Wednesday, October 22, 2014

FBI Declassifies Additional Portions of 2007 Inspector General Report on Problems With National Security Letters


In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the New York Times, the FBI has declassified additional portions of a 2007 inspector general report about National Security Letters, a kind of administrative subpoena used to get records without judicial oversight in counterterrorism investigations. It also declassified additional portions of a 2008 follow-up report. The newly revealed portions are marked in notes below.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/10/24/us/23-FBI-NSL-FOIA.html?_r=0

DOJ OIG Review of FBI's Use of National Security Letters 2003-2005



DOJ OIG Review of FBI's Use of National Security Letters 2006



http://leaksource.info/2014/08/15/doj-oig-reviews-of-fbis-use-of-national-security-letters-2003-2009/

CIA Mockingbird Ben Bradlee Dead at 93

Benjamin C. Bradlee, a Massachusetts paperboy in his youth who became the longtime editor of The Washington Post where he inspired a legion of reporters and led the paper’s coverage of the Watergate scandal, died Tuesday from natural causes. …

“One of the most important journalists under the control of Operation Mockingbird was Joseph Alsop, whose articles appeared in over 300 different newspapers. Other journalists willing to promote the views of the CIA included Stewart Alsop (New York Herald Tribune), Ben Bradlee (Newsweek), James Reston (New York Times), C. D. Jackson (Time Magazine), Walter Pincus (Washington Post), Walter Winchell (New York Daily Mirror), Drew Pearson, Walter Lippmann, William Allen White, Edgar Ansel Mowrer (Chicago Daily News),Hal Hendrix (Miami News), Whitelaw Reid (New York Herald Tribune), Jerry O’Leary (Washington Star), William C. Baggs (Miami News), Herb Gold (Miami News) and Charles L. Bartlett (Chattanooga Times). …” (Source: “Operation Mockingbird,” Spartacus International)

http://www.constantinereport.com/cia-mockingbird-ben-bradlee-dead-93/

10 Things About The U.S. News Media That They Do Not Want You To Know

Do you trust the news media? Do you believe that the information that they are giving you is true and accurate? If you answered yes to either of those questions, that places you in a steadily shrinking minority. Yes, on average Americans watch approximately 153 hours of television a month, but for their news they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of information such as this website. Big news channels such as CNN, MSNBC and Fox News are losing hordes of viewers, and they are desperately searching for answers. Things have gotten so bad at CNN that they have been forced to lay off hundreds of workers. The mainstream media is slowly dying, but they will never admit it. They are still convinced that they can find some way to turn this around and regain the trust of the American people. But it simply is not going to happen. The following are 10 things about the U.S. news media that they do not want you to know...

http://theeconomiccollapseblog.com/archives/10-things-about-the-u-s-news-media-that-they-do-not-want-you-to-know

Blackwater Founder Remains Free and Rich While His Former Employees Go Down on Murder Charges

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007.

The jury found one guard, Nicholas Slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter: Paul Slough, Evan Liberty, and Dustin Heard. The jury is still deliberating on additional charges against the operatives, who faced a combined 33 counts, according to the Associated Press. A fifth Blackwater guard, Jeremy Ridgeway, had already pleaded guilty to lesser charges and cooperated with prosecutors in the case against his former colleagues. The trial lasted ten weeks and the jury has been in deliberations for 28 days.

The incident for which the men were tried was the single largest known massacre of Iraqi civilians at the hands of private U.S. security contractors. Known as “Baghdad’s bloody Sunday,” operatives from Blackwater gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians at a crowded intersection at Nisour Square on September 16, 2007. The company, founded by secretive right-wing Christian supremacist Erik Prince, pictured above, had deep ties to the Bush Administration and served as a sort of neoconservative Praetorian Guard for a borderless war launched in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

While Barack Obama pledged to reign in mercenary forces when he was a senator, once he became president he continued to employ a massive shadow army of private contractors. Blackwater — despite numerous scandals, congressional investigations, FBI probes and documented killings of civilians in both Iraq and Afghanistan — remained a central part of the Obama administration’s global war machine throughout his first term in office.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/22/blackwater-guilty-verdicts/

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

“Freeway” Rick Ross on The Alex Jones Show - October 21,2014

Afghan opium poppy yield hits all-time high

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has hit an all-time high despite years of counter-narcotics efforts that have cost the US $7.6bn (£4.7bn), according to a US government watchdog.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported that Afghan farmers grew an “unprecedented” 209,000 hectares (523,000 acres) of opium poppy in 2013, surpassing the previous high of 193,000 hectares in 2007, said John Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction.

