by Richard Falk, United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the Palestinian Territories
For eighteen months the entire 1.5 million people of Gaza experienced a punishing blockade imposed by Israel, and a variety of traumatizing challenges to the normalcy of daily life. A flicker of hope emerged some six months ago when an Egyptian arranged truce produced an effective ceasefire that cut Israeli casualties to zero despite the cross-border periodic firing of homemade rockets that fell harmlessly on nearby Israeli territory, and undoubtedly caused anxiety in the border town of Sderot. During the ceasefire the Hamas leadership in Gaza repeatedly offered to extend the truce, even proposing a ten-year period and claimed a receptivity to a political solution based on acceptance of Israel’s 1967 borders. Israel ignored these diplomatic initiatives, and failed to carry out its side of the ceasefire agreement that involved some easing of the blockade that had been restricting the entry to Gaza of food, medicine, and fuel to a trickle.
Israel also refused exit permits to students with foreign fellowship awards and to Gazan journalists and respected NGO representatives. At the same time, it made it increasingly difficult for journalists to enter, and I was myself expelled from Israel a couple of weeks ago when I tried to enter to carry out my UN job of monitoring respect for human rights in occupied Palestine, that is, in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, as well as Gaza. Clearly, prior to the current crisis, Israel… Continue reading
The United States gave Israel free reign Friday on whether to send troops into the Gaza Strip, insisting that the key to a ceasefire is an Israeli demand for Hamas to permanently halt rocket fire.
But the White House said it has asked Israel to try hard to avoid civilian casualties as reserves were called up for an expected ground incursion on top of a week of air strikes that has killed more than 400 Palestinians.
“We’ve been in regular contact with the Israelis,” White House deputy press secretary Gordon Johndroe told reporters when asked if US officials were trying to prevent a possible ground offensive.
US officials have urged the Israelis “to be mindful that any of the actions that they’re taking in Gaza avoid unnecessary civilian casualties and also to help continue with the flow of humanitarian goods,” he said.
“So I think any steps they are taking, whether it’s from the air or on the ground or anything of that nature, are part and parcel of the same operation,” Johndroe said.
“Those will be decisions made by the Israelis,” he said.
“Israel has a right to defend itself from these rocket attacks, and so we’ll see,” Johndroe said when asked about progress toward a ceasefire.
After briefing Bush about events in Gaza, just 18 days before he hands the White House to his successor Barack Obama, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Washington was pursuing diplomacy with its partners in the Middle East.…Continue reading
Wednesday Dec 24, 2008
By a vote of 180 in favour to 1 against (United States) and no abstentions, the Committee also approved a resolution on the right to food, by which the Assembly would “consider it intolerable” that more than 6 million children still died every year from hunger-related illness before their fifth birthday, and that the number of undernourished people had grown to about 923 million worldwide, at the same time that the planet could produce enough food to feed 12 billion people, or twice the world’s present population. (See Annex III.)
The Bush administration, speaking for the U.S.A., therefore must consider it tolerable that 6 million children die every day – children who could be fed if we weren’t wasting billions on stealth fighters, littoral combat boondoggles and non-effective defense against non-existant ballistic missiles from Iran.
Just so you get that, here it is again:
… Continue reading
In favour: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Andorra, Angola, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahamas, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Barbados, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Cape Verde, Chad, Chile, China, Colombia, Comoros, Congo, Costa Rica, CÃ´te d’Ivoire, Croatia, Cuba, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Denmark, Djibouti, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Fiji, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Latvia, Lebanon, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Madagascar, Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Monaco, Mongolia, Montenegro, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nauru, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, San Marino, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Solomon Islands, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Swaziland, Sweden, Switzerland, Syria, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Timor-Leste, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Vanuatu, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe.
by Michael Parenti
December 7, 2008
Author’s website: www.michaelparenti.org.
Barack Obama is on record as advocating a military escalation in Afghanistan.
Before sinking any deeper into that quagmire, we might do well to learn something
about recent Afghan history and the role played by the United States.
Less than a month after the 11 September 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center
and the Pentagon, US leaders began an all-out aerial assault upon Afghanistan,
the country purportedly harboring Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda terrorist
organization. More than twenty years earlier, in 1980, the United States intervened
to stop a Soviet “invasion” of that country. Even some leading progressive
writers, who normally take a more critical view of US policy abroad, treated
the US intervention against the Soviet-supported government as “a good
thing.” The actual story is not such a good thing.
