by Sam Milgrom, Washington Legislative Office of ACLU.org
The House just passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), including a provision to authorize worldwide war, which has no expiration date and will allow this president — and any future president — to go to war anywhere in the world, at any time, without further congressional authorization. The new authorization wouldn’t even require the president to show any threat to the national security of the United States. The American military could become the world’s cop, and could be sent into harm’s way almost anywhere and everywhere around the globe.
Read details of this extremely important bill, H.R. 1540, at Thomas.gov with final vote results here. Bravo to Rep. Justin Amash (D, Mich) for introducing Amendment 327 to strike section 1034 of the bill, relating to the authorization for use of military force. Sadly, the amendment failed 187-234 (see roll call vote results). Rep. Jason Chaffetz (D., Utah) introduced an amendment requiring US ground troops to withdraw from Afghanistan and require the Secretary of Defense to submit a withdrawal plan to Congress within 60 days. It, too, failed, 123-294. List of all amendments and results here.
Before the vote, the House debated an amendment that would have struck the worldwide war provision. That amendment was introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives: Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.), Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.), Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.),… Continue reading
By Pete Kasperowicz
The House Thursday night approved the Senate version of the Patriot Act extension bill, a clean extension of three surveillance authorities until June 1, 2015.
The House finished voting at about 7:50 p.m., and approved the measure in a 250-153 vote. In the final vote, 54 Democrats voted for it, along with all but 31 Republicans.
The hastily arranged debate happened just minutes after the Senate approved the same bill by a 72-23 vote. With the House vote, the White House is expected to be able to approve it tonight with the help of an automated presidential signature, as President Obama is still in Europe.
House members rushed to approve the bill before three surveillance authorities expired at midnight, but spent some time debating it, even though the debate covered mostly familiar ground. Democrats generally opposed the bill, calling it something that would extend the government’s invasion of privacy.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) said the death of Osama bin Laden in particular means the three authorities should be reconsidered.
“At a time like this, we should re-examine the restoration of our constitutional protections,” he said. “This is the type of government intrusion which the bill of right was designed to prevent.”
The legislation would extend the ability of U.S. intelligence authorities to conduct roving wiretaps, gain access to business records, and survey “lone-wolf” operators, non-U.S citizens believed to be acting alone to commit terrorist acts. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) argued Thursday night that there are problems with each of these authorities.…Continue reading
Not All Sources and Experts Are Equal–Here Are some Real Ones!
There are ‘experts’ views,’ and then there are experts’ views. There are ‘government sources,’ and then there are government sources. Not all experts are equal. And, not all sources are reliable. Am I talking in riddles? Of course not; give me a chance and I’ll explain.
We have members of the popular media (mainstream and quasi-alternatives alike) ever anxious to market and disseminate government conspiracy and propaganda. They, members of the popular media, have their own rolodex of ‘experts’ and analysts, some on their payroll, to help them propagate the delivery and execution of government-given propaganda-conspiracy. The same principle applies to ‘sources.’ The popular media relies on their government sources who act as middle-men-government messengers who’ve been given a government written and approved script to be delivered; almost always anonymously. Well, this is exactly what we have been getting from our media, around the clock, since the announcement of the Bin Laden Death Operation: ever-changing government scripts, delivered mainly by anonymous government sources to the US media, and further embellished and expanded upon by government-connected experts and analysts on the payroll.
On the other hand, there are many independent real experts whose analyses and views you won’t, or rarely, get to hear or read about; at least not in the mainstream media or at quasi-alternative sites. And there are current and former government sources not tasked with messenger duties; many of whom… Continue reading
by Paul Craig Roberts
May 17, 2011
In a sensational and explosive TV report, the Pakistani News Agency has provided a live interview with an eye witness to the US attack on the alleged compound of Osama bin Laden. The eye witness, Mohammad Bashir, describes the event as it unfolded. Of the three helicopters, “there was only one that landed the men and came back to pick them up, but as he [the helicopter] was picking them up, it blew away and caught fire.” The witness says that there were no survivors, just dead bodies and pieces of bodies everywhere. “We saw the helicopter burning, we saw the dead bodies, then everything was removed and now there is nothing.”
I always wondered how a helicopter could crash, as the White House reported, without at least producing injuries. Yet, in the original White House story, the SEALs not only survived a 40-minute firefight with al Qaeda, “the most highly trained, most dangerous, most vicious killers on the planet,” without a scratch, but also survived a helicopter crash without a scratch.
