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Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #51 

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New Hampshire Pot Activist Says He’s Being Persecuted By The FBI

June 7 2013

Rich Paul has become a martyr for the legal marijuana movement, risking a life in prison rather than accept that something he loves should be a crime.
As Harry Cheadle of Vice reported earlier this year, the New Hampshire libertarian was arrested last May on four charges of selling marijuana and one of selling LSD. Paul refused to bargain with the FBI or accept a plea bargain — even when offered a deal with no jail time — and when his trial came Paul tried in vain to convince the jury not to convict him.
At his sentencing on Friday, Paul faces a maximum of 100 years in prison, even if he is likely to get far less.
While his story has been held up as a paragon of ludicrous drug laws, the 40-year-old claims that he’s really being targeted because of his membership in a libertarian political group.
It may sounds crazy, but when you hear some of the strange elements of his arrest — and the recent scandal over the IRS targeting Tea Party groups — you have to wonder if he has a point.
Paul was arrested in Keene County after being recorded selling around a pound of marijuana and a substance he had described as “acid” to an FBI informant on a number of occasions.
Paul claims that rather than be booked for his crimes, he was taken into a room at the police station with an FBI officer named Phillip Christiana. The officer allegedly told him the charges would go away if he wore a wire to meetings of the Keene Activist centre (KAC), a libertarian club of which he was a member. Paul also claims that he was asked to entrap other members of the group in drug deals or even acts of violence — despite the group being explicitly non-violent and engaging only in civil disobedience.
An FBI spokesperson confirmed to Business Insider that an officer did discuss cooperation with Paul, but he refused to comment on investigations into the Keene Activist centre.  
In a phone call to the New Hampshire jail where Paul is now housed, we asked why a non-violent group would be targeted so aggressively. “The same reason that the IRS wants to revoke the tax free status of libertarian groups,” he responded. “We are critics of the federal government in general, and the Obama administration in particular, and the Obama administration does not like critics.”
Paul says he knows of three other activists approached by the FBI. “This was really never a drug case,” he told the FBI. “This was a political case.”
Paul refused to accept the plan, and was released without charge —an experience he says was so bizarre that he thought to himself “my God, this guy is going to shoot me in the back” as he walked out the station. A few months later he was indicted on four charges of selling marijuana and one of selling LSD. The FBI agent had told him in May that he could face 81 years in jail if he didn’t go along with the plan, Paul says. He would later learn that the sentence could actually be up to 100 years. To put that number in context, Robert Platshorn, accused of smuggling 500 tons in the late 1970s as part of the notorious Black Tuna gang, was sentenced to only got 64 years.
After his indictment, Paul decided to fight the law rather than accept a plea bargain that would have kept him out of jail.
“What happened to me is wrong, and the way our system is set up, the only way to get it out in the public is to get it out to trail,” Paul told Business Insider. “Effectively I have to bet my life that someone will say ‘this isn’t right’.”
The activist calls his trial a “travesty.” He used a public defender named Kim Kassick, who he says advised him not to testify in his own defence, a decision he now regrets, and that same public defender apparently did not call the other activists approached by the FBI as witnesses. Paul has always fully admitted selling the weed (though he does say that the hallucinogenic he was selling was actually a legal high), and his defence rested on the practice of “jury nullification,” a legal concept which allows a jury to acquit people who have broken the law if they think that the law itself is wrong.
Jury nullification worked last year in New Hampshire, when a Rastafarian named Doug Darrell had marijuana had felony drug cultivation charges for growing marijuana plants behind his house nullified by a jury who decided he was just trying to follow his religion.
The plan didn’t work for Paul, however, who was found guilty on all counts.
Paul plans to appeal his conviction using a private attorney paid for by donations from supporters. He hopes that the ambiguity over the jury nullification will help him. In a relatively new quirk of New Hampshire law, defence lawyers are allowed to explain to the jury that they have the option of jury nullification. In this instance, however, Judge John C. Kissinger didn’t allow adequate explain of jury nullification, presumably finding the Kassick’s arguments “too strenuous” and overruling them (Cheadle explains the logistics of this law well in a follow up post at Vice).
The nature of the FBI involvement in the case also seems unusual — Paul’s lawyer told Business Insider she had never seen such a level of involvement for a minor case, and she too suspected something bigger was at work.
Even now, who started the investigation targeting Paul remains unclear. At Paul’s trial, FBI agent Christiana said that he was brought onto the investigation targeting Paul at the request of the attorney general’s drug task force, due to surveillance equipment he had at his disposal. At a later point, however, members of the drug task force contradicted this assertion. Christiana told the court that he had asked Paul to cooperate, but could not answer anymore questions on the subject.
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What if laws applied to everyone?

June 06, 2013
What if government officials have written laws that apply only to us and not to them? What if we gave them the power to protect our freedoms and our safety and they used that power to trick and trap some of us? What if government officials broke the laws we hired them to enforce? What if they prosecuted others for breaking the same laws they broke?
What if the government enacted a law making it a crime to provide material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if that law was intended to stop people from giving cash and weapons to organizations that bomb and maim and kill? What if the government looked at that law and claimed it applied to a dentist or a shopkeeper who sold services or goods to a terrorist organization, and not just to financiers and bomb makers?
What if an organization that killed also owned a hospital or a school and the law made it a crime to contribute to the hospital or the school? What if the Supreme Court ruled that the law is so broad that it covers backslapping, advocacy and free speech? What if the court ruled that the law makes it a crime to encourage any terrorist organization to do anything -- fix teeth, educate children, save lives or kill people? What if the law makes it a crime to talk to any person known to be a terrorist? What if the law is so broad that it punishes ideas and the free expression of those ideas, even if no one is harmed thereby?
What if it is a crime to backslap terror fighters and to encourage their terrorist-affiliated organizations to fight, except if the backslapper is an FBI agent or a senator?
What if FBI agents pretended to be members of these terrorist organizations and set out to find people in America who were willing to join? What if the people they found really did want to join a real terrorist organization, but the organizations were located in the Middle East? What if the FBI offered plane tickets and cash to the people they found who said they were interested in joining these groups?
What if FBI agents actually encouraged these people to fly to the Middle East and take up arms in a violent civil war? What if the FBI arrested the people it found and encouraged just as they were about to leave the U.S. and then charged them with providing material assistance to terrorist organizations? What if the president boasted that in his mind these duped dopes were really terrorists and their arrests kept us all safer? What if no material assistance had in fact ever been supplied by those dopes to any terrorist organization?
What if the very members of Congress who voted for this law that prohibits providing material assistance to terrorists by deed or word went and visited people in the Middle East who were fighting a violent civil war? What if these members of Congress concluded that the warriors they visited were good because their adversaries were evil? What if, during a visit, one senator was actually photographed with two Al Qaeda-affiliated leaders? What if that was confirmed on national television by the Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations? What if that senator was furious at the former ambassador and insisted that he had not met with Al Qaeda?
What if that senator encouraged whoever he met with to wage a war of terror on the government of the country they were trying to control? What if that senator insisted that the warriors with whom he met were good warriors because the government they were fighting was evil?
What if the government prosecuted the dopes whom the FBI duped just because it wanted to boast that it caught them? What if the FBI agents who tricked and trapped these dopes encouraged them to join terrorist groups? What if the FBI agents who tricked and trapped these dopes encouraged them to provide material assistance to terrorist-affiliated organizations in the Middle East? What if the senator that the former ambassador exposed offered to get the U.S. government to provide material assistance to terrorist-affiliated organizations? What if he did the same in Libya a few years ago and that brought anarchy to our former ally? What if our own ambassador to Libya was killed by a terrorist group because there was no effective government there to protect him?
What if it is a crime to backslap terror fighters and to encourage their terrorist-affiliated organizations to fight, except if the backslapper is an FBI agent or a senator? What if these terror-fought wars are simply not in the best interests of the American people? What if the backslappers love war because it makes the government stronger? What if the backslappers love war because it is easier to raise taxes, regulate behavior and acquire power for the government when wars are being fought? What if the backslappers are worried that the military might atrophy if it goes a long time without fighting?
my suspicion is a FBI  agent provacteur was behind the disruption
see link for full story
Thursday, June 06, 2013

Hostile crowd greets diversity speakers

Thursday, June 6, 2013
What was intended to be a forum to educate the community about the lives of American Muslims and discuss public discourse in a racially and religiously diverse community turned into a free-for-all on Tuesday night, with loud hecklers in the audience attempting to shout down nearly every speaker who approached the lectern.
Nearly 1,000 people gathered at the Manchester-Coffee County Convention Center on Tuesday evening for a program titled “Public Disclosure in a Diverse Society.” The event drew such a large crowd that dozens of people stood along the walls of the meeting room or sat on the floor, while many others were denied admission since the room had reached capacity.
Roughly an hour before the doors of the convention center opened to the public, a rally was held on the center’s steps to fire up the crowd featuring a variety of speakers including Lou Ann Zelenik, who ran an unsuccessful campaign last year for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, and Pamela Geller, a blogger, political activist and executive director of the American Freedom Defense Initiative.
Many of the speakers asserted the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s presence was indicative of the government’s intention to strip American citizens of their Constitutionally protected freedoms.
“Without freedom of speech, peaceful men must resort to violence and we don’t want that,” Gellar told the crowd through a megaphone.
Among those waiting outside for the meeting to start was John Anderson, a teacher from Bell Buckle, who was holding a sign that read “In America you are free to practice your religion and I am free to insult it. There will be no blasphemy laws in America.”
Click here for a slideshow of still photographs and audio from the event.
Anderson said concerns about the government trying to limit free speech prompted him to attend, adding that he “resents being patronized.”
“It concerns me that a federal prosecutor and an FBI agent would presume to give me a civics lesson,” he said. “I can’t imagine what they can tell us that we don’t already know. A federal prosecutor will presume to tell me what I can and cannot say. I don’t like the idea of him bringing along an FBI agent.”
AMAC-sponsored event
The event was sponsored by the American Muslim Advisory Council of Tennessee (AMAC), a 15-member board based in Murfreesboro. The group was founded two years ago when the state legislature was considering a bill that would have made following the Islamic code of Sharia law a felony, carrying a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The AMAC invited U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee Bill Killian and Kenneth Moore, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Knoxville Division, to speak about where free speech stops and hate speech starts, as well as how the Muslim community has assisted in law enforcement investigations.
Zak Mohyuddin, seated, and Sabina Mohyiddin, both of Tullahoma and members of the American Muslim Advisory Council, were speakers at Tuesday’s event, held at the Manchester-Coffee County Conference Center. -- Staff Photo by John Coffelt
Zak Mohyuddin, a member of the AMAC, said a recent Facebook posting by Coffee County Commissioner Barry West “catalyzed” this week’s meeting, but said the gathering was not scheduled to address West’s actions specifically. Several weeks ago, West posted a photo of a man pointing a gun at a camera over a caption reading, “How to wink at a Muslim.” The county commissioner removed the photo and apologized, but not before the story about his posting went viral.
The first several speakers, including Zak Mohyuddin and AMAC member Sabina Mohyuddin, were interrupted sporadically by protesters in the audience, including a loud cheer from some in the crowd when Sabina Mohyuddin mentioned and showed a photo of a mosque in Columbia, Tenn. that was burned down in 2008. Throughout the evening, many people in the audience tried, with little success, to quiet the hecklers.
Crowd calls for Killian’s resignation
But Killian received the most hostile reaction from the protestors, some of whom shouted “traitor,” “why are you here” and demands for his resignation just seconds into the U.S. attorney’s remarks.
Killian ignored the jeers from the crowd and continued to dryly proceed with his PowerPoint presentation until the noise from the hecklers became overwhelming. At this point, Killian looked up from his notes and said, “Folks, I’m not going to fight this,” a remark which drew a loud, sustained cheer from many in the crowd. When the room quieted down, Killian completed his speech.
Moore was the next to speak.
“Our presence here tonight has generated controversy,” he said. “But that did not deter me from coming.”
Click here for video from the event.
Moore said some of the protesters believed the reason the federal officials attended the meeting was to step on their First Amendment rights.
“I guess if it’s posted on the Internet, it must be true,” he said. “Nothing can be further from the truth.”
Moore said citizen involvement, including cooperation from the Muslim community, is a vital tool the FBI uses as it conducts its investigations.
“We cannot do it alone,” he said. “We rely upon you as we conduct our investigations.”
The question-and-answer session scheduled for the end of the meeting was limited to two questions, since the interruptions throughout the program threw the schedule off track.
Moore answered the first question, which had been written on a slip of paper earlier in the evening. The question was if the purpose of the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s presence at the meeting was to limit free speech.
“Absolutely not,” Moore responded. “If you looked, there were protests outside before this and there probably will be after. That’s part of the First Amendment. Not a single person in here has been ushered out despite the shouting. We are not here to intimidate anyone.”
Killian handled the second question, which asked under what authority he was there, responding by saying he was appointed by the Senate, confirmed by the Senate to a position created by federal statute.
By the time the event had concluded, some in the audience felt the disruptions had deprived them of the information they had come to hear.
Actions of some were ‘embarrassing’
Jeff Allen, a conservative and a comedian, said he made the trip to Manchester because he was interested in what the speakers had to say – something which became nearly impossible as the program progressed. As a comedian, Allen said he has made his living with free speech since the 1970s, and he drove to Manchester expecting to return home having learned something.
“I thought it was going to be a discussion of the First Amendment and what we, as citizens, have coming down the pike,” he said.
By the time the meeting ended, Allen said he headed back to Fairview with no more information than he had when he left thanks to the constant interruptions.
Although he said the people in the audience who arrived with genuine interest far outnumbered the vocal objectors, Allen said he suspects that the loudest protesters in the group came with the intention of disrupting the meeting. He said he and his wife even “thought they might have imbibed” beforehand.
“I was embarrassed,” he said. “It was a waste of my time. I went to see what Killian and the FBI agent had to say. To me, it was like a theatrical production, I came to see the actors, not to see the audience.”
“I understand that people are upset and angry, but this isn’t the way to go about it,” he added.
Allen, who said he had never attended this kind of event before, said he might not be interested in repeating the experience after what he witnessed in Manchester this week.
“I drove an hour and a half to get information. I wanted to see it because it was in my backyard,” he said. “I’ll rethink that next time.”
On Thursday, Moore said the FBI was expecting a large crowd to turn out in Manchester given how news of the meeting was circulated online and through social media in the weeks leading up to the event.
“The overwhelming majority of people there were very receptive and came to learn something,” he said, attributing the disruptions to “six or seven people” out of the hundreds who attended.
“I think those who came to hear the message, did,” he added.
Moore said he did not know if the protesters in the audience were area residents or if they came from outside the county and added that the FBI made no attempt to gather that kind of information.
Moore said he often takes part in public forums like the one in Manchester. “I have a responsibility to build relationships with the all the communities we serve,” he said, adding the gatherings like this week’s event in Coffee County are “a great opportunity for me to put forward the FBI’s message” in regard to investigations into terrorism and civil rights violations.
That message is simple, according to Moore.
“The FBI does not initiate investigations against anyone based on First Amendment rights,” he said.
As the federal agency responsible for investigating civil rights violations, the FBI undertakes those probes regardless of who the victim is, Moore said, adding the agency is aggressive in all its terrorism investigations.
He said reaction he and the other speakers received from the hecklers this week was unusual, and attributed the response to the dissemination of “misinformation about what the purpose was.”
“It was designed to be a community outreach,” Moore said, “but it was misconstrued as a First Amendment issue.”
After the meeting, Zak Mohyuddin agreed with Allen and Moore’s assessment that the majority of the heckling was the result of only a handful of individuals.
“They stepped on their own message with their disruptions,” he said, adding that he appreciated the audience members who tried to calm down the objectors
see link for full story

Jill Kelley sues feds over David Petraeus sex scandal

June 06, 2013 1

JILL Kelley, the socialite who triggered the federal investigation that exposed CIA Director David H. Petraeus' extramarital affair and forced his resignation, is suing the FBI and Pentagon for violating her privacy and turning her into an object of national ridicule.
Kelley says U.S. officials obtained unauthorised access to her personal emails after she reported receiving anonymous, threatening messages beginning in June 2012. She also alleges that officials unlawfully disclosed her name to the news media after Petraeus' affair became public.


Source: Supplied
Headlines like this in The Daily News are part of the lawsuit as Kelley says her name was released to the media without her permission.
The FBI and Pentagon "wilfully and maliciously thrust the Kelleys into the maw of public scrutiny concerning one of the most widely reported sex scandals to rock the United States government," according to a complaint filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Washington. The complaint says Kelley and her husband, Scott, are seeking an apology and unspecified monetary damages.

Petraeus scandal

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An FBI spokesman said the bureau couldn't comment on a pending legal matter.
The threatening emails were determined to have been sent by Paula Broadwell, Petraeus' mistress and biographer, who viewed Kelley as a rival for his affections. Kelley never engaged in adultery, the complaint says, and met Petraeus through social events she organised in Tampa while he served as commander of U.S. Central Command, based at nearby MacDill Air Force Base.
The November scandal also ensnared Gen. John R. Allen, who received the first threatening email and passed it on to Kelley, whom he also met as Centcom commander. The inquiry into their relationship - including hundreds of emails they exchanged - held up Allen's bid to become commander of NATO.


% Source: AP
FBI agent Frederick Humphries- also known as agent shirtless- seen here in 2005. Picture: AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey
A Pentagon investigation cleared Allen of wrongdoing, but the general announced his retirement soon afterwards.
Kelley says federal investigators wrongly turned her into the focus of their investigation, denied her protection she was entitled to as a cyberstalking victim and failed to protect her privacy.
"Instead we received highly hurtful and damaging publicity from wilful leaks from high-level government officials that were false and defamatory," she said in a statement released by her lawyers. As the inquiry expanded, the complaint says, FBI agents saw it as possibly a career-making case and ignored Kelley's rights. Kelley's lawyers also say the Pentagon inspector general is investigating whether officials had unauthorised access to Kelley's case file.
The scandal focused a spotlight on a narrow segment of high society in Tampa, an unusual mix of military brass, foreign officials posted to Central Command and affluent civilians like Kelley, whose husband is a prominent cancer surgeon. The Kelleys hosted parties for military officials and visiting dignitaries at their home on Bayshore Boulevard, in one of the city's top neighbourhoods.
Kelley, a mother of three, was widely portrayed as a relentless striver who sought to parlay her good looks and connections into cushy jobs. She obtained a pass giving her special access to MacDill and was appointed honorary consul for South Korea - a position that was revoked after bad publicity.
see link for full story
Is Homeland Security Spying on You?

June 6, 2013

Since 9/11 the United States has spent a staggering $791 billion on homeland security, according to Mattea Kramer and Chris Hellmann of the National Priorities Project. In a post for TomDispatch they describe the Department of Homeland Security, which was formally created in 2002. It brought together 22 existing government departments as a "miniature Pentagon," a kind of bureaucratic black hole into which billions of taxpayer dollars are funneled.
By this measure the $103,000 no-bid contract awarded by the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security to the Institute of Terrorism Research and Response (ITRR) in 2009 is a drop in the bucket. ITRR, a private security firm headed by a former PA chief of police, was given the task of providing the department with thrice-weekly intelligence bulletins that identified threats to the state's critical infrastructure. Instead of focusing on real threats, however, ITRR turned its attention to law-abiding activist groups including Tea Party protesters, pro-life activists, and anti-fracking environmental organizations. The bulletins included information about when and where local environmental groups would be meeting, upcoming protests, and anti-fracking activists' internal strategy. As I recently wrote in my Investigative Fund/Earth Island Journal story, the bulletins were then distributed to local police chiefs, state, federal, and private intelligence agencies, and the security directors of the natural gas companies, as well as industry groups and PR firms. The state's Department of Homeland Security was essentially providing intelligence to the natural gas industry about their detractors. And Pennsylvania taxpayers were footing the bill.
Perhaps because it was a relatively small contract the Pennsylvania spy scandal was brushed aside as an unfortunate mistake. Then-Governor Ed Rendell, whose own ties to the natural gas industry have recently been exposed, called the episode "deeply embarrassing." The state terminated its contract with ITRR, a one-day Senate hearing was held, and the matter largely forgotten. But the Pennsylvania story is not an isolated case. In fact, it represents a larger pattern of corporate and policy spying on activists and everyday citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.
A report published by the Center for Media and Democracy last month detailed how Homeland Security fusion centers, corporations, and local law enforcement agencies have teamed up to spy on Occupy Wall Street protesters. Fusion centers, created between 2003 and 2007 by the Department of Homeland Security, are centers for the sharing of federal-level information between the CIA, FBI, US military, local governments, and more. The more than 70 fusion centers, whose primary task is to analyze and share information with public and private actors, are part of Homeland Security's growing "Information Sharing Environment" (ISE). According to their website, ISE "provides analysts, operators, and investigators with integrated and synthesized terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and homeland security information needed to enhance national security and help keep our people safe." The other big domestic public-private intelligence sharing ventures are Infragard, managed by the FBI's Cyber Division Public/Private Alliance Unit, and the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), which openly states that its mission includes "advancing the ability of the U.S. private sector to protect its employees, assets and proprietary information."
The little known DSAC brings together representatives from the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, and some of the nation's most powerful corporations. Twenty-nine corporations and banks are on the DSAC Leadership Board, including Bank of America, ConocoPhillips, and Wal-Mart. The Department of Homeland Security also has a Private Sector Information-Sharing Working Group, which includes representatives from more than 50 Fortune 500 companies. They have pushed for increased funding of public-private intelligence sharing partnerships, largely through the expansion of fusion centers. According to the Department of Homeland Security website, "Our nation faces an evolving threat environment, in which threats not only emanate from outside our borders, but also from within our communities. This new environment demonstrates the increasingly critical role fusion centers play to support the sharing of threat related information between the federal government and federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial partners."
But these fusion centers are only part of the picture. Corporations are also investing heavily in building up their own intelligence networks. As I reported in Earth Island Journal, annual spending on corporate security and intelligence is now roughly $100 billion, double what it was a decade ago (To give some perspective, the DHS budget was about $60 billion last year). If cyber security and surveillance were included, the figure would be much higher. In this light it is hardly surprising that groups like the Pennsylvania-based anti-fracking group Gas Drilling Awareness Coalition and Occupy Wall Street have been swept up in the national security net. As Mike German, an FBI special agent for 16 years who now works for the ACLU told me, "These systems and this type of collection is so rife with inappropriate speculation and error — both intentional and unintentional — that your good behavior doesn't protect you."
As the impact of climate change becomes more acute, the fossil fuel industry is seeking to protect itself from an increasingly restless environmental movement. One way of doing so is to paint the opposition as extremists or potential terrorists. "It's the new politics of the petro-state," Jeff Monaghan, a researcher with the Surveillance Studies Center at Queen's University in Ontario, said. "It's like this is not only environmental activism it's activism against our way of life. It's activism against the economy and the system. Because the system is now a petro system."
Indeed, because of its enormous shale gas reserves, the United States is already being talked of as a future petro-state, and shale gas development a matter of national security. In his keynote address at the 2011 Shale Gas Insight Conference sponsored by the Marcellus Shale Coalition, Tom Ridge, former head of the Department of Homeland Security, described shale gas as vital to US national security. Everything that goes along with it — the rigs, pipelines, and compressor stations (not to mention air and water pollution) — will be viewed as part of the nation's critical infrastructure. According to the Center for Media and Democracy report, "The stated purpose of protecting 'critical infrastructure/key resources' has come to serve as the single largest avenue for corporate involvement in the 'homeland security' apparatus."

Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #52 
see link for full story

FBI Won't Disclose Cost of Latest Hoffa Dig
Tipster's attorney denies his client sought to profit by giving bad information

The Federal Bureau of Investigation did not find the body of Jimmy Hoffa, the Teamsters union leader last seen on July 30, 1975, during a dig this week on a farm north of Detroit.

The FBI's Detroit field office has calculated the cost of the three-day excavation – which included approximately 40 agents and other resources – but doesn't plan to immediately release the price tag.

"We know the cost of it, but we aren't releasing it," Detroit FBI spokesman Simon Shaykhet told U.S. News in a phone interview.

"To be fair," he added, "all tips that are credible are thoroughly checked and investigated in any investigation."

Shaykhet said the farm's owner will not be financially compensated for the dig, but said "we will have restored the property to its original condition" before it's handed back to the owner.

The tip was evidently provided by Tony Zerilli, 85, a former Detroit mobster who has an online store selling signed photographs of himself for $9.99 and "manuscripts" - promising "the true story once and for all" about Hoffa's death - which cost $7.99 for print copies and $1.99 for electronic ones.

Zerilli launched his website in January, at about the same time he started telling reporters he knew where Hoffa was buried. "I know all about it, [but] I wasn't involved, no way, shape or form," Zerilli told WDIV-TV in January. Zerilli claimed in the interview that Hoffa was buried on a rural property near Adams Road and Orion Road in Oakland County - the location of the FBI's search this week.

The FBI would not confirm that Zerilli was its source, but Zerilli's attorney David Chasnick told U.S. News that his client did provide the tip and then worked with agents for seven or eight months on the case.

Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #53 
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Next week: Connolly’s FBI reports

Friday, June 21, 2013

The 700-page FBI informant file of James “Whitey” Bulger, never before seen by the public, will dominate the accused murderous mobster’s trial next week, prosecutors revealed yesterday after the jury was sent home.

The tome is a diary of Bulger’s corrupt relationship with convicted Boston FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr. from 1975 to 1990.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who has denied the 83-year-old gangster was an informer, referred to the document yesterday as “the defendant’s so-called informant file.”


But Connolly’s attorney James E. McDonald, who has seen “parts of” the file, told the Herald Bulger’s disclaimer is “total BS.”

“You’re talking about 15 years of John writing 209 reports,” McDonald said, referring to the written reports by FBI agents to record their interactions with criminal informants.

“How could you possibly make it up all those years? What is it Bulger is trying to accomplish? That the law of the underworld was he was faithful to his family and friends?”

Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, has testified in prior court proceedings that they were secretly working for the FBI — and paying Connolly handsomely to work for them.

Connolly, 72, is serving 40 years following his 2008 second-degree murder conviction for leaking information to Bulger and Flemmi that set in motion the 1982 hit on businessman John Callahan in Florida.

Bulger’s trial for racketeering and 19 counts of murder took a personal turn yesterday — even moving one juror to uncontrolled tears — as Diane Sussman de Tennen and Ralph DeMasi, both of whom survived being shot by Bulger’s gang, fought through their own emotions to put faces to their decades of pain and fear.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/06/next_week_connolly_s_fbi_reports#sthash.DHjREUGr.dpuf

Next week: Connolly’s FBI reports
Friday, June 21, 2013

The 700-page FBI informant file of James “Whitey” Bulger, never before seen by the public, will dominate the accused murderous mobster’s trial next week, prosecutors revealed yesterday after the jury was sent home.

The tome is a diary of Bulger’s corrupt relationship with convicted Boston FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr. from 1975 to 1990.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who has denied the 83-year-old gangster was an informer, referred to the document yesterday as “the defendant’s so-called informant file.”

But Connolly’s attorney James E. McDonald, who has seen “parts of” the file, told the Herald Bulger’s disclaimer is “total BS.”

“You’re talking about 15 years of John writing 209 reports,” McDonald said, referring to the written reports by FBI agents to record their interactions with criminal informants.

“How could you possibly make it up all those years? What is it Bulger is trying to accomplish? That the law of the underworld was he was faithful to his family and friends?”

Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, has testified in prior court proceedings that they were secretly working for the FBI — and paying Connolly handsomely to work for them.

Connolly, 72, is serving 40 years following his 2008 second-degree murder conviction for leaking information to Bulger and Flemmi that set in motion the 1982 hit on businessman John Callahan in Florida.

Bulger’s trial for racketeering and 19 counts of murder took a personal turn yesterday — even moving one juror to uncontrolled tears — as Diane Sussman de Tennen and Ralph DeMasi, both of whom survived being shot by Bulger’s gang, fought through their own emotions to put faces to their decades of pain and fear.
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/06/next_week_connolly_s_fbi_reports#sthash.DHjREUGr.dpuf

Next week: Connolly’s FBI reports

Friday, June 21, 2013

The 700-page FBI informant file of James “Whitey” Bulger, never before seen by the public, will dominate the accused murderous mobster’s trial next week, prosecutors revealed yesterday after the jury was sent home.

