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
Discussion of the very real doubts over the World Trade Center attacks was
conspicuously absent from the US presidential race. But America’s international
image will always be tainted as long as the uncertainty remains
by Richard Falk
Sunday 09 November 2008
Journal Issue 13
Every so often attention is called anew to the doubts surrounding the true
character of the events surrounding the 9/11 attacks. Recently, the report of
the collapse of Building 7 represented such an occasion. Any close student of
9/11 is aware of the many serious discrepancies between the official version
of what took place and the actual happenings on that fateful day in 2001. David
Ray Griffin and others have analyzed and assessed these discrepancies in such
an objective and compelling fashion that only wilful ignorance can maintain
that the 9/11 narrative should be treated as a closed book, and that the public
should move on to address the problems of the day.
To accept such a view is to acquiesce in what can be described at best as governmental
evasiveness and irresponsibility, a resolve to leave the discrepancies unexplained.
It is not paranoid under such circumstances to assume that the established elites
of the American governmental structure have something to hide, and much to explain.
What has not been established by the “9/11 Truth Movement” is a
convincing counter-narrative — that is, an alternate version of the events
that clears up to what degree, if at all, the attacks resulted from incompetence,
deliberate inaction,… Continue reading
By Jeremy Scahill
November 20, 2008
Click here to view this guide as a single page.
U.S. policy is not about one individual, and no matter how much faith people place in President-elect Barack Obama, the policies he enacts will be fruit of a tree with many roots. Among them: his personal politics and views, the disastrous realities his administration will inherit, and, of course, unpredictable future crises. But the best immediate indicator of what an Obama administration might look like can be found in the people he surrounds himself with and who he appoints to his Cabinet. And, frankly, when it comes to foreign policy, it is not looking good.
Obama has a momentous opportunity to do what he repeatedly promised over the course of his campaign: bring actual change. But the more we learn about who Obama is considering for top positions in his administration, the more his inner circle resembles a staff reunion of President Bill Clinton’s White House. Although Obama brought some progressives on board early in his campaign, his foreign policy team is now dominated by the hawkish, old-guard Democrats of the 1990s. This has been particularly true since Hillary Clinton conceded defeat in the Democratic primary, freeing many of her top advisors to join Obama’s team.
“What happened to all this talk about change?” a member of the Clinton foreign policy team recently asked the Washington Post. “This isn’t lightly flavored with Clintons. This is all Clintons, all the time.”
Amid the… Continue reading
November 29, 2008
by Sherwood Ross
In violation of its pledge to the United Nations not to recruit children into the military, the Pentagon “regularly target(s) children under 17,” the American Civil Liberties Union(ACLU) says.
The Pentagon “heavily recruits on high school campuses, targeting students for recruitment as early as possible and generally without limits on the age of students they contact,” the ACLU states in a 46-page report titled “Soldiers of Misfortune.”
This is in violation of the U.S. Senate’s 2002 ratification of the Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Pentagon recruiters are enrolling children as young as 14 in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps(JROTC) in 3,000 middle-, junior-, and high schools nationwide, causing about 45 percent of the quarter of million students so enrolled to enlist, a rate much higher than in the general student population. Clearly, this is the outcome of underage exposure.
In some cities, such as Los Angeles, high school administrators have been enrolling reluctant students involuntarily in JROTC as an alternative to overcrowded gym classes! In Lincoln high school, enrollees were not told JROTC was involuntary. In Buffalo, N.Y., the entire incoming freshman class at Hutchinson Central Technical High School, (average age 14), was involuntarily enrolled in JROTC. In Chicago, graduating eighth graders (average age 13) are allowed to join any of 45 JROTC programs.
“Wartime enlistment quotas (for Iraq and Afghanistan) have placed increased pressure on military recruiters to fill the ranks of 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.…
We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11″. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.
As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.
But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.
It’s odd how in the last week of November thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara — one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.
The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary… Continue reading
December 14, 2008
The Sunday Times
As a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on.
“We had one meal today – khobbeizeh,” said Abu Amra, 43, showing the leaves of a plant that grows along the streets of Gaza. “Every day, I wake up and start looking for wood and plastic to burn for fuel and I beg. When I find nothing, we eat this grass.”
