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Sunshine Week 2009: March 15-21

Sunshine Week Logo Sunshine Week, launched by the American Society of Newspaper Editors in 2005, is a national effort to inform the public about the importance of open government and the free flow of information.

This week, newspapers across the country will once again sponsor panel discussions, Webcasts and op-eds pushing the American ideals of a free press and citizen access to the inner workings of government.

Poster for Sunshine Week In recognition of Sunshine Week, News graphic artist Daniel Zakroczemski has created a poster celebrating freedom of information. To download a copy of the poster, click here .

Sunshine Week 2009 Calendar of Events

Survey Of State Government Information Online

Most Americans can easily find videos of water skiing squirrels on the Internet but they’ll have less luck finding out whether their children’s school buses and classrooms are safe, or if neighborhood gas stations are overcharging. The Sunshine Week 2009 Survey of State Government Information online found that while more and more government records are being posted online, some of the most important information is being left offline. And in some cases governments are charging taxpayers to access records that they already paid for, such as death certificates. Read the report… .

Sunshine Week Toolkit

Sunshine Week Newswire


For release: March 13, 2009

Federal Govt. Still Viewed as Secretive; President’s FOI Orders Get High Marks

Washington, D.C. — For the first time in four years, public opinion about government secrecy has leveled off, although more than seven in 10 adults still consider the federal government to… Continue reading

ACLU: Gitmo judge ‘blatantly defied’ Obama executive order

by Rachel Oswald
March 10, 2009
RawStory.com

Update at bottom: White House not concerned by judge’s actions

The ACLU is angry that a military judge has accepted an incendiary legal pleading filed by five 9/11 suspects, despite President Obama’s order stopping the Guantánamo military commissions and even though attorneys for some of the defendants were unaware of it.

Judge Col. Stephen Henley, the appointed chief trial judge in the case ordered the public release of the legal pleading even though all other legal filings have been kept sealed for months by the military commissions, said the American Civil Liberties Union in a release, adding that the competency of two of the men has not yet been determined.

The Smoking Gun has the released six-page legal pleading here.

“We fight you over defending Muslims, their land, their holy sites, and their religion as a whole,” reads the document.

“Judge Henley apparently doesn’t know what the word ‘halt’ means since he has blatantly defied President Obama’s executive order for an end to the military commissions,” said Anthony Romero, executive director of the ACLU in a released statement. “The judge’s actions extending the military commissions call into question the true intentions of the Pentagon leadership at a time when the Obama administration is searching for a solution to the disastrous detention policies of the Bush administration.”

Romero adds, “If Defense Secretary Gates allowed the military commissions to proceed, that’s a serious problem; if he didn’t know about this, that’s equally troubling. Moreover,… Continue reading

Former Accused Iraqi Agent Susan Lindauer, Secret Charges and The Patriot Act in Action

by Michael Collins

‘Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” — Herman Goering, Interview at Nuremburg Trials, April 14, 1946

“The Patriot Act was used against me in total contradiction to its stated purpose. Or perhaps it was the most logical use of the law, since it establishes a legal framework to crush free thinking and interrupt individual questioning of the government. It is the beginning of all dictatorship in America .” –Susan Lindauer, March 9, 2009

March 10, 2009 — Washington, DC ( electionfraudnews.com ) — In March, 2004 Susan Lindauer was arrested for allegedly acting as an “unregistered agent” for prewar Iraq.  She challenged the government’s assertion and sought the right to prove at Trial that she’d been a United States intelligence asset covering Iraq and Libya from the early 1990’s through 2003 (see articles).

In an unprecedented judicial ploy that lasted five years, federal prosecutors blocked Ms. Lindauer’s rights to trial or any other sort of evidentiary hearings that would test her story. For 11 months, she was confined at Carswell federal prison on a Texas military base and at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan, without a conviction or plea bargain.

During the indictment, she was conveniently gagged from sharing… Continue reading

Deconstructing Deceit: 9/11, the Media, and Myth Information

by Mickey S. Huff and Paul W. Rea

They say goldfish have no memory
I guess their lives are much like mine
and the little plastic castle
is a surprise every time
and it’s hard to say if they’re happy
but they don’t seem much to mind.

