LATEST TIMELINE UPDATE

By Paul Thompson

The key to abbreviations and other explanations can be found on the main timeline page.

Other Sections of the Timeline:

The Complete Timeline parts 1 and 2 (excluding Day of 9/11)
The Abridged Timeline (a good place to start)
Introduction and credits, help needed, and links
The latest update

Articles
The Two Ziad Jarrahs
Sept. 11's Smoking Gun: The Many Faces of Saeed Sheikh
Alhazmi & Almihdhar: The Hijackers Who Should Have Been Caught
They Tried to Warn Us
Is There More to the Capture of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed Than Meets the Eye?
An Interesting Day: George Bush Jr. on 9/11
The Failure to Defend the Skies on 9/11

Summaries

9/11 Paymaster Saeed Sheikh
9/11 Mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammed
ISI Director Mahmood Ahmed
Nabil al-Marabh
Would Be Hijacker Zacarias Moussaoui
Hijackers Nawaf Alhazmi and Khalid Almihdhar
Escape from Afghanistan
Foreign Intelligence Warnings
Randy Glass

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Also see forums to discuss 9/11 and this timeline
Subdivisions
Part 1: 1979 - 2000
Part 2: Jan. 2001 - 9/11
Part 3: Day of 9/11
Part 4: 9/11 - Dec. 2001
Part 5: Jan. 2002 - present
Day of 9/11
Flight 11
Flight 175
Flight 77
Flight 93
Bush on 9/11

 

Categories

This story is so complicated and long, I've tried to break it into threads of different colors to make it easier to digest, as well as the main page, the page for the day of September 11, and the abridged timeline.

Central Asian oil, Enron and the Afghanistan pipelines. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Information that should have shown what kind of attack al-Qaeda would make. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
US preparing for a war with Afghanistan before 9/11, increasing control of Asia before and since. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Incompetence, bad luck, and/or obstruction of justice. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Suggestions of advanced knowledge that an attack would take place on or around 9/11. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Cover-up, lies, and/or contradictions. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Israeli "art student" spy ring, Israeli foreknowledge evidence. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Anthrax attacks and microbiologist deaths. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Pakistani ISI and/or opium drug connections. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Bin Laden family, Saudi Arabia corruption and support of terrorists, connections to Bush. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.
Erosion of civil liberties and erection of a police state. For a separate page of these entries only, click here.

 

Update 16

NOTES ON THE LATEST UPDATE

This update adds something I've been meaning to add for a long time: a new color thread relating to the erosion of civil liberties and the erection of a police state. It is becoming increasingly obvious that one major and far from necessary effect of 9/11 has been these dramatic changes inside the US, so they're a necessary part of this timeline. Unfortunately, the many new entries on this theme are but a small part of the entries I have material to do, so look for more of these entries in the next update. This new theme now has its own page. There's quite a lot of material on the theme of US global domination as well, which seems especially appropriate as the war on Iraq continues.

 

NEW AND UPDATED ENTRIES RELATING TO REDUCED CIVIL LIBERTIES

September 18, 2001 (B): The Justice Department publishes an interim regulation allowing non-citizens suspected of terrorism to be detained without charge for 48 hours or "an additional reasonable period of time" in the event of an "emergency or other extraordinary circumstance." [New York Times, 9/19/01 (C)] The new rule is used to hold hundreds indefinitely until the Patriot Act passes in October (see October 26, 2001), providing more solid grounds to hold non-citizens without charge.

September 19, 2001 (D): The first draft of what will later be called the Patriot Act is introduced to Congress. [Anti-Terrorism Act, 9/19/01] However, due to Congressional opposition of its broad powers, the act is revised and reintroduced on October 2 (see October 2, 2001 (B)). [Houston Chronicle, 10/7/01] Given that it normally takes months to prepare a large piece of legislation hundreds of pages long, was this act being prepared before 9/11?


Tom Ridge. [AP]

September 20, 2001: Bush announces the new cabinet-level Office of Homeland Security, to be led by Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge. [AP, 8/19/02] Ridge later becomes secretary of a new Homeland Security Department (see November 25, 2002). Accepting the post, Ridge says, "Liberty is the most precious gift we offer our citizens." Responding to this comment, the Village Voice opines, "Could Tom Ridge have said anything scarier or more telling as he accepted the post of homeland security czar? Trying to strike the bell of liberty, he sounds its death knell, depicting government not as the agent of the people's will, but as an imperious power with the authority to give us our democratic freedoms. Which means, of course, that it can also take them away." [Village Voice, 9/11/02]


Bill Maher. [CNN]

September 26, 2001 (B): Press Secretary Ari Fleischer warns, "There are reminders to all Americans that they need to watch what they say, watch what they do...." [AP, 9/26/01 (C)] Fleischer was responding to comments made by Bill Maher, the host of the discussion/comedy show Politically Incorrect. Maher said the hijackers were not cowards but that it was cowardly for the US to launch cruise missiles on targets thousands of miles away. [New York Times, 9/28/01 (B)] Many advertisers and affiliate stations pull their support of the show in response. [Washington Post, 9/29/01 (B)] ABC cancels Maher's show at the end of its season because of the controversy. [Toronto Star, 6/26/02] Several journalists are fired around the same time for criticizing Bush. Fleischer's comments and the general chill on free speech are widely criticized by major newspapers (for instance, [New York Times, 9/29/01 (B), Washington Post, 9/29/01 (B), Dallas Morning News, 10/4/01].)

October 12, 2001 (B): Attorney General Ashcroft encourages federal agencies to deny requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In a memo to all government departments and agencies, he states, "When you carefully consider FOIA requests and decide to withhold records, in whole or in part, you can be assured that the Department of Justice will defend your decisions." This is a dramatic shift from the Clinton Administration, which instructed federal officials to grant all information requests unless there was "foreseeable harm" in doing so. [Washington Post, 12/2/02] The New York Times notes that while this policy was announced after 9/11, "it had been planned well before the attacks." [New York Times, 1/3/03]

October 20, 2001: The New York Times reports that, although 830 people have been arrested in the 9/11 terrorism investigation (a number that eventually reaches between 1,200 and 2,000 (see November 5, 2001 (B)), there is no evidence that anyone now in custody was a conspirator in the 9/11 attacks. Furthermore, "none of the nearly 100 people still being sought by the [FBI] is seen as a major suspect." Of all the people arrested, only four, Zacarias Moussaoui, Ayub Ali Khan, Mohammed Azmath, and Nabil al-Marabh, are likely connected to al-Qaeda. [New York Times, 10/21/01] Three of those are later cleared of ties to al-Qaeda. After being kept in solitary confinement for more than eight months without seeing a judge or being assigned a lawyer, al-Marabh pleads guilty to the minor charge of entering the United States illegally (see September 19, 2001-September 3, 2002). [CBC, 8/27/02, Washington Post, 6/12/02] On September 12, 2002, after a year in solitary confinement and four months before he was able to contact a lawyer, Mohammed Azmath pleads guilty to one count of credit card fraud, and is released with time served. Ayub Ali Khan, whose real name is apparently Syed Gul Mohammad Shah, is given a longer sentence for credit card fraud, but is released and deported by the end of 2002 (see September 11, 2001 (K)). [Village Voice, 9/25/02, New York Times, 12/31/02] By December 2002, only 6 are known to still be in custody, and none have been charged with any terrorist acts (see December 11, 2002 (D)). On September 24, 2001, Newsweek reported that "the FBI has privately estimated that more than 1,000 individuals - most of them foreign nationals - with suspected terrorist ties are currently living in the United States." [Newsweek, 9/24/01] With the exception of Moussaoui, who was arrested before 9/11, it appears not one person of the 1,200 arrested has been connected to al-Qaeda. What happened to the 1,000 or more terrorists?


President Bush signs the Patriot Act into law.

October 26, 2001: Bush signs the Patriot Act into law. Here are some of its provisions:
1) Non-citizens can be detained and deported if they provide "assistance" for lawful activities of any group the government chooses to call a terrorist organization. Under this provision the secretary of state can designate any group that has ever engaged in violent activity as a terrorist organization. Representative Patsy Mink notes that in theory supporters of Greenpeace could now be convicted for supporting terrorism. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/12/01]
2) Immigrants can be detained indefinitely, even if they are found to not have any links to terrorism. They can be detained indefinitely for immigration violations or if the attorney general decides their activities pose a danger to national security. They never need to be given a trial or even a hearing on their status. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/0]
3) Internet service providers can be ordered to reveal the web sites and e-mail addresses that a suspect has communicated to or visited. The FBI need only inform a judge that the information is relevant to an investigation. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02, Village Voice, 11/26/01]
4) It "lays the foundation for a domestic intelligence-gathering system of unprecedented scale and technological prowess." [Washington Post, 11/4/01] It allows the government to access confidential credit reports, school records, and other records, without consent or notification. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02] All of this information can now be given to the CIA, in violation of the CIA's mandate prohibiting it from spying within the US. [Village Voice, 11/26/01]
5) Financial institutions are encouraged to disclose possible violations of law or "suspicious activities" by any client. The institution is prohibited from notifying the person involved that it made such a report. The term "suspicious" is not defined, so it is up to the financial institutions to determine when to send such a report.
6) Federal agents can easily obtain warrants to review a library patron's reading and computer habits (see also January 2002 (E)). [Village Voice, 2/22/02]
7) The government can refuse to reveal how evidence is collected against a suspected terrorist defendant. [Tampa Tribune, 4/6/03]


Senator Russell Feingold.

The law passes without public debate. [Village Voice, 11/9/01, Village Voice, 11/26/01] Even though it ultimately took six weeks to pass the law, there was no hearing or congressional debate. [Salon, 3/24/03] Congressman Barney Frank (D) says, "This was the least democratic process for debating questions fundamental to democracy I have ever seen. A bill drafted by a handful of people in secret, subject to no committee process, comes before us immune from amendment." [Village Voice, 11/9/01] Only 66 congresspeople, and one senator, Russell Feingold (D), vote against it. Few in Congress are able to read summaries, let alone the fine print, before voting on it. [Los Angeles Times, 10/30/01] Feingold says, "The new law goes into a lot of areas that have nothing to do with terrorism and have a lot to do with the government and the FBI having a wish list of things they want to do...." [Village Voice, 11/9/01] Supporters point out that some provisions will expire in four years, but in fact most provisions will not expire. [Chicago Tribune, 11/1/01] One year later, criticism of the law grows. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02] Dozens of cities later pass resolutions criticizing the Patriot Act (see January 12, 2003 (B)).

October 31, 2001: The Justice Department issues a regulation that allows eavesdropping on attorney-client conversations in federal prisons wherever there is "reasonable suspicion ... to believe that a particular inmate may use communications with attorneys to further or facilitate acts of terrorism"; the regulation requires written notice to the inmate and attorney, "except in the case of prior court authorization." Officials no longer have to show probable cause or get a court order. The Los Angeles Times says the new policy is "sharply criticized by a broad array of lawyers and lawmakers." [Los Angeles Times, 11/10/01, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/12/01]

November 1, 2001: Bush signs an Executive Order which limits public access to papers of all presidents since 1980. A 1978 law provided for the release of presidential papers 12 years after the president leaves office, so Reagan's papers would have been released next year. Reagan issued an order in 1989 that called for disclosure of most of his official papers 12 years after he left office but under the new executive order the papers can be kept secret even if the president in question wants them released. Bush Jr.'s father was Vice President during the Reagan administration. [Seattle Post-Intelligencer, 11/8/01] The Guardian notes that now Bush's "personal papers detailing the decision-making process in the current war on terrorism could remain secret in perpetuity." [Guardian, 11/2/01] In March 2001, Bush signed a temporary orders delaying the release of these papers for 90 days, and then signed for another 90 day delay before signing this order making the change permanent. [New York Times, 1/3/03]

November 5, 2001 (B): The Justice Department announces that it has put 1,182 people into secret custody since 9/11. Most all of them are from the Middle East or South Asia. [New York Times, 8/3/02] After this it stops releasing new numbers, but human rights groups believe the total number could be as high as 2,000. [Independent, 2/26/02] Apparently this is roughly the peak for secret arrests, and eventually most are released, and none have been charged with any terrorist acts (see July 3, 2002 and December 11, 2002 (D)). Their names still have not been revealed (see August 2, 2002 (C)).

