Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Propaganda War Begins: Russia's Syria Strikes Targeted US-Backed "Moderate" Rebels, West Says

With the US having officially lost control of the narrative in Syria now that The Kremlin has called Washington’s bluff on the battle to eradicate ISIS and eliminate the Sunni extremist elements that threaten to wrest control of Syria from President Bashar al-Assad, the only remaining question after Russian lawmakers officially cleared the way for airstrikes was how long it would be before the Western media began shouting about Russian warplanes bombing targets that aren’t affiliated with ISIS.

NSA's Legal Authorities

Since the start of the Snowden-revelations, we not only learned about the various collection programs and systems of the National Security Agency (NSA), but also about the various legal authorities under which the agency collects Signals Intelligence (SIGINT).

Bceause these rules are rather complex, the following overview will show which laws and regulations govern the operations of the NSA, showing what they are allowed to collect where and under which conditions. Also mentioned are various collection programs that run under these authorities.

The overview provides a general impression of the most important elements of the various laws and regulations and does not pretend to be complete in every detail. For example, provisions for emergency collection are not included. Also, some of these laws and regulations govern the work of other US intelligence agencies too, but here the focus is only on the NSA.

NYPD whistleblower Adrian Schoolcraft settles suit for $600G

The controversial cop who said he was thrown in a psych ward for blowing the whistle on a quota system in the NYPD settled his case Tuesday for $600,000.

Adrian Schoolcraft had sued the city for a whopping $50 million in 2010 for his alleged unlawful detention at Jamaica Hospital.

He said his brothers in blue waged a campaign of harassment against him after he blew the whistle on cops using arrest quotas and fudging crime stats at the 81st Precinct covering Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn.

Schoolcraft’s claims against the hospital and two doctors still stand.

The case is to go to trial in Oct. 19, though that schedule could change in light of the deal.

Who Watches The Watchers? Now You Can

The American public now has a comprehensive set of scores for each member of Congress regarding their positions on Internet surveillance reform, thanks to a website launched today as a joint project between nonprofit activist groups Restore the Fourth and Fight for the Future.

The Political Scoreboard takes into account critical legislative votes that have taken place during the 114th United States Congress’ time in office, bearing in mind each member’s action, how they voted, and which, if any, legislation they decided to sponsor.

US judge dismisses September 11 victims' case against Saudi Arabia

A US judge on Tuesday dismissed claims against Saudi Arabia by families of victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks, who accused the country of providing material support to al Qaeda.

US district judge George Daniels in Manhattan said Saudi Arabia had sovereign immunity from damage claims by families of nearly 3,000 people killed in the attacks, and from insurers that covered losses suffered by building owners and businesses.

“The allegations in the complaint alone do not provide this court with a basis to assert jurisdiction over defendants,” Daniels wrote.

The victims had sought to supplement their case with new allegations to avoid that result, including based on testimony they secured from Zacarias Moussaoui, a former al Qaeda operative imprisoned for his role in the attacks.

Daniels said even if he allowed the plaintiffs to assert those new claims, doing so would be “futile, however, because the additional allegations do not strip defendants of sovereign immunity.“

Mainstream Media as a Weapon of War

'Fairview': Latest Snowden Doc Shows NSA Spied on German Intelligence

Fresh insight into the trove of documents released by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed that US spies intercepted sensitive communications between Germany's security agencies during a kidnapping in Yemen.

Exactly how the NSA managed to get its hands on internal information from the BKA and BND is not revealed in the new documents. The list is part of an internal NSA presentation about one of the biggest online dragnet programs, which the agency developed and operated together with telecoms giant AT&T. The program carried the name "Fairview."

Among other things, it was developed to intercept the large, fiber optic cables running along the ocean floor -- the Internet's intercontinental arteries -- enabling emails to be read and telephone conversations to be tapped. It was likely through this access point that the NSA got ahold of the German agencies' communications.

This new information again raises the question for the German government of just how intensely the Americans were spying on the country's intelligence services in addition to spying on the government in Berlin. The new Snowden documents confirm the suspicion that the Americans were simultaneously cooperating with the BND and unapologetically spying on them.

The German government has known since 2010 that the BND was helping the NSA to surveil European and German citizens and institutions. Federal prosecutors recently pressed charges against a BND employee for allegedly providing the CIA with secret agency documents for €95,000.

The latest document from the Snowden archive shows that the Americans complemented their knowledge about German agencies with information gleaned from their mass surveillance programs.

South Carolina businesses used to launder billions to drug cartels, terrorists

Captain Andy Lewis is one of the guys the U.S. Army used to track and shut down terrorist bank accounts during the Afghan and Iraq wars. In 2010, Lewis offered to do the same thing here in South Carolina, but this time he was tracking the illicit money being shipped out of the state through Money Services, or money transfer businesses – places like Western Union, Money Gram, and Vigo. Why South Carolina? We're the last state in the country that does not regulate this industry. Every other state has an agency with the power to license, investigate, fine and close down Money Service Businesses.

“It's not just one thing,” says Lewis. “It's not just narcotics. It's the ability to move money, drugs, people, weapons, anything. The infrastructure is here in South Carolina, and the bad guys can move anything pretty much at will.”

Captain Lewis presented a year's worth of research and tracking to our local state delegation, the state's Solicitors, Police Chiefs, Sheriff's Association. The numbers were staggering.

The report showed there are more than 3,000 money transfer service businesses operating in Horry and Georgetown Counties alone. Fewer than 10 percent are registered with the state. Those businesses wired nearly $700 million dollars a year just out of Horry County to a handful of known cartel addresses in Mexico and Columbia, and to locations operated by Hezbollah and other known terrorist groups in the Middle East., Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

U.S. Discloses 2014 Warrantless Surveillance Program Court Documents

In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by the New York Times, the Obama administration on Monday declassified a set of Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court documents from 2014. They related to the government’s annual request for court “certifications” approving its warrantless surveillance activities under the FISA Amendments Act. While heavily redacted, the newly disclosed documents show that the government made several changes to the program in the 2014 cycle, all of which were approved by Judge Thomas Hogan on Aug. 26, 2014.

‘Minority Report’ Is 40 Years Ahead of Schedule: The Fictional World Has Become Reality

The Internet is watching us now. If they want to. They can see what sites you visit. In the future, television will be watching us, and customizing itself to what it knows about us. The thrilling thing is, that will make us feel we’re part of the medium. The scary thing is, we’ll lose our right to privacy. An ad will appear in the air around us, talking directly to us.”—Director Steven Spielberg, Minority Report

We are a scant 40 years away from the futuristic world that science fiction author Philip K. Dick envisioned for Minority Report in which the government is all-seeing, all-knowing and all-powerful, and if you dare to step out of line, dark-clad police SWAT teams will crack a few skulls to bring the populace under control.

Unfortunately, as I point out in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, we may have already arrived at the year 2054.

Increasingly, the world around us resembles Dick’s dystopian police state in which the police combine widespread surveillance, behavior prediction technologies, data mining and precognitive technology to capture would-be criminals before they can do any damage. In other words, the government’s goal is to prevent crimes before they happen: precrime.

Edward Snowden Is On Twitter: @Snowden

Did a Rogue NSA Operation Cause the Death of a Greek Telecom Employee?

A decade later, Costas’ death is caught up in an investigation into what now appears to have been a U.S. covert operation in Greece. Last February, Greek authorities took the extraordinary step of issuing an international arrest warrant for a CIA official the Greeks believe was a key figure in the operation while based in Athens. Unnoticed by the U.S. press, the warrant was a nearly unprecedented action by an allied country. The intelligence official, identified as William George Basil, was accused of espionage and eavesdropping. But by then he had already left the country, and the U.S. government, as it has done for the past 10 years, continues to stonewall Greek authorities on the agency’s involvement.

