Airlines' 9/11 Suit Against FBI, Torture Memos,
Abu Ghraib General Blames White House
Revealing News Articles
June 26, 2008
Below are key excerpts of important news articles you may have missed. These articles include revealing information on recent developments in the 9/11-related suits brought by United and American Airlines against the FBI and CIA, memos by the "War Council" group of lawyers framing a new US policy on torture, Abu Ghraib General Anthony Taguba's blaming of the White House for torture used against detainees in prisons worldwide, and more. Each excerpt is taken verbatim from the major media website listed at the link provided. If any link fails to function, click here. Key sentences are highlighted for those with limited time. By choosing to educate ourselves and to spread the word, we can and will build a brighter future.
Gov't says FBI agents can't testify about 9/11
June 19, 2008, International Herald Tribune/Associated Press
Government lawyers say the ongoing investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks could be compromised if the airline industry is allowed to seek more information from the FBI to defend itself against lawsuits brought by terrorism victims. The government urged a judge to block aviation companies from interviewing five FBI employees who the companies say will help them prove the government withheld key information before the 2001 attacks. The lawyers said it would be impossible to interview the employees without disclosing classified or privileged material that could "cause serious damage to national security and interfere with pending law enforcement proceedings." The largest investigation in FBI history has resulted in 167,000 interviews and more than 155,000 pieces of evidence and involved the pursuit of 500,000 investigative leads, the lawyers wrote. The airlines and aviation companies are defending themselves against lawsuits seeking billions of dollars in damages for injuries, fatalities, property damage and business losses related to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The companies filed separate lawsuits against the CIA and the FBI last August to force terrorism investigators to tell whether the aviation industry was to blame for the Sept. 11 attacks. Meanwhile, lawyers for the victims of the attacks ... recounted in court papers numerous hijackings and attacks aboard planes before Sept. 11 that they said should have put the airline industry on notice that a disastrous attack could occur.
Note: For a two-page overview of many unanswered questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
General Accuses White House of War Crimes
June 18, 2008, Washington Post
The two-star general who led an Army investigation into the horrific detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib has accused the Bush administration of war crimes and is calling for accountability. In his 2004 report on Abu Ghraib, then-Major General Anthony Taguba concluded that "numerous incidents of sadistic, blatant, and wanton criminal abuses were inflicted on several detainees." He called the abuse "systemic and illegal." And, as Seymour M. Hersh reported in The New Yorker, he was rewarded for his honesty by being forced into retirement. Now, in a preface to a Physicians for Human Rights report based on medical examinations of former detainees, Taguba adds an epilogue to his own investigation. The new report, he writes, "tells the largely untold human story of what happened to detainees in our custody when the Commander-in-Chief and those under him authorized a systematic regime of torture. This story is not only written in words: It is scrawled for the rest of these individual's lives on their bodies and minds. The profiles of these eleven former detainees, none of whom were ever charged with a crime or told why they were detained, are tragic and brutal rebuttals to those who claim that torture is ever justified. In order for these individuals to suffer the wanton cruelty to which they were subjected, a government policy was promulgated to the field whereby the Geneva Conventions and the Uniform Code of Military Justice were disregarded. The UN Convention Against Torture was indiscriminately ignored. There is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes."
Note: For many revealing reports on the brutal realities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, click here.
Guantanamo: Policy goals trumped law
June 18, 2008, Miami Herald/McClatchy Newspapers
The framework under which detainees were imprisoned for years without charges at Guantanamo and in many cases abused in Afghanistan wasn't the product of American military policy or the fault of a few rogue soldiers. It was largely the work of five White House, Pentagon and Justice Department lawyers who, following the orders of President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney, reinterpreted or tossed out the U.S. and international laws that govern the treatment of prisoners in wartime, according to former U.S. defense and Bush administration officials. The Supreme Court now has struck down many of their legal interpretations. The quintet of lawyers, who called themselves the "War Council," drafted legal opinions that circumvented the military's code of justice, the federal court system and America's international treaties in order to prevent anyone ... from being held accountable for activities that at other times have been considered war crimes. The international conventions ... to which [the US is] a party, were abandoned in secret meetings among the five men in one another's offices: ... David Addington, the ... longtime legal adviser and now chief of staff to Cheney [whose] primary motive, according to several former administration and defense officials, was to push for an expansion of presidential power that Congress or the courts couldn't check; Alberto Gonzales, first the White House counsel and then the attorney general; William J. Haynes II, the former Pentagon general counsel; former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, [and] Timothy E. Flanigan, a former deputy to Gonzales.
