Thursday, March 31, 2016
'War on Drugs' has made no difference to number of users and actively harms public health, major study concludes
Anti-drug policies and laws have had “no measurable impact on supply or use” and cannot be justified on scientific or public health grounds, according to the authors of study commissioned by the Johns Hopkins Ivy League university and The Lancet.
The report presents “compelling evidence” that countries such as Portugal and the Czech Republic have decriminalised non-violent minor drug offences with positive results, including “public health benefits, cost savings, lower incarceration [rates] and no significant increase in problematic drug use”.
Urging action from countries such as the US and UK which still have highly strict drugs policies, the authors called on governments to consider “regulated markets” for cannabis like those in Uruguay and the US states of Washington, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.
(1) As admitted by secret Russian police files that are part of the Hoover Institution’s archives, the Russian Tsar’s secret police set off bombs and killed people in order to blame and arrest labor agitators. And see this.
(2) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found: “Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….” And see this.
(3) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland.
(4) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goering admitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.
(5) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev admitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsin agreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.
The Maryland Court of Special Appeals rejected the state of Maryland’s argument that anyone turning on a phone was “voluntarily” sharing their whereabouts with the police. And the 73-page opinion also harshly rebuked Baltimore police for trying to conceal their use of Stingrays from the court.
“This is the first appellate opinion in the country to fully address the question of whether police must disclose their intent to use a cell-site simulator to a judge and obtain a probable cause warrant,” said Nathan Wessler, a staff attorney with the ACLU’s Project on Speech, Privacy, and Technology.
The panel of judges stated that “cellphone users have an objectively reasonable expectation that their cellphones will not be used as real-time tracking devices, through the direct and active interference of law enforcement.”
Of the total of 41 cases in which the ACLU could determine the crime that caused the Department of Justice to demand access to a device, 17 were related to drugs, compared to just one known case of terrorism: the San Bernardino case. In fact, those 17 cases by far outnumbered the 10 financial crime cases, eight child pornography cases, and three counterfeiting cases, the next most common crimes on the ACLU’s list. (The ACLU explains that in the third of cases where the ACLU couldn’t identify the crime being investigated, the government hadn’t revealed the docket number of the related court filing that reveals the charges, or because the cases were sealed.)
The FBI’s legal battle with Apple is over, but the way it ended may not be good news for anyone.
Federal agents had been seeking to compel Apple to break the security of an iPhone 5c that had been used by one of the San Bernardino, Calif., terrorists. Apple had been fighting a court order to cooperate with the FBI, arguing that the authorities’ request was illegal and that creating a tool to break into the phone was itself harmful to the security of every iPhone user worldwide.
Last week, the FBI told the court it had learned of a possible way to break into the phone using a third party’s solution, without Apple’s help. On Monday, the agency dropped the case because the method worked. We don’t know who that third party is. We don’t know what the method is, or which iPhone models it applies to. Now it seems like we never will.
Wednesday, March 30, 2016
When the Nazi party seized power in Germany in 1933, one of its first objectives was to bring into line not just the national press, but international media too. The Guardian was banned within a year, and by 1935 even bigger British-American agencies such as Keystone and Wide World Photos were forced to close their bureaus after coming under attack for employing Jewish journalists.
Associated Press, which has described itself as the “marine corps of journalism” (“always the first in and the last out”) was the only western news agency able to stay open in Hitler’s Germany, continuing to operate until the US entered the war in 1941. It thus found itself in the presumably profitable situation of being the prime channel for news reports and pictures out of the totalitarian state.
In an article published in academic journal Studies in Contemporary History , historian Harriet Scharnberg shows that AP was only able to retain its access by entering into a mutually beneficial two-way cooperation with the Nazi regime.
The New York-based agency ceded control of its output by signing up to the so-called Schriftleitergesetz (editor’s law), promising not to publish any material “calculated to weaken the strength of the Reich abroad or at home”.
This law required AP to hire reporters who also worked for the Nazi party’s propaganda division. One of the four photographers employed by the Associated Press in the 1930s, Franz Roth, was a member of the SS paramilitary unit’s propaganda division, whose photographs were personally chosen by Hitler. AP has removed Roth’s pictures from its website since Scharnberg published her findings, though thumbnails remain viewable due to “software issues”.
The name of the new national surveillance network is called SkyNet.
I'm joking, it's called NetSense.
"Sensity's NetSense Partner Program is designed to accelerate a global ecosystem for the Industrial Internet of Things ."
"The company [Sensity] targets malls, universities and cities..."
According to the Daily Mail, "smart" lights are being touted as security devices that can assist with 'Homeland Security' measures by providing applications like video surveillance and motion sensors.
NetSense enables security solutions in environments such as parking lots and garages, college and corporate campuses, and city streets where there is a need for enhanced security, asset protection and perimeter detection. What they're really saying is, they're quietly installing a nationwide smart LED lighting surveillance system!
Sensity's "smart" LED lights are being installed in airports across the country.
"Using an array of sensors and eight video cameras around the Newark Airport terminal, the Sensity light fixtures are part of a new wireless network that collects and feeds data into software that can spot long lines, recognize license plates and even identify suspicious activity, sending alerts to the appropriate staff."
The airport has installed 171 "smart" LED lighting fixtures, attached to the ceiling, that peer down and record the movements of passengers and staff.
Las Vegas's "smart" LED lights can record people's conversations.
“This technology, you know is taking us to a place where, you know, you’ll essentially be monitored from the moment you leave your home till the moment you get home,” said Daphne Lee.
"At what point do we say this is the land of the free," Lee said. "People have a right to a reasonable amount of privacy."
