Who's A Rat - Largest Online Database of Informants and Agents
HomeMembers LoginLatest NewsRefer A LawyerMessage BoardOnline StoreAffiliatesAbout UsContact Us
Who's A Rat - Largest Online Database of Informants and Agents Worldwide!
Site Navigation
Visit Our Store
Refer A Lawyer
Link To Us
Latest News
Top Secret Documents
Make A Donation
Important Case Law
Members Login
Message Board
Legal Information
Advertise your AD, Book or Movie

Informants and Agents?Who's a Rat Message Board

joeb Show full post »

visit her website


Jesselyn Radack (born December 12, 1970) is a former ethics adviser to the United States Department of Justice who came to prominence as a whistleblower after she disclosed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) committed what she believed to be an ethics violation in their interrogation of John Walker Lindh (the "American Taliban" captured during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan) without an attorney present, and alleged that the Department of Justice attempted to suppress that information. The Lindh case was the first major terrorism prosecution after 9/11.[7] Her experience is chronicled in her memoir, TRAITOR: The Whistleblower and the "American Taliban".

Radack is a national security and human rights attorney, known for her defense of whistleblowers, journalists, and hacktivists. She has spoken in defense of some of the most vilified people in the United States, including National Security Agency whistleblowers Edward Snowden and Thomas Drake, each of whom was charged under the Espionage Act after exposing wrongdoing. Both Snowden and Drake are her clients.

Radack has been widely published and quoted regarding whistleblower rights, surveillance, Internet freedom, and privacy. Her writing has appeared in the New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Post, Guardian, The Nation, Legal Times, and numerous law journals. She frequently appears in the press, including all the major television networks, NPR, PBS, CNN, and the BBC.

Radack is the director of National Security & Human Rights at the Government Accountability Project. She was named one of Foreign Policy magazine's "100 Leading Global Thinkers of 2013",[2] was one of 100 worldwide figures pictured in "Justice: Faces of the Human Rights Revolution" and is a visiting Woodrow Wilson Fellow at the Council of Independent Colleges.[1] She has been honored with the “Hugh M. Hefner First Amendment Award" (2011), "Sam Adams Award for Integrity in Intelligence"(2009), and numerous other accolades. She graduated magna cum laude from Brown University and Yale Law School and began her career as an Honors Program attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice.

A regular speaker at governments, universities, and public and private organizations around the globe, Radack explains the ways in which power structures suppress dissent, the value of free speech and privacy, and how ordinary people can change entire industries, agencies, and sometimes the world.

John Walker Lindh caseEdit
Initial inquiry into Lindh case

On December 7, 2001, Radack received an inquiry from Justice Department counterterrorism prosecutor John DePue regarding the ethical propriety of interrogating Lindh in Afghanistan without a lawyer present. He told her that Lindh's father had retained counsel for his son. This was not known to Lindh. Radack responded that interrogating him was not authorized by law.[9] The principle at issue was that a person represented by a lawyer cannot be contacted by agents of the Justice Department, including the FBI, without permission of that lawyer.[10] According to Radack, her advice was approved by Claudia Flynn, then head of PRAO, and Joan Goldfrank, a senior PRAO attorney.[11]

The FBI proceeded to question Lindh without a lawyer. DePue informed Radack of the interrogation on the 10th, and she advised him that Lindh's "interview may have to be sealed or only used for national security purposes; however, I don’t have enough information yet to make that recommendation".[12]

Radack continued to research the issue until December 20, 2001, when Flynn told her to drop the matter because Lindh had been "Mirandized". It was later learned that the FBI agent Christopher Reimann who read Lindh the Miranda warning had, when noting the right to counsel, ad-libbed: "Of course, there are no lawyers here".[13]
U.S. government statements on Lindh's legal rights

On January 15, 2002, five weeks after the interrogation, Attorney General John Ashcroft announced that a criminal complaint was being filed against Lindh. "The subject here is entitled to choose his own lawyer", Ashcroft said, "and to our knowledge, has not chosen a lawyer at this time".[9] On February 5, 2002, Ashcroft announced Lindh's indictment, saying that his rights "have been carefully, scrupulously honored".[14]

In early 2004 Radack indicated in an interview that she disagreed with Ashcroft's view but could see its logic, that Lindh had not himself chosen a lawyer, so he was not represented by one. "You can debate it one way or another”, she said.[8] She was more troubled by the ethical issues,[8] later citing the same ruling the government cites to support its legal position.[15] In Moran v. Burbine (1986), the Supreme Court held that police were within the law in not telling a suspect (who had waived his Miranda rights) that his sister had retained counsel for him,[8] but the Court also granted that the police behavior was unethical and could rise to a violation of legal rights in more egregious circumstances.[16]

In early 2005 Radack recalled her reaction to Ashcroft's statements more starkly: "I knew that wasn't true".[17]
Poor performance review

On February 4, 2002, the day before the Lindh indictment was announced, Flynn gave Radack an unscheduled "blistering" performance evaluation, despite Radack having received a merit raise the year before.[9] It covered December 27, 2001, to September 30, 2002, two months prior to the Lindh inquiry, and did not mention that case, but it criticized her legal judgment in issues related to the case and in other matters.[8][18] Flynn had not yet signed the review. She advised Radack to find another job or the review would be put in Radack's official personnel file.[9] Radack, who had planned on being a career civil servant, soon found a new job in the private sector.[9][19]
Missing emails

On March 7, 2002, while Radack was still working at PRAO, the lead prosecutor in the Lindh case, Randy Bellows, messaged Radack that there was a court order for all of the Justice Department's internal correspondence about Lindh's interrogation.[9] He said that he had two of her messages and wanted to make sure he had everything.

Radack immediately became concerned that the court order had been deliberately concealed from her.[7] She had written more than a dozen emails on the subject, and neither of the ones Bellows had received copies of reflected her fear that the FBI's actions had been unethical and that Lindh's confession, which was the basis for the criminal case, might have to be sealed.[13] Radack checked the hard-copy file and found that the thick stack of paper had been unstapled and reduced to a few sheets including only three of her emails, along with cover sheets indicating that Flynn had sent copies of those three to the Lindh prosecutors.[13][20] Radack confided in a senior colleague, former U.S. Attorney Donald McKay, who examined the file and told her that it had been "purged".[21]

With the assistance of technical support, Radack then recovered 14 email messages from her computer archives and gave them to Flynn with a cover memorandum. When Flynn asked Radack why the messages weren't in the file, Radack said she didn't know, and her supervisor said "Now I have to explain why PRAO should not look bad for not turning them over".[22] Radack took home a copy of the recovered emails to ensure they wouldn't "disappear" again.[23]

Which emails the Department of Justice supplied to the court, and when, cannot be determined directly because the court placed them under seal.[19] In March 2003 investigative journalist Jane Mayer of The New Yorker reported that "[a]n official list compiled by the prosecution confirms that the Justice Department did not hand over Radack's most critical e-mail in which she questioned the viability of Lindh's confession until after her confrontation with Flynn".[13] Radack continues to rely on Mayer's report.[15]

On December 31, 2003, Radack requested the court appoint a special prosecutor to probe the alleged suppression of the emails.[24] The government responded that it had supplied the emails to the court in its initial response to the court order seeking them, i.e., on March 1, 2002.[25] The description of the 24 documents (probably including duplicates) provided to the court at that time matches Radack's emails, including the one that states interviewing Lindh is not authorized by law.[26] DePue, the recipient of the emails, also had copies and states that they were submitted to the court.[27] The judge rejected Radack's request as "impertinent".[28]

In 2004 Radack filed suit against the government (see below). In 2005, the court found that "[t]hough Flynn informed Radack that she would send the emails to Bellows, Radack maintains that she had a 'good faith belief' that this never occurred...Radack was mistaken, for in filings submitted to the Virginia District Court on March 1, 2002, and March 11, 2002, Bellows turned over thirty-three PRAO-related documents, including Radack's fourteen emails, ex parte and under seal, for in camera review".[29]
Disclosure to Newsweek of emails believed to have been purged

Radack resigned from the Justice Department on April 5, 2002. In June 2002 she heard a broadcast on NPR stating that the Department claimed they had never taken the position that Lindh was entitled to counsel during his interrogation. She later wrote, "I knew this statement was not true. It also indicated to me that the Justice Department must not have turned over my e-mails to the Lindh court..because I did not believe the Department would have the temerity to make public statements contradicted by its own court filings, even if those filings were in camera." She reasoned that “disclosure of my e-mails would advance compliance with the Lindh court’s discovery order while also exposing gross mismanagement and abuse of authority by my superiors at the Justice Department."[30]

After hearing the broadcast, Radack sent the emails to Michael Isikoff, a Newsweek reporter, who had been interviewed in the NPR story.[8] He wrote an article about the purportedly missing emails[31] that appeared online June 15, 2002.[32] He did not reveal his source for the emails.

Radack has said she did not turn the documents over to the court or prosecutors at the time she recovered them because she felt intimidated by Flynn, who had told her to drop the matter.[33] Later, no longer working in government, she reasoned, "I couldn't go to the court because Justice Department lawyers would argue (as they did when I eventually did try to tell my story to the court) that I had no standing. I couldn't go to a Member of Congress because, as a resident of the District of Columbia, I didn't have a voting representative. What I could do is disclose my story to the press--a judicially-sanctioned way of exposing wrongdoing under the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989, which provides protection to federal government employees who blow the whistle on what they reasonably believe evidences a violation of any law, rule, or regulation; gross mismanagement; or an abuse of authority".[34]

Radack's reasoning assumed her emails were the position of the Department of Justice. Representatives of the Department have denied that. Michael Chertoff, then head of the criminal division that was prosecuting Lindh, viewed her emails as only a preliminary step in developing a PRAO position.[8] (Chertoff elaborated that position, and that the advice was not known to him or sought by those responsible for the decision to interview Lindh, in answers to questions from Senator Edward Kennedy, discussed below.)

Radack and some others believe her disclosure of the emails may have contributed to the plea agreement that led to a sentence of 20 years instead of possible multiple life sentences for Lindh.[35] The plea deal was reached on July 15, 2002, a month after the Newsweek article on the emails appeared online and just hours before the hearing to consider the motions to suppress the Lindh interviews was set to begin.[36] According to Lindh defense attorneys, the prosecution first approached them about a plea deal around the beginning of June.[37] On June 14, the day before the emails were disclosed, and June 17, the Lindh defense filed their arguments to suppress all the interviews conducted in Afghanistan, including the ones that Radack had advised might have to be suppressed.[38] The defense reasoning was different from Radack's; it did not assert that Lindh was represented by a lawyer at the time, which was the basis for Radack's advice in the emails.[39] Because of the plea deal, the legal questions regarding the interviews were not adjudicated.
Justice Department actions against Radack

On June 19, 2002, the Lindh court ordered the Justice Department to file a pleading "addressing whether any documents ordered protected by the Court were disclosed by any person bound by an Order of this court". The Justice Department launched a criminal investigation of Radack that remained open for 15 months.[40] No potential criminal charge was ever specified, but as leaking is not a crime, the most likely charge would have been theft of government property,[19] as she had taken home copies of her emails before she resigned from the PRAO,[23] and her PRAO supervisor later insinuated she was suspected of having removed other files that had gone missing.[41] Radack says an agent of the Department of Justice's Office of the Inspector General (OIG) told her new employer and coworkers that she was under criminal investigation[42] and would steal client files.[43][44]

Radack believes the OIG agent pressured her employer to fire her.[44] The firm was initially supportive, but after it obtained phone records of calls between Newsweek writer Isikoff and the firm's office showing that Radack appeared to be the leaker of government emails, that changed. A partner in the firm, which represented mainly government bond issuers, told her they could not be perceived to have an ex-government lawyer who broke confidence when she thought the client was wrong. When she continued to refuse to sign a statement that she did not leak the emails, she was placed on paid and then unpaid leave.[45]

When Radack was granted unemployment benefits, her now-former employer was assisted by the Justice Department, she says,[44] in challenging the benefits on the grounds of her alleged misconduct and insubordination. She won the appeal.[45]

It is not known how her employer obtained records of phone calls between her and Isikoff. They could have been obtained by the firm from the phone company, since they were records of calls to and from their phones. The firm also had records of calls Isikoff made to the Justice Department, which must have been supplied by the government, who knew because the calls were to them.[46]

The Lindh court issued an order on November 6, 2002, concluding that Radack's disclosure did not violate any order of the Court, but this order was not made available to Radack until two years later.[47]

The Department of Justice notified Radack that the criminal investigation was closed on September 11, 2003. On October 31, 2003, the Department of Justice's Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) sent letters to the bar associations of the two jurisdictions in which she was licensed to practice law referring her for a possible ethics violation. The referrals proposed that in disclosing the emails she may have knowingly revealed information protected by attorney-client privilege.[48] There is disagreement about whether the government or the public is the client of government attorneys.[8] Radack bypassed that issue by invoking the Whistleblower Protection Act (WPA), which she argues provides the legal basis for an exception to attorney-client privilege, i.e., for disclosure when permitted or authorized by law.[49] The Justice Department responded that the WPA may not apply to former employees, and that it does not authorize any disclosure, only prevents retaliatory personnel actions for certain disclosures.[50]

OPR did not follow its own policies in making the referrals, according to Radack, including in not allowing her to formally respond to its findings.[51] She has contrasted the way she was treated by the Department of Justice and the way the department attorneys who authored the memos giving a purported legal basis for waterboarding and other controversial interrogation methods were treated.[52]

There was never any serious investigation of how Radack's emails disappeared from the PRAO file, she believes, a conclusion reached in part because no investigator questioned her about it. She says the OIG told her attorney they had "looked into" her allegations and they were "not going to pursue it".[52]

The criminal investigation and subsequent ethics referrals prevented Radack from finding suitable work as an attorney for years, she says.[8][34][53] The Maryland Bar dismissed the referral February 23, 2005.[29] At the District of Columbia Bar the referral is still pending (as of June 1, 2012).[52]

Radack says she was placed on the "No-Fly List", by which she refers to the Selectee portion of the Terrorist Watchlist.[54] Selectees are submitted to extra security screening before boarding a flight.[55] She reports that for a time she was selected for extra security on each flight, at least 19 flights by her count, and that one airline told her she was on the list.[56] She believes she was eventually removed from the list, after she had complained to the Transportation Security Administration Ombudsman and the ACLU.[34]

Radack claims that one or more anonymous Justice Department officials have "smeared" her in the media as a "traitor", "turncoat", and "terrorist sympathizer"[44][52][57] "to alienate me from all my neighbors, all my friends",[58] sometimes specifying it was in the New York Times.[43][56][58] Google searches of the Times website confirm only that in 2003 Times journalist Eric Lichtblau wrote, "Government officials suspect [Radack] is a turncoat", without indicating whether the word was his or theirs.[59][60]

She has implied her being under a gag order, saying in the context of general remarks about gag orders, "There are certain things I cannot talk to you about, and I can't say anything more than that".[61]

In 2008 Radack said that she had spent hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting the government actions against her.[62] For a time beginning in 2003, noted constitutional scholar and former Associate Deputy Attorney General under Ronald Reagan, Bruce Fein, represented Radack pro bono.[8]
Quote 0 0

FBI forces police departments across the US to keep quiet about cellphone spying gear


September 23, 2014 17:48

Not only are local police departments across the United States increasingly relying on so-called StingRay devices to conduct surveillance on cell phone users, but cops are being forced to keep quiet about the operations, new documents reveal.

