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EXCLUSIVE: Did 'controlling' mother of Boston 'bombers' lead them on the path to radicalization? Uncle claims she allowed hardline cleric to preach to boys at their kitchen table Accused bombers introduced to hardline Islamic views by their mother, an uncle tells MailOnline ~ Firebrand cleric was able to preach at the family's kitchen table ~ Their mother, Zubeidat, described as the 'boss' of the family ~ 'One of the biggest causes is her,' the uncle says of the brothers' beliefs in radical Islam - The two men who allegedly carried out the Boston Marathon bombing were ‘failed’ by their parents, especially their ‘controlling’ mother who encouraged their move towards Islamic radicalization, relatives told MailOnline today.
Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaeva looked up to mother Zubeidat as an ‘angel’ but, according to one of their uncles, she was the one who allowed them to be introduced to hardline Islamic views.
Ruslan Tsarni claimed that Zubeidat allowed a firebrand cleric into their house to give one-on-one sermons to Tamerlan over the kitchen table during which he claimed he could talk to demons and perform exorcisms.
Family friends also told MailOnline that the boys’ father Anzor never stood up to his wife and revealed that she was the ‘boss’ of their house.
Until now Tamerlan has been blamed for leading his ‘sweet, innocent’ younger brother down the path to radicalism that allegedly ended with them killing three people and injuring 170 at the Boston Marathon last Monday. (UK Daily Mail)
FBI's handling of Boston suspect comes under scrutiny U.S. lawmakers asked on Sunday why the FBI had failed to spot the danger from one of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, and they complained it was one of a series of cases in which someone the agency had investigated had later taken part in attacks.
House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul wrote to the FBI and other officials asking why Tamerlan Tsarnaev did not raise suspicions after Russia asked the bureau to investigate him two years ago.
"Because if he was on the radar and they let him go, he's on the Russians' radar, why wasn't a flag put on him, some sort of customs flag?," McCaul, a Texas Republican, said on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "And I'd like to know what intelligence Russia has on him as well."
The FBI interviewed Tsarnaev, the elder of two ethnic Chechen brothers suspected in the Boston bombing, in 2011 shortly after Russia's Federal Security Service asked the agency to look into him as a possible Islamist radical who might soon travel to Russia.
Asked on Sunday about lawmakers' concerns, the FBI said it had no further comment beyond a statement it issued on Friday night when it said it "did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign" after speaking to Tsarnaev and checking his travel records and Internet activity. (Reuters)
Guard Teams Help With Crises in Massachusetts, Texas Texas and Massachusetts National Guard members are continuing to provide support to civil and local authorities in the wake of explosions in Boston and in West, Texas, many of them bringing a specialized skill set to the efforts.
This morning, more than 20 members of the Texas Army National Guard’s 6th Civil Support Team were monitoring air quality for hazardous emissions at the site of a still-burning fertilizer plant.
Additional search and extraction, and command and control capabilities from the Texas National Guard Homeland Response Force remain on alert and ready to assist if needed, officials said.
Up to 15 people are feared dead, with at least 160 injured, according to Texas officials.
National Guard civil support teams work with local authorities and provide additional support during times of emergency or the suspected use of weapons of mass destruction. The teams can identify chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear agents and substances, assess current and projected consequences and advise on response measures.
Members of the Texas Guard's 6th Civil Support Team and the Massachusetts Guard's 1st Civil Support Team are providing technical expertise for authorities. (US Department of Defense)
Boston attack underscores Guard training exercise's significance Just hours before multiple explosions rocked the Boston Marathon, a Wisconsin National Guard team stared down their own bomb scenario in a training event at Dane County Regional Airport in Madison, Wis.
The parallels were palpable. The training scenario and the day's events underscored the grim reality and significance of preparing for similar situations as the 54th Civil Support Team (CST) aided civilian law enforcement and emergency agencies in eliminating a notional bomb threat.
The CST, which provides support to state agencies at large-scale sporting events and other high-profile gatherings in Wisconsin, spent April 15 responding to a suspicious piece of luggage flagged by the Transportation Security Administration at the Madison airport. It was a situation for which the CST was well-equipped.