Abu Amra and her unemployed husband have seven daughters and a son. Their tiny breeze-block house has had no furniture since they burnt the last cupboard for heat.
“I can’t remember seeing a fruit,” said Rabab, 12, who goes with her mother most mornings to scavenge. She is dressed in a tracksuit top and holed jeans, and her feet are bare.
Conditions for most of the 1.5m Gazans have deteriorated dramatically in the past month, since a truce between Israel and Hamas, the ruling Islamist party, broke down.
Israel says it will open the borders again when Hamas stops launching rockets at southern Israel. Hamas says it will crack down on the rocket launchers when Israel opens the borders.
The fragile truce technically ends this Thursday, and there have been few signs it will be renewed. Nobody knows how to resolve the stalemate. Secret talks are under way through Egyptian intermediaries, although both… Continue reading
by Ann Wright
26 December 2008
On the news today of the death of Harold Pinter, the winner of the 2005 Nobel
Prize for Literature, I remembered hearing his Nobel Laureate lecture/acceptance
speech. I was in London in December 2005, speaking at the annual Stop the War
conference when Pinter delivered his speech – not in Oslo, as Pinter was very
sick and could not travel, but in London via TV link.
I was amazed and thrilled that he chose to use the Nobel Prize platform and
devote a huge portion of his speech to shining an international spotlight on
the tragic effects of the past decades of US foreign policy and particularly,
on George Bush and Tony Blair’s decisions to invade and occupy Iraq, on Guantánamo
and on torture.
Pinter’s Laureate speech question, “Is Our Conscience Dead?” is
most relevant today when three years after his acceptance speech, “Art,
Truth and Politics,” Bush, Cheney, Rice and other administration officials
are either trying to rewrite history or, as in Cheney’s case – purposefully
revealing his role in specific criminal acts of torture and daring the American
legal system and people to hold him accountable.
Following is the part of Pinter’s lecture that speaks to the invasion of Iraq,
torture and Guantánamo – and our collective and individual conscience:
“Art, Truth and Politics“
Noble Lecture by Harold Pinter
December 7, 2005
“… The United States no longer … sees any point in being reticent
or even devious. It puts… 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
In a companion essay (reprinted below), I discussed the response of some articles in the mainstream press to the claim, made by some defenders of Israel, that Professor Richard Falk should be removed from his current position of UN rapporteur on human rights abuses in the Palestinian Territories — a claim that was reflected in the refusal of Israel on December 14, 2008, to allow him to enter the country. I included in this essay a discussion of an article by reporter Joel Brinkley because, although it was published before Israel’s action against Falk 1 , it could be read as a defense of that action. Brinkley, who had previously worked for the New York Times , argued that Falk did not have the right “frame of mind” for his UN position. In the present essay, I will focus on Brinkley’s argument for this charge, suggesting that it shows that he does not have the right frame of mind for his own current position as visiting professor of journalism at Stanford University.
Brinkley’s Discussion of 9/11
Brinkley’s charge that Falk is unfit for his UN role is quite remarkable, given Falk’s stature. He is Professor Emeritus of International Law and Practice at Princeton University and currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of California at Santa Barbara. He has had published (as author or editor) over 60 books by academic and other mainstream presses. He is also widely respected and sought after as a speaker and conference participant.… Continue reading
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
I’m posting Michael Heart‘s new video with a special dedication today, just from this mother in Kansas, for all the mothers (and others) in Gaza …
Why? Because yesterday “our” Senate unanimously affirmed, by cowardly “voice vote” (meaning there is no written record and we can’t know who represented humanity vs. who represented Israel), “Recognizing the right of Israel to defend itself against attacks from Gaza and reaffirming the United States’ strong support for Israel in its battle with Hamas, and supporting the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.”
Reuters reports, in “US Senate supports Israel’s Gaza incursion”: “The Senate resolution encourages President George W. Bush ‘to work actively to support a durable, enforceable and sustainable ceasefire in Gaza as soon as possible that prevents Hamas from retaining or rebuilding the capability to launch rockets or mortars against Israel,’ Reid said. (emphasis added) The article goes on to report the current death toll (without mentioning numbers of injured, or the overwhelming number of women and children) as 700 Palestinians : 11 Israelis (4 by friendly fire).
