911blogger.com seeks to cover a broad spectrum of news, posts in the blogs section are the responsibility of the poster, readers are encouraged to check the facts and form their own conclusions.
WASHINGTON -- A report Monday night on the nature of the administration's drone program has the potential to dramatically revamp the debate over President Barack Obama's foreign policy and the confirmation process for his incoming cabinet.
The report, by Michael Isikoff of NBC News, reveals that the Obama administration believes that high-level administration officials -- not just the president -- may order the killing of “senior operational leaders” of al-Qaida or an associated force even without evidence they are actively plotting against the U.S.
“A lawful killing in self-defense is not an assassination,” states the Justice Department white paper quoted by Isikoff.
"The OSF report, which offers the first wholesale public accounting of the top-secret program, puts the number of governments that either hosted CIA "black sites," interrogated or tortured prisoners sent by the U.S., or otherwise collaborated in the program at 54. The report also identifies by name 136 prisoners who were at some point subjected to extraordinary rendition.
The number of nations and the names of those detained provide a stark tally of a program that was expanded widely -- critics say recklessly -- by the George W. Bush administration after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and has been heavily condemned in the years since. In December, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee, condemned the CIA's detention and interrogation efforts as "terrible mistakes."
Although Bush administration officials said they never intentionally sent terrorism suspects abroad in order to be tortured, the countries where the prisoners seemed to end up -- Egypt, Libya and Syria, among others -- were known to utilize coercive interrogation techniques".
Another solid report from James Corbett
"One would have thought, given this fervent anti-war sentiment, that these same groups would be overjoyed that Republican congressmen would be willing to reach across the aisle and submit a resolution to impeach the Commander-in-Chief should he wage another unconstitutional war by committing American forces to the destruction of Syria without so much as authorization from Congress. In fact, just such a move did take place last year, but rather than applaud it, the very same supposedly “anti-war” left that was so active against Bush has done its level best to ignore the very existence of the resolution and silence its advocates".
The Supreme Value System and Strategic Plan for World Rule
I was sceptical of the 9/11 events from the first time I saw the reel of it. It was on every major network within minutes. All the guilty parties were declared before any evidence was shown. The first questions of any criminal investigation were erased. Who had the most compelling motives for the event? Who alone had the means to explode two central icon buildings in New York into ashes and molten metal in seconds?1
Others questions soon arose in the aftermath. Why was all the evidence at the crime scenes removed or confiscated on the spot? Who was behind the continuous false information and non-stop repetition of ‘foreign/Arab terrorists’ when no proof of guilt existed? Who was blocking all independent inquiry?
Even 11 years on these questions are still not answered.
Score one for truth, justice and accountability.
"At the Obama inauguration party Lupe Fiasco opened his set with his 2011 single “Words I never Said,” in which he criticizes Obama for the president’s silence after the bombing of the Gaza strip. He rapped the song over and over again for more than 20 minutes. “Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn is a racist, Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say s---,” he continually rhymed.
The rapper also criticizes the War on Terror and questions the Sept. 11 attacks in the song, asking “9/11, building seven, did they really pull it?”
After a staff member approached the performer to ask him to change songs, the rapper continued with his lyrics and his mic got cut, the lights were dimmed, but his band played on and so did he. When Lupe Fiasco refused to stop, several bouncers confronted the rapper with their backs turned to the audience. He was eventually forced to leave the stage to the outrage of much of the audience".
"President Obama is asking the courts to rewrite (the Freedom of Information Act) to allow his administration to withhold documents simply because their disclosure may cause controversy," Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement released before the hearing.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will consider today Judicial Watch's request for the release of 52 pictures that were taken in May 2011 after U.S. forces killed the mastermind behind the 9/11 attack, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge James Boasberg agreed with the government in April when he ruled against Judicial Watch's request, according to CNN.
"The Obama administration will be able to keep secret its legal justification for killing without a trial an American suspected of joining al Qaeda after a federal judge on Wednesday dismissed most of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and The New York Times.
New York Southern District Court Judge Colleen McMahon issued a ruling acknowledging that the government's actions "seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution." Still, she concluded, citing a "veritable Catch-22" of a "thicket of laws and precedents," she could not order disclosure of the Department of Justice memorandum supporting the 2011 drone killing of alleged al Qaeda militant -- and American citizen -- Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen.
The judge's ruling hinged on the Freedom of Information Act Law, not on the drone program itself.
"It is never okay, never okay for government officials to use a general warrant to deliberately invade the privacy of a law-abiding American," Wyden said. "It wasn’t okay for constables and customs officials to do it in colonial days, and it’s not okay for the National Security Agency to do it today."
While conceding that the bill could use some oversight improvements, Sen. Dianne Feinsten (D-Calif.), the chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, urged passage of the bill without alteration to avoid prompting both a fight with the House of Representatives, which has already passed a "clean," unamended version of the bill, and also the program's expiration.