–Ani DiFranco, Little Plastic Castles

For the past eight years, American culture has seen an outburst of media-driven mythmaking. Corporate mainstream media organizations, the pundits they sponsor, and politicians from both major parties have formed a new contextual chorus singing the same refrain: “On September 11th, 2001, everything changed.” From cable TV to AM radio, from the blogosphere to the town-hall meeting, Americans repeatedly hear that “this is a post-9/11 world.”

Although there is some truth to this platitude of pivotal change, independently minded citizens may also wonder whether such mass media messages have become self-fulfilling prophecies. This provides an interesting point of debate about what has or has not changed in America since 9/11.

This chapter concerns itself with the ongoing phenomena of media mythmaking and how, like many Americans surmised just after 9/11, everything has not changed. 1 Corporate mainstream media have resurrected powerful myths from America’s past to shape public perception in the present. Through the prism of 9/11, one can see how the corporate mass media are in fact doing more mythmaking than news reporting. Here, the authors will examine central historic American myths the corporate media and even much of the alternative independent media have extended into the… Continue reading

Anthrax Commission Legislation Modeled After 9/11 Commission

Wednesday, March 4, 2009
GeorgeWashington2.blogspot.com
Congressman Holt Introduces Anthrax Commission Legislation – Modeled After 9/11 Commission

Congressman Holt wants an anthrax investigation modeled on the 9/11 Commission.

Senators Leahy and White house want a torture investigation modeled on the 9/11 Commission.

But – according to the 9/11 Commission itself – the whole thing was a joke:

  • The co-chairs also said that the CIA (and likely the White House) “obstructed our investigation”

Obama and Holder Must Prosecute War Crimes or Become Guilty of Them Themselves

by Dave Lindorff
March 3, 2009
ThisCantBeHappening.net

The dithering and ducking going on in the Obama White House and the Holder
Justice Department over the crimes of the Bush administration are taking on
a comic aspect.

On the one hand, we have President Obama assuring us that under his administration,
there will be respect for the rule of law, and on the other hand we have this
one-time constitutional law professor and his attorney general declaiming that
there is no need for the appointment of a prosecutor to bring charges against
the people in the last administration, in the CIA, in the National Security
Agency and in the Defense Department and the military who clearly have broken
the law in serious and felonious ways.

What gets silly is that America is either a nation of laws…or it isn’t.
It is either a place where “nobody is above the law”…or it
isn’t.

There is really no middle ground here.

The latest solid and incontrovertible evidence of outrageous and criminal behavior
by the White House is the discovery–and the public release by the Obama
administration–of documentary evidence that the CIA committed not just
torture but willful obstruction of justice by destroying video tapes of some
92 interrogations of terrorism suspects and captives in the so-called Bush “War”
on Terror. Plus the release of a stack of nine legal opinions by White House
and Justice Department lawyers providing legal cover for torture, including
executive orders from President Bush and directives from then Secretary… Continue reading

Radio interview–John-Michael Talboo joins Stan Monteith

John-Michael Talboo – Debunking 9/11 Debunkers

Radio interview on www.RadioLiberty.com with host, Dr. Stan Monteith

February 25, 2009 3:00pm, 1 hour

John-Michael Talboo on Radio Liberty

 

Slight Correction:

Max Cleland didn’t resign specifically due to objections over Zelikow, although from looking at press reports, he wasn’t happy about it. When asked about Zelikow by Amy Goodman, Cleland stated it was “not the staff directors fault, it is the White House’s fault, it’s president Bush’s fault.” Seeing as how Zelikow had “deep, lasting ties to several members of both the Bush I and Bush II Administrations,” what is the difference really? Regardless, he did call the investigation a “white wash.”

Obama administration backs Bush, tries to kill ‘lost’ White House emails lawsuit

RAW STORY

Missing email includes day Cheney’s office told to preserve emails in CIA leak case WASHINGTON — Welcome to change.

