‘Abby Martin goes over the anniversary of the 1993 first WTC Bombing, explaining how an FBI informant embedded in the group responsible for the attack wasn’t prevented from carrying it out. She also discusses the revelation that the FBI had a mole embedded within Bin Laden’s leadership that could have prevented future terrorist attacks.’ (Breaking the Set)
In a revelation missing from the official investigations of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI placed a human source in direct contact with Osama bin Laden in 1993 and ascertained that the al Qaeda leader was looking to finance terrorist attacks in the United States, according to court testimony in a little-noticed employment dispute case. The information the FBI gleaned back then was so specific that it helped thwart a terrorist plot against a Masonic lodge in Los Angeles, the court records reviewed by The Washington Times show.
“It was the only source I know in the bureau where we had a source right in al Qaeda, directly involved,” Edward J. Curran, a former top official in the FBI’s Los Angeles office, told the court in support of a discrimination lawsuit filed against the bureau by his former agent Bassem Youssef. Mr. Curran gave the testimony in 2010 to an essentially empty courtroom, and thus it escaped notice from the media or terrorism specialists. The Times was recently alerted to the existence of the testimony while working on a broader report about al Qaeda’s origins.
Micah Zenko: Technology, not policy, will make it easier for U.S. leaders to remain on a perpetual war footing
In preparation for a recent talk, I spoke to a range of thinkers and practitioners in and out of government about the current relevance and applicability of the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF). The AUMF, which was passed by the House and Senate just three days after 9/11, gave the president a narrow mandate to use all necessary and appropriate force against those responsible for the terrorist attacks and to prevent future acts of international terrorism against the United States. Two points of agreement were repeated in my conversations: First, the legislation does not accurately reflect either the military or the political objectives for current counterterrorism operations, nor does it accurately reflect the intention of those who originally drafted and approved the measure in 2001. Second, it is unlikely that the AUMF will be repealed, and any congressional efforts to update its language would most likely result in an even more expansive mandate.
Many correctly highlight that the AUMF does not reflect the scope of the conflict that the United States is now engaged in, and that its elasticity assures that America will remain on a war footing in perpetuity. However, those concerned with the prospects of a “forever war” should be concerned less about the irrelevant post-9/11 legislative mandate, and more about the revolutionary expansion of military assets that have been made available to the president since then. These technologies and processes that have reduced the costs and risks of using force have permanently changed how Americans conceive of military operations. As killing people, blowing things up, and disrupting computer networks will only get easier, it is worthwhile to take stock of where we are today.
From his cell in the heavily guarded prison at Guantanamo Bay, the presumed chief architect of the Sept. 11 terrorist plot is offering to be a key defense witness in what probably will be the only trial in New York of someone charged in connection with the World Trade Center attacks.
This would not be the first time Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has emerged as a star defense witness for members of Al Qaeda. Twice, his words have minimized the role defendants played in the organization’s top hierarchy. In 2006, his interrogation summaries were read aloud in the capital murder trial of Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker, and Moussaoui was spared the death penalty. Two years later, different Mohammed statements were read in a military commission trial, or tribunal, that led to the release from Guantanamo Bay of Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur, Salim Hamdan.
This time the stakes are higher. Mohammed agreed in a Jan. 27 letter from his lawyer, which was obtained by The Times, to be interviewed by defense lawyers for Sulaiman abu Ghaith — as long as federal prosecutors and military lawyers were not allowed to monitor the conversation in any way.
Abu Ghaith, the top Al Qaeda propagandist now charged in connection with the Sept. 11 attacks, goes on trial in 10 days in federal court in Lower Manhattan. And his chief attorney, Stanley Cohen, has insisted in court documents that Mohammed be allowed to speak in some capacity — in court through a live closed-circuit feed from the U.S. military prison in Cuba, in a taped interview or in a written statement.
When the 9/11 Memorial Museum opens in mid-May, it will have shards of the fallen World Trade Center towers. It will have walls covered with portraits of the nearly 3,000 victims, and the watch worn by Todd Beamer when he declared, “Let’s roll,” and helped launch an attack on the Flight 93 hijackers.
It will have a burned-out ambulance that raced to save people, and helmets of firefighters who battled dust and flames to reach those trapped in the ruins.
It will also have a $24 admission fee, which directors say is needed to maintain the site, a cost that critics say undercuts the idea of ensuring that all the world can visit and learn from the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001.
Author of ‘shock and awe’ doctrine writes of need for ‘extraordinary crisis’ to save ‘new world order’
[...] In essence, the 365 year-old Westphalian system that placed sovereign states as the centerpieces of international politics is being tested and in some cases made obsolete by the empowerment of individuals and non-state actors. As former national security adviser Brent Scowcroft observes, global politics has entered a post-Westphalian era. But very few have taken note and fewer have acted on this realization.
