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truthdig Posted on May 1, 2011

Chris Hedges, speaking at a Truthdig fundraising event in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, made these remarks about Osama bin Laden’s death.

I know that because of this announcement, that reportedly Osama bin Laden was killed, Bob [Truthdig Editor Robert Scheer] wanted me to say a few words about it … about al-Qaida. I spent a year of my life covering al-Qaida for The New York Times. It was the work in which I, and other investigative reporters, won the Pulitzer Prize. And I spent seven years of my life in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I’m an Arabic speaker. And when someone came over and told … me the news, my stomach sank. I’m not in any way naive about what al-Qaida is. It’s an organization that terrifies me. I know it intimately.

But I’m also intimately familiar with the collective humiliation that we have imposed on the Muslim world. The expansion of military occupation that took place throughout, in particular the Arab world, following 9/11—and that this presence of American imperial bases, dotted, not just in Iraq and Afghanistan, but in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Doha—is one that has done more to engender hatred and acts of terror than anything ever orchestrated by Osama bin Laden.

Listen or read the transcript on truthdig.com

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Newspaper covers hang on a wall near the World Trade Center site the day after President Barack Obama announced that Osama bin Laden had been killed. (Photo: Marcus Yam / The New York Times)

Now What?

Wednesday 4 May 2011
by: William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

“We need to counteract the shockwave of the evil-doer by having individual rate cuts accelerated, and by thinking about tax rebates.”

– George W. Bush, October 2001

There is something fundamentally crazy-making about the fact that Osama bin Laden, damned murderer of thousands, met his demise on the anniversary of the day George W. Bush, damned murderer of thousands, pulled his infamous “Mission Accomplished” stunt on the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln. I suspect that, had Mr. Bush managed to back up his big talk and actually bag bin Laden before his second term expired, we would have seen him jump out of an attack helicopter at Ground Zero wearing a SEAL uniform – complete with night-vision scope and even larger codpiece – under a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished II.”

You just know Bush would have done it, too. The core of his greatest strength was his utter and complete lack of shame. The fact that he said, “I don’t know where he is. Nor do I – you know, I just don’t spend that much time on him to be honest with you,” in 2002 would not have fazed him one bit. He would have smirked his way through it, and the mainstream media would have cooed over his masculinity and awesome presidential excellence.

So, at least, we were spared that madness. Thank God for small favors. Seems like that’s all we get these days.

I wanted to celebrate the death of bin Laden, and in my own way, I did. I didn’t dance in the streets or wave a flag or shout “USA! USA! USA!” But I definitely smiled, and I don’t apologize for it. There an old joke about a man who would buy a newspaper every day from a paperboy, scan the front page, and then throw the paper away in disgust. After a while, the paperboy asked him why he kept throwing the paper away. “I’m looking for someone in the obituaries,” the man replied. “But, sir,” said the paperboy, “the obituaries aren’t on the front page.” The man looked at him and said, “When the son of a bitch I’m looking for dies, he’ll be on the front page.”

Or, in the immortal words of Mark Twain, “I never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure.” That’s about right, and that’s enough about that.

MORE HERE

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DNA testing confirms Osama bin Laden’s death

Published: Monday, May 02, 2011, 11:04 AM
The Associated Press

The Obama administration used DNA testing and other means to confirm that elite American forces in Pakistan had in fact killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, officials said Monday, as the world absorbed the stunning news.

The officials said the DNA testing alone offered a “99.9 percent” certainty that bin Laden was shot dead in a daring U.S. military operation in Pakistan. Detailed photo analysis by the CIA, confirmation by other people at the raid site and matching physical features like bin Laden’s height all helped confirmed the identification.

Said one official: “There should be no doubt in anybody’s mind, this is Osama bin Laden.”

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the matter.

Still, it was unclear if the world would ever get visual proof. Bin Laden’s body was quickly buried at sea, and administration officials were weighing the merit and appropriateness of releasing a photo of bin Laden, who was shot in the head.

