Monday, May 25, 2015

Why the last of the JFK files could embarrass the CIA

Shortly after the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy, Chief Justice Earl Warren, who oversaw the first official inquiry, was asked by a reporter if the full record would be made public.
“Yes, there will come a time,” the chairman of the Warren Commission responded. “But it might not be in your lifetime.”

It will soon be in ours — that is, unless the CIA, FBI or other agencies still holding on to thousands of secret documents from a series of related probes convince the next occupant of the White House otherwise.

A special team of seven archivists and technicians with top-secret security clearances has been set up at the National Archives and Records Administration to process all or portions of 40,000 documents that constitute the final collection of known federal records that might shed light on the events surrounding JFK’s murder, POLITICO has learned — files that according to law must be made public by October 2017.

But the records’ release is not guaranteed, says Martha Murphy, head of the National Archives’ Special Access Branch. While the JFK Records Act of 1992 mandated the files be made public in 25 years, government agencies that created the paper trail can still appeal directly to the president to keep them hidden. And some scholars and researchers, not to mention the army of JFK conspiracy theorists, fear that is exactly what will happen given the details about the deepest, darkest corners of American spy craft that could be revealed — from the inner workings of the CIA’s foreign assassination program and front companies to the role of a CIA psychological operations guru accused of misleading congressional investigators about alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald’s activities.

http://www.politico.com/story/2015/05/why-last-of-jfk-files-could-embarrass-cia-118233.html

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Secret Pentagon Report Reveals US "Created" ISIS As A "Tool" To Overthrow Syria's President Assad

And while speculation was rife that just like the CIA-funded al Qaeda had been used as a facade by the US to achieve its own geopolitical and national interests over the past two decades, so ISIS was nothing more than al Qaeda 2.0, there was no actual evidence of just this.

That may all have changed now when a declassified secret US government document obtained by the public interest law firm, Judicial Watch, shows that Western governments deliberately allied with al-Qaeda and other Islamist extremist groups to topple Syrian dictator Bashir al-Assad.

According to investigative reporter Nafeez Ahmed in Medium, the "leaked document reveals that in coordination with the Gulf states and Turkey, the West intentionally sponsored violent Islamist groups to destabilize Assad, despite anticipating that doing so could lead to the emergence of an ‘Islamic State’ in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

According to the newly declassified US document, the Pentagon foresaw the likely rise of the ‘Islamic State’ as a direct consequence of the strategy, but described this outcome as a strategic opportunity to “isolate the Syrian regime.”
And not just that: as we reported last week, now that ISIS is running around the middle east, cutting people's heads of in 1080p quality and Hollywood-quality (perhaps literally) video, the US has a credible justification to sell billions worth of modern, sophisticated weapons in the region in order to "modernize" and "replenish" the weapons of such US allies as Saudi Arabia, Israel and Iraq.

But that the US military-industrial complex is a winner every time war breaks out anywhere in the world (usually with the assistance of the CIA) is clear to everyone by now. What wasn't clear is just how the US predetermined the current course of events in the middle east.

Now, thanks to the following declassified report, we have a far better understanding of not only how current events in the middle east came to be, but what America's puppermaster role leading up to it all, was.

From Nafeez Ahmed: Secret Pentagon report reveals West saw ISIS as strategic asset Anti-ISIS coalition knowingly sponsored violent extremists to ‘isolate’ Assad, rollback ‘Shia expansion', originally posted in Medium.


http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2015-05-23/secret-pentagon-report-reveals-us-created-isis-tool-overthrow-syrias-president-assad

‘War is a Racket': Forbidden History on Memorial Day

If you know your history, you know that in 1934 there was an attempted coup in the United States that was thwarted largely due to the efforts of U.S. Marine Corps Major General Smedley Butler (ret.)

Look it up.

Among other things, Butler was only one of 19 people ever awarded the Medal of Honor twice and the only person to be awarded a Marine Corps Brevet Medal and a Medal of Honor for two different actions.

After it dawned on him how his heroism and the heroism of the troops under his command had been misused, he wrote a book called “War is a Racket” which I can virtually guarantee you never heard about in school.

http://21stcenturywire.com/2015/05/22/war-is-a-racket-forbidden-history-on-memorial-day/

Saturday, May 23, 2015

NSA bulk phone records collection to end despite USA Freedom Act failure

Even as the Senate remains at an impasse over the future of US domestic surveillance powers, the National Security Agency will be legally unable to collect US phone records in bulk by the time Congress returns from its Memorial Day vacation.

The administration, as suggested in a memo it sent Congress on Wednesday, declined to ask a secret surveillance court for another 90-day extension of the order necessary to collect US phone metadata in bulk. The filing deadline was Friday, hours before the Senate failed to come to terms on a bill that would have formally repealed the NSA domestic surveillance program.