“In past years, surges in opium poppy cultivation have been met by a coordinated response from the US government and coalition partners, which has led to a temporary decline in levels of opium production,” Sopko said in a letter to the secretary of state, John Kerry, the defence secretary, Chuck Hagel, and other top US officials.

“The recent record-high level of poppy cultivation calls into question the long-term effectiveness and sustainability of those prior efforts,” he said on Tuesday.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/oct/21/afghan-opium-poppy-cultivation-all-time-high?CMP=twt_gu

How the Local Police State is Caused by the Federal Government

With the sight of cops in Ferguson, Missouri and Boston resembling totalitarian warriors out of a stereotypical dystopian novel, many Americans have become alarmed at the apparent transition of law enforcement to a role as an occupation force.

They also wonder where the police got the money to pay for it.

According the Center for Investigative Reporting, the answer is that most of it comes from the federal government. In the past decade alone, police departments throughout the country have received a total of $34 billion in federal grants.

Police getting new toys on the fed’s taxpayer’s dime is nothing new. Ever since the War on Drugs was declared in the 1970s, the feds have offered equipment and resources to local law enforcement agencies to help enforce their unconstitutional laws.

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2014/10/21/how-the-local-police-state-is-caused-by-the-federal-government/

Monday, October 20, 2014

Propaganda 101 – How the Pentagon is Trying to Rewrite Vietnam War History

In case you weren’t aware, the Pentagon is set to roll out a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Vietnam War. Personally, it’s hard to get excited about commemorating an event that led to the death of over 58,000 American soldiers and more than a million Vietnamese, particularly since much of it was the direct result of well documented lies and deception, such as the Gulf of Tonkin incident.

What’s worse, the Pentagon intends to rewrite history by whitewashing this period of civil unrest and government shame from American history. The propaganda is so blatant that it has resulted in many of the era’s most well known protestors and activists to come together in order to stop it.

The New York Times reports 'Paying Respects, Pentagon Revives Vietnam, and War Over Truth'

http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/10/16/propaganda-101-how-the-pentagon-is-trying-to-rewrite-vietnam-war-history/

Virginia Police Have Been Secretively Stockpiling Private Phone Records

The database, which affects unknown numbers of people, contains phone records that at least five police agencies in southeast Virginia have been collecting since 2012 and sharing with one another with little oversight. Some of the data appears to have been obtained by police from telecoms using only a subpoena, rather than a court order or probable-cause warrant. Other information in the database comes from mobile phones seized from suspects during an arrest.

The five cities participating in the program, known as the Hampton Roads Telephone Analysis Sharing Network, are Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Chesapeake and Suffolk, according to the memorandum of understanding that established the database. The effort is being led in part by the Peninsula Narcotics Enforcement Task Force, which is responsible for a “telephone analysis room” in the city of Hampton, where the database is maintained.

The unusual and secretive database contains telecom customer subscriber information; records about individual phone calls, such as the numbers dialed, the time the calls were made and their duration; as well as the contents of seized mobile devices. The information is collected and shared among police agencies to enhance analysis and law enforcement intelligence.

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/virginia-police-secretively-stockpiling-private-phone-records/

https://beta.cironline.org/reports/5-virginia-police-agencies-quietly-stockpile-private-phone-records/

Vote all you want. The secret government won’t change.

The people we elect aren’t the ones calling the shots, says Tufts University’s Michael Glennon

Though it’s a bedrock American principle that citizens can steer their own government by electing new officials, Glennon suggests that in practice, much of our government no longer works that way. In a new book, “National Security and Double Government,” he catalogs the ways that the defense and national security apparatus is effectively self-governing, with virtually no accountability, transparency, or checks and balances of any kind. He uses the term “double government”: There’s the one we elect, and then there’s the one behind it, steering huge swaths of policy almost unchecked. Elected officials end up serving as mere cover for the real decisions made by the bureaucracy.

Boston Globe

Friday, October 17, 2014

FBI quest for smartphone data will fuel privacy battle

In the battle over how much access law enforcement should have to your smartphone, don’t expect the government to be outsmarted without a fight.

FBI Director James Comey said as much Thursday in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington, suggesting the agency might ask congress to force companies to provide what amounts to a “back door” to law enforcement to obtain password-protected data on targeted personal mobile devices.

“We’re hoping to start a dialogue with congress” on updating laws that require tech companies to comply, he told the audience.

But he might find more than the usual resistance on Capitol Hill these days, and not just from known privacy critics and libertarians. A White House advisory panel convened in the wake of the Edward Snowden leaks about widespread government surveillance of Americans formally recommended that laws should “not in any way subvert, undermine, weaken or make vulnerable generally available commercial software.”

