By Thomas A. Schweich
Sunday, December 21, 2008
We no longer have a civilian-led government. It is hard for a lifelong Republican and son of a retired Air Force colonel to say this, but the most unnerving legacy of the Bush administration is the encroachment of the Department of Defense into a striking number of aspects of civilian government. Our Constitution is at risk.
President-elect Barack Obama’s selections of James L. Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, to be his national security adviser and, it appears, retired Navy Adm. Dennis C. Blair to be his director of national intelligence present the incoming administration with an important opportunity — and a major risk. These appointments could pave the way for these respected military officers to reverse the current trend of Pentagon encroachment upon civilian government functions, or they could complete the silent military coup d’etat that has been steadily gaining ground below the radar screen of most Americans and the media.
While serving the State Department in several senior capacities over the past four years, I witnessed firsthand the quiet, de facto military takeover of much of the U.S. government. The first assault on civilian government occurred in faraway places — Iraq and Afghanistan — and was, in theory, justified by the exigencies of war.
The White House, which basically let the Defense Department call the budgetary shots, vastly underfunded efforts by the State Department, the Justice Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development to train civilian police forces, build… 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
Among the men about to undergo military trials at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba,
is the self-proclaimed 9/11 mastermind.
By Peter Finn
Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, January 7, 2009
The military judge overseeing proceedings against five of the men accused of
planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks signed an order designed to protect classified
information that is so broad it could prevent public scrutiny of the most important
trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, according to lawyers and human rights groups.
The protective order, which was signed on Dec. 18 by Judge Stephen R. Henley,
an Army colonel, not only protects documents and information that have been
classified by intelligence agencies, it also presumptively classifies any information
"referring" to a host of agencies, including the CIA, the FBI and
the State Department. The order also allows the court in certain circumstances
to classify information already in the public domain and presumptively classifies
"any statements made by the accused."
Three of the accused, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed
mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, are defending themselves and, under the order,
anything they say during the course of the trial could be shielded from the
"These rules turn the presumption of openness on its head, making what
is perhaps the most important trial in American history presumptively closed
to the public and the press," said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism
counsel at Human Rights Watch. "If these rules applied in all cases, there
would be no such thing as an open trial in… Continue reading
January 23, 2009
By Michael Doyle
WASHINGTON — One curious soul on Feb. 8, 2001, filed a Freedom of Information
Act request with the State Department.
He or she is still awaiting a reply.
Nearly eight years have passed, making the early 2001 search for information
one of the State Department’s 10 oldest pending FOIA requests. While extreme,
it also reflects how information flow slowed markedly during the Bush administration.
“In the past, it’s been difficult even for a public agency like ourselves
to obtain information that affects our operations,” Tom Birmingham, general
manager of the Westlands Water District in Fresno, Calif., said on Friday.
As one of his first acts, President Barack Obama issued an order reversing
his predecessor’s approach toward the release of government documents. Scholars,
journalists, farmers and the simply curious now await the reopening of federal
information taps tightened since 2001.
In fiscal 2007, for instance, the Defense Department completely granted approximately
48 percent of the FOIA requests it processed. In fiscal 1998, by contrast, the
Clinton administration’s Defense Department completely granted approximately
61 percent of FOIA requests.
The Pentagon was not alone, a review of federal agency reports shows. Percentages
are approximate, because of how the reports are compiled, but trends are obvious.
The Interior Department completely granted approximately 64 percent of FOIA
requests processed in 1998 but only 47 percent in 2007. The State Department
completely granted 28 percent of FOIA requests processed in 1998, compared with
9 percent in 1998.
Other federal agencies, though not all, likewise lessened access to information
during the Bush administration, the review of public records reveals.…
Originally published at http://nafeez.blogspot.com by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed on January 26, 2009
The arrival of the Obama administration will not fundamentally alter the course of military expansion accelerated during the Bush era. The origins of these policies do not lie uniquely in neoconservative ideology. While the election of President Obama may offer new opportunities for progressive forces to delimit the damage, their space for movement will ultimately be constrained by deep-seated structural pressures that will attempt to exploit Obama to rehabilitate American imperial hegemony, rather than transform it.
Indeed, the radicalization of Anglo-American political ideology represented by the rise of neoconservative principles and the militarization processes of the ‘War on Terror’, constituted a strategic response to global systemic crises supported by the American business classes. The same classes, recognizing the extent to which the Bush era has discredited this response, have rallied around Obama. Therefore, as global crises intensify, this militarization response is likely to undergo further radicalization, rather than a meaningful change in course. The key differences will be in language and method, not substance.
Obama and National Security: “It’s the Oil, Stupid!”
This became increasingly clear as Barack Obama’s administration appointees became known — individuals whose political and ideological positions are largely commensurate with neoconservative ideals particularly on security matters, and whose social and intellectual connections link them to neo-conservative think-tanks and policy-makers.