The tome is a diary of Bulger’s corrupt relationship with convicted Boston FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr. from 1975 to 1990.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who has denied the 83-year-old gangster was an informer, referred to the document yesterday as “the defendant’s so-called informant file.”


But Connolly’s attorney James E. McDonald, who has seen “parts of” the file, told the Herald Bulger’s disclaimer is “total BS.”

“You’re talking about 15 years of John writing 209 reports,” McDonald said, referring to the written reports by FBI agents to record their interactions with criminal informants.

“How could you possibly make it up all those years? What is it Bulger is trying to accomplish? That the law of the underworld was he was faithful to his family and friends?”

Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, has testified in prior court proceedings that they were secretly working for the FBI — and paying Connolly handsomely to work for them.

Connolly, 72, is serving 40 years following his 2008 second-degree murder conviction for leaking information to Bulger and Flemmi that set in motion the 1982 hit on businessman John Callahan in Florida.

Bulger’s trial for racketeering and 19 counts of murder took a personal turn yesterday — even moving one juror to uncontrolled tears — as Diane Sussman de Tennen and Ralph DeMasi, both of whom survived being shot by Bulger’s gang, fought through their own emotions to put faces to their decades of pain and fear.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/06/next_week_connolly_s_fbi_reports#sthash.DHjREUGr.dpuf

Next week: Connolly’s FBI reports

Friday, June 21, 2013

The 700-page FBI informant file of James “Whitey” Bulger, never before seen by the public, will dominate the accused murderous mobster’s trial next week, prosecutors revealed yesterday after the jury was sent home.

The tome is a diary of Bulger’s corrupt relationship with convicted Boston FBI Agent John J. Connolly Jr. from 1975 to 1990.

Attorney J.W. Carney Jr., who has denied the 83-year-old gangster was an informer, referred to the document yesterday as “the defendant’s so-called informant file.”


But Connolly’s attorney James E. McDonald, who has seen “parts of” the file, told the Herald Bulger’s disclaimer is “total BS.”

“You’re talking about 15 years of John writing 209 reports,” McDonald said, referring to the written reports by FBI agents to record their interactions with criminal informants.

“How could you possibly make it up all those years? What is it Bulger is trying to accomplish? That the law of the underworld was he was faithful to his family and friends?”

Bulger’s former partner, Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi, has testified in prior court proceedings that they were secretly working for the FBI — and paying Connolly handsomely to work for them.

Connolly, 72, is serving 40 years following his 2008 second-degree murder conviction for leaking information to Bulger and Flemmi that set in motion the 1982 hit on businessman John Callahan in Florida.

Bulger’s trial for racketeering and 19 counts of murder took a personal turn yesterday — even moving one juror to uncontrolled tears — as Diane Sussman de Tennen and Ralph DeMasi, both of whom survived being shot by Bulger’s gang, fought through their own emotions to put faces to their decades of pain and fear.

- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/06/next_week_connolly_s_fbi_reports#sthash.DHjREUGr.dpuf

Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #54 
Amazing how American voters and taxpayers continue to allow Congress to fund the FBI  after a 1999 Memphis Jury declared
it was FBI  agents who had assassinated Martin Luther King. You do know what to do, eh?
Boo! did I scare you?
Here is another victim of a FBI  assassination.

see link for full story

New suit seeks to know fate of civil rights activist who vanished in 1973

July 4, 2013

No one doubts Ray Robinson is dead.

After all, it’s been 40 years since the black activist from Selma, Ala., a disciple of Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson, went missing.

He was last seen at Wounded Knee, S.D., where he had gone in April of 1973 to preach the importance of nonviolence and stand with American Indians in their fight against the federal government.

Robinson never made it home and, by all accounts, was murdered.

Even now, decades later, his widow and children, eager to have him brought home, wonder where he’s buried.

A new lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Buffalo seeks to answer that question.

“This may sound silly after all these years, but we just want to bury him,” said Tamara Kamara, one of his daughters who lives in Michigan. “We just want to know he’s gone and have a place to take my children and grandchildren and say this is where he’s buried.”

Robinson’s disappearance is, in many people’s eyes, one of America’s great unsolved murders.

It’s been the topic of books and newspaper stories and, four decades after he went missing, it’s now a national story with a Buffalo angle because of the two local lawyers who filed the family’s suit here.

“The family and the American people have a right to know what happened to Ray Robinson,” said Michael Kuzma, a Buffalo lawyer representing the family. “They have a right to know who murdered him and where he’s buried so they can bring him back home.”

Kuzma’s Freedom of Information suit in Buffalo federal court seeks information from the FBI and others on what happened to Robinson and, perhaps even more important, what happened to his body.

“We’ve come to the understanding that he’s dead and that he died inside Wounded Knee,” Kamara said. “The worst part is not knowing where he’s buried.”

At Wounded Knee

Robinson’s standing as a civil rights activist was well-established long before he traveled to South Dakota. He marched with King in Washington, D.C., in 1963 and was one of the demonstrators in 1968 who set up Resurrection City, an encampment on the Washington Mall designed to focus attention on America’s poor.

And yet, it wasn’t until his disappearance at Wounded Knee, a historic and some might say inspiring moment for Native Americans, that the world learned of his legacy.

The 71-day siege in 1973 was well under way when Robinson backpacked into the Pine Ridge reservation, where Wounded Knee was located. He told friends and family that he wanted to build a bridge between the black civil rights struggle and the American Indian movement.

What happened next is unclear and the subject of an often-ugly debate between Robinson’s family and members of the American Indian Movement, or AIM.

“He was there,” Steve Hendricks, author of “The Unquiet Grave,” a book on the FBI and the American Indian movement, said of Robinson. “In all probability, and I say this with 99 percent certainty, he was murdered at Wounded Knee by activists in AIM.”

By some accounts, Robinson’s message of nonviolence didn’t sit well with AIM’s leaders or members of the Oglala Lakota tribe that had seized control of the small town with the bloody history.

Until then, Wounded Knee was best known for the 1890 massacre of Lakota Indians, nearly half of them women and children, by a U.S. cavalry unit.

What started as an internal protest against the Oglala Lakota’s leadership, viewed by many as corrupt, quickly turned into an armed occupation directed at a federal government many thought had thumbed its nose at treaties between the two sides.

The often bloody stand-off resulted in the death of two Indians, the wounding of a federal agent and the rumored murder of others, including Robinson.

“This is a guy who was there on the side of justice,” said Daire Brian Irwin, a Buffalo lawyer representing the Robinson family. “This guy’s a hero, and only a few people know his story.”

Ongoing investigation

Technically, the investigation into Robinson’s disappearance remains open.

An FBI official in Minneapolis confirmed as much but said he could not comment on the work its office was doing in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“We have an ongoing case on Ray Robinson,” said Gregory Boosalis, a division counsel for the FBI.

While Irwin and Kuzma seek answers to the question “What happened to Ray Robinson?” there are FBI documents, now public, that suggest he was indeed there.

The documents are based on FBI interviews with witnesses who claim they were at Wounded Knee and saw or heard about two black people who were on the reservation.

Robinson’s widow, Cheryl Buswell-Robinson, has said the two were probably her husband and a black woman from Alabama who, unlike her husband, made it home after the occupation.

There also are a handful of accounts, none of them verified, as to what happened to Robinson.

In a 1974 letter to a friend, Buswell-Robinson wrote that she had heard her husband was shot for entering Pine Ridge without reporting to AIM leader Dennis Banks.

In still another account, AIM member Richard Two Elk told the Associated Press in 2004 that he saw someone shoot Robinson in the knees but didn’t see him die. He said Robinson had refused to pick up a gun.

Allegations of apathy

AIM’s leaders have repeatedly denied any role in Robinson’s death, and Banks, in an interview with the AP last year, said he doesn’t remember meeting Robinson or hearing anything about him until well after the siege had ended.

“Over the years,” Banks said at the time, “the Robinson name has popped up, and I’m not sure even who would have that information or where it was.”

Hendricks is convinced Robinson is buried at Wounded Knee and that he was most likely shot by AIM activists. He also thinks it’s possible AIM suspected Robinson was an FBI informant. “I come up with no other scenario,” he said. “We know there were FBI informants at Wounded Knee. That’s clear.”

Hendricks, the author, doesn’t believe Robinson was an informant, and Kamara said her mother has fought long and hard to refute those rumors. “That went against his core,” she said.

Attorneys Kuzma and Irwin agree, but they believe the FBI played a role in Robinson’s disappearance.

They wonder why the agency has failed, after 40 years, to come up with a single suspect while at the same time successfully investigating the killing of AIM activist Anna Mae Aquash at Pine Ridge two years later. Two people are currently serving life sentences for her murder.

“They’re not going after it,” added Hendricks. “They’re not even remotely interested, not even interviewing the most obvious witnesses.”

‘No anger’

The suit filed by Kuzma and Irwin seeks information about the FBI’s investigation into Robinson’s disappearance and includes a letter from the agency indicating some of their records have been destroyed.

Why would the FBI destroy documents while an investigation is ongoing?

“It’s possible the referenced letter is talking about other cases that referenced Ray Robinson,” said Boosalis, the FBI official in Minneapolis. “To my knowledge, no documents in our case have been destroyed.”

While others speculate about who may have killed Robinson, his family is reluctant to point fingers at either the FBI or AIM.

They do believe, however, that both sides know where he’s buried.

“I’m hoping that AIM people can look in their hearts and realize this was a good man. This is a brother,” Buswell-Robinson told the AP in 2012. “This is a man that was willing to give his life for justice, for what’s right.”

Kamara says the same message applies to the FBI.

Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #55 
Yeah! Really? Whaddya expect when you hire mercenaries to protect you.
95% of people working in the police, prison and courts are returning vets
who just made their bones as serial killers in Iraq, Afghanistan, Panama, Columbia, Viet Nam,
and other US Military Industrial complex occupied countries where the Be All You Can Be high
school drop outs have no compunction to kill, rape and plunder for Exxon Mobil, Monsanto, Dow Chemical,
Dupont and Goldman Sachs. Did I mention Halliburton?

Not to worry. They would never come knocking on your doors for the last roundup, eh?
As always funded by your tax dime. Oh yea, there will be an added value tax once this lawsuit is over.
Where do I send the bill to when the jury reaches their verdict?
You must be one of those people who feel  you believe that blogging isn't behavior, and only behavior is the truth, and you live for the day voters and taxpayers who fund the criminal justice system have as strong a lobby as whales,

see link for full story

 Anthony Mitchell Lawsuit: Cops Violated Third Amendment, Occupied Home, Complaint States

A family in Henderson, Nev., is suing the city, claiming that police officers violated his Third Amendment rights by occupying their home without permission.

Anthony Mitchell was at home on July 10, 2011, when cops called his home and said they needed to occupy the house in order to gain a "tactical advantage" in dealing with a domestic violence case at a neighbor's home, Courthouse News reported.

Mitchell said he told the officer he did not want officers to enter his home. Nevertheless, five officers showed up and smashed the door open with a metal ram before pointing their guns at Mitchell, cursing at him and telling him to lie on the floor.

As Mitchell lay on the floor with his hands over his face, officers fired multiple pepper-ball projectiles at him, causing him "injury and severe pain," according to the complaint, which was filed June 30 of this year. Officers also fired pepperball rounds at Mitchell's dog, even though the dog did not threaten them.

The animal was allegedly locked outside the home for hours without water, shade, or food on a day where temperatures reached more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit.

Mitchell's parents, Michael and Linda Mitchell, live in the same neighborhood and say they experienced a similar situation. Michael says he went willingly with officers to the command center on the premise of making a phone call to the domestic violence suspect, but when he tried to leave, he was arrested. Meanwhile, Linda Mitchell says officers physically forced her from the home.

Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #56 

see link for full story




So Then the FBI Sent Out an Agent to Check Up on My FOIA Request ...

Tuesday, 29 May 2012

FBI agent Bill Tidwell's report about the visit he made last August to the residence of Hesham Abu Zubaidah to question him about a Freedom of Information Act request for his FBI files made by Truthout lead investigative reporter Jason Leopold.Early last year, I discovered that Abu Zubaidah, the first high-value detainee who was held in top-secret CIA black site prisons and brutally tortured, has a younger brother who lives in the United States.

Research I was conducting on the accused terrorist led me to a three-year-old comment posted on Guantanamo reporter Andy Worthington's blog about Abu Zubaidah, the alleged terrorist, left by someone who identified himself as Hesham Abu Zubaidah.

"Yes that is my brother and I live in Oregon," the commenter said. "Do you think I should have been locked away for 2 years with no charges for a [sic] act of a sibling? I am the younger brother of [Abu Zubaidah] and I live in the USA. Tell me what you think."

Wow! This is a big deal, I thought. What's Hesham's story? Why haven't we heard from him before? And what could he tell me about his brother, the alleged terrorist?

I tracked Hesham down to Florida. He had a fascinating tale to tell, which I have spent the past 14 months fleshing out. The result is a 15,000-word investigative report published on Truthout today about Hesham's pursuit of the American dream and the high price he paid because he says he shares a surname with an older brother who is an infamous alleged terrorist.

In addition to the disturbing revelations about the government's treatment of Hesham over the past decade, my report also contains the first new details about Hesham's brother, who is referred to in my investigative report by the nickname his father gave him,"Hani." In April 2000, Hani made three telephone calls to the United States when he was supposedly under surveillance. Former Sen. Bob Graham, who co-chaired the joint Congressional inquiry into the 9/11 attacks, told me the calls should have been shared with his panel and the so-called independent panel set up to investigate the attacks but wasn't. 

Moreover, Hesham revealed to me that, back in October 2010, he was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, to confirm that his brother was the person in a videotape speaking about jihad and 9/11, which was later used in the war crimes tribunal of a Guantanamo detainee.

Hesham was also recruited by the FBI as a confidential informant. For nearly three years, Hesham was tasked with spying on congregants at Sunni and Shia mosques in Portland, Oregon, and was told by his FBI handler to pay close attention to an imam at the Masjed As-Saber mosque named Sheikh Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, a native of Somalia, who the FBI has been trying to link to al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden for at least a decade. Hesham said he agreed to work as an informant because his FBI handler led him to believe the bureau would help him obtain US citizenship.

My investigation turned into a yearlong project, largely due to the fact that I had filed numerous Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests for records on Hesham with several government agencies and waited many months for responses. It was the FBI's response to my FOIA on Hesham that led me to believe his story was bigger than I had originally thought it to be.

Hoping to gain deeper insight into his work as an FBI informant and the role he says the FBI played in his immigration case, I asked Hesham for permission to file a FOIA request with the bureau for his entire file. He agreed and signed a certification of identity form requesting that the agency turn over all of the records it maintained on him to me. Hesham visited a notary public and had the certification of identity form he signed notarized.

My FOIA request was filed in May 2011. The FBI sent me a letter that said the bureau's FOIA office was processing my request. Then, last August, the FBI sent out a special agent from the FBI's Tampa field office to speak with Hesham about my FOIA.

Listen to Jason Leopold discuss this report on the Peter B. Collins Show

Bill Tidwell showed up at the home of Hesham and Jody Abu Zubaidah, his wife, on the morning of August 26, 2011. Hesham was at work. Jody's mother, who was living with the couple at the time, answered the knock at the door. She told Jody there was "some guy in a suit at the front door."

Jody stepped outside and Tidwell flashed his FBI badge. He said he needed to speak with Hesham. Tidwell said Hesham wasn't "in any trouble, but it was important." Jody told Tidwell Hesham was at work. Tidwell returned later that afternoon. Tidwell told Hesham he was sent by FBI headquarters to speak with him about the FOIA request I filed. Tidwell used my name. The agent asked Hesham how I found him and what my intentions were. Hesham told him that I was writing a story about him and that he told me "everything." Tidwell asked Hesham to brief him on what he had told me.

"Did Jason Leopold force you to sign [the certification of identity] form? Did he offer you any money?" Tidwell asked Hesham.

"No," Hesham said. "I am not being paid."

Jody, who was present during the meeting, took meticulous notes.

"Listen, I don't know what's in your file but you do understand that once it's released, all of that information on you will be public and everyone will see it," Tidwell said.

"Yes," Hesham said. "I know. That's what I want."

"I believe there may be information in there some people don't want publicized," Tidwell said. "Why do you need Jason Leopold to get this information out?"

Hesham told the special agent his life story and the "spying" he did for the bureau. He said that he has been living in limbo for the past decade as a resident - but not a citizen - of the United States. No one was helping him, and he felt the time was right to tell his story. He told Tidwell what his FBI handler informed him when he asked her if she could help him obtain a green card that his case was stuck on a shelf and couldn't be touched.

"Whose life deserves to be stuck on a shelf?" Hesham asked Tidwell.

Tidwell and Hesham spoke for two hours. Before he left, Tidwell told Hesham he was going to write up a report and talk to the officials at headquarters who sent him out to meet with Hesham.

"I am going to call the person who sent this to us and tell him exactly what you said," Tidwell said. "He may say 'okay.' Or he may say, 'let's just get this man the security that he wants so this can go away.'"

If it's the latter, Tidwell asked, would you drop the FOIA?

"No way," Hesham said. "Forgive me, but I don't trust you guys."

Hesham then led Tidwell to his driveway and showed him his boat. They spoke for a few more minutes and then shook hands and Tidwell left.

When the agent left, Jody called me and told what transpired. She said she took detailed notes. I was stunned. I have never heard of the FBI sending out a field agent to check on a FOIA. I called FBI headquarters and spoke with Kathleen Wright, a spokeswoman for the bureau and asked her about it.

Wright said the "visit" was "routine" and that "the FBI has an obligation to abide by the Privacy Act."

"Agents spoke with Hesham Abu Zubaydah to confirm the FOIA request was legitimate and submitted with hi consent and knowledge." Wright said.

She added, "This happens all of the time."

Brad Moss, an open government expert who specializes in national security issues, disagreed.

"I've never heard of the FBI expending this kind of resource and going to an individual's house and asking if the reporter coerced the individual who signed the waiver," said Moss, an attorney with the Mark S. Zaid law firm in Washington, DC. "Given the nature of who this individual is, I am not surprised they would have concerns. With all of the budget cuts and pressure to process FOIA requests, it seems out of the ordinary to send an agent to someone's house. As far as I am concerned, it's unprecedented. You could have submitted this request without the waiver given the overwhelming public interest."

Kel McClanahan, another open government expert who heads up the public interest law firm National Security Counselors, said he queried several colleagues, many of whom are government FOIA analysts who work at the Justice Department, about the "routine" visit.

"Not one had heard of this [being] 'routine,'" said McClanahan, whose firm represents me in a lawsuit we filed against the FBI for violating a provision of FOIA when I sought pertaining to Hesham's files. "I sent an inquiry to David Hardy [head of FBI FOIA] about it, and I'm still waiting on the answer. I guess he's still thinking about it."

McClanahan added, "while the FBI might have reason to deny the request if the waiver was coerced, I'm aware of no legal restriction against a person being provided reasonable compensation for access to his government records."

"So even if the visit was routine, the questions definitely weren't," McClanahan said. "A routine visit would have consisted of 'Did Jason Leopold coerce you into signing this waiver?' 'No.' 'Are you sure?' 'Yes.' 'OK, thanks for your time.'" [Full disclosure: McClanahan and I sued the FBI earlier this year for violating a provision of FOIA in response to specific questions about Hesham's case file.]

Coleen Rowley, a former FBI special agent who blew the whistle on the bureau's pre-9/11 intelligence failures, said she's not surprised the FBI sent an agent out to personally speak with Hesham about my FOIA.

"The FBI considers informant matters the most sensitive things in the world," Rowley told me.

After I spoke with Wright, the FBI spokeswoman, I filed another FOIA for documents and notes about the meeting between Tidwell and Hesham, since my name was used. It took the bureau about six months to respond. In April, I received three redacted pages. Tidwell's notes were not turned over, just a report he sent to "records management" summarizing his interview with Hesham.

Tidwell's name, which was also redacted from the interview report, says:


Tidwell's report claimed that Hesham told him he signed "the privacy statement for Leopold in hopes an article written by Leopold would help him gain status in the US and obtain a green card."

"Abu Zubaidah advised the article is not something he wants written, but he feels he has no other option," Tidwell's report says. "Abu Zubaidah currently has no status in the US and is fearful he could be deported at any moment. [Redacted] Abu Zubaidah feels he has proven he is not a terrorist and considers himself an American. Abu Zubaidah fears he [redacted] if he does not gain status in the US. He hopes the article will be read by someone who can help him with this matter."

In another redacted section of Tidwell's report, he noted the circumstances that led me to contact Hesham:


The report goes on to say:


Last September, after Tidwell filed his report, the FBI sent me a letter saying the bureau "located approximately 1,200 pages which are potentially responsive to my FOIA request."

The documents have been in the possession of a "disclosure analyst" since last September, according to David Sobonya, an FBI FOIA spokesman.

To be continued ...


Posts: 8,844
Reply with quote  #57 
Here is my response to the following article:
    "WOW! Laurel Sweet should be nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for her keen eye and investigative reporting. Why do I always hear the sound of one hand clapping after reading her articles about the FBI and Whitey Bulger Crime Families? Let me give Laurel a assist and correct her contextual errors. Context assist #1. For all the millions of words written about the Bulger and FBI crime families nothing will ever get fixed. C'mon do yo really expect Markey, Kennedy, Brown, Obama and the other local, state and national Ka Ka Pols to do anything when they are up against a 20,000 strong taxpayer funded death squad called the FBI? Did I mention an additional 10,000 shock troops in reserve called the Association of Retired FBI Agents? When interviewed for the Frontline documentary THE SECRET FILE OF J EDGAR HOOVER Vice President Mondale and former FBI agent Liddy discuss the great success FBI agents have blackmailing politicians see
When blackmailing does not work taxpayer funded FBI agents resort to committing voter fraud like the did in Cincinnati when they got caught. see https://docs.google.com/viewer?url= Want some more context Laurel? How about FBI agents collaborating with the Mafia and organized crime that is systemic throughout every FBI office in every state? Taxpayer funded FBI agents always used the Mafia as 3rd party vendors to kill people like union organizers and political activists including President Kennedy and Martin Luther King. This is called Plausible Denial so FBI agents can distance themselves from the crime and it won't be traced back to them. More recently FBI agents have fully embraced the US Military who has provided the same services to the FBI as the Mafia with the added bonus of providing high tech explosives like nano thermetic explosives and anthrax biological weapons that were used in 911 and the Satchel Charges used in the Oklahoma City bombing."

    see link for full story

    Flemmi: Zip crowed, ‘I’m one of the gang’
    Saturday, July 20, 2013
    PrintEmail Comments (10)
    Laurel J. Sweet

    James “Whitey” Bulger and his murderous right hand Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi were able to evolve into monsters right in front of the FBI “because we were central to their mandate to get rid of the Mafia,” Flemmi testified yesterday.

    And they had no better puppet to help them bend law enforcement to their will than Special Agent John “Zip” Connolly, who went from selling out his federal badge for gifts of cash and diamond rings from the generous Winter Hill Gang to being forced to beg Bulger and Flemmi for an allowance.

    In an interesting twist, Flemmi said when Bulger first started pestering him in the mid-1970s to meet Connolly, “I suspected I was being set up.”

    Flemmi eventually folded because he realized “an FBI source would be a big thing.”

    Bulger, charged with the gangland slayings of 19 men and women, insists he was not a top-echelon rat for the FBI and that Connolly, now incarcerated in Florida for second-degree murder, fabricated his 700-page informant file.

    Flemmi , however, testified he and Bulger were “sometimes” in touch with Connolly on a weekly basis.

    “I’m one of the gang!” Flemmi, on his second day on the witness stand at U.S. District Court, claimed Connolly once exclaimed after the Irish mob kingpins gave him $50,000. They soon realized, however, they were turning Connolly into a spoiled child.

    “When he was going to work in his office he was dressing better than any other agent,” Flemmi, 79, said. “He had a nice car. Eventually he bought a boat.”
    - See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/07/flemmi_zip_crowed_i_m_one_of_the_gang#sthash.wPQ1rVXe.dpuf
    Flemmi: Zip crowed, ‘I’m one of the gang’
    Saturday, July 20, 2013

    Laurel J. Sweet

    James “Whitey” Bulger and his murderous right hand Stephen “The Rifleman” Flemmi were able to evolve into monsters right in front of the FBI “because we were central to their mandate to get rid of the Mafia,” Flemmi testified yesterday.

    And they had no better puppet to help them bend law enforcement to their will than Special Agent John “Zip” Connolly, who went from selling out his federal badge for gifts of cash and diamond rings from the generous Winter Hill Gang to being forced to beg Bulger and Flemmi for an allowance.

    In an interesting twist, Flemmi said when Bulger first started pestering him in the mid-1970s to meet Connolly, “I suspected I was being set up.”

    Flemmi eventually folded because he realized “an FBI source would be a big thing.”

    Bulger, charged with the gangland slayings of 19 men and women, insists he was not a top-echelon rat for the FBI and that Connolly, now incarcerated in Florida for second-degree murder, fabricated his 700-page informant file.

    Flemmi , however, testified he and Bulger were “sometimes” in touch with Connolly on a weekly basis.

    “I’m one of the gang!” Flemmi, on his second day on the witness stand at U.S. District Court, claimed Connolly once exclaimed after the Irish mob kingpins gave him $50,000. They soon realized, however, they were turning Connolly into a spoiled child.

    “When he was going to work in his office he was dressing better than any other agent,” Flemmi, 79, said. “He had a nice car. Eventually he bought a boat.”
    - See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/07/flemmi_zip_crowed_i_m_one_of_the_gang#sthash.wPQ1rVXe.dpuf

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Reply with quote  #58 
see link for full story

Teen Held Sex Slave and Called FBI Daily, Agent Says

July 26, 2013

A New York teenager who allegedly kidnapped a woman and held her as a sex slave for more than two weeks called the FBI almost daily during the woman's captivity to tell them he was involved in sex trafficking and had recently "recruited" a woman, according to court documents.

Despite his calls to the FBI, the woman escaped on her own when she faked an asthma attack and was taken to a hospital.

The suspect then called the FBI again to ask for help in locating her, telling an agent he had developed feelings for her.

The allegations and the bizarre string of phone calls are detailed in an affidavit filed in a federal court on July 9 by FBI Agent Barry Crouch, who said he received most of the phone calls from the suspect.

Brandon Todd, 19, was arrested on July 10 and charged with kidnapping across state lines, which has a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

The FBI, after repeated calls, declined to comment on the case beyond what was stated in the affidavit.

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Reply with quote  #59 

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7/31/2013 @ 3:39PM |174 views

Is The FBI Becoming A Three Stooges Act?

A man calls a brokerage firm to say he is the Chief Operating Officer of Magnolia International Bank and Trust (MIBT). He assures the broker he speaks to that MIBT is not the Melbourne Institute of Business and Technology, as a Google GOOG -0.36% search returns, but the central bank for scores of Native American governments, including the Yamasee tribe, which the man on the phone says is a nation worth trillions of dollars, but which Wikipedia says ceased to exist in the 18th Century. The man requests that the brokerage firm lend him a sum total of $3 billion to build an oil pipeline across Siberia. He offers $5 billion in US Treasury notes as collateral, which he says will yield a 171% return, and sends a copy of the supposed T-notes in Word Pad form from an AOL AOL +0.77%account. The T-notes are assigned to the “Great Siberian Pipeline Company,” allegedly a “Republic of Wyoming Corporation,” but the caller claims he cannot produce the print notes, as they are hidden in Austria.

It just so happens that the broker has served as an informant for the FBI since they caught him in a fake vending machine route scam. He is inclined to write the Magnolia folks off as absurd, but he speaks to his FBI handler about it, who tells him to record his conversations with the claimed “Chief Operating Officer.” Before any money exchanges hands, the Feds arrest, charge and convict the fakers on mail and wire fraud charges.

Is this ridiculous story a pitch to Saturday Night Live? A Three Stooges skit? Or a description of the latest from the FBI and the Department of Justice? If you guessed the latter, you are correct.


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The man behind the Mumbai Terrorist attacks was David Headley.
Mr Headley also happens to be a DEA and FBI  informant.

The man behind the 1993 1st World Trade Center bombing was FBI  informant
Amad Salem. His FBI  handlers were agents Anticev and Floyd.

The man behind the Oklahoma City bombing was FBI  informant Timothy "Lee Harvey "McVeigh.
His FBI  handler has been identified as FBI  supervisor Larry Potts.

