Thursday, December 31, 2015

Inside Gitmo: America's Shame

Fifteen years of pain and suffering outside the rule of law — why can't we close the prison at Guantanamo Bay?

This January will begin the 15th year since the first prisoners of the War on Terror – who the U.S. government referred to then, as now, as "detainees" – began arriving at this scrubby and perpetually broiling U.S.-controlled naval base on the southeast coast of Cuba. Of the 780 original captives, 538 were released by President Bush before he left office. Though President Obama, who has released 135 men, has said he intends to close Guantanamo before he leaves office, as of this writing, 107 prisoners remain interned on the island, at an annual per-inmate cost of roughly $3.4 million. The annual cost of housing an inmate at a federal or military prison, by contrast, is about $78,000. Forty-eight men have been cleared for release, many of them during the Bush administration. Forty-nine are in the purgatorial state known as "indefinite detention," including roughly 30 men the government says cannot be tried but are too dangerous to release. Just 10 prisoners, all "high value," a euphemism for those formerly imprisoned by the CIA, are facing legal proceedings. Three have already been convicted, two with guilty pleas. Seven are currently on trial, though the prosecution of the alleged mastermind of the USS Cole bombing has been frozen indefinitely, and the 9/11 trial has been mired in delays since the men were arraigned in 2012.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Seymour Hersh on The Alex Jones Show (12-30-15)

Alex Jones speaks with legendary investigative journalist Seymour Hersh about his latest article, Military to Military.

The Gentleperson's Guide To Forum Spies (spooks, feds, etc.)

Spying on Congress and Israel: NSA Cheerleaders Discover Value of Privacy Only When Their Own is Violated

The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that the NSA under President Obama targeted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his top aides for surveillance. In the process, the agency ended up eavesdropping on “the contents of some of their private conversations with U.S. lawmakers and American-Jewish groups” about how to sabotage the Iran Deal. All sorts of people who spent many years cheering for and defending the NSA and its programs of mass surveillance are suddenly indignant now that they know the eavesdropping included them and their American and Israeli friends rather than just ordinary people.

The long-time GOP Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and unyielding NSA defender Pete Hoekstra last night was truly indignant to learn of this surveillance:

In January, 2014, I debated Rep. Hoekstra about NSA spying and he could not have been more mocking and dismissive of the privacy concerns I was invoking. “Spying is a matter of fact,” he scoffed. As Andrew Krietz, the journalist who covered that debate, reported: Hoekstra “laughs at foreign governments who are shocked they’ve been spied on because they, too, gather information” – referring to anger from German and Brazilian leaders. As TechDirt noted, “Hoekstra attacked a bill called the RESTORE Act, that would have granted a tiny bit more oversight over situations where (you guessed it) the NSA was collecting information on Americans.”

But all that, of course, was before Hoekstra knew that he and his Israeli friends were swept up in the spying of which he was so fond. Now that he knows that it is his privacy and those of his comrades that has been invaded, he is no longer cavalier about it. In fact, he’s so furious that this long-time NSA cheerleader is actually calling for the criminal prosecution of the NSA and Obama officials for the crime of spying on him and his friends.

House intel committee opens probe of eavesdropping on Congress

A House panel on Wednesday announced it is opening an investigation into U.S. intelligence collection that may have swept up members of Congress.
The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s announcement of the probe comes after a Wall Street Journal report that the U.S. collected information on private exchanges between Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and members of Congress during ongoing negotiations for nuclear deal with Iran.
Story Continued Below

“The House Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations in the Wall Street Journal regarding possible Intelligence Community (IC) collection of communications between Israeli government officials and Members of Congress,” Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in a statement. “The Committee has requested additional information from the IC to determine which, if any, of these allegations are true, and whether the IC followed all applicable laws, rules, and procedures.”
Former Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra, who chaired the House intelligence panel from 2004 to 2007, called for a probe late Tuesday, remarking that the Obama administration exhibited an “unprecedented abuse of power” if the allegations are true.

Financial Armageddon Approaches: U.S. Banks Have 247 Trillion Dollars Of Exposure To Derivatives

Did you know that there are 5 “too big to fail” banks in the United States that each have exposure to derivatives contracts that is in excess of 30 trillion dollars? Overall, the biggest U.S. banks collectively have more than 247 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives contracts. That is an amount of money that is more than 13 times the size of the U.S. national debt, and it is a ticking time bomb that could set off financial Armageddon at any moment. Globally, the notional value of all outstanding derivatives contracts is a staggering 552.9 trillion dollars according to the Bank for International Settlements. The bankers assure us that these financial instruments are far less risky than they sound, and that they have spread the risk around enough so that there is no way they could bring the entire system down. But that is the thing about risk – you can try to spread it around as many ways as you can, but you can never eliminate it. And when this derivatives bubble finally implodes, there won’t be enough money on the entire planet to fix it.

A lot of readers may be tempted to quit reading right now, because “derivatives” is a term that sounds quite complicated. And yes, the details of these arrangements can be immensely complicated, but the concept is quite simple. Here is a good definition of “derivatives” that comes from Investopedia…

A derivative is a security with a price that is dependent upon or derived from one or more underlying assets. The derivative itself is a contract between two or more parties based upon the asset or assets. Its value is determined by fluctuations in the underlying asset. The most common underlying assets include stocks, bonds, commodities, currencies, interest rates and market indexes.

I like to refer to the derivatives marketplace as a form of “legalized gambling”. Those that are engaged in derivatives trading are simply betting that something either will or will not happen in the future. Derivatives played a critical role in the financial crisis of 2008, and I am fully convinced that they will take on a starring role in this new financial crisis.

And I am certainly not the only one that is concerned about the potentially destructive nature of these financial instruments. In a letter that he once wrote to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett referred to derivatives as “financial weapons of mass destruction”…

The Illuminati and Council on Foreign Relations – Myron C. Fagan

Vaccines: Threads of Corruption

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Report: U.S. spying on Israel swept up members of Congress

U.S. spying programs scooped up communications between members of Congress and Israeli leaders, giving the White House insight into Israel’s lobbying of U.S. lawmakers against the Iran nuclear deal, current and former U.S. officials told The Wall Street Journal.

The article, published Tuesday afternoon, reports that the U.S. continued to spy on select leaders of allied nations despite President Barack Obama’s pledge to curb such surveillance two years ago, and that it was a top priority to maintain spying on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government.

As part of that continued surveillance, the National Security Agency also swept up communication showing Israeli officials trying to turn lawmakers against the international deal that curbed Iran’s nuclear capabilities, the article said.

One senior U.S. official described the discovery of the swept-up communication as an “Oh s— moment” and feared that the executive branch would be accused of spying on Congress.

Spy agencies resist push for expanded scrutiny of top employees

U.S. intelligence agencies recently fought off a move by Congress to require the CIA and other spy services to disclose more details about high-ranking employees who have been promoted or fired, despite pledges to be more open and accountable.

The disputed measure was designed to increase scrutiny of cases in which senior officers ascend to high-level positions despite problems ranging from abusive treatment of subordinates to involvement in botched operations overseas.

The CIA in particular has faced sharp criticism in recent years for promoting operatives who faced investigations by the agency’s internal watchdog or the Justice Department for their roles in the brutal interrogations of prisoners or badly mishandled operations to capture terrorism suspects.

Under a provision drafted by the Senate Intelligence Committee this year, intelligence agencies would have been required to regularly provide names of those being promoted to top positions and disclose any “significant and credible information to suggest that the individual is unfit or unqualified.”

But that language faced intense opposition from Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr., according to officials involved in the matter. As a result, the wording was watered down by Congress this month and now requires Clapper only to furnish “information the Director determines appropriate.”

