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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. (The Washington Post)
Flights are delayed at major East Coast airports as sequester-related furloughs begin After months of inside-the-Beltway drama, the impact of sequestration cutbacks moved to center stage America on Monday as the aviation system was slowed by the furlough of 1,500 air traffic controllers.
With about 10 percent of the controllers who direct 23,000 planes a day scheduled to be off daily until October, both industry and government officials forecast that the effect would snowball as the nation enters peak travel season.
Short on staff and besieged by brisk winds at the three big New York area airports, controllers fell behind by mid-morning Monday and never caught up. The Newark, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports reported delays of one to three hours. (The Washington Post)
HAGEL EMPHASIZES NEED FOR CLOSE US-ISRAEL TIES U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that the U.S. and Israel need to ensure that their alliance remains close, as Mideast security challenges grow more complicated.
"This is a difficult and dangerous time," Hagel said before starting a closed-door meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. "This is a time when friends and allies must remain close, closer than ever."
In his remarks, Netanyahu thanked the Obama administration for deepening ties over the past four years. He said the U.S. and Israel's shared interests and values are especially challenged by "the arming of terrorist groups by Iran with sophisticated weapons, and equally, Iran's attempt to arm itself with nuclear weapons. (Wall Street Journal)
Boston bombers: FBI hunting 12-strong terrorist "sleeper cell" linked to brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev ~ Police believe the pair were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack The FBI was last night hunting a 12-strong terrorist “sleeper cell” linked to the Boston marathon bomb brothers.
Police believe Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev were specially trained to carry out the devastating attack.
More than 1,000 FBI operatives were last night working to track down the cell and arrested a man and two women 60 miles from Boston in the hours before Dzhokhar’s dramatic capture after a bloody shootout on Friday.
A source close to the investigation said: “We have no doubt the brothers were not acting alone. The devices used to detonate the two bombs were highly sophisticated and not the kind of thing people learn from Google.
“They were too advanced. Someone gave the brothers the skills and it is now our job to find out just who they were. Agents think the sleeper cell has up to a dozen members and has been waiting several years for their day to come.”
A specialist team of CIA and FBI interrogators was yesterday flown to a Boston hospital to grill wounded Dzhokhar, 19, about the secret group. The University of Massachusetts student was caught on Friday after hiding out in a boat parked in a garden in locked down Watertown the day after a gun battle with police left his 26-year-old brother and a rookie cop dead. (Mirror.co.uk)
Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi, 'Person Of Interest' In Boston Bombing, Still Set To Be Deported On Tuesday An expert on terrorism says the Saudi national who was the original “person of interest” in connection with Monday’s Boston Marathon bombing is going to be deported from the U.S. on Tuesday.
The foreign student from Revere, Mass., is identified as 20-year-old Abdul Rahman Ali Alharbi.
“I just learned from my own sources that he is now going to be deported on national security grounds next Tuesday, which is very unusual,” Steve Emerson of the Investigative Project on Terrorism told Sean Hannity of Fox News Wednesday night.
Emerson echoed more details Friday on The Glenn Beck Radio Show, who says there are many more details to this situation and would be revealed on Monday.
The Reuters news agency reported President Barack Obama met with Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal on Wednesday, noting “the meeting was not on Obama’s public schedule.” (Global Dispatch)
Police, citizens and technology factor into Boston bombing probe Within hours of the Boston Marathon bombing, investigators were already overwhelmed. Bloody clothing, bags, shoes and other evidence from victims and witnesses were piling up. Videos and still images, thousands of them, were beginning to accumulate.
Quickly, the authorities secured a warehouse in Boston’s Seaport district and filled the sprawling space: On half of the vast floor, hundreds of pieces of bloody clothes were laid out to dry so they could be examined for forensic clues or flown to FBI labs at Quantico in Prince William County for testing. In the other half of the room, more than a dozen investigators sifted through hundreds of hours of video, looking for people “doing things that are different from what everybody else is doing,” Boston Police Commissioner Edward Davis said in an interview Saturday.
The work was painstaking and mind-numbing: One agent watched the same segment of video 400 times. The goal was to construct a timeline of images, following possible suspects as they moved along the sidewalks, building a narrative out of a random jumble of pictures from thousands of different phones and cameras.
It took a couple of days, but analysts began to focus on two men in baseball caps who had brought heavy black bags into the crowd near the marathon’s finish line but left without those bags. The decisive moment came on Wednesday afternoon, when Massachusetts Gov. Deval L. Patrick (D) got a call from state police: The investigation had narrowed in on the man who would soon be known as Suspect No. 2, the man whom police captured Friday night bleeding and disoriented on a 22-foot boat in a Watertown driveway.
Patrick said the images of Suspect No. 2 reacting to the first explosion provided “highly incriminating” evidence, “a lot more than the public knows.”
