February 10, 2010
Anyone Could be Next
The U.S. is Now a Police State
By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
Americans have been losing the protection of law for years. In the 21st century the loss of legal protections accelerated with the Bush administration’s “war on terror,” which continues under the Obama administration and is essentially a war on the Constitution and U.S. civil liberties.
The Bush regime was determined to vitiate habeas corpus in order to hold people indefinitely without bringing charges. The regime had acquired hundreds of prisoners by paying a bounty for “terrorists.” Afghan warlords and thugs responded to the financial incentive by grabbing unprotected people and selling them to the Americans.
The Bush regime needed to hold the prisoners without charges because it had no evidence against the people and did not want to admit that the U.S. government had stupidly paid warlords and thugs to kidnap innocent people. In addition, the Bush regime needed “terrorists” prisoners in order to prove that there was a terrorist threat.
Friday, Feb. 19, 2010
Is the U.S. Hotter on Bin Laden's Trail?
By Tim McGirk / Rawalpindi
Are the U.S. and Pakistan one step closer to hunting down Osama bin Laden? The recent capture of the Taliban's military commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, as he was leaving a seminary in the Pakistani seaport of Karachi may have given investigators several leads in tracking down the the fugitive al-Qaeda chief.
Forget Manhattan — Attorney General Eric Holder, under increasing political pressure, is now considering the possibility of moving the trials of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the other alleged 9/11 plotters to military tribunals and out of civilian courts entirely.
And Holder, in an interview Thursday, left open the possibility that Mohammed's trial could be switched to a military commission, although he said that is not his personal and legal preference.
"At the end of the day, wherever this case is tried, in whatever forum, what we have to ensure is that it's done as transparently as possible and with adherence to all the rules," Holder said. "If we do that, I'm not sure the location or even the forum is as important as what the world sees in that proceeding."
Lawyers for 9/11 responders defend firm's conduct
By DAVID B. CARUSO
The Associated Press
Friday, February 12, 2010; 2:28 PM
NEW YORK -- The lead lawyer for thousands of Sept. 11 rescue and recovery workers has acknowledged that in preparing some claims, his firm made mistakes - including assertions that people had cancer when they didn't.
But the attorney, Paul Napoli, said the errors all occurred at preliminary stages of the case, are being corrected and won't have any bearing on the outcome. He characterized the mistakes as few and accidental, caused by a crushing workload and a rush to meet court deadlines.
"We are not trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes," Napoli said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.
Napoli's firm, Worby Groner Edelman & Napoli Bern, is coordinating lawsuits filed by more than 9,000 police officers, firefighters and construction workers who say New York City and its contractors failed to protect them from toxic World Trade Center ash.
Newsweek has published a list of what it believes are conspiracy theories. Among them, naturally, is the belief that "9/11 was an inside job":
12. 9/11 was an inside job.
The truthers, holdovers from the Bush days, just won't go away. They argue that the physics of the World Trade Center collapse doesn't add up, and that the attacks were an excuse for the U.S. to launch wars abroad and enrich defense contractors. Either the government planned and executed them or it knew they were coming and turned a blind eye.
Proponents:Alex Jones, retired religion professor David Ray Griffin, Reagan administration policy analyst Barbara Honegger, British journalist Robert Fisk.
Kernel of Truth? Not even the staunchest mainstream George W. Bush bashers believe this one. Enough said.
Shortly before six o’clock on the evening of December 19, 2008, a man standing outside his home in Lake Township, Ohio heard the whine of an engine in the sky above him.
Moments later two red lights broke through the low clouds, heading almost directly toward the ground. It was a light aircraft, and for a second, as it descended below the tree line, the man thought it would climb back up. Instead, there was a terrible thud, and the sky turned orange. When the fire crews arrived, they found the burning wreckage of a Piper Saratoga strewn across a vacant lot. The plane had narrowly missed a house, but the explosion was so intense that the home’s plastic siding was on fire. So was the grass. The pilot had been thrown from the plane and died instantly. Body parts and pieces of twisted metal were scattered everywhere. A prayer book lay open on the ground, its pages on fire.
MI5 faced an unprecedented and damaging crisis tonight after one of the country's most senior judges found that the Security Service had failed to respect human rights, deliberately misled parliament, and had a "culture of suppression" that undermined government assurances about its conduct.
The condemnation, by Lord Neuberger, the master of the rolls, was drafted shortly before the foreign secretary, David Miliband, lost his long legal battle to suppress a seven-paragraph court document showing that MI5 officers were involved in the ill-treatment of a British resident, Binyam Mohamed.
Amid mounting calls for an independent inquiry into the affair, three of the country's most senior judges – Lord Judge, the lord chief justice, Sir Anthony May, president of the Queen's Bench Division, and Lord Neuberger – disclosed evidence of MI5's complicity in Mohamed's torture and unlawful interrogation by the US.