The Pakistani news report is available on you tube. The Internet site, Veterans Today, posted a translation along with a video of the interview. Information Clearing House made
it available on May 17.
If the interview is not a hoax and the translation is correct, we now know the answer to the unasked question: Why was there no White House ceremony with President Obama pinning medals all over the… Continue reading
Supporters of accused WikiLeaks source vow to fight on for open trial and freedom
May 5, 2011
By the Bradley Manning Support Network
Published at Couragetoresist.org
Hundreds of thousands of individuals globally celebrate today the confirmation that their efforts to end the torturous pre-trial confinement conditions inflicted upon US Army PFC Bradley Manning have been successful. Manning’s lead defense attorney, David E. Coombs of Rhode Island, has personally verified that Manning is indeed being held in Medium Custody confinement at the Joint Regional Corrections Facility (JRCF) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, as claimed by the Army last week.
“We won this battle because 600,000 individuals took the time to write letters and sign petitions, because thousands called the White House switchboard, because 300 of America’s top legal scholars decried Bradley’s pre-trial conditions as a clear violation of our Constitution’s 5th and 8th Amendments,” declared Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network. “We won this battle because over a hundred concerned citizens engaged in civil disobedience at the White House and at Quantico, and because our grassroots campaign shows no sign of slowing.”
These new conditions reflect a dramatic improvement for Manning following his transfer to Fort Leavenworth on April 20, 2011, after having suffered extreme solitary-like confinement at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked. These conditions were unique to Manning and were illegal under US… Continue reading
Obama: Osama bin Laden is dead
By Kase Wickman
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the number one most-wanted fugitive for nearly a decade, was killed in Pakistan Sunday, the White House announced.
President Barack Obama made a live statement shortly after 11:30 p.m. from the East Room of the White House.
“Tonight, I can report to the American people and to the world that the United States has conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaeda, and a terrorist who’s responsible for the murder of thousands of innocent men, women, and children,” he began.
The U.S. received an intelligence lead last August about bin Laden’s whereabouts, Obama said, and that he had enough information by Sunday to launch a targeted military operation on the compound pinpointed as bin Laden’s location, in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
“A small team of Americans carried out the operation with extraordinary courage and capability,” Obama said. “No Americans were harmed. They took care to avoid civilian casualties. After a firefight, they killed Osama bin Laden and took custody of his body.”
White House officials said that the operation was in cooperation with Pakistani authorities, and was carried out by Navy SEALs in helicopters who rehearsed the operation to avoid civilian casualties. Reportedly, one woman who was used as a human shield was killed.
Crowds gathered outside the White House and around the country after the speech, waving flags and singing the National Anthem. U.S. diplomatic centers are reportedly on high alert in… Continue reading
by Kevin Ryan
Of the many unanswered questions about the attacks of September 11, one of the most important is: Why were none of the four planes intercepted? A rough answer is that the failure of the US air defenses can be traced to a number of factors and people. There were policy changes, facility changes, and personnel changes that had recently been made, and there were highly coincidental military exercises that were occurring on that day. But some of the most startling facts about the air defense failures have to do with the utter failure of communications between the agencies responsible for protecting the nation. At the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), two people stood out in this failed chain of communications. One was a lawyer on his first day at the job, and another was a Special Operations Commander who was never held responsible for his critical role, or even questioned about it.
The 9/11 Commission wrote in its report that — “On 9/11, the defense of U.S. airspace depended on close interaction between two federal agencies: the FAA and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).”
According to the Commission, this interaction began with air traffic controllers (ATCs) at the relevant regional FAA control centers, which on 9/11 included Boston, New York, Cleveland, and Indianapolis. In the event of a hijacking, these ATCs were expected to “notify their supervisors, who in turn would inform management all the way up to FAA headquarters. Headquarters had a hijack coordinator, who was the director of the FAA Office of Civil Aviation Security or his or her designate.…Continue reading
A large number of new entries have been added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline at History Commons. Most of these describe events from the day of 9/11 itself, although a few entries look at pre-9/11 and post-9/11 events.
This is one of an ongoing series of irregular email alerts notifying the community of additions to a specific project.
