Ex-Guantánamo inmate accused of role in US embassy attacks acquitted
on all but one of 286 charges at civilian trial.
November 11, 2010
Ghailani was arrested in Pakistan in 2004 and transferred to the US-run Guantánamo
Bay prison in 2006 [AFP]
The first former Guantánamo detainee to be tried in a civilian court has been
found not guilty on all but one of the 286 charges in the 1998 bombings of two
US embassies in Africa.
A federal jury handed down the verdict on Wednesday to Ahmed Ghailani, a Tanzanian
national who had been accused of conspiring in the car bomb attacks in Kenya
and Tanzania that killed 224 people.
The jury found him guilty of one charge of conspiracy to damage or destroy
US property by means of an explosive device.
Ghailani was cleared of 276 murder and attempted murder counts, along with
five other conspiracy charges.
However, he faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years after his conspiracy
“We respect the jury’s verdict and are pleased that Ahmed Ghailani now
faces a minimum of 20 years in prison, and a potential life sentence for his
role in the embassy bombings,” the US justice department said after the
‘Efficient and fair’
Daphne Eviatar, from Human Rights First, said that the trial demonstrated the
system works and that there was no need to keep the Guantánamo Bay facility
“What strikes me is how efficient, fair, and transparent the federal court
prosecution was,” she… Continue reading
by Missy Comley Beattie
September 10, 2010
Our experiences and what we do with them shape and determine our trajectory.
Often, they change us gradually; sometimes, they are immediately life altering.
So much so that months, even years later, a thought, a song, even an aroma can
transport us, abruptly, into the past. Some events are wonderful. Others are
The phone call from my sister, telling me that Chase was killed in Iraq, is
among the brutal.
My nephew, Chase Comley, died a little over five years ago. He enlisted in
the military because he believed our freedoms were in jeopardy, a message George
Bush gaveled into the American psyche after 19 hijackers used planes as weapons
to attack US symbols of power on 9/11.
This week, we mark the ninth anniversary of that turning point, the day that
invokes images of death and destruction, and the date that heralded our post-9/11
world with its increased militarism/imperialism resulting in more death and
destruction, mainstream media failure, the Patriot Act, a surveillance state,
torture, indefinite detention, military tribunals, corporatism, economic collapse,
I have just watched 9/11 Press for Truth at the urging of Jon Gold, a friend
and fellow member of Peace of the Action. Gold has worked diligently to bring
justice for 9/11 families.
Less than two minutes into the film, George Bush says: “Today our fellow
citizens, our way of life, our very freedom, came under attack.”
Members of the Bush Administration tell us there… Continue reading
From Voters for Peace
July 22, 2010
We’ll be offering live and recorded video coverage of the National Conference
to Bring the Troops Home Now! taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown
Albany this weekend (7/23-7/25).
The conference will bring together antiwar and social justice activists from
across the country to consider what can be done to end the U.S. wars, occupations,
bombing attacks, threats and interventions that are taking place in the Middle
East and beyond. See where the antiwar movement is today and where it is headed!
Our audio and video coverage starts Friday evening at 7 PM with the opening
panel called "Strategies and Tactics in the Struggle to End the Empire’s
Wars and Occupations," featuring Medea Benjamin (CODE PINK), Glen Ford
(Black Agenda Report), Teresa Gutierrez (International Action Center), Kathy
Kelly (Creative Voices for Nonviolence), Kevin Martin (Peace Action), David
Swanson (WarIsACrime.org), Deborah Sweet (World Can’t Wait) and more.
Check our webcast schedule for a full listing. We’re excited to expand into
the realm of live remote coverage of local events, and hope you can join us.
Feel free to contact us with any questions! info [at] mediasanctuary.org
To register for the conference, please go to www.nationalpeaceconference.org
More on the conference:
In these troubled times, Washington’s wars and occupations rage, resulting
in an ever increasing number of dead and wounded and the destruction of countries
posing no threat to the U.S. Trillions are spent on seemingly endless conflicts
in pursuit of profits and global… Continue reading
William A. (“Bill”) Christison, a former senior analyst for the Central Intelligence Agency who became a supporter of the 9/11 Truth Movement, died June 13, 2010, due to a rapidly advancing neurological disease, which he had contracted three months earlier. He leaves behind his wife, Kathleen McGrath Christison (who had also been a CIA analyst), two daughters (Lynda Carlson and Judith Wooten), and a son (Eric). He had been preceded in death by two other sons (Robert and Thomas). The memorial service was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on Friday, June 18.
