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EXCLUSIVE: Syrians In Ghouta Claim Saudi-Supplied Rebels Behind Chemical Attack -- Rebels and local residents in Ghouta accuse Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan of providing chemical weapons to an al-Qaida linked rebel group. Dale Gavlak assisted in the research and writing process of this article, but was not on the ground in Syria. Reporter Yahya Ababneh, with whom the report was written in collaboration, was the correspondent on the ground in Ghouta who spoke directly with the rebels, their family members, victims of the chemical weapons attacks and local residents.
Gavlak is a MintPress News Middle East correspondent who has been freelancing for the AP as a Amman, Jordan correspondent for nearly a decade. This report is not an Associated Press article; rather it is exclusive to MintPress News.
Ghouta, Syria — As the machinery for a U.S.-led military intervention in Syria gathers pace following last week’s chemical weapons attack, the U.S. and its allies may be targeting the wrong culprit.
Interviews with people in Damascus and Ghouta, a suburb of the Syrian capital, where the humanitarian agency Doctors Without Borders said at least 355 people had died last week from what it believed to be a neurotoxic agent, appear to indicate as much.
The U.S., Britain, and France as well as the Arab League have accused the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for carrying out the chemical weapons attack, which mainly targeted civilians. U.S. warships are stationed in the Mediterranean Sea to launch military strikes against Syria in punishment for carrying out a massive chemical weapons attack. The U.S. and others are not interested in examining any contrary evidence, with U.S Secretary of State John Kerry saying Monday that Assad’s guilt was “a judgment … already clear to the world.” (Mint Press News)
The rush to judgment on Syria is a catastrophic and deadly error -- Britain and America show contempt for the lessons of the past in pressing for action It is more than 10 years since Parliament last voted on whether or not to go to war. This was on March 18 2003, when a stirring speech by Tony Blair convinced many sceptical MPs of the case for military action against Iraq.
But Mr Blair’s claim that Britain possessed “extensive, detailed and authoritative” evidence concerning Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction turned out to be nonsense, and we invaded the country on the back of a false prospectus. The consequences were terrible: countless Iraqis were killed in the civil war that followed, along with 179 British soldiers.
The similarities with today’s Commons vote are haunting. The Prime Minister is contemplating an attack on Iraq’s near neighbour Syria, also ruled by a Baathist regime. At the heart of the issue are allegations about weapons of mass destruction. Once again, Britain finds herself in alliance with the United States, and without the authority of the United Nations.
Many of the same voices are cheering us on. Most zealous of all is Tony Blair, while Alastair Campbell, the New Labour propagandist who spread the stories about WMD in Iraq, said yesterday that it would be “irresponsible and incredibly dangerous” not to intervene in Syria. (London Telegraph)
The Program (video) It took me a few days to work up the nerve to phone William Binney. As someone already a “target” of the United States government, I found it difficult not to worry about the chain of unintended consequences I might unleash by calling Mr. Binney, a 32-year veteran of the National Security Agency turned whistle-blower. He picked up. I nervously explained I was a documentary filmmaker and wanted to speak to him. To my surprise he replied: “I’m tired of my government harassing me and violating the Constitution. Yes, I’ll talk to you.”
Two weeks later, driving past the headquarters of the N.S.A. in Maryland, outside Washington, Mr. Binney described details about Stellar Wind, the N.S.A.’s top-secret domestic spying program begun after 9/11, which was so controversial that it nearly caused top Justice Department officials to resign in protest, in 2004.
“The decision must have been made in September 2001,” Mr. Binney told me and the cinematographer Kirsten Johnson. “That’s when the equipment started coming in.” In this Op-Doc, Mr. Binney explains how the program he created for foreign intelligence gathering was turned inward on this country. He resigned over this in 2001 and began speaking out publicly in the last year. He is among a group of N.S.A. whistle-blowers, including Thomas A. Drake, who have each risked everything — their freedom, livelihoods and personal relationships — to warn Americans about the dangers of N.S.A. domestic spying. (New York Times)
Exclusive: NSA Using Copyright Claims To Crush Free Speech? Can a government agency block criticism by claiming copyright infringement? Sounds a bit ridiculous but it is happening. The NSA is effectively stopping one small business owner from criticism, claiming that by using its name he has infringed on their copyright.
Can they do that?
This is a Reality Check you won’t see anywhere else.
This is a story I had a hard time believing until I looked into it for myself. Here is the backstory.
Dan McCall is the owner of a company that makes snarky t-shirts. The company is called Liberty Maniacs. Liberty Maniacs carry a number of t-shirts dealing with lack of privacy and the growing police state. They sell on a site called www.Zazzle.com
None of it has been a problem—until Liberty Maniacs released a shirt called “The NSA.”
The image looks like the NSA logo but has a motto that is clearly a pun—“Peeping while you are sleeping”—followed by the phrase “The NSA, the only part of government that actually listens.” (Ben Swann)
Why Are American Health Care Costs So High? In which John discusses the complicated reasons why the United States spends so much more on health care than any other country in the world, and along the way reveals some surprising information, including that Americans spend more of their tax dollars on public health care than people in Canada, the UK, or Australia. Who's at fault? Insurance companies? Drug companies? Malpractice lawyers? Hospitals? Or is it more complicated than a simple blame game? (Hint: It's that one.)
For a much more thorough examination of health care expenses in America, I recommend this series at The Incidental Economist: http://theincidentaleconomist.com/wor...
The Commonwealth Fund's Study of Health Care Prices in the US: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/~/med...
Some of the stats in this video also come from this New York Times story: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/02/hea...
This is the first part in what will be a periodic series on health care costs and reforms leading up to the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, in 2014. (Vlog Brothers)
The Real Neuroscience of Creativity So yea, you know how the left brain is really realistic, analytical, practical, organized, and logical, and the right brain is so darn creative, passionate, sensual, tasteful, colorful, vivid, and poetic?
Thoughtful cognitive neuroscientists such as Anna Abraham, Mark Beeman, Adam Bristol, Kalina Christoff, Andreas Fink, Jeremy Gray, Adam Green, Rex Jung, John Kounios, Hikaru Takeuchi, Oshin Vartanian, Darya Zabelina and others are on the forefront of investigating what actually happens in the brain during the creative process. And their findings are overturning conventional notions surrounding the neuroscience of creativity.
The latest findings from the real neuroscience of creativity suggest that the right brain/left brain distinction is not the right one when it comes to understanding how creativity is implemented in the brain.* Creativity does not involve a single brain region or single side of the brain.