New Entries Added to the Complete 9/11 Timeline
One new entry reveals that in April 2001, CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black warned that “something big [is] coming and that it very likely could be in the US.” Then, about a month before 9/11, White House counterterrorism chief Richard Clarke visited Wall Street, to investigate the security precautions there.
Two new entries look at the time Ziad Jarrah, the alleged hijacker pilot of Flight 93 on 9/11, spent in Philadelphia. This included two days at a flight school, which refused to rent Jarrah a plane due to his inadequate piloting skills.
Some entries look at a little-known government agency called the National Communications System (NCS). The NCS happened to turn on a special backup communication system for use in emergencies for “exercise mode” the day before 9/11, and on the morning of 9/11, the CIA was briefing the NCS on the terrorist threat to the US’s telecommunications infrastructure. The NCS’s coordinating center subsequently played an important role in the government’s response to the 9/11 attacks.
Entries reveal that special emergency transmitters carried by aircraft went off in… Continue reading
Obama professor among 250 experts who have signed letter condemning humiliation of alleged WikiLeaks source
by Ed Pilkington in New York
More than 250 of America’s most eminent legal scholars have signed a letter protesting against the treatment in military prison of the alleged WikiLeaks source Bradley Manning, contesting that his “degrading and inhumane conditions” are illegal, unconstitutional and could even amount to torture.
The list of signatories includes Laurence Tribe, a Harvard professor who is considered to be America’s foremost liberal authority on constitutional law. He taught constitutional law to Barack Obama and was a key backer of his 2008 presidential campaign.
Tribe joined the Obama administration last year as a legal adviser in the justice department, a post he held until three months ago.
He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that “is not only shameful but unconstitutional” as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.
The US soldier has been held in the military brig since last July, charged with multiple counts relating to the leaking of thousands of embassy cables and other secret documents to the WikiLeaks website.
Under the terms of his detention, he is kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day, checked every five minutes under a so-called “prevention of injury order” and stripped naked at night apart from a smock.
Tribe said the treatment was objectionable “in the way it violates his person and his liberty… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 6, 2011
The Obama administration’s decision to use a military tribunal rather than a federal criminal court to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others means the real motives behind the 9/11 attacks may remain obscure.
The Likud Lobby and their allied U.S. legislators can chalk up a significant victory for substantially shrinking any opportunity for the accused planners of 9/11 to tell their side of the story.
What? I sense some bristling. “Their side of the story?” Indeed! We’ve been told there is no “their side of the story.”
For years, President George W. Bush got away with offering up the risible explanation that they “hate our freedoms.” The stenographers of the White House press corps may have had to suppress smiles but silently swallowed the “they-hate-us-for-our-freedoms” rationale.
The only journalist I can recall stepping up and asking, in effect, “Come on; now really; it’s important; why do the really hate us” was the indomitable Helen Thomas.
In January 2010, just weeks after the “underpants bomber” tried to down an airliner over Detroit, President Barack Obama asked White House counter-terrorism guru, John Brennan, to field questions from the White House press.
Helen Thomas took the opportunity to ask why the would-be bomber did what he did. The exchange with Brennan is, hopefully, more instructive than it is depressing — highlighting a limited mindset still stuck in bromides.
Thomas: “Why do they want to do us harm? And what is the motivation?… Continue reading
The accused mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks will be tried in a military tribunal and not in Manhattan federal court blocks from the World Trade Center site, officials said Monday.
The Justice Department’s announcement was a major reversal for the Obama administration, which had faced strong pressure to abandon its 2009 decision that it would seek to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four alleged co-conspirators in civilian court downtown.
Attorney General Eric Holder said Congress has imposed restrictions on where Guantánamo detainees can be tried, and rather than fight those restrictions and delay the trial, he ordered prosecutors to dismiss the federal indictment in New York in favor of a military trial.
Holder emphasized that prosecutors had been “prepared to bring a powerful case” against the suspects and said he still believes a civilian trial would have been the best choice.
The 2009 announcement that the 9/11 suspects would be tried in New York was met with fierce opposition from many elected officials, families of victims and those who live and work in Lower Manhattan, who would have had to contend with several rings of heavy security for the months of the trial.
Julie Menin, chairwoman of Community Board 1 in Lower Manhattan, said Monday that the choice to back out of New York was an “outstanding victory.”
