Saturday, November 22, 2014

What Happened To JFK And Why It Matters Today - Jim Fetzer

JFK Assassination - 50 Reasons For 50 Years -

The real JFK mystery, 50 years later: Why the infamous murder must be reinvestigated

From the moment it was established, the Warren Commission was under tremendous pressure to calm a hysterical public and quash the widespread rumors of a conspiracy that exploded across the country in the days following the public killing of the president’s accused assassin. As Deputy Attorney General Nicholas Katzenbach put it in a memo written hours after Oswald’s death, “We need something to head off public speculation or Congressional hearings of the wrong sort.”

That “speculation” never went away. In 1966, the first national poll taken on the subject found that 46 percent of Americans believed that JFK had been struck down by a plot. Last year, a Washington Post-ABC News poll found that 62 percent of the public rejected the idea that a single man had killed the president.

The Post reported this development with a palpable sense of bafflement, for the mainstream media has always treated skeptics of the official account with impatience, even scorn. For them, the Kennedy case was cracked and closed long ago. Last year, Jill Abramson blithely informed readers of The New York Times that “the historical consensus seems to have settled on Lee Harvey Oswald as the lone assassin,” dismissing the wealth of information about the assassination that can be found online as “unfiltered and at times unhinged musings.”

In a Shift, Obama Extends U.S. Role in Afghan Combat

President Obama decided in recent weeks to authorize a more expansive mission for the military in Afghanistan in 2015 than originally planned, a move that ensures American troops will have a direct role in fighting in the war-ravaged country for at least another year.

Mr. Obama’s order allows American forces to carry out missions against the Taliban and other militant groups threatening American troops or the Afghan government, a broader mission than the president described to the public earlier this year, according to several administration, military and congressional officials with knowledge of the decision. The new authorization also allows American jets, bombers and drones to support Afghan troops on combat missions.

In an announcement in the White House Rose Garden in May, Mr. Obama said that the American military would have no combat role in Afghanistan next year, and that the missions for the 9,800 troops remaining in the country would be limited to training Afghan forces and to hunting the “remnants of Al Qaeda.”

NY Times

The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes

The RapidHIT represents a major technological leap—testing a DNA sample in a forensics lab normally takes at least two days. This has government agencies very excited. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department funded the initial research for "rapid DNA" technology, and after just a year on the market, the $250,000 RapidHIT is already being used in a few states, as well as China, Russia, Australia, and countries in Africa and Europe.

"We're not always aware of how it's being used," Schueren said. "All we can say is that it's used to give an accurate identification of an individual." Civil liberties advocates worry that rapid DNA will spur new efforts by the FBI and police to collect ordinary citizens' genetic code.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Postal Service almost never denies mail-surveillance requests

The U.S. Postal Service almost never denies requests to track suspects’ mail on behalf of law-enforcement agencies through a controversial surveillance program known for having compliance problems, according to a federal auditor.

USPS Deputy Inspector General Tammy Whitcomb said in testimony for a House hearing Wednesday that the Postal Service rejected only about 0.2 percent of the 6,000 outside requests last year for a practice known as mail covers.

The investigative technique involves recording information on the outside of individuals’ envelopes and parcels before the items are delivered, and then handing the data to law-enforcement agencies. It does not permit the opening of mail, which requires a search warrant.

Spy cable revealed: how telecoms firm worked with GCHQ

One of the UK's largest communications firms had a leading role in creating the surveillance system exposed by Edward Snowden, it can be revealed.

Cable and Wireless even went as far as providing traffic from a rival foreign communications company, handing information sent by millions of internet users worldwide over to spies.

The firm, which was bought by Vodafone in July 2012, was part of a programme called Mastering the Internet, under which British spies used private companies to help them gather and store swathes of internet traffic; a quarter of which passes through the UK. Top secret documents leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden and seen by Channel 4 News show that GCHQ developed what it called "partnerships" with private companies under codenames. Cable and Wireless was called Gerontic.

