by Prof. Peter Dale Scott
May 8, 2009
One of the most frustrating features of observing American foreign policy is to see the gap between the encapsulated thinking of the national security bureaucracy and the sensible unfettered observations of the experts outside. In the case of Afghanistan, outside commentators have called for terminating current specific American policies and tactics — many reminiscent of the US in Vietnam.
Observers decry the use of air strikes to decapitate the Taliban and al Qaeda, usually resulting in the death of other civilians. They counsel against is the insertion of more and more US and other foreign troops, in an effort to secure the safety and allegiance of the population. And they regret the on-going interference in the fragile Afghan political process, in order to secure outcomes desired in Washington.1
One root source for this gap between official and outside opinion will not be addressed soon — the conduct of crucial decision-making in secrecy, not by those who know the area, but by those skilled enough in bureaucratic politics to have earned the highest security clearances. However it may be more productive to criticize the mindset shared by the decision-makers, and to point out elements of the false consciousness which frames it, and which should be corrigible by common sense.
Why One Should Think of So-Called “Failed States” as “Ravaged States”
I have in mind the bureaucratically convenient concept of Afghanistan as a failed or failing state. This epithet has been… Continue reading
30 April 2009
By Dennis Loo
If you ask most people what Obama has done about Guantánamo, most would say,
“He shut it down.”
Most don’t know that Obama has said he might take as much as a year to shut
If you ask most people what Obama has done about torture and rendition, most
would say, “He’s ended them.”
Most don’t know that Obama has declared that he will continue rendition,
that he reserves the right to go beyond the Army Field Manual for interrogations,
and that by
not acting affirmatively to ensure otherwise, he has allowed conditions to worsen
If you ask most people what Obama’s done about restoring habeas corpus, most
people would first say, “What’s habeas corpus?”
Then, after you explain to them that habeas corpus is your right to challenge
your detention, most people would say, “He’s restored habeas corpus, hasn’t
Most people don’t know that Obama has said that Bagram prisoners have no
right to habeas corpus and that Gitmo detainees don’t have a right
to it prior to June 2008.
The latest news about what Obama is up to on these fronts follows.
Obama’s DOJ pressed the Court of Appeals to rule that Gitmo prisoners aren’t
“persons,” aren’t entitled to the rights of “persons,” and
that if the Court does find that they are indeed “persons,” then US
officials who ordered and carried out torture and abuse of prisoners should
be immune from prosecution for… Continue reading
April 22, 2009
By Chris Floyd
With the release of the U.S. Senate’s report on the Bush Administration torture program, it is now incontrovertibly clear — and officially established by the highest, most respectable Establishment institutions — that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and a host of other top officials deliberately, willingly, and with malice aforethought, established a system of interrogation using brutal techniques that they knew were against the law. Hence the need for the torture memos that attempted to give retroactive legal cover for atrocities that were already taking place at the orders of the White House and the Pentagon. They were also told repeatedly that these tortures were ineffective at producing useful intelligence.
What’s more, it is now undeniable that they began this program long before they had captured even one “high-profile al Qaeda detainee,” and that they were using these heinous techniques not in a desperate bid to save the nation from further attacks — which has long been their preening, self-serving claim — but instead to produce spurious data about the non-existent link between Iraq and al Qaeda. In other words, George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld ordered their minions to beat and torment captives in order to get them to say something a — anything — that could then be used to “justify” a war of aggression that these grand statesmen had been planning long before the September 11 attacks.
You cannot disentangle the torture program from the war… Continue reading
April 23, 2009
Let Sibel Edmonds Speak
Sibel gave a 75-min interview to Electric Politics on April 10. You can listen to it here. Mizgin has an overview of the interview here.
A partial transcript follows:
Sibel Edmonds: First of all, it has been documented in the past several decades, the importance of narcotics in the Turkish economy, but also the role of Turkish MIT – that is Turkish Intelligence – and the military having an active role. But you’re also looking at the increased role of certain Central Asian countries and the Caucuses, and if you look at some of these regimes, these are the regimes that we have been supporting. Their economies also have become dependent on narcotics, because they have become a major transit – and in some places, for certain countries such as Azerbaijan, they have become major production centers.
