Terrorism News ArticlesExcerpts of Key Terrorism News Articles in Media
Undercover police officers routinely adopted a tactic of "promiscuity" with the blessing of senior commanders, according to a former agent who worked in a secretive unit of the Metropolitan police for four years. The former undercover policeman claims that sexual relationships with activists were sanctioned for both men and women officers infiltrating anarchist, leftwing and environmental groups. Sex was a tool to help officers blend in, the officer claimed, and was widely used as a technique to glean intelligence. He said undercover officers, particularly those infiltrating environmental and leftwing groups, viewed having sex with a large number of partners "as part of the job". His comments contradict claims last week from the Association of Chief Police Officers that operatives were absolutely forbidden to sleep with activists. The claims follow the unmasking of undercover PC Mark Kennedy, who had sexual relationships with several women during the seven years he spent infiltrating a ring of environmental activists. Another two covert officers have been named in the past fortnight who also had sex with the protesters they were sent to spy on, fuelling allegations that senior officers had authorised sleeping around as a legitimate means of gathering intelligence.
Note: For a comprehensive overview of the still-ongoing revelations about police provocateur Mark Kennedy and his cohorts in the UK police infiltration of environmental and related activist groups, click here.
A US federal watchdog has criticised the US military for failing to account properly for billions of dollars it received to help rebuild Iraq. The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money. Out of just over $9bn, $8.7bn is unaccounted for, the inspector says. Much of the money came from the sale of Iraqi oil and gas, and some frozen Saddam Hussein-era assets were also sold off. The money was in a special fund administered by the US Department of Defense, the Development Fund for Iraq (DFI), and was earmarked for reconstruction projects. But the report says that a lack of proper accounting and poor oversight makes it impossible to say exactly what happened to most of it. "The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss," the report said. This is not the first time that allegations of missing billions have surfaced in relation to the US-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. In 2005, the inspector general criticised the Coalition Provisional Authority, the US-led occupation administration, for its management of an $8.8bn fund that belonged to the Iraqi government. A criminal investigation conducted led to the conviction of eight US officials on bribery, fraud and money-laundering charges.
Note: For a collection of major media articles showing how the US military has repeatedly failed to account for hundreds of billions of dollars, click here.
In the Department of Defense, where more than two-thirds of the intelligence programs reside, only a handful of senior officials - called Super Users - have the ability to even know about all the department's activities. Most [sources for this story] requested anonymity either because they are prohibited from speaking publicly or because, they said, they feared retaliation at work for describing their concerns. Beyond redundancy, secrecy within the intelligence world hampers effectiveness in other ways. For the Defense Department, [the] problem goes back to an ultra-secret group of programs for which access is extremely limited and monitored by specially trained security officers. These are called Special Access Programs - or SAPs - and the Pentagon's list of code names for them runs 300 pages. The intelligence community has hundreds more of its own, and those hundreds have thousands of sub-programs with their own limits on the number of people authorized to know anything about them. All this means that very few people have a complete sense of what's going on. Such secrecy can undermine the normal chain of command when senior officials use it to cut out rivals or when subordinates are ordered to keep secrets from their commanders. One military officer involved in one such program said he was ordered to sign a document prohibiting him from disclosing it to his four-star commander, with whom he worked closely every day, because the commander was not authorized to know about it
Note: To read the full text of this important article, please make sure to press the "Continue Reading" button at the end of the first webpage to access all of the fascinating information provided. For lots more on government secrecy, click here.
The Obama Administration has taken the unprecedented step of authorising the killing of a US citizen, the radical Muslim cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. The decision is extraordinary not only because Mr al-Awlaki is believed to be the first American whose killing has been approved by a US President, but also because the Obama Administration chose to make the move public. The Los Angeles Times reported in January that Mr al-Awlaki’s name had been placed on a top-secret list of targeted killings. In the past 24 hours, however, a handful of intelligence and counter-terrorism officials have briefed Reuters and The New York Times on the decision. The authorisation ... and the decision to make it public is a high-risk strategy. Tina Foster, of the US-based International Justice Network, told The Times: “It is shocking that our Government would go to these extremes, even depriving someone of their life without a legal process.” The policy of targeted killings is controversial. President Ford issued an order in 1976 banning political assassinations. Yet Congress approved the use of force against al-Qaeda after the September 11 attacks.
