tagged w/ CIA
Jeremy Scahill is an Investigative Journalist, Producer and Co-Writer of the Film Dirty Wars: The World Is a Battlefield. Dirty Wars had its world premiere at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival and received rave reviews by the industry press, including this one by Variety, "This jaw-dropping, persuasively researched pic has the power to pry open government lockboxes." Hollywood Reporter wrote, "Its ugly truths may have seen plenty of sunshine (and even admiration) since the killing of Osama bin Laden, but the film's narrative drive offers a compelling package for viewers numbed by one news report after another about civilian deaths and secret hit lists. Its tough investigative tone and surprisingly stylish photography enhance cinematic appeal for a documentary that merits theatrical exposure."Jeremy Scahill is the National Security Correspondent for The Nation magazine and author of the international bestseller Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army, which won the George Polk Book Award.
More at the linkJeremy Scahill is an Investigative Journalist, Producer and Co-Writer of the Film... more
In A ‘Lawless” America; Government steals months of AP phone records – And there isn’t a fuc$ing thing anyone can (or will) do about it“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the telephone communications of The Associated Press and its reporters,” said CEO Gary Pruitt in a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder“There can be no possible justification for such an overbroad collection of the... more
The ACLU described Edmonds as:
The most gagged person in the history of the United States of America.
And famed Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg says that Edmonds possesses information “far more explosive than the Pentagon Papers”.The ACLU described Edmonds as: The most gagged person in the history of the United... more
In a video for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, Condoleezza Rice defends the United States’ torture program and confirms the role of Bush in the program itself.In a video for the dedication of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum,... more
Probably one of the hardest things for a TV station like WHACKO-TV to cope with is the aftermath of major tragedies, like what happened in Boston recently. You wait for that moment when you can create something that is true to your credo without disturbing the timetable of national mourning, holistic healing and meaningful reflection. Well, we have been reflecting, too. And so, we give you Surveillance Fruits.Probably one of the hardest things for a TV station like WHACKO-TV to cope with is the... more
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Cora Currier writes at ProPublica
The U.S. drone war remains cloaked in secrecy, and as a result, questions swirl around it. Who exactly can be targeted? When can a U.S. citizen be killed?
Another, perhaps less frequently asked question: What happens when innocent civilians are killed in drone strikes?
In February, during his confirmation process, CIA director John Brennan offered an unusually straightforward explanation: ”Where possible, we also work with local governments to gather facts, and, if appropriate, provide condolence payments to families of those killed.”
There’s little documentation of where and how such payments are being made. The government has released almost no information on civilian casualties sustained in drone strikes conducted by the CIA and the military in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. Officials maintain they have been “in the single digits” in recent years, while independent researchers put the total for the past decade in the hundreds.
Certainly, though, drone strikes and condolence payments make for a striking match: The technological apex of war combined with an age-old method of compensating loss.
Such condolence payments featured prominently in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are now embraced by many military commanders and by human rights advocates, some of whom are pushing for a system to govern what had been an ad hoc practice for most of the 20th Century: recognizing the dignity of life, even during war, and even with what might seem like a mere token acknowledgement.
The history of condolence payments
Condolence payments may be rooted in ancient custom, but they are a relatively recent addition to the terms and conduct of modern warfare. Neither U.S. nor international humanitarian law requires them, and they aren’t, in technical terms, an admission of wrongdoing.
In fact, the Army regulation on such payments (which are also called solatia) describes them as “an expression of sympathy toward a victim or his or her family,” in keeping with local custom. According to Center for Civilians in Conflict, an advocacy organization, the U.S. tradition of such payments dates back to the Korean War.
Foreign civilians have long had some recourse for compensation through the Foreign Claims Act, which permitted payments for damages caused by U.S. troops.
But the law doesn’t cover anything that happens during active combat – a significant exception in situations where U.S. troops are on the ground, intermingled with civilian populations. The line between combat and non-combat isn’t always clear. And even when soldiers feel their actions were justified, it is often to their advantage to recognize the harm done.