How federal and local investigators sifted through that ocean of evidence and focused their search on two immigrant brothers is a story of advanced technology and old-fashioned citizen cooperation. It is an object lesson in how hard it is to separate the meaningful from the noise in a world awash with information. (Washington Post)
The Tsarnaev brothers were double agents who decoyed US into terror trap The big questions buzzing over Boston Bombers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev have a single answer: It emerged in the 102 tense hours between the twin Boston Marathon bombings Monday, April 15 – which left three dead, 180 injured and a police officer killed at MIT - and Dzohkhar’s capture Friday, April 19 in Watertown.
The conclusion reached by DEBKAfile’s counterterrorism and intelligence sources is that the brothers were double agents, hired by US and Saudi intelligence to penetrate the Wahhabi jihadist networks which, helped by Saudi financial institutions, had spread across the restive Russian Caucasian.
Instead, the two former Chechens betrayed their mission and went secretly over to the radical Islamist networks.
By this tortuous path, the brothers earned the dubious distinction of being the first terrorist operatives to import al Qaeda terror to the United States through a winding route outside the Middle East – the Caucasus. (Debka File)
U.S. providing Syrian rebels $123 million more in aid The United States is providing Syrian rebels with $123 million in new nonlethal aid that may include armor and other types of supplies that haven't been part of the assistance package in the past.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says the additional money will double the nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition as well as increase humanitarian aid.
Speaking Saturday in Istanbul, Kerry says the situation in Syria is at a critical moment and that the bloodshed needs to stop. (Associated Press)
Bombing suspect in custody after standoff in Watertown Four days after two deadly explosions turned the finish line of the Boston Marathon into a scene of bloody chaos, the 19-year-old college student believed to be responsible for placing the bombs was taken into custody tonight, bringing a sense of relief and justice to a shaken region.
Dzhokhar A. Tsarnaev of Cambridge was pulled from his hiding place in a boat parked behind a house on Franklin Street shortly before 8:45 p.m. in this community just outside Boston.
“We are eternally grateful for the outcome here tonight. We have a suspect in custody,” said Colonel Timothy Alben, commander of the State Police. “We’re so grateful to bring justice and closure to this case.”
“It’s a night where I think we’re all going to rest easy,” Governor Deval Patrick said at a news conference in Watertown. (Boston Globe)
FBI: Help us ID Boston bomb suspects After three days of poring over photos and video, investigators appealed to the public to help them identify two men now considered suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
The men were photographed walking down Boylston Street, one behind the other, near the finish line of Monday's race.
Suspect 1 was seen wearing a light-colored, collarless shirt underneath a dark-colored jacket and wearing a dark baseball cap.
The man identified as Suspect 2 was seen setting down a backpack at the site of the second explosion "within minutes" of the blasts that killed three people and wounded nearly 180, said Special Agent Rick DesLauriers, the head of the FBI's Boston office. He was wearing a light-colored hooded sweatshirt, a black jacket and a white baseball cap turned backward. - Other footage, still unreleased, shows that the two suspects stayed at the scene to watch the carnage unfold, a federal law enforcement official with knowledge of the investigation told CNN's Susan Candiotti.
"When the bombs blow up, when most people are running away and victims were lying on the ground, the two suspects walk away pretty casually," said the official, who has seen the unreleased video. "They acted differently than everyone else."
While video of at least one suspect planting the bomb exists, the FBI had chosen not to release it, according to the official. One reason, according to the official, is that were the media to repeatedly show the suspects leaving the bomb, it might cause some people to overreact if they came into contact with them. (CNN)
SAUDI REPORT: MICHELLE O VISITED 'PERSON OF INTEREST' ~ Jeddah newspaper says first lady saw Alharbi in hospital A Saudi Arabian newspaper is reporting that United States First Lady Michelle Obama visited in the hospital Saudi citizen Abdul Rahman Ali Issa Al-Salimi Alharbi, the young man who had been labeled a “person of interest” in the Boston Marathon bombing.
The newspaper accompanied its report with an image of Obama, although the background was generic and it couldn’t be confirmed immediately that she was at the hospital where Alharbi was being treated at the time. He reportedly suffered injuries in the Boston bombing.
The newspaper’s Arabic-language report is being highlighted by Walid Shoebat, a former Muslim Brotherhood member who now is a peace activist.
“Okaz, the same prominent Saudi newspaper that published photos of Abdul Rahman Ali Issa Al-Salimi Alharbi in the hospital after the Boston Marathon bombings, is now reporting that the Saudi national was also visited by the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, during his hospital stay,” Shoebat reported. (World Net Daily)
U.S. military to step up presence in Jordan in light of Syria civil war In a critical indication of growing U.S. military involvement in the civil war in Syria, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered the deployment of more American troops to Jordan.
Hagel announced the deployment, which was first reported on CNN, in a statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee on Wednesday.
He said the troops will work alongside Jordanian forces to "improve readiness and prepare for a number of scenarios."
