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The San Diego Public Library will host a screening of A Senseless Death. This new film by Raymonde Provencher tells the little known story of "green card soldiers"-young, non-citizen soldiers and Marines struggling to achieve, the so-called, "American Dream"-who were among the first casualties of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Read more, Map.
FBI compounds mystery with secret justification of gag order
The FBI continues its secrecy binge by filing a classified justification of its use of a gag order on an ISP in the ongoing Doe v. Holder battle.
By Jon Stokes | Arstechnica
When the FBI uses a national security letter (NSL) to force the cooperation of an ISP or phone company in the surveillance of a suspect, the agency typically slaps a gag order on the service provider to prevent it from revealing the existence of the NSL. Civil liberties groups have successfully challenged the DOJ on these gag orders in the ongoing Doe v. Holder, and last month the Obama administration decided not to appeal a federal court ruling that the FBI must justify these gag orders by meeting a relatively high First Amendment standard.
The implication of the court's ruling was that the FBI would finally have to justify the gag order that it had placed on the John Doe in the Doe v. Holder case, so that the plaintiff could talk about the NSL. The FBI has now cooperated, and has given the court a justification of the gag order, in secret.
The classified declaration that justifies the gag order can't even be seen by Doe's attorneys at the ACLU. In a statement, the ACLU elaborated on the move: "The government did not even file a redacted version of its secret affidavit or even an unclassified summary of what the secret affidavit says. Basically, the government is asking us just to trust that the gag is justified." Read more.
PART 4: FBI Ignored Compelling Evidence of bin Laden Role
By Gareth Porter | IPS News
On Jul. 11, 1995, he had written an "Open Letter" to King Fahd advocating a campaign of guerilla attacks to drive U.S. military forces out of the Kingdom.
Bin Laden’s al Qaeda organisation began carrying out that campaign later that same year. On Nov. 13, 1995 a car bomb destroyed the Office of the Programme Manager of the Saudi National Guard (OPM SANG) in Riyadh, killing five U.S. airmen and wounding 34.
The confessions of the four jihadists from the Afghan War to the bombing, which were broadcast on Saudi television, said they had been inspired by Osama bin Laden, and one of them referred to a camp in Afghanistan which was associated with bin Laden.
"It was a backhanded reference to bin Laden," says veteran FBI agent Dan Coleman.
The U.S. Embassy in Riyadh immediately requested that the FBI be allowed to interrogate the suspects as soon as their arrests were announced in April. But the Saudis never responded to the request, and on May 31, the embassy was informed only an hour and half before that the four suspects would be beheaded. Read more.
A team of journalists investigating the global electronic waste business has unearthed a security problem too. In a Ghana market, they bought a computer hard drive containing sensitive documents belonging to U.S. government contractor Northrop Grumman.
The drive had belonged to a Fairfax, Virginia, employee who still works for the company and contained "hundreds and hundreds of documents about government contracts," said Peter Klein, an associate professor with the University of British Columbia, who led the investigation for the Public Broadcasting Service show Frontline. He would not disclose details of the documents, but he said that they were marked "competitive sensitive" and covered company contracts with the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Transportation Security Agency.
The data was unencrypted, Klein said in an interview. The cost? US$40.
Northrop Grumman is not sure how the drive ended up in a Ghana market, but apparently the company had hired an outside vendor to dispose of the PC. "Based on the documents we were shown, we believe this hard drive may have been stolen after one of our asset-disposal vendors took possession of the unit," the Northrop Grumman said in a statement. "Despite sophisticated safeguards, no company can inoculate itself completely against crime." Read more.
Ever since President Obama proposed holding terrorism detainees without trial, the debate over preventive detention has been growing. Now, NPR has the first look at a detailed legislative proposal to hold detainees indefinitely. The document comes from two experts outside of government, and it is already being discussed in the Obama administration.
In a speech last month at the National Archives, President Obama opened the door to the possibility that some terrorism detainees will neither be tried nor released.