Recent reports have indicated that law enforcement agencies from coast to coast have been turning to IMSI-catcher devices, like the StingRay sold by Florida’s Harris Corporation, to trick ordinary mobile phones into communicating device-specific International Mobile Subscriber Identity information to phony cell towers — a tactic that takes the approximate geolocation data of all the devices within range and records it for investigators. Recently, the Tallahassee Police Department in the state of Florida was found to have used their own “cell site simulator” at least 200 times to collect phone data without once asking for a warrant during a three-year span, and details about the use of StingRays by other law enforcement groups continue to emerge on the regular.

But while the merits of whether or not law enforcement officers should legally be able to collect sensitive cell information by masquerading as telecommunication towers remains ripe for debate — and continues for certain to be an issue of contention among civil liberties advocates — newly released documents raise even further questions about how cops use StingRays and other IMSI-catchers to gather great chunks of data concerning the whereabouts of not just criminal suspects, but seemingly anyone in a given vicinity that happens to have a phone in their hand or pocket.

Relentless pleas for details about use of IMSI-catchers by the Tacoma Police Department in Washington state paid off recently when the investigative news site Muckrock obtained a six-page document after following up for several months on a Freedom of Information Act request placed with the TPD.

According to the document, police in Tacoma were forced to sign a non-disclosure agreement, or NDA, with the Federal Bureau of Investigation before they could begin conducting surveillance on cell users with a Harris-sold StingRay.

Although the majority of the December 2012 document is redacted, a paragraph from FBI special agent Laura Laughlin to Police of Chief Donald Ramsdell reveals that Tacoma officers were told they couldn’t discuss their use of IMSI-catchers with anyone.

“We have been advised by Harris Corporation of the Tacoma Police Department’s request for acquisition of certain wireless collection equipment/technology manufactured by Harris Corporation,” the FBI letter reads in part. “Consistent with the conditions on the equipment authorization granted to Harris Corporation by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), state and local law enforcement agencies must coordinate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to complete this non-disclosure agreement prior to the acquisition and use of the equipment/technology authorized by the FCC authorization.”

Muckrock first obtained documents in August referring to the NDA between the Tacoma PD and the US Department of Justice, but Shawn Musgrave wrote for the site this week that the agreement itself — albeit a highly redacted one — were only provided last Friday.

“The Tacoma document provides key insight into the close cooperation among the FBI, Harris Corporation and the Federal Communications Commission to bar StingRay details from public release,” Musgrave wrote.

“The fact that the FBI received notification from Harris that TPD was interested in a StingRay reveals a surprising level of coordination between a private corporation and a federal law enforcement agency,” Musgrave continued. “The agreement also makes clear that completing the NDA is compulsory by order of the FCC.”

Alan Butler, an appellate advocacy counsel for the Washington, DC-based Electronic Privacy Information Center, or EPIC, was quick to comment to Muckrock about the information revealed by the FOIA request.

“What is so fascinating about the beginning paragraph of the NDA you received,” Butler said, “is that it makes clear that Harris, the FCC and the FBI are working together to facilitate the proliferation of these devices among state and local law enforcement agencies.”

“It’s not clear to me why the FCC would have an interest in requiring law enforcement agencies to sign NDA’s with the FBI, unless they were concerned that the spread of this technology could harm users of American communications networks,” added Butler, whose group has previously filed multiple FOIA requests and legal complaints on its own with the FBI over the use of IMSI-catchers.

And Matt Cagle, an attorney who specialized in surveillance an serves as a police fellow for the American Civil Liberties Union’s Northern California office, tweeted that it’s “alarming” to see that the FCC — a public agency — “is conditioning certification of cell spy tech” without informing the public.
Quote 0 0

see link for full story


Weekend Edition September 26-28, 2014

Destabilization and the Surveillance State
How the Pentagon Exploits ISIS to Kill Surveillance Reform and Re-Occupy Iraq

As the US, Britain and France are maneuvering to escalate military action in Iraq and Syria against the ‘Islamic State’ in an operation slated to last “years,” authorities are simultaneously calling for new measures to tighten security at home to fend off the danger of jihadists targeting western homelands. Intervention abroad, policymakers are arguing, must be tied to increased domestic surveillance and vigilance. But US and British military experts warn that officials have overlooked the extent to which western policies in the region have not just stoked the rise of IS, but will continue to inflame the current crisis. The consequences could be dire – while governments exploit the turmoil in the Middle East to justify an effective re-invasion of Iraq along with intensified powers of surveillance and control – the end result could well be accelerated regional violence and increasing criminalization of Muslims and activists.

Pre-empting ‘social contagions’

In a recent article in Defense One, technology editor Patrick Tucker interviewed Dr Erin Fitzgerald, the head of the Pentagon’s controversial Minerva Research Initiative, about how Big Data analytics could have predicted the emergence of the Islamic State.

Founded in 2008, the year of the global financial crash, the Minerva initiative is a multi-million dollar programme funding social science research at universities around the world to support US defense policy. As I reported exclusively in The Guardian and Occupy.com, Minerva-funded projects have focused on studying and modeling the origins and trajectories of “social contagions” to track the propensity for civil unrest and insurgencies that could undermine US strategic interests at home and abroad.

This has included developing powerful new data-mining tools capable of in-depth analysis and automated threat-assessment of social media posts of nonviolent social movements, civil society networks, NGOs, and political activists, alongside potentially violent or extreme groups and organisations. Those algorithms, according to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, could be used to fine-tune CIA kill lists for drone warfare at a time when the US defense industry is actively (and successfully) lobbying federal and local government to militarise the homeland with drone technology.

A major deficiency even according to academic specialists who advised the Pentagon research programme is its use of fluid and imprecise definitions of “nonviolent activism” and “political radicalism,” which tend to equate even peaceful activists with “supporters of political violence.” Official Pentagon responses to my repeated questions about how they would safeguard against demonizing or criminalizing innocent activists consistently ignored this issue.

Pentagon spokesperson: Minerva research needed to predict groups like ISIS

According to Tucker, the US Department of Defense’s Minerva “program managers feel that the rise of IS, and the intelligence community’s inability to anticipate it, imbues their work with a timely importance.” He quotes Fitzgerald who tells him: “Recent security issues such as the emergence of terror groups like ISIS… highlight the type of critical knowledge gaps that Minerva research aims to address.”

Big Data, writes Tucker, has provided an ideal opportunity to innovate new ways of predicting the future. “It’s an excellent time for data-driven social science research,” he observes. “But is the military the best outfit to fund it at its most innovative?”

Citing a speech last week by CIA director John Brennan, Tucker points out that the sort of research being supported by Minerva is about closing “a big gap” in “intent intelligence” – the capacity to predict human intent.

The elephant in the room, however, is that the US intelligence community did anticipate the rise of IS. There is now mounting evidence in the public record that President Obama had been warned of a major attack on Iraq by IS extremists.

US intelligence long anticipated the rise of ISIS

According to an unidentified former Pentagon official, President Obama “was given detailed and specific intelligence about the rise of the Islamic State as part of his daily briefing for at least a year”, containing “strong and ‘granular’” data on the emergence of ISIS. The source said “[we] were ready to fire, on a moment’s notice, on a couple hundred targets,” but no order was given. In some cases, targets were tracked for a “long period of time” but then slipped away, reported Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge. The White House neither confirmed nor denied this report.

Similarly, the Daily Beast confirmed via “interviews with a dozen US and Iraqi intelligence officials, diplomats, and policy makers” that “A catastrophe like the fall of Mosul wasn’t just predictable… They repeatedly warned the Obama administration that something like this was going to happen.”

In February, then Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, delivered the annual DIA threat assessment to the Senate Armed Services Committee. He predicted that “al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI) also known as Iraq and Levant (ISIL)… probably will attempt to take territory in Iraq and Syria to exhibit its strength in 2014, as demonstrated recently in Ramadi and Fallujah.” Gen. Flynn also noted that “some Sunni tribes and insurgent groups appear willing to work tactically with AQI as they share common anti-government goals.” He criticized Baghdad for its “refusal to address long-standing Sunni grievances” and “heavy-handed approach to counter-terror operations” which has “led some Sunni tribes in Anbar to be more permissive of AQI’s presence.” ISIL has “exploited” this permissive security environment “to increase its operations and presence in many locations” in Iraq, as well as “into Syria and Lebanon,” which is inflaming “tensions throughout the region.” US intelligence also appears to have been fully cognizant of Iraq’s inability to repel a prospective ISIS attack on Iraq. Gen. Flynn added that the Iraqi army has “been unable to stem rising violence” and would be unable “to suppress AQI or other internal threats” particularly in Sunni areas like Ramada, Falluja, or mixed areas like Anbar and Ninewa provinces. As Iraq’s forces “lack cohesion, are undermanned, and are poorly trained, equipped and supplied,” they are “vulnerable to terrorist attack, infiltration and corruption.”

A senior figure in Iraq’s governing party, the Islamic Dawah Party, told me on condition of anonymity that Iraqi and American intelligence had anticipated an ISIS attack on Iraq, and specifically on Mosul, as early as August 2013. Although intelligence was not precise on the exact timing of the assault, the source said, “It was well known at the time that ISIS were beginning serious plans to attack Iraq. Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey played a key role in supporting ISIS at this time, but the UAE played a bigger role in financial support than the others, which is not widely recognised.”

Yet when asked whether the Americans had attempted to coordinate with Iraq on preparations for the expected ISIS assault this year, particularly due to the recognized inability of the Iraqi army to withstand such an attack, the Iraqi government source said that nothing of the sort had happened. “Perhaps they screwed up, the same way they screwed up over WMD,” he speculated.

Algorithms ‘for the field’

If Minerva research is not really about addressing a non-existent gap in assessing threats in the Middle East, what is it about? According to Fitzgerald, as reported by Tucker: “In contrast to data-mining system development or intelligence analysis, Minerva-funded basic research uses rigorous methodology to investigate the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of phenomena such as influence, conflict escalation and societal resilience.”

The reality is different. As my detailed investigation showed, including my interviews with senior US intelligence experts, Minerva is attempting to develop new tools capable of assessing social movements through a wide range of variables many of which can be derived from data-mining of social media posts, as well as from analysis of private metadata – all informed by sociological modeling with input from subject-area social science experts.

Contrary to Fitzgerald’s statement to Tucker, and to information on the Minerva website, private Minerva email communications I disclosed in the Guardian showed that the data-mining research pursued at Arizona State University would be used by the Pentagon “to develop capabilities that are deliverable quickly” in the form of “models and tools that can be integrated with operations.” Prof Steve Corman, a principal investigator for the ASU project on ‘radical and counter radical Muslim discourses’, told his ASU research staff that the Pentagon is looking to “feed results” into “applications.” He advised them to shape research results “so they [DoD] can clearly see their application for tools that can be taken to the field.”

Corman himself has a longstanding relationship with the Pentagon. In 2003, his ASU-spin off company, Crawdad Technologies, was awarded a $100,000 grant from the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research to analyse text streams using the company’s unique analytical methods which “transform text into networks that represent author intent.”

“We’re very happy that the United States Air Force sees potential in our technology”, said Corman at the time. “The product we’re developing will help intelligence and business analysts find information and patterns in large volumes of streaming text.”

In 2005, Corman’s company in association with ASU won a $750,000 Pentagon grant to further develop its Centering Resonance Analysis (CRA) technology – a “superior data-mining algorithm” which “had up to five times better precision than ones based on existing technologies.” The new grant was for Crawdad to advance the incorporation of “deep analytics” capable of mimicking “expert analysis” when combined with “domain knowledge.” This would create actionable insight from a range of streaming texts, including “news media, email, and even human conversation.” The project was completed in 2007.

ASU, Minerva and the NSA

For the period 2009 to 2014, ASU won its major award from the Pentagon’s Minerva initiative to continue developing new data-mining algorithms to monitor ‘radical and counter radical Muslim discourses.’ Regional and subject-area academic specialists were asked to rate and scale the threat-level to US interests posed by purportedly Muslim civil society organisations and networks in Britain, Western Europe and Southeast Asia, in order to feed into the fine-tuning of algorithms that could automate the threat-assessment classification process in a way that mimicked expert input. When I obtained access to these scaling tools, it turned out that a significant number of organisations being threat-assessed were simply antiwar, human rights and pro-democracy groups that were not remotely Islamic organisations.

For the same period from 2009 to 2014, the ASU received its National Security Agency (NSA) designation as a ‘National Center of Academic Excellence [CAE] in Information Assurance Research’ under the intelligence community’s CAE programme run by the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

According to NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake, the ideal use for the ASU’s algorithms would be to feed into the US intelligence community’s capacity to conduct wide-ranging predictive behavioral analysis of groups and individuals in the homeland and abroad – with an inherent danger of categorizing activists as potential terror suspects, and at worst, identifying potential targets for the CIA’s drone warfare kill lists.

Given the problematic nature of the Pentagon’s understanding of political violence, though, rather than fine-tuning the intelligence community’s capacity to meaningfully identify threats, this instead maximizes the capacity to see threats where none exist.