The troops, which will number up to 200, are from the headquarters of the 1st Armored Division at Fort Bliss, Texas, two Defense Department officials told CNN. (CNN)
CISPA permits police to do warrantless database searches ~ Amendment was shot down that would have required warrants before police could peruse shared information for any evidence of hundreds of different crimes. A controversial data-sharing bill being debated today in the U.S. House of Representatives authorizes federal agencies to conduct warrantless searches of information they obtain from e-mail and Internet providers.
Rep. Alan Grayson, a Florida Democrat, proposed a one-sentence amendment (PDF) that would have required the National Security Agency, the FBI, Homeland Security, and other agencies to secure a "warrant obtained in accordance with the Fourth Amendment" before searching a database for evidence of criminal wrongdoing.
Grayson complained this morning on Twitter that House Republicans "wouldn't even allow debate on requiring a warrant before a search."
CISPA is controversial because it overrules all existing federal and state laws by saying "notwithstanding any other provision of law," including privacy policies and wiretap laws, companies may share cybersecurity-related information "with any other entity, including the federal government." It would not, however, require them to do so.
That language has alarmed dozens of advocacy groups, including the American Library Association, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Reporters Without Borders, which sent a letter (PDF) to Congress last month opposing CISPA. It says: "CISPA's information-sharing regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like Internet records or the content of e-mails, to any agency in the government." President Obama this week threatened to veto CISPA.
CISPA's advocates say it's needed to encourage companies to share more information with the federal government, and to a lesser extent among themselves, especially in the wake of an increasing number of successful and attempted intrusions. A "Myth v. Fact" paper (PDF) prepared by the House Intelligence committee says any claim that "this legislation creates a wide-ranging government surveillance program" is a myth. (CNet)
Is Obama Covering Up Saudi Role In Boston Bombings? War On Terror: Could it be happening again? Could a Saudi terror cell be behind another major U.S. attack? And could the Saudi government be trying to sink the investigation?
After 9/11, the Saudi ambassador demanded the evacuation of dozens of Saudi nationals, including bin Laden kin, before the FBI could properly question them. He got his wish, even though 15 of the 19 hijackers were Saudis and others had ties to the plot.
Eerily similar high-level intervention is taking place in the Boston bombings case. Consider this timeline:
Jan. 14, 2013: President Obama meets in the Oval Office with Saudi minister of interior.
Jan. 16: Homeland Security Director Janet Napolitano signs "arrangement" with Saudi minister bestowing "trusted traveler" status on Saudi student visitors, shortcutting normal security screening procedures.
April 15: Saudi college student Abdulrahman Ali Alharbi is seen near the Boston marathon finish line with two other Saudis. He's tackled after fleeing the scene of one of the bombings. Authorities question him. (Investors Business Daily)
Investigators Said to Have Video Showing Bomb Suspect Investigators have video of a possible suspect in the Boston Marathon bombings, according to federal law enforcement officials.
The crucial images came from a store security camera near the April 15 bombing site, according to a federal law enforcement official briefed on the matter. Another person familiar with investigators’ work said that, as of early this afternoon, the suspect in the images hadn’t been identified. Both asked for anonymity to discuss the investigation
The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Boston police released statements that no arrest has been made.
“They are making progress,” Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said in a telephone interview. “Nobody in custody.”
A bomb threat today at the the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse in Boston forced the postponement of a 5 p.m. news briefing on the investigation. While court employees were later allowed to return, the briefing hadn’t been rescheduled. (Bloomberg)
Fox News: Authorities guarding man at local hospital The deadly bombing at the Boston Marathon that killed at least three and injured 176 is believed to be an act of terrorism, senior White House officials told Fox News.
Two explosions tore through the finish line of the world-famous race just before 3 p.m., going off simultaneously as throngs of onlookers watched runners complete the 26.2-mile trek. The timing of the blasts immediately sparked suspicions of a deliberate act.
"When multiple devices go off, that's an act of terrorism," a senior administration official told Fox News, just moments after President Obama delivered a statement to the nation and did not use the word "terror."
Authorities searched an apartment in the nearby Boston suburb of Revere as part of the investigation into the explosions. FoxNews.com saw federal, state and local law enforcement entering the building late Monday night and early Tuesday morning.
Sources confirmed to FoxNews.com that the apartment being searched in connection to the bombings is on the fifth floor of the building. (FOX)
Indisputable Torture (By The Editorial Board) A dozen years after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, an independent, nonpartisan panel’s examination of the interrogation and detention programs carried out in their aftermath by the Bush administration may seem to be musty old business. But the sweeping report issued on Tuesday by an 11-member task force convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, provides a valuable, even necessary reckoning.
The work of the task force, led by two former congressmen — Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, who served in the Bush administration as under secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and James Jones, a Democrat, who was an ambassador to Mexico during the Clinton years — is informed by interviews with dozens of former American and foreign officials, as well as with former prisoners.