Born in Boston in 1928, Christison graduated from Princeton in 1950 and immediately joined the CIA to begin what would become a distinguished 28-year career. Starting out as an analyst on Soviet affairs, he worked in the 1960s on the problem of global nuclear proliferation, with special emphases on France, Israel, India, and Pakistan. In the 1970s, he became the National Intelligence Officer for South Asia, Southeast Asia, and Africa. (He and Kathleen met while they were both working in Saigon.) He finished his career as Director of the CIA‘s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, supervising over 200 analysts covering, between themselves, every region of the world.
In 1979, he and his wife retired from the CIA and moved to Sante Fe, where he started becoming more critical of US foreign policy, especially when he saw that the fall of the Soviet Union, which by ending the Cold War… Continue reading
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
In 2009, I published a little book entitled Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? 1 Much evidence, I showed, suggested that Osama bin Laden had died on or about December 13, 2001. (Although this book was ignored by the US press, it received major reviews in British newspapers, 2 and it even provided the basis for a BBC special. 3 ) Pointing out that the only evidence to the contrary consists of “messages from bin Laden” in the form of audiotapes and videotapes that have appeared since 2001, I devoted one chapter to an examination of the most important of these tapes, showing that none are demonstrably authentic and that some are almost certainly fakes.
In the chapter preceding that examination, I discussed two videotapes containing purported interviews of Osama bin Laden in the fall of 2001, when the issue was whether he had been responsible for the 9/11 attacks. I suggested that both of these tapes, in which bin Laden allegedly admitted his responsibility, were fakes. If they were, I pointed out, this fact would increase the likelihood that all of the “Osama bin Laden tapes” appearing in the following years – when the question of whether he was still alive was added to that of his responsibility for 9/11 – were also fakes.
The clearest example, I argued, was the most famous of the so-called bin Laden confession videos. Having allegedly been found in a private home in Jalalabad,… Continue reading
12 April 2010
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech during a ceremony to mark the National Nuclear Day day in Tehran on April 9. Ahmadinejad has written to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, asking him to launch an investigation into the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, news reports said on Monday.
AFP – Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has written to UN chief Ban Ki-moon, asking him to launch an investigation into the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States, news reports said on Monday.
“The minimum expectation from your excellency is to set up an independent and trusted fact-finding group to comprehensively investigate the real factors behind September 11,” Ahmadinejad said in the text of the letter carried by official news agencies.
They did not say when the letter was sent.
The hardliner, who in March dismissed 9/11 as a “big lie,” said in the letter that the attacks “were the main pretext for attacks” by NATO on Afghanistan and Iraq.
Several times Ahmadinejad has questioned the accepted version of the Al-Qaeda strikes on New York and Washington which killed nearly 3,000 people.
In January, he branded September 11 “a suspicious affair” similar to the Holocaust, which he dismissed as a “myth” in 2005, drawing widespread condemnation.
Ahmadinejad’s latest remarks come with Iran locked in a standoff with world powers led by the United States over Tehran’s controversial nuclear programme, and risking tougher sanctions over its defiance.
In his letter, he also asked Ban to… Continue reading
with Ralph Schoenman and Mya Shone
April 7, 2010-
Lynne Stewart has for forty years defended the poor and the oppressed against
arbitrary authority and false charges
Lynne Stewart, together with former Attorney-General Ramsey Clark and Abdeen
Jabar defended Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, who was tried and convicted of plotting
to blow up noted landmarks, including the George Washington Bridge, Lincoln
Tunnel, Holland Tunnel, Statue of Liberty, and to assassinate Senator Alphonse
D’Amato and U.N. Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali
Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman was innocent of these charges and had no part in the
initiation, planning or execution of these presumptive plots.
Indisputable and massive evidence has demonstrated that the Federal Bureau
of Investigation, through its operatives, including Emad Ali Salem, was, in
fact, the author of these plots and planned, initiated and financed these and
other acts of terror, including the bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993
in a “false flag” operation.
Attorney General John Ashcroft launched a cynical campaign to persecute and
prosecute Lynne Stewart for “aiding and abetting terrorism” based upon her serving
as defense attorney for Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman.
The Justice Department has undertaken the persecution and prosecution of Lynne
Stewart because she defended her falsely accused client zealously and refused
to be intimidated by the drumbeat of government propaganda arising from its
false “war on terror”.