Some Real History
Since feudal times the landholding system in Afghanistan had remained unchanged,
with more than 75 percent of the land owned by big landlords who comprised only
3 percent of the rural population. In the mid-1960s, democratic revolutionary
elements coalesced to form the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). In 1973,
the king was deposed, but the government that replaced him proved to be autocratic,
corrupt, and unpopular. It in turn was forced out in 1978 after a massive demonstration
in front of the presidential palace, and after the army intervened on the side
of the demonstrators.
The military officers who took charge invited the… Continue reading
By Dave Lindorff
December 2, 2008
Before the odor of burned gunpowder has left the air of the Taj Mahal Hotel
in Mumbai, the US is lecturing India not to go off half-cocked and attack Pakistan,
simply because all of the attackers in the terrorist assaults in that city arrived
by boat, apparently from neighboring Pakistan. US officials, including Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice, are calling on India to engage in a “transparent”
and “thorough” investigation into the attacks to establish who was
How different this is from the American government’s response to the
9-11 attacks in the US!
Instead of a “transparent” investigation, we got secret sessions
of the Congressional intelligence committees, closed-door interviews of key
officials, including President Bush and Vice President Cheney by the 9-11 Commission,
and of course the secret round [up] of thousands of mostly Islamic people living
in the US, many of whom were held for months incommunicado and without charge,
some of whom were subjected to torture, and many other of whom were deported
to likely arrest, torture and even death.
Instead of a calm assessment of what had happened and who was responsible,
the Bush Administration rounded up Saudi members of the Bin Laden family, and
others connected to the regime in Saudi Arabia, whence came most of the people
reportedly involved in the hijacking of the four planes used in the attacks,
and, with no attempt at interrogation, flew them home to Saudi Arabia.
Then, again with only minimal evidence, the US launched an all-out war within
days upon Afghanistan, with the goal of ousting and destroying the Taliban government
of that country.…
October 17, 2008
by Peter Dale Scott
For over two years now I have been speaking and writing about what I call deep events. I mean by deep events the traumatic and unexpected episodes that recur periodically in US history and alter it, nearly always for the worse. These deep events can never be properly analyzed or understood, because of an intelligence dimension which results in a socially imposed veil of silence, both in the government and in the Mainstream Media.
The more that I look at these deep events comparatively, ranging over the past five decades, the more similarities I see between them, and the more I understand them in the light of each other. I hope in this paper to use analogies from the murder of JFK and 9/11 to cast new light on the murders of Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.1
I began this analysis in 2006 by comparing the JFK assassination with 9/11. I drew attention to over a dozen similarities, of which today I will be focusing on only four:
1) the remarkable and puzzling speed with which those in power identified what I call the designated culprits (Lee Harvey Oswald and the 19 alleged hijackers),
2) the self-incriminating trail allegedly left by the culprits themselves — such as the bundle that James Earl Ray is said to have conveniently left in a doorway on his way to his car. Oswald was said to have carried a flagrantly falsified draft card identifying… Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott
August 17, 2008
Recently I published two articles pointing to suggestive similarities between the recurring deep events in recent American history — those events which, because of their intelligence aspects, are ignored, misrepresented, or covered up in the American media. The first article pointed to overall similarities in many deep events since World War II. The second pointed to surprising points of comparison in the two deep events which were followed shortly by major U.S. wars: the John F. Kennedy assassination and 9/11. In the background of all these events, I suggested, was recurring evidence of the milieu “combining intelligence officials with elements from the drug-trafficking underworld.”1
Inthis essay I shall first attempt to lay out the complex geography ornetwork of that milieu, which I call the global drug connection, andits connections to what has been called an “alternative” or “shadow” CIA. I shall then show how this network, of banks, financial agents of influence, and the alternative CIA,contributed to the infrastructure of the Kennedy assassination and aseries of other, superficially unrelated, major deep events.
In this narrative, the names of individuals, their institutions, and their connections arerelatively unimportant. What matters is to see that such a milieu existed; that it was on-going, well-connected, and protected; and that, with increasing independence from governmental restraint, it played a role in major deep events in the last half century.
This of course strengthens the important hypothesis to be investigated,that this on-going milieu may also have contributed to the… Continue reading
This is a news item pertaining to the Complete 911 Timeline investigative project, one of several grassroots investigations being hosted on the History Commons website. The
data published as part of this investigation has been collected, organized, and published by members of the public who are registered users of this website.
