James Corbett demonstrates the psuedo-progressive tendency to support the security apparatus. Rachel Maddow attempts to distract the public through race-baiting to discourage one of the most effective means of dealing with NSA abuses – Nullification. Stay tuned for a more in-depth look at the current state of web-based independent media. Check out www.corbettreport.com
As with many “terrorism” related events since 9/11, the Boston bombing official narrative proves to be a web of lies as important facts are revealed. It turns out that the FBI has lied about its knowledge of the alleged suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, already being presented as guilty not only in the mainstream press but by the President himself.
According to the suspects’ mother, the FBI had been following them for years:
The FBI originally feigned ignorance over the identity of the two Boston bombing suspects, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, as they appealed to an unwitting public to help them “identify” and “find” the suspects. […]
Russia Today, in an article titled, “‘They were set up, FBI followed them for years’- Tsarnaevs’ mother to RT,” stated of the suspects’ mother:
But her biggest suspicion surrounding the case was the constant FBI surveillance she said her family was subjected to over the years. She is surprised that having been so stringent with the entire family, the FBI had no idea the sons were supposedly planning a terrorist act.
She would say of the FBI to Russia Today:
They used to come [to our] home, they used to talk to me…they were telling me that he [the older, 26-y/o Tamerlan] was really an extremist leader and that they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremist sites… they were controlling him, they were controlling his every step…and now they say that this is a terrorist act! Never ever is this true, my sons are innocent!
[…] The FBI would then be forced to concede that indeed it had interviewed the suspects, in 2011, two years before the Boston bombings. (Tony Cartalucci Boston Bombing Suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev Reported Killed, Was Alive When Detained: Tamerlan’s Aunt, Global Research, April 22, 2013.)
We were also told that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was killed in an exchange of gunfire after he and his brother had robbed a 7-Eleven:
When the shootout ended, one of the suspects, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, 26, a former boxer, had been shot and fatally wounded. He was wearing explosives, several law enforcement officials said. (Katharine Q. Seelye, William K. Rashbaum and Michael Cooper 2nd Bombing Suspect Caught After Frenzied Hunt Paralyzes Boston, The New York Times, April 19, 2013.)
With a bomb strapped to his chest, one of the Boston Marathon suspects was killed early Friday after he and his accomplice brother robbed a 7-Eleven, shot a police officer to death, carjacked an SUV and hurled explosives in an extraordinary firefight with law enforcement, authorities told NBC News. (Pete Williams, Richard Esposito, Michael Isikoff and Erin McClam, NBC News, One Boston Marathon suspect killed; second suspect, his brother, on loose after firefight, NBC News, April 19, 2013.)
The events surrounding Tamerlan’s death reported by the media are simply not true. It turns out that Tamerlan’ aunt identified him as a “naked, cuffed, clearly alive and well detainee seen in video aired by CNN”:
Tamerlan Tsarnaev in custody
Was Tamerlan Assassinated?
The Boston Globe confirmed that Marathon Bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev was in custody, contradicting earlier reports that he had been killed in crossfire. If he was in custody and is now dead, does that not suggest that he might have been the object of an extrajudicial assassination? The circumstances of his death remain to be clarified.
Moreover, the 7-Eleven robbery was actually unrelated to the Tsarnaev brothers:
There was a 7-Eleven robbery in Cambridge last night, but it had nothing to do with the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.
Margaret Chabris, the director of corporate communication at 7- Eleven, says the surveillance video of the crime was not taken at a 7-Eleven and that the suspect that did rob the 7-Eleven does not look like Tamerlan or Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.
“The suspect in the photos for that particular 7-Eleven robbery looks nothing like the suspects,” Chabris says. “The police or someone made a mistake. Someone was confused.”
[…] Again, they might be guilty. But as Glenn Greenwald notes:
The overarching principle here should be that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is entitled to a presumption of innocence until he is actually proven guilty. As so many cases have proven – from accused (but exonerated) anthrax attacker Stephen Hatfill to accused (but exonerated) Atlanta Olympic bomber Richard Jewell to dozens if not hundreds of Guantanamo detainees accused of being the “worst of the worst” but who were guilty of nothing – people who appear to be guilty based on government accusations and trials-by-media are often completely innocent. Media-presented evidence is no substitute for due process and an adversarial trial. (Washington’s Blog, Boston Terror Narrative Starts Falling Apart, Global Research, April 23, 2013)
On April 19 Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was arrested and brought to a hospital. According to Reuters, “Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was wounded during at least one of two gun battles with police on Friday, suffering gunshot wounds to his head, neck, legs and hand [...]“. On April 24, the Huffington Post reported:
Two U.S. officials say the surviving suspect in the Boston bombings was unarmed when police captured him hiding inside a boat in a neighborhood back yard.
