History Commons Groups

September 30, 2008

New FOIA Request Filed: CIA Briefing on Responsibility for USS Cole Bombing

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:44 am
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I have filed a new FOIA request about the investigation of the bombing of the USS Cole in Yemen. The document is referred to in the 9/11 Commission Report as “CIA briefing materials, ‘Intelligence Assessment: The Attack on the USS Cole,’ Dec. 21, 2000.” It is mentioned in endnote 144 on page 508 of the 9/11 Commission Report.

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September 27, 2008

Books We Read: Mini-Reviews of Two GOP Whistleblowers


How to Rig an Election
Allen Raymond
2008 Simon and Schuster
256 pages

What Happened
Scott McClellan
2008 PublicAffairs
368 pages

This time around, we’re taking quick glances at two books from Republican whistleblowers. McClellan, the former Bush press secretary, became a nine-day wonder on the pundit circuit, while Raymond’s book garnered far less coverage. It should have been reversed, because when all is said and done, there is far more meat on the bones of Raymond’s book than on McClellan’s.

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September 23, 2008

New FOIA Request Filed: Restrictions on Dissemination of NSA Information

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 1:58 am
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I have filed a new FOIA request for four NSA documents. The documents relate to restrictions on the dissemination of NSA information inside the FBI. The restrictions were implemented in December 1999 because of the surveillance of three US persons somehow linked to Osama bin Laden outside the US by the NSA during the Millennium alert. Had the surveillance been inside the US, a warrant would have been obtained under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) and the information would have been covered by the 1995 procedures (a.k.a. “the Wall”). These procedures regulated the passage of information between intelligence agents in the FBI and criminal prosecutors (as well as criminal investigators at the FBI).

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September 21, 2008

Detainee Abuse Timeline: Rendition Category Split

Filed under: Torture and Abuse — kevinfenton @ 2:57 pm
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The old category covering rendition at the Detainee Abuse Timeline has been split. There are now separate categories for rendition before 9/11 and rendition after 9/11.

More entries will be added to the rendition before 9/11 category, in particular, in the near future.

The reason for the split is that, unsurprisingly, there are a number of differences in how the program was implemented before and after 9/11, and we wanted to highlight some of these aspects. For example, before 9/11, the CIA ignored the information tortured out of detainees because they knew it was meaningless, whereas after the attacks they lapped it up. It is also interesting to note that Bill Clinton himself was in two minds about the program and it was only a bon mot from the sainted Al Gore that got him to give it the green light.

Another interesting point is that a CIA officer named Rich B is a prime mover in the program before and after 9/11.

September 19, 2008

Cole Bombing: New FOIA Request Filed

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:30 am
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I have filed another FOIA request regarding the bombing of the USS Cole. It is for an FBI document entitled “Source reporting on al-Qaeda” and is dated January 16, 2001. It is mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report in endnote 132 on page 507.

The reason I want this document is because it is related to the identification of al-Qaeda leader Khallad bin Attash in a photograph provided by the Yemeni authorities and in the Malaysia summit photographs in January 2001 by a joint FBI/CIA informer being used for the USS Cole investigation. Bin Attash was a key player in the 9/11 and Cole plots. The document should have mentioned his identification in the Malaysia photographs, which would have been a key link for the Cole investigators and an important piece of information that could have helped prevent 9/11. However, for some reason it is said to only mention the identification in the Yemeni photographs.

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Welcome Aboard, Erik

Filed under: 2001 anthrax attacks,community — Max @ 12:06 am
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The History Commons is proud to welcome its newest member, Erik Larson, who posts under the moniker “Erik91.” He describes himself as “a user and supporter of cooperativeresearch / historycommons since late 2005.” He maintains his own blog, 9/11 Reports. On his blog, he describes himself as a non-violent activist and agent of change. Erik works a little differently from the average contributor; he isn’t so much interested in creating material of his own as he is working with the nuts and bolts of others’ entries. We appreciate his willingness to tackle the less glamorous (glamorous??) aspects of maintaining the Commons. He creates tons of original material on his own, and others’ blogs; we’re just glad he has some time for us. So far he’s helped post a large amount of material in the new Anthrax timeline. We welcome him to the History Commons community, and extend the invitation for you to join as well.

September 18, 2008

New 9/11 Timeline Categories: Black Hawk Down and Shoe Bombing

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:52 am
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Two new categories have been added to the 9/11 Timeline.

One of them is called 1993 Somalia Fighting and focuses on the lead-up to the infamous Black Hawk Down incident. Basically, it seems that associates of Osama bin Laden trained the Somalis in techniques to shoot down helicopters they had learned from the US and the British during the Soviet-Afghan War. This is probably why the Somalis suddenly got good at shooting down helicopters.

The second is called 2001 Attempted Shoe Bombing and looks at the failed December 2001 bombing of a transatlantic jet by Richard Reid and related operations. There are a number of interesting points here: the bombers were under surveillance for years, one of them was recruited by British intelligence informer Abu Hamza, and at least one of their contacts was arrested shortly after 9/11.

Expect to see some additions to these categories in the next week or two.

New Categories in A. Q. Khan Timeline

Filed under: A.Q. Khan Nukes — kevinfenton @ 2:39 am
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Four new categories have been added to the A. Q. Khan Timeline. They are:

Britain, which details the nuclear proliferation network’s activities in Britain (they bought a lot of stuff there) and British investigations and knowledge of it.

The Netherlands, which details the nuclear proliferation network’s activities in the Netherlands (Khan worked there and stole secrets at the start of his career) and Dutch investigations and knowledge of it.

The United Arab Emirates, which details the nuclear proliferation network’s numerous activities in UAE and UAE investigations (shut down) and knowledge of it.

Obviously, there is a lot of material that is still to be added here, but we have made a decent start.

There is also a category called Atif Amin, who headed a British customs investigation into the network in 1999-2000. Like just about every other investigation into Khan, it was frustrated.

September 15, 2008

Editor and Publisher’s Blog Up and Running

Filed under: community — Max @ 4:59 pm
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I always liked Editor and Publisher. Greg Mitchell and Co. do a fine job, in my opinion, of providing commentary on the media, combining objectivity, honesty, and passion. Now Greg and the folks have a new blog up: E&P Pub. Like this blog, they’re new and still working on building a community, so you can get in on the ground floor of what I think could well be another strong and influential source of media critique. I plan on spending some time over there; you might consider it as well.

September 14, 2008

History Commons YouTube Channel

Filed under: Complete 911 Timeline — kevinfenton @ 2:48 pm
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As you may have already noticed, the History Commons has a YouTube channel, which you can find here. The channel mostly serves the 9/11 Timeline, although there are vague intentions to expand it to cover the other timelines. The main point of the channel is that some of the entries in the database are related to audio/video content, such as those about Osama bin Laden’s messages, the release of Pentagon impact videos, and so on. Therefore, it’s good to have a link direct from an entry to the actual video the entry talks about. You just click on the link and, hey presto, there’s a man said to be Osama bin Laden giving you a lecture about the virtues of jihad, or President Bush engrossed in My Pet Goat.

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