Without renewal, she said, "the program comes down. The program is interrupted."
She and other senators who favor an unamended bill cited procedures meant to minimize when Americans' intelligence is collected and used, as well as a secret court that oversees the program, as evidence that it is being used appropriately.
"WASHINGTON -- The military judge overseeing the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four others accused in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks granted a U.S. government request to limit disclosure of classified information about "sources, methods and activities" used in fighting terrorism.
The American Civil Liberties Union made the ruling public Wednesday, saying in a statement that the judge's decision would prevent the public from learning about "illegal CIA torture."
The written ruling by Army Col. James Pohl also approves the government's request for a 40-second audio delay in relaying proceedings from the military courtroom at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Prosecutors and defense lawyers spent part of a week in October debating how a military tribunal should handle classified and other sensitive information in the biggest terrorism case in U.S. history".
A few here will remember that before the 2012 Election Philip Zelikow and Thomas Kean were announced to be part of a "Romney Foreign Advisory Team" if Mittens won. As that didn't happen it looks like Phil is putting out his resume and taking a shot at movie reviews.
Below he dissects Spielburg's new film as it reflects "actual" history.Remember, Phillip Zelikow is a professional when it comes to knowning history and whether a screenplay is a failure of imagination or not.
From the aptly named "Disunion"
DISUNION November 29, 2012,
Steven Spielberg, Historian
By PHILIP ZELIKOW
"Having worked before at the intersection of Hollywood and history, helping a tiny bit with a respectable movie about the Cuban missile crisis called “Thirteen Days,” I approached the new movie “Lincoln” with measured expectations. I had seen how a film could immerse viewers in onscreen time travel without messing up the history too much. But that was the most I hoped for".
Is "The Hobbit" far behind? ;)
By Associated Press, Published: NOVEMBER 21, 5:00 PM ET
WASHINGTON — Internal emails among U.S. military officers indicate that no sailors watched Osama bin Laden’s burial at sea from the USS Carl Vinson and traditional Islamic procedures were followed during the ceremony.
The emails, obtained by The Associated Press through the Freedom of Information Act, are heavily blacked out, but are the first public disclosure of government information about the al-Qaida leader’s death. The emails were released Wednesday by the Defense Department.
Bin Laden was killed on May 1, 2011, by a Navy SEAL team that assaulted his compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
One email stamped secret and sent on May 2 by a senior Navy officer briefly describes how bin Laden’s body was washed, wrapped in a white sheet, and then placed in a weighted bag.
According to another message from the Vinson’s public affairs officer, only a small group of the ship’s leadership was informed of the burial.
"With David Petraeus stepping down as CIA Director after reports of an extra-marital affair, we're seeing reports that Mike Morell, currently deputy C.I.A. director, will take the job on an interim basis.
Morell's official bio is here, but it doesn't mention one key thing — his role in tracking Osama bin Laden.
In a Vanity Fair article about the decision to kill bin Laden, Mark Bowdon described Morell as "the head of the C.I.A.’s bin Laden team".
The article also states that Morell "had been personally involved in the flawed analysis of Saddam’s weapons capability", and was told the president he was only 60 percent sure the Al Qaeda leader was actually living in the Pakistani property".
From the Huffington Posts terribly titled "Touched By Terror"
"9/11 A decade after
9/11 Families Invited To Watch September 11th Hearings...at Guantanimo!
NEW YORK — The families of people killed in the Sept. 11 attacks have been invited to military installations in four states to watch pretrial hearings in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for five men charged with planning or assisting the terrorist strike.
The hearings, which begin Monday, are closed to the public, but relatives who register in advance can watch on closed-circuit television at forts in New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland and New York City.
The suspects on trial before the military commission include Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-professed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.
An earlier round of hearings in May was also transmitted to viewing locations for relatives of the victims, survivors of the attacks, and emergency personnel who responded to the disaster.
Those proceedings were an exercise in frustration for some viewers, as the suspects refused to cooperate with the court, or interrupted proceedings to kneel in prayer.
Jim Riches, whose firefighter son, Jimmy, died at the World Trade Center, said he planned to view Monday's hearing at Fort Hamilton, in Brooklyn.
"It's difficult for the families. But it is 10 years later, and we have no justice," Riches said. "I just wish it was being broadcast throughout the whole world so everyone could see it, and could see what these guys are like."
"Hard-edged and tenacious yet ever the centrist, Mr. Specter was a part of American public life for more than four decades. As an ambitious young lawyer for the Warren Commission, he took credit for originating the theory that a single bullet, fired by a lone gunman, struck both President John F. Kennedy and Gov. John B. Connally of Texas. Seconds later, Kennedy was struck by a fatal shot to the head from the same gunman, the commission found."