Wednesday, March 28 2012 - Civil Liberties-Police State
Obama takes Bush’s secrecy games one step further
By Glenn Greenwald
March 26, 2012
The ACLU is suing the Obama administration under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), seeking to force disclosure of the guidelines used by Obama officials to select which human beings (both U.S. citizens and foreign nationals) will have their lives ended by the CIA’s drone attacks (“In particular,” the group explains, the FOIA request “seeks to find out when, where and against whom drone strikes can be authorized, and how the United States ensures compliance with international laws relating to extrajudicial killing”). The Obama administration has not only refused to provide any of that information, but worse, the CIA is insisting to federal courts that it cannot even confirm or deny the existence of a drone program at all without seriously damaging national security; from the CIA’s brief in response to the ACLU lawsuit:
Wednesday, March 28 2012 - Civil Liberties-Police State
New Counterorrism Guidelines Gives Authorities Vast Access to Private Info of Innocent Americans
See also these related stories: "Everybody's a Target in the American Surveillance State," by attorney and author John W. Whitehead, and "The myth of freedom in the land of the free," by John Stoehr, editor of the New Haven Advocate and a lecturer at Yale.
By Trevor Timm
March 25, 2012
Electronic Frontier Foundation
On Thursday, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder signed expansive new guidelines for terrorism analysts, allowing the National Counter Terrorism Center (NCTC) to mirror entire federal databases containing personal information and hold onto the information for an extended period of time—even if the person is not suspected of any involvement in terrorism. (Read the guidelines here).
Despite the “terrorism” justification, the new rules affect every single American. The agency now has free rein to, as the New York Times’ Charlie Savage put it, “retrieve, store and search information about Americans gathered by government agencies for purposes other than national security threats ” and expands the amount of time the government can keep private information on innocent individuals by a factor of ten.
Wednesday, March 28 2012 - Research/Evidence
US acted to conceal evidence of intelligence failure before 9/11
Operation Foxden, delayed by turf war between the FBI and the CIA, given green light three days before the al-Qaida attacks
By Ian Cobain
March 27, 2012
The US government shut down a series of court cases arising from a multimillion pound business dispute in order to conceal evidence of a damning intelligence failure shortly before the 9/11 attacks, MPs were told.
Moreover, the UK government is now seeking similar powers that could be used to prevent evidence of illegal acts and embarrassing failures from emerging in court, David Davis, the former shadow home secretary, told the Commons.
The Justice and Security green paper being put forward by Ken Clarke's justice ministry has already faced widespread criticism from civil rights groups, media representatives and lawyers working within the secret tribunal system that hears terrorism-related immigration cases.
Wednesday, March 28 2012 - Editorials
Empires Then and Now
By Paul Craig Roberts
March 28, 2012
Great empires, such as the Roman and British, were extractive. The empires succeeded, because the value of the resources and wealth extracted from conquered lands exceeded the value of conquest and governance. The reason Rome did not extend its empire east into Germany was not the military prowess of Germanic tribes but Rome’s calculation that the cost of conquest exceeded the value of extractable resources.
The Roman empire failed, because Romans exhausted manpower and resources in civil wars fighting amongst themselves for power. The British empire failed, because the British exhausted themselves fighting Germany in two world wars.
In his book, The Rule of Empires (2010), Timothy H. Parsons replaces the myth of the civilizing empire with the truth of the extractive empire. He describes the successes of the Romans, the Umayyad Caliphate, the Spanish in Peru, Napoleon in Italy, and the British in India and Kenya in extracting resources. To lower the cost of governing Kenya, the British instigated tribal consciousness and invented tribal customs that worked to British advantage.
Monday, March 26 2012 - Other Important News
Celebrating Reenchantment: A Conference on the Thought of David Ray Griffin
Posted March 26, 2012
On April 12 to 14, there will be a conference in Claremont, California, entitled “Celebrating Reenchantment: The Philosophical, Religious, and Political Thought of David Ray Griffin.”
The conference will feature scholars addressing the various topics Griffin has covered, including 9/11. Two of the lectures – those by Tod Fletcher and Peter Dale Scott – will deal with 9/11.
