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The New York Times

Published: May 1, 2012

Good evening from Bagram Air Base. This outpost is more than seven thousand miles from home, but for over a decade it has been close to our hearts. Because here, in Afghanistan, more than half a million of our sons and daughters have sacrificed to protect our country.

Today, I signed an historic agreement between the United States and Afghanistan that defines a new kind of relationship between our countries – a future in which Afghans are responsible for the security of their nation, and we build an equal partnership between two sovereign states; a future in which the war ends, and a new chapter begins.

Tonight, I’d like to speak to you about this transition. But first, let us remember why we came here. It was here, in Afghanistan, where Osama bin Laden established a safe-haven for his terrorist organization. It was here, in Afghanistan, where al Qaeda brought new recruits, trained them, and plotted acts of terror. It was here, from within these borders, that al Qaeda launched the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 innocent men, women and children.

And so, ten years ago, the United States and our allies went to war to make sure that al Qaeda could never again use this country to launch attacks against us. Despite initial success, for a number of reasons, this war has taken longer than most anticipated. In 2002, bin Laden and his lieutenants escaped across the border and established safe-havens in Pakistan. America spent nearly eight years fighting a different war in Iraq. And al Qaeda’s extremist allies within the Taliban have waged a brutal insurgency.

But over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan Security Forces. We devastated al Qaeda’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set – to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild – is within reach.

Still, there will be difficult days ahead. The enormous sacrifices of our men and women are not over. But tonight, I’d like to tell you how we will complete our mission and end the war in Afghanistan.

First, we have begun a transition to Afghan responsibility for security. Already, nearly half the Afghan people live in places where Afghan Security Forces are moving into the lead. This month, at a NATO Summit in Chicago, our coalition will set a goal for Afghan forces to be in the lead for combat operations across the country next year. International troops will continue to train, advise and assist the Afghans, and fight alongside them when needed. But we will shift into a support role as Afghans step forward.

As we do, our troops will be coming home. Last year, we removed 10,000 U.S. troops from Afghanistan. Another 23,000 will leave by the end of the summer. After that, reductions will continue at a steady pace, with more of our troops coming home. And as our coalition agreed, by the end of 2014 the Afghans will be fully responsible for the security of their country.

Second, we are training Afghan Security Forces to get the job done. Those forces have surged, and will peak at 352,000 this year. The Afghans will sustain that level for three years, and then reduce the size of their military. And in Chicago, we will endorse a proposal to support a strong and sustainable long-term Afghan force.

Third, we are building an enduring partnership. The agreement we signed today sends a clear message to the Afghan people: as you stand up, you will not stand alone. It establishes the basis of our cooperation over the next decade, including shared commitments to combat terrorism and strengthen democratic institutions. It supports Afghan efforts to advance development and dignity for their people. And it includes Afghan commitments to transparency and accountability, and to protect the human rights of all Afghans – men and women, boys and girls.

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Bloomberg June 17, 2011, 4:45 PM EDT

By Patricia Hurtado and Chris Dolmetsch

 U.S. prosecutors in New York, the first to identify and charge Osama bin Laden three years before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, were granted their request to dismiss the case against him, more than a month after he was killed by U.S. forces in Pakistan.

U.S. District Judge Lewis A. Kaplan in New York today ordered that the entire case be voided against bin Laden, a Saudi who was killed May 1 at his Abbottabad, Pakistan, compound by a team of U.S. Navy SEALs during a 40-minute raid.

Bin Laden was first charged secretly by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Manhattan in June 1998 for allegedly organizing a global conspiracy to attack U.S. facilities and citizens.

After the U.S. embassies in Tanzania and Kenya were hit by near-simultaneous bombings on Aug. 7, 1998, the U.S. filed an updated indictment against him in November 1998, charging him with directing those attacks and with the murders of 224 people, including 12 U.S. citizens.

The indictment was first filed by prosecutors working for then-U.S. Attorney Mary Jo White, who had established the nation’s first terrorist prosecution unit after the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center that killed six people and injured more than 1,000

However, one year ago, on June 19, 2010, according to Jurist.org, a judge for the US District Court for the Southern District of New York (SDNY) dismissed 49 terrorism lawsuits, including five cases against relatives of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, citing lack of evidence. Judge George Daniels dismissed claims against four half-brothers and a nephew of bin Laden, holding that the prosecution lacked evidence to support the relatives’ involvement in al Qaeda operations surrounding the 9/11 attacks. The claims were brought seven years ago by the families of victims who died in the attack on the World Trade Center in 2001.

What happens when a defendant in a lawsuit dies?

Answer: according to answers .com

“When any party to a lawsuit dies, the estate of the deceased party is substituted for the person. The estate executor or administrator then becomes the party in interest to handle the lawsuit. In most states, the executor/administrator will handle the lawsuit without having to consult with the ultimate beneficiaries before taking any action, such as settling. In practice though it is wise to get some feeling from the beneficiaries, since they might make some objections about a settlement and try to hold the executor/administrator liable for making a bad settlement. But once the executor/administrator does sign on the settlement, the beneficiaries cannot re-open the case just because they dislike the result.”

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While it is said that it is standard procedure to dismiss the case of the deceased, Osama Bin Laden, I can’t help but wonder what options will be available to the 911 victims who believe that Bin Laden was responsible”, or for that matter, what options are available for the ones who believe the US Government is responsible?

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Cost of war in Afghanistan will be major factor in troop-reduction talks

The Washington Post via: Huff Post

By Rajiv Chandrasekaran, Published: May 30

Of all the statistics that President Obama’s national security team will consider when it debates the size of forthcoming troop reductions in Afghanistan, the most influential number probably will not be how many insurgents have been killed or the amount of territory wrested from the Taliban, according to aides to those who will participate.