Note: Obama is the first president to publicly order the assassination an American citizen. Neither George W. Bush nor Dick Cheney asserted such a power on the part of the president.
Classified U.S. military video showing a 2007 attack by Apache helicopters that killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters news staff, was released on [April 5] by a group that promotes leaking to fight government and corporate corruption. The group, WikiLeaks, told a news conference in Washington that it acquired encrypted video of the July 12, 2007, attack from military whistleblowers and had been able to view and investigate it after breaking the encryption code. A U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed that the video and audio were authentic. David Schlesinger, Reuters' editor-in-chief, said the video released by WikiLeaks showed the deaths of [Namir] Noor-Eldeen and [Saeed] Chmagh were "tragic and emblematic of the extreme dangers that exist in covering war zones." "The video released today via WikiLeaks is graphic evidence of the dangers involved in war journalism and the tragedies that can result," he said. Reuters has pressed the U.S. military to conduct a full and objective investigation into the killing of the two staff. WikiLeaks posted the video at http://www.collateralmurder.com.
Note: If the above link fails, click here. Should the above video disappear, click here to view it on one of our websites. The only reason this event made news is because the two cameramen killed were Reuters reporters. US forces then fired on an unarmed van with children in it, which was attempting to bring the dead and wounded out of the combat zone. How many innocent civilians are killed like this and never make the news? Spread this important video and help others to wake up and work together to stop the creulty of some of the US forces. The Pentagon is working hard to shut down Wikileaks, the organization which secured this powerful video.
The State Department didn't revoke the visa of foiled terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab because federal counterterrorism officials had begged off revocation, a top State Department official revealed. Patrick F. Kennedy, an undersecretary for management at the State Department, said Abdulmutallab's visa wasn't taken away because intelligence officials asked his agency not to deny a visa to the suspected terrorist. "Revocation action would have disclosed what they were doing," Kennedy said in testimony before the House Committee on Homeland Security. Since the failed attack, criticism has swirled around leaders of the U.S. intelligence community who have indicated they were warned by the suspect's father about a month before the flight of a potential terror threat, but failed to stop Abdmutallab, despite other warning signs like the fact that he purchased a one-way ticket to Detroit with cash.
Note: So federal counterterrorism officials stopped the bomber's visa from being revoked. Hmmmm... Clearly there is more going on in this case than "failure to connect the dots." Why aren't other major media reporting this important story? Kurt Haskell, a key eyewitness passenger who almost lost his life, has written a powerfully revealing blog piece on what he thinks is really going on, available here. For more on this key case, click here.
A highly unusual ruling by Lord Hutton, who chaired the inquiry into Dr Kelly's death, means medical records including the post-mortem report will remain classified until after all those with a direct interest in the case are dead. And a 30-year secrecy order has been placed on written records provided to Lord Hutton's inquiry which were not produced in evidence. Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker, who has conducted his own investigations into Dr Kelly's death, described the order as "astonishing". Dr Kelly's body was found in woods close to his Oxfordshire home in 2003, shortly after it was revealed that he was the source of a BBC report casting doubt on the Government's claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction capable of being fired within 45 minutes. An inquest was suspended by then Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer, who ruled that Lord Hutton's inquiry could take its place. But ... the inquiry focused more on the question of how the BBC report came to be broadcast than on the medical explanation for Dr Kelly's death. Lord Hutton's report in 2004 concluded that Dr Kelly killed himself by cutting an artery in his wrist. But the finding has been challenged by doctors who claim that the weapons inspector's stated injuries were not serious enough.
Note: For a cache of illuminating reports on government secrecy, click here.