The Greek charges only touch the surface, however, and Basil may be less a key figure than simply a spy guilty of poor tradecraft. An investigation by The Intercept has uncovered not only the role of the CIA, but also that of the NSA, as well as how and why the operation was carried out. The investigation began while I was producing a documentary for PBS NOVA on cyberwarfare, scheduled to air on October 14, for which some of the interviews were conducted. In addition, I have had exclusive access to highly classified and previously unreported NSA documents released by Edward Snowden.

The Intercept, along with the Greek newspaper Kathimerini, interviewed over two dozen people familiar with the wiretapping case, ranging from U.S. intelligence officials and Greek government officials to those involved in the investigation and its aftermath. Many of those interviewed agreed to talk on condition that their names not be used, fearing criminal prosecution for speaking on intelligence matters or professional retribution. While some questions remain, the evidence points to a massive illegal eavesdropping program that may have led to Costas’ tragic death.

A Death in Athens from The Intercept on Vimeo.

Monday, September 28, 2015

9/11 Aftermath: How it Relates to Current Geopolitcal Developments

DARPA is implanting chips in soldiers’ brains, according to this new book

For decades, DARPA, the secretive research arm of the Department of Defense, has dreamed of turning soldiers into cyborgs. And now it’s finally happening. The agency has funded projects that involve implanting chips into soldiers’ brains that they hope will enhance performance on the battlefield and repair traumatized brains once the fog of war has lifted.

“Of the 2.5 million Americans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, 300,000 of them came home with traumatic brain injury,” journalist Annie Jacobsen told NPR. “DARPA initiated a series of programs to help cognitive functioning, to repair some of this damage. And those programs center around putting brain chips inside the tissue of the brain.”

In her new book about the history of DARPA, “The Pentagon’s Brain,” Jacobsen writes that scientists are already testing “neuroprosthetics” brain implants, but that despite her multiple appeals to the Defense Department, she was not allowed to interview any of the “brain-wounded warriors.”

However, Defense One, an online magazine that covers the military, reported last year on DARPA’s work on brain chips to treat PTSD, and said that DARPA was not yet in the testing phase. “The military hopes to have a prototype within 5 years and then plans to seek FDA approval,” according to Defense One. When DARPA launched its RAM (Restoring Active Memory) program last year, it projected it would be about four years until researchers were implanting chips in human.


To hear FBI Director James Comey tell it, strong encryption stops law enforcement dead in its tracks by letting terrorists, kidnappers and rapists communicate in complete secrecy.

But that’s just not true.

In the rare cases in which an investigation may initially appear to be blocked by encryption — and so far, the FBI has yet to identify a single one — the government has a Plan B: it’s called hacking.

Hacking — just like kicking down a door and looking through someone’s stuff — is a perfectly legal tactic for law enforcement officers, provided they have a warrant.

And law enforcement officials have, over the years, learned many ways to install viruses, Trojan horses, and other forms of malicious code onto suspects’ devices. Doing so gives them the same access the suspects have to communications — before they’ve been encrypted, or after they’ve been unencrypted.

Government officials don’t like talking about it — quite possibly because hacking takes considerably more effort than simply asking a telecom provider for records. Robert Litt, general counsel to the Director of National Intelligence, recently referred to potential government hacking as a process of “slow uncertain one-offs.”

Sunday, September 27, 2015

A Short History of Area 51's Shady Expansion

Area 51, everyone’s favorite military test site turned alien conspiracy theorist hub, is growing—whether its neighbors like it or not.

The Associated Press reports that the huge and ostensibly top-secret base in Nevada plans to take over a 400-acre patch of former mining land that the base has come to encircle following a number of expansions over the decades. The owners of the land have been offered $5.4 million to give it up. But they say that’s not enough.

"Why don't they ask themselves what it cost my family over the years in blood, sweat, tears and money?" landowner Joseph Sheahan said, according to the AP. Sheahan and his relatives have owned the land for almost 130 years.

The Air Force set a September 10 deadline for the acceptance of the $5.4 million offer, but the landowners refused to back down. Now, the matter is being handled in federal court. Sheahan and the others say they will continue to fight to receive what they consider to be a fair amount for their land: around $29 million.

This is not the first time that Area 51 has experienced growing pains. When the CIA established the Groom Lake facility back in 1955, the secret testing grounds measured just six miles by 10 miles. Today, the AP story notes, the borders of the base are now almost twice the size of Delaware, incorporating over 4,500 square miles of land.

How A Dancing Baby Video Helped Save The Online Right To Fair Use

Free speech activists are hailing a recent court decision about a dancing baby video which they say protects Internet fair use, a critical free speech right, from corporate repression.

The 29-second video, published in 2007 by Stephanie Lenz, shows her 13-month-old son, Holden, dancing in a kitchen. Prince’s 1984 hit song “Let’s Go Crazy” is playing on the radio in the background, and Universal Music Group, the song’s copyright owner, claimed the video violated the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and had it temporarily removed from YouTube.

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1996 was designed to protect copyright holders from online violations of free speech by offering a simple path to have offending content removed from the Internet. However, the DMCA was written so that it allows for “fair use” rights, a part of copyright law that protects scholars, parody, online search engines, and others who make limited use of a portion of a larger copyrighted material, like Lenz.

Soon after Lenz received the takedown motion from Universal Music Group, she followed the standard DMCA procedure for filing a counterclaim, successfully asserting her fair use rights. YouTube reinstated the video, but this wasn’t enough.

“[C]oncerned that corporate copyright holders were routinely abusing the takedown provision of the DMCA, potentially chilling free speech online, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued Universal for damages on Lenz’s behalf,” Andrew Albanese wrote last week for Publisher’s Weekly.

Bill de Blasio’s Battle to Save New York—and Himself

Bill de Blasio is unlike any New York mayor in recent memory, a staunch progressive, a crusader against income inequality and for affordable housing, a man who has as little use for Park Avenue elites as they do for him. In terms of the national political scene, that makes him a far more significant figure on the left than any New York mayor in years. In fact, if you believe that the popularity of politicians such as Massachusetts senator Elizabeth Warren and Vermont senator Bernie Sanders represents a new “progressive moment’’ in American politics, it’s de Blasio who is the one who bears watching. He is the only progressive governing anything of note, and while mayor of New York has historically been a dead-end job for those seeking higher office, it’s clear his ambitions aren’t confined to the city limits.

How far left is de Blasio? This is a man who cut his teeth during the 1980s raising money and distributing food for Nicaragua’s Communist Sandinista government, who later married an African-American woman who once identified as a radical lesbian, and who honeymooned in Cuba. A speaker at his inauguration memorably called New York a “plantation,” referring to inequality in the city.

Why Saudi Ties to 9/11 Mean U.S. Ties to 9/11

Media interest in Saudi Arabian connections to the crimes of 9/11 has centered on calls for the release of the 28 missing pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry’s report. However, those calls focus on the question of hijacker financing and omit the most interesting links between the 9/11 attacks and Saudi Arabia—links that implicate powerful people in the United States. Here are twenty examples...

1.When two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi, came to the U.S. in January 2000, they immediately met with Omar Al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi spy and an employee of a Saudi aviation company. Al-Bayoumi, who was the target of FBI investigations in the two years before 9/11, became a good friend to the two 9/11 suspects, setting them up in an apartment and paying their rent.

2.Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi then moved in with a long-time FBI asset, Abdussattar Shaikh, who was said to be a teacher of the Saudi language. Shaikh allowed them to live in his home for at least seven months, later saying that he thought they were only Saudi students. In an unlikely coincidence, both Al-Bayoumi and Shaikh also knew Hani Hanjour, the alleged pilot of Flight 77. Although Shaikh was reported to be a retired professor at San Diego State University, the university had no records of him. He was then said to be a professor at American Commonwealth University but that turned out to be a phony institution. During the 9/11 investigations, the FBI refused to allow Shaikh to be interviewed or deposed. The FBI also tried to prevent the testimony of Shaikh’s FBI handler, which occurred only secretly at a later date. Despite having a very suspicious background, the FBI gave Shaikh $100,000 and closed his contract.