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US drug agency surveillance unit to be investigated by Department of Justice

Civil rights groups express concern after revelations that secret unit uses wiretaps and telephone records to arrest Americans
Tuesday 6 August 2013 16.29 EDT   

The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into revelations that the Drug Enforcement Agency uses surveillance tactics – including wiretapping and massive databases of telephone records – to arrest Americans, amid growing concerns from lawyers and civil rights groups over its lack of transparency.

Reuters on Monday detailed how the Special Operative Division – a unit within the DEA comprising representatives of two dozen agencies including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security – passes tips from wiretaps, informants and a database of telephone records to field agents to investigate and arrest criminals. Reuters reports that, although such cases rarely involve national security issues, the DEA agents using the tips are trained to "recreate" the source of the criminal investigation to conceal its true origin from defence lawyers, prosecutors and judges.

The revelations, which follow the Guardian's recent disclosures of the National Security Agency's wholescale collection of US phone data, have raised concerns among judges, prosecutors and civil rights lawyers over a lack of transparency. Many said the SOD practice violates a defendant's constitutional right to a fair trial.

James Felman, vice-chair of criminal justice at the American Bar Association, said the DEA story "connects the dots" over the government's potential abuse of phone records collected by the NSA.

Felman, an attorney in Tampa, said: "By the sound of it, this is a routine practice of using masses of information on Americans, in an erosion of constitutional protections of our citizens. This is clear evidence of things that people have been saying they are not doing. Collecting data on ordinary citizens and then concealing it officially. It is indefensible."

"I don't think that most people would believe that our government would be using these measures and using this excuse when they want to investigate heavy offences," he said. "What is upsetting is that it appears to be policy and practice to consensually conceal information that should be disclosed."

While the NSA data collection is aimed at thwarting terrorists, the SOD programme is focused on criminals such as drug dealers and money launderers.

One former federal agent who received tips from the SOD described the process to Reuters. He told how he would instruct state police to find an excuse to stop a certain vehicle on which they had information, and then have drug dogs search it. After an arrest was made, agents would then pretend that the investigation began as a result of the traffic stop, and not because of the information the SOD had passed on.

A training document quoted by Reuters described the practice whereby agents would "recreate" the source of the investigation, as "parallel construction". A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had relied on parallel construction.

Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011, described the practice of "parallel construction" as "a fancy word for phonying up the course of the investigation". It was one thing, she said, to create special rules for national security, but creating rules for ordinary crime threatened to undermine the bill of rights, set up as a check against the power of the executive.

"The best way to describe it is the government is saying 'trust us'," said Gertner. "The bill of rights is clear that we don't."

Gertner said that defence attorneys had a right to know and examine the source of the information against their clients.

"Even if a judge approved a wiretap, it doesn't mean there wasn't exculpatory or tainted evidence," she said. "If the judge does not know the genesis of the information there cannot be judicial review. When the DEA is concealing what the source of the information is and pretending it came from one place rather than another, there can be no judicial review."

Gertner and other legal experts said that there was no need to conceal such information in court, as there are already procedures by which judges can examine sensitive information in private to determine whether it is relevant.

The implications for existing cases, Gertner said, were difficult to assess.
"There needs to be an investigation and disclosure about the extent to which this information was used in previous investigations."

Civil rights campaigners said the latest revelations about surveillance programmes were an indictment of how easily the NSA data collection can be abused.

Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's criminal law reform project, said: "With the uncovering of this massive surveillance programme, the government are reassuring people that they are very selective, that they are not using it on ordinary citizens.

"The opposite case is one of our concerns.

"What you have here is the DEA tapping into the vast NSA spying programme and using it to launch criminal cases on Americans. Not in national security cases, but other cases."

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Federal Appeals Court Lets FBI off the Hook after It Lied to a Judge

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Yes, the FBI was spying on the Muslim community in Southern California and, yes, it lied to a federal judge about the existence of documents relevant to a case regarding that  surveillance.

But, no, the FBI shouldn’t be sanctioned for its behavior.

That was the ruling by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which disagreed with U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who ordered the government in 2011 to pay court costs for those bringing suit on behalf of the Islamic Shura Council of Southern California, an umbrella organization of mosques and Muslim organizations that has operated in Southern California since 1995.

The civil liberties case before the District Court alleged that U.S. authorities illegally spied on mosques in 2006 and 2007. The FBI was accused of sending an undercover informant into several Orange County mosques as part of Operation Flex and may have collected information on hundreds of people. The FBI admitted that it used the informant, but demanded that the case be tossed for national security reasons.

Lawyers for the mosques demanded to see surveillance records on the plaintiffs. The FBI told the judge it had provided all the information within the scope of the plaintiffs’ original Freedom of Information Act request. That wasn’t true and an incensed Judge Carney sanctioned the FBI.

“The Government cannot, under any circumstance, affirmatively mislead the Court,” Judge Carney wrote.

But the Ninth Court of Appeals said that wasn’t true and reversed his ruling. You can, apparently lie to a judge if later on you admit you lied and then sandbag him in his own courtroom.

The FBI had initially released eight heavily-redacted pages of information in response to the lawsuit brought against them and said that was all there was. But eventually they coughed up another 100 pages of equally heavily-redacted documents that they showed the judge privately in camera. Then, later, the FBI produced yet more documents.

In response to the serial deception, Carney wrote in his 2011 ruling, “The court must impose monetary sanctions to deter the government from deceiving the court again.”

The three-judge appellate panel disagreed, cited what is known as a safe harbor provision of the law, and reversed on procedural grounds, saying what counted was the fact that the judge eventually got the documents.

A frustrated Judge Carney tossed out the spying lawsuit against the FBI in August 2012 for national security reasons, likening himself to a fictional Greek hero who must save all those around him at the expense of a few. “Odysseus opted to pass by the monster and risk a few of his individual sailors, rather than hazard the loss of his entire ship to the sucking whirlpool,” the apologetic judge wrote.

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Feds pay millions for border-agent housing in Arizona
Brenna Goth , The Arizona Republic
August 12, 2013
Cost of building 21 homes in Ajo, Ariz., averages about $600,000 per house.
The Arizona Republic)
Story Highlights

    The new houses are two-, three-bedroom models that range in size from 1,276 to 1,570 square feet
    Older homes of a similar size in community of 4,400 sold for less than $100,000
    Ajo is 40 miles north of the U.S.-Mexican border

AJO, Ariz. — Taxpayers paid millions of dollars for a cluster of yellow, blue and salmon-colored homes that recently sprouted in the desert here, just west of a Spanish colonial revival-style plaza.

The federal government spent, on average, more than $600,000 apiece to plan and build 21 two- and three-bedroom houses and develop the surrounding area to attract U.S. Customs and Border Protection personnel to live in this small former mining community.

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two reads

1st read

see link for full story


Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Cop's Retaliation Suit Revived by Full Circuit
The 9th Circuit on Wednesday resurrected the retaliation claims of a Burbank detective who says fellow officers threatened him with violence and jail time to hide their harsh interrogation techniques.
     Angelo Dahlia, a detective in the Burbank Police Department, sued the city of Burbank, Chief of Police Tim Stehr and three officers in 2009 after being placed on administrative leave. The suspension came just four days after Dahlia had told Los Angeles Sheriff's Department investigators about the violent tactics allegedly used on suspects in a 2007 robbery.
     Dahlia claims that he saw defendant Lt. Omar Rodriguez grab a suspect by the throat and jam a gun under his eye, saying, "How does it feel to have a gun in your face motherfucker." He says he heard other suspects being beaten behind closed doors by defendant Sgt. Edgar Penaranda, and that defendant Lt. Jon Murphy and Stehr had both approved.
     Dahlia alleges that he complained about the beatings to Murphy several times, but was told to "stop his sniveling." The department's internal affairs unit began an investigation in 2008, after which Dahlia says Rodriguez and Penaranda began harassing, threatening and intimidating him to keep quiet. Rodriguez even threatened to have him arrested on a phony case and put in jail, Dahlia claims.
     Dahlia says he kept quiet until 2009, when he reported all of his allegations during an interview with an LASD investigator.
     He claimed in a federal retaliation lawsuit that he had been suspended for asserting his First Amendment rights, but U.S. District Judge Margaret Morrow dismissed the case for failure to state claim. She found that there was no First Amendment issue because reporting misconduct was part of Dahlia's official duties as a police officer. Morrow also found that the suspension was not an "adverse employment action."
     A three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit affirmed in August 2012, citing 2009's Huppert v. the City of Pittsburg. The judges did so reluctantly, however, and four months later the appellate court agreed to reconsider the issue before a full, 11-judge panel. The initial panel also found Stehr immune from the lawsuit, and that ruling stands.
     The court convened the en banc panel in part to consider whether Huppert v. City of Pittsburg remained good law. In that case, the majority held that a California detective had acted according to his official duties when he assisted a district attorney and the FBI with a corruption investigation after his chief had told him not to.
     Public Citizen, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, noted that it petitioned for the rehearing.
     In a unanimous but hardly harmonious ruling Wednesday, the appeals court revived Dahlia's claims and remanded them to the District Court. The 11-judge panel also jettisoned Huppert v. City of Pittsburg and concluded that courts must make a "'practical' inquiry when determining the scope of a government employee's professional duties" in such retaliation cases.
     Public Citizen attorney Scott Michelman credited the decision with helping to ensure transparency when "public officials are engaging in misconduct."
     "Courageous police officers like Angelo Dahlia are in many circumstances the public's best or even only available source of information about police corruption and abuse," Michelman said in a statement.
     Dahlia was also represented by Michael Morguess with Lackie, Dammeier, McGill & Ethir of Upland, Calif.
     The appeals court found that Huppert had used too broad a brush in defining the professional duties of public employees. A proper inquiry must ask, among other things, whether an officer's complaints were directed inside or outside the chain-of-command, according to the ruling.
     "We conclude that when a public employee speaks in direct contravention to his supervisor's orders, that speech may often fall outside of the speaker's professional duties," Judge Richard Paez wrote for the court. "Indeed, the fact that an employee is threatened or harassed by his superiors for engaging in a particular type of speech provides strong evidence that the act of speech was not, as a 'practical' matter, within the employee's job duties notwithstanding any suggestions to the contrary in the employee's formal job description."
     "Ultimately, Dahlia disclosed the defendants' misconduct, threats, and harassment to LASD when interviewed about the Porto's robbery investigation," Paez added. "In doing so, Dahlia clearly spoke outside the chain of command and, indeed, to an outside agency altogether. Whether Dahlia ultimately acted pursuant to his job duties when he disclosed misconduct to LASD may well turn on whether discovery reveals that Dahlia's supervisors instructed him to meet with and disclose information to LASD or in fact Dahlia did so of his own volition. Construing the complaint in Dahlia's favor, his disclosure to LASD is protected by the First Amendment."
     The panel also found that Dahlia's suspension qualified as an "adverse employment action" because it had allegedly prevented him from taking the sergeant's exam, among other things.
     While all 11 judges agreed that Dahlia should be allowed to plead his claims further, three of them objected to how the majority got there.
     Judge Harry Pregerson came down against the majority's chain-of-command distinction, writing in a concurrence that all of Dahlia's complaints about his fellow officers' alleged actions should be protected under the First Amendment.
     "The majority's chain of command guidelines undermine policies that require law enforcement officers to report police abuse up the chain of command," he wrote. "Under the majority opinion's approach, a police officer who complies with his duty and reports unlawful acts to his superiors, and as a consequence is fired for his speech, has no First Amendment protection. In contrast, a police officer who reports unlawful acts to the news media, and as a consequence is fired for his speech, is shielded by the First Amendment. Police officers are trapped in a Catch 22: violate their duty to report up the chain of command or expose themselves to retaliation. A police officer who witnesses police abuse may turn a blind eye to avoid either consequence."
     Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain warned in a separate concurrence that, in overruling Huppert v. City of Pittsburg, the majority had ventured beyond the "sound principles of federalism" and into a realm in which the courts do not belong. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who raised a similar issue during oral arguments in March, joined O'Scannlain's concurrence, which reads more like a dissent.
     "I respectfully dissent from the majority's analysis because our court makes the same error today by rejecting what California law tells us about the professional duties of that state's police officers," O'Scannlain wrote. "Furthermore, I fear that today's new approach will lead to 'judicial intervention in the conduct of governmental operations to a degree inconsistent with sound principles of federalism and the separation of powers.' Federal courts have no business managing the daily activities of police departments."

2nd read
a species that hires mercenaries to protect them looses the ability to
protect themselves against their bodyguards and are doomed to extinction

see link for full story

Thursday, August 22, 2013
Teen Says Chicago Cops Beat Her Bloody

 Chicago police chained a young woman to a wall and beat her bloody in a terrifying interrogation to try to force her to identify a shooter whose face she never saw, the woman claims in court.
     Jacklyn Miranda sued Chicago and Unknown Chicago Police Officers in Cook County Court.
     "This summer, plaintiff was walking with a friend in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood when she witnessed a shooting of multiple people," Miranda, 18, says in the lawsuit. "From where she was standing - across the street from the shooting - she was unable to see the shooter's face before he fled.
     "Plaintiff and her friend immediately ran to help the victims, and reported the shooting to 911 dispatch. When the police arrived, plaintiff and her friend described what they had seen. The police then brought the girls to the police station and took formal statements from them. In giving her statement, plaintiff described everything that she had seen, including a description of the shooter's build. Plaintiff stressed to the police that she did not see the shooter's face, however, and thus could not identify him.
     "The shooting was reported on the news to have killed one person and injured multiple others."
     Miranda says she graduated from high school this year and is holding down two jobs and planning to go to community college and then university.
     After the shooting, she says, "Detective Marco Garcia, along with two unknown defendant detectives, arrived at plaintiff's home. Instead of providing news about the shooting victims, the officers showed plaintiff mug shots, and asked her to sign one of the photos. Plaintiff refused to do so. She had not seen the shooter's face, and did not want to implicate an innocent person.
     "The defendant officers accused plaintiff of lying, and of knowing who fired the gunshots. Plaintiff began to cry. Despite this, the defendants continued to pressure plaintiff to sign one of the mug shots. Plaintiff's mother asked the officers to leave, because they were scaring plaintiff, and not to contact her daughter again."
     Garcia is not named as an individual defendant.
     The complaint continues: "Later, on a day in August 2013, plaintiff was walking to a bus stop in the Belmont Cragin neighborhood when a defendant officer drove by. The defendant reversed his car, got out, and began to search plaintiff. He snatched her purse over her head, and grabbed her phone out of her hand.
     "The defendant began to lift plaintiff's shirt to search her, and when plaintiff asked him to stop, the defendant said words to the effect of, 'fine, we'll do this the hard way.' The officer handcuffed plaintiff and put her in his car. When plaintiff asked what was happening, the defendant officer did not tell her.
     "Plaintiff asked for her phone back so that she could call her mother, but the defendant refused, telling her that because she was 18 she did not get to call her mom anymore. The defendant belittled plaintiff, accusing her of seeking protection from 'mommy.'"
     The officer then refused her request for a lawyer, "telling her that she did not need a lawyer," took her to an interrogation room at the station, where he left her for an hour with her hands cuffed behind her back, Miranda says.
     The complaint continues: "When he returned, the defendant handcuffed plaintiff to a ring on the wall. He said words to the effect of, 'we can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way.' When plaintiff said that she had described everything she had seen of the shooting, he again accused her of lying.
     "The defendant indicated that he had been following plaintiff closely, revealing that he knew where she had made an ATM withdrawal days before.
     "The defendant made plaintiff look at graphic photos of the shooting victims, including a girl who had been shot in the face. When plaintiff insisted that this would not change what she saw, the defendant, who was much larger than plaintiff, got within inches of her face, screamed at her, and repeatedly called her a 'bitch.' During this, plaintiff was still handcuffed to the wall.
     "Plaintiff told the defendant that his pressure could not make her tell a false story. At that, the defendant struck plaintiff across her face with his open hand. Plaintiff began to bleed.
     "When the defendant officer opened the door of the interrogation room to leave, plaintiff saw other officers outside. Seeking their help, she called out that she had been hit and was bleeding.
     "The defendant came back into the room, closed the door behind him, and threatened plaintiff, saying that if she did that again, he would 'lay her out' and make it look like she had come at him. The defendant proceeded to tighten the handcuffs multiple times around plaintiff's wrist, asking whether plaintiff understood him. He then informed plaintiff that he had done this sort of interrogation before.
     "Plaintiff said that since there were cameras in the room, people would know what he was doing to her. The defendant responded with words to the effect of: 'You stupid bitch, the cameras are off in this room. No one cares what happens to you.'
     "The defendant again pressured plaintiff to identify the shooter, saying that he would wait all night. When he left, another defendant officer came in. This officer observed plaintiff wiping blood off her face.
     "After the original defendant returned, both officers told her to name the shooter, despite her continued assertions that she could not identify him.
     "Finally, in an attempt at freedom, plaintiff told the defendants that she would return to the station later and look at a lineup of suspects. After hours of being detained in the interrogation room, the defendants released plaintiff, and drove her to a restaurant where a friend waited. Seeing that the defendants were staying outside the restaurant, watching her from their car, plaintiff fled out of the back door of the restaurant."
     Miranda claims that police officers still come to her house asking for her, and have threatened her friends with arrest if they will not disclose where police can find her.
     She seeks punitive damages for false arrest, unreasonable seizure, excessive force, failure to intervene, conspiracy, assault and battery, and emotional distress.

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Charity operator’s conviction reversed
A new trial is ordered for the former Ashland man who already has served most of a sentence for tax fraud
 Aug. 24  2013


Saying the government had wrongly tried to turn a tax fraud case into a trial on terrorism, an appeals court on Friday threw out the conviction of a former Ashland resident who once ran an Islamic charity.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered a new trial for Pirouz Sedaghaty, known as Pete Seda, and vacated the tax fraud conviction.

Seda already has served most of his 33-month sentence and was living in a halfway house when the court’s decision was announced.

“Mr. Seda is quite pleased to be vindicated,” said his attorney, Steven Wax of Portland. “It’s most unfortunate that he’s already served two years in prison, but he will be sleeping at home tonight.”

Seda was convicted of falsifying a tax return for an Islamic charity he ran, the U.S. branch of the Al-­Haramain Islamic Foundation, following a 2010 federal court trial in Eugene.

The trial was laced with testimony that attempted to show Seda tried to funnel $130,000 in donations to Islamic rebels fighting in the Russian republic of Chechnya, but a judge ultimately ruled that the evidence didn’t support the claim and did not impose an enhanced sentence for supporting terrorism.

Nevertheless, wide coverage of the seven-day trial left a cloud over Seda and he continued an effort to clear his name.

Wax said the decision overturning the conviction goes a long way toward doing that.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court ruled 2-1 in favor of overturning the tax fraud conviction and sentence.

The two prevailing justices criticized the government’s handling of the case, citing three errors and saying any one of them would be grounds for a new trial.

The opinion was written by Judge M. Margaret McKeown and joined by Senior Judge Mary Schroeder. Judge Richard Tallman wrote a dissenting opinion rejecting the majority argument and saying he would have upheld the conviction.

The majority ruling said the government failed to tell defense attorneys before the trial that the FBI had paid a key prosecution witness, that government agents exceeded the scope of a search warrant on Seda’s computer hard drives and that prosecutors provided a biased summary of undisclosed classified information relied on by the government.

“We are particularly troubled by the cumulative effect of these errors, which resulted in admitting evidence illegally seized” while denying Seda access to evidence that would have aided his defense, the judges wrote.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, which prosecuted Seda, has not said whether it will appeal the decision. A spokeswoman for Amanda Marshall, the U.S. Attorney for Oregon, said they are reviewing the ruling and will consult with officials in Washington, D.C. before making a decision.

Although Seda was allowed to return to his Portland home, he remains under house detention pending the final outcome of the case.

The ruling blasted the government’s handling of the case, in particular noting that prosecutors had presented a slanted summary of classified evidence that also omitted evidence that could have helped Seda prove he wasn’t guilty. Although the judge — retired U.S. District Judge Michael Hogan — and prosecutors had access to the classified documents, only a summary was provided to the defense.

The appeals court, which also was able to view the classified evidence, said that summary favored the prosecution and failed to reveal information supporting Seda’s claim that he believed the money raised by the foundation was being used for humanitarian relief, not to fund Chechen rebels.

“Although there is no indication of bad faith, the government appears to have looked with tunnel vision at limited issues that it believed were relevant,” the ruling said. “We conclude that the summary is inadequate not only because of its slanted wording but more fundamentally because it is incomplete.”

Also, the court ruled that the government should have disclosed before the trial that it had paid the husband of its key witness $14,500 and told the woman she would receive $7,500 more to help pay medical bills. Had the defense known of the payments, it could have used them to question the witness’ credibility, the ruling said.

And the judges said IRS agents who seized Seda’s computers far exceeded the limits of a search warrant seeking records of his 2000 tax return and therefore violated his constitutional rights.

In addition to those financial records, agents also collected evidence about Web searches and photographs of Chechnya and other documents that were used to suggest that Seda was trying to help the rebels.

Seda also argued that the government wrongfully used such evidence to inflame the jury by appealing to religious prejudice and guilt by association.

The appeals court said that because the verdict was being overturned on other grounds, it did not need to address that claim, but its ruling suggests that the court expects any new trial to be conducted much differently.

“We are confident that the District Court will recognize the fine line separating necessary ... evidence of wilful falsity from evidence that would cast Seda in the role of a terrorist based on appeals to fear and guilt by association and thereby unduly prejudice the proceedings,” it said.

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GA Inmate on Camera Being Beaten by a Hammer, Allegedly While Handcuffed


America has a serious problem with incarceration, even Attorney General Eric Holder agrees with that fact.  What’s also unspoken is the amount of abuse taken by prison inmates locked behind bars.  Facilities are accused of looking the other way as inmates are s*xually assaulted, tortured and beaten beyond recognition.

The San Francisco Bay View has released a distributing video of an inmate being beaten by guards with a hammer.

In the video, guards are heard shouting, “Get down! Just get down! Get down! Get down!” You then hear someone saying, “Oh (expletive) guy over there with his hands hitting him … and a d**n hammer!”

The beatings took place on December 31, 2010 and the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has allegedly dragged its feet on getting to the bottom of what the incident.   Rev. Kenneth Glasgow is responsible for posting the video to Youtube for the world to see.

A relative who brought the injustice to the attention of the public says that “The Georgia Department of Corrections denies this happened but were caught on tape. The officer responsible was never arrested or reprimanded. The district attorney had the video and never sought charges.

“The family is demanding justice for this barbaric, inhumane act. We ask everyone to help by contacting District Attorney Tom Durden at (912) 876-4151.”

Rev. Glasgow goes deeper into the incident, noting that the Georgia Bureau of Investigations has proven itself to be corrupt by refusing to look into what happened here.


“Within the entire GBI (Georgia Bureau of Investigation) file,” says Rev. Glasgow, “no GBI investigative agent or prison official identifies the guard on the video who is clearly beating non-resisting Miguel Jackson and Kelvin Stevenson with the hammer-like object.

“If you look closely, you will see a very large man lying on top of Kelvin Stevenson as the other guard batters his head with the hammer. Eye witnesses state that Stevenson was also handcuffed at the time.

“For all those who watch this and ask what’s the whole story, first of all ask yourself why no GBI agent or prison official reported this – at least not in the ‘official report’ – when this is their video.  The family and advocates want justice and humane treatment, the situation investigated, and the officer in that video arrested.”

You can read more here.  You can watch the video below:



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    Revealed: how the FBI coordinated the crackdown on #Occupy
    Posted: 2013/09/07
    New documents prove what was once dismissed as paranoid fantasy: totally integrated corporate-state repression of dissent

    Naomi Wolf

    It was more sophisticated than we had imagined: new documents show that the violent crackdown on Occupy last fall – so mystifying at the time – was not just coordinated at the level of the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and local police. The crackdown, which involved, as you may recall, violent arrests, group disruption, canister missiles to the skulls of protesters, people held in handcuffs so tight they were injured, people held in bondage till they were forced to wet or soil themselves –was coordinated with the big banks themselves.

    The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, in a groundbreaking scoop that should once more shame major US media outlets (why are nonprofits now some of the only entities in America left breaking major civil liberties news?), filed this request. The document – reproduced here in an easily searchable format – shows a terrifying network of coordinated DHS, FBI, police, regional fusion center, and private-sector activity so completely merged into one another that the monstrous whole is, in fact, one entity: in some cases, bearing a single name, the Domestic Security Alliance Council. And it reveals this merged entity to have one centrally planned, locally executed mission. The documents, in short, show the cops and DHS working for and with banks to target, arrest, and politically disable peaceful American citizens.

    The documents, released after long delay in the week between Christmas and New Year, show a nationwide meta-plot unfolding in city after city in an Orwellian world: six American universities are sites where campus police funneled information about students involved with OWS to the FBI, with the administrations' knowledge (p51); banks sat down with FBI officials to pool information about OWS protesters harvested by private security; plans to crush Occupy events, planned for a month down the road, were made by the FBI – and offered to the representatives of the same organizations that the protests would target; and even threats of the assassination of OWS leaders by sniper fire – by whom? Where? – now remain redacted and undisclosed to those American citizens in danger, contrary to standard FBI practice to inform the person concerned when there is a threat against a political leader (p61).

    As Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the PCJF, put it, the documents show that from the start, the FBI – though it acknowledges Occupy movement as being, in fact, a peaceful organization – nonetheless designated OWS repeatedly as a "terrorist threat":

        "FBI documents just obtained by the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) … reveal that from its inception, the FBI treated the Occupy movement as a potential criminal and terrorist threat … The PCJF has obtained heavily redacted documents showing that FBI offices and agents around the country were in high gear conducting surveillance against the movement even as early as August 2011, a month prior to the establishment of the OWS encampment in Zuccotti Park and other Occupy actions around the country."

    Verheyden-Hilliard points out the close partnering of banks, the New York Stock Exchange and at least one local Federal Reserve with the FBI and DHS, and calls it "police-statism":

        "This production [of documents], which we believe is just the tip of the iceberg, is a window into the nationwide scope of the FBI's surveillance, monitoring, and reporting on peaceful protestors organizing with the Occupy movement … These documents also show these federal agencies functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America."

    The documents show stunning range: in Denver, Colorado, that branch of the FBI and a "Bank Fraud Working Group" met in November 2011 – during the Occupy protests – to surveil the group. The Federal Reserve of Richmond, Virginia had its own private security surveilling Occupy Tampa and Tampa Veterans for Peace and passing privately-collected information on activists back to the Richmond FBI, which, in turn, categorized OWS activities under its "domestic terrorism" unit. The Anchorage, Alaska "terrorism task force" was watching Occupy Anchorage. The Jackson, Mississippi "joint terrorism task force" was issuing a "counterterrorism preparedness alert" about the ill-organized grandmas and college sophomores in Occupy there. Also in Jackson, Mississippi, the FBI and the "Bank Security Group" – multiple private banks – met to discuss the reaction to "National Bad Bank Sit-in Day" (the response was violent, as you may recall). The Virginia FBI sent that state's Occupy members' details to the Virginia terrorism fusion center. The Memphis FBI tracked OWS under its "joint terrorism task force" aegis, too. And so on, for over 100 pages.

    Jason Leopold, at Truthout.org, who has sought similar documents for more than a year, reported that the FBI falsely asserted in response to his own FOIA requests that no documents related to its infiltration of Occupy Wall Street existed at all. But the release may be strategic: if you are an Occupy activist and see how your information is being sent to terrorism task forces and fusion centers, not to mention the "longterm plans" of some redacted group to shoot you, this document is quite the deterrent.

    There is a new twist: the merger of the private sector, DHS and the FBI means that any of us can become WikiLeaks, a point that Julian Assange was trying to make in explaining the argument behind his recent book. The fusion of the tracking of money and the suppression of dissent means that a huge area of vulnerability in civil society – people's income streams and financial records – is now firmly in the hands of the banks, which are, in turn, now in the business of tracking your dissent.

    Remember that only 10% of the money donated to WikiLeaks can be processed – because of financial sector and DHS-sponsored targeting of PayPal data. With this merger, that crushing of one's personal or business financial freedom can happen to any of us. How messy, criminalizing and prosecuting dissent. How simple, by contrast, just to label an entity a "terrorist organization" and choke off, disrupt or indict its sources of financing.

