Saturday, April 30, 2016
Pat McGrath, a reporter with Baltimore’s WBAL-TV – an NBC affiliate – had been covering the antiwar movement for some time. Prior to the draft board raid, peace movement organizers reached out to him and gave him a heads up about the protest. In his new book, The Catonsville Nine: A Story of Faith and Resistance in the Vietnam Era, Shawn Francis Peters traces the carefully planned details that the activists and their supporters had arranged so that the press arrived just as the draft files were about to be burned.
McGrath, who can be seen in the footage holding the boom-mic, was the only television reporter alerted about the protest and arrived with his contact, local peace activist Greenville Whitman, just after the files had been doused with homemade napalm. Then John Hogan struck a match and the rest — the Berrigans, Marjorie and Tom Melville, Brother David Darst, Mary Moylan, George Mische and Tom Lewis — quickly followed suit, sealing their fate. Meanwhile, McGrath and his crew — soundman Ed Smith and cameraman Bob Boyer —captured almost all of it. Although in all of the excitement, Smith was a little slow to get the audio rolling.
In less than 24 hours, the film reel was subpoenaed by the federal government to make its case against the nine and it would be years before the public would see, first-hand, what happened that day. WBAL turned over the film and it was used as key evidence in the trial. Later, McGrath would be subpoenaed to testify as a witness to certify the film’s authenticity.
His death was confirmed by the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large at America magazine, a national Catholic magazine published by Jesuits. Father Berrigan died at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University in the Bronx.
The United States was tearing itself apart over civil rights and the war in Southeast Asia when Father Berrigan emerged in the 1960s as an intellectual star of the Roman Catholic “new left,” articulating a view that racism and poverty, militarism and capitalist greed were interconnected pieces of the same big problem: an unjust society.
It was an essentially religious position, based on a stringent reading of the Scriptures that some called pure and others radical. But it would have explosive political consequences as Father Berrigan; his brother Philip, a Josephite priest; and their allies took their case to the streets with rising disregard for the law or their personal fortunes.
A defining point was the burning of Selective Service draft records in Catonsville, Md., and the subsequent trial of the so-called Catonsville Nine, a sequence of events that inspired an escalation of protests across the country; there were marches, sit-ins, the public burning of draft cards and other acts of civil disobedience.
The court received 1,457 requests last year on behalf of the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for authority to intercept communications, including email and phone calls, according to a Justice Department memo sent to leaders of relevant congressional committees on Friday and seen by Reuters. The court did not reject any of the applications in whole or in part, the memo showed.
The total represented a slight uptick from 2014, when the court received 1,379 applications and rejected none.
The court, which acts behind closed doors, was established in 1978 to handle applications for surveillance warrants against foreign suspects by U.S. law enforcement and intelligence agencies and grew more controversial after 2013 leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.
The electronic surveillance often is conducted with the assistance of Internet and telecommunications companies.
The 9/11 Commission’s mandate was to not replicate, but rather to expand upon the investigation of the JICI. The JICI was the Joint Intelligence Committee’s Inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, headed by Senator Bob Graham and Congressman Porter Goss. The JICI is where the 28 pages originated. Furthermore, the JICI made a finding of fact and final recommendation that further investigation into the role of KSA and the 9/11 attacks needed to be done, immediately. Therefore, the 9/11 Commission should have carried out this further investigation of the KSA and 9/11. But, they did not. It is only the 9/11 families and intrepid journalists who have continued to investigate the Saudi role for the past twelve years.
As reported and documented in The New York Time’s national security correspondent Philip Shenon’s book, “The Commission,” Staff Director of the 9/11 Commission, Phil Zelikow, actively worked against any thorough investigation into the KSA and its role in the 9/11 attacks.
So, when two JICI staffers were brought over to the 9/11 Commission to continue their work on the links between the KSA and the 9/11 attacks, they were blocked by Zelikow. Zelikow fired one investigator when she tried to access the 28 pages as part of her further investigation and work for the commission. And, the second staffer (who was the person responsible for writing the 28 pages in the first place when he worked on the JICI) was actively thwarted from his investigation by Zelikow, as well. In fact, once the 9/11 Commission report was in its final draft form, Zelikow “re-wrote” the entire section that dealt with the Saudis—leaving out vital, highly pertinent, and extremely damning information.
Thus, when a person says the 9/11 Commission, “found no evidence linking the Saudis,” be wary of the cute context of the words. The 9/11 commission “found no evidence” because they were either never allowed to look for any evidence or whatever evidence they did find was conveniently written out of the final report, compliments of Phil Zelikow.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Prosecutors rejected the offer.
Bundy "was willing to sacrifice his broader interests and risk his liberty for his fellow protesters,'' Bundy's lawyer, Mike Arnold, wrote in a motion filed Wednesday.
Arnold now is asking the court to delay a deadline for filing legal motions in the conspiracy case for 30 days to allow him to fully prepare his arguments in the case.
If not, Arnold requested an immediate trial for Bundy apart from his 26 co-defendants.
The meeting was set for noon at a suitably anonymous bastion of corporate America, a sprawling Marriott Hotel and convention center on Long Island. Driving out of the city, I was tense and paranoid. For one thing, I was leaving Manhattan without permission from my parole officer. What was I going to tell him? “I want to travel to Long Island to interview a former narcotics agent who worked undercover for the CIA dosing people with LSD.” My parole officer would have ordered a urine test on the spot.
Then there was the fact that previous run-ins with drug cops had usually resulted in criminal prosecutions. I spent most of the ’80s in prison for smuggling marijuana. How would this ex-agent of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), forerunner of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), take to a retired outlaw writing a story about MK-ULTRA, the CIA’s highly secretive mind-control and drug-testing program?
Ira “Ike” Feldman is the only person still alive who worked directly under the legendary George Hunter White in MK-ULTRA. The program began in 1953 amid growing fear of the Soviet Union’s potential for developing alternative weaponry. The atomic bomb was a sinister threat, but more terrifying still were possible Soviet assaults on the mind and body from within — through drugs and disease. In an attempt to preempt foreign attacks and even wage its own assaults, the CIA funded a group of contract agents and scientists to develop a panoply of means to destroy or forever incapacitate a human being.