The Transportation Security Administration ... has on its web site a “mythbuster” that tries to reassure the public. Myth: The No-Fly list includes an 8-year-old boy. Buster: No 8-year-old is on a T.S.A. watch list. “Meet Mikey Hicks,” said Najlah Feanny Hicks, introducing her 8-year-old son, a New Jersey Cub Scout and frequent traveler who has seldom boarded a plane without a hassle because he shares the name of a suspicious person. “It’s not a myth.” Hicks’s mother initially sensed trouble when he was a baby and she could not get a seat for him on their flight to Florida at an airport kiosk; airline officials explained that his name “was on the list,” she recalled. The first time he was patted down, at Newark Liberty International Airport, Mikey was 2. He cried. After years of long delays and waits for supervisors at every airport ticket counter, this year’s vacation to the Bahamas badly shook up the family. Mikey was frisked on the way there, then more aggressively on the way home. “Up your arms, down your arms, up your crotch — someone is patting your 8-year-old down like he’s a criminal,” Mrs. Hicks recounted. It is true that Mikey is not on the federal government’s “no-fly” list, which includes about 2,500 people, less than 10 percent of them from the United States. But his name appears to be among some 13,500 on the larger “selectee” list, which sets off a high level of security screening.
Note: For many reports from major media sources on the extreme loss of liberties brought about by the highly touted "war on terrorism," click here.
Osama Bin Laden died eight years ago during the battle for Tora Bora in Afghanistan, either from a US bomb or from a serious kidney disease. Or so the conspiracy theory goes. The theory that has developed on the web since 9/11 is that US intelligence services are manufacturing the Bin Laden statements ... to justify the so-called war on terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and back at home. Numerous audio and video statements purporting to be from Bin Laden have been released, but their authenticity has been continually questioned. The veracity of all of the videos is questioned by David Ray Griffin, a former theology professor and member of the 9/11 Truth Movement, which also questions mainstream accounts of the attack on the World Trade Centre. "None of them can be proven to be authentic," he says. "At least three of them can be shown to be almost certainly fake. And if somebody is faking Bin Laden videos, then that leads to the suspicion that all the videos and audio tapes have been faked." His first example is a video released by the US Department of Defense in December 2001. In it, [the] Bin Laden [figure] confesses to 9/11, yet Mr Griffin points out that al-Qaeda has only rarely admitted responsibility for terrorist attacks. He also maintains that the Bin Laden figure looks very different to previous footage - fatter, with shorter fingers, and that he is even writing with the wrong hand.
Note: To see how easily audio and video materials can be faked, read excerpts from this Washington Post article. WantToKnow supporter David Ray Griffin has written extensively about the evidence regarding whether Osama bin Laden is alive or dead, including his recent book, Osama bin Laden: Dead or Alive? BBC also interviewed former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who stated in 2007 that bin Laden was dead. She was murdered one month later. For more on this, click here
When Sept. 11, 2001, dawned, the Northeast Air Defense Sector in Rome, N.Y., went on full alert — to prepare for a training exercise that envisioned a sneak attack by Russian planes flying over the North Pole to bomb the United States, a prospect that Defense Secretary Robert McNamara had dismissed as outdated in 1966. Later that morning, ... three F-16 fighter jets were scrambled from Langley Air Force Base to form a combat air patrol over Washington. But degraded radio transmission quality meant that the pilots were left clueless about the nature of their mission. On seeing the Pentagon in flames, the lead fighter pilot later explained, “I reverted to the Russian threat. I’m thinking cruise missile threat from the sea. You know, you look down and see the Pentagon burning, and I thought the bastards snuck one by us. You couldn’t see any airplanes, and no one told us anything.” As senior counsel to the 9/11 Commission, [Farmer] investigated the derelict conduct of the national security apparatus. Now that numerous transcripts and tapes have been declassified, [in his book The Ground Truth] Farmer draws on them to assail the government’s official depiction of 9/11 as so much public relations flimflam. Both Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz and Vice President Dick Cheney, Farmer says, provided palpably false versions that touted the military’s readiness to shoot down United 93 before it could hit Washington. Planes were never in place to intercept it. Farmer ... was the attorney general of New Jersey and is the dean of the Rutgers School of Law,
Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday. "The real story is what's missing," said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting into the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more. The tapes turned over by the FBI came from security cameras various companies had mounted outside office buildings near the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. They are blank at points before 9:02 a.m., when a truck bomb carrying a 4,000-pound fertilizer-and-fuel-oil bomb detonated in front of the building, Trentadue said. "Four cameras in four different locations going blank at basically the same time on the morning of April 19, 1995. There ain't no such thing as a coincidence," Trentadue said. He said government officials claim the security cameras did not record the minutes before the bombing because "they had run out of tape" or "the tape was being replaced." "The absence of footage from these crucial time intervals is evidence that there is something there that the FBI doesn't want anybody to see." Trentadue said he is seeking more tapes along with a variety of bombing-related documents from the FBI and the CIA. An FOIA request by Trentadue for 26 CIA documents was rejected in June. A letter from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, which reviewed the documents, said their release "could cause grave damage to our national security."
