Category Archives: 9/11

The President, the Vice President, the First Lady and Dr. Biden: A Day of Service and Remembrance

Posted by: Audiegrl
Written by Jesse Lee

President Barack Obama pauses during a moment of silence in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House at 8:46AM, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in remembrance of the time that the first plane hit the World Trade Center in 2001. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

The President was joined by Defense Secretary Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs at the Pentagon Memorial.  Vice President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden were at Zuccotti Park in New York City.  And the First Lady was with Mrs. Laura Bush at the memorial ceremony in honor of the passengers and crew of United Flight 93 in Shanksville, Pennsylvania.

All of them took part in service projects afterwards, and Serve.gov is helping Americans across the country take part in this Day of Service and Remembrance.  Excerpts of their remarks below.

President Barack Obama participates in a service project at Ronald H Brown Middle School September 11 2010 in the Washington, DC. Obama attended an 9/11 anniversary memorial at the Pentagon earlier in the day. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

The President:

Nine years have now passed.  In that time, you have shed more tears than we will ever know.  And though it must seem some days as though the world has moved on to other things, I say to you today that your loved ones endure in the heart of our nation, now and forever.

Our remembrance today also requires a certain reflection.  As a nation, and as individuals, we must ask ourselves how best to honor them — those who died, those who sacrificed.  How do we preserve their legacy — not just on this day, but every day?

We need not look far for our answer.  The perpetrators of this evil act didn’t simply attack America; they attacked the very idea of America itself — all that we stand for and represent in the world.  And so the highest honor we can pay those we lost, indeed our greatest weapon in this ongoing war, is to do what our adversaries fear the most — to stay true to who we are, as Americans; to renew our sense of common purpose; to say that we define the character of our country, and we will not let the acts of some small band of murderers who slaughter the innocent and cower in caves distort who we are.

They doubted our will, but as Americans we persevere.  Today, in Afghanistan and beyond, we have gone on the offensive and struck major blows against al Qaeda and its allies.  We will do what is necessary to protect our country, and we honor all those who serve to keep us safe.

They may seek to strike fear in us, but they are no match for our resilience.  We do not succumb to fear, nor will we squander the optimism that has always defined us as a people.  On a day when others sought to destroy, we have chosen to build, with a National Day of Service and Remembrance that summons the inherent goodness of the American people.

They may seek to exploit our freedoms, but we will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust.  They may wish to drive us apart, but we will not give in to their hatred and prejudice.  For Scripture teaches us to “get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.”

They may seek to spark conflict between different faiths, but as Americans we are not — and never will be — at war with Islam.  It was not a religion that attacked us that September day — it was al Qaeda, a sorry band of men which perverts religion.  And just as we condemn intolerance and extremism abroad, so will we stay true to our traditions here at home as a diverse and tolerant nation.  We champion the rights of every American, including the right to worship as one chooses — as service members and civilians from many faiths do just steps from here, at the very spot where the terrorists struck this building.

Those who attacked us sought to demoralize us, divide us, to deprive us of the very unity, the very ideals, that make America America — those qualities that have made us a beacon of freedom and hope to billions around the world.  Today we declare once more we will never hand them that victory.  As Americans, we will keep alive the virtues and values that make us who we are and who we must always be.

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The First Lady:

(L-R) Gordon W.Felt, president of Families of Flight 93 and Joanne Hanley Superintendent of the Flight 93 National Memorial show U.S. First Lady Michelle Obama and former first lady Laura Bush the future site of the memorial that's under construction during a 9/11 Flight 93 commemoration September 11, 2010 in a field near Shanksville, Pennsylvania. People gathered to honor the 40 victims of Flight 93 on the ninth anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. (Photo by Archie Carpenter/Getty Images North America)

The men and women of Flight 93 were college students and grandparents.  They were businessmen, pilots, and flight attendants.  There was a writer, an antique dealer, a lawyer, an engineer.

They came from all different backgrounds and all walks of life, and they all took a different path to that September morning.

But in that awful moment when the facts became clear, and they were called to make an impossible choice, they all found the same resolve.

They agreed to the same bold plan.

They called the people they loved –- many of them giving comfort instead of seeking it, explaining they were taking action, and that everything would be okay.

And then they rose as one, they acted as one, and together, they changed history’s course.

