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ONLY THE PEOPLE CAN STOP THE WAR! . . . JOIN US ON OCTOBER 26, 2002!
As the Bush administration violates international law it has been systematically engaged in a campaign of division and repression in the United States including a wholesale assault on the Bill of Rights, institutionalization of racial profiling, and aggregation of near dictatorial powers to the Executive branch.
In articulating the so-called doctrine of preemptive war, the Bush administration is preparing to violate all existing international law and the UN charter which forbids countries to carry out war except in the case of self-defense. Preemption is merely a slogan to justify a foreign policy of armed aggression and military adventure.
Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and company are planning to send tens of thousands of young GIs to kill and be killed in another war for Big Oil. Simultaneously, the Bush Administration is diverting billions of dollars to feed military conquest and away from jobs, education, healthcare, childcare and housing.
The so-called debate that is opening now to public view from within the political establishment presents a necessity for all anti-war forces to become a major factor in generating an authentic opposition to U.S. war plans in the Middle East. The October 26 National March in Washington DC and joint action in San Francisco come just one week before midterm Congressional elections.
There won't be a real national debate on a planned invasion of Iraq until the people are in the streets. We can't leave it to the military establishment to decide when and how they will go to war and to define the debate. We must tell Bush and his corporate and Big Oil patrons that we will not allow this to happen.
This war can be stopped. Bush, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Wolfowitz and company can be stopped. But the essential element must be the mobilization of a massive new anti-war movement in the streets. We call for civilians and soldiers alike to exercise their political right to speak out against an illegal war. On October 26, there will be a National March in Washington DC, a West Coast march in San Francisco, and protests around the world.
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 4:53 PM
This just about sums it up. Sorry for the graphic but I though some thoughtful humor amidst all this doom and gloom was required.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 5:10 AM
Hundreds arrested in IMF protest
WASHINGTON, Sept. 27 (UPI) -- Small demonstrations around downtown Washington by anti-IMF/World Bank activists led to mass arrests by police Friday and warnings by civil rights lawyers of illegal action by authorities.
The exact number of arrests was not immediately known, but it was believed between 550 and 650 people were placed in plastic wrist restraints by police and hauled away in buses for a detention center on the outskirts of the city.
"Today in Washington, D.C., the city witnessed shameful police conduct," said Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, co-founder of Partnership for Civil Justice. "We've seen police come out and arrest peaceful demonstrators, trapping and detaining them en masse and without cause.
"We believe that this behavior must stop. They have the right to express their First Amendment rights without being beaten, harassed or arrested."
Friday was the first day of protests that have become a regular feature of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund and World Bank by people opposed to their economic policies and capitalism. Other participants included people espousing a myriad of causes.
Anti-war protesters were among those taking to the streets.
The thousands of demonstrators predicted did not materialize, and in most cases police far outnumbered them.
In one instance Friday, several hundred demonstrators were surrounded by truncheon-carrying police and arrested after authorities said the activists refused to follow orders to stop blocking a street just blocks from the White House.
Metropolitan Police Chief Charles Ramsey told United Press International the arrested would be charged with failure to obey police orders and demonstrating without a permit.
"There were folks in the street that were blocking the corner of 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and they refused a police order to disperse," he said. "So we're holding them in the park and bringing them on to buses in an orderly manner. We told them to move and they didn't. So we're moving them ourselves."
Civil rights lawyers observing the protests in Washington said demonstrators were not being given the opportunity to disperse before being taken into custody.
Bystanders and reporters were among those caught up in the sweeps.
As dark descended on the nation's capital, most of the arrested demonstrators were still in custody, said
The lawyer predicted that hundreds of wrongful-arrest complaints would be filed in coming days.
MPD Spokesman Sgt. Joe Gentile had said he expected a minimum of 500 hundred arrests before noon, as police dispersed several different groups of protesters that attempted to shut down streets and disrupt traffic.
Ramsey said no police officers or protesters had been hurt during the arrests to his knowledge.
Capitol Hill Police Chief Terrence Gainer said he was pleased that the protests had been conducted relatively peacefully. He also said there were virtually no disturbances at the Capitol complex his force is responsible for protecting.
"It's as quiet as a Sunday morning at the Capitol," he said. "Earlier this morning, there were about 100 protesters at Union Station (several blocks from the Capitol building) but I was very pleased with how peaceful they were."
Amid the arrests, several reporters and photographers were caught in the sweep by police and detained. United Press International Reporter Stefany Moore was arrested by police and transferred to a central processing facility in Southwest Washington.
A spokesman for the MPD also said about six reporters and photographers for The Washington Post were arrested.
More protests were expected Saturday.
. . . Read more!
posted by West 6:23 PM
DC Police Crack Down on Anti-Capitalist Protests
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Police took a tough line on Friday against anti-globalization protesters hoping to disrupt Washington D.C. during meetings of the world's leading finance policy-makers, arresting hundreds of them and largely foiling their efforts to block traffic.
