By Glenn Greenwald
We now have an extraordinary situation that reveals the impunity with which political elites commit the most egregious crimes, as well as the special privileges to which they explicitly believe they — and they alone — are entitled. That a large bipartisan cast of Washington officials got caught being paid substantial sums of money by an Iranian dissident group that is legally designated by the U.S. Government as a Terrorist organization, and then meeting with and advocating on behalf of that Terrorist group, is very significant for several reasons. New developments over the last week make it all the more telling. Just behold the truly amazing set of facts that have arisen:
In June, 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its 6-3 ruling in the case of Holder v. Humanitarian Law . In that case, the Court upheld the Obama DOJ’s very broad interpretation of the statute that criminalizes the providing of “material support” to groups formally designated by the State Department as Terrorist organizations. The five-judge conservative bloc (along with Justice Stevens) held that pure political speech could be permissibly criminalized as “material support for Terrorism” consistent with the First Amendment if the “advocacy [is] performed in coordination with , or at the direction of, a foreign terrorist organization” (emphasis added). In other words, pure political advocacy in support of a designated Terrorist group could be prosecuted as a felony — punishable with 15 years in prison — if the advocacy is coordinated with that… Continue reading
By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
In a ferocious legal battle pitting government lawyers against victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, the Justice Department is fighting to block thousands of individuals and businesses from taking $6.6 million in frozen al-Qaeda assets seized from an alleged terrorism financier.
Frozen by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2007, the money is sought by the attorneys for 6,000 individual victims and insurers who suffered billions in losses from the attacks on the World Trade Center.
The money, in a Chicago brokerage account controlled by senior al-Qaeda operative Abu al-Tayyeb until his arrest in Saudi Arabia in 2006, drew little public notice until lawyers for 9/11 victims moved in June to collect on a 2007 default judgment.
A short time later, the Justice Department initiated legal proceedings to claim the money for itself – and keep it out of the hands of the 9/11 victims and insurers.
That triggered a fierce response from the victims’ lawyers, among them the Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor, who accuse the Justice Department of duplicity in seeking to prevent them from getting access to… Continue reading
Why Ron Paul Can Win
by James Jaeger
If you have been watching the news, you know that Ron Paul is now beating both Gingrich and Romney in the polls and could walk away with a win in Iowa.
Some say he could also walk away with a win in New Hampshire, and possibly even win the Republican (GOP) nomination.
For the Republican National Committee (RNC), this must be uncomfortable − the idea that they would be forced to nominate a principled, Constitutionalist just because WE THE PEOPLE demanded it.
But here’s what really terrifies them: Ron Paul is in a position to hand the election of 2012 over to Barack Obama and the Democrats because he would be a “spoiler.” But even… Continue reading
I have repeatedly demonstrated that — despite the false divide-and-conquer tactics of the mainstream parties and mainstream media — the overwhelming majority of Americans agree on the most important issues facing our country . And see this .
NO MORE BAILOUTS!
As I’ve noted since 2008 , Americans are united in their overwhelming disapproval for bailouts to the big banks.
This has remained true right up to today.
As Rassmussen found only last month (as summarized by KXLF news ):
Today’s Rasmussen Reports survey finds that most Americans don’t like bailouts for financial institutions.
60% Oppose Financial Bailouts; 74% Say Wall Street Benefited Most
Survey of 1,000 American Adults
– Just 20% think it was a good idea for the government to provide bailout funding to banks and other financial institutions, but 60% say otherwise .
– While many activists try to link the Republican Party and Wall Street, Republicans think the bailouts were a bad idea by an eight-to-one margin.
– Those not affiliated with either major party think they were a bad idea by a four-to-one margin. Democrats are much more evenly divided. Thirty-four percent (34%) of those in the president’s party say the bailouts were a good idea while 42% disagree.
– Overall, 68% believe that most of the bailout money went to the very people who created the nation’s ongoing economic crisis , but 12% disagree and 21% aren’t sure.
By Glenn Greenwald
September 20, 2011
The story of Jose Padilla, continuing through the events of yesterday, expresses so much of the true nature of the War on Terror and especially America’s justice system. In 2002, the American citizen was arrested at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport, publicly labeled by John Ashcroft as The Dirty Bomber, and then imprisoned for the next three years on U.S. soil as an “enemy combatant” without charges of any kind, and denied all contact with the outside world, including even a lawyer. During his lawless incarceration, he was kept not just in extreme solitary confinement but extreme sensory deprivation as well, and was abused and tortured to the point of severe and probably permanent mental incapacity. (Bush lawyers told a court that they were unable to produce videos of Padilla’s interrogations because those videos were mysteriously and tragically “lost”).
