Archive for June, 2009|Monthly archive page

Judge Chastises U.S. Government in Gitmo Case, Orders Detainee Freed

In Guantanamo Bay on June 23, 2009 at 9:50 am

Strong words by U.S. District Judge Richard Leon on Guantanamo Bay detainee case:

WASHINGTON – The discovery of suicide martyr videos seemed certain proof that Abd al Rahim Abdul Rassak was part of al-Qaida. A closer look at his video, though, showed he was actually being tortured by al-Qaida.  The confusion over the video collection found in an al-Qaida safehouse is one of the stranger twists in the unusual case of Rassak, a Guantanamo detainee. On Monday, a federal judge ordered Rassak released, chastising the government for claiming he was still part of the same terror network that tortured, imprisoned and abandoned him.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon emphatically rejected the government’s claims against Rassak, even going so far as to add punctuation to get his point across.  Federal prosecutors had argued that even though Rassak was tortured by al-Qaida as a suspected Western spy and imprisoned by the Taliban for a year and a half, he still maintained some kind of allegiance to his tormentors.  “I disagree!” wrote the judge, adding that U.S. officials are “taking a position that defies common sense.”

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Signing Grade Books

In Welcome on June 5, 2009 at 8:25 am

Dear Students:

I will be available to sign grade books on the following day:

FRIDAY June 26 at the American Studies Center

13:30 – 14:15


Throughout the summer I will be in my office at IFiS-PAN, M -F, between 11:00 and 16:00.  My office:  Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 72 Nowy Swiat, Room 211, 00-330 Warsaw. Feel free to make an appointment.  This Winter semester I will be teaching at the Institute of Sociology on Monday afternoons and at the ASC on Sunday afternoons.

Thursday, June 18, 2009. 11:00 – 16:00.


9/11 and President Obama’s Speech in Cairo, Egypt

In 9/11 News, Official History on June 4, 2009 at 12:17 pm

Here are some excerpts from President Obama’s speech today at Cairo University that relate to 9/11:

We meet at a time of tension between the United States and Muslims around the world – tension rooted in historical forces that go beyond any current policy debate…  Violent extremists have exploited these tensions in a small but potent minority of Muslims. The attacks of September 11th, 2001 and the continued efforts of these extremists to engage in violence against civilians has led some in my country to view Islam as inevitably hostile not only to America and Western countries, but also to human rights. This has bred more fear and mistrust…

The situation in Afghanistan demonstrates America’s goals, and our need to work together. Over seven years ago, the United States pursued al Qaeda and the Taliban with broad international support. We did not go by choice, we went because of necessity. I am aware that some question or justify the events of 9/11. But let us be clear: al Qaeda killed nearly 3,000 people on that day. The victims were innocent men, women and children from America and many other nations who had done nothing to harm anybody. And yet Al Qaeda chose to ruthlessly murder these people, claimed credit for the attack, and even now states their determination to kill on a massive scale. They have affiliates in many countries and are trying to expand their reach. These are not opinions to be debated; these are facts to be dealt with…

And finally, just as America can never tolerate violence by extremists, we must never alter our principles. 9/11 was an enormous trauma to our country. The fear and anger that it provoked was understandable, but in some cases, it led us to act contrary to our ideals. We are taking concrete actions to change course. I have unequivocally prohibited the use of torture by the United States, and I have ordered the prison at Guantanamo Bay closed by early next year… The sooner the extremists are isolated and unwelcome in Muslim communities, the sooner we will all be safer.

Lawsuits Against Telecom Companies Who Were Accused of Being Involved in Eavesdropping Program Dismissed

In Civil Liberties on June 4, 2009 at 7:59 am

U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker dismissed dozens of lawsuits against telecom companies who were allegedly involved in the federal eavesdropping program:

A federal judge on Wednesday tossed out more than three dozen lawsuits filed against the nation’s telecommunications companies for allegedly taking part in the government’s e-mail and telephone eavesdropping program that was done without court approval. In addition, he ordered officials in Maine, New Jersey, Connecticut, Vermont and Missouri to halt their investigations of the telecommunication companies for their alleged participation in the once-secret surveillance programs. U.S. District Court Judge Vaughn Walker also deferred a decision on whether to sanction the government for refusing to turn over a top secret document in one of the few wiretapping cases still pending.

The judge’s dismissals of most of the lawsuits were widely expected after Congress in July agreed on new surveillance rules that included protection from legal liability for telecommunications companies that allegedly helped the U.S. spy on Americans without warrants. Walker upheld the constitutionality of the new surveillance rules in a written ruling Wednesday. Lawyers representing the telecom customers said they would appeal the judge’s ruling.

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Former VP Cheney Publicly Admits No Link between Saddam Hussein and 9/11

In 9/11 News, Guantanamo Bay on June 2, 2009 at 8:38 am

This is the first ever instance of former VP Dick Cheney admitting the “Atta met with Iraqi officials in Prague” claim was wrong.  Seven years after he made the claim, and after he has left office, Cheney now admits that there was no link between Iraq and 9/11:

Former Vice President Dick Cheney said Monday that he does not believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the planning or execution of the September 11, 2001, attacks. “I do not believe and have never seen any evidence to confirm that [Hussein] was involved in 9/11. We had that reporting for a while, [but] eventually it turned out not to be true,” Cheney conceded.

But Hussein was “somebody who provided sanctuary and safe harbor and resources to terrorists. … [It] is, without question, a fact.”  Cheney restated his claim that “there was a relationship between al Qaeda and Iraq that stretched back 10 years. It’s not something I made up. … We know for a fact that Saddam Hussein was a sponsor — a state sponsor — of terror. It’s not my judgment. That was the judgment of our [intelligence community] and State Department.”  Cheney identified former CIA Director George Tenet as the “prime source of information” on the relationship between Iraq and al Qaeda.  Tenet “testified, if you go back and check the record, in the fall of [2002] before the Senate Intelligence Committee — in open session — that there was a relationship,” Cheney said.

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