“We did not file an application for reauthorization,” an administration official confirmed to the Guardian on Saturday.

The administration decision ensures that beginning at 5pm ET on 1 June, for the first time since October 2001 the NSA will no longer collect en masse Americans’ phone records.

http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/may/23/nsa-bulk-phone-records-collection-usa-freedom-act-senate

The Senate Fails to Reform NSA Spying, Votes Against USA Freedom Act

A LAST-MINUTE BID to reform NSA spying before lawmakers break for a week-long recess failed early Saturday morning after hours of debate and filibuster overnight when Senate lawmakers voted 57-42 against the USA Freedom Act.

Senator Mitch McConnell then tried to lead an effort to extend the key provision in the Patriot Act that has been used to justify NSA spying, which is set to expire on June 1. But that vote also failed. Temporarily, that means the government’s bulk collection of phone records from U.S. telecoms is on hold.

http://www.wired.com/2015/05/senate-fails-end-nsa-bulk-spying-votes-usa-freedom-act/

Friday, May 22, 2015

FBI admits no major cases cracked with Patriot Act snooping powers

Backers say the Patriot Act powers are critical and must be kept intact, particularly with the spread of the threat from terrorists. But opponents have doubted the efficacy of Section 215, particularly when it’s used to justify bulk data collection such as in the case of the National Security Agency’s phone metadata program, revealed in leaks from former government contractor Edward Snowden.

The new report adds ammunition to those opponents, with the inspector general concluding that no major cases have been broken by use of the Patriot Act’s records-snooping provisions.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/may/21/fbi-admits-patriot-act-snooping-powers-didnt-crack/

US Special Operations Tests DNA Scanners

US special operations forces are using forward-deployed rapid DNA scanners on a limited basis to confirm targets. Troops have used DNA from improvised bomb components to capture "some very bad people," according to an official with US Special Operations Command (SOCOM).

SOCOM is evaluating the devices for wider fielding. If successful, they have the potential to cut the time used to process DNA evidence from weeks to 90 minutes and replace fingerprint analysis downrange, according to Michael Fitz, SOCOM's program manager for sensitive site exploitation.

"It's a groundbreaking, game-breaking technology," Fitz said at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference on Wednesday. "In the past, a guy would have to put [a DNA sample] in an envelope and send it back to the states and wait a few weeks to find out who he had. By then he's had 12 other missions and forgotten who that guy was."

http://www.defensenews.com/story/defense/show-daily/sofic/2015/05/20/us-special-operations-testing-front-line-dna-scanners/27671249/

How the NSA Became America’s ‘Big Brother’

Less than a week after a federal court weighed in against the National Security Agency’s mass collection of Americans’ telephone communications, the House of Representatives voted to end the program.

The NSA’s domestic surveillance regime was jump-started in the days after the September 11 attacks, when no price seemed too high if it meant thwarting a future terrorist attack.

The program may be ending, but in its early days it was a juggernaut. NSA officials got into the domestic spying business with startling expediency. Here’s how they did it.

https://timeline.com/stories/NSA-domestic-spying

Exclusive: Leaked Report Profiles Military, Police Members of Outlaw Motorcycle Gangs

Nuclear power plant technicians, senior military officers, FBI contractors and an employee of “a highly-secretive Department of Defense agency” with a Top Secret clearance. Those are just a few of the more than 100 people with sensitive military and government connections that law enforcement is tracking because they are linked to “outlaw motorcycle gangs.”

A year before the deadly Texas shootout that killed nine people on May 17, a lengthy report by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives detailed the involvement of U.S. military personnel and government employees in outlaw motorcycle gangs, or OMGs. A copy of the report was obtained by The Intercept.

The report lays out, in almost obsessive detail, the extent to which OMG members are represented in nearly every part of the military, and in federal and local government, from police and fire departments to state utility agencies. Specific examples from the report include dozens of Defense Department contractors with Secret or Top Secret clearances; multiple FBI contractors; radiological technicians with security clearances; U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees; Army, Navy and Air Force active-duty personnel, including from the special operations force community; and police officers.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/22/atf-report-warned-military-government-membership-outlaw-motorcycle-gangs/

Thursday, May 21, 2015

NSA Planned to Hijack Google App Store to Hack Smartphones

The National Security Agency and its closest allies planned to hijack data links to Google and Samsung app stores to infect smartphones with spyware, a top-secret document reveals.

The surveillance project was launched by a joint electronic eavesdropping unit called the Network Tradecraft Advancement Team, which includes spies from each of the countries in the “Five Eyes” alliance — the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia.