Instead, the entire creative process– from preparation to incubation to illumination to verification– consists of many interacting cognitive processes and emotions. Depending on the stage of the creative process, and what you’re actually attempting to create, different brain regions are recruited to handle the task. (Scientific American)
keywords: Adam Bristol, Adam Green, Andreas Fink, Anna Abraham, Darya Zabelina, Health Care, Hikaru Takeuchi, Jeremy Gray, John Kounios, Kalina Christoff, Mark Beeman, Oshin Vartanian, Rex Jung, United States
NSA broke privacy rules thousands of times per year, audit finds The National Security Agency has broken privacy rules or overstepped its legal authority thousands of times each year since Congress granted the agency broad new powers in 2008, according to an internal audit and other top-secret documents.
Most of the infractions involve unauthorized surveillance of Americans or foreign intelligence targets in the United States, both of which are restricted by statute and executive order. They range from significant violations of law to typographical errors that resulted in unintended interception of U.S. e-mails and telephone calls.
The documents, provided earlier this summer to The Washington Post by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, include a level of detail and analysis that is not routinely shared with Congress or the special court that oversees surveillance. In one of the documents, agency personnel are instructed to remove details and substitute more generic language in reports to the Justice Department and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
In one instance, the NSA decided that it need not report the unintended surveillance of Americans. A notable example in 2008 was the interception of a “large number” of calls placed from Washington when a programming error confused the U.S. area code 202 for 20, the international dialing code for Egypt, according to a “quality assurance” review that was not distributed to the NSA’s oversight staff. (Washington Post)
Taken -- Under civil forfeiture, Americans who haven’t been charged with wrongdoing can be stripped of their cash, cars, and even homes. Is that all we’re losing? On a bright Thursday afternoon in 2007, Jennifer Boatright, a waitress at a Houston bar-and-grill, drove with her two young sons and her boyfriend, Ron Henderson, on U.S. 59 toward Linden, Henderson’s home town, near the Texas-Louisiana border. They made the trip every April, at the first signs of spring, to walk the local wildflower trails and spend time with Henderson’s father. This year, they’d decided to buy a used car in Linden, which had plenty for sale, and so they bundled their cash savings in their car’s center console. Just after dusk, they passed a sign that read “Welcome to Tenaha: A little town with BIG Potential!”
They pulled into a mini-mart for snacks. When they returned to the highway ten minutes later, Boatright, a honey-blond “Texas redneck from Lubbock,” by her own reckoning, and Henderson, who is Latino, noticed something strange. The same police car that their eleven-year-old had admired in the mini-mart parking lot was trailing them. Near the city limits, a tall, bull-shouldered officer named Barry Washington pulled them over.
He asked if Henderson knew that he’d been driving in the left lane for more than half a mile without passing.
No, Henderson replied. He said he’d moved into the left lane so that the police car could make its way onto the highway.
Were there any drugs in the car? When Henderson and Boatright said no, the officer asked if he and his partner could search the car.
The officers found the couple’s cash and a marbled-glass pipe that Boatright said was a gift for her sister-in-law, and escorted them across town to the police station. In a corner there, two tables were heaped with jewelry, DVD players, cell phones, and the like. According to the police report, Boatright and Henderson fit the profile of drug couriers: they were driving from Houston, “a known point for distribution of illegal narcotics,” to Linden, “a known place to receive illegal narcotics.” The report describes their children as possible decoys, meant to distract police as the couple breezed down the road, smoking marijuana. (None was found in the car, although Washington claimed to have smelled it.)
The county’s district attorney, a fifty-seven-year-old woman with feathered Charlie’s Angels hair named Lynda K. Russell, arrived an hour later. Russell, who moonlighted locally as a country singer, told Henderson and Boatright that they had two options. They could face felony charges for “money laundering” and “child endangerment,” in which case they would go to jail and their children would be handed over to foster care. Or they could sign over their cash to the city of Tenaha, and get back on the road. “No criminal charges shall be filed,” a waiver she drafted read, “and our children shall not be turned over to CPS,” or Child Protective Services. (The New Yorker)
Why I changed my mind on weed Over the last year, I have been working on a new documentary called "Weed." The title "Weed" may sound cavalier, but the content is not.
I traveled around the world to interview medical leaders, experts, growers and patients. I spoke candidly to them, asking tough questions. What I found was stunning.
Long before I began this project, I had steadily reviewed the scientific literature on medical marijuana from the United States and thought it was fairly unimpressive. Reading these papers five years ago, it was hard to make a case for medicinal marijuana. I even wrote about this in a TIME magazine article, back in 2009, titled "Why I would Vote No on Pot."
Well, I am here to apologize.
I apologize because I didn't look hard enough, until now. I didn't look far enough. I didn't review papers from smaller labs in other countries doing some remarkable research, and I was too dismissive of the loud chorus of legitimate patients whose symptoms improved on cannabis.
Instead, I lumped them with the high-visibility malingerers, just looking to get high. I mistakenly believed the Drug Enforcement Agency listed marijuana as a schedule 1 substance because of sound scientific proof. Surely, they must have quality reasoning as to why marijuana is in the category of the most dangerous drugs that have "no accepted medicinal use and a high potential for abuse." (CNN)
Exclusive: IRS manual detailed DEA's use of hidden intel evidence Details of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration program that feeds tips to federal agents and then instructs them to alter the investigative trail were published in a manual used by agents of the Internal Revenue Service for two years.
The practice of recreating the investigative trail, highly criticized by former prosecutors and defense lawyers after Reuters reported it this week, is now under review by the Justice Department. Two high-profile Republicans have also raised questions about the procedure.
A 350-word entry in the Internal Revenue Manual instructed agents of the U.S. tax agency to omit any reference to tips supplied by the DEA's Special Operations Division, especially from affidavits, court proceedings or investigative files. The entry was published and posted online in 2005 and 2006, and was removed in early 2007. The IRS is among two dozen arms of the government working with the Special Operations Division, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency.
An IRS spokesman had no comment on the entry or on why it was removed from the manual. Reuters recovered the previous editions from the archives of the Westlaw legal database, which is owned by Thomson Reuters Corp, the parent of this news agency. (Reuters)
Trail of U.S. Criminal Investigations Altered to Cover up DEA Unit’s Role as Data Source From a constitutional rights perspective, the latest revelation about the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is even more troubling than what’s been reported on National Security Agency (NSA) activities, according to legal experts.
An investigation by Reuters found a secretive DEA unit known as the Special Operations Division (SOD) has been helping state and local law enforcement with drug busts by providing information collected from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a “massive database of telephone records.”