    Why the huge push for counterterrorism "fusion centers", the DHS militarizing of police departments, and so on? It was never really about "the terrorists". It was not even about civil unrest. It was always about this moment, when vast crimes might be uncovered by citizens – it was always, that is to say, meant to be about you.

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Ex-FBI counsel implicated in surveillance abuses nominated to crucial federal bench

The former top lawyer at the FBI deeply implicated in surveillance abuses revealed before and by Edward Snowden’s leaks was confirmed as a federal judge in a top court for terrorism cases this week.
The US Senate voted 73-24 on Monday in approving Valerie Caproni, Federal Bureau of Investigation general counsel from 2003 to 2011, to the Southern District of New York, one of the country's most important federal courts for terrorism cases.

Caproni has received bipartisan criticism for allowing and defending surveillance abuses both found to be overbroad during her tenure and those not disclosed when she was counsel but later revealed to be inappropriate or illegal. For example, the Snowden leaks showed Caproni mischaracterized the limits of the Patriot Act during her term.

A 2010 report by the Department of Justice revealed the FBI inappropriately used non-judicial subpoenas called “exigent letters” to gather phone numbers of over 5,550 Americans until 2006.

"The FBI broke the law on telephone records privacy and the general counsel's office, headed by Valerie Caproni, sanctioned it and must face consequences," said John Conyers in April 2010 as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee.

Conyers called for Caproni’s firing at the time over the use of the non-judicial subpoenas, according to the Guardian.

"It's not in the Patriot Act. It never has been. And its use, perhaps coincidentally, began in the same month that Ms Valerie Caproni began her work as general counsel," Conyers said in 2010.

Caproni told House lawmakers in 2008 if phone numbers -- acquired from telephone companies by the FBI via the non-judicial subpoenas evidently sanctioned in the Patriot Act -- were not related to a "currently open investigation, and there was no emergency at the time we received the records, the records are removed from our files and destroyed.”

Yet revelations found in documents supplied by Snowden outlined how the National Security Agency stores phone records on all Americans for up five years no matter if they are associated with an open investigation or not. In addition, it’s been found that the NSA has the capability to feed the FBI phone records if there is a "reasonable articulable suspicion" they are related to terrorism.

"Caproni knew that the Bush administration could use or was using the Section 215 provision in the Patriot Act to obtain Americans' phone records on a broad scale, an issue that has recently been documented by the whistleblower material first printed in the Guardian," Lisa Graves, a former deputy assistant attorney general who dealt with Caproni while working on national security issues for the ACLU, told the Guardian.

In 2007, DOJ’s Inspector General Glenn Fine found the FBI was serially abusing National Security Letters -- a demand regarding national security independent of legal subpoenas--  to obtain business records, including "unauthorized collection of telephone or internet email transactional records.” While the larger collection of phone records was still not exposed at the time, Caproni called the inappropriate collection a “colossal failure on our part.”

"Government officials that secretly approved of overbroad surveillance programs the public is only seeing now because of leaks, and whose testimony on the issue obscured rather than revealed these abuses, should be held to account for their actions in a public forum," former FBI agent Mike German told the Guardian.

"She is a woman with impeccable credentials," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Monday. "This country needs more women like her."

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Did the FBI Lean On Microsoft for Access to Its Encryption Software?

September 11, 2013
The NSA is reportedly not the only government agency asking tech companies for help in cracking technology to access user data. Sources say the FBI has a history of requesting digital backdoors, which are generally understood as a hidden vulnerability in a program that would, in theory, let the agency peek into suspects' computers and communications.
In 2005, when Microsoft was about to launch BitLocker, its Windows software to encrypt and lock hard drives, the company approached the NSA, its British counterpart the GCHQ and the FBI, among other government and law-enforcement agencies. Microsoft's goal was twofold: get feedback from the agencies, and sell BitLocker to them.

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Lawsuit asks FBI to release Sarasota 9/11 documents
September 10, 2013 at 3:45 p.m.

Twelve years after the 9/11 attacks that included three hijacker pilots trained in Venice, the terrorists' alleged interaction with a high-echelon Saudi family that lived in Sarasota remains shrouded in secrecy.

But Sunshine law and Freedom of Information Act requests filed by an independent South Florida news organization have chipped away at the FBI's position that information related to the family remain secret.

Depending on how a federal judge in Broward County rules, the FBI could, theoretically, be compelled to reveal documents and field notes in the case.

Broward Bulldog editor Dan Christensen and former U.S. Sen. Bob Graham say the documents could shed light on how the locally trained terrorists were managed and supported.

Graham, former Florida governor and a co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, a Congressional body that investigated the attacks, believes the FBI has covered up Saudi support of the terrorists.

Graham also chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee during and after 9/11. He has chimed in on the ongoing federal lawsuit by the Broward Bulldog against the FBI and the Department of Justice, filing a 15-page declaration of the facts as he knows them.

The former senator wants more disclosure about what happened in Sarasota because he feels it may add to a bigger, largely censored subject: Who financed and supported the 9/11 terror attacks?

"It is a big onion, which is being slowly peeled," Graham told the Herald-Tribune. "We are continuing with all the means that are still available to us to get this material into the hands of the public."

"And the FBI is aggressively resisting the release of any additional documents," he said. "The question is, why are they doing this? What interest does the FBI have in denying the existence of its own documents?"

"Beyond that, they have thrown a blanket of national security over virtually everything, and why are they doing that for an event that occurred, soon to be, 12 years ago?"

Larry Berberich -- a man who played a pivotal security role at Sarasota's Prestancia neighorhood, where the Saudis in question lived at the time -- has his own view of what Graham describes as a blanket.

"Some of the local departments knew a hell of a lot about what was going on and were feeding the FBI that information," said Berberich, who was then a Prestancia board member nominally in charge of security and an unpaid security consultant to the sheriff at that time, Bill Balkwill.

Shortly after local law enforcement entered the vacated home of the Saudis in Prestancia, he said, "everything went black."

Berberich told the Herald-Tribune local law enforcement personnel privy to evidence were muzzled.

He declined to elaborate.

The neighbors noticed

At the time of the 9/11 attacks, President George W. Bush was visiting a school in Sarasota.

Then came the revelation that three of the hijackers learned to fly at Venice Airport.

The story about a family of Saudis who suddenly left their home in suburban Sarasota about two weeks before the attacks in New York and Washington, D.C. -- leaving food on the counter, a dirty diaper, three vehicles and an empty safe -- went unreported.

But it did not go unnoticed by neighbors.

The house was owned by Esam Ghazzawi, a well-connected businessman whose family had a long history with Saudi Arabia's royal family.

In the year leading up to 9/11, the Ghazzawi property at 4224 Escondito Circle was home to the patriarch's daughter and son-in-law, Anoud and Abdulaziz al-Hijji. The man was a college student here, and he and his wife had small children.

The couple's Saudi nationality, the trash they left at the curb, and the cars they left in the driveway created a hubbub in the staid gated community. Acting on tips from neighbors, law enforcement swept into the home within weeks after the terror attacks and confiscated boxes of potential evidence.

The incident was forgotten until it showed up in research by authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan, as they were collecting material for their Pulitzer Prize-nominated book, "The Eleventh Day: The Full Story of 9/11."

Summers had interviewed a still-unnamed counterterrorism officer who told him that the FBI knew much more than it was saying about Prestancia.

With the 10th anniversary of 9/11 then approaching, Summers asked Christensen, a former Miami Herald investigative reporter and Broward Bulldog's editor, to help develop the Sarasota angle of the story.

From that interview and others, Summers and Christensen described alleged connections between the terrorists who learned to fly in Venice and the residents of the 3,300-square-foot home in Prestancia.

Just 15 miles separated the neighborhood and Venice Airport, where hijackers trained before piloting two jets into the World Trade Center and a third into a Pennsylvania field after passengers overtook them.

Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi took flight lessons at the airport's former Huffman Aviation. Ziad Jarra took flight lessons at the neighboring Florida Flight Training Center.

Atta and al-Shehhi are believed to have flown jets into the twin towers. Jarra is believed to have been the pilot of United Flight 93, which went down in Pennsylvania amid a passenger uprising.

The men knew each other from Germany and were part of what is referred to in 9/11 literature as the "Hamburg cell."

"Phone records and the Prestancia gate records linked the house on Escondito Circle to the hijackers," the Broward Bulldog reported in its 10th anniversary story.

Those findings were published not just on Christensen's Bulldog website, but also in the Herald-Tribune, Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times in September 2011.

Within days, the FBI went on the defensive, stating that the agency had followed up on the "referenced Sarasota home and family" and interviewed family members and found no evidence connecting them to hijackers.

"The anonymous 'counterterrorism officer' cited in the article apparently was not an FBI agent and had no access to the facts and circumstances pertaining to the resolution of this lead, otherwise this person would know that this matter was resolved without any nexus to the 9/11 plot," wrote FBI special agent Steven E. Ibison, who was the supervisor of the Tampa field office.

FBI officials in Tampa declined to comment for this story, citing the ongoing litigation.

That does not surprise Tom Julin, a Miami First Amendment attorney who is representing the Broward Bulldog.

"The FBI, I think, went out of its way to discredit the initial reporting that Dan and Tony Summers had done," Julin said.

The FBI's reaction prompted a Freedom of Information quest, which culminated in a lawsuit before federal District Court Judge William L. Zloch, a former University of Notre Dame quarterback appointed to the bench by President Ronald Reagan.

"Basically Dan was saying, 'If you are telling me I am wrong, show me the documents.'"

Gatekeeper's records

While the Saudi family's sudden departure was intriguing, the smoking gun in the Bulldog investigation was the allegation that agents discovered phone records and Prestancia gate records that linked the Escondito Circle house to the hijackers.

Prestancia has two gates, manned by security guards who noted license plate numbers of visitors, asked drivers their names and recorded what home they were visiting.

An FBI document released to Christensen in April suggests the agency did not hold on to the gate-keeper records.

But that seems unlikely, says Berberich, the former Prestancia Homeowners Association director.

Now a Manatee County resident, Berberich then lived in a 12,000-square-foot home overlooking Prestancia's golf course.

With a background in military electronics and top-secret clearances from years ago, it was Berberich who helped Sarasota County law enforcement officials enter the Escondito Circle home. He also instructed Prestancia employees to fully cooperate with federal officials.

On two occasions since, Berberich has gone back to the Prestancia guard shack where the visitor logs were kept, he said.

"You've got records before that time, and records after that time," said Berberich, now 75. "There is a gap at the time in question. So that substantiates that it got turned over to somebody."

In his declaration to the federal court in the Broward Bulldog suit, Berberich described what he and law enforcement officials found in the home. "There was mail on the table, dirty diapers in one of the bathrooms," he said. "All of the toiletries were still in place." "The refrigerator was full of food as if the residents had just gone shopping before leaving."

"We also found a safe in the home had been emptied and it appeared that a computer had been removed," he said.

Berberich said that he had his eyes on the home before the terror attacks.

There were six or seven young men who visited on a regular basis. Vehicles later associated with the hijackers carried them to the gates of the country club community.

Their friendship with al-Hijji got them admitted, Berberich said.

He said he knows that because license plates associated with several vehicles now connected to the terrorists were recorded on numerous occasions by gate guards. The passengers said they were were headed for 4224 Escondito Circle.

"It was common for them to come into Prestancia, two, three in a car," Berberich said. "I mean, more than a person coming in a car, and more than one car coming in."

Strong ties

The Ghazzawi family has a decades-long history of operating at the highest levels of Saudi society, the Herald-Tribune has found.

As King Saud prepared for a state visit with President Dwight Eisenhower, Abbas Ghazzawi, who appears to be Esam Ghazzawi's father, was part of the royal entourage.

In exchange for being able to keep a U.S. military base within Saudi Arabia's borders, President Eisenhower agreed to allow the Saudi government to buy up to $500 million worth of U.S.-made arms.

The deal did not come together overnight, and Abbas Ghazzawi flew to New York, from Madrid, on Jan. 25, 1957, according to passenger lists kept by U.S. officials.

The elder Ghazzawi was accompanied by three other Saudis, including a man who would later serve as Saudi Arabia's ambassador to the U.S., Faisal al-Hegelan.

The Ghazzawi family's ties to America grew stronger years later when, in 1970, 17-year-old Esam Ghazzawi married American Deborah G. Browning.

Esam Ghazzawi's family later established a presence in Southwest Florida, building a home on Longboat Key's Putter Lane.

Esam and Deborah Ghazzawi bought the Prestancia home in September 1995, records show. Five months later, their daughter Anoud married Abdulaziz al-Hijji. He was 19 and she was 17, their Sarasota County marriage license shows.

Al-Hijji attended Manatee Community College, now State College of Florida, and then the University of South Florida, where he received a bachelor's.


Abdulaziz al-Hijji knew some of the terrorists who were in training at Venice Airport, according to a former friend who provided the information to an FBI agent and a Sarasota County Sheriff's Office detective in 2004.

The informant, a Sarasota cellphone store owner named Wissam Hammoud, made the claim while awaiting trial in the Hillsborough County Jail on federal charges. He is now serving a 21-year sentence in federal prison after pleading guilty in August 2005 to charges of plotting to kill a federal agent and a confidential informant.

Through the U.S. Attorney's Office, Hammoud arranged to be interviewed by Sarasota sheriff's Detective Michael Otis and FBI agent Leo Martinez, who worked in the agency's Fort Myers field office, according to a 2004 investigative report file by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.

Christensen obtained that document through a Sunshine law request made in late 2011 after the FBI attempted to discredit his story.

Hammoud told investigators that he met Abdulaziz al-Hijji through his own relatives in Sarasota in 1996. Hammoud described al-Hijji as very well schooled in Islam, the FDLE report states.

Hammoud said that Abdulaziz al-Hijji told him that al-Hijji's wife, Anoud, had family that provided her with money, but that her husband received none from his wife.

Hammoud told investigators that he often exercised with Abdulaziz al-Hijji at the Shapes Fitness center near the Prestancia neighborhood, and that the two played soccer together on property surrounding a Sarasota mosque.

Al-Hijji brought a friend to the games who Hammoud claimed was Adnan El Shukrijumah, a man who was federally indicted in 2010 for his alleged role in a terrorist plot to attack New York City's subway system. The FBI is currently offering a $5 million reward for information leading to El Shukrijumah's capture, and he is listed by the FBI as being one of the "most wanted terrorists."

The plot, uncovered in September 2009, was directed by senior Al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan, and El Shukrijumah is thought to have been part of the group's external operations hierarchy, according to an FBI-issued "Wanted" poster.

In an interview with the London Telegraph in February 2012, al-Hijji emphatically denied any connection to hijackers, stating that he loved America.

Al-Hijji acknowledged knowing Hammoud, but said the name "Shukrajumah" did not ring a bell.

Hammoud told investigators that he helped Abdulaziz and Anoud al-Hijji by clearing the residence on Escondito Circle after they left Sarasota, putting their belongings in storage. He said he was asked to sell one of al-Hijji's vehicles, a Volkswagen Beetle, and send the couple the proceeds.

Hammoud told investigators al-Hijji had gone to work for the Saudi-owned oil company Aramco. After leaving the U.S. in August 2001, al-Hijji went to Saudi Arabia first, and was later transferred to an Aramco office in London, the FDLE 2004 report states.

New pages

It took much longer for the FBI to give Christensen any real information about 9/11 and its potential relationship with Sarasota family.

This spring, with no explanation, the FBI mailed Christensen 31 pages of heavily redacted documents.

One of them, dated April 2002, appears to contradict the FBI's claim that there was no connection between the Prestancia family and hijackers.

The document states, "Further investigation of the (name deleted) family revealed many connections between the (name deleted) and individuals associated with the terrorist attacks on 09/11/2001. More specifically, a (name deleted) family member (name deleted) also known as (name deleted) DOB (date deleted) last known address (address deleted) Florida, was a flight student at Huffman Aviation."

The agency redacted many of the names in the 31 pages released under exemptions that protect people's names in law enforcement records. But it is clear who the subjects are because the documents specifically cite the al-Hijjis' residence on Escondito Circle.

To Christensen, the statement was a breakthrough in his quest for documents.

"It is important because it establishes that there were connections between these people and the hijackers," Christensen said. "It says it very clearly, and it is also at odds with what the FBI has said before."

Graham, the former senator and co-chair of the 9/11 Commission, made his sworn declaration in Broward Bulldog's lawsuit after that document surfaced and referenced it in his own highly detailed report to the court.

"Once the FBI had found 'many connections' between the persons under investigation and individuals associated with the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, the FBI should have taken statements from all persons who knew those persons, should have obtained the gatehouse records of the Prestancia subdivision where 4224 Escondito Circle is located, should have compared the license plates on vehicles that the FBI had reason to believe that the terrorists used with photographs that were taken of license tags that passed through the Prestancia gatehouse, should have obtained financial records showing how homeowners' association fees were paid, and should have created inventories of property taken from the home, at a minimum," Graham wrote the court. "I have further been advised that the request specified that the activities involve apparent visits to that address by some of the decreased 9/11 hijackers."

Graham's 15-page declaration is accompanied by the entire 9/11 Commission report and by the "Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities before and after the Terrorist Attacks of September 11, 2001," which is the work of the joint Congressional committee that Graham chaired.

Since the Joint Inquiry report was published in 2003, Graham has been trying within two presidential administrations to make public the chapter on how the terrorists were financed and supported.

In a guest editorial published by the Huffington Post in September 2012, Graham was more explicit about the contents of the censored chapter.

"Sadly, those 28 pages represent only a fraction of the evidence of Saudi complicity that our government continues to shield from the public, under a flawed classification program which appears to be part of a systematic effort to protect Saudi Arabia from any real accountability for its actions," Graham wrote.

The search goes on

In June, Judge Zloch denied a request by an assistant U.S. attorney representing the FBI to dismiss the Broward Bulldog's Freedom-of-Information-Act case.

Then Zloch invited Julin, Christensen's attorney, to tell the court exactly how he would recommend that the FBI proceed to do a better search for the materials that were being sought.

Julin's 15-page report asks the agency to use its "Sentinel system" to conduct searches, on top of the antiquated system that the agency used to generate the limited results turned over to the plaintiffs so far.

The Miami lawyer also asked for a manual review of the Tampa files on the case, which are voluminous.

He also asked for a series of test searches that the FBI apparently did not use previously that he said could produce results.

For example, Julin suggested trying the names of the family that owned the home -- the Ghazzawis -- and the names of the house's residents, the al-Hijjis.

He suggested the agency get a little more creative, trying searches like "Prestancia and gatehouse," "Prestancia and Mohamed Atta," "Escondito and Mohamed Atta," "Prestancia and Huffman Aviation," and so on.

The agent in charge of the Sarasota investigation, Gregory Sheffield, has since been reassigned to the FBI's Honolulu field office.

Julin asked that the FBI be compelled to ask Sheffield basic questions about his knowledge of the evidentiary files and where they are, and then to follow up on those leads.

Should Judge Zloch follow Julin's suggestions on how to proceed, there is the potential for opening up thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, of new documents held in the FBI's Tampa field office, according to one of the responses filed by FBI's representative in the suit, Assistant U.S. Attorney Carole Fernandez.

In August, as part of Fernandez's reasoning for blocking the release of documents, she told the court:

"The FBI's Tampa office alone has more than 15,352 documents (serials) which together contain, potentially, hundreds of thousands of pages of records related to the 9/11 investigation," the federal attorney. "The manual review which plaintiffs are requesting is not reasonable, nor is it warranted."

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FBI Director James Comey Added to Revised NSA Surveillance Lawsuit

A lawsuit alleging that the National Security Agency violated the constitutional rights of U.S. citizens now includes claims against new FBI Director James Comey, Bloomberg reports.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed the original lawsuit in July, alleges the NSA, with the help of the Justice Department and FBI, surreptitiously collected information about “all telephone calls transiting the networks of all major telecommunication companies.”

Comey was added to the suit as a defendant.
- See more at: http://www.ticklethewire.com/#sthash.WrkJA9zo.dpuf

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FBI war room ready for potential terrorist attack


Sep 11, 2013 
Mark Giuliano is the special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Atlanta. Giuliano said there is no specific terrorist threat, at this time, but the FBI is ready just in case.
"We can't afford to let our guard down," said Giuliano.
The walls of the FBI's office contain pictures of those who were responsible for the devastating attack on Sept. 11, 2001, that killed close to 3,000 and injured some 6,000.
Since then, on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the FBI and other federal and local law enforcement agencies set up command centers to monitor and prepare just in case there are additional attacks.
"We are monitoring the information coming in from overseas, in our intelligence community and from our state, local and federal counterparts here to look for threats," said Giuliano.
Angela Tobon is the assistant special agent in charge of the FBI's National Security team.
"We're watching what's going on social wise, social media and listening to our counterparts in other agencies," said Tobon. "We've got agents on standby. If we need to respond to something they are ready to go, SWAT teams, TAC teams, investigative teams or providing assistance to other agencies."
The FBI also assembled a team of analysts.
"Everybody knows today is a heightened alert day and everybody is prepared," said Tobon.
If something were to happen in the Metro Atlanta area, representatives from just about every agency would assemble in what the FBI calls its war room.
Scott Dutton is with  the GBI.

Charles Hynes, Scandal-Plagued Brooklyn District Attorney, Faces Verdict At The Polls

The year was 1990. George H.W. Bush was president. The song "Hold On" by Wilson Phillips was number one on the Billboard chart. And Charles "Joe" Hynes, celebrated for his role as a special prosecutor in a racially charged case in Howard Beach, began his first term as Brooklyn District Attorney.
Bush's presidency came and went; his son's did too. Wilson Phillips went on a 10-year hiatus; then got back together in 2004.
Hynes, all along the way, has done exactly what that top 1990 ballad instructed: He's held on. He's been Brooklyn's top law man for nearly 24 years, making him one of the longest serving district attorneys in New York City history.
But Hynes's once firm grasp on the position could be imperiled. Buffeted by controversial cases, charges of misconduct in his office, and concerns about possibly preferential treatment for Jewish residents of the borough, Hynes is seen by political strategists to be facing a serious challenge from Kenneth Thompson, an African-American former federal prosecutor. On Tuesday, Sept. 10, voters in the Brooklyn Democratic primary could deny Hynes a chance at a seventh term.
Almost all prosecutors who stay in office for lengthy terms wind up facing a familiar array of complaints – about cases lost, creeping arrogance, political gamesmanship. Robert M. Morgenthau, revered by many across his decades as Manhattan's top prosecutor, had his share of critics and embarrassments, the troubled prosecution of five teenagers for the rape of a woman in Central Park among them.
Some of the complaints about Hynes, then, fit that mold: He's been accused of hiring and firing people based on favoritism and political connections and he's been taken to task for some failed or underwhelming prosecutions. Even his once reliable base of support, the borough's Orthodox Jewish community, has seemed to split, some angered that Hynes has made a series of pedophilia cases against people in their ranks, others disappointed that he was late to the issue and overly lenient in his handling of the cases.
But Thompson, who served in the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of New York, has focused his criticism on the question of wrongful convictions and possible misconduct by prosecutors over the years in Hynes's office.
On the campaign trail Thompson, for instance, has cited withering criticism from two federal judges over the way one of Hynes's top prosecutors won a wrongful conviction in a high-profile murder case.
In the last several weeks, Thompson has gained endorsements from the Service Employees International Union, the Citizens Union, and several Brooklyn-based representatives in Congress.
Hynes has defended the work of his office, rejecting any claims that he permits or encourages misconduct. He has campaigned on what he asserts are his myriad novel and effective approaches to fighting crime.
Both the district attorney's office and Hynes's campaign did not respond to requests for comment.
Little public polling has been done in the race. Turnout could play a role. And Hynes, whatever his arguable travails, has history on his side.
No incumbent district attorney has lost an election in any of New York's boroughs since 1955. A Brooklyn district attorney hasn't been unseated via the vote since 1911.
Here are some issues that may figure into the election's outcome.

Michael Vecchione

Some of Hynes's campaign woes can be traced to the conduct of Michael Vecchione, the head of Hynes's Rackets Bureau. He's a polarizing figure who has drawn heavy criticism for his conduct in and out of the courtroom.
Two federal judges have lambasted Vecchione for withholding evidence and for his handling of several witnesses in a high-profile murder case.
Now the defendant, a Brooklyn man named Jabbar Collins who spent 16 years in prison, is suing the city for millions as part of a far-reaching wrongful conviction lawsuit. His lawyer, Manhattan-based attorney Joel Rudin, is attempting to make the case that misconduct in Hynes's office is so pervasive that Hynes must have actually condoned it.
Vecchione's career in the district attorney's office spans more than two decades. In 2003, the district attorney's office was forced to vacate the conviction of a man they suspected of being involved in at least three murders when a federal court agreed to hear allegations that Vecchione had withheld evidence in the man's trial.
In 2006, Vecchione tried to prosecute former FBI agent R. Lindley DeVecchio for helping arrange the murders of gangsters on behalf of mob boss Greg Scarpa. Hynes called it "the most stunning example of official corruption [he] had ever seen." But the case fell apart just days into trial when it became clear that Vecchione's chief witness was unstable and had given false testimony.
More recently, The New York Post reported that Vecchione instructed staff not to preserve exculpatory evidence in sex-trafficking cases during a training session in 2012.
Vecchione has denied all charges of misconduct, and he testified under oath that he did not remember the details of what took place at the training session for sex-trafficking cases in 2012.
Hynes has staunchly defended Vecchione, who continues to be one of the highest-paid prosecutors in the office. Earlier this year, Hynes allowed Vecchione to be a featured character in a CBS television show called Brooklyn DA.
ProPublica in 2013 has published a series of articles investigating prosecutorial misconduct and the lack of consequences for prosecutors who commit serious violations of the law. Vecchione was the subject of one of those articles.
Hynes's office did not respond to ProPublica's request for comment on Vecchione's history and its possible impact on Hynes's re-election effort.

50 Possibly Troubled Cases

Last spring, Hynes asked a judge to vacate the conviction of a man his office had mistakenly prosecuted for the murder of a Brooklyn rabbi. Hynes blamed a detective in the case for the wrongful conviction, and ordered his office to review 50 cases involving the detective.
The investigation has obvious implications for the now-retired detective, Louis Scarcella, who has publicly denied he ever did anything wrong. But Hynes's prosecutors had vouched for the detective's work in the cases, using the confessions he had allegedly won or the evidence he had produced to send people to prisons. Two of the prosecutors involved in Scarcella cases have gone on to work as New York State judges; four are now senior officials in the district attorney's office.
Thompson and other critics of Hynes pounced when it became clear that a 12-member panel of lawyers and judges appointed by Hynes to oversee the review of the 50 cases included three people who had donated to Hynes's campaign.
Hynes has said he is convinced of the panel's independence, and that the investigation will go where the evidence takes it.
The New York Times reported Friday that its examination of some of Scarcella's cases showed that prosecutors either ignored warning signs or made missteps of their own.
Hynes told the Times that the investigation so far had not turned up evidence that would require revisiting the propriety of a conviction. But he did not address the paper's findings about the conduct of his prosecutors.

Detaining Witnesses

Hynes's training procedures and office policies have also come under fire.
A Brooklyn man seeking to have his murder conviction overturned has accused Hynes's office of holding a witness against his will until he agreed to testify as prosecutors wanted in the case.
That case, which is now before a federal judge, has fueled an effort by Jabbar Collins's lawyer to establish that Hynes's office routinely detained and coerced witnesses in violation of the law. The accusation, made as part of Collins's lawsuit against Hynes and the city, deals with a powerful legal tool called the material witness order. The orders are supposed to be used only under rare circumstances, usually when prosecutors fear a potential witness might flee instead of testifying in court.
New York law requires that prosecutors bring any material witness straight to court.
But Collins's lawyer, along with several other defense lawyers are seeking to hold prosecutors accountable for abusing the orders, alleging that witnesses were never brought before a judge or provided with a lawyer, as the law requires.
Hynes has denied allegations that his prosecutors failed to abide by the law in their handling of witnesses.


