn’t even “know if he has had an update on it.”
Here is our exchange:
Q Is the president satisfied with the progress of the investigation into the anthrax attacks?
MS. PERINO: I don’t know if he has had an update on it. But obviously this is something that the FBI is doing. We don’t do the investigation… Continue reading
Wednesday 16 July 2008
By Adam Liptak, The New York Times
Indefinite military detentions of persons apprehended within the United States
are legal, according to a Tuesday federal appeals court decision. (Read text
of decision.) However, a concurrent decision allows detainee Ali al-Marri (pictured)
to challenge his detention in court.
President Bush has the legal power to order the indefinite military detentions
of civilians captured in the United States, the federal appeals court in Richmond,
Va., ruled on Tuesday in a fractured 5-to-4 decision.
But a second, overlapping 5-to-4 majority of the court, the United States
Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, ruled that Ali al-Marri, a citizen
of Qatar now in military custody in Charleston, S.C., must be given an additional
opportunity to challenge his detention in federal court there. An earlier court
proceeding, in which the government had presented only a sworn statement from
a defense intelligence official, was inadequate, the second majority ruled.
The decision was a victory for the Bush administration, which had maintained
that a 2001 Congressional authorization to use military force after the Sept.
11 attacks granted the president the power to detain people living in the United
The court effectively reversed a divided three-judge panel of its own members,
which ruled last year that the government lacked the power to detain civilians
legally in the United States as enemy combatants. That panel ordered the government
either to charge Mr. Marri or to release him. The case is likely to reach… Continue reading
Yoo Refuses to Answer the Question…
Guest blogged by Jon Ponder, Pensito Review , at BradBlog .
John Yoo and David Addington, the architects of Bush’s illegal torture policies, testified before the House Judiciary Committee today. The hearing included this frothy exchange between Yoo and the committee chairman, John Conyers (D-Mich.):
CONYERS : Could the President order a suspect buried alive?
YOO : Uh, Mr. Chairman, I don’t think I’ve ever given advice that the President could order someone buried alive…
CONYERS : I didn’t ask you if you ever gave him advice. I asked if you thought the President could order a suspect buried alive.
YOO : Well Chairman, my view right now is that I don’t think a President — no American President would ever have to order that or feel it necessary to order that.
CONYERS : I think we understand the games that are being played.
Yoo was serving in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2001 to 2003, when he wrote the infamous memo and contributed to the PATRIOT ACT. He is now a professor of law at UC Berkeley.
Addington is the chief of staff to Dick Cheney.…Continue reading
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer Fri Jun 27, 7:30 PM ET
WASHINGTON – A former Army scientist who was named as a person of interest
in the 2001 anthrax attacks will receive $5.8 million to settle his lawsuit
against the Justice Department. Steven Hatfill claimed the Justice Department
violated his privacy rights by speaking with reporters about the case.
Settlement documents were filed in federal court Friday. Both sides have agreed
to the deal, according to the documents, and as soon as they are signed, the
case will be dismissed.
The deal requires the Justice Department to pay $2.825 million up front and
buy Hatfill a $3 million annuity that will pay him $150,000 each year for 20
“Our government failed us, not only by failing to catch the anthrax mailers
but by seeking to conceal that failure,” Hatfill’s lawyers said in a statement.
“Our government did this by leaking gossip, speculation, and misinformation
to a handful of credulous reporters.”
The statement also blamed journalists for not questioning the motives of the
government’s statements or its tactics.
“As an innocent man, and as our fellow citizen, Steven Hatfill deserved
far better,” they said.
The Justice Department said the settlement was in the best interest of the
“The United States does not admit to any violation of the Privacy Act
and continues to deny all liability in connection with Dr. Hatfill’s claims,”
Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said in response to the settlement.
Five people were killed and… Continue reading
By William F. Jasper
For six years, Sibel Edmonds has been carrying out an heroic crusade to protect her adopted country from national security threats within the top levels of the American government. Hired as an FBI translator in the wake of the 9/11 terror attacks, Edmonds, a Turkish American, threw herself into the daunting task of translating thousands of hours of recordings of backlogged intercepts in Turkic, Farsi, and Azerbaijani. What she heard on the tapes was alarming: Turkish agents in the United States bribing high-level U.S. officials and obtaining our military and intelligence secrets. What she witnessed at the FBI was even more appalling: translators who were intentionally filing false translations and passing information to foreign powers; and, what’s even worse, FBI superiors who did nothing about it when these serious breaches were brought to their attention.
Unwilling to settle for the bureaucratic “don’t rock the boat” response she faced from immediate supervisors, Sibel Edmonds decided to take her concerns higher up the FBI chain of command. The result? She was fired, and those she tried to have investigated got off scot-free; some fled the country to avoid potential prosecution, while others continued their alleged criminal and treasonous activities. Some of the FBI colleagues who blocked her efforts were promoted.
How could this be, especially in the immediate aftermath of the September 11 attacks, when “homeland security” was our number one concern? And especially since FBI Director Robert Mueller had expressly promised that the agency’s notorious penchant… Continue reading
Intro, continued: Scott Horton, of AntiwarRadio.com, interviewed Sibel Edmonds and the blogger who’s long covered her important case (which the corporate media still refuses to touch), Luke Ryland, to shine some light on what might be happening here. Again, Congress refuses to hold hearings, and hold anyone to account. This interview reviews some of the information that’s come to light in Sibel’s 6-year case, as well as the utter lack of action by Congress with regard to the entire network of whistleblowers with whom she’s associated.
