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Florence, Colo — The most secure federal prison in America has the polished tile corridors of a modern regional high school and the empty stillness of summer break.

The marquee inmates — including Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called 20th hijacker; “shoe bomber” Richard Reid; Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber; FBI agent turned traitor Robert Hanssen; and Terry Nichols, convicted of the Oklahoma City bombing — wait out their days in cellblocks the warden leads reporters quickly past on the first media tour since the Florence “supermax” opened 13 years ago.

“You say Moussaoui. You say Kaczynski. That's the smallest part of my population,” said warden Ron Wiley, holding his thumb a quarter-inch from his forefinger. “That is like a premier big man in the NBA. He comes along every 10 years.

“My major mission is inmates who were disrupting the population in other federal prisons.”

Yet extremes define the Florence supermax. Conceived after two guards were murdered in a single day at the federal prison in Marion, Ill., the original successor to Alcatraz, the administrative maximum security institution, or ADX, does double duty as a punishment of in its own right. Its 475 inmates account for just one fourth of 1 percent of the 200,000 inmates in the federal prison system, but they are confined to single cells for at least 23 hours a day in sterile isolation and permanent lockdown.

“To paraphrase the poet T.S. Eliot, you will die with a whimper,” U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema told convicted Sept. 11 plotter Moussaoui last year, as she dispatched him directly to this prison in the high desert 45 miles south of Colorado Springs.

The entire prison is aboveground, except for a subterranean corridor that links cellblocks to the lobby, an airy space with a trophy case, souvenirs for sale by the employees association (an “Alcatraz of the Rockies” watch cap is $8) and corporate teamwork posters. One near the conference room reads: “Sharpen the Saw.”

But down a flight of stairs the feeling of being hermetically sealed sets in. Fastened to the wall of the first “sally port,” the space between a green steel gate that must slide shut before the gate in front opens, are two items: a fingerprint scanner and a digital clock that reports the weather outside the windowless maze that lies ahead.

“I still get lost,” said Michael Nalley, Bureau of Prisons regional director.

G-Unit is one of four “general population” units. Each has 64 inmates.

Each cell contains a bunk, desk, stool and shelf, all concrete. The stainless steel sink and toilet evoke an airliner bathroom. The black-and-white television has a clear plastic housing to leave its electronics visible. All inmates get closed-circuit programming on education and mental health; most also see cable news and entertainment channels.

Through the food port of the steel doors, a low murmur is audible in the hallway between cells. In one, a heavy white man with a shaved head exercised by stepping onto his bed, then stepping off. In the next, a middle-aged black man looked up from a book and said: “Me, personally, I like the solitude. I'm at peace with myself.”

Not everyone is. Critics argue that, with their enforced isolation, supermax prisons, “like the sensory deprivation environments that were studied in the '60s, tend to induce psychosis,” said Terry Kupers, a psychiatrist at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, Calif., who has examined scores of prisoners in state supermaxes.

Those inmates “are, on average, the most severely psychotic people I have seen in my entire 25 years of psychiatric practice,” Kuppers once testified.

At Florence, 65 inmates take medication to control mental illness, said Paul Zohn, one of two resident psychologists. The medicine is prescribed by a Bureau of Prisons psychiatrist in Springfield, Mo., who examines the inmates by video link.

Personal assessments are conducted at the cell door by Zohn and fellow psychologist Marie Bailey. One of the counselors holds a riot baton. Zohn says if everyone speaks softly, the inmate may not be overheard by his neighbors.

“Is “claustrophobic' a psychological term?” Wiley asked, cutting short the interview after two or three minutes. “Well, I'm getting claustrophobic. Let's move along.”

Medical care is also problematic. Only two of five physician slots are filled at Florence, to serve an inmate population that, with the three other prisons in the Florence complex, totals 3,200 inmates.

There is a law library and a lending library: “What we find is that most of them read Westerns and romances,” the librarian said.

Zohn says many inmates practice yoga. “They love it,” he said.

The board games, including “Fact or Crap,” are checked out by inmates who are “earning” their way out of the ADX through docile behavior. Those on the cusp of transition to the nearby maximum-security prison live in K-Unit. It includes an exercise yard with basketball hoops, a sweat lodge, and steel cables overhead to deter escape by helicopter.

Inside, Rudolf Rivera Rios loitered with fellow inmates at tables anchored to the floor between two stories of cells in what looked like a traditional prison.

“I hijacked a plane,” said Rios, a native of Puerto Rico who diverted a Pan American flight to Havana in 1970. Now 65, he said he had “had trouble” in other prisons, including a bad fight in a Beaumont, Texas, facility. But the supermax, he said, was under control.

“It's locked down, eh? No problem.”[ico_endstory]

Reply with quote  #1 
Media Given Rare Tour Of Federal 'Supermax' cells

   Published on 10/2/2007
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Posted on Tue, Feb. 12, 2008

State asks court to reinstate death sentence in double killing
By ERRIN HAINES - Associated Press Writer --

The attorney for a man convicted of killing two Mercer University students more than a decade ago argued before the Georgia Supreme Court on Tuesday that he should not be sentenced to death because of his history of mental illness.

Andrew Allen Cook, son of former Macon FBI agent John Cook, was sentenced to death in March 1998 after he was convicted of malice murder in the shooting deaths of Grant Patrick Hendrickson and Michele Lee Cartagena. Cook, then 21, did not know the couple and authorities said the killings were random.

"This crime was inexplicable, it made no sense," said Cook's attorney, Thomas Dunn.

Cartagena and Hendrickson were shot several times on Jan. 2, 1995, as they sat in Cartagena's car at Lake Juliette in Monroe County. The investigation lasted more than two years before Cook was arrested. He confessed to his father, John Cook - an admission that was used to challenge his conviction and death sentence before the state Supreme Court in 1999. The question then was whether the elder Cook was acting as an agent or a father at the time. The high court upheld the verdict and sentence.

Cook again appealed his death sentence in 2000, arguing that his trial lawyer failed to present evidence of his mental illness dating back to his childhood. A Butts County Superior Court judge reversed the death sentence in 2002.

The state argued Tuesday that although Cook was found to have mental issues, those issues were not enough to offset a death sentence. Instead, assistant attorney general Beth Burton told the high court, Cook's mental history was thoroughly investigated and he was found to be troubled, but not criminally insane or otherwise unable to be sentenced to death.

Further, contrary to the lower court's finding that Cook's upbringing was "marked by abandonment, neglect and abuse," mental health experts who examined him during his trial found that he came from "a typical, American, middle-class family" that was supportive and loving, Burton said.

The state also countered the argument that Cook's father was inadequately prepared to testify on his son's behalf. Burton said that when John Cook pleaded with the jury to spare Andrew Cook's life, "there was not a dry eye in the jury box at the end of his testimony," Burton said.

Andrew Cook's lawyer told the high court that Cook's mental illness was not fully explored or understood by his original attorney. As Cook prepared to go to trial he was diagnosed with major depression, Dunn said. He added that Cook had been classified as depressed at the ages of 9 and 15.

"This case is the result of a major mental illness ... that can only be understood through the eyes of someone who is mentally ill," Dunn told the justices.


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Reply with quote  #3 

March 2008

Students, Iraq Vet Arrested During Mock Raid

Tuscaloosa, AL - Four protesters from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) and Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) were arrested here, Feb. 29, at the University of Alabama for performing a mock raid meant to demonstrate the effects of the U.S. occupation on Iraqi civilians.

No one was harmed during the protest that lasted only a couple minutes, and employees were notified of the performance 30 minutes beforehand. After protesters dressed as Iraqi civilians were ‘arrested’ by protesters in military costume and hauled away, Jason Hurd, president of the Asheville, North Carolina chapter of IVAW - who was invited by the Tuscaloosa SDS chapter to speak on his experiences in Iraq, gave an impromptu speech, explaining that the purpose of the action was to demonstrate what life in Iraq is like under the occupation. Hurd also invited stunned and curious onlookers to his talk scheduled for that evening.

However, the talk had to be cancelled, because as four of the protesters - Hurd, Alyse Deller and Christine Jackson from Tuscaloosa SDS, and Jeremy Miller of UNC-Asheville SDS - were approached by campus police, then taken into a building on campus, where they were detained for over four hours before finally being charged with disorderly conduct. The were then hauled away in handcuffs to the Tuscaloosa City Jail. Bail was set for a total of $2,500. Hurd and Miller were also charged with trespassing and banned from campus property.

During the four-hour interrogation, police insinuated that the protesters were terrorists, and threatened to hand over their case to the F.B.I. The University had said that it plans to investigate SDS-Tuscaloosa, which was hosting the Iraq Veteran. The Dean of Students sent out a campus-wide e-mail statement following the incident, saying the University “cannot condone and will not tolerate behavior that mimics a true emergency on our campus.”

The incident has sparked intense debate at the University of Alabama and in the Tuscaloosa community. Local activists from the Tuscaloosa Peace Project were outraged upon hearing of the arrests and immediately lent their support by offering bail money and facilitating contact with the Alabama chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which is interested in the case and showing support for the protesters. The organization also criticized the university’s actions as not only unwarranted, but also as repressive and in violation of students’ rights. In addition, IVAW is considering publicly condemning the university's actions.

“The circumstances surrounding the protest made it evident that this was street theater, but with our society having been carefully crafted into a people on edge, individuals have become rife with hair trigger fear of ‘the other,’ especially upon seeing actors in Islamic-style clothing,” said Diane MacAteer of the Tuscaloosa Islamic Society. “We believe that more than anything else, this was an ill-intentioned use of the recent campus violence in other states as an excuse to quash anti-war protests, especially those that depict the victimization of Muslim families in war zones and allow students to identify with the Iraqi people and reduce support for the war.”

While many have criticized the protest, claiming it was ‘too alarming,’ others are appalled that students can be arrested for expressing their opposition to an unjust and illegal war, and feel as though the students’ rights have been violated.

“If you are one of those people who was frightened, you had a glimpse of what it feels like to be an Iraqi man, woman or child who experience things like this and worse everyday,” said J VanBolt, a University of Alabama student who witnessed the mock raid. “I think the one thing everyone - whether you agree with what SDS did or not - can take from this is that people don’t like to be scared and have their lives interrupted! Try and imagine what it would be like if things like this happened to you everyday, and instead of just watching you were actually involved. That is life for people in Iraq.”

To show support with the SDS-Tuscaloosa and the four arrested, you can call the University President, Dr. Robert Witt, at (205) 348-5320 and ask that all charges be dropped. You can also contact Tim Hebson, Dean of Students and Director of Judicial Affairs thebson@sa.ua.edu or Todd Borst, Assistant Director of Judicial Affairs tborst@sa.ua.edu.

“The outpouring of support that we have received has been so amazing and empowering,” said Jenae Stainer, a member of SDS-Tuscaloosa. “We appreciate it all, and hope that people will continue to stand with us as we fight to protect our freedom of speech.”

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Reply with quote  #4 
                                Ross Gelbspan is a Pulitzer prize winning investigative reporter who recently retired from the Boston Globe newspaper.
His first book was called BREAK INS DEATH THREATS AND THE FBI.
His next two books were
THE HEAT IS ON and BOILING POINT . Both books look at the catastrophic events associated
with Global Warming, an event that supersedes shutting down the FBI.
visit him at http://www.heatisonline.org

Clean Energy Transition (3/07)

Toward A Real Kyoto Protocol

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

The Plan involves three interacting strategies which include:

· In industrial countries, the withdrawal of subsidies from fossil fuels and the establishment of equivalent subsidies for clean energy sources;

· The creation of a large fund -- perhaps through a small tax on global commerce -- to transfer clean energy technologies to developing countries; and,

· The incorporation within the Kyoto framework of a progressively more stringent Fossil Fuel Efficiency Standard that rises by 5 percent per year.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

This paper contains a set three interactive strategies which we believe would reduce carbon emissions by the 70 percent required by nature -- at the same time as it would create millions of jobs around the world, especially in developing countries.

To set the plan in its starkest context: the deep oceans are warming, the tundra is thawing, the glaciers are melting, infectious diseases are migrating and the timing of the seasons have changed. And all that has resulted from one degree of warming. By contrast, the earth will warm from 3 to 10 degrees later in this century, according to the IPCC.

As NASA scientist Jim Hansen said in February, 2006: "We have to stabilize emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree -- warmer than it has been for half a million year."

At the risk of exaggerating their potential, we believe these solutions could, at the same time, address several other major problems facing us as well.

The most obvious, given our newfound vulnerability to guerrilla attacks, is that a worldwide transition to renewable energy would dramatically reduce the significance of oil -- and with it our exposure to the political volatility in the Middle East.

A second security-related connection is that a renewable energy economy would have far more independent sources of power -- home-based fuel cells, stand-alone solar systems, regional windfarms -- which would make the nation's electricity grid a far less strategic target for terrorist attacks.

Perhaps a more relevant connection is that the continuing indifference to climate change by the U.S. -- which generates a quarter of the world's carbon emissions -- will likely provoke more guerrilla attacks from people whose homelands are going under from rising seas, whose crops are destroyed by weather extremes and whose borders are overrun by environmental refugees.

Conversely, a properly-funded global energy transition would represent the kind of proactive policy needed to begin to redress the economic inequity that threatens to split humanity irreparably between rich and poor. Just as runaway carbon concentrations are threatening to destabilize the global climate, runaway economic inequity can only continue to destabilize our global political environment.

For its own security, the U.S. needs to abandon its traditional posture toward developing countries -- which has been by turns defensive and coercive -- and replace that with a new set of policies which are expansive, inclusive and geared toward real poverty alleviation. It seems to be an article of faith among development economists that energy investments in poor countries create far more wealth and jobs than investments in any other sector. Were the U.S. to lead a wholesale transfer of clean energy technologies to developing countries, that would do more than anything else in the long term to undermine support for anti-U.S. terrorism.

On the economic front, it seems clear the entire global economy is susceptible to periods of stagnation, even recession. Not long ago, some members of the Federal Reserve were even talking about deflation. A truly floundering economy seems relatively immune to tax cuts and interest rate reductions. I think any recipe for stable, long-term economic health must include a component of public works programs -- in this case, a program to rewire the globe with clean energy.

Without question, that would be the most productive investment we could make in our future. Within a decade, it would begin to generate a major and continuing worldwide economic lift-off.

Finally there is the climate crisis itself:

Unintentionally, we have set in motion massive systems of the planet with huge amounts of inertia that have kept it relatively hospitable to civilization for the last 10,000 years. We have reversed the carbon cycle by more than 400,000 years. We have heated the deep oceans. We have loosed a wave of violent and chaotic weather. We have altered the timing of the seasons. We are living on a very precarious margin of stability.

Against that background, we are offering this set of strategies. We believe these strategies present a model of the scope and scale of action that is appropriate to the magnitude of the climate crisis. To date, we have not seen other policy recommendations that adequately address either the scope or urgency of the problem.

Largely because of inaction by the world's governments, it seems that the Kyoto goals (but not the Kyoto process) are fast becoming obsolete -- and that it is soon time to go straight for the goal of 70 percent reductions globally. Our hope is to get ideas of this scope into the conversation to help move it to an appropriate level.

The Plan involves three interacting strategies which include:

· in industrial countries, the withdrawal of subsidies from fossil fuels and the establishment of equivalent subsidies for clean energy sources;

· the creation of a large fund -- perhaps through a small tax on global commerce -- to transfer clean energy technologies to developing countries; and,

· the incorporation within the Kyoto framework of a progressively more stringent Fossil Fuel Efficiency Standard that rises by 5 percent per year.

Subsidy switch: the United States currently spends more than $35 billion a year to subsidize fossil fuels. In the industrial countries overall, those subsidies have been estimated at $250 billion a year.

We are proposing that, in the industrial countries, those subsidies be withdrawn from fossil fuels and equivalent subsidies be established to promote the development of clean energy sources. (Clearly a small portion of the U.S. subsidies must be used to retrain or buyout the nation's 50,000 or so coal miners.) But the lions' share of the subsidies would still be available for use by the major oil companies to retrain their workers and re-tool to become aggressive developers of fuel cells, wind farms, and solar systems. At the same time, I believe, you would see the emergence of an army of energy engineers and entrepreneurs -- with successively more efficient generations of solar film, turbines and tidal devices -- in a burst of creativity that would rival the dot.com explosion of the 1990s.

But even if the countries of the North were dramatically to reduce emissions, those cuts would be overwhelmed by the coming pulse of carbon from India, China, Mexico and Nigeria. Therefore the second element of the plan involves the creation of a fund of about $300 billion a year for several years to jumpstart renewable energy infrastructures in developing countries. Virtually all poor countries would love to go solar; virtually none can afford it. The most air-polluted cities in the world today are in China, Mexico, Thailand, Chile and other developing and transitional countries.

Energy Modernization Fund: The size of the fund was calculated by energy policy specialists at the Tellus Institute. It could be financed by any number of mechanisms -- a carbon tax in industrial countries or a tax on international air travel, to name two. One source we like is a tax on international currency transactions, named after its developer, the late Nobel prize-winning economist Dr. James Tobin. While Tobin conceived his tax as a way of damping the volatility in capital markets, it would also generate enormous revenues. Today the commerce in currency swaps amounts to $1.5 trillion per day. A tax of a quarter-penny on a dollar would net out to about $300 billion a year for wind farms in India, fuel-cell factories in South Africa, solar assemblies in El Salvador, and vast, solar-powered hydrogen farms in the Middle East.

Since currency transactions are electronically tracked by the private banking system, the need for a large, new bureaucracy could be avoided by paying the banks a fee to administer the fund. That fee could, to a large extent, offset their loss of income from the contraction in currency trading that would result from the tax. And the involvement of the banks in administering the fund would go a long way to minimizing corruption and ensuring that the money went directly to clean energy projects.

The only new bureaucracy we envision would be an international auditing agency to ensure equal access for all energy vendors and to minimize corruption in recipient countries.

(Several developing country commentators have suggested that corruption could be further curtailed by requiring recipient governments to include representatives of indigenous minorities, universities, NGOs and labor unions in their decisions about procuring new energy resources.)

If a currency transaction tax proves unacceptable, a carbon tax in industrial countries or a tax on international airline travel could fill the same function. Economists estimate that if carbon emissions were taxed at the rate of $50 a ton, the revenue would approximate the $300 billion from a tax on currency transactions.

(Parenthetically, at this point, we have not calculated what would happen to transitional prices of carbon fuels if subsidies were removed and a carbon tax imposed at the same time. That may, or may not, be a viable combination.)

Regardless of its revenue source, the fund -- on the ground -- would be allocated according to a United Nations formula to determine what percentage of each year's fund would go to each developing country.

If India, for instance, were to receive $5 billion in the first year, it would then decide what mix of wind farms, village solar installations, fuel cell generators and biogas facilities it wanted.

The Indian government (in this hypothetical example) would then entertain bids for these facilities. As contractors reached specified benchmarks, they would then be paid directly by the banks.

As self-replicating renewable infrastructures took root in developing countries, the fund could simply be phased out. Alternatively, progressively larger amounts of the fund could be diverted to other global environment and development needs.

Progressive Fossil Fuel Efficiency Standard: The third -- and unifying -- strategy of the plan -- which makes it all work -- calls on the parties to Kyoto to subordinate the uneven and inequitable system of international emissions trading to a simple and equitable progressively more stringent Fossil Fuel Efficiency Standard which goes up by about five percent per year.

This mechanism, if incorporated into the Kyoto Protocol, would harmonize and guide the global energy transition in a way that emissions trading can not.

Even if all the shortcomings involving monitoring, enforcement and equity could be resolved, international carbon trading would most appropriately be used as a fine-tuning instrument -- to help countries attain the final 10 to 15 percent of their obligations. It is not the workhorse vehicle required to propel a worldwide energy transition. We simply can't finesse nature with accounting tricks.

Instead, we are proposing that the parties to the Kyoto talks adopt a progressively more stringent Fossil Fuel Efficiency Standard which we believe would be simple to negotiate, easy to monitor and ultimately fair. (National "cap-and-trade" regimes could be useful in helping countries meet the progressive standard.)

Under this mechanism, every country would start at its current baseline to increase its Fossil Fuel energy efficiency by 5 percent every year until the global 70 percent reduction is attained. That means a country would produce the same amount of goods as the previous year with five percent less carbon fuel. Alternatively, it would produce five percent more goods with the same carbon fuel use as the previous year.

Since no economy grows at five percent for long, emissions reductions would outpace long-term economic growth.