That database, known as DICE, contains roughly a billion records and is accessed by about 10,000 law enforcement agents across the nation. SOD’s wiretap data usually comes from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic telephone surveillance.
But the disturbing part is the DEA requires police who receive the agency’s help to cover up the fact that they were given the tips—and not even tell defense lawyers, prosecutors and judges that their investigations began with the DEA. (AllGov)
Administration says it's serious about privacy, defends NSA programs The Obama administration says it takes privacy criticisms over its surveillance programs seriously while defending them to Congress and the U.S. public.
Obama met Thursday with a bipartisan group of lawmakers -- both critics and supporters -- to discuss surveillance activities of the National Security Agency. Also, NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander was on Capitol Hill to answer House lawmakers' questions in a classified briefing before the August recess, The Hill reported.
"Today's meeting was constructive and the President committed that he and his team would continue to work closely with the Congress on these matters in the weeks and months ahead," the White House said in a statement.
"We will continue to work through the August recess on proposals to improve transparency and strengthen privacy protections to further build the confidence of the American public in our nation's counterterrorism programs," the lawmakers said in a joint statement. (United Press International)
New York woman visited by police after researching pressure cookers online -- Long Island resident said her web search history and 'trying to learn how to cook lentils' prompted a visit from authorities but police say search was prompted by tipoff A New York woman says her family's interest in the purchase of pressure cookers and backpacks led to a home visit by six police investigators demanding information about her job, her husband's ancestry and the preparation of quinoa.
Michele Catalano, who lives in Long Island, New York, said her web searches for pressure cookers, her husband's hunt for backpacks and her "news junkie" son's craving for information on the Boston bombings had combined somewhere in the internet ether to create a "perfect storm of terrorism profiling".
Members of what she described as a "joint terrorism task force" descended on Catalano's home on Wednesday.
Catalano was at work, but her husband was sitting in the living room as the police arrived. She retold the experience in a post on Medium.com on Thursday. She attributed the raid largely to her hunt for a pressure cooker, an item used devastatingly, allegedly by the two Tsarnaev brothers, in Boston, but also used by millions across the country to prepare vegetables while retaining most of their nutrients.
The story later took on a different complexion when police finally explained that the investigation was prompted by searches a family member had made for pressure cooker bombs and backpacks made at his former workplace. The former employer, believing the searches to be suspicious, alerted police. Catalano said the family member was her husband. (London Guardian)
UN narcotics body warns Uruguay over marijuana bill The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) says it is concerned by the approval by Uruguayan MPs of a bill which would legalise marijuana.
The INCB says the law would "be in complete contravention to the provisions of the international drug treaties to which Uruguay is party".
Under the new law, the state would assume control of growing and selling cannabis to registered users.
The bill still needs to be passed by Uruguay's senate before becoming law.
The INCB is an independent body of experts established by the United Nations to monitor countries' compliance with international drug treaties. (BBC)
D.C. records its first legal pot deal in at least 75 years The 15-year struggle to legalize medical marijuana in the District ended like this: A 51-year-old Northwest resident entered a North Capitol Street rowhouse Monday evening and emerged 90 minutes later with slightly less than a half-ounce of street-legal, high-grade, D.C.-grown cannabis.
Shortly before 6 p.m., Alonzo walked into the high-security sales room of the Capital City Care dispensary with two store employees to consummate the city’s first legal marijuana deal in at least 75 years. He purchased about $250 worth of three strains of cannabis.
“It’s a beautiful natural product that is from rain, sun and soil,” Alonzo said, wearing a dark T-shirt with a green logo of a cannabis leaf over a medical cross. “Mother Nature doesn’t make mistakes.” (Washington Post)
My Life in Circles: Why Metadata is Incredibly Intimate One of the most disingenuous arguments in the aftermath of the NSA spying revelations is that the American people shouldn't be concerned about the government hoovering up its sensitive information because it's only metadata--or a fancy way of saying data about the data.
"This is just metadata," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein assured the American people, referring to the NSA's bulk collection of Americans call records. "There is no content involved." President Obama and his national security officials have made similar assurances.
Feel better? You shouldn't and here's why.
A tool developed by MIT Media Lab proves how intrusive the collection and analysis of metadata is over time, especially for those who are overly reliant on email as their main method of communication. Dubbed "Immersion," the tool analyzes the metadata--From, To, Cc and Timestamp fields-- from a volunteer's Gmail account and visualizes it. (American Civil Liberties Union)
Soldier Writes Suicide Letter About Pain And Being Forced To Commit War Crimes In Iraq Daniel Somers was a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and served with Task Force Lightning, an intelligence unit. He ran more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee and interviewed Iraqis and insurgents alike. When he returned, he had PTSD as well as traumatic brain injury and several other war-related conditions.
On June 10, 2013, he wrote the letter below to his family. A heartfelt and heart-breaking account of pain and memories that he could not overcome. He tells his family that “I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity.” The letter is reproduced in full, below…
I am sorry that it has come to this.
The fact is, for as long as I can remember my motivation for getting up every day has been so that you would not have to bury me. As things have continued to get worse, it has become clear that this alone is not a sufficient reason to carry on. The fact is, I am not getting better, I am not going to get better, and I will most certainly deteriorate further as time goes on. From a logical standpoint, it is better to simply end things quickly and let any repercussions from that play out in the short term than to drag things out into the long term. (Political Blindspot)
Crop Pollination Exposes Honey Bees to Pesticides Which Alters Their Susceptibility to the Gut Pathogen Nosema ceranae Abstract:
Recent declines in honey bee populations and increasing demand for insect-pollinated crops raise concerns about pollinator shortages. Pesticide exposure and pathogens may interact to have strong negative effects on managed honey bee colonies. Such findings are of great concern given the large numbers and high levels of pesticides found in honey bee colonies. Thus it is crucial to determine how field-relevant combinations and loads of pesticides affect bee health. We collected pollen from bee hives in seven major crops to determine 1) what types of pesticides bees are exposed to when rented for pollination of various crops and 2) how field-relevant pesticide blends affect bees’ susceptibility to the gut parasite Nosema ceranae. Our samples represent pollen collected by foragers for use by the colony, and do not necessarily indicate foragers’ roles as pollinators. In blueberry, cranberry, cucumber, pumpkin and watermelon bees collected pollen almost exclusively from weeds and wildflowers during our sampling. Thus more attention must be paid to how honey bees are exposed to pesticides outside of the field in which they are placed. We detected 35 different pesticides in the sampled pollen, and found high fungicide loads. The insecticides esfenvalerate and phosmet were at a concentration higher than their median lethal dose in at least one pollen sample. While fungicides are typically seen as fairly safe for honey bees, we found an increased probability of Nosema infection in bees that consumed pollen with a higher fungicide load. Our results highlight a need for research on sub-lethal effects of fungicides and other chemicals that bees placed in an agricultural setting are exposed to. (PLOS One)
Video of Clashes in Brazil Appears to Show Police Infiltrators Among Protesters Supporters of Brazil's protest movement and the police in Rio de Janeiro spent much of Tuesday arguing online over which side was to blame for violence at a demonstration the night before, at the start of a papal visit.