For years, Feldman had ducked reporters. He agreed to meet with me only after a private detective, a former New York cop who also did time for drugs, put in a good word. There was no guarantee Feldman would talk.
“The LSD,” Feldman began, “that was just the tip of the iceberg. Write this down. Espionage. Assassinations. Dirty tricks. Drug experiments. Sexual encounters and the study of prostitutes for clandestine use. That’s what I was doing when I worked for George White and the CIA.”
Thursday, April 28, 2016
The proposal passed the House Armed Services Committee without support from its sponsor, Iraq War veteran Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., who introduced the measure as a way to force congressional conversation about the role of women in the military.
But several Republicans broke ranks with their committee counterparts to support the idea of drafting women for military service, until now a possibility solely reserved for men.
Previously, under the federal rules on criminal procedures, a magistrate judge couldn’t approve a warrant request to search a computer remotely if the investigator didn’t know where the computer was—because it might be outside his or her jurisdiction.
The rule change, sent in a letter to Congress on Thursday, would allow a magistrate judge to issue a warrant to search or seize an electronic device if the target is using anonymity software like Tor. Over a million people use Tor to browse popular websites like Facebook every month for perfectly legitimate reasons, in addition to criminals who use it to hide their locations.
The changes, which would allow the FBI go hunting for anyone browsing the Internet anonymously in the U.S. with a single warrant, are already raising concerns among privacy advocates who have been closely following the issue.
Meanwhile, former Senate Intelligence Chair has begun to press for an accounting on the Sarasota cell of apparent 9/11 supporters. In an interview with NPR, he stated clearly that FBI lied (um, misstated) what they knew about the Sarasota cell and called for the investigations to be reopened without the tight time limits imposed on the original commissions.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Security agencies accustomed to being able to open any safe balked at the notion—advanced by American tech giants like Apple and their allies in the cryptography and privacy communities—that encryption was sacrosanct. City, state, and federal law-enforcement officials began pushing Congress to require that tech companies only use encryption they could break, in case investigators needed to serve them with warrants for user data.
The computer-science professors, cryptographers, and digital-rights advocates who had beaten back similar demands in the 1990s experienced deja vu. That series of fights, which they called the “Crypto Wars,” had only been the first round of a prolonged conflict. Now it was time to settle in for Crypto Wars, Round 2.
But where and when did this new phase began? Pinpointing that exact moment may be impossible, but the timeline below provides a relatively comprehensive overview of the different fights that constitute the new Crypto War, from the early months after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to the present day.
Palantir was co-founded by Peter Thiel and seed-funded by the CIA. The company was funded in part by In-Q-Tel Inc., the venture capital investment arm of the CIA that has a long, symbiotic history with startups, the NSA, the FBI, and DARPA. In fact, In-Q-Tel specifically funds tech start-ups “to advance ‘priority’ technologies of value” in the intelligence community. The group has ties to Donald Rumsfeld’s Total Information Awareness initiative and is believed by some to have worked closely with Google in its earliest years.
Palantir itself has lived in the shadows since its 2004 inception, working primarily to create a proprietary data mining system used by law enforcement agencies, finance firms, and security companies to isolate criminality. For example, Palantir’s software was used to analyze the troves of millions of documents related to the Bernie Madoff scandal.
Palantir has an extensive relationship with the U.S. government, and includes among its clients the CIA, DHS, NSA, FBI, the CDC, the Marine Corps, the Air Force, Special Operations Command, West Point, the Joint IED-defeat organization and Allies, the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Nearly 1,000 cops and law enforcement officials from multiple agencies raided several public housing projects in the borough at around 2:30 a.m. and nabbed 120 of thugs from two notorious street rival gangs – 2Fly YGz and the Big Money Bosses, which structured its crew based on designer labels.
The suspects – with nicknames like MadDog, K-Murda, Murder, Gunz and Gambino – were hit with a slew of charges including drug trafficking, racketeering conspiracy, robbery, firearms offenses and bank fraud, officials said.
Freemasons’ power and influence in Britain and allegations that Scotland Yard ran a “black propaganda unit” are being probed by two separate criminal inquiries due to come to a close by the end of 2016.
Files relating to a number of key individuals and organizations are currently being scoured for evidence of criminality, including manslaughter and the perversion of the course of justice.
Jon Stoddart, who headed Scotland Yard’s Operation Resolve probe into the planning of the FA Cup semi-final match that left 96 Liverpool FC supporters dead, says scrutiny is being directed at senior ranking officials.
On Tuesday an inquest ruled that all 96 Liverpool fans who died at the football game had been unlawfully killed. Stoddart says the decision will not affect Operation Resolve or the judgement of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).
The first investigation, spearheaded by UK watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), casts a dim hue over the inner-workings of Britain’s criminal justice system.
It focuses on allegations of a police cover-up concocted to lay the blame for the disaster solely at the feet of innocent Liverpool supporters who had made their way to the Hillsborough stadium to watch the match. Alleged offenses include perjury, conspiracy to pervert the course of justice and misconduct in public office.
The Email Privacy Act would reform the 1986 Email Communications Privacy Act by requiring all federal agencies (with few exceptions) to get a warrant before searching old digital communications stored in the cloud by companies like Google and Facebook.
“In 1986, the assumption was that if you left your email on a server it was abandoned, like trash on a street corner,” said Rep. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., one of the bill’s authors, during a GOP press conference Wednesday morning. He said it “restores the Fourth Amendment, and treats email with the same protections as paper mail.”
J. Dennis Hastert, once among this nation’s most powerful politicians, was sentenced to 15 months in prison on Wednesday for illegally structuring bank transactions in an effort to cover up his sexual abuse of young members of a wrestling team he coached decades ago.
Mr. Hastert, 74, who made an unlikely rise from beloved small-town wrestling coach in Illinois to speaker of the House in Washington, sat in a wheelchair in a federal courtroom here as a judge announced his fate.