For the first few years of the efficiency standard, most countries would likely meet their goals by implementing low-cost or even profitable efficiencies -- the 'low-hanging fruit' -- in their current energy systems. After a few years, however, as those efficiencies became more expensive to capture, countries would meet the progressively more stringent standard by drawing more and more energy from non-carbon sources -- most of which are 100 percent efficient by a Fossil Fuel standard.

That, in turn, would create the mass markets and economies of scale for renewables that would bring down their prices and make them competitive with coal and oil.

This approach would be far simpler to negotiate than the current Protocol, with its morass of details involving emissions trading, reviews of the adequacy of commitments and differentiated targets.

It would also be far easier to monitor. A nation's compliance would be measured simply by calculating the annual change in the ratio of its carbon fuel use to its gross domestic product. That ratio would have to change by 5 percent a year.

This approach has a precedent in the Montreal Protocol, under which companies phased out ozone-destroying chemicals. That protocol was successful because the same companies that made the destructive chemicals were able to produce their substitutes -- with no loss of competitive standing within the industry. An energy transition must be regulated in the same way. Several oil executives have said in private conversations that they can, in an orderly fashion, decarbonize their energy supplies. But they need the governments of the world to regulate the process so all companies can make the transition in lockstep without losing market share to competitors. A progressive Fossil Fuel Efficiency Standard would, I think, provide that type of regulation.

The plan, then, would be driven by three engines: the subsidy switch would propel the metamorphosis of oil companies into energy companies; the progressive fossil fuel efficiency standard would harmonize the transformation of national energy structures and create a level field of predictable regulation for the major energy corporations; and the competition for the new $300 billion a year market in clean energy would power the whole process.

I believe a plan of this magnitude -- regardless of the details -- would create millions of jobs, especially in developing countries. It would turn impoverished and dependent countries into trading partners. It would raise living standards abroad without compromising ours. It would undermine the economic desperation that gives rise to so much anti-US sentiment. And in a very short time, it would jump the renewable energy industry into a central, driving engine of growth of the global economy.

Finally, at the risk of being overly visionary, I do believe, because energy is so central to our existence, that a common global project to rewire the world with clean energy could be the first step on a path to peace -- even in today's profoundly fractured world: Peace among people and peace between people and nature.

Stepping back for a moment to a wider-angle vantage point, this kind of initiative could also be the beginning of the end of an outdated and increasingly toxic nationalism which we have long ago outgrown.

The economy is becoming truly globalized.

The globalization of communications now makes it possible for any person to communicate with anyone else around the world.

And since it is no respecter of national boundaries, the global climate makes us one.

We hear many complaints about the costliness of addressing the climate crisis. But the real economic issue in rewiring the world with clean energy is not cost. The real economic issue is whether the world has a large enough labor force to accomplish this task in time to meet nature's deadline.

But therein lies the catch -- nature's deadline. A growing number of the world's leading climate scientists agree that we are already too far along a catastrophic trajectory to avoid significant disruptions. So my enthusiasm for the healing potential -- on many different levels -- of something like these solutions is tempered by an increasingly loud and persisting question: how are people of good will and social conscience supposed to respond in the face of a coming age of collapse?

There is no body of expertise -- no authoritative answers -- for this one. We are crossing a threshold into uncharted territory. And since there is no precedent to guide us, we are left with only our own hearts to consult, the intellectual integrity to look reality in the eye, whatever courage we can muster and our uncompromising dedication to a human future that reflects the combined aspirations of every single reader of this essay.

-- Ross Gelbspan

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Reply with quote  #5 
see link for full story
FBI Resisting Calls for Recording Interviews During Probes
By Colin Ross | June 15, 2011 10:56 am

The FBI is increasingly coming under fire for its long-standing policy of prohibiting agents from electronically recording interviews or confessions unless a Special Agent in Charge approves.

And despite a review by the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee, a group that is intended to give voice to US Attorneys in formulating DOJ policies and to advise the Attorney General, nothing appears to be changing.

The FBI defends the policy as one which maintains the quality of interviews and investigations, and a review of the policy by the advisory committee has not yet resulted in any changes.

But critics, a group that include many lawyers, prosecutors and judges, say the policy is drastically outdated and one which hundreds of state, local and even other federal law enforcement agencies have abandoned.

“Recording interviews is great for law enforcement, for judges and for prosecutors,” said Thomas Sullivan, a former U.S. Attorney in Chicago and a current partner at Jenner & Block LLP who has written about police interrogations. Sullivan said an FBI agent defending the bureau’s current pencil and paper policy was the equivalent of someone saying: “My horse and buggy are just fine.”

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Reply with quote  #7 

Gang Stalking = COINTELPRO = STASI decomposition


The FBI and all law enforcement agencies are currently using a psychological warfare protocol like "COINTELPRO" which is almost identical to the STASI "decomposition". This is what people are referring to as Gang Stalking.


The earliest forms of this that I know of are from Egypt, Greece and Rome. Each of these societies had pervasive spy/informant networks that were spying on each other as well as looking for spies inside of their own empires. Anyone who did not feel that their own respective empire was the most perfect society could be considered a traitor. In other words they were looking for anyone who had thoughts beliefs and attitudes that were not approved of by the state that could instigate revolt or subversive activity or otherwise make them a danger to the empire. This obviously created a snitch culture and there were bound to be abuses. If a person was not liked by another then it was easy to persuade others to make a complaint and get that person killed or exiled. No one dare say or do anything that was politically incorrect and thus the rulers were able to maintain power and control over the people. Blatant execution or exile is common in an empire but in a democracy it is not as easy to accomplish these punishments so modern psychological operations were developed to accomplish these goals and in this way an empire can masquerade as a democracy.


The STASI decomposition protocol is an excellent example of how these modern psychological operations work. The STASI decomposition is almost identical to the FBI’s COINTELPRO. Here is a link to a document that shows an overview of the STASI decomposition.

·         http://www.scribd.com/doc/71863415

·         http://www.mediafire.com/?5w80dni99qc1c8w


Law enforcement agencies in concert with government and corporations are using bribery, deception, coercion & blackmail to create an informant & saboteur network out of criminals of all kinds, extremist groups, cults, patriotic zealots, the poor, the homeless, friends, family, neighbors, repair men, fire men, police, military personnel and agents to target individuals and groups that have beliefs and attitudes (such as civil rights and animal rights.) that may cause them to commit acts of terrorism at some future time or motivate others to commit terrorist acts or incite revolt. This pre-crime approach has existed numerous times throughout American history but has reared its ugly head again due to 9/11.

Unfortunately, according to former FBI agent Mike German, many post 9/11 targeted individuals are nothing more than a training exercise.




·         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/COINTELPRO












Here is a lecture by Noam Chomsky that uncovers the root mindset in America that predicates the targeting of groups and individuals.



The real power behind gang stalking and many other terrible things is the minority of the opulent but the front group making all the policy changes these days is the neoconservatives. Neoconservatisim is a cult ideology that has been bankrolled and nurtured by the opulent just like all of the other cult ideologies created or co-opted by the opulent for their machinations.

·         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Project_for_the_New_American_Century


·         http://www.newamericancentury.org/


·         http://www.newamericancentury.org/lettersstatements.htm


·         http://www.newamericancentury.org/statementofprinciples.htm


·         http://www.newamericancentury.org/iraqclintonletter.htm


·         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_Policy_Initiative


·         http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/


·         http://www.foreignpolicyi.org/foreignpolicy2011


·         http://www.abovetheswamp.com/articles/political-issues/74-the-neocon-mind


Stalin and Hitler were fanatical leaders inspired by a gang mentality and by the concept of "historic mission." They believed that intolerance and large scale brutality were necessary ingredients of social order. Each of them was also supported by the “cult of personality.” The neocons are strikingly similar.


What are the components of gang mentality?



·         Extreme concern with reputation both inside and outside of the ideology. Neocons are this way.



·         Extreme concern with respect both inside and outside of the ideology. Neocons are this way.



·         No challenge will go unanswered. It is so with the neocons as well.


What is the concept of “historic mission”?


In a well documented conversation, Adolf Hitler berated the Austrian Chancellor Schuschnigg and stated…

"That is what you say!...But I am telling you that I am going to solve the so-called Austrian problem one way or the other...I have a historic mission, and this mission I will fulfill because Providence has destined me to do so...I have only to give an order and all your ridiculous defense mechanisms will be blown to bits. You don't seriously believe you can stop me or even delay me for half an hour, do you?"


Prominent neocon Michael Ledeen stated…

“Creative destruction is our middle name, both within our own society and abroad. We tear down the old order every day, from business to science, literature, art, architecture, and cinema to politics and the law. Our enemies have always hated this whirlwind of energy and creativity, which menaces their traditions (whatever they may be) and shames them for their inability to keep pace. Seeing America undo traditional societies, they fear us, for they do not wish to be undone. They cannot feel secure so long as we are there, for our very existence—our existence, not our politics—threatens their legitimacy. They must attack us in order to survive, just as we must destroy them to advance our historic mission.”


What is the cult of personality?


The cult of personality is explained pretty well here…

·         http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cult_of_personality


The Straussian philosophy is a cult of personality and the neocons follow the Straussian philosophy

·         http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article13145.htm


If you select 1 percent of a population (Whistle blowers, dissidents, artists, those that look funny, and act or dress funny) and punish them severely for little or nothing, then you will gain the compliance of the other 99 percent either through fear or because they’ve been conned by the COINTELPRO/STASI type propaganda in to believing that the TI’s must be removed from society for the common good. Then you can implement the social, political and financial changes you want on a grand scale in a relatively short period of time. I.E. advance your historic mission. This has been done enumerable times throughout history.


When the average person considers what the Nazis or Stalin did, they are naturally horrified. When a banker considers what the Nazis or Stalin did they have dollar signs in their eyes. MONEY is the real reason this is happening!!! The bankers know that a one world government is not possible. Empire building has been going on for centuries and a global empire has never been realized. But if you understand finance, history, politics and the military industrial complex, then it is clear to see that it is the EXERCISE of building empires and large scale wars that redistributes the wealth of nations into the hands of the banking elite and keeps the masses under control.


Unfortunately most human beings don't understand how their own minds work nor are they well educated in multiple disciplines. Most of the people that perpetrate these crimes against humanity aren't fully aware that there is such a big conspiracy going on. It’s just that most human beings have so many inherent psychological weaknesses and such a deep lack of education that if you alter the socioeconomic landscape in just the right way, you get what you see here in America today.



·         http://brainz.org/ten-most-revealing-psych-experiments/



Here are a few very credible documentaries that will help you to understand what’s really going on and hopefully survive…


·         http://metanoia-films.org/psywar/#watch


·         http://metanoia-films.org/human-resources/#watch










One of the biggest mistakes people make when they become TI’s is to attempt to create a counter spy network against those that are surveilling them. This is something that the neocons and the banking elite are OK with. A global spy counter spy network is much like the cold war and the cold war was extremely profitable for the banking elite not to mention a powerful pretext to control people. The global war on terror needs a global terrorist network and since there really is not one, many targets will be manipulated into acting out in ways that can classify them as terrorists thus creating the impetus for law enforcement agencies to demand more tax payer money to fight the war on terror. Targets are all better off contacting a civil rights group and explaining that they have reason to believe they have been placed on the terrorist watch list.


Do yourself a favor and learn as much about economics and finance as possible. It will help you survive. This is all the info you will need to be an educated investor. It’s not a get rich quick thing, just a solid economics and investing education.


·         http://www.mediafire.com/?f0ep3y537y6hlxy


·         http://www.mediafire.com/?7jyqc3yjoy78uqr


·         http://www.mediafire.com/?hrxa7ca24n7h0uk



Also, listen to as many lectures by Professor Noam Chomsky as possible. They are all over the internet. He is brilliant and has been exposing the machinations of the opulent (Rothschild, Rockefeller etc) for decades. His research is very credible and will help you to separate the facts from the propaganda and give you a measure of mental clarity and peace. Utilizing his research will also help you gain some of your credibility back with others.


Try to explain all of this to your friends and family. Usually when people see the mission statement of the neocons from their websites (PNAC & FPI) they start listening.


According to anti-communist author Ludwik Kowalski

“Mass murder occurs when brutal and sadistic criminals, to be found in every society, are promoted to positions of dominance, when propaganda is used to dehumanize the targeted population and when children are inoculated with intolerance and hatred. It occurs when victims ("inferior races" or "class enemies") are excluded from the norms of morality, when ideological totalitarianism is imposed and when freedom is suspended. Fear and violence, the preconditions of genocide, are likely to be found in societies with large numbers of thieves and informants.”


Here is some info on how to take care of your physical health.

·         http://www.mediafire.com/?obd4zl5rrjbvwr1


Visit this YouTube channel and watch everything on it. You will gain a clear understanding of what’s really going on.

·         http://www.youtube.com/user/phrygian20


Posts: 8,739
Reply with quote  #8 
Why Is the State Department “Arming” Mexico’s Intelligence Agencies with Advanced Intercept Technologies?


by Tom Burghardt / May 14th, 2012

Amid recent reports that the bodies of four Mexican journalists were discovered in a canal in the port city of Veracruz, less than a week after another journalist based in that city was found strangled in her home, the U.S. State Department “plans to award a contract to provide a Mexican government security agency with a system that can intercept and analyze information from all types of communications systems,” NextGov reported.

The most glaring and obvious question is: why?

Since President Felipe Calderón declared “war” against some of the region’s murderous drug cartels in 2006, some 50,000 Mexicans have been butchered. Activists, journalists, honest law enforcement officials but also ordinary citizens caught in the crossfire, the vast majority of victims, have been the targets of mafia-controlled death squads, corrupt police and the military.

Underscoring the savage nature of another “just war” funded by U.S. taxpayers, last week The Dallas Morning News reported that “23 people were found dead Friday–nine hanging from a bridge and 14 decapitated–across the Texas border in the city of Nuevo Laredo.”

The arcane and highly-ritualized character of the violence, often accompanied by sardonic touches meant to instill fear amongst people already ground underfoot by crushing poverty and official corruption that would make the Borgias blush, convey an unmistakable message: “We rule here!”

“The latest massacres are part of a continuing battle between the paramilitary group known as the Zetas and the Sinaloa cartel,” the Morning News averred. “The violence appears to be part of a strategy by the Sinaloa cartel to disrupt one of the most lucrative routes for drug smugglers by bringing increased attention from the federal government.”

According to investigators the “two warring cartels are fighting for control of the corridor that leads into Interstate 35, known as one of the most lucrative routes for smugglers.”

But as Laura Carlsen, the director of the Americas Program pointed out last month in CounterPunch, “In a series of ‘Joint Operations’ between Federal Police and Armed Forces, the Mexican government has deployed more than 45,000 troops into various regions of the country in an unprecedented domestic low-intensity conflict.”

The militarization of Mexican society, as in the “Colossus to the North,” has also seen the expansion of a bloated Surveillance State. Carlsen averred that when the Army and Federal Police are “deployed to communities where civilians are defined as suspected enemies, soldiers and officers have responded too often with arbitrary arrests, personal agendas and corruption, extrajudicial executions, the use of torture, and excessive use of force.”

But expanding the surveillance capabilities of secret state agencies as the State Department proposes in its multimillion dollar gift to the Israeli-founded firm, Verint Systems, far from inhibiting violence by drug gangs and the security apparatus, on the contrary, will only rationalize repression as new “targets” are identified and electronic communications are data-mined for “actionable intelligence.”

Indeed, The New York Times reported last summer that “after months of negotiations, the United States established an intelligence post on a northern Mexican military base.”

Although anonymous “American officials” cited by the Times “declined to provide details about the work being done” by a team of spooks drawn from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the CIA and “retired military personnel members from the Pentagon’s Northern Command,” they said that “the compound had been modeled after ‘fusion intelligence centers’ that the United States operates in Iraq and Afghanistan to monitor insurgent groups.”

Such developments are hardly encouraging considering the role played by “fusion centers” here in the heimat. As the ACLU has amply documented, “Americans have been put under surveillance or harassed by the police just for deciding to organize, march, protest, espouse unusual viewpoints, and engage in normal, innocuous behaviors such as writing notes or taking photographs in public.”

In Mexico, the results will be immeasurably worse; with corruption endemic on both sides of the border, who’s to say authorities won’t sell personal data gleaned from these digital sweeps to the highest bidder?

Only this time, the data scrapped from internet search queries, emails, smartphone chatter or text messages grabbed by bent officials won’t result in annoying targeted ads on your browser but in piles of corpses.

Guns In, Drugs Out: Iran/Contra Redux

While Obama administration officials hypocritically washed their hands of responsibility for failing to clamp-down on what journalist Daniel Hopsicker christened The New American Drug Lords, an old boys club of dodgy bankers, shady investment consultants, defense contractors and other glad handers, the violence following drug flows north like a swarm of locusts is fueled in no small part by arms which federal intelligence and law enforcement allowed to “walk” across the border.

Indeed, as Hopsicker pointed out in MadCow Morning News: “Ten years ago Miami Private Detective Gary McDaniel, a 30-year veteran investigator for both Government prosecutors and attorneys for major drug traffickers, educated me on the basics of the drug trade.”

    Every successful drug trafficking organization (DTO) needs four things to be successful,’ he said. He ticked each one off on his fingers: ‘Production, distribution, transportation, and–most important of all–protection’.

To McDaniel’s list we can add a fifth element: intelligence gleaned from the latest advances in communications’ technologies.

If all this sounds familiar, it should.

During the 1980s, as the Reagan administration waged its anticommunist crusade across Central and South America, the CIA forged their now-infamous “Dark Alliance” with far-right terrorists (our “boys,” the Nicaraguan Contras), Argentine, Bolivian and Chilean death-squad generals and the up-and-coming cocaine cartels who had more on their minds than ideological purity.

By the end of that blood-soaked decade, with much encouragement from Washington, including a get-out-of-jail-free card for their dope dealing assets in the form of a Memorandum of Understanding between the CIA and the Justice Department, the region was on its way towards becoming a multibillion dollar growth engine for the well-connected.

Does history repeat? You bet it does!

As Narco News investigative journalist Bill Conroy reported:

    A top enforcer for the Sinaloa drug organization and his army of assassins in Juarez, Mexico–responsible for a surge in violence in that city that has led to thousands of deaths in recent years–may well have been supplied hundreds, if not thousands, of weapons through an ill-fated US law-enforcement operation known as Fast and Furious.

But which agency has the wherewithal to guarantee that weapon flows from the United States fall into the right hands? More than a few analysts believe that Fast and Furious was an “intelligence” gambit overseen by the CIA.

Indeed, Narco News reported:

    When it comes to prime intelligence targets, they don’t come much better than the leaders of Mexican drug organizations, who have their tentacles planted deep inside Latin American governments due to the corrupt reach of the drug trade. So it is not unreasonable to suspect that part of the reason that ATF’s Fast and Furious makes no sense in terms of a law enforcement operation is because it wasn’t one at all. (emphasis added)

“In fact,” Conroy wrote, “it may well have been co-opted and trumped by a covert U.S. intelligence agency operation, such as one run by CIA, that is shielded even from most members of Congress–possibly even the White House, if it was launched under a prior administration and parts of it have since run off the tracks on their own.”

Conroy revealed that enforcer, Jose Antonio Torres Marrufo, who was arrested in February by Mexican authorities, “is now the subject of a 14-count US indictment unsealed in late April in San Antonio, Texas, that also charges the alleged leaders of the Sinaloa organization (Joaquin Guzman Loera, or El Chapo; and Ismael Zambada Garcia, or El Mayo) and 21 other individuals with engaging in drug and firearms trafficking, money laundering and murder in ‘furtherance of a criminal enterprise’.”

According to officials, Marrufo was allegedly responsible for the murders of some 18 patients at a Juárez drug treatment center in 2009. However, the significance of the gangster’s arrest may be overshadowed by the additional disclosure that his close associates, Eduardo and Jesus A. Miramontes Varela “worked for the Sinaloa Cartel when they became informants for the FBI in 2009.”

“Under Fast and Furious,” Conroy wrote, “the nation’s federal gun-law enforcer, ATF, in conjunction with a task force composed of several other federal agencies, including the FBI, allowed nearly 2,000 weapons to be smuggled into Mexico.”

Amongst the firearms allowed to “walk,” according to multiple published reports, were AK-47 assault rifles, Barrett .50 caliber sniper rifles, .38 caliber revolvers and FN Five-seven automatic pistols. Most of the arms purchased with ATF and Justice Department approval went to the Sinaloa or other drug cartels and have since turned up at some 170 crime scenes in Mexico.

While field level investigators objected to the operation and voiced their opposition to higher-ups in ATF, they were smacked-down by senior supervisors David Voth.

Responding to strong objections from his own agents, Voth wrote a threatening email to disgruntled officers in March 2010:

    I will be damned if this case is going to suffer due to petty arguing, rumors, or other adolescent behavior. I don’t know what all the issues are but we are all adults, we are all professionals, and we have an exciting opportunity to use the biggest tool in our law enforcement tool box. If you don’t think this is fun you are in the wrong line of work–period!

Fun? Try telling that to the families of U.S. Border Patrol officer Brian Terry, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata or the families of hundreds of unnamed Mexican victims who turned up dead, murdered with weapons supplied by the U.S. government.

Conroy also informed us that “deadly weapons were allowed to ‘walk’ across the border, where they were put into the clutches of criminal organizations, such as those overseen by alleged Sinaloa enforcer Marrufo, so that US law enforcers could supposedly later trace the trail of those guns to the so-called kingpins of Mexico’s criminal organizations.”

There was just one small catch. “A Feb. 1, 2012, memo drafted by staff for [U.S. Senator Charles] Grassley and [U.S. Rep. Darryl] Issa, thickens the plot, indicating that there were, in fact, two FBI informants involved with purchasing weapons from [Manuel Celis] Acosta, [presumably the "main target" of Fast and Furious] and ATF had no clue that these so-called ‘big fish,’ the high-level targets of Fast and Furious, were, in fact, working for a sister agency.”

According to that Congressional memo:

    During the course of this separate investigation, the FBI designated these two cartel associates as national security assets. [essentially foreign-intelligence agents, or informants]. In exchange for one individual’s guilty plea to a minor count of ‘Alien in Possession of a Firearm,’ both became FBI informants and are now considered to be unindictable. This means that the entire goal of Fast and Furious–to target these two individuals and bring them to justice–was a failure. ATF’s discovery that the primary targets of their investigation were not indictable was ‘a major disappointment’.

Brilliant, right? If one were to fall for “conspiracy theories,” one would almost believe that U.S. secret state agencies, like their Mexican counterparts, were favoring one narcotrafficking gang (the Sinaloa cartel) over their rivals, the equally violent and sinister group Los Zetas or the Juárez cartel founded by self-described “Lord of the Heavens,” Amado Carrillo Fuentes.

In fact, it wasn’t only the ATF-DEA-FBI that allowed guns to “walk” across the border into the hands of state-connected killers. To the list of the clueless, add the Pentagon.

In an earlier report, Conroy disclosed, citing State Department cables published by the secrecy-shredding web site WikiLeaks, that grenades used to attack the Televisa TV station and the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey in 2008-2009 “involved military grade explosives made in the USA that somehow found their way to Mexico.” A second cable confirms that “U.S. military munitions sold in the 1990s to a foreign military were subsequently diverted to Mexican narco-traffickers.”

Narco News also reported that the State Department cables confirm “that the U.S. government is very aware that much of the heavy firepower now in the hands of Mexican criminal organizations isn’t linked to mom-and-pop gun stores, but rather the result of blowback from U.S. arms-trading policies (both current and dating back to the Iran/Contra era) that put billions of dollars of deadly munitions into global trade stream annually.”

Indeed, “bellicose government policies, such as the U.S.-sponsored Mérida Initiative, that are premised on further militarizing the effort to impose prohibition on civil society only serve to expand the profit margin on the bloodshed.”

But what if that is precisely the goal of U.S. policy planners and their masters, corrupt American financial institutions like Wachovia Bank or the defense contractors who reap billions from the slaughter?

In that case then, the so-called “War on Drugs” is really a war over who controls the drug flow and the fabulous profits derived from the illicit trade.

Back to the Future

While Colombia continues to be the principle source of processed cocaine entering Europe and the United States, despite some $7.5 billion dispensed to that country’s repressive military and police apparatus under Plan Colombia, wholesale distribution of narcotics entering the U.S. are now controlled by Mexican DTOs.

It is a demonstrable fact that Plan Colombia failed to stop the tsunami of narcotics entering the U.S. and that “success” or “failure” in that enterprise was besides the point. As multiple analysts and investigative journalists across the decades have documented, U.S. intelligence agencies, principally the CIA, have cultivated ties and operational links to DTOs and their ruling class enablers, favoring cartels that advanced U.S. geopolitical goals whilst targeting those perceived as liabilities.

As researchers Oliver Villar and Drew Cottle pointed out in Cocaine, Death Squads and the War on Terror: U.S. Imperialism and Class Struggle in Colombia: “Among the compradores, short-term arrangements were made on coca production that paved the road for longer-term agreements of all kinds, one of which supported the emergence of the narco-bourgeoisie, whose business operations had remained relatively independent.”

Villar and Cottle averred:

    Emerging narco-capitalism permeated Colombia’s financial system, creating financial connections throughout the Colombian economy. The active participation of banks in the cocaine industry greatly strengthened financial connections among the narco-bourgeoisie. The Cali cartel metamorphosed into numerous legitimate business enterprises such as pharmaceutical companies and real estate firms to operate the cocaine trade, whereas the Medellín cartel focused on money-laundering.

This production and distribution system was highly unstable however, and “created fierce competition among traffickers with connections to the Colombian ruling class,” Villar and Cottle wrote. “The Medellín cartel waged a desperate battle against enterprises that refused to enter into an alliance with them. All manner of underhanded methods, from blackmail to murder, were employed in this battle. The violent liquidation of rival enterprises, many who collaborated with the CIA, provoked retaliation from the United States which declared a war on drugs that targeted Pablo Escobar.”

As with Plan Colombia, under terms of the Mérida Initiative, the U.S. Congress has authorized some $1.6 billion for Mexico and Central American states blown away by the narcotics hurricane. However, much of the funds doled out to Mexican military and police organizations never leave the United States. Instead, as with other “foreign aid” boondoggles these funds flow directly into the coffers of giant U.S. defense firms and will be used to purchase aircraft, surveillance equipment and other hardware produced by the U.S. Military-Industrial Complex.

As in Colombia during the 1990s, a similar consolidation process, accompanied by spectacular levels of violence, is currently wracking Mexican society as drug gangs vie for control over the lucrative distribution market and are said to control 90% of the trafficking routes entering the U.S.

According to some estimates, approximately $49.4 billion annually pour into the accounts of major DTOs, the Congressional Research Service (CRS) reported back in 2007. However, most studies of global drug trafficking fail to analyze the benefits accrued by major U.S. financial institutions — banks, the stock market, hedge funds, etc. — who have been the direct beneficiaries of the $352 billion in annual drug profits “absorbed into the economic system,” as The Observer reported in 2009.

“In a nutshell,” Villar and Cottle wrote, “the war of drugs and terror is part of a counterrevolutionary strategy designed to maintain rather than eliminate the economic conditions that allow the drug trade to thrive.” That pattern is being replicated today in Mexico. “From Reagan to Obama, U.S. covert intervention has, paradoxically, only accentuated the social violence and systematized the production and distribution of cocaine.”

Corporate grifters, profiting on everything from weapons’ sales to surveillance kit have names. In the context of the Mérida Initiative, one firm stands out, the Israeli-founded spy shop Verint Systems Inc.

Drugs, Terror, War… Whatever

Like the “War on Terror,” the “War on Drugs” is predicated on the fallacy that “persistent situational awareness” obtained through the driftnet surveillance of electronic communications will give secret state agencies a leg-up on their adversaries.

Better think again! As Villar and Cottle pointed out, “the 1994 discovery of a computer owned by members of the Cali cartel offered clues on the complexities of the system and illustrated the technological sophistication of Colombia’s narco-economy.”

Indeed, the $1.5 million IBM AS400 mainframe “networked with half a dozen terminals and monitors and six technicians overseeing its operations,” and its “custom-written data-mining software cross-referenced the Cali phone exchange’s traffic with the phone numbers of American personnel and Colombian intelligence and law enforcement officials.”

That network was “set up by a retired Colombian army intelligence officer,” a fact which the Colombian government denied despite strong evidence to the contrary. And when Colombian officials “established a toll-free hotline for information about the Cali cartel leaders,” Villar and Cottle reported that a “former high-level DEA official said: ‘All of these anonymous callers were immediately identified, and they were killed.”

By today’s standards, that IBM mainframe is a throwback to the stone age. With advanced communications and encryption technologies readily available to anyone, and with any number of dodgy spy firms specializing in everything from the mass harvesting of information from social networks to the installation of malware on personal computers and GPS smartphone tracking as the WikiLeaks Spyfiles revealed, only a fool — or a State Department bureaucrat — would believe that a weaponized spy kit won’t fall into the hands of billion dollar organized crime groups. Yet that’s exactly what Washington plans to do.

In the NextGov report cited above, we were informed that the State Department’s “Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, in a contract notice published late Friday, said it will fund what it called the Mexico Technical Surveillance System for use by that country’s Public Security Secretariat to ‘continue to help deter, prevent and mitigate acts of major federal crimes in Mexico that include narcotics trafficking and terrorism’.”

The contract proposal specifies that “all awards will be based on the following criteria in order of importance for 1) Technical Approach/Understanding/Personnel, 2) Corporate Experience, 3) Past Performance and 4) Price. Technical merit (captured in the three (3) technical evaluation factors enumerated above, taken together) is significantly more important than cost/price.”

But as NextGov reported while the procurement, at least on paper, is “competitive,” the State Department “came close to ruling out any other bidder except Verint with the caveat that ‘the new equipment must function seamlessly with the existing in a single system or be entirely replaced’.”

That pretty much “levels the playing field” for the Israeli firm and the suite of surveillance tools it offers, the Reliant Monitoring System, which “intercepts virtually any wired, wireless or broadband communication network and service.” Indeed, the State Department plans to “triple the capacity of the current Verint system from 30 workstations to 107,” according to NextGov. Given the spooky nature of the company, no doubt El Chapo is drooling over the prospect.

As James Bamford pointed out in The Shadow Factory and in a series of recent articles in Wired Magazine, “Verint was founded in Israel by Israelis, including Jacob ‘Kobi’ Alexander, a former Israeli intelligence officer. Some 800 employees work for Verint, including 350 who are based in Israel, primarily working in research and development and operations.”

As Antifascist Calling disclosed back in 2008 (see: “Thick as Thieves: The Private (and very profitable) World of Corporate Spying”): “When Comverse Infosys [now Verint] founder and CEO Jacob ‘Kobi’ Alexander fled to Israel and later Namibia in 2006, the former Israeli intelligence officer and entrepreneur took along a little extra cash for his extended ‘vacation’–$57 million to be precise.”

Alexander, a veteran of Israel’s ultra-secretive Unit 8200, the equivalent of America’s National Security Agency, fled to Namibia because he faced a 32-count indictment by the Justice Department over allegations that he masterminded a scheme to backdate millions of Comverse stock options which allowed the enterprising corporate grifter to embezzle some $138 million from company shareholders.

As I wrote back then:

    Despite alarms raised by a score of federal law enforcement agencies, including the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), fearful that sensitive wiretap information was finding its way into the hands of international narcotrafficking cartels, virtually nothing has been done to halt the outsourcing of America’s surveillance apparatus to firms with intimate ties to foreign intelligence entities. Indeed, as America’s spy system is turned inward against the American people, corporations such as Verint work hand-in-glove with a spooky network of security agencies and their corporatist pals in the telecommunications industry.

But as we know, software and the spy trojans embedded in their code are “neutral.” What can be used by law enforcement agencies such as Mexico’s Secretaría de Seguridad Pública (SSP) and the Agencia Federal de Investigación (AFI) can also be handed over by corrupt officials to their presumed targets, the Sinaloa, Gulf, Juárez, Knights Templar, Tijuana or Los Zetas narcotrafficking cartels, all of whom have ties to Mexico’s narco-bourgeoisie, police and the military.

It wouldn’t be the first time that “retired” Israeli military officers or “ex” Mossad men were exposed as trainers for some of the drug world’s most notorious killers.

Nearly a decade ago, investigative journalist Jeremy Bigwood revealed in Narco News that drug gangster and far-right political actor Carlos Castaño, the future founder of the blood-soaked Autodefensas Unidas de Colombia, or AUC, “was only 18 years old when he arrived in Israel in 1983 to take a year-long course called ’562.’ Castaño, a Colombian, had come to the Holy Land as a pilgrim of sorts, but not to find peace. Course 562 was about war, and how to wage it, and it was something Carlos Castaño would eventually excel at, becoming the most adept and ruthless paramilitary leader in Latin America’s history.”

Bigwood reported that Castaño’s IDF trainers emphasized instruction in “urban strategies,” which included the use of fragmentation grenades, RPG-7s as well as “complementary courses” on terrorism and counter-terrorism.

Narco News informed us that “not all was study for Castaño in Israel, and he used his free time to meet with Colombian soldiers undergoing regular military training there–soldiers of the worst human rights violators in the western hemisphere were being trained by some of the worst human rights violators in the Middle East. But these were precisely the connections that would prove so useful in the future.”

A future that encompassed the wholesale massacre of Colombian peasants, union organizers and left-wing activists as the AUC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the CIA-anointed Cali cartel, founded by Iran/Contra drug kingpins, the Rodríguez Orejuela brothers, engaged in a brutal war to the death with Pablo Escobars’ Medellín cartel in the 1990s.

According to declassified CIA, DEA and State Department documents published by the National Security Archive in 2008, “U.S. espionage operations targeting top Colombian government officials in 1993 provided key evidence linking the U.S.-Colombia task force charged with tracking down fugitive drug lord Pablo Escobar to one of Colombia’s most notorious paramilitary chiefs.”

Documents published by the Archive “include two heavily-censored CIA memos describing briefings provided by members of a ‘Blue Ribbon Panel’ of CIA investigators to members of U.S. congressional intelligence committees and the National Security Council. The Panel–which included personnel from the CIA’s directorate for clandestine intelligence operations–had been investigating the possibility that intelligence shared with the Medellín Task Force in 1993 ended up in the hands of Colombian paramilitaries and narcotraffickers from the Pepes. That investigation concluded on December 3, 1993, the day Escobar was killed.”

“The collaboration between paramilitaries and government security forces evident in the Pepes episode is a direct precursor of today’s ‘para-political’ scandal,” said Michael Evans, director of the National Security Archive’s Colombia Documentation Project. “The Pepes affair is the archetype for the pattern of collaboration between drug cartels, paramilitary warlords and Colombian security forces that developed over the next decade into one of the most dangerous threats to Colombian security and U.S. anti-narcotics programs. Evidence still concealed within secret U.S. intelligence files forms a critical part of that hidden history.”

While both the Cali and Medellín cartels have faded into history, cocaine processed on an industrial scale continues to flood out of Colombia and other “legs” of the Crystal Triangle. Control over that distribution network, worth hundreds of billions of dollars annually, much of which finds its way into U.S. banks, is the source of the bloodshed currently tearing Mexico and Central America to pieces.

Is history repeating itself when it comes to favoring one drug gang over another? The answer is yes. According to a 2010 National Public Radio report, “an NPR News investigation has found strong evidence of collusion between elements of the Mexican army and the Sinaloa cartel in the violent border city of Juarez.”

“Dozens of interviews with current and former law enforcement agents, organized crime experts, elected representatives, and victims of violence suggest that the Sinaloans depend on bribes to top government officials to help their leader, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, elude capture, expand his empire and keep his operatives out of jail.”

Sound far-fetched? As Bill Conroy reported last year in Narco News, court pleadings in the case of accused Sinaloa capo Jesus Vicente Zambada Niebla “demonstrate the insidious nature of the cooperation that exists between the US government and Mexico’s Sinaloa mafia organization.”

“According to Zambada Neibla, he and the rest of the Sinaloa leadership, through the informant [Humberto] Loya Castro, negotiated a quid-pro-quo immunity deal with the US government in which they were guaranteed protection from prosecution in exchange for providing US law enforcers and intelligence agencies with information that could be used to compromise rival Mexican cartels and their operations.”

“The alleged deal,” Conroy averred, “assured protection for the Sinaloa Cartel’s business operations while also undermining its competition–such as the Vicente Carrillo Fuentes organization out of Juarez, Mexico, the murder capital of the world.”

Inquiring minds can’t help but wonder why, if Zambada Neibla’s allegations are so much hot-air, would U.S. prosecutors invoke “national security” under provisions of the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA) “in his trial in an attempt to assure certain sensitive and/or embarrassing evidence is not made available to Zambada Niebla’s attorneys”?

As Narco News disclosed, “Perhaps any deal that might exist between the Sinaloa leadership is limited to Chapo Guzman and Ismael Zambada, perhaps it was put in place by a US intelligence agency under the guise of law enforcement, or through some secret pact cobbled together by the US State Department that does not have to be honored by the Justice Department because it applies only in Mexico. In this case, the devil is in the details, and in all those scenarios, the cloak of national security could easily be invoked to prevent evidence of the pact surfacing in a court of law.”

With hundreds of billions of dollars at stake and a “drug war” that favors one group of cut-throats over another to obtain leverage over corrupt politicians, along with an endless source of funds for intelligence-connected black operations, the Verint deal seems like a slam-dunk.

After all, with powerful communications’ intercept technologies in the hands of the Mexican secret state, “national security,” on both sides of the border, is little more than code for business as usual.

Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. His articles are published in many venues. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press. Read other articles by Tom, or visit Tom's website.

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The FBI crime family giveth and the FBI crime family taketh, eh?

couple of reads

1st read
FBI to return stolen artifacts to Polish Museum of America

June 20, 2012
The Polish Museum of America, in Chicago, will be getting back artifacts that were stolen decades ago.

2nd read

don't you like the spin when they use the word " misdeeds" to describe FBI agents criminal behaviour?

see link for full MISDEEDS


9/11 thefts not prosecuted after FBI misdeeds
Updated 6/16/2006 2:58 PM ET         E-mail | Print | Subscribe to stories like this
NEW YORK (AP) — As firefighters searched for survivors after the Sept. 11 attacks, heat from the World Trade Center's smoldering ruins burned the soles off their boots. They needed new ones every few hours, and Chris Christopherson made sure they got them.

The disaster specialist was proud to dispatch replacement boots from the Long Island warehouse of a company paid by the government to manage rescue supplies donated by Americans. Then came the moment that crushed Christopherson's faith.

His employer dispatched trucks to the warehouse and loaded hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of donated bottled water, clothes, tools and generators to be moved to Minnesota in a plot to sell some for profit, according to government records and interviews.

Dan L'Allier said he witnessed 45 tons of the New York loot being unloaded in Minnesota at his company's headquarters. He and Christopherson complained to a company executive, but were ordered to keep quiet. They persisted, going instead to the FBI.

The two whistle-blowers eventually lost their jobs, received death threats and were blackballed in the disaster relief industry. But they remained convinced their sacrifice was worth seeing justice done.

They were wrong.

Once-secret documents obtained by The Associated Press detail how the company, Kieger Enterprises of Lino Lakes, Minn., went unpunished for the Sept. 11 thefts after the government discovered FBI agents and other government officials had stolen artifacts from New York's ground zero.

As a result, most Americans were kept in the dark about a major fraud involving their donated goods even as new requests for charity emerged with disasters like Hurricane Katrina. And Christopherson and L'Allier were left disillusioned.

"I wouldn't open my mouth again for all the tea in China," L'Allier said. Added Christopherson, a 34-year-old father of two: "I paid a big price."

The government ultimately gave the whistle-blowers $30,000 each after expenses, their share in a civil settlement against KEI. They say the sum was hardly worth their trouble.

VIDEO: Outrage over 9/11 thefts

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Copwatch on GNN

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a species that hires bodyguards to protect them who are returning serial killers from the Iraq war
looses the ability to protect itself and is doomed to extinction when the bodyguards turn on them

see link for full story

Former Pennsylvania state trooper kills wife then himself

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - A former Pennsylvania state trooper killed his estranged wife on Thursday before taking his own life in a Decatur Township grocery store, according to state police and local media.

Investigators said Mark Miscavish, 51, went to the County Market, where his wife Traci worked, found her in an upstairs office and shot her with a shotgun before shooting himself at about 10 a.m.

Traci Miscavish, 49, filed for divorce on Friday, according to Centredaily.com. Her husband was a state policeman for 15 years, the Web site said.

Mark Miscavish was arrested on January 23 after he allegedly assaulted his wife and threatened to kill her, according to Centredaily.com.

Traci Miscavish was granted a protection-from-abuse order while her husband faced charges stemming from the incident, the site said.

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Pius XII, the Nazis, and the KGB: How Saintly Was He?

By Steve Weissman, Reader Supported News

02 April 13


rom taming the Vatican bank and bureaucracy to dodging his role in Argentina's Dirty War, the new Pope Francis faces a host of thorny challenges. But the most telling could be what he does about impending efforts to beatify Pius XII, the controversial leader of the Catholic Church during and after the Second World War. Beatification would be the last step before naming Pius a saint, and the rhetoric will only grow more deafening. Was the wartime pontiff "Hitler's Pope," as the British writer John Cornwell called him? Or was he, as his defenders claim, the saint who saved the Jews.

The evidence so far supports neither of these clichéd portrayals. As the Vatican diplomat Eugenio Pacelli and then as pope, Pius pursued a complicated strategy to defend his Church against the Nazis – and against Soviet Communism, which he saw as an even more dangerous threat to "Christian Europe." To seriously probe his strategy and its impact, historians still need greater access to Vatican archives and time to put what they find into the larger context. What did Pius do and not do to affect the outcome of the war and Hitler's attempt to eradicate European Jewry? Did Pius do as much as he could have, not just to save Jews, but also to protect German and Eastern European Catholics? In what measure did his public silence stem from necessity, or choice, or a skewed perspective? And, not to be forgotten, what was his role in promoting the Cold War and helping Nazi war criminals flee to Latin America?

From its beginning in 1965, the Vatican's effort to canonize Pius have encouraged strident and sweeping polemics filled with faith, ideology, and tantalizing scraps of fact and fiction. But existing narratives, no matter how sincerely and convincingly argued, remain woefully incomplete, as a group of Catholic historians and theologians protested in what was supposed to be a secret letter to Pope Benedict in February 2010.

"The movement to press forward at this time the process of beatification of Pius XII greatly troubles us," they wrote. "Currently, existing research leads us to the view that Pope Pius XII did not issue a clearly worded statement, unconditionally condemning the wholesale slaughter and murder of European Jews. At the same time, some evidence also compels us to see that Pius XII's diplomatic background encouraged him as head of a neutral state, the Vatican, to assist Jews by means that were not made public during the war. It is essential that further research be conducted to resolve both these questions."

Led by the Rev. Dr. John Pawlikowski of the Catholic Theological Union, the scholars feared that beatifying Pius before they and others could do the necessary digging might seriously harm Jewish-Catholic relations. "Throughout the course of the war, Pius named almost every victim group except one – Jews," wrote one of the signers of the letter, Paul O'Shea, in his trailblazing "A Cross Too Heavy: Pius XII and the Jews of Europe." O'Shea sees the reason in Pacelli's earlier history in the Church. "Centuries of Christian Judeophobia and anti-Semitism found their culmination, not in papal protest, but in sad papal neglect."

For Catholics themselves, the pro-Pius polemics also reflect "a battle over authority and how it is exercised in contemporary Catholicism," writes O'Shea. "If it is admitted that the pope failed to speak and act clearly when he had undeniable proof of the murder of European Jews, would this seriously damage papal authority today?" It certainly could. But where liberal Catholics see this as a reason to rethink the whole question of papal authority, conservative traditionalists take it as a goad to deny the possible problems and fast-track Pius into sainthood. That's just how authoritarian minds work.

Will the new pope listen to the more liberal scholars still pleading for patience? Or will he follow the more authoritarian hardliners who want to sanctify "loyalty to the Holy Father" while celebrating Pius XII as "the veritable savior of Europe's Jews?" Without a lot more solid evidence, this premature approbation would be a hard sell to most Jews, and could come back to haunt the Church and further disillusion the faithful. But Pope Francis may well run the risk. Though he enjoys warm relations with Argentina's large and influential Jewish community, he has almost always sided with the traditionalists in promoting greater discipline within the Church. Indeed, keeping his Jesuit troops in line was one of the big issues for him when he turned against the liberation theologians during Argentina's Dirty War.

While waiting to see how Pope Francis handles his predecessor's beatification, the rest of us can help reduce the rhetorical heat by better understanding three of the sillier claims that the pro-Pius polemicists never stop repeating. Without question, courageous Catholic priests, nuns, prelates, and lay believers all over Europe saved huge numbers of Jewish lives during the Holocaust. Many Jews, including Albert Einstein, understood that early on and emotionally expressed their gratitude to Pius as the world's leading Catholic. But not even an Einstein could have discerned how much Pius even knew of the rescue efforts, especially those outside of Italy. Closely related, the polemicists keep insisting that Pius saved 860,000 Jews. The number comes from a well-meaning Israeli named Pinchas Lapide, who never substantiated his claim. Neither has any serious historian. And, turning the argument on its head, the polemicists pose the rehabilitation of Pius almost as payback to the Soviet KGB for what his most vocal Jewish defender, Gary Krupp, calls "the greatest character assassination of the 20th Century." On his very anti-polemical blog, historian Paul O'Shea, looks closely at this and other of Krupp's assertions.

Having spent a good part of my journalistic career chasing down covert operations of the CIA and KGB, I love this story and should probably devote an entire column to it. But, in short, a defector from the highest ranks of Romanian and Soviet bloc intelligence, Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, claims that the KGB set out to "frame" the staunchly anti-Communist Pius as a pro-Nazi anti-Semite. They called their campaign "Operation Seat 12," says Pacepa, and it included Rolf Hockhuth's play "The Deputy," which he first presented in 1963 and which is widely credited with stirring up much of the polemic against Pius. I have no problem believing that the KGB would – and could – have done all this, but did they? Pacepa offers no corroborating evidence. Neither does any credible historian, not even with all the recent access to Soviet intelligence files. And I find it passing strange that Pacepa defected in 1978, worked closely with American intelligence, and waited until 2007 to make his explosive "revelation," which some observers call "the Black Legend." Pro-Pius publications then ran with the story, while the journal of former spies and Cold Warriors, "Whistleblower," devoted its entire September 2012 issue to Pacepa and what sophisticates used to call in counterfeit Russian, "Disinformatzya." This June, the he will release a new book called "Disinformation: Former Spy Chief Reveals Secret Strategy for Undermining Freedom, Attacking Religion, and Promoting Terrorism." He co-wrote the book with Ronald J. Rychlack, one of the most industrious polemicists pushing the cause of Pius XII. How very convenient – and so 1950s.

Will this concerted campaign speed up his beatification? We'll see. But whatever Pope Francis decides, the true picture of Pius XII will emerge soon enough in the evidence that historians dig up and digest.

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see link for full story

Judge Removes Lawyer's Penis From Court File

Member of the bar sexted pic to woman now suing him

View Document

Penis Pic Lawyer

  • Penis Pic Lawyer

APRIL 2--A California lawyer has successfully petitioned a judge to strike his penis from the public record.

A photo of attorney Dwayne Beck’s genitalia was included as an exhibit to a lawsuit filed March 13 by a woman identified only as “Jane Sa Doe.” According to the complaint, Beck made a series of unwanted sexual advances toward “Doe,” who contends she has suffered severe emotional distress as a result of the 51-year-old lawyer’s actions.


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Police: Mail Bomb Was Intercepted on Way to Controversial Arizona Sheriff

Authorities are trying to determine who sent an Arizona sheriff explosives in the mail.

CNN reports that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, who is known for his unusual treatment of inmates, was sent a package that turned out to be a bomb.


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Martin Luther King And The Call To Direct Action On Climate

By Joe Romm and Climate Guest Blogger on Apr 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm

Martin Luther King in Birmingham jailVan Jones and I have an op-ed in “The Miami Herald” and many other McClatchy newspapers. I will have more on the moral dimensions of climate change in later posts.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” wrote Martin Luther King Jr. from a Birmingham jail on April 16, 1963. “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

The Atlanta-based King was explaining why he was in prison for nonviolent demonstrations so far from home, responding to a critical public statement by eight Southern white religious leaders. His words are timeless and universal in part because King was a master of language but primarily because he viewed civil rights through a moral lens.

The greater the moral crisis, the more his words apply. The greatest moral crisis of our time is the threat posed to billions —  and generations yet unborn — from unrestricted carbon pollution. Now more than ever, we are “tied in a single garment of destiny,” cloaked as a species in a protective climate that we are in the process of unraveling.

Many have criticized the demonstrations against the Keystone XL pipeline, which would open a major spigot to the Canadian tar sands, as unwarranted and untimely — unwarranted given our broad dependence on fossil fuels and untimely because of our struggling economy. We disagree.

We think there has been far too little direct action, given the staggering scale of the threat. As the International Energy Agency has explained, we must leave the vast majority of fossil fuels in the ground if we are to preserve a livable climate and avoid levels of warming that “even school children know” will be catastrophic for us all. The tar sands would be near the top of any list of the largest, dirtiest pools of carbon that must be forsaken for the sake of humanity.

King explained in his letter, “In any nonviolent campaign there are four basic steps: collection of the facts to determine whether injustices exist; negotiation; self purification; and direct action.”

Has there ever been a problem where more facts from more unimpeachable sources have been collected and ignored than climate change? Every major scientific body and international group has taken to begging and pleading for action.

Last fall, the World Bank — no bastion of eco-consciousness – issued a report aimed to “shock us into action.” It warned that “we’re on track for a 4-degree Celsius warmer world marked by extreme heat-waves, declining global food stocks, loss of ecosystems and biodiversity, and life-threatening sea level rise.”

If we don’t act now, then, within decades, a large fraction of the world’s 9 billion people will find themselves living in places whose once stable climate simply now can’t sustain them – either because it is too hot or arid, the land is no longer arable, their glacially fed rivers are drying up, or the seas are rising too fast.

The overwhelming majority of those suffering the most – in this country and especially abroad – will be people who contributed little or nothing whatsoever to the problem.

This would be the greatest injustice in human history, irreversible on a time scale of centuries.

Has there ever been a problem subject to more failed negotiations? The international climate talks have been going on for a quarter century, full of sound and fury, but thwarted in large part by a U.S. Senate that itself talks to death every serious climate bill.

Read Less

By “self-purification,” King meant preparing the group of protestors for the rigors and trials of nonviolent demonstration. But it’s his thoughts on another group that strike nearest now: “I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate,” he wrote in words that apply to today’s moderate, status quo intelligentsia of every color. “Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”

We understand why the fossil fuel industry works to block Congressional action and funds what has become the most effective disinformation campaign in history. We are bewildered by those who claim to accept climate science, but feel no urgency to act.

As King put it, “We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the vitriolic words and actions of the bad people but for the appalling silence of the good people.”

Especially relevant are King’s words about time: “All that is said here grows out of a tragic misconception of time. It is the strangely irrational notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills.”

As King explains, time “can be used either destructively or constructively. I am coming to feel that the people of ill will have used time much more effectively than the people of good will.” We feel the same.

Certainly nothing compares to the centuries of racial injustice King was impatient about. But each year brings an ever-worsening array of megadroughts and superstorms juiced by global warming like a baseball player on steroids. Each year brings higher emissions and ever more dire studies.

We know we’re fast approaching climatic tipping points — the loss of Arctic sea ice, the disintegration of the great ice sheets, the release of vast amounts of carbon from the permafrost, Dust-Bowlification of much of the world’s arable land — that are irreversible and catastrophic.

Even once-reticent climatologists are speaking out because, as Dr. Lonnie Thompson has written, “Virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.” Others, like James Hansen and Jason Box, have themselves joined direct action and been arrested for it.

It is past time for many more to speak out, and for many more to join direct action.

We end with King on the need to act now: “There comes a time when the cup of endurance runs over, and men are no longer willing to be plunged into the abyss of despair. I hope, sirs, you can understand our legitimate and unavoidable impatience.”


Van Jones is president of Rebuild the Dream and author of “Rebuild the Dream.” Joseph Romm runs ClimateProgress.org and is author of “Language Intelligence: Lessons on Persuasion from Jesus, Shakespeare, Lincoln, and Lady Gaga.”

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 A Sad Anniversary for Native Americans
Native American activist Leonard Peltier, who has been imprisoned for 37 years, still awaits justice.
18 Apr 2013

Native American activist Leonard Peltier has been in prison for 37 years this month, for a crime his supporters say he did not commit. [AP]

"I think I can explain beyond serious doubt, that Leonard Peltier has committed no crime whatsoever," said former US Attourney General Ramsey Clark. "But that if he had been guilty of firing a gun that killed an FBI Agent, it was in defense of not just his people but the integrity of humanity from domination and exploitation."

A new effort is underway on the anniversary of Native American activist Leonard Peltier's conviction to urge President Barack Obama to grant clemency to a man Amnesty International considers to be a "political prisoner" in the United States.

This effort is spearheaded by the Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee and joined by his supporters worldwide.

"We no longer have to convince the world of his innocence," Peltier attourney John Privitera told Al Jazeera at a press conference in New York City this past December. "All anyone has to do is read the judicial history of his conviction and incarceration and it is clear that there was a miscarriage of justice."

The judicial history of the Peltier case is fraught with racism, false evidence, coerced testimonies, controversy, and perjury. It is a stain on the judicial system of the United States and has attracted support for Peltier's freedom by such notable figures as Nelson Mandela, Mother Teresa, and the Dalai Lama.

Reign of Terror

It was the mid 1970s on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota during a period which saw the highest per capita murder rate in the country. Most murders went unsolved. Few were ever investigated.

Tribal Council Chairman Richard "Dick" Wilson was elected in 1972. Wilson, viewed as a corrupt administrator who channelled tribal funds to himself while jobs went to his allies, cracked down on the "traditional" people of Pine Ridge, those who valued their indigenous culture, language, and beliefs over more Americanized, western based value systems.

An enthusiastic supporter of signing over native land rights to mining companies, Wilson organized a private militia called 'Guardians of the Oglala Nation' or 'GOONs' to intimidate his political opponents.

At the time, the American Indian Movement (AIM) had been a growing force across the United States standing up for Native American rights, including the upholding of treaties signed by the US Government with the Lakota Nation.

On February 27, 1973, protesting the injustice and conditions on the reservation and bringing attention to the broken treaties, some 200 members of the American Indian Movement and their Oglala Lakota supporters occupied the town of Wounded Knee on Pine Ridge, the site of the 1890 massacre by the US 7th Cavalry which killed at least three hundred unarmed Indians - mostly women and children.

The occupation of Wounded Knee was met by a massive show of force by the FBI, US Marshals, and Tribal Police. Military armoured personnel carriers rumbled down the reservation's roads, and the occupation ended after a 71 day standoff which saw two Indians, Frank Clearwater and Buddy LaMont, killed by gunfire.

What followed was a period on the reservation referred to by those who lived through it as the "reign of terror."

Dick Wilson's tribal government funded GOON squads began a campaign of violence against anyone thought to be an AIM supporter or traditional Oglala Lakota. Entire neighborhoods were shot up, houses were burned, and at least sixty members of AIM or their supporters on the reservation had been found murdered.

The traditional people on the reservation invited AIM to play a more active role in helping protect them from Wilson's gangs. Leonard Peltier was one of those who came to Pine Ridge to help safeguard the community from the violence which engulfed them.

"It was a time of terror for our people, the FBI came to the land of the Oglalas and gave guns and bullets to Indian people,
Tom Poor Bear (left), Oglala Vice President, said "The only thing Leonard [Peltier] is guilty of is carrying the responsibility of our ancestors." [Jason Coppola/Al Jazeera]

to kill other Indian people," Oglala Tribal Vice President Tom Poor Bear told Al Jazeera.

Poor Bear, who has been in AIM since 1972, was in New York City recently speaking up in support of Peltier's release.

"During the reign of terror, a lot of us, like Leonard, set up camps to protect our elders, to protect our children, to protect our spiritual people," Poor Bear added. "The only thing Leonard is guilty of is carrying the responsibility of our ancestors."

It was in this atmosphere that on June 26, 1975, two under cover agents of the FBI drove onto the private property of the Jumping Bull residence where members of AIM had a nearby camp.

Soon after a shootout erupted, with women and children fleeing in the crossfire, FBI Special Agents Jack Coler and Ronald Williams were killed.

The camp was soon surrounded and came under a hail of gunfire while people continued to flee.

A third death, that of Native American Joe Stuntz, shot through the head by a sniper's bullet, has yet to be investigated.

After one of the largest manhunts in FBI history, Peltier, who was at the AIM camp on that day, was arrested in February 1976 in Canada and accused of killing the agents.

Dino Butler and Robert Robideau, arrested in the United States, were also charged with the killings. However, both of them were acquitted of these charges by a federal jury in Cedar Rapids,Iowa, on the grounds of self-defense.

The jury decided that had they been among what was reported to be up to thirty or so involved in the shoot out, and had they been the ones who fired on and killed the agents, due to the fear and violence in the community at that time, those acts would have been justified.

Nevertheless, the FBI was determined to hold someone accountable for the deaths of their agents and turned their focus to Peltier.

Peltier was extradited to the United States for trial based on an affidavit signed by a young Native American woman named Myrtle Poor Bear who stated that she was Peltier's girlfriend at the time and had been a witness to the killings.

Myrtle Poor Bear, known to have been mentally unstable, later recanted, admitting that she had never met Peltier but was threatened into making the incriminating statements by the FBI.

The court in Peltier's case barred her from testifying about FBI misconduct on the grounds of her "incompetence."

The court also prohibited Peltier from using "self-defense," as Butler and Robideau did successfully in Cedar Rapids, as his own defense.

Scare Tactics

During the Peltier trial, the airwaves were filled by media reports of imminent terrorist attacks and kidnappings that were supposedly to be carried out by AIM groups. Jury members were escorted to and from the court house by SWAT teams in busses with blacked out windows.

The fear this generated paid off for the prosecution. Despite failing to produce a single eyewitness to the killings, the prosecution prevailed and on April 19, 1977, the all white jury in Fargo, North Dakota, convicted Leonard Peltier, sentencing him to two consecutive life terms.

A Freedom of Information Act lawsuit years later turned up a ballistics report which revealed that the gun which the prosecution tied to Peltier during the trial did not produce the shell casings found at the scene. The report had been concealed during the trial.

Regardless, the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the ruling even though US prosecutor Lynn Crooks had admitted, "no one knows who fired the fatal shots" that killed the agents.

In fact, during the appeal, according to Peltier defense committee member Dorothy Ninham of the Oneida Nation, when confronted with the lack of evidence the court informed Peltier that he wasn't being held for the 'first degree murder' charge but for 'aiding and abetting'; a crime for which Peltier had not been extradited for, charged with, or convicted of.

The Spirit of Crazy Horse

The details of the Peltier case and the importance of its historical context were carefully presented in the best selling book, "In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, the Leonard Peltier Story" by Peter Matthiessen, as well as in Robert Redford's documentary, "Incident at Oglala".

This context could not be more clear to Ninham, who told to Al Jazeera, "This is not about one day on Pine Ridge and this is not about two FBI agents being murdered. This is about a whole lot more and goes back over a hundred years since we've been fighting with the government."

"They are holding Leonard for two people," Ninham, who posed numerous unanswered questions, added. "What about the 60 murders that happened on that reservation during the "reign of terror?" Who did any time for them? Who even accounted for those murders? Why wasn't a ballistics test done to see who killed Joe Stuntz? What about at Wounded Knee when they [government agents] shot into the church and killed Frank Clearwater?"

"It is just incredible the amount of injustice that has happened to him [Peltier] in his lifetime," Ninham adds. "I know Leonard. I know the kind of person he is. I've worked with him. I know that he is not capable of murder."

"We want people of all races to get involved with this", says Ninham. "We want to remind people that as long as Leonard is not free, none of us are free. I don't know how the United States can sit with this black eye and then talk about human rights in other countries when we are failing to take care of our own issues here."

From Turtle Mountain Indian Reservation in North Dakota, then put into an Indian boarding school as a child, Peltier, who is Anishinabe and Lakota, is thought of by most who know him as just a regular guy with a strong desire to help his people, whether it be defending treaty rights or fixing people's cars.

Peltier, the symbol, has grown since his conviction, and he is now regularly compared to great leaders like Crazy Hourse and Sitting Bull, two legendary Lakota leaders whose lives continue to inspire.

Representing an Idea

The idea Peltier now represents, according to his spiritual advisor Lenny Foster, is that of Indigenous Peoples' struggle and resistance around the world.

"He's locked up and in essence we are all locked up doing time with him", Foster told Al Jazeera.
Kenny Foster, spiritual adviser of jailed Native American activist Leonard Peltier, has been prohibited by the US government from seeing Peltier [Jason Coppola/Al Jazeera]

"As long as he's treated like a political prisoner, we indigenous people are also treated this way. Not having our treaty rights and our sovereignty rights and our freedom of worship being recognised, I think Leonard is a symbol of all of that," added Foster. "For what he represents and what he symbolizes, they want to punish him."

A Dine/Navajo, Foster is a volunteer spiritual advisor for Native American inmates in state prisons and federal penitentiaries. He has been a strong advocate for traditional ceremonies for Native American prisoners, more than 2,000 of whom he has come in contact with while visiting 96 correctional facilities over 30 years in order to conduct sweat lodge ceremonies, pipe ceremonies, and cell side visits.

"I started visiting Leonard Peltier in the Leavenworth US Penitentiary, and eventually moved on to the US Penitentiary in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania," said Foster. "I know Leonard Peltier to be a Revered Elder, and he is a very reverent and spiritual person. He's not some gangster or some gang banger. That's what the federal bureau of prisons wants you to believe."

In seeming disregard for the American Indian Freedom of Religion Act signed by President Jimmy Carter in 1978, an Act which safeguarded the right of Native Americans in the US to practice their religion, even if incarcerated, Peltier has been denied visits from Foster since being transferred to Coleman Federal Correctional Complex, a maximum security prison in Coleman, Florida in 2011.

The reason?

Because Foster is a "friend" of Peltier.

"I raised the issue with the chaplain," said Foster. "That if I were a priest, minister, or rabbi, and had known an inmate for thirty years wouldn't I be somehow friends and have a relationship? But he wouldn't budge on it. The US prison system, when you think about it, is designed to break your spirit, to break your will, to break you down and make you give up. They've tried for thirty seven years to break Leonard's spirit and they haven't done it."

With the incarceration of Leonard Peltier, the US government's battle against him has not ended. As a prisoner in the US penal system, Peltier has endured beatings and solitary confinement.

He also has diabetes, high blood pressure, has suffered a stroke and, accoriding to his lawyers, been denied sufficient medical treatment.

Exemplar of Justice?

As the United States fashions itself as a global leader in human rights advancement, Leonard Peltier's freedom cannot be overlooked.

"I want you to realize there are millions of people throughout the world who are aware of Leonard's case of injustice", Attourney Peter Grant, who is Peltier's lawyer, told Al Jazeera. "They have to be reminded of this. Every diplomat, every world leader knows it is a ball and chain on the President's ability to speak about human rights. It affects his credibility."

Peltier has been Grant's client for decades now.

"We have to reignite the fact of the injustice done to Leonard", Grant added. "We have to keep not only local pressure on the President from people here in the United States, from people on this continent, from people throughout Indian country, we have to keep human rights pressure throughout the world on this president because he has no credibility on those issues until he breaks this ball and chain on his own ankle."

At the New York press conference, Privitera read an appeal to President Barack Obama.

"Mr President, we appeal directly to you. As a legal scholar, you know that article two, section two of our constitution is one of the strong threads in the fabric of our justice system. It is a responsibility born by the executive. It embraces the power to deliver justice, to exercise mercy, and to be wise in that law given power."

"This is an historic opportunity, Mr. President, to infuse your legacy with soulfulness and wisdom", he read. "We ask only that you commute the sentence of Leonard Peltier. No further findings have to be made. Commute him after thirty seven years of imprisonment. You have clemency power to say, and we ask that you do it now, that justice has been served by time, sir. And it's time to return Leonard home to his community to work and die on Turtle Mountain."

Having been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize multiple times himself while incarcerated, Peltier must hope Nobel Peace Prize winner Barack Obama is listening.

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Reply with quote  #17 
How is this bodyguard thing working out for you?
The first step is admitting you don't know what to do.
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4 Guards made pregnant by inmates-25 accused in Baltimore jail smuggling plot
 Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Federal prosecutors said Tuesday that 13 female corrections officers, seven inmates and five others with gang ties have been charged with plotting to smuggle drugs, cellphones and other contraband into Baltimore's jail and other correctional facilities.

According to an indictment, the ring involved sex between inmates and guards that led to four of the officers becoming pregnant, one of them twice, by Tavon White, leader of a gang called the Black Guerrilla Family.

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Reply with quote  #18 


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Undercover: Police Officer Connected to "NATO 5" Case Still Spying on Protest in Chicago

Tuesday, 21 May 2013 

The first time "Danny" (far right) officially ran as a CAM medic: March 18, 2012 at a protest to mark the anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq war.On March 27, Chicago teachers and their supporters - including parents, students and community residents - rallied against the largest mass public school closure in US history. News of the mobilization sparked huge public interest before the demonstration - including from an undercover police officer calling himself "Danny Edwards."

The day before the big rally, "Danny" reached out in individual emails to fellow volunteer street medics he had met a year earlier after he took a 20-hour training with Chicago's local street medic collective, Chicago Action Medical (CAM). CAM's volunteer emergency medical technicians (EMTs), nurses, doctors and trained street medics provide emergency medical treatment at local protests.

His aim in reaching out: to learn more about the next day's plans.

"Danny" - who admitted to us on May 6 that he is, in fact, a Chicago police officer - could have saved himself the trouble and his department the expense. After all, organizers had already coordinated directly with top CPD brass about their plans for the next day and widely promoted their intent to stage nonviolent civil disobedience.

After the CTU rally, "Danny" also tried to recruit at least one CAM volunteer street medic via email on April 30, the day before a May 1, 2013, immigrants' rights march, to pair up with him as a partner. There were no takers, so he showed up alone at the rally sporting marked medic regalia. 

His latest undercover sortie as a fake volunteer street medic bookends a hectic year for him.

The Paper Trail

"Danny" was a fixture at CAM events beginning in early March 2012, when he participated in a 20-hour introductory training for new street medics - a training he described in an email to CAM volunteer street medic Scott Mechanic as "great."

May 1, 2012: "Danny Edwards" - posing with fellow Chicago Action Medical volunteers at their health care booth in Union Park, where street medics were volunteering to provide first aid and emergency health care for participants at the annual May Day rally and march. "Danny" - the only medic not smiling - is standing in front of the CAM banner.

The email address "Danny" used in that correspondence, which he did not sign by name, was pegged to the name of a Chicago police officer cited months later in court documents involved in undercover work around the NATO protests.

Less than half an hour after sending that initial email, "Danny" sent the first in a flurry of emails to Mechanic from a different email address, writing "let me know what going on so i can get involved (sic)."

"Danny's" March 2012 foray into spying on CAM aligns with the date prosecutors say the Chicago Police Department (CPD) posted two other undercover agents who went by the street names "Mo" and "Nadia" on a 90-day temporary duty undercover assignment to Field Intelligence Team 7150. That team was tasked with infiltrating Occupy and anarchist groups in the run-up to the NATO Summit, according to court documents filed by Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez in April 2013.

Those two officers, "Mo" and "Nadia," are also purported linchpins in the criminal cases against five activists known as the "NATO 5," three of whom are scheduled to go to trial on NATO-related domestic terrorism charges this September.

The NATO prosecutors' October 2012 Answer to Discovery lists this same police officer among the CPD officers, detectives and other police officials who may be called to testify in this fall's upcoming trial. He is also mentioned in the NATO defendants' February 25, 2013, Motion to Compel Discovery as "a CPD undercover officer related to this investigation."

Busy Year for "Danny" - and Early Red Flags

Five days after he inadvertently emailed Scott Mechanic under his given name and scrambled to cover his tracks, "Danny" acted for the first time as a CAM street medic at a small permitted peace march on Chicago's north side. The March 18, 2012 event was organized to mark the anniversary of the launch of the Iraq War in March 2003.

May 1, 2013: "Danny Edwards," undercover Chicago police officer, at a May Day rally for immigrant rights in Chicago's Union Park."Danny" ran again as a marked CAM street medic on April 7, 2012 at Occupy Chicago's "Occupy Spring" event, also emailing Mechanic on April 26, 2012 about bringing a "friend" to an upcoming health workshop. On May 1, 2012, he volunteered as a marked CAM street medic at a May Day rally and march, where his refusal to follow CAM operational guidelines - reportedly abandoning his street medic partner to make a b-line for a group of young protesters wearing black clothes - began to raise real alarms with fellow street medics.

After "Danny's" behavior on May Day, a number of veteran CAM volunteers - including Mechanic - moved immediately to isolate him from new and less experienced street medics, to monitor his behavior closely and to broadly urge the practice of good security culture.

But without a smoking gun, they were unwilling to expose him publicly. The chill from veteran street medics didn't discourage "Danny" from continuing to reach out and show up to actions.

On May 11, a week and a half later and as local organizers were scrambling to find housing for out-of-town protesters traveling in for the demonstrations, he emailed Mechanic directly for information about housing that other groups or collectives might be offering. "I have a group of friends in need and I wanted some direction," he wrote.

On May 20, 2012, at a large protest against the NATO Summit, CAM street medics demanded that he remove his medic markings after he again ignored CAM street operations protocols by deserting his partner to sprint after a group of protesters clad in black clothes.

"Danny" sent emails to individual members of CAM's listserv - but almost never to the larger listserv - strategically for the next year, seeking information about upcoming demonstrations and meetings. The off-list queries continued to raise red flags with CAM members he contacted, some of whom had never met him and did not know who he was.

When we asked "Danny" at the 2013 May Day rally to confirm his name and identity as a CPD officer, he insisted he was "Danny Edwards" and claimed to be a friend of a local activist.

That's not how the activist described "Danny" to CAM volunteers at a street medic training before the NATO protests last spring. At that training, he told CAM members that "Danny" had recently befriended him, and he raised concerns there about "Danny's" interest in topics ranging from Molotov cocktails to property damage.

"NATO 5" Connection

According to court documents released in the months after the NATO Summit protests, "Danny"is one of the undercover officers at the heart of the "NATO 5" criminal cases. He's mentioned in the pre-NATO Summit pre-emptive raid search warrant documents as "Undercover Officer C," and is also cited by his given name in court documents for one of the NATO defendants, Sebastian "Sabi" Senakiewicz, as a potential trial witness.

We tried to question "Danny" about his undercover activities on May 6 at a house that had a sheet of paper with his given name and phone number taped to the front door. While he admitted he was, in fact, the named police officer he'd denied being just five days earlier, he declined to answer our questions.

"Danny's" post-NATO activities raise a key question: Why keep an undercover officer in play as a volunteer street medic in a nonviolent health-care project almost a year after the NATO protests that ostensibly put him into motion as a police spy in the first place?

It's virtually impossible to say from the official record. That's because the CPD and Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez have fought tooth and nail in court for almost a year to prevent defense attorneys in the remaining NATO cases from learning more about the scope and character of police spying on political activity leading up to last year's NATO Summit. 

At a "NATO 3" status hearing on May 14, 2013, prosecutors again opposed disclosing information about the wider scope of police spying on Chicago's activist groups (as they have before in official court filings) in the months leading up to the NATO Summit. Defense attorneys rebutted in open court - as they did in writing earlier in their April 30, 2013, "Reply to the State's Response to Defendants' Motion to Compel" - that this information remains directly relevant to the NATO cases because it would broaden the context of the arrests of the NATO 3 and the CPD's pre-NATO spying efforts targeting the activist community.

Broader Context

Police spying in recent years has targeted peace groups, environmentalists and the Occupy movement, a focus on protest as a potential flashpoint of "terrorism" that sometimes has disastrous consequences. By way of example, in Boston, local police focused their attention on the political activism of local residents at the same time they missed the threat posed by the Boston Marathon bombers.

And law enforcement has also demonstrated a disturbing pattern of working undercover to create crime to prosecute crime. Notable cases like the "Cleveland 4" fit into a pattern that journalist Arun Gupta has described as law enforcement's "war of entrapment against the Occupy movement."

Law enforcement infiltration in Chicago in the run-up to the 2012 NATO Summit unfolded most publicly with the use of at least two undercover cops who went by the names "Mo" and "Nadia."

Both were regular fixtures at a spring 2012 encampment to try to prevent the closure of the Woodlawn Mental Health Clinic on Chicago's south side, one of six public mental health clinics slated for closure by city officials and hardly a flashpoint of "potential terrorist activity." They also showed up at one point at an independent media center organized to cover the NATO protests and at numerous other documented locales in the two and a half months before the NATO Summit.

"Red Squad" 2.0 Rolling Back into Town?

Ongoing police spying a year after the NATO meeting by "Danny" - and potentially others - raises a real alarm among activists, including CAM street medics, whose national community traces its origins to the Medical Presence Project of the Medical Committee for Human Rights (MCHR).

MCHR was first formed in 1964 to provide medical assistance to the civil rights movement. Its Chicago-based volunteers, who also provided medical aid at protests organized by peace projects and student groups opposed to the Vietnam War, were among thousands of civilians spied on by the CPD's notorious Red Squad.

"The CPD's decision to plant an undercover police spy in Chicago Action Medical is outrageous, but sadly, comes as no surprise," said CAM street medic Dick Reilly in an interview. "The CPD has a long and sordid history of surveillance and infiltration of labor, peace and social justice groups dating back to the 1886 railroading of the Haymarket defendants - efforts that led to the creation of Chicago's infamous Red Squad. Over a hundred years later, the cops are clearly still at it."

For Reilly, CAM's ongoing infiltration threatens core freedoms that range from the privacy rights of the people they treat to police officials' ongoing assault on dissent in the city.

"When the CPD targets a volunteer medical project like CAM - which seeks to provide basic first aid to people exercising their democratic rights and whose primary principle is to 'do no harm' - it underscores the lengths to which they'll go to criminalize dissent, suppress resistance and pander to the agenda of the political and economic elites they actually serve and protect," Reilly said.  

The Chicago Red Squad's abuses of basic constitutional rights were so egregious - targets included the Parent-Teachers' Association and the League of Women Voters - that a federal court slapped the city with a consent decree in 1982 that expressly barred politically motivated police spying unless police could show at least some evidence of criminal intent on the part of the targets of their spying.

The city was finally able to win relief from the consent decree in January 2001, after arguing for years constitutional protections thwarted its ability to investigate gangs and "terrorism."

The consent decree's demise hasn't kept the CPD out of hot water for spying on political projects, either, beginning as early as 2002. Were the old consent decree still in place, CAM members believe "Danny's" undercover spying on their work over the past year would have been illegal.

McCarthy's Spy-Ops Background at NYPD, Newark PD

Just before he was sworn in as Chicago's new mayor in May of 2011, Rahm Emanuel - a former US Congressman and chief of staff for President Obama - announced the appointment of new police superintendent Garry McCarthy. Three months later, McCarthy created an intelligence-gathering unit tasked to perform "counter-terrorism" work in preparation for the May 2012 NATO meetings.

A career New York cop, McCarthy is no stranger to the use of systematic police spying.

The New York Police Department (NYPD) has a contentious track record in this arena, prompting the implementation of New York's own version of Chicago's Red Squad consent decree - the Handschu Decree - while McCarthy was climbing up the NYPD's ranks to a senior command position.

It wasn't long after he formally assumed the mantle of CPD superintendent in 2011 that McCarthy drew fire for allowing the latest iteration of New York's police spy ring to operate in Newark, NJ, where he had served as police chief before taking the position as CPD's top dog.

McCarthy also served as an NYPD commander when the police set up spy rings before the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City and during "CIA on the Hudson," the joint NYPD/CIA project that was set up and run by former CIA Deputy Director for Operations David Cohen to "map the human terrain" of New York City's Islamic community.

Targeting Street Medics

Volunteer street medics have historically been an attractive target for undercovers.

CAM street medic Scott Mechanic met "Anna," before she was outed as a police infiltrator, an FBI informant who used her position as a street medic to befriend and entrap environmental activists. One of those activists, Eric McDavid, is serving a 20-year sentence in a case built around Anna's testimony and her reported entrapment activities.

In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Mechanic was also a street medic volunteer at New Orleans' Common Ground Collective, where he and dozens of other volunteer health-care providers ran into Brandon Darby, an agent provocateur and FBI informant at the heart of another entrapment case, this one against David McKay and Bradley Crowder.

"These kinds of informants and undercover police represent a real threat to activists, in no small part because they're committed to manufacturing crime where none exists to terrorize the public and justify their abuses of our right to dissent," said Mechanic. "This Chicago cop's infiltration of our group raises real questions about police intrusion into protesters' medical histories - and it's a truly despicable example of exploiting people's caregivers as part of the national campaign to criminalize dissent."

Convergence of the War on Drugs, War on Terrorism

As a Chicago cop, the CPD officer who infiltrated CAM has worked on narcotics and gang cases, including as an undercover officer. 

Given the growing conflation of the "War on Drugs" with the "War on Terrorism," which is increasingly married to a War on Dissent, it's not surprising that the Chicago police officer who infiltrated CAM would segue into COINTELPRO-style undercover work. By the 1990's, the CPD was listing dissidents by alleged political affiliation in their gang database, in tandem with then-Mayor Richard M. Daley's claim that the Red Squad Consent Decree shackled cops' ability to investigate both gangs and "terrorism."

Shahid Buttar, executive director of the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, points to the delayed notice search warrants enabled by Section 213 of the USA PATRIOT Act - presented to the public as a counter-terrorism tool - as a key example of the War on Drugs' convergence with the War on Terrorism.

"Both the War on Drugs and the War on Terrorism have long represented cash cows for law enforcement and intelligence agencies, from the FBI all the way down to local police departments," Buttar said in an interview. "Beyond the serial corruption of agencies pimping public fears to inflate their budgets, many particular powers claimed as necessary for one ‘war' are actually used more in the other."

The Chicago Police Department did not respond to our phone calls or emails about this story. 


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On Monday, June 17, as activists stood before the BOP headquarters on Monday, a guard emerged to ask why they were there. Upon hearing that Dick Gregory would be present at the vigil the following day, he responded enthusiastically: "My man, Dick Gregory!"

On Tuesday, June 18, shortly after noon, fifteen people with banners and signs assembled outside the doors of the Federal Bureau of Prisons in Washington, DC. for the historic vigil, the first in support of a federal prisoner at the Bureau headquarters.

Dick Gregory spoke about the urgent need for FBOP Director Charles E. Samuels, Jr. to sign Lynne Stewart's fully vetted Compassionate Release application and to authorize the federal attorney to file the motion for Compassionate Release with Judge John Koetl. Lynne cannot be freed without the completion of these steps. At this moment, the unconscionable holdup rests with the absence of Director Samuels signature as the completed file remains "on his desk."

As Dick Gregory spoke, workers at the Federal Bureau of Prisons gathered at FBOP windows. The ground floor lobby was filled with FBOP employees, listening and watching.

At 1:15 p.m. two Homeland Security cars pulled up. One of the men who exited one of the cars was in full combat dress. They stopped, watched as Dick Gregory spoke, noted the rapt attention Dick Gregory was receiving from both inside the FBOP and outside it, looked at each other and entered the building without speaking.

Askia Muhammad, News Director of WPFW, was there throughout the two hour vigil and recorded all that was said. Free Speech Radio News filmed and recorded. Code Pink and We Will Not Be Silent were present along with David Schwartzman, a noted DC activist.

Fernando Velasquez of Pacifica's KPFA interviewed Dick Gregory and Lou Wolf on the international campaign to free Lynne Stewart and the vigils at the FBOP and the White House. Fernando broadcasts across Latin America.

The vigil at the Bureau of Prisons headquarters continues all week. If you are in Washington, DC, please come at noon tomorrow and Friday to Federal Bureau of Prisons Headquarters, 320 1st St NW, Washington, DC (corner 1st Street and Indiana Avenue, NW) to demand compassionate release for Lynne.

Simultaneously, Lynne Stewart's husband Ralph Poynter and activists continue a vigil at the White House, mobilizing support for Lynne's release.

If you cannot be in DC, telephone BOP Director Samuels at 202-307-3250. Urge him to act now to move forward compassionate release for Lynne Stewart. There is no time to lose.

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FBI to Participate in Youth Criminal Justice Academy

Wednesday, 19 June 2013 18:57
San Diego, California - Daphne Hearn, Special Agent in Charge (SAC) of the San Diego FBI Field Office, announces the FBI will be participating in a Youth Criminal Justice Academy, presented by the San Diego Learning for Life and Exploring Program. The event will be held on Thursday, June 20, 2013, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., at Camp Balboa, 1207 Upas Street in San Diego, California, 92103.
The FBI, through its Community Outreach Program, is partnering with the Learning for Life and Exploring Program to provide information to young people on career choices and qualifications for law enforcement careers. The event will also provide a chance for participants to receive hands-on-training related to evidence collection techniques. The FBI’s half-day program on June 20th is one of a week-long schedule of programs. The other four days include both federal and local law enforcement programs.
The Youth Criminal Justice Academy event supports the Learning for Life and Exploring mission of enabling young people to become responsible individuals by teaching positive character traits, career development, leadership, and life skills so they can make ethical choices and achieve their full potential. This mission also falls in line with the FBI’s goal of providing positive learning opportunities, career awareness, and safety information to young people.
Learning for Life programs are designed for all age groups from kindergarten through age 20. For more information on the Learning for Life and Exploring Programs, contact Marilyn Copeland at (619) 298-6121 ext. 232 or Marilyn.copeland@lflmail.org. For more information concerning the FBI’s Community Outreach Program, please contact Public Affairs Specialist Emily Yeh at (858) 320-8312 or emily.yeh@ic.fbi.gov or Community Outreach Specialist Erin MacKinnon at (858) 320-8313.

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Keith Alexander To Deputy FBI Director Sean Joyce: 'Tell Your Boss I Owe Him Another Friggin' Beer'

  Posted: 06/19/2013
National Security Agency Director Keith Alexander got caught by a hot mic after the public hearing on the NSA's Internet and phone data sweeps Tuesday.
"Tell your boss I owe him another friggin' beer," Alexander said to FBI deputy director Sean Joyce.
HuffPost's Michael McAuliff reported earlier on the hearing:
The House Intelligence Committee's public hearing featured leaders from the office of the director of national intelligence, the NSA, the FBI and the Department of Justice, all called to respond to revelations from leaker Edward Snowden that the United States collects records on the phone calls of U.S. citizens and sweeps extensive data from the Internet. The remarkable array of spymasters in an open session highlighted how seriously the intelligence officials believe the leaks have hurt U.S. security, but the hearing also raised questions about whether counterterrorism officials were doing all they could to protect Americans' constitutional rights.

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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.

two stories

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If the FBI Never Kills Anyone by Mistake, Why Kill Tsarnaev's Maybe-Accomplice?
Jun 19, 2013

Last month an FBI agent killed Ibragim Todashev, a man who was friends with the dead Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev and very well might have had information tying him to a triple murder to better explain the marathon attack. There were many conflicting accounts of that night, all of which led to the question of why a house full of law enforcement officials used lethal force against an apparently unarmed man who was about to peacefully sign a confession as Tsarnaev's accomplice. If past statistics of the agency's internal examinations hold, expect the FBI to fully justify Todashev's killing — even though it's taking a suspiciously long time to do so.

The New York Times's Charlie Savage and Michael Schmidt have your stark FBI statistic and conspiracy theorist fodder of the day (emphasis ours), as a result of their four-year investigation:

    [F]rom 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 'subjects' and wounded about 80 others — and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, according to interviews and internal F.B.I. records obtained by The New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit.

So, essentially, the FBI says that the FBI has never made a mistake in the agency's 70 or so deadly shootings in the past eighteen years. And the key word here is "justified." The bureau's policy, as Savage and Schmidt explain, "allows deadly force if agents fear that their lives or those of fellow agents are in danger." But there are scant details of what the threshold of "danger" entails. If the FBI is after a suspect, isn't there some implicit danger in that already? And that leads to the most pertinent question: What makes an FBI kill justified?

Indeed, the FBI's own people kill people, the FBI's own people tend to take over investigations after the killing, and then the FBI's own people are the ones who deem whether or not a mistake was made. And many of the rest of us people don't have the Freedom of Information Act skills that Savage possesses.

Tim Murphy, a former deputy director of the FBI who conducted some investigations of agency shootings during a 23-year career, told Savage and Schmidt the agence believes that all the mistake-free shootings are due to agents being better, older, and more experienced than police officers — and that those better agents are involved in planned operations as opposed to more random ones.

In the case of Todashev, there are still plenty of questions. In the initial reports, there were varying accounts of whether or not he was armed. Todashev was first reported to be wielding a knife, while some accounts had him stabbing an agent, and later the leaked news reports about the knife — or even that he was wielding a sword — were walked back by law enforcement officials. The FBI has not officially said whether or not the was armed. And the agency has declined to describe the events that led to the May 22 shooting of the 27-year-old ethnic Chechen near Universal Studios in Orlando. Nor have officials really explained how this all happened in a house full of FBI agents and other law enforcement officials when the FBI is supposed to be so good at using lethal force these days.

The Boston Globe's Maria Sacchetti explains that protocol is out of step with the way the agency usually treats shootings, citing a deadly FBI shooting in Illinois that occurred 12 days before the Todashev case. "Within 24 hours, the FBI issued a press release saying agents shot and killed Tony Starnes, 45, when he allegedly rammed an agent’s vehicle with a stolen Honda Civic," Sacchetti reported.

Savage and Schmidt did find some punishments had been doled out: Of the 289 deliberate FBI shootings in the time frame which their FOIA requests examined, they found five "bad shoots." None of those left anyone wounded, and the typical punishment was  adding "letters of censure to agents' files."

2nd read

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The FBI's Nearly Unbelievable Record of "Justified" Shootings
June 19, 2013, at 10:19 AM

We're still waiting for the FBI to finish its internal investigation into exactly what happened in an Orlando apartment last month, when an FBI agent shot and killed Ibragim Todashev, a Chechan man who knew Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Since the shooting, unnamed officials have painted a number of different pictures of the scene in the room in the moments before the agent opened fire. Among them, that Todashev was unarmed, that he was brandishing a knife, and that he was carrying a pipe or maybe a broomstick.

For all the current uncertainty surrounding exactly what led the agent to shoot and kill Todashev, the bureau's next step appears almost a foregone conclusion: Based on recent history, the FBI's final report is all but certain to conclude that the shooting was justified. The New York Times with the agency's eye-raising track record:

    [F]rom 1993 to early 2011, F.B.I. agents fatally shot about 70 "subjects" and wounded about 80 others — and every one of those episodes was deemed justified, according to interviews and internal F.B.I. records obtained by The New York Times through a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. The last two years have followed the same pattern: an F.B.I. spokesman said that since 2011, there had been no findings of improper intentional shootings. ...

    Out of 289 deliberate shootings covered by the documents, many of which left no one wounded, five were deemed to be "bad shoots," in agents' parlance — encounters that did not comply with the bureau's policy, which allows deadly force if agents fear that their lives or those of fellow agents are in danger. A typical punishment involved adding letters of censure to agents' files. But in none of the five cases did a bullet hit anyone.

Depending on how you read those numbers—more than 150 shootings that wounded or killed a subject in the past 20 years, all justified; 284 deliberate shootings in all, 279 justified—that's either an extraordinary track record, or an unbelievable one. Regardless, it raises some obvious red flags about the fairness and validity of those internal reviews. Perhaps as troubling, as the Times explains, is that in most of those cases the FBI internal investigation was the only inquiry into the shooting, as it currently is in the Orlando incident.

Go check out the full NYT piece here, which also breaks down the conflicting accounts of a 2002 shooting the agency declared justified that independent investigators weren't so sure about. (During the episode in question an agent shot an innocent Maryland man in the head after mistaking him for a bank robber.)

I am forwarding the following from Kevin Ryan on his new book:

Another Nineteen: Investigating Legitimate 9/11 Suspects
[and following that are critical news and events now posted at FN.]

"The government has turned to 9/11 again in order to justify its program of spying on all Americans.

Were the crimes of September 11, 2001 solely the work of Osama bin Laden and nineteen troubled young Arabs, or were more powerful people involved? After a decade of investigation Kevin Ryan, the co-editor of the Journal of 9/11 Studies, offers an evidence-based analysis of nineteen other suspects."

“Finally a comprehensive and meticulously researched book that thoroughly details what occurred before and on 9/11. Without a doubt, Another Nineteen should be required reading for those who want the real story.”
– Robert McIlvaine, father of Bobby McIlvaine, who was killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11

“Kevin Ryan has written a book that reminds us that the attacks of September 11, 2001 and their details have never really been investigated. Kevin has laid out the historical framework in a way that has never been done before. The importance of this cannot be overstated.”
– Lorie Van Auken, member of the Family Steering Committee for the 9/11 Commission and widow of Kenneth Van Auken, who was killed at the World Trade Center
To get the book, go to the secure E-store: https://www.createspace.com/4289114

18 June, 2013 - Democracy Now - War and Peace
A Medical Ethics-free Zone? Guantánamo Doctors
Urged to Stop Force Feeding Hunger Striking Prisoners

18 June, 2013 - Glenn Greenwald
As Obama Makes "False" Surveillance Claims,
Snowden Risks Life to Spark NSA Debate

17 June, 2013 - VT - Paul Craig Roberts
Washington is Insane

05 April, 2013 - Global Research - Elizabeth Woodworth
JFK, MLK, RFK, 50 Years of Suppressed History:
New Evidence on Assassination of John F. Kennedy,
Martin Luther King and Robert F. Kennedy.

13 June, 2013 - Veterans Today - Jim Fetzer
JFK 50th: The keys to
understanding his assassination

16 June, 2013 - DeceptionsUSA.com - Youtube
Mary's Mosaic: Book Trailer

Skyhorse Publishing - 2012 - Peter Janney
Mary's Mosaic
The C.I.A. Conspiracy to Murder John F. Kennedy,
Mary Pinchot Meyer, and Their Vision for World Peace

04 April, 2013 - Amazon - Jonathan Mark
A Review - Mary's Mosaic

01 April, 2012 - Amazon - Douglas
A Masterpiece of Biography and
a Mesmerizing Detective Story

11 April, 2013 - Youtube - Boston Globe
Author claims CIA plotted to kill JFK's mistress
0:03:46 running time

11 April, 2013 - Youtube - Jonathan Mark
Peter Janney Mary's Mosaic Interview
29-minute running time

11 April, 2013 - NCTV - Flyby News
Peter Janney Mary's Mosaic Presentation
58-minute running time

21 November, 2013 - Greenfield Garden Cinemas - FN
Dark Legacy: George Bush and
the Murder of John F. Kennedy

Plus remix of film compilation
Dark Legacy - JFK and FED

Federal Reserve - 100 - Dec. 23rd

16 April, 2013 - Youtube - Flyby News
JFK and The FED
Running time - 28 minutes

Dark Legacy
George Bush and the Murder of John Kennedy

Provocative to say the least. Using materials familiar to researchers,
Dark Legacy makes a series of tantalizing connections between the rich
and powerful to suggest that Kennedy was brought down by a vast web of
powerful conservatives and that George H.W.Bush was close to all of them.
Hankey invites viewers not only to draw their own conclusions but also
to check out his sources." -- Kevin Thomas Los Angeles Times

22 November, 2013 - Greenfield Community Television - Studio
JFK 50th Anniversary and Commemoration
What did his assassination mean to you?

In the Post Cassini Flyby Era


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A Visual Journalist

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You still can't make the connection between Climate Change and taxpayer funded FBI  agents?
Yes FBI agents are committing voter fraud in every state. They got caught in Cincinnati.
see  top of page when link opens http://www.thelandesreport.com/votingsecurity.htm

Yes FBI  agents make sure people who are elected support Exxon Mobil's agenda.

Yes FBI  agents control the courts by selecting who gets appointed to local state county and federal courts.
see  http://beck.library.emory.edu/southernchanges/article.php?id=sc15-1_012
Investigative reporter Danny Casolero's last words before FBI  agents used your tax dime to murder him were " the FBI  is a octopus"
see   http://www.american-buddha.com/dead.right.htm

Charles Darwin just got a tweet from Pee Wee Herman who said maybe you should take the afternoon off
and spend it in an air conditioned adult movie theater, eh?

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Rising Temps, Shrinking Snowpack Fuel Western Wildfires

    Published: July 11th, 2013

Wildfire trends in the West are clear: there are more large fires burning now than at any time in the past 40 years and the total area burned each year has also increased. To explore these trends, Climate Central has developed this interactive tool to illustrate how warming temperatures and changing spring snowpack influences fires each year.

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Steep drop in coastal fish found in California power plant records

By Tony Barboza

July 10, 2013, 7:15 a.m.

Fish populations in Southern California have dropped 78% over the last 40 years, according to a new study.

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Tomgram: Rebecca Solnit, Emerging From Darkness, the Edward Snowden Story
July 18, 2013.

It’s true that, as Glenn Greenwald and others have written, the American media has focused attention on the supposed peccadillos of Edward Snowden so as not to have to spend too much time on the sweeping system of government surveillance he revealed. At least for now, the Obama administration has cornered the document-less whistleblower at Moscow’s international airport, leaving him nowhere on the planet to go, or at least no way to get there. As a result, the media can have a field day writing negative pieces about his relationship to Putin’s Russia.

So Greenwald certainly has a point, and yet it would be a mistake to ignore Snowden’s personal story.  After all, the unending spectacle of a superpower implacably tracking down a single man across the planet has its own educational value.  It’s been a little like watching one of those Transformers movies in which Megatron, the leader of the evil Decepticons, stomps around the globe smashing things, but somehow, time and again, misses his tiny human target.  In this strange drama, in a world in which few eyeball-gluing stories outlast the week in which they were born, almost alone and by a kind of miracle Snowden has managed to keep his story andthe story of the building of the first full-scale global surveillance state going and going.  He seems a little like the Energizer Bunny of whistleblowers.

No matter what’s written about him here in the mainstream, the spectacle of a single remarkably articulate and self-confident individual outwitting the last superpower has been, in its own way, uplifting.  Although the first global polls haven’t come in, I think it’s safe to assume that from Bolivia to Hong Kong, Germany to Japan, Washington is taking a remarkable licking in the global opinion wars.  Even at home, we know that, among the young in particular, opinion seems to be shifting on both Snowden’s acts and the surveillance state whose architecture he revealed.

Given its utter tone-deafness and its flurry of threats against various foreign governments, the downing of Bolivian President Evo Morales’s plane, and ever more ham-handed moves against Snowden himself, Washington is clearly building up a store of global anger and resentment, including over the way it’s scooping up private communications worldwide.  In the end, this twenty-first-century spectacle may truly make a difference. As Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch regular and author of the new book The Faraway Nearby, writes today, it’s been a moving show so far. One man against the machine: if you’ve ever been to the local multiplex, given such a scenario you can’t for a second doubt where global sympathies lie. Tom

    Prometheus Among the Cannibals
    A Letter to Edward Snowden
    By Rebecca Solnit

    Dear Edward Snowden,

    Billions of us, from prime ministers to hackers, are watching a live espionage movie in which you are the protagonist and perhaps the sacrifice. Your way forward is clear to no one, least of all, I’m sure, you.

    I fear for you; I think of you with a heavy heart. I imagine hiding you like Anne Frank. I imagine Hollywood movie magic in which a young lookalike would swap places with you and let you flee to safety -- if there is any safety in this world of extreme rendition and extrajudicial execution by the government that you and I were born under and that you, until recently, served. I fear you may pay, if not with your death, with your life -- with a life that can have no conventional outcome anytime soon, if ever. “Truth is coming, and it cannot be stopped,” you told us, and they are trying to stop you instead.

    I am moved by your choice of our future over yours, the world over yourself.  You know what few do nowadays: that the self is not the same as self-interest. You are someone who is smart enough, idealistic enough, bold enough to know that living with yourself in a system of utter corruption would destroy that self as an ideal, as something worth being.  Doing what you’ve done, on the other hand, would give you a self you could live with, even if it gave you nowhere to live or no life. Which is to say, you have become a hero.

    Pity the country that requires a hero, Bertolt Brecht once remarked, but pity the heroes too. They are the other homeless, the people who don’t fit in.  They are the ones who see the hardest work and do it, and pay the price we charge those who do what we can’t or won’t. If the old stories were about heroes who saved us from others, modern heroes -- Nelson Mandela, Cesar Chavez, Rachel Carson, Ella Baker, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi -- endeavored to save us from ourselves, from our own governments and systems of power.

    The rest of us so often sacrifice that self and those ideals to fit in, to be part of a cannibal system, a system that eats souls and defiles truths and serves only power. Or we negotiate quietly to maintain an uneasy distance from it and then go about our own business. Though in my world quite a few of us strike our small blows against empire, you, young man, you were situated where you could run a dagger through the dragon’s eye, and that dragon is writhing in agony now; in that agony it has lost its magic: an arrangement whereby it remains invisible while making the rest of us ever more naked to its glaring eye.

    Private Eyes and Public Rights

    Privacy is a kind of power as well as a right, one that public librarians fought to protect against the Bush administration and the PATRIOT Act and that online companies violate in every way that’s profitable and expedient. Our lack of privacy, their monstrous privacy -- even their invasion of our privacy must, by law, remain classified -- is what you made visible. The agony of a monster with nowhere to stand -- you are accused of spying on the spies, of invading the privacy of their invasion of privacy -- is a truly curious thing. And it is changing the world. Europe and South America are in an uproar, and attempts to contain you and your damage are putting out fire with gasoline.

    You yourself said it so well on July 12th:

    “A little over one month ago, I had family, a home in paradise, and I lived in great comfort. I also had the capability without any warrant to search for, seize, and read your communications. Anyone's communications at any time. That is the power to change people's fates. It is also a serious violation of the law. The 4th and 5th Amendments to the Constitution of my country, Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and numerous statutes and treaties forbid such systems of massive, pervasive surveillance. While the U.S. Constitution marks these programs as illegal, my government argues that secret court rulings, which the world is not permitted to see, somehow legitimize an illegal affair. These rulings simply corrupt the most basic notion of justice -- that it must be seen to be done.”

    They say you, like Bradley Manning, gave secrets to their enemies.  It’s clear who those enemies are: you, me, us. It was clear on September 12, 2001, that the Bush administration feared the American people more than al-Qaeda.  Not much has changed on that front since, and this almost infinitely broad information harvest criminalizes all of us. This metadata -- the patterns and connections of communications rather than their content -- is particularly useful, as my friend Chris Carlsson pointed out, at mapping the clusters of communications behind popular movements, uprisings, political organizing: in other words, those moments when civil society rises to shape history, to make a better future in the open world of the streets and squares.

    The goal of gathering all this metadata, Chris speculates, "is to be able to identify where the ‘hubs’ are, who the people are who sit at key points in networks, helping pass news and messages along, but especially, who the people are who spread ideas and information from one network of people to the next, who help connect small networks into larger ones, and thus facilitate the unpredictable and rapid spread of dissent when it appears.”

    Metadata can map the circulatory system of civil society, toward what ends you can certainly imagine. When governments fear their people you can be sure they are not serving their people. This has always been the minefield of patriotism: loyalty to our government often means hostility to our country and vice-versa. Edward Snowden, loyalist to country, you have made this clear as day.

    Those who demonize you show, as David Bromwich pointed out in a fine essay in the London Review of Books, their submission to the power you exposed. Who stood where, he writes,

    “was an infallible marker of the anti-authoritarian instinct against the authoritarian. What was distressing and impossible to predict was the evidence of the way the last few years have worn deep channels of authoritarian acceptance in the mind of the liberal establishment. Every public figure who is psychologically identified with the ways of power in America has condemned Snowden as a traitor, or deplored his actions as merely those of a criminal, someone about whom the judgment ‘he must be prosecuted’ obviates any further judgment and any need for thought.”

    You said, "I know the media likes to personalize political debates, and I know the government will demonize me." Who you are is fascinating, but what you’ve exposed is what matters. It is upending the world. It is damaging Washington’s relations with many Latin American and some European countries, with Russia and China as well as with its own people -- those, at least, who bother to read or listen to the news and care about what they find there. “Edward Snowden Single-Handedly Forces Tech Companies To Come Forward With Government Data Request Stats,” said a headline in Forbes. Your act is rearranging our world.  How much no one yet knows. 

    What You Love

    What’s striking about your words on video, Edward Snowden, the ones I hear as your young, pale, thoughtful face speaks with clarity and incisiveness in response to Glenn Greenwald’s questions, is that you’re not talking much about what you hate, though it’s clear that you hate the secret network you were part of. You hate it because it poisons what you love. You told us, "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions... [but] I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon, and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant." You love our world, our country -- not its government, clearly, but its old ideals and living idealists, its possibilities, its dreamers, and its dreams (not the stale, stuffed American dream of individual affluence, but the other dreams of a better world for all of us, a world of principle).

    You told us where we now live and that you refuse to live there anymore:

    "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. And that's not something I'm willing to support, it's not something I'm willing to build, and it's not something I'm willing to live under. America is a fundamentally good country. We have good people with good values who want to do the right thing. But the structures of power that exist are working to their own ends to extend their capability at the expense of the freedom of all publics."

    Which is to say you acted from love, from all the things the new surveillance state imperils: privacy, democracy, accountability, decency, honor. The rest of us, what would we do for love?

    What is terrifying to the politicians at the top is that you may be our truest patriot at the moment. Which makes all of them, with their marble buildings and illustrious titles, their security details and all the pomp, the flags, the saluting soldiers, so many traitors. The government is the enemy of the people; the state is the enemy of the country. I love that country, too. I fear that state and this new information age as they spread and twine like a poison vine around everything and everyone. You held up a mirror and fools hate the mirror for it; they shoot the messenger, but the message has been delivered.

    “This country is worth dying for,” you said in explanation of your great risks. You were trained as a soldier, but a soldier’s courage with a thinker’s independence of mind is a dangerous thing; a hero is a dangerous thing. That’s why the U.S. military has made the Guardian, the British newspaper that has done the key reporting on your leaks, off limits to our soldiers overseas. Whoever made that cynical censorship decision understands that those soldiers may be defending a set of interests at odds with this country and its Constitution, and they need to be kept in the dark about that. The dark from which you emerged.

    When the United States forced the airplane of Evo Morales, Bolivia’s democratically elected head of state, to land in Austria, after compliant France, Spain, Portugal, and Italy denied him the right to travel through their airspace, all South America took it as an insult and a violation of Bolivia’s sovereignty and international law. The allied president of Argentina, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, tracked the incident in a series of tweets that demonstrated an openness, a principledness, and a strong friendship between Morales, Ecuadoran president Rafael Correa, and her. It was a little window onto a really foreign continent: one in which countries are sometimes headed by genuinely popular leaders who are genuinely transparent and governed by rule of law. It’s a reminder that things in our own blighted, corrupted, corporate-dominated country could be different.

    Building a Bridge to the Nineteenth Century

    How did we get here? In 1996, President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore pushed the dreadful slogan “building a bridge to the twenty-first century.” It was a celebration of Silicon Valley-style technological innovation and corporate globalization, among other things. At the time, I put “building a bridge to the nineteenth century” on my letterhead. It turned out that we were doing both at once: erecting a massive electronic infrastructure that outpaces our ability to democratically manage it and shifting our economy backward to recreate the chasms of class divide that marked the nineteenth century. The two goals intertwined like serpents making love.

    The new technologies made a surveillance state that much more powerful and far-reaching; the new technologies replaced many jobs with few; the new technologies created new billionaires without principles; the new technologies made us all into commodities to be sold to advertisers; the new technologies turned our every move into something that could be tracked; the new technologies kept us distracted and busy. Meanwhile, almost everyone got poorer.

    What the neoliberals amassing mountains of wealth for the already super-wealthy forgot, what the tax-cutters and child-starvers never learned in school, is that desperate people do not necessary simply lie down and obey. Often enough, they rebel. There is no one as dangerous as he or she who has nothing to lose. The twentieth century’s welfare states, their pumped-up, plumped-up middle classes, their relative egalitarianism and graduated tax plans pacified the once-insurrectionary classes by meeting, at least in part, their needs and demands. The comfortable don’t revolt much. Out of sheer greed, however, the wealthiest and most powerful decided to make so many of the rest of us at least increasingly uncomfortable and often far worse.

    Edward Snowden, you rebelled because you were outraged; so many others are rebelling because their lives are impossible now. These days when we revolt, the new technologies become our friends as well as our enemies. If you imagine those technologies as the fire Prometheus stole from the gods, then it works both ways, for us and for them, to create and to destroy.

    Those new technologies are key to the latest rounds of global organizing, from the World Trade Organization actions of 1999, put together by email and epochal in their impact, to the Arab Spring, which used email, cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, and other means, to Occupy Wall Street. The technologies are double-edged: populist networks for creating global resistance are vulnerable to surveillance; classified reams of data are breachable by information saved to thumb drives or burned onto CDs by whistleblowers and hackers. They can spy in private; we can organize in public, and maybe the two actions are true opposites.

    Meanwhile there is massive upheaval in Egypt and in Brazil, and in recent years there have been popular rebellions in many parts of the Arab world, Turkey, Iceland, Greece, Spain, Britain, Chile, and the U.S. itself with Occupy. The globe is on fire with popular outrage, with fury over economic injustice and, among other things, climate change spurred by the profits a few are piling up to the detriment of the rest of us, generations to come, other species, and the planet itself. It seems that, surveillance or not, people are not about to go quietly into the nineteenth century or accept the devil’s bargains of the twenty-first either.


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America's 10 Worst Prisons: ADX

A federal isolation facility that's "pretty close" to hell.

| Wed May. 1, 2013 3:00 AM PDT
The "Alcatraz of the Rockies" Bacote et al. v. Federal Bureau of Prisons

"If you can't do the time, don't do the crime." So goes the old saying. Yet conditions in some American facilities are so obscene that they amount to a form of extrajudicial punishment.

Doing time is not supposed to include being raped by fellow prisoners or staff, beaten by guards for the slightest provocation, driven mad by long-term solitary confinement, or killed off by medical neglect. These, however, are the fates of thousands of prisoners every year—men, women, and children housed in lockups that give Gitmo and Abu Ghraib a run for their money.

The United States boasts the world's highest incarceration rate, with close to 2.3 million people locked away in some 1,800 prisons and 3,000 jails. Most are nasty places by design, aimed at punishment and exclusion rather than rehabilitation; while reliable numbers are hard to come by, at last count 81,622 prisoners were being held in some form of isolation in state and federal prisons.


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Why Do IRS Agents Need AR-15 Assault Rifles?

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By Andy Kossak, Sun, August 11, 2013

The Internal Revenue Service has reportedly been buying up a vast collection of AR-15 assault rifles for agents and training them in the proper use of those weapons.

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Doubts About Who Is Using Chemical Weapons in Syria
 Sep 3, 2013


The Obama administration and allies claim, with near certainty, that Bashar al-Assad has used lethal gas on his population.  But no credible evidence has emerged to confirm this. Conversely, as the West pushes for approval to bomb the Assad regime, some evidence suggests it may instead be the rebels who are using chemical weapons against other rebels—an extension of ongoing ethnic/religious battles being fought with what one UN inspector characterized as “almost medieval savagery.”

Perhaps both regime and rebels are using chemical weapons. Whatever the reality, these uncertainties must be carefully studied, right now, as the world edges to the verge of war.

Here is WhoWhatWhy’s roundup on the topic.

The Gavlak Report

A recent report says rebel fighters told a journalist inside Syria that in fact it was they who released sarin gas—and notes that some claimed the nerve agent was supplied by Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan. Saudi Arabia, a longtime enemy of the Assad regime and a leading partner in US Middle East activities regarding not just Syria, but also Libya and Iran, has been active as a supporter of and sometimes surrogate for the West.

The report, which appeared on an independent Minnesota-based website, and was co-authored by Yahya Ababneh, a Jordanian freelance reporter operating on the ground near the gas attacks, and Dale Gavlak, a veteran Middle East stringer  for the Associated Press, whose work has also appeared on NPR and the BBC, cannot be easily dismissed.  It has circulated widely within alternative media circles but is unreported by more influential media in the United States.

Ababneh, who is pursuing a Masters degree in journalism, talked to numerous Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters in the Ghouta area, where the August 21 gas attack occurred.  According to the Gavlak-Ababneh report, rebel FSA fighters took responsibility for releasing sarin, some claiming that the nerve agent was supplied by Bandar.

A Video on Facebook

Another intriguing, if murkier development surfaced on August 24, when a video appeared on Facebook purportedly showing a gas attack via artillery shelling.

A specialized blue canister was carefully affixed to an artillery gun and fired over a wall.  The men in the video, who are not in uniform, do not appear to be Syrian military; they may or may not be rebel fighters.  This video is titled: “Chemical weapons in Syria: Knockout to Jirga Brotherhood criminals P.”  The sketchy description implies that attack was directed at other rebel factions in the nation’s splintered, multi-sided conflict.  The Facebook page on which the video appeared is identified as being run by something calling itself “Minister of blood pressure and diabetes,” according to the Google Translator.  It boasts 287K “Likes,” but should obviously be considered with caution.

United Nations Investigation of April Attack

Another, more credible instance in which rebels, not the Syrian government, allegedly used chemical weapons came on April 25. That attack was investigated by United Nations inspectors.  In an interview with Swiss-Italian television, the Italian Carla del Ponte, a well-known former chief war crimes prosecutor for tribunals on genocide in Rwanda and Yugoslavia, and a member of the UN Independent Commission of Inquiry on Syria, said:

During our investigation for Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes, we collect some witness testimony that made to appear that some chemical weapons were used.  In particular nerving gas, and what appear to our investigation that that was used by the opponents, by the rebels.  And we have no, no indication at all that the government, Syria, authority of the Syria government had used chemical weapons.

Similar statements made by del Ponte were covered in the spring by the New York Times and Reuters, though they do not seem to be receiving attention during the current round of allegations against the Assad regime.  And the evidence pointing at the rebels not the government was played down by the UN commission itself, which, unsurprisingly, given intense pressure from powerful member nations, refused to come to a conclusion as to who was responsible for the April attacks. Without explaining the history of UN hesitancy to go against its most powerful constituents, the Times noted the backpedaling:

…that commission later issued a statement clarifying that it had not reached a conclusion about which side used the gas…”

Russia’s Evidence From a March 19 Attack

Russia, an ally of Syria, has, not surprisingly, challenged the US-led coalition’s efforts to pin gas attacks on Assad. Notwithstanding its own interests, some of the material it has presented appears to deserve attention by the open-minded.

Vitaly I. Churkin, Russia’s UN ambassador, asserted in July that rebels had used sarin during still another attack, on March 19. Churkin submitted an 80-page technical analysis, and concluded:

“There is every reason to believe that it was armed opposition fighters who used the chemical weapons in Khan al-Assal.”

Report From Turkey

Further claims that FSA rebel factions—not the Assad military—are responsible for nerve gas attacks comes from an unverifiable May 30 Russia Today report from Turkey:

“Turkish police have reportedly detained several members of the Al Nusra Front, a Jihadist group that’s fighting among the Syrian rebels against the Assad government.  The men were apparently on their way to the Syrian border transporting a cylinder of Sarin nerve gas.”

Russian sources for the incident are vague: “Turkish media reports.” But no media are mentioned by name.  The rebel fighters reportedly possessed a “2 kilogram” cylinder of the deadly nerve agent.  Twelve of the jihadis were detained, according to that report. The UK’s BBC also covered this arrest story, but only to feature comment from a Turkish official downplaying the report; US media by and large did not cover the story at all.  The British story did acknowledge Turkey’s own central role in the efforts to topple Assad, with this disclaimer:

“The Turkish government has been a key supporter of the Syrian opposition, and has allowed rebels as well as refugees onto its territory.”

Last December, CNN reported that US contractors in Turkey and Jordan were training FSA rebels to handle chemical weapons.

“The United States and some European allies are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria, a senior U.S. official and several senior diplomats told CNN Sunday.”

This was presented strictly as defensive, but the very notion of the rebels being familiarized with the weapons itself seems to be relevant to the current, largely one-sided reporting that only Assad’s forces have chemical weapons know-how.


News reports frequently state that only the Syrian regime could have access to such weapons. But in fact the countries backing the rebels certainly have it. And in fact weapons shipments have been arriving steadily from Libya, a nation whose chemical weapon stockpiles went missing after the 2011 NATO-assisted overthrow of the government.  As the New York Times reported in June:

“Many of the same people who chased the colonel [Qaddafi of Libya] to his grave are busy shuttling his former arms stockpiles to rebels in Syria. The flow is an important source of weapons for the uprising…”

And The Washington Post reported, back in February of 2011:

“…10 metric tons of mustard sulfate and sarin gas precursor remain stockpiled in barrels at three locations in the Libyan desert south of Tripoli, where Moammar Gaddafi has holed up in a last-ditch fight to keep from being overthrown.  Many experts worry that the barrels are ripe for picking by terrorists linked to al-Qaeda.”

Anonymous Posts Videos

The hacker collective Anonymous posted a series of videos purportedly showing Syrian jihadis testing sarin nerve gas on rabbits, as early as December of 2012.  The manufacturer of the chemical agent is identified as Turkish chemical firm “TEKKIM.”

Kerry Avoids the Real Question

Recent statements by US Secretary of State John Kerry seek to separate the use of nerve gas from the issue of who the guilty parties are.

On August 26, Kerry said:

“And as Ban Ki-moon said last week, the UN investigation will not determine who used these chemical weapons, only whether such weapons were used – a judgment that is already clear to the world.”

The statement, remarkable in itself, does not seem to have drawn media scrutiny. Kerry appeared eager to simply establish that nerve gas was used, while skipping over the importance (before intervening militarily) of establishing with certainty who was committing the atrocities. Heavily one-sided coverage of his statement by the media has already convinced large portions of the population that it is Assad who is using the chemicals. From there, it is a quick leap to accepting the administration’s declarations that it is urgent that it be permitted to begin bombing against Assad’s forces.

Another revealing piece from the Associated Press featured US intelligence officials themselves casting doubt on the perpetrators. This report, too, has somehow not gained full-throated media attention:

“So while Secretary of State John Kerry said Monday that it was “undeniable,” a chemical weapons attack had occurred, and that it was carried out by the Syrian military, U.S. intelligence officials are not so certain that the suspected chemical attack was carried out on Assad’s orders. Some have even talked about the possibility that rebels could have carried out the attack in a callous and calculated attempt to draw the West into the war. That suspicion was not included in the official intelligence report, according to the official who described the report.“

Parallels to the WMD Rationale for Invading Iraq?

The accusation against Bashar al Assad recalls similar charges against Saddam Hussein one decade ago.  The difference is that this time there is no doubt that Weapons of Mass Destruction (sarin nerve gas) have been used. The question remains, by whom?

Recently, Assad invited inspectors in, saying this would establish that it was not his troops using chemical weapons. But as soon as the inspectors arrived, they came under gunfire and withdrew. As with the chemicals themselves, it is not clear who wanted the inspectors to leave.

Do We Want a Confrontation with Russia?

The current debate over who did what obscures a larger issue: an attack on Syria could lead to something much more dangerous and protracted.

Russia has a large stake in the Syrian conflict, with Assad one of its few remaining military allies, as well as an active naval base inside Syria at Tartus on the Mediterranean.  Russia has sold to Syria advanced defensive weapons including S-300 surface to air missiles.  Russia’s president Putin derided the latest chemical weapons claims against Assad as “utter nonsense,” and “nothing more than a provocation by those who want to drag other countries into the Syrian conflict, and who want to win the support of powerful members of the international arena, especially the United States.”  Foreign Ministry Spokesman Alexander Lukashevich warned that,

“Any unilateral use of force without the authorisation of the UN security council, no matter how ‘limited’ it is, will be a clear violation of international law, will undermine prospects for a political and diplomatic resolution of the conflict in Syria and will lead to a new round of confrontation and new casualties.”

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Canadians Seek Dick Cheney's Arrest For War Crimes During Upcoming Visit

The Huffington Post  |  By Shadee Ashtari Posted: 10/29/2013


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WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT: First photo of shot TSA killer



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Here at the link immediately below is my Portland Phoenix photo feature on the Maine State Prison's solitary-confinement "supermax." To see the photos, continue going to "Next" at the end of the brief, introductory personal essay.

Over 8 years I have now written 103 stories for the Portland Phoenix on prison issues, the majority of them on solitary confinement.
When I reached 100 stories I wanted to send out links to all of them to people interested in prison issues, but being allowed into the Maine supermax for the first time seemed an even better marker.

The first 94 stories in my prison series are at:


The latest 9 are here:


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Veteran ATF Agent, Wife Dead in Shooting Possibly Motivated by Domestic Problems

A veteran ATF agent and his wife are dead following a shooting at a home in Chantilly, Va., CBS-DC


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Monday, November 25, 2013
Arresting Graduate's Brother May Cost Cop

     (CN) - A man who says cheering at his brother's graduation got him assaulted by a cop and arrested may have a case for excessive force, a federal judge ruled.
     Christopher Mazzella says the confrontation occurred at a high school graduation ceremony in Jim Thorpe, Pa., on June 10, 2011.
     Soon after his little brother's name was called, Mazzella cheered and Officer Lee Marzen escorted him out of the building, without a warrant or probable cause, according to the complaint.
     Mazella says Marzen physically assaulted him on the way out and then formally arrested him for resisting arrest and persistent disorderly conduct.
     After making bail and seeking medical care for his injuries, Mazella allegedly paid lawyers more than $8,000 to defend him against the charges, and was fully acquitted after a jury trial.
     Mazella says Marzen reacted to the acquittal by entering a house Mazzella's family had rented out to one of his witnesses. The officer allegedly kicked in a door and rifled through various dressers and other containers, damaging the family's property.
     In a federal complaint, Mazzella alleged violations of his Fourth Amendment rights and state-law claims for assault and battery, false arrest and imprisonment, and harassment and intentional destruction of property.
     Marzen moved to dismiss for failure to state a claim, arguing that Mazzella failed to comply with the six-month notice requirement of the Pennsylvania Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act, and that the officer is immune from suit under state law.
     U.S. District Judge James Munley denied the motion Wednesday, holding that the requirement does not apply to section 1983 claims, and that Marzen did have notice of the incident connected to the state-law claims.
     "In the present matter, when the facts alleged in the complaint are taken as true, it is not only highly unlikely, but impossible for defendant to have been unaware of the incident involving plaintiff that gave rise to the instant claims," Munley wrote. "Defendant personally detained and arrested plaintiff. Defendant attended and testified at both plaintiff's preliminary hearing and jury trial. Additionally, after plaintiff's acquittal, defendant personally entered a rental property, which he knew was owned by plaintiff or plaintiff's family, and proceeded to kick in a door and rifle through plaintiff's personal property, allegedly in retaliation for plaintiff's acquittal. It is these instances, specifically the manner and process of defendant's detainment and arrest of plaintiff as well as defendant's invasion of plaintiff's real and personal property, that gave rise to the instant claims."
     Marzen is furthermore not immune from suit as Mazzella alleged that the officer acted with malice and committed willful misconduct, the ruling states.


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Former Secret Service agent from St. Johns County indicted for stealing counterfeit money

5:24 PM, Jan 16, 2014


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Top-level turnover makes it harder for DHS to stay on top of evolving threat

September 22, 2014

WASHINGTON — An exodus of top-level officials from the Department of Homeland Security is undercutting its ability to stay ahead of a range of emerging threats, including potential terrorist and cyber attacks, according to interviews with current and former officials.

Over the past four years, employees have left DHS at a rate nearly twice as fast as the federal government overall, and the trend is accelerating, according to a review of a federal database.

The departures are a result of what employees widely describe as a dysfunctional work environment, abysmal morale and the lure of private security companies paying top dollar that have proliferated in Washington since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The department's terrorism intelligence arm, for example, has cycled through six directors during the Obama administration, decimating morale and contributing to months-long delays in releasing intelligence reports, according to interviews and government reports.

A parade of high-level departures, on top of other factors, has meantime helped slow the rollout of key cyber initiatives, including a program aimed at blocking malicious software before it can infiltrate civilian government computers, former officials say.

With the country facing a crisis of unaccompanied minors crossing the southwest border in recent months, the pair of DHS agencies responsible for tackling this problem have been hindered by turnover of top officials. U.S. Customs and Border Protection, for instance, has had six commissioners under President Barack Obama, four of them in a caretaker role because they were not confirmed by the Senate.

And at the Transportation Security Administration, a DHS agency created after the Sept. 11 attacks to enhance airport security, the hemorrhaging of both senior and junior personnel has "had a tremendous effect,'' said Kenneth Kasprisin, a former acting TSA head who left the agency in May.

"You cannot sustain a high level of security operations when you have that kind of turnover,'' he said, attributing the defections to "a toxic culture" and "terrible" morale.

