Saudi-9/11 links, 80,000 secret pages


This video from the USA says about itself:

9/11 Commissioner Leaks Details On Classified Report

13 May 2016

A former member of the 9/11 commission recently said the 2004 report didn’t make clear the extent of the evidence they had linking Saudi government officials to the terrorist attack. Cenk Uygur, John Iadarola (ThinkTank), Katie Halper, and Josh Zepps, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down. Tell us what you think in the comment section below.

“A former Republican member of the 9/11 commission, breaking dramatically with the commission’s leaders, said Wednesday he believes there was clear evidence that Saudi government employees were part of a support network for the 9/11 hijackers and that the Obama administration should move quickly to declassify a long-secret congressional report on Saudi ties to the 2001 terrorist attack.

The comments by John F Lehman, an investment banker in New York who was Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, signal the first serious public split among the 10 commissioners since they issued a 2004 final report that was largely read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia, which was home to 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11.

“There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government,” Lehman said in an interview, suggesting that the commission may have made a mistake by not stating that explicitly in its final report. “Our report should never have been read as an exoneration of Saudi Arabia.””

Read more here.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

FBI holds 80,000 pages of secret documents on Saudi-9/11 links

14 May 2016

The American FBI has a secret cache of documents, more than 80,000 pages in all, concerning possible ties between the 9/11 hijackers and an upper-class Saudi family who lived in Florida and fled the United States two weeks before the suicide hijackings that killed nearly 3,000 people.

A federal judge in Tampa, Florida has been reviewing the documents for more than two years as a consequence of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit brought by a trio of online reporters—Anthony Summers, Robbyn Swan and Dan Christensen. The review process has been extremely slow because of restrictive FBI rules on how many pages Judge William Zloch may access at any one time.

The existence of the document trove was revealed Friday in a front-page article in the US-based web publication the Daily Beast. The article identified the Saudi family as Abdulaziz al-Hijji and his wife Anoud, who was the daughter of Esam Ghazzawi, an adviser to a nephew of Saudi King Fahd. Ghazzawi owned the home in which they were staying in a gated community in Sarasota, Florida. The home was raided by the FBI after 9/11 but the residents had all departed in evident haste on August 30, 2001.

Visitor logs in the community, known as Prestancia, showed that the alleged ringleader of the 9/11 hijackers, Mohammad Atta, had visited al-Hijji, along with two other 9/11 hijackers, Ziad Jarrah and Marwan Al-Shehhi.

Former Senator Robert Graham, co-chair of the joint congressional committee that investigated the 9/11 attacks, told the Daily Beast that he had never known of the FBI documents on the Saratoga home until they were uncovered by the investigative journalists. He later viewed a portion of these records and confirmed that they identified the three 9/11 hijackers as visitors.

Throughout this period, the FBI had denied that the al-Hijji family had any connection to the 9/11 attackers. The agency changed its story only when Graham said he would testify under oath about what he had read in the file of documents. At this point the FBI conceded the existence of 35 pages of documents.

When Judge Zloch ordered a further search for records, the Tampa office of the FBI came back with 80,226 pages of files marked PENTTBOM, which stands for “Pentagon/Twin-Towers Bombing” in FBI jargon. Judge Zloch has been reviewing these since May 1, 2014 and has given no date by which he expects to finish.

The al-Hijji family exited its Sarasota home, leaving behind three cars, an open safe and disarray that suggested a hasty departure. The security guards at the gated community noted their departure, but did not consider it suspicious until the 9/11 attacks two weeks later.

The FBI initially made only a perfunctory response and did not open a formal investigation until eight months later, in April 2002, “based upon repeated citizen calls” about the conduct of the family during their stay in the United States. One of the few documents released said that this investigation “revealed many connections” between a member of the family “and individuals associated with the terrorist attacks.”

The Daily Beast report adds to recent revelations of evidence of Saudi regime ties to the 9/11 hijackers that has been covered up by the US government under both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Graham has actively campaigned for the release of 28 pages of material on the Saudi-9/11 connection comprising an entire chapter of the joint congressional committee report on the 9/11 attacks in which he participated. This material has been withheld for more than 13 years. On April 10, Graham was the main witness interviewed by the CBS program “60 Minutes” in a segment on the continuing cover-up of Saudi-9/11 connections.