WASHINGTON — Exposure to dust and fumes caused by the collapse of the World Trade Center during the September 11, 2001 attacks can cause headaches years later, according to a study released Wednesday.
"We knew that headaches were common in people living and working near the World Trade Center on and immediately after 9/11, but this is the first study to look at headaches several years after the event," said study author Sara Crystal of the New York University School of Medicine.
The study involved 765 people who were enrolled in the Bellevue Hospital World Trade Center Environmental Health Center seven years after the building collapse and who did not have headaches prior to the 2001 attacks.
About 55 percent of the participants reported having exposure to the initial World Trade Center dust cloud.
Forty-three percent of those surveyed said they had headaches in the four weeks prior to enrolling in the study, and people caught in the initial dust cloud were slightly more likely to report headaches than those who were not.
According to a new Harris Poll, 78% of Americans believe Osama Bin Laden is alive. 37% believe he is living in Pakistan, while 32% won't even venture a guess where he might be.
9/11 Health bill loses long term support
BY CLAUDIA CRUZ
Tuesday, February 9, 2010 2:42 PM EST
The healthcare of first responders, volunteers, and recovery and clean-up workers after the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001, suffered a setback when the Obama administration stated it would not guarantee any long-term funding for their medical monitoring and treatment programs.
In a January 27 meeting between the New York Congressional delegation and Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Sebelius informed the delegation that the administration could not support the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2009 – introduced by Representative Carolyn Maloney – due to the bill’s provisions that would require mandatory annual spending on federal 9/11 health programs.
Flight 253: Intelligence Agencies Nixed State Department Move to Revoke Bomber’s Visa
by Tom Burghardt / February 8th, 2010
Rightist demagogues, as they are wont to do, prattle-on how they, and they alone, can “keep America safe”–by shredding the Constitution.
Waging a decades-long psychological war against the American people, corporatist thugs embedded within the National Security State assure us that secrecy, deceit and imperial adventures that steal other peoples’ resources are the one true path to national prosperity and universal happiness.
But what happens when those charged with protecting us from attack, actually aid and abet those who would kill us, and then handsomely profit from our slaughter in the process?
During a January 27 hearing of the House Committee on Homeland Security, Under Secretary of State for Management, Patrick F. Kennedy, testified that the visa of accused bomber, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, wasn’t revoked at the specific request of secret state agencies.
By SUSAN EDELMAN
Last Updated: 1:11 PM, February 7, 2010
Posted: 3:36 AM, February 7, 2010
Lawyers in the legal battle over Ground Zero worker compensation could bag up to half of the billions available to pay 9/11 recovery workers for toxic injuries.
Defense firms hired by the city to fight some 10,000 claims have already raked in close to $200 million, and about $75 million has been spent on administrative expenses.
Lawyers for the workers -- who have yet to be paid -- stand to reap 30 percent to 40 percent of all settlements or judgments, based on their retainer agreements with World Trade Center responders.
How much money is up for grabs is the big question, now that the first trials for a dozen 9/11 workers are set to start May 16 in Manhattan federal court. The two sides are in secret, "intensive discussions" that Judge Alvin Hellerstein hopes will settle as many cases as possible.
David Aaronovitch tells Salon.com "9/11 conspiracy theory" is "the most baroque," slams David Ray Griffin
David Aaronovitch, British author of Voodoo Histories, responds to a recent Salon.com interview question about which widely accepted conspiracy theory he finds the "most implausible" with the following:
"I think 9/11 is the most baroque. I can’t tell you what it feels like to see videos on YouTube of David Ray Griffin addressing people about it — one of America’s leading theologians expressing with absolute certainty the existence of a conspiracy so ludicrous it takes your breath away."
To offer one example of Aaronovitch's explanation of 9/11 in his book, consider this passage from page 257:
"On a more general level, the picture painted by the commission of inquiry into 9/11 was one of an Establishment taken utterly by surprise by the events of 11 September.... In the form it took, the attack was neither expected nor predicted; once it was under way it took some time to realise what was going on, and no one knew what might happen next."
Top Intel Officer: U.S. May Kill Americans Abroad
By John Byrne, Raw Story
Posted on February 4, 2010, Printed on February 4, 2010
In a striking admission from the Obama Administration's top intelligence officer, Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair announced Wednesday that the United States may target its own citizens abroad for death if it believes they are associated with terrorist groups.
"We take direct action against terrorists in the intelligence community," Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair told the House Intelligence Committee. He said US counter-terrorism officials may try to kill American citizens embroiled in extremist groups overseas with "specific permission" from higher up.
If "we think that direct action will involve killing an American, we get specific permission to do that," Blair said in response to questions from the panel's top Republican, Representative Pete Hoekstra.