“The defendant is a serial child molester,” said Judge Thomas M. Durkin, of Federal District Court, in a tough rebuke of the former speaker before issuing his sentence. He added, “Nothing is more stunning than having ‘serial child molester’ and ‘Speaker of the House’ in the same sentence.”
Tuesday, April 26, 2016
On Tuesday, a jury found that the fans who died during the match at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, had been “unlawfully killed” and the victims of what proved to be fatal police mistakes, a verdict that represented a long-sought victory for family members who had fought for a full accounting.
The jury answered yes to the crucial questions of whether there were errors or omissions by the police in planning and executing security for the match on April 15, 1989, and it specifically cited the actions of commanding officers.
The victims suffocated as they entered an F.A. Cup semifinal between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest after the police opened an exit gate in an effort to relieve congestion outside the stadium before the game. In the chaos that ensued, some victims were crushed against steel fencing. Others were trampled, and more than 700 people were injured. The victims were ages 10 to 67 and included 37 teenagers.
The jury was given 14 yes-or-no questions in deciding how the 96 people died, and it said no to only one: whether the fans were responsible for the deaths.
In the early hours of April 26, 1986, a botched test at the nuclear plant in then-Soviet Ukraine triggered a meltdown that spewed deadly clouds of atomic material into the atmosphere, forcing tens of thousands of people from their homes.
A series of events is being held to commemorate the tragedy, which remains the worst nuclear accident in history.
Exclusive Interview: Seymour Hersh Dishes on Saudi Oil Money Bribes and the Killing of Osama Bin Laden
Hersh's new book, The Killing of Osama Bin Laden, is a corrective to the official account of the war on terror. Drawing from accounts of a number of high-level military officials, Hersh challenges a number of commonly accepted narratives: that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad was responsible for the Sarin gas attack in Ghouta; that the Pakistani government didn’t know Bin Laden was in the country; that the late ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in a solely diplomatic capacity; and that Assad did not want to give up his chemical weapons until the U.S. called on him to do so.
Monday, April 25, 2016
Demonstrators called for Turkey to recognise the killings by Ottoman Turks as a ‘genocide’.
“We demand from Turkey the acknowledgement of the Armenian genocide as a crime against humanity that our ancestors have had. And we demand the remuneration and the repairs of losses back to the Armenian population,” said one protester.
Turkey accepts that Armenians died in clashes with Ottoman soldiers but denies hundreds of thousands were killed and rejects the term genocide.
An examination by the Daily News and ProPublica of 646 cases filed by the NYPD against businesses over an 18-month period beginning in 2013 found:
Nine out of 10 nuisance abatement actions were against businesses located in neighborhoods where most of the residents are minorities.
The majority of the cases, 58 percent, involve alcohol violations, often against bodegas or liquor stores accused of selling to underage buyers working for the police. A large share of the alcohol cases were concentrated in just a few police precincts. Other precincts in the city with equal or more underage alcohol sales were rarely hit.
Merchants often endure a kind of double jeopardy. By law, the NYPD forwards every arrest or summons for alcohol violations to the State Liquor Authority, which can issue thousands of dollars in fines and revoke a business’ license to sell alcohol. The NYPD can then also bring nuisance abatement actions based on the same allegations, but only does so against some businesses.
The police begin nearly every case with a secret application to a judge requesting an order closing the business while the case is being decided, and before the owner has had the opportunity to appear in court. Judges approved the closure requests 70 percent of the time.
By law, the first court date must come within three business days after the order has been served. But the NYPD frequently files its closure requests on Thursdays or Fridays, forcing shops to stay closed through the weekend and causing a greater loss of income.
NYPD lawyers justify these emergency orders by claiming the illegal activity at the location is ongoing and poses an immediate threat to the community. But the Daily News and ProPublica found the NYPD didn’t get around to filing cases until, on average, five months after the last offense cited.
Most cases resulted in settlements, 333 of which allow the NYPD to conduct warrantless searches. In 102 cases, the owner agreed to install cameras that the NYPD can access upon request. Another 127 settlements require storeowners to use electronic card readers that store customers’ ID information, also available to the NYPD upon request.
“While Hillary Clinton fights to break down barriers and bring America together, the Barrier Breakers 2016 digital task force will serve as a resource for supporters looking for positive content and push-back to share with their online progressive communities, as well as thanking prominent supporters and committed superdelegates on social media.
“Correct The Record will invest more than $1 million into Barrier Breakers 2016 activities, including the more than tripling of its digital operation to engage in online messaging both for Secretary Clinton and to push back against attackers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Reddit, and Instagram.”
The emails show that officials attempted on at least one occasion to initiate criminal proceedings against a Copper City man over allegedly threatening comments he made on Facebook about the government's handling of the crisis.
"It's time for civil unrest. Burn down the Governor mansion, elimionate (sic) the capitol where the legislators RE-INSTATED the emergency dictator law after the PEOPLE voted it down, and tell the Mich (sic) State Police if they use military force, we will return with same," according to a state police email about the Facebook post.
A state police official declined comment on any possible investigations stemming from the online surveillance, but said the information they collect is shared with other state agencies that could be affected.
Policy and ethics aside, I’m impressed. My attempt to write a more comprehensive history of Angleton’s mole hunt has been limited. My plans to quote Cram and Applewhite on Angleton’s legacy have been called into question. My chapter describing the human toll (and the taxpayer’s bill) for the mole hunt will have to be revised. As I write the story of one of the CIA’s most notorious characters, the agency is redacting my book, and there’s not a damn thing I can do about it. That’s how the CIA writes history.
“As a result of the Snowden revelations, the onset of commercial encryption has accelerated by seven years,” James Clapper said during a breakfast for journalists hosted by the Christian Science Monitor.
The shortened timeline has had “a profound effect on our ability to collect, particularly against terrorists,” he said.
When pressed by The Intercept to explain his figure, Clapper said it came from the National Security Agency. “The projected growth maturation and installation of commercially available encryption — what they had forecasted for seven years ahead, three years ago, was accelerated to now, because of the revelation of the leaks.”