Major General Smedley Butler earned the highest rank in the U.S. Marine Corps, accumulating numerous accolades as he helped lead the United States through decades of war. He later became an ardent critic of such militarism and imperialism.
“War is a racket,” Butler famously said, and Wilkerson — who has also turned critical of U.S. imperialist policy — agrees with and admires the esteemed Marine.
Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to former secretary of state, Colin Powell, has grown tired of “the corporate interests that we go abroad to slay monsters for.”
Of the profiteering scheme that wars have come to embody, Wilkerson quoted Butler:
“Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents.”
Noting Butler’s brief but accurate characterization of what Eisenhower called the military-industrial complex, Wilkerson added that today’s war machine “is more pernicious than Eisenhower ever thought it would be.”
The willingness of such weapons and military equipment corporations to excuse the transgressions of repressive and abusive regimes in the Middle East and Asia for the sake of profit, Wilkerson asserted, stands as evidence Eisenhower underestimated the extent the to which the problem would manifest.
“Was Bill Clinton’s expansion of NATO — after George H. W. Bush and [his Secretary of State] James Baker had assured Gorbachev and then Yeltsin that we wouldn’t go an inch further east — was this for Lockheed Martin, and Raytheon, and Boeing, and others, to increase their network of potential weapons sales?” Wilkerson asked.
“You bet it was,” he answered his own question.
Cyber Vault – an online resource documenting various aspects of US government cyber activity, including hacking and defenses against hacking, cyber intelligence, and cyberwar. The Vault also includes documentation on foreign government and international organizations’ cyber activities. Currently numbering more than 150 curated items, the list will grow with new additions on a weekly basis.
If Bernie Sanders wins the New York Democratic primary, some superdelegates vow to back Hillary Clinton anyway
At least a half-dozen Democratic superdelegates in New York State who have already decided to support Hillary Clinton said Tuesday they would maintain their allegiance to her — regardless of the results of the Empire State’s primary.
Even if Sanders were to win the April 19 New York presidential contest, when a whopping 247 delegates are at stake, every single New York superdelegate reached by the Daily News said they would never back the Vermont senator.
Tuesday, March 29, 2016
In an expansion of Operation Mockingbird, the agency are now creating fake user accounts on various internet forums and social media channels, arguing politics with real users in an attempt to stifle and subvert genuine communications between users.
In the congressional hearing from 1976 (below) listen to how many agents are in the media to write false stories.
According to the Congress report published in 1976:
“The CIA currently maintains a network of several hundred foreign individuals around the world who provide intelligence for the CIA and at times attempt to influence opinion through the use of covert propaganda. These individuals provide the CIA with direct access to a large number of newspapers and periodicals, scores of press services and news agencies, radio and television stations, commercial book publishers, and other foreign media outlets.”
Did you know that The Walt Disney Company owns ABC?
How about Time Warner? Did you know it owns CNN?
Did you know that News Corp owns Fox, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post? Did you know Comcast and GE own MSNBC, NBC News and CNBC?
What about this news source, here? Did you know Verizon, which now owns AOL, owns The Huffington Post? Did you know most people don’t know any of this?
As Bernie Sanders said in an interview on The Young Turks, “The media is an arm of the ruling class of this country.” We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.
The National Telecommunications and Information Administration, an agency within the U.S. Commerce Department, held a meeting in Washington Tuesday to consider a set of “best practices” for collecting and storing facial data and to discuss how face-recognition technology might apply to the Obama administration’s so-called Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights publicized in 2012. The meeting is part of an ongoing process being billed as a “multistakeholder” effort to develop an enforceable code of conduct for emerging biometric technologies, but privacy groups say their warnings about potential privacy abuses are not being heard. Instead, they say the process has been hijacked by technology industry interests intent on harnessing sensitive private data for monetary gain.
Monday, March 28, 2016
The decision to drop the case — which involved demanding Apple’s help to open the iPhone used by Syed Rizwan Farook, a gunman in the December shooting in San Bernardino, Calif., that killed 14 people — ends a standoff between the government and the world’s most valuable public company. The case had become increasingly contentious as the company refused to help authorities, citing privacy issues.
“The government has now successfully accessed the data stored on Farook’s iPhone and therefore no longer requires the assistance from Apple,” the Justice Department said in a filing on Monday.
CIA Conducted Biological Weapons Experiments in The New York City Subway as Part of Project MK-NAOMI
Former CIA Director William Colby told the US Congress that the agency's dart gun, or "nondiscernible microbioinoculator," was electrically-powered but fashioned after the Army's Colt semi-automatic pistol.
Unlike the Army's pistols, however, the CIA's dart gun was not meant to be used openly against combatants on the field of battle, but rather in crowded cities, under the cloak of secrecy, and against non-combatants.
There are reports that CIA agents involved in Project MK-NAOMI trained in using their dart guns in the New York City subway during rush hour, with commuters remaining completely unaware that an assassin was training in their midst.
Not only did the CIA use American citizens as shooting targets, the agency flooded the New York City subway with "a harmless stimulant of disease-carrying gas." According to the New York Times, the CIA was stockpiling and using these toxins even as President Richard Nixon ordered against it, showing that the agency considered itself not to be just above the law, but also the White House itself.
In the U.S., chances are close to nil that the TPP could get ratified anytime soon. The White House is still seeking congressional support for the massive 12-country deal but the political environment could not be any more unfavorable. Presidential candidates are pointing to trade agreements as the root cause of economic inequality. For the Obama administration, things look grim in Congress as well. More and more lawmakers are coming out against the TPP, while others who had long championed the deal are now holding back their support over their stance that some of the provisions do not go far enough to protect certain industries. The soonest the TPP's ratification vote may happen is during the “Lame Duck” period after November's election.