Authorities originally said they had exchanged gunfire with Dzhokhar Tsarnaev for more than one hour Friday evening before they were able to subdue him. (Adam Goldman and Pete Yost, Boston Bombing Suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev Reportedly Unarmed When Arrested In Boat, Officials Say, Huffington Post, April 24, 2013.)
Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was unarmed and obviously brutalized by police
We still don’t know what really happened in Boston and who committed the attacks even though the mainstream media report that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has admitted being guilty. What we know for sure is that the official Boston bombing narrative is filled with lies and that since 9/11 and in the context of the fictitious “War on Terror”, Western governments, intelligence agencies and mainstream media have proven to be untrustworthy sources of information on alleged “terrorist attacks” or “foiled terrorist plots”.
Canada’s Complicity in the War on Terror
Three days after Boston was locked down, invaded by a colossal police-military apparatus on a surreal “teenagehunt”, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police made a very timely announcement: they had foiled a terrorist plot targeting a Via Rail passenger train. Or so they say.
In a very absurd press conference where three RCMP officers repeatedly answered questions with “we cannot comment as the investigation is ongoing”, the only information they seemed very eager to disclose was that the suspects “received guidance from Al-Qaeda in Iran”.
RCMP press conference
While the Canadian mainstream media take these RCMP allegations at face value, independent news outlets suspect hidden political motives behind the highly publicized announcement:
Neither the police nor government have given any reason as to why, after allowing the accused to remain at large for months, they were suddenly arrested Monday afternoon and in a very high-profile manner. […]
Speaking Tuesday after Jaser’s arraignment in a Toronto court, his lawyer, John Norris, drew attention to the timing of the police-government announcement that they had uncovered Canada’s first “al-Qaeda-sponsored” terror plot. Said Norris, “The timing of the arrest is a bit of a mystery and certainly I would like to hear the RCMP’s explanation for that. They have been very clear that there is no risk of public safety and it is surprising to say the least that this arrest would be made now, close on the heels of what happened in Boston and timed perfectly with what was happening in the House of Commons yesterday.”
On Friday, the Conservative government announced that it was changing the House of Commons’ agenda, scheduling third and final reading of its “Combating Terrorism Act” (Bill S-7) to begin Monday and conclude this week. Bill S-7 gives the state vast new powers. These include: the right to hold terrorism suspects for 72 hours without charge, to convene “investigative hearings” at which those believed to have information about an imminent terrorist attack are stripped of their right to remain silent, and the power to place restrictions for up to a year on the movements and rights of persons deemed by the state to be terrorist suspects but against whom they have insufficient evidence to lay charges. […]
US authorities have been quick to trumpet the Canadian claims of a thwarted terrorist attack—claims that boost their own efforts to portray North America as under siege from terrorists and justify a vast expansion of the national-security apparatus and coercive powers of the state. The US ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, issued a statement Monday saying the arrests of Esseghaier and Jaser “were the result of extensive cross-border cooperation” and had underscored “that we face serious and real threats.” […]
At Monday’s press conference, the RCMP asserted that Esseghaier and Jaser had acted under the “direction and guidance” of “al-Qaeda elements located in Iran.”
The RCMP said that they had no evidence of Iranian government involvement. […]
The Harper Conservative government, which has declared itself Israel’s strongest ally and has expanded Canada’s decades’ old military-strategic alliance with Washington, broke off diplomatic relations with Teheran last summer. In justifying this action, Conservative Foreign Minister John Baird labeled Iran “the most significant threat to global peace and security in the world today.” (Keith Jones Canadian Government unveils “Terror Plot” as it Adopts Draconian New Law, World Socialist Web Site, April 24, 2013.)
We may recall a “terrorist plot” revealed in late November 2001. According to mainstream reports, Ahmed Ressam, who was convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport in 1999, had also planned to bomb a Montreal area with “the most visible concentration of Jews in Canada — a vibrant area of some 5,000 ultra-Orthodox Jews who stand out because of their traditional outfits of black coats and hats for men, long skirts and wigs for women. » (Ingrid Peritz, Montreal’s brush with terror, The Globe and Mail, November 30, 2001.)
The Globe stated further:
Members of the Hasidic community in Outremont responded with shock after hearing that Mr. Ressam and Samir Ait Mohamed wanted to detonate a bomb in the area because it was predominantly Jewish.
The stated choice of explosives — a bomb on a gasoline truck — evoked the detonating power of the fuel-laden planes that ripped through the World Trade Center. (Ibid.)