Therefore, this Special Dedication From Janice goes out to all you Senators (especially “AIPAC bill” S.Res.10 sponsors Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell, and you 31 cosponsors); to H.Res.34 sponsor Nancy Pelosi (and your 11 cosponsors); to Bush & Cheney who have perpetuated this for eight long years and truly re-defined “war crime”; to Obama, who believes that blowing up children cowering in a UN school warrants no response beyond vague support for this crime against humanity; and perhaps especially to Condoleeza Rice, who has the gaul to shamefully “represent” US to the world as not wanting to stop the MASSACRE until she’s convinced it will ensure a “lasting peace” — even while thousands of children and other innocent citizens of Gaza starve, bleed, and die … This one’s for you.…Continue reading
Kucinich: UN should investigate Israeli Gaza strikes
by Nick Juliano
Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) called for an independent investigation to be led by the United Nations into the recent eruption of violence between Israel and Hamas along the Gaza strip that has killed scores of innocent civilians.
Monday brought a third day of Israeli bombing Gaza in what the state is calling its “all-out” war on Hamas. So far, 345 people have been killed by the bombs. At least 57 of the dead are civilians, including 21 children, according to the UN.
Kucinich said he wrote to UN General Secretary Ban ki-Moon urging an “independent inquiry of Israel’s war against Gaza.” The Democratic lawmaker said Israel’s attacks are an example of “collective punishment,” which violates the Geneva Conventions.
“The perpetrators of attacks against Israel must also be brought to justice, but Israel cannot create a war against an entire people in order to attempt to bring to justice the few who are responsible. The Israeli leaders know better,” Kucinich said in a news release Monday. “The world community, which has been very supportive of Israel’s right to security and its right to survive, also has a right to expect Israel to conduct itself in adherence to the very laws which support the survival of Israel and every other nation.”
Kucinich compared the latest bombing campaign to Isreal’s earlier strikes at southern Lebanon targeted at Hezbollah. Then too, he said, civilians were killed, infrastructure was destroyed and lawlessness took hold… Continue reading
Action Alert re. Kucinich’s Bill, HR66
January 12th, 2009
Last Friday, the House of Representatives voted 390 yes, 5 no, and 22 present to pass H.Res.34, “recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself” and “reaffirming the United States strong support for Israel.” To see if your Representative cosponsored this resolution, click here.To see how your Representative voted, click here. Last Thursday, the Senate voted on a similarly worded resolution, S.Res.10, which passed by unanimous consent.To see if your Senator cosponsored the resolution, click here.
The US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation opposed these resolutions because they failed to call for an immediate ceasefire and unimpeded humanitarian access to the occupied Gaza Strip as required under the terms of UN Security Council Resolution 1860. The resolutions also blamed the victims–the Palestinians–for the civilian casualties and humanitarian catastrophe Israel is inflicting upon them and absolved Israel of any responsibility for its actions.
Thankfully these resolutions will not be the final words of Congress on the issue. Yesterday, Rep. Dennis Kucinich introduced a resolution calling for “an immediate and unconditional ceasefire” and “unrestricted humanitarian access” to the occupied Gaza Strip. The US Campaign is supporting this resolution, which can be downloaded by clicking here.
National Call-In Day for Gaza!
Today – January 16, 2009
We designate Friday, January 16th as National Call-In Day for Gaza. Calling is quick, easy, and effective, and will take about 5-10 minutes. We need… Continue reading
“The Government has determined that continued prosecution of this case as to LINDAUER would not be in the interests of justice.” *
(Jan. 16, Wash. DC) The Department of Justice entered a motion to drop all charges against Susan Lindauer yesterday morning, Jan. 15, 2009. The filing (see below) at the federal district court in lower Manhattan ends the government’s attempt to prosecute her for allegedly acting as an “unregistered agent” for Iraq. Since her arrest in early 2004, she has repeatedly asked for a trial to present evidence that she had been a United States intelligence asset since the early 1990’s.
By filing this order, the government surrendered forever its ability to prosecute Lindauer as an “Iraqi foreign agent” and for lesser charges contained in the indictment, including a one week trip to Baghdad in March, 2002.