Needless to say, none of the government officials responsible for this abuse of a U.S. citizen on American soil has been held accountable in any way. That’s because President Obama decreed that Bush officials shall not be criminally investigated for War on Terror crimes, while his Justice Department vigorously defended John Yoo, Donald Rumsfeld and other responsible functionaries in civil suits brought by Padilla seeking damages for what was done to him.
As usual, the Obama DOJ cited national security imperatives and sweeping theories of presidential power to demand that Executive Branch officials be fully shielded from judicial scrutiny (i.e., shielded from the … Continue reading
The two main players in releasing the Pentagon Papers were Daniel Ellsberg and United States Senator Mike Gravel.
Senator Gravel is the person who read the Pentagon Papers into the Congressional Record. This act made the papers public record, so that they could not be censored by the government. He was the only member of Congress courageous enough to do so.
Both Ellsberg and Gravel – like many other high-level former officials in the government and intelligence services (including many well-known whistleblowers) – support a new 9/11 investigation. Ellsberg says that the case of a certain 9/11 whistleblower is “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers“. (Here’s some of what that whistleblower says.) He also said that the government is ordering the media to cover up her allegations about 9/11.
And he said that some of the claims concerning government involvement in 9/11 are credible, that “very serious questions have been raised about what they [U.S. government officials] knew beforehand and how much involvement there might have been”, that engineering 9/11 would not be humanly or psychologically beyond the scope of those in office, and that there’s enough evidence to justify a new, “hard-hitting” investigation into 9/11 with subpoenas and testimony taken under oath (see this and this).
Gravel is now backing a California ballot initiative for a new 9/11 investigation. The text of the initiative is below.
The initiative would actually help support the 9/11 Commission and fulfill the desire of the 9/11… Continue reading
By Glenn Greenwald
February 18, 2011
In March, 2002, American citizen Jose Padilla was arrested in Chicago and publicly accused by then-Attorney-General John Ashcroft of being “The Dirty Bomber.” Shortly thereafter, he was transferred to a military brig in South Carolina, where he was held for almost two years completely incommunicado (charged with no crime and denied all access to the outside world, including even a lawyer) and was brutally tortured, both physically and psychologically. All of this — including the torture — was carried out pursuant to orders from President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and other high-ranking officials. Just as the Supreme Court was about to hear Padilla’s plea to be charged or released — and thus finally decide if the President has the power to imprison American citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind — the Government indicted him in a federal court on charges far less serious than Ashcroft had touted years earlier, causing the Supreme Court to dismiss Padilla’s arguments as “moot”; Padilla was then convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison.
Padilla — like so many other War on Terror detainees — has spent years in American courts trying unsuccessfully to hold accountable the high-level government officials responsible for his abuse and lawless imprisonment (which occurred for years prior to his indictment). Not only has Padilla (and all other detainees) failed to obtain redress for what was done to them, but worse, they have been entirely denied even… Continue reading
WASHINGTON – Placed in office through legalized bribery, supported by public
funding for their every need, protected against the laws that we’re expected
to obey, Congress represents the epitome of lawlessness; lawmakers who have
no regard for the law. (Image)
Members of Congress are different. They get to retire at age 62 with lifetime pensions and health benefits. To qualify, they need just five years of service. They get free phone, mail, and other communications plus paid domestic and foreign travel. Supposedly, they’re not allowed to take gifts but the list of exceptions offers plenty of room for luxurious appreciation.
The biggest gift of all – a six to seven figure job with a major corporation or lobbying firm right after retirement – is still fair game for any member. The revolving door never stops.
But supposedly Congress passes laws for the public benefit. They come to power based on contributions from their patrons, usually large donors. Then members resolutely deny that these contributions translate into legislation favorable to the donors. If pressed, member’s state that the contributions merely buy access not votes.
In fact, members routinely vote the interests of their largest patrons. Thus, the contributions are a form of legalized bribery (“a favor or promise given to influence the judgment or conduct of a person in a position of trust.”).
The financial industry contributed hundreds of millions to current… 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
By John Byrne
May 11th, 2010
Elena Kagan, President Barack Obama’s latest nominee to the Supreme Court,
helped protect the Saudi royal family from lawsuits that sought to hold al Qaeda
financiers responsible in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.
The suits were filed by thousands of family members and others affected by
the Sept. 11 attacks. In court papers, they provided evidence that members of
the Saudi royal family had channeled millions to al Qaeda prior to the bombings,
often in contravention of direct guidance from the United States.