As the exercise unfolded, the Dane County Sheriff was alerted to the suspicious piece of luggage, which prompted a response from the law enforcement agency's explosive ordnance disposal team and ultimately a call to the CST, the National Guard's full-time response force for emergencies or terrorist events involving weapons of mass destruction, toxic chemicals, or natural disasters. (Wisconsin Department of Military Affairs)
Nat Guard WMD teams were on hand in Boston yesterday While Northern Command, the U.S. military's combatant command responsible for defending U.S. soil tells Killer Apps it has not sent any troops to Boston, local National Guard units were on scene during the bombings at the Boston Marathon yesterday.
In particular, the Massachusetts and New York National Guards had deployed their Civil Support Teams to the marathon. (It's worth pointing out that the fact that so many well trained first responders were already on hand may have played a role in keeping the death toll relatively low.)
CSTs, as they are known, are National Guard units that are specially trained and equipped to detect and respond to chemical, biological, or radiological incidents. Basically, they're the first people a governor would call in the event of a WMD attack. These teams were on hand before the marathon even started, according to New York Guard spokesman Eric Durr, who says that such teams are deployed before most major events where public officials worry about the threat of a WMD attack. (Foreign Policy)
US Mass Shootings, 1982-2012: Data From Mother Jones' Investigation -- The full data set from our five-month investigation into mass shootings. Since we began our investigation into mass shootings following the attack in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012, we've heard from numerous academic researchers, legislative aides, and others wanting access to our full data set. Here it is below, including links to sources where available. You can also download this data in CSV, XLS, or TXT formats, or click here for the Google spreadsheet view. (Unfortunately, the embedded version below does not support expanding the cells to see the full text in some places, but you can access it these other ways.)
For more context, analysis, and links to the series of stories from our five-month investigation, see "The NRA Myth of Arming the Good Guys" and our guide to mass shootings in America. (Mother Jones)
3D printing and the future of warfare Imagine 20 years from now U.S. soldiers establish a combat outpost deep inside territory surrounded by people who are less than friendly. In past decades, resupplying this outpost would have meant risky and expensive flights or ground convoys escorted by troops or helicopter gunships. Now, however, unmanned, armored supply trucks and choppers run beans and bullets to the remote base while spare parts and other hardware is fabricated on site using a 3D printer.
As the United States shifts its military focus toward the Pacific while drawing troops back to the United States from bases in Europe, the Army recognizes that it will need to become lighter and more flexible in how it sustains itself due to the likely expeditionary nature of a conflict in the Pacific -- a region where distances are vast and American forces may find themselves fighting out of scattered facilities that are much more bare bones than it is used to.
To that end, Army officials are looking at a future where whole convoys of unmanned trucks (or possibly choppers) inspired by Google's self-driving cars replenish forward bases. What can't be, or doesn't need to be, shipped in will be made in the field by troops using 3D printers. (Foreign Policy)
More Than 30 Top U.S. Officials Guilty of War Crimes More than 30 top U.S. officials, including presidents G.W. Bush and Obama, are guilty of war crimes or crimes against peace and humanity “legally akin to those perpetrated by the former Nazi regime in Germany,” the distinguished American international law authority Francis Boyle charges.
U.S. officials involved in an “ongoing criminal conspiracy” in the Middle East and Africa who either participated in the commission of the crimes under their jurisdiction or failed to take action against them included both presidents since 2001 and their vice-presidents, the secretaries of State and Defense, the directors of the CIA and National Intelligence and the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs of Staff and heads of the Central Command, among others, Boyle said.
“In international legal terms, the U.S. government itself should now be viewed as constituting an ongoing criminal conspiracy under international law,” Boyle said in an address Dec. 9th to the Puerto Rican Summit Conference on Human Rights at the University of the Sacred Heart in San Juan. Boyle is a Professor of International Law at the University of Illinois, Champaign, and the author of numerous books on the subject. (Scoop)
Newly Released Drone Records Reveal Extensive Military Flights in US Today EFF posted several thousand pages of new drone license records and a new map that tracks the location of drone flights across the United States.
These records, received as a result of EFF’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), come from state and local law enforcement agencies, universities and—for the first time—three branches of the U.S. military: the Air Force, Marine Corps, and DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).
Military Drone Flights in the United States
A160 Hummingbird DroneWhile the U.S. military doesn’t need an FAA license to fly drones over its own military bases (these are considered “restricted airspace”), it does need a license to fly in the national airspace (which is almost everywhere else in the US). And, as we’ve learned from these records, the Air Force and Marine Corps regularly fly both large and small drones in the national airspace all around the country. This is problematic, given a recent New York Times report that the Air Force’s drone operators sometimes practice surveillance missions by tracking civilian cars along the highway adjacent to the base. (Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Treating PTSD with Ecstasy: One story When Rachel Hope picked up the phone in 2005 to call Dr. Michael Mithoefer, she didn't have high hopes.