“Under the law of war, you can kill civilians, as long as their deaths are proportional to immediate military gain,” said Gary Solis, a professor at Georgetown Law. “But as a nation, we recognize it’s important to gain the trust of the people. As the complexion of war has changed, the significance of these payments has too.”
Full Story: http://www.juancole.com/2013/04/innocent-victims-currier.htmlCora Currier writes at ProPublica The U.S. drone war remains cloaked in secrecy,... more
Women’s rights are increasingly heralded as a useful propaganda device to further imperial designs.
Western heads of state, UN officials and military spokespersons will invariably praise the humanitarian dimension of the October 2001 US-NATO led invasion of Afghanistan, which allegedly was to fight religious fundamentalists, help little girls go to school, liberate women subjected to the yoke of the Taliban.
The logic of such a humanitarian dimension of the Afghan war is questionable. Lest we forget, Al Qaeda and the Taliban were supported from the very outset of the Soviet-Afghan war by the US, as part of a CIA led covert operation.Women’s rights are increasingly heralded as a useful propaganda device to... more
A would-be "underwear bomber" involved in a plot to attack a US-based jet was in fact working as an undercover informer with Saudi intelligence and the CIA, it has emerged.
The revelation is the latest twist in an increasingly bizarre story about the disruption of an apparent attempt by al-Qaida to strike at a high-profile American target using a sophisticated device hidden in the clothing of an attacker.
The plot, which the White House said on Monday had involved the seizing of an underwear bomb by authorities in the Middle East sometime in the last 10 days, had caused alarm throughout the US.
It has also been linked to a suspected US drone strike in Yemen where two Yemeni members of al-Qaida were killed by a missile attack on their car on Sunday, one of them a senior militant, Fahd Mohammed Ahmed al-Quso.
But the news that the individual at the heart of the bomb plot was in fact an informer for US intelligence is likely to raise just as many questions as it answers.
Citing US and Yemeni officials, Associated Press reported that the unnamed informant was working under cover for the Saudis and the CIA when he was given the bomb, which was of a new non-metallic type aimed at getting past airport security.
The informant then turned the device over to his handlers and has left Yemen, the officials told the news agency. The LA Times, which first broke the news that the plot had been a "sting operation", said that the bomb plan had also provided the intelligence leads that allowed the strike on Quso.
Earlier John Brennan, Barack Obama's top counter-terrorism adviser and a former CIA official, told ABC's Good Morning America that authorities are "confident that neither the device nor the intended user of this device pose a threat to us".
US officials have said the plot was detected in its early stages and that no American airliner was ever at risk.
The FBI is conducting forensic tests on the bomb as a first step towards discovering whether it would have cleared existing airport scanning systems. Dianne Feinstein, the Democratic senator for California who heads the Senate intelligence committee, gave an early hint when she said that she had been briefed about the device which she called "undetectable".
But AP quoted an unnamed US official as saying current detection methods probably would have spotted the shape of the explosive in the latest device.
Just how major an escalation in threat is posed by the bomb remains unclear. Security sources have told news agencies that it was a step up in levels of sophistication from the original underwear bomb that was used in a failed attempt to blow up an airliner over Detroit on Christmas Day in 2009.
The device used a more refined detonation system, and Brennan said "it was a threat from a standpoint of the design".
When it comes to who made the device the focus is on an al-Qaida's offshoot, Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). Matthew Levitt, a counter-terrorism expert at the Washington Institute, said that the interception of the plot amounted to a significant achievement for US security agencies.
He said: "The FBI is holding the device, which suggests that this was done by having boots on the ground. This was a sophisticated operation that shows we are making in-roads in serious places."
Levitt, who was involved as a senior analyst in the FBI's investigation into 9/11, said that it was natural to be sceptical in a presidential election year about security announcements. "But this was not political, it didn't come from the White House and my sense was that it was a really unique success," he said.
Levitt said that the spotlight would now be even more intense on Ibrahim Hassan al-Asiri, AQAP's assumed bomb-making chief, who is thought to be hiding out in Yemen.