A glance through Obama’s national security team also raises eyebrows, but we should focus on his selection of former Marine General Jim Jones as his… Continue reading
Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror.
Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College.
Arnold has worked as a crisis management consultant for several Federal agencies, including The State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the author of numerous books on terror*. Arnold is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean war.
I spoke with Arnold by phone.
GW: Your essay It is Vital to Move Beyond 9/11 is insightful and hard-hitting, and I agree with virtually everything you say. I have previously written on many of the topics you touch on, such as false pretenses for war , torture and illegal spying .
Initially, you write:
“As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”
As a leading counter-terrorism expert, I am curious to hear why you believe this.
Terry Arnold: The military approach doesn’t cover all of the elements of the problem. We need to capture and confine the individuals who are up to… Continue reading
February 7, 2009
George Washington’s Blog
Counter-terrorism experts presumably have some insight into terrorism, right?
In fact, numerous high-level counter-terrorism experts question the government’s investigation of – and explanation for – 9/11.
“The best I could say about it is they really botched the job by not really going into the real failures. … At worst, I think the 9/11 Commission Report is treasonous.”
by Melissa Rossi
Author, What Every American Should Know about the Middle East (Plume/Penguin,
February 10, 2009
Patrick Leahy has a point when he urges President Obama to open investigations about the Bush administration. However, he’s not pointing at the issue that we need to start with. Namely, September 11th. What really happened? More than a few people know – and I am not alone in calling for those who know to start talking and fess up. Let’s not let this go the way of the JFK assassination – and whether with subpoenas or on their own volition, I demand that Dick Cheney, George W. Bush – both of whom refused to testify under oath during the 9/11 Commission proceedings — Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Armitage, Larry Wilkerson, George Tenet, Robert Mueller and the rest – as well as Bill Clinton and Al Gore (both of whom also refused to testify under oath) — start talking, and in a public arena. And I’m calling on the Obama administration to open up a probe and unravel the web of deceit.
Before we tuck the Bush administration into bed and hiss, “Nighty Night, you lying scoundrels,” before we go on to lock the door on that heinous era of American history, we do indeed need to probe what happened under their watch. But the event that most concerns me is what happened on Tuesday, September 11, 2001. Oh yeah, that’s history, old news, the 9/11 Commission figured it all out, right?…Continue reading
We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.
UPDATE 2/27/09 6pm: In response to the many email questions we’ve received asking why we have not endorsed this call for a Special Prosecutor: On 2/24, when this statement/petition was posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, 911truth.org immediately signed on as an endorsing organization via the signup at that site. As of now, our name does not appear on that list. Nonetheless, we did submit endorsement. We are not, yet, encouraging 9/11 truth advocates to politely contact David Swanson asking him why he would permanently post a video statement from Willie Rodriguez on the front page of his site, yet continue to ignore/ban the burgeoning 9/11 truth movement from being heard as the powerful voice we are, in calling for truth and accountability. We believe that Mr. Swanson is acting in good faith, all in all, and will post our endorsement with the others on the list shortly.
Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations.…Continue reading
Liberal Leaders Betray Antiwar Cause To Serve Dems and Obama — Again
by John Walsh
February 25th, 2009
In the Wall Street Journal of January 24, the loathsome McCarthyite neocon David Horowitz gazed approvingly on the inauguration of Barack Obama. To Horowitz it meant the removal of an obstacle to war. Thus he wrote:
Consider: When President Obama commits this nation to war against the Islamic terrorists, as he already has in Afghanistan, he will take millions of previously alienated and disaffected Americans with him, and they will support our troops in a way that most of his party has refused to support them until now. When another liberal, Bill Clinton went to war from the air, there was no anti-war movement in the streets or in his party’s ranks to oppose him. That is an encouraging fact for us . . .
Horowitz is now locked in fast embrace with Katrina Vanden Heuvel, editor in chief of The Nation and Leslie Cagan and her cohorts at United For Peace and Justice (UFPJ). Vanden Heuvel’s most recent piece in The Nation runs under a title in the form of a query, “Obama’s War?” Whose war does she think it is anyway? Even the mainstream media calls it Obama’s war — sans question mark. Her piece ran shortly after Obama ordered 17,000 more troops to Afghanistan and almost a month after both Afghan and Pakistani civilians were first bombed at Obama’s orders. She concludes her piece, after citing the deployment of additional troops, “Up to this point the Afghan war belonged to George W.…Continue reading
Declassified documents show U.S. Embassy knew that Guatemalan security forces were behind wave of abductions of students and labor leaders.
National Security Archive calls for release of military files and investigation into intellectual authors of the 1984 abduction of Fernando García and other disappearances
National Security Archive Electronic Briefing Book No. 273
By Kate Doyle and Jesse Franzblau
English / Español
(See many significant related postings at the source.)