RT speaks with Seymour Hersh on rift between Obama and military on Syria

RT Correspondent Anya Parampil talks with Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh about his latest bombshell piece in the London Review of Books. The article, titled “Military to Military” alleges, based on sources within the military, that the Joint Chiefs of Staff and Defense Intelligence Agency advised President Obama against an “Assad must go” policy back in 2013, fearing if Assad fell the country would plunge into utter chaos or into the hands of extremists. When the Obama Administration seemed to ignore the advice, according to Hersh’s sources the Joint Chiefs began sharing intelligence with Russia, Germany, and Israel with the understanding it would be sent to the Assad regime and aide its fight against ISIS and other extremists groups. In the interview, Hersh discusses the implications of his story, the US’s relationship with Turkey, and why the mainstream media is quick to attack him.

Monday, December 28, 2015

How Big Oil Conquered the World

Mexico's criminal gangs 'contaminating democracy' with money laundering activities that are going unchallenged

Criminal gangs are “contaminating democracy” in Mexico by funding political campaigns and even buying public debt to launder their dirty money, according to Edgardo Buscaglia, one of the world’s leading experts on international organised crime.

A senior research scholar in law and economics at Columbia University and the author of the new book, Money Laundering and Political Corruption, Dr Buscaglia told The Independent that a “pact of political impunity” inhibits Mexico’s government from combating financial crime.

“There is a relationship between dirty money in politics and the inaction and paralysis of the Mexican government,” he said. “The Mexican government does not take action in the cases of businesses involved in laundering drug money or other financial crimes [because] in some cases these businesses finance political campaigns at local, state and federal level.”

The US government estimates that over £19bn in laundered money crosses the border with Mexico each year, while the non-profit think-tank Global Financial Integrity estimates that more than £34bn in illicit funds flows out of Mexico every year, the third-highest total in the world after China and Russia.

The U.S. Is Still No.1 at Selling Arms to the World

The United States remains the world’s preeminent exporter of arms, with more than 50 percent of the global weaponry market controlled by the United States as of 2014.

Arms sales by the U.S. jumped 35 percent, or nearly $10 billion, to $36.2 billion in 2014, according to the Congressional Research Service report, which analyzed the global arms market between 2007 and 2014.

Trailing the U.S. in weapons receipts is Russia, with $10.2 billion in sales in 2014, followed by Sweden with $5.5 billion, France with $4.4 billion and China with $2.2 billion, reports The New York Times.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Peyton Manning Rejects Report Linking Him to Doping

Mounting an aggressive campaign against a report that linked him to performance-enhancing drugs, Peyton Manning, the Denver Broncos quarterback, said Saturday night that he was treated at an anti-aging clinic in Indianapolis in 2011 while recovering from a neck injury but that the treatment was prescribed by his physician and did not involve any banned substances.

A report by Al Jazeera, published online early Sunday and scheduled to be broadcast on its TV networks later in the day, contends that some of the biggest stars in Major League Baseball and the National Football League are taking a host of designer steroids and other banned performance-enhancing drugs. Among those implicated in the investigation, which used an undercover reporter with hidden cameras, was Manning, one of the best quarterbacks in the sport’s history. He has never previously been linked to doping.

Men described as doctors, pharmacists, naturopathic practitioners and other specialists told Al Jazeera’s undercover reporter that they frequently and routinely dispensed drugs to pro baseball and football stars.


In a state seized by a dramatic surge in drug dealing, Bal Harbour police were about to take their controversial sting operation far outside Florida.

After weeks of delivering drug money to Miami storefront businesses, a new deal unfolded thousands of miles away in a country where the war on drugs had shifted: Venezuela.

Instead of enlisting the help of federal agents, the officers from the small community embarked on a series of laundering arrangements that were never revealed to the federal government.

For two years starting in 2010, they funneled millions in drug money into the bank accounts of Venezuelans, including William Amaro Sanchez, now special assistant to President Nicolás Maduro. The stated goal: to disrupt criminal groups.

They sent drug money to a well-known trafficker, a cash smuggler and a money launderer — more than $4 million in all.

In spite of U.S. warnings about the emergence of the country as a major hub for cocaine, the police never investigated the people to whom they were sending millions in drug proceeds, including a host of individuals with criminal records.

“They had no authority to do what they were doing,” said Felix Jimenez, former chief inspector of the Drug Enforcement Administration. “They were just lucky that when they were picking up all this money, nobody got killed.”

Federal agents for the U.S. attorney’s office in Chicago are investigating the money laundered by the Tri-County Task Force, a partnership between Bal Harbour and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office, including $2.4 million kept by the police for brokering the deals.

But the latest revelations about the task force’s foray into a country known as a hub for trafficking is expected to bring more federal scrutiny to a unit that veered far from its borders without any supervision by prosecutors, records show.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Infowarrior Christmas Marathon

It's A Wonderful Lie — 100 Years of the Federal Reserve

Anonymous Merry Christmas!

Ancient Origins of Christmas and Holiday Traditions in 8 Minutes

58 Facts About The U.S. Economy From 2015 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

The world didn’t completely fall apart in 2015, but it is undeniable that an immense amount of damage was done to the U.S. economy. This year the middle class continued to deteriorate, more Americans than ever found themselves living in poverty, and the debt bubble that we are living in expanded to absolutely ridiculous proportions. Toward the end of the year, a new global financial crisis erupted, and it threatens to completely spiral out of control as we enter 2016. Over the past six months, I have been repeatedly stressing to my readers that so many of the exact same patterns that immediately preceded the financial crisis of 2008 are happening once again, and trillions of dollars of stock market wealth has already been wiped out globally. Some of the largest economies on the entire planet such as Brazil and Canada have already plunged into deep recessions, and just about every leading indicator that you can think of is screaming that the U.S. is heading into one. So don’t be fooled by all the happy talk coming from Barack Obama and the mainstream media. When you look at the cold, hard numbers, they tell a completely different story. The following are 58 facts about the U.S. economy from 2015 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 These days, most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck. At this point 62 percent of all Americans have less than 1,000 dollars in their savings accounts, and 21 percent of all Americans do not have a savings account at all.

#2 The lack of saving is especially dramatic when you look at Americans under the age of 55. Incredibly, fewer than 10 percent of all Millennials and only about 16 percent of those that belong to Generation X have 10,000 dollars or more saved up.

#3 It has been estimated that 43 percent of all American households spend more money than they make each month.

#4 For the first time ever, middle class Americans now make up a minority of the population. But back in 1971, 61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households.

#5 According to the Pew Research Center, the median income of middle class households declined by 4 percent from 2000 to 2014.

#6 The Pew Research Center has also found that median wealth for middle class households dropped by an astounding 28 percent between 2001 and 2013.

#7 In 1970, the middle class took home approximately 62 percent of all income. Today, that number has plummeted to just 43 percent.

#8 There are still 900,000 fewer middle class jobs in America than there were when the last recession began, but our population has gotten significantly larger since that time.

#9 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#10 For the poorest 20 percent of all Americans, median household wealth declined from negative 905 dollars in 2000 to negative 6,029 dollars in 2011.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Leaked documents that were not attributed to Snowden

Since June 2013, numerous top secret documents from the American signals intelligence agency NSA and its British counterpart GCHQ have been disclosed. The overwhelming majority of them came from the former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

But what many people probably didn't notice, is that some of these documents were not provided by Snowden, but by other leakers. Often, the press reports didn't mention that very clear, and it was only by not attributing such documents to Snowden, that it became clear they came from someone else.

So far, the following secret and top secret documents have been disclosed without having been attributed to Snowden:

- Chancellor Merkel tasking record
- TAO product catalog
- NCTC watchlisting guidance
- NCTC terrorist watchlist report
- XKEYSCORE rules: New Zealand
- Ramstein AFB supporting drone operations
- NSA tasking & reporting: France
- NSA tasking & reporting: Germany
- NSA tasking & reporting: Brazil
- NSA tasking & reporting: Japan
- Chinese cyber espionage against the US
- XKEYSCORE agreement between NSA, BND and BfV
- The Drone Papers
- Cellphone surveillance catalogue

- Some thoughts on the form of the documents
- Some thoughts on the motives behind the leaks
- Conclusion

Document collections

The most user-friendly collection of all the leaked documents can be found on the website IC Off The Record (which started as a parody on IC On The Record, the official US government website on which declassified documents are published).