While neither side was able to produce definitive proof of who instigated the clashes on Monday near the governor’s palace in Rio, shortly after Pope Francis left the area, an examination of video recorded by witnesses, protesters and the police did appear to show undercover officers — called infiltrators by the protesters and intelligence agents by the authorities — at work.
A central piece of evidence in the arguments presented by both sides was 40 seconds of video released by Rio’s military police that showed a man near the front line between the two sides lighting and then hurling a Molotov cocktail, which exploded with a loud bang near officers in riot gear.
Video released by the military police in Rio de Janeiro recorded as a standoff between protesters and officers turned violent on Monday night.
Although the police provided the video to the newspaper O Globo, and issued an invitation to the public via Twitter to watch what the department described as images of the protester who started the confrontation by throwing a Molotov cocktail at officers, within hours the clip was mysteriously removed from YouTube. (New York Times)
A Shuffle of Aluminum, but to Banks, Pure Gold Hundreds of millions of times a day, thirsty Americans open a can of soda, beer or juice. And every time they do it, they pay a fraction of a penny more because of a shrewd maneuver by Goldman Sachs and other financial players that ultimately costs consumers billions of dollars.
The story of how this works begins in 27 industrial warehouses in the Detroit area where a Goldman subsidiary stores customers’ aluminum. Each day, a fleet of trucks shuffles 1,500-pound bars of the metal among the warehouses. Two or three times a day, sometimes more, the drivers make the same circuits. They load in one warehouse. They unload in another. And then they do it again.
This industrial dance has been choreographed by Goldman to exploit pricing regulations set up by an overseas commodities exchange, an investigation by The New York Times has found. The back-and-forth lengthens the storage time. And that adds many millions a year to the coffers of Goldman, which owns the warehouses and charges rent to store the metal. It also increases prices paid by manufacturers and consumers across the country.
Tyler Clay, a forklift driver who worked at the Goldman warehouses until early this year, called the process “a merry-go-round of metal.”
Only a tenth of a cent or so of an aluminum can’s purchase price can be traced back to the strategy. But multiply that amount by the 90 billion aluminum cans consumed in the United States each year — and add the tons of aluminum used in things like cars, electronics and house siding — and the efforts by Goldman and other financial players has cost American consumers more than $5 billion over the last three years, say former industry executives, analysts and consultants.
The inflated aluminum pricing is just one way that Wall Street is flexing its financial muscle and capitalizing on loosened federal regulations to sway a variety of commodities markets, according to financial records, regulatory documents and interviews with people involved in the activities. (New York Times)
The Vitamin Myth: Why We Think We Need Supplements Nutrition experts contend that all we need is what's typically found in a routine diet. Industry representatives, backed by a fascinating history, argue that foods don't contain enough, and we need supplements. Fortunately, many excellent studies have now resolved the issue. - On October 10, 2011, researchers from the University of Minnesota found that women who took supplemental multivitamins died at rates higher than those who didn't. Two days later, researchers from the Cleveland Clinic found that men who took vitamin E had an increased risk of prostate cancer. "It's been a tough week for vitamins," said Carrie Gann of ABC News.
These findings weren't new. Seven previous studies had already shown that vitamins increased the risk of cancer and heart disease and shortened lives. Still, in 2012, more than half of all Americans took some form of vitamin supplements. What few people realize, however, is that their fascination with vitamins can be traced back to one man. A man who was so spectacularly right that he won two Nobel Prizes and so spectacularly wrong that he was arguably the world's greatest quack.
In 1931, Linus Pauling published a paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society titled "The Nature of the Chemical Bond." Before publication, chemists knew of two types of chemical bonds: ionic, where one atom gives up an electron to another; and covalent, where atoms share electrons. Pauling argued that it wasn't that simple -- electron sharing was somewhere between ionic and covalent. Pauling's idea revolutionized the field, marrying quantum physics with chemistry. His concept was so revolutionary in fact that when the journal editor received the manuscript, he couldn't find anyone qualified to review it. When Albert Einstein was asked what he thought of Pauling's work, he shrugged his shoulders. "It was too complicated for me," he said.
For this single paper, Pauling received the Langmuir Prize as the most outstanding young chemist in the United States, became the youngest person elected to the National Academy of Sciences, was made a full professor at Caltech, and won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He was 30 years old. (The Atlantic)
Snowden's surveillance leaks open way for challenges to programs' constitutionality The recent disclosure of U.S. surveillance methods is providing opponents of classified programs with new openings to challenge their constitutionality, according to civil libertarians and some legal experts.
At least five cases have been filed in federal courts since the government’s widespread collection of telephone and Internet records was revealed last month. The lawsuits primarily target a program that scoops up the telephone records of millions of Americans from U.S. telecommunications companies.
Such cases face formidable obstacles. The government tends to fiercely resist them on national security grounds, and the surveillance is so secret that it’s hard to prove who was targeted. Nearly all of the roughly 70 suits filed after the George W. Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping was disclosed in 2005 have been dismissed.
But the legal landscape may be shifting, lawyers say, because the revelations by Edward Snowden, a former National Security Agency contractor and the principal source of the leaks, forced the government to acknowledge the programs and discuss them. That, they say, could help plaintiffs overcome government arguments that they lack the legal standing to sue or that cases should be thrown out because the programs are state secrets. A federal judge in California last week rejected the government’s argument that an earlier lawsuit over NSA surveillance should be dismissed on secrecy grounds. (Washington Post)
Comer Hails 'Historic' Hemp Vote Agriculture Commissioner James Comer cheered House passage of legislation Thursday, to allow university research on industrial hemp. The measure was an amendment to the farm bill that passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
“Without a doubt, this was an historic day for industrial hemp in America,” Comer said. “There’s a long way to go in the legislative process. And I won’t be satisfied until Kentucky farmers can legally grow industrial hemp again. But I am pleased that we have made it this far.”