It is the fullest independent effort so far to assess the treatment of detainees at Guantánamo Bay, in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the C.I.A.’s secret prisons. Those who sanctioned the use of brutal methods, like former Vice President Dick Cheney, will continue to defend their use. But the report’s authoritative conclusion that “the United States engaged in the practice of torture” is impossible to dismiss by a public that needs to know what was committed in the nation’s name. (The New York Times)
Lid of Boston Marathon pressure cooker bomb was found on sixth floor rooftop of hotel 35 yards away -- and guests thought it was a hubcap New crime scene photographs from the first blast confirms that a pressure cooker was used in the device ~
Lid of pressure cooker found on rooftop of building 35 yards away ~
Other photographs submitted to the FBI reveal the scene before and after the second bomb detonated ~
Devices were designed to act as 'Claymore' anti-personnel devices - which are meant to maim on the battlefield ~
An orange and grey bag can be seen on the opposite side of barriers to spectators before the second blast ~
The pressure-cooker bombs were packed with shards of metal, nails and ball bearings ~
Devices are frequently used in Afghanistan, India, Nepal and Pakistan, according to Homeland Security - The force of the first blast at the Boston marathon was so strong, the lid of the pressure cooker bomb was found on the sixth-floor roof of a hotel 35 yards away from the explosion site and is now a vital clue in the investigation.
A guest at the Charlesmark Hotel discovered the crucial piece of evidence just minutes after the blast. He picked up the twisted metal – believing it was a hubcap from a vehicle damaged in the bomb – and gave it to a policeman.
Twenty-four hours later he was quizzed by FBI agents, who revealed the mangled metal was one of biggest clues so far in the search for the terrorists who killed three and injured 183 others. (UK Daily Mail)
Three killed, including 8-year-old boy, in explosions at Boston Marathon finish line; President Obama vows to bring perpetrators to justice Three people were killed and 144 others were injured this afternoon as two powerful explosions detonated in quick succession near the Boston Marathon finish line in Boston’s Back Bay section, transforming a scene of athletic celebration into bloody chaos.
When the smoke cleared from the apparent terrorist attack, dozens of victims lay in the street, some unconscious, some grievously injured, including some whose limbs had been torn off by the blast. - Davis had initially said there had been a third explosion at the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester. But the police department later downplayed those comments, suggesting that the incident might not have been an explosion and might have been a fire.
Hundreds of police officers and firefighters descended on the scene immediately after the blasts, clearing out the finish-line viewing stands. FBI, State Police, and agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were among the investigators, officials said.
Bomb squads searched the area, said Steve MacDonald, a spokesman for the Boston Fire Department. Officials said another explosion, heard in the city around 4 p.m., was a “controlled blast” staged as part of bomb squad activity. (Boston Globe)
"Innocent" Saudi has ties to several Al-Qaeda Terrorists A couple of weeks ago we warned America about the very serious problem of Saudi infiltration; many of these Saudi nationals are criminals and terrorists.
After the bombings, a Saudi by the name of Abdul Rahman Ali Al-Harbi was hospitalized and became a ‘suspect’, then a ‘person of interest’. His apartment was searched by federal and local authorities. No confirmation has been given so far to his involvement. The Media were quick to claim his innocence, of course.
This brings us to the Boston marathon bombings. Foreign Policy is reporting that he’s ‘no longer a person of interest’, which means he’s “innocent”, right?
Perhaps a quick look at the Arabic sources should raise the eyebrows of every American relative to the extent of the problem at hand. Many from Al-Harbi’s clan are steeped in terrorism and are members of Al-Qaeda. Out of a list of 85 terrorists listed by the Saudi government shows several of Al-Harbi clan to have been active fighters in Al-Qaeda:
#15 Badr Saud Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#73 Muhammad Atiq Uwaid Al-Awufi Al-Harbi
#26 Khalid Salim Uwaid Al-Lahibi Al-Harbi
#29 Raed Abdullah Salem Al-Thahiri Al-Harbi
#43 Abdullah Abdul Rahman Muhammad Al-Harbi (leader)
#60 Fayez Ghuneim Humeid Al-Hijri Al-Harbi (Walid Shoebat)
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom calls for legalizing pot Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom called for the legalization of marijuana on Saturday.
“It’s time to decriminalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” he told delegates at the California Democratic Party convention. “It’s time we own up to the fact that our drug laws have done far more harm than good. The war on drugs is an abject failure.”
Newsom, who is known to have an eye on higher office, poked fun at the fact that he is the state’s acting governor because Gov. Jerry Brown is in China on a trade mission. (Los Angeles Times)
As marijuana goes legit, investors rush in Pot entrepreneurs have high expectations for a future market in legalized marijuana. - Medicinal marijuana markets:
For the first time, a majority of Americans now support legalizing marijuana. Commercial marijuana sales are estimated at $1.5 billion today which could quadruple by 2018. Eighteen states and the District of Columbia currently allow its medical use. - Brendan Kennedy and Michael Blue are nice boys. Really. They're bankers. Yale MBA classmates. Wearers of ties.