Other websites that collect leaked documents related to the Five Eyes agencies, so from Snowden as well as from other sources, are FVEY Docs and Cryptome. The Snowden-documents are also available and searchable through the Snowden Surveillance Archive.

Domestic US leaks

Here, only leaks related to foreign signals intelligence and related military topics will be listed. Not included are therefore documents about American domestic operations, like for example several revelations about the DEA.

Seymour Hersh Exposes Obamas ISIS

Now the TSA can force you to go through the body-scanner

Your next flight might include a mandatory trip through the body scanner, with the US government quietly changing the opt-out rules for searches. In a document published earlier this month, the Department of Homeland Security outlined an update to the Advanced Imagery Technology protocols used by the TSA at US airports, adding a clause which allows officers to insist travelers go through the controversial machines.

Previously, though the body scanners were present at many airports across the country, travelers were free to opt-out of the process. Billed as a privacy consideration, it meant a physical screening was mandatory, but alleviated concerns held by some that the technology could "see them naked" and store photographs of that.

Now, though, that option is being diluted, though not completely retired.

"TSA is updating the AIT PIA to reflect a change to the operating protocol regarding the ability of individuals to opt opt-out of AIT screening in favor of physical screening," the DHS writes. "While passengers may generally decline AIT screening in favor of physical screening, TSA may direct mandatory AIT screening for some passengers."

NSA Helped British Spies Find Security Holes In Juniper Firewalls

A TOP-SECRET document dated February 2011 reveals that British spy agency GCHQ, with the knowledge and apparent cooperation of the NSA, acquired the capability to covertly exploit security vulnerabilities in 13 different models of firewalls made by Juniper Networks, a leading provider of networking and Internet security gear.

The six-page document, titled “Assessment of Intelligence Opportunity – Juniper,” raises questions about whether the intelligence agencies were responsible for or culpable in the creation of security holes disclosed by Juniper last week. While it does not establish a certain link between GCHQ, NSA, and the Juniper hacks, it does make clear that, like the unidentified parties behind those hacks, the agencies found ways to penetrate the “NetScreen” line of security products, which help companies create online firewalls and virtual private networks, or VPNs. It further indicates that, also like the hackers, GCHQ’s capabilities clustered around an operating system called “ScreenOS,” which powers only a subset of products sold by Juniper, including the NetScreen line. Juniper’s other products, which include high-volume Internet routers, run a different operating system called JUNOS.

The possibility of links between the security holes and the intelligence agencies is particularly important given an ongoing debate in the U.S. and the U.K. over whether governments should have backdoors allowing access to encrypted data. Cryptographers and security researchers have raised the possibility that one of the newly discovered Juniper vulnerabilities stemmed from an encryption backdoor engineered by the NSA and co-opted by someone else. Meanwhile, U.S. officials are reviewing how the Juniper hacks could affect their own networks, putting them in the awkward position of scrambling to shore up their own encryption even as they criticize the growing use of encryption by others.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

U.S. Cold War Nuclear Target Lists Declassified for First Time

The SAC [Strategic Air Command] Atomic Weapons Requirements Study for 1959, produced in June 1956 and published today for the first time by the National Security Archive, provides the most comprehensive and detailed list of nuclear targets and target systems that has ever been declassified. As far as can be told, no comparable document has ever been declassified for any period of Cold War history.

The SAC study includes chilling details. According to its authors, their target priorities and nuclear bombing tactics would expose nearby civilians and “friendly forces and people” to high levels of deadly radioactive fallout. Moreover, the authors developed a plan for the “systematic destruction” of Soviet bloc urban-industrial targets that specifically and explicitly targeted “population” in all cities, including Beijing, Moscow, Leningrad, East Berlin, and Warsaw. Purposefully targeting civilian populations as such directly conflicted with the international norms of the day, which prohibited attacks on people per se (as opposed to military installations with civilians nearby).

The National Security Archive, based at The George Washington University, obtained the study, totaling more than 800 pages, through the Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) process (see sidebar).

1950s U.S. Nuclear Target List Offers Chilling Insight

For the first time, the National Archives and Records Administration has released a detailed list of the United States’ potential targets for atomic bombers in the event of war with the Soviet Union, showing the number and the variety of targets on its territory, as well as in Eastern Europe and China.

It lists many targets for “systematic destruction” in major cities, including 179 in Moscow (like “Agricultural Equipment” and “Transformers, Heavy”), 145 in Leningrad and 91 in East Berlin. The targets are referred to as DGZs or “designated ground zeros.” While many are industrial facilities, government buildings and the like, one for each city is simply designated “Population.”

“It’s disturbing, for sure, to see the population centers targeted,” said William Burr, a senior analyst at the National Security Archive, a research group at George Washington University that obtained the target list in response to a request first made in 2006. Mr. Burr, who specializes in nuclear history, said he believed it was the most detailed target list the Air Force had ever made public.

The targets are identified only generically, with code numbers that correspond to specific locations. The exact addresses and names of facilities from that period are in a still-classified “Bombing Encyclopedia,” which Mr. Burr said he was trying to get declassified.

Truman’s True Warning on the CIA

By Ray McGovern

Fifty years ago, exactly one month after John Kennedy was killed, the Washington Post published an op-ed titled “Limit CIA Role to Intelligence.” The first sentence of that op-ed on Dec. 22, 1963, read, “I think it has become necessary to take another look at the purpose and operations of our Central Intelligence Agency.”

It sounded like the intro to a bleat from some liberal professor or journalist. Not so. The writer was former President Harry S. Truman, who spearheaded the establishment of the CIA 66 years ago, right after World War II, to better coordinate U.S. intelligence gathering. But the spy agency had lurched off in what Truman thought were troubling directions.

President Harry S. Truman.
President Harry S. Truman.
Sadly, those concerns that Truman expressed in that op-ed — that he had inadvertently helped create a Frankenstein monster — are as valid today as they were 50 years ago, if not more so.

Truman began his article by underscoring “the original reason why I thought it necessary to organize this Agency … and what I expected it to do.” It would be “charged with the collection of all intelligence reports from every available source, and to have those reports reach me as President without Department ‘treatment’ or interpretations.”

Truman then moved quickly to one of the main things bothering him. He wrote “the most important thing was to guard against the chance of intelligence being used to influence or to lead the President into unwise decisions.”

It was not difficult to see this as a reference to how one of the agency’s early directors, Allen Dulles, tried to trick President Kennedy into sending U.S. forces to rescue the group of invaders who had landed on the beach at the Bay of Pigs, Cuba, in April 1961 with no chance of success, absent the speedy commitment of U.S. air and ground support.

The Special Newsweek Edition “DECLASSIFIED” –Even Further Declassified

It was my great pleasure to work on a special edition of Newsweek featuring documents declassified in 2015. The whole team was fantastic to work with and has done a great job producing a high quality edition that document hounds and novices alike will speedily turn the pages of. As the introduction to the edition states:

Americans take justifiable pride in having a government ‘of the people, by the people, for the people.’ But officials and bureaucrats sometimes carry out illegal or immoral acts, then hide the evidence in plain sight, burying it under a mound of public records. Fortunately, a group of dedicated patriots doggedly utilize one of the most powerful tools at their disposal –the Freedom of Information Act– to bring these misdeeds to light. Over the past 25 years, more than 10 million pages of previously classified documents from more than 200 agencies have been made public thanks to the efforts of a handful of individuals, who tirelessly comb through reams of documents and analyze the information they contain. Sometimes shocking, sometimes scandalous and occasionally strange, these are the secrets your government kept from you –out in the open for anyone curious to learn.