Hynes's hiring and firing decisions have also proven fodder during the campaign, and Thompson has seized on them.
The New York Post reported this summer that Mark Posner, a lawyer in the office's powerful Rackets Bureau, was caught using his office phone to call prostitutes. The Post article said Posner was found out by his own colleagues, who were investigating a local prostitution ring.
Posner is the son of a longtime ally of Hynes, Charles Posner. The elder Posner had served as Hynes's liaison to Brooklyn's Orthodox Jewish community, and Hynes had later recommended him for a judgeship. Posner, who died in 2004, served as a State Supreme Court justice for nearly a decade.
Hynes did not fire Mark Posner after learning of his misconduct. Instead, he suspended him for 10 days and transferred him to the Early Case Assessment Bureau, a low-level desk where prosecutors analyze arrests and make judgments on what charges to pursue.
At the time Posner was caught, Brooklyn DA spokesman Jerry Schmetterer told the Post that Hynes acted as soon as he learned of Posner's conduct by suspending him, ordering him to seek counseling, and demoting him.
Posner didn't immediately respond to a voice message left at his home. And neither Hynes's office nor his campaign responded to questions from ProPublica.
In January 2012, Hynes hired a woman named Angel DiPietro to become an assistant district attorney. It was a hire with a backstory.
Eight years earlier, DiPietro was a witness in the murder case of Mark Fisher, a Fairfield University student-athlete in Prospect Park South. She was with Fisher and friends in Brooklyn the night he was killed. At the time, a spokesman for the police department told the New York Times that DiPietro demonstrated "a lack of full-hearted cooperation." Police Commissioner Ray Kelly himself described DiPietro and seven of her other friends as "uncooperative."
Eventually DiPietro testified at trial and two people she was with that night were found guilty of the murder.
DiPietro's father, a defense attorney in Brooklyn, had been a regular contributor to Hynes's political campaigns, and in the months after DiPietro was hired, he donated another $3,000 to Hynes's 2013 political campaign.
DiPietro, contacted by telephone, referred ProPublica to the spokesman for the district attorney's office. The spokesman did not respond to request for comment.
James DiPietro, Angel's father, did agree to an interview.
"I wish I could've given him more," DiPietro's father said of his donations to Hynes. He said that his daughter was first offered the job in 2010 and fully deserved it on her own merits. And he asserted that his daughter had in fact cooperated fully in the Fisher murder investigation.

Selective Prosecutions

In 1996 Hynes indicted a Brooklyn political gadfly named John O'Hara. The charge was modest: voting from his girlfriend's apartment, which was outside of his own election district. After three separate trials, O'Hara was found guilty, lost his law license, and was sentenced to community service.
O'Hara has always claimed that Hynes went after him because he'd run for city council and assembly seats against some of Hynes's allies.
Thirteen years later, in 2009, a grievance committee bolstered O'Hara's account. It restored his license, saying there were "grave doubts that Mr. O'Hara did anything that justified his criminal prosecution."
In 2012, The New York Times ran a stinging series of articles on how Hynes's office for years handled investigations of accused sexual predators in the Orthodox Jewish communities. The series established that Hynes had allowed many of the accusations to be handled by rabbinical courts rather than prosecuting the cases himself.
Hynes initially defended the way he handled the sex abuse cases, but eventually pledged reforms and began prosecuting them with more vigor.

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see link for full story


Convicted Sex Offender and Police Informant Attempts to Infiltrate Seattle's Activist Community

Sunday, September 15 2013 @ 06:49 PM CDT
Contributed by: Collin Sick
Views: 39
Spying on You
Robert Childs is a level-three sex offender—convicted of child molestation, rape (twice), and failure to register as a sex offender—who has worked as an FBI and SPD informant. A few days ago, local activists began circulating emails claiming he'd been prowling around the anarchist scene, including community barbecues in the Central District. "He was there to gather information," one activist wrote in an email to The Stranger, "and is famously remembered for asking about the 'leaders' of the black bloc." (The "black bloc" is a tactic, not an organization, and does not have leaders.) Back in March, the Seattle Times mentioned Childs's history as an informant, noting that he was paid over $90,000 to work with the FBI and SPD on investigating 35 year-old Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif.

The Stranger
by Brendan Kiley on Tue, Sep 10, 2013
The criminal informant. When he was snooping around the activist scene, he had stubble and long hair.
Robert Childs is a level-three sex offender—convicted of child molestation, rape (twice), and failure to register as a sex offender—who has worked as an FBI and SPD informant. A few days ago, local activists began circulating emails claiming he'd been prowling around the anarchist scene, including community barbecues in the Central District. "He was there to gather information," one activist wrote in an email to The Stranger, "and is famously remembered for asking about the 'leaders' of theblack bloc." (The "black bloc" is a tactic, not an organization, and does not have leaders.)
Back in March, the Seattle Times mentioned Childs's history as an informant, noting that he was paid over $90,000 to work with the FBI and SPD on investigating 35 year-old Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif. (Childs approached them about the project, not vice versa.) Abdul-Latif got 18 years after Childs introduced him to an FBI agent posing as a weapons dealer.
But the investigation was fishy, not just because the suspects had mental-health issues, and not only because they claimed the "terror" plot was really the informant's idea (the prosecution argued the opposite), but because Childs and his SPD handler destroyed hundreds of relevant text messages after they were specifically told not to:
Robart [the US district judge presiding over the case] criticized what he called the “at-best sloppy” destruction of potential evidence by an informant — identified as Robert Childs, a five-time convicted sex offender — and Seattle police Detective Samuel DeJesus, who deleted more than 400 text messages from Childs from his cellphone after he’d been told to preserve them.
As for the use of Childs, who was paid more than $90,000 for his services, Durkan [the US attorney] said, “It’s not the saints who can bring us the sinners.”
Activists say Childs popped up shortly after May Day 2012. "He wanted to do a lot of work to get 'inside,'" one activist wrote in an email to The Stranger, "like he helped fold chairs, offered his car, was real open to helping with anything." He also creeped some people out (here is one example, another account is below), was confronted about it, and then disappeared.
At this point, Childs has not been available for comment. ("Robert Vincent" is the name he was using most recently, and that Facebook page has been taken down. Activists say the email and phone number he originally gave are no longer working.) Whether or not he was specifically assigned by the FBI or SPD to attend the barbecues, the idea that one of their paid informants who had been convicted of rape and child molestation showed up at family-oriented events on false pretenses to fish around for information about political activists is appalling.
But FBI interest in activist communities seems to be the going concern these days—earlier this summer, several climate-change and anti-coal train activists were visited at home by FBI agents. They weren't asked about any crimes, they say, but were asked to identify other activists.
Lizzi Duff, one of those activists visited by the FBI in July, says they (Duff's preferred pronoun) got another visit last Friday after speaking about surveillance at a public forum the night before.
On Thursday, Duff gave a brief talk as part of a larger presentation on state surveillance in the Northwest. During that talk, Duff called the FBI "terrorists," saying their agents are "goons with guns" who pay these home visits specifically to intimidate people and scare them away from getting involved with protests. (Attorneys representing activists who were surveilled by the US Army in Tacoma and Olympia say undercover work and police harassment of known activists "did a great job" of disrupting protest in those cities. "People fled," said attorney Larry Hildes, "people got arrested so many times they gave up activism, people have fought an endless parade of criminal charges when they did not, in fact, do anything illegal.")
The next day (Friday), as Duff was getting off a bus to do some volunteer work at a local health organization, agents showed up again. The agents said they'd heard that Duff had been "saying things" and that they would "continue to investigate." Duff strongly suspects someone at the talk the night before had reported on Duff's criticism of the FBI.
Duff emphasized that that criticism had nothing to do with threats or violence, and was merely a statement of opinion about why the FBI has been prowling around activists communities lately—namely, intimidation.
You might say that standing up in a public forum and saying "the FBI are terrorists" when you know you're on their radar is not a terribly shrewd thing to do. On the other hand, it's perfectly legal. Conservatives (and Lupe Fiasco) have gone so far as to call President Obama a "terrorist."
Did that merit a visit from the FBI? Or an investigation?
Another activist emailed a profile of Robert Childs's arc in the activist scene to The Stranger. The behavior this activist alleges has many of the classic marks of undercover police/informants—they're ostentatiously helpful and kind of clueless, they propose escalating things from normal to criminal (or from a little criminal, such as marching without a permit, to a lot criminal), they have vague explanations about their incomes and personal histories, they use supposed jail time and/or loathing for police to earn cred, and so on. From the activist's email:
Robert Childs first appeared in Seattle organizing spaces at Food For Everyone, a weekly family-friendly community meal and free grocery store in the CD that was organized by some anarchists during spring/summer of 2012. He showed up at some point in June 2012. There had been a fair amount of publicity for this program so it wasn't exactly a secret (but he did show up prior to the article that was published on the Capitol Hill Times blog). Since it was shortly after the infamous events of May Day 2012, we were naturally curious (but not overly hostile at first). This is the story he gave about how he found FFE (to the best of our recollection):
He stated that while he was in prison someone told him about the website Puget Sound Anarchists. He claimed that he saw an event invite for a benefit show for the Wildcat and attended this show (a show like this did take place on May 23rd and he gave a lot of details about it that could have been found on the PSA website). He then claims that people at the show told him about FFE and he decided to check it out.
Honestly, this was all in the first hour we met the guy and we really thought this was hella suspicious. It was too intricate and memorized and frankly pretty convoluted. We filed that away as red flag #1 (didn't take long).
At the time we were doing some organizing for the No New Juvie campaign and that was a common topic of conversation at FFE. He really used his time in prison as a wedge to get himself involved with folks. He admitted to us that he was a registered sex offender after we spotted his ankle monitor. We tried to remain neutral as he told us the stories behind his convictions (underage girls, statutory rape, unfairly incarcerated repeatedly for violations of parole, yada yada yada). We were sympathetic to this part of his story for obvious reasons, namely being a community dedicated to prison abolition. Even so, we knew he was sketchy as hell.
He continued coming to FFE, and ingratiated himself with some of the organizing partners to the point that he showed up for a couple of planning meetings at a personal residence. During one of the meetings he confessed to us that he wasn't allowed to be near schools or parks due to his ankle monitor and he wouldn't be able to do certain things or go certain places without getting into trouble. At this point we just decided to limit his involvement in any organizing projects but we didn't feel we could tell him he was not welcome at any public events.
A couple of days later he placed a really weird and random call to one of the organizers of FFE, asking where and when he should show up for the next meeting. The organizer was confused by this question, and then Childs proceeded to attempt to get the organizer to say their full legal name (first, middle, and last) while on the phone. The organizer hung up and called another organizer immediately. At this point we were completely sketched out but unclear on what to do.
He showed up to the next FFE (this was early in July 2012) and people were discussing the upcoming No New Juvie march that was to take place on July 9th. One of the main organizers for this campaign was there and talking about it to everyone. About an hour into the event this organizer took one of us aside and said "I don't know what is up with new guy but he just asked me if there is going to be a black bloc at the No New Juvie march." At this point the organizers were exasperated and uncomfortable. He was taken aside and challenged on his behavior, including the fact that he was acting like a cop and/or snitch and making people uncomfortable. He was told his presence was not welcomed any longer.
He did attend the No New Juvie march a few days later. (Here is a photo.)
We never saw him or heard from him again until he showed up in the Salish CIRCA clown group. We did not catch on to the fact that he was back in the scene until very recently due to the fact that he gave a fake name the second time around ["Robert Vincent"] and, duh, clown makeup is the perfect disguise.
Other details he told us about his life:
He said he was going to scuba-diving school.
He said no one would rent to him due to his sex-offender status so he purchased a boat.
He said he "made some money" with some guy prior to his last incarceration and that is how he bought the boat.
He explained the holes in his life story as recurring jail sentences due to multiple violations of his parole.
"It's not the saints who can bring us the sinners," US attorney Jenny Durkan said about Childs's previous work as an informant.
What kinds of sinners was "Robert Vincent" trying to find?

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WHOWHATWHY We Don't Cover the News. We Uncover It. 
Thursday, September 19, 2013
And now, for the news that flew under the mainstream's radar...

Hard Time: Prisons Are Packed With More Lifers Than Ever
By David J. Krajicek on Sep 18, 2013
You've heard that prison populations are declining, right? It might be a bait-and-switch trick. A new study reveals that life sentences have risen to an all-time high across the country's ideological spectrum, in states red, blue and purple. And we'll pay for that down the line, as our prisons become geriatric care centers for lifers. WhoWhatWhy analyzes this important new criminal justice data.

Part 1. "Mr. George Bush Of The Central Intelligence Agency"
By Russ Baker on Sep 16, 2013
What possible connection could there have been between George H.W. Bush and the assassination of John F. Kennedy? Or between the C.I.A. and the assassination? Or between Bush and the C.I.A.? For some people, apparently, making such connections was as dangerous as letting one live wire touch another. Here, in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination in November, is the first part of a ten-part series of excerpts from WhoWhatWhy editor Russ Baker's bestseller, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America's Invisible Government and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years. The story is a real-life thriller.

Peaceful Syrian Opposition Ignored By Peace Laureate Obama--An Exclusive WHY Interview
By Dave Lindorff on Sep 12, 2013
An exclusive WhoWhatWhy interview with Syrian Democracy and Peace Activist Dr. Rim Turkmani about Assad, War, Chemical Weapons, and the fact that the Obama Administration has not reached out to the peace-loving parts of the Syrian opposition.


By James Huang on Sep 15, 2013
Part 5 of a new five-part documentary on the national security state


September 10, 2013: Almost a year after approaching WhoWhatWhy about its work on the Saudi 9/11 connection to a house in Sarasota Florida, and promising to credit WhoWhatWhy for its original research, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune finally published its article--containing very similar information to what we reported, but failing to provide the promised credit.
September 17, 2013: WhoWhatWhy's initial installment of a series of excerpts from editor Russ Baker's book Family of Secrets, related to the JFK assassination, was cited on the popular bulletin board Democratic Underground and resulted in heavy traffic to our site. Also, WND.com (formerly WorldNet Daily), one of the largest traffic websites, with a pronounced conservative slant, covered Baker's revelations on the JFK assassination and George H.W. Bush's activities in Dallas in that period.
September 18, 2013: The leading Libertarian website LewRockwell.com featured our first excerpt from Family of Secrets.

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Cop caught sleeping in his squad car! (Picture Banned from Facebook!)


Published on Sep 24, 2013

Belleville, N.J. Cop caught sleeping in his squad car in a Stop & Shop parking lot. We had tried posting this picture on a number New Jersey related groups on Facebook and they weren't up for more than 1 day before being removed. We re-posted it and BOOM, It got taken down right away. But its also the reason I brought up the fact that he's not ill or injured cause some people did question that, in its short lived time on Facebook. So I figured a Youtube "Video" which is just the picture and the explanation of it, was the only way to hit the masses and avoid getting it removed.

  • License

    Standard YouTube License


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 "We Used Chemical Weapons in Vietnam": Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick Explain How Telling the Untold History Can Change the World for the Better
Sunday, 06 October 2013 11:22 By Satoko Oka Norimatsu and Narusawa Muneo, The Asia-Pacific Journal | Interview


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Justice Department Memo Suggests Leakers Face Firing Squad?
Steve Neavling

Leak information and you face a firing squad from the Justice Department.

So suggests a page of the ATF’s online manual, some employees complained, reports the Washington Times.
- See more at: http://ticklethewire.com/#sthash.Coht80uC.dpuf

Justice Department Memo Suggests Leakers Face Firing Squad?

[Tickle-photo1-300x217]Steve Neavling

Leak information and you face a firing squad from the Justice Department.

So suggests a page of the ATF’s online manual, some employees complained, reports the Washington Times.

- See more at: http://ticklethewire.com/#sthash.Coht80uC.dpuf

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see link for full commie

sing along with me...
zippity do dah, zippity day
my oh my what wonderful day
plenty of sunshine coming my way
exposing these FBI  informants
by filing FOIA  requests without delay

Disney Link To the F.B.I. And Hoover Is Disclosed


From 1940 until his death in 1966, Walt Disney served as a secret informer for the Los Angeles office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, according to documents that have come to light under the Freedom of Information Act.

Details about the film maker's F.B.I. connection emerge for the first time in "Walt Disney: Hollywood's Dark Prince," an unauthorized biography by Marc Eliot to be published in July by Birch Lane Press.

Mr. Eliot, who has written several books on popular culture, provided a copy of the Disney file to The New York Times so that information and direct quotations in the book could be verified against the Government documents. Experience with similar F.B.I. dossiers leaves no doubt that the material submitted by Mr. Eliot is authentic. As it happens, because many of the 570 pages in the Disney file are blacked out or withheld for national security reasons, it cannot be determined what names of Hollywood figures Disney passed on to the bureau as Communists or subversives.


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Meet the Private Companies Helping Cops Spy on Protesters

Promotional materials for private spy companies show that mass surveillance technology is being sold to police as a way to monitor dissent


The documents leaked to media outlets by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden this year have brought national intelligence gathering and surveillance operations under a level of scrutiny not seen in decades. Often left out of this conversation, though, is the massive private surveillance industry that provides services to law enforcement, defense agencies and corporations in the U.S. and abroad – a sprawling constellation of companies and municipalities. "It's a circle where everyone [in these industries] is benefitting," says Eric King, lead researcher of watchdog group Privacy International. "Everyone gets more powerful, and richer."

Promotional materials for numerous private spy companies boast of how law enforcement organizations can use their products to monitor people at protests or other large crowds – including by keeping tabs on individual people's social media presence. Kenneth Lipp, a journalist who attended the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference in Philadelphia from October 19th to 23rd, tells Rolling Stone that monitoring Twitter and Facebook was a main theme of the week. "Social media was the buzzword," says Lipp. He says much of the discussion seemed to be aimed at designing policies that wouldn't trigger potentially limiting court cases: "They want to avoid a warrant standard."

See What Sen. Ron Wyden Had to Say About NSA Surveillance in Our Q&A

While the specifics of which police departments utilize what surveillance technologies is often unclear, there is evidence to suggest that use of mass surveillance against individuals not under direct investigation is common. "The default is mass surveillance, the same as NSA's 'collect it all' mindset," says King. "There's not a single company that if you installed their product, [it] would comply with what anyone without a security clearance would think is appropriate, lawful use."

The YouTube page for a company called NICE, for instance, features a highly produced video showing how its products can be used in the event of a protest. "The NICE video analytic suite alerts on an unusually high occupancy level in a city center," a narrator says as the camera zooms in on people chanting and holding signs that read "clean air" and "stop it now." The video then shows authorities redirecting traffic to avoid a bottleneck, and promises that all audio and video from the event will be captured and processed almost immediately. "The entire event is then reconstructed on a chronological timeline, based on all multimedia sources," says the narrator. According to an interview with the head of NICE's security division published in Israel Gateway, NICE systems are used by New Jersey Transit and at the Statue of Liberty, though it isn't clear if they are the same products shown in the video.

"Thousands of customers worldwide use NICE Security solutions to keep people safe and protect property," says Sara Preto, a spokesperson for NICE. She declined to confirm any specific clients, but added: "We work with law enforcement and other government agencies within the framework of all relevant and national laws."

Another program, made by Bright Planet and called BlueJay, is billed in a brochure to law enforcement as a "Twitter crime scanner." BlueJay allows cops to covertly monitor accounts and hashtags; three that Bright Planet touts in promotional material are #gunfire, #meth, and #protest. In another promotional document, the company says BlueJay can "monitor large public events, social unrest, gang communications, and criminally predicated individuals," as well as "track department mentions." Bright Planet did not respond to a request for comment.

A third company, 3i:Mind, lays out a scenario for a potential law enforcement client that begins: "Perhaps you are tracking an upcoming political rally." It continues:

Once you set up the OpenMIND™ system to profile and monitor the rally, it will search the web for the event on web pages, social networking sites, blogs, forums and so forth, looking for information about the nature of the rally (e.g. peaceful, violent, participant demographics), try to identify both online and physical world activist leaders and collect information about them, monitor the event in real-time and alert you on user-defined critical developments.

The scenario concludes: "Your insight is distributed to the local police force warning them that the political rally may turn violent and potentially thwarting the violence before it occurs." The 3i:Mind website gives no clues at to which governments or corporations use their products, and public information on the company is limited, though they have reportedly shown their product at various trade shows and police conferences. The company didn't respond to a request for comment.

Other companies are less upfront about how their products can be used to monitor social unrest. A product that will be familiar to anyone who attended an Occupy Wall Street protest in or around New York's Zuccotti Park is SkyWatch, by FLIR, pointed out to Rolling Stone by Lipp, the journalist who attended the police conference. SkyWatch is a mobile tower in the form of a two-person cab that can be raised two stories high to provide "an array of surveillance options," according to a promotional brochure. Those options include cameras and radar, as well as "customizable" options. The brochure says SkyWatch is perfect for "fluid operations whether on the front lines or at a hometown event." As of this writing, the NYPD still has a SkyWatch deployed in a corner of Zuccotti Park, where Occupy activists were evicted by the police nearly two years ago.

These promotional materials, taken together, paint a picture not only of local police forces becoming increasingly militarized, but also suggest departments are venturing into intelligence-gathering operations that may go well beyond traditional law enforcement mandates. "Two things make today's surveillance particularly dangerous: the flood of 'homeland security' dollars (in the hundreds of millions) to state and local police for the purchase of spying technologies, and the fact that spook technology is outpacing privacy law," says Kade Crockford, director of the Massachusetts ACLU's technology for liberty program and the writer of the PrivacySOS blog, which covers these issues closely. "Flush with fancy new equipment, police turn to communities they have long spied on and infiltrated: low-income and communities of color, and dissident communities."

Many of the legal questions surrounding these kinds of police tactics remain unsettled, according to Faiza Patel, co-director of the Liberty and National Security program at New York University Law School's Brennan Center for Justice. Information that is publicly available, like tweets and Facebook posts, is generally not protected by the Fourth Amendment, though legal questions may arise if that information is aggregated on a large scale – especially if that collection is based on political, religious or ethnic grounds. "This information can be useful, but it can also be used in ways that violate the Constitution," says Patel. "The question is: what are [police departments] using it for?"

Rolling Stone contacted police departments for the cities of New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington D.C. for comment on this story.

"The Philadelphia Police Department has their own cameras," says that force's spokesperson Jillian Russell. "The department does not have private surveillance companies monitor crime." She directed follow-up questions about software used to process big data to a deputy mayor's office, who didn't return a phone call asking for comment.

When asked if the LAPD uses programs to monitor protesters, a media relations email account sent an unsigned message that simply read: "We are not aware of this."


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Justice Department will monitor Detroit, Hamtramck elections

Washington — The U.S. Justice Department said Monday it will monitor municipal elections Tuesday in Detroit and Hamtramck along with Orange County, N.Y., and Cuyahoga and Lorain counties in Ohio.
The department said monitoring is designed to ensure compliance with the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits discrimination in the election process on the basis of race, color or membership in a minority language group.
During the 2012 elections, the federal government had about a half-dozen or so inspectors in Detroit monitoring polling stations and responding to complaints. The department will have a smaller presence for Tuesday’s election.


Founder of anti-voter fraud group harassed by the IRS, FBI, OSHA, and the ATF? May 21, 2013 A woman sets up (or tries to set up) a group to keep an eye on voter fraud and the federal government comes down on her. Cathrine Englebrecht is not a woman of vast means and it appears that the feds sought to make life as difficult as they could on both the business and political fronts. Her group True the Vote filed for tax exempt status 3 years ago and has yet to get the OK. Her business has been fined by OSHA, her group has been publicly lambasted by Senator Barbara Boxer. Life has been made pretty difficult, all because (it appears) Ms. Englebrecht wanted to make sure dead people and unregistered people weren’t voting.  http://www.thelandesreport.com/  Why won't the Department of Justice (DOJ) investigate electronic vote fraud? Is it because the DOJ and FBI have long been involved in it, themselves?  Also see http://article25news.wordpress.com/2013/06/03/privacy-died-long-ago/

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Former probation officer pleads guilty to selling cocaine to judges

Published: November 6, 2013

Read more here: http://www.bnd.com/2013/11/06/2888907/fogarty-pleads-guilty.html#storylink=cpy

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FBI: Help us find our missing sniper rifle, M16
FBI: Help us find our missing sniper rifle, M16


We have been tracking the Lost and Found Department at the FBI  Crime Family for the past 15 years. Google fbi missing computers or see:  In 2001  FBI agents  lost  449 firearms and 184  laptop computers Not to worry your tax dime replaced them
http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=92863   How about in 2002
FBI  agents lost  354 submachine guns , shotguns and sniper rifles in a 8 month period. Oh yea  317 laptop computers went missing during the same time period. see  http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/02/12/AR2007021200629.html   Not to worry the Boston taxpayer replaced them. In 2006 FBI  agents caused Boston taxpayers to hemorrhage $7.6 million in lost computers
see  http://www.techlawjournal.com/topstories/2006/20060320.asp  OK in 1997 there was the FBI  van that was filled with weapons including a grenade launcher that was never found Yea the  van was torched  http://www.nytimes.com/1997/06/06/us/fbi-finds-most-of-arsenal.html 

The Boston Division of the FBI is offering a reward of up to $20,000 for information leading to the recovery of two weapons stolen from a government vehicle. The weapons were stolen from an FBI SWAT emergency response vehicle parked in Andover, Massachusetts between the evening hours of November 6, 2013 and early morning hours of November 7, 2013. During that same time, items were stolen from other vehicles parked at nearby homes in Andover. The stolen weapons are: 1. Colt M16-A1 rifle 2. HS Precision Pro-Series 2000 Sniper Rifle.
Thursday, November 7, 2013
- See more at: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2013/11/fbi_help_us_find_our_missing_sniper_rifle_m16#sthash.6vrheJka.dpuf

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Black judge says UCLA cops used excessive force in seat-belt stop


Black judge says UCLA cops used excessive force in seat-belt stop



A prominent African American judge has filed a complaint against two UCLA police officers, accusing them of using excessive force when they pulled him over for not wearing a seat belt.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III, a former Los Angeles Police Commission president, said the officers shoved him against his car, handcuffed him, locked him in the back of their police cruiser and told him he was being detained for resisting arrest.

Cunningham's complaint does not attribute the incident to his race, but his attorney said race was clearly a factor in the officers' behavior.

"Do you think this would have happened if he was a white judge?" the attorney, Carl Douglas, said Monday, calling for both officers to be removed from the field immediately.

UCLA said it is investigating the incident.

The 60-year-old judge, dressed in a black gym shirt and shorts, was pulled over as he was leaving L.A. Fitness in Westwood about 10 a.m. Saturday. 



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ome » News & Opinion » Local Coverage

Alleged crack-smoking trooper suspended without pay


A state trooper accused of triggering a three-car crash on Route 1 in Revere that smashed up a cruiser and put an on-duty trooper in the hospital has been suspended indefinitely without pay today, state police announced.

Trooper Shawn D’Amato, 43, who authorities said told EMTs he had smoked crack within an hour of yesterday's crash, was arraigned in his Massachusetts General Hospital bed yesterday on charges of drunken and drugged driving, negligent operation; and failure to change lanes for an emergency vehicle.


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Minorities May Have a Case for 911 Call Bias

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see link for full story

Ex-S.F. police officer probed by FBI sues bosses

Published 4:59 pm, Friday, November 29, 2013
A former San Francisco police officer at the center of a 2-year-old FBI corruption probe into police drug raids is taking his former bosses to court, claiming in a lawsuit that he was wrongly fired based on unfounded allegations that he put in for overtime he didn't earn.

At the heart of Reynaldo Vargas' argument is a Police Department audit that found that many officers did exactly what he was accused of doing: testify during trials on regular time but put in for overtime. Yet he was the only one fired, Vargas' appeal attorney says, calling his punishment "unduly severe."

Vargas, now 44, was already in trouble before the Police Department fired him last year. He was among a team of officers based at the Mission District station whose conduct in a February 2011 drug-related search of a residential hotel on Julian Street has come under FBI scrutiny.

Surveillance video of the officers taken inside the Julian House Hotel appears to show Vargas walking out of the search target's room with a bag of the person's possessions, which Vargas never checked into evidence. Another officer was filmed walking out with a bag that authorities believe contained the person's laptop computer, which police also never submitted as evidence.

Vargas was also among several officers involved at a drug-related search in December 2010 at another residential hotel, the Jefferson on Eddy Street in the Tenderloin. One of Vargas' colleagues was filmed by a surveillance camera there taking away a bag of undisclosed possessions, which the officers never accounted for.

District Attorney George Gascón, who was police chief when the raids happened, turned over the investigation to the U.S. attorney's office to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.

No criminal charges have been filed, and none of the officers in any of the raids has been brought up on disciplinary charges. About a dozen officers remain under investigation, sources say.


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Justice Not Served: Family of Victim Slain by FBI informant Blasts U.S. ‘Negligence’ for Not Enforcing Own Laws

It’s been more than two years since Jesse Benavides was gunned down at a family birthday party in Dallas by a man who never should have been on U.S. streets.


Santana Gaona had been in jail less than two months earlier for allegedly raping and beating his estranged wife. He was flagged as an illegal immigrant and scheduled for deportation. Despite a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement “detainer” that had been placed on Gaona, requiring him to face a deportation hearing, ICE officials canceled the order and he was released from jail.

At the time, ICE officials told the Dallas Morning News and this reporter that “another law enforcement agency” asked them to remove the detainer.

In 2011, a federal law enforcement officer confirmed to this reporter that Gaona had been an informant for multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, which was responsible for his release. The official said Gaona showed no signs of being a violent criminal and there was no reason to believe he would have committed murder.

Benavides, 33, was trying to stop a fight between Gaona and Gaona’s estranged wife when he was shot in front of his 8-year-old son.


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Date: December 5, 2013 at 11:02:03 AM EST
Subject: Tune in to The Free Speech Zone on Sunday night December 8th at 7 pm

Tune in to The Free Speech Zone on Sunday night December 8th at 7 pm to hear a 2007 talk by Alfred W. McCoy titled: A Short History of Psychological Terror. McCoy, a Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin, explores the history and use by the CIA of psychological torture in terms of how this particular form of torture was discovered, perfected and made legal. His latest study, Torture and Impunity, explores the political and cultural dynamics of America’s post 9/11 debate over interrogation. He has researched and written about Southeast Asia, and in particular about the Golden Triangle drug trades of opium and heroin. His book, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, documented the interactions between the CIA and drug cartels in that region. In his 2006 book "A Question of Torture: CIA Interrogation, from the Cold War to the War on Terror",McCoy shows how from the start of the Cold War to the early nineteen-sixties, the C.I.A. spent billions of dollars developing psychological tools for interrogation.

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see link for full story

December 6, 2013

FBI denies paying alleged informant for testimony

BOSTON — The Boston FBI office would neither confirm nor deny whether a man murdered in Methuen in October was an informant. A spokesman, however, categorically denied paying anyone for testimony.

Due to FBI policy, Special Agent Greg Comcowich could not answer questions about David Rivera, 28, of Lawrence, who was killed outside a club in Methuen on Oct. 23.

The bureau’s policy is to neither confirm nor deny whether an individual was an informant or whether an individual has received a payment, he said.

“The FBI does not pay anyone in return for testimony,” said Comcowich, the media coordinator at the FBI’s Boston field office.

He did confirm that Lawrence police patrolman Richard Brooks previously worked with an FBI gang task force, and that Brooks is no longer with that task force.


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Duquesne man acquitted of drug charges sues FBI agent for malicious prosecution

December 7, 201

A Duquesne man acquitted in December 2011 on drug charges claims that an FBI agent had him arrested and prosecuted for no other reason than he was friends with and related to convicted drug dealers.

Frank M. Cobb, 32, says in the civil rights lawsuit that Special Agent Minh-Tri V. Truong had no evidence linking him to drug trafficking and that he or someone else on the task force destroyed evidence that would have helped prove his innocence.

One of Cobb's childhood friends and two cousins were arrested in the same drug sweep and pleaded guilty to drug charges.

A federal jury on Dec. 9, 2011, acquitted Cobb on charges of drug conspiracy, operating a drug house and possessing a firearm in connection with drug trafficking. He spent a year in jail awaiting trial.

Cobb had security cameras on his home and tried to get Truong and other members of the task force to review the footage to see that no drug trafficking was taking place, the lawsuit says.

“At some point, after the illegal search and seizure of the plaintiff's home, after the plaintiff insisted defendants review the security footage and after the defendants, without good cause or excuse, refused to review that footage, the memory on plaintiff's security system was mysteriously wiped clean,” the lawsuit says.


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            In 2001 we brought Mary Powers to speak at our 12th Annual Conference Investigating Crimes Committed by FBI  agents about her work bringing Detective Burge to justice. She also discussed her involvement in exposing the FBI assassination of Fred Hampton in Chicago during the early 1970's

            which led her to creating the National Coalition on Police Accountability NCOPA

            TWO READS ABOUT Chicago Detective Burge
            see link for full story

            1st read

            After decades in prison, South Side man’s rape conviction overturned

              December 10, 2013

            Gail Lewis had picked out a tux for her father to wear at her wedding last year.

            She also had the perfect song for the father-daughter dance: Luther Vandross’ “Dance With My Father.”

            But Stanley Wrice never walked his daughter down the aisle.

            Instead, Wrice languished in prison serving a 100-year sentence for a brutal gang rape he said he was forced to confess to by abusive detectives working under the now disgraced Area 2 Chicago Police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

            On Tuesday, Wrice was finally able to hug Lewis after a Cook County judge overturned Wrice’s conviction and granted him a new trial for the 1982 crime.

            Wrice smiled and softly sobbed as he hugged Lewis following Judge Richard Walsh’s ruling.

            Police “lied about how they handled the defendant,” Walsh said, adding that Wrice’s claims against former detectives John Byrne and Peter Dignan were “unrebutted.”

            Byrne and Dignan invoked the Fifth Amendment during Wrice’s two-day evidentiary hearing.

            Still, there was no doubt cops were torturing suspects at Area 2 and medical evidence “confirms” Wrice was injured, the judge said.

            Wrice, 59, is expected to be released from the Pontiac Correctional Center on Wednesday after posting a $5,000 recognizance bond.

            Gail Lewis and her husband are already making plans for him to baby-sit their three children.

            “I’m just happy he’s coming home. … I knew he was innocent,” Lewis said.

            Lewis was only 1 year old when her father was arrested for the assault that took place in a residence at 76th and Chappel.

            Bobbie Joe Williams, a witness who testified at Wrice’s 1983 trial, had since recanted his statement, saying he, too, was beaten into implicating Wrice.

            Appellate Court Judge Bertina Lampkin, who tried Wrice when she was a prosecutor, testified Tuesday that Williams never told her he was physically or psychologically abused when she met with him at least twice, months after the incident

            “He didn’t tell me anybody did anything to him,” Lampkin said.

            After the court hearing, Chicago Innocence Project’s David Protess pointed out that the victim, who is now deceased, never identified Wrice as one of her attackers.

            It is up to Special Prosecutor Stuart Nudelman as to whether he will try Wrice again.

            However, Wrice’s attorneys, Jennifer Bonjean and Heidi Linn Lambros, said prosecuting their client would be tricky since of two his co-defendants are dead and all living witnesses have recanted their testimony.

            2nd read

            Civilian Investigator of Burge Recalls the Excitement, but Now Feels Pity
            Published: June 19, 2010


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see link for full story


The Spies Who Never Came in From the Cold

In 1972, the FBI sent an agent from its Newark office to Morris County to investigate why a person named Paton was communicating with the Socialist Workers Party at its New York headquarters.

The information had come from a "mail cover" on the SWP's headquarters. Under the existing U.S. Postal Service regulations, a mail cover was authorized whenever a law enforcement agency certified such action was necessary to protect the national security. No judicial approval was required. The mail cover allowed the FBI to photograph the outside of any envelope directed to the addressee, including postmarks and return addresses.

In that instance, the subject of the investigation was a 15-year-old high school student who had been doing her homework. The FBI agent tracked her down at West Morris-Mendham High School. The school principal and the political science teacher explained that the student was enrolled in a course called "Left to Right," which explored the programs and workings of fringe political movements.

The agent thanked school officials for the information and left.

But the principal also notified the student's parents of the incident, and the parents contacted the American Civil Liberties Union office in Newark, which referred the matter to the Constitutional Litigation Clinic at Rutgers Law School in Newark.

When the FBI initially denied that it was investigating the student and declined to respond to a request for any copies of any documents generated as a result, a lawsuit that was to go on for seven years ensued.

The smoking gun that was to conclude the litigation occurred when plaintiffs were finally allowed to take the deposition of L. Patrick Gray, the acting director of the FBI who had requested the mail cover. Gray testified that the application he signed said the mail cover was necessary because the Socialist Workers Party was organizing protests against the war in Vietnam.

Federal District Judge Lawrence Whipple had heard enough. He recalled the mischief that had been done in the name of "national security" during the era of Sen. Joseph McCarthy, and stated that "national security" is too ambiguous and broad a term where rights of free speech were involved. He ruled as follows:

    National security as a basis for the mail cover is unconstitutionally vague and overbroad. Without any qualification or explanation of what is meant by national security, an investigation can be initiated on the assertions of an overzealous public official with the unorthodox, yet constitutionally protected political views of a group or person. It allows officials to pursue their personal predilections.

He left untouched other types of mail covers such as investigation of mail fraud or the search for fugitives.

Whipple issued an injunction forbidding future national security mail covers pending a revision of the mail cover regulation to cure the constitutional defects.

The defendants did not appeal Whipple's order, apparently deciding to comply by rewriting the regulation.


On July 3 of this year, the New York Times ran a story under the headline "U.S. Postal Service Logging All Mail for Law Enforcement."

The article recounted the recent experience of one Leslie James Pickering, the owner of a bookstore in Buffalo.

The article explained: Mr. Pickering "noticed something odd in his mail: a handwritten card, apparently delivered by mistake, with instructions to postal workers to pay special attention to letters and packages sent to his home." It continued: "Show all mail to supv. For copying prior to going out on the street."

Pickering told the reporter that more than a decade before he had been the spokesman for the Earth Liberation Front, "a radical environmental group labeled eco-terrorists by the Federal Bureau of Investigation." The article reported that postal officials had confirmed they were indeed tracking Pickering's mail, but told him nothing else.

The Times article then explained that "at the request of law enforcement officials, postal workers record information from the outside of letters and parcels before they are delivered."

The Times' revelation led me to investigate the government's compliance with Judge Whipple's order to revise the mail cover regulation in accordance with his opinion. Its latest iteration authorizes mail cover to obtain information in order to: 1) Protect national security; 2) Locate a fugitive; 3) Obtain evidence of commission or attempted commission of a crime; 4) Obtain evidence of violation or attempted violation of a postal statute; or 5) Assist in the identification of property, proceeds of assets forfeitable under the law."

The operative language then authorizes the chief postal inspector of his designee to order mail covers to "protect the national security ... when a written request is received from any law enforcement agency in which the requesting authority specifies the reasonable grounds to demonstrate the mail cover is necessary to protect the national security."

It seems reasonably apparent that any mail cover on Pickering's mail was pursuant to the "national security" provision. How many other such covers are carried out every year by the Postal Service and FBI is anyone's guess.

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LOL and you believe the Boston Police or Salt Lake City Police and Sheriff are different.......

a species that hires mercenaries to protect them looses the ability to
protect themselves and is doomed to extinction

Yep, your extinction was funded by your tax dime.
see link for KY Jelly ad

Sheriff's special hiring program favored friends and relatives
After inquiries from The Times about questionable hires, department shuts program down

December 18, 2013, 3:56 p.m.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca maintained a special hiring program that granted preferential treatment to the friends and relatives of department officials, including some candidates who were given jobs despite having troubled histories, according to interviews and internal employment records reviewed by The Times.

The program, known as "Friends of the Sheriff," has been in existence for at least eight years. Some high-ranking sheriff's officials injected themselves into the vetting process to lobby for favored job candidates, records show.

Among those hired was a man convicted of sexual battery, according to court records. His friend — and contact with the department — was Baca's driver. Another hired under the program was arrested last week on a federal weapons charge in connection with the FBI's corruption investigation in the sheriff's jails. His tie to the agency was his brother, a deputy.

Baca's nephew, Justin Bravo, became a deputy through the program in 2007, even after sheriff's investigators noted that he had allegedly been involved in theft and a fight with San Diego police and had been arrested on suspicion of drunk driving and burglary

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see link for full rape

Obstructions in Halting NSA Surveillance


[CP readers should read, in the Dec. 18 issue, two fine articles on topic: Rob Hager, “A Victory for the Constitution,” and Binoy Kampmark, “Outlawing the Metadata Program.” Undoubtedly there will be more. My analysis is slightly different from both, not the decision itself, which they address, and which has received widespread attention in the press, but rather the preliminaries, obstructions thrown up to the adjudication of USG surveillance that Judge Leon in roughly the first-half of his 68 page opinion had to take into account, essentially a clearing-away process, before establishing clear ground for rendering his decision. Why is this important? First, for showing the institutional and governmental structure of repression, semi-hiding under the mantle of the law, to protect illegal and unconstitutional practices when these come forward in defense of militarism, intervention, and the social control of the populace—here specifically the last-named. Second, demonstrating these obstructions, as he does, shows what Judge Leon was up against (his point for doing so), which accounts for the narrow scope and limited application of his decision—a sweeping pronouncement, yet having, leaving aside questions of reversal by a higher court, pertinence only to the plaintiffs, the violation of their Fourth Amendment rights, and not extended to the nation as a whole. Thus, on to dissecting the wording of the opinion.]

I Eviscerating the Privacy Right

By way of introduction, Adam Liptack in the New York Times, Dec. 18, the article entitled, “After Ruling Critical of N.S.A., Uncertain Terrain for Appeal,” quotes Judge Leon, himself troubled by the prior boxing-in of a clear channel for rendering his opinion: “I’m not sure how I’m going to come out, but I know it’s going upstairs.” That he stayed his order to allow for the appeal process, itself, I believe, an unnecessary compromise, one of several, psychologically inviting reversal, indicates that, although one should honor the man and credit the significance of his determining that the massive surveillance of Americans’ phone calls is probably unconstitutional, he in fact did not lay down the gauntlet, did not, therefore, expose the political-legal gangsterism currently in vogue at the highest levels—POTUS, DOJ, Congress, the Supremes down to the District Courts and, of course, FISC. Judge Leon did not blink from ridiculing the defense of the government, that the plaintiffs had no standing (this “defies common sense,” given the widespread public knowledge, and USG’s admission, of massive surveillance) and that surveillance had in fact foiled terrorist plots (How? When? Where?, no evidence forthcoming), yet that criticism did not—and because of prior obstacles put in place, e.g., provisions of the Patriot Act, and much more, Congress itself always a step ahead in fostering repression, taking no chances, perhaps could not–catapult him to the higher ground of a definitive rendering, spread broadcast, decisively constitutionally-rooted, and having effect without delay.

The initial stumbling block, the heart of Liptack’s analysis, is the difference between concurring and controlling opinions, here a 2012 opinion by the Supreme Court, in which the latter represents the precedent Judge Leon’s decision “blew past,” and the former, no more than an anticipation of where, in support, “the justices might be heading.” Not a happy prospect, because, going back to Smith v. Maryland, in 1979, the Court held—Liptack writes—that “a robbery suspect could not expect that his right of privacy extended to the numbers dialed from his phone. The government says the Fourth Amendment analysis in the new cases should begin and end with that decision.” Cut-and-dried, no Fourth Amendment defense on the right of privacy—thank you, POTUS and AG Holder—when you voluntarily (by dialing!) give information to a third party, the telephone company. Ah, then in the 2012 decision, United States v. Jones, which “unanimously rejected the use of a GPS device to track the movements of a drug suspect over a month, we see what looks like support for the Leon decision, except that the majority held that “attaching the device violated the defendant’s property rights”—but no mention was made of his privacy rights.

Here we see a pair of concurrences, in which “five justices said the tracking raised concerns about the defendant’s expectation of privacy.” (Italics, mine—because it appears that in legal and constitutional interpretation, expectation plays an important role.) Bless her, Justice Sotomayor wrote, citing the Smith case: “to reconsider the premise that an individual has no reasonable expectation of privacy in information voluntarily disclosed to third parties.” Justice Kennedy, who announced for the Court in 1989 a principle affecting the concurring-controlling distinction, and hence, the order of priorities, now is invoked as though the Court metaphorically mounting its judicial horse to slay the privacy dragon, proclaims, in his words: “If a precedent of this court has direct application in a case, yet appears to rest on reasons rejected in some other lines of decisions, [lower court judges] should follow the case which directly controls, leaving to this court the prerogative of overruling its own decisions.” (Italics, mine) Does it work? Liptack cites a case last month in California, in which a federal judge, Jeffrey T. Miller, would not “grant a new trial to a defendant convicted of terrorism charges based on asserted Fourth Amendment violations arising from the N.S.A. program.” Exactly what is at issue. Judge Miller stated that he would not “blaze a new path and adopt the approach to the concept of privacy set forth by Justice Sotomayer in her concurrence in United States v. Jones.” (Italics, mine) No wonder Judge Leon, clearly aware of the California case, could say, “I’m not sure how I’m going to come out, but I know it’s going upstairs.”

Perhaps I’ve been too hard on him. As Liptack points out, Judge Leon strongly criticized the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), a secret court, in which the 15 judges who supervise the program of surveillance “have issued 35 orders authorizing it,” despite the fact that that the government “repeatedly made misrepresentations and inaccurate statements about the program,” deeply angering the judge. Liptack, in conclusion, quotes NYU law professor Barry Friedman, a specialist on the Fourth Amendment, to the effect that “only Judge Leon’s work was worthy of a federal judge.” In Friedman’s words, “Judge Leon’s reads as though there is a living, breathing, thinking person behind it. Right or wrong ultimately, it is full of detail, real-world fact and serious consideration. The FISA court opinions are lifeless. They read like a machine wrote them.” Lifeless? That’s too kind; politicized, kept jurists, the fact of deliberating in secret and, as we shall see, legitimating ex parte proceedings in which there is no party challenging the government, as well as keeping their decisions secret, should merit for them only scorn, ridicule, contempt, and the same for those who have empowered them under such conditions, the Chief Justice who makes the appointments, and the usual characters (suspects?), POTUS on down, who, burnishing the credentials of the Inquisition, add Joseph R. McCarthy for father-confessor and inspiring spirit, have reduced civil liberties in America to a sick joke.

II Klayman et al, v. Obama, et al., United States District Court For The District of Columbia, Dec. 16, 2013 [Dkt. # 13 (No. 13-0851), # 10 (No. 13-0881)]

This Memorandum Opinion, befitting its importance, is heavily annotated, footnoted, a citational cornucopia which raises the danger of losing sight of the argument (my apologies, in advance, to CP readers and contributors who may possess legal training, were I not to put a fine point on procedural matters), my emphasis now, shared, I believe, by Judge Leon, being the impedimenta preventing clear-sighted logical and constitutional reasoning. To begin: “On June 6 [i.e., six months ago, which speaks to the carefulness in Judge Leon’s bringing forward the proceedings], 2013, plaintiffs brought the first of two related lawsuits challenging the constitutionality and statutory authorization of certain intelligence-gathering practices by the United States government relating to the wholesale collection of the phone record metadata of all U.S. citizens.” I like the formulation: acknowledgment of the program and its dimensions, and challenges both on constitutional and statutory grounds.

It continues: “These related cases are two of several lawsuits [e.g., the ACLU v. Clapper, filed five days later, Southern District of New York, which, of course, also bears watching] arising from public revelations over the past six months [public revelations therefore giving the plaintiffs standing; also, recognition of Snowdon’s revelations, six months before] that the federal government through the National Security Agency (‘NSA’), and with the participation of certain telecommunications and internet companies, has conducted surveillance and intelligence-gathering programs that collect certain data about the telephone and internet activity of American citizens within the United States.” (Italics, mine) Already, we see Judge Leon imposing restrictions, for momentarily he will rule out internet companies and internet activity, reduce the number of plaintiffs to two, confine the suits to the government (and draw distinctions here), ruling out that affecting private defendants (telecommunication and internet firms and their executives), and while giving the plaintiffs standing to bring suit, denying their attempt to bring the suits “as class actions on behalf of themselves and ‘all other similarly situated consumers, users, and U.S. consumers and users of,’”—in addition to ignoring (perhaps correctly given the terms of the suits) foreign eavesdropping.

Still, much to work with, if the manner and mode of surveillance can be ruled in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Yet, plaintiffs seem overly restrictive, calling only for preliminary injunctions seeking relief for themselves, which permits Judge Leon to confine this relief to the federal government alone, and only with regard to its “bulk collection and querying of phone record metadata—the latter again, presumably, applying to themselves. Long explanations for the resulting narrowing, as in why “the Court need not address” internet data surveillance activity (“plaintiffs intermingle claims regarding the surveillance of phone and internet data,” and then ask relief only concerning the latter), seem unworthy of the occasion. Again, too harsh? For Judge Leon appears willing and able to differentiate between the statutory and constitutional dimensions of the plaintiffs’ suit, opting to bear down on the latter and more consequential of the two, finding himself hamstrung, however, on the former (“the Court finds that it lacks jurisdiction to hear plaintiffs’ Administrative Procedure Act (‘APA’) claim that the Government has exceeded its statutory authority” under FISA, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. This is our first notice, with APA, of the judicial-governmental process operating in, and behaving like, a closed system.

He then explicitly confines his preliminary injunction to the two plaintiffs “only,” and states that “in view of the significant national security interests at stake in this case and the novelty of the constitutional issues, I will STAY [in the original] my order pending appeal.” Rather than seek cover, Judge Leon gives us an instructive historical lesson, under “Background,” detailing the initial Snowden revelations drawn from the articles of Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian—a courageous act in the current judicial climate, and made relevant to the opinion (as though perhaps chafing at the bit). The very firms omitted from the scope of the decision are, along with their ready cooperation with the government, blazoned across the page. The phrase which seems to stick in his mind and recur often is, “telephony metadata,” and he turns from there to the government’s admission, because of the disclosures, of the program’s existence, including that (quoting from the Office of the Dir. Of Nat’l Intelligence) “the FBI obtains orders from the FISC pursuant to Section 215 [of the USA Patriot Act] directing certain telecommunications service providers to produce to the NSA on a daily basis electronic copies of ‘call detail records.’” By rights, that should be the ballgame, even an obtuse and protective Supreme Court coming on board.

But the more admissions, the more legislative and judicial legerdemain. Section 215 of the Patriot Act is a story in itself, to which Judge Leon subsequently devotes attention, and he shows interest as well in the bearing that the APA and FISA have fending off critical scrutiny of surveillance, and by implication, the whole counterterrorism shtick (I make fun of what is really a serious business, counterrevolution, from paramilitary operations and regime change to drone assassinations—regrettably miles apart from the judicial focus on the constitutional determination of massive surveillance, and the health of the Fouth Amendment). Plaintiffs filed the day after the first public revelations of massive surveillance, and, as part of the record, Judge Leon identifies Larry Klayman and Charles Strange, irrelevant for present, one a maverick conservative, the other, father of “a cryptologist technician for the NSA and support personnel for Navy SEAL Team VI who was killed in Afghanistan”—rather difficult to dismiss as pinko-terrorists. This is followed by the analytical crunching down, “Statutory Background, FISA and Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, the former, ironically, passed in 1978, in response to abuses of “warrantless domestic intelligence-gathering that infringed the Fourth Amendment rights of American citizens,” as brought out by the Church Committee. Fortunately, Frank Church is not alive to see the results of his handiwork.

Yet even the best laid plans of mice and men…. For FISA did the unpardonable at and from the outset, which Judge Leon, by bringing out, obviously recognizes: It “created a procedure for the Government to obtain ex parte judicial orders authorizing domestic electronic surveillance upon a showing that, inter alia, the target of the surveillance was a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” Whether the more menacing phrase is ex parte or inter alia is open to debate, the first denying the adversarial process in which only one side appears before the court, government, already addressing hand-picked suppliants at the heavenly gates of patriotism, or the second, the among other things ballooning into secret courts, secret decisions, secret spying on all and sundry. Both become fully operable, especially after 2000, with Bush, and, if possible, intensified by Obama. And with the creation of FISA came FISC, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, eleven district judges having “jurisdiction to hear applications for and grant orders approving” surveillance, and FISC Court of Review, with three district or court of appeals judges, having “jurisdiction to review the denial of any application made under [FISA].” And with that, USG can’t miss—and hasn’t.

The screws only tighten further. Still with FISA: “In addition to authorizing wiretaps [keep in mind, this is part of Judge Leon’s Memorandum Opinion], FISA was subsequently amended to add provisions enabling the Government to obtain ex parte orders authorizing physical searches, as well as pen registers and trap-and-trace devices.” And why stop there? “In 1998, Congress added a ‘business records’ provision to FISA.” (Already, counterterrorism precedes terrorism.) The Judge continues: “Under the provision, the FBI was permitted to apply for an ex parte order authorizing specified entities, such as common carriers, to release to the FBI copies of business records upon a showing in the FBI’s application that ‘there are specific articulable [a word appearing frequently in these ex parte requests and proceedings] facts giving reason to believe that the person to whom the records pertain is a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power.” When “foreign” gives way, in application and/or insinuation, to “domestic,” then we are hitting our stride. Parenthetically, the phrase “business records” becomes the entering wedge for widening the mechanics and scope of surveillance, by bringing telecommunication and internet firms on their knees to the government in obedience to orders for disclosure, cooperation, and most intriguing, silence.

We come then to the Patriot Act, which Congress passed after 9/11, and “which made changes to FISA and several other laws.” Specifically, “Section 215 of the PATRIOT ACT replaced FISA’s business-records provision with a more expansive ‘tangible things’ provision.” For, Judge Leon goes on, “it authorizes the FBI to apply ‘for an order requiring the production of any tangible things (including books, records, papers, documents, and other items) for an investigation to obtain foreign intelligence information not concerning a United States person or to protect against international terrorism or clandestine intelligence activities.” Even the FBI’s application was made easier, from showing that the records were sought for an investigation, to, instead, the tangible things being merely relevant to such an investigation. We next enter the murky ways of the procedural jungle with Section 1861 [almost as famous as Sect. 215] “impos[ing] other requirements on the FBI when seeking to use this authority,” to wit, following the Attorney General’s guidelines applying to, quaintly termed, “minimization procedures” pertinent to “an order for the production of tangible things, most of all, the prohibition against dissemination and a correlative silence. If the FBI’s application satisfies meets the FISC judge in meeting the requirements, he “shall enter an ex parte order as requested,” called (savor the term) a “production order,” which means approval for “the release of tangible things.” The clincher: “Meanwhile, recipients of Section 1861 production orders are obligated not to disclose the existence of the orders, with limited exceptions.”

Anyone for tennis? No, this is a serious business. Hence, “Consistent with other confidentiality provisions of FISA, Section 1861 provides that ‘[all] petitions under this subsection shall be filed under seal,’ and the ‘record of proceedings…shall be maintained under security measures established by the Chief Justice of the united States, in consultation with the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence.” All three, estimable gentlemen, whose collective motto might as well be, “loose lips sink ships” of World War II vintage—a refrain unfamiliar to Edward Snowden, who has blown the lid on production orders and related practices. The practices, which Judge Leon in a separate heading puts in boldface, include “Collection of Bulk Telephony Metadata Pursuant to Section 1861,” his particular bête noir. When he states, “To say the least, plaintiffs and the Government have portrayed the scope of the Government’s surveillance activities very differently,” this poses no problem “for purposes of resolving these preliminary injunctions,” because the government has already conceded “the phone metadata collection and querying program.”

Here we see important connections being made between the program, its rationale, and the production orders: “In broad overview, the Government has developed a ‘counterterrorism’ program under Section 1861 in which it collect[s], compiles, retains, and analyzes certain telephone records, which it characterizes as ‘business records’ created by certain telecommunications companies”—the metadata. (Judge Leon seems to accept—despite his use of the word “analyzes”—the government’s word that its collection does “not include any information about the content” of the calls. A dangerous assumption because reducing surveillance to mere formalities—bad as that is.) This “Bulk Telephony Metadata Program” has gone on for over seven years, the FBI having, since May 2006,“obtained production orders from the FISC under Section 1861 directing certain telecommunications companies to produce, on an ongoing daily basis, these telephony metadata records, which the companies create and maintain as part of their business of providing telecommunications services to customers.” From there, NSA “consolidates the metadata records” provided by the companies “into one database,” and its “intelligence analysts, without seeking the approval of a judicial officer [italics in original, which, unless my own, I do not point out, but here, for Judge Leon, the importance of the words is manifest], may access the records,” using “identifiers”—called “seeds”–to query the data base, the seeds being approved by NSA’s Homeland Security Analysis Center, a, to me, thoroughly sweetheart arrangement.

