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Posted: 02/28/12 07:28 PM ET  |  Updated: 02/28/12 07:41 PM ET

Huff Post  By- Michael McAuliff

WASHINGTON — The White House released rules Tuesday evening waiving the most controversial piece of the new military detention law, and exempting U.S. citizens, as well as other broad categories of suspected terrorists.

Indefinite military detention of Americans and others was granted in the defense authorization bill  President Barack Obama signed just before Christmas, sparking a storm of anger from civil libertarians on the left and right.

The new rules — which deal with Section 1022 of the law — are aimed at soothing many of their gravest concerns, an administration official said. Those concerns are led by the possibility that a law that grants the president authority to jail Americans without trial in Guantanamo Bay based on secret evidence could easily be abused.

“It is important to recognize that the scope of the new law is limited,” says a fact sheet released by the White House, focusing on that worry. “Section 1022 does not apply to U.S. citizens, and the President has decided to waive its application to lawful permanent residents arrested in the United States.”

It also addresses a concern of the White House and advocates of civil law enforcement, insisting that even if a suspect is transfered to the military, the person can be shifted back if the administration believes it is important for national security.

“An individual required to be held in military custody under Section 1022 may be returned to law enforcement custody for criminal trial,” the White House summary says. “In addition, Section 1022 does not change the FBI’s authorities to respond to terrorism threats and these procedures do not apply to any individuals held in the custody of the Department of Defense, state and local law enforcement agencies acting under their authorities, or a foreign government.”

Advocates for liberties will likely find the new rules for implementing reassuring, at least while President Obama is in office. But one of their big complaints with his signing of the law is that his policies only last so long as he is in office, and they will likely step up attempts to repeal it.

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Think Progress- By Ben Armbruster  on Feb 6, 2012 at 10:15 am

Out on the campaign trail and in debates, Mitt Romney has tried to paint President Obama as a ineffective commander-in-chief. The former Massachusetts governor regularly says things like the President is “weak” or that he “went around the world and apologized for America” — an assertion the Washington Post said was “based on distortions.”

But it appears that Romney’s baseless attacks on Obama’s foreign policy aren’t sticking. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll out today found that “Obama has big leads [over Romney], including on the question of who would better protect the middle class, handle foreign policy and fight terrorism.” Fifty-five percent trust Obama over Romney (38 percent) to handle international affairs and 54 percent said Obama is more able to deal with the terrorism theat than Romney (38 percent). See the Post’s chart:

Perhaps Romney knows he doesn’t have much on the president’s foreign policy, which might explain why he regularly lobs false and misleading charges at Obama, on issues ranging from Iran, Israel, the war in Afghanistan and the military. Regarding Romney’s charges that Obama is “weakening” the U.S. military, former Defense Secretary Robert Gates, himself a Republican, called that line of attack “ridiculous.”

SOURCE

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A police officer stands guard in New York's Times Square as the ABC news ticker displays news of an al-Qaida terror threat, Friday, Sept. 9, 2011. Just days before the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, U.S. counterterrorism officials are chasing a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to use a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It is the first "active plot" timed to coincide with the somber commemoration of the terror group's 9/11 attacks a decade ago that killed nearly 3,000 people. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

Officials chase unconfirmed al-Qaida bomb threat

By EILEEN SULLIVAN and KIMBERLY DOZIER

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. counterterrorism officials are chasing a credible but unconfirmed al-Qaida threat to set off a car bomb on bridges or tunnels in New York City or Washington. It was the first word of an “active plot” timed to coincide with the somber commemoration of the terror group’s 9/11 attacks a decade ago that killed nearly 3,000 people.

Counterterrorism officials were investigating the threat throughout the night and into Friday, as police in New York and Washington said they would increase their already stepped-up staffing levels in light of the recent intelligence.

Law enforcement officials were pursuing three people who may be traveling to the U.S. or who have recently entered the country, based on the detailed information received by the U.S. intelligence community late Wednesday, officials said. The intelligence suggested that al-Qaida planned to car bomb one of the two cities that were hit 10 years ago.

Vice President Joe Biden said Friday that there was no confirmation that anyone had traveled into the U.S. for such a plot although the tip came from a credible source. “There’s no certitude,” he said.

“The thing we are all most worried about is what they call a `lone ranger,’ a lone actor, not some extremely complicated plan like it took to take down the World Trade towers,” said Biden, who appeared on the trio of network morning TV shows Friday.