But beyond this excellent print edition, I wanted to publish my rough draft of the copy I provided for Newsweek to readers of Unredacted. First, because space constraints required much of the background to these fascinating declassified stories had to be cut; and second, so that our document hound readers can now click the links and read the entire featured documents themselves and see how they were presented by the “dedicated patriots” who actually filed the FOIAs and brought these government secrets into the public domain.

Again, the below is a rough draft so please treat it as such.

William Binney on The Alex Jones Show (12-22-15)

UK Government Has Secretly Created A Huge Database Storing Details About Its Citizens' Private Lives -- Since 2000

Long before the vast planetary surveillance programs being carried out by the Five Eyes team were revealed by Edward Snowden, there was Echelon, a similarly globe-spanning system for slurping up communications. The person who did more than anyone to expose this top-secret collaboration was the UK journalist Duncan Campbell:

In 1988, he revealed the existence of the ECHELON project, which has since 1997 become controversial throughout the world. In 1998, he was asked by the European Parliament to report on the development of surveillance technology and the risk of abuse of economic information, especially in relation to the ECHELON system. His report, “Interception Capabilities 2000” was approved by the European Parliament in April 1999, and presented to the parliament in Brussels in February 2000. In July 2000, the European Parliament appointed a committee of 36 MEPs to further investigate the ECHELON system.

The MEPs wrote another report, "on the existence of a global system for the interception of private and commercial communications (ECHELON interception system)", which was presented in July 2001. It would doubtless have created some pretty big waves in the EU had not the attack on the Twin Towers a few months later meant that nobody wanted to be seen weakening the intelligence services. The report was filed and Echelon was forgotten -- and carried on as before. A new article by Campbell published in The Register shows that around the same time that most politicians lost interest in exposing mass surveillance, the UK government was busily building another, highly-intrusive monitoring system that was only acknowledged very recently:

Finally, on November 4th [2015], the Home Office took the lid off what had been going on secretly since 2000. Asking Parliament to allow mass surveillance of telephone records to continue, Home Secretary Theresa May admitted that "under Section 94 of the Telecommunications Act 1984 ... successive governments have approved the security and intelligence agencies' access" to [bulk] communications data from communication service providers", claiming that it helped MI5 "thwart a number of attacks here in the UK".

Seymour Hersh's Latest Bombshell: U.S. Military Undermined Obama on Syria with Tacit Help to Assad

A new report by the Pulitzer-winning veteran journalist Seymour Hersh says the Joint Chiefs of Staff has indirectly supported Bashar al-Assad in an effort to help him defeat jihadist groups. Hersh reports the Joint Chiefs sent intelligence via Russia, Germany and Israel on the understanding it would be transmitted to help Assad push back Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State. Hersh also claims the military even undermined a U.S. effort to arm Syrian rebels in a bid to prove it was serious about helping Assad fight their common enemies. Hersh says the Joint Chiefs’ maneuvering was rooted in several concerns, including the U.S. arming of unvetted Syrian rebels with jihadist ties, a belief the administration was overly focused on confronting Assad’s ally in Moscow, and anger the White House was unwilling to challenge Turkey and Saudi Arabia over their support of extremist groups in Syria. Hersh joins us to detail his claims and respond to his critics.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Congress’s $12 billion giveaway to health insurers

As Congress rushes to pass an omnibus tax/spending bill for the coming year, it’s concocting a special tax break for health-insurance companies.

And it amounts to a back-door bailout.

Until this week, insurance-company lobbyists and their allies in the White House were pushing for an outright bailout, spending taxpayer dollars to cover what insurers are losing on ObamaCare plans to persuade insurers to keep selling them.

That so infuriated the public that DC insiders switched gears. Now they’re offering a tax break for the whole health-insurance industry.

Don’t be fooled. This is good news for the insurers — but only insurers. The taxpayers are still on the losing side in this crony-capitalism deal.

ObamaCare is collapsing like a house of cards. Last week, insurance giant CIGNA hinted it will drop out of ObamaCare after 2016. Earlier, the biggest insurer in the nation, UnitedHealthcare, revealed it will likely quit ObamaCare after 2016. Though these insurers are highly profitable overall (their stocks are soaring), they’re losing billions trying to sell the unpopular ObamaCare plans.

If insurers drop out of ObamaCare, the president’s health law will collapse. And that’s not the only threat to the disastrous health-care law: Republicans are still trying to kill it, too.

Last week, the Senate passed a bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act. That was mere Kabuki theater, because President Obama will veto it. What matters is what Congress is doing in this week’s bill to keep insurers happy.

Hillary Clinton wants “Manhattan-like project” to break encryption

US should be able to bypass encryption—but only for terrorists, candidate says.

Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has called for a "Manhattan-like project" to help law enforcement break into encrypted communications. This is in reference to the Manhattan Project, the top-secret concentrated research effort which resulted in the US developing nuclear weapons during World War II.

At Saturday's Democratic debate (transcript here), moderator Martha Raddatz asked Clinton about Apple CEO Tim Cook's statements that any effort to break encryption would harm law-abiding citizens.

Edward Snowden: Clinton's Call for a 'Manhattan-Like Project' Is Terrifying

Is the DEA Stopping Narco-terror Threats or Staging Them?

After 9/11, the Drug Enforcement Administration reframed its mission, warning the country that terrorists had gotten into the illegal drug trade to finance their attacks. This claim gave rise to a little-known statute in the Patriot Act, which authorizes the DEA to pursue people accused of narco-terrorism anywhere in the world, even when none of the alleged activities took place on American soil.

A recent investigation by ProPublica senior reporter Ginger Thompson, in partnership with the New Yorker, closely examines some 37 narco-terrorism cases, raising questions about whether the DEA is actually stopping threats or staging them. One of these cases involves three men accused of trafficking drugs in Mali to support a North African branch of Al Qaeda and the Colombian guerilla army FARC. But the evidence entered in the case was dubious – all provided by the DEA, using informants who were paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to lure the targets into staged narco-terrorism conspiracies.

On this week’s podcast, Thompson speaks with Julia Gatto, a federal public defender who represented one of the Malian men (who was convicted and imprisoned in New York for five years), about the sting operation that entrapped her client, the heightened political climate that led to the passage of narco-terrorism laws, and whether links between drugs and terrorism exist at all.

Seymour Hersh's bizarre new conspiracy theory about the US and Syria, explained

Seymour Hersh, an investigative journalist famous for uncovering the 1968 My Lai massacre and the mid-2000s Abu Ghraib scandal, says there's another scandal afoot, and it's bigger than anything he's previously reported. Perhaps even bigger than his story from this May alleging that the US staged its mission to kill Osama bin Laden.

In a lengthy London Review of Books piece, Hersh says that the top leaders of the Pentagon deliberately subverted American policy toward Syria, sabotaging US efforts to aid Syrian rebels and even sending US intelligence to Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad. From fall 2013 to September 2015, he says, US military leaders effectively conducted a secret alliance with Assad and with Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they saw as their best allies in fighting ISIS.

It is a fantastic and stunning claim. And Hersh, rather than condemning this all as what would appear to be the highest act of treason in modern American history, rather seems to portray it as necessary and appropriate. But, much as with Hersh's now-notorious bin Laden story, it is backed up with no evidence beyond the word of one anonymous "former senior adviser" to the Joint Chiefs.

What follows is a simple guide to Hersh's theory: what he says happened, what the article states, and how it squares with what we know.

I will be transparent with you: As with Hersh's other recent stories, I came away deeply skeptical about his claims, particularly given what appears to be a fatal flaw in the story's central theory. I have explained my skepticism below, but I would urge you to judge for yourself.