The fundamental cause of this empowerment is the diffusion of all forms of power writ large commonly called “globalization,” accelerated by the information revolution and instantaneous global communications and the real and perceived fragilities and weaknesses of states to intervention, interference and disruption by non-traditional actors.
September 11th could become the demarcation point of this new era much as 1648 and the Treaty of Westphalia marked the beginning of the state-centric system of the international order.
While the analogy is loose, it won’t take centuries for the effects of globalization and the end or at least the transition of the Westphalian era to take hold.
Beyond this inflection point in international politics, still unabsorbed and misunderstood by most governments and people, a second reality complicates taking effective action in what could truly be a “new world order,” the description coined by U.S. President George H.W. Bush after the implosion of the Soviet Union more than two decades ago.
Failed and failing government from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe with Brussels and Washington in between is the largest collective impediment to the betterment of mankind.
Without an extraordinary crisis, little is likely to be done to reverse or limit the damage imposed by failed or failing governance. The United States is Exhibit A although there are far too many competitors for that title.
However, the changing Westphalian system can and must be addressed if there is to be any chance of success in containing, reducing and eliminating the dangers posed by newly empowered non-state actors.
More than 100 retired New York City cops, firefighters and correction officers were charged today with falsely claiming to be suffering from depression and anxiety as a result of the 9/11 terror attacks, New York prosecutors said today.
The alleged scam won awards up to $500,000 for the uniformed personnel and cost taxpayers millions of dollars, according to the indictment.
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said the suspects “cynically manufactured claims of mental illness as a result of Sept 11th… dishonoring the first responders.”
Police Commissioner William Bratton said, “The retired members of the NYP indicted in this case have disgraced all first responders who perished during the search and rescue efforts on Sept. 11, 2001.”
Interview with Richard Clarke, former counterterrorism czar , on how three former top CIA officials knowingly withheld key information prior to 9/11
[...] Why did the US and its European allies treat Saudi Arabia with such restraint when the kingdom was so central to al-Qa’ida and other even more sectarian Sunni jihadist organisations? An obvious explanation is that the US, Britain and others did not want to offend a close ally and that the Saudi royal family had judiciously used its money to buy its way into the international ruling class. Unconvincing attempts were made to link Iran and Iraq to al-Qa’ida when the real culprits were in plain sight.
But there is another compelling reason why the Western powers have been so laggard in denouncing Saudi Arabia and the Sunni rulers of the Gulf for spreading bigotry and religious hate. Al-Qa’ida members or al-Qa’ida-influenced groups have always held two very different views about who is their main opponent. For Osama bin Laden the chief enemy was the Americans, but for the great majority of Sunni jihadists, including the al-Qa’ida franchises in Iraq and Syria, the target is the Shia. It is the Shia who have been dying in their thousands in Iraq, Syria, Pakistan and even in countries where there are few of them to kill, such as Egypt.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA) and Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence committees respectively, went on CNN’s Sunday talk show yesterday to put fear into the hearts of Americans. They told us we are in more danger now than ever and the obvious corollary to this is that Americans need to take their fear of government and redirect it to nameless and faceless terrorists who are out to destroy us.
“There are new bombs, very big bombs,” Feinstain warned, “that go through (metal-detecting) magnetometers.” She warned of “huge malevolence out there.” This puts “enormous pressure” on our intelligence community, Rogers added, which means Americans have to lay off the NSA because they “are not the bad guys.”
In other words, the NSA is not your enemy. Really, it isn’t. The government is just protecting us from foreign bogeymen that are the real danger.
The Israeli newspaper Ma’ariv reported [in April 2008] that Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu told an audience at Bar Ilan university that the September 11, 2001 terror attacks had been beneficial for Israel.
“We are benefiting from one thing, and that is the attack on the Twin Towers and Pentagon, and the American struggle in Iraq,” Ma’ariv quoted the former prime minister as saying. He reportedly added that these events “swung American public opinion in our favor.”
Netanyahu reportedly made the comments during a conference at Bar-Ilan University on the division of Jerusalem as part of a peace deal with the Palestinians.
Guantánamo’s military tribunals were not created to try crimes, but to hide them. This system was set up to ensure that the U.S. government’s torture program would never face trial, and so far it has succeeded. For the past decade, Guantánamo has been a parallel universe where information tainted by torture may be admitted as evidence, where the centuries-old attorney-client privilege is subject to arbitrary interference by military officials, and where people spend a decade or more waiting for a day in court.