3.Journalist Joseph Trento claimed that an unnamed former CIA officer, who worked in Saudi Arabia, told him that Alhazmi and Almihdhar were Saudi spies protected by U.S. authorities.

4.After being appointed CIA Director in 1997, George Tenet began to cultivate close personal relationships with officials in Saudi Arabia. Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington. Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own CIA officers who were handling Saudi issues at the agency. These facts are among the reasons to suspect that Tenet facilitated the crimes of 9/11.

5.Bernard Kerik, the New York City police commissioner at the time of 9/11, spent three years working in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. He then spent another three years in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s as the “chief investigator for the royal family.” It was Kerik who first told the public that explosives were not used at the World Trade Center (WTC) in a news conference. It was also his police department that was said to have discovered a passport that fell from one of the burning towers, providing dubious evidence identifying one of the alleged hijackers.

Rumors Persist That the CIA Helps Export Opium from Afghanistan

Despite billions spent to eradicate opium crops in Afghanistan, the crop is more popular than ever there, leading many to wonder whether some U.S. forces may actually be encouraging its growth and the heroin it later becomes.

In July, the Centers for Disease Control warned of record-breaking numbers of heroin deaths in the United States. “Heroin use more than doubled among young adults ages 18–25 in the past decade,” the CDC reported.

In the same month, it was reported that opium production is stronger than ever in Afghanistan, which now produces 90 percent of the world’s supply of the plant that’s refined to create heroin. This rise in production would have been impossible prior to the U.S.-led invasion, and it comes despite some $8.4 billion spent in counternarcotics efforts by the U.S., specifically designated to wipe out opium production in Afghanistan.

In fact, as Global Post reported in October, under the watchful eye of the U.S., opium use expanded to new parts of Afghanistan and growers now make use of modern, advanced agricultural technologies.

Friday, September 25, 2015

From Radio to Porn, British Spies Track Web Users’ Online Identities

THERE WAS A SIMPLE AIM at the heart of the top-secret program: Record the website browsing habits of “every visible user on the Internet.”

Before long, billions of digital records about ordinary people’s online activities were being stored every day. Among them were details cataloging visits to porn, social media and news websites, search engines, chat forums, and blogs.

The mass surveillance operation — code-named KARMA POLICE — was launched by British spies about seven years ago without any public debate or scrutiny. It was just one part of a giant global Internet spying apparatus built by the United Kingdom’s electronic eavesdropping agency, Government Communications Headquarters, or GCHQ.

The revelations about the scope of the British agency’s surveillance are contained in documents obtained by The Intercept from National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden. Previous reports based on the leaked files have exposed how GCHQ taps into Internet cables to monitor communications on a vast scale, but many details about what happens to the data after it has been vacuumed up have remained unclear.

Amid a renewed push from the U.K. government for more surveillance powers, more than two dozen documents being disclosed today by The Intercept reveal for the first time several major strands of GCHQ’s existing electronic eavesdropping capabilities.

Postal Service Failed to Protect Personal Data in Mail Surveillance, Report Says

Employees of the United States Postal Service failed to properly safeguard documents that included the names, addresses and financial information used by its law enforcement arm to monitor the mail of people suspected of criminal activities or for national security purposes, an internal investigation found.

The information, which is collected as part of the Postal Service’s mail cover surveillance program, could potentially reveal personally identifiable information and compromise the privacy of the mail, according to the report, which was conducted by the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General and released Thursday.

A mail cover is a surveillance tool used by the service to monitor the mail of a person suspected of criminal activity by recording the information on the outside of all letters and packages delivered to a home or business. Law enforcement officials say it is an important investigative tool, but privacy advocates say the practice is ripe for abuse because it does not have judicial oversight and is shrouded in secrecy.

Smartphone passcodes are protected by the Fifth Amendment, says US court

If someone wants to view your photos or contacts on your passcode-protected iPhone they may be able to gain access to the device with Siri.

But if the federal authorities in the US want to see the contents of your phone in the old fashioned way – by asking you your password – they won’t get any help from the judicial system.

So says Judge Mark Kearney of the federal district court in Eastern Pennsylvania who recently ruled that passcodes on all such smartphones are protected by the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution.

The ruling came as an insider trading case between the Securities and Exchange Commission and two ex-employees of credit card company Capital One drew to a conclusion on Wednesday.

Pope Francis's full speech at the UN General Assembly

John Boehner, House Speaker, Will Resign From Congress

Speaker John A. Boehner, an Ohio barkeeper’s son who rode a conservative wave to one of the highest positions in government, said Friday he would relinquish his gavel and resign from Congress, undone by the very Republicans who swept him into power.

Mr. Boehner, 65, made the stunning announcement in an emotional meeting with his fellow Republicans on Friday morning as lawmakers struggled to avert a government shutdown next week, a possibility made less likely by his decision.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Disclosure: Brookings Takes Millions from Foreign Governments

The Brookings Institution, one of the country’s top left-leaning think tanks, has for the first time admitted to Congress that it receives millions of dollars every year from foreign governments, including Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, according to official disclosure forms obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The disclosure of these figures comes as a result of a recently implemented federal law mandating that those who testify before Congress reveal any potential conflicts created as a result of funding by foreign entities.

Brookings has come under intense scrutiny by reporters and others for not fully disclosing the large amounts of cash it receives from Middle Eastern governments.

The practice has led some to accuse Brookings and its most prominent scholars of pushing biased analyses aimed at making these foreign governments look good. The think tank’s relationship with Qatar has received particular attention due to the Middle Eastern country’s close relationship with the terrorist group Hamas and its ongoing funding of various terrorist entities.

MK ULTRA, LSD And The Military Industrial Music Industry

By Aaron Dykes

This program is mind blowing, when you consider the many connections between pop culture and music icons, and the military industrial complex. There is obviously a great deal that hasn’t been explained to the naive and believing public, who identify with these figures, and refuse to ask critical questions that could diminish the popular images with whom they identify. Nevertheless, there are endless connections between these celebrated individuals and ongoing experiments in MK Ultra and mind control – perhaps operating on the mass population level.

If even some of this is true, it is interesting and significant; but more so, this is a window into the doors of perception that were used to steer the CIA-created counterculture in order to re-engineer society.

Leo Zagami Analysis of Pope Francis - Alex Jones Show (9-24-15)

Pope Decries “Shameful and Culpable Silence” on Arms Sales “Drenched in Innocent Blood”

Pope Francis on Thursday gently scolded Congress on a variety of issues, from immigration to foreign policy, but on one unexpected topic — the weapons sales that fuel armed conflicts around the world — he couldn’t have been much more blunt.

He was speaking about his determination “to minimize and, in the long term, to end the many armed conflicts throughout our world,” when he said this:

Here we have to ask ourselves: Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problem and to stop the arms trade.

Those were fighting words, especially given where he spoke them. The U.S. is by far the largest arms supplier in the world, with domestic manufacturers selling more than $23.7 billion in weapons in 2014 to nearly 100 different countries. During the Obama administration, weapons sales have surged to record levels, in large part due to huge shipments to Gulf States, particularly Saudi Arabia.

NYPD officer known for intimidating activists served at Abu Ghraib torture prison in Iraq

Since the peak of Occupy Wall Street in the fall of 2011, New York activists have become familiar with Deputy Inspector Andrew J. Lombardo. He’s referenced in numerous tweets, YouTube videos, and news reports. His tactics of seemingly arbitrary arrests, intense questioning, and what some have described as “mind games” have been documented by activists and First Amendment organizations for years.