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posted by West 6:21 PM
No-fly blacklist snares political activists
Alan Gathright, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer Friday, September 27, 2002
A federal "No Fly" list, intended to keep terrorists from boarding planes, is snaring peace activists at San Francisco International and other U. S. airports, triggering complaints that civil liberties are being trampled. And while several federal agencies acknowledge that they contribute names to the congressionally mandated list, none of them, when contacted by The Chronicle, could or would say which agency is responsible for managing the list.
One detainment forced a group of 20 Wisconsin anti-war activists to miss their flight, delaying their trip to meet with congressional representatives by a day. That case and others are raising questions about the criteria federal authorities use to place people on the list -- and whether people who exercise their constitutional right to dissent are being lumped together with terrorists.
"What's scariest to me is that there could be this gross interruption of civil rights and nobody is really in charge," said Sarah Backus, an organizer of the Wisconsin group. "That's really 1984-ish."
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 2:04 PM
Lawsuit filed over air travel ID rules: The defendants named in the suit are John Ashcroft (U.S. attorney general), Robert Mueller (FBI director), Norm Mineta (U.S. Department of Transportation secretary), Jane F. Garvey (Federal Aviation Administration chief), John W. Magaw (Transportation Security Administration chief), Tom Ridge (Office of Homeland Security chief), United Airlines, and Southwest Airlines. John Gilmore files lawsuit claiming that there is a "secret" government rule requiring passengers to show identification before boarding an airplane.
Gilmore was the fifth employee of Sun Microsystems. He is the co-creator of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a non-profit organization that defends civil liberties in cyberspace.
The Show-ID-Before-You-Board-A-Plane regulation is unconstitutional because it is unpublished; requires government agents to search and seize citizens who are not suspected of crimes; burdens the rights to travel, associate, and petition the government; and discriminates against those who choose anonymity. People in the U.S. have a right to travel and associate without being monitored or stopped by their government, unless they are actually suspected or convicted of a crime, and unless that suspicion is reasonable.
Gilmore argues that because the regulations are secret, they violate the federal Freedom of Information Act. A government that tracks its citizens' movements and associations, or restricts their travel using secret decrees, is violating the Constitution. At one point, the Transportation Security Administration said that they do, in fact, require air carriers to request passengers show a valid form of identification from a government issuer. Then, they said that the actual presentation of ID by passengers is not required. Refusal to allow passengers to board or not board the aircraft is at the discretion of the airline. They have denied that the federal government prohibits flying without an ID. Which is it?
For more information about the lawsuit, visit: Gilmore v. Ashcroft -- FAA ID Challenge
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posted by Hal 7:28 PM
'Spy Files' Anger Many In Denver By Tom Gorman
LOS ANGELES TIMES
Colorado Libertarians amused and irritated at secret �spy file� kept by Denver police
Colorado LP leaders say they are more amused than angry that a newly released Denver Police Department "spy file" describes the Libertarian Party as a "militia" type organization. "A political party as a militia group? How ridiculous!" said John Berntson, State Chair of the Colorado LP. "Is this the quality of the law enforcement in Denver? Is Barney Fife running the shop?" According to news reports, the Denver Police Department maintained files on approximately 3,200 Colorado citizens and 208 organizations from across the political spectrum.
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posted by Hal 7:13 PM
Bush's speech on corporate fraud...
What about government fraud?
President Bush's speech in Washington, DC, on "corrupt corporate accounting" overlooked a far more serious problem: corrupt government accounting. When it comes to cooking the books, Uncle Sam is a master chef. The federal government claims its debt is about $6 trillion, when in fact the actual debt includes $12.9 trillion in federal obligations to people who are owed Social Security and Medicare benefits, and $16.9 trillion for Medicare benefits. The actual federal debt is approximately $36 trillion. How dare Mr. Bush chastise business executives when the organization that he runs � the federal government � has a hidden debt that is 7,500 times as large as Enron's? And hidden debt is just the most obvious example of government accounting fraud. The government also cooks the books with gimmicks like Forward Funding (known as "financial fraud" when CEOs do it).
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posted by Hal 6:51 PM
School Bans Dreadlocked Student
WHITEFISH, Mont. -- A student with dreadlocks can't come back to class until she gets rid of her "outlandish" hairstyle, Whitefish High School officials say.
"It's not really my hair," said 15-year-old Kisteesha Lanegan, who hasn't been to school since the first day of class. "They're trying to mold me into a person that I'm not. My hair is totally irrelevant to education at the school."
Superintendent Jerry House said Lanegan was told she would not be able to attend classes with dreadlocks. When she showed up on the first day of school with the hairstyle, officials sent her home.