Military to Military - Seymour M. Hersh on US intelligence sharing in the Syrian war

Barack Obama’s repeated insistence that Bashar al-Assad must leave office – and that there are ‘moderate’ rebel groups in Syria capable of defeating him – has in recent years provoked quiet dissent, and even overt opposition, among some of the most senior officers on the Pentagon’s Joint Staff. Their criticism has focused on what they see as the administration’s fixation on Assad’s primary ally, Vladimir Putin. In their view, Obama is captive to Cold War thinking about Russia and China, and hasn’t adjusted his stance on Syria to the fact both countries share Washington’s anxiety about the spread of terrorism in and beyond Syria; like Washington, they believe that Islamic State must be stopped.

The military’s resistance dates back to the summer of 2013, when a highly classified assessment, put together by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Joint Chiefs of Staff, then led by General Martin Dempsey, forecast that the fall of the Assad regime would lead to chaos and, potentially, to Syria’s takeover by jihadi extremists, much as was then happening in Libya. A former senior adviser to the Joint Chiefs told me that the document was an ‘all-source’ appraisal, drawing on information from signals, satellite and human intelligence, and took a dim view of the Obama administration’s insistence on continuing to finance and arm the so-called moderate rebel groups. By then, the CIA had been conspiring for more than a year with allies in the UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar to ship guns and goods – to be used for the overthrow of Assad – from Libya, via Turkey, into Syria. The new intelligence estimate singled out Turkey as a major impediment to Obama’s Syria policy. The document showed, the adviser said, ‘that what was started as a covert US programme to arm and support the moderate rebels fighting Assad had been co-opted by Turkey, and had morphed into an across-the-board technical, arms and logistical programme for all of the opposition, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State. The so-called moderates had evaporated and the Free Syrian Army was a rump group stationed at an airbase in Turkey.’ The assessment was bleak: there was no viable ‘moderate’ opposition to Assad, and the US was arming extremists.

Lieutenant General Michael Flynn, director of the DIA between 2012 and 2014, confirmed that his agency had sent a constant stream of classified warnings to the civilian leadership about the dire consequences of toppling Assad. The jihadists, he said, were in control of the opposition. Turkey wasn’t doing enough to stop the smuggling of foreign fighters and weapons across the border. ‘If the American public saw the intelligence we were producing daily, at the most sensitive level, they would go ballistic,’ Flynn told me. ‘We understood Isis’s long-term strategy and its campaign plans, and we also discussed the fact that Turkey was looking the other way when it came to the growth of the Islamic State inside Syria.’ The DIA’s reporting, he said, ‘got enormous pushback’ from the Obama administration. ‘I felt that they did not want to hear the truth.’

‘Our policy of arming the opposition to Assad was unsuccessful and actually having a negative impact,’ the former JCS adviser said. ‘The Joint Chiefs believed that Assad should not be replaced by fundamentalists. The administration’s policy was contradictory. They wanted Assad to go but the opposition was dominated by extremists. So who was going to replace him? To say Assad’s got to go is fine, but if you follow that through – therefore anyone is better. It’s the “anybody else is better” issue that the JCS had with Obama’s policy.’ The Joint Chiefs felt that a direct challenge to Obama’s policy would have ‘had a zero chance of success’. So in the autumn of 2013 they decided to take steps against the extremists without going through political channels, by providing US intelligence to the militaries of other nations, on the understanding that it would be passed on to the Syrian army and used against the common enemy, Jabhat al-Nusra and Islamic State.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

Democratic Presidential Debate In New Hampshire (FULL DEBATE)


Propaganda Can’t Melt Steel Beams

Eleven years ago, I initiated a discussion about the fact that jet fuel fires could not have melted steel at the World Trade Center. The government agency investigating the WTC destruction responded by holding “some of its deliberations in secret.” Although it’s not a secret that jet fuel can’t melt steel, due to propaganda from sources like The Washington Post and The Huffington Post, Americans often get confused about what facts like that mean to any national discussion. In a nutshell, what it means is that the molten metal found at the WTC, for which there is a great deal of evidence, cannot be explained by the official 9/11 myth.

Today no one thinks that jet fuel fires can melt steel beams—not even The Posts’ new science champion, who doesn’t bother to actually use jet fuel or steel beams to teach us about “retarded metallurgical things.” Instead, he uses a thin metal rod and a blacksmith forge to imply that, if the WTC buildings were made of thin metal rods and there were lots of blacksmith forges there, the thin metal rods would have lost strength and this would be the result. If you buy that as an explanation for what happened at the WTC, you might agree that everyone should just stop questioning 9/11.

This absurd demonstration highlights at least two major problems with America’s ongoing struggle to understand 9/11. The first is that there was a great deal of molten metal at the WTC. Those who know that fact sometimes share internet memes that say “Jet Fuel Can’t Melt Steel Beams” when they want to convey that “Thermite Melted Steel at the WTC.” The second major problem is that certain mainstream media sources continue to put a lot of energy into dis-informing the public about 9/11.

Sources like The Posts, The New York Times and some “alternative media” continue to work hard to support the official myth of 9/11. That effort is not easy because they must do so while providing as little actual information about 9/11 as possible. The dumbing down of the average citizen is a full time job for such propagandists. Luckily for them, American students receive almost no historical context that encourages them to think critically or consider ideas that conflict with blind allegiance to their government. When it comes to the WTC, it also helps that almost 80% of Americans are scientifically illiterate.

As media companies attempt to confuse the public about 9/11, they must avoid relating details that might actually get citizens interested in the subject. For example, it’s imperative that they never mention any of these fourteen facts about 9/11. It is also important to never reference certain people, like the ordnance distribution expert (and Iran-Contra suspect) who managed security at the WTC or the tortured top al Qaeda leader who turned out to have nothing to do with al Qaeda. In fact, to support the official myth of 9/11 these days, media must ignore almost every aspect of the crimes while promoting only the most mindless nonsense they can find. Unfortunately, that bewildering strategy becomes more obvious every day.


The nation's most polluted nuclear weapons production site is now its newest national park.

Thousands of people are expected next year to tour the Hanford Nuclear Reservation, home of the world's first full-sized nuclear reactor, near Richland, about 200 miles east of Seattle in south-central Washington.

They won't be allowed anywhere near the nation's largest collection of toxic radioactive waste.

"Everything is clean and perfectly safe," said Colleen French, the U.S. Department of Energy's program manager for the Hanford park. "Any radioactive materials are miles away."

The Manhattan Project National Historic Park, signed into existence in November, also includes sites at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and Los Alamos, New Mexico. The Manhattan Project is the name for the U.S. effort to build an atomic bomb during World War II.

At Hanford, the main attractions will be B Reactor - the world's first full-sized reactor - along with the ghost towns of Hanford and White Bluffs, which were evacuated by the government to make room for the Manhattan Project.

Jewel vs NSA: Too Early to Revive U.S. Surveillance Claim – Court

The Ninth Circuit sidelined a challenge Friday of the government’s Internet surveillance program, finding the issue premature to appeal.

Carolyn Jewel is the lead plaintiff behind the federal complaint filed seven years ago in San Francisco, hoping to represent a class of AT&T customers accusing the National Security Agency of using the Terrorist Surveillance Program to eavesdrop on millions of phone calls in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

NY Judge Blocks Flu Vaccine Mandate For Preschoolers

New York Supreme Court Judge Manuel Mendez has ruled that the New York City board of health (NYBH) cannot mandate children receive flu vaccinations prior to attending school or day-care because the agency does not have the authority to do so.

This ruling may put to an end a trend of actions over the past several decades taken by the board that supersede the state laws and ordinances of the city council.

Mendez wrote in his opinion: “Nothing … Allows municipalities to mandate vaccines that are not explicitly authorized. If the state wanted the flu vaccine mandated, it would have included it in its own law or regulations.”