What isn’t known is that before he rose to be one of the NYPD’s most prominent point men on NYC protests, Lombardo, or “The Lombardo” as many activists not-so-lovingly call him, was a prison guard at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq for the 800th MP Battalion during the time of the prisoner torture scandal.

The internal Abu Ghraib report matches an “Andrew J. Lombardo” whose picture can be seen on a US Army Reserve Facebook post from 2011 in reference to an NYPD Captain (his rank until very recently) of the same name who held the same position, in the same brigade, at the same time. The Taguba Report, carried out by Major General Antonio Taguba in May 2004, verifies that Lombardo was part of the military chain of command during the time of the notorious human rights abuses.

Though Lombardo, and several others of the 310 Brigade 800th Battalion were evidently not accused of any wrongdoing, his time at Abu Ghraib is consistent with a broader trend of the way our wars abroad have, in the words of the ACLU, “come home” and have a potential chilling effect on First Amendment activity. From the importing of armored MRAP trucks through the 1033 Program to a spike in sound cannon purchases, the use of methods developed in Iraq on peaceful protests at home is increasingly making civil libertarians worried.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Good riddance, DA Robert Johnson: A bad prosecutor ends his tenure by lying to the voters

Let the brazen trickery of Bronx District Attorney Robert Johnson — the Daily News Editorial Board has accurately dubbed him “a certified liar” — serve as a wakeup call to the public about the perils of leaving important government functions in the hands of less than honest politicians year after year.

On a Friday afternoon, a time when pols often dump negative news in the hope of minimal news coverage, Johnson in effect acknowledged that he’d deceived the public. After 27 years in office, having stated unequivocally that he would run for reelection yet again on the Democratic, Republican and Conservative Party lines, Johnson announced a sudden change of heart and an intention to drop his reelection bid to run for a new job as a state judge.

“After much inner reflection, I have concluded that I would like to serve in another capacity. It is time for change in my life,” Johnson wrote. “The judicial position will allow me to make a career move that provides the change that I seek. . . . I will be making no further comment on this subject.”

I, me, my life, my career move: Nowhere does Johnson mention the people of the Bronx he has failed so often. His scheming denies voters a chance to pick a new DA; instead, party insiders will name a replacement to appear on the ballot this fall, reportedly a judge named Darcel Clark.

An honest election might have forced the nearly invisible Johnson to answer questions about an office whose dysfunction has long been a stain on the justice system.

Dr. Mary’s Monkey Special - Guns and Butter

Dr. Mary’s Monkey: How the Unsolved Murder of a Doctor, a Secret Laboratory in New Orleans and Cancer-Causing Monkey Viruses are Linked to Lee Harvey Oswald, the JFK Assassination and Emerging Global Epidemics.

With Host Bonnie Faulkner.

Secret Document: How the NSA Spied on Iranians in New York

The NSA will probably spy on foreign leaders like Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the UN General Assembly in New York this week, applying a "full court press" that includes intercepting cellphone calls and bugging hotel rooms, former intelligence analysts told NBC News.

A top-secret report on a previous NSA operation against Iran's U.N. delegation illustrates just how extensive this electronic surveillance can be. The document, obtained by NBC News, shows the U.S. bugged the hotel rooms and phones of then-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his entire 143-member delegation in 2007, listening to thousands of conversations and learning the "social networks" of Iran's leadership.

The three-page document, called "Tips for a Successful Quick Reaction Capability," recounted what happened when the NSA was asked by the Bush administration for blanket surveillance of Ahmadinejad's September 2007 trip to the UNGA. Ahmadinejad was then in his first term as president but already notorious in the West for questioning the Holocaust and saying Israel should be wiped off the map.

OPM Now Admits 5.6m Feds’ Fingerprints Were Stolen By Hackers

WHEN HACKERS STEAL your password, you change it. When hackers steal your fingerprints, they’ve got an unchangeable credential that lets them spoof your identity for life. When they steal 5.6 million of those irrevocable biometric identifiers from U.S. federal employees—many with secret clearances—well, that’s very bad.

On Wednesday, the Office of Personnel Management admitted that the number of federal employees’ fingerprints compromised in the massive breach of its servers revealed over the summer has grown from 1.1 million to 5.6 million. OPM, which serves as a sort of human resources department for the federal government, didn’t respond to WIRED’s request for comment on who exactly those fingerprints belong to within the federal government. But OPM had previously confirmed that the data of 21.5 million federal employees was potentially compromised by the hack—which likely originated in China—and that those victims included intelligence and military employees with security clearances.

FBI Said to Recover Personal E-Mails From Hillary Clinton Server

The FBI has recovered personal and work-related e-mails from the private computer server used by Hillary Clinton during her time as secretary of state, according to a person familiar with the investigation.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s success at salvaging personal e-mails that Clinton said had been deleted raises the possibility that the Democratic presidential candidate’s correspondence eventually could become public. The disclosure of such e-mails would likely fan the controversy over Clinton’s use of a private e-mail system for official business.

The FBI is investigating how and why classified information ended up on Clinton’s server. The probe probably will take at least several more months, according to the person, who described the matter on condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing and deals with sensitive information.

Jeb Bush Proudly Promises To Axe Net Neutrality If Elected

The Jeb Bush campaign this week unveiled a major part of the candidate's technology platform, and it likely includes taking a hatchet to net neutrality rules. The new policy outline on Bush's website spends some time butchering the very definition of net neutrality as well, parroting several long-standing incumbent ISP narratives that net neutrality is somehow about content companies not paying their fair share, or that modernization of existing rules is somehow "antiquated." Indeed, Bush's definition of net neutrality is rather unique:

"The Federal Communications Commission’s Net Neutrality rule classifies all Internet Service Providers (ISPs) as “public utilities,” subjecting them to antiquated “common carrier” regulation. Rather than enhancing consumer welfare, these rules prohibit one group of companies (ISPs) from charging another group of companies (content companies) the full cost for using their services."

Except as we've been over this ad nauseum; net neutrality isn't about prohibiting ISPs from charging content companies, it's about mammoth broadband providers abusing the lack of last-mile competition to give themselves a leg up in emerging markets. I assume the Bush campaign is referencing the FCC's plan to police interconnection deals between ISPs and the likes of Netflix, something that has actually improved the health of the Internet already.

Facebook case may force European firms to change data storage practices

European companies may have to review their widespread practice of storing digital data with US internet companies after a court accused America’s intelligence services of conducting “mass, indiscriminate surveillance”.

The influential opinion by the European court of justice’s advocate general, Yves Bot, yet to be confirmed by the Luxembourg court as final, is a significant development in the battle over online privacy. The court normally follows the advocate general’s opinion; ECJ judgments are binding on EU countries.

The finding is a fresh victory for the Austrian campaigner Maximilian Schrems, who initially brought a claim against Facebook in Ireland in the wake of Edward Snowden’s revelations about the activities of the US National Security Agency (NSA).

EXCLUSIVE: NYC lawyers hope to paint whistleblower cop as racist, stop jury from hearing of alleged quota system

The city hopes to portray an NYPD whistleblower as a racist cop with an ax to grind while preventing a jury from hearing of the alleged quota system he says led to an illegal trip to the psych ward, new filings indicate.

Papers filed in Manhattan Federal Court, a mere month before the start of trial, lay out how the city hopes to attack the character of Adrian Schoolcraft, who has sued for $50 million.

Schoolcraft says his own brothers in blue barged into his Queens home and declared him an emotionally disturbed person on Oct. 31, 2009, because he’d sounded the alarm on cops using arrest quotas and fudging crime stats.