"If and when we determine the United States must hold individuals to keep them from carrying out an act of war," he said, "we will do so within a system that involves judicial and congressional oversight."
Attorney General Eric Holder was not much more specific last week when he testified before a Senate committee that a preventive detention program "would be some kind of review with regard to the initial determination [that the detainee should be held], and then a periodic review with regard to whether or not that person should continue to be detained."
Although the controversy has been hazy until now, it is about to come into sharp focus. Read more.
In an act of nonviolent Civil Resistance, 11 activists participated in a “Die In” in front of the U.S. Justice, in Washington, D.C., on the afternoon of Thursday, June 25, 2009.
The protesters were demanding a meeting with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to urge him to appoint a “Special Prosecutor for Torture.” Their purpose: To hold accountable to the supremacy of the Law, certain members of the Bush-Cheney Gang, including ex-President George W. Bush, Jr. and V.P. Dick Cheney, who are suspected of authorizing torture on numerous detainees, in violation of the Geneva Convention, International Law, the Nuremberg Principles and the U.S. Constitution.
National Coalition To File Formal Complaints And Call For Dismissal Of The Lawyer Architects of Detainee Torture Programs
National Coalition to file formal complaints and call for dismissal of ‘Torture Architect’ and current top CIA lawyer, John Rizzo, and other current and former CIA counsel | Press Release
Washington, D.C. – On Monday, June 29th at 9:30AM in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, ( Map ) three prominent D.C. lawyers, including a former Associate Deputy Attorney General under President Reagan, will discuss the legal case against the lawyer architects of a program of torture and cruel and inhumane treatment of detainees held in the custody of the U.S. government since shortly after the 9/11 attacks.
The sponsoring coalition, Velvet Revolution, has called for the disbarment of over a dozen lawyers filing formal complaints in five states as part of a national campaign described at disbartorturelawyers.com.
See more below.
The military town of Killeen, Texas becomes a free speech refuge for Fort Hood soldiers.
PART 3: U.S. Officials Leaked a False Story Blaming Iran
By Gareth Porter* | IPS News
In March 1997, FBI Director Louis Freeh got what he calls in his memoirs "the first truly big break in the case": the arrest in Canada of one of the Saudi Hezbollah members the Saudis accused of being the driver of the getaway car at Khobar Towers.
Hani al-Sayegh, then 28 years old, had arrived in Canada in August 1996 after having left Saudi Arabia, by his own account, in August 1995, for Iran and Syria. The Canadian government charged him with being a terrorist, based on claims by the Saudi regime.
In order to be transferred to the United States without facing deportation to Saudi Arabia, where he was believed to face the death penalty, al-Sayegh had to agreed to a plea bargain under which he would admit to having proposed an attack on U.S. personnel, for which he would have to serve up to 10 years in prison.
In fact, the only thing al-Sayegh had actually admitted to, according to FBI sources, was having proposed an attack on one AWACS plane that had been turned over to the Saudi Air Force – a proposal he said had been rejected. Both before and after being brought to Washington, moreover, Al-Sayegh steadfastly denied any knowledge of the Khobar Towers bombing. Read more.
America's "Bases of Empire"
By Stephen Lendman
Besides waging perpetual wars, nothing better reveals America's imperial agenda than its hundreds of global bases - for offense, not defense at a time the US hasn't had an enemy since the Japanese surrendered in August 1945.
So when they don't exist, they're invented as former US ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Charles W. Freeman, Jr., suggested in a May 24, 2007 speech to the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs:
"When our descendants look back on the end of the 20th century and the beginning of this one, they will be puzzled. The end of the Cold War relieved Americans of almost all international anxieties." As the world's sole remaining superpower, "We did not rise to the occasion."