"We're not here as a fashion store or fashion occasion," he said. "If you want to dress in an outlandish way in your own time, that's your business. That's not our business."
Lanegan said the ban makes her as good as expelled.
At the end of last school year, school officials told Lanegan to get rid of the dreadlocks over the summer break. House said that gave her enough time to comply with a new policy banning dreadlocks and mohawks.
. . . Read more!
posted by West 8:44 AM
World Bank protesters vow to disrupt D.C.
usatoday.com -- Anti-capitalist protesters are threatening to shut down the nation's capital Friday, but police and employers vowed the city would remain open for business as usual.
Friday's demonstrations will be the opening salvo of protests against policies of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund during their annual meeting. Police have raised concerns that the protests could provide cover for terrorists, block evacuation routes and hinder emergency workers, but they say they're prepared.
Thousands are expected at the protests, which officials say could be the most disruptive since April 2000, when police arrested about 1,300 demonstrators at the World Bank.
Protesters plan a variety of actions, from teach-ins to civil disobedience. Debt relief for developing countries is among their demands.
On Friday, a group calling itself the Anti-Capitalist Convergence plans to disrupt morning rush-hour traffic with a mass bicycle ride and demonstrations at intersections leading into the city.
''We're protesting global capitalism,'' said Rae Valentine, a member of the group. ''We're going to shut down Washington, D.C., for the day.''
Washington police, backed by about 1,700 law enforcement officers from 24 agencies, have warned commuters to expect ''extreme delays''
Police have also raised concerns about a Web site that posts an ''Anti-Capitalist Target List'' of businesses, including McDonald's and Starbucks.
The target list should not be taken seriously, Valentine said. He also said police are using worries about terrorism to crack down on legitimate protest.
''They're using Sept. 11, a tragedy from a year ago, to criminalize dissent,'' Valentine said.
Police insist they're taking necessary precautions.
''We are gearing up for a mass demonstration by people who've promised disruption,'' said Sgt. Joe Gentile, a Washington police spokesman.
Business leaders are urging employees to work from home or use public transportation Friday.
Bob Peck, president of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, the region's chamber of commerce, said business will go on.
''The Washington area is used to these kind of protests,'' he said.
Not all the protests are aimed at disruption. Organizers for one of the weekend's largest demonstrations have received a permit to hold it near the Washington Monument on Saturday.
''Our message is firmly rooted in non-violence,'' said Kate Loewe of the Mobilization for Global Justice.
''We want to help Americans understand the effects of this epidemic of corporate greed.''
. . . Read more!
posted by West 8:41 AM
Death Penalty Ruled Unconstitutional
MONTPELIER, Vt. -- A federal judge declared the federal death penalty unconstitutional Tuesday in the second such ruling in less than three months.
U.S. District Judge William Sessions said the law does not adequately protect defendants' rights.
"If the death penalty is to be part of our system of justice, due process of law and the fair trial guarantees of the Sixth Amendment require that standards and safeguards governing the kinds of evidence juries may consider must be rigorous, and constitutional rights and liberties scrupulously protected," he said.
On July, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff in New York City became the first federal judge to declare the 1994 Death Penalty Act unconstitutional. He cited evidence indicating that innocent people have been put to death.
The rulings will not affect individual states' death penalty statutes. Thirty-eight states allow capital punishment, though some have not executed anyone for many years. The governors of Illinois and Maryland have placed moratoriums on executions in their states.
Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh and drug killer Juan Garza have been executed under the federal death penalty law.
Tuesday's ruling came in the case of Donald Fell, 22, who is facing the death penalty for allegedly kidnapping and killing a woman in 2000.
. . . Read more!
posted by West 12:54 PM
Senator Robert Byrd: Bush's War Plans are a Cover-Up
(Paul J. Nyden, West Virginia Gazette, September 21, 2002)
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, D-W.Va., said President Bush's plans to invade Iraq are a conscious effort to distract public attention from growing problems at home. . . . "This administration, all of a sudden, wants to go to war with Iraq," Byrd said. "The [political] polls are dropping, the domestic situation has problems.... So all of a sudden we have this war talk, war fervor, the bugles of war, drums of war, clouds of war. . . . "Don't tell me that things suddenly went wrong. Back in August, the president had no plans.... Then all of a sudden this country is going to war," Byrd told the Senate on Friday. . . . Byrd warned of another Gulf of Tonkin Resolution. . . . Byrd said, "Before the nation is committed to war, before we send our sons and daughters to battle in faraway lands, there are critical questions that must be asked. To date, the answers from the administration have been less than satisfying." . . . Byrd repeatedly said Bush has failed to give members of Congress any evidence about any immediate danger from Iraq. . . . "Instead of using the forum of the U.N. General Assembly to offer evidence and proof of his claims, the president basically told the nations of the world that you are either with me, or against me," Byrd said. . . . Byrd said Congress needs solid evidence and answers to several specific questions, including:
* Does Saddam Hussein pose an imminent threat to the U.S.?