- Eric Holder: 9/11 Suspects ‘Would Be on Death Row’ If Not for Politics
- Doctors: Force-Feedings at Guantanamo Have Been Used to Break Political Protests, Not Save Lives
- Torture Permanently Damages Normal Perception of Pain
- Obama meets with newly appointed Pentagon, State Department envoys on closing Guantanamo Bay
- CIA’s Resistance to 6,300-Page Report on the Agency’s Use of Torture
- Lawyers want Obama to declassify CIA prison program
- Commission finds ‘systematic violation of human rights’ at Guantanamo Bay
Two students from the University of Chester have apologised after they entered a Halloween fancy dress competition in costumes depicting the 9/11 terrorist attack on New York’s Twin Towers.
Amber Langford and Annie Collinge, both 19, were even awarded first prize at Rosies nightclub in Chester, winning £150 in shopping vouchers.
Yet they have been criticised today by relatives of those who died when two planes crashed into the World Trade Centre on 11 September 2001, after their picture was published on the front page of The Sun under the headline: “Towering stupidity”.
[...] In 1995, the New York Times ran an article headlined “Emerging role for the CIA: Economic Spy.” It explained that industrial espionage was increasingly important in a post-Cold War world.
Spying on allies for economic advantage is a crucial new assignment for the C.I.A. now that American foreign policy is focused on commercial interests abroad. President Clinton made economic intelligence a high priority of his Administration, specifically information to protect and defend American competitiveness, technology and financial security in a world where an economic crisis can spread across global markets in minutes.
“The national security review highlighted the dramatic[ally] increased importance of international economic affairs as an intelligence issue,” Robert Gates, then-director of the Central Intelligence Agency, stated in a speech in 1992. “Nearly 40 percent of the new requirements are economic in nature. The most senior policymakers of the government clearly see that many of the most important challenges and opportunities through and beyond the end of this decade are in the international economic arena.”
In this sense, the NSA is an instrument intended to serve the interests of centralized political and economic power in Washington. The corporate interests that are and always have been colluding with the state to rig the game in their favor are especially benefitted, as is the power and repute of self-serving politicians.
The National Security Agency advised its officials to cite the 9/11 attacks as justification for its mass surveillance activities, according to a master list of NSA talking points.
The document – obtained by Al Jazeera through a Freedom of Information Act request – contains talking points and suggested statements for NSA officials (PDF) responding to the fallout from media revelations that originated with former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
Invoking the events of 9/11 to justify the controversial NSA programs, which have caused major diplomatic fallout around the world, was the top item on the talking points agency officials were encouraged to use.
Under the sub-heading, “Sound Bites that Resonate,” the document suggests the statement: “I much prefer to be here today explaining these programs, than explaining another 9/11 event that we were not able to prevent.”
The federal 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund has for the first time paid out cash awards for cancer.
Two claimants — one with bladder cancer, one with urinary-tract cancer — will receive “substantial amounts,” with one award exceeding $1 million, VCF special master Sheila Birnbaum told The Post.
“They are only the first. There are going to be many more,” Birnbaum said.
At least 1,000 cancer claims are in the pipeline, she added.
A little government shut-down wasn’t going to deter Army Colonel James Pohl. While most federal employees were furloughed, the judge presiding over the 9/11 case at the Guantanamo Bay military commissions on Tuesday insisted the pre-trial hearings continue apace despite Pentagon computer malfunctions that have compromised defense lawyers’ confidentiality obligations and drastically compounded the difficulties involved in preparing their clients’ defenses.
Just two weeks ago, the Chief Defense Counsel for the Office of Military Commissions testified at the Guantanamo Bay courtroom that since January, defense lawyers’ computer files and e-mails had been searched by unknown U.S. government officials, their internet searches had been tracked and hundreds of thousands of computer files and e-mail messages had mysteriously disappeared. Although some have since been retrieved, about seven gigabytes of investigative case files remain missing. Lawyers still don’t know whether their e-mails are being sent, or even if they are receiving case-related communications from the judge.
[...] In April, concerned that defense lawyers were unable to fulfill their ethical obligations to their clients to keep their communications confidential, Mayberry instructed her legal teams not to use the Pentagon-provided computer system.