Asked if that was a good thing, leading to better protection for American consumers from the arms race of hackers constantly trying to penetrate software worldwide, Clapper answered no.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
“We believe it important the public understand what the commission did with regard to the 28 pages,” the two said in their statement.
They portrayed the secret passages, not as confirmed, smoking-gun findings, but “raw, unvetted material that came to the FBI.”
“That material was then written up in FBI files as possible leads for further investigation,” the statement read. “The 28 pages were a summary of some of those reports and leads, as of the end of 2002. Before completing its work, the congressional panel never had a chance to check out any of these leads. The 28 pages, therefore, are comparable to preliminary law enforcement notes, which are generally covered by grand jury secrecy rules. Those rules exist to avoid implicating people in serious crimes without the benefit of follow-up investigation to determine if such suspicions are substantiated.”
The former chairmen said the joint intelligence panel named names in the 28 pages, meaning releasing the raw pages would implicate people in “the worst mass murder ever carried out in the United States.”
Saturday, April 23, 2016
US District Court Judge Justin Quackenbush ruled Friday that Tanzanian Suleiman Abdullah Salim, Libyan Mohamed Ahmed Ben Soud, and the family of deceased Afghani Gul Rahman have the right to hold individuals accountable for the CIA program that led to their abuse.
Rahman died in CIA custody in 2002 from hypothermia, dehydration and exposure. His family have never been officially notified of his death and have yet to receive his remains.
James Elmer Mitchell and John “Bruce” Jessen, two CIA-contracted psychologists, are being sued under the Alien Tort Statute for “their commission of torture, cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment; non-consensual human experimentation; and war crimes”.
In practically laying out the next steps in Hillarygate, Grassley said "an anonymous and unauthorized release of FBI investigative materials could result if officials at the agency believed prosecution of Clinton was stymied for political reasons" according to the Des Moines register.
“Is there going to be political interference? If there’s enough evidence to prosecute, will there be political interference?” Grassley wondered aloud on Friday. "And if there’s political interference, then I assume that somebody in the FBI is going to leak these reports and it’s either going to have an effect politically or it’s going to lead to prosecution if there’s enough evidence."
The senior senator’s musing came in response to a long answer to a very general question from one of the Rotarians about the status on inquiries into the email server and Clinton’s handling of the 2012 terrorist attack on a diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya.
Which, of course, would be potentially devastating for Hillary as not only would her misdeed as chronicled by the Feds be fully in the open and ammo for any of her competitors in the presidential race, but would also confirm that the Department of Justice is anything but, and has led to such a dramatic perversion of the law as being forced to leak evidence of criminality in the public arena just so the population can be made aware of Hillary's actions.
As for Grassley's unorthodox "suggestion", when asked by Radio Iowa reporter O. Kay Henderson after the breakfast if he was suggesting the FBI should leak investigative findings, Grassley expounded on his comment.
"I wouldn’t be encouraging it because if it’s a violation of law, I can’t be encouraging a violation of law," he said. "This is kind of my own opinion, this is something I’ve heard."
EXCLUSIVE: De Blasio team skirted campaign donation limits; investigators found 'willful and flagrant' violations 'warranting prosecution'
The Daily News obtained a bombshell memo state Board of Elections Chief Enforcement Officer Risa Sugarman sent to the board’s four commissioners on Jan. 4 recommending the referral.
“I have determined that reasonable cause exists to believe a violation warranting criminal prosecution has taken place,” Sugarman wrote. “The violations discovered by this investigation can only be described as willful and flagrant.”
The commissioners, during a closed-door vote, made the referral on Jan. 11, sources said, which is now part of a broader probe by the DA and Manhattan U.S. Attorney’s office.
Sugarman’s memo paints a picture of a coordinated effort by the mayor and his allies — dubbed interchangeably as “Team de Blasio” and “Team Coordinated” — to deliberately circumvent legal campaign donation limits in three upstate races in what turned out to be an unsuccessful effort to help Democrats win control of the state Senate in 2014.
The memo did not spell out exactly who could be charged. Deliberately evading campaign donation limits would constitute a felony.
In a world first, Kuwait wants to DNA “tag” everybody in, as well as entering the country with the new DNA legislation that will become law this year.
The Kuwait government says the forced DNA testing won’t affect people’s personal freedom and privacy but will be done to keep track of people and to help if they commit crimes.
Tourists and visitors to Kuwait will get their DNA taken through specimens of saliva or a few drops of blood done at a special DNA testing facility at the airport.
The DNA collection will be done at a special testing centre at Kuwait International Airport and there will be “consequences of rejecting its procedures” for visitors who refuse the mandatory test.
Friday, April 22, 2016
The programs, authorized under Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, are called PRISM and Upstream. PRISM collects hundreds of millions of internet communications of “targeted individuals” from providers such as Facebook, Yahoo and Skype. Upstream takes communications straight from the major U.S. Internet backbones run by telecommunication companies such as AT&T and Verizon and harvests data that involves selectors related to foreign targets.
But both programs, though nominally targeted at foreigners overseas, inevitably sweep us massive amounts of data involving innocent Americans.
The question is: How much? The government won’t answer.
Fourteen members of the House Judiciary Committee sent a letter to Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Friday asking for at least a rough estimate.
The conspirators managed to control Algiers, the capital of French Algeria, but failed to achieve their secondary objective of taking Paris. Lacking popular support and having lost momentum, the coup was put down within days.
Evidence suggests that Allen Dulles, the US Director of the CIA, and his numerous contacts deep within the French government, helped orchestrate the plot.
Many French — along with Dulles — feared an independent Algeria would fall into the hands of Communists, giving the Soviets a base in Africa.
And there was another reason to hang onto Algeria — the usual reason: its natural resources. According to the US Energy Information Administration, it is today “the leading natural gas producer in Africa, the second-largest natural gas supplier to Europe outside of the region, and is among the top three oil producers in Africa.”
The AP's review of federal records, regulatory filings and correspondence showed that almost all the 82 corporations, trade associations and other groups that paid for or sponsored Clinton's speeches have actively sought to sway the government — lobbying, bidding for contracts, commenting on federal policy and in some cases contacting State Department officials or Clinton herself during her tenure as secretary of state.