Asiri is believed to have been the creator of the Detroit underwear bomb as well as explosives that were packed into printer cartridges bound for Chicago in 2010.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/09/underwear-bomber-working-for-ciaA would-be "underwear bomber" involved in a plot to attack a US-based jet... more
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Just days after the CIA inked a $600-million cloud computing contract with Amazon, chief technology officer Gus Hunt admitted that the agency is trying to amass as much data as it can, hold it indefinitely and use it for analysis in the future.
In a Wednesday speech in New York City to an audience of technology experts assembled for GigaOM’s Structure: Data conference, Hunt admitted the intelligence community has long sought a database to store text messages, tweets, Facebook activity, videos and any other information Americans make available - intentionally or otherwise.
“Technology in this world is moving faster than government or law can keep up,” he said. “It’s moving faster, I would argue, than you can keep up. You should be asking the question of what are your rights and who owns your data.”
Hunt said CIA analysts have been at work on new algorithms that will break down vast amounts of information into easily digestible tools that allow them to closely examine trends in the public. The agency will then be able to base its covert strategies off those results.
“The value of any piece of technology is only known when you can connect it with something else that arrives at a future point in time,” he added. “Since you can’t connect dots you don’t have ... we fundamentally try to collect everything and hang on to it forever.”
Earlier in March Federal Computer Week reported that the CIA agreed on a contract with Amazon that will allow the government to develop a private cloud infrastructure, thereby keeping up with the same technology Hunt alluded to during his speech on Wednesday.
In the past the CIA’s intelligence model has relied on small, more specific cloud servers that didn’t have the capability the future service presumably will.
During his speech, Hunt stressed that the CIA will collect information on individuals thought to be America's enemies, evaluate it quickly, and act on those assertions. Along with the Amazon partnership – which neither side would officially recognize to media outlets – Hunt’s speech alluded to the “underwear bomber,” who was foiled in his attempt to blow up an airliner on Christmas of 2009. A 2010 report from the White House explained how the Al Qaeda plot made it as far as it did.
“Though all of the information was available to all-source analysts at the CIA and the [National Counter Terrorism Center] prior to the attempted attack, the dots were never connected, and as a result, the problem appears to be more a component failure to ‘connect the dots,’ rather than a lack of information sharing,” the report read.
Based on Hunt’s comments it would appear that the CIA is prepared to fill in those gaps by any methods in its grasp.
“You are aware of the fact that somebody can know where you are at all times, because you carry a mobile device, even if that mobile device is turned off,” Hunt said. “You’re already a walking sensor platform - you know this, I hope? Yes? Well, you should."
http://rt.com/usa/cia-keep-information-forever-571/Just days after the CIA inked a $600-million cloud computing contract with Amazon,... more
"Federal appeals court rejects CIA drone secrecy ruling" Read more at http://exm.nr/WO45sJ"Federal appeals court rejects CIA drone secrecy ruling" Read more at... more
Chalmers Johnson called the CIA the president’s private army. Imperial Rome had its praetorian guard. It served and protected emperors.
CIA rogues work the same way. They do lots more than that. Extrajudicial killing is prioritized. Much that goes on is secret. Unaccountability keeps Congress and ordinary people uninformed.Chalmers Johnson called the CIA the president’s private army. Imperial Rome had... more
John O. Brennan was confirmed as CIA director on Thursday afternoon, after Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed satisfaction with the response he had received to his questions about the Obama administration’s drone program.
Paul engaged in a nearly 13-hour talking filibuster against Brennan’s nomination on Wednesday, ending after midnight on Thursday morning. Throughout the filibuster, Paul said he simply wanted the White House to clarify that it would not use unmanned aerial drones to kill American citizens on U.S. soil — a point he felt the White House hadn’t been clear enough on.
In a letter to Paul sent earlier Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Eric H. Holder gave him his wish.
“It has come to my attention that you have now asked an additional question: ‘Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’” Holder wrote. “The answer to that question is no.”
Paul said after receiving the letter that he would be happy to proceed with a vote on Brennan’s nomination.