“We’re excited that the hemp amendment was included in the farm bill that was passed today,” said Eric Steenstra, president of Vote Hemp. “This moves us one step closer to our goal.”
The amendment would allow colleges and universities to grow hemp for research purposes in states where hemp production is allowed by state law. (WBKO)
How Microsoft handed the NSA access to encrypted messages
• Secret files show scale of Silicon Valley co-operation on Prism
• Outlook.com encryption unlocked even before official launch
• Skype worked to enable Prism collection of video calls
• Company says it is legally compelled to comply - Microsoft has collaborated closely with US intelligence services to allow users' communications to be intercepted, including helping the National Security Agency to circumvent the company's own encryption, according to top-secret documents obtained by the Guardian.
The files provided by Edward Snowden illustrate the scale of co-operation between Silicon Valley and the intelligence agencies over the last three years. They also shed new light on the workings of the top-secret Prism program, which was disclosed by the Guardian and the Washington Post last month.
The documents show that:
• Microsoft helped the NSA to circumvent its encryption to address concerns that the agency would be unable to intercept web chats on the new Outlook.com portal;
• The agency already had pre-encryption stage access to email on Outlook.com, including Hotmail;
• The company worked with the FBI this year to allow the NSA easier access via Prism to its cloud storage service SkyDrive, which now has more than 250 million users worldwide;
• Microsoft also worked with the FBI's Data Intercept Unit to "understand" potential issues with a feature in Outlook.com that allows users to create email aliases;
• In July last year, nine months after Microsoft bought Skype, the NSA boasted that a new capability had tripled the amount of Skype video calls being collected through Prism;
• Material collected through Prism is routinely shared with the FBI and CIA, with one NSA document describing the program as a "team sport". (London Guardian)
7 Ways The Obama Administration Has Accelerated Police Militarization There were signs that President Barack Obama might rein in the mass militarization of America's police forces after he won the White House. Policing is primarily a local issue, overseen by local authorities. But beginning in the late 1960s with President Richard Nixon, the federal government began instituting policies that gave federal authorities more power to fight the drug trade, and to lure state and local policymakers into the anti-crime agenda of the administration in charge. These policies got a boost during Ronald Reagan's presidency, and then another during President Bill Clinton's years. Under President George W. Bush, all of those anti-drug policies continued, but were supplemented by new war on terrorism endeavors -- yet more efforts to make America's cops look, act and fight like soldiers.
But Obama might have been different. This, after all, was the man who, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate in 2004, declared the war on drugs an utter failure. As Reason magazine's Jacob Sullum wrote in a 2011 critique of Obama's drug policy:
Obama stood apart from hard-line prohibitionists even when he began running for president. In 2007 and 2008, he bemoaned America’s high incarceration rate, warned that the racially disproportionate impact of drug prohibition undermines legal equality, advocated a “public health” approach to drugs emphasizing treatment and training instead of prison, repeatedly indicated that he would take a more tolerant position regarding medical marijuana than George W. Bush, and criticized the Bush administration for twisting science to support policy -- a tendency that is nowhere more blatant than in the government’s arbitrary distinctions among psychoactive substances.
Indeed, in his first interview after taking office, Obama's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, said that the administration would be toning down the martial rhetoric that had dominated federal drug policy since the Nixon years. "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product,' people see a war as a war on them," Kerlikowske told The Wall Street Journal. "We're not at war with people in this country."
This was an notable break from previous administrations. Rhetoric does matter, and for a generation in the U.S., cops had incessantly been told that they were in a war with drug offenders -- this, in a country where about half the adult population admits to having smoked marijuana.
Unfortunately, while not insignificant, the change in rhetoric has largely been only that. The Obama administration may no longer call it a "war," but there's no question that the White House is continuing to fight one. Here's a quick rundown of where and how Obama's policies have perpetuated the garrison state: (Huffington Post)
Montgomery cultivates a new crop of farmers By night, Mark Mills is apastry chef at Washington’s Blue Duck Tavern. But being a fine hand with the icing spatula didn’t completely prepare him for his new day job: spreading compost with a shovel on his very own farm near Poolesville.
"I've spent my life in kitchens that are 130 degrees, and I'm used to being on my feet for 12 hours at a time, but there is no workout like farming," Mills said recently, staring at the mountain of mulch he needed to move across his freshly plowed acre. The 46-year-old son of a Shakespeare scholar — drenched in sweat, already behind on his planting because of recent rains — had been a farmer for 26 days.
"Every day, I get up with a thousand things to do, but I love doing them," said Mills, who hopes to have almost 500 tomato and pepper plants in the ground soon. "This was an opportunity I just had to seize, ready or not." (Washington Post)
Happy Birthday George Orwell, here's your surveillance society -- Subverting CCTV with party hats To celebrate what would've been George Orwell's 110th birthday, two Dutch artists sought inspiration from perhaps his most famous novel, 1984. The artists took to the streets of the Dutch city of Utrecht to put party hats on CCTV cameras in an attempt to draw attention to the culture of surveillance in modern cities. If we only looked above the stores and billboards that line our streets, say Front404, the artists behind the stunt, we'd realize how many cameras are above us. (The Verge)
Talking train window adverts tested by Sky Deutschland A German firm is proposing to transmit adverts via train windows so that the sound appears to "come from inside the user's head" when passengers lean against them.
The idea would use bone conduction technology, a technique that transmits sound to the inner ear by passing vibrations through the skull.
The concept has been developed by ad agency BBDO Germany on behalf of broadcaster Sky Deutschland.
It is already proving controversial.
Comments posted under a video showing off the concept include "This is a violation to a person's right to rest" and "I think I'd take a sledgehammer to the window." (BBC)
American Mayors: Let Them Smoke Pot It has been more than seven months since voters in Colorado and Washington State chose to legalize marijuana for recreational use, in contravention of federal drug laws. It has been more than three months since Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. told the Senate Judiciary Committee that he would announce his department’s response to the new statutes “relatively soon.”
So far: nothing. Mr. Holder has yet to indicate whether he will side with all nine former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration, who published an open letter urging federal pre-emption.
On Monday, the United States Conference of Mayors passed a resolution suggesting the opposite: that the Obama administration should let the states decide this issue for themselves. “Despite the prohibition of marijuana,” the resolution reads, “and the 22 million marijuana arrests that have occurred in the United States since 1965,” some “42 percent of Americans” have used the drug. (New York Times)
NSA takes surveillance fact sheets off website Following a complaint from two senators, the National Security Agency has removed from its website two fact sheets designed to shed light on and defend a pair of surveillance programs. Users now trying to access the documents detailing surveillance under legal authorities known as Section 215 and Section 702 receive an error message when they try to load the fact sheets.