And, if luck and changing laws cooperate, they'll be drug barons of a certain kind.
Kennedy, 40, and Blue, 34, are in the vanguard springing up to seize the market for legal marijuana, which is accelerating with last fall's legalization of most personal pot consumption in Colorado and Washington state. They're running a Seattle private-equity fund, Privateer Holdings, designed to buy up the smaller marijuana-related businesses to create one bigfat one.
After Washington and Colorado, the pot business is, if not mainstream, at least ready to push toward it. Advocates hope to legalize personal use in another 14 states by 2017, mostly among the 16 states besides Washington and Colorado where medical pot is legal (it's also legal in Washington, D.C.). Industry estimates say today's $1.5 billion legal market could quadruple by 2018.
The public is trending toward legalization. In a Pew Research Center poll released Thursday, a majority of Americans (52%) favored legalization, the first time that threshold has been reached since polling on the issue began in 1969. (USA Today)
Conspiracy Theory Poll Results On our national poll this week we took the opportunity to poll 20 widespread and/or infamous conspiracy theories. Many of these theories are well known to the public, others perhaps to just the darker corners of the internet. Here’s what we found:
- 37% of voters believe global warming is a hoax, 51% do not. Republicans say global warming is a hoax by a 58-25 margin, Democrats disagree 11-77, and Independents are more split at 41-51. 61% of Romney voters believe global warming is a hoax
- 6% of voters believe Osama bin Laden is still alive
- 21% of voters say a UFO crashed in Roswell, NM in 1947 and the US government covered it up. More Romney voters (27%) than Obama voters (16%) believe in a UFO coverup
- 28% of voters believe secretive power elite with a globalist agenda is conspiring to eventually rule the world through an authoritarian world government, or New World Order. A plurality of Romney voters (38%) believe in the New World Order compared to 35% who don’t
- 28% of voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in the 9/11 attacks. 36% of Romney voters believe Saddam Hussein was involved in 9/11, 41% do not (Public Policy Polling)
Op-ed: A Chuck Hagel for Our Time -- The nation’s first openly gay ambassador, James Hormel, explains why he now supports the Senate confirmation of a man who helped block his own confirmation. In 1997, when Chuck Hagel took his seat as a newly elected member of the United States Senate, our country was a less friendly place.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick, which held that private, consensual homosexual acts violated sodomy laws, was still in effect. The malevolent "don't ask, don't tell" military regulations had been in force for three years. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a 20th-century variation on the Dred Scott case, had just been enacted by Congress and signed by President Clinton. Many states still applied criminal laws to homosexual acts.
What a difference 16 years can make! In 2003, Lawrence v. Texas overturned the Hardwick ruling and invalidated all state sodomy statutes. That same year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court acknowledged the right of same-sex couples to marry. In 2011, "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed. (Advocate.com)
Marijuana Class I Appeal Rejected By Federal Court, Still Dangerous With No Accepted Medical Use A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a petition to reclassify marijuana from its current federal status as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use.
The appeals court panel denied the bid from three medical marijuana groups, including Americans for Safe Access, and several individuals. In 2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration had rejected a petition by medical marijuana advocates to change the classification.
In his majority opinion Tuesday, Judge Harry T. Edwards wrote that the question wasn't whether marijuana could have some medical benefits, but rather whether the DEA's decision was "arbitrary and capricious." The court concluded that the DEA action survived a review under that standard. (Associated Press)
The War on Drugs Is a "Miserable Failure" A large crowd packed the pews of the historic Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. on Saturday. After a deacon introduced such VIP guests as Representatives Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) and John Lewis (D-Georgia), the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, and actor Danny Glover, Pastor Wallace Charles Smith set the stage for the afternoon's program.
"One of the biggest problems facing this nation and much of the world is the drug epidemic," said Smith. "It doesn't seem like this nation has made it a real priority. As long as there is the demand there will be someone who will supply it."
Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight, Freakonomics) told the crowd that he considers the War on Drugs a "primary human rights issue." On hand to screen an abridged version of his 2012 film The House I Live In (which took the Documentary Grand Jury Prize at Sundance), Jarecki said the day’s program was "bookended by two momentous occasions, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday and Barack Obama's inauguration, which includes a swearing in on Dr. King’s bible."
Jarecki added, "I consider [the War on Drugs] the unfinished work of the Civil Rights Movement."
"Amens" rang out from the crowd.
"The Drug War and its extraordinary injustice to people of color must end," said Jarecki. "I don’t just want it on the radar, I want it flashing defcon red. The War on Drugs as we know it has failed so miserably that who can defend it?" (National Geographic)
Militants Seize Americans and Other Hostages in Algeria The French military assault on Islamist extremists in Mali escalated into a potentially much broader North African conflict on Wednesday when, in retribution, armed attackers in unmarked trucks seized an internationally managed natural gas field in neighboring Algeria and took at least 20 foreign hostages, including Americans.