According to a former NSA mathematician, scientists at the agency are employed on condition that they would not be told how their mathematical or scientific research would be used. “The intelligence community has a dearth in the kind of scientific expertise necessary to understand and analyse much of the data that is collected,” he said:

“Even most of the mathematicians at the NSA are ex-military. They’re already comfortable with the intelligence community using their work as it sees fit. That’s why the NSA and other agencies require mechanisms to harness the expertise in the academic community. It’s not so easy to convince independent academics whose specialized knowledge is needed to inform intelligence analysis of complex societies and foreign regions that they don’t need to know how their research will be used. But an external funding programme like Minerva makes it easier to overcome this hurdle. All academics need to know is that they’re aiding the fight against terrorists who want to kill American citizens.”

Islamic State paves the way to kill surveillance reform

No wonder then that Western governments have moved fast on the back of the IS threat to justify the need for mass surveillance and Big Data analysis, while neutering calls for surveillance reform due to systemic violations of privacy.

The USA Freedom Act, which was supposed to restrict the NSA’s authority to spy on American citizens, has now been stalled in the Senate due to IS. Stephen Vladeck, a law professor at American University, told Foreign Policy: “There was a lot of movement on surveillance reform in Congress… but it has been totally overtaken by ISIS. The Senate will still have to pass something, but the urgency is gone.”

Now the UN Security Council is about to endorse a new resolution granting unprecedented powers to government law-enforcement agencies to monitor and suppress the travel of terror suspects, including stripping people of their passports. The resolution does not require any criminal conduct as a precondition for the use of such enforcement powers.

The problem is that neither of the main approaches to dealing with IS – mass surveillance and military bombardment – are likely to work. The New America Foundation’s detailed report released at the beginning of this year found that surveillance “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism”; while military action and dubious alliances with regional powers is precisely what led to the current crisis.

Unfortunately, as anthropologist Prof David Price told Defense One’s Patrick Tucker about the Pentagon’s regressive approach to the appropriation of social science: “I just don’t see Minerva funding a study of how American civilian, military, and intelligence activities in the Middle East contributed to the rise of the Islamic State.”

The elephant in the room is foreign policy

According to security analyst Charles Shoebridge, a former British Army and Metropolitan Police counter terrorism intelligence officer, the crisis across Iraq and Syria cannot be resolved without first addressing the extent to which western policies created the crisis in the first place.

“The US, UK and France contributed to the collapse of governance [in Syria]… by funding, training and equipping ‘moderate’ rebels with little realistic consideration of with whom such funds, trained fighters and ‘non lethal’ aid (such as armoured vehicles, body armour, secure military radios and weapon sights) would end up,” said Shoebridge. “Similarly, the West did nothing to discourage vast flows of funds and arms from their allies Saudi Arabia, Qatar and others towards rebel groups irrespective of, or perhaps because of, their extreme interpretations of Sunni Islam.”

Shoebridge pointed out that the US and UK in particular, “through the covert work of MI6 and the CIA,” appear to have “played a key role in facilitating the flow of arms and jihadist fighters to Syria from such places as Libya, the Caucuses and Balkans, with the aim of militarily boosting those fighting Assad.”

Currently, the success of the new US-led strategy in Iraq and Syria is premised on the notion of a clear and discernable distinction between the ‘moderate’ rebels and extremists linked to al-Qaeda or IS. But according to Shoebridge, this distinction then and now is virtually meaningless: “It should also be noted in this respect that the ‘moderate’ rebels the US and UK support themselves openly welcomed the arrival of such extremists. Indeed, the Free Syria Army backed by the West was allied with ISIS, until ISIS attacked them at the end of 2013. Still today, ‘moderate’ rebels backed by the US and UK are allied with Syrian al Qaeda affiliate al Nusra, despite the US and UK having banned this group at home.”

Turning a blind eye

By some estimates up to 500 Britons are suspected of having gone to fight in Syria. With reports that many of them are planning to return to the UK, some of them due to being disillusioned with IS, the government is exploring new powers to prevent British terror suspects from traveling abroad or re-entering the country. But Shoebridge remarked that since 2006, UK authorities have tacitly allowed this terror-funnel to consolidate and expand, until it began to grow out of control last year. Britain, he told me, “turned a blind eye to the travelling of its own jihadists to Syria, notwithstanding ample video etc evidence of their crimes there. Despite such overseas terrorism having been illegal in the UK since 2006, it’s notable that only towards the end of 2013 when ISIS turned against the West’s preferred rebels, and perhaps also when the tipping point between foreign policy usefulness and MI5 fears of domestic terrorist blowback was reached, did the UK authorities begin to take serious steps to tackle the flow of UK jihadists.”

The US-UK direct and tacit support for jihadists, he said, had made Syria the safest place for regional terrorists fearing drone strikes “for more than two years.” Syria was “the only place British jihadists could fight without fear of US drones or arrest back home… likely because, unlike if similar numbers of UK jihadists had been travelling to for example Yemen or Afghanistan, this suited the US and UK’s anti Assad foreign policy.”

Air strikes will fail, could pave way for ground war

I also talked to a senior US Army official familiar with Iraq who had deep reservations about the current course of military action. “It was almost 100% certain that airstrikes alone could never ‘defeat’ ISIS. The absolute automatic, certain reaction ISIS would take has been taken: they changed the way they operate, move, and where they live. They are now more deeply embedded in the civilian infrastructure so that continued striking is going to build up more and more civilian casualties – which ISIS and other organizations will certainly publicize, making us look very bad. So it should have been known, 100%, that airpower alone wouldn’t succeed.”

The failure of air strikes to quell IS could pave the way for an inevitable ground invasion, he speculated, which however would only result in a deeper quagmire: “What do you do next? Stop bombing? Bomb more? What more targets do you engage; which additional targets will you engage? Or will you bring in Western ground troops to fight? That has been tried and conclusively failed.”

In much the same way that the devastation of Iraq in the context of the 2003 Iraq War, and the US-backed imposition of a repressive, sectarian regime there, have acted as a recruiting sergeant for Islamist extremists, further air strikes are likely to have a similar counterproductive impact now.

Civilians in Iraq and Syria, the US official said, “were first victimized and brutalized by ISIS, and now many of them have already been killed and wounded by the airstrikes. Their homes, business, and schools have been turned to rubble; their economy almost eliminated. What do we think all these people will think of the West now? Even if we eventually defeated ISIS – highly unlikely – the devastation against these innocents will engender such animosity towards us the results might be worse than what we have now.”

Any solution to the crisis, he said, would require a dramatic change of approach to the region, including serious introspection on the west’s contribution to the conditions which have fed the grievances of groups like al-Qaeda and IS. “Neither the US or UK have been willing to even consider, much less admit, that a good chunk of the causality for this current mess originated with our actions in 2003 and ever since. In effect, the very bad policy and military actions we’ve taken in the past decade to help inflame this region – through considerable kinetic action and the funneling in of huge amounts of weapons and ammunition – will be deepened and expanded… So long as we don’t concede our actions have contributed greatly to this instability (not all, but a significant portion), we will be doomed to deepening the situation.”

For British counter terrorism expert Shoebridge, the sheer incompetence of the US-UK’s reactionary response raises probing questions about whether their strategies have been willingly compromised by commitments to their allies, many of whom played key roles with US and UK support in supporting Islamist extremists in Syria.

“For the US and UK, to find an answer as to a way out of the mess that is now the Islamic State one must first ask whether for their foreign policy it’s actually a mess at all,” he said. “Certainly ISIS remains a potent and useful tool for key US and UK allies such as Saudi Arabia, and perhaps also Israel, which seek the destabilization of enemies Syria and Iraq, as well as a means for applying pressure on more friendly states such as Lebanon and Jordan. It’s understandable therefore that many question the seriousness of US and UK resolve to destroy ISIS, particularly given that for years their horrific crimes against civilians, particularly minorities, in Syria were expediently largely unmentioned by the West’s governments or media.”

Whether or not the west is serious about defeating IS, there can be little doubt that the acceleration of western military intervention in Iraq and Syria is pitched to aggravate regional crisis, while permitting policymakers to dramatically extend the unaccountable powers of the surveillance state.

Nafeez Ahmed is an investigative journalist, bestselling author and international security scholar. He has contributed to two major terrorism investigations in the US and UK, the 9/11 Commission and the 7/7 Coroner’s Inquest, and has advised the Royal Military Academy Sandhust, British Foreign Office and US State Department, among other government agencies. His new novel, ZERO POINT, predicted a US-UK re-invasion of Iraq to put down an Islamist insurgency there. Nafeez is a regular contributor to The Guardian where he writes abo
Quote 0 0
see link for fullness of story

FBI agent pleads guilty in Utah federal court to conspiracy


September 29 2014

Robert G. Lustyik Jr. • Former FBI agent.

Former FBI agent Robert G. Lustyik Jr. pleaded guilty on Monday just before a trial was to begin on charges he tried to derail a federal investigation into a company accused of defrauding the military out of millions of dollars through a defense contract in Afghanistan.

Lustyik, 52, Sleepy Hollow, N.Y., pleaded guilty to all 11 counts of an indictment handed up in 2012 that charged he and two others with conspiracy, fraud and obstruction of justice and obstruction of a federal agency.

After taking Lustyik’s guilty plea, U.S. District Judge Tena Campbell started the process of selecting a jury in the trial of Lustyik’s fellow defendant, Johannes W. Thaler.

A third defendant, Michael Taylor of Boston, pleaded guilty in November of 2013 to one count of wire fraud and admitted he had bribed Lustyik to try to derail an investigation.

Taylor owned American International Security Corporation (AISC), a Boston-based firm. The case and several linked ones revolved around allegations of contract rigging by Taylor’s company to win the right to train and equip Afghanistan commandos as part of the U.S. war effort. The contract was eventually worth $54 million.

The case ended up in Salt Lake City federal court because another man, Christopher Harris, AISC’s head in Afghanistan who once lived in southern Utah, came under scrutiny after he told a clerk at a St. George bank where he had an account that he was making withdrawals of under $10,000 so the bank didn’t have to report him to federal authorities.

Taylor said he offered Lustyik employment, a big salary and a share in big deals with which his company was involved if Lustyik would push to have a grand jury investigation dropped. Lustyik in his capacity as an counterintelligence agent then falsely claimed Taylor as a confidential intelligence source and then contacted Utah prosecutors about the case in an effort to end the investigation, court documents allege.

Lustyik’s attorney, Ray Mansolillo of Boston, said his client pleaded guilty right before trial because he wanted to spare his family and didn’t want to have to disclose information he developed as an intelligence agent.
Quote 0 0

Federal judge dismisses Occupy Buffalo suit against FBI

on September 30, 2014 - 2:02 PM

see link for full story


A federal judge has dismissed Occupy Buffalo’s civil suit seeking information on when and how the FBI and other government agencies monitored the group.

Chief U.S. District Judge William M. Skretny found that the U.S. Justice Department fulfilled its legal obligation to search for records about Occupy Buffalo and withhold those that are exempt from the Freedom of Information law.

The suit stems in part from the government’s acknowledgement that federal agencies kept an eye on the group’s activities. The Coast Guard, for example, monitored public websites for Occupy Buffalo’s planned activities.

Michael Kuzma, one of the group’s lawyers, said the Justice Department’s unwillingness to provide information about the group is just one example of the Obama administration’s opposition to openness and transparency in government.

Occupy Buffalo still has a federal suit pending against the city for its removal of the group
Quote 0 0
see link for full story

FBI moves to fire 11 whistleblowers, key senator fears retaliation
Eleven served with Loss of Effectiveness orders, warned of possible firings

"These whistleblowers never have the opportunity to make their case," said Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. "It's stereotypical treatment of whistleblowers for the executive branch." (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
“These whistleblowers never have the opportunity to make their case,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. “It’s stereotypical treatment of whistleblowers for the executive branch.”

- Wednesday, October 1, 2014
Eleven whistleblowers in the FBI say the bureau is targeting them for termination in retaliation for their revelations about FBI wrongdoing, the top Republican on the Senate Committee on the Judiciary announced Wednesday.

The whistleblowers, who have spoken out about various problems and wrongdoing at the law enforcement agency, said they recently have been served with Loss of Effectiveness orders, warning that their performance is suffering and that they could soon be fired.

“These whistleblowers never have the opportunity to make their case,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley, Iowa Republican. “It’s stereotypical treatment of whistleblowers for the executive branch.”

SEE ALSO: Whistleblowers flood VA with lawsuits despite apology

The letters sent to the employees mark the first major case showing how new FBI Director James B. Comey may react to internal whistleblowers.

Mr. Grassley noted that the Loss of Effectiveness orders don’t allow employees an appeal and bypass the bureau’s Office of Professional Responsibility, which usually deals with employee matters.

“If these allegations are true, the FBI’s treatment of whistleblowers stands in stark contrast with how it treats agents who have been found by [internal investigators] to have committed actual, disciplinable offenses,” Mr. Grassley said in a September letter to the FBI director.

The senator cited the case of an FBI agent who was having a relationship with a foreign citizen and had divulged sensitive information. The agent was never sent a Loss of Effectiveness (LOE) letter, and the agent’s case was handled through the Office of Professional Responsibility, he said.

“There is serious cause for concern that the FBI’s use of LOEs may be similarly arbitrary and capricious in other cases as well as a tool of whistleblower retaliation,” Mr. Grassley wrote.

Officials at the FBI could not be reached for comment Wednesday evening.

But in a September response to Mr. Grassley’s letter, the bureau said that LOE letters are a means to “maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our workforce.”

“The FBI intends the process to be fair and to improve the efficiency of the workforce,” the bureau said. “A LOE transfer does not result in a loss in pay or a demotion in rank.”

“All FBI employees are subject to being moved from a particular assignment for the betterment of the organization and to promote the leadership qualities needed for the FBI to be effective,” the bureau letter said.

The whistleblowers said the FBI Office of Integrity and Compliance is concerned about the issue of retaliation and is working on drafting changes to the agency’s policies on the treatment of whistleblowers.

Mr. Grassley pointed to the case of agent Richard Kiper, who was working as the unit chief of the Investigative Training Unit in the FBI Training Division. But Mr. Kiper claims FBI leaders gave him a Loss of Effectiveness letter in July 2013 in retaliation after he provided information on problems in the training curriculum and business process. Based on the Loss of Effectiveness order, Mr. Kiper was demoted.

