By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
Jul. 17, 2009
Sen. Arlen Specter suggested during Judge Sonia Sotomayor’s confirmation hearing
yesterday that the Obama administration sought to block Supreme Court review
of lawsuits blaming Saudi Arabia for the Sept. 11 attacks for fear of offending
an important ally.
The remark came as the Pennsylvania Democrat questioned Sotomayor on whether
the Supreme Court, by deciding ever fewer cases, had effectively ducked important
constitutional questions left unresolved by lower courts.
In a July 7 letter to Sotomayor, Specter also raised the issue of Saudi involvement
in the attacks, asserting that “plaintiffs’ counsel had developed considerable
evidence showing Saudi complicity.”
Law firms representing thousands of victims of the 9/11 attacks and their families,
along with insurers and other interests that suffered economic losses, sued
the government of Saudi Arabia and senior members of its royal family, alleging
that they financed Islamic charities that, in turn, bankrolled al-Qaeda.
On June 29, the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of lower-court rulings
that the Saudi government and members of its royal family cannot be sued under
U.S. law for allegedly supporting terrorism. Shortly before that ruling, the
Obama administration filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the court to reject
the case, in part because the administration had not given its sign-off.
The Center City law firm Cozen O’Connor represents most of the insurers in
the case and led the Supreme Court appeal. The South Carolina-based firm Motley
Rice represents thousands of 9/11 victims and their… Continue reading
July 8, 2009
U.S. relations with the Saudi royal family trumped the importance of the 3,000
murders on Sept. 11, 2001. That was the opinion of the U.S. State Department
during the Bush years.
The Bush administration made the path as rocky as possible for the families
who sued the Saudis. The families’ lawsuit showed how the Saudis financed the
lunatics who pulled off a mass murder on American soil in September 2001.
Barack Obama has followed that same Bush agenda.
But it took an intellectually lightweight U.S. Supreme Court to really send
the important message to the Saudi royal family. That message: "We love
your oil and need your money."
So even with the Supreme Court, it was all about our love affair with the Saudis
when the court ruled that the families of 9/11 victims were not permitted to
sue the royal family.
Even the highest court in the land could not get past the fact that the Saudis
control about 25 percent of the world’s oil reserves; the legend that the court
is supposed to be blind to politics is once more exposed as a fraud. The justices
knew that America owes the Saudi royal family billions, and that by some estimates
that family controls 8 to 10 percent of our entire economy.
In front of the Supreme Court, the Obama lawyers argued the same thing that
the Bush lawyers argued. In a distilled form, the argument was simple: America
will make the Saudis… Continue reading
Court won’t hear Sept. 11 claims vs. Saudi Arabia
June 29, 2009
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court has refused to allow victims of the Sept.
11 attacks to pursue lawsuits against Saudi Arabia and four of its princes over
charitable donations that were allegedly funneled to al-Qaida.
The court, in an order Monday, is leaving in place the ruling of a federal
appeals court that the country and the princes are protected by sovereign immunity,
which generally means that foreign countries can’t be sued in American courts.
The Obama administration had angered some victims and families by urging the
justices to pass up the case.
In their appeal, the more than 6,000 plaintiffs said the government’s court
brief filed in early June was an “apparent effort to appease a sometime
ally” just before President Barack Obama’s visit to Saudi Arabia.
At issue were obstacles in American law to suing foreign governments and their
officials as well as the extent to which people can be held financially responsible
for acts of terrorism committed by others.
The appeal was filed by relatives of victims killed in the attacks and thousands
of people who were injured, as well as businesses and governments that sustained
property damage and other losses.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York previously upheld a federal
judge’s ruling throwing out the lawsuits. The appeals court said the defendants
were protected by sovereign immunity and the plaintiffs would need to prove
that the princes engaged in intentional actions aimed at U.S.…
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
June 9, 2009
By Chris Mondics
Inquirer Staff Writer
The Philadelphia Inquirer
At the moment the north tower of the World Trade Center collapsed at 10:28
a.m. on Sept. 11, 2001, Sharon Premoli was scrambling up an escalator from the
below-ground concourse toward the street with dozens of other office workers
in a desperate bid to escape.
She looked behind her and saw two things that are burned forever in her memory:
A human chain of evacuees riding the escalator and a boiling cloud of dust and
debris racing toward them.
The force of that swirling storm picked her up and threw her into nearby storefront.
After she awoke, she said, she soon realized she was lying on the lifeless body
of a man and that she was covered with his blood.
"I remember taking my nails and scraping my tongue to remove the debris
from my mouth," said Premoli, at the time a vice president for development
with a financial services software company based in the North Tower. "I
tried to get up and I realized I was lying on the body, and I am profoundly
haunted by that."
Strip away all the arcana and legal angels dancing on heads of pins, and Premoli
is the human face of litigation alleging Saudi Arabia financed the 9/11 hijackers.
She is one of 6,000 World Trade Center victims and their families who have
charged in lawsuits that the government of Saudi Arabia or its officials funded
Islamic charities that in turn… Continue reading
May 29, 2009
Statement On Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt Terrorism
In Response to the Solicitor General’s Refusal to Support The 9/11 Families’
Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court
(In Re: Thomas E. Burnett, Sr., et al. v. Al Baraka Investment & Development
Corp., et al., Case No. 03-CV-9849 (RCC) In Re: Terrorist Attacks on September
11, 2001, MDL 1570)
WASHINGTON, May 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The following is a statement
of 9/11 Family Members: Mike Low, Father of Sara Elizabeth Low, AA Flight 11;
Bill Doyle, Father of Joseph M. Doyle, WTC North Tower; Tom & Beverly Burnett,
Sr., Parents of Thomas E. Burnett, Jr., UA Flight 93; and Terry Strada, Wife
of Thomas Strada, WTC North Tower on Behalf of the 9/11 Families United to Bankrupt
Terrorism in Response to the Solicitor General’s Refusal to Support The 9/11
Families’ Petition for Writ of Certiorari with the Supreme Court:
Today the Obama Administration filed in the Supreme Court a document that expressed
the Administration’s decision to stand with a group of Saudi princes and against
the right of American citizens — 9/11 family members — to have our day in
court. Let there be no doubt: The filing was political in nature and stands
as a betrayal of everyone who lost a loved one or was injured on September 11,
We are deeply dismayed by this decision, filed by the solicitor general of
the United States in response to the Supreme Court’s February 23, 2009 invitation
for the government to express its views in the 9/11 families’ request to appeal
a portion of the case to the Court.…
The Loss of Civil Liberties Timeline has new entries about the roots of the
modern US state, including President Theodore Roosevelt sowing the “seeds
of the Imperial Presidency” at the start of the last century. It also
covers Franklin D. Roosevelt’s increase in the size of the government
during the depression over the Supreme Court’s opposition, and his later
violation of the Neutrality Acts at the start of the Second World War.
The Detainee Abuse Timeline has new entries about the recently disclosed Red
Cross report on torture and a really interesting 1943 memo about the respectful
interrogation techniques the US used in World War II.
In the International Relations Timeline a contributor points out that former
President George Bush banned officials from discussing negotiations with North
A contributor to the Kosovar Albanian Self-Determination Timeline has added
entries about the Italian invasion of Albania in 1939.
Finally, the Domestic Propaganda Timeline has a new entry about the recent
tea parties organised by Americans for Prosperity and Freedom Works.
The History Commons needs funding to continue its operations, including maintaining
and updating the site, and undertaking new projects. Everything we do depends
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donate today. Thank you.
A strange feeling of déjÃ vu arises while listening to the administration sell further U.S. military intervention in Pakistan (our Predator drones are already there).
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen claimed in late March that Pakistan’s intelligence service has “close links with al Qaeda and the Taliban network.” In fact, Mullen warned, the Pakistani intelligence service, ISI, is “offering logistical support to them (the Taliban).”
In early April, veteran foreign policy icon and special advisor to the president on Afghanistan and South Asia, Richard Holbrook, let us know what this meant. There is a fundamental difference between the Pakistan conflict and the Viet Nam war, he argued. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Holbrook went on to say this:
“And the people who are in this area who we are fighting either pose a direct threat, having committed 9/11, having done Mumbai, having killed (Benazir) Bhutto, and they have publicly said they are going to do more of the same. That is: al Qaeda of course and their allies the Taliban.” Richard Holbrooke, May 5, 2009 (Repeating April 19, 2009 statement)
On May 9, General David Petraeus supported his superiors as he announced that Pakistan was now “the world headquarters for the al Qaeda senior leadership.”
There is even talk in the U.S. media that Pakistan is at risk of becoming a failed state controlled by Muslim extremists. Using Holbrooke’s logic, the U.S. would then be faced… Continue reading
30 April 2009
By Dennis Loo
If you ask most people what Obama has done about Guantánamo, most would say,
“He shut it down.”
Most don’t know that Obama has said he might take as much as a year to shut
If you ask most people what Obama has done about torture and rendition, most
would say, “He’s ended them.”
Most don’t know that Obama has declared that he will continue rendition,
that he reserves the right to go beyond the Army Field Manual for interrogations,
and that by
not acting affirmatively to ensure otherwise, he has allowed conditions to worsen
If you ask most people what Obama’s done about restoring habeas corpus, most
people would first say, “What’s habeas corpus?”
Then, after you explain to them that habeas corpus is your right to challenge
your detention, most people would say, “He’s restored habeas corpus, hasn’t
Most people don’t know that Obama has said that Bagram prisoners have no
right to habeas corpus and that Gitmo detainees don’t have a right
to it prior to June 2008.
The latest news about what Obama is up to on these fronts follows.
Obama’s DOJ pressed the Court of Appeals to rule that Gitmo prisoners aren’t
“persons,” aren’t entitled to the rights of “persons,” and
that if the Court does find that they are indeed “persons,” then US
officials who ordered and carried out torture and abuse of prisoners should
be immune from prosecution for… Continue reading
January 13, 2008
Center for Constitutional Rights
The inauguration is almost upon us, and I am writing you with two important related matters. The first is a call to action to phone your senators with questions for Eric Holder’s hearing on his nomination to be the next Attorney General. The second is to send you a link to a report we released yesterday on the simple steps to closing Guantánamo.
While President-Elect Obama has said he will close the base,he has yet to say how or when, which are the most important questions. We are all excited at the chance for a new beginning: it is up to us to make it one we can be proud of. Please call your senators, and please download and distribute our report so we can end this terrible chapter in our history.
I. This Thursday, January 15th, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing to decide whether nominee Eric Holder should be confirmed as the new Attorney General. While Holder’s public statements suggest he would be a marked improvement over Alberto Gonzales and Michael Mukasey, it is critical that the American public be certain that our nation’s chief lawyer has an unwavering commitment to upholding the rule of law.
Senate Judiciary Committee members have a serious responsibility to put an end to subverting law to politics – and to ensure that President-Elect Obama appoints an Attorney General who will help him restore, protect and expand our human rights. And it is… Continue reading
December 1, 2008
Reporting by Zaa Nkweta
Bruce Fein: Army to deal with potential domestic "civil unrest
and crowd control"
Watch this brief news video at TheRealNews.com.
The US federal government has made strong preparations for "continuity
of government" in the event of a national catastrophe. A full army brigade
is now on active duty within domestic borders, and the Bush administration has
issued a directive which allows the president to coordinate all three branches
of the federal government in such an event. The Real News spoke to Bruce Fein.
Bruce Fein is the founder of the American Freedom Agenda, that works to restore
constitutional checks and balances. He served in the US Justice Department under
President Reagan and has been an adjunct scholar with the American Enterprise
Institute, a resident scholar at the Heritage Foundation, a lecturer at the
Brookings Institute, and an adjunct professor at George Washington University.
He is an adviser to Ron Paul.
U.S. Army prepares to invade U.S. corbettreport.
Context of ‘1992-2000: Secret Continuity of Government Exercises Prepare for
Terrorist Threat’ – HistoryCommons.org
BACK TO THE BUNKER – washingtonpost.com
TRANSCRIPT: US prepares for "continuity of government"
ZAA NKWETA, TRNN: With recent warnings of potential terrorist attacks coming
from US authorities, civil liberty proponents are growing increasingly concerned
about preparations the federal government is making for a potential emergency
situation. As of October, a full army brigade is on active duty within the United
States to deal… Continue reading
Debunking the ‘9/11 Debunkers’ With Stewart Bradley
by John-Michael Talboo
Debunking the Debunkers
John-Michael Talboo (JMT)-Q:
November 21, 2008
By William Glaberson
New York Times
A federal judge issued the Bush administration a sharp setback on Thursday, ruling that five Algerian men have been held unlawfully at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp for nearly seven years and ordering their release.
It was the first hearing on the government’s evidence for holding detainees at Guantánamo. The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington, said the government’s secret evidence in the case had been weak: what he described as “a classified document from an unnamed source” for its central claim against the men, with little way to measure credibility.
“To rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court’s obligation,” Judge Leon said. He urged the government not to appeal and said the men should be released “forthwith.”
The habeas corpus case was an important test of the administration’s detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with hardened fighters and terrorist commanders.
The judge also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda, arranging travel for others to fight the United States, and planned to become a fighter himself.
The six men are among a group of Guantánamo inmates who won a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling in June that the detainees had a constitutional right to seek their release in federal court. The decision said a 2006 law unconstitutionally stripped them of their right to contest their imprisonment in habeas corpus lawsuits.…Continue reading
October 20, 2008
By ROBERT F. KENNEDY JR. & GREG PALAST
“I don’t think the Democrats get it. All these new rules and games … could flip the vote to the GOP in half a dozen states.”
Rolling Stone Magazine is making this important investigative story available on the net in its entirety, free of charge.
“The new registrations thrown out, the existing registrations scrubbed, the spoiled ballots, the provisional ballots that were never counted — and what you have is millions of voters, more than enough to swing the presidential election, quietly being detached from the electorate by subterfuge.
“Jim Crow was laid to rest, but his cousins were not,” says Donna Brazile. “We got rid of poll taxes and literacy tests but now have a second generation of schemes to deny our citizens their franchise.” Come November, the most crucial demographic may prove to be Americans who have been denied the right to vote. If Democrats are to win the 2008 election, they must not simply beat John McCain at the polls — they must beat him by a margin that exceeds the level of GOP vote tampering.
– From the current Rolling Stone
These days, the old west rail hub of Las Vegas, New Mexico, is little more than a dusty economic dead zone amid a boneyard of bare… Continue reading
October 7, 2008
By William Glaberson
WASHINGTON — A federal judge on Tuesday ordered the Bush administration to release 17 detainees at Guantánamo Bay by the end of the week, the first such ruling in nearly seven years of legal disputes over the administration’s detention policies.
The judge, Ricardo M. Urbina of Federal District Court, ordered that the 17 men be brought to his courtroom on Friday from the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, where they have been held since 2002. He indicated that he would release the men, members of the restive Uighur Muslim minority in western China, into the care of supporters in the United States, initially in the Washington area.
“I think the moment has arrived for the court to shine the light of constitutionality on the reasons for detention,” Judge Urbina said.
Saying the men had never fought the United States and were not a security threat, he tersely rejected Bush administration claims that he lacked the power to order the men set free in the United States and government requests that he stay his order to permit an immediate appeal.