But even as the United States stalls on the TPP, other countries are moving towards ratification. Below is a summary of how TPP is advancing outside the United States:
In the wake of the Brussels attack last week – the second deadly terrorist atrocity to hit a European capital within five months – the retired four-star US general said it would be the worst time for Britain and the EU if voters opted to leave in June’s referendum.
General Petraeus, who led US and Nato forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, said it would ‘deal a significant blow to the EU’s strength and resilience at exactly the moment when the West is under attack from multiple directions’.
His comments directly contradict his fellow ex-CIA director General Michael Hayden, who said on Friday that Britain’s national security will not be harmed if it leaves the EU.
He said membership of the 28-state bloc ‘in some ways gets in the way of the state providing security for its own citizens’ and dismissed claims by In campaigners that the UK would lose out from shared intelligence if it voted to leave.
And he warned that the UK should not rely on the poor intelligence services of many EU member states such as Belgium, whose authorities failed to stop home-grown terrorists kill 31 people last week.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3511309/Ex-CIA-director-David-Patraeus-warns-UK-open-terror-threat-Britain-leaves-EU.html
A former US official who had seen some of the photographs described them as “very gruesome”.
The naked imagery of CIA captives raises new questions about the seeming willingness of the US to use what one medical and human rights expert called “sexual humiliation” in its post-9/11 captivity of terrorism suspects. Some human rights campaigners described the act of naked photography on unwilling detainees as a potential war crime.
Unlike video evidence of CIA torture at its undocumented “black site” prisons that were destroyed in 2005 by a senior official, the CIA is said to retain the photographs.
In some of the photos, which remain classified, CIA captives are blindfolded, bound and show visible bruises. Some photographs also show people believed to be CIA officials or contractors alongside the naked detainees.
It is not publicly known how many people, overwhelmingly but not exclusively men, were caught in the CIA’s web of so-called “extraordinary renditions”, extra-judicial transfers of detainees to foreign countries, many of which practised even more brutal forms of torture than the US came to adopt. Human rights groups over the years have identified at least 50 people the CIA rendered, going back to Bill Clinton’s presidency.
It is also unclear how many of those rendition targets the CIA photographed naked.
The rationale for the naked photography, described by knowledgeable sources, was to insulate the CIA from legal or political ramifications stemming from their brutal treatment in the hands of its partner intelligence agencies.
Those interviews and the final review of the case, however, could still take many weeks, all but guaranteeing that the investigation will continue to dog Clinton’s presidential campaign through most, if not all, of the remaining presidential primaries.
No dates have been set for questioning the advisors, but a federal prosecutor in recent weeks has called their lawyers to alert them that he would soon be doing so, the sources said. Prosecutors also are expected to seek an interview with Clinton herself, though the timing remains unclear.
The fighting has intensified over the last two months, as CIA-armed units and Pentagon-armed ones have repeatedly shot at each other while maneuvering through contested territory on the northern outskirts of Aleppo, U.S. officials and rebel leaders have confirmed.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
Tens of thousands of people lined the streets of Dublin on Sunday to witness a large military parade commemorating the centenary of the 1916 Easter Rising.
Crowds of people gathered along the 4.5km route across Dublin from 10am for the parade.
At about noon, the Proclamation was read out at the GPO on O’Connell Street by Capt Peter Kelleher .
President Michael D Higgins then laid wreath at the GPO, with relatives of those who fought in the rebellion in attendance.
The flag above the GPO was then raised to full mast and Amhrán na bhFiann was played as a fly-over of military planes took place 700ft above O’Connell Street.
Ahead of the reading, the flag over the GPO had been lowered to half-mast and the President inspected a guard of honour.
With England firmly distracted by events in Europe, the rebels set about forming an army that could take on the might of the Empire.
The first step was to convince James Connolly to join the IRB, which he did in January 1916.
He was quickly voted onto the Military Council, to ensure the Irish Citizens Army would fight in the Rising.
Connolly had been considering leading his army into a rising on his own, but had been convinced by Pearse and MacNeill not to undertake premature action.
Days later, an agreement was reached for a joint uprising from the Irish Volunteers and the Citizen’s Army, to take place on Easter Sunday.
Their plans were shrouded in secrecy. Even the IRB President Denis McCullogh, who had been elected following Military Council manipulation, knew nothing of the Council or their plans.
Later, many would blame this secrecy on the mass confusion over the dates the Rising was to take place, and it’s subsequent failure – initially at least.
Another factor in the rebel’s defeat was the failure to secure a shipment of arms from Germany – although they came within a whisker of doing so.
When the Great War broke out, many republicans were hopeful Germany would support an Irish insurrection. The key negotiator in this endeavour was Roger Casement.
Initially, the former diplomat’s mission was a success. The Germans commissioned a steamboat – the SS Limbau – loaded with 20,000 rifles, 10 machine guns and a million rounds of ammo to sail to Ireland.
Why did the Rising happen?
The Rising was the result of a resurgence of Irish nationalism in the late 19th and early 20th century. Cultural organizations such as the Gaelic Athletic Association (which promoted Irish sports such as hurling and Gaelic football) and the Gaelic League (which pushed the revival of the Irish language) helped generate a new sense of shared identity. This led to increased pressure for Home Rule (a limited form of independence) among moderate nationalists and complete independence among radicals. By 1913, Northern Unionists who opposed Irish nationalism were mobilizing against proposals for Home Rule, setting up an armed organization called the Ulster Volunteer Force.
This led Irish nationalists to set up their own organization, the Irish Volunteers in 1913, which was nominally led by my great-grandfather, Eoin MacNeill. This organization soon split over disagreements about whether Irish men should volunteer to fight in World War I, and the remnant of the organization became dominated by the Irish Republican Brotherhood (IRB), a radical group that wanted complete independence, if necessary through armed insurrection.