November 13, 2001 (B): Bush issues an executive order authorizing the creation of military tribunals to try non-citizens alleged to be involved in international terrorism. The president will decide which defendants will be tried by military tribunals. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld will appoint each panel and set its rules and procedures, including the level of proof needed for a conviction. There is no provision for an appeal to US civil courts or international tribunals. Only the president or the secretary of defense has the authority to overturn a decision. [Washington Post, 11/14/01] Such military tribunals were in the Civil War and again in World War II. [CNN, 11/14/01] But experts say that while there is precedent, aspects of the order could be unconstitutional. [Los Angeles Times, 11/14/01] Additional procedural details are released in March 2002 that satisfy some critics, but others remain alarmed. [Los Angeles Times, 3/21/02, Village Voice, 3/25/02] The New York Times writes, "There is still no practical or legal justification for having the tribunals." The tribunals "still constitute a separate, inferior system of justice, shielded from independent judicial review." [New York Times, 3/22/02 (B)] A year after the order is issued, the Washington Post confirms that "the Bush administration is developing a parallel legal system in which terrorism suspects - US citizens and non-citizens alike - may be investigated, jailed, interrogated, tried and punished without legal protections guaranteed by the ordinary system." [Washington Post, 12/1/02]


A mass grave dug up near Mazar-i-Sharif, Afghanistan. [Physicians for Human Rights]

Late November, 2001: Ironically, it appears that even as the US is allowing some Taliban to secretly fly out of Afghanistan (see November 14-25, 2001) it is allowing a brutal massacre of others. The Sunday Herald says, "It seems established, almost beyond doubt, that US soldiers oversaw and took part in horrific crimes against humanity," which resulted in the death of thousands of Taliban supporters who surrendered after Kunduz fell to the Northern Alliance. The documentary Massacre at Mazar exposes this news widely in Europe, but the massacre remains virtually unreported in the US. [Sunday Herald, 7/16/02]

December 6, 2001 (B): Speaking before a Senate committee, Attorney General Ashcroft says, "To those who pit Americans against immigrants, citizens against non-citizens, to those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies and pause to America's friends. They encourage people of good will to remain silent in the face of evil." [CNN, 12/7/01]


A Patriot Act warning posted in the Santa Cruz Library. [San Francisco Chronicle]

January 2002 (E): The Patriot Act permits federal agents to secretly obtain information from booksellers and librarians about customers' and patrons' reading, internet and book-buying habits, merely by alleging that the records are relevant to an anti-terrorism investigation. The act prohibits librarians and booksellers from revealing these requests, so they cannot be challenged in court. [Newsday, 9/16/02] A University of Illinois study concludes that federal agents have sought records from about 220 libraries nationwide since September and about this time. [Miami Herald, 9/1/02] The Justice Department refuses to say how many times it has invoked this Patriot Act provision (see also June 13, 2002). [Observer, 3/16/03 (B)] But Assistant Attorney General Daniel Bryant says that people who borrow or buy books surrender their right of privacy. [San Francisco Chronicle, 3/10/03] Some libraries and bookstores unhappy with the law begin to fight back in a number of ways. Some libraries have posted signs warning that the government may be monitoring their users' reading habits. [Reuters, 3/11/03 (B)] Thousands of libraries are destroying records so agents have nothing to seize. [New York Times, 4/7/03] Many librarians polled say they would break the law and deny orders to disclose reading records. [San Francisco Chronicle, 3/10/03]


One of the controversial leaked photos of prisoners being flown to Cuba.

January 11, 2002: The first of about 600 hundred suspected al-Qaeda and/or Taliban prisoners from the war in Afghanistan are transferred to Camp X-Ray, a detention facility in US-controlled Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. It is reported that the prisoners are hooded, shackled, and possibly drugged during their flight to Cuba. [Guardian, 1/11/02] Pictures of prisoners being transferred in conditions clearly in violation of international law are later leaked, prompting an outcry. But rather than investigating the inhumane transfer, the Pentagon begins investigating how the pictures were leaked. [AP, 11/9/02] The prisoners are sent to this base because of a historical quirk: The base is owned by Cuba but controlled by the US, so the prisoners are in a legal limbo outside of any US law. [Globe and Mail, 9/5/02] Furthermore, the US argues the prisoners are "enemy combatants" rather than prisoners of war, implying that they do not have all the rights assigned to POWs under the Geneva Convention. [Guardian, 9/9/02] Senior British officials privately call the treatment of prisoners "scandalous," and one calls the refusal to follow the Geneva Convention "not benchmarks of a civilized society." [Guardian, 6/13/02] The commander of the base later suggests that some prisoners could end up staying there for decades (see also April 30, 2002 (B) and October 28, 2002). [AFP, 9/13/02]


John Poindexter.

Mid-January 2002: Vice Admiral John Poindexter begins running a shadowy new government agency called the Information Awareness Office. [New York Times, 2/13/02, Federal Computer Week, 10/17/02] Poindexter, President Reagan's National Security Adviser, is known for his five felony convictions of lying to Congress, destroying documents, and obstructing Congress in its investigation of his role in the mid-1980s Iran-Contra affair. Later his convictions were overturned on a technicality. [Los Angeles Times, 11/17/02 (B)] Far from apologizing, Poindexter said it was his duty to lie to Congress. [Newsday, 12/1/02] The New York Times notes that his new agency "is developing technologies to give federal officials instant access to vast new surveillance and information-analysis systems." The new office is part of DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. Poindexter was also known for his controversial role in shifting control of computer security to the military in the 1980s. Says Marc Rotenberg, former counsel for the Senate Judiciary Committee, "It took three administrations and both political parties over a decade to correct those mistakes." [New York Times, 2/13/02] Surprisingly, Poindexter's appointment is little noticed until later in 2002 when the Total Information Awareness program is revealed (see March 2002 (B) and November 9, 2002). Incidentally, several others involved in the Iran-Contra affair also find jobs in the Bush Administration, including Elliott Abrams, John Negroponte, and Otto Reich. [Observer, 12/8/02]

March 2002: Beginning at least by this time, some political activists begin noticing they are being subjected to extra surveillance and security checks when flying in the US. Numerous government agencies later admit they are using a "no fly" list that bans certain people from flying. The government says about 1,000 names are on the list. It is also admitted that there is a second list that subjects anyone on it to increased security every time they fly. A number of agencies, including the CIA, FBI, INS, and State Department, admit that they have added names to such lists, but no agency admits controlling the list. There are no guidelines to determine who gets on the lists and no procedures for getting off a list if someone is wrongfully on it. Airport security personnel note that the lists seem to be netting mostly priests, elderly nuns, Green Party campaign operatives, left-wing journalists, right-wing activists, and people affiliated with Arab or Arab-American groups. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/27/02, Salon, 11/15/02]


This partial image from a Total Information Awareness slide presentation shows types of data that will be collected. Note that even "gait" - the way one walks, will be analyzed.

March 2002 (B): The US military internally announces the creation of a new global data collection system called Total Information Awareness. The existence of this program is not reported until August 2002 [Wired, 8/7/02], and not widely known until November (see November 9, 2002). Interestingly, the early accounts of this program suggest its budget is a "significant amount" of $96 million [Federal Computer Week, 10/17/02], and not the $10 million later reported, [Guardian, 11/23/02] It is also reported that "parts" of the program "are already operational" whereas later it is said to be only in the conceptual stages of development. [Federal Computer Week, 10/17/02]


Camp X-Ray prisoners. Their detention cages can be seen on the right. Pictures like this provoked an outrage about their treatment.

April 30, 2002 (B): The US begins transferring prisoners from the Afghan war from Camp X-Ray to Camp Delta. Both are in US-controlled Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but Camp X-Ray was little more than metal wire cages and Camp Delta is made of proper buildings. [BBC, 4/30/02] Conditions in the new facility are considered more humane, but the prisoners are still not named, not allowed to contact their families, and are not given the rights of prisoners of war (see also January 11, 2002 and October 28, 2002). [Globe and Mail, 9/5/02, Guardian, 9/9/02] Halliburton, Vice President Cheney's former company, has been given the contract to build Camp Delta even though it is estimated military engineers could do the job for about half the price. [New York Times, 7/13/02]

May 3, 2002: The Director of the Office of Management and Budget informs federal agencies that they can use private contractors instead of the Government Printing Office (GPO). This is supposedly done to save money, but the GPO already sends nearly two-thirds of its work to the private contractor with the lowest bid. Its practical effect is that federal agencies will be able to edit and delete embarrassing passages from their documents. [Los Angeles Times, 11/8/02, San Francisco Chronicle, 11/19/02] The Los Angeles Times calls the planned switch "a threat to democracy." [Los Angeles Times, 11/8/02] In September 2002, Congress orders executive branch agencies to continue to use the GPO for its printing. But the Bush Administration says agencies could ignore the order, claiming Congress doesn't have power over the matter. [Government Executive Magazine, 9/27/02] This battle continues, but apparently, so far agencies continue to use the GPO.

May 30, 2002 (C): Attorney General Ashcroft relaxes decades-old rules limiting government agents from monitoring domestic religious and political groups. Now, FBI agents can attend political rallies or religious meetings without evidence of a crime or advance approval from superiors. The new rules also permit the FBI to broadly search or monitor the internet for evidence of criminal activity without having any tips or leads that a specific criminal act has been committed. [Philadelphia Inquirer, 5/31/02]


Jose Padilla. [Reuters]

June 10, 2002: Attorney General Ashcroft announces the arrest of Abdullah al-Mujahir, a.k.a. Jose Padilla. He claims that Padilla was part of an al-Qaeda plot to detonate a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a US city, and supposedly Padilla was scouting bomb targets when arrested. Padilla, a US citizen, is being held as an "enemy combatant," allowing him to be held indefinitely. [Guardian 6/11/02, PBS Newshour, 6/11/02] But almost immediately, doubts grow about this story. The London Times says that it is "beyond dispute" that the timing of the announcement of his arrest was "politically inspired." Padilla was actually arrested a month earlier, on May 8. [London Times, 6/13/02] It is widely believed that Ashcroft made the arrest announcement "only to divert attention from Intelligence Committee inquiries into the FBI and CIA handling of 9/11." [Village Voice, 6/12/02, Independent, 6/12/02, BBC, 6/13/02, Washington Post, 6/13/03] Bush soon privately chastises Ashcroft for overstating claims about Padilla. [Guardian, 8/15/02] The government attorneys apparently could not get an indictment out of a New York grand jury and, rather than let him go, made Padilla an enemy combatant. [Village Voice, 6/12/02] It later comes out that the FBI found no evidence that he was preparing a dirty bomb attack and little evidence to suggest that he had any support from al-Qaeda, or any ties to al-Qaeda cells in the US. Yet the Justice Department maintains that its view of Padilla "remains unchanged," and that he is a "serious and continuing threat." [Guardian, 8/15/02] Because Padilla is a US citizen, he cannot be tried in a military court. So apparently he will simply be held indefinitely. It is pointed out that any American could be declared an enemy combatant and never tried or have that status questioned. [San Francisco Chronicle, 6/11/02, Washington Post, 6/11/02] The Washington Post says, "If that's the case, nobody's constitutional rights are safe." [Washington Post, 6/11/02] Despite the evidence that Padilla's case is grossly overstated, the government won't even allow him access to a lawyer (see December 4, 2002 (B) and March 11, 2003).

June 13, 2002: Several congresspeople submit a list of 50 questions to Attorney General Ashcroft, asking him how the Patriot Act is being implemented (see October 26, 2001). [July 14, 2002] For instance, they ask, "How many times has the department requested records from libraries, bookstores and newspapers? How many roving wiretaps has the department requested?" Ashcroft refuses to answer many of the questions, even though he is legally required to do so. [San Francisco Chronicle, 9/8/02] Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D) fails to receive any response to dozens of letters he writes to Ashcroft, and other senators complain of a complete stonewall. [Washington Post, 8/21/02] In March 2003, senators continue to complain that Ashcroft still has not provided the oversight information about the Patriot Act that he is required to give by law. [ABC News, 3/12/03]

July 3, 2002: The Justice Department announces that only 74 of the 752 people detained on immigration charges after 9/11 are still in US custody. By December, only six of them remain in custody (see December 11, 2002 (D)). Hundreds more were detained on other charges or as material witnesses, but no numbers pertaining to them have been released. 611 were subject to secret hearings. Senator Carl Levin (D), who had requested the figures, says, "It took the Justice Department more than three months to produce a partial response to my letter." But the answers raise "a number of additional questions, including why closed hearings were necessary for so many people." Though many were held for months, "the vast majority were never charged with anything other than overstaying a visa." [New York Times, 7/11/02] All the deportation hearings for these people have been held in secret as well. Some say the government is cloaking its activities out of embarrassment, because none of these people have turned out to have any ties to terrorism. [New York Times, 7/11/02, Detroit Free Press, 7/18/02]

July 22, 2002: Defense Secretary Rumsfeld issues a secret directive to Special Operations forces allowing them to "capture terrorists for interrogation or, if necessary, to kill them" anywhere in the world. [New Yorker, 12/16/02] Bush already issued a presidential finding authorizing the killing of terrorist leaders, but this increases such efforts. [New York Times, 12/15/02] However, Bush has not rescinded a presidential executive order dating from the 1970s that bans all assassinations, claiming that terrorists are military combatants. "Many past and present military and intelligence officials have expressed alarm" at the legality, wisdom, ethics, and effectiveness of the assassination program. Apparently much of the leadership of Special Operations is against it, worrying about the blowback effect. In February 2002, a Predator missile targeting someone intelligent agents thought was bin Laden hit its target, but killed three innocent Afghan farmers instead. [New Yorker, 12/16/02] The first successful assassination takes place in November (see November 3, 2002).