* Should the United States act alone?
* What would be the repercussions in the Middle East and around the globe?
* How many civilians would die in Iraq?
* How many American forces would be involved?
* How do we afford this war?
* Will the U.S. respond with nuclear weapons if Saddam Hussein uses chemical or biological weapons against U.S. soldiers?
* Does the U.S. have enough military and intelligence resources to fight wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, while mobilizing resources to prevent attacks on our own shores?
Byrd said the proposed resolution Bush sent Congress on Thursday would be the "broadest possible grant of war powers to any president in the history of our Republic. The resolution is a direct insult and an affront to the powers given to Congress." . . . "I cannot believe the gall and the arrogance of the White House in requesting such a broad grant of war powers," Byrd said. "This is the worst kind of election-year politics."
. . . Read more!
posted by Lorenzo 4:37 PM
The Complete 9/11 Timeline
[from the Author's Introduction] . . . This webpage is meant to be a comprehensive resource for anyone attempting to understand 9/11 and the anthrax attacks. Once you start reading, I think it will become clear that, whatever happened, there is much more going on than the "official story" claims. The mainstream media is the one that's failed to "connect the dots". There are an amazing amount of intriguing news stories that have squeaked into the media but not reached a wide audience, and/or have not been properly followed up or placed into context. I haven't seen anything that pulls it all together, so I've felt compelled to make this. . . . To be honest, I don't know exactly what happened on 9/11. I have my theories and hunches, but its an extremely complicated plot, and there are a number of plausible explanations for part or all of the story's aspects. Also, I don't want to force my ideas down your throat. I'm using the timeline to draw attention to interesting stories that you may not have read. I have tried to let the stories speak for themselves, and reduce my voice as much as possible. When I do add my own comments, I put those at the end of a summary in question form and in italics. I hope you come to your own conclusions.
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posted by Lorenzo 2:54 PM
Why so many Americans don't support attacking Iraq
By ILANA MERCER - Globe and Mail
Thursday, September 19, 2002 � Page A23
By agreeing to allow the unconditional return of weapons inspectors, Iraq has done well to expose -- sadly, not halt -- the Bush administration's unstoppable agenda. This gesture by Iraq was not so much a "stunning turnabout," but a culmination of a plain and reasonable attempt by an economically desperate Iraq to tie the return of inspectors to the lifting of sanctions. It failed.
Washington's predictably disgruntled response confirms that George W. Bush doesn't want Saddam Hussein to roll over, but wants, very plainly, to sock it to him. In the process of promising to wage war in the name of cherished American values, President Bush has forgotten a pesky little detail: The U.S. government is beholden to the Constitution, which prohibits the President from declaring war (something he has, to all intents and purposes, already done by ordering bombing sorties over Iraq). It is Congress that declares a war; the President wages it.
Rather than go the constitutional route, Mr. Bush began by declaring his commitment to topple the regime in Baghdad, believing somehow that such a prerogative was a policy privilege he commandeered on being elected. The unconstitutional implications of his audacious imperialism never really hit home with Americans.
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posted by An Old Curmudgeon 2:09 PM
BLM Burning Man Report
(U.S. Bureau of Land Management Press Releasse, September 12, 2002)
On Friday, August 30th, the population of Burning Man�s temporary �Black Rock City� on the Black Rock Desert playa north of Gerlach, Nevada reached a record 29,083 citizens � more than 14% above last year�s attendance. Immediately after the event Burning Man employees and volunteers began cleaning the area, removing every trace of the �city� and its residents. . . . �Burning Man is the largest �Leave No Trace� event in the world. We have found no evidence of environmental damage caused by past Burning Man events and don�t expect to find any this year.� Terry Reed, Field Manager of BLM�s Winnemucca Office, added, �Burning Man participants generally agree that this year�s event was the smoothest running one so far.� . . . This year Burning Man will pay BLM a total of $572,000. . . . The Pershing County Sheriff�s office dealt with more situations and handled more paperwork [this year], but issued only four citations, fewer than last year. . . . The Burning Man event is the largest recreation event permitted by the US Bureau of Land Management. Cooperators for this year�s Burning Man event included the Pershing County Sheriff�s Office, Pershing County District Attorney�s Office, REMSA, Gerlach Volunteer Fire Department, Gerlach General Improvement District, Gerlach Justice Court, Washoe County Sheriff�s Office, Washoe County Health Department, Washoe County Road Division, Pyramid Lake Tribal Council, Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Environmental Department, Nevada Emergency Medical Trauma Services, Nevada Bureau of Health Protection Services, Nevada Highway Patrol, Nevada Environmental Protection Division, Union Pacific Railroad, Nevada Department of Transportation, Truckee Meadows Fire Protection District, US Fish and Wildlife Service, Black Rock City LLC, and the Bureau of Land Management.