A U.S. official said the source of the terror tip indicated that al-Qaida’s new leader, Ayman al-Zawahri, was involved in planning the plot. But the official also said that many in the intelligence community question that and other aspects of the source’s information.

The nation’s terror alert level has not changed, but raising it was under consideration Thursday night.

The officials described the threat to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive security matters.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Watch video on HULU

Friends Without Benefits

Wonder why the IAFF is moving FirePAC?

IAFF Freezes Federal FIREPAC Contributions

by FossilMedic

Amendment submitted by Florida Congressman Cliff Stearns (Republican) mandates all the World Trade Center responders be compared to the database of suspected terrorists before receiving benefits from the James L. Zadroga 9/11 Health & Compensation Act.

NO other federal program requires such scrutiny.

As Jon Stewart says – a final kick in the nuts.

Hat tip to firegeezer.com

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Cable news reached an all new level of self-satire and hackery this week as various daytime “serious” anchors mindlessly repeated the phrase “touch my junk” over and over. Years of journalism training, internships and advanced education and they’re repeating “touch my junk” in the context of a videotaped airport security fracas.

And, speaking of journalistic integrity, “touch my junk” was featured between repeat airings of the brain-shrinkingly stupid commercial for abstinence featuring “The Situation” and Bristol Palin, both of whom are famous for their, you know, virginity. But good job, anyway, cable news people. Nailed it. You must be very proud.

Meanwhile, the TSA airport security segments on cable news have been prompted by two sources.

First, a blog entry by a would-be airline traveler who rightfully refused to submit to both a naked backscatter scan and, subsequently, a manual pat-down at San Diego International. The blogger videotaped much of the process and, as is heard on the video, exclaimed, “If you touch my junk, I’ll have you arrested.” The full description of this confrontation can be found at the blogger’s website.

Second, and not surprisingly, the broader TSA body scanner story has been egged on by a week’s worth of screamer headlines and “Big Sis” snark from Matt Drudge because, as Mark Halperin famously put it: “Drudge rules our world.” (“Big Sis” is Drudge’s too-clever nickname for DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.)

Before I get into why this is so twisted, I should mention here that, in theory, I actually agree with Drudge about the body scanners and some of the (often purely cosmetic) increased security measures at airports.

The full body scanners, also known as millimeter wave scanners, are an obvious and very creepy violation of privacy and, despite what Homeland Security and the TSA are suggesting, the freakish naked images can, in fact, be saved and leaked. Not surprisingly, there is also untold health issues involved with being bombarded from head to toe with radiation. And, oh yeah, the scanners really wouldn’t have stopped terrorists like the Underwear Bomber because the scanners aren’t very good at picking up “low-density materials like plastics, chemicals, and liquids — precisely what the underwear bomber had stuffed in his briefs,” according to Mother Jones magazine.

Ultimately, and for all of these reasons, vocal opposition to the naked body scanners transcends ideologies and political affiliations — lately at least (more on that presently). But the opposition isn’t making much of a dent in terms of rolling back this unconstitutional security measure: a new CBS poll released today shows that 81 percent of Americans favor the use of the scanners. Sad.

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Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano

Janet Napolitano: DHS Report On Right-Wing Extremists Is ‘Ancient History’

TPM Muckraker

Ryan J. Reilly | September 17, 2010, 4:42PM

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano on Friday referred to a controversial report issued by DHS in April 2009 on the potential for an increased in right-wing extremism as “ancient history.”

TPMDC asked Napolitano at a lunch hosted by the Christian Science Monitor if she thought the report DHS was criticized for issuing on the potential for a rise in right-wing extremism due to the election of Barack Obama has been vindicated in the year and a half since it came out.

Incidents like the allegations against the Hutaree militia, the murder of Dr. George Tiller, the shooting at the Holocaust Museum and the arrest of an ex-Marine with ties to right-wing movements possessing a grenade launcher seem to be right up the alley of what the DHS foreshadowed.

Napolitano — who had apologized to the country’s largest veterans organization for the part of the report that suggesed right wingers were trying to recruit disgruntled soldiers — said that it was time to move on.

“The kind and quality of the products we put out for law enforcement now are so much more operational,” Napolitano said Friday. “What we needed to do in our department was really think through what is it that a standard local fusion center needs — how do we inform them about trends, about tactics, how do we get information back from them. And so that report to me is almost ancient history, and I’ll put it there.”

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