In court papers, the city asks that Judge Robert Sweet prevent a jury from hearing about the quota system Schoolcraft says was imposed on the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, because he bases that notion on hearsay rather than his firsthand experience.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Cloak and Dropper—The Twisted History of the CIA and LSD

MKULTRA was the codename given to the CIA’s wide-ranging series of drug and mind control experiments. Active from the early '50s until it was officially halted in 1973, MKULTRA was an ominous umbrella program that cast its shadow over everything from the sickeningly bizarre to the relatively mundane. Decidedly unscientific outfits like White’s coexisted alongside other experiments conducted in sterile, fluorescent-bathed operating rooms by otherwise well-respected doctors and scientists.

In one such experiment on a mentally handicapped individual, “a hallucinogen was administered along with a local anesthetic, and the subject was told to describe his visual experiences as surgeons removed chunks of his cerebral cortex,” write the authors of Acid Dreams: The Complete Social History of LSD: The CIA, the Sixties, and Beyond.

Dr. Paul Hoch, who oversaw that particular operation, was once quoted as saying “It is possible that a certain amount of brain damage is of therapeutic value.” He was later appointed New York State Commissioner for Mental Hygiene. Go figure.

The sprawling MKULTRA program was much more than the sum of its deeply weird parts however. On one hand, the program demonstrated the extraordinary depths the CIA was prepared to sink to in order to combat the Red Menace, the Agency’s raison d'être during the long, strange years of the Cold War. At the same time, MKULTRA would go on to become the unwitting midwife of the '60s acid craze, providing the drive shaft for the youth counterculture movement that represented the very antithesis of everything the agency stood for.

As the '60s wore on, acid would bring out the best and worst in both the agency and the hippies, even as both sought the same ultimate goal, neatly summed up by the Bible verse still chiseled into the lobby of the CIA’s headquarters:

“And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

New Bill Would Cut Off Federal Forfeiture Funds For DEA Marijuana Seizures

A new bipartisan bill would eliminate a controversial source of funding for one federal marijuana seizure program. Last week, Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) introduced the “Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act.” The bill is quite simple: It would prevent the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from using federal forfeiture funds to pay for its Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. Additionally, the bill would ban transferring property to federal, state or local agencies if that property “is used for any purpose pertaining to” the DEA’s marijuana eradication program.

Under this program, the DEA receives federal forfeiture funds ($18 million in 2013), which it then funnels to over 120 local and state agencies to eliminate marijuana grow sites nationwide. Last year, the program was responsible for over 6,300 arrests, eradicating over 4.3 million marijuana plants and seizing $27.3 million in assets. More than half of all plants destroyed were in California, which also accounted for over one-third of seized assets and nearly 40 percent of the arrests.


There is something disquieting and unwholesome about telecoms feeding our communications to government agencies. It was headline news, again, last month when we learned that AT&T has had a longstanding partnership with the National Security Agency. Unfortunately, this form of private-public intelligence collusion is neither new nor, in my view, illegal. Whether it is immoral is an entirely separate question.

U.S. communications carriers first became partners in the intelligence game shortly after World War I. Diplomatic and military affairs transmitted via telegram to home countries were intercepted and decrypted by the Black Chamber, the NSA’s precursor. Obtaining telegrams then was eerily similar to how communications are obtained today: The government simply asked.

The Western Union Telegraph Company and the Postal Telegraph Company allowed intelligence officers to copy telegrams, and this partnership persisted in peacetime. In 1929, however, Secretary of State Henry Stimson defunded the Black Chamber. His concise, and seemingly naïve, rationale reportedly being: “Gentlemen do not read each other’s mail.”

Monday, September 21, 2015

Government Declassifies Additional Portions of Once-Secret Report on Post-9/11 Surveillance

In response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit by The New York Times, the government has declassified additional portions of a 2009 report by five agencies’ inspectors general about the Stellarwind program, the group of N.S.A. warrantless wiretapping and bulk phone and e-mail records collection activities initiated by President George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. In 2009, the government released a 43-page unclassified version which omitted discussion of many key facts that then remained secret. In April, the government released an earlier version of this full report. The newly declassified portions largely consist of references to and descriptions of the text of Mr. Bush’s periodic authorizations to the N.S.A, which evolved over time — especially after a March 2004 confrontation with the Justice Department.

George W. Bush Made Retroactive N.S.A. ‘Fix’ After Hospital Room Showdown

President George W. Bush sought to retroactively authorize portions of the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 surveillance and data collection program after a now-famous incident in 2004 in which his attorney general refused to certify the program as lawful from his hospital bed, according to newly declassified portions of a government investigation.

Mr. Bush’s effort to salvage the surveillance program without changes did not satisfy top Justice Department officials, who threatened to resign. But the newly disclosed passages of a report by inspectors general of six agencies suggest that the confrontation in the hospital room came after the Justice Department identified several problems, including a “gap” between what Mr. Bush had authorized the N.S.A. to collect and what the agency was collecting in practice.

A leak of government documents in 2013 revealed that the fight had been partly about the legality of the N.S.A.’s collection of data about Americans’ emails in bulk. But the latest disclosure shows that the Justice Department had additional concerns.

It’s Official: The Typical Male US Worker Earned Less in 2014 than in 1973

The typical man with a full-time job–the one at the statistical middle of the middle–earned $50,383 last year, the Census Bureau reported this week.

The typical man with a full-time job in 1973 earned $53,294, measured in 2014 dollars to adjust for inflation.

You read that right: The median male worker who was employed year-round and full time earned less in 2014 than a similarly situated worker earned four decades ago. And those are the ones who had jobs.

This one fact, tucked in Table A-4 of the Census Bureau’s annual report on income, is both a symptom of an economy that isn’t delivering for many ordinary Americans and at least one reason for the dissatisfaction, anger, and distrust that voters are displaying in the 2016 presidential campaign.

What about women? Well, they haven’t closed the pay gap with men, but the inflation-adjusted earnings of the median female worker increased more than 30% between 1973 and 2014, to $39,621 from $30,182, according to census data.

Pope’s visit will produce largest security operation in U.S. history

Federal authorities are mobilizing one of the largest security operations in U.S. history ahead of Pope Francis’s arrival Tuesday, an effort that is straining law enforcement resources in Washington, New York and Philadelphia.

Hundreds of thousands of onlookers are expected to gather in all three cities for a glimpse of the Catholic Church leader, whose unrivaled global popularity and proclivity to wade into public crowds has added to security concerns. Thousands of federal and local personnel will be deployed to keep the pontiff and the public safe.

The challenges are immense.

The pope’s five-day tour, his first in the United States, will include appearances at the White House and Congress, a parade on Constitution Avenue in Washington, a Mass at Madison Square Garden, a procession through Central Park in New York, and an open air Mass with up to 1.5 million people in Philadelphia.

CIA, FBI And Much Of US Military Aren't Doing The Most Basic Things To Encrypt Email

It's no secret that FBI Director James Comey is somewhat clueless about encryption -- to the point that he doesn't even realize that stronger encryption will actually better protect Americans. But it seems to go beyond that. Apparently he's so clueless about encryption that he doesn't realize that it will help protect FBI agents. Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai has a great story over at Vice Motherboard concerning key parts of our government that should understand the importance of keeping emails secret, that have failed to take the most basic steps in securing email communications. And the FBI is one of the agencies that has not done so. Ditto with the CIA. Or most branches of the military (the Air Force -- which used to run the US cybersecurity efforts -- is the one exception).