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posted by Lorenzo 8:06 AM
U.S. Failed to Act on Warnings in '98 of a Plane Attack on World Trade Center
nytimes.com -- The United States intelligence community was told in 1998 that Arab terrorists were planning to fly a bomb-laden plane into the World Trade Center, but the F.B.I. and the Federal Aviation Administration did not take the threat seriously, a Congressional investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks has found.
That August 1998 intelligence report from the Central Intelligence Agency was just one of several warnings the United States received, but did not seriously analyze, in the years leading up to the Sept. 11 attacks that were detailed today at a Congressional hearing.
The existence of the 1998 intelligence report was disclosed in a presentation by the committee's staff director, Eleanor Hill.
The report concluded that there was evidence of a growing interest by Al Qaeda and related groups in high-profile attacks inside the United States years before the attacks on the trade center and the Pentagon.
The Congressional report was the first disclosure that there was specific intelligence about terrorist plans to crash airplanes into the trade center, though officials said that those plans did not appear to be connected to the Sept. 11 attack.
And while the joint committee made public several intelligence reports that had been received in the years before Sept. 11 that related to Al Qaeda's intentions to launch an attack inside the United States and its interest in using aircraft for terrorism, Ms. Hill emphasized that the joint committee had still not found a "smoking gun" that could have helped prevent the Sept. 11 attacks.
"People have said there was no smoking gun," Ms. Hill said. "But there was still a lot out there that was never pulled together."
In fact, from 1998 to the summer of 2001, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and other agencies repeatedly received reports of Al Qaeda's interest in attacking Washington and New York, either with airplanes or other means. The threat level grew so high that by December 1998, the director of central intelligence, George J. Tenet, issued a "declaration of war" on Al Qaeda, in a memorandum circulated in the intelligence community. Yet, Ms. Hill said, the intelligence agencies failed to adequately follow up on the declaration, and by Sept. 10, 2001, the F.B.I. still had only one analyst assigned full time to Al Qaeda.
The 1998 intelligence report about the trade center cited plans by a group of unidentified Arabs, who the United States now believes had ties to Al Qaeda, to fly an explosives-laden plane from a foreign country into the trade center. American intelligence officials said today that despite the similarities, they did not believe that the 1998 report was related to the Sept. 11 attack.
Still, the Congressional panel criticized the way in which the intelligence was handled, particularly by the F.B.I. and aviation agency. The committee said the F.B.I.'s New York office "took no action on the information." The flight agency, meanwhile, "found the plot highly unlikely," because of the state of the unidentified foreign country's aviation program.
"We did review the technical aspects of the information, but any decisions about whether it was credible was based on an F.B.I. determination," a spokesman for the Transportation Department said.
Law enforcement officials said the F.B.I.'s conclusion that the threat was not credible was based on the seeming difficulty of launching the attack from the unidentified country.
Recent months have seen a flood of reports concerning what kind of information intelligence agencies had about plans for a terrorist attack on the United States. For example, it has already been reported that in 1996, a Pakistani terrorist, Abdul Hakim Murad, confessed to federal agents that he was learning to fly an aircraft in order to crash a plane into the C.I.A. headquarters. It was disclosed in June that the National Security Agency had intercepted two cryptic communications the day before the Sept. 11 attacks. One indicated that "the big match" was scheduled for the next day; the other referred to Sept. 11 as "zero hour."
Some officials say it was not clear the messages related to the Sept. 11 attacks. Agency analysts did not translate them until Sept. 12.
Still, today's disclosures provide the most detailed official description of intelligence lapses.
While that August 1998 report most closely paralleled the final attack, the C.I.A. received other warnings in that period of Al Qaeda's interest in using aircraft against targets in United States.
In September 1998, intelligence agencies obtained information warning that Osama bin Laden's next major operation could involve flying an aircraft loaded with explosives into an American airport and then detonating it. That same fall, another intelligence report stated that there was a Qaeda plot in the works that involved the use of aircraft in both New York and Washington.
Yet the reports did not prompt the C.I.A. or other intelligence agencies to conduct an analysis of that specific threat to American aviation, the joint committee found. In addition, the aviation agency did not change its traditional assumptions that airplane hijackings were not suicide missions. American airlines directed their flight crews not to fight back against hijackers.
But the reports of Al Qaeda's interest in attacks in the United States extended beyond aircraft. In the spring of 1999, the C.I.A. received another report that Mr. bin Laden wanted to attack a government building in Washington.
In August 1999, another report said Al Qaeda had apparently chosen the secretary of state, the defense secretary and the C.I.A. director for assassination. The C.I.A. had been told the previous year that Mr. bin Laden and his lieutenants had also agreed to issue $9 million bounties for the assassination of four top intelligence officers, whom the report did not identify, after the United increased a reward for Mr. bin Laden.