US-AFGHANISTAN: Airstrike Report Belies "Blame Taliban" Line
Analysis by Gareth Porter* | IPS News
The version of the official military investigation into the disastrous May 4 airstrike in Farah province made public last week by the Central Command was carefully edited to save the U.S. command in Afghanistan the embarrassment of having to admit that earlier claims blaming the massive civilian deaths on the "Taliban" were fraudulent.
By covering up the most damaging facts surrounding the incident, the rewritten public version of report succeeded in avoiding media stories on the contradiction between the report and the previous arguments made by the U.S. command.
The declassified "executive summary" of the report on the bombing issued last Friday admitted that mistakes had been made in the use of airpower in that incident. However, it omitted key details which would have revealed the self-serving character of the U.S. command’s previous claims blaming the "Taliban" – the term used for all insurgents fighting U.S. forces - for the civilian deaths from the airstrikes.
The report reasserted the previous claim by the U.S. command that only about 26 civilians had been killed in the U.S. bombing on that day, despite well-documented reports by the government and by the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission that between 97 and 147 people were killed. Read more.
Two years ago, our congressional representative Chaka Fattah (D) made an important promise - one that he has completely and shamelessly betrayed.
In 2007, in response to a growing number of American citizens frustrated by the United States' open-ended military presence in Iraq, Fattah and a small cadre of congressmen wrote a letter to then-President Bush. It stated that they would "only support appropriating additional funds for U.S. military operations in Iraq during Fiscal Year 2008 and beyond for the protection and safe redeployment of our troops out of Iraq before [Bush leaves] office."
Their purported goal was to limit the increasingly concentrated power of Washington bureaucrats, policy-makers and politicians who had become - and continue to be - the arbiters of life and death for millions of people living in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One would assume that this principled anti-war sentiment might continue to hold firm - even with a Democrat in the White House. But a little over a week ago, in an act of astonishing hypocrisy, Fattah went back on his pledge and voted for an emergency war supplemental bill that commits $79.9 billion to refuel both of our wars without any commitment to troop withdrawal. This act reveals his earlier pledge as nothing more than a cynical political stunt.
Why did Fattah do it? It's shameful. Our congressman snapped like a dry bone when Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel and other members of President Barack Obama's Beltway war council (Nancy Pelosi and Hillary Clinton, among others) leaned on him. Read more.
Now We See You, Now We Don’t
by Kathy Kelly | June 25, 2009 | Voices for Creative Nonviolence
In early June, 2009, I was in the Shah Mansoor displaced persons camp in Pakistan, listening to one resident detail the carnage which had spurred his and his family’s flight there a mere 15 days earlier. Their city, Mingora, had come under massive aerial bombardment. He recalled harried efforts to bury corpses found on the roadside even as he and his neighbors tried to organize their families to flee the area.
“They were killing us in that way, there,” my friend said. Then, gesturing to the rows of tents stretching as far as the eye could see, he added, “Now, in this way, here.”
The people in the tent encampment suffered very harsh conditions. They were sleeping on the ground without mats, they lacked water for bathing, the tents were unbearably hot, and they had no idea whether their homes and shops in Mingora were still standing. But, the suffering they faced had only just begun.
When approaching Iran, the Republican Party line and the Hugo Chavez line are running in opposite directions -- but parallel. The leadership of GOP reaction and the leadership of Bolivarian revolution have bought into the convenient delusion that long-suffering Iranian people require assistance from the U.S. government to resist the regime in Tehran.
Inside Iran, advocates for reform and human rights have long pleaded for the U.S. government to keep out of Iranian affairs. After the CIA organized the coup that overthrew Iran’s democracy in 1953, Washington kept the Shah in power for a quarter century. When I was in Tehran four years ago, during the election that made Mahmoud Ahmadinejad president, what human rights activists most wanted President Bush to do was shut up.
But Bush played to the same kind of peanut gallery that is now applauding the likes of Sen. John McCain. The Bush White House denigrated the 2005 election just before the balloting began -- to the delight of the hardest-line Iranian fundamentalists. The ultra-righteous Bush rhetoric gave a significant boost to Ahmadinejad’s campaign.