But Kagan, acting as President Obama’s Solicitor General, argued that the case
should not be heard even if evidence proved that the Saudis helped underwrite
al Qaeda, because it would interfere with US foreign policy with the oil-rich
nation. She posited “that the princes are immune from petitioners’
claims” because of “the potentially significant foreign relations
consequences of subjecting another sovereign state to suit.”
In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer published Tuesday,
the mother of a man who was killed on United Flight 93 in Pennsylvania said
he didn’t know why Kagan argued that the case not even be heard. By keeping
the case off the dockets, the Saudis were spared scrutiny of their finances.
“We had hoped she would be with us so that we could have our day in court,"
Beverly Burnett said.
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 Carol Rosenberg
April 5, 2010
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has dismissed more than 100 habeas corpus
lawsuits filed by former Guantánamo captives, ruling that because the Bush and
Obama administrations had transferred them elsewhere, the courts need not decide
whether the Pentagon imprisoned them illegally.
The ruling dismayed attorneys for some of the detainees who’d hoped any favorable
U.S. court findings would help clear their clients of the stigma, travel restrictions
and, in some instances, perhaps more jail time that resulted from their stay
U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan wrote that he was "not unsympathetic"
to the former detainees’ plight. "Detention for any length of time can
be injurious. And certainly associations with Guantánamo tend to be negative,"
But the detainees’ transfer from Guantánamo made their cases moot. "The
court finds that petitioners no longer present a live case or controversy since
a federal court cannot remedy the alleged collateral consequences of their prior
detention at Guantánamo," he wrote.
Hogan’s ruling, issued last Thursday, but not widely publicized, closed the
files on 105 habeas corpus petitions, many of which had been pending for years
as the Bush administration resisted the right of civilian judges to intervene
in military detentions. The U.S. Supreme Court resolved that issue in 2008,
ruling in Boumediene v. Bush that the detainees could challenge their captivity
in civilian court. Since then, judges have ordered the release of 34 detainees
while upholding the detention of 12.
Attorneys for… Continue reading
February 17, 2010
Contact: press [at] ccrjustice.org
New York — Yesterday evening, the district court in Washington, D.C. ruled against two men who died in Guantánamo in June 2006 and their families in a case seeking to hold federal officials and the United States responsible for the men’s torture, arbitrary detention and ultimate deaths at Guantánamo.
Following a two-year investigation, the military concluded that the men had committed suicide. Recent first-hand accounts by four soldiers stationed at the base at the time of the deaths, however, raise serious questions about the cause and circumstances of the deaths, including the possibility that the men died as the result of torture.
In dismissing the case, the district court ruled that the deceased’s constitutional claims that it was a violation of due process and cruel treatment to detain them for four years without charge while subjecting them to inhumane and degrading conditions of confinement and violent acts of torture and abuse, could not be heard in federal court. The men were held on the basis of an “enemy combatant” finding by a Combatant Status Review Tribunal later found by the Supreme Court itself to be inadequate.
The district court held that the claims were barred by a jurisdiction-stripping provision of the 2006 Military Commissions Act that bars any challenge by a Guantánamo detainee to their treatment, conditions, or any other aspect of their detention, while failing to address the plaintiffs’ arguments about the unconstitutionality of the provision itself. The court also dismissed the deceased’s claims under the Alien Tort Claims Act, following a holding by the D.C.…Continue reading
February 9, 2010
A reader asked whether the U.S. is still in an official state of emergency, and if so, what that means.
The answer is yes, we are still in a state of emergency.
On September 11, 2001, the government declared a state of emergency. That declared state of emergency was formally put in writing on 9/14/2001:
“A national emergency exists by reason of the terrorist attacks at the World Trade Center, New York, New York, and the Pentagon, and the continuing and immediate threat of further attacks on the United States.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, GEORGE W. BUSH, President of the United States of America,
by virtue of the authority vested in me as President by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, I hereby declare that the national emergency has existed since September 11, 2001 . . . .”
That declared state of emergency has continued in full force and effect from 9/11 [throughout the Bush administration] to the present.
On September 10 2009, President Obama continued the state of emergency:
The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues. For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2009, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.
Does a State of Emergency Really Mean Anything?
Does a state of emergency really mean anything?
Yes, it does:
By Glenn Greenwald
January 15, 2010
(updated below – Update II – Update III – Update IV)
Cass Sunstein has long been one of Barack Obama’s closest confidants. Often mentioned as a likely Obama nominee to the Supreme Court, Sunstein is currently Obama’s head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs where, among other things, he is responsible for “overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs.” In 2008, while at Harvard Law School, Sunstein co-wrote a truly pernicious paper proposing that the U.S. Government employ teams of covert agents and pseudo-“independent” advocates to “cognitively infiltrate” online groups and websites — as well as other activist groups — which advocate views that Sunstein deems “false conspiracy theories” about the Government. This would be designed to increase citizens’ faith in government officials and undermine the credibility of conspiracists. The paper’s abstract can be read, and the full paper downloaded, here.