"I had very low expectations," said Hope, who suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder for years before investigating whether the drug Ecstasy might be able to free her from her torment. Her PTSD was traced to a period of sexual abuse as a child and a life-threatening car accident.
In the initial 45-minute conversation, Mithoefer determined that Hope didn't have other serious psychological problems. He agreed to fly her to South Carolina to take part in his study of the experimental therapy. There, she underwent more psychological testing and a physical exam. There were standard therapy sessions, so Mithoefer could understand Hope's past and her symptoms. Finally, she was ready.
Light streamed through the skylight as Hope lay back on a futon in Mithoefer's office, in the rear of a small bungalow. (CNN)
A 'Party Drug' May Help the Brain Cope With Trauma Hundreds of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans with post-traumatic stress have recently contacted a husband-and-wife team who work in suburban South Carolina to seek help. Many are desperate, pleading for treatment and willing to travel to get it.
The soldiers have no interest in traditional talking cures or prescription drugs that have given them little relief. They are lining up to try an alternative: MDMA, better known as Ecstasy, a party drug that surfaced in the 1980s and ’90s that can induce pulses of euphoria and a radiating affection. Government regulators criminalized the drug in 1985, placing it on a list of prohibited substances that includes heroin and LSD. But in recent years, regulators have licensed a small number of labs to produce MDMA for research purposes.
“I feel survivor’s guilt, both for coming back from Iraq alive and now for having had a chance to do this therapy,” said Anthony, a 25-year-old living near Charleston, S.C., who asked that his last name not be used because of the stigma of taking the drug. “I’m a different person because of it.”
In a paper posted online Tuesday by the Journal of Psychopharmacology, Michael and Ann Mithoefer, the husband-and-wife team offering the treatment — which combines psychotherapy with a dose of MDMA — write that they found 15 of 21 people who recovered from severe post-traumatic stress in the therapy in the early 2000s reported minor to virtually no symptoms today. Many said they have received other kinds of therapy since then, but not with MDMA. (The New York Times)
IDF and U.S. Army launch four Patriot missiles as part of mass joint drill
The drill, considered the largest ever carried out by the two countries, will be conducted over the course of three weeks, and will simulate an extensive Mideast war with U.S. intervention. - The Israel Defense Forces and the U.S. Army launched four Patriot missiles into the Mediterranean Sea on Monday, as part of a joint military exercise conducted by the two countries.
The missiles were launched from the Palmachim Air Force base in central Israel, near the cities of Rishon Letzion and Yavne.
The two militaries will carry out further similar launches as part of the drill, simulating the interception of aircraft or missiles penetrating Israeli air space. The ongoing drill is considered the largest joint exercise ever carried out by the two countries.
The drill is meant to simulate an extensive war in the Middle East that would require the United States to intervene and provide Israel with further defense to intercept missiles. (Haaretz)
Looking back on the troubled wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, many observers are content to lay blame on the Bush administration. But inept leadership by American generals was also responsible for the failure of those wars. A culture of mediocrity has taken hold within the Army’s leadership rank—if it is not uprooted, the country’s next war is unlikely to unfold any better than the last two. - On June 13, 1944, a few days after the 90th Infantry Division went into action against the Germans in Normandy under the command of Brigadier General Jay MacKelvie, MacKelvie’s superior officer, Major General J. Lawton Collins, went on foot to check on his men. “We could locate no regimental or battalion headquarters,” he recalled with dismay. “No shelling was going on, nor any fighting that we could observe.” This was an ominous sign, as the Battle of Normandy was far from decided, and the Wehrmacht was still trying to push the Americans, British, and Canadians, who had landed a week earlier, back into the sea.
Just a day earlier, the 90th’s assistant division commander, Brigadier General “Hanging Sam” Williams, had also been looking for the leader of his green division. He’d found MacKelvie sheltering from enemy fire, huddled in a drainage ditch along the base of a hedgerow. “Goddamn it, General, you can’t lead this division hiding in that goddamn hole,” Williams shouted. “Go back to the [command post]. Get the hell out of that hole and go to your vehicle. Walk to it, or you’ll have this goddamn division wading in the English Channel.” The message did not take. The division remained bogged down, veering close to passivity.