“Having 2,000 checkpoints, let alone one checkpoint, would have ruined the whole neighborhood. It would have affected small businesses and residents,” she said. “People are thrilled that we… Continue reading
March 7, 2011
by Ralph Lopez
War Is A Crime.org
As Obama’s crime of the destruction of Bradley Manning continues to unfold before our very eyes, Manning friend David House now tells us that over 8 months in isolation with movement and sleep restrictions placed on him have been having their intended effect. House has told MSNBC that by the end of January Manning appeared “catatonic” and that he had “severe problems communicating,” with it having taken House nearly 45 minutes on a recent visit to engage in any meaningful way (video below.) House said Manning’s demeanor was as “if he had just woken up and didn’t know what was going on around him.” Manning was “utterly exhausted physically and mentally…it was difficult to have any kind of social engagement.”
Also, a full month after Congressman Dennis Kucinich formally requested a visit, the Army has stalled on the request.
All for the crime of reporting war crimes and criminal behavior even among the highest-ranking military officials in Iraq.
In 2005, General Peter Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member [in Iraq], if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to try to stop it.”
Chase Mader writes in HuffPo that soon after deployment to Iraq, Manning:
… Continue reading
“soon found himself helping the Iraqi authorities detain civilians for distributing “anti-Iraqi literature” — which turned out to be an investigative report into financial corruption in their own government entitled “Where does the money go?” The penalty for this “crime” in Iraq was not a slap on the wrist.
By Robert Parry
February 17, 2011
Sometimes the hypocrisy is just overwhelming. So, it probably shouldn’t surprise us that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would deliver a speech hailing the peaceful protests that changed Egypt while 71-year-old Ray McGovern was roughed up and dragged away for standing quietly in protest of her support for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
“So this is America,” said McGovern as he was hustled from the room by two security guards. “This is America.”
McGovern, a former Army intelligence officer and a 27-year veteran of the CIA, was wearing a “Veterans for Peace” t-shirt and, according to witnesses, was standing silently with his back to Secretary Clinton before he was set upon by the two agents who bruised, bloodied and handcuffed McGovern, a cancer survivor. [For video, see below.]
McGovern, who writes for Consortiumnews.com, has been detained at other events protesting both the illegality of U.S. wars and the hypocrisy of demanding accountability for others but not for senior U.S. officials implicated in war crimes, like the torture authorized by former President George W. Bush and ex-Vice President Dick Cheney.
For instance, last December, McGovern joined a Veterans for Peace protest at the White House, which he described in an article “Thoughts at the White House Fence.”
In the article, McGovern described thinking about “Casey Sheehan and 4,429 other U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq, and the 491 U.S. troops killed this year in Afghanistan (bringing that total to 1,438). And their… Continue reading
January 31, 2011
TO: Citizens of the World Working for Peace
ACTION NEEDED: Protest the Condemnation of Professor Richard Falk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967.
WHY: Professor Falk, Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University, has demonstrated courage in saying that there are “gaps and contradictions” in the official account of 9/11. He has been “condemned” for such conservative statements about 9/11 by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and US Ambassador Susan Rice, and Ambassador Rice has called for his removal from his unpaid post at the U.N.
Professor Falk has been devoted to world peace during his lifetime, and he is arguably the world’s most qualified legal scholar in the Palestine-Israel issue in the UN where he is very much needed.
Write as a citizen (not part of a movement) to both U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to let them know you disapprove of their censoring statements to Professor Richard Falk, and that you call for an apology to him.
Five sample letters follow. Please do this as soon as you are able. Time is of the essence. And please forward to your peace and justice contacts and those working for peace for Palestinians and Israelis.
Link to Richard Falk’s blog on this issue: http://richardfalk.wordpress.com/?s=9%2F11+gaps&submit=Search
ADDRESSES for Ambassador Susan Rice:
Hon. Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations U.S. Mission to the United Nations 799 United Nations Plaza New York, NY… Continue reading
Interview by Cosmos Civil Disobedience at the White House for 9/11 Justice9/11 Truth News
9/11 Justice activist and researcher Jon Gold has announced his intention to chain himself to the White House fence this coming Monday, January 31. 9/11 Truth News asked Gold a few questions to find out more about the upcoming action.
9/11 Truth News: Why are you going to chain yourself to the White House?
Jon Gold: To try and bring attention to the fact that we were lied to about 9/11 and that there needs to be justice and accountability for what happened. That there are family members still seeking justice for what happened and that the people of the world deserve it. When you take into account what that day has been used for — and then think about the fact that we don’t exactly know what happened that day — that is an unacceptable situation. People are dying. If that day wasn’t what we were led to believe — and it wasn’t — then the people of the world need to know about it.
