March 10, 2009
Bad News For The 9/11 Troofers: ‘We are terrorists to the bone,’ Islam A ‘religion of fear and terror to…Jews, Christians’
March 10, 2009
Five accused planners of the September 11 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States have said they are proud of the effort that killed nearly 3,000 people and called it a model of Islamic action.
In a filing with the Guantánamo Bay military commission trying them, the alleged co-conspirators describe themselves as “terrorists to the bone”.
“To us, they are not accusations,” the document reads. “To us they are a badge of honour, which we carry with honour. Many thanks to God, for his kind gesture, and choosing us to perform the act of Jihad for his cause and to defend Islam and Muslims”.
The document, titled The Islamic Response to the Government’s Nine Accusations, bears the names Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Walid Bin Attash, Ramzi Binalshibh, Ali Abdul Aziz Ali and Mustafa Ahmed Al-Hawsawi, all of whom are currently held in a high-security camp at Guantánamo Bay.
The filing says that fighting Americans is a “great legitimate duty in our religion” and says the attacks are an offering to God.
A Pentagon spokesman confirmed the men had authored the statement. Attorneys for two of the men, army major Jon Jackson and navy commander Suzanne Lachelier, said they had not discussed the document with the men and could not vouch for its authenticity.
“Based on our review of the unsigned, English and typed document there is no evidence that either Mr Binalshibh or Mr al-Hawsawi knew about, read or signed this document,” they told the Associated Press.
The document, which contains religious rhetoric and scriptural references, describes the men as the “9/11 Shura Council”, using the Arabic term for a consultative assembly. They say the terrorist killings were a response to US support for Israel, the war in Iraq and other US actions, and are justified by their Muslim faith, “a religion of fear and terror to the enemies of God: the Jews, Christians and pagans”. It mocks US intelligence agencies’ failure to discover the plans and inability to foil them.
The statement comes as high-level aides to Barack Obama are reviewing the status of the 245 Guantánamo inmates in order to determine which should released and which should face trial in US civilian criminal courts.
Sarah Mendelson, director of the human rights and security initiative at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies think tank, said the statement was part of a “strategic communication” effort.
“There are few constituencies out there who do not want to see Guantánamo closed, and al Qaeda is one of them,” she said. “The clock is winding down on these people. Their whole martyrdom is going to be lost because they will be treated as common criminals.”
A Pentagon spokesman, navy commander Jeffrey Gordon, said the filing “appears to be merely another attempt by these detainees to garner publicity”.
In one of his first actions as president, Obama ordered the prison at Guantánamo Bay closed within the first year of his term and ordered a 120-day halt in all pending military commission trials of detainees. At the time, charges were pending against 21 detainees. The administration aims to transfer many of the inmates to other countries, including Britain. Last month Binyam Mohamed, an Ethiopian-born British resident, was released from Guantánamo and returned to Britain. Other detainees may face trial in US courts.
Some former detainees have reported being denied toilet paper and other essentials, chained for long periods of time in cold rooms, beaten by guards and subjected to harsh interrogations and other miseries.
Since Obama’s inauguration a high-level military review of conditions at the camp found it in compliance with the Geneva conventions, although the review acknowledged some of the remaining prisoners suffer from growing anxiety about their future. The officer who led the review, admiral Patrick Walsh, said guards who abused prisoners were disciplined.
Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the September 11 attacks, was indicted in US federal court before he was brought to Guantánamo Bay. The US government has acknowledged that he was subject to “waterboarding”, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning, and it is unclear whether statements he has made while in US custody would be used against him in civilian trial. Hasawi has been described as the financial facilitator for the September 11 attacks. The two are among the core of suspected terrorists believed still to pose a national security threat to the United States.
March 10, 2009
March 10, 2009
National Security: It seems the foreign conflicts of interest to the man President Obama wants to oversee his eyes-only intelligence are worse than first reported. It’s time for full disclosure.
We recently argued (The Wrong Man For The Job) that National Intelligence Council appointee Chas Freeman’s cozy ties with China and Saudi Arabia should disqualify him from heading the group that prepares the U.S. intelligence community’s most sensitive reports.
Freeman will have access to America’s closest guarded secrets and draft the consensus view of all 16 intelligence agencies regarding foreign threats to U.S. security.
Now we learn that, in addition to co-chairing the pro-China lobby’s U.S. China Policy Foundation, he sits on the international advisory board of the Beijing-controlled China National Offshore Oil Corp.
CNOOC has invested in Sudan, Iran and other terror states, and for these and other security reasons, it was blocked from buying U.S. energy giant Unocal in 2004.
Obama during the presidential campaign scolded a McCain adviser for lobbying work he did for CNOOC.
As we previously noted, Freeman also heads the Saudi-backed Middle East Policy Council, which paid him close to $90,000 in 2006 and received at last $1 million from a Saudi prince, as well as heavy funding from the bin Laden family.
Freeman at the same time runs a consulting firm, Projects International Inc., which did Mideast deals with the bin Ladens even after 9/11. Another client, Gulf Catering Co., was accused of offering a $50,000 bribe to an Army officer in Iraq to win a U.S. military contract there.
These financial ties may explain why Freeman has steadfastly apologized for China and bashed Israel. He has said Beijing was too slow to crush the pro-democracy rebellion in Tiananmen, and has called a Chinese mainland takeover of Taiwan “very beneficial.”
“As I understand it,” he added, buying into Politburo propaganda, “the Chinese proposal would allow Taiwan to continue to choose its own leaders through elections, and would not assign any government personnel to the island from the mainland. Taiwan’s newly democratized political system would not be affected by reunification.”
Freeman, another Clinton retread, also apologized for Beijing’s clumsy influence-buying during the 1996 Clinton-Gore campaign, arguing China was simply trying to compete with the Taiwan lobby.