Sunstein advocates that the Government’s stealth infiltration should be accomplished by sending covert agents into “chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups.” He also proposes that the Government make secret payments to so-called “independent” credible voices to bolster the Government’s messaging (on the ground that those who don’t believe government sources will be more inclined to listen to those who appear independent while secretly acting on behalf of the Government). This program would target those advocating false “conspiracy theories,” which they define to mean: “an attempt to explain an event or… Continue reading
The Turning Point
by Ted Walter
October 16, 2009
NYC Coalition for Accountability Now
In the fall of 2008, the NYC 9/11 Ballot Initiative realized that both strategy and tone were moving its effort no closer to broadening its support. Facing a wary, apathetic public and a stalled momentum, leadership was replaced, strategy was revamped and its mission rebranded.
Launched in early 2009 as NYC CAN, the new organization proceeded to effectively engage voters in a rational dialogue concerning the unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 and the best interests of our country. Our vehicle for engagement was a public referendum to create a real, independent, evidence-driven investigation into those questions that remain, eight years later, unaddressed.
That revamped strategy — focused and methodical, free of divisive rhetoric, ill-advised conjecture and alienating political judgments — succeeded in garnering the support of 80,000 NYC voters, over one-hundred 9/11 family members, dozens of first responders and survivors and leading 9/11 family advocates including ‘Jersey Girls’ Lorie Van Auken, Mindy Kleinberg and Patty Casazza as well as Bill Doyle, Monica Gabrielle and others.
NYC CAN also received backing from the most trusted leaders in the 9/11 truth movement, including David Ray Griffin, Richard Gage, Kevin Ryan, Steven Jones and Niels Harrit; and the endorsement of respected whistleblowers Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer and FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley, TIME’s 2002 Person of the Year.
By Ray McGovern
August 30, 2009
EXTRA! Read all about it in the Washington Post: Torture
Cheney and torture practitioners vindicated.
It seems coverage of the Bush administration’s “war on terror” has been put back on track by the editors of the Washington Post and their “sources” who are determined to highlight the supposed successes of waterboarding and other forms of torture.
Frankly, I was wondering when this return to form would happen at the Post. I was surprised to see Post journalists recently lose their grip, so to speak, and fall into the practice of reporting real facts — like the sickening revelations in the long-suppressed CIA Inspector General’s report on torture.
Apparently they have now been reminded of the biases of the newspaper’s top brass, forever justifying the hardnosed “realism” of the Bush administration as it approved brutal and perverse methods for stripping the “bad guys” of their clothes, their dignity, their sense of self — all to protect America.
Hooded, threatened with cocked guns and electric drills, deprived of sleep for long periods, beaten, dressed in diapers, forced into painful stress positions, locked in tiny boxes and subjected to the near-drowning of waterboarding, the terrorism suspects were supposed to be terrorized into what the CIA psychologists called “learned helplessness.”
And to read the Washington Post’s account, it all worked, transforming alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed from a “truculent enemy” into what the CIA considered its “preeminent source” on al-Qaeda.
The Post… Continue reading
PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY
9/11 Family Members and Survivor File for Re-validation of Citizens’
Signatures with New York State Supreme Court, following rejection of NYC CAN
petition by the City Clerk and Board of Elections
New York City — On Wednesday, several 9/11 victim family members and a
survivor took the first step in challenging the City Clerk’s rejection
of the NYC CAN petition for a new investigation in New York City. The group
filed a Verified Petition/Order to Show Cause with the Supreme Court of the
State of New York requesting a review of Board of Election documentation and
a ‘special referee’ appointed to re-validate the over 52,000 signatures
filed by NYC CAN on June 24th.
The NYC CAN petition was rejected by the City Clerk on Friday, July 24th, a
week ago, certifying less than the minimum of 30,000 qualified signatures of
electors. This benchmark, according to the Clerk’s office, was not met.
A “qualified elector” is a registered New York City voter who was
eligible to vote in the last election. According to the letter sent by the Clerk
to the City Council, the NY Board of Elections validated 26,003 signatures and
invalidated 24,664, leaving 1,333 that were not certified.
At a hearing scheduled for Monday, August 3rd, before a Supreme Court Justice,
the plaintiffs, representing tens of thousands of concerned New Yorkers who
support a new 9/11 investigation, will formally raise their request for an independent
review of the Board of Elections findings. If granted by the… Continue reading