On Monday, Sens. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Mark Udall (D-Colo.) wrote to the head of the spy agency alleging that one of the documents was misleading and inaccurate. The senators claimed, without elaborating, that a fact sheet “contains an inaccurate statement about how the section 702 authority has been interpreted by the U.S. government.”
NSA Director Gen. Keith Alexander responded to the two lawmakers Tuesday, and while he didn't admit inaccuracy, he said the documents could have been clearer.
"After reviewing your letter, I agree that the fact sheet that the National Security Agency posted on its website on 18 June 2013 could have more precisely described the requirements for collection under Section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act," Alexander said in a letter of his own (posted here). (Politico)
Sanity prevails: US Supreme Court rules that human genes are not eligible for patent protection In a unanimous ruling, the United States Supreme Court ruled today that human genes cannot be patented. The ruling invalidates the thousands of patents that have already been granted on human genes, including the patent by Myriad Genetics on the BRCA breast cancer genes which the company says no one else can research or even detect without paying it a royalty. Click here to read the complete ruling.
"Myriad did not create anything," said Justice Clarence Thomas. "To be sure, it found an important and useful gene, but separating that gene from its surrounding genetic material is not an act of invention."
Well, exactly. This point should have been obvious to the lower courts, too, but in today's world of corporate domination over seemingly everything, gene industry lawyers were able to argue that patent protection would somehow inspire more innovation and research. "The biotechnology industry had warned that an expansive ruling against Myriad could threaten billions of dollars of investment," wrote Reuters.
But exactly the opposite is true. Gene patents restricted research and created medical monopolies that raised prices for consumers. Even USA Today seemingly gets this point, saying, "The decision represents a victory for cancer patients, researchers and geneticists who claimed that a single company's patent raised costs, restricted research and sometimes forced women to have breasts or ovaries removed without sufficient facts or second opinions." (Natural News)
'The worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Galileo': Scientists call for drugs to be legalised to allow proper study of their properties The outlawing of drugs such as cannabis, MDMA and LSD amounts to the “the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Copernicus and Galileo”, the former Government drugs advisor Professor David Nutt has claimed.
Professor Nutt, who was dismissed from the Home Office’s advisory council on drugs in 2009 after clashing with ministers, said that UN conventions on drugs in the 1960s and 1970s have delayed the development of “innovative treatments” for PTSD and depression by 30 years and also set back research into areas of neuroscience such as consciousness.
In a paper published today with two other scientists in the journal Nature Reviews Neuroscience, he said that drugs policy is being driven by “politics, not science”.
Professor Nutt left the Home Officer in 2009 after suggesting that taking MDMA ecstasy was no more dangerous than horse-riding and that alcohol and tobacco were more dangerous than many illegal drugs. (The Independent)
Majority Views NSA Phone Tracking as Acceptable Anti-terror Tactic -- Public Says Investigate Terrorism, Even If It Intrudes on Privacy
Overview A majority of Americans -- 56% -- say the National Security Agency’s (NSA) program tracking the telephone records of millions of Americans is an acceptable way for the government to investigate terrorism, though a substantial minority -- 41% -- say it is unacceptable. And while the public is more evenly divided over the government’s monitoring of email and other online activities to prevent possible terrorism, these views are largely unchanged since 2002, shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center and The Washington Post, conducted June 6-9 among 1,004 adults, finds no indications that last week’s revelations of the government’s collection of phone records and internet data have altered fundamental public views about the tradeoff between investigating possible terrorism and protecting personal privacy.
Currently 62% say it is more important for the federal government to investigate possible terrorist threats, even if that intrudes on personal privacy. Just 34% say it is more important for the government not to intrude on personal privacy, even if that limits its ability to investigate possible terrorist threats.
These opinions have changed little since an ABC News/Washington Post survey in January 2006. Currently, there are only modest partisan differences in these opinions: 69% of Democrats say it is more important for the government to investigate terrorist threats, even at the expense of personal privacy, as do 62% of Republicans and 59% of independents. (Pew Research Center)
Why were roadblocks in St. Clair and Bibb counties asking for blood and DNA samples this weekend? St. Clair and Bibb county authorities are confirming there were roadblocks at several locations in their counties Friday and Saturday asking for blood and DNA samples. However, the samples were voluntary and motorists were paid for them as part of a study, they said.
According to Lt. Freddie Turrentine of the St. Clair County Sheriff's Department, it isn't the first time such roadblocks have occurred in the area.
"They were here in 2007," said Turrentine, the supervisor in charge of the roadblocks, which took place in several locations in St. Clair County Friday night, early Saturday morning and Saturday night and early Sunday morning. "It's just with social media and Facebook now, word of it has just exploded."
Turrentine said the roadblocks were part of a study conducted by the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. St. Clair County was asked to participate by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs because it had worked with the group six years ago. (AL.com)
Michael Hastings Rips Obama Drone Speech Journalist Michael Hastings had very harsh words for President Barack Obama on Saturday morning.
Appearing on MSNBC's "Up with Steve Kornacki," Hastings ripped Obama's recent foreign policy comments, saying the president had bought into the Bush administration's neoconservative worldview.
On Thursday, Obama gave a major national security speech in which he defended the use of drone strikes as a key counterterrorism tool. Hastings said the speech marked a reversal in Obama's thinking.
"If you compare this speech to the speech he gave in Cairo, in 2009 or his Nobel Prize speech, you see almost a total rejection of the civil rights tradition that President Obama supposedly came out of... and just an embrace of total militarism," Hastings said.
"That speech to me was essentially agreeing with President Bush and Vice President Cheney that we're in this neo-conservative paradigm, that we're at war with a jihadist threat that actually is not a nuisance but the most important threat we're facing today," Hastings continued.
You can read the full text of Obama's speech here, and watch a video of Hastings' remarks above. (MSNBC)
Peaceful Protester Tasered Outside DOJ While Demanding Wall Street Prosecutions (VIDEO) Carmen Pittman had no intention of becoming an activist, but her bank, the Department of Justice and Occupy Atlanta turned her into one. Shortly before her grandmother died in 2011, the family realized that JPMorgan Chase was preparing to foreclose. HuffPost interviewed her late that year for a story on Occupy Atlanta and found a bewildered and desperate 21-year-old, talking about her childhood home in the past tense.