Specifically, the article focuses on the use of STARTTLS, which is used to encrypt emails in transit between service providers (it's not nearly as secure as doing full end-to-end encryption of the messages like PGP -- in which case the email providers can't read your email -- but it's a key tool for at least protecting your messages in transit between those providers). Most email systems use STARTTLS these days. Gmail has offered it since it launched over a decade ago. And for STARTTLS to work, both sides of the email provider chain need to be using it. Google has published stats on how much of the emails sent via Gmail are able to be sent with STARTTLS for a little while now and it keeps going up, such that these days, it's pretty rare for email providers not to offer STARTTLS -- with 80% of outbound mail and 61% of inbound mail using it. Yet the US military, the CIA and the FBI don't use it (the NSA does, because they're no dummies about encryption). Google and others in the tech industry have been begging email providers to use STARTTLS for a while, but apparently the US government, including agencies that you'd figure would want to protect secrets, apparently still hasn't figured this out.

Down the Memory Hole: NYT Erases CIA’s Efforts to Overthrow Syria’s Government

FAIR has noted before how America’s well-documented clandestine activities in Syria have been routinely ignored when the corporate media discuss the Obama administration’s “hands-off” approach to the four-and-a-half-year-long conflict. This past week, two pieces—one in the New York Times detailing the “finger pointing” over Obama’s “failed” Syria policy, and a Vox “explainer” of the Syrian civil war—did one better: They didn’t just omit the fact that the CIA has been arming, training and funding rebels since 2012, they heavily implied they had never done so.

First, let’s establish what we do know. Based on multiple reports over the past three-and-a-half years, we know that the Central Intelligence Agency set up a secret program of arming, funding and training anti-Assad forces. This has been reported by major outlets, including the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and, most recently, the Washington Post, which—partly thanks to the Snowden revelations—detailed a program that trained approximately 10,000 rebel fighters at a cost of $1 billion a year, or roughly 1/15th of the CIA’s official annual budget.

In addition to the CIA’s efforts, there is a much more scrutinized and far more publicized program by the Department of Defense to train “moderate rebels,” of which only a few dozen actually saw battle. The Pentagon program, which began earlier this year and is charged with fighting ISIS (rather than Syrian government forces), is separate from the covert CIA operation. It has, by all accounts, been an abysmal failure.

One thing the DoD’s rebel training program hasn’t been a failure at, however, is helping credulous reporters rewrite history by treating the Pentagon program as the only US effort to train Syrian rebels–now or in the past. As the US’s strategy in Syria is publicly debated, the CIA’s years-long program has vanished from many popular accounts, giving the average reader the impression the US has sat idly by while foreign actors, Iranian and Russian, have interfered in the internal matters of Syria. While the White House, Congress and the Pentagon can’t legally acknowledge the CIA training program, because it’s still technically classified, there’s little reason why our media need to entertain a similar charade.

Government Argues: If Your Mobile Phone Provider Knows Where You Are, Why Shouldn’t We?

In one of the stronger defenses of Fourth Amendment rights in the digital age, a federal appellate court panel in August ruled 2 to 1 that law enforcement officials can’t request cell phone location records without a warrant.

The government is now asking the full Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to overrule the panel’s earlier decision, arguing that by choosing to connect to a mobile network, users lose any reasonable expectation that their location is private.

Exclusive: This Is the ISIS Intel the U.S. Military Dumbed Down

Senior intelligence officials at the U.S. military’s Central Command demanded significant alterations to analysts’ reports that questioned whether airstrikes against the so-called Islamic State widely known as ISIS were damaging the group’s finances and its ability to launch attacks. But reports that showed the group being weakened by the U.S.-led air campaign received comparatively little scrutiny, The Daily Beast has learned.

Senior CENTCOM intelligence officials who reviewed the critical reports sent them back to the analysts and ordered them to write new versions that included more footnotes and details to support their assessments, according to two officials familiar with a complaint levied by more than 50 analysts about intelligence manipulation by CENTCOM higher-ups.

In some cases, analysts were also urged to state that killing particular ISIS leaders and key officials would diminish the group and lead to its collapse. Many analysts, however, didn’t believe that simply taking out top ISIS leaders would have an enduring effect on overall operations.

U.S. Soldiers Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Allies

In his last phone call home, Lance Cpl. Gregory Buckley Jr. told his father what was troubling him: From his bunk in southern Afghanistan, he could hear Afghan police officers sexually abusing boys they had brought to the base.

“At night we can hear them screaming, but we’re not allowed to do anything about it,” the Marine’s father, Gregory Buckley Sr., recalled his son telling him before he was shot to death at the base in 2012. He urged his son to tell his superiors. “My son said that his officers told him to look the other way because it’s their culture.”

Rampant sexual abuse of children has long been a problem in Afghanistan, particularly among armed commanders who dominate much of the rural landscape and can bully the population. The practice is called bacha bazi, literally “boy play,” and American soldiers and Marines have been instructed not to intervene — in some cases, not even when their Afghan allies have abused boys on military bases, according to interviews and court records.

Tortured & Enslaved: Enter the World's Biggest Prison - Empire Files Episode 3

Jeremy Scahill And Julian Assange Discuss The Most Important Documents Released By WikilLeaks

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Spy On Your Customers … Or Else

Do you distrust the banking system? Prefer to do business in cash? Complain about the encroachment of Big Brother into every facet of your life?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you’d better watch out. You’re a “person of interest” – and a growing number of businesses must report your “suspicious activities” to the feds. If they don’t, they can be fined and the responsible parties even imprisoned.

These requirements originated in a law called the “Bank Secrecy Act” (BSA). Of course, this Orwellian law has nothing at all to do with protecting bank secrecy. Indeed, the BSA has all but eliminated confidentiality.

Regulations issued under the BSA require financial institutions to notify the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a Treasury Department bureau, of any unusual transactions in which their customers engage. Reporting is mandatory for transactions that exceed $10,000 and are not the sort in which the particular customer would normally be expected to engage. For money transmitter businesses, a $2,000 threshold applies.

The businesses covered by these requirements must file “suspicious activities reports” (SARs) secretly, without your knowledge or consent. FinCEN makes the reports available electronically to every US Attorney’s office and to dozens of law enforcement agencies. No court order, warrant, subpoena, or even written request is needed to access a report.

What exactly is suspicious? According to official Treasury guidance, suspicious behavior includes:

Paying off a loan;
Objecting to completing Currency Transaction Reports (required for transactions over $10,000);
Changing currency from small to large denominations;
Buying cashier’s checks, money orders, or travelers’ checks for less than the reporting limit ($10,000 for a cash transaction);
Making deposits in cash, then having the money wired somewhere else; and
Withdrawing cash without counting the cash first.

Friday, September 18, 2015

With Little Fanfare, FBI Ramps Up Biometrics Programs (Yet Again)

As we noted in Part 1 of this story, in the last few years, the FBI has been dramatically expanding its biometrics programs, whether by adding face recognition to its vast Next Generation Identification (NGI) database or pushing out mobile biometrics capabilities for “time-critical situations” through its Repository for Individuals of Special Concern (RISC). But two new developments—both introduced with next to no media attention—will impact far more ordinary Americans than anything the FBI has done on biometrics in the past. Read about the second development below and the first here.

FBI Plans to Populate its Massive Face Recognition Database with Photographs Taken in the Field

As Privacy SOS reported earlier this month, the FBI is looking for new ways to collect biometrics out in the field—and not just fingerprints, but face recognition-ready photographs as well.

The FBI recently issued a request for quotations (RFQ) to build out its mobile biometrics capabilities. Specifically, it’s looking for software that can be used on small Android-based mobile devices like Samsung Galaxy phones and tablets to collect fingerprints and face images from anyone officers stop on the street.

If the plan goes through, it will be the first time the FBI will be able to collect fingerprints and face images out in the field and search them against its Next Generation Identification (NGI) database. According to the RFQ, FBI’s current mobile collection tools are “not optimized for mobile operations” because they are large and are limited in scope to determining if a person has “possible terrorist links (in the U.S. or abroad) or is likely to pose a threat to the U.S.”