Algerian officials said at least two people, including a Briton, were killed in the assault, which began with a predawn ambush on a bus trying to ferry gas-field workers to an airport. Hundreds of Algerian security forces were sent to surround the gas-field compound, creating a tense standoff, and the country’s interior minister said there would be no negotiations.
Algeria’s official news agency said at least 20 fighters had carried out the attack and mass abduction. There were unconfirmed reports late on Wednesday that the security forces had tried to storm the compound and had retreated under gunfire from the hostage takers. (The New York Times)
Obama's 'kill list' critic found dead in New York City Prominent American blogger and computer prodigy Aaron Swartz, who spoke against US President Barack Obama's "kill list"ť and cyber attacks against Iran, has been found dead in New York.
Police found the body of the 26-year-old in his apartment in New York City borough of Brooklyn on Friday, said a spokeswoman for the city's chief medical examiner.
Brooklyn's chief medical examiner ruled the death a suicide by hanging, but no further detail is available about the mysterious death.
Last year, Swartz openly criticized the US and the Israeli regime for launching joint cyber attacks against Iran.
The blogger was also vocal in criticizing Obama's so-called kill list and other policies.
Obama has been reportedly approving the names put on the "kill lists"ť used in the targeted killing operations carried out by US assassination drones. (Press TV)
Sweeping new gun laws proposed by influential liberal think tank With President Obama readying an overhaul of the nation’s gun laws, a liberal think tank with singular influence throughout his administration is pushing for a sweeping agenda of strict new restrictions on and federal oversight of gun and ammunition sales.
The Center for American Progress is recommending 13 new gun policies to the White House — some of them executive actions that would not require the approval of Congress — in what amounts to the progressive community’s wish list.
CAP’s proposals — which include requiring universal background checks, banning military-grade assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines, and modernizing data systems to track gun sales and enforce existing laws — are all but certain to face stiff opposition from the National Rifle Association and its many allies in Congress. (The Washington Post)
California school practiced new lockdown drill minutes before shooting Minutes before a gunman walked into a California high school, students and teachers had been practicing what to do if the school came under an attack.
"Just 10 minutes before it happened, our teachers were giving us protocol because of what happened in Connecticut," Oscar Nuno, a student at Taft High School said.
A 16-year-old student armed with a shotgun walked into his first period science class Thursday and opened fire, wounding a classmate he claimed had bulled him. Video surveillance shows the suspect entering the building through a side door.
He fired two more rounds at students, reportedly missing a second target, as they fled the class, and then faced a well-liked teacher Ryan Heber, MyFoxLA.com reported.
"I don't want to shoot you," he told Heber as the teacher tried to convince the student to put down the gun.
Police credit Heber with causing enough of a distraction to allow a majority of the students to escape the classroom through a back door unharmed. (Fox)
Alex Jones may be the king of conspiracy Conspiracies abound, Alex Jones will tell you.
Bankers pull the strings on world governments to solidify their power. Companies are harming you and ducking responsibility. Antidepressants are "suicide mass murder pills." President Barack Obama is using drones against Americans.
And the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, was engineered by the government.
Now, he's attacking CNN host Piers Morgan, depicting the British native of being a "red coat" out to step on Americans' rights and calling for his deportation.
In recent segments on Morgan's show, Jones accused him of wanting to take Americans' guns, hurling insults at Morgan in between shouted arguments.
"You're a hatchet man of the new world order. You're a hatchet man," Jones told Morgan on Monday. "And I want to say this right here, you think you're a tough guy? Have me back with a boxing ring in here, and I'll wear red, white, and blue, and you can wear your Jolly Roger." (CNN)
Professor won't back down from Newtown massacre conspiracy theory A media professor at Florida Atlantic University who is questioning the Sandy Hook massacre has caused controversy with his conspiracy claims.
James Tracy, who writes a personal blog about conspiracy theories, believes the events that unfolded at Sandy Hook did not happen as reported.
The professor writes on his blog, Memory Hole, “While it sounds like an outrageous claim, one is left to inquire whether the Sandy Hook shooting ever took place—at least in the way law enforcement authorities and the nation’s news media have described.” He suggests that there were multiple shooters and that the number of dead is incorrect. The blog post was published on the Global Research site, where it caught the attention of the Web. (Yahoo News)
Obama's picks for defense, CIA signal new security era Obama's nominations of former Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA signal second-term course adjustments at institutions that have been dominated by their lethal assignments during more than a decade of war. - President Obama is assembling a national-security team designed for an era of downsized but enduring conflict, a team that will be asked to preside over the return of exhausted American troops and wield power through the targeted use of sanctions, Special Operations forces and drone strikes.
Obama's nominations of former Sen. Chuck Hagel as defense secretary and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the CIA signal second-term course adjustments at institutions that have been dominated by their lethal assignments during more than a decade of war.