And in the days that followed, when we learned about the heroes of Flight 93 and what they had done, we were proud, we were awed, we were inspired, but I don’t think any of us were really surprised, because it was clear that these 40 individuals were no strangers to service and to sacrifice.  For them, putting others before themselves was nothing new because they were veterans, and coaches, and volunteers of all sorts of causes.

There was the disability rights advocate who carried a miniature copy of the Constitution everywhere she went.

There was the Census director who used to return to the homes she’d canvassed to drop off clothing and food for families in need.

There was the couple who quietly used their wealth to make interest-free loans to struggling families.

And to this day, they remind us -– not just by how they gave their lives, but by how they lived their lives -– that being a hero is not just a matter of fate, it’s a matter of choice.

I think that Jack Grandcolas put it best –- his wife, Lauren, was one of the passengers on the flight — and he said: “They were ordinary citizens thrown into a combat situation.  No one was a general or a dictator.  Their first thought was to be selfless.  They knew ‘There was a 98 percent chance we’re not going to make it, but let’s save others’.”

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Vice President Joe Biden (L)) and his wife Jill Biden (R) delivesr remarks during the annual 9/11 memorial service September 11, 2010 in New York City. People gathered at the World Trade Center site to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)

Vice President Biden gave a reading of The Builders by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:

All are architects of Fate,
Working in these walls of Time;
Some with massive deeds and great,
Some with ornaments of rhyme.

Nothing useless is, or low;
Each thing in its place is best;
And what seems but idle show
Strengthens and supports the rest.

For the structure that we raise,
Time is with materials filled;
Our to-days and yesterdays
Are the blocks with which we build.

Truly shape and fashion these;
Leave no yawning gaps between;
Think not, because no man sees,
Such things will remain unseen.

In the elder days of Art,
Builders wrought with greatest care
Each minute and unseen part;
For the Gods see everywhere.

Let us do our work as well,
Both the unseen and the seen;
Make the house, where Gods may dwell,
Beautiful, entire, and clean.

Else our lives are incomplete,
Standing in these walls of Time,
Broken stairways, where the feet
Stumble as they seek to climb.

Build to-day, then, strong and sure,
With a firm and ample base;
And ascending and secure
Shall to-morrow find its place.

Thus alone can we attain
To those turrets, where the eye
Sees the world as one vast plain,
And one boundless reach of sky.


(L to R) New York Governor David Patterson, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, Dr Jill Biden, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie are relected in the reflecting pool at Ground Zero during the annual memorial service for September 11, 2010 in New York City. People gathered at the World Trade Center site to mark the ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. (Photo by Pool/Getty Images North America)


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Son of Texas Plane Crash Victim Vernon Hunter: Calls Attack an Act of Terror

Posted by: Audiegrl

Feb. 22: Ken Hunter, son of the sole IRS worker killed when Joseph Stack flew his plane into the building where he worked.

Ken Hunter, son of the sole IRS worker killed when Joseph Stack flew his plane into the building where he worked.

CNN/Associated Press~ The son of the IRS worker who was the sole person to be killed last week when a tax protester piloted his plane into a Texas office building says his father was an innocent bystander who died at the hands of a terrorist.

And Ken Hunter, whose father, Vernon, was killed in Thursday’s plane attack said it was “disgusting” that the pilot’s daughter had called her father a hero — a statement she later retracted.

Joe Stack, 53, set fire to his family home before plowing his single-engine plane into the office building, killing himself and Hunter, a tax service employee and two-tour veteran of the War in Vietnam.

How is it heroic to take upon acts that Al Qaeda used on September 11 of 2001? What makes that heroic?” Hunter said in an interview Monday.

He spoke after Stack’s adult daughter, Samantha Bell, told ABC News that her father’s beliefs were heroic, and “Now maybe people will listen.”

Stack targeted the building, where nearly 200 IRS workers were employed, after posting a ranting manifesto against the agency and the government.

He did not write the tax law,” Hunter said of his father. “No one in that building wrote the tax law.”

Vernon Hunter

Vernon Hunter ~ RIP

Are you telling me that an American citizen committing an attack of terrorism against the United States is heroic?” he continued.

Bell said she offered her deepest condolences to Hunter’s family, and she said her father’s last actions were “inappropriate.”

But if nobody comes out and speaks up on behalf of injustice, then nothing will ever be accomplished,” she said in the interview. “But I do not agree with his last action with what he did. But I do agree about the government.”