It will be the cost of the war.

The U.S. military is on track to spend $113 billion on its operations in Afghanistan this fiscal year, and it is seeking $107 billion for the next. To many of the president’s civilian advisers, that price is too high, given a wide federal budget gap that will require further cuts to domestic programs and increased deficit spending. Growing doubts about the need for such a broad nation-building mission there in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death have only sharpened that view.

“Where we’re at right now is simply not sustainable,” said one senior administration official, who, like several others interviewed for this article, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations.

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Smoke billows from the World Trade Center in New York, on September 11, 2001. (Photo: Ruth Fremson / The New York Times)

Report: Intelligence Unit Told Before 9/11 to Stop Tracking Bin Laden

Monday 23 May 2011

by: Jeffrey Kaye, Truthout

A great deal of controversy has arisen about what was known about the movements and location of Osama bin Laden in the wake of his killing by US Special Forces on May 2 in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Questions about what intelligence agencies knew or didn’t know about al-Qaeda activities go back some years, most prominently in the controversy over the existence of a joint US Special Forces Command and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) data mining effort known as “Able Danger.”

What hasn’t been discussed is a September 2008 Department of Defense (DoD) inspector general (IG) report, summarizing an investigation made in response to an accusation by a Joint Forces Intelligence Command (JFIC) whistleblower, which indicated that a senior JFIC commander had halted actions tracking Osama bin Laden prior to 9/11. JFIC is tasked with an intelligence mission in support of United States Joint Force Command (USJFCOM).

The report, titled “Review of Joint Forces Intelligence Command Response to 9/11 Commission,” was declassified last year, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request from Steven Aftergood at the Federation of American Scientists.

The whistleblower, who the IG report identified as a former JFIC employee represented only by his codename “IRON MAN,” claimed in letters written to both the DoD inspector general in May 2006 and, lacking any apparent action by the IG, to the Office of the National Director of Intelligence (ODNI) in October 2007, that JFIC had withheld operational information about al-Qaeda when queried in March 2002 about its activities by the DIA and higher command officials on behalf of the 9/11 Commission. The ODNI passed the complaint back to the IG, who then opened an investigation under the auspices of the deputy inspector general for intelligence.

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…the FBI has no hard evidence connecting Bin Laden to 9/11.” Rex Tomb, Chief of Investigative Publicity for the FBI, June 5, 2006

We’ve never made the case, or argued the case, that somehow Osama Bin Laden was directly involved in 9/11. That evidence has never been forthcoming.” Vice President Dick Cheney, March 29, 2006

Acknowledgment: For facts on Operation Flavius, I have drawn from the Wikepedia article on the subject

Shell petrol station at Winston Churchill Avenue in Gibraltar where McCann and Farrell were shot by the SAS

Events last week have brought to mind a similar incident which took place more than twenty years ago involving the killing of three members of a terrorist organisation on Gibraltar, in which there are a number of disturbing parallels.

On 6 March, 1988, an SAS (the UK’s equivalent, more or less, to the United States SEALs) team stopped three members of the IRA as they walked near the Shell filling station in Winston Churchill Avenue, the busy main road leading to the airport and the frontier with Spain.

The three, Danny McCann, Sean Savage and Mairead Farrell, were planning to detonate a car bomb where a military band assembled for the weekly changing of the guard at the governor’s residence.

The SAS team had been informed – incorrectly – that the IRA members had already placed their bomb and were ready to detonate it.

(more…)

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Osama Bin Laden Home Videos Released

Huffington Post

First Posted: 05/ 7/11 09:12 AM ET Updated: 05/ 7/11 04:50 PM ET

LOLITA C. BALDOR and KIMBERLY DOZIER, Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Newly released videos show Osama bin Laden watching himself on television and rehearsing for terrorist videos, revealing that even from the walled confines of his Pakistani hideout, he remained a media maestro who was eager to craft his own image for the cameras.

The videos, released by U.S. intelligence officials Saturday, were offered as further proof that Navy SEALs killed the world’s most wanted terrorist this week. But they also served to show bin Laden as vain, someone obsessed with his portrayal by the world’s media.

VIDEOS HERE

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CIA Spied On Bin Laden From Safe House

TPM MUCKRAKER

Eric Lach | May 6, 2011, 9:45AM

The CIA had for months been spying on the compound where Osama bin Laden was found and killed by U.S. forces earlier this week, according to reports.

The agency maintained a rented safehouse near bin Laden’s compound, where a small team of spies “relied on Pakistani informants and other sources to help assemble a ‘pattern of life’ portrait of the occupants and daily activities at the fortified compound where bin Laden was found,” officials told The Washington Post.

A variety of technologies were used, according to The New York Times:

Observing from behind mirrored glass, C.I.A. officers used cameras with telephoto lenses and infrared imaging equipment to study the compound, and they used sensitive eavesdropping equipment to try to pick up voices from inside the house and to intercept cellphone calls. A satellite used radar to search for possible escape tunnels.

Despite the efforts, technology and millions of dollars used in the operation, agents were never able to photograph or record the voice of the man living on the top floor of the compound. According to the Times, agents called a man who took regular walks in the compound’s courtyard “the pacer,” but they were never able to confirm that he was bin Laden.

“You’ve got to give him credit for his tradecraft,” a former senior CIA official who played a leading role in the manhunt told the Post.

On the other hand, the official said, bin Laden’s decision to go to Abbottabad left him vulnerable. While it was not an obvious place to hide, and took him out of range of the U.S. drones that patrol the border with Afghanistan, Abbottabad is a place where “anybody can go.”

“It makes it easier for the CIA to operate,” the official said.

According to the Post, the safehouse was shut down after the raid.

SOURCE

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