Lindauer made the following statement today, Jan 16, 2009: “I am disgusted by this case. They think that they have defeated me by denying my day in court. It could not be more wrong. If we can’t have a criminal trial, we’re going to have a civil trial for damages.”
Lindauer was arrested in March, 2004 shortly after offering to testify before a Bush appointed blue ribbon commission evaluating U.S. pre-war intelligence on Iraq. In late February, she informed the offices of two commission members, Sen. McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (R-MS), that she could testify that U.S. pre-war intelligence was proactive and… Continue reading
Sat Jan 17, 2009
By Louis Charbonneau
BEIRUT, Jan 17 (Reuters) – U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said on Saturday he was relieved about an Israeli ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and urged the Jewish state to withdraw all of its troops as soon as possible.
“I am relieved that the Israeli government has decided to cease hostilities as of midnight GMT,” Ban told reporters. “This should be the first
step leading to the full withdrawal of Israeli troops from Gaza,” he said, adding that he wanted the withdrawal “as soon as possible”.
He said that Hamas militants also needed to do their part to bring an end to the violence by halting their rocket attacks against southern Israel.
“Hamas militants must stop firing rockets now,” he said.
Ban said that humanitarian access for the people of the Gaza Strip was the top priority and the United Nations was ready to act immediately.
“Any durable solution must include the reopening of the (Gaza border) crossings and the prevention of illicit trafficking in arms,” he said.
Ban flies to Damascus on Sunday to meet with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad before heading to the Egyptian Red Sea city of Sharm el-Sheikh for a summit meeting on aid and reconstruction efforts for Gaza hosted by Egypt’s President Hosni Mubarak.
Israel accuses Syria and Iran of supporting and arming Hamas, an accusation they deny.
Ban said he and European leaders including French President Nicolas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and German Chancellor Angela… Continue reading
By Scott Horton
January 22, 2009
In an interview on Tuesday evening with the German television program “Frontal 21,” on channel ZDF Professor Manfred Nowak, the United Nations Rapporteur responsible for torture, stated that with George W. Bush’s head of state immunity now terminated, the new government of Barack Obama was obligated by international law to commence a criminal investigation into Bush’s torture practices.
“The evidence is sitting on the table,” he stated. “There is no avoiding the fact that this was torture.” He pointed to the U.S. undertakings under the Convention Against Torture in which the country committed that it would criminally prosecute anyone who tortured, or extradite the person to a state that would prosecute him. “The government of the United States is required to take all necessary steps to bring George W. Bush and Donald Rumsfeld before a court,” Nowak said.
Manfred Nowak, an internationally renowned law professor at the University of Vienna, currently serves as an independent expert for the United Nations looking at allegations of torture affecting member states. In 2006, he undertook a special investigation of conditions at the U.S. detention facilities at Guantánamo in which he concluded that practices approved by the Bush Administration violated human rights norms, including the prohibition against torture.
The ZDF piece also includes an interview with attorney Wolfgang Kaleck, who brought charges against Rumsfeld before German prosecutors. He states that the Obama administration is “off to a good beginning” with its explicit renunciation of torture,… Continue reading
The idea of such an attack was well known [and] had been
wargamed as a possibility in exercises before September 11.
– Professor John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate
School, Monterey, California
In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, senior U.S. government and military officials repeatedly claimed that what happened that day was unexpected. In May 2002, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said, “I don’t think anybody could have predicted that these people would take an airplane and slam it into the World Trade Center, take another one and slam it into the Pentagon; that they would try to use an airplane as a missile, a hijacked airplane as a missile.”  Two years later, President Bush stated, “Nobody in our government, at least, and I don’t think the prior government, could envision flying airplanes into buildings on such a massive scale.”  General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11, said, “Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised.” 
Yet these claims were untrue. Not only had the U.S. military and other government agencies discussed the possibility of such attacks, they also conducted numerous training exercises in the year or two before September 11 based around scenarios remarkably similar to what occurred on 9/11. As John Arquilla, a professor of defense analysis at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, said, “No one knew specifically that 20 people would hijack four airliners and use them for suicide attacks… Continue reading