January 2013

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9/11 Military Trial Judge – Like 9/11 Commission – Frustrated by Government Shenanigans

Kangaroo Court Show Trials

Huffington Post reports:

A judge expressed frustration on Monday that an unknown U.S. government entity censored his courtroom audiovisual feed, cutting public access to pretrial hearings for five accused Sept. 11 plotters.

“If some external body is turning the commission on or off based on their own views of what things ought to be, with no reasonable explanation … then we’re going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on and off,” said the judge, Col. James Pohl.

Pohl’s comments came after an unknown censor cut off a live media feed to the court proceedings as David Nevin, a lawyer defending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, began discussing his request for information on his client’s case.

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A court security officer positioned next to the judge has the ability to dump the feed if anything secret arises. That officer didn’t activate the censorship button on Monday.

***

“I would like to know who has the permission to turn that light on and off, who is listening to this, who is controlling these proceedings, or controlling that aspect of these proceedings,” Nevin said.

This is just one of a series of outrages regarding investigation and trial of alleged 9/11 terrorists.

In 2008, the former chief prosecutor for Guantánamo’s military commissions disclosed that the trials have been rigged to prevent the possibility of acquittal. Specifically, the head of the Guantanamo tribunal — who is actually in charge of both prosecuting and defending the suspects — told the former chief prosecutor:

Wait a minute, we can’t have acquittals. If we’ve been holding these guys for so long, how can we explain letting them get off? We can’t have acquittals, we’ve got to have convictions.

In addition, three other Guantanamo prosecutors — Maj. Robert Preston, Capt. John Carr and Capt. Carrie Wolf — “asked to be relieved of duties after saying they were concerned that the process was rigged. One said he had been assured he didn’t need to worry about building a proper case; convictions were assured.”

Another former Guantanamo prosecutor resigned, saying in a sworn declaration that the government pulled all sorts of shenanigans in one case.

Strange censorship episode at Guantánamo enrages judge

"GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- Someone else besides the judge and security officer sitting inside the maximum-security court here can impose censorship on what the public can see and hear at the Sept. 11 trial, it was disclosed Monday

The role of an outside censor became clear when the audio turned to white noise during a discussion of a motion about the CIA’s black sites.

Confusion ensued. A military escort advised reporters that the episode was a glitch, a technical error. A few minutes later, the public was once again allowed to listen into the proceedings and Army Col. James Pohl, the judge, made clear that neither he nor his security officer was responsible for the censorship episode.

“If some external body is turning the commission off based on their own views of what things ought to be, with no reasonable explanation,” the judge announced, “then we are going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on or off.”"

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/28/3205391/strange-censorship-episode-at.html#storylink=cpy

1st ‘Zadroga’ payouts: 15 city workers get piece of $2.8B fund

"Fifteen city workers who suffered health problems from working at Ground Zero will be the first to get payouts from a $2.8 billion 9/11 fund created by Congress two years ago.

The biggest award is $1.5 million, to a 43-year-old firefighter who had to stop working because of respiratory problems, officials of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund said yesterday.

The minimum awards are $10,000. All are for respiratory ailments, said Sheila Birnbaum, the lawyer overseeing the fund.

Fourteen of the payees are firefighters and one worked for the city Department of Correction.

Individuals offered payouts are getting only 10 percent up front. Whether they eventually get the full amount that Birnbaum has deemed appropriate will depend on how many people file claims and whether Congress funds the entire cumulative payout".

http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/st_zadroga_payouts_qsxHWgNjnX8EfumSnFQhML

Ex-CIA Agent, Whistleblower John Kiriakou Sentenced to Prison While Torturers He Exposed Walk Free

"Former CIA agent John Kiriakou speaks out just days after he was sentenced to 30 months in prison, becoming the first CIA official to face jail time for any reason relating to the U.S. torture program. Under a plea deal, Kiriakou admitted to a single count of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act by revealing the identity of a covert officer to a freelance reporter, who did not publish it. Supporters say Kiriakou is being unfairly targeted for having been the first CIA official to publicly confirm and detail the Bush administration’s use of waterboarding. Kiriakou joins us to discuss his story from Washington, D.C., along with his attorney, Jesselyn Radack, director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. "This ... was not a case about leaking; this was a case about torture. And I believe I’m going to prison because I blew the whistle on torture," Kiriakou says. "My oath was to the Constitution. … And to me, torture is unconstitutional."".

http://m.democracynow.org/stories/13426

Cybersecurity Or Spying? (Video)

"The Pentagon announced it is boosting "cybersecurity" personnel to 4,900. Is this really a move for defense, or to ramp up efforts to spy on Americans?".

http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/pentagon-boosts-cybersecurity/5106bc532b8c2a03c5000697

Pentagon To Dramatically Expand 'Cyber Warrior' Force

"The Pentagon has approved plans for a five-fold increase in its cyberwar fighting force. The U.S. Cyber Command would see its ranks jump from 900 to 4,900, including both uniformed and civilian personnel. Defense officials say the boost in the cybersecurity force is necessary because of the nation's growing vulnerability to cyber attacks and also the need to prepare for more offensive cyber combat operations. But there is already a shortage of cyber specialists, and the new recruitment effort would increase the competition for skilled personnel within the government and the private sector. Audie Cornish talks to Tom Gjelten".

http://www.npr.org/2013/01/28/170494486/pentagon-to-dramatically-expand-cyber-warrior-force

Office Working to Close Guantánamo Is Shuttered

"FORT MEADE, Md. — The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said.

The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues pertaining to repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so.

Mr. Fried will become the department’s coordinator for sanctions policy and will work on issues including Iran and Syria.

Obama's Failed Promise to Close Gitmo: A Timeline

"President Obama promised to shut down the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility during his first presidential campaign. But five years later, the controversial prison remains open. The Obama administration finally shut down something today, but the move will only frustrate civil libertarians even more. Because with Guantánamo's closure still indefinitely delayed, the office responsible for closing the prison has itself been closed. The New York Times's Charlie Savage reports that Daniel Fried—the State Department's the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—has been reassigned and will not be replaced. The news comes on the same day that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other Guantánamo detainees began another round of pre-trial hearings for the attacks of September 11, 2001, a case that will surely reignite a fierce debate about the role of due process, torture, and oversees detention facilities. The Obama administration's latest seeming deferral adds yet another entry to the long timeline of failed attempts to shut down Gitmo".

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/global/2013/01/obama-closing-guantanamo-timeline/61509/

9/11 relatives, defense attorneys share emotional meeting

"GUANTANAMO BAY NAVY BASE, Cuba -- Some victims wept. So did at least one of the U.S. military officers assigned to defend the accused Sept. 11 conspirators at their murder trial.

For 90 exceptional minutes Sunday, lawyers for the accused terrorists and the parents of young men killed in the World Trade Center huddled in a ramshackle hangar at the war court ahead of this week’s hearing. And they exchanged stories through a veil of pain.

“In the beginning there was discomfort. There was some anger. There was some tears,” said Phyllis Rodriguez, whose 31-year-old son Greg was killed working at the finance firm Cantor Fitzgerald on the 103rd floor of the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

But by the end, said Loreen Sellitto, mother of 23-year-old Matthew who also was killed at Cantor Fitzgerald, “I saw them love our Constitution. Their goal is to present a case and defend someone. It’s what our country is built on.”"'

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/01/28/3205262/911-relatives-defense-attorneys.html#storylink=cpy

Calling Out The Hypocritical, War-Loving Left

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".