August 2, 2002 (C): A federal judge rules that the Bush administration must reveal the identities of the hundreds of people secretly arrested after the 9/11 attacks within 15 days. [Washington Post, 8/3/02 (B)] The judge calls the secret arrests "odious to a democratic society." The New York Times applauds the decision and notes that the government's argument that terrorist groups could exploit the release of the names makes no sense, because the detainees were allowed a phone call to notify anyone that they were being held. [New York Times, 8/6/02] Two weeks later, the same judge agrees to postpone the release of the names until an appeals court can rule on the matter. [New York Times, 8/16/02] The appeals court still has not ruled, so the names remain secret.

September 2002: The Customs Service intercepts a package sent via Federal Express from the Associated Press bureau in Manila to the AP office in Washington, and turns the contents over to the FBI. The FBI keeps the material, all unclassified and previously publicly disclosed, and fails to inform AP about this. It is claimed they do this to prevent the reporters from reporting their story, which is about government foreknowledge of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and ties with Ramzi Yousef and other terrorists in the Philippines. [AP, 3/12/03]

October 18, 2002 (C): FBI Director Mueller says in a speech, "There is a continuum between those who would express dissent and those who would do a terrorist act. Somewhere along that continuum we have to begin to investigate. If we do not, we are not doing our job. It is difficult for us to find a path between the two extremes.'' [San Jose Mercury News, 10/19/02] The comment receives little notice. Isn't legal dissent completely different from terrorism?


Camp X-Ray prisoners. They wear sensory deprivation masks.

October 28, 2002: Four prisoners are freed from Guantanamo Bay, the first of the 600 or so prisoners there to be released (see January 11, 2002 and April 30, 2002 (B)). The four, mostly elderly Afghan men, are released because they were determined not to be involved in al-Qaeda and posed no security threat. [BBC, 10/29/02] 19 more are released in March 2003. [BBC, 3/24/03] The prisoners are supposedly being kept there to be interrogated about what they know of al-Qaeda and the Taliban. But it is reported that virtually none of the prisoners in Guantanamo have any useful information. One US official says, "[Guantanamo] is a dead end" for fresh intelligence information. According to the Washington Post, "Officials realize many of them had little intelligence value to begin with...." [Washington Post, 10/29/02] US officials privately concede that "perhaps as many as 100 other captives" are innocent of any connections to al-Qaeda or the Taliban, but most of these still have not been released. Furthermore, not a single prisoner has been brought before a US military tribunal. Apparently this is to hide "a sorry fact: the US mostly netted Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters of only low to middling importance, bagging few of the real bad guys." [Time, 10/27/02] At least 59 were deemed to have no intelligence even before being sent to Cuba, but were nonetheless sent there, apparently because of bureaucratic inertia. [Los Angeles Times, 12/22/02 (B)]


Qaed Senyan al-Harethi. [AP]

November 3, 2002: A CIA-operated Predator drone fires a missile that destroys a carload of suspected al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen. The target of the attack is Qaed Senyan al-Harethi, a top al-Qaeda operative, but five others are also killed, including American citizen Kamal Derwish. [Washington Post, 11/4/02, AP, 12/3/02] US officials say the CIA has the legal authority to target and kill American citizens it believes are working for al-Qaeda (see July 22, 2002). [AP, 12/3/02] Bush administration officials say Derwish was the ringleader of a terrorist cell in Lackawanna, New York. [Washington Post, 11/9/02] The CIA also has a "high-value target list" of about two dozen terrorist leaders it is authorized to assassinate, including bin Laden. [New York Times, 12/15/02] Many international lawyers and some foreign governments question the legality of the assassination. [Guardian, 11/6/02] Noting that in its battle against al-Qaeda, the US has effectively deemed the entire planet a combat zone, Scott Silliman, director of Duke University's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security says: "Could you put a Hellfire missile into a car in Washington, DC? ... The answer is yes, you could." But National Security Adviser Rice says, "No constitutional questions are raised here." [ABC, 12/3/02, Chicago Tribune, 11/24/02] A former high-level intelligence officer complains that Rumsfeld wants "to take guys out for political effect." Al-Harethi's was being tracked for weeks through his cell phone. [New Yorker, 12/16/02] The attack happens one day before mid-term elections in the US. Was the timing of this assassination done for its political effect?


The logo for Poindexter's new department worries some. An eye from a Masonic pyramid appears to cast a beam over the world, with Muslim regions highlighted. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20/02, Guardian, 11/23/02] The motto, Scientia Est Potentia, means "knowledge is power." The logo is later removed from the department's website. [Baltimore Sun, 1/5/03]

November 9, 2002: The New York Times exposes the existence of John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness data collection program, begun in early 2002 (see Mid-January 2002 and March 2002 (B)). [New York Times, 11/9/02 (C)] Conservative columnist William Safire writes, "If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you: Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend - all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as 'a virtual, centralized grand database.' To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you — passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the FBI, your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance — and you have the supersnoop's dream: a 'Total Information Awareness' about every US citizen." [New York Times, 11/14/02] Poindexter says it will take years to realize his vision, but his office has already begun providing some technology to government agencies. [Washington Post, 11/12/02] The existence of this program, and the fact that Poindexter is running it, causes concern for many on both the left and right. [USA Today, 1/16/03] It is regularly called Orwellian, conjuring visions of 1984's Big Brother, and even supporters admit it sounds Orwellian. [Newsweek, 11/15/02, Los Angeles Times, 11/17/02 (B), Guardian, 11/23/02, Newsday, 12/1/02, New Yorker, 12/9/02, BBC, 12/12/02, Dallas Morning News, 12/16/02, Baltimore Sun, 1/5/03] The New York Times suggests, "Congress should shut down the program pending a thorough investigation." [New York Times, 11/18/02] Experts question not only its civil liberties implications, but also if it is even feasible. If it does work, would its database be swapped with errors that could not be removed? (See such problems in a much smaller database in March 2002.) [San Jose Mercury News, 12/26/02] However, many newspapers fail to report on the program at all, and ABC is the only network to report the story on prime time television. [ABC News, 11/25/02 (B), ABC News, 11/16/02] Despite so many objections, the program is included in the Homeland Security bill (see November 25, 2002), and only later somewhat curbed by Congress (see January 23, 2003).

November 24, 2002 (B): The Washington Post reports that the US is using an obscure statute to detain and investigate terrorism suspects without having to charge them with a crime. At least 44 people, some of them US citizens, have been held as "material witnesses." Some have been held for months, and some have been held in maximum-security conditions. Most in fact have never testified, even though that is supposedly why they were held. [Washington Post, 11/24/02]

November 25, 2002: President Bush signs legislation creating the Department of Homeland Security. Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge is promoted to Secretary of Homeland Security (see September 20, 2001). The Department will consolidate nearly 170,000 workers from 22 agencies, including the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, the federal security guards in airports, and the Customs Service. [New York Times, 11/26/02, Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] However, the FBI and CIA, the two most prominent anti-terrorism agencies, will not be part of Homeland Security. [New York Times, 11/20/02] The department wants to be active by March 1, 2003, but "it's going to take years to integrate all these different entities into an efficient and effective organization." [New York Times 11/20/02, Los Angeles Times, 11/26/02] Some 9/11 victims' relatives are angry over sections inserted into the legislation at the last minute. Airport screening companies will be protected from lawsuits filed by family members of 9/11 victims. Kristen Breitweiser, whose husband died in the WTC, says, "We were down there lobbying last week and trying to make the case that this will hurt us, but they did it anyway. It's just a slap in the face to the victims." [New York Times, 11/26/02] The bill also allows the controversial Total Information Awareness program to move forward with its funding. [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/20/02 (B)] It also gives a Freedom of Information Act exemption for information submitted by private industry to government agencies. Such information given will be automatically classified, protecting the private sector from public scrutiny and lawsuits. Robert Leger, president of the Society of Professional Journalists, says, "This bill sacrifices, in the name of homeland security, the long-standing American principle of open government." [San Francisco Chronicle, 11/19/02]

December 4, 2002 (B): A federal judge in New York rules that Jose Padilla, a US citizen who has been accused of being an al-Qaeda "dirty bomber," has the right to meet with a lawyer (see June 10, 2002). The judge agrees with the government that Padilla can be held indefinitely as an "enemy combatant" even though he is a US citizen. But he says such enemy combatants can meet with a lawyer to contest their status. However, the ruling makes it very difficult to overturn such a status. The government only need show that "some evidence" supports its claims. [Washington Post, 12/5/02, Washington Post, 12/11/02] In Padilla's case, many of the allegations against Padilla given to the judge, such as Padilla taking his orders from al-Qaeda leader Abu Zubaida, have been widely dismissed in the media. [Washington Post, 9/1/02] As one newspaper puts it, Padilla "appears to be little more than a disoriented thug with grandiose ideas." [Guardian, 10/10/02 (B)] However, the government continues to challenge this ruling, and Padilla still has not had access to a lawyer (see March 11, 2003).

December 9, 2002 (B): A federal judge rules against the General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, in its attempt to force Vice President Cheney to disclose his Energy Task Force documents (see May 2001 (G)). The judge writes, "This case, in which neither a House of Congress nor any congressional committee has issued a subpoena for the disputed information or authorized this suit, is not the setting for such unprecedented judicial action.'' [AP, 12/9/02] The GAO later declines to appeal the ruling (see February 7, 2003 (B)). In a similar suit being filed by Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club, the Bush Administration has successfully delayed deadlines forcing these documents to be turned over. That case continues, with another deadline avoided on December 6. [AP, 12/6/02]

December 11, 2002 (D): The Justice Department announces that only six of the 765 people detained on immigration charges after 9/11 are still in US custody (see also November 5, 2001 (B) and July 3, 2002). Almost 500 of them were released to their home countries; the remainder are still in the US. 134 others were arrested on criminal charges and 99 were convicted. Another group of more than 300 were taken into custody by state and local law enforcement and so statistics are unknown about them. Additionally, more were arrested on material witness warrants, but the government won't say how many. The Washington Post has determined there are at least 44 in this category (see November 24, 2002 (B)). [Washington Post, 12/12/02] The names of all those secretly arrested still have not been released (see August 2, 2002 (C)). None in any of the categories have been charged with any terrorist acts.

January 12, 2003 (B): It is reported that 22 cities representing 3.5 million residents have passed resolutions criticizing the Patriot and Homeland Security Acts (see October 26, 2001). Another 70 cities have such resolutions in the works. [AP, 1/12/03] Many of the resolutions provide some legal justification for local authorities to resist cooperating in the federal war on terrorism when they deem civil liberties and Constitutional rights are being compromised. [New York Times, 12/23/02]

January 23, 2003: Congress imposes some limitations on the notorious Total Information Awareness program (see March 2002 (B) and November 9, 2002). Research and development of the program would have to halt within 90 days of enactment of the bill unless the Defense Department submits a detailed report about the program. The research can also continue if Bush certifies that the report cannot be provided. Congress also okays use of the program internationally, but it cannot be used inside the US unless Congress passes new legislation specifically authorizing such use. [New York Times, 1/24/03, Los Angeles Times, 2/19/03] However, a bill to completely stop the program has yet to pass. [San Jose Mercury News, 1/17/03, Los Angeles Times, 2/19/03] Several days earlier, Senator Charles Grassley (R) alleged that the Justice Department and FBI are more extensively exploring the use of the Total Information Awareness program than they have previously acknowledged. [AP, 1/21/03, Washington Post, 1/22/03] Contracts worth tens of millions of dollars have been signed with private companies to develop pieces of the program. [AP, 2/12/03] Salon also reports that the program "has now advanced to the point where it's much more than a mere 'research project.'" [Salon, 1/29/03]


Charles Lewis.