The Obama administration, siding with former President George W. Bush, is trying to kill a lawsuit that seeks to recover what could be millions of missing White House e-mails in a stunning reversal of Obama’s rhetoric about Bush secrecy on the campaign trail.

Two advocacy groups suing the Executive Office of the President, including one of the groups that helped derail former House Speaker Tom DeLay, say that large amounts of White House e-mail documenting Bush’s eight years in office may still be missing, and that the government must undertake an extensive recovery effort. They expressed disappointment that Obama’s Justice Department is continuing the Bush administration’s bid to get the lawsuits dismissed.

During its first term, the Bush White House failed to install electronic record-keeping for e-mail when it switched to a new system, allegedly resulting in millions of messages that could not be found.

The Bush White House “discovered the problem” in 2005 and rejected a proposed solution.

The exact number of missing e-mails is unknown, but several days on which e-mails were not archived covered key dates in a Justice Department inquiry into the roles of Vice President Dick Cheney and his aides in leaking the identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson.

Ironically, Cheney’s office is missing emails from the very day President Bush told reporters he’d “take care of” whatever staff member had actually… Continue reading

Statement on Prosecution of Former High Officials

We urge Attorney General Eric Holder to appoint a non-partisan independent Special Counsel to immediately commence a prosecutorial investigation into the most serious alleged crimes of former President George W. Bush, former Vice President Richard B. Cheney, the attorneys formerly employed by the Department of Justice whose memos sought to justify torture, and other former top officials of the Bush Administration.

Show Editor’s Note »

UPDATE 2/27/09 6pm: In response to the many email questions we’ve received asking why we have not endorsed this call for a Special Prosecutor: On 2/24, when this statement/petition was posted at AfterDowningStreet.org, 911truth.org immediately signed on as an endorsing organization via the signup at that site. As of now, our name does not appear on that list. Nonetheless, we did submit endorsement. We are not, yet, encouraging 9/11 truth advocates to politely contact David Swanson asking him why he would permanently post a video statement from Willie Rodriguez on the front page of his site, yet continue to ignore/ban the burgeoning 9/11 truth movement from being heard as the powerful voice we are, in calling for truth and accountability. We believe that Mr. Swanson is acting in good faith, all in all, and will post our endorsement with the others on the list shortly.

Our laws, and treaties that under Article VI of our Constitution are the supreme law of the land, require the prosecution of crimes that strong evidence suggests these individuals have committed. Both the former president and the former vice president have confessed to authorizing a torture procedure that is illegal under our law and treaty obligations.…

Continue reading

Demand Special Prosecutor for BushCo Torture Crimes

Petition Badge

A Citizen’s Petition to Attorney General-Designate Eric Holder asking him to appoint a Special Prosecutor to investigate and prosecute any and all government officials who have participated in War Crimes.

You can read and/or sign the Petition for a Special Prosecutor to Investigate Bush War Crimes here, or by clicking on the Badge here.

Continue reading

Support Bush Truth Commission

From Senator Leahy’s BushTruthCommission.com:

Support a Truth & Reconciliation Commission

32,823 signatures so far (2/24/09) … keep it going!

I have proposed the idea of a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate
abuses during the Bush-Cheney Administration — so they never happen again.
These abuses may include the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary
rendition, and executive override of laws.

Please sign this online petition, urging Congress to consider establishing
a truth and reconciliation commission to investigate the Bush-Cheney Administration’s
abuses.

Thank you,

Patrick Leahy
U.S. Senator

Watch my February 8 remarks at Georgetown University:

Full Petition Text:

I hereby join Senator Patrick Leahy’s call for the establishment of a truth
and reconciliation commission, to investigate the Bush-Cheney Administration’s
constitutional abuses so we make sure they never happen again. These abuses
may include the use of torture, warrantless wiretapping, extraordinary rendition,
and executive override of laws.

A truth and reconciliation commission should be tasked with seeking answers
so that we can develop a shared understanding of the failures of the recent
past. Rather than vengeance, we need a fair-minded pursuit of what actually
happened. The best way to move forward is getting to the truth and finding out
what happened — so we can make sure it does not happen again.

Signed by:
[Your name]

What’s At Stake?
Support a Truth & Reconciliation Commission

We have just emerged from a time when White House officials often acted as
if they were above the law. That was wrong and must be fully exposed so it never
happens again.…

Continue reading

Beverly Eckert

by Nicholas Levis

Today brings the sad news that Beverly Eckert died in the crash of Flight 3407 on her way to Buffalo for a weekend celebration of what would have been her late husband Sean Rooney’s 58th birthday. She had planned to take part in a presentation at Canisius High School of a scholarship award that she established in Sean Rooney’s honor. Among the family members surviving her was her sister, Sue Borque, who told the Buffalo News that while the family had not yet received official confirmation of her sister’s fate, the reality was settling in. “We know she was on that plane,” Bourque said, “and now she’s with [Sean].” Her husband of 34 years, Sean Rooney had been killed in the South Tower of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11th, 2001.

http://www.buffalonews.com/home/story/578061.html

Beverly Eckert devoted her life to serving others. I met this strong-willed and sensitive woman on a single occasion, in March 2004 when she welcomed me to her home in Connecticut for a few hours to conduct an interview about her advocacy work following September 11th. An insurance manager by profession, Eckert told the story of how she responded to the loss of her husband and the horror of the events. Hers was a beautiful and powerful voice and she speaks best on her own behalf:

“I guess I wish I wasn’t here, because it was such a different life before September 11th. I never envisioned myself speaking to the public having to say… Continue reading

Top Counter-Terrorism Experts Question 9/11

February 7, 2009
George Washington’s Blog

Counter-terrorism experts presumably have some insight into terrorism, right?

In fact, numerous high-level counter-terrorism experts question the government’s investigation of – and explanation for – 9/11.

For example:

  • Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror. Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College. Arnold is skeptical of the government’s explanation for 9/11
  • Bogdan Dzakovic was a 14-year counter-terrorism expert in the Security Division of the Federal Aviation Administration. Dzakovic was Team Leader of the FAA’s Red (Terrorism) Team, which conducted undercover tests on airport security through simulated terrorist attacks. Dzakovic said about the 9/11 Commission:
    “The best I could say about it is they really botched the job by not really going into the real failures. … At worst, I think the 9/11 Commission Report is treasonous.”
  • John Loftus, former Federal Prosecutor, Office of Special Investigations, U.S. Department of Justice under Presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan; former U.S. Army Intelligence officer, and currently a widely-sought media commentator on terrorism and intelligence services questions the government’s version of 9/11

Counter-Terrorism Expert Slams War on Terror, Questions 9/11

George Washington’s Blog

Terrell (Terry) E. Arnold was the number 2 counter-terrorism official at the U.S. State Department, and is one of the world’s leading experts on terror.

Arnold served as the Deputy Director, Office of Counter-Terrorism and Emergency Planning, at the U.S. State Department. He is also the former Chairman of the Department of International Studies at the National War College.

Arnold has worked as a crisis management consultant for several Federal agencies, including The State Department, the Department of Defense, the U.S. Customs Service and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He is the author of numerous books on terror*. Arnold is a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean war.

I spoke with Arnold by phone.

GW: Your essay It is Vital to Move Beyond 9/11 is insightful and hard-hitting, and I agree with virtually everything you say. I have previously written on many of the topics you touch on, such as false pretenses for war , torture and illegal spying .

Initially, you write:

“As an alleged post 9/11 defense, the War on Terrorism is a gigantic fraud.”

I agree with you completely, and have written several essays arguing that the War on Terror is a hoax (see this , this and this ).

As a leading counter-terrorism expert, I am curious to hear why you believe this.

Terry Arnold: The military approach doesn’t cover all of the elements of the problem. We need to capture and confine the individuals who are up to… Continue reading

Obama to Meet Victims, Relatives of 9/11 Attacks

Michael D. Shear, Peter Finn and Dan Eggen
The Washington Post
Thursday, February 5, 2009; 6:23 PM

President Obama will gather tomorrow with victims and families of the 9/11
terrorist attacks and U.S.S. Cole bombing for a face-to-face meeting as his
administration struggles to decide how to handle detainees at Guatanamo Bay,
Cuba, several of those invited said.