Denunciations and threats from Washington are the last thing that Iran’s reform advocates want. And Iranians certainly don’t need encouragement from Uncle Sam to do what they can to bring about democratic change. Read more.
STATEMENT OF ADMINISTRATION POLICY
H.R. 2647 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010
(Rep. Skelton, D-Missouri, and 1 cosponsor)
The Administration supports House passage of H.R. 2647, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010. The Administration appreciates the House Armed Services Committee's continued strong support of our national defense, including its support for the Department's topline budget requests for both the base budget and for overseas contingency operations.
Bruce K. Gagnon, Coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space wrote the following to the Times Record in Brunswick, Maine.
The national media made a big deal about President Obama killing a fly. His "I got the sucker" was even compared to a similar moment by honest Abe Lincoln.
But sadly little time in the national media is spent describing the tragic consequences to hundreds of innocent civilians in Afghanistan and Pakistan who have been killed by United States unmanned aerial vehicles, or "drones" as they are popularly called.
Since 1997, every June 26 has been formally recognized as the International Day of Support for Victims of Torture. Political leaders around the globe take the occasion to proclaim their opposition to barbarism.
On June 26, 2003, President George W. Bush proudly declared: “The United States is committed to the worldwide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example. I call on all governments to join with the United States and the community of law-abiding nations in prohibiting, investigating, and prosecuting all acts of torture and in undertaking to prevent other cruel and unusual punishment.”
This was one of the most fraudulent assertions since 1936, when the new Soviet constitution guaranteed Soviet citizens complete freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of assembly. But this “perfect constitution” did nothing to prevent Stalin from sending millions of people to their deaths in the Gulag and in front of firing squads.
Similarly, Bush’s anti-torture proclamation did nothing to stop his administration from formalizing perhaps the most brutal abuses in modern American history. Top Bush administration officials created twisted rationales to authorize simulated drowning, “walling” (throwing detainees up against a wall, repeated ad nauseam), sleep deprivation (as long as it did not last more than 11 days), head slappings, and other methods to shatter people’s will and resistance.
The fact that the Bush administration engaged in torture in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo, and secret prison sites around the world is now no longer in dispute. Unfortunately, the Obama administration is rapidly become complicit in Bush torture crimes. Read more.
Nancy Pelosi: A Hawk in Donkey's Clothing?
By Stephen Zunes | Alternet
Pelosi has a history of voting for pro-war measures and supporting pro-war candidates. Her current behaviors should come as no surprise.
Congressional approval to continue funding of the ongoing war in Iraq, a major segment of the $90 billion supplemental appropriate package, passed on Tuesday thanks to heavy-handed pressure by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., against anti-war Democrats.
This has led to great consternation here in her home district in San Francisco, where anti-war sentiment remains stronger than ever. The timing of the measure is particularly upsetting given that California's record budget deficit has resulting in the layoffs of tens of thousands of teachers, the incipient closure of almost all of our state parks and draconian cuts in health care, housing, public transportation,the environment, social services and other critical programs. While unwilling or unable to get Congress to provide some financial support for the crisis here at home, our most powerful member of Congress was quite willing to work hard to insure continued financial support for war.
What few people outside of San Francisco realize is that despite representing one of the most liberal congressional districts in the country, Pelosi has been a strong supporter of the Iraq war for most of past seven years. Read more.
US and Kyrgyzstan sign new air base deal
By Isabel Gorst in Moscow, Financial Times
Kyrgyzstan said on Tuesday it would temporarily allow the US to continue using a military air base on its territory that is critical to coalition forces fighting the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan.
Kadyrbek Sarbayev, the Kyrgyz foreign minister, said Washington had agreed to more than triple the rent for use of the Manas base, a transit hub used for refuelling aircraft carrying troops to Afghanistan.