Federal Court Lifts National Security Letter Gag Order; First Time in 14 Years

A federal district court judge in New York has fully lifted an 11-year-old gag order that the FBI imposed on Nicholas Merrill, the founder of a small Internet service provider, to prevent him from speaking about a national security letter served on him in 2004.

It marked the first time such a gag order has been fully lifted since the USA Patriot Act in 2001 expanded the FBI’s authority to unilaterally demand that certain businesses turn over records simply by writing a letter saying the information is needed for national security purposes.

Like other NSL recipients, Merrill was also instructed that he could not mention the order to anyone.

Merrill said the court ruling allowing him to discuss the details of the sealed request in full will allow him to ignite a debate among Americans about the unchecked surveillance powers of the U.S. government.

President's Daily Briefs from Kennedy and Johnson Finally Released

Today the CIA and the LBJ Library are releasing online a collection of 2,500 declassified President’s Daily Briefs (PDBs) from the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. The PDBs are Top Secret documents containing the most current and significant intelligence information that the CIA believes that the President needs to know, and are records that CIA Director George Tenet once claimed could never be released for publication “no matter how old or historically significant it may be,” and that White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer described as “the most highly sensitized classified document in the government.”

The release of this collection of PDBs comes eight years after the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the National Security Archive and Professor Larry Berman, then a professor of political science at University of California Davis, now based at Georgia State University, in his efforts to obtain the disclosure of two Presidential Daily Briefs written for President Lyndon B. Johnson in the 1960s. Professor Berman and the Archive were represented by Thomas R. Burke and Duffy Carolan of the law firm Davis Wright Tremaine LLP in San Francisco, CA. In its ruling, the Court noted –without viewing the documents– that their disclosure could “reveal protected intelligence sources and methods.” The Court rejected, however, the CIA’s “attempt to create a per se status exemption for PDBs.”

At the time of the 2007 ruling, Archive General Counsel Meredith Fuchs said that while disappointed with the Court’s decision, “Our goal in this litigation was to force the agency to conduct a genuine review and assess the true sensitivity of each document. We hope the Agency will take the Court’s analysis to heart and do the right thing in the future.”

Eight years after Professor Berman filed suit, that genuine review has finally happened. It shows that the CIA's previous dire claims that PDBs were "uniquely sensitive" and non-segregable were untrue.
Today the National Security Archive is proud to post a compilation of our ongoing work to shed light on these important documents. The collection is comprised of dozens of records and the Ninth Circuit Court ruling, which paved the way for today’s disclosure.

Judicial Watch: State Department Asked Hillary Clinton to Delete Copies of Classified Benghazi Emails Four Months Ago

Judicial Watch today released Obama administration correspondence containing a letter from Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy asking Hillary Clinton’s lawyer to destroy all electronic copies of a classified email found in records Clinton decided to turn over to the State Department six months before. Clinton’s attorney, David Kendall, rejected the request as Congress and other investigators had demanded electronic records be preserved. The correspondence also shows Hillary Clinton has ignored a demand to turn over all electronic copies of the approximately 55,000 pages of emails she previously returned in paper form. The correspondence was disclosed by the State and Justice Departments in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit in which Judicial Watch is asking a court to issue a preservation order to protect any emails Clinton has yet to turn over, including those emails in which she and her lawyers unilaterally determined to be personal. (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (1:12-cv-02034))

When Is Assassination Not Assassination? When the Government Says So

Today, the preferred line for assassination is “targeted killing,” as in Greg Miller’s recent Washington Post exposé revealing that CIA and special operations forces have launched “a secret campaign to hunt terrorism suspects in Syria as part of a targeted killing program.”

How — or if — killing a human with a remote-controlled flying robot differs from, say, a Green Beret killing a rogue colonel, has been discussed and debated for years now. “If it’s premeditated assassination, why call it a ‘targeted killing?’” wrote Margaret Sullivan, the New York Times’ public editor, in 2013, channeling some of the complaints she received from readers.

Scott Shane, a Times national security reporter, had a ready answer: The Obama administration decreed it. He explained that since assassination is banned by executive order, using the term would indicate the administration is deliberately violating the ban. “This administration, like others, just doesn’t think the executive order applies,” he wrote to Sullivan. He crossed off the term “murder” for similar reasons. “This leaves ‘targeted killing,’ which I think is far from a euphemism,” Shane continued. “It denotes exactly what’s happening: American drone operators aim at people on the ground and fire missiles at them. I think it’s a pretty good term for what’s happening, if a bit clinical.”

Radiation From Manhattan Project Causing “Cancer Clusters” In US City

The Manhattan Project was the military program that developed the atomic bomb. This project was considered by most people to be a conspiracy theory for years until the bombs eventually dropped. Whole towns were built to test the first nuclear weapons. All of the residents were sworn to secrecy and spread out between one of the 30 testing sites across North America and the UK. The Manhattan project started out as a small testing operation in 1939, but in the few years it was in operation, it grew to employ over 130,000 people, all under strict secrecy.

Although the program is over it has left a nasty mess behind at the various test sites, as well as sites that were used to harvest and process uranium. it was admitted by The US Army Corps of Engineers last month that residential areas of St. Louis County in Missouri have been contaminated with radiation from the Manhattan Project.

When the Manhattan Project experiments were being carried out, the only uranium plant in the country was located in St. Louis, and the activities there ended up contaminating Coldwater Creek. Over the years, residents that lived along the creek discovered that they were more prone to cancer because of where they lived. After enough families began to complain, tests were done on the area and large doses of radiation were detected all along the creek.

Agencies Say They Need Access to Americans’ Emails Without a Warrant

But the FTC and SEC have not used the current subpoena process in five years.

A bi­par­tis­an bid to re­form an elec­tron­ic-pri­vacy law has the sup­port of the tech com­munity and the White House, but fed­er­al law en­force­ment of­fi­cials tell Con­gress the changes would hamper civil pro­sec­u­tion.

Civil law en­force­ment agen­cies like the Fed­er­al Trade Com­mis­sion and the Se­cur­it­ies and Ex­change Com­mis­sion would not be able to ob­tain crit­ic­al in­form­a­tion if the law were changed to re­quire crim­in­al war­rants for ac­cess to data stored on cloud ser­vices, ac­cord­ing to wit­nesses from those agen­cies testi­fy­ing in front of the Sen­ate Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee Wed­nes­day.

The law en­force­ment of­fi­cials were re­act­ing to bills from Sens. Mike Lee and Patrick Leahy, and Reps. Kev­in Yo­der and Jared Pol­is, that aim to up­date the Elec­tron­ic Com­mu­nic­a­tions Pri­vacy Act, or ECPA.

Twitter Hit With Class Action Lawsuit for Eavesdropping on Direct Messages

To most Twitter users, URL link shorteners are a convenient way to stuff more into a 140-character message. But a proposed class action lawsuit filed on Monday alleges that the social media service is using them in violation of the Electronic Communications Privacy Act and California's privacy law.

The complaint brought in federal court in San Francisco from Wilford Raney and others similarly situated is claiming that despite Twitter's assurances that users are allowed to "talk privately” among one another, "Twitter surreptitiously eavesdrops on its users’ private Direct Message communications. As soon as a user sends a Direct Message, Twitter intercepts, reads, and, at times, even alters the message."

Washington Continues to Violate 1972 Treaty on Bio-Warfare


The U.S. government has refused to provide the veterans who were subjected to chem-bio experimentation with still classified documents that would expose America’s continuing use of dangerous and often lethal substances for warfare.

Coupled with the refusal by the U.S. military to provide affected veterans with the requested files on America’s chem-bio warfare program is the Pentagon's recent disclosure that live anthrax samples were sent from the U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground in Utah to all 50 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, Guam, and nine nations - Canada, Japan, Britain, South Korea, Australia, Italy, Norway, Germany, and Switzerland.