Note: This revealing article also tells how Trentadue's brother was murdered by FBI agents who mistakenly thought his brother was the bomber. For more valuable information on this and other evidence challenging the official story of the Oklahoma City bombing, click here.
The Pentagon is steadily and dramatically increasing the money it spends to win what it calls "the human terrain" of world public opinion. In the process, it is raising concerns of spreading propaganda at home in violation of federal law. An Associated Press investigation found that over the past five years, the money the military spends on winning hearts and minds at home and abroad has grown by 63 percent, to at least $4.7 billion this year, according to Department of Defense budgets and other documents. That's almost as much as it spent on body armor for troops in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2004 and 2006. This year, the Pentagon will employ 27,000 people just for recruitment, advertising and public relations — almost as many as the total 30,000-person work force in the State Department. The biggest chunk of funds — about $1.6 billion — goes into recruitment and advertising. Another $547 million goes into public affairs, which reaches American audiences. And about $489 million more goes into what is known as psychological operations. Staffing across all these areas costs about $2.1 billion, as calculated by the number of full-time employees and the military's average cost per service member. That's double the staffing costs for 2003. Recruitment and advertising are the only two areas where Congress has authorized the military to influence the American public. Far more controversial is public affairs, because of the prohibition on propaganda to the American public.
Note: For more revealing reports from reliable sources on the realities of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, click here.
OLBERMANN: It has taken less than 24 hours after the Bush presidency ended for a former analyst at the National Security Agency to come forward to reveal new allegations about how this nation was spied on by its own government. Russell Tice [reveals] that under the collar of fighting terrorism, the Bush administration was also targeting specific groups of Americans for surveillance. TICE: The National Security Agency had access to all Americans‘ communications, faxes, phone calls, and their computer communications. They monitored all communications. What was done was a sort of an ability to look at the meta data, the signaling data for communications, and ferret that information to determine what communications would ultimately be collected. Basically, filtering out sort of like sweeping everything with that meta data, and then cutting down ultimately what you are going to look at and what is going to be collected, and in the long run have an analyst look at, you know, needles in a haystack for what might be of interest. OLBERMANN: I mention that you say specific groups were targeted. What group or groups can you tell us about? TICE: [Some of the groups they] collected on were U.S. news organizations and reporters and journalists. The collection ... was 24/7, and you know, 365 days a year, and it made no sense.
Saudi Arabia's rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday. Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced "another 7/7" and the loss of "British lives on British streets" if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence. Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than Ł1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE. He was accused in yesterday's high court hearings of flying to London in December 2006 and uttering threats which made the prime minister, Tony Blair, force an end to the Serious Fraud Office investigation into bribery allegations involving Bandar and his family. The threats halted the fraud inquiry. Lord Justice Moses, hearing the civil case with Mr Justice Sullivan, said the government appeared to have "rolled over" after the threats. He said one possible view was that it was "just as if a gun had been held to the head" of the government. The SFO investigation began in 2004, when Robert Wardle, its director, studied evidence unearthed by the Guardian. This revealed that massive secret payments were going from BAE to Saudi Arabian princes, to promote arms deals. Yesterday, anti-corruption campaigners began a legal action to overturn the decision to halt the case. They want the original investigation restarted, arguing the government had caved into blackmail.
Note: This report comes very close to confirming the close link between terrorist attacks and high-level policy of certain states. For many revealing clues along these lines from reliable sources, click here.