The IRB, together with the Irish Citizen Army, a much smaller left-wing organization, decided that the time was right to strike against Britain. Without informing MacNeill and other leaders, they decided to mobilize the organization across the country for an armed rebellion on Easter Sunday 1916. MacNeill, who heard about the rebellion at the last moment, issued a countermanding order that was published in a national newspaper. The result was that very little happened outside Dublin.
Saturday, March 26, 2016
In a statement, Robert De Niro, a founder of the festival, wrote: “My intent in screening this film was to provide an opportunity for conversation around an issue that is deeply personal to me and my family. But after reviewing it over the past few days with the Tribeca Film Festival team and others from the scientific community, we do not believe it contributes to or furthers the discussion I had hoped for.”
As the criticism mounted on Friday, Mr. De Niro defended the film, saying that he and his wife, Grace Hightower, have a child with autism and that “we believe it is critical that all of the issues surrounding the causes of autism be openly discussed and examined.”
George Carlin Rolling in Grave as “7 Dirty Words” Skit Entered in Library of Congress – Still Banned by FCC
While questioning the government’s ability to arrest people for simply speaking words, Carlin was arrested on obscenity charges after performing “Seven Dirty Words” at Milwaukee’s Summerfest in July 1972. Although the charges were later dropped, Carlin was arrested several more times for continuing to perform the routine.
During a road trip with his 15-year-old son, John Douglas, a CBS executive and a member of a pornography watchdog group called Morality in Media, stumbled across WBAI-FM playing Carlin’s “Seven Dirty Words” on the afternoon of October 30, 1973. Even though listeners were warned that some of Carlin’s language might seem offensive, Douglas listened to the broadcast before filing a complaint with the FCC. Five years later, the Supreme Court’s FCC v. Pacifica Foundation decision determined that the FCC could regulate offensive content on broadcasts between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m., during the hours when children would most likely be exposed to profanity.
Read more at http://thefreethoughtproject.com/library-congress-preserves-george-carlins-7-dirty-words-fcc-prohibits-spoken/
Friday, March 25, 2016
Flirtey CEO Matt Sweeney said the six-rotor drone flew about a half-mile along a pre-programmed delivery route on March 10 and lowered the package outside a vacant residence in an uninhabited area of Hawthorne, southeast of Reno.
The route was established using GPS. A pilot and visual observers were on standby during the flight but weren't needed, Sweeney said.
He said the package included bottled water, food and a first-aid kit.
"Conducting the first drone delivery in an urban setting is a major achievement, taking us closer to the day that drones make regular deliveries to your front doorstep," Sweeney said.
One of EFF’s three cases against the NSA, Smith v. Obama, has been sent back to the trial court by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The lawsuit was brought by an Idaho neonatal nurse, Anna Smith, who was outraged to discover that the NSA was engaging in bulk collection of telephone records. This same program is challenged in our First Unitarian Church of Los Angeles v. NSA case and has also always been a part of our long-running Jewel v. NSA case.
Most importantly for where we are now, this is the same program that was formally ended with the changes to Section 215 of the Patriot Act wrought by USA FREEDOM. Of course, a new version of the law replaced the old program with another one about which we, and others, have raised serious concerns. But nevertheless, Ms. Smith sued over the now-ended mass spying operation and that limits what a court can do even if it were to find that the old program was illegal.
Smith originally argued that her Fourth Amendment rights were violated when the NSA collected her phone records. She asked the court to order the government to do two things: (1) stop collecting her records going forward; (2) destroy the ones they had already. This last request is known in the law as a “purge” claim.
The appeals court determined that because the program ended by the implementation of USA FREEDOM, a court could not order the program to end. But the Ninth Circuit returned the purge claim to U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the trial court in Idaho to determine whether Smith can force the government to destroy her records in its possession.
Incidentally, with spending on healthcare (courtesy of the Supreme Court's Obamacare tax) soaring, while outlays on the traditionally most consumption-intensive category, housing and utilities, going nowhere for the past several years, it is only a matter of 2-3 quarters before Healthcare surpasses Housing as the biggest use of American cash.
Putting this in context, a recent report from Freedom Partners Health found that health insurance premiums have increased faster than wages and inflation in recent years, rising an average of 28 percent from 2009 to 2014 despite the enactment of Obamacare, or rather "because of." Obama signed the Affordable Care Act into law on March 23, 2010, and Wednesday is the law’s sixth anniversary.
Thursday, March 24, 2016
Things are about to get much worse, expect to see more checkpoints across the U.S. after the recent Rynearson v. The U.S. ruling.
Below are two excerpts taken from page 5 of the Appeals Court ruling...
"Border patrol agents at interior checkpoints may stop a vehicle, refer it to a secondary inspection area, request production of documents from the vehicle’s occupants, and question the occupants about their citizenship. The purpose of the stop is limited to ascertaining the occupants’ citizenship status."
“The permissible duration of an immigrant checkpoint stop is therefore the time reasonably necessary to determine the citizenship status of the persons stopped.”
Court allows police to stop and question anyone without suspicion of any wrongdoing.
"In contrast, the Supreme Court has granted agents at immigration checkpoints the right to stop and question a vehicle’s occupants regarding their citizenship without reasonable suspicion of any wrongdoing. That grant of authority is readily distinguishable from the authority granted by Terry."
The Supreme Court has concluded that “all that is required of the vehicle’s occupants is a response to a brief question or two and possibly the production of a document evidencing a right to be in the United States.”