American troops were fighting to stay alive—no small feat in that summer’s bloody combat. One infantry company in the 90th began a day in July with 142 men and finished it with 32. Its battalion commander walked around babbling “I killed K Company, I killed K Company.” Later that summer, one of the 90th’s battalions, with 265 soldiers, surrendered to a German patrol of 50 men and two tanks. In six weeks of small advances, the division would use up all its infantrymen, requesting replacements of more than 100 percent. (The Atlantic)
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio As the days go by, the situation with Iran just gets increasingly complex and worrisome given the egregious saber rattling coming from both the West and Iran alike.
As I outlined in my article entitled “Positioning for war with Iran?”, it has become clear that the West is either arming surrounding neighbors as a deterrent, preparation for an unprovoked strike, or perhaps even to goad Iran into attacking Western interest first, thus justifying brutal retaliation.
My fledgling series about the global growth of NATO and the Western empire also covers aspects of this greater trend and how these issues constantly evolve and how so many seemingly disconnected events are in fact inseparably linked.
While these issues may seem disconnected for some, I think it is quite important to point out that in fact they couldn’t be more closely related in that they are both symptoms of the cancerous war profiteering industry that is not only robbing the American people blind in the name of freedom but also eliminating our civil liberties and slaughtering innocent people around the globe. (End The Lie)
Justices, 5-4, Tell California to Cut Prisoner Population Conditions in California’s overcrowded prisons are so bad that they violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment, the Supreme Court ruled on Monday, ordering the state to reduce its prison population by more than 30,000 inmates.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, writing for the majority in a 5-to-4 decision that broke along ideological lines, described a prison system that failed to deliver minimal care to prisoners with serious medical and mental health problems and produced “needless suffering and death.”
Justices Antonin Scalia and Samuel A. Alito Jr. filed vigorous dissents. Justice Scalia called the order affirmed by the majority “perhaps the most radical injunction issued by a court in our nation’s history.” Justice Alito said “the majority is gambling with the safety of the people of California.”
The majority opinion included photographs of inmates crowded into open gymnasium-style rooms and what Justice Kennedy described as “telephone-booth-sized cages without toilets” used to house suicidal inmates. Suicide rates in the state’s prisons, Justice Kennedy wrote, have been 80 percent higher than the average for inmates nationwide. A lower court in the case said it was “an uncontested fact” that “an inmate in one of California’s prisons needlessly dies every six or seven days due to constitutional deficiencies.”
Monday’s ruling in the case, Brown v. Plata, No. 09-1233, affirmed an order by a special three-judge federal court requiring state officials to reduce the prison population to 110,000, which is 137.5 percent of the system’s capacity. There have been more than 160,000 inmates in the system in recent years, and there are now more than 140,000.
Prison release orders are rare and hard to obtain, and even advocates for prisoners’ rights said Monday’s decision was unlikely to have a significant impact around the nation.
“California is an extreme case by any measure,” said David C. Fathi, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s National Prison Project, which submitted a brief urging the justices to uphold the lower court’s order. “This case involves ongoing, undisputed and lethal constitutional violations. We’re not going to see a lot of copycat litigation.”
State officials in California will have two years to comply with the order, and they may ask for more time. Justice Kennedy emphasized that the reduction in population need not be achieved solely by releasing prisoners early. Among the other possibilities, he said, are new construction, transfers out of state and using county facilities. (New York Times)
Al Qaeda Could Try to Replicate Fukushima-type Meltdowns A May 5 "intelligence brief" prepared by a Department of Homeland Security (DHS) official at the Pacific Regional Information Clearinghouse (PacClear) in Hawaii, warned Al Qaeda might try to cause the meltdown of certain vulnerable nuclear power plants in the US and Europe by replicating the failure of the electric supply that pumped cooling water to the reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in Japan. The plant's primary and backup power supplies were knocked out by the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March, resulting in partial meltdowns of the plant's reactors.
Only a week after the intelligence brief was circulated, federal officials dispatched a security alert notifying US power plant operators to raise the level of their security awareness.
According to the analysis in the “for official use only” intelligence brief, which was obtained by Homeland Security Today, “the earthquake and tsunami in Japan were ‘acts of nature,’ but a catastrophic nuclear reactor meltdown could potentially be engineered by Al Qaeda” by replicating the cascading loss of electric power that knocked out the Fukushima nuclear power plant’s ability to cool its reactors’ fuel rods, which led to the partial meltdowns of the reactors, causing the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl. (Homeland Security Today)
WikiLeaks releasing documents on Guantanamo Thousands of pages outline the U.S. prison operation at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with details on the self-proclaimed Sept. 11 mastermind and others. The White House condemns the leak. - Most of those remaining at the Guantanamo Bay military prison are considered "high-risk" detainees who if released would pose grave threats to the U.S. and its allies, as did a third of those set free earlier, according to thousands of pages of classified documents being made public by WikiLeaks.