It is known that Dugway was the originating source of the deadly aerosolized anthrax that was dispersed using the U.S. postal system in the weeks following the 9/11 attack in 2001. The Dugway Proving Ground in Utah is the location of the government's only aerosolized anthrax production facility in the country. It was from this facility that aerosolized anthrax spores were sent to the U.S. Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) at Fort Detrick, Maryland for use in the postal system attacks in 2001.

Fort Detrick was the facility where the "Ames strain" variety of the pathogen was originally produced. It was then sent to Dugway where it was aerosolized for maximum dispersal and widespread casualties, including a number of civilian deaths carried out by the Pentagon's top secret "PROJECT JEFFERSON." One of the goals of PROJECT JEFFERSON was the use of the sorting machines and pressurized rollers employed by the U.S. postal system to contaminate envelopes that would spread the spores around the United States.

In violation of the 1972 BWC, the United States continues to conduct dubious research into the use of anthrax and other deadly pathogens for warfare. The federal government continues to fund the expansion of bio-safety levels 3 and 4 (BSL-3 and BSL-4) laboratories across the country: Boston University, the University of Texas in Galveston, Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, Battelle Memorial Institute in Ohio, Lawrence Livermore Labs in California, and Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico. Los Alamos is also a major nuclear weapons research center. All the biological warfare research is funded under the rubric of “bio defenses” and guise of “homeland security.”

Meet Harvard's New Think Tank Search

Harvard University has a new Google custom search for 590 think tanks and research centers, allowing users to more easily check policy proposals of hundreds of think tanks in mere seconds.

Here is how Harvard defines a "think tank" for the search:

For the purposes of this search, think tanks are defined as institutions affiliated with universities, governments, advocacy groups, foundations, non-governmental organizations, and businesses that generate public policy research, analysis, and activity. Inclusion is based upon the relevancy of subject area to HKS coursework and scholarship, the availability of the think tank’s research in full-text on the website, and the think tank’s reputation and influence upon policy making. The list represents a mixture of partisan and non-partisan think tanks.

Think Tank Search

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Demonic Possession Of The Vatican Exposed - Leo Zagami

The New Clinton Chronicles (2015)

Air Defense Exercise a Month Before 9/11 Was Based Around Osama Bin Laden Carrying Out an Aerial Attack on Washington

NORAD's Northeast Air Defense Sector (NEADS) held a training exercise just over a month before September 11, 2001, which had some uncanny similarities to the 9/11 attacks. The exercise, called Fertile Rice, was based around the scenario of Osama bin Laden--the man who supposedly ordered the 9/11 attacks--organizing an aerial attack on a high-profile government building in Washington, DC--one of the cities attacked on September 11.

NEADS personnel were scheduled to take part in an exercise on September 11. We therefore need to consider whether the similarities between the scenario for the Fertile Rice exercise and some of the incidents they had to deal with on the morning of September 11 caused them to mistake real-world events for part of the day's exercise and thereby impaired their ability to respond to the 9/11 attacks.

NEADS, based in Rome, New York, was responsible for monitoring and defending the airspace in which the hijackings occurred on September 11, and was consequently responsible for coordinating the U.S. military's response to the 9/11 attacks. [1] It ran an exercise called Fertile Rice each week. [2] On August 4, 2001--five and a half weeks before 9/11--Fertile Rice was based around the scenario of Osama bin Laden's operatives attacking a target in Washington. [3]

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

9/11 inside the White House emergency bunker

On July 24, the US National Archives released a series of 356 never-before-seen photos, most of them taken on September 11, 2001 inside the emergency bunker under the White House.

The bunker is officially called the Presidential Emergency Operations Center (PEOC), but White House officials also call it the shelter. It was constructed in 1942 underneath the East Wing of the White House, which was primarily built to cover the building of the bunker. It is said the PEOC can withstand the blast overpressure from a nuclear detonation.

The photos were released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by Colette Neirouz Hanna, coordinating producer for the FRONTLINE documentary film team. They focus on the reaction from then-vice president Dick Cheney and other Bush administration officials during the terrorist attacks.

Infowars Operation MoneyBomb 2015 Playlist

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Operation Naked King: U.S. Secretly Targeted Bolivia's Evo Morales In Drug Sting

The United States has secretly indicted top officials connected to the government of Bolivian President Evo Morales for their alleged involvement in a cocaine trafficking scheme. The indictments, secured in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration sting called "Operation Naked King," have not been previously reported.

Morales, a former leader of Bolivia's coca growers union, has long been at loggerheads with the DEA. In 2008, Morales expelled the agency from the country and embarked on his own strategy of combatting drug trafficking, acknowledging the traditional uses of coca in Bolivian culture and working cooperatively with coca growers to regulate some legal activity and to promote alternative development elsewhere. Morales' plan has been effective at reducing cultivation, according to the United Nations.

But that doesn't mean the DEA accepted its eviction quietly. In fact, the agency went after members of Morales' administration in an apparent effort to undermine his leadership.

Now You Can Find Out if the NSA and GCHQ Spied on You

YOU JUST KNOW in your bones that the NSA spied on you and shared that data with Britain’s GCHQ spy agency, right? So how can you confirm this? Through a new online tool offered by the British civil liberties group Privacy International.

Thanks to a legal victory Privacy International obtained earlier this year, the UK’s Investigatory Powers Tribunal is now required to search through data the GCHQ obtained from the NSA for information collected on anyone in the world if that person so requests it. If you request the info and the Tribunal finds something, it must let you know. The catch is you have to make the request before December 5, 2015. Privacy International has made this easy with its “Did GCHQ Illegally Spy on You?” online tool.

Emails Show Close Ties Between Heritage Foundation and Lockheed Martin

When the Pentagon decided in 2009 to cut funding for Lockheed Martin’s F-22 Raptor fighter jet — a weapons system with cost overruns in the billions of dollars that has rarely seen combat — the Heritage Foundation fought tooth and nail to restore taxpayer money for the planes.

Heritage depicted its support for the F-22 as a matter of vital national security. But what the public didn’t know is that Lockheed Martin, a corporate donor to the conservative think tank, met with Heritage officials on nearly a monthly basis to discuss the F-22 and other defense industry priorities.

Internal emails leaked online show at least 15 meetings in 2008 and 2009 between officials at Heritage and Lockheed Martin, including one with Bill Inglee, who at the time served as a senior lobbyist at Lockheed Martin.

The emails also suggest that Heritage continued courting Lockheed Martin for donations, listing the company repeatedly in Excel spreadsheets used to collect pledges from past donors. Lockheed Martin gave $40,000 to Heritage in 2008, bringing its total contribution to $341,000, according to those documents.

Monday, September 14, 2015

DEA blasted for no-warrant searches of patient records, court battle heats up

Drug Enforcement Administration agents have been accessing personal medical files without a warrant, generating a backlash from doctors and privacy advocates who say the practice is intrusive and unconstitutional -- and have taken the agency to court.

“It’s just not right,” Texas attorney Terri Moore said.

The controversial record searches are part of the government's effort to crack down on illegal “pill mills” and prescription drug abuse. But they've set up a clash over privacy rights, and a legal battle is now playing out in the 5th and 9th Circuit appeals courts. Lower courts have issued conflicting rulings to date, with one backing the DEA and another demanding the agency get warrants if it wants to look at patient records.

The DEA has been able to access medical files as well as private state prescription drug records that track patient medical histories by using what are known as administrative subpoenas, which unlike warrants signed by a judge do not require probable cause. Further, critics say the agency has “tricked” doctors into handing over documents by showing up with state medical board officials for searches and not identifying themselves, in turn giving the impression they're with the board.