David Frost: Does anyone know exactly who was responsible for this assassination attempt? There is one report that said that you arranged to send President Musharraf a letter ... in the event of your death by assassination, urging him to investigate certain individuals in his government. Is that true? Benazir Bhutto: Yes it is true that I wrote to General Musharraf. I feel these are the forces that really want to stop not just me, but the democratic process and the will of the people [from] triumphing. David Frost: In terms of these three people you mentioned where they members of or associated with the government? Benazir Bhutto: One of them is a very key figure in security. He is a former military officer. He is someone who has had dealings with Jaish-e-Mohammad, one of the band [of] groups of Maulana Masood Azhar, who was in an Indian jail for decapitating three British tourists and three American tourists. And he also had dealings with Omar Shiekh, who murdered Osama bin Laden.
Note: The key statement on bin Laden's murder happens at minute five in the video at the above link. If the link fails, click here. For a Jan. 9, 2010 BBC article also suggesting bin Laden may already have been dead years earlier and that his death had been covered up, click here. Bhutto was assassinated not long after this interview on Dec. 27, 2007.
The "war on terror" has created a culture of fear in America. The Bush administration's elevation of these three words into a national mantra since the horrific events of 9/11 has had a pernicious impact on American democracy. Constant reference to a "war on terror" did accomplish one major objective: It stimulated the emergence of a culture of fear. Fear obscures reason, intensifies emotions and makes it easier for demagogic politicians to mobilize the public on behalf of the policies they want to pursue. America today is not the self-confident and determined nation that responded to Pearl Harbor; nor is it the America that heard from its leader, at another moment of crisis, the powerful words "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself." Fear-mongering, reinforced by security entrepreneurs, the mass media and the entertainment industry, generates its own momentum. The terror entrepreneurs ... are necessarily engaged in competition to justify their existence. Hence their task is to convince the public that it faces new threats. "Security" procedures have become routine, wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and further contributing to a siege mentality. Government at every level has stimulated the paranoia. The record is even more troubling in the general area of civil rights. The culture of fear has bred intolerance, suspicion of foreigners and the adoption of legal procedures that undermine fundamental notions of justice. Innocent until proven guilty has been diluted if not undone, with some -- even U.S. citizens -- incarcerated for lengthy periods of time without ... due process. There is no known, hard evidence that such excess has prevented significant acts of terrorism.
Note: This is an amazingly deep and powerful analysis of the use of fear by politicians, big business, and the media to promote their own agendas. Amazingly, the article was written by Zbigniew Brzezinski, national security adviser to President Carter. This is the same man who wrote in his book The Grand Chessboard, that U.S. global primacy is not likely to be achieved "except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat." Strange, but the article is well worth reading in its entirety. For more, click here.
9/11 was the first global event in the age of the internet. And now the world wide web is being used as a platform for a wide range of conspiracy theories ... which allege that the US government was somehow involved in the attacks. Those who question the official account of 9/11 form a broad coalition. Loose Change has been viewed tens of millions of times and pulls no punches. [Creator Dylan Avery claims] "our government will willingly kill its own citizens for whatever gain it deems necessary ... and then lie as much as they need to cover it up." At the other extreme [Professor Jim] Fetzer is a former US Marine officer and retired professor of philosophy. Puzzled by the apparent discrepancies in the official account of 9/11, he founded a coalition of like-minded academics called Scholars For 9/11 Truth. Its purpose is to research exactly what happened that day, using the principles of scientific research. Alex Jones, a nationally syndicated radio talk show host ... believes 9/11 was "an inside job." "It's a self inflicted wound, it's a false-flag terror operation," he claims. After the attacks, government officials were summoned to give evidence before a Congressional Inquiry set up to investigate the intelligence failure before 9/11. Co-chairman Senator Bob Graham told ... of his frustration at the lack of co-operation from the FBI in that inquiry, and by the government's decision to censor over 30 pages of his report which related to Saudi Arabia. "Within 9/11 there are too many secrets," he said, "withholding of those secrets has eroded public confidence in their government."
Note: Don't miss the BBC's impressive 9/11 Timeline available here which is related to the above article. And for lots more reliable, verifiable information suggesting a 9/11 cover-up, click here. If the above link to the BBC article does not function, click on The 9/11 Conspiracy Movement.