Blackwater’s Founder Is Under Investigation for Money Laundering, Ties to Chinese Intel, and Brokering Mercenary Services
What began as an investigation into Prince’s attempts to sell defense services in Libya and other countries in Africa has widened to a probe of allegations that Prince received assistance from Chinese intelligence to set up an account for his Libya operations through the Bank of China. The Justice Department, which declined to comment for this article, is also seeking to uncover the precise nature of Prince’s relationship with Chinese intelligence.
Prince, through his lawyer, Victoria Toensing, said he has not been informed of a federal investigation and had not offered any defense services in Libya. Toensing called the money-laundering allegations “total bullshit.”
The Intercept interviewed more than a half dozen of Prince’s associates, including current and former business partners; four former U.S. intelligence officers; and other sources familiar with the Justice Department investigation. All of them requested anonymity to discuss these matters because there is an ongoing investigation. The Intercept also reviewed several secret proposals drafted by Prince and his closest advisers and partners offering paramilitary services to foreign entities.
For more than a year, U.S. intelligence has been monitoring Prince’s communications and movements, according to a former senior U.S. intelligence officer and a second former intelligence official briefed on the investigation. Multiple sources, including two people with business ties to Prince, told The Intercept that current government and intelligence personnel informed them of this surveillance. Those with business ties were cautioned to sever their dealings with Prince.
The Merrick Garland Project seeks to present Judge Garland’s record in a unique way—by curating a selection of opinions he has authored while on the D.C. Circuit, condensing them, and organizing them by subject matter. We launched on March 21, 2016 with opinions in four principal categories: constitutional law, civil rights, criminal law, and administrative law. More opinions and categories will be released in the coming days and weeks as the Project develops.
We aim not to undertake a comprehensive review of Judge Garland’s entire judicial record, but rather to take a closer look at select opinions that we believe are representative of his judicial philosophy, with an eye towards opinions that are highly cited, clarify a previously unsettled area of the law, or are written for a divided court. We wish to make Judge Garland’s record more accessible, exploring not just his votes and holdings, but his legal reasoning. In doing so, we hope to be a valuable resource to attorneys, journalists, students, and anyone else with an interest in Judge Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court and its potential implications.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016
The FBI abruptly halted its heated case against Apple on Monday, citing a new break-in method from an unnamed "outside source." In the days since, the security industry has been puzzling over the identity of that mysterious source. But now, the mask is being lifted. Cellebrite, an Israeli mobile forensic software company, is reportedly helping the FBI get into Syed Farook’s device, according to reports from Reuters and Ynet.
The FBI "has been reportedly using the services of the Israeli-based company Cellebrite in its effort to break the protection on a terrorist's locked iPhone, according to experts in the field familiar with the case," Ynet reports. The Verge reached out to Cellebrite yesterday afternoon for comment and hasn’t yet heard back.
If true, Cellebrite’s role in helping the FBI wouldn’t come as a shock. The company has a sole-source contract with the FBI that it signed in 2013 specifically to help with mobile forensics and data extraction, exactly the task presented by the San Bernardino case. Some also speculated the late-night hack discovery, which came in Sunday evening, was most likely reported by a company in a European or Mediterranean time zone.
If Cellebrite succeeds, then the FBI will no longer need the help of Apple Inc (AAPL.O), the Israeli daily said, citing unnamed industry sources.
Cellebrite officials declined to comment on the matter.
The Justice Department made headlines on Monday when it postponed a federal court hearing in California. It had been due to confront Apple over an order that would have forced it to write software that would make it easier for investigators to guess the passcode for an iPhone used by San Bernardino gunman Syed Farook.
The government now says it may have figured out a way to get into the phone without Apple’s help. But it wants that discovery to remain secret, in an effort to prevent criminals, security researchers and even Apple itself from reengineering smartphones so that the tactic would no longer work.
Currently, the Justice Department is still testing to make sure the method doesn’t damage or erase data stored on devices before using it on Farook’s phone. The technique does successfully allow the government to get inside locked iPhones, the Guardian has confirmed.
US officials quickly realized the discovery could be a mixed blessing, people briefed on the developments said. On the one hand, the government may be able to avoid a controversial legal fight with America’s most valuable company. On the other, the government now has to be very cautious about when to use the method, which was provided by an “outside party”, according to court filings.
“Long Island,” he noted, “has a very checkered history.” As explanatory information about the exhibit from the Center states: “Long Island of the 1930s was not exactly a bastion of racial and religious acceptance. There was an active Ku Klux Klan in Suffolk County and the American Eugenics Society, a group that was trying to create a perfect Aryan race in the United States, was headquartered in Cold Spring Harbor.” (It was at the site of the present Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.)
“With the coming of war the [Nazi] Bund faded and Camp Siegfried was closed down,” it continued. The “self-appointed leader of the Nazi American Bund,” Fritz Kuhn, central to the Yaphank operation, had been convicted in 1939 of tax evasion and embezzling — from the Bund — and jailed. And after his release from Sing Sing on New York State criminal charges, he was re-arrested by the U.S. government in 1943 as an enemy agent. With the war’s end, the German-born Kuhn was deported to West Germany where he died in 1951. This ringmaster of Yaphank activities had intended to become “the American fuhrer” after succeeding with his fellow Nazis in “transforming America into a Nazi state,” said Professor Klipstein.
Professor Klipstein, assistant director of the Center, also detailed the activities in these times of major American figures, notably auto magnate Henry Ford and aviator Charles Lindberg, both given awards by the Nazi regime in Germany, hate radio preacher Charles Coughlin and U.S Senator Burton Wheeler.