After they shut down the casinos in Turkey – around 1998 – many of the large casinos in Turkey which were used to launder a lot of money, that also had to do with the narcotics, they actually moved and relocated to Azerbaijan, and there were several that went to Kazakhstan. So if you go through some of those Central Asian countries and you look at the list of the casinos, and you look at the ownership, you will see mainly Turkish ownership, and these are Turkish holding companies that relocated in 1998 to those countries.
George Kenney:… Continue reading
by Dave Lindorff
For some time now, many Americans have wondered how Congress, the elected body that the nation’s Founding Fathers saw as the bulwark of liberty, could have been so thoroughly unwilling to, or incapable of challenging the dictatorial power-grabs and the eight-year Constitution wrecking campaign of the Bush/Cheney administration.
There has been speculation on both the far left and the far right, and even among some in the apolitical, cynical middle of the political spectrum, that somehow the Bush/Cheney administration must have been blackmailing at least the key members of the Congressional leadership, most likely through the use of electronic monitoring by the National Security Agency (NSA).
I’ll admit that I considered the idea of blackmail a bit far out. But now suddenly there is at least some evidence that such seemingly wild speculation may not have been off the mark, with reports that the NSA was indeed monitoring Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA), and that the Bush Administration used the evidence it had obtained of her improper conversations with and promises to assist agents of the Israeli government and its lobby here in the US, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), to blackmail her into supporting the NSA’s warrantless spying program–the very kind of spying that led to her being caught on tape plotting with an agent of a foreign power.
At the time of the taping of Harman’s incriminating phone conversations, the administration was trying desperately (and ultimately successfully) to get the New York Times to hold off on publishing a shocking investigative report by journalist James Risen about a massive campaign of warrantless tapping of Americans’ phone and internet communications.…Continue reading
Intro comments from Reprehensor, of 911blogger.com: I met John Hankey at John Judge’s 2006 COPA conference in Dallas. I was at first skeptical of Hankey’s conclusions; that the Bush Crime Family is tied to not only the assassination of JFK, but that JFK Jr. was also assassinated, with George Walker Bush in Hankey’s sites as a suspect. After watching his presentation in Dallas, I was convinced that Hankey is a serious researcher, who raises some important issues. Although Hankey was not consulted for Russ Baker’s new book, Family of Secrets, Baker covers some of the same ground regarding Poppy Bush and JFK. I asked Hankey to summarize his take on the Bushes, and talk about the newly re-edited Dark Legacy.
SAME KILLERS – DIFFERENT DAY by John Hankey – April 18, 2009
There are a number of important parallels between the 9-11 attacks and the murder of JFK: the stand down of the most basic defense procedures / the outrageous cover-up and destruction of evidence / and the last name of some of the major perpetrators. Obviously the Bushes were involved in 9-11. Less well-known and less obvious is the central role played by George HW in the Kennedy assassination.
It has taken 40 years to collect the evidence to hang Kennedy’s murder around Bush’s neck.
I began 9 years ago when JFK Jr.’s plane went into the sea; the Pentagon took over the news reporting, and then lied ridiculously, into the teeth of reporters who knew… Continue reading
By Ray McGovern
April 5, 2009
I used to take a certain pride by association with prominent Bronxites who have “made it.” Cancel that for Attorney General Eric Holder and former Secretary of State Colin Powell.
You might think that as African-Americans, they would be especially outraged by torture, given what blacks have suffered at the hands of white torturers in this country and abroad.
Why is it that they seem to value more their admittance into a privileged white-dominated ruling class than doing the right thing? How else to explain their stunning reluctance to hold torturers accountable and thus remove the stain of torture from our nation’s soul and reputation?