“I’m quite happy with the answer, and I’m disappointed it took a month and a half and a root canal to get it,” Paul told CNN. “But we did get the answer. And that’s what I’ve been asking all along.”
The Senate voted soon after Paul gave the all-clear. Senators cleared the 60-vote threshold required to cut off debate and bring Brennan’s nomination to a vote, with 81 senators voting to move forward. In the final vote, Brennan was confirmed 63-34.
Even as Paul eventually got what he wanted, though, his filibuster divided his party between the new generation of tea party-affiliated Republicans and the older generation of foreign policy hawks.
Perhaps the two most prominent hawks, Sens. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.), took to the Senate floor Thursday to denounce Paul’s quest.
“I don’t worry about [drones killing Americans],” Graham said. “Here’s what I worry about: that al-Qaeda has killed 2,958 of us and is going to add to the total if we let our guard down. And I will do everything in my power to protect this president — who I disagree with a lot — and future presidents in having an ill-informed Congress take over the legitimate authority under the Constitution and the laws of this land to be the commander in chief on behalf of all of us.”
McCain alluded to one of the more quotable moments from Paul’s filibuster, in which he speculated that the definition of enemies of the state could be loosely defined to include people like Jane Fonda, who spoke out against the Vietnam war.
“We need hearings,” McCain said. “But that conversation should not be about drones killing Jane Fonda and people in cafes. It should be all about what authority and what checks and balances should exist.”
Paul said Thursday that his filibuster was somewhat spur of the moment. He had enough time for his staff to put together binders of information for him, but he didn’t make other special preparations.
He also said that the support of his colleagues — more than a dozen of them took part in the filibuster, including Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.) — was mostly un-coordinated.
“And then really most of the senators came spontaneously, too,” Paul said during an appearance on Glenn Beck’s TV show. “We called one or two that do a lot with us to help us early on and then — but gradually, I’m not sure how many we had, but I’ll bet you we had 15 finally show up to be supportive.”
During a talking filibuster, senators are not permitted to leave the Senate floor or use the bathroom. Other senators can speak, but the filibustering senator may not even sit down.
The longest filibuster remains a 24-hour, 18-minute marathon speech by Sen. Strom Thurmond (S.C.) against the Civil Rights Act of 1957. According to the Senate historian, Paul’s filibuster is the ninth-longest on record.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/rand-paul-says-hes-satisfied-with-obama-administrations-response-on-drones/2013/03/07/9b20aa44-875d-11e2-98a3-b3db6b9ac586_story.htmlJohn O. Brennan was confirmed as CIA director on Thursday afternoon, after Sen. Rand... more
Hugo Chavez (July 28, 1954 - March 5, 2013)
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's fiery and controversial socialist president who came to power on wave of popular sentiment and befriended some of the world's most nefarious dictators, has died at the age of 58, Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said today.
Chavez had been fighting cancer, recently seeking treatment at a clinic in Cuba.
A self-described champion of the poor who first tried to overturn Venezuela's powerful elites in a failed 1992 coup, Chavez was democratically elected in 1999, with huge support from the country's poor.
During his time in office, he became one of Latin America's most well-known and polarizing figures. A constant thorn in the side of the United States, he commanded headlines in newspapers around the world. A populist who suppressed free speech, he remained immensely popular among his country's poor.
From the time he won election in 1999, Chavez held onto power through tightly controlling the media and through a series of populist elections and referenda, including one that allowed him to seek a limitless number of terms.
Chavez, whose public appearances diminished in months received his first surgery and chemotherapy treatment for cancer in Cuba in 2011.
He returned to Cuba, a guest of that country's ailing socialist leader Fidel Castro, for treatment and surgery in February 2012.
Chavez announced on Dec. 8 on state television that he would travel back to Cuba to undergo surgery since his pelvic cancer had "returned."
Despite his ailing health, Chavez was reelected last year.
Hugo Chavez has finally been pronounced dead Venezuela expelled two U.S. officials accused of plotting against President Hugo Chavez’s government while the cancer-stricken leader struggled for life during his third month out of public view.