In an op-ed column this week in the Washington Post, Graham reiterated his demand for release of the 28 pages, noting that President Obama had promised a decision on declassifying the material by next month. Graham denounced CIA Director John Brennan, who responded to the “60 Minutes” program by publicly opposing any release of the 28 pages.

Also Friday, the Guardian newspaper published an interview with a former member of the bipartisan 9/11 Commission appointed by President George W. Bush, who flatly declared that there was extensive Saudi involvement in supporting the hijackers. Of the 19 perpetrators, 15 were Saudi citizens, most of them having recently arrived in the United States when they seized control of four jetliners on September 11, 2001.

Former Navy Secretary John Lehman, a Republican, told the newspaper: “There was an awful lot of participation by Saudi individuals in supporting the hijackers, and some of those people worked in the Saudi government.” While only one Saudi consular official in Los Angeles, Fahad al-Thumairy, was implicated in supporting the hijackers, according to the official account, Lehman believes that at least five officials were involved.

Al-Thumairy was linked to the two hijackers who lived in San Diego before the 9/11 attacks, Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Mihdhar, but he was deported rather than charged with a crime. The other five, whom Lehman did not name, “may not have been indicted, but they were certainly implicated. There was an awful lot of circumstantial evidence.”

Another former 9/11 commissioner, who spoke to the Guardian without direct attribution, recounted what the newspaper called “a mostly unknown chapter of the history of the 9/11 commission: behind closed doors, members of the panel’s staff fiercely protested the way the material about the Saudis was presented in the final report, saying it underplayed or ignored evidence that Saudi officials—especially at lower levels of the government—were part of an al-Qaida support network that had been tasked to assist the hijackers after they arrived in the US.”

The 9/11 Commission director, Philip Zelikow, who later served in the Bush administration as senior counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, fired one staffer who protested over the suppression of the Saudi ties to 9/11 after she obtained a copy of the suppressed 28 pages of the joint congressional committee report. Zelikow and the commission members overruled staff protests on the soft-pedaling of the Saudi connection.

These press reports confirm what the World Socialist Web Site has long maintained: the official 9/11 investigations were a series of whitewashes aimed at concealing the role of the Saudi government and US intelligence agencies during the period leading up to the terrorist attacks.

There has long been evidence that sections of the US government were aware of the plot to hijack and suicide-crash airliners, but turned a blind eye because such an atrocity could be used to stampede American public opinion and provide a pretext for escalating US military interventions throughout the Middle East and Central Asia.

The author also recommends:

The 9/11 cover-up continues
[3 May 2016]

Once again on Saudi complicity in the 9/11 attacks
[13 April 2016]

Saudi Arabian regime gripped by factional infighting amid mounting economic crisis: here.

United States secret court rubber stamps NSA spying


This video from the USA says about itself:

What is the FISA Court?

12 June 2013

Thom Hartmann talks with Shahid Buttar, Executive Director-Bill of Rights Defense Committee & civil rights attorney about the FISA Court and its role in surveillance in America.

From the New York Daily News in the USA:

U.S. spy court rejects zero out of 1,457 applications for surveillance in 2015

REUTERS

Updated: Saturday, April 30, 2016, 3:27 AM

The secretive U.S. Foreign Surveillance Intelligence Court did not deny a single government request in 2015 for electronic surveillance orders granted for foreign intelligence purposes, continuing a longstanding trend, a Justice Department document showed.

The court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls, according to a Justice Department memo sent to leaders of relevant congressional committees on Friday and seen by Reuters.

The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.

The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.

The court, which acts behind closed doors, was established in 1978 to handle applications for surveillance warrants against foreign suspects by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and grew more controversial after 2013 leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

The electronic surveillance often is conducted with the assistance of Internet and telecommunications companies.

Civil liberties advocates have long derided the court for acting as a “rubber stamp” for government surveillance operations.

The memo also stated that 48,642 national security letter (NSL) requests were made in 2015 by the FBI.

NSLs are a type of subpoena authority used to compel Internet and telecommunications firms to hand over customer data, such as web browsing history, email addresses and subscriber information.

