Thursday, January 08, 2009

9/11 updates: secret trials, white house moles & hero myths

judge's order could keep public from hearing details of 9/11 trials
judge's order could keep public from hearing details of 9/11 trialsfrom washington post: The military judge overseeing proceedings against five of the men accused of planning the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks signed an order designed to protect classified information that is so broad it could prevent public scrutiny of the most important trial at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to lawyers and human rights groups.

The protective order, which was signed on Dec. 18 by Judge Stephen R. Henley, an Army colonel, not only protects documents and information that have been classified by intelligence agencies, it also presumptively classifies any information "referring" to a host of agencies, including the CIA, the FBI and the State Department. The order also allows the court in certain circumstances to classify information already in the public domain and presumptively classifies "any statements made by the accused."

Three of the accused, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, are defending themselves and, under the order, anything they say during the course of the trial could be shielded from the public.

"These rules turn the presumption of openness on its head, making what is perhaps the most important trial in American history presumptively closed to the public and the press," said Jennifer Daskal, senior counterterrorism counsel at Human Rights Watch. "If these rules applied in all cases, there would be no such thing as an open trial in America."

william safire hinted white house 'mole' may have aided 9/11 terrorists
from peter's new york: The discovery in my personal archives of issues of The New York Times and the New York Post from the days immediately following September 11, 2001 has become the basis for a several-part series on early reportage of the events of that day. The use of the original issues as opposed to electronic media has the advantage of easy reference, and absolute reliability regarding the source. This third essay will explore the remarkable drama surrounding the activities of President George W. Bush on that fateful day. We find that once New York Times columnist William Safire came into possession of the facts related to Bush’s 10-hour absence from Washington, he concluded that a “mole” in the White House may have cooperated with the 9/11 terrorists. He is thus joined at the hip with Robert Novak, who came to a similar conclusion in his column of the same day.

the myth of bush as 'the hero of september 11'
from huffington post: As January 20 grows larger in the window, I've been thinking more often about the Bush legacy - specifically about certain aspects of the president's record that are in danger of being completely obliterated and replaced with myths and wholesale fiction. Some of this effort is of course the purview of Karl Rove and Karen Hughes and their legacy project, while rough drafts of revisionist Bush history are being contributed by certain establishment media hacks - desperate to chisel into the record their take on this outgoing president. For example. Last week on a special episode of Hardball, my favorite insufferable hack, TIME's Mark Halperin, remarked that one of the president's greatest accomplishments was his response to the September 11 terrorist attacks:

"I do think he deserves high marks for his public presentations after a rocky start in the first few hours. [...] You can't be sure of it, but I'm confident that he performed there very well. And other presidents may not have performed as well."

Which other presidents? Lincoln after Fort Sumter? Roosevelt after Pearl Harbor? Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis? At least Halperin interrupted his verbal dry-hump to acknowledge (sort-of) that President Bush sat there in a glazed stupor for nine minutes after being told, literally, that America was under attack.

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