The FBI has taken retaliatory action against whistleblowers in the past. In 2007 former agent Jane Turner won a court case against the agency after she was forced out due to retaliation. FBI officials said she had tarnished the agency’s reputation for reporting about the potential theft of property from ground zero in New York City.

Story Continues →

Read more: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/oct/1/fbi-whistleblowers-claim-retaliatory-targeting-for/#ixzz3ExQlf5C4
Follow us: @washtimes on Twitter
Quote 0 0

Political News: Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs; Vision Tech; Endless War; Surveillance, Control and Repression

Infiltration and Agent Provocateurs
From 2007-09, John Towery, a criminal intelligence army analyst in the Force Protection Service fusion center at the Fort Lewis military base spied on anarchists and peace activists in Tacoma and Olympia, WA who were part of SDS and the Port Militarization Resistance, which protested international war shipments. Under the name ‘John Jacob’, Towery became close friends with the activists, surveilled them, and shared data with local, state, federal and military agencies. A public records request uncovered the surveillance operation of Towery against the Olympia Movement for Justice and Peace, IWW, Iraq Veterans Against the War, an anarchist bookshop, amongst others. The 9th circuit court of appeals has ruled in December 2012 that the subsequent lawsuit against Towery can proceed in the narrow terms of intentionally enabling arrest without probable cause in order to repress free speech, but apparently not on the Posse Comitatus law that bars the use of armed forces for law enforcement activities inside the US.

The Earth Island Journal published documents obtained through FOIA requests that show how the Bryan County, Oklahoma Sheriff’s department was spying on the Great Plains Tar Sands Resistance and other direct action groups against the proposed tar sands pipeline to run from Canada to Texas. Some activists were arrested earlier, the action camp infiltrated and a protest preempted. The targets are described as eco-activists; Native American resisters; Occupy members; Anarchists; and locals from the community. Documents also show how the corporation TransCanada who will build the pipeline works closely with the multi-government agency Fusion Center in Oklahoma advising on policy, changing laws, sharing intel, ensnaring activists, and generally protecting their own interests and facilitating the increase of their profits.

The agent provocateur “Anna” performed extensive FBI surveillance and entrapment of three other activists (see the Life During Wartime book review) used to convict Eric McDavid for 19 years and 7 months, the second longest sentence for recent environmental prisoners. During McDavid’s trial, his lawyer attempted to argue government misconduct because of “Anna’s” intimate relationship with him, however this was dismissed in light of the 1991 9th Circuit ruling in US v Simpson that the government can exploit intimate and sexual relations between the infiltrator and anyone under a surveillance investigation.

Back in January 2011, The Guardian newspaper journalists Paul Lewis and Rob Evans broke the huge story of how Mark Kennedy, a London Metropolitan Police officer, infiltrated numerous European left and direct action networks under the name “Mark Stone” and “Flash”. 22 countries including Germany used Kennedy as an agent provocateur in order to ensnare activists in illegal activities, gather information, maps networks, etc. (The website “Mark Kennedy: A chronology of his activities” gives more details and corrections to the initial news reports, although not on his Berlin spying.) Various British police and government agencies cut Kennedy loose, avoided responsibility, attempted to stop or curtail “reform” of undercover agents’ behavior, and denied their support of his spying, especially concerning how Kennedy had sexual relations with numerous women over the years in order to gather intel and ensnare them. 8 of those women have sued Scotland Yard for sexual misconduct by five agent provocateurs Bob Lambert, John Dines, Jim Boyling, Mark Cassidy and Mark Kennedy. The reporters have in 2013 published a book on the wider use of infiltration and surveillance called Undercover: The True Story of Britain’s Secret Police.

The Associated Press reporters Matt Abuzzo and Adam Goldmann, who won two Pulitzer Prizes for their series of investigations of the NYPD’s surveillance operations against Muslim Americans (in and outside NYC and the state), have published a new book Enemies Within: Inside the NYPD’s Spying Unit that gives much greater detail through meticulous research on these operations. NYPD’s Demographics Unit spent six years using a huge network of informants to surveil every aspect of life, actions which did not lead to a single arrest, criminal cases or thwarting of so-called ‘terrorism’ plots. (Ray Kelly, the NYPD Commissioner, has been floated to be nominated to run the Department of Homeland Security.) Various lawsuits brought against the NYPD by Muslim Americans affect by the spying are pending in court.

Vision Tech
The UK Home Office has funded the development of the Discriminating Irritant Projectile (DIP), something like a gun that fires CS gas, pepper spray or other substance as far as 131 feet away from the intended targets. They have also tested a new Taser gun, the X2, that can taser multiple people at once. Both are slated to be deployed in large protests and arrest situations.

A declassified 1998 Pentagon report “The Bioeffects of Selected Non-Lethal Weapons” shows that there is a possibility to weaponize the use of microwave hearing technology to make a subject hear voices or words in their head without audible sound, which is predicted to have devastating psychological effects. The report also discusses the idea of using electromagnetic pulses to disrupt the brain’s functioning. However, the report doesn’t indicate any ongoing programs for the development of these weapon ideas.

Ohio instituted, with no oversight or public comment, a new facial recognition program that matches any image from videos, pictures, mug shots, etc. to an storage state issued ID card (drivers’ license) image, as well as contact info, bank accounts and flight departure/arrival plans. Various federal agencies and 28 states already have similar programs with Florida running a program containing 120 million identified faces. Similar database programs store biometric data such as iris scans (also used in Fallujah, Iraq), skin textures, vein patterns, palm and finger prints, and personal physical demarcations such as a gait while walking.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2013 in a split decision that arrestees can be forced prior to arraignment to give up DNA samples to the police, who do not need a warrant, and there is no distinction concerning minor and serious offenses, thus all arrestees could be targeted. The case Maryland v King concerns the defendant who was arrested for a gun related assault charges, whose DNA was taken against his will, and then matched in a database to an unsolved rape case. The court ruled that DNA sampling is legitimate police booking method like fingerprinting, and 28 states run such programs. This ruling may further support the establishment of a national DNA database.

Endless War
In February 2013, a 16 page legal ‘white paper’, prepared by the Obama DOJ was released by the press, articulated the supposed ‘lawfulness’ of assassinating Americans (named on the kill list, see datacide 12 news) for allegedly being al-Qaida or associated forces member. This document isn’t the OLC memo the ACLU and other organizations are still trying to get released. Assassinations are justified by the government’s accusations or implied associations between two plus targets, not through any legal mechanism to assess guilt. Targeting killing continue to expand the George W. Bush doctrine of the ‘world is a battlefield’, and such murder can be instituted without an ‘imminent’ threat to the US or its allies. Assassination targets are also foreigners, whose targeted killing mostly by drones is facilitated between the NSA/CIA/etc and British GCHQ. On 19 July 2013, the ACLU and CCR argued in federal court that the assassinations of 3 US citizens (2 on the kill list) is unconstitutional, and the case is covered extensively in the new book and documentary film Dirty Wars by journalist Jeremy Scahill. Documents compiled by various human rights organizations and media outlets convincingly demonstrate that the vast majority of people killed by drones are civilians (although the Obama administration argues that any man of military age near a strike zone is considered a ‘combatant’ or ‘militant’, and can be ‘lawfully’ killed without due process, and are not considered ‘civilian’, unless they are later proven innocent.) The website Naming the Dead by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism attempts to record accurately the names, and as much other information as possible, about people killed by drone strikes in Pakistan.

The Rendition Project has created a detailed mapping, database, and informational website that provides new and extensive research on the extraordinary rendition program set up by the CIA after 9/11. It documents how governments around the world actively participated in the illegal rendition program and facilitated torture.

In July, a federal 2nd circuit appeals court overturned the court order injunction against the implementation of Section 1021 of the NDAA, which authorizes the president to indefinitely detain “a person who was part of or substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners, including any person who has committed a belligerent act or has directly supported such hostilities in aid of such enemy forces” (this includes American citizens detained in the US) (see datacide 12 news).

The federal lawsuit brought in court by four Iraqi victims tortured at Abu Ghraib prison called Al Shimari v CACI attempts to prove the private military contractor’s participation and conspiracy in war crimes, torture, and other offenses. On June 26, 2013, the judge dismissed the whole case based on a recent Supreme Court decision that Alien Tort Statue claims made by international victims could not be applied to violations by Americans or American companies outside the US, thus the case didn’t actually resolve at all the question of the contractor’s culpability. In a further blow, the court ordered the Iraqi victims to pay the expensive legal fees run up by CACI in this case.

Surveillance, Control and Repression
On June 5, 2013, Glenn Greenwald, journalist at The Guardian, and Laura Poitras, independent filmmaker, broke the first story about NSA spying on domestic and international all phone, internet and electronic communications, based on leaked documents provided by former NSA contractor turned whistleblower Edward Snowden. (Connected stories document the collection and spying on all other personal data including banking, tax and medical records, all domestic and international mail in the US, etc.) Since then, several hundred articles have been published on innumerable aspects of secret NSA spying programs, the methods, what US officials knew, how this was kept secret, ‘legal’ justifications and ‘oversight’, various funding issues, Congress members attempts to ‘reform’ the programs, corporations and manufacturers involvement and facilitation, as well as numerous international stories concerning foreign governments participation in data sharing and dual programs, as well as lots of international fallout, so its impossible to even describe an overview here of the revelations and ramifications. The most recent story published on October 4 reveals how the NSA has attempted through various methods to uncover the anonymity of Tor, an open-source public software project that keeps users’ internet traffic anonymous and protected from censorship tools.

On September 25, Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Svarthom appealed the previous conviction that he was found guilt of hacking a Swedish IT company and not guilty of hacking a local bank. He had his sentence in the case reduced to one year, in part based on testimony from Jacob Appelbaum demonstrating that the prosecution couldn’t disprove that Svarthom’s computer could have been taken over and abused remotely. All the Pirate Bay founders continue to have legal problems, jail time and must pay huge fines, while Svarthom will be extradited to Denmark to face new charges.

Chelsea Manning (formerly Bradley Manning) was convicted in military court to 35 years in prison for 20 charges related to the leaking over 700,000 classified documents to Wikileaks, which comprised the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs, the Collateral Murder Video, and Cable Gate, amongst others. Manning was found not guilt of the most nefarious offense “aiding the enemy”. Manning is seeking a presidential pardon.

Journalist James Risen lost his appeal in July to avoid the subpoena issued against him to testify in the case of US v Sterling, thus his option is to go to prison for contempt of court, or be forced to reveal his sources during the trial. The court found that journalists have no special privileges to avoid self-incrimination or to refuse to give court testimony. Sterling was indicted by the Obama administration under the Espionage Act, for allegedly passing to an unauthorized person (Risen) national defense information about the Clinton administration’s plan to pass faulty nuclear weapon blueprints to Iran. Sterling is only the fifth person in US history to be tried under this act, and is part of the Obama administration’s aggressive campaign against whistleblowers and leakers.

Quote 0 0
FBI agents successfully convert word communism to muslim

US attorney in Boston Carmen " no Miranda" Ortiz who suicided Aaron Schwartz would like your achtung please....

Federal initiative in Boston aims to counter extremism

October 04, 2014


US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said the program is unprecedented in its scope.

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff/File

US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said the program is unprecedented in its scope.

A new Justice Department initiative in Boston aimed at preventing people from joining extremist groups will focus not just on radicalized Muslims but on all forms of militants, including white supremacists, religious hate groups, and school shooters, US Attorney Carmen Ortiz said.

In an interview, Ortiz said the program is unprecedented in its scope, enlisting a broad spectrum of religious leaders, community leaders, and experts in health and education to identify people susceptible to radical ideology and intervene before they become a threat. It also draws on counterterrorism specialists, as well as federal, state, and local law enforcement, to assess risks and threats.

The program is launching as the Islamic State militant group that has occupied parts of Syria and Iraq has been aggressively recruiting members on social media, and a number of Americans have traveled overseas to join the Islamic State and other militants.

“This is to try to identify individuals who are likely to engage in violent extremism,” Ortiz told the Globe. “At the end of the day our goal is to really promote public safety here and to have the community be a part of our national security.”

The Islamic Council of New England, which was already in the process of creating a training program to steer youths away from extremist ideology, has agreed to participate in the project, along with leaders of other faiths.

Dr. Nabeel Khudairi, chairman of the interfaith committee of the Islamic Council of New England, said Muslim leaders have repeatedly condemned violent extremism and that the council has been working to create a youth training program to stress that message.

“We see it as our responsibly as good Muslims to constantly remind young people they have a moral obligation to follow certain codes and behavior,” said Khudairi, who is a member of one of two working groups Ortiz formed to counter violent extremism.

Quote Icon

The Islamic Council is seeking advice from psychologists, sociologists and computer experts on how to develop the training program, with workshops, and possibly interactive educational apps for smartphones, that would be implemented at mosques throughout New England, and eventually nationwide.

The training sessions “would clearly steer them away from acts of revenge or extremist thinking,” Khudairi said.

Yusufi Vali, executive director of the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, said he was hopeful that mosques and the Muslim community would not be singled out under the initiative.

“Mosques are the best buffers against any form of extremism because it’s a place where community happens,” said Vali, citing studies that indicate many violent extremists are often loners who isolate themselves from the community and are radicalized online.

“As a country we’ve seen an increase in violent extremism, whether it be the school shootings, the recent attack on a synagogue in Kansas City or the Boston Marathon tragedy,” said Vali, adding that authorities should focus on what is causing the spike in violence.

In explaining the program, Ortiz said Boston was not selected because of the Marathon bombings.

But rather, she said, the city was chosen because it has strong community-oriented policing that has been successful in targeting gangs and gun violence.

She said the initiative, which was announced last month and is also underway in Los Angeles and Minneapolis, is intended as a pilot for a program that could be expanded to a nationwide approach to countering violent extremism.

Kieran Ramsey, assistant special agent in charge of the FBI’s Boston office, said the practice of enlisting community groups, nonprofit agencies, private businesses, and neighborhood residents will better prevent and predict future threats “from gangs, drugs, cyber-related crimes, and terrorism” than “merely reacting to ones as they appear.”

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, who is participating in the federal initiative, said he recently visited the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center for the first time, and is doing more outreach to the Muslim and Somali communities in an effort to build trust and allay fears of religious profiling.

“If they see someone whose views are extremely radical, those are the people we want them to notify us of,” Evans said. “We don’t want to be snooping in on their religion.”