U.S. military attache David del Monaco met Venezuelan military officials in a bid to destabilize the country and has 24 hours to leave the country, Vice President Nicolas Maduro said in televised remarks today. Foreign Minister Elias Jaua said afterward that a second U.S. official was declared persona non grata and that more expulsions will follow.
Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro also called for an investigation into a theory that President Hugo Chavez's enemies inoculated him with cancer and said he had evidence that opposition groups are sabotaging the nation's power grid. Photographer: Leo Ramirez/AFP via Getty Images
In an hour-long speech, Maduro also called for an investigation into a theory that Chavez’s enemies inoculated him with cancer and said he had evidence that opposition groups are sabotaging the nation’s power grid.
Today’s announcements come amid increasing speculation that Chavez is losing his battle with cancer and may not be able to continue as president, said David Smilde, a senior fellow at the Washington Office on Latin America who specializes in Venezuela.
“This is consistent with what we’ve seen from Maduro in recent months,” Smilde said in a phone interview. “It’s a card that Chavez played and now Maduro is playing it too. Anytime you hear those kinds of accusations and conspiracy theories, you think it’s an attempt to divert attention.”
Chavez’s breathing problems have worsened after he developed a second “severe” respiratory infection and Venezuela faces it’s most difficult hours since Chavez underwent surgery in Havana Dec. 11, Maduro said.
The government will give a health update on Chavez later today, Maduro said..http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2013/03/05/hugo-chavez-leaves-the-soft... more
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Pilotless drones gather enemy intelligence and blow up suspected terrorists abroad. It sounds great; American enemies are destroyed without risking military lives.
But America’s shift to drone-based warfare and surveillance should arouse concern. The Justice Department released a justification to take out American citizens without charges or trial. Federal agencies look to expand permits for drones in U.S. airspace. Smuggler Han Solo put it best in the original Star Wars: “I got a bad feeling about this.”Pilotless drones gather enemy intelligence and blow up suspected terrorists abroad. It... more
Excerpt from Rolling Stone Magazine December 7, 2012:
The Rise and Fall of Jeremy Hammond: Enemy of the State- by Janet Reitman
On a cold day in mid-December 2011, a hacker known as "sup_g" sat alone at his computer – invisible, or so he believed. He'd been working on the target for hours, long after the rest of his crew had logged off: an epic hack, the "digital equivalent of a nuclear bomb," as it later would be described, on the servers of a Texas-based intelligence contractor called Strategic Forecasting Inc. Stratfor served as a sort of private CIA, monitoring developments in political hot spots around the world and supplying analysis to the U.S. security establishment.
A member of the online activist movement Anonymous, sup_g was part of a small team of politically motivated hackers who had breached Stratfor's main defenses earlier that month – ultimately "rooting," or gaining total access to, its main web servers. In them, they had found a cornucopia of treasure: passwords, unencrypted credit-card data and private client lists revealing Stratfor's deep ties to both big business and the U.S. intelligence and defense communities. But perhaps the most lucrative find of all was Stratfor's e-mail database: some 3 million private messages that exposed a wide array of nefarious and clandestine activities – from the U.S. government's monitoring of the Occupy movement to Stratfor's own role in compiling data on a variety of activist movements, including PETA, Wikileaks and even Anonymous itself
Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-rise-and-fall-of-jeremy-hammond-enemy-of-the-state-20121207#ixzz2M909sybR
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on FacebookExcerpt from Rolling Stone Magazine December 7, 2012: The Rise and Fall of Jeremy... more
Dating drug dealers, harassing ex-boyfriends with naked pictures, and pointing guns at pet dogs: these were just a few of the offences committed recently by serving FBI agents, according to internal documents.
...more at link...
Of course they're dating drug dealers b/c they're drug dealers themselves. The CIA brings in the drugs and the FBI deals it internally, all while they're staging fake terror plots and patting themselves on the back when they foil their own staged events. The agency is corrupt and the agents are criminals, which is more evidence of our decadent and declining empire.Dating drug dealers, harassing ex-boyfriends with naked pictures, and pointing guns at... more