And he told of, in contrast, strong anti-Nazi actions by New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and then Manhattan DA Thomas Dewey—whose work led to Kuhn’s imprisonment—and by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and here in Suffolk, the extensive efforts of a prosecutor, Lindsay Henry, which had much to do with the end of Camp Siegfried.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Inside CIA's secret prisons: Haunting images show 'blacksites', where prisoners have been held and tortured around the globe
An empty interrogation chair, a windowless warehouse and a prison known as The Salt Pit where inmates were kept in complete darkness , constantly shackled in isolated cells with loud noise or music and only a bucket to use for human waste.
These haunting images curated by British photographer Edmund Clark and counter-terrorism investigator Crofton Black confront the nature of contemporary warfare head on, and in doing so reveal the invisible mechanisms of state control.
One picture shows The Salt Pit, the CIA's first prison in Afghanistan, upon which the visiting Federal Bureau of Prisons commented they had 'never been in a facility where individuals are so sensory deprived'.
Gul Rahman, a young Afghan detainee, died of hypothermia there in November 2002. He was buried in an unmarked grave.
And in Lithuania, a windowless warehouse surrounded by woodland was secretly built by the CIA to use as a prison facility.
George W. Bush's 2001 declaration of the 'war on terror' until 2008, an unknown number of people disappeared into a network of secret prisons, according to the exhibition's research.
These have been organized by the CIA-transfers without legal process and are known as extraordinary renditions. No public records were kept to trace the detainees as they were shuttled to different outposts around the world.
And while some were eventually sent to Guantánamo Bay or released without charge, others remain completely unaccounted for.
The collection, called Negative Publicity: Artifacts of Extraordinary Rendition aims to 'raise fundamental questions about the accountability and complicity of our governments, and the erosion of our most basic civil rights'.
At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away. “You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
I must have looked shocked. Ehrlichman just shrugged. Then he looked at his watch, handed me a signed copy of his steamy spy novel, The Company, and led me to the door.
Nixon’s invention of the war on drugs as a political tool was cynical, but every president since — Democrat and Republican alike — has found it equally useful for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the growing cost of the drug war is now impossible to ignore: billions of dollars wasted, bloodshed in Latin America and on the streets of our own cities, and millions of lives destroyed by draconian punishment that doesn’t end at the prison gate; one of every eight black men has been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction.
Isis claims responsibility for Brussels attacks 'in revenge for Belgium's role fighting militants in Syria and Iraq'
In a statement released through one of its propaganda outlets, the so-called Islamic State said "explosive belts and devices" were used to massacre passengers checking in at Brussels Airport and on a Metro train.
"Islamic State fighters opened fire inside Zaventem Airport, before several of them detonated their explosive belts, as a martyrdom bomber detonated his explosive belt in the Maalbeek Metro station," a spokesperson said.
The group claimed that the attacks left more than 230 dead and wounded, although Belgian authorities put the figure slightly lower at at least 31 killed and under 200 injured.
It said Belgium was targeted as "a country participating in the international coalition against the Islamic State", although the country only carried out a limited bombing campaign confined to Iraq before stopping its air strikes in June 2015.
New York police are also in contact with its “international partners,” as well as the FBI. An NYPD spokesman said on Twitter that the Counterterrorism Response Command, the Strategic Response Group and the Hercules Team, a heavily armed police unit, have been deployed throughout the city.
“These teams have been deployed to crowded areas and transit locations around the city out of an abundance of caution to provide police presence and public reassurance as we closely follow the developing situation overseas,” the NYPD said in a statement.
A federal watchdog has concluded that the Pentagon inspector general’s office may have improperly destroyed evidence during the high-profile leak prosecution of former National Security Agency official Thomas Drake.
The Office of Special Counsel, which is charged with protecting federal employees who provide information on government wrongdoing, said its review of the handling of the Drake case had determined that there is “substantial likelihood” that there had been “possible violations of laws, rules or regulations” in the destruction of the evidence.
The counsel office’s review, which was made available to McClatchy, states the allegations had been “transmitted” to the Justice Department’s inspector general for further investigation and that the Justice Department had agreed to open a probe by June 1.
The two sides were scheduled to meet in court on Tuesday afternoon in Riverside, California.
Attorneys for the Department of Justice told Judge Sheri Pym—who earlier ordered Apple to design a way to weaken the phone’s security at the government’s request—that they might not need Apple’s help anymore.
“An outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method for unlocking Farook’s iPhone,” wrote the DOJ counsels. “Testing is required to determine whether it is a viable method that will not compromise data on Farook’s iPhone.”
It’s unclear who that third party is, though DOJ told reporters they don’t work for the government. The DOJ asked for two weeks to test the proposed method.
Monday, March 21, 2016
But what happens when the Internet stops being just “that fiddly thing with a mouse” and becomes “the real world”? Surveillance becomes the business model of everything, as more and more companies look to turn the world into a collection of data points.
If we truly understood the bargain we were making when we give up our data for free or discounted services, would we still sign on the dotted line (or agree to the Terms and Conditions)? Would we still accept constant monitoring of our driving habits in exchange for potential insurance breaks, or allow our energy consumption to be uploaded into the cloud in exchange for “smart data” about it?
Nowhere is our ignorance of the trade-offs greater, or the consequences more worrisome, than our madcap rush to connect every toaster, fridge, car, and medical device to the Internet.
Welcome to the Internet of Things, what Schneier calls “the World Size Web,” already growing around you as we speak, which creates such a complete picture of our lives that Dr. Richard Tynan of Privacy International calls them “doppelgängers”—mirror images of ourselves built on constantly updated data. These doppelgängers live in the cloud, where they can easily be interrogated by intelligence agencies. Nicholas Weaver, a security researcher at University of California, Berkeley, points out that “Under the FISA Amendments Act 702 (aka PRISM), the NSA can directly ask Google for any data collected on a valid foreign intelligence target through Google’s Nest service, including a Nest Cam.” And that’s just one, legal way of questioning your digital doppelgänger; we’ve all heard enough stories about hacked cloud storage to be wary of trusting our entire lives to it.
Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council, said the orders are a new “catch and release” policy, which he said “amounts to amnesty” because it means many illegal immigrants are never asked to leave the country.
It also suggests the Border Patrol is being ordered to break President Obama’s own enforcement priorities, which say new illegal immigrants — defined as those who came after Dec. 31, 2013 — are priorities for deportation, and are supposed to be arrested and processed.
Mr. Judd provided his testimony in written answers released Monday by the House Judiciary Committee, saying that even in some criminal cases, agents are ordered to let illegal immigrants go without ever issuing them a Notice to Appear, or NTA, which is what puts them into deportation proceedings.
Mr. Judd said they took their case directly to Deputy Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who told them not to bother.
On March 13, 1962, the Joint Chiefs of Staff proposed to President John F. Kennedy that the United States attack itself — and blame Cuba. This is what is known as a “false flag” event.
This proposal came at the request of the CIA’s Edward Lansdale who was in charge of the anti-Castro project.
Kennedy dismissed it as lunacy, certain to lead to war. This set him on a fatal collision course with the most powerful people in the country.
This little-known proposal, code-named Operation Northwoods, is highly relevant today. It provides a crucial backdrop to the murderous mindset of those whom Castro — and Kennedy — had angered. Moreover, we would be foolish to assume that the basic nature of institutions has changed. The temptation to engineer so-called false flag events may simply be too great to resist.
Was Northwoods an anomaly? Certainly not. Creating provocations to justify action — by making it appear you are only reacting — has long been a ploy of many governments, over time and throughout the world.
The United States has hardly been immune to the temptation to shape events, opinion, and historical trajectories: An explosion on the US battleship, The Maine, in Havana Harbor, may have been designed to build public support for the American takeover of Cuba; the Gulf of Tonkin incident, an attack blamed on the North Vietnamese to justify widening the Vietnam Conflict; Operation Gladio, in which terrorist attacks in Europe in the 1970s were blamed on leftists but engineered by right-wing networks supported by American intelligence. And WhoWhatWhy has covered the recent use of falsified atrocities to justify the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi and the strategic grab of that valuable North African real estate.
So it is no surprise that many Americans do not trust their government when it assures them it was caught completely unawares by the 9/11 attacks. Because past is prologue, we would do well to learn the particulars of Northwoods.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
In an open letter to the mayor’s office, the New York Civil Liberties Union has warned that the new LinkNYC program gives itself the option to legally track and store the activity of those who use it.
In the past, the U.S. Secret Service admitted that the hidden printer code was part of a massive secretive deal between the Secret Service and laser printer manufacturers. The secret codes in printers aid the government agency in identifying counterfeited documentations’. However, the latest reports reveal that research has uncovered private information encoded in every document that you print, while using these printers.
Seth David Schoen, an EFF Staff Technologist, stated “We’ve found that the dots from at least on line of printers encode the date and time your document was printed, as well as the serial number of the printer.”
The coded dots were found in printed documents used by the Xerox, Brother, Dell, HP and Canon printers. The colored dots are so small that they measure less than 1 millimeter in diameter, and are yellow in color. The secret code found in the first page you print is repeated onto every following page printed, and is only visible beneath a blue light in conjunction with a magnifying glass or microscope.
The researchers at EFF have decoded the codes printed by the Xerox DocuColor printer, and believe that other printer makers have included the same mechanism method.
The first sitting president in nearly 90 years to visit the island, a trip the White House says will 'deepen' America's relationship with the authoritarian government following more than half a century of tension.
Obama and his entourage were whisked off the runway to Melia Habana hotel to meet with U.S. embassy staff before their tour of Old Havana, a family excursion that was ill-fated, given the torrential downpour, but left on the schedule nonetheless as the U.S. president made a symbolic display of solidarity with the Cuban people.
'This is a historic visit and a historic opportunity,' Obama told embassy staff as he greeted them and reflected on the seven months since the embassy reopened in Havana last July. 'I want you to know, everyone we've accomplished so far ... It's all happening because of you. Every day you're bringing the US and Cuba closer together.'
Cuban and American flags flew from the president's car as it left the airport in the direction of central Havana.
The first family will now spend three days on the island, then fly to Argentina for another two before returning to Washington just before the Easter holiday.
As they left, Washington protesters marching against Cuba's human rights record were arrested in Havana.
Saturday, March 19, 2016
The documents, though redacted, detail a bureaucratic showdown between Ms. Clinton and NSA at the outset of her tenure at Foggy Bottom. The new secretary of state, who had gotten “hooked” on her Blackberry during her failed 2008 presidential bid, according to a top State Department security official, wanted to use that Blackberry anywhere she went.
That, however, was impossible, since Secretary Clinton’s main office space at Foggy Bottom was actually a Secure Compartment Information Facility, called a SCIF (pronounced “skiff”) by insiders. A SCIF is required for handling any Top Secret-plus information. In most Washington, D.C., offices with a SCIF, which has to be certified as fully secure from human or technical penetration, that’s where you check Top-Secret email, read intelligence reports and conduct classified meetings that must be held inside such protected spaces.
But personal electronic devices—your cellphone, your Blackberry—can never be brought into a SCIF. They represent a serious technical threat that is actually employed by many intelligence agencies worldwide. Though few Americans realize it, taking remote control over a handheld device, then using it to record conversations, is surprisingly easy for any competent spy service. Your smartphone is a sophisticated surveillance device—on you, the user—that also happens to provide phone service and Internet access.