Samir Aït Mohamed happened to be a fake Algerian refugee and “an informant for Canadian law-enforcement authorities [RCMP].” (Mike Carter, Montreal bomb plot revealed in Ressam case documents, Seattle Times, November 30, 2001.)
The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) was also involved in a terrorist plot. Joseph Gilles Breault, a.k.a. Youssef Mouammar or Abou Djihad, had threatened to attack the Montreal metro with a biochemical weapon in 1998. He was a CSIS agent.
With that in mind, the latest RCMP “exploit” raises even more questions on this revived Al-Qaeda threat focused on Iran. Who’s behind Al-Qaeda in Iran?:
As the FBI reels from what now appears to be revelations it was directly involved in the Boston Marathon bombings, a deluge of FBI “success” stories have been “serendipitously” splashed across Western headlines. Among them was an allegedly “foiled” terror attack in Canada, reported to be the work of terrorists supported by “Al-Qaeda operatives in Iran.” The Globe and Mail, in its report, “Canada joins U.S. in alleging al-Qaeda has operatives based in Iran,” states:
[…] The Sunni-based al-Qaeda and Shia Iran belong to different branches of Islam that have been at odds historically. But in recent years U.S. officials have formally alleged that Iran has allowed al-Qaeda members to operate out of its territory.”
[…] Hersh in his 2008 New Yorker piece titled, “Preparing the Battlefield: The Bush Administration steps up its secret moves against Iran,” spelled out a damning indictment of US involvement in bolstering, arming, and funding terror organizations, not linked to, but described as actually being Al Qaeda [...]:
One of the most active and violent anti-regime groups in Iran today is the Jundallah, also known as the Iranian People’s Resistance Movement, which describes itself as a resistance force fighting for the rights of Sunnis in Iran. “This is a vicious Salafi organization whose followers attended the same madrassas as the Taliban and Pakistani extremists,” Nasr told me. “They are suspected of having links to Al Qaeda and they are also thought to be tied to the drug culture.” The Jundallah took responsibility for the bombing of a busload of Revolutionary Guard soldiers in February, 2007. At least eleven Guard members were killed. According to Baer and to press reports, the Jundallah is among the groups in Iran that are benefiting from U.S. support. (Tony Cartalucci, Who is Behind “Al Qaeda in Iran”?, Global Research, April 23, 2013.)
Otherwise the brothers’ links to Chechen terrorists makes very little sense, since the latter, like many other terrorist groups and/or so-called freedom fighters depending on the strategy of the day, have been supported by the US:
What is abundantly clear is that the US government is not committed to fighting terrorists.
Quite the opposite. US intelligence has been recruiting and grooming terrorists for more than thirty years, while at same time upholding the absurd notion that these terrorists, who are bona fide CIA “intelligence assets”, constitute a threat to the American Homeland. These alleged threats by “An Outside Enemy” are part of a propaganda ploy behind the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT).
[...] The development of an Islamist terrorist militia in different countries around the World is part of an intricate US intelligence project.
While the Tsarnaev brothers are casually accused without evidence of having links to Chechen terrorists, the important question is who is behind the Chechen terrorists?
‘Smart borders’: enhancing mobility and security … The EU is moving towards a more modern and efficient border management by using state-of-the-art technology. Today, the Commission proposed a ‘smart border package’ to speed-up, facilitate and reinforce border check procedures for foreigners travelling to the EU. The package consists of a Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) and an Entry/Exit System (EES) that will simplify life for frequent third country travellers at the Schengen external borders and enhance EU border security. – European Commission Press Release
Dominant Social Theme: “I’m from the EU and I’m here to help.”
Free-Market Analysis: As we have mentioned numerous times, the ultimate goal of the current security regime seems to be to create a two-tier travel system in which some people – with government approved credentials – will be able to travel with relative ease while others will not.
We have in various articles catalogued US programs that allow one to be “pre-approved” and thus avoid the long lines of those who are yet, apparently, to be considered potential terrorists. Eventually, such system will turn into something more difficult, of course – as the emphasis shifts from the approved to the non-approved.
In other words, eventually those who are not approved to travel may have trouble taking advantage of modern travel conveniences such as planes, trains, buses and eventually automobiles.
This is the logical outcome of the kind of regulatory state that is now being constructed using the war on terror as a pretext. It is apparently a prelude to global (centralized) governance and must be instituted since most people don’t want to live in a single world construct and therefore need to be herded – forcefully – in that direction. Travel restrictions are a useful tool.