Washington, DC, March 17, 2009 — Following a stunning breakthrough in a 25-year-old case of political terror in Guatemala, the National Security Archive today is posting declassified U.S. documents about the disappearance of Edgar Fernando García, a student leader and trade union activist captured by Guatemalan security forces in 1984. The documents show that García’s capture was an organized political abduction orchestrated at the highest levels of the Guatemalan government.
Guatemalan authorities made the first arrest ever in the long-dormant kidnapping case when they detained Héctor Roderico Ramírez Ríos, a senior police officer in Quezaltenango, on March 5th and retired policeman Abraham Lancerio Gómez on March 6th as a result of an investigation into García’s abduction by Guatemala’s Human Rights Prosecutor (Procurador de Derechos Humanos–PDH). Arrest warrants have been issued for two more suspects, Hugo Rolando Gómez Osorio and Alfonso Guillermo de León Marroquín. The two are former officers with the notorious Special Operations Brigade (BROE) of the National Police, a unit linked to death squad activities during the 1980s by… Continue reading
By Peter Duveen
PETER’S NEW YORK, Saturday, April 18, 2009–U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
(D-NY) said yesterday that while he was positively disposed toward a new investigation
into the events of 9-11, his support for such a probe would depend on the form
it would take.
Schumer, who was attending the launch of the Tour of the Battenkill annual
bicycle races in Cambridge, New York, responded to a question regarding efforts
in New York City to establish a new 9-11 investigation.
"I think it’s not a bad idea," Schumer said. "You know, you’ve
got to do it in a good way, but yes, I’d be for it."
Schumer qualified his remarks by noting that his support would depend upon
the manner in which the investigation was structured. "I’d have to see
the parameters of the investigation and all that," he said. He briefly
mentioned "finding body parts," which may have referred to the discovery
in 2006 that the roof of the Deutsche Bank building near the former site of
the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center was strewn with human remains from
A report sponsored by the National Institute of Standards and Technology maintains
that the Twin Towers were brought down entirely due to fire and mechanical damage
from the two airliners that collided with them on 9-11. A similar report by
the same government agency asserts that the sudden and rapid collapse that same
afternoon of a third office tower, the 47-story Building 7, was caused… Continue reading
Posted at 911blogger.com by Loose Nuke
May 16, 2009
Rob Kall Headlined Lukery’s transcript:
See either link for hyperlinks- as Lukery says, Rob’s radio show gets archived here, but they’re only up to 3/18/09:
PS- recent, related article by Lukery:
They spy on judges, too.
FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2009
Rob Kall interviews Sibel Edmonds
Rob Kall of Op-Ed News interviewed Sibel on Wednesday. The audio ought to show up here at some point.
The following is a partial transcript. All errors, edits and omissions are mine.
We (NSWBC) stopped our activities for a while, and we are restarting them again, and I just launched my blog, www.123realchange.blogspot.com, and the first series that I’m posting there is on the mainstream media, and in the next few days, you’re going to see more than 300 whistleblowers who are going to post their comments at the blog too, about their experiences with various people in the mainstream media.
So that’s going to be the main discussion, because currently we review the mainstream media as the culprit, because if they were to do their jobs, they would put pressure on the people in the congress, because these people want to get re-elected, and therefore that pressure would act as a catalyst to get these things that we, the people, have been asking for – the real hearings and accountability. But without the mainstream media putting that pressure, going after them, well, they don’t have anything really… Continue reading
by Alan Miller, alan.miller@PatriotsQuestion911.com
May 18, 2009
Official Account of 9/11: “Terribly Flawed,” “Laced with
Contradictions,” “a Joke,” “a Cover-up”
2009 — More than 40 U.S. Counter-Terrorism and Intelligence Agency veterans
have severely criticized the official account of 9/11 and most have called for
a new investigation. It is outrageous that most Americans are entirely unaware
of their publicly stated concerns — a direct result of the refusal of national
print and broadcast news organizations to cover this extremely important issue.
There is no denying the credibility of these individuals or their loyalty to
their country as demonstrated by their years of service collecting and analyzing
information and planning and carrying out operations critical to the national
security of the United States.