GCHQ and Cable and Wireless teamed as Masters of the Internet

Cable and Wireless provided UK intelligence agency GCHQ with access to the internet connections of millions of global users, going as far as to tap India's second largest telco, Snowden documents reveal.

The telco, since acquired by Vodafone, operated under GCHQ pseudonym 'Gerontic' when it opened and managed a secret firbe tap code named 'Nigella' in major backbone link owned by Indian telco Reliance Communications giving access to users in the subcontinent and Asia.

Nigella was located at a intersection of Cable and Wireless and Reliance links at Skewjack Farm in Cornwell. It was there the GCHQ planned to sniff data from the Indian carrier.

For its efforts Channel4 revealed Cable and Wireless was paid tens of millions of pounds under the program aptly named 'Mastering the Internet' that cost up to a million pounds a month to run.

Thursday, November 20, 2014



A CIA plan to erase tens of thousands of its internal emails — including those sent by virtually all covert and counterterrorism officers after they leave the agency — is drawing fire from Senate Intelligence Committee members concerned that it would wipe out key records of some of the agency’s most controversial operations.

The agency proposal, which has been tentatively approved by the National Archives, “could allow for the destruction of crucial documentary evidence regarding the CIA’s activities,” Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein and ranking minority member Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., wrote in a letter to Margaret Hawkins, the director of records and management services at the archives.

But agency officials quickly shot back, calling the committee’s concerns grossly overblown and ill informed. They insist their proposal is completely in keeping with — and in some cases goes beyond — the email retention policies of other government agencies. “What we’ve proposed is a totally normal process,” one agency official told Yahoo News.

The source of the controversy may be that the CIA, given its secret mission and rich history of clandestine operations, is not a normal agency. And its proposal to destroy internal emails comes amid mounting tensions between the CIA and its Senate oversight panel, stoked by continued bickering over an upcoming committee report — relying heavily on years-old internal CIA emails — that is sharply critical of the agency’s use of waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation techniques against al-Qaida suspects in the aftermath of the 9/11 terror attacks.

Let's Play NSA! The Hackers Open-Sourcing Top Secret Spy Tools

It all began just after Christmas 2013, when a peculiar 48-page gadget catalog appeared on the website of Der Spiegel. The top of each page contained a string of letters, beginning with "TOP SECRET."

Six months earlier, the German newspaper had been one of a number of media outlets to publish thousands of classified documents disclosed by Edward Snowden. But this document wasn't like the others.

The leaked file, authored around 2008 by a group at the National Security Agency known as the Advanced Network Technology (ANT) division, was a list of spy devices designed for getting what it called "the ungettable."

These tools weren't made for the controversial blanket surveillance that had captured the world's imagination and stirred its outrage. They were for use in more targeted and, in some cases, more dazzling attacks: gadgets meant to be secreted deep inside specific computers or telephones or walls, spying on the world's most secure systems—in some cases, even when they weren't connected to the internet. These devices were for the kind of old-fashioned spying that we almost forgot about in 2013: surveilling foreign governments and agents, terrorists, criminals, and perhaps some unintended victims.

“For nearly every lock, ANT seems to have a key in its toolbox,” wrote Jacob Appelbaum, the American privacy activist and security researcher, in Der Spiegel. “And no matter what walls companies erect, the NSA’s specialists seem already to have gotten past them.”

Matt Taibbi on Why Bankers Will Always Stay Out of Jail

Swedish Court Rejects Julian Assange’s Appeal to Dismiss His Arrest Warrant

More than two years after Julian Assange sought protection at the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK, a Swedish court is still demanding he return to that country to face questioning in a sex crimes investigation.

Today a Swedish appeals court rejected Assange’s request to rescind the warrant for his arrest.