If such a scenario is to be realized, it must be effective not just in the US but throughout the West and perhaps worldwide. Now in a press released, we are informed the EU is taking steps to harmonize its travel program with the US’s and other powers.
For now, of course, it’s pitched as a convenience. Here’s a further excerpt from the press release:
“The use of new technologies will enable smoother and speedier border crossing for third country citizens who want to come to the EU. Our aim is to facilitate the access of foreign travellers to the EU. This will not only be in the interest of the travellers but also the European economy. It has been estimated that in 2011 alone foreign travellers made a €271 billion contribution to our economy. Modernising our systems will also lead to a higher level of security by preventing irregular border crossings and detecting those who overstay’, said Cecilia Malmström, EU Commissioner for Home Affairs.
Regulation on an EU Registered Traveller Programme (RTP)
1. A Registered Traveller Programme (RTP) will allow frequent travellers from third countries to enter the EU using simplified border checks, subject to pre-screening and vetting. It is estimated that 5 million legitimate non EU-travellers per year will make use of this new program. The RTP will make use of automated border control systems (i.e. automated gates) at major border crossing points such as airports that make use of this modern technology. As a result, border checks of Registered Travellers would be much faster than nowadays.
2. Business travellers, workers on short term contracts, researchers and students, third country nationals with close family ties to EU citizens or living in regions bordering the EU are all likely to cross the borders several times a year. Making it as easy as possible for them to come to the EU would ensure that Europe remains an attractive destination and help boosting economic activity and job creation.
Regulation on an EU Entry/Exit system
1. An Entry/Exit System (EES) will record the time and place of entry and exit of third country nationals travelling to the EU. The system will calculate the length of the authorised short stay in an electronic way, replacing the current manual system, and issue an alert to national authorities when there is no exit record by the expiry time. In this way, the system will also be of assistance in addressing the issue of people overstaying their short term visa.
Ninety-nine percent of us live on the wrong side of a one-way mirror
Imagine an Internet where unseen hands curate your entire experience. Where third parties predetermine the news, products and prices you see—even the people you meet. A world where you think you are making choices, but in reality, your options are narrowed and refined until you are left with merely the illusion of control.
This is not far from what is happening today. Thanks to technology that enables Google, Facebook and others to gather information about us and use it to tailor the user experience to our own personal tastes, habits and income, the Internet has become a different place for the rich and for the poor. Most of us have become unwitting actors in an unfolding drama about the tale of two Internets. There is yours and mine, theirs and ours.
Here’s how it works. Advertising currently drives the vast majority of the Internet industry by volume of revenue. Silicon Valley is excellent at founding and funding companies that give you free apps and then collect and sell your data when you use them. For most of the Internet’s short history, the primary goal of this data collection was classic product marketing: for example, advertisers might want to show me Nikes and my wife Manolo Blahniks. But increasingly, data collection is leapfrogging well beyond strict advertising and enabling insurance, medical and other companies to benefit from analyzing your personal, highly detailed “Big Data” record without your knowledge. Based on this analysis, these companies then make decisions about you—including whether you are even worth marketing to at all.
As a result, 99 percent of us live on the wrong side of a one-way mirror, in which the other 1 percent manipulates our experiences. Some laud this trend as “personalization”—which sounds innocuous and fun, evoking the notion that the ads we see might appear in our favorite color schemes. What we are talking about, however, is much deeper and significantly more consequential.
For example, federal regulations make it illegal to discriminate in pricing access to credit based on certain personal attributes. But, as Natasha Singer recently reported in the New York Times, technical advances in mining online and offline data have made it possible to skirt the spirit of the law: companies can simply not make any offers to less credit-attractive populations. If you live on the wrong side of the digital tracks, you won’t even see a credit offer from leading lending institutions, and you won’t realize that loans are available to help you with your current personal or professional priorities.
For the past decade, e-commerce sites have altered prices based on your Web habits and personal attributes. What is your geography and your past buying history? How did you arrive at the e-commerce site? What time of day are you visiting? An entire literature has emerged on the ethics, legality and economic promise of pricing optimization. And the field is advancing quickly: last September, Google received a patent on technology that lets a company dynamically price electronic content. For instance, it can push the base price of an e-book up if it determines you are more likely to buy that particular item than an average user; conversely, it can adjust the price down as an incentive if you are judged less likely to purchase. And you won’t even know you are paying more than others for the exact same item.
These blind walls also appear in our digital political lives. As Eli Pariser has observed, the Internet shows us “what it thinks we want to see” by serving up content that matches the hidden profiles created about us based on our daily online interactions. This behind-the-scenes curation reinforces our political points of view through online “echo chambers” that affirm, instead of challenge, what we already believe to be true. As Harvard University scholar Cass Sunstein has written, liberals and conservatives who deliberate questions openly only with people of the same political stripe become more confident and extreme in their views.