In the spring and summer of 2001, American intelligence picked up several reports that strongly indicated that Al Qaeda intended a major attack against American targets. Since Sept. 11, American intelligence officials have said that most of that intelligence suggested that the attack was to be overseas.
Still, there were some reports in that period that referred to domestic attacks, the joint committee revealed in its interim report released today. In April 2001, an individual with terrorist connections speculated that Mr. bin Laden would be interested in using commercial pilots as terrorists. The individual warned that Al Qaeda wanted to mount "spectacular and traumatic" attacks like the first bombing of the trade center in 1993.
The C.I.A. first created a unit inside its counterterrorism center to track Mr. bin Laden in 1996. But the joint committee's report strongly suggests that it was not until 1998 that officials throughout the F.B.I., C.I.A. and other agencies began to recognize the urgent threat posed by Al Qaeda, after the August 1998 bombings of two American embassies in East Africa.
The response of intelligence agencies to the Qaeda threat varied widely. On Dec. 4, 1998, Mr. Tenet issued his declaration of war, saying, "I want no resource or people spared." Yet the joint committee found that few of the F.B.I. agents interviewed by it had ever heard of Mr. Tenet's declaration.
The panel also concluded that prior to Sept. 11, only one F.B.I. analyst was assigned full time to Al Qaeda, although others were working on individual terrorist cases related to Mr. bin Laden's network. The joint committee report also said that in 1999, the C.I.A.'s counterterrorism center had only three analysts assigned full time to Al Qaeda.
Both the C.I.A. and the F.B.I. disputed those figures today. Law enforcement officials said the committee's numbers were misleading, because at the time of last year's attacks, the F.B.I.'s Al Qaeda analysts were not assigned to a separate analytical section, but to two operational groups with about 30 people.
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posted by West 7:36 AM
The Information Wars: Terrorism has become a pretext for a new culture of secrecy
theatlantic.com -- ithin twenty-four hours of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center the federal Department of Transportation had removed maps of the nation's 2.2 million miles of pipe lines from its Web site. The government had created the maps only recently, to identify places where ruptures in pipes that carry oil, natural gas, or hazardous chemicals could endanger lives, property, or drinking water. In the 1990s an average of four accidents a week caused property damage of more than $50,000, injury, or death.
The removal of the maps was hardly an isolated incident. Since September federal and state officials have stricken from Web sites and public reports thousands of pages of information about health and safety risks to Americans�information, officials say, that might somehow aid terrorists. The Environmental Protection Agency withdrew from its Web site information about accidents, risks, and emergency plans at factories that handle dangerous chemicals. Energy regulators removed reports on power plants, transmission lines, and the transportation of radioactive materials. The Federal Aviation Administration stopped posting enforcement information about security breaches at airports and incidents that threatened airline safety. The U.S. Geological Survey removed reports on water resources and asked libraries to destroy all copies of a CD-ROM that described the characteristics of reservoirs.
Some state governments went further. Florida not only restricted access to security plans for hospitals and state facilities but also gave the president of the state senate authority to close formerly public meetings. In a directive that was itself intended to be secret, New York State's directors of public security and state operations ordered agency heads to curb public access to all "sensitive information." What, exactly, was "sensitive"? "Information related to systems, structures, individuals and services essential to the security, government or economy of the State, including telecommunications ... electrical power, gas and oil storage and transportation, banking and finance, transportation, water supply, emergency services ... and the continuity of government operations." Just about everything, that is.
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posted by West 8:30 AM
The government knew airplane attacks were going to occur in the us
(Russ Kick, disinformation.com, September 11, 2002)
It�s come to my attention that some people out there still don�t realize the government knew about the 9/11 attacks in advance. . . . The actions of the authorities, though, tell a completely different story. They knew that a devastating attack was in the works, that it would involve hijacked airplanes, and that it would occur inside the United States. . . .
Attorney General John Ashcroft stopped flying on commercial aircraft in July 2001.
The FAA refused to let author Salman Rushdie fly in North America starting the week before 9/11.
Four days before the attacks, Florida Governor Jeb Bush activated the National Guard, citing �acts of terrorism�
On September 10, 2001, high-ranking Pentagon officials cancelled travel plans for the morning of September 11.
On September 10, 2001, San Francisco�s mayor was warned against flying to New York the next morning.
CIA Director George Tenet warned Congressmen of �an imminent attack on the United States of this nature.�
Still think the authorities didn�t know what was coming?
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posted by Lorenzo 7:24 PM
Traders puzzled by eery 911 closing of S&P futures
CHICAGO - In an ironic twist, the September Standard & Poor's 500 futures contract closed Tuesday at 911.00 � a day before the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attacks.