Kyrgyzstan gave the US six months to vacate Manas last February after accepting a promise of $2bn of financial assistance from Russia which objects to the presence of US troops in former Soviet central Asia.
Military Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges Over Afghanistan Defense Contracts Military Officials Plead Guilty to Felony Charges Over Afghanistan Defense Contracts
Written By The Public Record
Two U.S. military officials pleaded guilty to various bribery, fraud and conspiracy charges relating to Department of Defense (DOD) contracts in Afghanistan. A third military official pleaded guilty to receiving stolen property, which was obtained through the bribery conspiracy. In addition, four DOD contractors and four affiliated contracting companies were indicted for their roles in paying bribes to the military officials and otherwise defrauding the United States.
The pleas of the military officials were filed today in U.S. District Court in Chicago. A superseding indictment of the contractors and companies was filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
"As the United States continues to expend resources in Afghanistan, the Antitrust Division will remain vigilant in prosecuting individuals and companies who divert funds for their personal gain," said Christine A. Varney, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. Read more.
Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
Reviewing F. William Engdahl's "Full Spectrum Dominance: Totalitarian Democracy in the New World Order:" Part I
By Stephen Lendman
For over 30 years, F. William Engdahl has been a leading researcher, economist, and analyst of the New World Order with extensive writing to his credit on energy, politics, and economics. He contributes regularly to business and other publications, is a frequent speaker on geopolitical, economic and energy issues, and is a distinguished Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
Engdahl's two previous books include "A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order" explaining that America's post-WW II dominance rests on two pillars and one commodity - unchallengeable military power and the dollar as the world's reserve currency along with the quest to control global oil and other energy resources.
In March, President Obama said we must have an "exit strategy" in Afghanistan. 
More than 80 Members of Congress agree: they're supporting a bill which would require the Pentagon to submit a report to Congress saying what the U.S. exit strategy is by the end of the year. This week, supporters of an exit strategy from Afghanistan will try to attach this language to the 2010 military authorization bill.
Can you urge your Representative in Congress to support an exit strategy from Afghanistan?
Members of Congress are saying that the U.S. should have an exit strategy; they're also saying that Congress and the American people should be told what it is.
PROPOSITION ONE IN 2010! CAMPAIGN
Dear Friends of Peace and Sanity,
Greetings. We have just embarked on a road trip to bring the idea of nuclear disarmament and economic conversion to voters everywhere. This letter is to connect with you, to let you know about the Proposition One in 2010! Campaign, our nationwide effort to mobilize grassroots support for a bill now in Congress, HR-1653, which would help President Obama get rid of nukes ASAP. We will be coming through your state this summer and hope to organize a fun, energetic informational event at a good local spot in your town!
By Desiree Fairooz, CODEPINK DC
Vicenza, located just 4 hours north of Rome, between Venice and Milan, is a classically Italian city with two important footnotes. First, Vicenza is a UNESCO world heritage site, home to numerous architectural works by the Venetian architect, Andrea Palladio, widely considered the most influential architect in the history of Western architecture.
Secondly, on the outskirts of town, it is home to the U.S. Army base called Caserma Ederle, headquarters of the Southern European Task Force, as well as of the 173rd Airborne Brigade of the United States Army from where troops take off on missions to Iraq and Afghanistan.
Matthew B. Stannard, San Francisco Chronicle
Without fanfare, a federal judge in Oakland on Thursday threw out voter-approved laws in two Northern California cities barring military recruiters from contacting minors.
U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong ruled that laws passed in the Humboldt County cities of Arcata and Eureka in November were unconstitutional and invalid.
The finding was not unexpected by proponents of the laws, which passed with 73 percent of the vote in Arcata and 57 percent in Eureka. The federal government quickly sued to overturn the laws, which have been stayed ever since.
But Dave Meserve, the former Arcata councilman behind the laws, said he was disappointed that the judge ruled without hearing arguments on the case. Armstrong ruled on filed pleadings after a hearing scheduled this month was canceled.