These 41 individuals formerly served in the U.S. State Department, the National
Security Agency, the Central Intelligence Agency, the Federal Bureau of Investigation,
the Federal Aviation Administration, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and
the branches of the U.S. Military. They are listed in the article by their branch
The counterterrorism officials speaking out include, for example:
Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold, MA — Former Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, U.S. State Department. Former Chairman, Department of International Studies, National War College. Graduate of the National War College. Retired Senior Foreign Service Officer of the U.S. Department of State. http://patriotsquestion911.com/#TArnold
William Christison — Former National Intelligence Officer. Former Director of the CIA’s Office of Regional and Political Analysis, a 250-person unit responsible… Continue reading
May 27, 2009
Announcement at 123 Real Change by Sibel Edmonds
We all have been tirelessly screaming
about issues related to Congressional leaders abdicating their main responsibility
of ‘oversight.’ We have been outraged for way too long at seeing ‘no’ accountability
whatsoever in many known cases of extreme wrongdoing. I, and many of you, believe
that the biggest reason for this was, and still is, the lack of true journalism
and media coverage — which acts as the necessary pressure and catalyst for
those spineless politicians on the Hill and in the Executive branch. Or, at
least it’s supposed to. So, in our book, the MSM has been the main culprit.
Well, here is a chance to turn the tables.
At my new blog, 123 Real Change,
I’m happy to present an experimental project, Project Expose MSM, created to
provide readers with specific mainstream media blackout and/or misinformation
cases based on the documented and credible first-hand experiences of
legitimate sources and whistleblowers.123 Real Change is inviting all members
of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition (NSWBC),
other active (covert or overt) government whistleblowers, and even reporters
themselves, to publish their experiences in regard to their own first-hand dealings
with the media, where their legit disclosures were either intentionally censored,
blacked out or tainted.
Yes, we will be naming names — myself included.
We will even do so below, in one real-case example, intended to help illustrate
how the project will work. In the absence of the real investigative… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
What’s the difference between murder and massacre?
The answer is Terry Halbardier, whose bravery and ingenuity as a 23-year-old Navy seaman spelled the difference between the murder of 34 of the USS Liberty crew and the intended massacre of all 294.
The date was June 8, 1967; and for the families of the 34 murdered and for the Liberty’s survivors and their families, it is a “date which will live in infamy” — like the date of an earlier surprise attack on the U.S. Navy.
The infamy is two-fold: (1) the Liberty, a virtually defenseless intelligence collection platform prominently flying an American flag in international waters, came under deliberate attack by Israeli aircraft and three 60-ton Israeli torpedo boats off the coast of the Sinai on a cloudless June afternoon during the six-day Israeli-Arab war; and (2) President Lyndon Johnson called back carrier aircraft dispatched to defend the Liberty lest Israel be embarrassed — the start of an unconscionable cover-up, including top Navy brass, that persists to this day.
Given all they have been through, the Liberty survivors and other veterans — who joined Halbardier to celebrate his belated receipt of the Silver Star — can be forgiven for having doubted that this day would ever come.
In the award ceremony at the Visalia (California) office of Rep. Devin Nunes, the Republican congressman pinned the Silver Star next to the Purple Heart that Halbardier found in his home mailbox three years ago.
Nunes said, “The government… Continue reading
June 8, 2009
FAS Project on Government Secrecy s Secrecy News
An Inspector General review (pdf) of the State Department Office of the Historian (HO) last month confirmed that there were serious management defects in the Office and recommended reassignment of its Director as well as other changes.
The Office of the Historian is responsible for production of the Foreign Relations of the United States (FRUS) series, which is the official documentary history of U.S. foreign policy and one of the most important vehicles for declassification of historical records.
Allegations of mismanagement and declining performance had surrounded the Office for years until the Chairman of the State Department Historical Advisory Committee, Prof. Wm. Roger Louis, resigned last December to dramatize his concerns that the FRUS series was “at risk.” (See “State Dept: Crisis in the Foreign Relations Series,” Secrecy News, December 11, 2008).
“In varying degrees, nearly 75 percent of the present HO employees interviewed … were critical of the way the office is run,” the IG reported. “They alleged favoritism, cronyism, a lack of transparency, lack of interest in the FRUS, disparagement of the staff, suspicion, an absence of leadership, and, in general, the creation of an unhappy workplace.”
With plummeting employee morale and departures of experienced staff historians, “something in HO is very wrong,” the Inspector General concluded. “HO is suffering from, and has for some time been handicapped by, serious mismanagement for which the director must be held accountable…. Despite any mitigating factors that may exist in favor of the director, this situation cannot be allowed to continue.”
“It is a devastating indictment,” said Prof.…Continue reading
by Jon Gold
On 1/8/2008, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that “a huge lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia and key members of its royal family was put to a crucial test today as lawyers for victims of the 9/11 attacks urged a federal appeals court to reinstate the government of Saudi Arabia as a defendant.” The Cozen O’Connor law firm in Philadelphia “was the first to file suit against the government of Saudi Arabia in 2003, charging that the desert kingdom bears responsibility for the attacks because it permitted Islamic charities under its control to bankroll Osama bin Laden and his global terror movement.” The lawsuit “suffered a setback in 2005 when New York federal district court judge Richard Conway Casey ruled that the federal foreign sovereign immunity act barred lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and members of the royal family.”
On… Continue reading