Freeman’s Mideast policy views align conveniently with Riyadh’s. Parroting the official Saudi line, Freeman has warned the U.S. will remain a terror target if it continues to support Israel’s “brutal oppression of the Palestinians.”
According to the Washington Times, Rep. Pete Hoekstra, R-Mich., and other members of Congress have asked an inspector general to look into Freeman’s foreign ties.
While this is welcome news, it’s already plain Freeman’s foreign conflicts have affected his judgment.
He simply does not possess the objectivity that this high-level intelligence job demands.
March 10, 2009
March 10, 2009
“….description of Gaza’s relative normalcy resembles my own experience. Some 30 years ago, I was a student, studying Arabic in Egypt. I first saw Gaza as we drove to Israel, a trip made possible by the recently-signed peace treaty between Israel and Egypt. As we arrived in Gaza, I was shocked: This is the fabled poverty of the Palestinians? Large parts of Cairo were more crowded, more impoverished.“
In the early 1980s, the Strasbourg-based European Parliament held a conference on the “Right to Development,” and I was the Reagan Administration’s representative. Peter Berger, our regular delegate to these meetings, couldn’t attend because, if memory serves, he was attending a torture conference. I suppose the reason I was chosen to replace him was because, as Assistant Secretary of State Elliott Abrams’ speechwriter in the State Department’s Human Rights Bureau, I helped prepare some of the material critical of the Right to Development. (Another reason for my selection may have been the fact that this was not a very high-profile conference, so even if I made a fool of myself, not many would notice.)
The Right to Development was an attempt by such knavish Third World dictatorships as Cuba, Algeria and Libya to create a new, internationally recognized human right — the right of all nations to full economic development — equal in status to such well-established civil and political rights as freedom of speech, freedom of association, and freedom of religion. The basic idea was that even if a regime systematically violated these rights, it still enjoyed an inalienable Right to Development.
Before going to Strasbourg, I promised myself that I wouldn’t be an “Ugly American” throwing my weight around and dominating the proceedings, but would sit back and let the Europeans hash out their differences by themselves. This, I assumed, was what the Europeans themselves wanted — but I was dead-wrong. After the French expert delivered an impassioned opening statement in support of the Right to Development, the Conference’s Chairman — a distinguished-looking Luxembourger –declared that it was now time to hear the American viewpoint, and looked expectantly at me.
When I am nervous, I tend to speak quickly, and I must have been very nervous that morning in Strasbourg, because the Chairman actually interrupted me at one point and asked me to slow down — the translators were having trouble keeping up with my verbal torrent. In any event, the argument I made (more or less well) was that recognizing a human right also meant recognizing a corresponding obligation to enforce that right. For example, if I have a right to worship freely, and someone interferes with that right, then the government is obliged to step in and help me exercise my right. Similarly, if Cuba has a right to development, but remains sadly impoverished thanks to what enlightened opinion the world over recognizes as dastardly imperialist machinations, then the international community has an obligation to step in and help Cuba. That, I stressed, was the logic of the Right to Development. But did we really want to go down this road — funding the world’s worst dictatorships in the name of a newly concocted human right?
Although all of the other participants (with the surprising exception of the Swedish expert, who argued that human rights only belonged to individuals, and not to states) disagreed with me and strongly backed the Right to Development, we adjourned without achieving any sort of consensus. In that very limited sense, I suppose, my one and only foray into international diplomacy ended successfully.
But while the “Right to Development” has stalled, the Right to Development in Gaza has apparently won universal recognition. On March 2, the Egyptian government hosted an “International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza.” The Conference, attended by delegates from 71 states, raised $4.5 billion. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged $900 million.
Why is the international community so seized with the plight of Gaza? The conventional answer, that the people of Gaza are living in a virtual rubbish heap because of Israeli attacks, is false. As a recent visitor to Gaza, Yvonne Green, reported in the March 3 Jerusalem Post, “The Gaza I saw was societally intact. There were no homeless, walking wounded, hungry or undressed people. The streets were busy, shops were hung with embroidered dresses and gigantic cooking pots, the markets were full of fresh meat and beautiful produce…Mothers accompanied by a 13-year-old boy told me they were bored of leaving home to sit on rubble all day to tell the press how they’d survived…”
But even if Gazans were living in a rubble heap, why are Western nations obliged to help them out? After all, the Palestinians are part of the Arab world, Arab states are not exactly cash-poor and (so they never tire of telling us) are obsessed by Palestinian suffering. So why not let them pick up the tab for Gaza reconstruction, while we attend to our own needs?
But even if the Arabs were cash poor, why must we begin the Gaza reconstruction process now — even before a ceasefire has been reached, and while Palestinian rockets continue to rain down on Israeli towns and villages? And why lift a finger to support the main beneficiary of the world’s largesse — the Hamas government of Gaza, a totalitarian regime that cynically uses its captive population as “human shields,” while relentlessly seeking Israel’s destruction?
Evidently, the world has bought into the logic of the Right to Development –not as a universal right for all (Darfurians and Tibetans, for example, need not apply) — but as a right that applies solely to Palestinians. The reasoning goes like this: Palestinians have an inalienable right to development; Israeli aggression is preventing the Palestinians from exercising that right; Israel was foisted on the Arab world by the West — therefore the West is indirectly responsible for Palestinian underdevelopment; hence, it must pay…and pay… and pay.
The only way out of this trap is for the West to tell the Arab states that it is their refusal to come to terms with Israel that is responsible for the Palestinian plight, and that it is therefore their responsibility, not ours, to fund Palestinian reconstruction. But no Western statesman (or stateswoman) has ever summoned up the courage to say anything so bold, and it is unlikely that anyone ever will.