Note: Virtually no major media other than the Herald picked up this key story.
Documents indicate U.S. hid terror suspects from Red Cross
June 17, 2008, Miami Herald/McClatchy Newspapers
The U.S. military hid the locations of ... detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released. "We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques," Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility – Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan – were using sleep deprivation to "break" detainees. "True, but officially it is not happening," she is quoted as having said. [Another] person at the meeting, Jonathan Fredman, the chief counsel for the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, disclosed that detainees were moved routinely to avoid the scrutiny of the ICRC, which keeps tabs on prisoners in conflicts around the world. "In the past when the ICRC has made a big deal about certain detainees, the DOD (Defense Department) has 'moved' them away from the attention of the ICRC," Fredman said. The document, along with two dozen others, shows that top administration officials pushed relentlessly for tougher interrogation methods. Fredman of the CIA also appeared to be advocating the use of techniques harsher than those authorized by military field guides. "If the detainee dies, you're doing it wrong," the minutes report Fredman saying at one point.
Note: For many revealing reports on the brutal realities of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, click here.
Police chase UFO over Cardiff
June 20, 2008, The Telegraph (One of the U.K.'s leading newspapers)
A police helicopter crew gave chase to a UFO after it almost collided with their aircraft near a military base. The pilot was forced to bank sharply to avoid being hit by the mystery aircraft as the helicopter was returning to the Ministry of Defence base of St Athan, near Cardiff. The three crew, who described the UFO as 'flying saucer-shaped', then gave chase, getting as far as the North Devon coast before they ran low on fuel, it was reported. A spokesman for South Wales Police said: "We can confirm the Air Support Unit sighted an unusual aircraft. This was reported to the relevant authorities for their investigation." It was reported that the aircraft closed in at great speed, aiming straight for the helicopter which swerved sharply. "They are convinced it was a UFO. It sounds far-fetched, but they know what they saw." The helicopter crew are said to have crossed the Bristol channel in pursuit of the UFO, but lost sight of it and had to turn back due to a fuel shortage. The sighting comes weeks after the most comprehensive Government files on UFO activity are opened to the public for the first time today and they disclose that even air traffic controllers and police officers have seen mysterious craft in the skies over Britain. The sightings [include] corroborated accounts from policemen and pilots of Unidentified Flying Objects hovering above towns and cities. All were recorded on official forms, held by air bases and police stations, and compiled by the Ministry of Defence between 1978 and 2002.
Note: For a two-page summary of first-person evidence for UFOs presented by highly credible military and government officials, click here.
'Curveball' speaks, and a reputation as a disinformation agent remains intact
June 18, 2008, Los Angeles Times
Rafid Ahmed Alwan hoped for an easier life when he came [to Nuremberg, Germany] from Iraq nine years ago. He also hoped for a reward for his cooperation with German intelligence officers. "For what I've done, I should be treated like a king," he said outside a cramped, low-rent apartment he shares with his family. Instead, the Iraqi informant code-named Curveball has flipped burgers at McDonald's and Burger King, washed dishes in a Chinese restaurant and baked pretzels in an all-night bakery. He also has faced withering international scorn for peddling discredited intelligence that helped spur an invasion of his native country. It was intelligence attributed to Alwan -- as Curveball -- that the White House used in making its case that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. He described what turned out to be fictional mobile germ factories. The CIA belatedly branded him a liar. After Curveball's role in the pre-invasion intelligence fiasco was disclosed by the Los Angeles Times four years ago, the con man behind the code name remained in the shadows. His security was protected and his identity concealed by the BND, Germany's Federal Intelligence Service. Along with confirmation of Curveball's identity, however, have come fresh disclosures raising doubts about his honesty -- much of that new detail coming from friends, associates and past employers. And records reveal that when Alwan fled to Germany, one step ahead of the Iraq Justice Ministry, an arrest warrant had been issued alleging that he sold filched camera equipment on the Baghdad black market.