February 7, 2003: Charles Lewis of the Center for Public Integrity reveals the leaked text of a new anti-terrorism bill. Called the Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003, it becomes popularly known as the Patriot Act II. The text of the bill is dated January 9, 2003. [NOW with Bill Moyers, 2/7/03, Center for Public Integrity, 2/7/03, Patriot Act II text] Before it was leaked, the bill was being prepared in complete secrecy from the public and Congress. Only House Speaker Dennis Hastert and Vice President Cheney were sent copies on January 10. [San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11/03] A week earlier, Attorney General Ashcroft said the Justice Department was not working on any bill of this type, and when the text was released, they said it was just a rough draft. But the text "has all the appearance of a document that has been worked over and over." [ABC News, 3/12/03, Village Voice, 2/28/03] Some, including a number of congresspeople, speculate that the government is waiting until a new terrorist act or war fever before formally introducing this bill. [NOW with Bill Moyers, 2/7/03, AP, 2/10/03 (B), UPI, 3/10/03, Village Voice, 3/26/03] Here are some of its provisions:
1) The attorney general is given the power to deport any foreign national, even people who are legal permanent residents. No crime need be asserted, no proof offered, and the deportation can occur in complete secrecy. [St. Petersburg Times, 2/16/03]
2) It would authorize secret arrests in terrorism investigations, which would overturn a court order requiring the release of names of their detainees. [St. Petersburg Times, 2/16/03] Not even an attorney or family need be informed until the person is formally charged, if that ever happens. [ABC News, 3/12/03]
3) The citizenship of any US citizen can be revoked, if they are members of or have supported any group the attorney general designates as terrorist. [St. Petersburg Times, 2/16/03] A person who gives money to a charity that only later turns out to have some terrorist connection could then lose his or her citizenship. [CNN, 3/6/03]
4) "Whole sections ... are devoted to removing judicial oversight." Federal agents investigating terrorism could have access to credit reports, without judicial permission. [St. Petersburg Times, 2/16/03]
5) Federal investigators can conduct wiretaps without a court order for 15 days whenever Congress authorizes force or in response to an attack on the United States. [UPI, 3/10/03]
6) It creates a DNA database of anyone the Justice Department determines to be a "suspect,'' without court order. [San Jose Mercury News, 2/20/03]
7) It would be a crime for someone subpoenaed in connection with an investigation being carried out under the Patriot Act to alert Congress to any possible abuses committed by federal agents. [ABC News, 3/12/03]
8) Businesses and their personnel who provide information to anti-terrorism investigators are granted immunity even if the information is fraudulent. [ABC News, 3/12/03]
9) The government would be allowed to carry out electronic searches of virtually all information available about an individual without having to show probable cause and without informing the individual that the investigation was being carried out. Critics say this provision "would fundamentally change American society" because everyone would be under suspicion at all times. [ABC News, 3/12/03]
10) Federal agents would be immune from prosecution when they engage in illegal surveillance acts. [UPI, 3/10/03]
11) Restrictions are eased on the use of secret evidence in the prosecution of terror cases. [UPI, 3/10/03]
12) Existing judicial consent decrees preventing local police departments from spying on civil rights groups and other organizations are canceled. [Salon, 3/24/03]
Initially the story generates little press coverage, but there is a slow stream of stories over the next weeks, all expressing criticism. Of all the major newspapers, only the Washington Post puts the story on the front page, and no television network has the story in prime time. [AP, 2/8/03, CBS, 2/8/03, Los Angeles Times, 2/8/03, New York Times, 2/8/03, Washington Post, 2/8/03 (B), AP, 2/10/03 (B), San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11/03, Los Angeles Times, 2/13/03, St. Petersburg Times, 2/16/03, Denver Post, 2/20/03, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 2/20/03, San Jose Mercury News, 2/20/03, Baltimore Sun, 2/21/03, Minneapolis Star Tribune, 2/21/03, Village Voice, 2/28/03, Houston Chronicle, 3/1/03, UPI, 3/10/03, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 3/19/03, Salon, 3/24/03, Village Voice, 3/26/03, CNN, 3/6/03, ABC News, 3/12/03, Tampa Tribune, 4/6/03] Representative Jerrold Nadler (D) says the bill amounts to "little more than the institution of a police state." [San Francisco Chronicle, 2/11/03]

February 7, 2003 (B): The General Accounting Office (GAO), the investigative arm of Congress, declines to appeal a case attempting to force Vice President Cheney to disclose his Energy Task Force documents (see May 2001 (G) and December 9, 2002 (B)). This ends a potentially historic showdown between the congressional watchdog agency and the executive branch. [Los Angeles Times, 2/8/03 (B)] It is widely believed that the suit is dropped because of pressure from the Republican Party - the suit was filed when the Democrats controlled the Senate, and this decision comes shortly after the Republicans gained control of the Senate. [Washington Post, 2/8/03 (C)] The head of the GAO denies the lawsuit is dropped because of Republican threats to cut his office's budget, but US Comptroller General David Walker, who led the case, says there was one such "thinly veiled threat" last year by a lawmaker he wouldn't identify. [Reuters, 2/25/03] Another account has Senator Ted Stevens (R) and a number of other congresspeople making the threat to Walker. [Hill, 2/19/03] The GAO has previously indicated that accepting defeat in this case would cripple its ability to oversee the executive branch. [Washington Post, 2/8/03 (C)] A similar suit filed by Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club is still moving forward (see July 12, 2002 and October 17, 2002). [Washington Post, 2/8/03 (C)]


Wanted poster for John Doe #2, left, and Jose Padilla, right. [Village Voice]

March 11, 2003: A judge reaffirms the right of Jose Padilla, a US citizen being held as an "enemy combatant," to meet with a lawyer (see June 10, 2002 and December 4, 2002 (B)). The same judge ruled that he could meet with a lawyer in December 2002, but the government continues to challenge the ruling and continues to block his access to a lawyer. [AP, 3/11/03] Later in the month, the government tells the judge it is planning to ignore his order and will appeal the case. [AP, 3/26/03] Why is the US fighting so hard to keep Padilla in total isolation despite evidence that the "dirty bomb" plot he is accused of is almost totally fictitious? While it may be completely coincidental, the Village Voice has noticed that Padilla is a "dead ringer" for the never found "John Doe #2" of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, and other evidence could tie him to it. [Village Voice, 6/13/02, Village Voice, 3/27/02]

March 26, 2003 (B): Bush signs an executive order delaying the public release of millions of government documents, citing the need to more thoroughly review them first. The government faced a April 17 deadline for declassifying millions of documents 25 years or older. [Reuters, 3/26/03] The order also treats all material sent to American officials from foreign governments, no matter how routine, as subject to classification. It expands the ability of the CIA to shield documents from declassification. And for the first time, it gives the vice president the power to classify information. The New York Times says, "Offering that power to Vice President Dick Cheney, who has shown indifference to the public's right to know what is going on inside the executive branch, seems a particularly worrying development." [New York Times, 3/28/03]

 

NEW AND UPDATED ENTRIES RELATING TO US GLOBAL DOMINANCE

January 20, 1989: George Bush Sr. is inaugurated as US president, replacing Ronald Reagan. He remains president until 1993 (see January 20, 1993). Many of the key members in his government later have important positions again when his son George Bush Jr. becomes president in 2001 (see January 21, 2001). For instance, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell later becomes Secretary of State, and Defense Secretary Dick Cheney later becomes Vice President.

November 9, 1989: The Berlin Wall begins to fall in East Germany, signifying the end of the Soviet Union as a superpower. Just six days later, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell presents a new strategy document to President Bush Sr., proposing that the US shift from countering Soviet attempts at world dominance to ensuring US world dominance. Bush Sr. accepts this plan in a public speech, with slight modifications, on August 2, 1990, the same day Iraq begins invading Kuwait. In early 1992, Powell, counter to his usual public dove persona, tells congresspeople that the US requires "sufficient power" to "deter any challenger from ever dreaming of challenging us on the world stage." He says, "I want to be the bully on the block." Powell's early ideas of global hegemony will be formalized by others in a 1992 policy document (see March 8, 1992) and finally realized as policy when Bush Jr. becomes president in 2001. [Harper's, 10/02]

March 8, 1992: The Defense Planning Guidance, "a blueprint for the department's spending priorities in the aftermath of the first Gulf War and the collapse of the Soviet Union," is leaked to the New York Times. [New York Times, 3/8/92, Newsday, 3/16/03] The paper causes controversy, because it hadn't yet been "scrubbed" to replace candid language with euphemisms. [New York Times, 3/10/92, New York Times, 3/11/92, Observer, 4/7/02] The document argues that the US dominates the world as sole superpower, and to maintain that role it "must maintain the mechanisms for deterring potential competitors from even aspiring to a larger regional or global role." [New York Times, 3/8/92, New York Times, 3/8/92 (B)] As the Observer summarizes it, "America's friends are potential enemies. They must be in a state of dependence and seek solutions to their problems in Washington." [Observer, 4/7/02] The document is mainly written by Paul Wolfowitz and Lewis Libby, who hold relatively low posts at the time, but under Bush Jr. become Deputy Defense Secretary and Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, respectively. [Newsday, 3/16/03] The document conspicuously avoids mention of collective security arrangements through the United Nations, instead suggesting the US "should expect future coalitions to be ad hoc assemblies, often not lasting beyond the crisis being confronted." [New York Times, 3/8/92] It also calls for "punishing" or "threatening punishment" against regional aggressors before they act. Interests to be defended pre-emptively include "access to vital raw materials, primarily Persian Gulf oil, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles, [and] threats to US citizens from terrorism." [Harper's, 10/02] Senator Lincoln Chafee (R), later says, "It is my opinion that [Bush Jr.'s] plan for preemptive strikes was formed back at the end of the first Bush administration with that 1992 report." [Newsday, 3/16/03] In response to the controversy, in May 1992 the US releases an updated version of the document that stresses the US will work with the United Nations and its allies (see also January 1993). [Washington Post, 5/24/92, Harper's, 10/02]

January 1993: In his last days in office as Defense Secretary, Dick Cheney releases a document called Defense Strategy for the 1990s. It reasserts the plans for US global domination outlined in an earlier Pentagon policy paper (see March 8, 1992). [Harper's, 10/02] But because of Clinton's presidential victory, the implementation of these plans will have to wait until Bush Jr. becomes president in 2001 and Cheney becomes vice president. However, Cheney and others will continue to refine this vision of global domination through the Project for the New American Century think tank while they wait to reassume political power (see June 3, 1997 and September 2000).

January 20, 1993: Bill Clinton is inaugurated as president, replacing George Bush Sr. He remains president until 2001 (see January 21, 2001).

April 2000 (C): The US is given permission to greatly expand a military base in the Persian Gulf nation of Qatar, and construction begins shortly thereafter. The justification for expanding, Al Adid, a billion-dollar base, is preparedness for renewed action against Iraq. [Los Angeles Times, 1/6/02] Dozens of other US military bases had sprung up in the region in the 1990s. [Village Voice, 11/13/02] Such facilities in Qatar later form the regional headquarters for the US attack on Iraq in 2003.


General Tommy Franks.

September 2000 (D): US General Tommy Franks, who will later lead the Afghanistan war, tours Central Asia in an attempt to build military aid relationships with nations there, but finds no takers. Russia's power in the region appears to be on the upswing instead. Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev writes, "The actions of Islamic extremists in Central Asia give Russia the chance to strengthen its position in the region." But shortly after 9/11, Russia and China agree to allow the US to establish temporary US military bases in Central Asia to prosecute the Afghanistan war. The bases become permanent, and the Guardian will write in early 2002, "Both countries increasingly have good reasons to regret their accommodating stand. Having pushed, cajoled and bribed its way into their Central Asian backyard, the US clearly has no intention of leaving any time soon." [Guardian, 1/10/02]

June 2001 (D): China, Russia, and four Central Asian countries create the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. Its explicit purpose is to oppose US dominance, especially in Central Asia. [Guardian, 10/23/01] Russian defense minister Igor Sergeyev writes, "The actions of Islamic extremists in Central Asia give Russia the chance to strengthen its position in the region." [Guardian, 1/16/02] In March 2003, the Guardian will note that the new ring of US military bases built in the Afghan war (see January 2002 (D)) "has, in effect, destroyed the Shanghai Cooperation Organization which Russia and China had established in an attempt to develop a regional alternative to US power." [Guardian, 3/11/03]

September 14, 2001 (M): Congress authorizes Bush to use all necessary military force against the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks, their sponsors, and those who protected them. [State Department, 12/26/01] In March 2003, Bush informs Congress that Iraq is being attacked for its support of 9/11, despite the lack of any evidence for such a connection (see March 20, 2003).