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2014/10/17/fbi-will-face-stiff-resistance-in-quest-for-smartphone-data/

WikiLeaks Releases Updated Intellectual Property Rights Chapter of Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Draft

Today, Thursday 16 October 2014, WikiLeaks released a second updated version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter. The TPP is the world’s largest economic trade agreement that will, if it comes into force, encompass more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP. The IP Chapter covers topics from pharmaceuticals, patent registrations and copyright issues to digital rights. Experts say it will affect freedom of information, civil liberties and access to medicines globally. The WikiLeaks release comes ahead of a Chief Negotiators’ meeting in Canberra on 19 October 2014, which is followed by what is meant to be a decisive Ministerial meeting in Sydney on 25–27 October.

Despite the wide-ranging effects on the global population, the TPP is currently being negotiated in total secrecy by 12 countries. Few people, even within the negotiating countries’ governments, have access to the full text of the draft agreement and the public, who it will affect most, none at all. Large corporations, however, are able to see portions of the text, generating a powerful lobby to effect changes on behalf of these groups and bringing developing country members reduced force, while the public at large gets no say.

http://leaksource.info/2014/10/17/wikileaks-releases-updated-intellectual-property-rights-chapter-of-secret-trans-pacific-partnership-draft/

https://www.wikileaks.org/tpp-ip2/pressrelease/

Cops Need a Warrant to Grab Your Cell Tower Data, Florida Court Rules

Americans may have a Florida drug dealer to thank for expanding our right to privacy.

Police departments around the country have been collecting phone metadata from telecoms and using a sophisticated spy tool to track people through their mobile phones—often without obtaining a warrant. But a new ruling out of Florida has curbed the activity in that state, on constitutional grounds. It raises hope among civil liberties advocates that other jurisdictions around the country may follow suit.

The Florida Supreme Court ruled Thursday that obtaining cell phone location data to track a person’s location or movement in real time constitutes a Fourth Amendment search and therefore requires a court-ordered warrant.

The case specifically involves cell tower data for a convicted drug dealer that police obtained from a telecom without a warrant. But the way the ruling is written (.pdf), it would also cover the use of so-called “stingrays”—sophisticated technology law enforcement agencies use to locate and track people in the field without assistance from telecoms. Agencies around the country, including in Florida, have been using the technology to track suspects—sometimes without obtaining a court order, other times deliberately deceiving judges and defendants about their use of the devices to track suspects, telling judges the information came from “confidential” sources rather than disclose their use of stingrays. The new ruling would require them to obtain a warrant or stop using the devices.

http://www.wired.com/2014/10/florida-court-requires-warrant-cell-tower-data/

‘Kill the Messenger’: Rare Truth-telling

By James DiEugenio

I only met Gary Webb once – in December 1996 at the late, great activist bookstore, The Midnight Special, in Santa Monica, California. I was writing at Probe Magazine then and had covered Webb’s groundbreaking San Jose Mercury News three-part series, titled “Dark Alliance.”

This fascinating, compelling series outlined a malevolent network which helped fund the CIA-backed Nicaraguan Contra forces with profits from the cocaine trade in California. The Nicaraguan supplier was a man named Norwin Meneses, who associated with top-level Contra leader Adolfo Calero.


Meneses’s agent, Danilo Blandon, distributed the cocaine in Los Angeles to a former high school tennis player named Ricky Ross. The Blandon/Meneses brand of cocaine was high grade but cheap, so Ross became a millionaire. He was nicknamed “Freeway Rick,” because he made so much money selling drugs that he purchased properties along the Harbor Freeway, including motels and theaters.

Webb’s story did not actually say the CIA was directly involved with this network. It said the Agency knew about it and turned a blind eye because the overriding objective had been to overthrow the leftist Sandinista government of Nicaragua – even if that meant letting the CIA’s clients and their associates import large amounts of cocaine into California and elsewhere in the United States.

The end result was to financially bolster the Contras, while thousands of Americans who could not afford powder cocaine now found themselves addicted to low-cost but high-grade crack. This took the old political adage – “the ends justify the means” – to mind-boggling new heights. In fact, under oath, Blandon testified that Contra military leader Enrique Bermudez used precisely that phrase, “the ends justify the means.”

Webb’s series ran from Aug. 18-20, 1996. And, for several weeks, the story advanced unopposed through talk radio, cable TV and the Internet, which was then still in its formative stages. Webb’s compelling story gained further traction because the Mercury News had created a state-of-the-art, interactive web site which linked to scores of documents and hundreds of pages of supplemental materials.

http://consortiumnews.com/2014/10/16/kill-the-messenger-rare-truth-telling/