Sibel on Congress: “What happened to all those promises you made? All the promises they made, none of them were fulfilled! They may look like champions, but all we have gotten with people like Chairman Waxman and Chairman Conyers is all barking … as soon as the issue dies down in the media, they just go away. They don’t do anything. They haven’t brought about any type of accountability, any type of meaningful hearings … nothing that in any way would bring with it type of accountability or further action, and they do have the power. … (Before, the blamed the Republicans) now we see that with the Democrats across the House, like Pelosi. … If the mainstream media were to do their job that would create the necessary pressure on Congress so that Congress would do what it’s supposed to do; it’s not doing favors, it’s basically fulfilling their obligation to the American public. This is why we are in this sorry… Continue reading
By Tom Burghardt
June 16, 2008
from Antifascist Calling, Reprinted at Global Research
Proving the old axiom that Congress "is the best that money can buy,"
congressional Democrats are preparing to gut the Constitution by granting giant
telecom companies retroactive immunity and liability protection on warrantless
wiretapping by the Bush regime.
According to Congressional Quarterly, "Congressional leaders
and the Bush administration have reached an agreement in principle on an overhaul
of surveillance rules."
Tim Starks reports,
According to sources familiar with the negotiations, the compromise would
be very similar to the last proposal by Sen. Christopher S. Bond , R-Mo.,
to House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md.
Sources said the major change is that a federal district court, not the
secret FISA court itself, would make an assessment about whether to provide
retroactive legal immunity to telecommunications companies being sued for
their alleged role in the Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program.
("Agreement Could Pave Way for Surveillance Overhaul," Congressional
Quarterly, June 13, 2008)
In other words, the telecommunication corporations and their "customers,"
the NSA, FBI and other members of the "intelligence community" will
get everything they want–retroactive immunity and billions of dollars in continued
taxpayer subsidies for intelligence "outsourcing."
Under rules being considered by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Jay
Rockefeller (D-WV), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Kit Bond (R-MO),
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO)
and Bush administration officials, the deal would allow the federal district
court "to look at… Continue reading
Watch the video here; written transcript follows:
AMY GOODMAN: Former Alaska senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel is holding a news conference in New York City today to call for a new independent investigation into 9/11. Gravel will be speaking on behalf of the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative Campaign, a grassroots group seeking to place an initiative on the ballot of the November 6th general election allowing registered New York City voters to create a new commission to investigate 9/11.
The group is looking to appoint between nine and fifteen commissioners on the panel to conduct the investigation. Some of the people who have reportedly already agreed to serve as commissioners include Lori Van Auken, a 9/11 widow, one of the so-called “Jersey Girls”; Lincoln Chafee, the former Republican senator from Rhode Island; Bishop Thomas Gumbleton, a pastor in Detroit, Michigan; as well as former Democratic Senator Mike Gravel, who joins us here today.
He has published three books this year: Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change, The Kingmakers: How the Media Threatens Our Security and Our Democracy and A Political Odyssey. His book Citizen Power: A Mandate for Change has a forward by Ralph Nader. He’ll be joining us on the show later in the week.
Welcome to Democracy Now!, Senator Gravel.
MIKE GRAVEL: Amy, thank you for having me. But before we launch into the mission of my appearance, I want to comment on this young man you just had on. I’ve got… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts and Lawrence M. Stratton
Posted at Lewrockwell.com
June 7, 2008
The George W. Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attack on the World
Trade Center and Pentagon with an assault on U.S. civil liberty that Bush justified
in the name of the “war on terror.” The government assured us that
the draconian measures apply only to “terrorists.” The word terrorist,
however, was not defined. The government claimed the discretionary power to
decide who is a terrorist without having to present evidence or charges in a
court of law.
Frankly, the Bush administration’s policy evades any notion of procedural
due process of law. Administration assurances that harsh treatment is reserved
only for terrorists is meaningless when the threshold process for determining
who is and who is not a terrorist depends on executive discretion that is not
subject to review. Substantive rights are useless without the procedural rights
to enforce them.
Terrorist legislation and executive assertions created a basis upon which federal
authorities claimed they were free to suspend suspects’ civil liberties
in order to defend Americans from terrorism. Only after civil liberties groups
and federal courts challenged some of the unconstitutional laws and procedures
did realization spread that the Bush administration’s assault on the Bill
of Rights is a greater threat to Americans than are terrorists.
The alacrity with which Congress accepted the initial assault from the administration
is frightening. In 2001, the USA PATRIOT Act passed by a vote of 98 to 1 in
the… Continue reading
Wed May 21, 2008 8:57pm EDT
By Randall Mikkelsen
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – FBI counterterrorism units are dangerously ill-equipped and barely 60 percent of the supervisory positions in the division that tracks al Qaeda were filled as of March, a bureau agent told Congress on Wednesday.
Bassem Youssef told a congressional hearing that the bureau has failed to recruit, retain and promote experienced personnel and experts in Arabic culture and language.
The shortfall has contributed to problems such as the improper use of FBI demands for personal and business records, said Youssef, who helped uncover the abuse.
Youssef, who was born in Egypt, has also sued the FBI alleging discrimination because of his race and ancestry.
“The FBI’s counterterrorism division is ill-equipped to handle the terrorism problems we’re facing,” said Youssef, a 20-year veteran who investigated bombings in 1993 at the World Trade Center and in 1996 at the Khobar Towers residence at a U.S. military base in Saudi Arabia.
Asked how much use the FBI had made of his own experience, he replied, “The bureau used my background and experience very extensively — up to September 11.”
Youssef, who heads the FBI counterterrorism division’s communications analysis unit, attributed the shift to a name mix-up with another agent, discrimination and cultural ignorance.
Members of the House of Representatives Judiciary subcommittee on crime and terrorism urged the bureau to revise an “up or out” policy that makes supervisors move from the field to Washington headquarters after five years, or take a demotion or retire.…Continue reading