One might say that Attorney General Holder is proving himself to be part of that “nation of cowards” that he called the United States in a different context, i.e. our unwillingness to address the issue of race. What about when the victims of torture are Muslims? Where’s Holder’s courage then?
Surely, I was not the only one stunned by former Vice President Dick Cheney’s public admission that he helped authorize waterboarding of detainees. But, on reflection, there seems to have been a method to his madness; and, so far at least, the method seems to be working.
Have Holder and Colin Powell forgotten from their days growing up in the Bronx the typical reaction of bullies when caught in the act? “Okay, so waddaya gonna do ’bout it!” It was an attempt at intimidation, and it was generally… Continue reading
By Charlotte Dennett
April 1, 2009
Those of you following the George W. Bush prosecution trail will be interested to know that Patrick Leahy’s “truth commission” is a no-go. I was in a meeting with Leahy and four other Vermonters on Monday when he broke the news to us.
We had asked for the meeting to learn why he supported a truth commission over the appointment of a special prosecutor.
Halfway through the allotted 30 minute meeting (with him taking up much of the time explaining why he was not generally opposed to prosecution, since he had been a DA for eight years and had the highest conviction rate in Vermont), he told us that his truth commission had failed to get the broad support it needed in Congress, and since he couldn’t get one Republican to come behind the plan, “it’s not going to happen.”
It was a sobering exchange. The meeting had begun with our expressing serious concerns about ongoing dangers to our democracy, with the trend going to executive power while damaging our Constitution.
“We are a nation of laws,” said Dan DeWalt, who had helped organize 36 Vermont towns to vote for impeachment of Bush on town meeting day. “If we have a system of justice, why not let it take its course? It seems to many Americans that the rich and powerful don’t have the same system of justice, and they’re getting away with torture, murder, fraud, and Ponzi schemes.”
By the end of the meeting, we were beginning to wonder whether anything at all was going to done — by Congress, by Attorney General Eric Holder, by President Barack Obama — to hold the Bush team accountable for its crimes.…Continue reading
By Matt Corley
In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air yesterday, host Terry Gross asked investigative journalist Seymour Hersh if, as he continues to investigate the Bush administration, “more people” were “coming forward” to talk to him now that “the president and vice president are no longer in power.” Hersh replied that though “a lot of people that had told me in the last year of Bush, ‘call me next, next February,’ not many people had talked to him. He implied that they were still scared of Cheney.
“Are you saying that you think Vice President Cheney is still having a chilling effect on people who might otherwise be coming forward,” asked Gross. “I’ll make it worse,” answered Hersh, adding that he believes Cheney “put people back” in government to “stay behind” in order to “tell him what’s going on” and perhaps even “do sabotage”:
HERSH: I’ll make it worse. I think he’s put people left. He’s put people back. They call it a stay behind. It’s sort of an intelligence term of art. When you leave a country and, you know, you’ve driven out the, you know, you’ve lost the war. You leave people behind. It’s a stay behind… Continue reading
by Kenneth J. Theisen
28 March 2009
President Barack Obama continued with his latest escalation of the war in Afghanistan
by announcing his plans to send an additional 4,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan
to train Afghan government puppet forces. He also announced plans to send hundreds
of diplomats and civilian officials to the country, in what Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton called an “integrated military-civilian strategy”.
Like his predecessor George W. Bush, Obama raised the specter of “terrorism”
to justify his actions.
Obama stated that, “If the Afghanistan government falls to the Taliban
or allows al-Qaida to go unchallenged, that country will again be a base for
terrorists.” Obama warned that the al-Qaida “terrorists” were
actively planning further attacks on the U.S. from havens in Pakistan. He stated,
“So I want the American people to understand that we have a clear and
focused goal: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaida in Pakistan and Afghanistan,
and to prevent their return to either country in the future.” He went on
to claim, “That is the goal that must be achieved. That is a cause that
could not be more just. And to the terrorists who oppose us, my message is the
same: we will defeat you.” Does this sound a little too much like Bush’s
excuse for the initial invasion in 2001? I was waiting to hear Obama say, “bring
This latest escalation builds on Obama’s previously announced plan to
send 17,000 troops to that war-torn country. President George… Continue reading
On Tuesday we posted an appeal for readers to take action regarding a current state of national emergency in the US, declared by George W. Bush after 9/11/01. Since then, the appeal has been sent to at least 20,000 people via email, linked to from numerous other sites, and reposted in full at several sites. We are beginning to get notification from readers of specific Representatives and Senators to whom letters are being sent, with follow-up calls planned. Please continue to send those to us at responses[at]911truth.org. We intend to start posting that information shortly.