One NSL often contains multiple requests for information, such as a sequence of emails believed relevant to an investigation.

The majority of NSL requests, 31,863, made in 2015 sought information on foreigners, regarding a total of 2,053 individuals, the memo stated.

The FBI made 9,418 requests for national security letters in 2015 for information about U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, regarding a total of 3,746 individuals, it showed.

The FBI also made 7,361 NSL requests for only “subscriber information,” typically names, addresses and billing records, of Americans and foreigners regarding 3,347 different people.

National security letters have been available as a law enforcement tool since the 1970s, but their frequency and breadth expanded dramatically under the USA Patriot Act enacted shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the United States.

They are almost always accompanied by an open-ended gag order issued by the Justice Department barring companies from disclosing the contents of the demand for customer data.

The government also made 142 applications to the surveillance court for access to business records, and it did not deny any of those requests, according to the memo.

United States FBI spying on activists


This video from the USA says about itself:

45 Years After COINTELPRO, FBI Continues to Monitor Activists

8 March 2016

Chip Gibbons, Legal Fellow, says over 60 national groups have signed onto a letter calling on the House and Senate Judiciary Committees to investigate FBI and DHS’s monitoring of activists.

SPIES IN THE SKIES’ “Each weekday, dozens of U.S. government aircraft take to the skies and slowly circle over American cities. Piloted by agents of the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the planes are fitted with high-resolution video cameras, often working with ‘augmented reality’ software that can superimpose onto the video images everything from street and business names to the owners of individual homes.” [Buzzfeed]

United States FBI, police spying on phones


This video from the USA says about itself:

Tim Cook | EXCLUSIVE Interview on Apple’s Privacy Decision

24 February 2016

Apple CEO Tim Cook explained to ABC News anchor David Muir why he refused to create software that would help the FBI break into an iPhone used by one of the San Bernardino, California, shooters. “I think safety of the public is incredibly important — safety of our kids, safety of our family is very important,” Cook said. “The protection of people’s data is incredibly important, and so the trade-off here is we know that doing this could expose people to incredible vulnerabilities.”

SeaWorld is certainly not the only organisation spying in the USA.

US government case against Apple would create broad precedent to override phone encryption: here.

The assault on encryption and the drive to expand police state spying: here.

By Isaac Finn in the USA:

New York police used military-grade cellphone surveillance equipment over 1,000 times

25 February 2016

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has used a military grade cellphone surveillance device—known as a “StingRay”—over 1,000 times since 2008, according to documents obtained by the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) last November.

StingRays are briefcase-size machines that mimic cellphone towers and trick nearby cellphones into establishing a connection with it. The device can then be used to monitor communications from the phone and track the user’s whereabouts. Even when targeting a specific cellphone, a StingRay will gather information on other phones in the area.

Public discussion of the use of StingRays by local police departments has been limited due to a non-disclosure agreement between the FBI and the Harris Corporations, which manufactures the device. Under this agreement police departments—including the NYPD—are barred from referencing the use of StingRays, even when information gathered by the device is central to a prosecutor’s argument in a criminal case.

The NYCLU obtained documents last November about the NYPD’s use of StingRays as part of a Freedom of Information lawsuit, and received further information last week after appealing its initial lawsuit. This included a disclosure from the NYPD that it has used StringRays roughly 1,016 times between 2008 and May 2015.

Donna Lieberman, Executive Director of the NYCLU, stated, “If carrying a cell phone means being exposed to military grade surveillance equipment, then the privacy of nearly all New Yorkers is at risk.”

The NYPD has become infamous for its extensive surveillance system, which has included spying on Muslim communities, its policy of stop-and-frisk that has allowed the department to establish electronic and analog databases of millions of predominantly minority working class youth, and most recently its Community Policing program based on cultivating a network of informants in working class neighborhoods.

New York police also have admitted to using ZBV vans equipped with x-ray technology, allowing officers to see through clothing and other light barriers without the individual being aware he or she is being scanned.

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton … stated last year that he would not talk about ZBVs, because, “It falls into the range of security and counterterrorism activity that we engage in.”