This case was the collaborative efforts of 5 parents who did not want to vaccinate their kids, and asserted that barring them from attending daycare would cause unfair social and economic harm to the children.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Hasty, Fearful Passage of Cybersecurity Bill Recalls Patriot Act

Congress easily passed a thinly disguised surveillance provision—the final version of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA— on Friday, shoehorned into a must-pass budget bill to prevent a government shutdown before the holidays.

Born of a climate of fear combined with a sense of urgency, the bill claims to do one thing—help companies share information with the government to heed off cyber attacks—and does entirely another—increases the U.S. government’s spying powers while letting companies with poor cyber hygiene off the hook. It’s likely to spawn unintended consequences.

Some critics felt its passage was in some ways eerily similar to when the USA Patriot Act, one of the most expansive surveillance bills in recent U.S. history, was made into law shortly after September 11, 2001.

In both cases, Congress had little time to even read the bills, making it inevitable that many would vote without being fully informed. And the result is the same—increased power and less accountability for the intelligence community.

“CISA is the new PATRIOT Act. It’s a bill that was born out of a climate of fear and passed quickly and quietly using a broken and nontransparent process,” wrote Evan Greer, campaign director for Fight For the Future, a digital rights group, in an email to The Intercept.

Albany Trials Exposed the Power of a Real Estate Firm

The recent federal trials that ended in the quick convictions of Sheldon Silver and Dean G. Skelos laid bare a world of greed, flagrant corruption and abuse of power in Albany, with evidence showing payoffs taking a deceptively circular route from business interests to the elected officials whose help they sought.

But one man who was a key player in both cases — and identified by the government as a co-conspirator at the trial of Mr. Skelos, the former Republican majority leader of the State Senate, and his son, Adam — never appeared in the courtroom.

That man was Leonard Litwin, the 101-year-old owner of Glenwood Management, an influential developer of luxury high-rise apartment buildings in Manhattan that is among the state’s most prodigious political donors. Prosecutors named Mr. Litwin as a co-conspirator during a sidebar conference with the judge and defense lawyers that went largely unnoticed.

In addition to its role at the heart of the government’s case against the Skeloses, both of whom were convicted of bribery, extortion and conspiracy this month, Glenwood also figured prominently in the federal corruption trial of Sheldon Silver, the Democratic assemblyman and former speaker who was convicted of extortion, wire fraud and money laundering 11 days earlier.

The name of Mr. Litwin was just one example of the way the two corruption trials revealed how entwined the interests of Glenwood and other developers are with the business of the state. Testimony, documents, emails and other evidence provided the most detailed look to date at the ways in which Glenwood and others deftly worked the levers of power to marshal tens of millions of dollars in campaign contributions through a maze of limited liability companies, trade associations and political groups, with Senator Skelos himself soliciting and directing the money at times.

Russian cybersecurity intelligence targets critical U.S. infrastructure

U.S. intelligence agencies recently identified a Russian cybersecurity firm, which has expertise in testing the network vulnerabilities of the electrical grid, financial markets and other critical infrastructure, as having close ties to Moscow’s Federal Security Service, the civilian intelligence service.

The relationship between the company and the FSB, as the spy agency is known, has heightened fears among U.S. cyberintelligence officials that Moscow is stepping up covert efforts to infiltrate computer networks that control critical U.S. infrastructure such as oil and gas pipelines and transportation.

The effort appears to be part of FSB and Russian military cyberwarfare reconnaissance targeting, something the Pentagon calls preparation of the battlefield for future cyberattacks. The Russian company is taking steps to open a U.S. branch office as part of the intelligence-gathering, said officials familiar with reports of the effort who spoke on background.

Officials familiar with reports about the company did not identify it by name. However, security officials are quietly alerting government security officials and industry cybersecurity chiefs about the Russian firm and its covert plans for operations in the United States.

Newly discovered hack has U.S. fearing foreign infiltration

A major breach at computer network company Juniper Networks has U.S. officials worried that hackers working for a foreign government were able to spy on the encrypted communications of the U.S. government and private companies for the past three years.

The FBI is investigating the breach, which involved hackers installing a back door on computer equipment, U.S. officials told CNN. Juniper disclosed the issue Thursday along with an emergency security patch that it urged customers to use to update their systems "with the highest priority."

The concern, U.S. officials said, is that sophisticated hackers who compromised the equipment could use their access to get into any company or government agency that used it.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Malcolm X exposes Nation of Islam pact with the KKK

Shortly before his assassination, Malcolm X spoke out about a “conspiracy.” The Nation of Islam was making a secret deal with the Ku Klux Klan. He spoke of how the Nation of Islam had been corrupted. Gone from an organization to help reform criminals, to an organization of criminals. He says in this video that he already has had an assassination attempt out on him, that individuals within the leadership of Nation of Islam wanted him dead and he says they would get him because he already knew too much.

When Malcolm X met the KKK...


Political Repression In The U.S.A.

Plutocracy from Scott N on Vimeo.

Viral 9/11 Truth-Debunking Blacksmith Gets It All Wrong

Much hay has been made in recent days about a YouTube video posted by a blacksmith named Trenton Tye, who tries to debunk the theory that the World Trade Center Twin Towers and Building 7 were destroyed by controlled demolition.

Within the first two days of being posted, Tye’s video received five million views and was covered by the Washington Post, the Daily Mirror, and the Huffington Post — the latter with the celebratory headline, “Metal Worker Shuts Down 9/11 Truthers… With His Pinkie.”

In fact, Tye's attempt to disprove controlled demolition by heating a half-inch piece of steel to 1,800°F and bending it like a “noodle” is way off. He seems to think the controlled demolition argument goes like this, “Fire can’t melt steel, so the buildings couldn’t have collapsed from fire.” He couldn’t be more mistaken.

The only reason that melting steel is discussed at all is because government officials, engineers, first responders, and others observed large amounts of molten metal (requiring temperatures of more than 2,800°F) in the debris of all three buildings.

Tye’s sixth-grade-level demonstration that structural steel loses strength at 1,800°F does nothing to address the presence of molten metal at Ground Zero. If anything, Tye proves that the fires in the World Trade Center could not have generated the molten metal that witnesses saw. What did? The only plausible explanation is thermite, an incendiary that can be used to cut through structural steel.

Putting aside the molten metal, Tye’s demonstration is wholly irrelevant for the simple reason that the fires in the World Trade Center could not have heated the structure anywhere near as high as the 1,800°F to which Tye heated his piece of steel using a furnace.

Jet fuel fires reach temperatures of around 1,500°F only under optimal conditions. In open air conditions like the WTC buildings, they burn at around 600°F. Even according to the government agency that investigated the disaster, there is no evidence that any of the steel was heated to the point where it would lose its strength.

There have been literally hundreds of hotter, larger, longer-lasting fires in steel-frame high-rises over the last century, and never has one caused the total collapse of a building. Tye’s simplistic logic implies that many of these infernos should have led to a total collapse. Of course, none has — and that also goes for the three steel-frame high-rises that were destroyed on 9/11.

That this YouTube video has become an overnight sensation testifies to the alarming lack of journalistic rigor and scientific acumen with which the media has approached the debate surrounding the World Trade Center destruction on 9/11 — and to the rampant misinformation that has followed.[UNIQID]

We encourage anyone who thinks there might be some validity to Tye’s confused science experiment to visit and to read our most recent publication, Beyond Misinformation: What Science Says About the Destruction of World Trade Center Buildings 1, 2, and 7, for real expert analysis of the evidence.

Last-Minute Budget Bill Allows New Privacy-Invading Surveillance in the Name of Cybersecurity

In the wake of a series of humiliating cyberattacks, the imperative in Congress and the White House to do something — anything — in the name of improving cybersecurity was powerful.

But only the most cynical observers thought the results would be this bad.

