By Jonathan Turley
Every year, the State Department issues reports on individual rights in other countries, monitoring the passage of restrictive laws and regulations around the world. Iran, for example, has been criticized for denying fair public trials and limiting privacy, while Russia has been taken to task for undermining due process. Other countries have been condemned for the use of secret evidence and torture.
Even as we pass judgment on countries we consider unfree, Americans remain confident that any definition of a free nation must include their own — the land of free. Yet, the laws and practices of the land should shake that confidence. In the decade since Sept. 11, 2001, this country has comprehensively reduced civil liberties in the name of an expanded security state. The most recent example of this was the National Defense Authorization Act , signed Dec. 31, which allows for the indefinite detention of citizens. At what point does the reduction of individual rights in our country change how we define ourselves?
While each new national security power Washington has embraced was controversial when enacted, they are often discussed in isolation. But they don’t operate in isolation. They form a mosaic of powers under which our country could be considered, at least in part, authoritarian. Americans often proclaim our nation as a symbol of freedom to the world while dismissing nations such as Cuba and China as categorically unfree. Yet, objectively, we may be only half right. Those countries do lack… Continue reading
By Paul Craig Roberts
February 20, 2012
Information Clearing House
In 2010 the FBI invaded the homes of peace activists in several states and seized personal possessions in what the FBI–the lead orchestrator of fake “terrorist plots”–called an investigation of “activities concerning the material support of terrorism.”
Subpoenas were issued to compel antiwar protestors to testify before grand juries as prosecutors set about building their case that opposing Washington’s wars of aggression constitutes giving aid and comfort to terrorists. The purpose of the raids and grand jury subpoenas was to chill the anti-war movement into inaction.
Last week in one fell swoop the last two remaining critics of Washington/Tel Aviv imperialism were removed from the mainstream media. Judge Napolitano’s popular program, Freedom Watch, was cancelled by Fox TV, and Pat Buchanan was fired by MSNBC. Both pundits had wide followings and were appreciated for speaking frankly.
Many suspect that the Israel Lobby used its clout with TV advertisers to silence critics of the Israeli government’s efforts to lead Washington to war with Iran. Regardless, the point before us is that the voice of the mainstream media is now uniform. Americans hear one voice, one message, and the message is propaganda. Dissent is tolerated only on such issues as to whether employer-paid health benefits should pay for contraceptive devices. Constitutional rights have been replaced with rights to free condoms.
The western media demonizes those at whom Washington points a finger. The lies pour forth to justify Washington’s naked aggression: the Taliban… Continue reading
By Elisabeth Bumiller
New York Times
WASHINGTON — The mortuary at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware disposed of body parts of some victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks by burning them and dumping the ashes in a landfill, an independent panel said in a report to the Pentagon released on Tuesday.
The startling new disclosure was the latest to tarnish the reputation of Dover, hallowed ground for the military and the entry point for the nation’s war dead, and is likely to create further anguish among families of the Sept. 11 victims.
Mortuary officials had already been under fire for what the Air Force termed “gross mismanagement” for losing the body parts of two service members in 2009, repeated failures of command, doing little to change sloppy practices and sawing off the protruding arm bone of a dead Marine without informing his family.
The method of disposal of the Sept. 11 body parts was limited to what the report said were “several portions of remains” that could not be identified from the attack on the Pentagon and the crash site in Shanksville, Pa. The report said the remains were cremated and placed in containers provided to a biomedical waste disposal contractor, which then incinerated them and put them in the landfill.
Air Force officials said they could not confirm all the information about the Sept. 11 remains and were trying to clarify details on Tuesday night.
Lisa Linden, a… Continue reading
February 29, 2012
Just when you thought the government couldn’t ruin the First Amendment any further: The House of Representatives approved a bill on Monday that outlaws protests in instances where some government officials are nearby, whether or not you even know it.
The US House of Representatives voted 388-to-3 in favor of H.R. 347 late Monday, a bill which is being dubbed the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011. In the bill, Congress officially makes it illegal to trespass on the grounds of the White House, which, on the surface, seems not just harmless and necessary, but somewhat shocking that such a rule isn’t already on the books. The wording in the bill, however, extends to allow the government to go after much more than tourists that transverse the wrought iron White House fence.