Those adjustments could include returning the CIA's focus to its core mission of gathering intelligence, even though it is expected to maintain its fleet of armed drones for years. The Pentagon faces an even more aggressive restructuring to balance budget cuts against threats, including China's ascendant military and emerging al-Qaida affiliates in North Africa and the Middle East.
The nominations also set the stage for confirmation fights driven not only by criticism of Hagel and Brennan but by the foreign-policy approach they represent.
Hagel, a decorated Vietnam War veteran, shares Obama's aversion to military intervention. White House officials described him as ideally suited to managing the drawdown of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the shrinking Pentagon budget. But he has attracted fierce criticism from groups that question his support for Israel. (The Washington Post)
Sandy Hook School Massacre Timeline The following timeline of the December 14 mass killing of 20 children and 8 adults in Newtown Connecticut attempts to demonstrate how the event was presented to the public by corporate news media. The chronological assemblage of coverage is not comprehensive of all reports published on the incident but rather seeks to verify how the storyline was to a substantial degree constructed by federal and state law enforcement authorities and major media around the theory that 20-year-old Adam Lanza was the sole agent in the massacre.
This scenario became an established reality through the news media’s pronounced repetition of the lone gunman narrative and meme. This proposed scenario significantly obscured the fact that police encountered and apprehended two additional shooting suspects on the school’s grounds within minutes of the crime. These suspects remain unaccounted for by authorities but the roles they may have played arguably correlate with the shifting information presented by authorities and major news media on injuries and weapons vis-ŕ-vis the mass carnage meted out in the school. While the certain detainment of additional suspects was pointed to by alternative news media, including Natural News, Infowars, Veterans Today and Global Research in the days following the tragedy, the untenable lone gunman narrative has become firmly established in the public psyche via an overwhelming chorus of corporate media reports and interpretations. (Memory Hole Blog)
113th Congress (2013-2014) H.J.RES.15.IH Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States to repeal the twenty-second article of amendment, thereby removing the limitation on the number of terms an individual may serve as President.
- IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
January 4, 2013
Mr. SERRANO introduced the following joint resolution; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary ( Rep. José Serrano [D-NY15] ) (US Congress)
3-D Printing: Technology May Bring New Industrial Revolution 3-D printing technology, used industrially for the last few decades, is poised to break into the mass market. Its endless and swiftly developing possibilities -- from entrepreneurial manufacturing to the potential sculpting of human organs -- could become the next industrial revolution. - When the TV series Star Trek first brought the starship Enterprise into German living rooms, the concept of a replicator was pure science fiction, a fantastical utopian vision we might experience one day centuries in the future. Replicators, something of a mixture between computer and miniature factory, were capable of creating food and replacement parts from next to nothing. They were highly practical devices, since Captain Kirk couldn't exactly take along a lot of supplies for his journeys through outer space. That futuristic vision, though, has receded far into the past -- overtaken by the present. (Der Spiegel)
Menino: Veep promised him fast action on gun control Vice President Joe Biden “guaranteed” Mayor Thomas M. Menino — a leading national gun control advocate — that President Obama will pass sweeping firearms reforms by the end of the month, the mayor said today.
“He said, ‘Tommy, I guarantee you, we’ll get it done by the end of January,’” Menino said at City Hall today. “They’re going to get it done.”
The mayor, who has been recovering from a host of ailments for the past two months, said Biden called him several times while he was in the hospital, including a call after the Newtown school massacre to discuss gun control.
Menino and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg co-chair the 500-mayor-strong Mayors Against Illegal Guns and have called for national gun reform in the wake of last month’s Sandy Hook school killings. (Boston Herald)
The San Antonio Theater Shooting the National Media Ignored At approximately 9:25 p.m. on Sunday night, December 16, just two days after the horrific shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, Jesus Manuel Garcia, age 19, entered the China Garden restaurant across the mall from the Santikos Mayan Palace 14 theater complex in San Antonio, Texas, looking for his ex-girlfriend. Angered that she had just broken up with him, he sent her a text message saying that he planned to go to the restaurant where she worked and “shoot somebody.”
Before she could warn patrons at the restaurant Garcia entered and started shooting. One bullet slightly wounded one patron while others scattered out the exit doors and headed for the safety of the theater lobby across the mall. Garcia chased them and continued shooting.
This got the attention of an armed off-duty law-enforcement officer who was working at the theater, Bexar County sheriff’s Sgt. Lisa Castellano, who chased Garcia to the back of the theater where he ducked into the men’s room. When he emerged, Castellano shot him four times which immediately and effectively ended the threat. Garcia was handcuffed with the help of another off-duty officer and taken to the hospital where he was listed in stable condition. He was charged with attempted capital murder of a police officer and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, and his bail was set at $1 million. (The New American)
Obama likely to issue executive order on cybersecurity as early as January An executive order from President Obama aimed at protecting the nation from cyberattacks is likely to be issued in early 2013, and perhaps as soon as January, observers say.