- At Guantanamo, defense attorneys complain of ‘monitoring’ of their Internet activities (Washington Post)
- Guantanamo Soldiers Get 9/11 History Lessons To Keep Terrorist Attacks Fresh In Minds (Huffington Post)
- Who has more info: Guantanamo lawyers or Hollywood? (Miami Herald)
- Guantanamo defence lawyers ask to restrict CIA’s use of information in 9/11 case (Daily Times)
- Defense seeks to dismiss some of the charges in 9/11 case at Guantanamo (AP)
- Guantánamo judge makes secret ruling on secret motion in secret hearing (Miami Herald)
- Lawyer says guards gave ’50 Shades of Grey’ to Guantanamo prisoner charged in 9-11 attacks (AP)
Newly Declassified Government Documents: Pre 9/11 Bin Laden Hijack Plot Was Ignored By US Intelligence
File this under 9/11 government prior knowledge with the mountains of other examples from the past twelve years. Newly uncovered government documents show that the US government ignored a specific warning in 2000 that Al Qaeda planned to hijack a commercial airliner headed for the US.
After eleven years, the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the country’s military intelligence arm, has released documents to watchdog group Judicial Watch, that show the warning was ignored because “nobody believed that Usama bin Laden’s organization or the Taliban could carry out such an operation.”
Judicial Watch notes that the documents “reveal that Al Qaeda had a sophisticated plan to hijack a commercial airliner departing Frankfurt International Airport between March and August 2000. The hijack team was to consist of an Arab, a Pakistani and a Chechen and their targets were U.S. airlines, Lufthansa and Air France.”
Judicial Watch requested the material in May 2002 as part of its Terrorism Research and Analysis Project.
The group notes that the files are very rich in detail and show that the US government had intricate operational information, even down to names, addresses and phone numbers of the terrorist operatives, based in Frankfurt, Germany.
The documents show that the plot was being directed by a prominent Saudi with direct ties to the Saudi royal family, operating in conjunction with Qaeda, Taliban and Chechen terrorist cells in Hamburg and Frankfurt, one of which was being headed by lead 9/11 hijacker Mohamed Atta.
Judicial Watch’s analysis also notes that the US government had intelligence indicating that Al Qaeda had gotten an operative on the inside of the German Embassy in Islamabad, Pakistan, to provide EU visas to be used in forged Pakistani passports.
The watchdog group notes that “information about the plot came from an unidentified human intelligence source that provided U.S. authorities with copies of Arabic letters containing details of the Al Qaeda plot.”
- 9/11 Timeline (History Commons)
- New Never Before Seen Footage Of 9/11 Will Give You Chills (Policy Mic)
A newly released national poll shows that 48 percent of Americans either have some doubts about the official account of 9/11, or do not believe it at all.
The FBI circular entitled “Potential Indicators of Terrorist Activities Related to Sleepers” says that people who should be ‘considered suspicious’ of possible involvement in “terrorist activity” include those who hold the “attitude” described as ” Conspiracy theories about Westerners.” The circular continues: “e.g. (sic) the CIA arranged for 9/11 to legitimize the invasion of foreign lands.”
- Another Nineteen: Kevin Ryan on the Legitimate 9/11 Suspects (GRTV)
- 9/11 Cancers Killing First Responders (Breaking the Set)
- Ex-EPA Head Christine Todd Whitman Denies Misleading Public Over Environmental Dangers After 9/11 (Democracy NOW!)
- 9/11 Press for Truth (Documentary)
- Cornel West ‘still uncertain’ about 9/11 ‘Truther’ movement (Raw Story)
- ’9/11 was an inside job’: Italian MP in parliament (Hang the Bankers)
I’m starting to think we overreacted to the terrorism thing.
It hit me last year as I was standing in the naked airport scanner again, listening to the faint gasps and then applause from the monitoring booth, and realized that I wouldn’t put up with that hassle to ward off the threat of, say, lightning. You know, like if scientists had figured out that you could reduce the already miniscule chance of being struck by merely standing outside and showing God your dick.
Anyway, that made me look back at the lessons we’ve learned in the 12 years since the 9/11 attacks, and I’ve got to say, it’s not encouraging. For instance, we found out that …
On September 14, 2001, President George W. Bush declared a “state of emergency,”granting himself nine additional “emergency” powers, mostly centered on increasing the size of the military and mobilizing for war. On September 23 of that year, he granted himself broad additional powers to regulate economic transactions abroad.
The state of emergency was supposed to last a year, and President Bush dutifully, every single year, extended the state for another year. Today, President Obama did the same, securing yet another year in which America is in a state of official “emergency.”
The decision came off without much fanfare, likely because it undermines the official narrative that the global war on terror is either over or coming to an end shortly.
The president’s claims of emergency have long since lost any semblance of relation to actual, imminent threats against targets inside the US, though at this point the idea that a president can unilaterally grant himself additional powers as he sees fit simply by saying “emergency” must seem like a foolish decision, and it’s hard to imagine Obama, or any future president, willingly relinquishing it.