Presidents are not generally bound by many of the ethics and conflict-of-interest regulations that apply to non-elected executive branch officials, although they are subject to laws covering related conduct, such as bribery and illegal gratuities. Clinton's 94 paid appearances over two years on the speech circuit leave her open to scrutiny over decisions she would make in the White House or influence that may affect the interests of her speech sponsors.
Rival presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders and Republican critics have mocked Clinton over her closed-door talks to banks and investment firms, saying she is too closely aligned to Wall Street to curb its abuses. Sanders said in a speech in New York that Clinton earned an average of about $225,000 for each speech and goaded her for declining to release transcripts.
Thursday, April 21, 2016
The lawmakers say renewed scrutiny on the pages from the 2002 congressional report about 9/11 has given momentum to their argument that the documents should be released.
“All this has helped us,” Rep. Walter Jones (R-N.C.), the author of a bill pressing the White House to release the pages, told The Hill on Wednesday.
Jones said he and former Sen. Bob Graham (D-Fla.), an author of the 2002 report who has vigorously pushed for the pages to be released, will meet with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper next month to push for the analysis to be declassified.
“It’s just more and more spotlight on the issue, and that’s really what we’ve been hoping for, that the 9/11 families would be able to get some peace by reading the 28 pages — and the American people as well,” Jones said.
Now some complain the IRS is acting too much like Big Brother and not enough like a traditional taxman.
Since 2006, the IRS has overseen an annual tax gap—the shortfall between taxes owed and collected—of about $385 billion, government analysts say. And according to an April report, the agency has not implemented 70 of 112 actions identified by the Government Accountability Office to close that loop.
In 2009, though, the IRS purchased a “cell-site simulator,” more commonly known as Stingray technology. And since November, the agency has been trying to buy another of the devices.
Like something from a spy movie, a Stingray device mimics a cellphone tower, tricking all mobile phones in an area into revealing their location and numbers. Authorities can deploy the powerful technology to tag and track an individual’s location in real time.
More advanced versions of the devices can be used to copy information stored on a cellphone and to download malware remotely.
The devices are as controversial as they are prevalent. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, 61 agencies in 23 states and the District of Columbia own the devices.
IRS Commissioner John Koskinen says the IRS uses its Stingray to hunt down fraudsters and stop money laundering. The agency’s use of the devices remained a secret until an October report in the Guardian.
Attorneys for the State Department said the electronic folders, which contain hundreds of documents related to the Benghazi attack and Libya, were belatedly rediscovered at the end of last year.
They said the files had been overlooked by State Department officials because the executive secretary’s office transferred them to another department and flagged them for archiving last April, shortly after receiving a subpoena from the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The new source of documents includes electronic folders used by senior officials under Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. They were originally kept in the executive secretary’s office, which handles communication and coordination between the secretary of state’s office and other department bureaus.
The House Benghazi Committee requested documents from the secretary’s office in a subpoena filed in March 2015. Congressional investigators met with the head of the executive secretary’s office staff to discuss its records maintenance system and the scope of the subpoena last April. That same month, State Department officials sent the electronic folders to another bureau for archiving, and they were not searched in response to the request.
The blunder could raise new questions about the State Department’s records process, which has come under scrutiny from members of Congress and government watchdogs. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R., Iowa), chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, blasted the State Department’s Freedom of Information Act process as “broken” in January, citing “systematic failures at the agency.”
The inspector general for the State Department also released a report criticizing the agency’s public records process in January. The report highlighted failures in the executive secretary’s office, which responds to records requests for the Office of the Secretary.
The report, published by Sandler Research, says that demand for surveillance drones is driving growth, with new systems that deploy water canons to “handle large crowds and demonstration(s)” also proving popular.
Riot control systems are expected to “generate revenues of over USD 3.5 billion by the end of 2020,” with North America being one of the primary growth areas for upgraded weapons due to “militarization of the police department and other law enforcement agencies” in the aftermath of the 2014 riots in Ferguson, Missouri.
Purchases of long-range acoustic devices, whips, batons and armored vehicles that will be used to “disperse, control, and arrest people involved in riots and protests” are also on the increase.
“Demand for such equipment is expected to rise during the next few years,” states the report, with authorities in Iran, Egypt, Russia, China, and Thailand also spending increased amounts on riot control equipment in advance of potential social disorder.
Wednesday, April 20, 2016
President Barack Obama and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., are rallying to kill the bipartisan plan that would make it possible for American citizens to sue foreign governments believed to be linked to terrorist attacks on U.S. soil. House Speaker Paul D. Ryan, R-Wis., said the plan should be reviewed through regular order before decisions are made about advancing the measure.
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest warned the legislation could lead other countries to craft even broader versions that could do significant harm to the U.S. government.
“It certainly is plausible … that that other countries when they're implementing these laws would not tailor them so specifically,” Earnest said. “And that does open up the United States to a unique degree of risk, and putting our country, our taxpayers, our service members and our diplomats in legal jeopardy in that way is contrary to our interests.”
Earnest said it would be “unwise” for the Senate to pass the legislation, “particularly when there is an alternative mechanism for us to resolve these kinds of issues with other countries.”
That alternative, he said, is “the essence of diplomacy.”
- See more at: http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/bipartisanship-breaks-block-911-bill#sthash.OnW5XEqB.dpuf
It won't have to wait that long.
As The Times writes today, new evidence has come to light of a definitive link between Saudi Arabian officials and the 9/11 terrorist attacks "further raising tensions as President Obama travels to the kingdom."
According to the report, Ghassan Al-Sharbi, a Saudi who became an al-Qa’ida bomb maker, is believed to have taken flying lessons with some of the 9/11 hijackers in Arizona but did not take part in the attacks on New York and the Pentagon that killed 3,000 people in 2001.
He was captured in Pakistan in 2002 and has since been held at Guantanamo Bay. According to a US memo, known as document 17, written in 2003 and quietly declassified last year, the FBI learnt that he had buried a cache of papers shortly before he was captured.
