Chris Hedges on Challenging the NDAA in Court

April 4, 2012

source: Russia Today    Apr 4, 2012

Last week the case against the National Defense Authorization Act was presented to a judge in New York. One of the plaintiffs in the case has decided to sue the Obama administration claiming that by simply doing his job he could be arrested and detained indefinitely due to the nature of his work, reporting. Chris Hedges, columnist for TruthDig, joins us to explain how his day in court went.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsCiFnE14kA&feature=g-all-u&context=G2c54…


Obama Takes Bush’s Secrecy Games One Step Further

March 30, 2012

by Glenn Greenwald     source: Salon    Mar 30, 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:

. . .

(click on image to enlarge)

What makes this so appalling is not merely that the Obama administration demands the right to kill whomever it wants without having to account to anyone for its actions, choices or even claimed legal authorities, though that’s obviously bad enough (as I wrote when the ACLU lawsuit was commenced: “from a certain perspective, there’s really only one point worth making about all of this: if you think about it, it is warped beyond belief that the ACLU has to sue the U.S. Government in order to force it to disclose its claimed legal and factual bases for assassinating U.S. citizens without charges, trial or due process of any kind”). What makes it so much worse is how blatantly, insultingly false is its claim that it cannot confirm or deny the CIA drone program without damaging national security.

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Recently Deceased Crown Prince Sultan and his son Bandar “Bush” Epitomize Highly Questionable Saudi 9/11 Connections

October 31, 2011

by Brian Romanoff      Nor Cal Truth   October 31, 2011

News of the Saudi Crown Prince passing in the U.S. and his new successor to the post warrant a refresher on the attempts to name them in 9/11 lawsuits years ago.

ONE BIG FAMILY

Sultan bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the Crown Prince to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, died just a weeks ago in a New York hospital due to ill health. The world’s largest oil-exporting nation has quickly found an heir to the Crown Prince, a position directly under the most powerful of the King. The new Crown Prince has been named as Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, brother of the deceased Crown Prince Sultan. Both were half-brothers to the current King of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, and both are a part of the powerful Sudairi Seven.

The recently deceased Crown Prince Sultan bin Abdul Aziz

The old Crown Prince Sultan is the father of Prince Bandar. Bandar is known to many in the world as “Bandar Bush” for his extremely close relationship with the Bush family. Bandar served as the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia to the U.S. from 1983 until 2005. The Royal family’s relationship with the Bush family goes back even further.

"Bandar Bush" and Condoleezza Rice join the Saudi King and Bush at Bush's Texas property.

Prince Bandar has a history of involvement in scandals, undoubtebly we only know so much. A biography of Prince Bandar was written by William Simpson and praised by many, including Nelson Mandela and Margaret Thatcher. The website for the book contains a brief description of Prince Bandar:

Prince Bandar worked with CIA Director Bill Casey to fund covert CIA operations with Saudi petrodollars. He played a key role in the Iran-Contra affair…

Digging into Iran-Contra and Prince Bandar, an article from Surrendering Islam sums it up well:

The CIA’s backing of the Mujahideen war in Afghanistan would become its largest covert operation in history, funded by an intricate series of clandestine and illegal activities, known as the Iran-Contra Affair, which involved the complicity of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Saudi regime…

The Saudis agreed to fund anti-communist guerrillas in Afghanistan, Angola, and elsewhere, who were supported by the Reagan administration, including the Contras of Nicaragua…

The Reagan administration used proceeds from arms sales to Iran to fund the right-wing Contras, in an effort to overturn Nicaragua’s left-wing, but democratically elected, Sandanista government. Both actions were contrary to acts of Congress…

Initially, in order to side-step Congress, the U.S. approached Prince Bandar to solicit Saudi aid in funding the Contras. Prince Bandar bin Sultan, who was the grandson of Ibn Saud, was appointed Saudi ambassador to the U.S. in 1983….

After Hezbollah bombed American facilities in Beirut and kidnapped CIA station chief William Buckley, it was Casey and Bandar who agreed to assassinate Sheikh Fadlallah, the terrorist group’s leader. Control of the operation was handed to the Saudis, who turned to the services of an operative from Britain’s elite special forces. The plan backfired, however, when the car bomb took down an apartment building near Beirut, killing eighty innocent civilians. Fadlallah escaped unharmed. And, to cover their tracks, the Saudis provided Fadlallah with information identifying the operatives they had hired..

Bob Woodward asserted that Cheney and Rumsfeld informed Prince Bandar of the decision to invade Iraq before Defense Sec. Colin Powell. Woodward told CBS  60 Minutes, “Saturday, Jan. 11 [2003], with the president’s permission, Cheney and Rumsfeld call Bandar to Cheney’s West Wing office, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Myers, is there with a top-secret map of the war plan. And it says, ‘Top secret. No foreign.’ No foreign means no foreigners are supposed to see this.” Defense Sec. Colin Powell was informed of the decision on Jan. 13th, 2003.