Some people have written to ask whether we’ve completely lost our collective mind… “Do you really think this Congress–who has refused to investigate or even talk about 9/11 crimes for all these years–is suddenly going to divulge honest information about their lack of oversight of National Emergencies, and act to terminate it just because you send them a letter?!” Well, uhm, not really, no.
But do we think some of them will look into it and respond with a real answer? Perhaps. Do we think we’ll get a lot of boilerplate responses about “the danger terrorists pose to the safety of every God-fearing Amurikan and so we must remain vigilant,” but don’t actually answer either question? Probably. However, equally important is simply getting this information to them, and to Americans who read this and had no idea of the situation. Personally, my (Janice) experience has been that when I called my Rep previously, outraged about… Continue reading
Peter Dale Scott and Dan Hamburg
On 9/11 the Bush administration declared a State of Emergency (SOE), which was formally proclaimed on September 14, 2001, and extended by Bush repeatedly thereafter, most recently on August 28, 2008. 1 Under cover of this SOE, Bush secretly enacted many extreme measures, ranging from suspension of habeas corpus to preparations for martial law in America; all these were undertaken as part of secret so-called “Continuity of Government” (COG) procedures associated with the SOE, and first instituted on 9/11. 2 and 3
The National Emergencies Act, one of the post-Watergate reforms so detested by Vice-President Cheney, requires specifically that
Not later than six months after a national emergency is declared, and not later than the end of each six-month period thereafter that such emergency continues, each House of Congress shall meet to consider a vote on a joint resolution to determine whether that emergency shall be terminated. (50 U.S.C. 1622 (2002) 4
Last fall one of us appealed on the Internet for the Democrats in Congress to take this statutorily required step, and also to learn what secret COG measures were being enacted under the SOE. 5 There was no response.
In February 2009 we sent to officials in Washington the following appeal to consider terminating the State of Emergency. The appeal was sent to President Obama’s staff in the White House, and to the staff of Nancy Pelosi, Peter DeFazio, and Dennis Kucinich in Congress. Almost two months have passed, and there has not yet been any response from the addressees.…Continue reading
March 19, 2009
[RELATED: Posse Comitatus Act ]
SAMSON, Ala. – The Army said Wednesday it opened an inquiry into whether federal
laws were broken when nearly two dozen Soldiers were sent to a south Alabama
town after 11 people died in a shooting spree last week.
State officials said the deployment of 22 military police officers and the
provost marshal from Fort Rucker was requested neither by Republican Gov. Bob
Riley nor the White House, which typically is required by law for Soldiers to
operate on U.S. soil.
Col. Michael J. Negard of the Army Training and Doctrine Command at Fort Monroe,
Va., said officials are trying to determine who ordered the Soldiers to Samson,
who requested them, why they were sent and what they did there.
“In addition to determining the facts, this inquiry will also consider
whether law, regulation and policy were followed,” he said. He declined
Former Samson resident Michael McLendon, 28, fatally shot nine victims in the
town and killed a 10th in a neighboring county. The March 10 spree ended when
McLendon killed himself, and the Soldiers arrived in the hours after.
Investigators said McLendon was despondent over his inability to hold a job
and his failure to become a Marine or a police officer.
Riley isn’t concerned whether the military overstepped its bounds, said Press
Secretary Jeff Emerson.