Segregation and separation are on the rise. The fun of personalization has a dark side.
Some light was shed yesterday on the apparent “ransacking” of legal materials from defendants in the 9/11 trial.
Lt. Commander George A. Massucco, assistant to the Staff Judge Advocate at Guantanamo Bay, produced the materials, which he said were seized as part of Standard Operating Procedures to maintain safety at the prison facility.
Massucco testified that some of the materials had been confiscated because they were improperly stamped. Legal mail is marked with a stamp when approved, but the stamps need to be dated and initialed, markings which were missing from some of the documents. He said other materials were seized because they “were disturbing,” and the staff was “concerned for safety reasons” the material would remain in cell.
Among the items in that category were three books in the possession of co-defendant Ramzi bin-al-Shibh: The 9/11 Commission Report, Perfect Soldiers: The 9/11 Hijackers: Who They Were, Why They Did It by Terry McDermott, and The Black Banners: The Inside Story of 9/11 and the War Against al-Qaeda by Ali Soufan. Massucco said he could not account for three pages of legal material bin-al-Shibh’s lawyer, James Harrington, said were also missing.
Among the materials taken from Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s cell was toilet paper with writing on it, and a metal pen refill hidden in the binding of a book. All the items except Black Banners and the pen refill were to be returned.
This week’s controversy over the confiscation of materials from the defendants’ legal bins drew into sharp relief a key point of contention these hearings need to resolve: balancing the confidentiality of attorney-client communication with the need for security at the prison facility. At the end of the day, the judge threw the problem to both teams to solve; he ordered the defense team to draft a plan for privileged communication to submit to the prosecution in one week. The prosecution will have another week to respond with their own proposal, or one day to respond if they have no revisions to offer. The judge will then issue an order based on the proposals.
Early in the day, Vice Adm. Bruce MacDonald (Ret.), the military commissions’ convening authority, took the stand and was questioned by Navy Cmdr. Walter Ruiz, the lawyer for co-defendant Mustafa al Hawsawi. Ruiz was arguing that his client had been improperly charged — in legal terms that the referral of charges against his client was “defective.”
As the convening authority, MacDonald — who answers only to the secretary of defense — is responsible for managing the entire military commissions process, including referring charges against he accused, as well as logistics and personnel.
The exchange grew quite heated, with MacDonald becoming angry and shouting responses at Ruiz, whose questions centered around a lack of resources he had been given to defend his client, such as mitigation experts and a translator. “You were provided opportunities in March of 2011. We provided eight to 10 cleared translators to be dedicated to your team. You rejected those translators,” MacDonald barked. “The person you picked didn’t have a security clearance.”
Adm. MacDonald’s testimony was cut short however, in order to give the court time to address the issue of the materials seized by the guard force. His testimony about for the charge of defective referral, as well as a charge of “unlawful command influence,” will continue when the hearings reconvene in April.
There was one area of solid progress in court today. All sides agreed to the removal of microphones made to look like smoke detectors that had been installed in rooms used by defense lawyers to meet with the accused. “The sooner, the better,” Judge James Pohl said. “That would’ve been my low-tech solution anyway.”
The collective self-censorship over a US drone base in Saudi Arabia is but the latest act of government-subservient ‘journalism’
The US media, over the last decade (at least), has repeatedly acted to conceal newsworthy information it obtains about the actions of the US government. In each instance, the self-proclaimed adversarial press corps conceals these facts at the behest of the US government, based on patently absurd claims that reporting them will harm US national security. In each instance, what this media concealment actually accomplishes is enabling the dissemination of significant government falsehoods without challenge, and permitting the continuation of government deceit and even illegality.
One of the most notorious examples was in mid-2004 when the New York Times discovered – thanks to a courageous DOJ whistleblower – that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on the electronic communications of Americans without the warrants required by the criminal law. But after George Bush summoned to the Oval Office the paper’s publisher (Arthur Sulzberger) and executive editor (Bill Keller) and directed them to conceal what they had learned, the NYT complied by sitting on the story for a-year-and-a-half: until late December, 2005, long after Bush had been safely re-elected. The “national security” excuse for this concealment was patently ludicrous from the start: everyone knew the US government was trying to eavesdrop on al-Qaida communications and this story merely revealed that they were doing so illegally (without warrants) rather than legally (with warrants). By concealing the story for so long, the New York Times helped the Bush administration illegally spy on Americans.