Defense Sec. Rumsfeld and Prince Bandar Visit the Pentagon in February, 2001

It did not take long for questions to arise regarding his indirect involvment in 9/11.

Prince Bandar’s wife was embroiled in bad press due to her donated money getting extremely close to a couple of the alleged hijackers. A late 2002 article from the Guardian explains:

The possibility of a Saudi intelligence link emerged just hours after widespread reports of bank cheques indirectly linking two of the hijackers to a bank account under the name of a Saudi princess, the wife of the kingdom’s ambassador to Washington.

The Saudi embassy angrily denied the suggestion, calling it “untrue and irresponsible”. A spokesman said there was no evidence that cheques from Princess Haifa bint Faisal’s Washington account went to the hijackers Nawaq al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar.

A FBI investigation leaked over the weekend traced regular monthly bank-certified cheques worth $3,500 (£2,200) from the princess’s account to a Saudi woman called Majida Dwaikat starting in early 2000, which was when Mrs Dwaikat’s husband, Osama Basnan, befriended al-Hazmi and al-Midhar in San Diego.

Incidentally, those are the two alleged hijackers from 9/11 that former counterterrorism expert Richard Clarke seems to think the CIA was hiding in order to “recruit” them for double agent work. An article from The Daily Beast in August, 2011 provides more details:

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US Tells Court Bin Laden Photos Must Stay Secret

September 28, 2011

National Security Secrecy

source: AP   Sep 28, 2011

Public disclosure of graphic photos and video taken of Osama bin Laden after he was killed in May by U.S. commandos would damage national security and lead to attacks on American property and personnel, the Obama administration contends in a court documents.

In a response late Monday to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group seeking the imagery, Justice Department attorneys said the CIA has located 52 photographs and video recordings. But they argued the images of the deceased bin Laden are classified and are being withheld from the public to avoid inciting violence against Americans overseas and compromising secret systems and techniques used by the CIA and the military.

 

The Justice Department has asked the court to dismiss Judicial Watch’s lawsuit because the records the group wants are “wholly exempt from disclosure,” according to the filing.

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Everything They’re Doing Right Now Was Planned Before 9/11

June 18, 2011

source: Washintons Blog    June 18, 2011

  • The Afghanistan war was planned before 9/11 (see this and this)
  • The Patriot Act was planned before 9/11. Indeed, former Counter Terrorism  Czar Richard Clarke told  Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig:

    After 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it  was passed.

    The  Patriot Act is huge and I remember  someone asking a Justice Department  official how did they write such a  large statute so quickly, and of  course the answer was that it has been  sitting in the drawers of the  Justice Department for the last 20 years  waiting for the event where  they would pull it out.

    (4:30 into this video).

  • Cheney dreamed of giving the White House the powers of a monarch long before 9/11

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PATRIOT Act Extension Signed by Obama

May 29, 2011

source: Huffington Post   May 29, 2011

Minutes before a midnight deadline, President Barack Obama signed into law a four-year extension of post-Sept. 11 powers to search records and conduct roving wiretaps in pursuit of terrorists.

“It’s an important tool for us to continue dealing with an ongoing terrorist threat,” Obama said Friday after a meeting with French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

With Obama in France, the White House said the president used an autopen machine that holds a pen and signs his actual signature. It is only used with proper authorization of the president.

Congress sent the bill to the president with only hours to go on Thursday before the provisions expired at midnight. Votes taken in rapid succession in the Senate and House came after lawmakers rejected attempts to temper the law enforcement powers to ensure that individual liberties are not abused.

The Senate voted 72-23 for the legislation to renew three terrorism-fighting authorities. The House passed the measure 250-153 on an evening vote.

A short-term expiration would not have interrupted ongoing operations but would have barred the government from seeking warrants for new investigations.

Congress bumped up against the deadline mainly because of the stubborn resistance from a single senator, Republican freshman Rand Paul of Kentucky, who saw the terrorist-hunting powers as an abuse of privacy rights. Paul held up the final vote for several days while he demanded a chance to change the bill to diminish the government’s ability to monitor individual actions.

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Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

May 8, 2011

Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

by Noam Chomsky   source: Guernica    May 8, 2011

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.”

Nothing serious has been provided since. There is much talk of bin Laden’s “confession,” but that is rather like my confession that I won the Boston Marathon. He boasted of what he regarded as a great achievement.

There is also much media discussion of Washington’s anger that Pakistan didn’t turn over bin Laden, though surely elements of the military and security forces were aware of his presence in Abbottabad. Less is said about Pakistani anger that the U.S. invaded their territory to carry out a political assassination. Anti-American fervor is already very high in Pakistan, and these events are likely to exacerbate it. The decision to dump the body at sea is already, predictably, provoking both anger and skepticism in much of the Muslim world.

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic. Uncontroversially, his crimes vastly exceed bin Laden’s, and he is not a “suspect” but uncontroversially the “decider” who gave the orders to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country, the bitter sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region.

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