September 20, 2001 (D): Bush meets with British Prime Minister Tony Blair. [State Department, 12/26/01] According to a former British ambassador to Washington, Bush tells Blair he wants to attack Iraq immediately, but Blair convinces him that Afghanistan should be attacked first. [BBC, 4/3/03] While interesting in suggesting that Bush wanted to attack Iraq before there was any evidence connecting it to al-Qaeda, this account conflicts with evidence that the US had plans before 9/11 to attack Afghanistan by mid-October 2001 (see July 21, 2001 and September 9, 2001 (F)). This is the same day the Project for the New American Century publishes a letter urging Bush to attack Iraq immediately (see September 20, 2001 (C)).

September 21, 2001: A secret report to NATO allies says the US privately wants to hear allied views on "post-Taliban Afghanistan after the liberation of the country." However, the US is publicly claiming it has no intentions to overthrow the Taliban. [Guardian, 9/21/01] For instance, four days later, Press Secretary Ari Fleischer denies that military actions there are "designed to replace one regime with another." [State Department, 12/26/01]

September 22, 2001-December 2001: Witnesses begin to report US military planes secretly landing at night in the Central Asian nations of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan. The US, Tajik, and Uzbek governments initially deny that any US troops have been sent there. [Telegraph, 9/23/01, AP, 9/25/01 (D)] By October 5, witnesses say a "huge military buildup" has already occurred. [Telegraph, 10/4/01] On October 7, the US and Uzbekistan sign a secret agreement that reportedly is "a long-term commitment to advance security and regional stability." [Financial Times, 10/13/01] It is later reported that the US military bases here, "originally agreed as temporary and emergency expedients, are now permanent." [Guardian, 1/16/02] The US begins building a military base in the nearby country of Kyrgyzstan in December 2001. "There are no restrictions" in the agreement on what the US can do with this base, and it will be a "transportation hub" for the whole region. [New York Times, 1/9/02] The base is only 200 miles from China. [Christian Science Monitor, 1/17/02] The building of these bases is the culmination of efforts begun long before 9/11 (see 1998 (B), Early 2000, September 2000 (D) , and May 16, 2001).

Early October 2001: The US begins using the Shahbaz air force base and other bases in Pakistan in their attacks against Afghanistan. [London Times, 10/15/01] However, because of public opposition in Pakistan to US support, it is falsely claimed the US is there for purely logistical and defensive purposes. Even six months later, the US won't confirm it is using the base for offensive operations. [Los Angeles, 3/6/03] Such bases in Pakistan become a link in a chain of US military outposts in Central Asia (see January 2002 (D)). Other countries also falsely maintain that such bases are not being used for military operations in Afghanistan. [Reuters, 12/28/01]

October 15, 2001 (C): According to the Moscow Times, the Russian government sees the upcoming US conquest of Afghanistan as an attempt by the US to replace Russia as the dominant political force in Central Asia (see also June 2001 (D)), with the control of oil as a prominent motive: "While the bombardment of Afghanistan outwardly appears to hinge on issues of fundamentalism and American retribution, below the surface, lurks the prize of the energy-rich Caspian basin into which oil majors have invested billions of dollars. Ultimately, this war will set the boundaries of US and Russian influence in Central Asia - and determine the future of oil and gas resources of the Caspian Sea." [Moscow Times, 10/15/01] The US later appears to gain military influence over Kazakhstan, the Central Asian country with the most resource wealth, and closest to the Russian heartland (see also December 19, 2001 and March 30, 2002).

November 21, 2001 (D): Bush states, "Afghanistan is just the beginning on the war against terror. There are other terrorists who threaten America and our friends, and there are other nations willing to sponsor them. We will not be secure as a nation until all of these threats are defeated. Across the world and across the years, we will fight these evil ones, and we will win." [White House, 11/21/01] A short time later, it is reported that "the US has honed a hit list of countries to target for military action in rogue regions across the globe where it believes terror cells flourish," including Iraq. [Guardian, 12/10/01]


A Mirage 2000-D fighter in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. [Reuters]

January 2002 (D): It is reported that now the US is improving bases in "13 locations in nine countries in the Central Asian region" (see also September 22, 2001-December 2001 and Early October 2001). [Christian Science Monitor, 1/17/02] 60,000 US military personnel now work in these new bases surrounding Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times, 1/6/02] "Of the five ex-Soviet states of Central Asia, Turkmenistan alone is resisting pressure to allow the deployment of US or other Western forces on its soil...." [Guardian, 1/10/02] "The task of the encircling US bases now shooting up on Afghanistan's periphery is only partly to contain the threat of political regression or Taliban resurgence in Kabul. Their bigger, longer-term role is to project US power and US interests into countries previously beyond its reach. ... The potential benefits for the US are enormous: growing military hegemony in one of the few parts of the world not already under Washington's sway, expanded strategic influence at Russia and China's expense, pivotal political clout and - grail of holy grails - access to the fabulous, non-OPEC oil and gas wealth of central Asia." [Guardian, 1/16/02] On January 9, the speaker of the Russian parliament states, "Russia would not approve of the appearance of permanent US bases in Central Asia," but Russia seems helpless to stop what a Russian newspaper calls "the inexorable growth" of the US military presence in central Asia. [Guardian, 1/10/02]

March 30, 2002: With US troops already in many Central Asian countries (see January 2002 (D)), it is now reported that US Special Forces soldiers are training Kazakhstan troops in a secret location. [London Times, 3/30/02] An anonymous source in the Kazakh government previously stated, "It is clear that the continuing war in Afghanistan is no more than a veil for the US to establish political dominance in the region. The war on terrorism is only a pretext for extending influence over our energy resources" (see October 11, 1996). [Observer, 1/20/02]

April 30, 2002: It is reported that the US military is drawing up a plan for a long-term military "footprint" in Central Asia. The US says it plans no permanent bases, but the leaders of Central Asia speak of the US being there for decades, and inside US bases temporary structures are being replaced by permanent buildings (see also December 19, 2001 and January 2002 (D)). [AP, 4/30/02, Washington Post, 8/27/02, Los Angeles Times, 4/4/02] All of the countries are encumbered by corrupt dictatorships, and many experts say their serious social and economic problems are growing worse. Some experts wonder if the US is increasing Muslim resentment and the risk of terrorism by closely associating with such regimes. [Washington Post, 8/27/02]

June 1, 2002 (B): In a speech, Bush announced a new US policy of preemptive attacks: "If we wait for threats to fully materialize we will have waited too long. We must take the battle to the enemy, disrupt his plans and confront the worst threats before they emerge." [New York Times, 6/2/02] This preemptive strategy is included in a defensive strategic paper the next month (see July 13, 2002), and formally announced in September 2002. In all these developments, the media fails to notice that this preemptive policy was the fulfillment of a vision first articulated in Bush Sr.'s administration (see November 9, 1989 and March 8, 1992), and later pushed by the influential Project for the New American Century think tank (see June 3, 1997). [New York Times, 9/20/02, Washington Post, 9/21/02, Guardian, 9/21/02]

July 13, 2002: The US military releases a new Defense Planning Guidance strategic vision. It "contains all the key elements" of a similar document written ten years earlier by largely the same people now in power (see March 8, 1992). Like the original, the centerpiece of this vision is preventing any other powers from challenging US world dominance. Some new ideas are added, for instance, not just preemptive strikes but preemptive strikes using nuclear weapons. [Los Angeles Times, 7/13/02, Los Angeles Times, 7/16/02, Harper's, 10/02] David Armstrong notes in Harper's magazine, "[In 1992] the goal was global dominance, and it met with bad reviews. Now it is the answer to terrorism. The emphasis is on preemption, and the reviews are generally enthusiastic. Through all of this, the dominance motif remains, though largely undetected." [Harper's, 10/02]

August 15, 2002 (D): General Tommy Franks, commander of US troops in Central Asia, says, "It does not surprise me that someone would say, 'Oh gosh, the military is going to be in Afghanistan for a long, long time.' Sure we will be." He likens the situation to South Korea, where the US has stationed troops for over 50 years. A few days earlier, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Richard Myers says the war on terrorism "could last years and years." [CBS, 8/16/02]

 

OTHER NEW ENTRIES


Anas al-Liby. [FBI]

1996: Al-Muqatila, a Libyan group that is actually the cover name of an al-Qaeda terrorist cell, tries to kill Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. Al-Qadhafi survives, but several terrorists and innocent bystanders are killed. [Dawn, 10/30/02] According to David Shayler, a member of the British intelligence agency MI5, and Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, authors of the controversial book The Forbidden Truth, the related British intelligence agency MI6 pays al-Qaeda the equivalent of $160,000 to help fund this assassination attempt. Shayler later goes to prison for revealing this information and the British press is banned from discussing the case. [New York Times, 8/5/98, Observer, 11/10/02] Well after the failed attempt, the British continue to support al-Muqatila - for instance, the group publishes a newsletter from a London office. [The Forbidden Truth, by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, 5/02 edition, pp. 97-98] Anas al-Liby, a member of the Libyan al-Qaeda cell, is given political asylum in Britain and lives there until May 2000. He is now on the US's most wanted list, with a $25 million reward for his capture. [Observer, 11/10/02] The Forbidden Truth claims that even in 1998 Britain and the US aren't very interested in capturing bin Laden because of his assistance in plots like these (see April 15, 1998). The British government later attempts to censor their role in this assassination attempt (see November 5, 2002).


Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi. [Reuters]

April 15, 1998: The first Interpol (international police) arrest warrant for bin Laden is issued by, of all countries, Libya. [Observer, 11/10/02] According to Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, authors of the controversial book The Forbidden Truth, British and US intelligence agencies play down the arrest warrant, and have the public version of the warrant stripped of important information, such as the summary of charges and the fact that Libya requested the warrant. At this point, no Western country has yet issued a warrant for bin Laden, even though he publicly called for attacks on Western targets beginning in 1996 (see 1996). The arrest warrant is issued for the murder in 1994 of two German anti-terrorism agents. Supposedly, Britain and the US aren't interested in catching bin Laden at this time due to his involvement with Britain in attempts to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (see November 1996 and November 5, 2002). [The Forbidden Truth, by Jean-Charles Brisard and Guillaume Dasquié, 5/02 edition, pp. 97-98]

November 1998 (B): Former President George Bush Sr. meets with the bin Laden family on behalf of the Carlyle Group. The meeting takes place in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. This is one of two known meetings (see January 2000). [Sunday Herald, 10/7/01]

February 2001 (C): Abdul Haq, a famous Afghan leader of the mujaheddin, convinces Robert McFarlane, National Security Adviser under President Reagan, that Haq and about 50 fellow commanders could lead a force to start a revolt against the Taliban in Southern Afghanistan. However, Haq wants to do this under the authority of Zahir Shah, the popular former king of Afghanistan, whom the US doesn't support. The CIA fails to give any support to this revolt idea. Says one CIA official to McFarlane a few months later, "We don't yet have our marching orders concerning US policy; it may be that we will end up dealing with the Taliban." Haq goes ahead with his plans without US support, and is later betrayed and killed (see Mid-August 2001 (B) and October 25, 2001). [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (B), Wall Street Journal, 11/2/01]

June 2001 (J): Enron's power plant in Dabhol, India, is shut down. The failure of the $3 billion plant, Enron's largest investment, contributes to Enron's bankruptcy later in the year (see December 2, 2001). Earlier in the year, India stopped paying its bill for the energy from the plant, because energy from the plant cost three times the usual rates. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron had hoped to feed the plant with cheap Central Asian gas, but this hope was dashed when a gas pipeline through Afghanistan was not completed (see June 1998 (B)). The larger part of the plant is still only 90 percent complete when construction stops at about this time. [New York Times, 3/20/01] It is known that Vice President Cheney lobbies the leader of India's main opposition party about the plant this month. [New York Times, 2/21/02] A lawsuit is in motion to get additional government documents released that could reveal what else the US did to support this plant (see October 17, 2002 and February 7, 2003 (B)). Enron may eventually restart the plant (see October 18, 2002).