The ruling was a sharp setback for the administration, which has waged a long legal battle to defend its policies of detention at the naval base at Guantánamo Bay, arguing a broad executive power in waging war. Federal courts up to the Supreme Court have waded through detention questions and in several major cases the courts have rejected administration contentions.
The government recently conceded that… Continue reading
By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
Each year around the anniversary of 9/11, I summarize what we ordinary citizens have learned since that awful day in 2001. This is the seventh annual look backwards, a 2008 update that contains new information and surmisings about those horrific events and what followed.
1. One 9/11 Size Fits All. What we now more fully understand is how the CheneyBush Administration utilized the murderous terrorism of 9/11 as the linchpin justification for their unfolding domestic and foreign agenda, much of it illegal, immoral and impeachable.
By and large, one can sum up that overall agenda as: Amass and control power in the U.S. and much of the world (“full-spectrum dominance”), and, in cahoots with their corporate supporters such as Halliburton and Blackwater, loot the federal treasury. All this was to be carried out secretly, with no accountability.
2. Iraq War Planning Began Before 9/11. We also know more about the nature of the lies (including forged documents) used by the Administration to sell the Iraq War, which attack already was in the planning stages well before 9/11.
The first faked document, by CIA forgers at the behest of White House officials, was a 2005 letter (back-dated 2001) supposedly coming from the then-Iraqi intelligence chief to his boss Saddam Hussein mentioning alleged “facts” that established a tie-in between 9/11, Al-Qaida and Iraq and about Saddam’s supposed purchase of uranium. The official, Tahir Jalil Habbush al-Tikriti, who had been an informant for the U.S. during… Continue reading
By Kathy Sanborn
13/08/08 “ICH” — – Sanborn: When I read your article, “Marching Off Into Tyranny,” I was impressed by how you were able to concisely sum up one of the most important issues that we face as Americans, namely, the erosion of our civil liberties, mostly due to fabricated terrorism such as the anthrax scare and the attacks on 9/11. You talk about the Florida university professor, Al-Arian, who continues to be victimized by the Feds although a jury has cleared him of any terrorism charges. [As of August 8, 2008, the Associated Press states, "U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema postponed the trial indefinitely, questioning whether the government was overeager in filing charges." –KS]
What was your wake-up call, Dr. Roberts, to the fact that the current administration was determined to take away the civil liberties of Americans?
Roberts: When they responded to 9/11 with the Patriot Act. That document was thick, and it would have taken months and months to prepare it, yet it came out shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
Why does combating terrorism require an assault on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights? It was clear to me that there was an undeclared agenda there.
On the day of 9/11, I knew right away that something was wrong. I had been an engineering student at Georgia Tech, and things just didn’t add up. As I watched the towers fall, I could see that the buildings were blowing up from the top, at least initially.… Continue reading
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
In a dramatic confluence of events today, two kangaroo courts announced their
pre-determined guilty verdicts.
In the first, 6 "military jurors" hand-picked by the Pentagon for
their loyalty to the U.S. government and its views, convicted Bin Laden’s alleged
driver, Salim Hamdan, even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was unconstitutional
to try Gitmo detainees before a military tribunal, the former chief Gitmo prosecutor
said the trials were unfair and rigged, and even though Hamdan was unlawfully
The entire case for the "war on terror" has fallen apart, with a
advisor to the U.S. military confirming that the war on terror is a hoax because
there is no battlefield solution to terrorism" and the case for the
Iraq war being laid bare as a forgery
and a sham
(and the government’s whitewash of 9/11 being understood by many Americans).
The government needed a conviction against someone in Arab clothing
so that it could pretend that the multi-trillion dollar, economy-busting, war
crime-based war in the Middle East was justified.
In the second, Dr. Bruce Ivins has been convicted
by the FBI as being the anthrax killer without
any persuasive evidence. After falsely
accusing 2 other scientists as being the anthrax killer, and only weeks
after being forced to pay $6 million dollars to one of the scientists for such
false accusations, the FBI decided that it had to pin it on somebody.
So they launched a campaign… Continue reading