The NYPD also disclosed in the lawsuit that they had no written policy on using StingRays, but usually obtained a “pen register order” before using the device. The requirements for obtaining a pen register order are less demanding than the probable cause required for obtaining a warrant.

Mariko Hirose, the NYCLU lawyer that received the documents from the NYPD, explained to the New York Times, “The text of New York’s pen register law does not apply to StingRays, and for good reason. That law was intended only to authorize the use of the primitive devices of the past that capture outgoing and incoming phone numbers on a landline. We’re now living in a different technological reality.”

Last year, the Department of Justice shifted policies demanding that all use of StingRays, except in emergency circumstances, be required to obtain warrants. The FBI also is required to obtain warrants for the use of StingRays, though with an extremely broad definition of exceptions.

Both Federal and NYPD officials have made fraudulent claims that StingRays do not pickup bystander information, and are primarily used to track terrorists and violent criminals. Despite this, there have been multiple recorded cases of the NYPD using StingRays to track non-violent criminals, and at least one instance of the technology being used to locate a witness.

FBI Director James Comey admitted in testimony to the House Judiciary Committee last October that StingRays were placed in planes and used to monitor mass protests against police brutality in both Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland.

The US Marshalls revealed in response to a Freedom of Information Request filed by USA Today that it has deployed the technology to track 5,975 individuals over an unspecified period of time. According to USA Today a Baltimore Police detective testified last year that the police force had deployed its StingRay 4,300 times since 2007.

Based on a report by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), at least 60 law enforcement agencies in 23 states own StingRays. Many others may not be disclosing purchases of the device.

The New York State Police alone have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on StingRays and related equipment. In a separate Freedom of Information lawsuit last year, the NYCLU also uncovered that the Erie County Sheriffs office, in New York State, has used StingRays 47 times over the past four years, and only obtained a pen register order from a court once.

Ultimately, the wide-scale use of military grade surveillance equipment is part of police-state measures put in place to defend the wealthy elite from the working population. The ruling elite’s fear is particularly palpable in New York City, which is plagued by massive inequality and record-breaking homelessness.

FBI spied on Martin Luther King for ‘I have a dream’ speech


This video, recorded in 1963 in the USA, is called Martin Luther King | “I Have A Dream” Speech.

From daily The Independent in Britain today:

Martin Luther King was put under FBI surveillance after his ‘I have a dream’ speech

by Bethan McKernan

Reverend Martin Luther King Jr‘s 1963 ‘I have a dream’ speech on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington was a defining moment of the 20th century.

His message of equality and fairness inspired generations of people across the world – but also put him at the centre of the FBI’s surveillance operations.

Attorney-General at the time Robert F. Kennedy approved a wiretap and hidden microphone operation that bugged many of King’s conversations from 1963 until his assassination in 1968.

William Sullivan, then head of the FBI’s domestic intelligence division, wrote in a top-secret memo at the time:

“Personally, I believe in the light of King’s powerful, demagogic speech that he stands head and shoulders over all other Negro leaders put together when it comes to influencing great masses.

We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this Nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro and national security.”

The operation, which was not approved by a court or subject to any investigative oversight, was initially justified to try and prove King‘s suspected links to Communism.

Thank goodness unsupervised surveillance like that doesn’t happen anymore, eh?

United States singer Pete Seeger spied upon by FBI for anti-concentration camp letter


This folk music video from the USA is called I Don’t Want Your Millions, Mister (Almanac Singers). The lyrics are here.

From Associated Press today:

FBI files: Military questioned Pete Seeger‘s wartime loyalty

By MICHAEL HILL and GEORGE M. WALSH

Dec. 19, 2015 2:06 AM EST

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — As Army Pvt. Pete Seeger eagerly waited for a chance to fight for his country during World War II, military investigators quietly built a case that the young folk singer was “potentially subversive.”

In a security investigation triggered by a wartime letter he wrote denouncing a proposal to deport all Japanese Americans, the Army intercepted Seeger’s mail to his fiancée, scoured his school records, talked to his father, interviewed an ex-landlord and questioned his pal Woody Guthrie, according to FBI files obtained by The Associated Press.

Investigators concluded that Seeger‘s association with known communists and his Japanese-American fiancée pointed to a risk of divided loyalty. …

The investigation, forwarded to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, is detailed in more than 1,700 pages from Seeger’s FBI file, released by the National Archives under the Freedom of Information Act.