September 4, 2001 (D): Zim-American Israeli Shipping Co. moves their North American headquarters from the 16th floor of the WTC to Norfolk, Virginia, one week before the 9/11 attacks. The Israeli government owns 49 percent of the company. [Virginian-Pilot, 9/4/01] Zim announced the move and its date six months earlier. [Virginian-Pilot, 4/3/01] More than 200 workers had just been moved out; about 10 are still in the building making final moving arrangements on 9/11, but escape alive. [Jerusalem Post, 9/13/01, Journal of Commerce, 10/18/01] The move leaves only one Israeli company, ClearForest, with 18 employees, in the WTC on 9/11. The four or five employees in the building at the time manage to escape. [Jerusalem Post, 9/13/01] One year later, a Zim ship is impounded attempting to ship Israeli military equipment to Iran; it is speculated that this is done with the knowledge of Israel. [AFP, 8/29/02 (B)] Given the Israeli government ties, the Odigo warning (see September 11, 2001 (C)), and the Israeli art student spy ring (see December 2000-April 2001), some have speculated that the move was more than just lucky.

September 11, 2001 (BB): Former Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, when asked what the 9/11 attacks mean for relations between the US and Israel, replies, "It's very good." Then he edited himself: "Well, not very good, but it will generate immediate sympathy." [New York Times, 9/12/01] A week later, the Village Voice states, "From national networks to small-town newspapers, the view that America's terrible taste of terrorism will finally do away with even modest calls for the restraint of Israel's military attacks on Palestinian towns has become an instant, unshakable axiom. ... Now, support for Israel in America is officially absolute, and Palestinians are cast once again as players in a global terrorist conspiracy." [Village Voice, 9/19/01]

September 14, 2001 (N): Lawmakers emerging from briefings about the 9/11 attacks complain that they are being told virtually nothing. Says Senator John McCain (R), "We're learning more from CNN." Representative Neil Abercrombie (D), says, "You can't even begin to call these briefings." [Las Vegas Review Journal, 9/14/01] The Administration's obsession with 9/11 secrecy will lead to an FBI investigation into senators and congresspeople a year later (see August 2, 2002 (B)).

September 15, 2001 (B): The first reports of seat assignments for the hijackers on Flight 11 appear. But unlike other flights, accounts of where the hijackers sat vary widely. The first report says Wail Alshehri was in seat 2A, Waleed Alshehri in 2B, Mohamed Atta in 8D, Abdulaziz Alomari in 8G, and Satam Al Suqami in 10B. [ABC News, 9/15/01] The next day, it is reported Atta was in 8A and Alomari was in 8B. [Chicago Sun-Times, 9/16/01] The same day, it is reported that all five hijackers sat in row 8. [Portland Press Herald, 9/16/01] Flight attendant Amy Sweeney apparently telephoned the seat numbers of four of the hijackers before the plane crashed, but the exact numbers she gave have not been released. However, it is known the "numbers she gave were different from those registered in the hijackers' names." [BBC, 9/21/01] Another account suggests she said the hijackers were sitting in rows 9 and 10. [Portland Press Herald, 10/14/01] Another flight attendant, Betty Ong, also telephoned seat numbers, saying there were hijackers in seats 2A, 2B, 9A, and 9B. This is "slightly different" from Sweeney's numbers - with two hijackers in the second row instead of the 10th. [Boston Globe, 11/23/01] Why so much confusion, and why doesn't the US release the information needed to settle these discrepancies?

September 17, 2001 (E): The New York Stock Exchange, closed since the 9/11 attacks, reopens. The economy slowly returns to normal. The attacks cause more than $20 billion in property damage to buildings in New York City and Washington. The work stoppage and other loss of economic output costs about another $47 billion, making the attacks the costliest man-made disaster in US history. [ABC News, 9/10/02]

October 7, 2001 (D): It is reported that Mahrous bin Laden, brother to Osama, is currently manager of the Medina, Saudi Arabia branch of the bin Laden family company, the Binladin Group. In 1979, Binladin company trucks were used by 500 dissidents who seized the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Islam's holiest city. All the men who took part were later beheaded except Mahrous, who is eventually released from prison apparently because of the close ties between the bin Ladens and the Saudi royal family. The bin Laden family claims that no family members have any ties to terrorism except Osama. [Sunday Herald, 10/7/01]

October 10, 2001 (C): It is reported that Globe Aviation Services Corp., in charge of the baggage handlers for Flight 11 and all other American Airlines flights at Boston's Logan Airport, have been cleared of any wrongdoing. Globe Aviation supervisors claim that none of the employees working that day were in the US illegally. Supposedly, no weapons were detected, but a baggage handler for Globe Aviation and an American Airlines employee have told the FBI that one of the hijackers - believed to be either Wail or Waleed Alshehri - was carrying one wooden crutch under his arm when he boarded Flight 11. Crutches are apparently routinely scanned through X-ray machines. [Boston Globe, 10/10/01 (B)]


Afghan leader Abdul Haq. [AP]

October 25, 2001: Abdul Haq, a leader of the Afghani resistance to the Taliban, is killed. Four days earlier, he had secretly entered Afghanistan with a small force to try and raise rebellion (see also February 2001 (C) and Mid-August 2001 (B)), but was spotted by Taliban forces and surrounded. He called a supporter in the US, and then former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane called the CIA and asked for immediate assistance to help rescue Haq. A battle lasting up to twelve hours ensues. Haq's force is underarmed, since the CIA failed to provide him with weapons. [Sydney Morning Herald, 10/29/01] The CIA refuses to send in a helicopter to rescue him, saying the terrain is too rough. Haq's group claims they are next to a hilltop once used as a helicopter landing point. [Observer, 10/28/01, Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (B)] An unmanned surveillance aircraft eventually attacks a group of Taliban, but five hours after Haq has been captured. He is then executed by the Taliban. [Wall Street Journal, 11/2/01] Vincent Cannistraro, a former CIA director of counter-terrorism, and others suggest that Haq's position was betrayed to the Taliban by the ISI. Haq was already an enemy of the ISI, who may have killed his family. [Village Voice, 10/26/01, USA Today, 10/31/01, Toronto Star, 11/5/01, Knight Ridder, 11/3/01] Haq "seemed the ideal candidate to lead an opposition alliance into Afghanistan to oust the ruling Taliban." [Observer, 10/28/01] Was Haq betrayed by the ISI and even the CIA because he was not pliable enough to be controlled?

March 1, 2002: An article in Vanity Fair suggests the ISI is still deeply involved in the drug trade in Central Asia. It estimates that Pakistan has a parallel drug economy worth $15 billion a year. Pakistan's official economy is worth about $60 billion. The article notes that the US has not tied its billions of dollars in aid to Pakistan to assurances that Pakistan will stop its involvement in drugs. [Vanity Fair, 3/1/02]


Stanley Hilton.

June 3, 2002 (C): San Francisco attorney Stanley Hilton files a $7 billion lawsuit against President Bush and other government officials, claiming that they allowed the 9/11 attacks to occur. Hilton is filing a class action suit on behalf of the families of 14 victims of 9/11. [San Francisco Examiner, 6/11/02] His suit names as defendants: President Bush, Vice President Cheney, National Security Adviser Rice, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld, Attorney General Ashcroft, FBI Director Mueller, Transportation Secretary Norman Mineta, and the US government generally. [Stanley Hilton Suit, 6/3/02] While the suit has gotten virtually no press coverage, an interview in March 2003 shows that his suit is still ongoing. [Alex Jones Show, 3/11/03]

September 20, 2002 (C): A Bosnian government probe connects the Saudi charity Talibah International Aid Association to terrorist funding and an al-Qaeda front group. Talibah has been under investigation since shortly after 9/11 due to a foiled terror attack in Bosnia that has been connected to Talibah and al-Qaeda. Abdullah bin Laden, a relative of bin Laden (though his exact relationship can't be determined), is a Talibah officer in its Virginia office. An investigation into Abdullah bin Laden was canceled in 1996 (see September 11, 1996). The US has been criticized for failing to list Talibah as a sponsor of terrorism and for not freezing its assets. [Wall Street Journal, 9/20/02]

October 2002: The State Department's propaganda office, closed in 1996, is reopened. Called the Counter-Disinformation/Misinformation Team, this office supposedly only aims its propaganda overseas to counter propaganda from other countries (see February 20, 2002 and November 24, 2002). [AP, 3/10/03]


David Shayler. [BBC]

November 5, 2002: David Shayler, a member of the British intelligence agency MI5, is convicted of divulging British intelligence secrets. Shayler claims that British intelligence paid an al-Qaeda agent to assassinate Libyan leader Colonel Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi (see 1996). Under strict secrecy laws, the British press is not allowed to report Shayler's claims. The press is not even allowed to report that the government won a gag order on the press. [The Age, 10/10/02] Shayler is not allowed to argue that he acted in the public interest, and the veracity of his claims is not challenged in court. [Guardian, 11/6/02 (B)] Shayler is sentenced to six months in prison, but only serves seven weeks then is released on parole. [BBC, 12/23/02]

November 24, 2002: The Los Angeles Times reports that Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is creating new agencies to make "information warfare" a central element of any US war. For instance, Rumsfeld created a new position of deputy undersecretary for "special plans" - a euphemism for deception operations. "Increasingly, the administration's new policy -- along with the steps senior commanders are taking to implement it -- blurs or even erases the boundaries between factual information and news, on the one hand, and public relations, propaganda and psychological warfare, on the other. And, while the policy ostensibly targets foreign enemies, its most likely victim will be the American electorate" (see also February 20, 2002 and October 2002). [Los Angeles Times, 11/24/02] Authorities have arrested and jailed at least 44 people as potential grand jury witnesses in the 14 months of the nationwide terrorism investigation, but nearly half have never been called to testify before a grand jury, according to defense lawyers and others involved in the cases.

March 14, 2003: The Afghani government warns that unless the international community hands over the aid it promised, Afghanistan will slip back into its role as the world's premier heroin producer. The country's Foreign Minister warns Afghanistan could become a "narco-mafia state." [BBC, 3/17/03] A United Nations study later in the month notes that Afghanistan is once again the world's number one heroin producer, producing 3,750 tons in 2002. Farmers are growing more opium poppies than ever throughout the country, including areas previously free of the crop. [AP, 3/27/03]

March 28, 2003: An article highlights conflicts of interest amongst the commissioners on the 9/11 Independent Commission. It had been previously reported that many of the commissioners had ties to the airline industry (see December 16, 2002 (B)), but a number have other ties. "At least three of the 10 commissioners serve as directors of international financial or consulting firms, five work for law firms that represent airlines and three have ties to the US military or defense contractors, according to personal financial disclosures they were required to submit." Bryan Doyle, project manager for the watchdog group Aviation Integrity Project says, "It is simply a failure on the part of the people making the selections to consider the talented pool of non-conflicted individuals." Commission chairman Thomas Kean says that members are expected to steer clear of discussions that might present even the appearance of a conflict. [AP, 3/28/03] It remains to see what will happen in practice.


Mindy Kleinberg.

March 31, 2003: The 9/11 Independent Commission has its first public hearing. The Miami Herald reports, "Several survivors of the attack and victims' relatives testified that a number of agencies, from federal to local, are ducking responsibility for a series of breakdowns before and during Sept. 11." [Miami Herald, 3/31/03] The New York Times suggests that the Independent Commission would never have been formed if it were not for the pressure of the 9/11 victims' relatives. [New York Times, 4/1/03] Some of the relatives strongly disagreed with statements from some commissioners that they would not place blame. For instance, Stephen Push states, "I think this commission should point fingers.... Some of those people [who failed us] are still in responsible positions in government. Perhaps they shouldn't be." [UPI, 3/31/03] The most critical testimony comes from 9/11 relative Mindy Kleinberg, but her testimony is only briefly reported on by a few newspapers. [UPI, 3/31/03, Newsday, 4/1/03, New York Times, 4/1/03, New York Post, 4/1/03, New Jersey Star-Ledger, 4/1/03] In her testimony, Kleinberg says, "It has been said that the intelligence agencies have to be right 100% of the time and the terrorists only have to get lucky once. This explanation for the devastating attacks of September 11th, simple on its face, is wrong in its value. Because the 9/11 terrorists were not just lucky once: they were lucky over and over again." She points out the inside trading based on 9/11 foreknowledge, the failure of fighters to catch the hijacked planes in time, hijackers getting visas in violation of standard procedures, and other events, and asks how the hijackers could have been lucky so many times. [Independent Commission, 3/31/03]


James Woolsey.