Presenters will include John Buchanan, Philip Clayton, John Cobb, Daniel Dombrowski, Gary Dorrien, Richard Falk, Tod Fletcher, Marcus Ford, Nancy Frankenberry, Catherine Keller, Sandra Lubarsky, Gene Reeves, and Peter Dale Scott, in addition to Dr. Griffin himself.
Monday, March 26 2012 - Research/Evidence
Secret Service Failures on 9/11: A Call for Transparency
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.
Sunday, March 25 2012 - Research/Evidence
Dear Department of Justice: Please Investigate Your Old Boss for Material Support of Terrorism!
By Coleen Rowley
March 20, 2012
Information Clearing House
Dear Department of Justice and Department of Treasury Officials:
We might have just helped you bag another material supporter of terrorism this week! And you'll never believe who the culprit is! We were even able to tape record some of his own damning admissions! (That's the reason for my calls last week to your duty attorneys and media offices.)
As you know, Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control has an ongoing investigation into several high profile former political figures, trying to discover their financial transactions with the terrorists in the Mujaheddin e Khalq aka "MEK". One of the former political officials apparently being investigated for his financial transactions and paid advocacy on behalf of MEK is former Attorney General Michael Mukasey. Well Mukasey happened to get tapped on March 15 to give an "ethical leadership" speech at the University of St. Thomas Law School and some of us went to hear what he had to say. As an aside, the overall thrust of his speech was anything but ethical. Instead he mostly defended the Bush Administration and its lawyers for having used their talents "to push the legal limits" of what the Executive Branch could do in its "war on terror." (Of course there are many legal scholars who think those Bush attorneys pushed over the legal limits.) He especially defended John Yoo and Robert Delahunty (now a St. Thomas law professor) who working in Bush's Office of Legal Counsel, co-wrote memos in early 2002 claiming the U.S. did not have to follow the Geneva Conventions. Researchers have since gained evidence through multiple interviews of returned soldiers that the major factor in U.S. troops' having committed atrocities and abuses in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as terrible torture of detainees was their being told they no longer had to follow the Geneva Conventions. But Mukasey didn't seem to care much about any abuses or torture. In fact, although he refused to answer during his Senate Confirmation hearing whether waterboarding was torture, he explicitly declared that waterboarding is not torture and therefore was/is not illegal as practiced by CIA contractors.
Of course, we are well aware of Obama's instructions for you to never look backward when it comes to the torture crimes but here's the part that could allow you to put the handcuffs on your old boss for his new and apparently ongoing terrorist crimes! After Mr. Mukasey completed his initial speech, he was confronted in a rather light but savvy way by another panelist, Attorney John Lundquist, about his (Mukasey's) paid advocacy for the Iranian terrorist group, Mujaheddin e Khalq (MEK) which the U.S. State and Treasury Departments have long designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO). Mukasey admitted being paid by MEK and admitted he and his friends are in a group helping the terrorist group by advocating for their removal from the FTO list. Mukasey later inexplicably added that he still supports the 2009 Holder v Humanitarian Law Project Supreme Court Decision (which held that such advice and assistance as he's admittedly providing in coordination with a designated foreign terrorist organization falls within "material support of terrorism" even if it's nothing but speech). Since ignorance of the law is no defense, Mukasey's proffered explanation that MEK did not tell him what to say, just inculpates him further, doesn't it?! He insisted that as long as MEK did not write his speech, his acceptance of the terrorist organization's money and his meetings with MEK members to coordinate his appearances and advocacy are not enough to get him into trouble.
Sunday, March 25 2012 - Research/Evidence
Insider trading 9/11 ... the facts laid bare
See also interview with Lars Schall by Max Keiser, at end of story.
AN ASIA TIMES ONLINE EXCLUSIVE INVESTIGATION
By Lars Schall
March 21, 2012
Is there any truth in the allegations that informed circles made substantial profits in the financial markets in connection to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, on the United States?
Arguably, the best place to start is by examining put options, which occurred around Tuesday, September 11, 2001, to an abnormal extent, and at the beginning via software that played a key role: the Prosecutor's Management Information System, abbreviated as PROMIS. [i]
PROMIS is a software program that seems to be fitted with almost "magical" abilities. Furthermore, it is the subject of a decades-long dispute between its inventor, Bill Hamilton, and various people/institutions associated with intelligence agencies, military and security consultancy firms. 