Note: For much more information on the CIA's "disinformant" Curveball, click here. The lies he told were peddled by US media, including the major television networks and The New York Times and Washington Post, in the run-up to the US invasion of Iraq. For a powerful summary of major media cover-ups, click here.
Army Overseer Tells of Ouster Over KBR Stir
June 17, 2008, New York Times
The Army official who managed the Pentagon's largest contract in Iraq says he was ousted from his job when he refused to approve paying more than $1 billion in questionable charges to KBR, the Houston-based company that has provided food, housing and other services to American troops. The official, Charles M. Smith, was the senior civilian overseeing the multibillion-dollar contract with KBR during the first two years of the war. Speaking out for the first time, Mr. Smith said that he was forced from his job in 2004 after informing KBR officials that the Army would impose escalating financial penalties if they failed to improve their chaotic Iraqi operations. Army auditors had determined that KBR lacked credible data or records for more than $1 billion in spending, so Mr. Smith refused to sign off on the payments to the company. "They had a gigantic amount of costs they couldn't justify," he said in an interview. But he was suddenly replaced, he said, and his successors – after taking the unusual step of hiring an outside contractor to consider KBR's claims – approved most of the payments he had tried to block. Mr. Smith's account fills in important gaps about the Pentagon's handling of the KBR contract, which has cost more than $20 billion so far and has come under fierce criticism from lawmakers. Mr. Smith ... is giving his account just as the Pentagon has recently awarded KBR part of a 10-year, $150 billion contract in Iraq.
Note: For a summary of US Marine Corps General Smedley Butler's book on war profiteering, click here.
Pentagon to Consult Academics on Security
June 18, 2008, New York Times
The Pentagon has started an ambitious and unusual program to recruit social scientists and direct the nation's brainpower to combating security threats like the Chinese military, Iraq, terrorism and religious fundamentalism. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has compared the initiative – named Minerva, after the Roman goddess of wisdom (and warriors) – to the government's effort to pump up its intellectual capital during the cold war after the Soviet Union launched Sputnik in 1957. Although the Pentagon regularly finances science and engineering research, systematic support for the social sciences and humanities has been rare. But if the uncustomary push to engage the nation's evolutionary psychologists, demographers, sociologists, historians and anthropologists in security research – as well as the prospect of new financial support in lean times – has generated excitement among some scholars, it has also aroused opposition from others, who worry that the Defense Department and the academy are getting too cozy. Cooperation between universities and the Pentagon has long been a contentious issue. The Pentagon put out its first requests for proposals last week. Minerva will award $50 million over five years. Another set of grants administered by the National Science Foundation is expected to be announced by the end of this month. [Gates] contacted Robert M. Berdahl, [former chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley and] the president of the Association of American Universities – which represents 60 of the top research universities in the country – in December to help design Minerva.
Note: For many revealing reports on government corruption from reliable sources, click here.
What happened to building 7?
June 6, 2008, Financial Times
To the ["9/11 Truth movement"], Building 7 – the third building in the World Trade Center complex to collapse on September 11 – is evidence that the mainstream media is in on the plot. On that day, the BBC reported the building's fall almost half an hour before it happened. Journalist Jane Standley was broadcast at 4.54pm eastern time reporting that the tower had collapsed – but in the background, it was still standing. It fell 26 minutes later, seven hours after the Twin Towers came down. When the Standley clip hit YouTube, truthers bombarded the BBC's website with questions and accusations. Richard Porter, head of BBC world news, was forced to deny that the broadcaster was reading from the Bush conspirators' script. He said the BBC had misreported warnings from fire crews of the building's imminent collapse and instead stated that it had already happened. He blamed the confusion of the day for the mix-up. CNN had earlier reported rumours that a third building had either collapsed or was about to. This explanation was undermined by Porter's admission that the BBC no longer had the original tapes of its coverage. Building 7 is [a] smoking gun for other reasons, too. How, they ask, could this modern, steel-framed skyscraper collapse merely because of fire, without even being hit by an airliner? The 47-storey WTC7 fell straight down, at almost free-fall speed, largely into its own footprint: all the hallmarks, the sceptics say, of a controlled demolition.
Note: To read a related Financial Times report on the 9/11 Truth movement's claims, click here.