The Washington Post’s Dana Priest, in a superb act of journalism, reported in 2005 that the CIA was maintaining a network of secret “black sites” where detainees were interrogated and abused beyond the monitoring scrutiny of human rights groups and even Congress. But the Post purposely concealed the identity of the countries serving as the locale of those secret prisons in order to enable the plainly illegal program to continue without bothersome disruptions: “the Washington Post is not publishing the names of the Eastern European countries involved in the covert program, at the request of senior US officials.”
In 2011, the New York Times along with numerous other US media outlets learned that the American arrested in Pakistan for having shot and killed two Pakistanis, Raymond Davis, was not – as President Obama falsely claimed – “our diplomat”, but was a CIA agent and former Blackwater contractor. Not only did the NYT conceal this fact, but it repeatedly and uncritically printed claims from Obama and other officials about Davis’ status which it knew to be false. It was only once the Guardian published the facts about Davis – that he was a CIA agent – did the Times tell the truth to its readers, admitting that the disclosure “pulled back the curtain on a web of covert American operations inside Pakistan, part of a secret war run by the CIA“.
The NYT, as usual, justified its concealment of this obviously newsworthy information as coming “at the request of the Obama administration, which argued that disclosure of his specific job would put his life at risk”. But as the Guardian’s Deputy Editor Ian Katz noted, “Davis [was] already widely assumed in Pakistan to have links to US intelligence” and “disclosing his CIA role would [therefore not] expose him to increased risk”.
And now, yet again, the US media has been caught working together to conceal obviously newsworthy government secrets. On Wednesday, the Washington Post reported that two years ago, the Obama administration established a base in Saudi Arabia from which it deploys drones to kill numerous people in Yemen. including US citizen Anwar Awlaki and, two weeks, later his 16-year-old American son Abdulrahman. The US base was built after the US launched a December, 2009 cruise missile/cluster-bomb attack that slaughtered dozens of Yemeni women and children.
But the Post admitted that it – along with multiple other US media outlets – had long known about the Saudi Arabia drone base but had acted in unison to conceal it from the US public:
“The Washington Post had refrained from disclosing the specific location at the request of the administration, which cited concern that exposing the facility would undermine operations against an al-Qaeda affiliate regarded as the network’s most potent threat to the United States, as well as potentially damage counterterrorism collaboration with Saudi Arabia.
“The Post learned Tuesday night that another news organization was planning to reveal the location of the base, effectively ending an informal arrangement among several news organizations that had been aware of the location for more than a year.”
The “other news organization” which the Post references is the New York Times. The NYT – in a very good article yesterday on the role played by CIA nominee John Brennan in US drones strikes in Yemen – reported that Brennan “work[ed] closely with neighboring Saudi Arabia to gain approval for a secret CIA drone base there that is used for American strikes”. As the paper’s Public Editor, Margaret Sullivan, explained, the NYT was one of the papers which “had withheld the location of that base at the request of the CIA”, but had decided now to report it. That was why the Post did so.
The existence of this drone base in Saudi Arabia is significantly newsworthy in multiple ways. The US drone program is drenched with extreme secrecy. The assassination of Awlaki is one of the most radical acts the US government has undertaken in the last decade at least. The intense cooperation between the US and the incomparably despotic Saudi regime is of vital significance. As Sullivan, the NYT’s Public Editor, put it in defending the NYT’s disclosure (and implicitly questioning the prior media conspiracy of silence):
“Given the government’s undue secrecy about the drone program, which it has never officially acknowledged the existence of, and that program’s great significance to America’s foreign policy, its national security, and its influence on the tumultuous Middle East, The Times ought to be reporting as much and as aggressively as possible on it.”
As usual, the excuses for concealing this information are frivolous. Indeed, as the Guardian’s Roy Greenslade noted, “the location of several drone bases was published as long ago as September last year on at least one news website, as this item on the North America Inter Press Service illustrates.” Gawker’s Adrian Chen documents numerous other instances where the base had been publicly disclosed and writes:
“In the case of the Saudi drone base, the Times and the Post weren’t protecting a state secret: They were helping the CIA bury an inconvenient story. . . . The fact that the drone base was already reported renders the rationale behind the months-long blackout a farce.”
In an article on the controversy over this self-censorship, the Guardian this morning quotes Dr Jack Lule, a professor of journalism and communication at Lehigh University:
“The decision not to publish is a shameful one. The national security standard has to be very high, perhaps imminent danger. The fact that we are even having a conversation about whether it was a national security issue should have sent alarm bells off to the editors. I think the real reason was that the administration did not want to embarrass the Saudis – and for the US news media to be complicit in that is craven.”