"My every Christmas, my every Thanksgiving, my every birthday, my every dinner was in this house," Pittman said then of a home that had been in her family since 1953. "This was the base home. We could not stay away from this home. This home is my every memory."
A year later, she won the house back from Chase. During the course of her fight, she was arrested for sitting on the floor of a local Chase branch and refusing to leave until the bank turned over the deed.
On Tuesday, she was camped out in front of the Department of Justice in Washington, having been fully transformed into an activist by her experience, asking why more Pittmans have been arrested related to the foreclosure fraud crisis than top Wall Street executives. She was answered with a stun gun.
The video above shows three large men surrounding Pittman as she tries to cover her face. Abruptly, an officer tasers her, and she crumples to the ground before being hauled off and arrested. (Huffington Post)
FBI: Agents died in fall from helicopter off Va. coast Two members of the FBI’s elite counterterrorism unit died Friday while practicing how to quickly drop from a helicopter to a ship using a rope, the FBI announced Monday in a statement.
The statement gave few details regarding the deaths of Special Agents Christopher Lorek and Stephen Shaw, other than to say the helicopter encountered unspecified difficulties and the agents fell a “significant distance.”
A law enforcement source told The Pilot the incident happened about 12 nautical miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. The official blamed bad weather for the incident and said the agents – members of the FBI’s Hostage Rescue Team, based in Quantico – fell into the water. The official said he believed the agents died as a result of the impact rather than drowning.
Glenn McBride, a spokesman for the state medical examiner’s office, said it could be months before his staff can release a final cause and manner of death for the two agents. He said they must wait for the results of routine toxicology tests.
According to a Navy official, the agents were using a ship the FBI had leased from the Navy’s Military Sealift Command. No Navy personnel were involved in the exercise, the Navy official said. - Last month, the team was involved in the arrest of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, a suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings. And in February, it rescued a 5-year-old boy held hostage for six days in an underground bunker in Alabama. (Hampton Roads)
McDonald’s Restaurants Shut Down in Macedonia All the McDonald’s fast-food restaurants in Macedonia have closed because the local company that operated the franchise has lost its licence for reasons which are as yet unknown. - The European head office of the world’s biggest chain of fast food and hamburger restaurants confirmed the countywide closure on Wednesday.
“After the termination of the agreement, [Macedonia’s] SJ Company no longer has the right to work with the McDonald’s franchise,” Agnes Vadnai, the head of communications at McDonald’s Europe, was quoted as saying by NOVA TV.
It is not yet known why the company lost the licence and whether McDonald’s intends to continue operating in Macedonia. (CBS)
This Marijuana Security Firm Struck Gold After Solving One Of The Toughest Problems In Legalization Canna Security America, led by Dan Williams, might be the furthest thing you think of when you hear the term "marijuana business."
For years, Williams and his partners worked for Envision, a firm that created the security systems at places as mundane as Chipotle Mexican Grill.
But after striking off on their own, Williams and his partners have become the go-to firm for the installation of security systems in marijuana dispensaries across Colorado.
The firm is so good that state legislators writing up regulations for the marijuana business asked Williams and his associates to weigh in on what a pot shop really needs to remain secure.
Security is one of the most crucial pieces of the marijuana industry puzzle. Legalization can only work if the business becomes legitimized and the product is removed from the black market trade.
So without top-tier security systems at every stage of the process, the entire legalization process could break down. (Business Insider)
Manufacturing the Deadhead: A product of social engineering… In 2012 Jan Irvin made an important discovery. In the course of re-publishing The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross by the Dead Sea Scrolls scholar John Allegro, Irvin had been researching the letters of one of Allegro’s most prominent critics, Gordon Wasson, at various university archives (including Princeton, Yale, Columbia, Dartmouth, and the Hoover Institute at Stanford) when he came across primary documents–letters actually written by Wasson–showing that he had worked with the CIA.
Though Gordon Wasson was both chairman for the Council on Foreign Relations and the Vice President of Public Relations for J.P. Morgan Bank, he is most famous as the individual who “discovered”, or more accurately popularized, magic mushrooms. An article in Life magazine described fantastic visions and experiences Wasson claimed to have had while under their influence (see Life, May 13, 1957 – Seeking the Magic Mushroom). Wasson’s claims were the first description of the effects of psilocybin (“magic”) mushrooms presented to the general public.
Irvin saw troubling implications in his discovery. He was aware, of course, of the CIA’s infamous Project MK-ULTRA, in which the organization had given LSD to unsuspecting U.S. citizens. He also knew of the many conspiracy theories claiming that the government has been somehow involved with the creation of the “drug culture.” He was also aware of Dave McGowan’s research on the drug and music movement that had come out of Laurel Canyon in the 1960‘s, which showed that many of the “rock idols” who created it were the children of members of military intelligence.
So the fact that a member of the CIA had also been involved with the discovery of Psilocybe mushrooms fit into a large collection of troubling linkages between the American government and the drug culture that emerged during the 1960’s. Irvin decided to do further research into the government’s involvement with the “psychedelic movement”. An obvious question he hoped to answer was: Had Wasson been somehow involved with MK-ULTRA?
During this research, Irvin came in contact with another scholar, Joe Atwill, author of Caesar’s Messiah: The Roman Conspiracy to Invent Jesus. Atwill’s research into the origins of Christianity had led him to conclude that Rome had invented the religion. Further, he believed that the Caesars had deliberately brought about the Dark Ages. They had used Christianity as a mind control device to give slavery a religious context intended to make it difficult for serfs to rebel. Like Irvin, Atwill had become suspicious of the U.S. government’s many connections to the psychedelic movement, which reminded him of the Caesars’ intellectual debasing of their population to help bring on the Dark Ages. (Gnostic Media)
Mini Bilderberg? Bill Gates, Bloomberg, and World's Richest Meeting on Gated SC Island Has the Bilderberg meeting become too mainstream for some of the world’s richest elite? From Warren Buffet and Monsanto-linked Bill Gates to Oprah and Jeb Bush, the local media has begun reporting on a closed doors meeting between billionaires and politicians at the gated beach island of Kiawah, South Carolina.
The Bilderberg group, which consists of a larger group of the world’s top leaders and billionaires, is reportedly set to take place near Watford this year in the United Kingdom. Called ‘The Masters of the Univserse’ by an Asia Times article, and deemed to be a meeting of 130 top military, business, and political figures by WikiLeaks, the Bilderberg group and its attendees have been getting much more press than usual these past years thanks to activists who have been protesting the meetings.