The long-awaited executive action is unlikely to be taken before the end of the year, given the delicate negotiations over the “fiscal cliff.” Republican lawmakers have made it known that they strongly oppose an executive order on cybersecurity.
“It’d be reasonable to say that releasing the executive order now would irritate Congress and might create an unnecessary burden for reaching a deal on the fiscal issues,” said James Lewis, director of the technology and public policy program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. (The Hill)
Medical pot dispensary shuttered by feds reopens in Berkeley One of the East Bay's largest medical marijuana dispensaries reopened here Wednesday down the street from its former location that was closed in May under pressure from the federal government.
Berkeley Patients Group, which at one time boasted 10,000 members but now declines to give numbers, reopened at 2366 San Pablo Avenue. It's former location at 2747 San Pablo Avenue was closed after the federal government threatened to seize the property from the owner if it did not close because it was too close to two nearby schools.
Since May, the dispensary has run a delivery service but has not had a storefront. One of three dispensaries licensed by Berkeley to do business in commercial zones, the group this year is celebrating 12 years. (Oakland Tribune)
Party Identity in a Gun Cabinet An American child grows up in a married household in the suburbs. What are the chances that his family keeps a gun in their home?
The probability is considerably higher than residents of New York and other big cities might expect: about 40 percent of married households reported having a gun in their home, according to the exit poll conducted during the 2008 presidential election.
But the odds vary significantly based on the political identity of the child’s parents. If they identify as Democratic voters, the chances are only about one in four, or 25 percent, that they have a gun in their home. But the chances are more than twice that, almost 60 percent, if they are Republicans.
Whether someone owns a gun is a more powerful predictor of a person’s political party than her gender, whether she identifies as gay or lesbian, whether she is Hispanic, whether she lives in the South or a number of other demographic characteristics.
It will come as no surprise to those with a passing interest in American politics that Republicans are more likely to own guns than Democrats. But the differences have become much more stark in recent years, with gun ownership having become one of the clearest examples of the partisan polarization in the country over the last two decades. (Five Thirty Eight)
Conn. Police: We have to be sensitive -- Statement from Connecticut State Police spokesman, Lt. J. Paul Vance. "One thing that is becoming somewhat of a concern, and that is misinformation is being posted on social media sites. There has been misinformation coming from people posing as the shooter in this case, using other IDs, mimicing this crime and crime scene and criminal activity that took place in this community. There's been some things in somewhat of a threatening manner. It is important to know that we have discussed with federal authorities that these issues are crimes, they will be investigated statewide and federally, and prosecution will take place when people perpetrating this information are identified. Again, all information relative to this case is coming from these microphones, and any information coming from other sources cannot be confirmed and in many cases it's been found, it's inaccurate." (CNN)
Connecticut Shooter Adam Lanza: 'Obviously Not Well' Adam Lanza of Newtown, Connecticut was a child of the suburbs and a child of divorce who at age 20 still lived with his mother.
This morning he appears to have started his day by shooting his mother Nancy in the face, and then driving to nearby Sandy Hook Elementary School armed with at least two handguns and at least one semi-automatic rifle. - Peter Lanza, who drove to northern New Jersey to talk to police and the FBI, is a vice president at GE Capital and had been a partner at global accounting giant Ernst & Young.
Adam's older brother Ryan Lanza, 24, has worked at Ernst & Young for four years, apparently following in his father's footsteps and carving out a solid niche in the tax practice. He too was interviewed by the FBI. Neither he nor his father is under any suspicion. (ABC)
Dreams in Infrared -- The Woes of an American Drone Operator A soldier sets out to graduate at the top of his class. He succeeds, and he becomes a drone pilot working with a special unit of the United States Air Force in New Mexico. He kills dozens of people. But then, one day, he realizes that he can't do it anymore.
For more than five years, Brandon Bryant worked in an oblong, windowless container about the size of a trailer, where the air-conditioning was kept at 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) and, for security reasons, the door couldn't be opened. Bryant and his coworkers sat in front of 14 computer monitors and four keyboards. When Bryant pressed a button in New Mexico, someone died on the other side of the world.
The container is filled with the humming of computers. It's the brain of a drone, known as a cockpit in Air Force parlance. But the pilots in the container aren't flying through the air. They're just sitting at the controls.
Bryant was one of them, and he remembers one incident very clearly when a Predator drone was circling in a figure-eight pattern in the sky above Afghanistan, more than 10,000 kilometers (6,250 miles) away. There was a flat-roofed house made of mud, with a shed used to hold goats in the crosshairs, as Bryant recalls. When he received the order to fire, he pressed a button with his left hand and marked the roof with a laser. The pilot sitting next to him pressed the trigger on a joystick, causing the drone to launch a Hellfire missile. There were 16 seconds left until impact. (Der Spiegel)
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