To keep matters kosher, the identifiers must meet the RAS standard (“reasonable, articulable suspicion”), which introduces “minimization procedures” stipulating “that query results are limited to records of communications within three ‘hops’ from the seed.” Even the Judge loses his cool, the “hops,” as he illustrates, potentially embracing thousands of parties: first hop, identifiers and their associated metadata over a five-year period, say 100; the second hop, the identifiers and associated metadata now having direct contact with the first set (100 times 100); the third, same circumstances, now having direct contact with the second, therefore “includ[ing] all the phone numbers that each of those 10,000 numbers has called or received calls from in the last five years (say, 100 numbers for each one of the 10,000 ‘second hop’ numbers, or 1,000,000 total).” RAS appears to be stretched to the limits of belief. In a footnote, he plaintively adds: “But it’s also easy to imagine the spiderweb-like reach of the three-hop search growing exponentially and capturing even higher numbers of phone numbers”—this said in response to the government’s constant minimizing of the identifiers and resulting spread. And he brings the extended footnote to a close (revealing that even RAS is thrown out the window): “But, of course, that [efforts to “defeat high volume and other unwanted metadata”] does not change the baseline fact that, by the terms of the FISC’s orders, the NSA is permitted to run queries capturing up to three hops that can conceivably capture millions of Americans’ phone records. Further, these queries using non-RAS-approved selection terms, which are permitted to make the database ‘usable for intelligence analysis,’ may very well themselves involve searching across millions of records.”

One would think that USG would be satisfied, to all intents a dummy FISA Court, an open sesame to indulge in surveillance, legislation designed as enablers to that unfortunate enterprise, and yet, there is a clear trail of noncompliance and outright lying, even to the Court that trusts it, comforts it, pats it on the head. Judge Leon: “Once a query is conducted and it returns a universe of responsive records (i.e., a universe limited to records of communications within three hops from the seed [to go beyond three would probably involve monitoring the communications of Martians, so generous is this mandate]), trained NSA analysts may then perform new searches and otherwise perform intelligence analysis within that universe of data without using RAS-approved search terms.” I am tempted to say that only the blind could fail to find content, pace USG, in these searches, searches which employ not only analysis but also following the “chains of communication,” which themselves “cross different communications networks” because the metadata is aggregated. Since May 2006, “the FISC has repeatedly approved applications under Section 1861,” in which, as part of “the program,” orders are issued “directing telecommunications service providers to produce records in connection with the Bulk Telephony Metadata Program.” Under these orders, in addition to seeking periodical renewal (the record shows this to be a mere formality), government also “acknowledged, as it must, that failures to comply with the minimization procedures set forth in the order have occurred.” Which they most certainly have; example: “in January 2009, the Government reported to the FISC that the NSA had improperly used an ‘alert list’ of identifiers to search the bulk telephony metadata, which was composed of identifiers that had not been approved under the RAS standard.”

As far as one can tell, the usual slap on the wrist, if that at all. Only one member of the FISC, Judge Reggie Wilson, stepped forward on such matters, stating that “the NSA had engaged in ‘systematic noncompliance’” with procedures since the inception of the program, “and had also repeatedly made misrepresentations and inaccurate statements about the program to the FISC judges. Concluding that “he had no confidence [Judge Leon continues] that the Government was doing its utmost to comply with the court’s orders,” Judge Wilson “ordered the NSA to seek FISC approval on a case-by-case basis before conducting any further queries of the bulk telephony metadata collected pursuant to Section 1861 orders.” The approval procedure lasted all of only six months. Afterwards, “the Government apparently has had further compliance problems relating to its collection programs in subsequent years.” He quotes the complaint of Judge John Bates, in October 2011, here government misrepresentation of “the scope of its targeting of certain internet communications” under a different collection program, and thereby references the Wilson complaint about “the NSA’s use of unauthorized identifiers” in the Bulk Program. Judge Bates: “[T]he Court is troubled that the government’s revelations regarding NSA’s acquisition of Internet transactions mark the third instance in less than three years in which the government has disclosed a substantial misrepresentation regarding the scope of a major collection program.” As Judge Leon notes, Judges Walton and Bates’s “opinions were only recently declassified by the Government in response to the Congressional and public reactions to the Snowden leaks.” (Reactions, I might add, as in Congressional concerns voiced about massive data collection over the last several days, Dec. 16-18, at this time of writing, hardly fundamental and emphatically too late.)

I submit, the picture is clear, without the need to delve further into Judge Leon’s Memorandum Opinion (he takes up next the statutory claims under the APA and the reasons for precluding judicial review of agency’s actions, part of the tightening noose placed around attempts at rectification of an increasingly repressive system), so that what emerges is a tableau of political gangsterism etched in marble across the government buildings in Washington, no branch exempted, and radiating out through the country, from federal district courts to FBI field offices, and a compliant host of service providers covering the whole gamut of communications, rendered more potent through constant technological advancement, the more readily penetrable into the consciousness, understanding, and articulation of the American people. Here, to resurrect the adversarial process deemed too dangerous by the structure of power and its multiform sources of influence, I should like to give Edward Snowden the final word. His revelations, after all, got Americans to begin thinking, necessitating the government’s time away from its usual task of normalizing its and the society’s servitude to ruling groups and their structure of power, to directing more careful attention to damage control, in this case, the anticipation a radical sensibility might arise from the ideological barbarism sanctioning Wall Street—and the matching conditions of a deterioration of living standards, widening class differences of income, wealth, and power, and, still part of damage control on a larger scale (perpetuating capitalism), promoting war, intervention, and the further pursuit of global hegemony.

III Snowden and the Deconstruction of American Repression: “An Open Letter to the People of Brazil”

As part of his effort to seek asylum in Brazil, Snowden published on Dec. 17 this letter in the newspaper, Folha de S. Paulo (I shall be quoting from the English edition), in which one senses the strong convictions and unflinching bravery which motivated and underpinned his whistleblowing revelations. He writes: “I shared with the world [his standing “in front of a journalist’s camera,” six months before, when he had “stepped out from the shadows” of USG’s NSA]evidence proving some governments are building a world-wide surveillance system to secretly track how we live, who we talk to, and what we say.” This was not easy to do: “I went in front of that camera with open eyes, knowing that the decision would cost me family and my home, and would risk my life. I was motivated by a belief that the citizens of the world deserve to understand the system in which they live.” Would that Judge Leon had this courage, for he would have rendered a more forthright, sweeping decision. And would that I has this courage, for I would be translating these words into action.

Snowden feared “no one would listen to my warning,” but he was deeply moved by “the reaction in certain countries,” Brazil being “certainly one of these.” He does not mince his words: “At the NSA, I witnessed with growing alarm the surveillance of whole populations without any suspicion of wrongdoing, and it threatens to become the greatest human rights challenge of our time.” Would at least that Americans recognized this! Snowden exposes the doublespeak, the arrogance of US claims to protecting the American and global citizenry: “The NSA and other spying agencies tell us that for our own ‘safety’—for Dilma’s [president of Brazil, who canceled a state visit to the US in protest against NSA eavesdropping on her personal calls] ‘safety,’ for Petrobras’ ‘safety’—they have revoked our right to privacy and broken into our lives. And they did it without asking the public in any country, even their own.” The enormity of the insult to national honor—which appears to be strongly felt in Brazil, given US activity: “Today, if you carry a cell phone in Sao Paulo, the NSA can and does keep track of your location: they do this 5 billion times a day to people around the world.” Here, I should like to say, “Case closed.” But we continue.

Giving examples of the closeness of surveillance, Snowden implies the cynicism of such programs: “American Senators tell us that Brazil should not worry, because this is not ‘surveillance,’ it’s data collection.’ They say it is done to keep you safe. They’re wrong.” Followed by what most should agree is a reasonable distinction, but of course is denied by many in America, including POTUS, DOJ, and FISC: “There is a huge difference between legal programs, legitimate spying, legitimate law enforcement—where individuals are targeted based on a reasonable, individualized suspicion—and these programs of dragnet mass surveillance that put entire populations under an all-seeing eye and save copies forever.” (He isn’t buying the stated five-year retention of records limit. Nor should we.) Then, stated in utmost brevity, Snowden explodes the entire political-social-ideological rationale and pretext for America’s counterterrorism, reflecting a wisdom few in academics or the media have shown: “These programs were never about terrorism: they’re about economic spying, social control, and diplomatic manipulation. They’re about power.” (Italics, mine—I wish to the second or third power)

He then comes to his plea for asylum. “Many Brazilian senators agree [with the foregoing], he writes, “and have asked for my assistance with their investigations of suspected crimes against Brazilian citizens.” He has wanted to help, “but unfortunately the United States government has worked very hard to limit my ability to do so—going so far [this is a compelling example, taken less seriously in the US than throughout the world] as to force down the Presidential Plane of Evo Morales to prevent me from traveling to Latin America!” Asylum is a matter of grave importance to him: “Until a country grants me permanent political asylum, the US government will continue to interfere with my ability to speak.” And perhaps even then, his life would remain in danger, the US perfectly capable of staring down protest by and within the host country. We see here a scrappy Snowden, fully aware of the importance of his revelations: Six months ago, I revealed that the NSA wanted to listen to the whole world. Now, the whole world is listening back, and speaking out, too. And the NSA doesn’t like what it’s hearing.” Nor, one supposes, does Obama, his national security advisers, his entire retinue.

I find in this letter an unsuspected fount of eloquence, Snowden the Sacco and Vanzetti of our times, as his closing statements reveal, and which deserve to be thrown back in the face of the American power elite. Thus, “The culture of indiscriminate worldwide surveillance, exposed to public debates and real investigations on every continent, is collapsing.” This nod to what Brazil is doing: “Only three weeks ago, Brazil led the United Nations Human Rights Committee to recognize for the first time in history that privacy does not stop where the digital network starts, and that the mass surveillance of innocents is a violation of human rights.” Then: “The tide has turned, and we can finally see a future where we can enjoy security without sacrificing our privacy. Our rights cannot be limited by a secret organization, and American officials should never decide the freedoms of Brazilian citizens.” Snowden recalls his earlier principled stated: “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded. That’s not something I’m willing to support, it’s not something I’m willing to live under.” For his pains, the US “had made me stateless and wanted to imprison me. The price for my speech was my passport, but I would pay it again: I will not be the one to ignore criminality for the sake of political comfort. I would rather be without a state than without a voice.”

I pray Brazil is listening to his words: “If Brazil hears only one thing from me, let it be this: when all of us band together against injustices and in defense of privacy and basic human rights, we can defend ourselves from even the most powerful systems.” And I pray even harder that America is listening. When one reviews the obstructions coming from all quarters toward the realization of fundamental human rights in the United States, glimpsed in the judicial and Congressional endeavors to silence dissent and the awareness of alternative ways of living, working, thinking, feeling, vivified by the actual powers of repression (no other word will do) we have bestowed for now on our leaders to implement over us, and through self-castration, on ourselves, then perhaps Snowden’s words, Judge Leon’s better instincts, the societal collective decency buried in the rubble of fear, xenophobia, consumerism, and yes, counterterrorism as a front to press for counterrevolution, will break free and give authentic expression to human freedom.

IV The Cusp of Fascism

My New York Times Comment on the editorial, Dec. 17, “A Powerful Rebuke of Mass Surveillance,” same date, follows:

All praise due The Times–and about time, for it did not take a court decision to show the USG flagrantly violated, taking on police-state proportions, Americans’ civil liberties. Indeed, a symbolic if not actual breakthrough, judicially, beyond Judge Leon’s findings, finally a legitimation in this area of both giving the plaintiffs standing (a rebuke to the Supreme Court) and the adversarial process (a rebuke to POTUS and DOJ, both forfeiting all respect for their bulldozer tactics).

I’m excited. This may be a break in the miasma of Obama’s National Security State and his use of counterterrorism to undermine democracy at home and conduct aggression abroad. (No mention of eavesdropping on foreign leaders in the decision, but integrally related to massive domestic surveillance.) For the first time in ages, we see CONSERVATISM on the side of principle, fulfilling–as in Leon’s reference to James Madison– the Founders’ custodianship of civil liberties, privacy, personal freedom.

We have as a nation blasphemed the tradition of constitutionalism, current Republicans (let alone Tea Partiers) no more than gut-reactionaries–if not worse, and Democrats, including liberals and progressives, gutless in the face of Obama’s grab for power and blatant contempt for civil liberties. Judge Leon is a lone voice for truth and sanity. We can be sure, USG and the Supreme Court will do everything possible to postpone, discredit, overturn the decision. We’re on the cusp of fascism.


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Reply with quote  #91 
you can substitute any state you want for Utah..........

Today's word in the Smart Criminal Justice Consumer's Neighborhood is "recidivism".
Recidivism is a word used by the American Industrial Prison complex to describe how many
men and women return to prison once they are released from the taxpayer funded electronic cesspools called prisons oops
excuse me I meant correctional institutions. Helps to use the right brand name  ,eh?

Recidivism is the word Utah Commissioner of Corrections  Rollin Cook uses when he appears before the legislature
to ask for funding.  The word is supposed to be an active barometer of the success or failure of Utah Department of Corrections
use of the Utah taxpayer tax dollar.  Of course this word does not tell you how many men and women commit new crimes once
they are released from  "correctional institutions"  because these person have to first get caught before they become a recidivist.
So if a former inmate commits dozens of crimes before being caught what does that  tell you about using the word recidivism?
Of course being a smart criminal justice consumer you already knew this.
Recidivism does not tell you of the tremendous contamination that takes places in these taxpayer funded electronic cesspools
when pedophiles murderers,  arsonists, rapists ,armed robbers live with each other 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for years at a time. Yea I know you are going to say "at least they are not sleeping next to anyone from Goldman Sachs and Bank of America.

Think what might happen if these inmates were serving their sentences at the Utah Center for the Research Into Alternative Energy?
Where they spent their time alongside physicists,chemists and engineers  24/7 for years at a time.

The current criminal justice system crime family component known as the Department of Corrections is staffed by men and women who are former vets who invaded Iraq for Exxon Mobil and BP managing to kill tens of thousands of women and children and an occasional freedom fighter trying to protect his family from this US invasion of high school drop outs. Over 85% of the men and women working at the Utah DOC are former vets who have the ethics, and morality of serial killing mercenaries.
I know some of you will say the reason a lot of people turn to crime is because they cannot find jobs because the economy has tanked
because  our tax dime goes to funding invasions of middle east and African countries for their vast reserves of oil.
But as a smart criminal justice consumer you already knew this, eh?

Over 60% of the men and women released from the Utah Department of Corrections will return to prison,usually within 2 years.
Of course  Commissioner of Correction Rollin does not tell the Utah Legislature the person is released from prison as a more vicious and competent criminal.  i know you are going to tell me it is common practice in Utah to buy a product from a company that has a 60% failure rate. Here is the the Utah DOC crime family brand public relations press release. But as a smart criminal justice consumer you already knew this.  see link   http://corrections.utah.gov/


Our dedicated team of professionals ensures public safety by effectively managing offenders while maintaining close collaboration with partner agencies and the community. Our team is devoted to providing maximum opportunities for offenders to make lasting changes through accountability, treatment, education, and positive reinforcement within a safe environment.

Food Behind Bars Isn’t Fit for Your Dog
see link for full story  http://rigorousintuition.ca/board2/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=37544
Dec 22, 2013

By Chris Hedges

Shares in the Philadelphia-based Aramark Holdings Corp., which contracts through Aramark Correctional Services to provide the food to 600 correctional institutions across the United States, went public Thursday. The corporation, acquired in 2007 for $8.3 billion by investors that included Goldman Sachs, raised $725 million last week from the sale of the stock. It is one more sign that the business of locking up poor people in corporate America is booming.

Aramark, whose website says it provides 1 million meals a day to prisoners, does what corporations are doing throughout the society: It lavishes campaign donations on pliable politicians, who in turn hand out state and federal contracts to political contributors, as well as write laws and regulations to benefit their corporate sponsors at the expense of the poor. Aramark fires unionized workers inside prisons and jails and replaces them with underpaid, nonunionized employees. And it makes sure the food is low enough in both quality and portion to produce huge profits.

Aramark, often contracted to provide food to prisoners at about a dollar a meal, is one of numerous corporations, from phone companies to construction firms, that have found our grotesque system of mass incarceration to be very profitable. The bodies of the poor, when they are not captive, are worth little to corporations. But bodies behind bars can each generate $40,000 to $50,000 a year for corporate coffers. More than 2.2 million men and women are in prisons and jails in the U.S.

Crystal Jordan, who has spent 23 years as a corrections officer in New Jersey and who works at the Burlington County Jail, and another corrections officer at the jail, who did not want to be named, told me that the food doled out to prisoners by Aramark is not only substandard but often spoiled. For nearly a decade Jordan has filed complaints about the conditions in the jail, including persistent mold on walls and elsewhere, with the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and state and county officials. The results of her complaints have been negligible.

“The big shift came in 2004 when the state got rid of the employees who worked in the kitchen and gave the food service contract to Aramark,” said Jordan, who has sent several complaints about jail kitchen conditions to state and county authorities. “The food was not great [earlier], but the officers ate it along with the prisoners. Once Aramark came in, that changed. The bread was stale. I saw food in the kitchen with mold on it. The refrigerator broke down and the food was left outside in the cold or trucked in from another facility. Those who ate the food began to get sick. The officers demanded the right to bring in their own food or order out, which the jail authorities granted. But the prisoners had no choice. Diarrhea and vomiting is common among the prisoners. A few weeks ago one of the officers got a bowl of the prisoners’ chili. We all told him not to eat it. He ended up with diarrhea in the bathroom.”

Many of those incarcerated in prisons or jails such as Union County Jail in Elizabeth, N.J., where Aramark runs the food service, echo Jordan’s account. They say that sickness and persistent hunger are becoming a routine part of being incarcerated.

“The food gives everybody in the jail diarrhea,” said James Gibbs, 52, who recently spent two weeks in Union County Jail and previously had spent two years there. “There was never enough food. People were hungry all the time.”

Al Gordon, 45, said he was in Union County Jail when nearly everyone came down with food poisoning from tacos. “It was awful,” he said when we spoke in Elizabeth. “All the prisoners, except the ones who were vegetarian and who did not eat the meat in the tacos, had diarrhea for three days. Whenever we tried to eat anything for those three days we threw it back up. We were all sweating and felt dizzy.”

Gordon had a job in the jail’s kitchen, where he helped prepare the food, usually under the supervision of two Aramark employees. “There were mice running around and mice droppings everywhere,” he said. “The utensils for cooking were dirty. Many of the prisoners preparing the food would use the bathroom and then not wash their hands or wear gloves. Hair fell into the food. The bread was stale and hard. And the portions we were required to serve were real small. You could eat six portions like the ones we served ... and still be hungry. If we put more than the required portion on the tray the Aramark people would make us take it off. It wasn’t civilized. I lost 30 pounds. I would wake up at night and put toothpaste in my mouth to get rid of the hunger urge. The only way a person survived in there was to have money on the books to order from the canteen, but I didn’t have no money. It was especially bad for the diabetics, and there are a lot of diabetics behind bars.”

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Reply with quote  #92 

see link for full story

 26 December 2013 17:13

Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke





Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke

“If you've ever been arrested on a drug charge, if you've ever spent even a day in jail for having a stem of marijuana in your pocket or "drug paraphernalia" in your gym bag, Assistant Attorney General and longtime Bill Clinton pal Lanny Breuer has a message for you: Bite me.

Breuer this week signed off on a settlement deal with the British banking giant HSBC that is the ultimate insult to every ordinary person who's ever had his life altered by a narcotics charge. Despite the fact that HSBC admitted to laundering billions of dollars for Colombian and Mexican drug cartels (among others) and violating a host of important banking laws (from the Bank Secrecy Act to the Trading With the Enemy Act), Breuer and his Justice Department elected not to pursue criminal prosecutions of the bank, opting instead for a "record" financial settlement of $1.9 billion, which as one analyst noted is about five weeks of income for the bank…

…Though this was not stated explicitly, the government's rationale in not pursuing criminal prosecutions against the bank was apparently rooted in concerns that putting executives from a "systemically important institution" in jail for drug laundering would threaten the stability of the financial system. The New York Times put it this way:

Federal and state authorities have chosen not to indict HSBC, the London-based bank, on charges of vast and prolonged money laundering, for fear that criminal prosecution would topple the bank and, in the process, endanger the financial system.

It doesn't take a genius to see that the reasoning here is beyond flawed. When you decide not to prosecute bankers for billion-dollar crimes connected to drug-dealing and terrorism (some of HSBC's Saudi and Bangladeshi clients had terrorist ties, according to a Senate investigation), it doesn't protect the banking system, it does exactly the opposite. It terrifies investors and depositors everywhere, leaving them with the clear impression that even the most "reputable" banks may in fact be captured institutions whose senior executives are in the employ of (this can't be repeated often enough) murderersand terrorists. Even more shocking, the Justice Department's response to learning about all of this was to do exactly the same thing that the HSBC executives did in the first place to get themselves in trouble – they took money to look the other way.

And not only did they sell out to drug dealers, they sold out cheap. You'll hear bragging this week by the Obama administration that they wrested a record penalty from HSBC, but it's a joke. Some of the penalties involved will literally make you laugh out loud. This is from Breuer's announcement:

As a result of the government's investigation, HSBC has . . . "clawed back" deferred compensation bonuses given to some of its most senior U.S. anti-money laundering and compliance officers, and agreed to partially defer bonus compensation for its most senior officials during the five-year period of the deferred prosecution agreement.

Wow. So the executives who spent a decade laundering billions of dollars will have to partially defer their bonuses during the five-year deferred prosecution agreement? Are you fucking kidding me? That's the punishment? The government's negotiators couldn't hold firm on forcing HSBC officials to completely wait to receive their ill-gotten bonuses? They had to settle on making them "partially" wait? Every honest prosecutor in America has to be puking his guts out at such bargaining tactics. What was the Justice Department's opening offer – asking executives to restrict their Caribbean vacation time to nine weeks a year?”


Another one knocked out of the park by Matt Taibbi. Share this article with anybody who still doubts our government and Wall Street’s collusion with international drug dealers. - Wes


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Reply with quote  #93 
Thursday, 26 December 2013 17:07

NSA Had Secret Contract with RSA



Off the World News Desk:

NSA Had Secret Contract with RSA

“As a key part of a campaign to embed encryption software that it could crack into widely used computer products, the U.S. National Security Agency arranged a secret $10 million contract with RSA, one of the most influential firms in the computer security industry, Reuters has learned.

Documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden show that the NSA created and promulgated a flawed formula for generating random numbers to create a "back door" in encryption products, the New York Times reported in September. Reuters later reported that RSA became the most important distributor of that formula by rolling it into a software tool called Bsafe that is used to enhance security in personal computers and many other products.

Undisclosed until now was that RSA received $10 million in a deal that set the NSA formula as the preferred, or default, method for number generation in the BSafe software, according to two sources familiar with the contract. Although that sum might seem paltry, it represented more than a third of the revenue that the relevant division at RSA had taken in during the entire previous year, securities filings show.

The earlier disclosures of RSA's entanglement with the NSA already had shocked some in the close-knit world of computer security experts. The company had a long history of championing privacy and security, and it played a leading role in blocking a 1990s effort by the NSA to require a special chip to enable spying on a wide range of computer and communications products.”


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Reply with quote  #94 


Friday, Jan. 3, 2014

No new arrests in bad-police sting

Nearly a year ago, federal agents unveiled a sting operation that embarrassed police departments across metro Atlanta. It accused officers of using their badges and guns to protect cocaine transactions for a street gang.


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Reply with quote  #95 
see link for full story

ACLU calls on Cranston Mayor Fung to have independent investigation of parking-ticket scandal



CRANSTON — The Rhode Island Affiliate of the American Civil Liberties Union and two City Council members are challenging the decision by Mayor Allan W. Fung to have the police investigate their own parking ticket scandal.

The ACLU said Fung should have had an independent law enforcement agency such as the state police or a private investigative agency probe the scandal. And Councilmen Steven A. Stycos and Paul H. Archetto said the state police should be called in.

“They are all comrades in arms,” Archetto said of the city Police Department. “It’s a brotherhood and it’s closely knit.”

Three weeks ago, Stycos and Archetto disclosed at a council meeting that the police blitzed their wards with parking tickets the day after the councilmen joined in a vote to reject a proposed labor contract that the police union wanted.

Stycos and Archetto said Friday that the city police have significant conflicts of interest, due to working and familial relationships and friendships.

Stycos added that an official of the police labor union is implicated in wrongdoing and that a rank-and-file officer giving evidence in the internal investigation might be intimidated, worried that the union would not back him if he offended the union official.

Fung has arranged for a New Jersey company to review an eventual report of the findings by the city police, in an effort to ensure the quality of the internal investigation. The company is that of Louis F. Stephens Sr., a former supervisory special agent in the New York field office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Steven Brown, executive director of the ACLU, wrote a letter to Fung dated Jan. 2 asking him to clarify the limits of Stephens’ assignment, particularly whether Stephens will be able to look beyond the report.


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Reply with quote  #96 
see link for full story

Telecom Believed to Be at Center of Government Court Fight Files Surveillance Transparency Report

Credo CEO Michael Kieschnick, whose company is believed to be at the heart of a historic legal battle over the secrecy of government surveillance.

Credo CEO Michael Kieschnick, whose company is believed to be at the heart of a historic legal battle over the secrecy of government surveillance. Image: Credo

A small telecom believed to be at the center of a historic court battle over government surveillance published its first transparency report on Thursday, noting that it had received 16 government requests for customer data in 2013. But the report may be most significant for what it doesn’t say.

Credo Mobile, the first telecom to release a transparency report, received just 15 requests for customer data pursuant to subpoena, summons or court order and one emergency request for data. But the most significant part of the report may be the government requests it doesn’t list.

A press release accompanying the report notes that it may be incomplete because legal restrictions prevent companies like Credo from disclosing certain kinds of government requests for customer data, such as those requested with a so-called National Security Letter or NSL.

“[D]ue to existing U.S. surveillance statutes that Credo is on the record opposing, such as the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act, this report and those of other service providers may fall short of full transparency,” the note reads.

The report and statement are significant because Credo is believed to be the anonymous plaintiff at the heart of a historic legal battle over NSLs — a fight that began before documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed the extent of the government’s sweeping surveillance programs. That legal battle resulted in a court ruling last year saying that NSLs, and the mandatory gag orders that accompany them, are unconstitutional.

Credo transparency report identifying the 16 requests, including one emergency request, that the telecom received from government entities for customer data.

The Credo transparency report identifying 16 requests, including one emergency request, that the telecom received from government entities for customer data.

By law, gag orders can be imposed on telecom companies prohibiting them from disclosing requests for customer information that are issued under an NSL or under Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act. The gag order also prohibits companies from disclosing whether they have complied with the order or challenged it in court.

Last year, after one telecom challenged the NSL it received, U.S. District Judge Susan Illston in San Francisco ruled ultra-secret National Security letters are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, and ordered the government to stop issuing NSLs, a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which it did.

The telecom, which is not identified in court documents but is believed to be Credo, received an NSL in 2011 from the FBI. The company took the extraordinary and rare step of challenging the underlying authority of the NSL, as well as the legitimacy of the gag order accompanying it. Both challenges are allowed under a federal law that governs NSLs, a power greatly expanded under the Patriot Act that allows the government to get detailed information on Americans’ finances and communications without judicial oversight. The FBI has issued hundreds of thousands of NSLs over the years and has been reprimanded for abusing them, though few requests have been challenged by the recipients.

After the telecom challenged the NSL, the Justice Department made the extraordinary move of suing the company, arguing in court documents that the company was violating the law by challenging its authority. That stunned the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is representing the anonymous telecom.

“It’s a huge deal to say you are in violation of federal law having to do with a national security investigation,” EFF’s Matt Zimmerman told WIRED at the time. “That is extraordinarily aggressive from my standpoint. They’re saying you are violating the law by challenging our authority here.”

In her ruling, Judge Illston said the NSL nondisclosure provisions “significantly infringe on speech regarding controversial government powers.” She noted that the telecom had been “adamant about its desire to speak publicly about the fact that it received the NSL at issue to further inform the ongoing public debate” on the government’s use of the letters. Illaston also said the review process for challenging an order violated the separation of powers. Because the gag order provisions cannot be separated from the rest of the statute, Illston ruled that the entire statute was unconstitutional.