“From what I understand it was a few folks who came to direct traffic
or help where they could,” Emerson said. “If… Continue reading
Vic Sadot’s latest CD, 9/11 Truth & Justice Songs is now available at the 911TruthStore! Last year Vic traveled from his home in Delaware to Berkeley, and has been singing at peace and justice festivals, participating in TruthAction events with San Francisco truth advocates, and sang Cheney’s in the Bunker last year at a rally for Green Party Presidential candidate, Cynthia McKinney.
Have a listen to a sample of Vic’s work at Last FM and you’ll want a copy of this CD — Please support this talented, dedicated truth musician.
Blowback or Bloody Treason
Well, the day was nine-eleven in the year two thousand-one
That’s the day the “war on terror” was officially begun
When 2 planes took down 3 buildings in a scene of “Shock & Awe”
Before they hauled away the rubble, it was a crime scene for the law!
Who had the means? Who had the motive?
Who could do this crime and live?
Who had the opportunity?
Who benefits to what degree?
We need a great detective’s logic!
Forensic facts and laws of physics…
Not “leaps of faith”… Just “steps to reason”
Was it blowback or bloody treason?
Was it blowback or bloody treason?
1 The Ballad of William Rodriguez - The story the World Trade Center janitor of 20 years who suddenly became a Ground Zero rescue hero as he responded… Continue reading
Washington D.C. (March 16, 2009) — Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)
Friday sent a letter to Chairman Edolphus Towns of the House Oversight and Government
Reform Committee requesting an immediate investigation into allegations made
by the investigative reporter Seymour Hersh that the White House operated an
‘executive assassination ring’ that circumvented Congressional oversight.
Kucinich explains in the letter that, “Mr. Hersh made the allegation
before an audience at the University of Minnesota on Tuesday, March 10, 2009.
He stated, “Under President Bush’s authority, they’ve been
going into countries, not talking to the ambassador or the CIA station chief,
and finding people on a list and executing them and leaving” It is a special
wing of our special operations community that is set up independently. They
do not report to anybody, except in the Bush-Cheney days, they reported directly
to the Cheney office. . .Congress has no oversight of it.’”
Kucinich adds, “If true, these operations violate longstanding U.S. policy
regarding covert actions and illegally bypass Congressional oversight. . .
Hersh is within a year or more of releasing a book that is said to include evidence
of this allegation. However, we cannot wait a year or more to establish the
The full text of the letter follows:
March 13, 2009
The Honorable Edolphus Towns
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
U.S. House of Representatives
2157 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Chairman Towns:
As you may already be aware, recent media reports indicate that investigative
reporter, Seymour… Continue reading
March 15, 2009
In his recent TV appearance [reported on at Huffington Post, as reprinted below],
Dick Cheney said “And now he [President Obama] is making some choices that,
in my mind, will, in fact, raise the risk to the American people of another
Some investigators of September 11th have concluded that Cheney himself played
a key role in “letting 9/11 happen.”
For example, David Ray Griffin in THE NEW PEARL HARBOR REVISITED (page 94) writes:
“Accordingly, the Commission’s treatment of Norman Mineta’s testimony provides
one of the clearest examples of its attempts to cover up the truth, which in
this case involved Cheney’s presence in the PEOC [Presidential Emergency Operations
Center] during a crucial 45-minute period, during which he apparently confirmed
a stand-down order.” [emphasis added]
Cheney refused to testify under oath before the 9/11 Commission. If it is true
that Cheney played a key role on 9/11, then his statement about “risk …
of another attack” could be seen a veiled threat about another attack–possibly
now in the planning stage.
A new investigation of 9/11, by a truly independent 9/11 Commission, would have
subpoena power necessary to require citizens Cheney and Bush to testify under
oath. Without a new investigation, we will never know if Cheney and Bush (and
many others) are truly innocent of pre-knowledge or complicity in the tragedy
of that infamous day.
If any officials within the Bush administration are guilty–but remain free,
then we are certainly in danger of “another… Continue reading
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.
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 .
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… .
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
by Rachel Oswald
March 10, 2009
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