simuvac's blog

World Trade Center Health Effects: Finding the Links

World Trade Center Health Effects: Finding the Links
December 7th, 2009

Dana Farrington filed this report from City Hall.

Impatience was contagious in City Hall today as three City Council committees heard from concerned parties about the World Trade Center Medical Working Group’s second annual report, released in September. Of particular concern was a bill, currently stalled in the U.S. Senate health committee, which would provide long-term medical care for those affected by the World Trade Center collapse — mentally and physically — and worries over which side effects would not be covered in the meantime.

An Open Letter From U.S. Scientists on Climate Change

An Open Letter From U.S. Scientists on Climate Change

December 06, 2009 - Znet
http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/23299

As U.S. scientists with substantial expertise on climate change and its impacts on natural ecosystems, our built environment and human well-being, we want to assure policy makers and the public of the integrity of the underlying scientific research and the need for urgent action to reduce heat-trapping emissions. In the last few weeks, opponents of taking action on climate change have misrepresented both the content and the significance of stolen emails to obscure public understanding of climate science and the scientific process.

We would like to set the record straight.

Americans deeply involved in Afghan drug trade

http://www.zmag.org/znet/viewArticle/23304

By Glen Ford
Source: BAR

If you're looking for the chief kingpin in the Afghanistan heroin trade, it's the United States. The American mission has devolved to a Mafiosi-style arrangement that poisons every military and political alliance entered into by the U.S. and its puppet government in Kabul. It is a gangster occupation, in which U.S.-allied drug dealers are put in charge of the police and border patrol, while their rivals are placed on American hit lists, marked for death or capture. As a result, Afghanistan has been transformed into an opium plantation that supplies 90 percent of the world's heroin.

Obama's National Security Adviser: Bin Laden sometimes slips into Afghanistan

Robert Burns, AP

WASHINGTON — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden may periodically slip back into Afghanistan from his remote hideout in neighboring Pakistan, a senior White House official says, adding a new twist to the mystery of the elusive terrorist's whereabouts.

President Barack Obama's national security adviser, James Jones, said bin Laden, believed hiding mainly in a rugged area of western Pakistan, may be spending some time in Afghanistan, where he was based while plotting the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States.

But Obama's Pentagon chief, Robert Gates, said the U.S. has lacked good intelligence on bin Laden for a long time – "I think it has been years" – and did not confirm that he'd slipped into Afghanistan.

Robert Gates: No good Osama bin Laden intelligence in years

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/12/06/no-good-osama-bin-laden-i_n_381647.html

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States has not had good intelligence on the whereabouts of terrorist Osama bin Laden in years.

Gates made the comment in an interview to be aired Sunday on ABC's "This Week."

Asked whether he could confirm recent reports that bin Laden had been seen recently in Afghanistan, Gates said "no." Media reports late this week mentioned accounts of unconfirmed bin Laden sightings in recent weeks.

Bin Laden, the leader of al-Qaida, is believed to be hiding on the Pakistan side of the border with Afghanistan.

CNN, AP use 9/11 families to foment support for occupation of Afghanistan

Of course, propaganda that justifies the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq is not new. But with President Obama's recent decision to send 30,000 more soldiers to Afghanistan, more propaganda is being issued to generate support for the occupation. Obama's speech placed Bushian emphasis on the "we didn't start this" meme, returning 9/11 to the propaganda foreground.

Case in point: CNN has an article today titled "For 9/11 families, finishing job in Afghanistan is personal." The headline is misleading, since not all 9/11 families have had the same response to that tragedy. For example, The Family Steering Committee found serious deficiencies in the 9/11 Commission Report.

The Associated Press has a more measured headline for its story on the Afghan "surge": "9/11 families back Afghan surge, but some are wary."