Think of "Document 17" as a mini version of the "28 pages" whose content has yet to be revealed. The document was written by two US investigators examining the possible roles of foreign governments in the attacks.
One detail leapt out at the FBI agents from the papers that Sharbi had tried to hide: his US flight certificate was in an envelope from the Saudi embassy in Washington.
London-based group Privacy International obtained the previously confidential files as part of an ongoing legal case challenging the scope of British spies’ covert collection of huge troves of private data.
Millie Graham Wood, Legal Officer at Privacy International, said in a statement Wednesday that the documents show “the staggering extent to which the intelligence agencies hoover up our data. This can be anything from your private medical records, your correspondence with your doctor or lawyer, even what petitions you have signed, your financial data, and commercial activities.”
She added: “The agencies themselves admit that the majority of data collected relates to individuals who are not a threat to national security or suspected of a crime. This highly sensitive information about us is vulnerable to attack from hackers, foreign governments, and criminals.”
The documents, published online Wednesday, primarily relate to the opaque rules regulating British spy agencies’ use of so-called bulk personal datasets, which are obtained without any judicial authorization and contain “personal data about a wide range of individuals, the majority of whom are not of direct intelligence interest,” according to the agencies’ own definition of them.
But the court disagreed with her.
The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court asked Amy Jeffress, the advocate, in August to assess the provision, according to a court opinion filed in November but released by the intelligence community only on Tuesday.
The court, which weighs government applications for surveillance, traditionally hears arguments only from the government in closed sessions. Its opinions generally are classified.
Jeffress, a former federal prosecutor and Justice Department official now in private practice, was the first public advocate or “amicus curiae” appointed under the USA Freedom Act, a law enacted in June to impose new limits and greater transparency on government surveillance.
PRISM is an intelligence-gathering program whose name and scope were disclosed in June 2013 through leaks of documents by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor.
Within the next few weeks, the Treasury Department is expected to announce a crucial decision on whether it will approve reductions to one of the country’s largest multi-employer pension plans.
The potential cuts are possible under legislation passed by Congress in 2014 that for the first time allowed financially distressed multi-employer plans to reduce benefits for retirees if it would improve the solvency of the fund. The law weakened federal protections that for more than 40 years shielded one of the last remaining pillars that workers could rely on for financial security in retirement.
For many workers, the promise of a guaranteed income stream for life — a benefit now nearly extinct for younger generations — was at times strong enough to convince them to sacrifice pay raises or other job opportunities. But after decades of challenges that left many pension funds in tough financial straits, some people are learning in retirement that the promises made to them may have to be broken.
The Central States Pension Fund, which handles the retirement benefits for current and former Teamster union truck drivers across various states including Texas, Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri, New York and Minnesota, was the first plan to apply for reductions under the new law.
Consumer advocates watching the case say the move could encourage dozens of other pension plans across the country that are facing financial struggles to make similar cuts.
Reporters Without Borders claimed that, despite being enshrined in the Constitution, freedom of the press “has encountered a major obstacle” in the U.S. due to “the government’s war on whistleblowers.”
Reporters Without Borders also chided the U.S. for not establishing a federal “shield law” protecting journalists from having to reveal their sources.
The ranking was actually an eight-spot improvement over 2015, when the U.S. came in 49th in the world.
The Obama administration has been harshly criticized by press freedom advocates for an intensified crackdown on government officials who knowingly leak information to the press. Since President Obama entered office in 2009, his administration has used a 1917 anti-espionage law against leakers more than all other administrations combined.
Tuesday, April 19, 2016
Former NYPD cop Peter Liang spared jail time in fatal shooting of Akai Gurley at Brooklyn housing project
"There's no evidence Peter Liang was aware of Akai Gurley's presence,” Chun said.
“I looked at the video of Peter Liang entering the Pink Houses that night and he entered with a good frame of mind. Shooting and killing someone was the last thing on his mind. Incarceration is not necessary.”
Gurley's aunt Hertencia Petersen stormed out of the courtroom afterward, saying "Akai's life doesn't matter. There's not justice. Black lives don't matter. Justice will be served one way or another."
Brooklyn Supreme Court Justice Danny Chun sentenced ex-Officer Peter Liang to five years’ probation and 800 hours’ community service for the death of 28-year-old dad Akai Gurley — after reducing the charge against the cop.
Liang remained emotionless as the judge sentenced him.
Before sentencing, the soft-spoken cop apologized to Gurley’s girlfriend and the mother of his young daughter, and said, “I’m not a man of many words. The shot was an accident.”
He had faced up to 15 years behind bars after a jury convicted him of manslaughter in February.
He was whisked away after the sentencing in a car escorted by a police cruiser with its siren on, as throngs of supporters and protesters gathered outside the downtown Brooklyn courthouse.
Chun changed the rap to criminally negligent homicide Tuesday right before sentencing.
This episode chronicles the Clinton's rise to power in the 90s on a right-wing agenda, the Clinton Foundation's revolving door with Gulf state monarchies, corporations and the world's biggest financial institutions, and the establishment of the hyper-aggressive "Hillary Doctrine" while Secretary of State.
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court Judge Thomas Hogan sharply criticized the two agencies over the episodes, referred to by intelligence gatherers as "compliance incidents." He also raised concerns that the government had taken years to bring the NSA-related issues to the court's attention and he said that delay might have run afoul of the government's duty of candor to the court.
"The court was extremely concerned about NSA's failure to comply with its minimization procedures—and potentially" a provision in federal law, Hogan wrote. The NSA violations appeared to involve preserving surveillance data in its systems beyond the two or five years after which it was supposed to be deleted.
The NYPD announced its campaign against unbreakable encryption, which it is calling "Unlock Justice," on Monday morning. It is using the hashtag #UnlockJustice, which until a few hours before the announcement was devoted exclusively to the campaign for sentencing reform.
The overwhelmingly majority of technologists, cryptographers, and other security experts oppose the creation of guaranteed-access mechanisms in encryption, warning that doing so would dramatically undermine average Americans' security by creating vulnerabilities in electronic devices and services.