9/28/2008: Pentagon on 9/11, Shoe Bombing, Bin Laden in the Soviet-Afghan War and More – Additions as of September 28, 2008
This week, a massive amount of new entries have been added to the timeline, dealing with a whole range of different issues. We will start with the day of 9/11, in particular the Pentagon, which a fire chief warned could be a target nearly 20 minutes before it was hit. The attack itself created confusion by setting off 300 fire alarms, although some medical workers thought the ensuing evacuation was a drill. After wandering about outside the building, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld refused to follow the established emergency plan and evacuate, instead sending deputy Paul Wolfowitz to an alternate military command center, where the computers and communication systems did not work.
The first fighter was seen arriving over the Pentagon at around 10:40 a.m., the FAA sent the White House incorrect details of the hijacked planes in the early afternoon, and astronauts viewed the devastation in New York from space. Meanwhile, the FBI established a command post near the Pentagon and limited the evidence that needed to be photographed there.
The… Continue reading
By Tod Fletcher
September 11, 2008
In THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED , David Ray Griffin provides a brilliant and much-needed companion to his path-breaking and movement-building book on 9/11, The New Pearl Harbor (NPH; 2004). Now, on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of those horrific events, Griffin surveys in detail all the main lines of evidence against the official account of 9/11 to have emerged during the last four years. THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED (NPHR) has been designed as volume 2 of a two-volume set with NPH as volume 1; together they provide a thorough and up-to-date case against the official conspiracy theory (they can be bought separately, of course).
Griffin has already published four other books that provide in-depth analysis of most of the evidence to have emerged since 2004. NPHR’s main purpose is to provide an easily accessible survey of all of the new evidence, so that it is now possible for a beginner to the subject (including journalists and members of Congress) to master its enormous complexity simply by reading two books. NPHR is structured identically to NPH; each chapter in NPHR comments and builds on the corresponding chapter in NPH. Much of the content is entirely new; there are many facts and analyses in NPHR which Griffin presents for the first time, and which literally make the book an up-to-the-minute statement of the case.
In the Preface, Griffin explains why he undertook to “update” The New Pearl Harbor . In the Introduction he… Continue reading
by Cindy Sheehan
September 10, 2008
The 7th anniversary of September 11, 2001 is approaching and it seems like
a good time to reflect on what our nation has lost since that tragic day and
what we can do to go forward.
I do not think that anyone alive on that day will forget the shock that struck
our nation when the symbols of US capitalism and militarism were struck out
of the clear blue sky. I was in panic mode for a few days, because I did not
hear from Casey who was stationed at Ft. Hood on that day and his base went
into lock-down and he was too busy to call. Even though we mourn with our fellow
Americans, the loss of over 3000 innocent people and the pain their families
have had to deal with, the attacks of 9-11 have touched every American.
There are several ways to look at 9-11:
– 9-11 was planned and executed by the US government.
— BushCo did not plan 9-11, but they knew it was going to happen and
did nothing to prevent it and, in fact, may have allowed it to happen.
— 9-11 was planned and executed by a group of 17 terrorists (14 of them
from Saudi Arabia) without the foreknowledge of the US government and we were
attacked because the terrorists "hated our freedoms and democracy."
Whichever of the theories is true, one thing is for sure: the Bush regime’s
response to 9-11 was woefully… Continue reading
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
This week Visibility 9-11 welcomes former diplomat from the State Department’s Foreign Service J. Michael Springmann. Mr. Springmann served postings in Germany, India, Saudi Arabia, and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research in Washington D.C. He is a published author of several articles on national security themes, and is an attorney in private practice in Washington D.C.
Michael has attended several 9/11 Conferences over the years, most notably, the 9/11 Omission hearings on 9/9/2004 chaired by former Representative and current Green Party candidate for President, Cynthia McKinney, as well as the recent conference in Keene, NH.
Included in this important interview is a discussion regarding a new article by Mr. Springmann titled, THE MISTAKE DEPARTMENT: One Example of Why American Foreign Policy is a Disaster (reprinted below) that discusses the American Consulate General at Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and it’s relationship to 15 of the 19 alleged September 11th hijackers. In it, he says that “the Jeddah Consulate was not a State Department post but an intelligence services operation”, “the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) routinely demanded (and got) visas for sleazy characters with no ties to either their home country or Saudi Arabia,” and “these vile people were terrorists recruited by U.S. intelligence officers along with Osama bin Laden, then a CIA asset.”
July 13, 2008
By FRANK RICH
We know what a criminal White House looks like from “The Final Days” Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s classic account of Richard Nixon’s unraveling. The cauldron of lies, paranoia and illegal surveillance boiled over, until it was finally every man for himself as desperate courtiers scrambled to save their reputations and, in a few patriotic instances, their country.