One of the "magical" capabilities of PROMIS, one has to assume, is that it is equipped with artificial intelligence and was apparently from the outset “able to simultaneously read and integrate any number of different computer programs or databases, regardless of the language in which the original programs had been written or the operating systems and platforms on which that database was then currently installed." 
And then it becomes really interesting:
Sunday, March 25 2012 - Other Important News
FBI explanation of missing Oklahoma City bombing tapes not credible, judge says
See also related stories at:
"Federal Judge Slaps FBI for Continuing OKC Bombing Cover-Up," 22 March 2012 by William Grigg, and "Attorney [Schippers] Says Unedited Versions of the Oklahoma City Bombing Surveillance Tapes Are ‘Somewhere’," September 30th, 2009 by Bob McCarty.
By Dennis Romboy
March 21 2012
This file photo taken May 5, 1995, shows thousands of search and rescue crews attending a memorial service in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City. A Utah attorney is seeking security tapes from the the bombing scene as part of his unofficial inquiry into the explosion that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. Jesse Trentadu already received more than two dozen tapes from security cameras on the buildings around the Federal Building, but he claims the FBI edited portions of them.
Photo credit: Associated Press
SALT LAKE CITY — A federal judge on Wednesday continued to question the FBI's explanation for not producing videotapes associated with the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing that a Salt Lake lawyer has sought for nearly six years.
"It's quite astounding that documents as important as these went missing and the FBI says, 'Well, they're gone,'" U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups said during a motion hearing.
At issue is whether the FBI adequately responded to Jesse Trentadue's Freedom of Information Act request for footage of Timothy McVeigh parking a truckload of explosives at the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. Specifically, the Salt Lake attorney is after a building surveillance tape and dashcam video from the Oklahoma state trooper who stopped McVeigh 90 minutes after the explosion that killed 168 people.
The FBI has submitted several declarations from its top records manager to show the agency has searched electronic databases and evidence warehouses without success. But Waddoups said the declarations lack credibility because they do not include firsthand knowledge or details about who, when, where or how the searches were conducted.
Sunday, March 25 2012 - Civil Liberties-Police State
The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)
By James Bamford
March 15, 2012
Photo Credit, Name withheld; Digital Manipulation: Jesse Lenz
The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.
Monday, March 19 2012 - Civil Liberties-Police State
New Obama Executive Order Seizes U.S. Infrastructure and Citizens for Military Preparedness
The Act to which this Executive Order refers is the national Defense Resources Act, first passed September 8, 1950, at the beginning of the Korean conflict, as the Cold War began. Wikipedia states (please read original for full links):
The Defense Production Act (Pub.L. 81-774) is a United States law enacted on September 8, 1950, in response to the start of the Korean War. It was part of a broad civil defense and war mobilization effort in the context of the Cold War. Its implementing regulations, the Defense Priorities and Allocation System (DPAS), are located at 15 CFR §§700 to 700.93. The Act has been periodically reauthorized and amended, and remains in force as of 2012.
The Act contains three major sections. The first authorizes the President to require businesses to sign contracts or fulfill orders deemed necessary for national defense. The second authorizes the President to establish mechanisms (such as regulations, orders or agencies) to allocate materials, services and facilities to promote national defense. The third section authorizes the President to control the civilian economy so that scarce and/or critical materials necessary to the national defense effort are available for defense needs.
The Act also authorizes the President to requisition property, force industry to expand production and the supply of basic resources, impose wage and price controls, settle labor disputes, control consumer and real estate credit, establish contractual priorities, and allocate raw materials to aid the national defense.
The President's authority to place contracts under the DPA is the part of the Act most often used by the Department of Defense (DOD) since the 1970s. Most of the other functions of the Act are administered by the Office of Strategic Industries and Economic Security (SIES) in the Bureau of Industry and Security in the Department of Commerce.
- - - - - -
Note: Of course, this editor recommends you go READ the Executive Order itself at whitehouse.gov.