Bell later retracted her statement that her father was a hero, telling ABC that the only hero who died that day was her father’s victim. “I don’t want to hurt anybody,” she told ABC. “We are mourning for Vernon Hunter.”

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President Obama Sends Condolences To Austin

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Last week, tragedy befell public servants in Austin, Texas. Earlier today, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner met with IRS employees in Austin to express his sympathies and support, and he read this note from the President:

“To the men and women of the Internal Revenue Service at Austin:

I asked Secretary Geithner to carry this message to you.

It is with great sadness that I write to you on the tragic events of February 18th. You, your families and colleagues are in my thoughts and prayers.

Michelle and I extend our condolences to you on the death of your colleague, Mr. Vernon Hunter. Vernon dedicated his life to service to this great country, serving over 20 years in the military before joining the IRS. We mourn his death.

As we work with law-enforcement agencies to investigate the events leading up to this plane crash, I want the dedicated employees of the IRS to know that I am thankful for your dedication, courage and professionalism as we rebuild in Austin. And as you continue your work, we will do what is needed to ensure your safety.

We are grateful for your service to this country.

May God bless you and the United States of America.

President Barack Obama”

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Taliban’s top military commander captured

ISLAMABAD – The Taliban’s top military commander has been arrested in a joint CIA-Pakistani operation in Pakistan in a major victory against the insurgents as U.S. troops push into their heartland in southern Afghanistan, officials said Tuesday.

Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, the group’s No. 2 leader behind Afghan Taliban founder Mullah Mohammad Omar and a close associate of Osama bin Laden, was captured in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi, two Pakistani intelligence officers and a senior U.S. official said.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release such sensitive information.

One Pakistani officer said Baradar was arrested 10 days ago with the assistance of the United States and “was talking” to his interrogators.

Baradar is the most senior Afghan Taliban leader arrested since the beginning of the Afghan war in 2001 following the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States.

His capture represents a significant success for the administration of President Barack Obama, which has vowed to kill or seize Taliban and al-Qaida leaders in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It follows the ramping up of CIA missile strikes against militant targets along the border between the two countries that have reportedly killed many midlevel commanders.

source:

In-depth: Who Is Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar?

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Obama Outsmarts the Terrorists

Posted by: BetsM

President Obama isn’t nearly as scared of the terrorists as Bush was—and that’s precisely why al Qaeda is falling apart

Peter Beinart

Peter Beinart

The Daily Beast/Peter Beinart~Republicans think about terrorism the way Democrats think about poverty. Democrats know their anti-poverty policies don’t always work. But they tell themselves that at least their hearts are in the right place, at least they care about the problem.

That’s the way Republicans think about terrorism. In unguarded moments, honest Republicans will admit that not all of the Bush administration’s anti-terror policies worked. But they tell themselves that at least they know America is at war; at least they know the terrorists are evil; at least they really care about the problem.

In a sense, the Republicans are right: they do worry more about terrorism than Democrats. You can see it in the polls. Democrats–especially liberal Democrats—focus part of their foreign policy anxiety on things like climate change, global pandemics and financial collapse. For many Republicans, by contrast, the terrorists are today’s equivalent of the Nazis and the communists: they’re the only threat that really matters. Everything else is an afterthought.

But as conservatives used to say during the poverty debates of the 1960s and 1970s, intentions and outcomes are not the same thing. Sometimes, ironically enough, not worrying quite so much can produce better results.

Which brings us to Barack Obama’s “war on terror.” Conservatives keep saying that Obama doesn’t really believe we’re at war; that he sees terrorists as mere criminals, not the epic evil-doers that they really are. But here’s the irony: It’s precisely because he doesn’t see the terrorist threat as quite so epic that al Qaeda is falling apart.

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BBC Airing Guantánamo Guard/Detainee Reunion

Posted by: Audiegrl

“He would say, ‘you ever listen to Eminem or Dr Dre’ and… I thought how could it be somebody is here who’s doing the same stuff that I do when I’m back home”~~Former Guard Brandon Neely

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Why would a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard track down two of his former captives – two British men – and agree to fly to London to meet them?

BBC News/Gavin Lee~~”You look different without a cap.”

You look different without the jump suits.”

With those words, an extraordinary reunion gets under way.

The journey of reconciliation began almost a year ago in Huntsville, Texas. Mr Neely, 29, had left the US military in 2005 to become a police officer and was still struggling to come to terms with his time as a guard at Guantanamo.

