By Michael McAuliff
November 24, 2009
Some 9/11 widows who want to see a terror trial in New York today questioned why a group strongly linked to Liz Cheney is leading the charge in opposition to the trial.
Her father, after all, is the man many Democrats and liberals think broke the law in pushing for interrogation techniques now deemed torture by the Obama administration, and which were used on Al Qaeda plotter Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.
The anti-trial group is led by Debra Burlingame — whose brother piloted one of the doomed planes — and who is a guiding light at 9/11 Families for a Safe & Strong America.
The 9/11 Families group had as a springboard Keep America Safe, a Liz Cheney vehicle where Burlingame serves on the board.
“Perhaps they’re trying to protect her father’s role in torturing these detainees,” said Lorie Van Auken, who lost her husband on 9/11. “And that’s actually what could keep us from seeing justice, is this torture that was done to these people because that evidence is not really evidence. It won’t be admissible anywhere.”
Auken was speaking on a conference call organized by the liberal Human Rights First.
Later, she declined to back off her statement. “You start to wonder why Liz Cheney would be organizing the 9/11 families,” she said. “It’s just a funny connection.”
Below (see source) is the press conference Burlingame did today with Rep. Pete King and others, posted online by Keep America Safe, in which… Continue reading
January 6, 2010
by Ray McGovern & Coleen Rowley
Yesterday, a blogger with the PBS’ NewsHour asked former CIA analyst Ray McGovern to respond to three questions regarding recent events involving the CIA, FBI, and the intelligence community in general.
Two other old intelligence hands were asked the identical questions, queries that are typical of what radio/TV and blogger interviewers usually think to be the right ones. So there is merit in trying to answer them directly, such as they are, and then broadening the response to address some of the core problems confronting U.S. counter-terror strategies.
After drafting his answers, McGovern asked former FBI attorney/special agent Coleen Rowley, a colleague in Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) to review his responses and add her own comments at the end. The Q & A is below:
Question #1 – What lapses in the American counter terrorism apparatus made the Christmas Day bombing plot possible? Is it inevitable that certain plots will succeed?
The short answer to the second sentence is: Yes, it is inevitable that “certain plots will succeed.” A more helpful answer would address the question as to how we might best minimize their prospects for success. And to do this, sorry to say, there is no getting around the necessity to address the root causes of terrorism or, in the vernacular, “why they hate us.”
If we don’t go beyond self-exculpatory sloganeering in attempting to answer that key question, any
“counter terrorism apparatus” is doomed to failure.… Continue reading
David Ray Griffin
There are many questions to ask about the war in Afghanistan. One that has been widely asked is whether it will turn out to be “Obama’s Vietnam.”1 This question implies another: Is this war winnable, or is it destined to be a quagmire, like Vietnam? These questions are motivated in part by the widespread agreement that the Afghan government, under Hamid Karzai, is at least as corrupt and incompetent as the government the United States tried to prop up in South Vietnam for 20 years.
Although there are many similarities between these two wars, there is also a big difference: This time, there is no draft. If there were a draft, so that college students and their friends back home were being sent to Afghanistan, there would be huge demonstrations against this war on campuses all across this country. If the sons and daughters of wealthy and middle-class parents were coming home in boxes, or with permanent injuries or post-traumatic stress syndrome, this war would have surely been stopped long ago. People have often asked: Did we learn any of the “lessons of Vietnam”? The US government learned one: If you’re going to fight unpopular wars, don’t have a draft — hire mercenaries!
There are many other questions that have been, and should be, asked about this war, but in this essay, I focus on only one: Did the 9/11 attacks justify the war in Afghanistan?… Continue reading
The accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks will be tried in a military tribunal and not in Manhattan federal court blocks from the World Trade Center site, officials said Monday.
The Justice Department’s announcement was a major reversal for the Obama administration, which had faced strong pressure to abandon its 2009 decision that it would seek to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in civilian court downtown.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Congress has imposed restrictions on where Guantánamo detainees can be tried, and rather than fight those restrictions and delay the trial, he ordered prosecutors to dismiss the federal indictment in New York in favor of a military trial.
Holder emphasized that prosecutors had been “prepared to bring a powerful case” against the suspects and said he still believes a civilian trial would have been the best choice.
The 2009 announcement that the 9/11 suspects would be tried in New York was met with fierce opposition from many elected officials, families of victims and those who live and work in Lower Manhattan, who would have had to contend with several rings of heavy security for the months of the trial.
Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, said Monday that the choice to back out of New York was an “outstanding victory.”
“Having 2,000 checkpoints, let alone one checkpoint, would have ruined the whole neighborhood. It would have affected small businesses and residents,” she said. “People are thrilled that we… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 6, 2011
The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.
The Likud Lobby and their allied U.S. legislators can chalk up a significant victory for substantially shrinking any opportunity for the accused planners of 9/11 to tell their side of the story.