Even Russia Today went and covered the Bilderberg group protests and the meeting itself, reporting that the group could be deciding major events to come in their yearly meetings. From which candidates to run for the next political election, to military action — any number of major decisions are likely being made during the Bilderberg group meetings that are conducted entirely in secret. In fact, heavily armed security ensures that no one even gets close enough to take a peek.
But what’s going on with the latest confab between power and money over on Kiawah Island? (Story Leak)
Navy SEAL Extortion 17 EXPOSED -- Obama Failures (TrentoVision 5.9.13) May 9, Thursday 10:00 AM, National Press Club, Washington, DC:
Watch these Navy SEAL Team VI families and other family members as they reveal the Obama Administrations culpability in death of their sons in the fatal helicopter crash in Afghanistan following the successful raid on bin Laden's compound. This is a powerful and riveting briefing that included some of America's most significant military leaders. (United West)
Gun Homicide Rate Down 49% Since 1993 Peak; Public Unaware -- Pace of Decline Slows in Past Decade National rates of gun homicide and other violent gun crimes are strikingly lower now than during their peak in the mid-1990s, paralleling a general decline in violent crime, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of government data. Beneath the long-term trend, though, are big differences by decade: Violence plunged through the 1990s, but has declined less dramatically since 2000.
Compared with 1993, the peak of U.S. gun homicides, the firearm homicide rate was 49% lower in 2010, and there were fewer deaths, even though the nation’s population grew. The victimization rate for other violent crimes with a firearm—assaults, robberies and sex crimes—was 75% lower in 2011 than in 1993. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall (with or without a firearm) also is down markedly (72%) over two decades.
Nearly all the decline in the firearm homicide rate took place in the 1990s; the downward trend stopped in 2001 and resumed slowly in 2007. The victimization rate for other gun crimes plunged in the 1990s, then declined more slowly from 2000 to 2008. The rate appears to be higher in 2011 compared with 2008, but the increase is not statistically significant. Violent non-fatal crime victimization overall also dropped in the 1990s before declining more slowly from 2000 to 2010, then ticked up in 2011.
Despite national attention to the issue of firearm violence, most Americans are unaware that gun crime is lower today than it was two decades ago. According to a new Pew Research Center survey, today 56% of Americans believe gun crime is higher than 20 years ago and only 12% think it is lower. (Pew Research Center)
World Unites Against the Illuminati: Professor Griff on Fire! Infowars.com presents our groundbreaking interview with rap artist Professor Griff of Public Enemy.
Professor Griff lists Obama's lies, describes why hip hop stars are in the White House and breaks down some of the world's deadliest corporations.
Griff has always been an outspoken voice in the hip hop community and by combining forces with Alex Jones and Infowars, he attempts to break the public's mass-media induced coma. (Prison Planet)
The Truthseeker: Boston Bombing What You Aren't Told - Triggers pulled on 4th, 2nd & 1st Amendments distracted by flag waving; clunky FBI propaganda; and unleash the War on Bathtubs. Seek truth from facts with former Marine Corps officer James Fetzer, editor of Storyleak Anthony Gucciardi, the Corbett Report's James Corbett, Questioning the War on Terror author Kevin Barrett, Boston eyewitnesses, and Fmr. Rep. Ron Paul. (Russia Today)
Tamerlane Tsarnaeva recruited via the Georgian Foundation ~ One of the organizers of the terrorist attack in Boston, studied at the workshop held in conjunction with the Georgian special services Americans At the disposal of "Izvestia" has documents Counterintelligence Department Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, confirming that the Georgian organization "Fund of Caucasus", which cooperates with the U.S. non-profit organization "Jamestown" (the board of directors of NGOs previously entered one of the ideologists of U.S. foreign policy, Zbigniew Brzezinski), was engaged in recruiting residents North Caucasus to work in the interests of the United States and Georgia.
According to the reports of Colonel Chief Directorate Counterintelligence Department Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia Gregory Chanturia to the Minister of Internal Affairs Irakli Garibashvili, "Caucasian fund" in cooperation with the Foundation "Jamestown" in the summer of 2012 conducted workshops and seminars for young people of the Caucasus, including its Russian part. Some of them attended Tsarnaev Tamerlane, who was in Russia from January to July 2012.
"Caucasian fund" writes Tchanturia was established November 7, 2008, just after the Georgian-Ossetian conflict, "to control the processes taking place in the North Caucasus region." Accordingly, the Department of the Interior Ministry counterintelligence case was brought intelligence operations called "DTV". Main purpose is to recruit young people and intellectuals of the North Caucasus to enhance instability and extremism in the southern regions of Russia. (Izvestia)
Boston bombing suspect cites U.S. wars as motivation, officials say The 19-year-old suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings has told interrogators that the American wars in Iraq and Afghanistan motivated him and his brother to carry out the attack, according to U.S. officials familiar with the interviews.
From his hospital bed, where he is now listed in fair condition, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has acknowledged his role in planting the explosives near the marathon finish line on April 15, the officials said. The first successful large-scale bombing in the post-Sept. 11, 2001, era, the Boston attack killed three people and wounded more than 250 others.
The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe an ongoing investigation, said Dzhokhar and his older brother, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed by police as the two attempted to avoid capture, do not appear to have been directed by a foreign terrorist organization.
Rather, the officials said, the evidence so far suggests they were “self-radicalized” through Internet sites and U.S. actions in the Muslim world. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has specifically cited the U.S. war in Iraq, which ended in December 2011 with the removal of the last American forces, and the war in Afghanistan, where President Obama plans to end combat operations by the end of 2014.
Obama has made repairing U.S. relations with the Islamic world a foreign policy priority, even as he has expanded drone operations in Pakistan and other countries, which has inflamed Muslim public opinion. (Washington Post)
Chambliss: Law enforcement agency may have had info about Boston bombing in advance Georgia Sen. Saxby Chambliss told Channel 2 Action News late Tuesday afternoon that a law enforcement agency may have had information in advance of the Boston bombings that wasn't properly shared.
"There now appears that may have been some evidence that was obtained by one of the law enforcement agencies that did not get shared in a way that it could have been. If that turns out to be the case, then we have to determine whether or not that would have made a difference," Chambliss said.
Though Chambliss would not get into specifics on the information or whether or not the bombing could have been prevented, he told Channel 2 Action News that they will find out if someone dropped the ball.
"Information sharing between agencies is critical. And we created the Department of Homeland Security to supervise that. We created the National Counter Terrorism Center to be the collection point for all of this information, and we're going to get to the bottom of whether or not somebody along the way dropped the ball on some information and did not share it in a way that it should have been shared." (Associated Press)
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