April 3, 2003: Former CIA Director James Woolsey says the US is engaged in a world war, and that it could continue for years: "As we move toward a new Middle East, over the years and, I think, over the decades to come ... we will make a lot of people very nervous." He calls it World War IV (World War III being the Cold War according to neoconservatives like himself), and says it will be fought against the religious rulers of Iran, the "fascists" of Iraq and Syria, and Islamic extremists like al-Qaeda. He singles out the leaders of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, saying, "We want you nervous." This echoes the rhetoric of the Project for the New American Century, of which Woolsey is a supporter (see January 26, 1998), and the singling out of Egypt and Saudi Arabia echoes the rhetoric of the Defense Policy Board, of which he is a member. In July 2002, a presentation to that board concluded, "Grand strategy for the Middle East: Iraq is the tactical pivot. Saudi Arabia the strategic pivot. Egypt the prize" (see July 10, 2002). [CNN, 4/3/03, CNN, 4/3/03 (B)]

 

OTHER UPDATED ENTRIES


The Dabhol power plant. [Enron]

November 1993: The Indian government gives approval for Enron's Dabhol power plant, located near Bombay on the west coast of India. Enron has invested $3 billion, the largest single foreign investment in India's history. Enron owns 65 percent of Dabhol. This liquefied natural gas powered plant is supposed to provide one-fifth of India's energy needs by 1997 [Asia Times, 1/81/01, Indian Express, 2/27/00] It is the largest gas-fired power plant in the world. Earlier in the year, the World Bank concludes that the plant is "not economically viable" and refuses to invest in it. [New York Times, 3/20/01] Enron apparently tries to make the plant financially viable by investing in gas fields in nearby Uzbekistan (see June 24, 1996), but it cannot get that gas to Dabhol without a gas pipeline through Afghanistan (see June 24, 1996 and June 1998 (B)). Construction of the plant is abandoned just before completion (see June 2001 (J)).

Early 1996: The CIA's Counter-Terrorism Center creates a special unit to focus specifically on bin Laden. About 10-15 individuals are assigned to the unit initially. This grows to about 35-40 by 9/11. [Senate Intelligence Committee, 9/18/02] The unit is set up "largely because of evidence linking him to the 1993 bombing of the WTC." [Washington Post, 10/3/01 (C)]


This map shows how Enron planned to connect its gas fields in Turkmenistan to its Dabhol power plant. The pipelines in blue are preexisting; the rest needed to be built. [Albion Monitor]

June 24, 1996: Uzbekistan signs a deal with Enron "that could lead to joint development of the Central Asian nation's potentially rich natural gas fields." [Houston Chronicle, 6/25/96] The $1.3 billion venture teams Enron with the state companies of Russian and Uzbekistan. [Houston Chronicle, 6/30/96] On July 8, 1996, the US government agrees to give $400 million to help Enron and an Uzbeki state company develop these natural gas fields. [Oil and Gas Journal, 7/8/96] However, the deal is later canceled when it becomes apparent a gas pipeline will not be built across Afghanistan, and there is no easy way to get the gas out of the region (see November 1993 and June 1998 (B)).

June 1998 (B): Enron's agreement to develop natural gas with the government of Uzbekistan is not renewed (see June 24, 1996). Enron closes its office there. The reason for the "failure of Enron's flagship project" is an inability to get the natural gas out of the region. Uzbekistan's production is "well below capacity" and only 10 percent of its production is being exported, all to other countries in the region. The hope was to use a pipeline through Afghanistan, but "Uzbekistan is extremely concerned at the growing strength of the Taliban and its potential impact on stability in Uzbekistan, making any future cooperation on a pipeline project which benefits the Taliban unlikely." A $12 billion pipeline through China is being considered as one solution, but that wouldn't be completed until the end of the next decade at the earliest. [Alexander's Gas and Oil Connections, 10/12/98]

2001: At some point during the year, Julie Sirrs, a Defense Intelligence Agency agent, travels twice to Afghanistan. She claims DIA officials knew in advance about both trips. Sirrs sees a terrorist training center, and meets with Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Massoud, who is later assassinated by the Taliban (see September 9, 2001). On her second trip she returns with what she later claims is a treasure trove of information, including evidence that bin Laden is planning to assassinate Massoud. However, upon returning, a security officer meets her flight and confiscates her material. The DIA and the FBI investigate her. She says no higher-ups want to hear what she had learned in Afghanistan. Ultimately, Sirrs' security clearance is pulled. She eventually quits the DIA in frustration. [ABC News, 2/18/02] She claims that the US intelligence on bin Laden and the Taliban relied too heavily on the ISI for its information. [ABC News, 2/18/02 (B)]

May 2001 (G): Vice President Cheney's national energy plan is publicly released. It calls for expanded oil and gas drilling on public land and easing regulatory barriers to building nuclear power plants. [AP, 12/9/02] There are several interesting points, little noticed at the time. It suggests that the US cannot depend exclusively on traditional sources of supply to provide the growing amount of oil that it needs. It will also have to obtain substantial supplies from new sources, such as the Caspian states, Russia, and Africa. It also notes that the US cannot rely on market forces alone to gain access to these added supplies, but will also require a significant effort on the part of government officials to overcome foreign resistance to the outward reach of American energy companies. [Japan Today, 4/30/02] The plan was largely decided through Cheney's secretive Energy Task Force. Both before and after this, Cheney and other Task Force officials meet with Enron executives, including a meeting a month and a half before Enron declares bankruptcy (see December 2, 2001). Two separate lawsuits are later filed to reveal details of how the government's energy policy was formed and if Enron or other players may have influenced it, but so far the Bush Administration has resisted all efforts to release these documents (see October 17, 2002 and February 7, 2003 (B)). [AP, 12/9/02] At the very least, it's known that Enron executives met with the Commerce Secretary about its troubled Dabhol power plant in 2001 (see November 1993). [New York Times, 2/21/02] If these documents are released, they could show what the government did to support Enron's Dabhol plant with an Afghanistan gas pipeline.

June 28, 2001: CIA Director Tenet writes an intelligence summary for National Security Adviser Rice: "It is highly likely that a significant al-Qaeda attack is in the near future, within several weeks." Rice will later claim that everyone was taken by complete surprise by the 9/11 attack (see May 16, 2002 (B)). [Washington Post, 5/17/02] This comes several days after a reporter visits bin Laden, and is given the impression that an attack will occur in the next two weeks. He isn't actually told that by anyone, but he is told by at least one bin Laden follower that "a severe blow is expected against USA and Israeli interests worldwide." [Pravda, 6/26/01]

Mid-August 2001 (B): Abdul Haq, a famous Afghan leader of the mujaheddin, returns to Peshawar, Pakistan, from the US. Having failed to gain US support (see February 2001 (C)), except for that of some private individuals such as former National Security Adviser Robert McFarlane, Haq begins organizing subversive operations in Afghanistan. [Los Angeles Times, 10/28/01 (B), Wall Street Journal, 11/2/01] He is later killed entering Afghanistan in October 2001, after his position is betrayed to the Taliban by the ISI (see October 25, 2001).

September 9, 2001 (C): It is later reported that on this day, bin Laden calls his stepmother and says, "In two days, you're going to hear big news and you're not going to hear from me for a while." US officials later tell CNN that "in recent years they've been able to monitor some of bin Laden's telephone communications with his [step]mother. Bin Laden at the time was using a satellite telephone, and the signals were intercepted and sometimes recorded." [New York Times, 10/2/01] Stepmother Al-Khalifa bin Laden, who raised Osama bin Laden after his natural mother died, was apparently waiting in Damascus, Syria, to meet Osama there, so he called to cancel the meeting. [Sunday Herald, 10/7/01] They had met periodically in recent years (see Spring 1998, Spring 2000 (C) and February 26, 2001). Before 9/11, to impress important visitors, NSA analysts would occasionally play audio tapes of bin Laden talking to his stepmother. [Body of Secrets, James Bamford, 4/02, p. 410] The next day government officials say about the call, "I would view those reports with skepticism." [CNN, 10/2/01]

September 11, 2001 (C): Two employees of Odigo, Inc., in Israel, receive warnings of an imminent attack in New York City around two hours before the first plane hits the WTC. Odigo, one of the world's largest instant messaging companies, has its headquarters two blocks from the WTC. The Odigo Research and Development offices where the warnings were received are located in Herzliyya, a suburb of Tel Aviv. Israeli security and the FBI were notified immediately after the 9/11 attacks began. The two employees claim not to know who sent the warnings. "Odigo service includes a feature called People Finder that allows users to seek out and contact others based on certain interests or demographics. [Alex] Diamandis [Odigo vice president of sales and marketing] said it was possible that the attack warning was broadcast to other Odigo members, but the company has not received reports of other recipients of the message." [Ha'aretz, 9/26/01, Washington Post, 9/27/01 (C)] FTW Odigo claims the warning did not specifically mention the WTC, but the company won't say what was specified, claiming, "Providing more details would only lead to more conjecture." [Washington Post, 9/28/01] Odigo gave the FBI the internet address of the message's sender so the name of the sender could be found. [Deutsche Presse-Agentur, 9/26/01] Two months later it is reported that the FBI is still investigating the matter, but there have been no reports since. [Courier Mail, 11/20/01] Could the message have been a mass e-mail sent to a large group? Could this be related to the "art student spy ring"? Did the original senders directly inform the FBI as well, and if not, why not?

September 11, 2001 (V): Hours after the 9/11 attacks, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld is given information that three of the names on the airplane passenger manifests are suspected al-Qaeda operatives. The notes he composes at the time are leaked nearly a year later. Rumsfeld writes he wants the "best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H. [Saddam Hussein] at same time. Not only UBL. [Usama bin Laden] Go massive. Sweep it all up. Things related and not." [CBS, 9/4/02] He presents the idea to Bush the next day (see September 12, 2001 (F)). It is later revealed that shortly after 9/11, Rumsfeld sets up "a small team of defense officials outside regular intelligence channels to focus on unearthing details about Iraqi ties with al-Qaeda and other terrorist networks." It has continued to sift "through much of the same databases available to government intelligence analysts but with the aim of spotlighting information the spy agencies have either overlooked or played down." [Washington Post, 10/25/02] Time will report in May 2002 that Defense Secretary "Rumsfeld has been so determined to find a rationale for an attack that on 10 separate occasions he asked the CIA to find evidence linking Iraq to the terror attacks of Sept. 11. The intelligence agency repeatedly came back empty-handed." [Time, 5/6/02] But while the CIA hasn't been helpful to Rumsfeld, one former senior official later says, "If it became known that [Rumsfeld] wanted [the Defense Intelligence Agency] to link the government of Tonga to 9/11, within a few months they would come up with sources who'd do it." [New Yorker, 12/16/02] Since the plan to defeat Iraq is planned despite a complete lack of evidence showing Iraqi involvement in 9/11 (see also September 17, 2001 (B)), how can any later evidence pointing to Iraq's complicity in 9/11 be trusted?

September 13, 2001 (E): The FBI says there were 18 hijackers, and releases their names. [CNN, 9/13/01 (C)] The next day, it is revealed there is one more hijacker - Hani Hanjour. [CNN, 9/14/01, AP, 9/14/01] A few days later, it is reported that Hanjour's "name was not on the American Airlines manifest for [Flight 77] because he may not have had a ticket." [Washington Post, 9/16/01] How was Hanjour able to board Flight 77 if he didn't have his name on the manifest or a ticket? How can the FBI can be sure he was on the plane?

September 14, 2001 (J): The Miami Herald reports, "Forty-five minutes. That's how long American Airlines Flight 77 meandered through the air headed for the White House, its flight plan abandoned, its radar beacon silent... Who was watching in those 45 minutes? 'That's a question that more and more people are going to ask,' said one controller in Miami. 'What the hell went on here? Was anyone doing anything about it? Just as a national defense thing, how are they able to fly around and no one go after them?''' [Miami Herald, 9/14/01] In the year since this article and a similar one in the Village Voice [Village Voice, 9/13/01], there has been only one other US article questioning slow fighter response times, and that article noted the strange lack of articles on the topic. [Slate, 1/16/02] However, some 9/11 victims' relatives continue to raise the issue (see August 13, 2002 and March 31, 2003). Why haven't "more and more people" in the media questioned this?


Enron's logo.