The judge found that although the government made a strong argument for prohibiting the recipients of NSLs from disclosing to the target of an investigation or the public the specific information being sought by an NSL, the government did not provide compelling argument that the mere fact of disclosing that an NSL was received harmed national security interests. A blanket prohibition on disclosure, she found, was overly broad and “creates too large a danger that speech is being unnecessarily restricted.” She noted that 97 percent of the more than 200,000 NSLs that have been issued by the government were issued with nondisclosure orders.

Although the telecom was not identified in court documents that were released publicly, the Wall Street Journal used details that were revealed in them to narrow the likely plaintiffs to Credo in a story published in 2012. The company’s CEO, Michael Kieschnick, didn’t confirm or deny his company was the unidentified recipient of the NSL, but did release a statement following Illston’s ruling.

“This ruling is the most significant court victory for our constitutional rights since the dark day when George W. Bush signed the Patriot Act,” Kieschnick said. “This decision is notable for its clarity and depth. From this day forward, the U.S. government’s unconstitutional practice of using National Security Letters to obtain private information without court oversight and its denial of the First Amendment rights of National Security Letter recipients have finally been stopped by our courts.”

The redacted documents don’t indicate the exact information the government was seeking from the telecom, and EFF won’t disclose the details. But by way of general explanation, Zimmerman said at the time that the NSL statute allows the government to compel an ISP or website to hand over information about someone who posted anonymously to a message board or to compel a phone company to hand over “calling circle” information — that is, information about who has communicated with someone by phone.

An FBI agent could give a telecom a name or a phone number, for example, and ask for the numbers and identities of anyone who has communicated with that person. “They’re asking for association information – who do you hang out with, who do you communicate with, [in order] to get information about previously unknown people.

“That’s the fatal flaw with this [law],” Zimmerman told WIRED last year. “Once the FBI is able to do this snooping, to find out who Americans are communicating with and associating with, there’s no remedy that makes them whole after the fact. So there needs to be some process in place so the court has the ability ahead of time to step in [on behalf of Americans].”

The company said in its statement Thursday that it supports the full repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act and is working to pass Rep. Rush Holt’s Surveillance State Repeal Act.

“Credo, which supports the repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and FISA Amendments Act, a plea bargain or clemency for Edward Snowden, and an end to the retroactive immunity granted to protect telecom companies from facing charges for colluding with the NSA in the illegal wiretapping of Americans, is releasing the report to increase transparency around governmental requests for customer information,” the company said in a statement.

Credo’s transparency report follows in the tradition begun by Google and other internet service providers to release transparency reports about the number of government requests they receive for customer data. Google and other companies have been battling the government to be able to release more information than their transparency reports currently cover. Late last year, Verizon and AT&T announced that they would be releasing a transparency report in 2014 — their first.

But Credo took a swipe at its fellow telecoms in its statement on Thursday, saying that it had opposed the immunity granted by Congress to telecoms like Verizon and AT&T after previous revelations that the companies cooperated with the Bush administration’s illegal wiretapping program without trying to fight it.


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Man who shot video of Border Patrol arrest of undocumented worker arrested
Border Patrol claims no excessive force was used

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SAN DIEGO - The man who shot cell phone video showing a Border Patrol agent struggling to arrest an undocumented worker has been arrested. Family members and his attorney are demanding answers and wondering whether the arrest was in retaliation for sharing the video with 10News.

Jose Guzman said he shot the video because he believed the Border Patrol agent went too far when he was arresting the man.

American Civil Liberties Union attorney Mitra Ebadoulahi agreed. 

"I think this is a classic example of what we call excessive use of force in its literal definition," said Ebadoulahi. "The force is excessive, it's uncalled for."

After the incident, Border Patrol agents went to Guzman's home demanding the video.  Because he is a parolee, he agreed to hand it over without a search warrant. His girlfriend says he refused to help agents locate a second undocumented worker who got away.

"They asked him to call the guy and ask him where he lives, I think, like to kind of set him up," said Erica Garcia, who told 10News Guzman did not want to get involved in helping authorities arrest his coworker. "So they got upset because he wouldn't do it, and they told him he can go to jail for helping the other guy."

Two days later, Garcia says Guzman got a call from his probation officer, telling him the GPS ankle bracelet he is required to wear was not working properly. When Guzman went in to have the device checked, he was arrested.

"I just hope they let him go because it's not fair," she said.

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http://www.sacbee.com/2014/09/10/669623 ... tment.html

Misconduct at Justice Department isn’t always prosecuted

Published: Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 - 1:49 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Sep. 10, 2014 - 2:29 pm

WASHINGTON -- Dozens of Justice Department officials, ranging from FBI special agents and prison wardens to high-level federal prosecutors, have escaped prosecution

or firing in recent years despite findings of misconduct by the department’s own internal watchdog.

Most of the names of the investigated officials, even the highest-ranking, remain under wraps. But documents McClatchy obtained under the Freedom of Information Act reveal for the first time a startling array of alleged transgressions uncovered by the department’s inspector general.

These include:

– Investigators concluded an assistant U.S. attorney “lacked candor” when interviewed by FBI agents investigating her husband’s “embezzlement activity.” The prosecutor also “made misleading and contradictory” statements to other investigators who were asking about her husband’s criminal activities. She was “verbally admonished” this year, but the Justice Department opted not to prosecute.

– A U.S. attorney violated federal laws and regulations by accepting a partially paid trip to a foreign country by a nonprofit organization, according to investigators. The unnamed presidential appointee was given a written admonishment and he was ordered to reimburse the organization. Prosecution was declined.

– Two FBI supervisory special agents accepted free tickets to the NBA All-Star Game and gave them to family members. One agent “lied under oath” about his actions, and was found to have misused government resources to “engage in extramarital affairs with three women.” That agent resigned after the bureau proposed his dismissal and the other was suspended for three days. Neither was prosecuted.

– An FBI assistant special agent in charge sexually harassed female subordinates, retaliated against a female special agent who refused to have a relationship with him and used his FBI-issued BlackBerry to pursue romantic relationships with 17 FBI employees, nine of whom were direct subordinates, as well as 29 other women. In January, the FBI told the inspector general it had issued an undisclosed disciplinary action. No charges were brought. In a statement to McClatchy, the FBI said it couldn’t comment on an “ongoing personnel matter.”

The records, which cover the period from January 2010 to March 2014, detail some 80 cases, only a few of which appear to have been previously made public. The accused officials work for agencies that include the Drug Enforcement Administration, the U.S. Marshals Service and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

In at least 27 cases, the inspector general identified evidence of possible criminal wrongdoing but no one was prosecuted.

These previously undisclosed cases, and dozens of others like them reviewed by McClatchy, reveal more than an underside to federal law enforcement. The cases underscore how much discretion federal prosecutors have in deciding whether to press charges, and they raise questions about when and why this discretion is applied.

“I think it’s fair to ask why some of these cases weren’t prosecuted,” Justice Department Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz said in an interview. “That’s clearly a concern we have: To make sure there are not two standards of justice at the Department of Justice.”

However, he said it’s understandable in many cases that criminal charges aren’t filed. His office presents a case for prosecution in every instance where there’s “credible evidence that could support elements of a crime, even when it’s weak.”

The reports come, however, amid an overall decline in public corruption prosecutions during the Obama administration. So far this year, records obtained by the nonpartisan Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse at Syracuse University show that 34 percent of investigators’ referrals of public corruption allegations were accepted for prosecution.

During the George W. Bush presidency, records show, 41.6 percent of the official corruption referrals resulted in prosecution.

Gauging the reasons behind an individual prosecutor’s decision-making is nearly impossible, because the Justice Department and inspector general’s office won’t release most of the names or discuss the details of the cases.

Justice Department records show that federal prosecutors nationwide declined a total of 25,629 criminal matters during fiscal year 2013. The reasons most commonly reported included weak or insufficient evidence and lack of criminal intent.

Peter Carr, a Justice Department spokesman, said prosecutors followed federal rules when deciding whether to initiate or decline charges in a case.

Carr pointed to the U.S Attorney’s Manual, which says, “Federal law enforcement resources and federal judicial resources are not sufficient to permit prosecution of every alleged offense over which federal jurisdiction exists.”

“Public corruption cases are very fact-specific, and statistics fluctuate routinely year by year,” Carr said Tuesday. “The decision to bring a case involves a number of factors, all covered by the Principles of Federal Prosecution, which may include the seriousness of the allegation, the admissible evidence and whether there is a substantial federal interest in pursuing charges.”

The inspector general’s summary of unprosecuted cases was provided to Republican Sens. Charles Grassley of Iowa and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, and independently obtained by McClatchy through a FOIA request.

Grassley said he agreed that not all cases warranted prosecution. However, he called for more transparency in the decisions “because of the obvious appearance of a conflict of interest.”

“The public needs to be reassured that the department doesn’t have one standard for its own employees and another standard for everybody else,” he said.

Other cases federal prosecutors declined that were cited in the documents obtained by McClatchy include:

– Allegations against an unnamed prosecutor who was recused from involvement with a criminal investigation because of a personal relationship with a criminal target. The inspector general, however, concluded the prosecutor had disclosed information about the investigation and the wiretap to her spouse, “who subsequently disclosed it to the target.” The prosecutor initially denied revealing the information to her spouse, but subsequently acknowledged that she might have “said something” about the investigation. The prosecutor retired last November.

The husband of former Assistant U.S. Attorney Paula Burnett in New Mexico was convicted last September of leaking details of an investigation to Mexican drug cartel members. Burnett retired late last year, according to news accounts. The inspector general and the U.S. attorney’s office in New Mexico wouldn’t confirm whether it was the same case. Burnett declined to comment.

– The inspector general’s review found $211,000 in questionable purchases at a district U.S. marshals’ office, including “ceremonial and promotional” items previously banned by headquarters, personal or other wasteful items. The investigators concluded that the marshal and the chief deputy marshal had misspent funds, knowingly misused the government purchase card program and violated public service laws. Disciplinary action was still pending this year.

– Investigators concluded that an immigration judge had solicited attorneys to purchase jewelry from her, borrowed money from a lawyer and interpreter, and failed to recuse herself from cases that involved lawyers representing her relatives in criminal matters. The Executive Office for Immigration Review, which oversees immigration judges, “proposed disciplinary action” in January. Spokeswoman Kathryn Mattingly said her office “does not comment on personnel matters.”

Several cases also involve prosecutors misusing their positions, including one who’d sent emails on behalf of her boyfriend, disclosed sensitive information to him without authorization, used government databases to conduct legal research for him, gave him access to government computer accounts and sent a gift to an attorney to get her boyfriend legal assistance. In December 2011, she received a letter of suspension for 14 days.

In the interview, Horowitz wouldn’t comment on specific cases but he added that he’s personally appealed to U.S. attorneys to consider prosecution in some instances.

“I pick up the phone and call them,” said Horowitz, a former longtime federal prosecutor who handled corruption cases in New York.

Horowitz’s role is not to make the prosecution decisions, but to ensure that prosecutors get the information they need .

“There are some where I might have pulled the trigger. But I’m not a prosecutor anymore so I respect the discretion not to. I can’t think of any case where a decision was made not to prosecute that I thought was unreasonable,” he said.

Some of the misconduct cases may not be pursued because they involve “low-dollar” waste or abuse, Horowitz said. Or cases may be seen as too tough to prosecute, sometimes for the wrong reasons, he added, such as the sexual abuse of prisoners. Prosecutors can view prisoners as unsympathetic witnesses.

Before Horowitz took over in 2012, the inspector general’s office disagreed with a federal prosecutor who didn’t want to file charges. In that case, a correctional officer had accepted $1,300 from an undercover agent in exchange for agreeing to smuggle tobacco into a correctional facility. After prosecutors from the federal district based in Houston declined to pursue criminal charges, a local district attorney took the case. The officer later pleaded guilty to bribery, was sentenced to probation and was fined $2,000.

Earl Devaney, a former inspector general for the Department of Interior, said a decision not to pursue criminal charges didn’t necessarily mean investigators or prosecutors were pulling their punches.

“There are always a lot of good reasons to not prosecute,” he said. “Also, you can have a thousand little crappy cases that just make you look good and just one case that has enormous impact.”

Devaney nonetheless added that he’d found the Justice Department’s public integrity unit, which is set up to prosecute cases of high-level corruption, to be “risk adverse” in the past. He worked with it as part of a federal task force that investigated superlobbyist Jack Abramoff and his influence peddling.

Sometimes, alleged misconduct by prosecutors and investigators might be handled less aggressively because of concern that it would taint criminal cases, Devaney said. At trial, defense attorneys are permitted to learn of serious misconduct of the agents and prosecutors involved in their cases.

According to the most recent report by the office, the Justice Department’s inspector general received nearly 5,900 allegations of misconduct, opened 195 investigations and was involved in 32 arrests and 38 convictions from October through March.

This year, for instance, a former federal correctional officer in Missouri was sentenced for trying to hire an inmate to murder his wife’s ex-husband.

However, the Justice Department’s inspector general doesn’t break down details on prosecutions. As a result, McClatchy couldn’t determine the prosecution rate for the office’s cases.

At least one other inspector general does report such statistics. The Interior Department Inspector General’s Office opened 742 cases in the year that ended March 31. During the same period, the office reported referring 44 cases for possible prosecution. Nineteen cases were declined.

During the same year, the Department of Homeland Security opened 551 investigations, referred 322 for prosecution and had 196 declined.

Horowitz is one of some 72 federal inspectors general, spanning myriad federal agencies. They are auditors, in part, scrutinizing government agencies in hopes of rooting out waste and inefficiencies. In fiscal 2013, for instance, the inspectors general identified $44.9 billion in funds that could be “put to better use.”

Inspectors general also investigate criminal allegations. In fiscal 2013, their work led to 6,705 successful criminal prosecutions.

The agencies make the calls on disciplinary action.

In the Justice Department cases, Devaney said he was struck by instances of weak punishment.

“An oral admonishment is not a deterrent,” Devaney said.

One case was triggered by a complaint by Grassley about FBI Assistant Director Stephen Kelly. Kelly, who managed the bureau’s Office of Congressional Affairs, told Grassley’s staff that the FBI knew that the senator planned to attend the wedding of a “subject” of an FBI investigation, according to the inspector general’s report.

“He assured Senator Grassley that he was not a focus of the FBI investigation,” the documents say.

“The OIG concluded that Kelly did not have the authority to disclose nonpublic information about an ongoing criminal investigation to Senator Grassley or his staff, and in doing so exhibited poor judgment,” the report states.

Grassley’s office said the senator never planned to attend the wedding and was invited by the son of the target of the investigation. The target was Russell Wasendorf Sr., founder of Peregrine Financial Group Inc., who pleaded guilty to embezzling more than $100 million from customers.

“Senator Grassley and the staff member who spoke with Mr. Kelly both thought the disclosure was inappropriate, and could have been intimidating to somebody who hasn’t dealt with the FBI like Senator Grassley and his staff have,” said Grassley spokeswoman Beth Levine.

This year, the FBI concluded that the allegation Kelly had violated internal policy was “unsubstantiated” and gave him “nondisciplinary counseling.”

“FBI concluded that Kelly’s disclosure of nonpublic information derived from an ongoing investigation was improper, for which he received nondisciplinary counseling,” the bureau said in a statement. “The FBI’s Office of Congressional Affairs must be afforded some measure of latitude and flexibility in dealing with members of Congress. As this instance did not result in harm to the ongoing investigation, and was done with good intentions, the matter did not constitute official misconduct.”

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Idaho's tragedy at Ruby Ridge

September 14 2014

On Aug. 21, 1992, gunshots echoed through the woods at Ruby Ridge, a few miles northwest of Bonners Ferry. The shootout was between deputy U.S. marshals and the Randy and Vicki Weaver family that lived in a cabin in the woods to home-school their kids and escape what they believed was a corrupted world, while waiting for the apocalypse.

When the shooting stopped, Weaver's 14-year-old son Sammy and his dog Striker were dead - Sammy shot in the back by Deputy U.S. Marshal William Francis Degan. The next day, Randy Weaver was wounded and his wife Vicki also dead. So too was Deputy Degan.

It was one of the ugliest events in recent Idaho history.

Weaver, 44, was a former factory worker in Iowa and a U.S. Army Green Beret. Wishing to start a new life away from civilization, the Weavers moved to North Idaho in 1983 and bought 20 acres in the Selkirk Mountains forest and started building their cabin home, plus a guest cabin, to quietly raise their two children. But despite the remote location, they couldn't avoid trouble.

In a business dispute with neighbor Terry Kinnison, Weaver won a resulting lawsuit. In retaliation, Kinnison sent letters to the FBI, Secret Service and county sheriff claiming that Weaver was threatening to kill the President, the Pope and Idaho Gov. John V. Evans. He also claimed Weaver had a large cache of weapons, and was a member of the racist Aryan Nation, operating an hour's drive south in Hayden.

The libelous attacks brought in law enforcement authorities, triggering the tragic events that followed.

Unsurprisingly, the feds and local law enforcement jumped on the accusations immediately. The Weavers spent hours meeting with authorities, denying all of it.

They denied the threats, the weapons charge and membership in the Aryan Nation. Investigators, however, discovered that he did associate with Frank Kumnick, who knew members of the Aryans.

The trail of events that led to the Ruby Ridge shootout started in July 1986, when Kumnick invited Weaver to a meeting of the Aryan Nation and introduced him to Kenneth Fadeley, a member who was a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) informant. They met several times over the next three years.

Then in 1989, the ATF accused Weaver of selling Fadeley two sawed-off shotguns, with barrels shorter than allowed by law. Weaver said the agents sawed them off shorter, not him. The ATF then tried to recruit him as an informant to avoid prosecution, but Weaver refused. The agency retaliated by filing false charges accusing him of being a bank robber with criminal convictions. That December, a federal grand jury indicted him for making and possessing - but not for selling - illegal weapons.

Weaver was known for his distrust of government and events were confirming he had reason to.

He was arrested and told his trial would start on Feb. 19, 1991. Then began a series of bureaucratic paperwork and court scheduling snafus, plus an inability to communicate with Weaver was leading the family inexorably to Aug. 21, 1992. A warrant for his arrest was issued and the marshals called to bring him in.

Weaver wouldn't make that easy, holing up in his cabin and the matter dragged on for over a year. He believed there was a conspiracy against him, and threatened to resist with force any attempt to arrest him. The conflicting signals he was receiving from government agencies convinced him he could not get a fair trial. When vehicles approached, the Weavers would be armed and in the surrounding woods until they determined the visitor.

At first, authorities were able to communicate with him through intermediaries but then that stopped. The Marshals Service planned an attack, setting up surveillance cameras, with armed agents hiding in the woods.

Then on April 18, Geraldo Rivera reporting for the "Now It Can Be Told" TV show flew over the property in a helicopter, and Weaver was later accused of shooting at it. There was no evidence of this, and even Richard Weiss the helicopter pilot repeatedly denied it. That didn't stop Marshals Service's Wayne "Duke" Smith and FBI's Richard Rogers from using the alleged shooting as a justification for issuing rules of engagement (ROE) instructions to their agents.

U.S. Attorney Ron Howen joined in the accusations, despite the lack of proof.

Agents were told to use military rules of engagement, different to FBI standard deadly force policy. Later, several snipers testified that they considered those orders to be a green light to "shoot on sight."

Matters remained tense for the next four months, with neither side giving an inch. Then on Aug. 21, the feds made their move. Like a final scene in a military action movie, marshals dressed in camouflage, with night-vision goggles and M16 rifles moved in to set up an observation post near the cabin.

They threw two rocks at the cabin to test the pet dogs' reaction. Thinking it was possibly game to shoot because they were running out of meat, Weaver's friend Kevin Harris, 24, and 14-year-old son Samuel Weaver along with their dog Striker came out to investigate.

The marshals pulled back about 500 yards westward to a Y in the trail and hid. Soon, Sammy, Harris and Striker came along, while Randy Weaver took a separate trail. The rest of the family stayed home.

At the Y, they encountered the marshals and the shootout erupted. Harris returned fire and killed Deputy U.S. Marshal Degan. It's unclear who fired first, but Deputy Art Roderick shot and killed Striker and Sammy was shot in the back and killed while retreating.

A total of 19 rounds were fired in the battle at the Y. Later, Randy and Vicki returned to retrieve their son's body and placed it in the guest cabin.

The following day, as Randy, 16-year-old daughter Sara and Harris were visiting Sammy's body, Randy was shot in the back by FBI sniper Lon Horiuchi, but survived - the bullet passing through his right armpit. Though wounded, Weaver along with Sara and Harris ran back toward the main cabin. Vicki was standing by the door holding her 10-month-old baby Elisheba. Horiuchi then fired a second bullet, which passed through Vicki's head, killing her and then hitting Harris in the chest.

The standoff lasted another 12 days, with hundreds of federal agents surrounding the cabin. Finally the Weavers surrendered.

Randy Weaver was acquitted of all charges except for failing to appear in court, and was sentenced to 18 months in prison and fined $10,000. Harris was acquitted of all charges.

Public outrage broke out across the nation over the violent actions at Ruby Ridge by the federal law enforcement agencies.

When the long legal process ended, Randy Weaver was awarded $100,000 and his three daughters $1 million each. The Weavers returned to Iowa, and Harris filed a civil suit and won $380,000.

FBI sniper Horiuchi was charged with manslaughter but never stood trial.

The Senate Subcommittee on Terrorism, Technology and Government Information held hearing from Sept. 6-Oct. 19, 1995. At the hearings, FBI Director Louis Freeh admitted that, "law enforcement overreacted at Ruby Ridge," calling the federal actions as "synonymous with the exaggerated application of federal law enforcement." Fourteen FBI agents received minor punishment (Eight months later, the same government agencies plus others - and including some of the same personnel at Ruby Ridge - were at Waco, Texas, in another shootout, though facing an entirely different situation).

In 1993, Kevin Harris was indicted for first-degree murder in the death of Deputy Marshal Degan but acquitted, the court declaring that he was acting in self-defense. Four years later - just before the statute of limitations ran out - a zealous Boundary County prosecutor filed a murder charge against him, but the charge was tossed out on grounds of double-jeopardy, having already been acquitted in the earlier trial.

Randy Weaver and daughter Sara had their say about the tragedy, writing a paperback book, The Federal Siege at Ruby Ridge.

This sad episode of Idaho history was about a family that wanted to be left alone but were thrust back into a world they sought to escape by a vindictive neighbor and zealous government agents who wouldn't follow the rules.

Syd Albright is a writer/journalist/biographer living in Post Falls. Contact him at silverflix@roadrunner.com.

The negotiators...

One report says, "Many of the people used by the marshals as third party go-betweens on the Weaver case - Bill and Judy Grider, Alan Jeppeson, Richard Butler - were evaluated by the marshals as more radical than the Weavers themselves." Butler, co-inventor of the tubeless tire, was leader of the white supremacist Aryan Nation.

Celebrities part of the story...

Two well-known personalities were part of this saga: Bo Gritz who ran as vice president with U.S. presidential candidate David Duke, formerly Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, helped negotiate an end to the standoff. Trial Lawyer Hall of Famer Gary Spence was Weaver's defense attorney, attacking the government's witnesses and evidence without offering a defense. He never lost a criminal case either as a prosecutor or a defense attorney.

Government shenanigans...

Weaver Trial Report: FBI tampered with evidence, and crime scene photos given to the defense were phony reenactments, and though the prosecutor knew this, he failed to inform the defense.

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0-Kilo Drug Bust at Paris Hilton’s Ranch in Costa Rica
CIA Plane in Big Aussie-American Heroin Bust
Posted on September 12, 2014 by Daniel Hopsicker        
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“Newly-obtained FAA registration records reveal that the American “mystery plane” busted this July with 35 kilos of heroin at an airport outside Sydney, Australia was a CIA plane. At least, it had been when it rolled off the assembly line 40 years earlier, courtesy a CIA deal with the U.S. Forest Service. And the CIA never sells off its planes. smokey-dokeyThe American-registered ‘mystery plane’ in Australia was a Merlin III twin–engine turbo-prop ( tail number N224HR).

FAA registration records show it was commissioned in the early 70’s by the U.S. Forest Service from aircraft manufacturer Swearingen in San Antonio, part of an operation to “sheep-dip” CIA planes through the U.S. Forest Service.

“Sheep-dip” is spook-speak for concealing the source or true ownership of something, or, at the very least, hiding it from Congress. When the plane was ordered, the CIA was merely anticipating Congressional calls for reining in the CIA, through (tellingly) forcing the Agency to divest its proprietary airlines.

By the time the plane was delivered two years later, the calls had grown much louder. In another two years, they’d become successful. More on this in a moment.
Hmm. A “sophisticated” drug network…

guns-drugsThe discovery of an American-registered plane delivering drugs at an Australian airport heralded, according to Australian law enforcement, a “sophisticated drug network” that had begun using the tiny Illawarra Regional Airport, 60 miles south of Sydney, to import guns and drugs.

The purchase in the U.S. of the Merlin III, and the plane’s subsequent two-month long saga on its journey “home” to Australia, an Australian law enforcement official told Sydney’s Daily Telegraph, were actions undertaken at the behest of a “major international crime syndicate.”

Police were said to be “close-mouthed;”and “tight-lipped.” After revealing they had confiscated 35 kilos, they refused to identify the drug involved, which is heroin.

But Police prosecutor Sergeant Sean Thackray gave things away when he let slip, ‘‘We’re talking about the organization of a plane to import a large amount of a substance …. to the value of $9 million.’’

(Note: Price quotes per kilo for heroin in consuming countries vary widely, from a low of $100,000 to a high, in Australia, of all places, of $375,000. If we take a figure in the middle, $250,000, 35 kilos is worth $8.7 million, very close to Sgt. Thackray’s quote of $9 million.)
“Really? A major international syndicate?”

Ritual-Life-in-Punta-GordaWith the announcement that a global cartel was moving planes like chess pieces across a chessboard the size of the Outback, hope surged (in some circles) that a few American Drug Lords might finally achieve the recognition they deserve.

The twin-engine Merlin III was picked up in Punta Gorda, at the Charlotte County Airport, which is to general aviation what the Black Hole of Calcutta is to after-school detention.

BernieWhy were two Australian pilots picking up the Merlin III in Punta Gorda, Florida? The owner of the plane was a dentist in Colombia, Missouri.

A smart cop might have figured that pressing the flesh in Punta Gorda with a few American Drug Lords “might could” have provided folks living a little further off the beaten path some valuable networking opportunities.

Alas, smart cops are always the first to be let go. So the first well-publicized arrest in the Big Aussie-American Heroin Bust was a 43-year old Australian sky-diving instructor, Bernhard Stevermuer, charged with being part of a criminal organization and dealing with the proceeds of crime.

bernie2When Stevermuer was arrested, police found $70,000 in cash suspected of being the proceeds of drug trafficking. Authorities said that just days earlier, while they had him under surveillance, he had tried to buy an aviation business at a local Australian airport, making a $300,000 down payment…in cash.

Even middle schoolers just selling a little weed to pay for their Little League uniform, or fresh rugby togs, or a new cricket bat know this is an absolutely boneheaded play. It was not the kind of money-laundering move one expects to see from any self-respecting drug kingpin. So, just who—and where—are the cartel heavies?
Fire on the Mountain

Before the American public learned of the cozy deal to sheep-dip airplanes between the CIA and the Forest Service, 14 people had to burn to death in a forest fire in Colorado.



In August 1994, 14 firefighters burned to death in an out of control forest fire in Colorado. The inferno was sparked by lightning at the base of Storm King Mountain. Local firefighters, hotshots and smoke jumpers jumped in to fight it.

Winds whipped flames that grew to be 100 feet tall. The fire raged uphill, right at the firefighters. They fled. Fourteen were trapped and died.

Survivor Eric Hipke was forced to flee for his life…uphill.

“Flames crackling mere millimeters behind him, Hipke clambered up the last steep stretch of a rugged mountainside engulfed in fire. Hipke screamed and hurled himself over the ridge.Investigators concluded later that he made it with five seconds to spare.”

South_Canyon_Fire_1630-1700The Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration subsequently cited the Forest Service for “inadequate use of aviation resources. “Air support was inadequate for implementing strategies and tactics. Where were all the tankers?”

According to whistleblower, attorney and former CI
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