“In making this assessment, account must be taken of the fact that Julian Assange is suspected of crimes of a relatively serious nature,” the court said in its statement today. “There is a great risk that he will flee and thereby evade legal proceedings if the detention order is set aside. In the view of the court of appeal, these circumstances mean that the reasons for detention still outweigh the intrusion or other detriment entailed by the detention order.”

The ruling forces Assange to remain inside the embassy or risk arrest and extradition to Sweden. But new pressures on Swedish prosecutors could force them to travel to London to interrogate him instead of requiring him to travel to Sweden. Assange has resisted going to Sweden for fear that he would face further extradition to the U.S. where a grand jury investigation is ongoing.


The flow of public money into Wall Street coffers has greater ramifications than simply putting pension funds at risk and corrupting our political system. It also fundamentally alters the future shape of American society by changing how public funds will get spent. Consider what might happen if pension money were steered into the communities where pension beneficiaries live. Michael McCarthy, an assistant professor of sociology at Marquette University, has highlighted how the Quebec government’s pension investment fund boosts the regional economy:

The fund invests in small and medium enterprises that operate within the province. According to their calculations, by 2012, the Solidarity Fund’s investments created 86,624 new jobs and kept 81,993 more from moving overseas.

Pension funds could play a similar role in America, but they don’t. Instead, U.S. pension funds mimic Wall Street investment practices.

Simply put, outsourcing investment decisions to Wall Street instead of giving them to accountable public servants adversely affects where pension investment money goes. When the money is not managed publicly there is no incentive to invest in local infrastructure, and there is nothing to dissuade investors from putting public money into investments that harm the local community, for example by outsourcing local jobs abroad.

“There is a massive transfer of power and wealth happening from the public to Wall Street, through pensions,” says a former Congressional staffer, who asked to remain anonymous because he has ties to the industry.“The more that money goes into private hands as opposed to public hands, the less that it gets invested into projects which are socially constructive.”

“It’s a policy justified entirely on people’s ignorance of what’s going on.”

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Unredacted FBI “Suicide Letter” to MLK

Beverly Gage/NYTimes:

When the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. received this letter, nearly 50 years ago, he quietly informed friends that someone wanted him to kill himself — and he thought he knew who that someone was. Despite its half-baked prose, self-conscious amateurism and other attempts at misdirection, King was certain the letter had come from the F.B.I. Its infamous director, J. Edgar Hoover, made no secret of his desire to see King discredited. A little more than a decade later, the Senate’s Church Committee on intelligence overreach confirmed King’s suspicion (PDF/8MB).

Since then, the so-called “suicide letter” has occupied a unique place in the history of American intelligence — the most notorious and embarrassing example of Hoover’s F.B.I. run amok. For several decades, however, only significantly redacted copies of the letter were available for public scrutiny.

Feds Indict Another Person For Teaching People How To Beat Polygraph Tests

Polygraph technology is far from infallible and has been for so long that it's practically common knowledge. And yet, the federal government still wants everyone to believe polygraphs tests separate the honest from the liars with incredibly high accuracy. So, it cracks down on those who claim to be able to help others beat the tests.

In 2012, federal agents began investigating Chad Dixon and Doug Williams, two men who sold books, videos and personal instruction sessions on beating polygraph tests. Late last year, Dixon was sentenced to eight months in prison for obstruction and wire fraud charges. The government claimed his actions jeopardized national security, pointing to a client list that included intelligence employees, law enforcement agents and sex offenders.

The government has just handed down an indictment [pdf link] of its second target -- former Oklahoma City police polygraph administrator Doug Williams.
The 69-year-old Norman, Oklahoma, man is the owner of and charged customers thousands of dollars for instructions on how to beat lie detector tests administered for federal employment suitability assessments, federal security background investigations, and internal federal agency investigations, court documents show.

The government wants to see Williams locked up for fraud, claiming his polygraph-beating business allowed unqualified applicants to "obtain and maintain positions of Federal employment" and the "salary attendant to such positions."