By Brandon Turbeville
March 18, 2012
In a stunning move, on March 16, 2012, Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) stating that the President and his specifically designated Secretaries now have the authority to commandeer all domestic U.S. resources including food and water. The EO also states that the President and his Secretaries have the authority to seize all transportation, energy, and infrastructure inside the United States as well as forcibly induct/draft American citizens into the military. The EO also contains a vague reference in regards to harnessing American citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of national defense.
Not only that, but the authority claimed inside the EO does not only apply to National Emergencies and times of war. It also applies in peacetime.
The National Defense Resources Preparedness Executive Order exploits the “authority” granted to the President in the Defense Production Act of 1950 in order to assert that virtually every means of human survival is now available for confiscation and control by the President via his and his Secretaries’ whim.
Monday, March 19 2012 - Resources and Materials
A Brief Review of "Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation into 9-11"
Dr. Laurence H. Shoup
Mounting Evidence: Why We Need a New Investigation into 9-11, By Paul W. Rea, PhD
As Dr. Paul Rea states in Mounting Evidence, the 9-11 story is the 21st Century's "ultimate mass murder mystery."
Mounting Evidence makes good on the promise implied in this tantalizing quote with a 555 page book that is not only well researched and comprehensive, but is presented in a lively and engaging writing style, ensuring a good read. These characterizations only begin to describe the book's relevance, however, for Mounting Evidence focuses directly on the larger importance of 9-11. What does this event mean, in terms of its origins, in terms of the cover-up of the true facts by a rigged "investigation" by a rigged 9-11 Commission and in terms of the negative effects on U.S. foreign and military policy, even now? With his multiple foci on "meaningful contexts," the "Global Domination Project" of the United States, the "Official Story," and the currently available evidence about 9-11, Rea uses his excellent command of all sources to explicate a very complex and multi-faceted subject clearly and compellingly.
Wednesday, March 7 2012 - Blog
Obama's Kill Doctrine
See also: "Who said it: Bush or Obama?" by Uri Friedman, also at ForeignPolicy.com.
Trust us, Attorney General Eric Holder says -- we'll only assassinate Americans after administrative "due process." That's not how the Constitution works, buddy.
By Jonathan Turley
Sunday, March 4 2012 - Other Important News
Deflating the HYPE - Can the Seemingly Imminent War with Iran be Stopped?
March 2, 2012
By John Bursill
Unfortunately, it now appears that a war between the US and its allies with Iran is imminent. By any military analyst's assessment this has a real chance of changing the current multi-theatre war against terrorism and so called rogue/terrorist states into a real World War III scenario!
Following the Mainstream media (MSM) in the West over the last few months, you would be sensing that many things have happened to support the war-with-Iran rationale: hearing that Iran wants a Nuclear bomb and would be prepared to use it against Israel and the US, other alarming stories include Iran trading in weapons with "rogue states," Iran killing innocent people abroad, Iran's president is insane and wants to "wipe Israel off the map," Iran has been involved in terrorist plots/bombings and may attack inside the US and Iran is trading drugs. The list of baseless accusation goes on and on.
Interesting to remember that after 9/11 the MSM did little to question the actual events and who benefited but devoted massive media speculation to Iraq being involved while no evidence existed, managing to convince the vast majority of the American public that Saddam was involved with the 9/11 attacks leading to growing public support for the 2003 invasion.
Sunday, March 4 2012 - Research/Evidence
Saudi Arabia May Be Tied to 9/11, 2 Ex-Senators Say
By Eric Lichtblau
March 1, 2012
New York Times
WASHINGTON — For more than a decade, questions have lingered about the possible role of the Saudi government in the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, even as the royal kingdom has made itself a crucial counterterrorism partner in the eyes of American diplomats.
Now, in sworn statements that seem likely to reignite the debate, two former senators who were privy to top secret information on the Saudis’ activities say they believe that the Saudi government might have played a direct role in the terrorist attacks.
“I am convinced that there was a direct line between at least some of the terrorists who carried out the September 11th attacks and the government of Saudi Arabia,” former Senator Bob Graham, Democrat of Florida, said in an affidavit filed as part of a lawsuit brought against the Saudi government and dozens of institutions in the country by families of Sept. 11 victims and others. Mr. Graham led a joint 2002 Congressional inquiry into the attacks.
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