Paul Craig Roberts: "The Obama Puppet"

December 2, 2009
The World's Least Powerful Man
The Obama Puppet

By PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

It didn’t take the Israel Lobby very long to bring President Obama to heel regarding his prohibition against further illegal Israeli settlements on occupied Palestinian land. Obama discovered that a mere American president is powerless when confronted by the Israel Lobby and that the United States simply is not allowed a Middle East policy separate from Israel’s.

Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else either, if he ever intended to do so.

The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it.

President Obama can order the Guantanamo torture chamber closed and kidnapping and rendition and torture to be halted, but no one carries out the order.

Essentially, Obama is irrelevant.

Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court

In case you have been wondering about the differences between a military commission and federal criminal courts, the Congressional Research Service has just published "Comparison of Rights in Military Commission Trials and Trials in Federal Criminal Court."

Here is the introduction:

Attorney General Holder’s decision to try certain detainees in federal criminal court, including
those accused of conspiring to commit the 9/11 terrorist attacks, and to try other detainees by
military commission, has focused attention on the procedural differences between trials in federal
court and those conducted under the Military Commissions Act, as amended. Some who are
opposed to the decision argue that bringing detainees to the United States for trial poses a security
threat and risks disclosing classified information, or could result in the acquittal of persons who
are guilty. Others have praised the decision as recognizing the efficacy and fairness of the federal
court system and have voiced confidence in the courts’ ability to protect national security while

Digital Tools to Sift Through WikiLeaks’ 9/11 Messages

Links in the original.

http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/12/01/digital-tools-to-sift-through-wikileaks-911-messages/

Programmers are introducing tools to analyze the hundreds of thousands of pager messages, supposedly dating from Sept. 11, released last week by WikiLeaks, an organization that releases sensitive documents and materials.

More than half a million messages were released by WikiLeaks, which has not disclosed who turned over the messages. Jeff Clark, a data visualization research who is not involved in WikiLeaks, interpreted the data in the aggregate, creating a video that shows the most commonly used terms that day, like “complex has evacuated” or “possible terrorist act.” The words grow brightest when they hit their peak and are sized by how frequently there were used.

“I recognize the pager data was very much like Twitter data, because it’s basically a time stamp with a bit of text,” said Mr. Clark, who had done work with Twitter.

He also created small time lines showing when certain key phrases hit their peaks, and then ordered the phrases by the peak time to create a moving narrative of the day.

Congress May Probe WikiLeaks Over 9/11 Pages

http://www.cbsnews.com/blogs/2009/12/01/taking_liberties/entry5854554.shtml

The senior Republican on the House Homeland Security committee has begun an investigation into how the WikiLeaks.org Web site obtained thousands of pager messages from September 11, 2001.

Rep. Peter King, who represents a congressional district east of New York City on Long Island, has directed his staff to look into last week's release of about 573,000 lines of messages sent to pagers on that day. The logs included Secret Service, FEMA, FBI, and private sector messages.

"The staff is in a preliminary investigation period," Kevin Fogarty, an aide to King, told CBSNews.com on Tuesday. He said that his office was currently focused on the White House party crashing, and would return to the WikiLeaks disclosure after a hearing on the White House breach scheduled for Thursday.

WikiLeaks did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

LA Times: "Death penalty in 9/11 trials may be difficult"

Death penalty in 9/11 trials may be difficult
Legal experts say Obama was overly confident when he said that critics of the New York trial would be silenced 'when the death penalty is applied to' suspect Khalid Shaikh Mohammed.

By David G. Savage
November 30, 2009

Reporting from Washington - After Zacarias Moussaoui -- the accused "20th hijacker" in the Sept. 11 attacks -- was sentenced to life in prison in 2006 because one juror in Virginia refused to agree to the death penalty, Moussaoui clapped his hands and called out, "America, you lost and I won." Now the Obama administration plans to seek a death sentence for Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind.

Some legal experts say President Obama was overly confident when he predicted that critics of trying Mohammed in a federal courtroom in Manhattan would be silenced "when the death penalty is applied to him." The only modern-day terrorist sentenced to death in federal court was Oklahoma City bomber Timothy J. McVeigh.