Lynne Stewart has been tried and convicted in District Court of JudgeJohn G.
Koeltl of aiding and abetting terrorism based solely on the fact that she defended
a man demonized by the State for the purpose of creating a climate of fear in
the United States and public acquiescence in global wars of conquest including
Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and beyond.…
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 Elizabeth Woodworth
February 15, 2010
In the past year, in response to emerging independent science on the 9/11 attacks, nine corporate, seven public, and two independent media outlets aired analytic programs investigating the official account.
Increasingly, the issue is treated as a scientific controversy worthy of debate, rather than as a “conspiracy theory” ignoring science and common sense.
This essay presents these media analyses in the form of 18 case studies.
Eight countries — Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway and Russia — have allowed their publicly-owned broadcasting stations to air the full spectrum of evidence challenging the truth of the official account of 9/11.
This more open approach taken in the international media — I could also have included the Japanese media — might be a sign that worldwide public and corporate media organizations are positioning themselves, and preparing their audiences, for a possible revelation of the truth of the claim that forces within the US government were complicit in the attacks — a revelation that would call into question the publicly given rationale for the military operations in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
The evidence now being explored in the international media may pave the way for the US media to take an in-depth look at the implications of what is now known about 9/11, and to re-examine the country’s foreign and domestic policies in the light of this knowledge.
A talk delivered to the New England Antiwar Conference, MIT, January 30, 2010.
by Peter Dale Scott
Hello everyone! I’m honored to be invited to this important anti-war conference. As I am in the final stages of editing my next book, The Road to Afghanistan , I have been turning down invitations to speak. But I was eager to accept this one, and to join my friends and others in debunking the war on terror, the false justification for the Afghan-Pakistan war.
Let me make my own position clear at the outset. There are indeed people out there, including some Muslim extremists, who want to inflict terror on America. But it is crystal clear, as many people inside and outside government have agreed, that it makes this problem worse, not better, when Washington sends large numbers of U.S. troops to yet another country where they don’t belong. 1
A war on terror is as inappropriate a cure as a U.S. war on drugs, which as we have seen in Colombia makes the drug problem worse, not better. The war on terror and the war on drugs have this in common: both are ideological attempts to justify the needless killings of thousands — including both American troops and foreign civilians — in another needless war.
Why does America find itself, time after time, invading countries in distant oil-bearing regions, countries which have not invaded us? This is a vital issue on which we should seek a clear message for the American… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
January 27, 2010
(updated below – Update II)
The Washington Post‘s Dana Priest today reports that “U.S. military teams and intelligence agencies are deeply involved in secret joint operations with Yemeni troops who in the past six weeks have killed scores of people.” That’s no surprise, of course, as Yemen is now another predominantly Muslim country (along with Somalia and Pakistan) in which our military is secretly involved to some unknown degree in combat operations without any declaration of war, without any public debate, and arguably (though not clearly) without any Congressional authorization. The exact role played by the U.S. in the late-December missile attacks in Yemen, which killed numerous civilians, is still unknown.
But buried in Priest’s article is her revelation that American citizens are now being placed on a secret “hit list” of people whom the President has personally authorized to be killed:
After the Sept. 11 attacks, Bush gave the CIA, and later the military, authority to kill U.S. citizens abroad if strong evidence existed that an American was involved in organizing or carrying out terrorist actions against the United States or U.S. interests, military and intelligence officials said. . . .
The Obama administration has adopted the same stance. If a U.S. citizen joins al-Qaeda, “it doesn’t really change anything from the standpoint of whether we can target them,” a senior administration official said. “They are then part of the enemy.”
Both the CIA and the JSOC maintain lists of individuals, called “High Value…
Targets” and “High Value Individuals,” whom they seek to kill or capture.
by John Pilger
The New Statesman
In Nineteen Eighty-Four, George Orwell described a superstate, Oceania, whose language of war inverted lies that “passed into history and became truth. ‘Who controls the past,’ ran the Party slogan, ‘controls the future: who controls the present controls the past’.”
Barack Obama is the leader of a contemporary Oceania. In two speeches at the close of the decade, the Nobel Peace Prize-winner affirmed that peace was no longer peace, but rather a permanent war that “extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan” to “disorderly regions, failed states, diffuse enemies”. He called this “global security” and invited our gratitude. To the people of Afghanistan, which the US has invaded and occupied, he said wittily: “We have no interest in occupying your country.”
