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North Africa

Mystery surrounds prison death of terrorist whose testimony was key to Iraq invasion

May 20, 2009
Sundayherald.com

INTERNATIONAL INVESTIGATION: Islamist dies in Tripoli shortly after human
rights group visit from Fred Bridgland in Libya

THE ISLAMIST terrorist who was the key source of the false intelligence used
to trigger the US and UK 2003 military invasion of Iraq has been found dead
in a Libyan prison cell.t

Ibn al-Sheikh al-Libi allegedly committed suicide by hanging in the prison where
he was being held in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. His death followed a visit
by a team from Human Rights Watch, one of the world’s leading independent organisations
dedicated to defending and protecting human rights.

The al-Libi affair opens a window on an extraordinarily close espionage link
that existed between the government of the former US president, George Bush,
and the authoritarian Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi.
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Al-Libi was the unnamed source that Bush, his former secretary of state, Colin
Powell, and other administration officials relied upon prior to the Iraq invasion
to assert that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was helping a terrorist organisation
run by al-Qaeda. Al-Libi was known to Powell and Bush by the codename “Curveball”.

Powell’s speech to the United Nations Security Council on February 5, 2003
was largely based on al-Libi’s coerced testimony – which was extracted from
him in Egyptian torture chambers – even though many US intelligence officials
questioned it at the time and later dismissed it completely. In his address,
aimed at drumming up support for the invasion, Powell said he could “trace
the story of a senior terrorist operative telling how Iraq provided training
in these chemical and biological weapons to al-Qaeda”.…

Continue reading

The Bush Six to Be Indicted

April 13, 2009
Scott Horton
TheDailyBeast.com

Spanish prosecutors will seek criminal charges against Alberto Gonzales
and five high-ranking Bush administration officials for sanctioning torture
at Guantánamo.

Spanish prosecutors have decided to press forward with a criminal investigation targeting former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five top associates over their role in the torture of five Spanish citizens held at Guantánamo, several reliable sources close to the investigation have told The Daily Beast. Their decision is expected to be announced on Tuesday before the Spanish central criminal court, the Audencia Nacional, in Madrid. But the decision is likely to raise concerns with the human-rights community on other points: They will seek to have the case referred to a different judge.

The six defendants–in addition to Gonzales, Federal
Appeals Court Judge and former Assistant Attorney General Jay Bybee, University
of California law professor and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General John
Yoo, former Defense Department general counsel and current Chevron lawyer William
J. Haynes II, Vice President Cheney’s former chief of staff David Addington,
and former Undersecretary of Defense Douglas J. Feith–are accused of having
given the green light to the torture and mistreatment of prisoners held in U.S.
detention in “the war on terror.” The case arises in the context of a pending
proceeding before the court involving terrorism charges against five Spaniards
formerly held at Guantánamo. A group of human-rights lawyers originally
filed a criminal complaint asking the court to look at the possibility of charges
against the six American lawyers.… Continue reading

Obama Escalates War in Afghanistan; Threatens Expansion to Pakistan

by Kenneth J. Theisen
28 March 2009
WorldCantWait.net

President Barack Obama continued with his latest escalation of the war in Afghanistan
by announcing his plans to send an additional 4,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan
to train Afghan government puppet forces. He also announced plans to send hundreds
of diplomats and civilian officials to the country, in what Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton called an “integrated military-civilian strategy”.
Like his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama raised the specter of “terrorism”
to justify his actions.

Obama stated that, “If the Afghanistan government falls to the Taliban
or allows al-Qaida to go unchallenged, that country will again be a base for
terrorists.” Obama warned that the al-Qaida “terrorists” were
actively planning further attacks on the U.S. from havens in Pakistan. He stated,
“So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and
focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
and to prevent their return to either country in the future.” He went on
to claim, “That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that
could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the
same: we will defeat you.” Does this sound a little too much like Bush’s
excuse for the initial invasion in 2001? I was waiting to hear Obama say, “bring
‘em on.”

This latest escalation builds on Obama’s previously announced plan to
send 17,000 troops to that war-torn country. President George… Continue reading

January 2001 Memo Warned Bush of Al Qaeda Threat

By JoAnne Allen

Feb 10, 10:09 PM (ET)

Reuters: Original Report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A newly released memo warned the White House at the start of the Bush administration that al Qaeda represented a threat throughout the Islamic world, a warning that critics said went unheeded by President Bush until the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The memo dated Jan. 25, 2001 — five days after Bush took office — was an essential feature of last year’s hearings into intelligence failures before the attacks on New York and Washington. A copy of the document was posted on the National Security Archive Web site on Thursday.

The memo, from former counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke to then-national security adviser Condoleezza Rice, had been described during the hearings but its full contents had not been disclosed.

Clarke, a holdover from the Clinton administration, had requested an immediate meeting of top national security officials as soon as possible after Bush took office to discuss combating al Qaeda. He described the network as a threat with broad reach.

“Al Qaeda affects centrally our policies on Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia, North Africa and the GCC (Gulf Arab states). Leaders in Jordan and Saudi Arabia see al Qaeda as a direct threat to them,” Clarke wrote.

“The strength of the network of organizations limits the scope of support friendly Arab regimes can give to a range of U.S. policies, including Iraq policy and the (Israeli-Palestinian) Peace Process. We would make a major error if we underestimated the challenge… Continue reading