Last week, two U.S. senators introduced a bill that would effectively outlaw strong encryption, mandating backdoors in order to ensure that investigators could access data when they acquire a court order. Opponents Civil-liberties groups and tech-industry associations quickly slammed the bill.
Monday, April 18, 2016
That’s quite an understatement.
Actually, the kingdom’s involvement was deliberately covered up at the highest levels of our government. And the coverup goes beyond locking up 28 pages of the Saudi report in a vault in the US Capitol basement. Investigations were throttled. Co-conspirators were let off the hook.
Case agents I’ve interviewed at the Joint Terrorism Task Forces in Washington and San Diego, the forward operating base for some of the Saudi hijackers, as well as detectives at the Fairfax County (Va.) Police Department who also investigated several 9/11 leads, say virtually every road led back to the Saudi Embassy in Washington, as well as the Saudi Consulate in Los Angeles.
Yet time and time again, they were called off from pursuing leads. A common excuse was “diplomatic immunity.”
Those sources say the pages missing from the 9/11 congressional inquiry report — which comprise the entire final chapter dealing with “foreign support for the September 11 hijackers” — details “incontrovertible evidence” gathered from both CIA and FBI case files of official Saudi assistance for at least two of the Saudi hijackers who settled in San Diego.
Saturday, April 16, 2016
And just to be clear, I am not saying that micro nukes were solely responsible for bringing down the towers — IMO micro-nukes were likely only used at the base of Towers 1 and 2 and possible the base of building 7, three in total, and were likely strategically placed 50 feet below street level, somewhere in the basements of the buildings or subway access tunnels. This would also explain numerous eyewitness reports of “large” explosions in the “basement” or “lobby” of the towers.
It has also been proven that Nano-thermite was used and was present in dust samples, less than 2 microns in diameter, that were taken from the WTC site after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks as pointed out early on by Richard Gage of the grassroots organization Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
Moreover there are also signs that advanced barometric bomb technology, which uses triggering devices derived from the U.S. Nuclear Weapons Program, was also deployed in the attack — technology which incorporates gaseous elements in a “yellowish, brownish combustible mixture” and uses Aluminum Silicate Red Oxide and other ingredients” that would have surrounded and permeated the air around key structural columns on all floors before being triggered by a “specific high-voltage pattern” which the element combination is responsive to.
Saudi Arabia Threatens To Liquidate Its Treasury Holdings If Congress Probes Its Role In Sept 11 Attacks
To be sure, the Saudis whose budget deficit has soared in the past year as a result of collapsing oil prices, would stand to benefit from monetizing their US reserves. According to many, it is only a matter of time anyway. However, a dramatic, immediate liquidation would likely spark a market panic. Outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The Obama administration, meanwhile, is far less concerned about the market impact of a Saudi liquidation, and far more worried what a real inquiry into the Saudi role of Sept.11 would reveal (and who it would implicate) and as a result is building strawman arguments that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas. In fact, as the NYT reports, "Obama has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot."
“It’s stunning to think that our government would back the Saudis over its own citizens,” said Mindy Kleinberg, whose husband died in the World Trade Center on Sept. 11 and who is part of a group of victims’ family members pushing for the legislation.
Stunning indeed, and yet that's precisely who the "U.S." president sides with when attempting to get to the bottom of the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Incidentally, Obama will arrive in Riyadh on Wednesday for meetings with King Salman and other Saudi officials. It is unclear whether the dispute over the Sept. 11 legislation will be on the agenda for the talks.
The Obama administration has lobbied Congress to block the bill’s passage, according to administration officials and congressional aides from both parties, and the Saudi threats have been the subject of intense discussions in recent weeks between lawmakers and officials from the State Department and the Pentagon. The officials have warned senators of diplomatic and economic fallout from the legislation.
Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi foreign minister, delivered the kingdom’s message personally last month during a trip to Washington, telling lawmakers that Saudi Arabia would be forced to sell up to $750 billion in treasury securities and other assets in the United States before they could be in danger of being frozen by American courts.
Several outside economists are skeptical that the Saudis will follow through, saying that such a sell-off would be difficult to execute and would end up crippling the kingdom’s economy. But the threat is another sign of the escalating tensions between Saudi Arabia and the United States.
The administration, which argues that the legislation would put Americans at legal risk overseas, has been lobbying so intently against the bill that some lawmakers and families of Sept. 11 victims are infuriated. In their view, the Obama administration has consistently sided with the kingdom and has thwarted their efforts to learn what they believe to be the truth about the role some Saudi officials played in the terrorist plot.
Friday, April 15, 2016
The VA inspector general found that staffers at a majority of regional offices that investigators visited last year improperly sent documents related to veterans’ claims to the shredder, a practice that the watchdog said is a “systemic issue” fueled by VA policy.
The report issued Thursday said that investigators conducted “unannounced inspections” at 10 regional offices after it was discovered last February that staffers at the VA’s Los Angeles office sent mail related to veterans’ claims to the shredder.
At six of the 10 regional offices, staffers improperly sent documents to the shredder without first putting the information in veterans’ claims folders. Sixty-nine of the 155 claims-related documents, or 45 percent, reviewed by investigators were incorrectly sent to the shredder. Two of the documents affected veterans’ benefits, and nine had the potential to do so. While the rest did not affect benefits, they were still required to be included in veterans’ claims folders before being destroyed.
The foundations for Panama as a tax shelter go back to 1903, when President Theodore Roosevelt fomented a rebellion to wrest Panama from Colombia so the U.S. could build the Panama Canal. J.P. Morgan and Company became the new country’s official fiscal agent. Soon Panama passed laws allowing John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Company to register its ships there, avoiding U.S. taxes and regulations — and Panamanian tax shelters were born.
I was sent to Panama to convince then-head of state Omar Torrijos to stop insisting the U.S. turn canal ownership over to Panama, and to soften his support for Latin America’s nationalistic movements. Torrijos would not yield on the canal. But he did let his country become a tax haven for international corporations. He told me, “If your country is determined to exploit mine, the least I can do is help your corporations avoid paying taxes that support the CIA and Pentagon!”