He felt anger at a number of incidents of abuse he says he witnessed, and guilt over one in particular.

Highly controversial since it opened in 2002, Guantanamo prison was set up by President George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to house suspected “terrorists“. But it has been heavily divisive and President Barack Obama has said it has “damaged [America’s] national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al Qaeda“.

Mr Neely recalls only the good publicity in the US media.

The news would always try to make Guantanamo into this great place,” he says, “like ‘they [prisoners] were treated so great’. No it wasn’t. You know here I was basically just putting innocent people in cages.”

The prisoners arriving on planes, in goggles and jump suits, from Afghanistan were termed by then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the “worst of the worst“. But after getting to know some of the English-speaking detainees, Mr Neely started to have doubts all of them were fanatical terrorists.

Mr Neely was 22 when he worked at the camp and left after six months to serve in Iraq. But after quitting the military his doubts about Guantanamo began to crystallize. This led to a spontaneous decision last year to reach out to his former prisoners on Facebook.

Released in 2004, after being held for two years, Mr Rasul and Mr Ahmed and another friend from Tipton had been captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of links to the Taliban. The three said they were beaten by US troops although this was disputed by the US government at the time.

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But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?

They explain that, being in their late teens and early twenties at the time, they had made a naive, spontaneous decision to travel for free with an aid convoy weeks before a friend’s wedding, due to take place in Pakistan.

Mr Ahmed admits they had a secret agenda for entering Afghanistan, but it wasn’t to join al-Qaeda.

Aid work was like probably 5% of it. Our main reason was just to go and sightsee really and smoke some dope“.

Does their former prison guard believe them? Yes, says Mr Neely, who says he thinks it was a case of “wrong place, wrong time“.

Both sides are beginning to bond, yet towards the end, Mr Neely has a confession of his own. It threatens to destroy the mood of reconciliation.

He is deeply ashamed of an incident in which he “slammed” an elderly prisoner’s head against the floor.

Mr Neely recalls that he thought he had been under attack because the man kept trying to rise to his feet. But weeks later he discovered the prisoner thought he was being placed on his knees to be executed and believed he was fighting for his life.

Mr Ahmed is speechless, then evidently conflicted as he wrestles in his mind with whether or not he can forgive. Eventually, he says he can.

But should Mr Neely be prosecuted for his actions? Mr Ahmed pauses again.

He’s realized what he did was wrong and he’s living with it and suffering with it and as long as that he knows what he did was wrong. That’s the main thing.”

Afterwards, each say they had genuinely found some sort of closure from meeting. The sense of relief in all their faces speaks volumes, and they leave the meeting closer to one another.

Their story will be featured on the documentary Guantanamo Reunited on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday 14 January at 2200 BST.

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The Daily Show w/Jon Stewart: Fright Club

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Documentary: The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder – (Trailer)

Posted by Audiegrl

Former prosecutor and NYT best-selling author Vincent Bugliosi

Former prosecutor and NYT best-selling author Vincent Bugliosi

Famed Charles Manson prosecutor and three time #1 New York Times bestselling author Vincent Bugliosi stars in this most powerful, explosive, and thought-provoking documentary.

In The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder, Bugliosi presents a tight, meticulously researched legal case that puts George W. Bush on trial in an American courtroom for the murder of nearly 4,000 American soldiers fighting the war in Iraq. Bugliosi sets forth the legal architecture and incontrovertible evidence that President Bush took this nation to war in Iraq under false pretenses—a war that has not only caused the deaths of American soldiers but also over 100,000 innocent Iraqi men, women, and children; cost the United States over one trillion dollars thus far with no end in sight; and alienated many American allies in the Western world.

As a prosecutor who is dedicated to seeking justice, Bugliosi, in his inimitable style, delivers a non-partisan argument, free from party lines and instead based upon hard facts and pure objectivity.

prosecution-bush-murder-thumbA searing indictment of the President and his administration, The Prosecution of George W. Bush for Murder also outlines a legally credible pathway to holding our highest government officials accountable for their actions, thereby creating a framework for future occupants of the oval office.

Vincent Bugliosi calls for the United States of America to return to the great nation it once was and can be again. He believes the first step to achieving this goal is to bring those responsible for the war in Iraq to justice.

**Scheduled for release in February, 2010

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