He cited as an example of the outreach the police response to a rash of robberies commi ...
Quote 0 0

Feds ‘Hacked’ Silk Road Without a Warrant? Perfectly Legal, Prosecutors Argue


10.07.14 |

Ross Ulbricht. Courtesy Ulbricht family

With only a month until the scheduled trial of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged creator of the Silk Road drug site, Ulbricht’s defense lawyers have zeroed in on the argument that the U.S. government illegally hacked the billion-dollar black market site to expose the location of its hidden server. The prosecution’s latest rebuttal to that argument takes an unexpected tack: they claim that even if the FBI did hack the Silk Road without a warrant—and prosecutors are careful not to admit they did—that intrusion would be a perfectly law-abiding act of criminal investigation.

On Monday evening the prosecutors submitted the latest in a series of combative court filings from the two sides of the Silk Road case that have clashed over Ulbricht’s Fourth Amendment right to privacy. The government’s new argument responds to an affidavit from an expert witness, tech lawyer Joshua Horowitz, brought in by Ulbricht’s defense to poke holes in the FBI’s story of how it located the Silk Road server. In a letter filed last week, Horowitz called out inconsistencies in the FBI’s account of stumbling across the Silk Road’s IP address while innocently entering “miscellaneous data” into its login page. He testified that the FBI’s actions instead sounded more like common hacker intrusion techniques. Ulbricht’s defense has called for an evidentiary hearing to cross examine the FBI about the operation.

In the government’s rebuttal, however, Ulbricht’s prosecutors don’t directly contest Horowitz’ description of the FBI’s investigation, though they do criticize his testimony in passing as “factually and analytically flawed in a number of respects.” Instead, they obliquely argue that the foreign location of the site’s server and its reputation as a criminal haven mean that Ulbricht’s Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches don’t apply, even if the FBI did use hacking techniques to penetrate the Silk Road, and did so without a warrant.

“Even if the FBI had somehow ‘hacked’ into the [Silk Road] Server in order to identify its IP address, such an investigative measure would not have run afoul of the Fourth Amendment,” the prosecutors’ new memo reads. “Given that the SR Server was hosting a blatantly criminal website, it would have been reasonable for the FBI to ‘hack’ into it in order to search it, as any such ‘hack’ would simply have constituted a search of foreign property known to contain criminal evidence, for which a warrant was not necessary.”

The Silk Road server in question, after all, was located not in the United States but in a data center near Reykjavik, Iceland. And though Ulbricht is an American citizen, the prosecutors argue that the server’s location abroad made it fair game for remote intrusion. “Because the SR Server was located outside the United States, the Fourth Amendment would not have required a warrant to search the server, whether for its IP address or otherwise,” the prosecution’s filing reads.

In a footnote, the memo adds another strike against Ulbricht’s Fourth Amendment protections: The Silk Road was not only hosted in a foreign data center, but also rented from a third-party web hosting service. And because Ulbricht allegedly violated the company’s terms of service by using its computers to deal in narcotics and other contraband, that company was exempted from any obligation to protect his privacy.

Finally, prosecutors argue that for the 30-year-old Texan to claim privacy protections for Silk Road’s server, he would have to declare that it belonged to him—a tricky Catch-22. Ulbricht hasn’t claimed personal possession of that computer’s data, as doing so would almost certainly incriminate him. But because he hasn’t he can’t claim that his privacy was violated when it was searched, according to the prosecutor’s reasoning. “Because Ulbricht has not submitted any affidavit alleging that he had any possessory interest in the SR Server—let alone one that would give him a reasonable expectation of privacy—his motion should be denied,” reads the prosecutors’ filing.

Early Tuesday, Judge Katherine Forrest ordered Ulbricht’s defense to decide within the day whether it will argue that Ulbricht did have an expectation of privacy for the Silk Road server, as well as all his other seized computers and online accounts. She’s given him until the end of the day Wednesday to make that argument Ulbricht’s defense didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The pre-trial motion over which Ulbricht’s defense lawyers and the prosecution have been sparring for the last two months doesn’t directly seek to have the central narcotics conspiracy and money laundering charges against Ulbricht dismissed. Instead, his lawyers have sought to prove that the evidence gathered by law enforcement is tainted. If ...
Quote 0 0
Quote 0 0
see link for full story

OCTOBER 14 2014
David Greenglass, brother who testified against Ethel Rosenberg, dies at 92
David Greenglass, whose testimony against his sister Ethel Rosenberg led to her death sentence for espionage in 1953, died July 1 at the age of 92. The New York Times learned of his death recently after calling the nursing home where he lived.

A Communist, Greenglass was assigned to the Manhattan Project at Los Alamos in 1944 while an Army sergeant. He was already a Soviet spy, and while there, stole nuclear intelligence. After being arrested in 1950, Greenglass admitted to passing secrets to his brother-in-law, Julius Rosenberg. There was the question of whether it was Ethel or Greenglass' wife, Ruth, who had typed the notes that were sent to the Soviets. Greenglass learned that Ruth had told FBI agents that Ethel was the typist, and Greenglass went along with the story and testified against his sister and brother-in-law. The Rosenbergs never named names, and after being found guilty were executed in 1953.

Ruth was never prosecuted, and Greenglass served almost 10 years in prison. Upon his release, he changed his name. Decades later, a New York Times journalist tracked him down, and he admitted to not really knowing whether or not Ethel had typed the notes. "I don't remember that at all," he said. "I frankly think my wife did the typing, but I don't remember." He didn't regret what he did, though, saying: "My wife is more important to me than my sister. Or my mother or my father, OK? And she was the mother of my children."
Quote 0 0



EFF Response to FBI Director Comey's Speech on Encryption
FBI Director James Comey gave a speech yesterday reiterating the FBI's nearly twenty-year-old talking points about why it wants to reduce the security in your devices, rather than help you increase it. Here's EFF's response:

The FBI should not be in the business of trying to convince companies to offer less security to their customers. It should be doing just the opposite. But that's what Comey is proposing—undoing a clear legal protection we fought hard for in the 1990s.1 The law specifically ensures that a company is not required to essentially become an agent of the FBI rather than serving your security and privacy interests. Congress rightly decided that companies (and free and open source projects and anyone else building our tools) should be allowed to provide us with the tools to lock our digital information up just as strongly as we can lock up our physical goods. That's what Comey wants to undo.

It's telling that his remarks echo so closely the arguments of that era. Compare them, for example, with this comment from former FBI Director Louis Freeh in May of 1995, now nearly twenty years ago:

[W]e're in favor of strong encryption, robust encryption. The country needs it, industry needs it. We just want to make sure we have a trap door and key under some judge's authority where we can get there if somebody is planning a crime.

Now just as then, the FBI is trying to convince the world that some fantasy version of security is possible—where "good guys" can have a back door or extra key to your home but bad guys could never use it. Anyone with even a rudimentary understanding of security can tell you that's just not true. So the "debate" Comey calls for is phony, and we suspect he knows it. Instead, Comey wants everybody to have weak security, so that when the FBI decides somebody is a "bad guy," it has no problem collecting personal data.

That's bad science, it's bad law, it's bad for companies serving a global marketplace that may not think the FBI is always a "good guy," and it's bad for every person who wants to be sure that their data is as protected as possible—whether from ordinary criminals hacking into their email provider, rogue governments tracking them for politically organizing, or competing companies looking for their trade secrets.

Perhaps Comey's speech is saber rattling. Maybe it's an attempt to persuade the American people that we've undertaken significant reforms in light of the Snowden revelations—the U.S. government has not—and that it's time for the "pendulum" to swing back. Or maybe by putting this issue in play, the FBI may hope to draw our eyes away from, say, its attempt to water down the National Security Letter reform that Congress is considering. It's difficult to tell.

But if the FBI gets its way and convinces Congress to change the law, or even if it convinces companies like Apple that make our tools and hold our data to weaken the security they offer to us, we'll all end up less secure and enjoying less privacy. Or as the Fourth Amendment puts it: we'll be be less "secure in our papers and effects."

For more on EFF's coverage of the "new" Crypto Wars, read this article focusing on the security issues we wrote last week in Vice. And going back even earlier, a broader update to a piece we wrote in 2010, which itself was was based on our fights in the 90s. If the FBI wants to try to resurrect this old debate, EFF will be in strong opposition, just as we were 20 years ago. That's because—just like 20 years ago—the Internet needs more, not less, strong encryption.

1. Here's the relevant part of CALEA that Comey wants to effectively undo: "47 USC 1002(b)(3): A telecommunications carrier shall not be responsible for decrypting, or ensuring the government’s ability to decrypt, any communication encrypted by a subscriber or customer, unless the encryption was provided by the carrier and the carrier possesses the information necessary to decrypt the communication." Also from the CALEA legislative history: "Finally, telecommunications carriers have no responsibility to decrypt encrypted communications that are the subject of court-ordered wiretaps, unless the carrier provided the encryption and can decrypt it. This obligation is consistent with the obligation to furnish all necessary assistance under 18 U.S.C. Section 2518(4). Nothing in this paragraph would prohibit a carrier from deploying an encryption service for which it does not retain the ability to decrypt communications for law enforcement access ... Nothing in the bill is intended to limit or otherwise prevent the use of any type of encryption within the United States. Nor does the Committee intend this bill to be in any way a precursor to any kind of ban or limitation on encryption technology. To the contrary, section 2602 protects the right to use encryption." H/T Chris Soghoian: http://paranoia.dubfire.net/2010/09/calea-and-encryption.html
Encrypting the Web
Law Enforcement Access
National Security Letters
Related Cases
Bernstein v. US Department of Justice
Quote 0 0
see link for full story


New York FBI: In Bed With Mob & CIA

Exclusive Report by Sander Hicks

Published by The New York Megaphone, debut issue, June/July 2006

On June 16th, 2006, citizen researcher Angela Clemente was found knocked out and strangled to within an inch of her life in Brooklyn. Her independent research had led to the March 30th indictment of Lindley DeVecchio, a Mob/FBI scandal that is the New York FBI’s biggest ever. DeVecchio, a retired FBI agent, was accused of four murders, rubbing out the opponents of Mafia don Greg Scarpa, Sr. To date, The New York Post has done a commendable job on the story, while The New York Times has all but ignored it.


Perhaps because there’s more to this scandal than one man gone bad. This story has connections to the defining events of our times: the 9/11 attacks, and their often-ignored predecessor, the ’93 World Trade Center bombing. It turns out DeVecchio is a part of a network that goes all the way back to Iran/Contra.

When a decorated FBI agent, Richard Taus, working under DeVecchio, started to expose this network, Taus ended up in jail. He’s been there since 1991.

“It’s been a 16 year nightmare,” Taus’s son David told The Megaphone in the harsh noonday sun outside the New York State Appellate courthouse. The date was May 9, 2005. The family had spent $300,000 on lawyers, trying to get dad out of jail. They just had their first appeal in a long while. But the judges themselves had made hostile statements.

Richard Taus was a top investigator in the New York FBI’s Counter-intelligence Division. In 1991, he was sentenced to a record-breaking 32 to 90 years for questionable charges of pedophilia. Supporters claim he was railroaded for doggedly investigating a CIA-linked operation involved in narcotics, Iran/Contra, and the Mafia. Angela Clemente visited Taus in prison, as part of her DeVecchio research.

The retired, Mafia-linked, ex-CIA asset George Hebert admits to The Megaphone that there is more to the Richard Taus story than meets the eye: “[Taus] was playing around and wasn’t listening to the right people. They had their own agenda. Once Taus got locked up, I stayed away. You have to understand, these people play for keeps.”

For 20 years, the Richard Taus story has remained underground, too weird for New York newspapers.

Until now.
DeVecchio: Worked for the Mob and the CIA

Lin DeVecchio allegedly helped have 18-year old Patrick Porco shot, when Porco witnessed a murder by Scarpa’s stepson. When girlfriend-to-the-mob, Mary Bari, turned FBI informant, it was DeVecchio who helped have her slain in a bar. The list goes on. It’s the mob connection that has captivated the media’s attention, at least thus far.

But there’s more to the story. According to The New York Post, DeVecchio was also the guy the CIA called in 1983 when they needed someone to go undercover to wiretap a rogue CIA asset making death threats in prison. The year 1983 is significant: at that time DeVecchio was Richard Taus’ supervisor at the FBI. DeVecchio interfered with Taus’ investigation of CIA/mob/narcotics and weapons trading on Long Island. But Taus kept digging, and in exchange, had his life ruined.

Ten years later, Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes indicted DeVecchio, tipped off by Angela Clemente, and journalist/author Peter Lance.

DeVecchio is cited 12 times in Richard Taus’ recent jailhouse memoir, FBI, CIA, the Mob and Treachery. A helicopter pilot in Vietnam, Taus was shot down nine times. Surviving the crashes implanted a sense of mission, and thanks to a special dispensation from President Johnson, Taus adopted a Vietnamese orphan, whom he named David.

Taus was recruited into the FBI, and by 1979, had made the Foreign Counter-Intelligence division. In the early ’80s, Taus worked alongside future FBI Director Louis Freeh on one of the biggest busts of drug money laundering ever—the ironically named “Pizza Connection” case. The case broke open and temporarily shut down sections of the Sicilian heroin trade, which were laundering profits through pizzerias in New York City and the Midwest. The Mafia in this case had connections to the Italian government, and according to some, the CIA.

Dossier on “The K-Team”:
Clowns with Connections to Protect Them from the Law

According to an unpublished paper by U.K. Iran/Contra scholar John Simkin, “A significant degree of policy-forming leadership” during the Iran/Contra scandal was ‘privatized,’ passing to an assortment of fringe forces represented by such notables as Singlaub, Secord, and Clines, who...provided the basic framework within which Reagan, McFarlane, and Casey acted, with North and Poindexter featured as trustworthy “handmaidens.”

But who were the “handmaidens” of North and Poindexter? That would be people like the “K-Team,” a Freeport, Long Island group of intelligence sub-contractors, wanna-be spies in trench coats and dark glasses, getting in over their heads in dangerous waters. The “K-Team” were true believers in Ronald Reagan’s vision of democracy versus an “evil empire” but their methods were unorthodox. They gathered intelligence on Central America and the Caribbean by hanging out in Brooklyn bars. They were handed major responsibilities for Reagan’s 1983 invasion of Grenada. In fact, they found someone to install as the new president, post-invasion, but their candidate chickened out.