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posted by West 9:54 AM
Crack Cocain Found on Noelle Bush
ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Gov. Jeb Bush's 25-year-old daughter was found with what was believed to be crack cocaine at a rehabilitation center, police said Tuesday. If confirmed, it would be her second lapse since entering court-ordered drug treatment. Police were called to the Center for Drug Free Living in Orlando late Monday, where workers gave them a "white, rocklike substance" they said they found in Noelle Bush's shoe, Police Sgt. Orlando Rolon said. The 0.2-gram rock tested positive for cocaine in a police field test, but Bush wasn't immediately arrested because police couldn't obtain sworn statements from people at the center, Rolon said. Police said staffers at the center tried to persuade the officer to let the matter be handled in-house and didn't cooperate by providing statements. The officer originally had been summoned by a patient, police said. A spokeswoman for the center, Joan M. Ballard, refused to comment. Possession of any amount of cocaine is a felony. The investigation will continue, said Rolon, who added that police hadn't interviewed Noelle Bush as of late morning. The governor, asked about his daughter before going into a Florida Cabinet meeting in Tallahassee, said he wouldn't discuss her situation. "This is a private issue as it relates to my daughter and myself and my wife," he said. "The road to recovery is a rocky one for a lot of people that have this kind of problem. I don't have any details about what happened. I just found out."
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posted by West 10:07 AM
Secret Appellate Court Meets
washingtonpost.com -- WASHINGTON �� A secret appellate court has met for the first time in its 24-year history to consider a request from the Justice Department for more power to wiretap suspected terrorists and spies, according to department officials.
The appeals court, the United States Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review, convened in a high-security room at the Justice Department in Washington Monday and made no announcement of whether it had made a decision.
But senators immediately asked the court to publicly release its decision and the arguments Justice Department lawyers made in front of it, so lawmakers can know how government prosecutors are using the changes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act granted after the Sept. 11 attacks last year.
"We need to know how this law is being interpreted and applied," Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. said Tuesday. No answer had been received from the Monday request, Senate officials said.
The appeal stems from a decision from the main court that assesses the legitimacy of Justice Department and FBI requests to spy on people suspected of foreign espionage inside U.S. borders.
Civil liberties groups denounced the secret nature of the court.
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posted by West 10:02 AM
The Taliban minister, the US envoy and the warning of September 11 that was ignored
independent.co.uk -- Weeks before the terrorist attacks on 11 September, the United States and the United Nations ignored warnings from a secret Taliban emissary that Osama bin Laden was planning a huge attack on American soil.
The warnings were delivered by an aide of Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, the Taliban Foreign Minister at the time, who was known to be deeply unhappy with the foreign militants in Afghan-istan, including Arabs.
Mr Muttawakil, now in American custody, believed the Taliban's protection of Mr bin Laden and the other al-Qa'ida militants would lead to nothing less than the destruction of Afghanistan by the US military. He told his aide: "The guests are going to destroy the guesthouse."
The minister then ordered him to alert the US and the UN about what was going to happen. But in a massive failure of intelligence, the message was disregarded because of what sources describe as "warning fatigue". At the same time, the FBI and the CIA failed to take seriously warnings that Islamic fundamentalist students had enrolled in flight schools across the US.
Mr Muttawakil's aide, who has stayed on in Kabul and who has to remain anonymous for his security, described in detail to The Independent how he alerted first the Americans and then the United Nations of the coming calamity of 11 September.
The minister learnt in July last year that Mr bin Laden was planning a "huge attack" on targets inside America, the aide said. The attacks were imminent and would be so deadly the United States would react with destructive rage.
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posted by West 11:31 PM
The Troubling New Face of America by Jimmy Carter
Washington Post -- Fundamental changes are taking place in the historical policies of the United States with regard to human rights, our role in the community of nations and the Middle East peace process -- largely without definitive debates (except, at times, within the administration). Some new approaches have understandably evolved from quick and well-advised reactions by President Bush to the tragedy of Sept. 11, but others seem to be developing from a core group of conservatives who are trying to realize long-pent-up ambitions under the cover of the proclaimed war against terrorism.
Formerly admired almost universally as the preeminent champion of human rights, our country has become the foremost target of respected international organizations concerned about these basic principles of democratic life. We have ignored or condoned abuses in nations that support our anti-terrorism effort, while detaining American citizens as "enemy combatants," incarcerating them secretly and indefinitely without their being charged with any crime or having the right to legal counsel. This policy has been condemned by the federal courts, but the Justice Department seems adamant, and the issue is still in doubt. Several hundred captured Taliban soldiers remain imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay under the same circumstances, with the defense secretary declaring that they would not be released even if they were someday tried and found to be innocent. These actions are similar to those of abusive regimes that historically have been condemned by American presidents.