As a result, your phone and your Blackberry always need to be locked up before you enter any SCIF. Taking such items into one represents a serious security violation. And Ms. Clinton and her staff really hated that. Not even one month into the new administration in early 2009, Ms. Clinton and her inner circle were chafing under these rules. They were accustomed to having their personal Blackberrys with them at all times, checking and sending emails nonstop, and that was simply impossible in a SCIF like their new office.
Friday, March 18, 2016
The Air Force is investigating about a dozen airmen at a nuclear missile base for alleged use of illegal drugs, in some cases possibly including cocaine, defense officials said Friday. The corps has been under intense scrutiny for a string of lapses in training and personal conduct over the past three years.
The drug investigation at F.E. Warren Air Force Base, home of the 90th Missile Wing, was to be announced Friday by Gen. Robin Rand, the four-star commander of Air Force Global Strike Command. The command is responsible for the entire fleet of Minuteman 3 land-based nuclear missiles; one-third of the Minuteman 3 force is operated by the 90th Missile Wing.
The airmen under investigation are mainly or entirely members of a security force at the 90th Missile Wing, the officials said. The allegations do not involve officers who control the Minuteman missiles from command centers, officials said.
David Drumm, former chief executive of Irish Anglo Bank from 2005 until 2008, had been arrested in Boston in October 2015, and originally attempted to fight extradition — but he recently withdrew the objection and was returned to Ireland early on Monday.
Drumm faces 33 charges in Ireland, which echoes Iceland’s unprecedented move to hold its bankers criminally accountable for their role in that country’s economic meltdown. Though Drumm predictably denied wrongdoing, his charges include “fraud, forgery, misleading management reporting, unlawful lending, falsifying documents, and false accounting, linked to financial transactions prior to the collapse of Anglo,” according to the Irish Times.
After New York launches free public wifi, privacy advocates complain it’s building ‘massive database’
Ladar Levison, owner of the now defunct email service, has been forbidden since then, under threat of contempt and possibly jail time, from identifying who the government was investigating. In court documents from the case unsealed in late 2013, all information that could identify the customer was redacted.
But federal authorities recently screwed up and revealed the secret themselves when they published a cache of case documents but failed to redact one identifying piece of information about the target: his email address, Ed_Snowden@lavabit.com. With that, the very authorities holding the threat of jail time over Levison’s head if he said anything have confirmed what everyone had long ago presumed: that the target account was Snowden’s.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
The Rebel is a poem which was written by the famous Irish revolutionary, poet, Irish language teacher and scholar, Padraic Pearse. He would go onto take a leading role in the Easter Rising of 1916, for his part he would be executed by British forces.
I am come of the seed of the people, the people that sorrow,
That have no treasure but hope,
No riches laid up but a memory
Of an Ancient glory.
My mother bore me in bondage, in bondage my mother was born,
I am of the blood of serfs;
The children with whom I have played, the men and women with whom I have eaten,
Have had masters over them, have been under the lash of masters,
And, though gentle, have served churls;
The hands that have touched mine, the dear hands whose touch is familiar to me,
Have worn shameful manacles, have been bitten at the wrist by manacles,
Have grown hard with the manacles and the task-work of strangers,
I am flesh of the flesh of these lowly, I am bone of their bone,
I that have never submitted;
I that have a soul greater than the souls of my people’s masters,
I that have vision and prophecy and the gift of fiery speech,
I that have spoken with God on the top of His holy hill.
And because I am of the people, I understand the people,
I am sorrowful with their sorrow, I am hungry with their desire:
My heart has been heavy with the grief of mothers,
My eyes have been wet with the tears of children,
I have yearned with old wistful men,
And laughed or cursed with young men;
Their shame is my shame, and I have reddened for it,
Reddened for that they have served, they who should be free,
Reddened for that they have gone in want, while others have been full,
Reddened for that they have walked in fear of lawyers and of their jailors
With their writs of summons and their handcuffs,
Men mean and cruel!
I could have borne stripes on my body rather than this shame of my people.
And now I speak, being full of vision;
I speak to my people, and I speak in my people’s name to the masters of my people.
I say to my people that they are holy, that they are august, despite their chains,
That they are greater than those that hold them, and stronger and purer,
That they have but need of courage, and to call on the name of their God,
God the unforgetting, the dear God that loves the peoples
For whom He died naked, suffering shame.
And I say to my people’s masters: Beware,
Beware of the thing that is coming, beware of the risen people,
Who shall take what ye would not give.
Did ye think to conquer the people,
Or that Law is stronger than life and than men’s desire to be free?
We will try it out with you, ye that have harried and held,
Ye that have bullied and bribed, tyrants, hypocrites, liars!
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
As true champions of evil, they won’t stop until…well, until they’re stopped! But what is Monsanto and how did they get to be so obscenely evil in the first place? I think that’s the best place to start this journey, so grab a few non-GMO snacks or beverages and let’s go for a ride into the deep, murky sewers of their dark past.
1901: The company is founded by John Francis Queeny, a member of the Knights of Malta, a thirty year pharmaceutical veteran married to Olga Mendez Monsanto, for whichtoxiclove-300x272 Monsanto Chemical Works is named. The company’s first product is chemical saccharin, sold to Coca-Cola as an artificial sweetener.
Even then, the government knew saccharin was poisonous and sued to stop its manufacture but lost in court, thus opening the Monsanto Pandora’s Box to begin poisoning the world through the soft drink.
1920s: Monsanto expands into industrial chemicals and drugs, becoming the world’s largest maker of aspirin, acetylsalicyclic acid, (toxic of course). This is also the time when things began to go horribly wrong for the planet in a hurry with the introduction of their polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).