In the ballroom foyer of the Embassy Suites Hotel, the two-day International Education and Strategy Conference for 9/11 Truth was off to a rollicking start. More than 500 people — from Italy to Northern California — gathered for the weekend at a major chain hotel near the runways of O'Hare International. There were talks on the Reichstag fire and the sinking of the Battleship Maine as precedents for 9/11. There were speeches by the lawyer for James Earl Ray, who claimed that a military conspiracy killed the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, and by a former operative for the British secret service, MI5. 9/11 Truthers [are] a group that, in its rank and file, includes professors, chain-saw operators, mothers, engineers, activists, used-book sellers, pizza deliverymen, [and] college students. Steven E. Jones [is] a professor of physics at Brigham Young University and the movement's expert in the matter of collapse. Dr. Jones...is a soft-spoken man who lets his writing do the talking. He composed an account of the destruction of the towers...that holds that "pre-positioned cutter-charges" brought the buildings down. There is a plan by the British delegation...to get members of Parliament to watch "Loose Change," the seminal movement DVD. The Truthers are not alone in believing the whole truth has not come out. A poll released last month by Zogby International found that 42 percent of all Americans believe the 9/11 Commission "concealed or refused to investigate critical evidence" in the attacks. [And a] Zogby poll two years ago that found that 49 percent of New York City residents agreed with the idea that some leaders "knew in advance" that the attacks were planned and failed to act.
Despite a huge and costly effort by the media, the public still has an incomplete picture of what really happened during the [war in Afghanistan] and of how Osama bin Laden survived it. Gary Berntsen's Jawbreaker provides a valuable new account by a major participant that fills in many blanks. Berntsen was a top CIA field commander in the most critical sector of a new kind of war; at various times, the CIA veteran had elements of the Delta Force, Army Rangers, Navy SEALs and tactical air units reporting to him. Crown Publishers has chosen unnecessarily to position it as a diatribe that the CIA tried to suppress. In fact, while the CIA dragged its feet in reviewing the manuscript for classified material and redacted plenty of specifics, the book is hardly an attack on the CIA. In fact, the overall picture of the CIA here is far more flattering than that in The 9/11 Commission Report. Still, to portray Jawbreaker as "the book the CIA doesn't want you to read" (as the cover puts it), the publisher has displayed the redactions throughout the book as large black lines. Contradicting Bush administration denials, Berntsen writes that his teams discovered bin Laden and the remnants of his entourage in the now famous Tora Bora Mountains along the lawless, rugged Afghan-Pakistani border. Berntsen recounts very credibly how he and others pleaded with Gen. Tommy Franks and the Pentagon brass to put in blocking forces so that bin Laden and the remnants of al Qaeda's leadership could not flee into Pakistan. But for reasons that remain unclear to Berntsen ... the Bush administration or Franks decided to depend instead on local Afghan warlords rather than put U.S. forces on the ground to block bin Laden's escape.
Note: To read a concise summary of reliable news reports that raise serious questions about what really happened on 9/11, click here.
A federal appeals court yesterday backed the president's power to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks. The ruling, by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, came in the case of Jose Padilla, a former gang member and U.S. citizen arrested in Chicago in 2002 and a month later designated an "enemy combatant" by President Bush. Padilla has been held without trial in a U.S. naval brig for more than three years, and his case has ignited a fierce battle over the balance between civil liberties and the government's power to fight terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. A host of civil liberties groups and former attorney general Janet Reno weighed in on Padilla's behalf, calling his detention illegal and arguing that the president does not have unchecked power to lock up U.S. citizens indefinitely. In its ruling yesterday, the three-judge panel overturned a lower court. Avidan Cover, a senior associate at Human Rights First, said the ruling "really flies in the face of our understanding of what rights American citizens are entitled to." Opponents have warned that if not constrained by the courts, Padilla's detention could lead to the military being allowed to hold anyone who, for example, checks out what the government considers the wrong kind of reading materials from the library.
Note: For many disturbing reports from major media sources on government threats to civil liberties, click here.
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