“The Final Days” was published in 1976, two years after Nixon abdicated in disgrace. With the Bush presidency, no journalist (or turncoat White House memoirist) is waiting for the corpse to be carted away. The latest and perhaps most chilling example arrives this week from Jane Mayer of The New Yorker, long a relentless journalist on the war-on-terror torture beat. Her book “The Dark Side” connects the dots of her own past reporting and that of her top-tier colleagues (including James Risen and Scott Shane of The New York Times) to portray a White House that, like its prototype, savaged its enemies within almost as ferociously as it did the Constitution.
Some of “The Dark Side” seems right out of “The Final Days” minus Nixon’s operatic boozing and weeping. We learn, for instance, that in 2004 two conservative Republican Justice Department officials had become “so paranoid” that “they actually thought they might be in physical danger.” The fear of being wiretapped by their own peers drove them to speak in code.
The men were John Ashcroft’s deputy attorney general, James Comey, and an assistant… Continue reading
On Fox News Sunday this morning, Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol said that President Bush is more likely to attack Iran if he believes Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is going to be elected.
However, “if the president thought John McCain was going to be the next president, he would think it more appropriate to let the next president make that decision than do it on his way out,” Kristol said, reinforcing the fact that McCain is offering a third Bush term on Iran.
“I do wonder with Senator Obama, if President Bush thinks Senator Obama’s going to win, does he somehow think — does he worry that Obama won’t follow through on that policy,” Kristol added. Host Chris Wallace then asked if Kristol was suggesting that Bush might “launch a military strike” before or after the election:
WALLACE: So, you’re suggesting that he might in fact, if Obama’s going to win the election, either before or after the election, launch a military strike?
KRISTOL: I don’t know. I mean, I think he would worry about it. On the other hand, you can’t — it’s hard to make foreign policy based on guesses of election results. I think Israel is worried though. I mean, what is, what signal goes to Ahmadinejad if Obama wins on a platform of unconditional negotiations and with an obvious reluctance to even talk about using military force.
Kristol also suggested that Obama’s election would tempt Saudi Arabia and Egypt to think, ‘maybe we can use nuclear… Continue reading
This story has now been updated with new information from Symposium organizers.
The New England 9/11 Symposium, held this past Saturday (5/17/08) in Keene, NH, was a tremendous success. We had a great turn out and received local and, of course, independent media coverage.
First, the morning began at 9:45 a.m. with Bob McIlvaine’s heartfelt speech, which is a reminder that, as Jon Gold put it, what we feel is nothing compared to what family members like McIlvaine feel. The part of his remarks that stuck out to me the most was when McIlvaine detailed his experiences researching 9/11 on his own and described his utter disgust with the 9/11 Commission. While speaking about the Commission he mentioned the day that Condoleeza Rice testified about the August 6th, 2001 PDB. To him it was obvious that Rice was spinning, lying, and not directly answering any questions posed to her by the Commissioners, who’s questions were light as it was. He talked of how outraged he was when, after Rice testified, family members were rushing to shake her hand. The deception was so blatant how could the others not see it? I, as well as many others, believe that Bob is very strong and very brave.
Next up was acclaimed Canadian media critic and author, Barrie Zwicker. Zwicker offered his excellent take on the media’s unwillingness to cover this issue. I had seen his presentation before in 2006 but it was watching Zwicker take the editor of The Keene Sentinel (a… 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
For Immediate Release:
Hundreds of victim family members have been demanding answers to questions about the deaths of loved ones ever since the horrific events of September 11, 2001 – to no avail. Dozens of witnesses who offered to testify to the 9/11 Commission were ignored; many others found their testimony omitted. According to a group of Keene State College students, without a clear accounting of the facts, no reform can be effective in protecting national security. The students have organized a one-day symposium, on Saturday, May 17 — “This symposium has been put together by undergraduate student scholars — a group of young people committed to the pursuit of truth in a country that so often substitutes the comfortable life and easy paths over the rocky roads of ethical personhood,” states Donna Marsh O’Connor, mother of Vanessa Lang Langer, who died escaping the South Tower.
Keene, NH May 12, 2008 — New Hampshire College students and local activists have organized a one-day symposium, entitled, “Family Members, Researchers and Whistleblowers Speak Out”, to be held at Keene High School on Saturday, May 17 from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. “This symposium has been put together by undergraduate student scholars — a group of young people committed to the pursuit of truth in a country that so often substitutes the comfortable life and easy paths over the rocky roads of ethical personhood,” says O’Connor, who along with Bob McIlvaine, who lost his son Bobby, and Michele Little, who lost her firefighter brother David, will be making presentations at the symposium.…Continue reading