911TN: This seems like a somewhat extreme action to take. Do you think more standard forms of protest have been exhausted?
Jon Gold: I have been fighting for truth, accountability, and justice for what happened that day for almost 9 years now. I have tried every avenue I can think of to bring attention to this issue, to no avail. Contacting your Representatives does nothing. Contacting the media does nothing.… Continue reading
Fiction delivers justice that reality rarely approaches. Victims en dure suffering and emerge as victors after overcoming incredible challenges. Stieg Larsson’s gripping Millennium Trilogy weaves a story of revenge and triumphs for Lizbeth Salander, locked away in a mental institution and sexually abused for years. When Salander got out and threatened to go public about a high level sexual exploitation ring, the perpetrators sought to lock her up again. In the final installment, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Salander found some justice. ( Image )
Susan Lindauer’s autobiography, Extreme Prejudice , tells a story with certain broad similarities. In her case, however, the hornet’s nest kicked back with a real vengeance. After over a decade as a U.S. intelligence asset, Lindauer was privy to information about pre war Iraq that threatened to serve up a huge embarrassment to the Bush-Cheney regime. She hand delivered a letter to senior Bush administration officials in hopes of averting what she predicted would be the inevitably tragic 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Those officials, unnamed in the indictment, were her second cousin, then White House chief of staff Andy Card, and Colin Powell.
After the invasion failed to find weapons of mass destruction (WMD), Lindauer went to Congress offering to testify about the quality of prewar intelligence. In early 2004, she met with staffers in the offices of Senators John McCain (R-AZ) and Trent Lott (D-MS) in February 2004. Shortly after those visits and other offers… Continue reading
by Susan Lindauer
Susan Lindauer is a former U.S. Intelligence Asset, accused as an “Iraqi Agent” for opposing the war. Her new book, “EXTREME PREJUDICE–The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq” relates her ordeal facing secret charges and secret evidence on the Patriot Act, and the shocking conditions of her imprisonment on a Texas military base without a trial, threatened with indefinite detention and forcible drugging.
If only I’d known Julian Assange, everything would have been different.
Mine was a spook’s world of black ops and counter-terrorism. The real stuff–not color coded threats. For a decade I performed as a covert back channel to Libya and Iraq at the United Nations in support of anti-terrorism.
My special access made me one of the very few Assets covering Baghdad before the War. Our team started talks for the Lockerbie Trial with Libyan diplomats. We also held preliminary talks to resume the weapons inspections with Iraq’s Ambassador, Dr. Saeed Hasan. Once Baghdad agreed to rigorous U.S. conditions for transparency in the inspections, I notified the Security Council myself, and within 72 hours the UN invited Iraq to attend formal talks to ratify the technical language. By then it was a done deal. Contrary to official reports, Iraq always welcomed the return of weapons inspectors as a necessary step to ending the sanctions. Ordinary people just didn’t know it.
My world was “black.” Off radar. So deeply secretive that my father, brother, aunts and cousins had no knowledge of my work in Washington.…Continue reading
December 8, 2010
The Real News Network
PAUL JAY, SENIOR EDITOR, TRNN: Welcome back to The Real News Network. And it’s the first perhaps annual Real News Webathon. We’re heading towards our $200,000 target by the end of December 9, where I think we’re getting upwards of $165,000 now, with another tonight and tomorrow night to go. So we’re doing very well, and I want to thank everybody so far for donating. And if you like what The Real News is doing, please give us a little tap on the donate button here, or you can call 888-449-6772, or you can also email us at contact (at) therealnews (dot) com if you’re having any other trouble. But the best thing is just to hit the donate button. The $200,000, I’ve explained before, covers just barely four months of the work that we’re doing now at the level we’re doing now, but we really want to expand in 2011. We need producers that specialize in certain areas. And one of the areas we want to specialize is the military-industrial complex. We’d like to have a producer who does nothing but cover stories about the sort of underpinnings of US foreign policy and the real issues that don’t get discussed very much in terms of what’s driving much of global politics, and even, as I–in the current WikiLeaks there’s a layer of truth, one could say, that is not really revealed in these WikiLeaks, because they’re not top secret, as we’ve… Continue reading