Dan Priscu

A veteran member of the the Office of Strategic Services (OSS), the precursor to the CIA, Priscu was president of Castle Securities, a stock brokerage in a bad neighborhood. Taus suspected it of being a CIA front. Taus found Priscu through his work on the Pizza Connection case, specifically, Taus’ stakeout of a Mafia-linked cheese company that was dealing narcotics.

Kevin Kattke

Kattke was a textbook “Soldier of Fortune” ripped from the pages of the magazine. When his handlers at CIA wanted his K-Team to kill some Grenadian drug dealers in the Bronx and steal their money, Kattke agreed it was a great way for the Team to raise some funds. Richard Taus knew Kattke from their Army Reserve unit, where Kattke was in U.S. Army Intelligence. Kattke’s day job “cover” was a maintenance man at Macy’s. Today, nobody knows where Kattke is or if he’s still alive.

[Correction: His son told this reporter that he's still alive, but promises to deliver an interview have yet to pan out...]

George Hebert
Hebert went to college with Richard Taus at Pennsylvania Military College (today, Widener University). Hebert describes himself as “very close to Reagan” after the Grenada invasion. In 1985, Hebert pressured Taus to stop investigating them. Hebert today tells The Megaphone: “Exactly what [Taus’s] game was only God knows. I think he was convicted for being a child molester, but I’m not even 100 percent sure of that. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about this whole game, that the truth most times never reaches the surface.” Hebert describes a time in which he was “hung out to dry” by CIA, “set up on gun charges,” around the time of Clinton’s invasion of Haiti, in 1994. That was the end of his dalliance in “black ops.”

Oliver North
Taus’s investigation climaxed the fourth time he flew to Fort Lauderdale in April, 1985. Taus there identified Oliver North standing alongside Contra leader Adolf Calero, accepting delivery of some mysterious air cargo. A Lockheed plane had just touched down from Honduras, and was sitting pretty under armed U.S. military guard. Taus flashed a badge, poked around on the tarmac, and asked questions. Back in New York, he was reamed out for being there. Suddenly, the U.S. Attorney’s office denied his wiretap requests on the K-Team.

Earlier, the FBI had helped Taus develop a “cover” as a soccer coach and founder of the Freeport Sports League, in order to get close to the K-Team. As a soccer coach, Taus was looked up to. Kids from broken homes saw him as a surrogate father. But Taus’s days as a soccer coach, a dad, and a free man were numbered.

The Trial
When Taus arrived at FBI headquarters, on the Nov. 4, 1988, he was detained and questioned until 2:30 a.m. His FBI superiors, including Special Agent Carson Dunbar, and Lin DeVecchio, put him under interrogation. The FBI later claimed that a feverish Taus confessed to a sexual relationship with four boys in his Freeport Sports League. Taus’ attorney, Anthony Lombardino, would later attempt (unsuccessfully) to strike that confession from evidence. Taus was not advised of his legal rights, and did not have counsel present. Taus claims the confession is a fabrication.

Simultaneous with the interrogation, a separate FBI team illegally searched Taus’ home in Freeport. The FBI claims it found nude photos of a young, male family friend. Taus claims the photos were planted. The FBI interviewed the boy’s mom, Lucy Moore, who stated she didn’t believe anything improper was going on. Prosecutor Kenneth Littman withheld her interview from the defense.

The prosecution accused Taus of 27 counts of first, second, and third-degree sodomy, sexual abuse, and promoting the sexual performance of a child. Originally, these counts came from 10 different youngsters, but the contradictory testimony of five of the boys had to be thrown out. Two of the kids never appeared at trial, but testified through recorded statements. In similar child abuse cases afterwards, The Wall Street Journal reported that any kind of witness testimony from child victims was not reliable. No psychologists or pediatricians corroborated the alleged abuse. No medical evidence was submitted. No parents testified.

Taus’ lawyers could not view their client’s FBI “time and attendance” records, which may have further contradicted the allegations. The FBI and the prosecution communicated throughout the trial, but the defense was prevented from discovering what was said. The transcripts show a belligerent Judge Baker, occasionally yelling things at the defense counsel, “You owe me money!” Baker was forced to retire shortly after the trial. The Taus family believes Judge Baker was suffering from alcoholism.

Taus always claimed he was innocent. But his bargain-basement attorneys were unwilling to argue that the accusations were prompted by Taus’ investigation into global politics. Instead, the defense decided to argue that Taus was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from Vietnam. Taus was sentenced to maximum security prison, with the longest sentence ever for sexual abuse in Nassau County: 32 to 90 years.
The Appeal

Taus filed a federal habeas corpus brief in August 2002, requesting a declaration of mistrial for withheld evidence, juror misconduct, and judicial bias. According to sources on the jury, juror Nancy Dillon told the jury she should be disqualified, since DA Dennis Dillon was a close, blood relation. Carol Lewis also claimed the jury “read newspaper accounts of the trial daily,” which may have biased jurors. Local newspapers at the time of Taus’ trial were in a frenzy of accusation, since child sexual abuse was a hot, nationwide scandal in the early ’90s.

At Taus’ 2005 appeal, Judge John M. Walker (a cousin of President George Walker Bush) stated matter-of-factly that juror misconduct “would not have changed the outcome in this case” in light of the “overwhelming evidence” of Taus’ guilt. Taus attorney Marjorie Smith was badly prepared and rude to reporters. After a swift hearing, Taus’s appeal was denied.
The Hope

Taus’ story is a lesson in how one good book can alter the course of history. Peter Lance is a journalist and author of a major study on the NY FBI: Cover Up: What the Government is Still Hiding About the War on Terror (Regan Books, 2003). Lance won five Emmy awards while at ABC News. His new revelations lend an eerie credibility to what Taus charges: deep corruption in the NY FBI. In Lance’s book, either arrogance or deliberate malfeasance from the NY FBI was at fault in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. And that 1993 bombing led directly to 9/11.

The radical Islamists of the Jersey City Mosque, run by “Blind Sheikh” Omar Abdul-Rahman, pulled off the 1993 WTC bombing. But the Jersey City mosque was well penetrated by informants and double agents, namely Emad Salem and Ali Mohammed. According to audio tapes, FBI informant Salem tried to stop the bombing in 1993 before if happened. Another of Richard Taus’ former bosses, Carson Dunbar, suppressed agents who were trying to use Emad Salem’s warnings.

Dunbar was transferred out of FBI and made a superintendent in the New Jersey State Police, in 1999. But back in 1988, Dunbar was the FBI agent who took Taus’s“confession” and testified against him at the pre-trial hearing.

In 1998, the CIA admitted it was “partly culpable” for the 1993 WTC bombing. This admission surfaced in a UK newspaper but has never before appeared in a U.S. paper.

[Our source: The Independent, 12/1/1998 “Terror Blowback Burns CIA,” by Andrew Marshall]. The spiritual leader of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, “Blind Sheikh” Abdul-Rahman, was given a tourist visa to enter the U.S. in 1990, despite being on the U.S.’s terrorist watch list, for three years prior.

Taus is not the first to have allegations land on him in the middle of a sensitive investigation into national intelligence activities. Captain Brad Ayers and UN Arms Inspector/DIA agent Scott Ritter have also experienced similar character assassination for turning whistle-blower.

Today, Richard Taus works inside the prison for $7.25 a week, doing inmate counseling. At Lindley DeVecchio’s arraignment, on March 30, 2006, a desperate gaggle of retired and current FBI agents packed a Brooklyn courtroom. About 47 agents exhibited a rambunctious display of solidarity with the accused. Five FBI agents put up DeVecchio’s bail.

Perhaps they had good reason. In FBI, CIA, the Mob and Treachery, Taus’s co-author Rodney Stich writes that he “received letters from Gregory Scarpa, Jr., in early 2005, where he gave me details about how FBI agents, including DeVecchio, gave his father the names of government informants, and that his father would then murder the people.” Notice the plural in Scarpa’s use of the term “FBI agents.” According to inside sources, like Taus, Stich, and Scarpa, Jr., the DeVecchio case is just the tip of the iceberg: FBI corruption in the New York office is rampant. A growing number of researchers and citizens groups are recommending an outside body, vested with subpoena power (perhaps by the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office), be formed to look at NY FBI’s role in 9/11, the 1993 WTC bombing, and the Richard Taus case. Many call for a new trial for Taus.

During the arraignment, the FBI was vocal in its derision of the prosecution. As DeVecchio left the courtroom, a phalanx of stone-faced FBI agents marched alongside him. DeVecchio would not answer questions from reporters, including questions from The Megaphone about Richard Taus, or the CIA. The reporter on hand from The New York Times found those questions laughable. But which paper has handed in deep coverage of this scandal?

FBI personnel shoved aside author Peter Lance, and punched photographer Robert Stolarik. The FBI’s Chris Mattiace later bragged on lindevecchio.com, “a few reporters received a few body checks out on the sidewalk.” The statement was later removed.

Quote 0 0

Heartland Daily Podcast: Jennifer Lynch – FBI’s New Massive NGI Database

October 23, 2014


Electronic Frontier Foundation senior staff attorney and digital surveillance expert Jennifer Lynch joins he Heartland Institute’s Budget and Tax News managing editor, Jesse Hathaway, to discuss the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) new massive electronic surveillance and investigation database, the Next Generation Identification system (NGI).

Lynch explains how the NGI may infringe upon American citizens’ right to peaceably assemble in political protests, as well as how other surveillance and database technologies employed by the government threaten our privacy.
Quote 0 0

The FBI came looking for me

By Scott Williams on October 25, 2014

http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/10 ... e-looking/

I am writing to let everyone know that the FBI visited my father today with the intention of questioning me about my trip to Syria as an international election observer for the 2014 Syrian presidential elections. In June 2014, I visited Syria with the objective of learning the truth about the situation there. (See article at tinyurl.com/ourqr4g)

This trip was entirely legal and well-documented. I visited, along with observers representing 32 countries. Many were members of Parliament and representatives of local governments in countries such as Bolivia, Brazil and Uganda. Since then, I have reported on my trip in public meetings at the United Nations, as well as in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany, N.Y., and in Philadelphia where I live.

Since 2007, I have been a committed anti-war activist with many organizations, including Students for a Democratic Society and the International Action Center. The FBI mentioned me as an activist with FIST (Fight Imperialism, Stand Together), in which I am one of the national coordinators.

Why is the FBI coming after me? The FBI’s attempt to question me is not only an attack on me. It is an attack on anyone who chooses to travel the world and seek a perspective that is not represented by the corporate media. The U.S. depends on misinformation and huge lies to perpetrate its crimes abroad. Yet the FBI has picked the wrong person, since I have strong friends and allies across the U.S. who will stand with me in the fight against unjust government repression.

This visit is a continuation of the FBI’s attack on anti-war and international solidarity activists. The FBI has been attempting to charge 24 anti-war and international solidarity activists with “material support of terrorism.” They are being targeted and face potentially long jail sentences. Take a moment to look at the StopFBI.net site for the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, the organization that has fought to defend these 24, as well as Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh. This is a strong example of the political fightback that is needed to defend activists from government repression.

These activists are not alone in their treatment. Since 2001, hundreds of Muslim men in the U.S. have been victims of entrapment, harassment and false imprisonment, simply for their religion.

I strongly encourage all of my friends, co-workers and family members to look at the Center for Constitutional Rights’ booklet entitled “If an Agent Knocks.” (ccrjustice.org/ifanagentknocks). See StopFBI.net for resources on what to do if the FBI comes to your door. Most importantly, you should never agree to speak to the FBI without a lawyer present — and you really should never speak to the FBI. You can simply say, “I do not wish to speak with you. I will have my lawyer contact you,” and then close the door.

If the FBI visits, do not become fearful or silent. Let other people know immediately and speak out against government surveillance and intimidation. If you do not have a lawyer and you or a family member is contacted by the FBI, contact the National Lawyers Guild immediately — and contact other activists who have dealt with government intimidation before.

As soon as this happened, I called Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, to discuss our strategy to stop this FBI repression. We decided to make a clear statement as public as possible. We will not be silent as the government attempts to attack those who choose to speak out against unjust U.S. foreign policy. In fact, we will use any attack on my freedom to continue to build a movement against government repression. It is in this spirit that I am writing today.

As the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The bombs in Vietnam explode at home.” With U.S. wars escalating in Syria, Iraq and beyond, we see that these wars have only caused massive devastation for the people of the world, while bringing in huge profits to a few.

Meanwhile, billions of dollars are taken away from public education and jobs, as the government has trampled on our basic civil liberties. As the activists in the Committee to Stop FBI Repression have done
Quote 0 0

In 1992 we brought Cincinnati Bell telephone supervisor
and Cincinnati investigative reporter Greg Flannery
to speak at Bates College in Lewiston Maine.

Leonard Gates told the audience how he was committing voter fraud
for the Cincinnati taxpayer funded FBI office.
Greg Flannery discussed the article he wrote in 1989
called Reach Out and Tap Someone for the national magazine In These Times.
leonard gates bob draise FBI voter fraud

see link for flannery article

In other news


GOP-led Purge Threat to 3.5 Million Voters: Al Jazeera Expose

By Greg Palast (about the author)

October 29, 2014 at 09:25:19
Reprinted from us4.campaign-archive1.com

Election officials in 27 states, most of them Republicans, have launched a program that threatens a massive purge of voter rolls, especially targeting minority voters.

Al Jazeera America has obtained 2.1 million names from the target lists, kept confidential until now. Experts reviewing the lists conclude it is suspiciously over-weighted with Black, Hispanic and Asian-American voters.

The targeted voters have been tagged as "potential duplicate voters," suspected of voting twice in the same election, in two different states, a felony crime punishable by 2-10 years in prison.

Until now, state officials conducting the purge have refused to turn over their lists on grounds that these voters are all subjects of a criminal investigation.
Read the full expose
Watch the 2-part TV report on Al Jazeera America,
tonight & Thursday night at 9pm ET -- on America Tonight
(check your local channel guide)
The match lists of suspected double voters, called Interstate Crosscheck, has been compiled for each state by Kansas' controversial Republican Secretary of State, Kris Kobach.

