Originally published at the Lexington-Herald Reader by Paul Prather on 12/27/14
Fifty years from now, when a history of the 9/11 attacks can be written from a suitable distance, it probably will be observed that the chief damage done to this nation wasn’t the destruction of landmark buildings or even the loss of nearly 3,000 lives, but the further searing of our collective conscience.
We devolved from — in our own opinions, at least — the most civilized country on Earth, the chief guardians of human rights, to medieval torturers.
Earlier this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee finally released its report on the government’s use of systematic abuse against suspected terrorists, dozens of whom were later discovered to be innocent.
We’ve long known about Abu Ghraib, and about the Bush-Cheney White House memos declaring “enhanced interrogation techniques” lawful (although they violated 200-plus years of American precedents, as well as international laws we’d promoted).
Turns out the post-9/11 torture program went beyond anything we’d previously been told, both in scope and in sadism.
Yet it appears that, other than outraged op-eds here and there from squawking pundits, the collective American response has been a shrug of the shoulders.
In a CBS poll, almost half of us (49 percent) said techniques such as waterboarding are sometimes OK; only 36 percent said torture is never justifiable.
Some 73 percent of Republicans — hey, isn’t this the party with the devoutly Christian base? — think torturing prisoners can be justified.
Maybe we should survey… Continue reading
Originally published at The Telegraph by by Peter Foster on 9/7/14
The CIA brought top al-Qaeda suspects close “to the point of death” by drowning them in water-filled baths during interrogation sessions in the years that followed the September 11 attacks, a security source has told The Telegraph.
The description of the torture meted out to at least two leading al-Qaeda suspects, including the alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, far exceeds the conventional understanding of waterboarding, or “simulated drowning” so far admitted by the CIA.
“They weren’t just pouring water over their heads or over a cloth,” said the source who has first-hand knowledge of the period. “They were holding them under water until the point of death, with a doctor present to make sure they did not go too far. This was real torture.”
The account of extreme CIA interrogation comes as the US Senate prepares to publish a declassified version of its so-called Torture Report – a 3,600-page report document based on a review of several million classified CIA documents.
Publication of the report is currently being held up by a dispute over how much of the 480-page public summary should remain classified, but it is expected to be published within weeks.
A second source who is familiar with the Senate report told The Telegraph that it contained… Continue reading
Originally published at whowhatwhy.com by Russ Baker on 8/28/14
Any serious student of history is on alert for “interesting accidents.” Because sometimes they are accidents. Sometimes, they’re not.
We have no opinion at the moment on the one-car-wreck that left former FBI director Louis Freeh badly injured around noon on August 25, other than to note some curious facts: the police were hours late informing the office of the governor of Vermont; Freeh was flown by helicopter to the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital in New Hampshire under armed guard, and has remained under armed guard; the hospital has refused to confirm that he is a patient, even after reports of two surgeries; at least for the first few days no one has answered the phones at his company, Freeh Group International.
From news reports available at press time, Freeh
was headed south on Vermont 12 in his 2010 GMC Yukon when he drove off the east side of the road. The vehicle struck a mailbox and a row of shrubs, then came to rest against the side of a tree, police said…
Louis Freeh epitomizes the risks attendant in a president’s decision to demonstrate bipartisanship by appointing or re-appointing figures associated with the opposing political party and/or prior regime. He also embodies the troubled legacy of the Bureau from its earliest days. (For a look at how the U.S. media cooperated with the Bureau to misleadingly burnish its image, see this)… Continue reading
Originally published at CNN by Ray Sanchez on 8/3/14
(CNN) — President Barack Obama acknowledged Friday that the United States “crossed a line” and tortured al Qaeda detainees after the 9/11 terror attacks.
The comments at a White House news conference were the President’s strongest on the controversial subject since he came into office denouncing what he described as the Bush years of torturing alleged terrorists, also known as “enhanced interrogation.”
“When we engaged in some of these enhanced interrogation techniques, techniques that I believe and I think any fair-minded person would believe were torture, we crossed a line,” Obama said. “And that needs to be … understood and accepted. And we have to, as a country, take responsibility for that so that hopefully we don’t do it again in the future.”
In the remarks, Obama was referring to a soon-to-be-released Senate Intelligence Committee report detailing the CIA’s controversial interrogation and detention program following the 9/11 attacks.
The document is a nearly 700 page summary of the full 6,800 page report that was approved a year and a half ago by a committee sharply divided along party lines.
Senators on the committee have said the report is critical of the CIA’s treatment of terrorism suspects, saying it amounted to torture — an allegation CIA officials have denied. It also finds that those harsh interrogation techniques did not help disrupt future terrorist attacks as many in intelligence community have claimed.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein said later Friday that the report’s public release… Continue reading
Originally published at The Guardian by Spencer Ackerman on 7/31/14
The director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, issued an extraordinary apology to leaders of the US Senate intelligence committee on Thursday, conceding that the agency employees spied on committee staff and reversing months of furious and public denials.
Brennan acknowledged that an internal investigation had found agency security personnel transgressed a firewall set up on a CIA network, which allowed Senate committee investigators to review agency documents for their landmark inquiry into CIA torture.
Among other things, it was revealed that agency officials conducted keyword searches and email searches on committee staff while they used the network.
The admission brings Brennan’s already rocky tenure at the head of the CIA under renewed question. One senator on the panel said he had lost confidence in the director, although the White House indicated its support for a man who has been one of Barack Obama’s most trusted security aides.
CIA spokesman Dean Boyd acknowledged that agency staff had improperly monitored the computers of committee staff members, who were using a network the agency had set up, called RDINet. “Some CIA employees acted in a manner inconsistent with the common understanding reached between [the committee] and the CIA in 2009 regarding access to the RDINet,” he said.
Asked if Brennan had or would offer his resignation, a different CIA spokesman, Ryan Trapani, replied: “No.”
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 28, 2014
Media Relations/Interviews: media@ReThink911.ca
Press Release: The Undying Role of 9/11 Family Members in Calling for an Independent Inquiry into 9/11
Halifax, March 28, 2014 – Yesterday in Parliament Megan Leslie, NDP Deputy Leader and Halifax MP, was blasted by Conservative backbencher James Bezan for a community event that was posted by a constituent on her website.
Bezan was referring to the Halifax stop of a 17-city Canadian tour by architect Richard Gage, leader of 2100 architects and engineers who question the collapses of World Trade Center buildings 1, 2, and 7. Many people do not know that an investigation was resisted by the Bush administration, and that the building collapses were never scientifically investigated.
In the case of 9/11 no such inquiry was ordered. It took more than 14 months for the Bush administration, under sustained pressure from the “Jersey Girls” (who lost their husbands in the attacks) and other families who were calling for an investigation into the evidence, to finally launch the 9/11 Commission.
Funded by a paltry $3 million and hampered by a short deadline, the government appointed – amidst considerable controversy – White House insider Philip Zelikow as Executive Director.
More than 300 statements… Continue reading
By Elizabeth Woodworth
With polls consistently showing that approximately 50% of Canadians and Americans doubt the official story of 9/11, the feat of keeping the lid on a public debate for over 12 years has been nothing short of miraculous.
This article presents a simple case study showing that this miracle is being performed with the assistance of Google and YouTube search engine interference.
On September 8, 2013, the popular Russia Today “Truthseeker” program, with over a million subscribers on YouTube, published a 13-minute newscast entitled “The Truthseeker: 9/11 and Operation Gladio (E23).”
Below the video frame ran the caption:
Bigger than Watergate’: US ‘regular’ meetings with Al-Qaeda’s leader; documented White House ‘false flag terrorism’ moving people ‘like sheep’; the father of Twin Towers victim tell us why he backs this month’s 9/11 campaign on Times Square and around the world; & the protests calendar for September.
This paragraph was followed by a list of interviewees, including four people representing three scholarly research organizations: Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, the 9/11 Consensus Panel, and The Journal of 9/11 Studies.
The “Truthseeker” video immediately started to gain popularity on YouTube, reaching 131,000 views in the first three days.(The history of the viewing statistics may be seen by clicking on the little graphic symbol under the video frame, and to the right)
Truthseeker posted its program to YouTube on Sept. 8. Russia Today tweeted the YouTube link to its 546,000 followers and to the… Continue reading
By Wendy McElroy
Two events recalled a passage from the Irish poet William Butler Yeats’ “The Second Coming”:
Things fall apart; the center cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world….
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Yeats (1865-1939) wrote “The Second Coming” in 1919 to describe the moral devastation of post-WWI Europe. The “mere anarchy” is not the laissez-faire version of contract and consent between free individuals which produces good will and prosperity. The “mere anarchy” is chaos, a Hobbesian society of all-against-all that comes in the wake of sustained violence. It is a society that guts decency, loots productivity, and rewards the worst within men.
Yeats could be describing America today. Or, at least, the America that might well be tomorrow. The center cannot hold.
The first event was a quiet one; as of yet, it is an event on paper only. On May 13th, 2013, a new rule went into effect. The US Code “Defense Support of Civilian Law Enforcement Agencies” was altered by the Department of Defense to read:
“Federal military commanders have the authority, in extraordinary emergency circumstances where prior authorization by the President is impossible and duly constituted local authorities are unable to control the situation, to engage temporarily in activities that are necessary to quell large-scale, unexpected civil disturbances because:
(1) Such activities are necessary to prevent significant loss of life or wanton destruction of property and are necessary to restore governmental function and… Continue reading
If whistleblower Ali Stevenson is correct, it appears that yet again a terrorist attack, this time the Boston bomb, occurred at the same time as an official exercise was taking place.
The Norwegian attack, the London 7/7 bombings and the 9/11 attacks all turned out to be running in tandem with exercises which were eerily similar to the real terrorist attacks.
According to Stevenson, a sports coach, there were bomb sniffing dogs at the start and finish lines. ‘They kept making announcements on the loud speaker that it was just a drill and there was nothing to worry about,’ he told a local TV channel.
In the case of 7/7 in London, retired police terrorist expert Peter Power, clearly in a state of shock, initially told radio listeners that the exercises he had helped organise even specified the same tube stations as the real attacks.
In the case of 9/11 the Pentagon seems to have gone to considerable lengths to hide the fact that they were running multiple exercises including an anti-hijack exercise on the morning of the real 9/11 hijacks. The 9/11 Commission discovered the evidence for the anti-hijack exercise after seizing and reclaiming tapes which the Pentagon had erased. By then, short of time and money, the Commission was not able to investigate further, even if the Washington insiders who made up its key personnel had wished to.
Washington has refused to release the details of the Pentagon’s 9/11 hijack exercise script, but Richard Clarke, white House anti-terror… Continue reading
Preface: This is not a partisan post. We have repeatedly documented that Obama is as bad or worse than the Bush administration.
In the run up to the Iraq war – and for several years thereafter – the program of torture carried out by the Bush administration was specifically specifically aimed at establishing a false justification for war. Dick Cheney is the guy who pushed for torture, pressured the Justice Department lawyers to write memos saying torture was legal, and made the pitch to Congress justifying torture. (The former director of the CIA said Cheney oversaw American torture policies).
The type of torture used by the U.S. on the Guantanamo suspects is of a special type. Senator Levin revealed that the the U.S. used Communist torture techniques specifically aimed at creating false confessions (see this, this, this and this).
According to NBC News:
In fact, the 9/11 Commission Report was largely based on third-hand… Continue reading
Contact: David Swanson email@example.com 202-329-7847
Sheehan and other riders are available for interviews.
WHAT: Gold Star Mother and “peace mom” Cindy Sheehan will lead a Tour de Peace bike ride across the United States from the grave of her son Casey in Vacaville, Calif., to Washington, D.C., following the mother road, historic Route 66 to Chicago, and other roads from there on to D.C. Bicyclers will join in for all or part of the tour, which will include public events organized by local groups along the way. Complete route: http://tourdepeace.org/the-route.html
WHEN: The tour will begin on April 4, 2013, nine years after Casey Sheehan was killed in Iraq, and 45 years after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was killed in Memphis. It will conclude on July 3, 2013, with a ride from Arlington National Cemetery to the White House.
WHY: This August will mark 8 years since Cindy Sheehan began a widely reported protest at then-President George W. Bush’s “ranch” in Crawford, Texas, demanding to know what the “noble cause” was for which Bush claimed Americans were dying in Iraq. Neither Bush nor President Obama has yet offered a justification for a global war now in its 12th year. The Tour de Peace will carry with it these demands:
To end wars,
To end immunity for U.S. war crimes,
To end suppression of our civil rights,
To end the use of fossil fuels,
To end persecution of whistleblowers,
To end partisan apathy and inaction.
Watch… Continue reading
Campaigner and film maker Tony Rooke claimed a moral victory today after a UK court gave him a conditional discharge even though he has refused to pay his BBC license fee. Over 100 supporters from as far away as Denmark and Norway cheered in front of the court house as independent media people conducted interviews and photographed the crowd. Court officials had booked their largest room for the case but were at a loss to find that well over 50 people could not be fitted in.
Tony said: “I am taken a back and hugely grateful for all the support.” He is asking for at least one person to take up the campaign by refusing to pay or taking other legal action (see below).
Rooke argued that the BBC’s coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York has been so distorted that it amounts to giving aid and comfort to the unidentified terrorists who demolished three World Trade Centre buildings in 2001. Two hijacked planes were flown into the famous Twin Towers and a third tower WTC7 collapsed later in the day. The attacks were used as the pretext for a decade of wars and the introduction of police state measures across the NATO countries. Vast personal fortunes were made by White House and CIA officials who failed to thwart 9/11.
The official 9/11 story was promulgated by the US media within minutes of the first collision, based on anonymous sources in the Bush White House. Despite a mass… Continue reading
by Ryan Gallagher
When a former senior White House official describes a nationwide surveillance effort as “breathtaking,” you know civil liberties activists are preparing for a fight.
The Wall Street Journal reported today that the little-known National Counterterrorism Center, based in an unmarked building in McLean, Va., has been granted sweeping new authority to store and monitor massive datasets about innocent Americans.
After internal wrangling over privacy and civil liberties issues, the Justice Department reportedly signed off on controversial new guidelines earlier this year. The guidelines allow the NCTC, for the first time, to keep data about innocent U.S. citizens for up to five years, using “predictive pattern-matching,” to analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior. The data the counterterrorism center has access to, according to the Journal, includes “entire government databases—flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and many others.”
Notably, the Journal reports that these changes also allow databases about U.S. civilians to be handed over to foreign governments for analysis, presumably so that they too can attempt to determine future criminal actions. The Department of Homeland Security’s former chief privacy officer said that it represents a “sea change in the way that the government interacts with the general public.”
The snooping effort, which officials say is subject to “rigorous oversight,” is reminiscent of the so-called Total Information Awareness initiative, dreamt up in the aftermath of 9/11 by the Pentagon’s research unit DARPA. The aim of the TIA initiative was essentially to create… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
In the summer of 2001, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) agent Robert Wright, a counterterrorism expert from the Chicago office, made some startling claims about the Bureau in a written statement outlining the difficulties he had doing his job. Three months before 9/11, he wrote: “The FBI has proven for the past decade it cannot identify and prevent acts of terrorism against the United States and its citizens at home and abroad. Even worse, there is virtually no effort on the part of the FBI’s International Terrorism Unit to neutralize known and suspected terrorists residing within the United States.”
Revelations since 9/11 have confirmed Wright’s claims. FBI management did little or nothing to stop terrorism in the decade before 9/11 and, in some cases, appeared to have supported terrorists. This is more disturbing considering that the power of the FBI over terrorism investigations was supreme. In 1998, the FBI’s strategic plan stated that terrorist activities fell “almost exclusively within the jurisdiction of the FBI” and that “the FBI has no higher priority than to combat terrorism.”
A number of people are suspect in these failures, including the leaders of the FBI’s counterterrorism programs. But at the time of Wright’s written complaint, which was not shared with the public until May 2002, the man most responsible was Louis Freeh, Director of the FBI from 1993 to 2001.
Agent Wright was not FBI leadership’s only detractor, and not the only one to criticize Freeh.…Continue reading
by Ron Holland
This is a fictional story showing how the last vestiges of the republic, your personal wealth and gold could disappear in 24 hours.
“The illusion of freedom will continue as long as it’s profitable to continue the illusion. At the point where the illusion becomes too expensive to maintain, they will just take down the scenery, they will pull back the curtains, they will move the tables and chairs out of the way and you will see the brick wall at the back of the theater.” — Frank Zappa
Several weeks ago, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano announced Obama’s sudden executive order favoring illegal aliens. This was just one of many presidential executive orders and actually not a big deal but this tool will likely be the legal mechanism used to financially lock down America similar to the way a warden limits privileges and movement in a prison complex. Executive orders, unless they are challenged, can allow a president to rule by decree. This is basically what our once great republic has been reduced to.
Presidential Executive Orders Are the Greatest Threat To Our Nation
Many presidents have used the power of presidential executive orders but among the most harmful were Franklin Roosevelt’s Executive Order 6102 signed on April 5, 1933 that authorized the confiscation of private gold and Executive Order 9066 imprisoning 110,000 Japanese Americans in “War Relocation Camps.” Lincoln also issued countless executive orders authorizing arrest and imprisonment of opposition newspaper reporters and editors as well as suspending the writ of habeas corpus widely across the Union.…Continue reading
“I don’t think the Bush administration would want to see these released,” an expert tells Salon
June 19, 2012
By Jordan Michael Smith
Over 120 CIA documents concerning 9/11, Osama bin Laden and counterterrorism were published today for the first time, having been newly declassified and released to the National Security Archive. The documents were released after the NSA pored through the footnotes of the 9/11 Commission and sent Freedom of Information Act requests.
The material contains much new information about the hunt before and after 9/11 for bin Laden, the development of the drone campaign in AfPak, and al-Qaida’s relationship with America’s ally, Pakistan. Perhaps most damning are the documents showing that the CIA had bin Laden in its cross hairs a full year before 9/11 — but didn’t get the funding from the Bush administration White House to take him out or even continue monitoring him. The CIA materials directly contradict the many claims of Bush officials that it was aggressively pursuing al-Qaida prior to 9/11, and that nobody could have predicted the attacks. “I don’t think the Bush administration would want to see these released, because they paint a picture of the CIA knowing something would happen before 9/11, but they didn’t get the institutional support they needed,” says Barbara Elias-Sanborn, the NSA fellow who edited the materials.
Let’s start there. In 2000 and 2001, the CIA began using Predator Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Afghanistan. “The idea of using UAVs originated in April 2000 as a result of a request from the NSC’s Coordinator for Counterterrorism to the CIA and the Department of Defense to come up with new ideas to go after the terrorists in Afghanistan,” a 2004 document summarizes.…Continue reading
by Philip Giraldi
The most recent issue of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s annual Report on Terrorism [.pdf] came out last week, covering the year 2011. I would like to say that it is well worth a read, but actually it is quite tedious. For those who are interested, it is essentially a statistical and analytical breakdown of the terrorism phenomenon derived from the U.S. government–maintained Worldwide Incidents Tracking System, or WITS, which is based on publicly available open-source material reporting alleged terrorist activity around the globe. Most often the analysis is bare bones and avoids political coloration, not, for example, going deeply into the motives of the various terrorist groups but instead providing information in a pie chart and chronological fashion. This year’s report is 33 pages long.
The United States is engaged in what most Americans still refer to as a global war on terror or, in shorthand form, a war on terror. The Obama administration avoids the expression because it is a legacy of the Bush years and because it uses the expression “war,” so it refers to “overseas contingency operations,” which has a nicer sound and does not appear to be so preemptive or premeditated. It also fudges the reality of what is taking place by pretending that the process is reactive, which it is not. The unrelenting expansion of U.S. military intervention is in response to many diverse overseas developments, most of which are not genuine threats. This was recently demonstrated by the White… Continue reading
June 20, 2012
Stephen C. Webster
A document declassified this week by the National Security Archive reveals that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) delivered a briefing to the Bush administration which directly contradicts former Vice President Dick Cheney’s claim that 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta visited an Iraqi intelligence official in Prague.
The document (PDF), dated Dec. 1, 2001 and delivered to the White House on the 8th, claims that Atta “did not travel to the Czech Republic on 31 May 2000,” and adds that “the individual who attempted to enter the Czech Republic on 31 May 2000… was not the Atta who attacked the World Trade Center on 11 September 2001.”
Despite this briefing, just days later on Dec. 9, 2001, Cheney told the late Tim Russert, host of Meet the Press, that the meeting in Prague had been “pretty well confirmed.”
Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that’s been pretty well confirmed, that he did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack. Now, what the purpose of that was, what transpired between them, we simply don’t know at this point. But that’s clearly an avenue that we want to pursue.