The same dynamic drives most of these acts of US media self-censorship. It has nothing to do with legitimate claims of national security. Indeed, none of these facts – once they were finally reported – ultimately resulted in any harm. Instead, it has everything to do with obeying government dictates; shielding high-level government officials from embarrassing revelations; protecting even the most extreme government deceit and illegality; and keeping the domestic population of the US (their readers) ignorant of the vital acts in which their own government is engaged.
The Swiss food giant Nestlé was ordered to pay SFr 27,000 (£18,700) compensation after being found liable in a civil case over the secret infiltration of an activist group that had campaigned against it.
A court ruled last week in favour of anti-globalisation group Attac, following revelations that Nestlé had hired the Swiss security company Securitas AG to infiltrate its meetings.
A spokesman for Nestlé noted the judge’s decision “with disappointment” and reiterated “that incitement to infiltration is against Nestlé’s corporate business principles”.
Text and Photos by Scott DeLarm
Edited by Prof. James F. Tracy
My partner and I became fed up with the mainstream media’s depiction of what took place in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14, 2012.
So on January 20 we traveled there from our home in Ottawa, Canada in an effort to visit the sites and respectfully approach the locals.
Before we even got off the highway there was a display of dozens of American flags on the shoulder. There is a large tented memorial located just off the freeway. The tent had a sign on the outside, “Sandy Hook Memorial Never Forgotten.”
Inside the tent was a chaplain who asked that I not take any photos. There were hundreds of stuffed animals and candles as well as children’s art from around the country–if not the world. Inside was also a donation jar that was at mid-afternoon close to full of money.
We signed one of the boards with condolences from Canada. I saw adults and children inside the tent on the two visits we made. No one was there who was impacted directly. I asked the chaplain if she had seen any children whom had been impacted. She did not answer.
We spent January 21 in Newtown visiting the Sandy Hook School and Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire House, Gene Rosen’s residence, the 100 Church Hill Restaurant (and pub), the Newtown Bee offices, as well as the Newtown Police Department.
We found that the school can not be seen from the front when coming down Riverside Road which is the only access to the school passing the fire house. This may explain why there was no “media” photos of the broken / shot out glass at the front.
Dickenson Road was closed with layers of orange cones and numerous “No Trespassing” signs. The entire school is now enclosed with fencing, barbed wire, no trespass and surveillance signage.
The front of the school is entirely boarded up which would be consistent with broken glass. The lettering from the front of the school “Sandy Hook Elementary” is removed.
The side door and other windows were not boarded up. No cameras could be seen at the front door or anywhere on the property.
Gene Rosen lives next door to the fire house. Thus Ms. Victoria Soto’s students that landed on Mr. Rosen’s yard had to come down Dickenson Drive and turn right, passing the fire house, to get to Mr. Rosen’s. A lady at the Rosen house would not answer the door when I knocked.
We sat at the 100 Church Hill Restaurant for a couple of hours. There were about 10 people inside.
There were about 100 drawings from children from around the country (if not the world) offering condolences and well wishes. No one was talking about these. My partner and I spoke with a couple in their early twenties for an hour or so. They were life long locals.
Eventually they asked why we were in Newtown and we told them we had heard of their tragedy. They did not comment further and we did not push the issue.
We then went to the offices of The Newtown Bee, the community’s weekly newspaper, where we spoke with the editor, Mr. Curtis Clark. Mr. Clark did not offer a warm reception and stated from the start that they were concentrating the paper’s efforts on healing efforts and that he had little time. I told him I was there to follow up on The Bee’s report that stated, in part, “A man with a gun who was spotted in the woods near the school on the day of the incident was an off-duty tactical squad police officer from another town, according to the source.” I asked who this officer was, and why he was in the woods.
Mr. Clark told me that there was a number of “conspiracy theories floating around” and “some of them even suggest that the shooting didn’t even happen.” Furthermore, “Snopes.com debunks many of these conspiracy theories.”
I told Clark I was familiar with Snopes, but it was The Bee that reported that this was an off duty officer prancing about in the woods on the day of the shooting. Clark would not address this report and became very agitated with me “interrogating” him. “I don’t intend to discuss this any further with you,” he said. Mr. Clark then referred me to the Newtown Police for any additional questions. As I was walking out of the office I overheard a lady on the phone explaining to a caller that “there is an ongoing investigation,” and referring the caller to Snopes.com.
Next, we proceeded to the Newtown Police Department. After entering I walked up to the glassed-in safety window, picked up the phone on the wall and asked the attendant on the other side if I could speak with the Communications Officer. I explained why. He directed me to The Newtown Bee.