Senate Report: "Tora Bora Revisited: How We Failed To Get Bin Laden And Why It Matters Today"

http://foreign.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/Tora_Bora_Report.pdf

TORA BORA REVISITED: HOW WE FAILED
TO GET BIN LADEN AND WHY
IT MATTERS TODAY
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

On October 7, 2001, U.S. aircraft began bombing the training
bases and strongholds of Al Qaeda and the ruling Taliban across
Afghanistan. The leaders who sent murderers to attack the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon less than a month earlier and the
rogue government that provided them sanctuary were running for
their lives. President George W. Bush’s expression of America’s desire
to get Osama bin Laden ‘‘dead or alive’’ seemed about to come
true.

Two months later, American civilian and military leaders celebrated
what they viewed as a lasting victory with the selection of
Hamid Karzai as the country’s new hand-picked leader. The war
had been conceived as a swift campaign with a single objective: defeat
the Taliban and destroy Al Qaeda by capturing or killing bin
Laden and other key leaders. A unique combination of airpower,
Central Intelligence Agency and special operations forces teams
and indigenous allies had swept the Taliban from power and ousted

New York Magazine: "Leaked 9/11 Texts a Gold Mine for Historians, Truthers, Voyeurs"

Leaked 9/11 Texts a Gold Mine for Historians, Truthers, Voyeurs
11/25/09 at 11:43 AM

Throughout the day today, the website Wikileaks will be publishing over half a million messages sent from text pagers on 9/11. According to the website, they range "from Pentagon and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults to their operators as the World Trade Center collapsed." It's a little arduous sifting through all the computer gibberish in the documents, but the information contained within can be fascinating. CBS News's Dean McCullagh found messages discussing an evacuation to Mount Weather, "the government's sort-of secret bunker buried under the Virginia mountains west of Washington, D.C." He finds another that warned of a threat to Air Force One, and even one that seemed to celebrate the death of a disliked business executive onboard one of the doomed flights. Other texts refer to a bomb going off in the World Trade Center and military planes forcing down a commercial jet, which, as McCullagh points out, are sure to pique the interest of 9/11 Truthers.

15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams

See the original for links.

15 Signs American Society Is Coming Apart at the Seams
By David DeGraw, Amped Status
Posted on November 21, 2009, Printed on November 21, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/144109/

Editor's note: The following is an edited excerpt from the Amped Status report, "The Critical Unraveling of U.S. Society."

The economic elite have launched an attack on the U.S. public and society is unraveling at an increased rate. You may have missed it in the mainstream news media, but statistical societal indicators are reading red across the board. Let’s look at the top 15 statistics that prove we are under attack.

1) The inequality of wealth in the United States is soaring to an unprecedented level. The U.S. already had the highest inequality of wealth in the industrialized world prior to the financial crisis. Since the crisis, which has hit the middle class and poor much harder than the top 1 percent, the gap between the top 1 percent and the remaining 99 percent of the U.S. population has grown to a record high.

Ray McGovern: NYC 9/11 Trial Will Shine the Lights on the Roots of Terrorism

NYC 9/11 Trial Will Shine the Lights on the Roots of Terrorism
By Ray McGovern, Consortium News
Posted on November 17, 2009, Printed on November 21, 2009
http://www.alternet.org/story/144014/

Media commentary on the upcoming 9/11 trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has raised concern that state secrets may be divulged, including details about how the Bush administration used torture to extract evidence about al-Qaeda.

“I think that we’re going to shine a light on something that a lot of people don’t want to look at” is how American Civil Liberties Union attorney Denney LeBoeuf put it, according to The New York Times on Saturday.

No problem, says Attorney General Eric Holder, who claims to have “great confidence” that other evidence – apart from what may have been gleaned from the 183 times Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, for example – will suffice to convict him.