While the president has reserved judgment, the American people are inundated almost daily with claims from the vice president and other top officials that we face a devastating threat from Iraq's weapons of mass destruction, and with pledges to remove Saddam Hussein from office, with or without support from any allies. As has been emphasized vigorously by foreign allies and by responsible leaders of former administrations and incumbent officeholders, there is no current danger to the United States from Baghdad. In the face of intense monitoring and overwhelming American military superiority, any belligerent move by Hussein against a neighbor, even the smallest nuclear test (necessary before weapons construction), a tangible threat to use a weapon of mass destruction, or sharing this technology with terrorist organizations would be suicidal. But it is quite possible that such weapons would be used against Israel or our forces in response to an American attack.
We cannot ignore the development of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons, but a unilateral war with Iraq is not the answer. There is an urgent need for U.N. action to force unrestricted inspections in Iraq. But perhaps deliberately so, this has become less likely as we alienate our necessary allies. Apparently disagreeing with the president and secretary of state, in fact, the vice president has now discounted this goal as a desirable option.
We have thrown down counterproductive gauntlets to the rest of the world, disavowing U.S. commitments to laboriously negotiated international accords.
Peremptory rejections of nuclear arms agreements, the biological weapons convention, environmental protection, anti-torture proposals, and punishment of war criminals have sometimes been combined with economic threats against those who might disagree with us. These unilateral acts and assertions increasingly isolate the United States from the very nations needed to join in combating terrorism.
Tragically, our government is abandoning any sponsorship of substantive negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis. Our apparent policy is to support almost every Israeli action in the occupied territories and to condemn and isolate the Palestinians as blanket targets of our war on terrorism, while Israeli settlements expand and Palestinian enclaves shrink.
There still seems to be a struggle within the administration over defining a comprehensible Middle East policy. The president's clear commitments to honor key U.N. resolutions and to support the establishment of a Palestinian state have been substantially negated by statements of the defense secretary that in his lifetime "there will be some sort of an entity that will be established" and his reference to the "so-called occupation." This indicates a radical departure from policies of every administration since 1967, always based on the withdrawal of Israel from occupied territories and a genuine peace between Israelis and their neighbors.
Belligerent and divisive voices now seem to be dominant in Washington, but they do not yet reflect final decisions of the president, Congress or the courts. It is crucial that the historical and well-founded American commitments prevail: to peace, justice, human rights, the environment and international cooperation.
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posted by West 8:04 AM
CIA not sharing bioterror knowledge
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3 (UPI) -- The CIA and other U.S. intelligence agencies are not relaying what they know about potential bioterrorism threats to the appropriate public health officials, making it difficult to plan counter-strategies to deal with an attack and protect citizens, experts told United Press International. Richard Levinson, associate executive director of the American Public Health Association in Washington, said information about the likelihood of attacks is "desperately needed" by public health officials "because it changes your whole planning timeline and the urgency to get materials to protect the population." Levinson added, "The intelligence community and the public health community have never communicated in any important way. And that's something that needs to happen." Jonathan Tucker, a former United Nations weapons inspector who now is with the Monterey Institute's Center for Nonproliferation Studies in Washington, said the lack of information sharing "is a general problem." This is because it hinders the ability of officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, which is charged with safeguarding the public from a bioterrorist attack, from knowing which bioterror agents are most likely to be used and which drugs and vaccines should be stockpiled. Both the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency have maintained they do share knowledge of bioterrorist threats with appropriate authorities.
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posted by West 10:42 AM
Army Base Killings Bring Worry
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. -- The killings of four soldiers' wives at Fort Bragg in just six weeks have forced the Army to take a hard look at the culture of its elite soldiers that considers revealing any hint of domestic problems to be a sign of weakness. In every case, the husband was the suspect and there was marital discord. Three of the men, including two who took their own lives, had returned from Afghanistan as part of the Special Forces. One Special Forces veteran fears there will always be a potential for domestic violence among special operations soldiers because the unwillingness to seek help is deeply ingrained. Special operations soldiers "aren't allowed to have problems. You take care of it yourself," says Eric Haney, 50, an early member of the ultra-secret Delta Force who recently wrote a book about life inside the anti-terrorism unit. The Defense Department has sent a 16-member team to Fort Bragg to examine "a broad array of behavioral health-related issues that could have led to the slayings." The Pentagon also announced this past week that soldiers in Afghanistan would undergo mental screening before returning home. Speculation about the causes of the killings has run the gamut from the stress of combat to psychotic side-effects from the anti-malaria drug Lariam, which is given to soldiers in Afghanistan. But not all of the soldiers involved in the killings at Fort Bragg saw combat, and thousands of other soldiers at other bases have taken Lariam and not killed their wives. Studies of the violence rate in military families are inconclusive. Some put the rate at two to five times that of the civilian population, while others found the two rates closer to equal when the racial and age makeup of military families is considered.
Our culture trains young men to be killers and then we wonder why they kill.
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posted by West 4:49 PM