I advised him that The Bee had directed me to them and he asked me to have a seat. The room was rectangular with doors on both ends. Then, a male and female police officer simultaneously entered through each door. I addressed the female sergeant, telling her I would like to know who was the off duty tactical officer The Bee reported on on December 27. A male officer I was not addressing repeatedly ordered me to remove my hands from my pockets.
The female sergeant told me that the man detained was the uncle of a student at the school who had gone to get his niece. I asked about the police scanner audio where the dispatcher reports that a caller from inside the school saw “two shadows” run by the gym at the back of the school.
Additionally, an officer apparently arriving at the scene stated
“I’ve got ‘em (sic). They are running at me down Crestwood.”
Crestwood Drive borders that backside of the school beyond some woods. The sergeant told me that this was the confusion of the day and that there were not two individuals. “It was just someone that went crazy, killed a bunch of people and then killed himself,” she said consolingly.
“You have nothing to worry about. You are safe.”
I still wonder.
(Reuters) – The sound was abruptly cut in the Guantanamo war crimes court on Monday, prompting the angry judge to question whether someone outside the room was censoring pretrial hearings for five men accused of plotting the September 11 attacks on the United States in 2001.
In all hearings for the alleged al Qaeda operatives who were previously held in secret CIA prisons, a court security officer seated near the judge controls a button that muffles the audio feed to spectators when secret information is disclosed. A red light flashes and observers hear nothing but static.
The feed was cut when David Nevin, a lawyer for the alleged mastermind of the hijacked plane plot, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, asked if the lawyers and judges needed to meet in closed session before considering a defense request.
When the feed was restored moments later, the judge, Army Colonel James Pohl, indicated it wasn’t the court security officer who cut the sound in the proceedings formally known as military commissions.
“If some external body is turning things off, if someone is turning the commissions off under their own views of what things ought to be, with no reason or explanation, then we are going to have a little meeting about who turns that light on or off,” Pohl said tersely.
He seemed to be addressing the prosecution team and told them that Nevin had merely referred to the caption of an unclassified document – one asking the judge to order that the secret CIA prisons where the defendants say they were tortured be preserved as evidence.
A short time later, the judge said he would meet in closed session with the lawyers and reopen the public part of the hearing on Tuesday. The episode enlivened the first day of a weeklong pretrial hearing in the military tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base in Cuba.
Mohammed and his four co-defendants are accused of training and aiding the hijackers who slammed commercial jetliners into the World Trade Center in New York, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on September 11, 2001. They could be executed if convicted of charges that include terrorism, attacking civilians and murdering 2,976 people.
Under a program during the presidency of George W. Bush, the defendants were among the suspected al Qaeda captives who were moved across borders without judicial review and held and interrogated in secret CIA prisons overseas.
The CIA has acknowledged that Mohammed was subjected to the simulated drowning technique known as waterboarding. The defendants said they also were subjected to sleep deprivation, threats, and being chained in painful positions.
The defense lawyers argue that constituted illegal pretrial punishment and “outrageous government misconduct” that could justify dismissal of the charges, or at least spare the defendants from execution if convicted.
Pohl ordered in 2004 that the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq be preserved as a “crime scene.” He was at the time presiding over the trial of U.S. military police officers accused of torturing and photographing prisoners at Abu Ghraib.
It was unclear whether Pohl had authority to order the preservation of the CIA prisons, if they still exist. The government has kept secret their location, arguing that disclosure could threaten U.S. national security and put allies at risk.
Polish prosecutors are investigating allegations that one of the sites was in Poland, and there is evidence that the CIA set up others in Romania, Lithuania and Thailand, according to reports by the Council of Europe and the United Nations.
The chief prosecutor, Brigadier General Mark Martins, said he does not plan to introduce evidence obtained from the defendants or anyone else via torture, cruelty or inhuman treatment – which is prohibited by U.S. law and international treaty.
In a departure from the Bush administration, the Obama administration has made clear that any interrogation techniques must adhere to those long established in the Army Field Manual, which prohibits torture.
The defendants have been in U.S. custody for a decade, but there are still many legal and evidentiary issues that must be resolved before their trial begins.
Three of them wore camouflage jackets and accessories over their white tunics in court on Monday. As in earlier hearings, they alternated between refusing to answer the judge and critiquing the United States and the court. All five said they understood their legal rights could be compromised if the judge granted their request to skip some court sessions.
“We don’t have any motivating factors that would invite us to come to court,” said Yemeni defendant Walid bin Attash, who said restrictions at Guantanamo had thwarted efforts to build trust with defense lawyers.
(Editing by Tom Brown and Christopher Wilson)