(more…)

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C-SPAN

For a second time former British Prime Minister Tony Blair testified before the Committee of Inquiry on the Iraq War. January 2010, Mr. Blair testified before the five-member group on his role during the lead up to the war, military preparedness, and his relationship with President George W. Bush.

Chilcot Inquiry: Tony Blair heckled as he expresses regret for this loss of life in the Iraq war

The Telegraph

By Rosa Prince, Political Correspondent
2:31PM GMT 21 Jan 2011
Relatives of those killed in the conflict shouted out “It’s too late,” as an emotional Mr Blair told of his sorrow at the bloodshed, while two female witnesses walked out and another turned her face away.

Video & More

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9/11 Families Ask: What Happened to the Third Building That Collapsed in the WTC Attacks?

A new ad campaign featuring the family members of 9/11 victims, which does not focus on conspiracy theories, is getting serious treatment in the mainstream media.
Via:  AlterNet–  November 15, 2010 |

A new television ad campaign featuring the family members of 9/11 victims has succeeded in garnering what 9/11 activists have lacked for years: serious treatment in the mainstream media.

Granted, that media was Fox News host Geraldo Rivera, who in a former iteration ran a Jerry Springer-like daytime talk show. That and, the last time Rupert Murdoch’s conservative-tilted television channel seriously talked about issues pertaining to 9/11, they were calling for a public official’s resignation over a signature on one of the “9/11 truth” petitions.

Still, at the end of his serious-yet-brief treatment of questions surrounding the collapse of World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7, pictured), Rivera admitted that the activists had made him “much more open minded” about questions surrounding 9/11.

Rivera spoke in response to an ad playing in 30-second bytes on screens all around New York City, which does not focus on conspiracy theories. It does not feature hip-hop beats in the background or winded, red-faced protesters dressed in black shouting at reporters. It doesn’t even mention President George W. Bush, former Vice President Dick Cheney or the systemic failures in America’s air defenses.

Instead, it puts the spotlight on people who lost family members in the 2001 attacks. Patriotic background music plays as viewers are gently reminded that not two, but three buildings collapsed on 9/11.

“Although the official explanation is that fire brought down building seven, over 1,200 architects and engineers have looked into the evidence and believe there’s more to the story,” they say.

Then they implore viewers to help them seek justice, for their families, simply by visiting a web site: buildingwhat.org.

Their campaign’s name, “Building What?” was allegedly taken from the response offered by New York Supreme Court Justice Edward H. Lehner, when asked if he knew about WTC 7.

VIDEO AND MORE HERE

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September 11 Anniversary Stained By Politics And Prejudice

Huff Post-  First Posted: 09-11-10 09:23 AM   |   Updated: 09-11-10 09:23 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Politics threatened to overshadow a day of mourning Saturday for nearly 3,000 Sept. 11 victims amid a polarizing national debate over a planned mosque blocks from the site where Islamic extremists attacked America.

Chants of thousands of sign-waving protesters both for and against the planned Islamic center were expected after — and perhaps during — a ceremony normally known for somber church bells ringing and a sad litany of families reading their lost loved ones’ names.

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama were to attend separate services in Washington and Shanksville, Pa., for the victims of hijacked jetliners that hit the Pentagon and a rural field in 2001.

But the rallies planned in New York embroiled victims’ family members in a feud over whether to play politics on the ninth anniversary of the attacks.

Nancy Nee, whose firefighter brother was killed at the World Trade Center, is bitterly opposed to the Park51 proposed mosque and Islamic community center near ground zero. But she didn’t plan to join other family members at an anti-mosque rally hours after the anniversary ceremony.

“I just wanted to be as at peace with everything that’s going on as I possibly can,” Nee said. Even nine years later, she said, her brother George Cain’s death “is still very raw. … And I just don’t have it in me to be protesting and arguing, with anger in my heart and in my head.”