December 2, 2001: Enron files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy - the biggest bankruptcy ever (that is, until WorldCom some months later). [BBC, 1/10/02] However, Enron reorganizes as a pipeline company, and it may yet complete its controversial Dabhol power plant (see October 18, 2002). [Houston Business Journal, 3/15/02]

December 13, 2001 (B): The US releases a video of bin Laden that seems to confirm his role in the 9/11 attack. [Guardian, 12/13/01] However, a number of strange facts about this video soon emerge. For one, all previous videos had been made with the consent of bin Laden, and usually released to the Arabic TV channel Al Jazeera. This video was supposedly recorded without his knowledge, found in a house in Afghanistan, and then passed to the CIA by an unknown person or group. Experts point out that it would be possible to fake such a video. So many people doubt the video's authenticity that Bush soon makes a statement, saying it was "preposterous for anybody to think this tape was doctored. Those who contend it's a farce or a fake are hoping for the best about an evil man." Some observers point out that bin Laden is wearing a ring on his right hand. In previous films, he had worn no jewelry apart from a watch. [Guardian, 12/15/01] The German television show Monitor does an independent translation that questions the translation given by the Pentagon. Says Professor Gernot Rotter, scholar of Islamic and Arabic Studies at the University of Hamburg, "This tape is of such poor quality that many passages are unintelligible. And those that are intelligible have often been taken out of context, so that you can't use that as evidence. The American translators who listened to the tape and transcribed it obviously added things that they wanted to hear in many places." [Monitor, 12/20/01] But perhaps the best reason to think the video is not of bin Laden is to look at the video. The person in the video just plain doesn't look like him, especially in the nose. See the comparison on the right. Here also are comparisons of videos from before, during, and after: Al Jazeera, 10/01, Al Jazeera, 10/11/01, Dawn interview, 11/8/01, controversial video, late 11/01, Al Jazeera, 12/27/01. One answer may be that the video was of one of bin Laden's doubles. There are reports that he had from four to ten look-alike doubles at the time. [AFP, 10/7/01, London Times, 11/19/01]

February 20, 2002: The Pentagon announces the existence of the new Office of Strategic Influence, which "was quietly set up after September 11." The role of this office is to plant false stories in the foreign press, phony e-mails from disguised addresses, and other covert activities to manipulate public opinion. The new office proves so controversial that it is declared closed six days later. [CNN, 2/20/02, CNN, 2/26/02] It is later reported that the "temporary" Office of Global Communications will be made permanent (it is unknown when this office began its work). This office seems to serve the same function as the earlier Office of Strategic Influence, minus the covert manipulation. [Washington Post, 7/20/02] Defense Secretary Rumsfeld later states that after the office was closed, "I went down that next day and said fine, if you want to savage this thing fine I'll give you the corpse. There's the name. You can have the name, but I'm gonna keep doing every single thing that needs to be done and I have" (see also October 2002 and November 24, 2002). [Department of Defense, 11/18/02]

April 1, 2002: "American officials have quietly abandoned their hopes to reduce Afghanistan's opium production substantially this year and are now bracing for a harvest large enough to inundate the world's heroin and opium markets with cheap drugs." They want to see the new Afghan government make at least a token effort to destroy some opium, but it appears they're not doing even that. Afghan leader Hamid Karzai had announced a total ban on opium cultivation, processing, and trafficking, but it appears to be a total sham. The new harvest is so large, it could be "enough opium to stockpile for two or two and a half more years." [New York Times, 4/1/02] Starting this month, Karzai's government offers farmers $500 for every acre of poppies they destroy, but farmers can earn as much as $6,400 per acre for the crop. The program is eventually canceled when it runs out of money to pay farmers. [AP, 3/27/03] If the US wants to ban opium, why doesn't it fund this program?

June 4, 2002 (C): Air Force Lt. Col. Steve Butler is suspended from his post at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California and is told he could face a court martial for writing a letter to a local newspaper calling President Bush a "joke" and accusing him of allowing the 9/11 attacks to happen. The military prohibits public criticism of superiors. [BBC, 6/5/02, see the letter here: Monterey County Herald, 6/5/02] What is not reported is that he may have had unique knowledge about 9/11: A hijacker named Saeed Alghamdi trained at the Defense Language Institute and Butler was Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs there (note that this is not the same person as the Steven Butler who later testifies before the 9/11 Congressional inquiry (see October 9, 2002)). [Gannett News Service, 9/17/01] Later in the month the Air Force announces "the matter is resolved" and Butler will not face a court-martial but it is unknown if he faced a lesser punishment. [Knight Ridder, 6/14/02] FTW

July 12, 2002: A federal judge denies a motion to dismiss a lawsuit trying to force the release of documents relating to Vice President Cheney's Energy Task Force (see May 2001 (G)). Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club filed the suit a year earlier. The judge rejects as "mischief" arguments that inquiry into the Energy Task Force would impinge on the president's constitutional powers. The judge further says the Bush Administration's "stunning" arguments "fly in the face of precedent" and are a "problematic and unprecedented assertion ... of Executive Power." He also accuses the Bush Administration of making purposefully misleading arguments in its case. [AP, 7/12/02] In March, the Bush Administration was forced to release thousands of documents after what the judge called ten months of stalling. [New York Times, 3/6/02] But a majority of documents were not released, and of the ones that were, most were completely blanked out. [AP, 3/25/02] The government continues to fight the release of these documents (see October 17, 2002, December 9, 2002 (B) and February 7, 2003 (B)).

October 17, 2002: Judicial Watch and the Sierra Club again win a ruling against Vice President Cheney (see July 12, 2002), and a judge demands that Cheney turn over documents relating to his Energy Task Force (see May 2001 (G)). [Reuters, 10/17/02] But the Bush Administration continues to fight the release of these documents. A similar lawsuit by the General Accounting Office, the Congressional investigative body, is later dropped (see December 9, 2002 (B) and February 7, 2003 (B)).

October 18, 2002: Saudi Arabia announces that Turki al-Faisal will be its next ambassador to Britain. Turki is a controversial figure because of his long-standing relationship to bin Laden. He has also been named in a lawsuit by 9/11 victims' relatives against Saudi Arabians for their support of al-Qaeda before 9/11 (see August 15, 2002). It is later noted that his ambassador position could give him diplomatic immunity from the lawsuit. [New York Times, 12/30/02] Turki's predecessor as ambassador was recalled after it was revealed he had written poems praising suicide bombers. [Observer, 3/2/03 (C)] Reports on his new posting suggest that Turki last met bin Laden in the early 1990s before he became a wanted terrorist. [London Times, 10/18/02, Guardian, 10/19/02] However, these reports fail to mention other contacts with bin Laden (for instance, see July 1998), including a possible secret meeting in July 2001 (see July 4-14, 2001).

October 18, 2002 (B): "The massive mothballed Dabhol power project that bankrupt US energy company Enron Corp. built in western India could be running within a year, with a long-standing dispute over power charges close to being renegotiated, a government official said." Dabhol is the largest foreign investment project in India's history. Despite reorganizing from a bankruptcy, Enron still holds a controlling 65 percent stake in the plant, while General Electric Co. and Bechtel Corp. hold 10 percent each. The local Indian state electricity board holds the remaining 15 percent (see also November 1993 and June 2001 (J)). [AP, 10/18/02]

December 16, 2002 (B): The ten members of the new 9/11 Commission (see November 15, 2002) are appointed by this date, and are: Republicans Thomas Kean (Chairman), Slade Gorton, James Thompson, Fred Fielding, and John Lehman, and Democrats Lee Hamilton (Vice Chairman), Max Cleland, Tim Roemer, Richard Ben-Veniste, and Jamie Gorelick. [New York Times, 12/17/02, Washington Post, 12/15/02, AP, 12/16/02, Chicago Tribune, 12/12/02] Senators Richard Shelby (R) and John McCain (R) had a say in the choice of one of the Republican positions. They and many 9/11 victims' relatives wanted former Senator Warren Rudman (R), who cowrote an acclaimed report about terrorism before 9/11 (see January 31, 2001). But Senate Republican leader Trent Lott blocks Rudman's appointment and chooses John Lehman instead. [St. Petersburg Times, 12/12/02, AP, 12/13/02, Reuters, 12/16/02] It slowly emerges over the next several months that at least six of the ten commissioners have ties to the airline industry. [CBS, 3/5/03] Every commissioner has at least one potential conflict of interest.
Republican commissioners:
1) For Chairman Thomas Kean's conflicts of interests, see December 16, 2002.
2) Fred Fielding also works for a law firm lobbying for Spirit Airlines and United Airlines. [AP, 2/14/03, CBS, 3/5/03]
3) Slade Gorton has close ties to Boeing, which built all the planes destroyed on 9/11, and his law firm represents several major airlines, including Delta Airlines. [AP, 12/12/02, CBS, 3/5/03]
4)
John Lehman, former secretary of the Navy, has large investments in Ball Corp., which has many US military contracts. [AP, 3/27/03 (B)]
5) James Thompson, former Illinois governor, is the head of a law firm that lobbies for American Airlines, and he has previously represented United Airlines. [AP, 1/31/03, CBS, 3/5/03]
Democratic commissioners:
6) Richard Ben-Veniste represents Boeing and United Airlines. [CBS, 3/5/03] His law firm also represents Deutsche Bank, which have many connections to 9/11. [AP, 3/27/03 (B)] Ben-Veniste also has other curious connections, according to a 2001 book on CIA ties to drug running written by Daniel Hopsicker, which has an entire chapter called "Who is Richard Ben-Veniste?" Lawyer Ben-Veniste, Hopsicker says, "has made a career of defending political crooks, specializing in cases that involve drugs and politics." Ben-Veniste has been referred to in print as a "Mob lawyer," and was a long-time lawyer for Barry Seal, one of the most famous drug dealers in US history who also is alleged to have had CIA connections. [Barry and the Boys, Daniel Hopsicker, 9/01, pp. 325-330, link to the chapter on Ben-Veniste]
7) Max Cleland, former US senator, has received $300,000 from the airline industry. [CBS, 3/5/03]
8) James Gorelick is a director of United Technologies, one of the Pentagon's biggest defense contractors and a supplier of engines to airline manufacturers. [AP, 3/27/03 (B)]
9) Lee Hamilton sits on many advisory boards, including those to the CIA, the president's Homeland Security Advisory Council, and the US Army. [AP, 3/27/03 (B)]
10) Tim Roemer represents Boeing and Lockheed Martin. [CBS, 3/5/03]

January 27, 2003: The 9/11 Independent Commission, officially titled the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States, holds its first meeting in Washington. The commission has $3 million and only until May 2004 to explore the causes of the attacks. By comparison, a 1996 federal commission to study legalized gambling was given two years and $5 million. [AP, 1/27/03] The Bush Administration later grudgingly increases the funding to $12 million total (see March 26, 2003). Philip Zelikow, currently the director of the Miller Center of Public Affairs at the University of Virginia and formerly in the National Security Council during the first Bush administration, is also appointed executive director of the commission. He is expected to resign to focus full time on the commission. [AP, 1/27/03] Zelikow cowrote a book with National Security Advisor Rice. [Independent Commission, 3/03] A few days later, Vice Chairman Lee Hamilton says, "The focus of the commission will be on the future. We want to make recommendations that will make the American people more secure.... We're not interested in trying to assess blame, we do not consider that part of the commission's responsibility." [UPI, 2/6/03]

March 26, 2003: Time reports that the 9/11 Independent Commission has requested an additional $11 million to add to the $3 million for the commission, and the Bush Administration has turned down the request. The request will not be added to a supplemental spending bill. A Republican member of the commission says the decision will make it "look like they have something to hide." Another commissioner notes that the recent commission on the Columbia shuttle crash will have a $50 million budget. Stephen Push, a leader of the 9/11 victims' families, says the decision "suggests to me that they see this as a convenient way for allowing the commission to fail. They've never wanted the commission and I feel the White House has always been looking for a way to kill it without having their finger on the murder weapon." The Administration has suggested it may grant the money later, but any delay will further slow down the commission's work. Already, commission members are complaining that scant progress has been made in the four months since the commission started, and they are operating under a deadline. [Time, 3/26/03] Three days later, it is reported that the Bush Administration has agreed to extra funding, but only $9 million, not $11 million. The commission has agreed to the reduced amount. [Washington Post, 3/29/03] The New York Times criticizes such penny-pinching, saying, "Reasonable people might wonder if the White House, having failed in its initial attempt to have Henry Kissinger steer the investigation, may be resorting to budgetary starvation as a tactic to hobble any politically fearless inquiry." [New York Times, 3/31/03]

March 27, 2003: It is reported that "most members" of the 9/11 Independent Commission still have not received security clearances. [Washington Post, 3/27/03] For instance, Slade Gorton, picked in December 2002, is a former senator with a long background in intelligence issues. Fellow commissioner Lee Hamilton says, "It's kind of astounding that someone like Senator Gorton can't get immediate clearance. It's a matter we are concerned about." The commission is said to be at a "standstill" because of the security clearance issue, and cannot even read the classified findings of the previous 9/11 Congressional inquiry. [Seattle Times, 3/12/03] Already Hamilton has said that, "We will be short of time. It will be very difficult" to meet the deadline of May 2004, when the commission must complete its investigation. [UPI, 2/6/03] Are the security clearances being delayed to thwart the commission?