The top-secret document, obtained from NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden, was published Wednesday by CBC News in collaboration with The Intercept. The document outlines a series of tactics that the NSA and its counterparts in the Five Eyes were working on during workshops held in Australia and Canada between November 2011 and February 2012.

The main purpose of the workshops was to find new ways to exploit smartphone technology for surveillance. The agencies used the Internet spying system XKEYSCORE to identify smartphone traffic flowing across Internet cables and then to track down smartphone connections to app marketplace servers operated by Samsung and Google. (Google declined to comment for this story. Samsung said it would not be commenting “at this time.”)

As part of a pilot project codenamed IRRITANT HORN, the agencies were developing a method to hack and hijack phone users’ connections to app stores so that they would be able to send malicious “implants” to targeted devices. The implants could then be used to collect data from the phones without their users noticing.

https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/05/21/nsa-five-eyes-google-samsung-app-stores-spyware/

EXCLUSIVE Spy agencies target mobile phones, app stores to implant spyware

Canada and its spying partners exploited weaknesses in one of the world's most popular mobile browsers and planned to hack into smartphones via links to Google and Samsung app stores, a top secret document obtained by CBC News shows.


Electronic intelligence agencies began targeting UC Browser — a massively popular app in China and India with growing use in North America — in late 2011 after discovering it leaked revealing details about its half-billion users.

Their goal, in tapping into UC Browser and also looking for larger app store vulnerabilities, was to collect data on suspected terrorists and other intelligence targets — and, in some cases, implant spyware on targeted smartphones.

The 2012 document shows that the surveillance agencies exploited the weaknesses in certain mobile apps in pursuit of their national security interests, but it appears they didn't alert the companies or the public to these weaknesses. That potentially put millions of users in danger of their data being accessed by other governments' agencies, hackers or criminals.

"All of this is being done in the name of providing safety and yet … Canadians or people around the world are put at risk," says the University of Ottawa's Michael Geist, one of Canada's foremost experts on internet law.

CBC News analysed the top secret document in collaboration with U.S. news site The Intercept, a website that is devoted in part to reporting on the classified documents leaked by U.S. whistleblower Edward Snowden.

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/spy-agencies-target-mobile-phones-app-stores-to-implant-spyware-1.3076546

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wall Street's Hot New Financial Product: Your Rent Check

Over the last two years, private equity firms and hedge funds have amassed an unprecedented real estate empire, snapping up Spanish revivals in Phoenix, adobes in Los Angeles, Queen Anne Victorians in Atlanta, and brick-faced bungalows in Chicago. In total, Wall Street investors have bought more than 200,000 cheap, mostly foreclosed houses in some of the cities hardest hit by the economic meltdown. But they're not simply flipping these houses. Instead, they've started bundling some of them into a new kind of financial product that could blow up the housing market all over again.

No company has bought more houses than the Blackstone Group, one of the world's largest private equity firms. (Its many investments include Hilton Hotels, the Weather Channel, and SeaWorld. Among its institutional investors are Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, Bank of America, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan Chase.) Through its subsidiary, Invitation Homes, Blackstone has picked up houses through local brokers, at foreclosure auctions, and in bulk purchases. Last April, it bought 1,400 houses in Atlanta in a single day. In Phoenix, some neighborhoods have a Blackstone-owned home on just about every block. As of November, Blackstone had acquired 40,000 houses, most of them foreclosures, worth $7.5 billion. Today, it is the largest owner of single-family rental homes in the nation.

But buying houses cheap and then waiting for them to appreciate isn't the only way Blackstone is making money on these deals. It wants your rent check, too. In November, after many months of hype, the firm released the first-ever rated bond backed by securitized rental payments. Joining forces with Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, and JPMorgan (which recently paid a record $13 billion fine to settle accusations of ripping off mortgage investors), Blackstone has bundled the rental payments from more than 3,200 single-family houses, offering investors its mortgages on the underlying properties as collateral. After investors tripped over themselves to buy into the $479 million bond, Blackstone's competitors announced that they, too, would develop similar securities.

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/blackstone-rental-homes-bundled-derivatives

Five banks plead guilty to market manipulation, fined $5.7 billion

Citicorp, JP Morgan Chase & Co., and three other global banking giants have agreed to plead guilty to U.S. felony charges for rigging foreign currency exchange rates and pay a total of nearly $5.7 billion in fines as part of settlements announced Wednesday by U.S. and European officials.

The banks, which also include Barclays, the Royal Bank of Scotland and UBS, "for years participated in a brazen display of collusion,” said Atty. Gen. Loretta Lynch.

“The penalty all these banks will now pay is fitting considering the long-running and egregious nature of their anti-competitive conduct,” she said at a Washington news conference.