What? I sense some bristling. “Their side of the story?” Indeed! We’ve been told there is no “their side of the story.”
For years, President George W. Bush got away with offering up the risible explanation that they “hate our freedoms.” The stenographers of the White House press corps may have had to suppress smiles but silently swallowed the “they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms” rationale.
The only journalist I can recall stepping up and asking, in effect, “Come on; now really; it’s important; why do the really hate us” was the indomitable Helen Thomas.
In January 2010, just weeks after the “underpants bomber” tried to down an airliner over Detroit, President Barack Obama asked White House counter-terrorism guru, John Brennan, to field questions from the White House press.
Helen Thomas took the opportunity to ask why the would-be bomber did what he did. The exchange with Brennan is, hopefully, more instructive than it is depressing — highlighting a limited mindset still stuck in bromides.
Thomas: “Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation?… Continue reading
By Agence France-Presse
Sunday, April 10th, 2011
WASHINGTON — US prosecutors compiled lots of evidence against the five men accused of having organized the September 11 attacks on the United States, but not until this week have details been fully revealed.
The indictment charging self-professed mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others was unsealed when US Attorney General Eric Holder referred the case to the Defense Department for military trials instead of trials at a US federal court in New York.
Holder said Sheikh Mohammed, Walid bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abd al-Aziz Ali and Mustapha Ahmed al-Hawsawi could have been prosecuted in federal court and blamed Congress for imposing measures blocking civilian trials of Guantánamo Bay inmates.
They will be tried in military courts in the US naval base in southeastern Cuba.
The now-public details show that the United States, nearly 10 years after hijackers flew planes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, reconstructed step by step the logistics of the five accused men.
They compiled bank transactions, flight records, visa applications, and dozens of telephone conversations to create the most comprehensive account of the chain of events before the attacks.
Implementation of the plan began in 1999, when Sheikh Mohammed (referred to as “KSM” by US officials) proposed to Osama bin Laden to use commercial airliners as missiles against US targets.
Until the last minute, according to the indictment, Sheikh Mohammed controlled the entire operation.
“From in or about December 1999, through in or about… 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
For more info or interviews please call Ian Henshall on 01273 326862 or 079469 39217 Today Ian was on LBC 8.30am, this evening scheduled on Talksport 11.30pm
A new opinion poll shows surprisingly high levels of doubt in the UK over the official story of the 9/11 attacks. The poll, conducted by ICM on behalf of Reinvestigate911.org , found that more people agree than disagree that the official account of what happened on 9/11 might turn out to be wrong in important respects. Only 8% strongly agree that they have been told the full story of the 9/11 attacks.
Of those who expressed an opinion 37% agreed that rogue elements in the American intelligence services may have made a decision prior to 9/11 to allow a terrorist attack to take place. Richard Clarke, White House anti-terror co-ordinator at the time, said recently that the 9/11 attacks could have been foiled but for an explicit agreement within the CIA to withhold vital information from him and the FBI. Clarke says he cannot explain this behaviour. At the time the CIA were prohibited by law from operating in the US.
The results are mirrored by a HEC poll published today in France showing that 58% have doubts compared to 31% percent who accept the official story. Half suspect that US authorities deliberately allowed the attacks to take place while a third suspect they were implicated in the execution of 9/11.
12 September 2011
A former FBI agent has told the BBC that he is being prevented from telling the truth about the events of 9/11 and what has happened since.
Ali Soufan alleges that crucial intelligence was not passed on from the CIA before the attacks in 2001.
He has written a book detailing some of his claims and has been speaking to the BBC’s Security Correspondent Gordon Corera in his first on camera interview on the subject.
In response to the allegations in this report the CIA issued a statement to the BBC that said: “Any suggestion that the CIA purposely refused to share critical lead information on the 9/11 plots with the FBI is baseless.”
“The suggestion that the Central Intelligence Agency has requested redactions on this publication because it does not like the content is ridiculous.”
The CIA decline to comment on the record about the accusations regarding waterboarding and interrogation.
Unofficial transcript of video, “Former FBI Agent says truth of 9/11 remains hidden” :
Gordon Corera: Stepping out of the shadows, appearing for the first time on camera, Ali Soufan, the former FBI agent with an eyewitness account some people don’t want him to tell.
Ali Soufan: They are trying to stop me and others from telling the world what really happened over there.
Gordon Corera: He believes huge mistakes were made with devastating consequences. Born in Lebanon, Soufan had… Continue reading
Statement of September 11th Advocates Regarding Guantánamo Bay Military Tribunals
For Immediate Release
May 4, 2012
It would seem that the U.S. Government found itself in a conundrum when they allowed prisoners, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM), to be tortured in secret prisons around the world. Once tortured, any confession or testimony from KSM, or others, could not be deemed reliable. Furthermore, the focus of the eventual proceedings would become a trial about the practice of torture, instead of being a trial about alleged terrorist crimes. That would have been untenable for the U.S. Government, which wants to avoid any and all accountability for their own crimes of torture.