The lists are rife with literally millions of obvious mis-matches:
Al Jazeera found that nearly a fourth (23% ) of the accused voters lack matching middle names. For example, Kevin Thomas Hayes of Durham, North Carolina, is allegedly the same man who voted in Alexandria, Virginia, as Kevin Antonio Hayes.

The lists are rife with literally millions of obvious mis-matches
(image by Greg Palast)
"Jr." and "Sr." are regularly mismatched, potentially disenfranchising two generations in the same family.

While Kobach, in his public description of Crosscheck, claims that double voters are matched by Social Security number, in fact, internal documents admit that "Social Security numbers might or might not match."

So far, no case has been made against a single one of the accused double-voters on the lists, though tens of thousands have already lost their right to vote based on inclusion in the lists.
North Carolina has hired a full-time former FBI agent to arrest double voters. However, because the match list of 190,000 suspects in that state is so recklessly compiled, the Board of Elections has admitted to Al Jazeera that not one voter has been charged with the crime of voting twice. Nevertheless, the Republican-controlled Board of Elections has begun the process of removing the registration of voters on the lists.
Quote 0 0

see link for full story


The Register's Editorial: Mail snooping needs more accountability

October 29 2014
A tray of mail at the United States Postal Service Processing and Distribution Center in San Francisco on Dec. 16, 2013.
As most Americans, know the U.S. Postal Service has exclusive access to that mailbox at the end of their driveways or hanging on the side of their homes. It's off limits to nosy neighbors and to people distributing brochures, fliers or any other type of non-postal communications. There are also federal laws that restrict the ability of the Postal Service to share information about your mail with others.

Given all that, you'd think the identities of the businesses and people with whom you correspond would be closely guarded by the Postal Service.
If only that was true. The New York Times and Politico recently reported that the Postal Service last year approved 49,000 requests from law enforcement agencies and its own Postal Inspection Service to secretly collect the names, return addresses and other information appearing on the outside of letters and packages intended for specific people and companies. Because these sorts of reviews, known as "mail covers," don't involve the opening of mail, no court warrants are required.
As one would expect, the Postal Service has strict rules surrounding the approval of every request for a mail cover. But the agency's own inspector general said these rules are not always enforced.
In fact, one of out of every five requests for mail covers is approved by the Postal Inspection Service without the required written authorization. Thirteen percent of the approved requests are unjustified, with no reasonable grounds for authorization. The inspector general also found more than 900 active mail covers that should have expired but were still ongoing.
In addition to these lapses, the Post Service has also ignored the requirement to conduct annual reviews of the inspection unit. By refusing to evaluate the unit's work, the Postal Service has avoided the embarrassment of having to acknowledge the problem and taking corrective action.
Is mail surveillance an effective tool in the war on crime? Not so much, actually.
The inspector general says the Postal Inspection Service has repeatedly failed to adequately process requests for mail covers and failed to track the requests that are approved. And there's no data at all that speaks to the number of prosecutions or convictions in which mail covers have played a significant role.
It's not as if the Postal Service doesn't know the surveillance program lends itself to abuse. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, CIA and FBI agents used mail covers to intercept hundreds of thousands of letters, in some cases, smuggling the mail out of post offices so they could open the letters and read them without postal workers intervening. The abuses came to light only after the FBI investigated a 15-year-old student who sent a letter to the Socialist Workers Party as part of a class assignment.
More recently, an Arizona prosecutor was disbarred after it was shown that he and a county sheriff used mail covers to monitor the communications of a county supervisor who questioned their policies. The county — i.e., the taxpayers — have had to pay the supervisor $1 million in damages.
The inspector general's report gives the Postal Service clear recommendations on how to fix the system, but Congress also needs to take action. The law that allows for mail covers needs to be updated and changed to provide some measure of accountability. As it stands now, mail covers are not subject
Quote 0 0

see link for full story

FBI demands new powers to hack into computers and carry out surveillance
Agency requests rule change but civil liberties groups say ‘extremely invasive’ technique amounts to unconstitutional power grab


Wednesday 29 October 2014 14.42 EDT

The FBI is attempting to persuade an obscure regulatory body in Washington to change its rules of engagement in order to seize significant new powers to hack into and carry out surveillance of computers throughout the US and around the world.

Civil liberties groups warn that the proposed rule change amounts to a power grab by the agency that would ride roughshod over strict limits to searches and seizures laid out under the fourth amendment of the US constitution, as well as violate first amendment privacy rights. They have protested that the FBI is seeking to transform its cyber capabilities with minimal public debate and with no congressional oversight.

The regulatory body to which the Department of Justice has applied to make the rule change, the advisory committee on criminal rules, will meet for the first time on November 5 to discuss the issue. The panel will be addressed by a slew of technology experts and privacy advocates concerned about the possible ramifications were the proposals allowed to go into effect next year.


“This is a giant step forward for the FBI’s operational capabilities, without any consideration of the policy implications. To be seeking these powers at a time of heightened international concern about US surveillance is an especially brazen and potentially dangerous move,” said Ahmed Ghappour, an expert in computer law at University of California, Hastings college of the law, who will be addressing next week’s hearing.

The proposed operating changes related to rule 41 of the federal rules of criminal procedure, the terms under which the FBI is allowed to conduct searches under court-approved warrants. Under existing wording, warrants have to be highly focused on specific locations where suspected criminal activity is occurring and approved by judges located in that same district.

But under the proposed amendment, a judge can issue a warrant that would allow the FBI to hack into any computer, no matter where it is located. The change is designed specifically to help federal investigators carry out surveillance on computers that have been “anonymized” – that is, their location has been hidden using tools such as Tor.

The amendment inserts a clause that would allow a judge to issue warrants to gain “remote access” to computers “located within or outside that district” (emphasis added) in cases in which the “district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means”. The expanded powers to stray across district boundaries would apply to any criminal investigation, not just to terrorist cases as at present.


Were the amendment to be granted by the regulatory committee, the FBI would have the green light to unleash its capabilities – known as “network investigative techniques” – on computers across America and beyond. The techniques involve clandestinely installing malicious software, or malware, onto a computer that in turn allows federal agents effectively to control the machine, downloading all its digital contents, switching its camera or microphone on or off, and even taking over other computers in its network.

“This is an extremely invasive technique,” said Chris Soghoian, principal technologist of the American Civil Liberties Union, who will also be addressing the hearing. “We are talking here about giving the FBI the green light to hack into any computer in the country or around the world.”

A glimpse into the kinds of operations that could multiply under the new powers was gained this week when Soghoian discovered from documents obtained by the Electronic Frontier Foundation that in 2007 the FBI had faked an Associated Press story as a ruse to insert malware into the computer of a US-based bomb plot suspect. The revelation prompted angry responses from the AP and from the Seattle Times, whose name was also invoked in the documents, though the FBI said it had not in the end imitated the newspaper.

Civil liberties and privacy groups are particularly alarmed that the FBI is seeking such a huge step up in its capabilities through such an apparently backdoor route. Soghoian said of next week’s meeting: “This should not be the first public forum for discussion of an issue of this magnitude.”

Jennifer Granick, director of civil liberties at the Stanford center for internet and society, said that “this is an investigative technique that we haven’t seen before and we haven’t thrashed out the implications. It absolutely should not be done through a rule change – it has to be fully debated publicly, and Congress must be involved.”

Ghappour has also highlighted the potential fall-out internationally were the amendment to be approved. Under current rules, there are no fourth amendment restrictions to US government surveillance activities in other countries as the US constitution only applies to domestic territory.

However, the US government does accept that it should only carry out clandestine searches abroad where the fourth amendment’s “basic requirement of reasonableness” applies. In a letter setting out its case for the rule 41 reform, the department of justice states that new warrants issued to authorise FBI hacking into computers whose location was unknown would “support the reasonableness of the search”.

Ghappour fears that such a statement amounts to “possibly the broadest expansion of extraterritorial surveillance power since the FBI’s inception”. He told the Guardian that “for the first time the courts will be asked to issue warrants allowing searches outside the country”.

He warned that the diplomatic consequences could be serious, with short-term FBI investigations undermining the long-term international relationship building of the US state department. “In the age of cyber attacks, this sort of thing can scale up pretty quickly.”

Another insight into the expansive thrust of US government thinking in terms of its cyber ambitions was gleaned recently in the prosecution of Ross Ulbricht, the alleged founder of the billion-dollar drug site the Silk Road. Experts suspect that the FBI hacked into the Silk Road server, that was located in Reykjavik, Iceland, though the agency denies that.

In recent legal argument, US prosecutors claimed tha
Quote 0 0

see link for full article


United States • Viewpoints
Dysfunctional America
by Paul Craig Roberts |  November 1, 2014
If you require more evidence that the United States is a dysfunctional society, observe American elections. Election season is slander season. Each party’s attack teams focus on misrepresenting, defaming, and ridiculing the opposing party’s candidates. Attack ads have replaced debates and any discussion of what the issues are, or should be, and how candidates perceive the public’s interest. Each attack team tells lies designed to enrage various voters about the other team’s candidate.

Paul Craig RobertsWhoever is elected is indebted not to voters but to the special interests that provided the campaign money. Once elected the official serves the private interest groups that put the official in office. In America the government can be bought and sold just like everything else. In its Citizens United ruling, a Republican Supreme Court put its stamp of approval on the right of corporations to purchase the US government.

Each state has its own dominant interest groups that win every election. In Florida real estate developers routinely defeat the environment and local communities. Developers have even been known to form organizations that pose as conservation supporters in order to misrepresent and defeat conservation measures.

Yet, despite their long string of losses to special interests, voters still participate in elections. I once read a theory that elections are a form of entertainment. President Clinton’s encounter with the young woman on MTV—“boxers or briefs”—is one indication of the lack of seriousness that Americans bring to politics.

Perhaps the lighter moment of a young woman’s interest in the president’s underwear should be cherished. The Clinton years will be remembered as scandal after scandal with dark events unresolved and covered up. The Clinton years were transformative. For those who don’t remember and those too young at the time to be aware, Ambrose Evans-Pritchard’s book, The Secret Life of Bill Clinton: The Unreported Stories (1997), will be an eye-opener. Perhaps the Democrats should read the book before nominating Hillary as the party’s presidential candidate.

Evans-Pritchard was Washington bureau chief for the Sunday Telegraph, one of the main British newspapers. He was stunned by how the American media ceased to function during the Clinton years. The Clinton years gave us such events as the federal government’s murder of the Branch Davidians in their Waco compound and subsequent coverup, the Oklahoma City bombing and coverup, and the coverup of the apparent murder of White House counsel Vincent Foster.

Almost everyone who paid attention saw coverups, not investigations, of these extraordinary events. Evans-Pritchard was one who paid attention, and what he saw did not pass muster. Yet, there was no press asking questions.

For example, the official story was that Tim McVeigh was the “lone nut” responsible for blowing up the Murrah Federal Office Building with a truck bomb. Yet, at McVeigh’s trial the prosecution did not call a single witness who could place McVeigh in Oklahoma City on the day of the bombing. “This is a rather astonishing fact,” writes Evans-Pritchard, and indeed it is. The reason the prosecution could not provide a witness to place McVeigh at the scene of the crime is that the many witnesses all reported seeing McVeigh in the company of other men, and the prearranged official story was that McVeigh was alone. The FBI and the prosecution had to make this case, not conduct a real investigation and discover what really happened.

Experts who have examined the Oklahoma City bombing have concluded that the truck bomb was cover for explosives set inside the building. For example, US Air Force munitions expert General Benton K. Partin provided an extensive and detailed study and wrote to the US Senate: “The attached report contains conclusive proof that the bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, was not caused solely by the truck bomb. Evidence shows that the massive destruction was primarily the result of four demolition charges placed at critical structural points at the third floor level.”

Miquel Rodriguez, the associate independent counsel assigned the investigation of Deputy White House Counsel Vincent Foster’s mysterious death resigned after four months convinced that he was dealing with a FBI coverup and that his investigation was being sabotaged by personnel within his own office. The FBI’s official story differed completely from the story of the witness who discovered Foster’s body. Again, as in Oklahoma, the FBI’s case required the creation of a make-believe scenario at odds with the evidence. With no interference from a silent press, the FBI created the story that was needed. Evans-Pritchard wrote that the Foster case was “taboo for American journalists. In private, many concede that the official story is unbelievable, but they will not broach it in print.”

When Americans think of Clinton era scandals, they recall “Whitewater” and Clinton’s sexual escapades with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. Evans-Pritchard writes that these two scandals were small potatoes compared to the Waco, Oklahoma City, and Vincent Foster coverups. Evans-Pritchard concludes that these minor events were used by the press to distract the public and perhaps Congress from inquiring into FBI coverups of criminal acts.

I remember asking my Wall Street Journal colleague Robert Bartley why he put so much energy and editorial ink into Whitewater, a minor scandal involving some real estate payoffs to the Clintons that did not pan out. Serious events were ignored while Clinton’s affair with Lewinsky became a matter of impeachment.

From Clinton to George W. Bush and Obama was another transformative change. The crimes of the Clinton regime were not acknowledged and covered up. The crimes of the Bush and Obama regimes are openly acknowledged by the presidents themselves and by their attorneys general who assert that the “war on terror” is a war during whose course presidents are freed from the Constitution and from domestic and international statutory law. Thus, we have indefinite detention, torture and loss of protection against self-incrimination, destruction of privacy, and execution of US citizens without due process of law.
Quote 0 0
see link for full story

The Washington Post

FBI agent in misconduct case may have tampered with drugs,guns documents say

November 5 at 8:14 PM
An FBI agent who is the subject of a misconduct investigation that is jeopardizing the prosecutions of at least four drug cases in the District may have tampered with evidence that includes narcotics and guns, according to documents unsealed in federal court Wednesday.
Sometime in late September, the agent was found slumped over the wheel of his unmarked FBI vehicle near the Navy Yard, according to two law enforcement officials with knowledge of the case. Empty bags thought to have contained drugs were found in the car, the officials said.
Quote 0 0
see link for full story


Secret FBI calls issue in man's suit against US
November 7, 2014

The FBI is resisting turning over thousands of classified phone intercepts to a Florida man who is suing the U.S. government for malicious prosecution in a case in which the Justice Department dropped charges that he provided support to the Pakistani Taliban terror group.

The FBI contends in court documents it would take about two years to declassify and translate up to 40,000 calls — most are in the Pashto and Urdu languages — before they could be provided to Irfan Khan's attorney for the lawsuit.