The previously undisclosed meeting at the White House tomorrow afternoon will
give the new president a chance to explain his decision to close the controversial
prison facility where the U.S. has placed many suspected terrorists since the
Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Obama has been assailed by conservative critics who say the decision to close
the facility within a year will lead to putting many of those terrorists back
on the street. In a recent interview, former vice president Dick Cheney, an
architect of the Bush administration’s war on terror, criticized the decision
as reckless.

In an interview with Politico.com, Cheney accused the Obama administration
of following “campaign rhetoric” on Guantánamo and warned that the
new president’s policies could put the country at greater risk of a new attack.

“When we get people who are more concerned about reading the rights to
an al-Qaeda terrorist than they are with protecting the United States against
people who are absolutely committed to do anything they can to kill Americans,
then I worry,” Cheney said.

Obama has defended his decision, saying that closing the facility will make
the country safer by putting an end to one… Continue reading

Obama: Regime Rotation

Originally published at http://nafeez.blogspot.com by Nafeez Mosaddeq Ahmed on January 26, 2009

The arrival of the Obama administration will not fundamentally alter the course of military expansion accelerated during the Bush era. The origins of these policies do not lie uniquely in neoconservative ideology. While the election of President Obama may offer new opportunities for progressive forces to delimit the damage, their space for movement will ultimately be constrained by deep-seated structural pressures that will attempt to exploit Obama to rehabilitate American imperial hegemony, rather than transform it.

Indeed, the radicalization of Anglo-American political ideology represented by the rise of neoconservative principles and the militarization processes of the ‘War on Terror’, constituted a strategic response to global systemic crises supported by the American business classes. The same classes, recognizing the extent to which the Bush era has discredited this response, have rallied around Obama. Therefore, as global crises intensify, this militarization response is likely to undergo further radicalization, rather than a meaningful change in course. The key differences will be in language and method, not substance.

Obama and National Security: “It’s the Oil, Stupid!”

This became increasingly clear as Barack Obama’s administration appointees became known — individuals whose political and ideological positions are largely commensurate with neoconservative ideals particularly on security matters, and whose social and intellectual connections link them to neo-conservative think-tanks and policy-makers.

A glance through Obama’s national security team also raises eyebrows, but we should focus on his selection of former Marine General Jim Jones as his… Continue reading

Eric Holder Signals No Prosecutions of Bush War Criminals

By Dennis Loo
January 30, 2009
WorldCantWait.net

Attorney General nominee Eric Holder in written response to a question posed to him during his Senate confirmation hearing by Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ) stated:

“Prosecutorial and investigative judgments must depend on the facts, and no one is above the law. But where it is clear that a government agent has acted in ‘reasonable and good-faith reliance on Justice Department legal opinions’ authoritatively permitting his conduct, I would find it difficult to justify commencing a full-blown criminal investigation, let alone a prosecution.”

Newsweek described
this written statement as “carefully vetted by Obama’s White House lawyers.”
In other words, Holder’s statement fairly reflects Obama’s and Holder’s intentions
in this regard.

Holder’s comment came to light when a Holder aide pointed to it in an attempt to refute a Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) assertion, reported by the Washington Times (“Holder Assures GOP on Prosecution”) on January 28, 2009 that Holder had promised him that he was not going to prosecute Bush officials for war crimes. The Washington Times article created a storm of concern among human rights groups and others who are rightfully determined that the Bush White House’s crimes against humanity be prosecuted. Holder and the White House rushed to try to reassure people that Holder has not promised the GOP anything.

Sen. Bond had been threatening to block Holder’s nomination in committee over this issue. Bond met with Holder privately this week twice and Sen. Bond emerged from those meetings supporting Holder’s nomination.… Continue reading

Rehearsing 9/11: How Training Exercises Foretold the Attacks of September 11

by Shoestring
911Blogger.com

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.” [1] 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.” [2] General Ralph Eberhart, the commander of NORAD on September 11, said, “Regrettably, the tragic events of 9/11 were never anticipated or exercised.” [3]

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