In Oceania, truth and lies are indivisible. According to Obama, the American attack on Afghanistan in 2001 was authorised by the United Nations Security Council. There was no UN authority. He said that “the world” supported the invasion in the wake of the 11 September 2001 attacks. In truth, all but three of 37 countries surveyed by Gallup expressed overwhelming opposition. He said that America invaded Afghanistan “only after the Taliban refused to turn over Osama Bin Laden”. In 2001, the Taliban tried three times to hand over Bin Laden for trial, Pakistan’s military regime reported, and they were ignored.
“Hearts and minds”
Even Obama’s mystification of the 9/11… 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
January 6, 2010
In an extended interview, award-winning journalist and activist Allan Nairn looks back over the Obama administration’s foreign policy and national security decisions over the last twelve months. “I think Obama should be remembered as a great man because of the blow he struck against white racism,” Nairn says. “But once he became president…Obama became a murderer and a terrorist, because the US has a machine that spans the globe, that has the capacity to kill, and Obama has kept it set on kill. He could have flipped the switch and turned it off…but he chose not to do so.” He continues, “In fact, as far as one can tell, Obama seems to have killed more civilians during his first year than Bush did in his first year, and maybe even than Bush killed in his final year.”
Guest: Allan Nairn, award-winning journalist and activist.
Website: News and Comment (www.allannairn.com)
ANJALI KAMAT: On Tuesday, President Obama made another statement on the failure of intelligence agencies to intercept the Christmas Day plot to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight. He said the US government had the necessary information to stop the twenty-three-year-old Nigerian suspect from boarding the Detroit-bound flight, but he excoriated the intelligence community for failing to connect the dots in time.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: I will accept that intelligence, by its nature, is imperfect. But it is increasingly clear that intelligence was not fully… Continue reading
By Andrew Hobbs and Peter Phillips
Hyperreality is the inability to distinguish between what is real and what is not. Corporate media, Fox in particular, offers news that creates a hyperreality of real world problems and issues. Consumers of corporate television news–especially those whose understandings are framed primarily from that medium alone–are embedded in a state of excited delirium and knowinglessness.
Corporate Media hasn’t acted as a cohesive, protective “fourth estate” in several decades, instead gilding lilies such as the Iraq war, torture and the true extent of Hurricane Katrina’s devastation. Contemporary corporate news is best seen in a post-modern context of hyperreality. The news from US networks is based on the presentations of partially factual stories framed inside socio-emotional story lines that juxtapose “evil” with patriotism and Christian fervor. There are multiple examples of this, but we will examine two distinct cases.
The bias towards hyperreality inherent in modern media is so rampant, consumers only need turn on the TV to be exposed to the spin. Two notorious, controversial modern figures will be examined here to explain what we mean by a hyperreality of knowinglessness. News coverage of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and right-wing radio personality Rush Limbaugh are unique examples, primarily because of their perceived opposing views and their unapparent similarities. But they are similar in that both should have little operable relevance to American policy, at least domestically, as one is an entertainer and the other is the leader of another country.…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
Careful investigation leads one to notice that a number of intriguing groups of people and organizations converged on the events of September 11th, 2001. An example is the group of men who were members of Cornell University’s Quill & Dagger society. This included Paul Wolfowitz, National Security Advisors Sandy Berger and Stephen Hadley, Marsh & McLennan executive Stephen Friedman, and the founder of Kroll Associates, Jules Kroll. Another interconnected group of organizations is linked to these Cornell comrades, and is even more interesting in terms of its members being integral to the events of 9/11, and having benefited from those events.
After the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center (WTC), a company called Stratesec (or Securacom) was responsible for the overall integration of the new security system designed by Kroll Associates. Stratesec had a small board of directors that included retired Air Force General James Abrahamson, Marvin Bush (the brother of George W. Bush) and Wirt Walker III, a cousin of the Bush brothers. Other directors included Charles Archer, former Assistant Director in charge of the FBI’s Criminal Justice Information Services Division, and Yousef Saud Al Sabah, a member of the Kuwaiti royal family.
Yousef Saud Al Sabah was also chairman of the Kuwait-American Corporation (KuwAm), which between 1993 and 1999 held a controlling share of Stratesec. The other owners of Stratesec were Walker and an entity controlled by Walker and Al Sabah, called Special Situation Investment Holdings (SSIH). SSIH was said to form a group with… Continue reading