This DIA cable, however, has generated more attention. It alleges that Pakistan’s ISI gave the Haqqanis $200,000 to carry out the attack on the Chapman base in Khost that killed seven CIA officers.
Reuters reported it here, saying this about the accuracy of the report.
The following are just some of the most notorious:
Operation ARTICHOKE – evolved from Project Bluebird and was launched in 1951 to be transformed later in the project MKULTRA . The goal of this operation was to test the government’s ability to cause amnesia through the use of psychotropic substances among certain individuals. This operation resulted in the creation of amphetamines and LSD that were tested on the population of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Operation AJAX – was launched in 1953 in close cooperation with British secret services to topple the government of Iran, which was the first successful attempt to launch a coup d’etat from abroad in modern history.
Operation Cyclone – the code name of a CIA program to arm the Afghan mujaheddin fighters during the Afghan War, which led to the emergence and the consequent strengthening of the Al-Qaeda terrorist organization. Former American agents admit that this was one of the longest and most expensive covert CIA operations, with a total cost of 20-30 million a year in 1979 when it started and soon reached a staggering 630 million dollars per year by 1987. This operation alone plunged a number of regional players into chaos.
Operation Mockingbird – was launched in 1950 in a bid to influence the international media. The implementation of this operation was handed over to Philip Graham, who later became the editor-in-chief of the Washington Post. Declassified documents have already uncovered that such high-profile media outlets including ABC, NBC, CBS, AP, Reuters, Time, Newsweek, and many others have been compromised by the CIA. To achieve the stated objectives of the operation, American agents influenced journalists, students, cultural organizations and whole journals to publish whatever sort of stories they deemed necessary. As the operation started targeting foreign media and political organizations as well. As the operation developed even further, the CIA started bribing foreign media and political figures. According to Western media analysts, the assets that were acquired during the Operation Mockingbird have been put to “good use” by the CIA and the White House up to and including today to influence the US and foreign media outlets. This fact was confirmed by a German journalist who works for Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Dr Udo Ulfkotte. However, the continuous abuse of the Western media that is forced into feeding fabricated information to its readers and viewers has resulted in a serious crisis of trust, since most people no longer believe anything Western media sources report.
The list of CIA failures wouldn’t be complete without mentioning Project AERODYNAMIC which was developed back in 1949. The stated goal of this operation was the destabilization of Ukraine via the promotion of Russophobia across its population. The CIA decided that it would be really clever to exploit notorious war criminal Stepan Bandera, a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator during the days of WWII. The development of this operation was outsourced to such companies as Prolog Research and Publishing Associates Inc. and as for the implementation, we can witness it today still unfolding before our very eyes.
With "a range of tricks, tools, and loopholes," for tax avoidance, the 50 largest U.S. companies, including well-known names like Goldman Sachs, Verizon Communications, Apple, Coca-Cola, IBM, and Chevron, raked in $4 trillion in profits globally between 2008 and 2014, are contributing to inequality, the anti-poverty group said.
The report, Broken at the Top (pdf), states that such tax dodging is one of the "profit-making strategies of many multinational corporations."
As noted in the report,
From 2008 – 2014 the 50 largest U.S. companies collectively received $27 in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts for every $1 they paid in federal taxes.
From 2008 – 2014 these 50 companies spent approximately $2.6 billion on lobbying while receiving nearly $11.2 trillion in federal loans, loan guarantees and bailouts.
NJ Transit officials say spying on commuters conversations is "necessary to fight crime and maintain security!" NJ Transit spokesman Jim Smith said, “the on-board surveillance systems are also a deterrent for crime and unruly behavior.”
Cameras with microphones aren't the only thing police use to spy on us, "smart" LED lights installed at numerous airports are illegally recording everyone's conversations.
There is now justification whatsoever, for letting police spy on everyone's conversations.
Cameras with microphones have been installed on River Line trains, which cost $750,000 and the $1.9 million expense to install them on Hudson -Bergen and Newark light rail trains will be covered by a DHS grant, said Jennifer Nelson, an NJ Transit spokeswoman. According to Neffenger TSA security grants, have totaled over $2.3 billion since 2006. The NJ Transit has been receiving DHS grants since at least 2004, for more information go to NJ Transit's homepage and type in "Homeland Security grants".
"In 2011, the [NJ Transit] Board authorized a $2.7 million contract with DriveCam, Inc. of San Diego, California, for installation of hardware on 968 cruiser buses and a two-year agreement for managed services, including technical support."
Fyi, the TSA is working with DHS to install these invasive spying cameras everywhere under the guise of "public safety"'
TSA administrator Peter Neffenger, admits they couldn't spy on every commuter without local governments voluntarily installing these surveillance systems.
Thursday, April 14, 2016
Yet among the 38 previously undisclosed companies receiving In-Q-Tel funding, the research focus that stands out is social media mining and surveillance; the portfolio document lists several tech companies pursuing work in this area, including Dataminr, Geofeedia, PATHAR, and TransVoyant.
Those four firms, which provide unique tools to mine data from platforms such as Twitter, presented at a February “CEO Summit” in San Jose sponsored by the fund, along with other In-Q-Tel portfolio companies.
In early 2003, F.B.I. agents hit a roadblock in a secret investigation, called Operation Trail Mix. For months, agents had been intercepting phone calls and emails belonging to members of an animal welfare group that was believed to be sabotaging operations of a company that was using animals to test drugs. But encryption software had made the emails unreadable.
So investigators tried something new. They persuaded a judge to let them remotely, and secretly, install software on the group’s computers to help get around the encryption.
That effort, revealed in newly declassified and released records, shows in new detail how F.B.I. hackers worked to defeat encryption more than a decade before the agency’s recent fight with Apple over access to a locked iPhone. The Trail Mix case was, in some ways, a precursor to the Apple dispute. In both cases, the agents could not decode the data themselves, but found a clever workaround.
The Trail Mix records also reveal what is believed to be the first example of the F.B.I. remotely installing surveillance software, known as spyware or malware, as part of a criminal wiretap.