Jim Riches planned to pay respects at ground zero to his firefighter son, Jimmy, then rally.
“My son can’t speak anymore. He’s been murdered by Muslims. I intend to voice my opinion against the location of this mosque,” Riches said. “If someone wants to go home, that’s their right. I have the right to go there.”

MORE HERE
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9/11 and Compassion: We Need It Now More Than Ever

Huff Post- Karen Armstrong
Former Roman Catholic nun; Author, ‘Through the Narrow Gate’

Posted: September 10, 2010 08:24 PM

The anniversary of 9/11 reminds us why we need the Charter for Compassion. It should be an annual summons to compassionate action. The need is especially apparent this year. In the United States, we have witnessed an upsurge of anti-Muslim feeling that violates the core values of that nation. The controversy surrounding the community centre near Ground Zero, planned by our dear friends Imam Feisal Rauf and Daisy Khan (who were among the earliest supporters and partners of the Charter) has inspired rhetoric that shames us all. And now we have the prospect of the Quran burning proposed by a Christian pastor, who seems to have forgotten that Jesus taught his followers to love those they regard as enemies, to respond to evil with good, and to turn the other cheek when attacked, and who died forgiving his executioners.

If we want to preserve our humanity, we must make the compassionate voice of religion and morality a vibrant and dynamic force in our polarised world. We can no longer afford the barbarism of hatred, contempt and disgust. At the same time as we are so perilously divided, we are drawn together electronically, economically and politically more closely than ever before. A Quran burning, whenever it is held (it appears to have been delayed for questionable reasons by the pastor behind it), would endanger American troops in Afghanistan and send shock waves of distress throughout the Muslim world. In an age when, increasingly, small groups will have powers of destruction that were previously the preserve only of the nation-state, respect and compassion are now crucial for our very survival. We have to learn to make a place for the other in our minds and hearts; any ideology that inspires hatred, exclusion and division is failing the test of our time. Hatred breeds more hatred, violence more violence. It is time to break this vicious cycle.

MORE HERE

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Afghans wave banners saying "Quran is our law, Islam is our religion" during a demonstration against the United States, in Kabul, Afghanistan, Monday, Sept. 6, 2010.

Petraeus Condemns Dove World Outreach’s Plan To Burn Qurans: ‘It Could Endanger Troops’

AP / Huffington Post First Posted: 09- 6-10 05:22 PM   |   Updated: 09- 6-10 06:18 PM

General David Petraeus has condemned a Florida church’s plans to burn Qurans this week, warning that the scene “could endanger troops” in Afghanistan.

Petraeus told The Wall Street Journal Monday that Pastor Terry Jones’ September 11 stunt could ignite violence from Taliban forces already versed in harnessing American headlines as propaganda:

“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort,” Gen. Petraeus said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems. Not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”

Hundreds of Afghans railed against the United States Monday and called for President Barack Obama’s death during protests about Dove World Outreach Center’s plans to burn the Islamic holy book on Sept. 11.

The crowd in Kabul, numbering as many as 500, chanted “Long live Islam” and “Death to America” as they listened to fiery speeches from members of parliament, provincial council deputies, and Islamic clerics who criticized the U.S. and demanded the withdrawal of foreign troops from the country. Some threw rocks when a U.S. military convoy passed, but speakers shouted at them to stop and told police to arrest anyone who disobeyed.

The Journal reports that military leaders are worried that protests will spread beyond Kabul.

The Gainesville, Florida-based Dove World Outreach Center announced plans to burn copies of the Quran on church grounds to mark the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, but has been denied a permit to set a bonfire. The church, which made headlines last year after distributing T-shirts that said “Islam is of the Devil,” has vowed to proceed with the burning.

“We know this is not just the decision of a church. It is the decision of the president and the entire United States,” said Abdul Shakoor, an 18-year-old high school student who said he joined the protest after hearing neighborhood gossip about the Quran burning.

MORE HERE

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