The attorney, Michael Hanna, wants access to the calls to determine if any contain material that could bolster his legal case by potentially showing the government had compelling evidence that Khan was innocent. A Nov. 25 hearing is set before a Miami federal judge on the issue.

Khan, a 41-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan, claims in his lawsuit that he was unfairly arrested on flimsy evidence in 2011 in an FBI probe into his Muslim imam father's support for the Taliban. The father, Hafiz Khan, was convicted in March 2013 and is serving 25 years in prison. But the Justice Department abruptly dropped all charges before trial against Irfan Khan — after he had already spent 319 days in jail.

Hanna said that compared with Khan's ordeal, the FBI's claims that releasing the calls would be too great a burden fall flat — particularly since the calls could have been declassified and turned over years earlier to Khan's lawyers in the criminal case.

"It was a lot more burdensome for Irfan to spend 300 days in jail than it is for government agents to review calls that were previously made available to Irfan," Hanna said. "It doesn't pass the smell test."

The vast majority of the calls being sought for Khan's lawsuit are still classified because they may reveal FBI sources and surveillance methods, according to the bureau.

"The unauthorized release of these items could cause harm to the national security of the United States," wrote Michael Steinbach, head of the FBI Counterterrorism Division, in one court filing.

In addition, the Justice Department has already provided Khan with 1,130 recordings, 3,500 pages of documents and secret grand jury transcripts from the criminal case, the FBI says.

"The tens of thousands of calls that (Khan) seeks bear no relevance to any of the elements of a malicious prosecution claim, and will not lead to any evidence that does," wrote Assistant U.S. Attorney Carlos Raurell in a recent filing.

The FBI is offering Khan another option: by using toll records, agents were able to isolate between 500 and 700 intercepted phone calls in which Khan was probably a participant. Declassifying and translating those would take about six months, the bureau says.

The Justice Department could still withhold some of the calls even if a judge ordered them released. Under the state secrets privilege, the government can withhold information from a lawsuit such as Khan's "when genuine and significant harm to national defense or foreign relations is at stake" and only in the most limited way possible, according to an agency memo filed in court.

It is not clear if the Justice Department will seek to invoke that privilege.
Quote 0 0

Ted Stevens Case Looms Over DOJ's Handling of Alleged FBI Misconduct

Zoe Tillman

see link for full story


U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan, in his own words, doesn’t play around when it comes to prosecutors’ obligation to turn over favorable evidence to defense lawyers—he presided over the prosecution of the late Sen. Ted Stevens, which collapsed amid revelations that prosecutors withheld information. That legacy has loomed large over recent proceedings before Sullivan about an FBI agent's alleged misconduct.
The U.S. attorney’s office in Washington has dismissed drug cases against more than two dozen defendants following revelations that an FBI agent, Matthew Lowry, allegedly tampered with evidence. Prosecutors said they expected to seek more dismissals in the coming weeks.
Federal prosecutors in Philadelphia are leading the investigation into Lowry’s actions. During hearings on Nov. 14 and 17, Sullivan—one of several judges in the D.C. federal courthouse presiding over cases affected by the scandal—demanded transparency about how information was flowing from prosecutors in Philadelphia to their counterparts in Washington, and how prosecutors in Washington were complying with their ethical obligations under Brady v. Maryland.
The judge angrily chastised Jonathan Malis, the head of the criminal division in the U.S. attorney’s office in Washington, last week and on Monday for failing to provide the Philadelphia office with a copy of an order the judge issued this month regarding the disclosure of information to defense lawyers. Under the new order, the judge would review information that prosecutors didn’t believe was material to a particular case.
Over Malis’ protests that he explicitly discussed the Brady requirements with the Philadelphia office and provided copies of Sullivan’s other orders, Sullivan said during Monday’s hearing that the failure to send a copy of the new Brady order was “almost inexcusable” and “defies understanding.”
Malis’ “knee-jerk reaction” should have been to send a copy of the order to Philadelphia, Sullivan said, especially since prosecutors knew that Sullivan “is not playing around with Brady, as we know, right?”
A judge in the federal district court for the District of Columbia since 1994 and a judge in the city’s local courts since 1984, Sullivan made headlines for his handling of the Stevens case. After dismissing the Stevens indictment in 2009 at the government’s request, Sullivan ordered an independent investigation and said that he thought the government’s missteps in the case were a symptom of a much broader problem when it came to Brady disclosures.
On Friday, Malis referenced the Stevens case as he explained to the judge that prosecutors were sensitive to the ethical issues at play.
Malis said the U.S. attorney’s office so far had filed notices about the Lowry investigation in cases affecting more than 150 defendants that had some connection to the agent. That doesn't mean the government intended to dismiss all of those cases, however. In the multidefendant case before Sullivan, prosecutors have said that Lowry’s involvement was minimal and that they didn’t think it merited dismissal.
During Monday’s hearing, Malis’ counterpart in the Philadelphia office, Peter Schenck, told Sullivan that although his office was in charge of investigating Lowry, it was sharing all information with prosecutors in Washington. The D.C. office was then responsible for deciding what information should be shared with defense lawyers.
But defense lawyers on Monday complained that they had received almost no information from the government. Most of what they learned came from The Washington Post’s coverage of the investigation, according to A. Eduardo

Quote 0 0


The FBI Is Very Excited About This Machine That Can Scan Your DNA in 90 Minutes
Rapid-DNA technology makes it easier than ever to grab and store your genetic profile. G-men, cops, and Homeland Security can't wait to see it everywhere.

Thu Nov. 20, 2014 6:30 AM EST

Robert Schueren shook my hand firmly, handed me his business card, and flipped it over, revealing a short list of letters and numbers. "Here is my DNA profile." He smiled. "I have nothing to hide." I had come to meet Schueren, the CEO of IntegenX, at his company's headquarters in Pleasanton, California, to see its signature product: a machine the size of a large desktop printer that can unravel your genetic code in the time it takes to watch a movie.
Schueren grabbed a cotton swab and dropped it into a plastic cartridge. That's what, say, a police officer would use to wipe the inside of your cheek to collect a DNA sample after an arrest, he explained. Other bits of material with traces of DNA on them, like cigarette butts or fabric, could work too. He inserted the cartridge into the machine and pressed a green button on its touch screen: "It's that simple." Ninety minutes later, the RapidHIT 200 would generate a DNA profile, check it against a database, and report on whether it found a match.

A scanner, quickly: The RapidHIT 200 can generate a DNA profile in about 90 minutes. IntegenX
The RapidHIT represents a major technological leap—testing a DNA sample in a forensics lab normally takes at least two days. This has government agencies very excited. The Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Justice Department funded the initial research for "rapid DNA" technology, and after just a year on the market, the $250,000 RapidHIT is already being used in a few states, as well as China, Russia, Australia, and countries in Africa and Europe.
"We're not always aware of how it's being used," Schueren said. "All we can say is that it's used to give an accurate identification of an individual." Civil liberties advocates worry that rapid DNA will spur new efforts by the FBI and police to collect ordinary citizens' genetic code.
The US government will soon test the machine in refugee camps in Turkey and possibly Thailand on families seeking asylum in the United States, according to Chris Miles, manager of the Depart
Quote 0 0
see link for full story

November 19 2014
Judges question ATF stings that lure suspects into fictitious stickups
ATF stash-house sting arrests
Images from surveillance videos filed in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles show defendants in an ATF stash-house robbery sting being arrested in

Judges are beginning to question ATF stings that lure suspects into fictitious robbery plots
Over a late breakfast at a Denny's by the freeway in Torrance, two gang members listened to an offer of a lifetime.

A drug courier invited them to rob a house stashed with pure cocaine worth at least six, if not seven figures. There would be a couple of armed guards, the man said, but with the right crew and weapons, they could be overpowered.

"It's like if one opportunity comes up ... man, this is it," he said.

The gang members were the latest to receive an offer that's been made again and again across the country for more than a decade. In the Southland, at least 100 people have shown up for the job, equipped with guns, ski masks and zip ties.

When they did, they were swarmed by federal agents and discovered that the courier was an undercover agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. The stash house, drugs and armed guards were part of a fictitious plot to nab potential robbery crews.

Federal law enforcement officials hail the "reverse stings" as a reliable tool to crack down on violent drug robberies they say are seldom reported and difficult to investigate.

But a growing number of judges across the country, including two in Los Angeles, have turned their attention from the hapless defendants to the ATF's tactics. Some of these judges have criticized the agency for casting a net so wide that it is likely to ensnare the poor rather than target those suspected of committing similar robberies.

While some who take the bait are hardened criminals with robberies and other violent crimes on their rap sheets, others are petty thieves, vandals, or drunk drivers with tenuous gang affiliations.

lRelated Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer's home
Fast and Furious weapons were found in Mexico cartel enforcer's home
U.S. District Court judges in Los Angeles recently dismissed charges from so-called "stash-house stings" against six men in two cases — even though five of the defendants had already pleaded guilty. In each case, a judge made the rare ruling that the government's conduct was "outrageous."

In the case that came out of the Torrance meeting, Judge Otis D. Wright II found that the agent "goaded" the defendants into acquiring weapons and became a partner rather than a passive observer in the crime.

"The government [is] hitting individuals ... where they are most vulnerable: their depressed economic circumstances," Wright wrote in March, dismissing the case against one of three defendants. "But for the undercover agent's imagination in this case there would be no crime."

Prosecutors contended the agent's conduct was "beyond reproach" given that the men were given multiple opportunities to withdraw from the scheme and that they boasted of their past involvement in robberies.

Related story: Move to name ATF building for Eliot Ness meets hometown resistance
Related story: Move to name ATF building for Eliot Ness meets hometown resistance
Lalita Clozel
The two Los Angeles cases are headed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, where one is scheduled for oral arguments Thursday. The 9th Circuit has previously upheld convictions in such cases, but three judges on the court have recently written or joined dissenting opinions that offered scathing rebukes of the government's methods.

One appellate judge wrote that the government's approach "verges too close to tyranny" and likened it to Philip K. Dick's science fiction short story "The Minority Report," in which citizens are locked away for "precrime" — crimes they have not yet committed.

How the 9th Circuit rules could help decide the long-term fate of the stings.

Last week, the 7th Circuit threw out the conviction of a Chicago-area man sentenced to nearly 27 years in prison, finding that he should have been allowed to argue entrapment at his jury trial because the ATF informant "targeted [him] at a moment of acute financial need."

@gaiapj Exactly! Those poor hapless souls, I am glad someone is finally paying attention to this aggregious self promulgating police state.
AT 2:34 PM NOVEMBER 21, 2014
"There's the sense that the tide may be shifting," said Katharine Tinto, law professor at Cardozo School of Law in New York who has tracked stash-house robbery cases. "The fact that several judges feel like this tactic has risen to a level of violating someone's due process is very significant."

Tinto said the cases raise a question about whether the stings prevent drug-related robberies or create would-be robbers who never would have become involved in such a crime.

"The defendants make bad choices, there's no doubt about it," she said. "But the question is: Do we want law enforcement creating situations where people make poor decisions, where the choices would not have existed in real life?"

The stash-house robbery ruse originated in Miami in the 1990s, when the ATF and the Miami-Dade Police Department started using the stings to crack down on drug robberies. The tactic — the ATF prefers to call them "home invasion operations" — has since spread to different parts of the country, with agents traveling from state to state to teach others how to stage the stings. In Los Angeles, where the ATF conducts stings with the LAPD, stash-house cases date back at least to 2002 and have resulted in sentences of up to life in prison.

Carlos Canino, who heads the ATF's field office in Los Angeles, said the stings were a valuable tool for the agency to tackle the heavy traffic of drugs flowing through Southern California and the crimes that go with it. Canino, who himself worked undercover on stash-house cases around the country and has served as an instructor, said the tactic was employed sparingly and judiciously.

"If we wanted to go out and cast a wide net, we could do one of these a week — that's not what we want to do," he said. "This technique is designed to take trigger-pullers off the streets."

One of the concerns raised by judges is whether the agency's methods in selecting targets amount to trolling in poor, minority neighborhoods for people who would be hard-pressed to turn down the opportunity for quick cash.

In one Los Angeles case, an informant found the ATF a target by asking around in the South L.A. motel where he was living. In a Phoenix case decided last year by a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit, a p
Quote 0 0


Defense Lawyer Pushes to Broaden FBI Evidence-Tampering Probe


An investigation into alleged evidence tampering by an FBI agent is raising questions about the reliability of the agency’s evidence protocols, according to a criminal defense lawyer involved in one of the cases touched by the scandal.
In court papers filed on Monday, lawyer A. Eduardo Balarezo asked a federal judge in Washington to order prosecutors to turn over information about the FBI’s policies and procedures for handling evidence. Limiting the investigation to the individual agent “ignores that very real possibility of a systemic problem in the manner in which the FBI maintains evidence in any given case,” Balarezo wrote.
Federal prosecutors have already dismissed criminal cases against more than two dozen defendants in cases that involved Matthew Lowry, the FBI agent under investigation for allegedly tampering with drug and firearms evidence. Officials have said in court that they expect more cases to be implicated as the investigation continues.
A federal prosecutor in Philadelphia involved in the Lowry probe—the Washington office is recused because of its ties to Lowry—said during a court hearing on Monday afternoon that the government hoped to finish the investigation by the end of December.
Prosecutors told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan during hearings last month that no other individual besides Lowry was under investigation. Balarezo and other defense lawyers have questioned the scope of the investigation, arguing that any shortcomings in how the FBI handled evidence could affect cases beyond those involving Lowry.
Balarezo, in requesting more information, wrote that the government had already disclosed that there were no video cameras in the evidence control center for the FBI’s Washington field office or in the evidence storage room for a regional task force. That disclosure suggested a lack of “strict evidence handling or securing procedures,” Balarezo wrote.
If the FBI wasn’t properly securing evidence, Balarezo said, that was evidence favorable to the defense that prosecutors were required to turn over.
“Obviously, if Lowry was able to avoid logging seized evidence, remove evidence for extended periods of time or to otherwise mishandle evidence with impunity, it stands to reason that the strict chain-of-custody claimed by the government in most cases is a sham,” he wrote.
Quote 0 0

Add a Website Forum to your website.

? ?
Copyright ? 2001-2004 Who?s A Rat. All Rights Reserved.
Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited.