(Reuters) - A coalition of two dozen civil-liberties groups called Thursday for broad congressional hearings on the Drug Enforcement Administration, citing recent revelations by Reuters about the DEA's use of National Security Agency data to build non-terrorism cases against Americans.
Last month, Reuters reported that the DEA funnels tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, court-ordered wiretaps and a massive telephone database to police and federal agents nationwide, including tax investigators at the Internal Revenue Service.
The DEA instructs the agents and police to never reveal the source of the information and to instead "recreate" the investigative trail, records seen by Reuters show. This DEA process, which agents call "parallel construction," disturbs some judges, former prosecutors and defense lawyers, who say it systematically eliminates potential evidence that defendants may need to ensure a fair trial.
The DEA says the programs follow the law.
"The implications of the Reuters revelations are serious and far-reaching," the groups wrote Thursday to Congressional leaders on judiciary, homeland security and oversight committees.
"For too long Congress has given the DEA a free pass," said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance, which signed the letter along with groups including the American Civil Liberties Union and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "Our hope is that Congress does its job and provides oversight of an agency that has a long track record of deeply troubling behavior."
September 16, 2013 http://www.therepublic.com/view/story/27c9e4aefd3d4f239e0c94efa8d51ce6/AZ--Border-Agent-Smuggling
A former Drug Enforcement Administration employee will spend one year on probation and perform 50 hours of community service for embezzling $1,800 from the agency's drug enforcement funds, U.S. District Judge Donetta Ambrose judge ruled Monday.
Holly Cook, 43, of Monongahela pleaded guilty in May to stealing government money. She took money from a locked cash box she was in charge of and, in addition to the $1,800, stole an undetermined amount of money from other employees while collecting donations for charities, prosecutors say.
The FBI filed a motion for summary disposition Friday, Aug. 23, after the Detroit-based rap duo and its Bloomfield Hills-based law firm, Hertz Schram, filed a lawsuit in September 2012 in Flint U.S. District Court demanding the FBI turn over information that led the agency to list the band's fans -- known as Juggalos -- as a gang.
The lawsuit claims the band asked the FBI, through an Aug. 24 Freedom of Information Act request, for information about the National Gang Intelligence Center's 2011 National Gang Threat Assessment Emerging Trends report.
The FBI argued in its motion to dismiss, which was filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office, that the bureau turned over all pertinent records in two separate releases. However, attorneys from Hertz Schram claim in their Friday, Sept. 13, response that the FBI has not released all of the requested information and they question the adequacy of the bureau's search for documents.
Attorneys representing the band could not be reached for comment.
READ: The documents the FBI released to Hertz Schram
FBI officials declined to comment on the allegations.
The band's attorneys point to a March 11, 2012, FOIA request filed by the website MuckRock.com as proof that the FBI is not releasing all of the information sought by FOIA requests submitted by the band's attorneys.
WESTPORT, Conn. -- Westport resident and Yonkers, N.Y., native James Comey was officially installed as the head of the FBI in a ceremony Monday at FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., overseen by President Barack Obama.
Comey, 52, the seventh director in FBI history, served as deputy attorney general from December 2003 through August 2005 under President George W. Bush. He was U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York before that.
He replaced Robert Mueller, who stepped down after 12 years as director.
"Jim has dedicated his life to defending our laws -- to making sure that all Americans can trust our justice system to protect their rights and their well-being," Obama said to the assembled press and guests. "He’s the perfect leader for an organization whose walls are graced by the words of a legendary former director: 'The most effective weapon against crime is cooperation.'"
Obama nominated Comey for the position in June. The Senate confirmed his nomination with a vote of 93-1 in late July.
From 2005 to 2010, he worked as general counsel at Lockheed Martin Corp.
In 2010, Comey became general counsel of the Westport-based hedge fund Bridgewater Associates. Earlier this year, he left Bridgewater to become senior research scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security at Columbia University Law School in New York.
"I am so grateful for this honor and this opportunity to serve with the men and women of the FBI," Comey said at the event. "Those three words in the FBI's motto -- Fidelity, Bravery, Integrity -- capture the essence of the FBI and its people. And they also explain why I am here. I wanted to be here to work alongside those people, to represent them, to help them accomplish their mission, and to just be their colleague."
A former appraiser who committed fraud and later spooked the Drug Enforcement Administration into providing her with round-the-clock security was sentenced today to 19 months in prison.
Kimberly Baldwin, 46, of Jefferson Hills, inflated appraisals in order to justify loans from 2003 through 2006, costing banks more than $1 million.
Last year, while facing resulting charges of wire fraud conspiracy, she told her husband, a DEA special agent, that people in a gold Buick sedan had watched their house and menaced her. She later wrote two fake threat notes -- including one on a dollar bill -- which were presented to the DEA as indications that someone was harassing her family.
"Lies cannot lead to the truth"
Progressives and liberals in the U.S. seem afflicted by a strange delusion: a belief in the goodness of secret organizations.
That belief manifests itself most conspicuously in the double-standard approach to such organizations as the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the National Security Agency (NSA) and others like them. In the face of new scathing revelations about the activities of these entities, the response is always along these lines: "Yes, of course, what they did was bad, but that's because they have bad people there now. As soon as they have good people again, you can be sure they'll return to the useful functions they were designed for--which is to protect us from our enemies, foreign and domestic."
This way of seeing things is very prevalent among political progressives. That's evident from the fact that, through all the years since 9/11, they have never contemplated the dismantling of DHS or the repeal of the Patriot Act. Obviously, no politicians in official positions have considered it either.
When I was a kid, boys loved to play the part of secret agents or spies. Movies involving such characters were our favorites. We liked the aura of those dangerous and powerful men, liked their license to kill and their own total invincibility, admired their irresistible attractiveness to women, and were thrilled by the idea of "killing for a good cause."
All this was of course quite innocent and understandable. As a child you can't feel the tragedy of death and you shouldn't. But, eventually, as I grew older and read real books and saw the documentaries about killing; when I had personal encounters with death and talked to those who saw it in abundance--I realized how stupid, cruel and illusory those images in spy films were. I saw how people really regard spies--with hate and disgust; how no good woman would even look at such rotten persons; how spies really are, beneath their glamorous image; and how corrupt and dangerous are the organizations they work for, which give them their license to kill. But to my amazement, I also found that not all people of my age grew up to share my disillusionment. I have met many middle-aged men who are still perversely fascinated with killing--who still admire the ability to kill at will, and who even regret they cannot do the killings themselves. These men are the perpetual little brats from my childhood. Stephen King is right: sometimes they come back.
The inhumanity and insidious deeds of the secret U.S. agencies to which I've referred cannot be ignored. But, here, for the moment, I'll try not to dwell on these evils. Instead, I would like to unravel the romantic notion that these entities are there to protect us and that we should admire them and be grateful for what they do for us.
Let's design a thought experiment, say with respect to drone strikes. The purpose of the killer drone is to destroy a target. That target, by default, is a human being who is situated far away from the place in the U.S. where the drone "pilot" is located. Let's put aside for the moment the obvious lawlessness and murder that are involved here--a situation in which someone from this country wants to kill someone in another country with which we are not at war or engaged in any other active conflict. Let's concentrate instead purely on the methodology of the drone strike, following the "decision tree" from the drone on up.
The next branch up from the drone is the "pilot," the person who controls the drone's movements. That person knows how to kill and where to go to carry out the act, but he (or she) does not know who the target is or why the killing is to be performed. We relieve this person of his or her "ethics subroutines," because we accept that, in the role he or she is playing, natural human curiosity is not in play. The "pilot" will never ask questions about the targets and never express any doubts about the propriety of his or her actions.
As we ascend further up the "decision tree," the next branch we encounter will most likely be that of the direct supervisor of the "drone squadron," an officer or an agent of some rank who receives the order to execute. This officer specifies the parameters of the target and all the necessary coordinates and procedures. But, as for the customary "need to know" under which most critical military actions are undertaken, it is unlikely that the targeting information contains the name, bio or any other details about the intended human target, except for maybe a photo and the "reason" he is to be eliminated--perhaps by simple designation as an alleged terrorist operative.
Such a designation will serve this chain of command as the sufficient justification for a drone strike. Moreover, the supervisor does not receive the order to execute directly from an individual, but through a coded message of some sort from command headquarters. He therefore has no way, and is not expected to have a way, to verify or dispute the order, or to make sure it is the right thing to do. So, again, any moral consideration of the act to take place is not only discarded, but pre-empted as an option.
So now, climbing further up the "decision tree," we have reached the place--a command headquarters of some kind--where the strike order is actually issued. Considering the gravity of the decision to be made, one would think that the order would come from a small group of people who are specially qualified to rule on such life-or-death matters. But, in fact, very high-ranking officers or politicos are not involved, because not only would it be impractical to tie up such people in everyday operations, but people of power naturally prefer not to be associated too directly with politically sensitive decision-making.
The actual model for calling the shots on drone strikes might be described as a medieval "Venetian Triad" (so vividly described by Mark Twain in his book "The Innocents Abroad"), a very limited group of people, probably defined as "high operatives," who take over the function of deciding on life and death. It is important to recognize that in no way is the will of the people reflected through the political process in the decisions relating to drone strike targeting. Nor is any court involved, or a justice system. The attack is entirely a totalitarian scheme, the natural offspring of the structure and goals of the secret organization that administers it. That's simply how it works. Nothing personal.
To be fair, however, let's hypothesize that the "Venetian Triad" consists of several objectively dilligent people who do not take the process of decision lightly. Let's say they congregate and analyze the data provided. That data would consist of several reports on the behavior of the designated target. (These reports are, in fact, manhunt documents, tracing the movements of a suspected terrorist on the foreign soil, based on the information obtained through covert activities, 90% of which are violations of both local and international laws.) The data would also include a PowerPoint summary, consisting of several slides, the final one of which would indicate the certain "success" of the drone strike.
THE WORST OF THE WORST- COPS WHO RAPE CHILDREN and BABIES...http://www.policeprostitutionandpolitics.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=100pedophile-and-child-porn-cops-all-years&catid=1:latest-news&Itemid=50
A document provided by former National Security Agency (NSA) contractor Edward Snowden explains the agency’s plan to discredit Islamic “radicalizers” by monitoring their online habits for indications they visited pornographic websites or used “sexually explicit persuasive language when communicating with inexperienced young girls,” the Huffington Post reported Tuesday night.
“Radicalizers appear to be particularly vulnerable in the area of authority when their private and public behaviors are not consistent,” the document states. The Post reported that the Oct. 12 missive was sent to the Drug Enforcement Association (DEA) and the Commerce, Customs, Justice and Transportation Departments.
The document Snowden provided identifies six Muslim “globally-resonating radicalizers,” one of them a “U.S. person,” the agency term for an American citizen or permanent resident. Under the listing for the subjects’ “vulnerabilities,” two are described as engaging in “online promiscuity.” Another subject, described as a “well-known media celebrity” who targets an Arabic-speaking audience, has a “glamorous lifestyle” listed as a possible point of attack.
“Examining how the six radicalizers establish and maintain access with different pools of people susceptible to their message — and their perceptions of the difficulties in doing so — suggests that there are vulnerabilities that can be exploited in terms of this access,” the document states. “Emerging radicalizers may be vulnerable on this point as well.”
Journalist James Bamford, who has covered the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) searches for American public figures’ “vulnerabilities,” told the Post the NSA’s apparent activities brought to mind the tactics employed by former FBI director J. Edgar Hoover.
“Back then, the idea was developed by the longest serving FBI chief in U.S. history,” Bamford told the Post. “Today it was suggested by the longest serving NSA chief in U.S. history. And back then, the NSA was also used to do the eavesdropping on King and others through its Operation Minaret. A later review declared the NSA’s program ‘disreputable if not outright illegal.’”
This is the new Gold Standard for the meaning of Orwellian.Let me get this straight. Law enforcement FBI agents Anticev and Floyd with their FBI informant Amad Salem create the 1993 1st World Trade Center bombing see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vPGvU_XTQx ; Law enforcement FBI supervisorLarry Potts and his informant Timothy McVeigh create the 1995Oklahoma City bombing see http://www.deseretnews.com/article/660197443/Nichols-says-bombing-was-FBI-op.html?pg=all ; the Boston Law enforcement agency the FBI provides Whitey Bulger with a 60 pound box of C4 explosives to give to the IRA which is later used in the Omargh bombing in Ireland with an added assist of FBI informant David Rupert seehttp://www1.whdh.com/blogs/bulger-trial/posts/MI140124 the law enforcement agency called the FBI allows their informant David Headley to orchestrate the 2008 Mumbai Terrorist attacks in India see http://norcaltruth.org/2010/10/18/david-headley-american-terrorist-or-fbi-informant-or-both/Over 300 fighter pilots and airline pilots release a documentary in November 2013 called Skygate 911 detailing the evidence for the FBI and other US government agencies creating 911 see http://pilotsfor911truth.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=22498&st=0& Over 2,000 architects and engineers produce a documentary in 2013 called 911:EXPLOSIVE EVIDENCE saying the World Trade Center towers were taken down by a controlled demolition and the FBI was involved in 911 coverup see http://www.ae911truth.org/ So now the arbiter is saying the Boston Police law enforcement agency needs a raise to protect us from the threat of terrorists.I hope somebody reading this has the ability to challenge the arbiter's conclusion in a court of law and start the process to create a volunteer civilian review police board with subpoena powers that has the ability to set and enforce standards for the Boston Police Department.
see link for full story
Arbiter justifies cop pay hikeSays terror threat gives Boston police greater roleFriday, November 29, 2013Boston cops’ anti-terror operations — including their protection of large-scale public events — have earned them every cent of the controversial 25.4 percent pay hike proposal that goes before the City Council on Monday, the arbitrator who brokered the pact wrote in a document obtained by the Herald.Arbitrator Timothy J. Buckalew acknowledges in the 12-page explanation of his award that the settlement — reached amid tense negotiations after the cop union contract expired in 2010 — is “costly.” But he also writes that the city can afford it, calling it “consistent with the value the city receives from the police force.”“Recent events have changed the nature of police work from patrol and response to responsibility for ensuring public safety at public events at levels unheard of in prior years,” Buckalew wrote. “The life of great cities depends on citizens being able to live, work, recreate and assemble for any lawful purpose without fear of crime or terror.”The pact, which increases cop salaries over six years, has been branded a budget buster by some councilors who say the city can’t afford the estimated $87 million price tag, and that they fear firefighters will come back and ask for equally large raises.The gap between base salaries for cops and firefighters was a key rift in the negotiations, with the average cop pulling in $76,000 minus overtime and details, while jakes raked in $91,000. The police union argued that city tradition holds that cops and firefighters should be paid the same, while the city said the union’s own decisions — including its 1998 decision to opt into the now-defunct Quinn Bill, which gave cops state-sponsored bonuses for college degrees — led to the disparity.
The 50th anniversary of the JFK assassination saw a mainstream media blackout of nearly all evidence of conspiracy in that case. But New York Magazine went even further, mocking the proven Contra-cocaine scandal as a “conspiracy theory.”
In the insular world of Manhattan media, there’s much handwringing over the latest blow to print publications as New York Magazine scales back from a weekly to a biweekly. But the real lesson might be the commercial failure of snarky writing, the kind that New York demonstrated in its recent hit piece on “conspiracy theories.”
What was most stunning to me about the article, pegged to the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination, was that it began by ridiculing what is actually one of the best-documented real conspiracies of recent decades, the CIA’s tolerance and even protection of cocaine trafficking by the Nicaraguan Contra rebels in the 1980s.
Journalist Gary Webb (right).
According to New York Magazine, the Contra-cocaine story – smugly dubbed “the last great conspiracy theory of the twentieth century” – started with the claim by ”crack kingpin” Ricky Ross that he was working with a Nicaraguan cocaine supplier, Oscar Danilo Blandon, who had ties to the Contras who, in turn, had ties to the CIA.
Author Benjamin Wallace-Wells writes: “The wider the aperture around this theory, the harder its proponents work to implicate Washington, the shakier it seems: After several trials and a great deal of inquiry, no one has been able to show that anyone in the CIA condoned what Blandon was doing, and it has never been clear exactly how strong Blandon’s ties to the contraleadership really were, anyway.”
So, it was all a goofy “conspiracy theory.” Move along, move along, nothing to see here. But neither Wallace-Wells nor his New York Magazine editors seem to have any idea about the actual history of the Contra-cocaine scandal. It did not begin with the 1996 emergence of Ricky Ross in a series of articles by San Jose Mercury-News investigative reporter Gary Webb, as Wallace-Wells suggests.
The Contra-cocaine scandal began more than a decade earlier with a 1985 article that Brian Barger and I wrote for the Associated Press. Our article cited documentary evidence and witnesses – both inside the Contra movement and inside the U.S. government – implicating nearly all the Contra groups fighting in Nicaragua under the umbrella of Ronald Reagan’s CIA.
Our Contra-cocaine article was followed up by a courageous Senate investigation led by Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts who further documented the connections between cocaine traffickers, the Contras and the Reagan administration in a report issued in 1989.
Yet, part of the scandal always was how the Reagan administration worked diligently to undercut investigations of the President’s favorite “freedom fighters” whether the inquiries were undertaken by the press, Congress, the Drug Enforcement Administration or federal prosecutors. Indeed, a big part of this cover-up strategy was to mock the evidence as “a conspiracy theory,” when it was anything but.
Big Media’s Complicity
Most of the mainstream news media played along with the Reagan administration’s mocking strategy, although occasionally major outlets, like the Washington Post, had to concede the reality of the scandal.
For instance, during the drug-trafficking trial of Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega in 1991, U.S. prosecutors found themselves with no alternative but to call as a witness Colombian Medellín cartel kingpin Carlos Lehder, who — along with implicating Noriega — testified that the cartel had given $10 million to the Contras, an allegation first unearthed by Sen. Kerry.
“The Kerry hearings didn’t get the attention they deserved at the time,” a Washington Posteditorial on Nov. 27, 1991, acknowledged. “The Noriega trial brings this sordid aspect of the Nicaraguan engagement to fresh public attention.”
Yet, despite the Washington Post’s belated concern about the mainstream news media’s neglect of the Contra-cocaine scandal, there was no serious follow-up anywhere in Big Media – until 1996 when Gary Webb disclosed the connection between one Contra cocaine smuggler, Danilo Blandon, and the emergence of crack cocaine via Ricky Ross.
But the premier news outlets – the likes of the Washington Post, the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times – didn’t take this new opportunity to examine what was a serious a crime of state. That would have required them to engage in some embarrassing self-criticism for their misguided dismissal of the scandal. Instead, the big newspapers went on the attack against Gary Webb.
Their attack line involved narrowing their focus to Blandon – ignoring the reality that he was just one of many Contras involved in cocaine smuggling to the United States – and to Ross – arguing that Ross’s operation could not be blamed for the entire crack epidemic that ravaged U.S. cities in the 1980s. And the newspapers insisted that the CIA couldn’t be blamed for this cocaine smuggling because the agency had supposedly examined the issue in the 1980s and found that it had done nothing wrong.
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