As evidence of the toll this is taking, Kasprisin cited the results of agency tests in which undercover operatives try to sneak weapons or explosives through airport security. He said security employees are increasingly missing the contraband, with the frequency of failures reaching a "frightening" level.

Homeland security officials acknowledge the challenges, which come at a time when the United States is facing potential threats from al-Qaida and other extremist groups.

Before his December confirmation, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson called vacancies and morale his top priorities and said the department faced "a leadership vacuum . . . of alarming proportions.''

Since then, Johnson has won praise from lawmakers for taking steps to improve morale and retain employees, such as restarting an internal awards program and increasing training. The Senate has confirmed 10 top DHS officials in recent months, reducing a top-level vacancy rate that had reached 40 percent.

"Morale has been low in the department for quite a number of years, and it is our responsibility to address it, and we are in fact addressing it,'' said Alejandro Mayorkas, the department's deputy secretary. He said DHS has retained a consulting firm, Deloitte, to develop recommendations to improve morale.

Mayorkas stressed that the churn of personnel has not affected the department's ability to protect the country. But, he acknowledged, "instability of leadership is not necessarily a galvanizing force for employees.''

The department's woes date to the George W. Bush administration. Within a few years after DHS began operations in 2003, senior-level vacancy rates were already high and many top officials were leaving the fledgling department for jobs with private security companies. Among the most prominent is the Chertoff Group, a security consulting firm led by former DHS secretary Michael Chertoff, which employs so many former officials it is known in homeland security circles as a "shadow DHS.''

Private-sector salaries for high-level career officials, especially cyber experts, can be double or triple the roughly $180,000 they can make at DHS.

During the Obama years, the outflow of personnel has accelerated, according to the FedScope database of federal employees maintained by the Office of Personnel Management. Between 2010 and 2013, the number of annual departures of permanent employees from DHS increased 31 percent, compared with a 17 percent increase for the government overall.

Members of the Senior Executive Service — the government's top career managers — also are leaving DHS at a much higher rate. In 2013, SES departures were up 56 percent from the year before. By contrast, the rate for the government as a whole was virtually unchanged.

Chet Lunner, a former deputy undersecretary in DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis, recalls the time a high-level colleague realized his phone number was wrong on his DHS business card. This was no small matter. The colleague was the person whom local officials were told to call with critical questions, such as whether someone police arrested had ties to terrorists. No one was calling.

The official asked administrators for new business cards, Lunner recounted. "They say, 'You can't have them. We have a policy that we only give out new business cards every 26 weeks.' ''

In small and not so small ways, some unique to DHS and others not, the department can be an infuriating, exhausting place to work, numerous former and current officials say. The frustrations reflect the fundamental wiring of the department, which was created by plucking 22 autonomous agencies from across the government and welding them into one.

Today, employees describe a stifling bureaucracy composed of agencies with clashing employee cultures and overtaxed by high-pressure responsibilities and relentless congressional carping. It can take many months to hire someone and weeks to get supplies as basic as a whiteboard.

Many former and current officials said the most burdensome part of working for DHS is the demands of congressional oversight. More than 90 committees and subcommittees have some jurisdiction over DHS, nearly three times the number that oversee the Department of Defense. Preparing for the blizzard of hearings and briefings, officials say, leaves them less time to do their jobs.

"It's a very dysfunctional environment, the hardest I've ever worked in,'' said one former senior Obama administration DHS official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal operations. "There were certainly times where you would say, 'I just got the crap kicked out of me, and I'm making way less than I can make in the private sector.' ''

Surveys of employee morale show it has plunged to new lows in the past few years. According to the Partnership for Public Service's annual "Best Places to Work in the Federal Government" survey, DHS ranked dead last among large agencies last year.

Some of the most politically sensitive jobs are in the immigration realm, where the department's performance is fodder for partisan wrangling. Despite intense concern in both parties over immigration policy, Customs and Border Protection went five years without a confirmed commissioner until Gil Kerlikowske received Senate approval in March. A series of other personnel moves around the same time has meant that the agency, which has critical border security responsibilities, has been riddled with vacancies.

Most of those vacancies have been filled by officials in an acting capacity, but personnel experts consider that only a stopgap measure. "As an acting, you're a caretaker, not a change agent,'' said Steve Atkiss, chief of staff for Customs and Border Protection in the Bush administration and a founding partner of Command Consulting Group, a District-based security consulting firm.

While DHS officials say their efforts to secure the border have not been affected, former officials said the leadership vacuum at the border agency has slowed decision-making and made it harder to find creative solutions to pressing problems.

"When you have a proliferation of actings, a lot of hard decisions don't get made with the same level of regularity,'' said a former senior Obama administration DHS official.

In early 2010, the DHS hierarchy gathered to discuss a report the agency was preparing about its mission. A top official looked around the table and asked who felt they were in charge of the department's counterterrorism role.

Five people raised their hands, said a person who attended the meeting.

DHS's mission has never been entirely clear. Nowhere has this been more nettlesome than at DHS's Office of Intelligence and Analysis. The 2002 law creating DHS outlined a powerful intelligence role for the department, but much of that authority was lost during the Bush administration to the FBI and other agencies. The DHS intelligence office, officially created in 2007, instead has come to focus on issuing reports and coordinating with state and local authorities.

For a time, the office operated relatively smoothly. But after its leaders started leaving, it was unable to resist what former DHS officials said were even more power grabs by other agencies. Morale plunged.

By 2010, so many people had left because of "unstable leadership'' that the team assigned to study Islamic extremists declined from about two dozen people to four or five, recalled Thomas Barnes, a former DHS intelligence analyst. "It decimated us,'' he said.

Barnes and other former analysts said the office starting overlooking intelligence.

In late 2009, Barnes told his bosses about a new threat, an extremist group gaining notoriety in Nigeria. "No one was interested,'' he said. "It was way off their radar because we didn't have any bodies.'' The group was Boko Haram, which seized international attention this year by kidnapping more than 200 schoolgirls and is seen as a potential threat to the United States.

A bipartisan Senate study in 2012 concluded that understaffing and turnover in the DHS intelligence office were contributing to dangerous delays. The study found that hundreds of reports being prepared by intelligence analysts working with state and local officials on counterterrorism were being released months late, at times based on outdated information.

When the intelligence office's director, Caryn Wagner, stepped down in 2012 after less than three years in the job, the position proved hard to fill. At least five people turned down the post, according to people familiar with the search. "Nobody wanted it. It's the worst job in the intelligence community,'' one person said.

Mayorkas, the DHS deputy secretary, declined to comment on the office's performance, but he praised its latest undersecretary, Francis X. Taylor, confirmed in April. "He's a superb leader,'' Mayorkas said. "He will bring morale to where it should be.''

Even as it wrestles with turnover in the intelligence office, DHS has been hit with defections in another vital area: cybersecurity.

In one nine-month period between June 2011 and March 2012, for example, four senior DHS cyber officials quit and one retired — all headed to the private sector.

The departures came as the department battled the Pentagon and the National Security Agency over whom should have responsibility for protecting critical private-sector networks and for responding to industry requests for assistance. DHS was pressing to enshrine its authority in law.

"It became so hard to advocate for DHS to be placed in charge and given more responsibility because people were constantly leaving,'' recalled Jacob Olcott, a former House homeland security committee aide.

The cyber bill died, a victim of strong opposition from industry and its backers on the Hill.

The continuing stream of departures has at times hampered the department's ability to combat cyberattacks aimed at civilian federal networks and to serve as the federal point of contact for critical industries, such as energy and transportation, and for state and local governments.

The high turnover has meant that at times the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center struggles to carry out its mission of analyzing attacks on federal and private computer systems and responding to them.

Just last month, Larry Zelvin, who had directed the center for two years, and another top DHS cyber official left for corporate jobs.

The constant churn, former officials said, also exacerbated turf battles and other problems that delayed Einstein 3, a program to block malicious software before it enters the dot-gov networks. The program is now scheduled to be completed perhaps by next year.

"If you look at the last six, seven years, there's been enormous turnover," said Michael Brown, a former Navy rear admiral and high-level DHS cyber official who retired in 2012. "Absolutely, it's a problem for consistency and continuity."

Senior managers leave for several reasons, including the grueling tempo of the job, said Brown, now a senior official at RSA, a cybersecurity firm. The pace was so relentless that the wife of one senior cyber official used to put a place setting at the dinner table for his BlackBerry.

There's also frustration over the lack of clear authority from Congress to oversee cybersecurity. Without this authority, DHS officials find it difficult to work with private industry when, for instance, they offer help to companies to stem a computer breach.

"It would take three days just to explain what DHS's mission was, where the FBI can just come in and everybody knows what they do," said a former official. "It really impeded our ability to do our job."

Legislation is pending that would spell out DHS's authority in the cyber sphere.

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FBI Settles Gay Agent's Suit, Vows Reforms
December 11, 1993|

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SAN FRANCISCO — Reversing a longstanding policy that effectively barred openly gay men and lesbians from its ranks, the FBI pledged Friday not to discriminate against applicants and employees on the basis of their sexual orientation or conduct.

The change in policy, heralded as a major victory by gay rights advocates, was announced as part of an agreement to settle a class-action lawsuit brought by former FBI Agent Frank Buttino, who was fired after his supervisors received an anonymous letter informing them that he is gay.

While not admitting wrongdoing, the FBI agreed to adopt guidelines barring discrimination against homosexuals and to hire a lesbian applicant who was rejected for a job in 1987, allegedly because of her sexual orientation.

The settlement must still be approved by Assistant Atty. Gen. Frank Hunger and U.S. District Judge Saundra Brown Armstrong, who was hearing Buttino's case. But representatives of both sides said they consider it a certainty, noting that Atty. Gen. Janet Reno last week ordered all branches of the Justice Department to cease discrimination based on sexual orientation.

Spokesman Joe Krovisky said the Justice Department is "satisfied with the proposed settlement and finds it consistent" with Reno's directive.

Buttino, an honored 20-year veteran of the FBI, called the agreement "a victory for all Americans" and said it would give hope to the numerous homosexuals who have contacted him and told their stories of fear and discrimination.

"I think this settlement is reflective of a new attitude in Washington," said Buttino, 48, who lives in San Diego. "It's a credit to the (Clinton) Administration that they didn't fight us all the way."

Buttino had initially sought reinstatement to his job. He said he decided instead "to move on to a new chapter of my life," and accepted an undisclosed sum of money in the settlement, part of which will be distributed as a government pension. The settlement also provides Buttino with a statement from the FBI saying that he "consistently received excellent or outstanding performance evaluations" and never disclosed classified information.

Gay rights advocates viewed Buttino's case as a critical front in their battle to end workplace discrimination.

Evan Woolfson, a senior staff attorney for the Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, said the policy change means gay men and lesbians in the FBI and other branches of government "can now concentrate on doing their jobs without worrying about watching their backs."

Woolfson added, however, that his group will closely monitor the FBI's performance to ensure that it heeds the spirit of both the settlement and Reno's order. "It's asignificant victory," he said, "but the devil will be in the details and we'll be watching them."

Michael Fitzgerald, the Los Angeles attorney who argued Buttino's case, expressed confidence that the good faith exhibited so far by the Justice Department would result in regulations ending discrimination. He also predicted that the FBI's action would influence policies in other government and law enforcement agencies.

"This is very important because the FBI has great prestige and is seen as the premier federal law enforcement agency," Fitzgerald said. "The fact that the FBI is now willing to have openly gay employees will send a very powerful message."

Buttino, an agent whose duties included undercover, foreign counterintelligence and terrorism investigations, was fired in 1990. The FBI said it dismissed him not because he was gay but because he lied under oath and refused to aid an investigation into the anonymous note that revealed he is a homosexual. Buttino called such reasons a pretext for discrimination.

In court papers, the FBI conceded that although its policies have not strictly forbidden the hiring of homosexuals, applicants who are not heterosexual have a "significantly more difficult" time getting jobs. In his opening statement at the trial, a lawyer for the FBI argued that an agent who concealed that he was gay might be vulnerable to blackmail.

Dana Tillson, 32, applied for an FBI job in 1987. In court testimony, she said she got high marks and received encouragement until a background investigation discovered she is a lesbian.

Under the settlement, Tillson, who is now a private investigator, will be invited to resubmit an application and will be given a place in the next incoming class of FBI agents unless a background check finds a problem.

The plaintiffs, meanwhile, agreed to two concessions. First, Buttino dropped his demand that he be rehired. Second, the FBI will be allowed to carry out its new policy without the pressur

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Rio de Janeiro unnerved by wave of stray-bullet cases
The bullet hit the 4-year-old girl as she waited to cross a street, holding hands with her stepfather and a cousin. The next day, a 9-year-old boy was shot dead at a swimming pool. Soon after, it was a 21-year-old mother of two who was killed by another stray bullet while sitting with a child in her lap.

The three deaths are part of a wave of shootings this month that has residents on edge in metropolitan Rio de Janeiro, the host city for next year's Olympics.

In addition to the fatalities, at least 10 other people have been wounded by stray bullets in recent days, prompting community leaders to complain that a police crackdown on criminal gangs is provoking heavy-powered gunbattles that are catching innocent bystanders in the violence.

The city's six-year effort to reclaim slums that were held for decades by drug traffickers has concentrated gangs into shrinking territories, sparking intense fights between rival factions. Gangs in "pacified" slums also increasingly are carrying out brazen attacks on police.

Paulo Storani, a security consultant who spent more than two decades on Rio's police force, said he has never seen so many stray-bullet cases in such a short period of time. Rio is experiencing a crisis of authority, he said.

"The audacity of the gangs is rising," he said. "They're increasingly confronting police in armed battles, and they're more frequently fighting each other to win territory they've lost to the police pacification program."

Victims and their families, mostly residents of poorer areas, are demanding action against gun deaths and other homicides, which have been rising in Rio since 2012 after a few years of decreases. The

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U.S. judges see 'epidemic' of prosecutorial misconduct in state
Kamala Harris
Federal judges called upon state Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris to respond to reports of a pattern of prosecutorial misconduct going undisciplined in state courts.

Federal judges accuse California bar of turning a blind eye to an 'epidemic' of prosecutorial misconduct
The hearing seemed largely routine until a state prosecutor approached the lectern.

Deputy Atty. Gen. Kevin R. Vienna was there to urge three judges on the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals to uphold murder convictions against Johnny Baca for two 1995 killings in Riverside County. Other courts had already determined that prosecutors had presented false evidence in Baca's trial but upheld the verdicts anyway.

Vienna had barely started his argument when the pummeling began.

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Criticism of a state prosecutor begins around the 15:50 mark. Video via 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on YouTube.
Judge Alex Kozinski asked Vienna if his boss, Atty. Gen. Kamala D. Harris, wanted to defend a conviction "obtained by lying prosecutors." If Harris did not back off the case, Kozinski warned, the court would "name names" in a ruling that would not be "very pretty."

Judge Kim Wardlaw wanted to know why Riverside County prosecutors presented a murder-for-hire case against the killer but did not charge the man they said had arranged the killings.

"It looks terrible," said Judge William Fletcher.

The January hearing in Pasadena, posted online under new 9th Circuit policies, provided a rare and critical examination of a murder case in which prosecutors presented false evidence but were never investigated or disciplined.

The low-profile case probably would have gone unnoticed if not for the video, which attorneys emailed to other attorneys and debated on blogs.

In a series of searing questions, the three judges expressed frustration and anger that California state judges were not cracking down on prosecutorial misconduct. By law, federal judges are supposed to defer to the decisions of state court judges.

Prosecutors "got caught this time but they are going to keep doing it because they have state judges who are willing to look the other way," Kozinski said.

Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen said the judges' questions and tone showed they had lost patience with California courts. State judges are supposed to refer errant lawyers, including prosecutors, to the state bar for discipline, but they rarely do, Uelmen said.

"It is a cumulative type thing," Uelmen said. "The 9th Circuit keeps seeing this misconduct over and over again. This is one way they can really call attention to it."

A 2010 report by the Northern California Innocence Project cited 707 cases in which state courts found prosecutorial misconduct over 11 years. Only six of the prosecutors were disciplined, and the courts upheld 80% of the convictions in spite of the improprieties, the study found.

The 9th Circuit keeps seeing this misconduct over and over again. This is one way they can really call attention to it.
- Gerald Uelmen, of the Santa Clara University School of Law
The case that sparked the court's recent outrage involved the killing of John Adair and his live-in partner, John Mix, two decades ago. Baca, a friend of Adair's adopted son, was working as a houseboy for the couple.

A jailhouse informant testified that Baca had confided the son planned the killing. The two were going to split Adair's inheritance, the informant said. Other witnesses testified that Adair was planning to disinherit his son, who was never charged in the case.

Baca was tried twice and found guilty both times. A state appeals court overturned the first verdict. The second withstood an appeal, even though the state court found the informant and a Riverside County prosecutor had given false testimony.

The informant falsely testified he had asked for and received no favors. The prosecutor falsely corroborated that on the stand, according to court records. Baca was sentenced to 70 years to life.

I always laugh when politicians, judges. police officers and prosecutors tell us this is the best system in the world while railroading innocents people and ruining their lives. The system is very corrupt. It is like an onion with may layers each layer as dishonest as the next. Win at allisconduct.

"That is what bothered me," Hennessey said. "There was never a fair discussion of how serious the issue was."

A U.S. magistrate who next examined the case said Baca might not have been convicted of first-degree murder but for the false testimony. He said the federal court nevertheless was supposed to defer to the state courts.

"Sadly, this informant's lies were bolstered by a Deputy District Attorney, who also lied," wrote Magistrate Judge Patrick J. Walsh. "What is obvious … is that the Riverside County District Attorney's Office turned a blind eye to fundamental principles of justice to obtain a conviction."

Armed with the magistrate's report, the three judges on the 9th Circuit panel appeared incredulous about the facts of the case.

Wardlaw, a Clinton appointee, complained that California's courts were "condoning" prosecutorial misconduct by upholding verdicts, a rare public criticism of her fellow judges. She suggested that state judges, who must be approved by voters, fear inciting the public's wrath. Federal judges are appointed for life.

"I understand why they do that," Wardlaw said. "They are elected judges. They are not going to be reversing these things."

Fletcher, another Clinton appointee, observed that the state's attorney general had fought "tooth and nail" more than a decade ago to prevent a court from seeing a transcript that revealed the false evidence.

"It would look terrible in an opinion when we write it up and name names," Kozinski, a Reagan appointee, told the government lawyer. "Would your name be on?"

Vienna said he was not involved in the case at the time, but named others in the office.

Kozinski demanded to know why the informant and the testifying prosecutor were not charged with perjury. He suggested the state bar should pull the law license of the prosecutor who presented the evidence.

Retired Deputy Dist. Atty. Paul Vinegrad, who prosecuted Baca in both trials, said in an interview that he did not suspect deceit. He said he has since learned that his colleague who falsely testified — former Deputy Dist. Atty. Robert Spira — had memory problems and may have been confused. Spira, who no longer practices law, could not be reached for comment.

Vinegrad also said he believed in the murder-for-hire case he presented, but that there was not enough evidence to charge the son. The informant's testimony against the son would not have been admissible under legal rules at the time, Vinegrad said.

Kozinski, who in the past has spoken out about an "epidemic" of prosecutorial misconduct, asked Vienna whether Harris was aware of the case. Vienna indicated she probably was not. Kozinski told him to get her attention within 48 hours. Harris would need to take action if her office wanted to avoid an embarrassing ruling, Kozinski said.

"Make sure she understands the gravity of the situation," Kozinski said, adding that the case "speaks very poorly for the attorney general's office."

Harris, a candidate for U.S. Senate, changed course. Her office decided last week not to oppose Baca's challenge.

Mike Hestrin, Riverside County's newly elected district attorney, did not concede that the prosecutors' "misconduct" was intentional, but said his office would investigat

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From The FDA Files – L. Ron Hubbard’s OSS/CIA Connection: Charles Parker Morgan

One tiny little line, buried in an innocuous-looking document, is all it took to break the logjam concerning OSS/CIA involvement in Dianetics right from the very beginning.

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South Carolina Inmate Receives 37 Years In Solitary Confinement For Updating Facebook

Almost 400 inmates in South Carolina have spent time in solitary confinement for using social media websites, a violation the state Department of Corrections defines as equal to murdering or raping a fellow inmate, according to an Electronic Frontier Foundation investigation.
Kira Lerner
Friday, February 13, 2015

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