Students increase fuel-efficiency
June 22, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
What we drive in the future may not be designed in Detroit, or Tokyo or Stuttgart, but on the college campuses of North America. Teams of students from 17 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada have spent the last three years taking apart models of a Chevrolet Equinox, and re-designing and re-fitting the crossover SUV to get better fuel efficiency than the engineers and designers at General Motors have been able to achieve. It's called Challenge X. So what did these college teams come up with? They came up with bio-diesel, ethanol, hydrogen, hybrid electric, plug-in electric - with most of the teams using two of these energy sources together. The team from Penn State created an Equinox that runs on three fuels: bio-diesel, hydrogen and electric hybrid power. "The way it's designed, it's always burning hydrogen and bio-diesel together, and the hybrid motor turns on and off," explained Nate Simmons. The team from San Diego State created a bio-diesel electric hybrid, and transformed the transmission from automatic to manual for even better gas mileage. They were able to boost the EPA rating for the conventional Equinox from a rating of 23 miles per gallon highway up into the low 30s. "We set out to produce the most powerful vehicle in the competition," said faculty advisor James Burns. This year's winner was Mississippi State University, for its bio-diesel hybrid electric design. The MSU vehicle is powered by a 1.9-liter GM direct injection turbo-diesel engine, fueled by bio-diesel (B20). It won for achieving a whopping 38 percent increase in fuel economy over the production-model Equinox.
Israel backs Palo Alto man's electric car plan
June 17, 2008, San Francisco Chronicle (San Francisco's leading newspaper)
Shai Agassi, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur, pledges that he can beat the spiraling cost of gasoline with the world's first mass-produced electric car. In January, Israel's government endorsed the Palo Alto businessman's ambitious joint venture between his startup company - Project Better Place - and Renault-Nissan. Agassi says he raised $200 million to get the $500 million dollar project, which will include a network of charging and battery-exchange stations by 2010, off the ground. Project Better Place also has signed an agreement with Denmark to begin a similar operation by 2011. In Denmark, a pioneer in developing wind power, batteries are expected to be recharged using wind-powered turbines. Agassi is banking on his electric-powered sedan revolutionizing life on the roads, cleaning up the environment and reducing dependence on oil. The cars are expected to have a range of up to 140 miles per charge and a top speed of 68 mph - the speed limit in Israel. Last month, he invited reporters to test-drive a prototype that looks a lot like the Renault Megane, a four-door sedan. The car is noticeably quiet and has no exhaust pipe, an electric socket in place of a gas cap and a dashboard gauge that measures the charge of the vehicle's 450-pound lithium-ion battery. In the United States, Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has said she is interested in her state becoming the first to embrace the electric-car network. Mayor Gavin Newsom also has reportedly expressed interest in making San Francisco the first U.S. metropolis to place electric cars on city roads.
Note: For reports of many exciting breakthroughs in energy development and automotive design, click here.
New Skin Cancer Treatment Saves Man
June 18, 2008, CBS News/Associated Press
A man who had been given less than a year to live had a complete remission of advanced deadly skin cancer after an experimental treatment that revved up his immune system to fight the tumors. The 52-year-old patient's dramatic turnaround was the only success in a small study, leading doctors to be cautious in their enthusiasm. However, the treatment reported in ... The New England Journal of Medicine is being counted as the latest in a small series of successes involving immune-priming treatments against deadly skin cancers. "Immunotherapy has become the most promising approach" to late-stage, death-sentence skin cancers, said Dr. Darrell Rigel, a dermatology researcher at the New York University Cancer Institute in New York. About 20 years ago, some scientists discovered that immune cells could latch onto and attack skin cancers. "There's a long history behind all of this," said Dr. Steven Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute. In recent experiments, Rosenberg and other researchers have focused on souping up a certain kind of immune system cell - the "killer T cells" that envelop and kill foreign agents. Scientists focused ... on specific helper T cells that are adept at locking onto a cancer cell and guiding the killer cells to their target. The researchers drew blood from patients, located the special helper cells and then grew more of them in the laboratory. They then infused roughly 5 billion of the cells back into the patients without chemotherapy or the other harsh drugs. "It's a simpler and less toxic approach to melanoma than had been previously employed," said Dr. Louis Weiner, director of the cancer center at Georgetown University.
Note: For many hopeful reports on potential new cancer cures, click here.
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Airlines 9/11 Suit Against FBI, Torture Memos, Abu Ghraib General Blames White House