The musician and left-wing activist known for such songs as “If I Had a Hammer,” ”Where Have All the Flowers Gone” and “Turn, Turn, Turn” died in January 2014 at age 94. …

But the newly released files show the lengths to which the government went to keep tabs on the singer’s travels, performances and rally appearances at least into the 1970s. The archives plan to release additional Seeger files in the future. …

Based on these records, Seeger underwent what appears to be his first major investigation after writing a letter to the California American Legion in 1942 criticizing the organization’s resolution “advocating deportation of all Japanese, citizens or not, and barring all Japanese descendants from citizenship.” This was during a time Japanese Americans, many of them from California, were being forced to live in government internment camps.

“We’re fighting precisely to free the world of such Hitlerism, such narrow jingoism,” Seeger wrote.

What followed was a wide-ranging probe by the military into Seeger’s background. Investigators found that Seeger — referred to as the “Subject” — was “intensely loyal at this time” and eager to be transferred overseas from Mississippi to fight fascism.

But they didn’t like the company he kept.

Investigators found Seeger was a “close friend and associate” of Lead Belly, or Huddie William Ledbetter, the folk legend they described as a “negro murderer.” The Almanac singers were described in the files as “spreading Communist and anti-Fascist propaganda through songs and recordings.”

FBI Islamophobia in the USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

23 February 2015

Kameelah Rasheed, Instructional Specialist for New Visions for Public Schools, talks about how the LDC jurying tool provides clear common language for teachers to talk about their instruction.

This video from the USA says about itself:

US Muslim forced off plane cites Islamophobia

26 November 2015

Being told to get off plane in front of passengers was “humiliating”, says Kameelah Rasheed, who alleges discrimination.

From daily The Independent in Britain:

American artist Kameelah Rasheed hauled off New Jersey plane and questioned for hours ‘for being Muslim’

Ms Rasheed says her headscarf was the only thing distinguishing her from 200 other passengers

Adam Withnall

26 November 2015

An American woman says she was escorted off a plane bound for Istanbul from New Jersey in a deliberate attempt to “humiliate and ostracise” her for being a Muslim.

Kameelah Rasheed was questioned for more than two hours by US officials at Newark Liberty International Airport

Sadly, it looks like there is as ‘much’ liberty at Liberty International Airport as at the Christian far right ‘Liberty University’.

in what she described as Islamophobic treatment.

The 30-year-old Stanford University graduate, artist and contributing editor at The New Inquiry said the only thing to single her out to the authorities was the fact that she was “the only visibly Muslim person” on the flight of around 200.

Ms Rasheed said that she was initially allowed on the United Airlines flight after security checks and some additional questioning by customs officers.

But before the plane could take off, she was forced to leave and interrogated by an FBI agent, she told al-Jazeera.

The New York resident had her phone and passport confiscated in the incident, while officers asked her questions such as: “Why are you flying? Where are you going in Istanbul? How can you afford to go on holiday? How much was the ticket price?”

“It was an attempt to humiliate and ostracise me,” she said.

Asked if the questioning appeared to be as a result of heightened tensions following the shootings two weeks ago in Paris, Ms Rasheed said: “I don’t think there is a resurgence of Islamophobia after the Paris attacks. I think it never went away. It’s becoming more legitimised.

“Right after 9/11, you could do it [commit hate crimes towards Muslims] for a couple of years and no one would blame you… And now after Paris, it’s like, ‘look at what they did, I can treat them how I want’. We didn’t make any progress.”

The incident follows a similar one last week when four people “of Middle Eastern descent” were hauled off a Spirit Airlines flight from Baltimore to Chicago. A fellow passenger had alerted crew to so-called suspicious activity – which later turned out to be watching news from the Paris attacks on their phones.

Then, Ibrahim Hooper, national spokesman for the Council on Islamic-American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), told The Independent: “Unfortunately, I think we’re going to see more and more of this.”

Ms Rasheed said she didn’t blame her airline, which had been helpful in trying to secure her a refund. She said she felt “very angry and hurt”, and wouldn’t want to fly for the foreseeable future.