The legislation the House passed on Friday morning is a thinly disguised surveillance bill that would give companies pathways they don’t need to share user data related to cyberthreats with the government — while allowing the government to use that information for any purpose, with almost no privacy protections.

Because Speaker of the House Paul Ryan slipped the provision into the massive government omnibus spending bill that had to pass — or else the entire government would have shut down — it was doomed to become law. (This post has been updated to reflect the vote, which was 316 to 113.)

The text of the bill — now known as the Cybersecurity Act of 2015, formerly known as CISA — wasn’t released until shortly after midnight Wednesday morning, giving members of Congress essentially no time to do anything about it.

The bill removes a restriction on direct information sharing with the National Security Agency and the Pentagon; eliminates a restriction on the government’s use of that information for surveillance activities; allows law enforcement to use the information to prosecute any and all crimes; and leaves it up to the individual agencies to scrub personally identifying information when they feel like it.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mysterious Website Aims to Shed Light on Soccer Dealings

The press officer for F.C. Twente, a professional soccer club in the Netherlands, received a telephone call one morning last month while driving to work. A colleague had just seen a strange post on Twitter.

But this was no ordinary social media crisis for a sports team. Rather, Twente, based in Enschede, had become the latest target of a group that has suddenly disrupted professional soccer around the world with tactics that are reminiscent of WikiLeaks. The group has published private documents related to soccer clubs in Portugal, England, Spain, France, Luxembourg and Monaco, among others.

In the case of Twente, the website known as Football Leaks had published documents showing financial agreements between the team and an agency with a variety of soccer interests, including a controversial player-investment business. The documents, which were never meant to be released publicly, appeared to portray a relationship that was at best unsavory and at worst in violation of national and international soccer regulations.

Martin Shkreli, CEO Reviled for Drug Price Gouging, Arrested on Securities Fraud Charges

Martin Shkreli, a boastful pharmaceutical executive who came under withering criticism for price gouging vital drugs, denied securities fraud charges on Thursday following an early morning arrest, and was freed on a $5 million bond.

While the 32-year-old has earned a rare level of infamy for his brazenness in business and his personal life, what he was charged with had nothing to do with skyrocketing drug prices. He is accused of repeatedly losing money for investors and lying to them about it, illegally taking assets from one of his companies to pay off debtors in another.

“Shkreli essentially ran his company like a Ponzi scheme where he used each subsequent company to pay off defrauded investors from the prior company,” Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Robert Capers said at a press conference.

The Devil’s Chessboard By David Talbot - Reviewed by Jim DiEugenio

David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard has a massive scope to it. It deals with three main figures. The first, and the main character, is CIA Director Allen Dulles. The second, and a supporting character, is his brother, Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles. The third major character, who is dealt with in the last 270 pages of the book, is President John F. Kennedy.

Beyond focusing on three historical giants, because the framework is a biography of Allen Dulles, the book deals with some extraordinarily complex, controversial, even convoluted, historical events. Because, as the subtitle of the book states, perhaps no other single individual did as much to create the so—called “secret government” of the United States. The one that the mainstream media refuses to recognize, but which the public, in growing numbers, has grown to accept as a fact of life. This dichotomy has done much to feed the growing disbelief by the populace in both the American government, and the American media.

Canadian live route map highlights vulnerabilities to NSA spying efforts

Researchers at the University of Toronto have created a mapping tool that shows how internet data moves around and how the NSA can use just a few surveillance sites to scoop up online traffic.

IXmaps is a visual, interactive database of traffic routes, and uses real data to help Canadians get a sense of what happens when they are sending and receiving information. In some cases, even when the servers you are accessing are next door, the data packets will move around the United States before heading back into Canada.

The researchers call these "boomerang routes" and note that they move your information "into the jurisdiction of the U.S. National Security Agency." In other words, put your details in the hands of the US government. It includes on the maps the sites of NSA listening stations.

The Secret Surveillance Catalogue

Concerned about the militarization of law enforcement, a source within the intelligence community has provided The Intercept with a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. Some of the devices are already in use by federal law enforcement and local police forces domestically, and civil liberties advocates believe others will eventually find their way into use inside the U.S. This product catalogue provides rare insight into the current spy capabilities of local law enforcement and offers a preview of the future of mass surveillance of mobile communications.

STINGRAYS: A Secret Catalogue of Government Gear for Spying on Your Cellphone

THE INTERCEPT HAS OBTAINED a secret, internal U.S. government catalogue of dozens of cellphone surveillance devices used by the military and by intelligence agencies. The document, thick with previously undisclosed information, also offers rare insight into the spying capabilities of federal law enforcement and local police inside the United States.

The catalogue includes details on the Stingray, a well-known brand of surveillance gear, as well as Boeing “dirt boxes” and dozens of more obscure devices that can be mounted on vehicles, drones, and piloted aircraft. Some are designed to be used at static locations, while others can be discreetly carried by an individual. They have names like Cyberhawk, Yellowstone, Blackfin, Maximus, Cyclone, and Spartacus. Within the catalogue, the NSA is listed as the vendor of one device, while another was developed for use by the CIA, and another was developed for a special forces requirement. Nearly a third of the entries focus on equipment that seems to have never been described in public before.

The Intercept obtained the catalogue from a source within the intelligence community concerned about the militarization of domestic law enforcement. (The original is here.)

Navy SEALs, a Beating Death and Claims of a Cover-Up

U.S. soldiers accused Afghan police and Navy SEALs of abusing detainees. But the SEAL command opted against a court-martial and cleared its men of wrongdoing.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Grip of the Lion’s Paw: The Masons and the Knights of The Golden Circle

The Grip of the Lion’s Paw: The Masons and the Knights of The Golden Circle
by Mike Visockis

Our author has compiled a wonderfully large collection of Civil War era photographs with the help of the National Archives

and has formed them into a .pdf book presentation.

Licio Gelli, freemason linked to conspiracies, dies

Licio Gelli, the mastermind behind a notorious Italian masonic lodge with links to some of Italy’s biggest scandals of the 20th century, has died at the age of 96.

Gelli was at the “grandmaster” of the shadowy Propaganda Two (P2), whose activities were exposed in 1981 and which was accused of conspiring with right-wing extremists and the mafia to undermine Italian governments.

Gelli was sentenced to 12 years in jail for fraud linked to the collapse of Banco Ambrosiano whose boss, Roberto Calvi — known as “God’s banker” because of his links to the Vatican — was found hanged under a bridge in London in 1982. However, he served little time behind bars.

He was also found guilty of obstructing justice during police investigations into an explosion at Bologna train station in 1980 in which 85 people were killed. He later escaped from house arrest and fled to Switzerland.

In 1995, a judge linked Gelli with a 1970 plot to instigate a military coup in Italy, but the case was dropped because it was outside the statute of limitations.

The P2 was also accused of attempting to halt efforts to save former prime minister Aldo Moro, who was murdered by the Red Brigades leftist group in 1978 after being held hostage for 55 days.

Congress Slips CISA Into a Budget Bill That’s Sure to Pass

PRIVACY ADVOCATES WERE aghast in October when the Senate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74 to 21, leaving intact portions of the law they say make it more amenable to surveillance than actual security. Now, as CISA gets closer to the President’s desk, those privacy critics argue that Congress has quietly stripped out even more of its remaining privacy protections.

In a late-night session of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan announced a new version of the “omnibus” bill, a massive piece of legislation that deals with much of the federal government’s funding. It now includes a version of CISA as well. Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.

“They took a bad bill, and they made it worse,” says Robyn Greene, policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute.


While all air traffic grounded after 9/11, then-President Bush flew Bin Laden family out of country

During the Republican debate Tuesday Jeb Bush took exception to Donald Trump’s assertion George W. Bush flew Saudis and members of the Bin Laden family out of the country.