In order to bypass potential discussion of torture, the latest Chief Prosecutor for the Military Commissions, Brig. General Mark Martins, found a willing witness in Majid Khan, a fellow GITMO inmate to KSM. Khan himself was not involved in the 9/11 plot. He supposedly got his information from time spent behind bars at GITMO with KSM. Kahn will be allowed to give this hearsay evidence against KSM in return for a reduced sentence. However, Khan’s sentencing won’t take place for four years. It seems the Prosecution is pinning their hopes and dreams on Khan’s upcoming performance. None of this lends credibility to an already suspect system.
Additionally, with campaigning for the upcoming Presidential elections heating up, the timing of this latest attempt at justice for 9/11 is exploitive at best.
Patty Casazza Monica Gabrielle Mindy Kleinberg Lorie Van Auken
9/11… 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 Karen McVeigh, UK Guardian
Five Guantánamo prisoners accused of plotting the September 11 attacks were back before a military tribunal on Monday for pre-trial hearings after months of delay.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed – the alleged mastermind of 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in US history – and his four co-defendants sat quietly at the defence tables, watched by military guards. Defendant Mustafa Ahmad al-Hawsawi responded to the judge’s questions about his request for additional legal counsel, according to the Associated Press, before the hearing was adjourned.
The calm start to the proceedings was in sharp contrast to the previous hearing in May, which was marred by protests, outbursts and the defendants’ refusal to answer questions from the judge. It lasted 13 hours.
The hearings, in Camp Justice, the war court compound at the US naval base in Cuba, are expected to focus on secrecy and transparency, but will cover a range of issues from whether the prison camps can force the men to attend their own trials to what they can wear in court, the Miami Herald reported.
The hearings are part of the legal proceedings required to move the case to trial, estimated to be at least a year away. They were scheduled for August but delayed by tropical storm Isaac.
Mohammed, a Pakistani citizen from Kuwait, who attended college in North Carolina, has told military officials that he planned the 9/11 attacks “from A to Z” and was involved in about 30 other terrorist plots. He… Continue reading
The pervasive news surrounding the confirmation hearing of John Brennan, Obama’s nominee for CIA director, is paralleled by another, related story that has been largely ignored by the U.S. media. That is the story of the man called Abu Zubaydah, whose alleged torture testimony, obtained by the CIA while Brennan was the head of the agency’s Terrorist Threat Center, built the foundation for the official account of 9/11. This week I spoke to Lee Hamilton, former vice-chairman of the 9/11 Commission, about the serious problems that the government’s new stance on Zubaydah creates for the 9/11 Commission Report.
As stated in my last article on the subject, Zubaydah is at the center of an unraveling of the official account of the 9/11 attacks. His extensive torture at the hands of the CIA during Brennan’s tenure, which included at least 83 water-boarding sessions, hanging the man naked from the ceiling, slamming him against a concrete wall, and other atrocious experimental techniques, was said to produce valuable evidence about al Qaeda. However, the government now claims that Zubaydah was never a member or associate of al Qaeda and therefore he could not have known any of the information that the 9/11 Commission attributed to him.
From the start of our conversation, Hamilton told me that he was having trouble remembering Zubaydah. That was odd considering that an article he and Thomas Kean wrote for the New York Times in 2008, describing how the CIA obstructed the 9/11 investigation, referred several times… 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 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
Originally published at Dig Within by Kevin Ryan on 7/27/14
After becoming Director of the CIA (DCI) in 1997, George Tenet did what Louis Freeh had done after his appointment as FBI Director. He began to cultivate close personal relationships with the rulers of Saudi Arabia. Like Freeh, Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington yet Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own officers who were handling Saudi issues at the Agency. The CIA’s Saudi specialists only learned about Tenet’s dealings with the Saudi authorities inadvertently, through their Saudi contacts. It seems that Tenet was operating within a network that surpassed the interests of the American public. Therefore the unsolved crimes of 9/11, attributed largely to young men from Saudi Arabia, should be considered in light of Tenet’s actions.
As Deputy Director for the CIA, in 1996, Tenet had worked to install one of his closest friends and confidants, John Brennan, as CIA station chief in Saudi Arabia. Brennan is now the DCI but, in his previous role, Brennan often communicated directly with Tenet, avoiding the usual chain of command. At the time, as an apparent favor to the Saudis, CIA analysts were discouraged from questioning Saudi relationship to Arab extremists.
The unusual relationship that both George Tenet and Louis Freeh had with Saudi intelligence (and George H.W. Bush) recalls the private network that was created in the mid-1970s to accomplish covert… Continue reading