Under the act, the government is also given the power to bring charges against Americans engaged in political protest anywhere in the country.
Under current law, White House trespassers are prosecuted under a local ordinance, a Washington, DC legislation that can bring misdemeanor charges for anyone trying to get close to the president without authorization. Under H.R. 347, a federal law will formally be applied to such instances, but will also allow the government to bring charges to protesters, demonstrators and activists at political events and other outings across America.
The new legislation allows prosecutors to charge anyone who enters a building without permission or with the intent to disrupt a… Continue reading
March 25, 2012
Guest Post by Kevin Ryan, former Site Manager for Environmental Health Laboratories, a division of Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Mr. Ryan, a Chemist and laboratory manager, was fired by UL in 2004 for publicly questioning the report being drafted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) on their World Trade Center investigation. In the intervening period, Ryan has completed additional research while his original questions, which have become increasingly important over time, remain unanswered by UL or NIST.
The U.S. Secret Service failed to do its job on September 11, 2001 in several important ways. These failures could be explained if the Secret Service had foreknowledge of the 9/11 events as they were proceeding. That possibility leads to difficult questions about how the behavior of Secret Service employees might have contributed to the success of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Answering those questions will require the release of existing interview transcripts as well as follow-up questioning, under oath, of a few key people within the agency.
The most glaring example of Secret Service failure on 9/11 was the lack of protection for the President of the United States after it was well known that the country was facing terrorist attacks on multiple fronts. The interesting thing about this was that it was not a consistent approach. That is, the president was protected by the Secret Service in many ways that day but he was not protected from the most obvious, and apparently the most imminent, danger.…Continue reading
By Russ Baker
When I got an email announcing an exclusive from NBC about the raid that, we’re told, resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden, I dared raise my hopes. The last time a major media organization, the New Yorker , had promised us the inside story about what really happened on that day in early May, 2011, we got a major bit of disinformation .
But, being an optimist, I set my TV to record the hour on NBC’s newsmagazine show, Rock Center, and went out to dinner. When I returned, I settled in and began watching.
I heard the dramatic music, and listened to correspondent Brian Williams’s dramatic intro. Then I began waiting for answers. I waited. And waited. The answers never came. Can you believe an entire hour (or about half an hour plus endless ads) and not one interesting revelation? Can you believe that almost the entire thing dealt with how people in the White House felt that day, what kind of chairs they sat in, etc, and almost nothing on the details of the raid or the disposition of the body? Even the details that sounded vaguely interesting, like the fact that the chopper that crashed was some kind of new, secret craft, were already known long ago.
I got a feeling that the whole thing had been carefully rehearsed, and then I thought: Why would the White House give NBC an exclusive, “first-time” look inside the White House Situation Room? Well,… Continue reading
Bomber involved in plot to attack US-bound jet was working as an informer with
Saudi intelligence and the CIA, it has emerged
By Paul Harris and Ed Pilkington
May 8, 2012
A would-be "underwear bomber" involved in a plot to attack a US-based
jet was in fact working as an undercover informer with Saudi intelligence and
the CIA, it has emerged.
The revelation is the latest twist in an increasingly bizarre story about the
disruption of an apparent attempt by al-Qaida to strike at a high-profile American
target using a sophisticated device hidden in the clothing of an attacker.
The plot, which the White House said on Monday had involved the seizing of
an underwear bomb by authorities in the Middle East sometime in the last 10
days, had caused alarm throughout the US.
It has also been linked to a suspected US drone strike in Yemen where two Yemeni
members of al-Qaida were killed by a missile attack on their car on Sunday,
one of them a senior militant, Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso.
But the news that the individual at the heart of the bomb plot was in fact
an informer for US intelligence is likely to raise just as many questions as
Citing US and Yemeni officials, Associated Press reported that the unnamed
informant was working under cover for the Saudis and the CIA when he was given
the bomb, which was of a new non-metallic type aimed at getting past airport
The… 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.
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
“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 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
by Kevin Ryan
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 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
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
Contact: David Swanson firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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
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
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