Despite the corporate media insisting this is a conspiracy theory we have definitive proof Jeb’s brother gave preferential treatment to Saudis—including Saudis who were considered principle witnesses to the September 11 attacks.
NBC News reported:

The review of how the FBI dealt with and reported on the travel of the Florida-based Saudis, and their subsequent departure from the United States with other Saudis, shows that the FBI failed to interview principal witnesses; relied on erroneous second-hand information; misinterpreted the orders under which the FAA managed the closure and subsequent reopening of U.S. airspace after the 9/11 attacks; misreported the means of travel; and even got Prince Sultan’s identity wrong.

In 2005 the AFP reported that “newly released US government records show that Federal Bureau of Investigation agents gave personal airport escorts to two prominent Saudi families who fled the US, while several other Saudis were allowed to leave the country without first being interviewed.”
Remarkably the flight was one of several “that Saudi Arabian citizens took in the immediate aftermath of September 11, 2001 when the rest of the country was prohibited from flying.”

Two dozen members of Osama bin Laden’s family also hurriedly departed the country, but the Saudi ambassador to Washington insisted the flights occurred when air travel was reopened.
New reports, however, counter this.

“Even though American airspace had been shut down, the Bush administration allowed a jet to fly around the US picking up family members from 10 cities, including Los Angeles, Washington DC, Boston and Houston,” Sky News reported following revelations by former White House counter-terrorism chief Richard Clarke.

“We were in the midst of the worst terrorist act in history and here we were seeing an evacuation of the bin Ladens! … I wanted to go the highest levels in Washington,” Tom Kinton, director of aviation at Boston’s Logan airport, said.

Trump was spot on with his accusation Tuesday night.

Bush may take umbrage but it is difficult to dispute history.

Bush Family - Close Nazi Ties Exposed

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Paul Castellano hit, 30 years later: The gruesome assassination of New York mob boss that gave way to John Gotti

Thirty years ago Wednesday, shots rang out in front of Sparks Steak House in Midtown, leaving then-Gambino crime boss Paul Castellano dead in the gutter, and signaling the rise to power of John Gotti who would soon become the most famous gangster in America.

It was also a development, according to mob experts, that ultimately speeded up the demise of the five mob families in New York City.

"It was one of the most singular acts that altered the existence of the New York Mafia," said Phil Scala the retired head of the FBI squad that investigated the Gambino family.

"John Gotti took the La Cosa Nostra rulebook and shot it full of holes on East 46th St. and Third Ave.," Scala said.

Gotti and his crew of hand-picked assassins wearing Russian-type fur hats, were carrying out the ultimate power play — killing the boss of their family -- without the permission or blessing of the heads of the Genovese, Colombo, Luchese, and Bonanno families.

Hacker Lexicon: Botnets, the Zombie Computer Armies That Earn Hackers Millions

ZOMBIE ARMIES AREN’T just invading movie screens these days. They’re also taking over the Internet in the form of massive botnets.

A botnet is an army of computers, all infected with the same malware, that gives a bot herder remote control of these computers in order to surreptitiously commandeer them without their owners’ knowledge. The bot herder can send instructions to the network of computers from a command-and-control server to siphon credit card numbers and banking credentials from them or use them to launch DDoS attacks against web sites, deliver spam and other malware to victims, or conduct advertising click fraud.

Botnets came up this month in a Senate Judiciary hearing with FBI Director James Comey. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, who has previously likened botnets to weeds that do “evil things,” asked Comey for his assessment of one of the Internet’s biggest scourges, and Comey replied that there was no such thing as a “good botnet.”

Army Terminology and Military Symbols

Military terms and symbols that are used by the U.S. Army have been compiled in an updated reference manual, along with acronyms and abbreviations. See ADRP 1-02, Terms and Military Symbols, December 2015.

Intended to foster a common vocabulary, the manual can also help outsiders to interpret distinctive Army expressions and patterns of speech.

The manual devotes several chapters to “military symbology.”

Banks Should Not Be Forced to Buy ‘Stock’ in the Federal Reserve

A week ago, President Barack Obama signed a new highway funding bill that will effectively tax banks and raid the Federal Reserve to pay for new highway spending. That whole ordeal exposed the convenient fiction that the Federal Reserve needs capital. The truth is, however, that the Fed doesn’t need capital, since it can just create money to pay anything it owes.

Now, several lawmakers on the House Financial Services Committee are trying to do the right thing. Reps. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., and Steve Stivers, R-Ohio, with the support of Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, want to give banks back most of the so-called stock they had to purchase when they joined the Fed.

When joining the Fed, banks are required to buy stock in the Federal Reserve System equal to 6 percent of their capital, with 3 percent held at the banks’ regional Fed (It’s been a requirement since 1913). Because this amount can no longer be used for any other purpose, the Fed pays the banks a 6-percent annual dividend.

Shareholders in a public company can trade or sell their stock, but that’s not the case here. So the amount is really more like a contribution.

Chicago's Homan Square police complex under fire

Allegations of a secret detention and interrogation site run by Chicago police and abuses that may have taken place there are being aired at a county commission hearing.

The Tuesday hearing, led by Cook County Commissioner Richard R. Boykin, comes amid heightened criticism of the Chicago Police Department. Chicago is in Cook County.

According to an investigation by The Guardian newspaper, the Chicago Police Department runs a secretive detention site at Homan Square, a sprawling compound that includes various police operations.

At Homan Square, the newspaper alleges, people have been abused, kept off the books and denied access to attorneys, essentially held in the dark.

The hearing is expected to include testimony from experts, advocates and people who were detained at Homan Square.

The History of Skull and Bones in 7 Minutes

10 Secret Armies of the Central Intelligence Agency

As more and more evidence mounts that the US government was secretly assisting the Islamic State, it might be time to point out a few instances when the Central Intelligence Agency created secret armies. The current theory suggests the US secretly supported the Islamic State so the Islamists would destabilize the government of Syrian President Assad. If that seems out of the question, remember the CIA once started a war over bananas… literal bananas.

Congress Drops All Pretense: Quietly Turns CISA Into A Full On Surveillance Bill

And, the latest is that it's getting worse. Not only is Congress looking to include it in the end of year omnibus bill -- basically a "must pass" bill -- to make sure it gets passed, but it's clearly dropping all pretense that CISA isn't about surveillance. Here's what we're hearing from people involved in the latest negotiations. The latest version of CISA that they're looking to put into the omnibus:

Removes the prohibition on information being shared with the NSA, allowing it to be shared directly with NSA (and DOD), rather than first having to go through DHS. While DHS isn't necessarily wonderful, it's a lot better than NSA. And, of course, if this were truly about cybersecurity, not surveillance, DHS makes a lot more sense than NSA.

Directly removes the restrictions on using this information for "surveillance" activities. You can't get much more direct than that, right?

Removes limitations that government can only use this information for cybersecurity purposes and allows it to be used to go after any other criminal activity as well. Obviously, this then creates tremendous incentives to push for greater and greater information collection, which clearly will be abused. We've just seen how the DEA has regularly abused its powers to collect info. You think agencies like the DEA and others won't make use of CISA too?

Removes the requirement to "scrub" personal information unrelated to a cybersecurity threat before sharing that information. This was the key point that everyone kept making about why the information should go to DHS first -- where DHS would be in charge of this "scrub". The "scrub" process was a bit exaggerated in the first place, but it was at least something of a privacy protection. However, it appears that the final version being pushed removes the scrub requirement (along with the requirement to go to DHS) and instead leaves the question of scrubbing to the "discretion" of whichever agency gets the information. Guess how that's going to go?

In short: while before Congress could at least pretend that CISA was about cybersecurity, rather than surveillance, in this mad dash to get it shoved through, they've dropped all pretense and have stripped every last privacy protection, expanded the scope of the bill, and made it quite clear that it's a very broad surveillance bill that can be widely used and abused by all parts of the government.