“It is commensurate with the pervasive harm done. And it should deter competitors in the future from chasing profits without regard to fairness, to the law or to the public welfare,” she said.

The banks agreed to what the Justice Department called three years of “corporate probation” that would include federal court supervision and regular reporting to authorities to determining that the firms had ended “all criminal activity.”

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-criminal-foreign-exchange-probe-20150520-story.html

Osama bin Laden’s bookshelf featured conspiracy theories about his terror plots

Among the 39 books recovered from al-Qaeda chief’s compound were books claiming that he did not commit 9/11 atrocities

The full list of books:
The 2030 Spike by Colin Mason
A Brief Guide to Understanding Islam by I. A. Ibrahim
America’s Strategic Blunders by Willard Matthias
America’s “War on Terrorism” by Michel Chossudovsky
Al-Qaeda’s Online Media Strategies: From Abu Reuter to Irhabi 007 by Hanna Rogan
The Best Democracy Money Can Buy by Greg Palast
The Best Enemy Money Can Buy by Anthony Sutton
Black Box Voting, Ballot Tampering in the 21st Century by Bev Harris
Bloodlines of the Illuminati by Fritz Springmeier
Bounding the Global War on Terror by Jeffrey Record
Checking Iran’s Nuclear Ambitions by Henry Sokolski and Patrick Clawson
Christianity and Islam in Spain 756-1031 A.D. by C. R. Haines
Civil Democratic Islam: Partners, Resources, and Strategies by Cheryl Benard
Confessions of an Economic Hit Man by John Perkins
Conspirators’ Hierarchy: The Committee of 300 by John Coleman
Crossing the Rubicon by Michael Ruppert
Fortifying Pakistan: The Role of U.S. Internal Security Assistance (only the book’s introduction) by C. Christine Fair and Peter Chalk
Guerilla Air Defense: Antiaircraft Weapons and Techniques for Guerilla Forces by James Crabtree
Handbook of International Law by Anthony Aust
Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance by Noam Chomsky
Imperial Hubris by Michael Scheuer
In Pursuit of Allah’s Pleasure by Asim Abdul Maajid, Esaam-ud-Deen and Dr. Naahah Ibrahim
International Relations Theory and the Asia-Pacific by John Ikenberry and Michael Mastandano
Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions since World War II by William Blum
Military Intelligence Blunders by John Hughes-Wilson
Project MKULTRA, the CIA’s program of research in behavioral modification. Joint hearing before the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Subcommittee on Health and Scientific Research of the Committee on Human Resources, United States Senate, Ninety-fifth Congress, first session, August 3, 1977. United States. Congress. Senate. Select Committee on Intelligence.
Necessary Illusions: Thought Control in Democratic Societies by Noam Chomsky
New Pearl Harbor: Disturbing Questions about the Bush Administration and 9/11 by David Ray Griffin
New Political Religions, or Analysis of Modern Terrorism by Barry Cooper
Obama’s Wars by Bob Woodward
Oxford History of Modern War by Charles Townsend
The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy
Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower by William Blum
The Secret Teachings of All Ages by Manly Hall (1928)
Secrets of the Federal Reserve by Eustace Mullins
The Taking of America 1-2-3 by Richard Sprague
Unfinished Business, U.S. Overseas Military Presence in the 21st Century by Michael O’Hanlon
The U.S. and Vietnam 1787-1941 by Robert Hopkins Miller
“Website Claims Steve Jackson Games Foretold 9/11,” article posted on ICV2.com (this file contained only a single saved web page)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/11619270/Osama-bin-Ladens-bookshelf-featured-conspiracy-theories-about-his-terror-plots.html

Osama bin Laden liked 9/11 conspiracy theories

Al Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden had plenty of time to read while hiding out in Pakistan — and his favorites included screeds by left-wing US authors along with books and other materials on US military history, religion and bizarre 9/11 conspiracy theories.

The feds on Wednesday released details on 400 letters, books, videos, news articles and other materials — dubbed “Bin Laden’s Bookshelf” — that were seized in the May 2011 raid on the terror king’s lair in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

The books include Noam Chomsky’s radical critique of American imperialism, “Hegemony or Survival: America’s Quest for Global Dominance,” and “Imperial Hubris: Why the West Is Losing the War on Terror” by ex-CIA agent-turned-anti-war writer Michael Scheuer.

There are also works on US military history, including Bob Woodward’s “Obama’s Wars,” as well as materials covering a range of wacky conspiracy theories about Jews controlling the Federal Reserve, world domination by the Freemasons and the John F. Kennedy assassination.

http://nypost.com/2015/05/20/osama-bin-laden-liked-left-wing-literature-and-911-conspiracy-theories/?