Release of the more than 700 separate documents dealing with the prison, opened under the George W. Bush administration to house detainees in the war on terrorism, drew a sharp rebuke Sunday evening from the White House, which said the documents were obtained illegally.
"We strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information," the White House said.
The materials were obtained and released by WikiLeaks as part of its ongoing publication of classified documents dealing with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as secret State Department cables and other material. (Los Angeles Times)
'Exploding UFOs and alien landings' in secret FBI files Secret FBI files have been released detailing how US officials saw a UFO explode over Utah – and aliens land near Roswell in New Mexico. - A declassified document from 1949 tells how three men, on patrols miles apart, each reported seeing a UFO break up over mountains north of Salt Lake City.
The 1950 memo that recounts the discovery of flying saucers and aliens in New Mexico
The 1950 memo that recounts the discovery of flying saucers and aliens in New Mexico
Their extraordinary accounts were sent to Edgar Hoover, the director of the FBI, in a memo titled "Flying Discs".
The file said that a policeman, a highway patrolman and an army guard all "saw a silver coloured object high up approaching the mountains at Sardine Canyon" that "appeared to explode in a rash of fire."
"Several residents [reported] seeing what appeared to be two aerial explosions, followed by falling object," it said. (London Telegraph)
Bruce Fein: Articles of Impeachment for tyrant Obama III.
USURPATION OF THE WAR POWER OVER LIBYA
47. President Barack Obama’s military attacks against Libya constitute acts of war.
48. Congressman J. Randy Forbes (VA-4) had the following exchange with Secretary of Defense Robert Gates during a March 31, 2011 House Armed Services Committee Hearing on the legality of the present military operation in Libya:
Congressman Forbes: Mr. Secretary, if tomorrow a foreign nation intentionally, for whatever reason, launched a Tomahawk missile into New York City, would that be considered an act of war against the United States?
Secretary Gates: Probably so.
Congressman Forbes: Then I would assume the same laws would apply if we launched a Tomahawk missile at another nation—is that also true?
Secretary Gates: You’re getting into constitutional law here and I am no expert on it.
Congressman Forbes: Mr. Secretary, you’re the Secretary of Defense. You ought to be an expert on what’s an act of war or not. If it’s an act of war to launch a Tomahawk missile on New York City would it not also be an act of war to launch a Tomahawk missile by us at another nation?
Secretary Gates: Presumably.
49. Since the passage of United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 on March 19, 2011, the United States has detonated over 200 tomahawk land attack cruise missiles and 455 precision-guided bombs on Libyan soil.
50. Libya posed no actual or imminent threat to the United States when President Obama unleashed Operation Odyssey Dawn.
51. On March 27, 2011, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated that Libya never posed an “actual or imminent threat to the United States.” He further stated that Libya has never constituted a “vital interest” to the United States.
52. United Nations Security Council resolution 1973 directs an indefinite United States military quagmire in Libya, authorizing “all necessary measures” to protect Libyan civilians, which clearly contemplates removal by force of the murderous regime of Col. Muammar Qadhafi.
53. In a Letter From the President to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate sent March 21, 2011, President Barack Obama informed Members of Congress that “U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas. We will seek a rapid, but responsible, transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives of U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973.”
54. In his March 21, 2011 letter, President Barack Obama further informed Members of Congress that he opted to take unilateral military action “…in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster.”
55. President Barack Obama has usurped congressional authority to decide on war or peace with Libya, and has declared he will persist in additional usurpations of the congressional power to commence war whenever he decrees it would advance his idea of the national interest. On March 28, 2011, he declared to Congress and the American people: “I have made it clear that I will never hesitate to use our military swiftly, decisively, and unilaterally when necessary to defend our people, our homeland, our allies, and our core interests” (emphasis added).
56. President Obama’s humanitarian justification for war in Libya establishes a threshold that would justify his initiation of warfare in scores of nations around the globe, including Iran, North Korea, Syria, Sudan, Myanmar, China, Belarus, Zimbabwe, Cuba, and Russia.
57. In Olmstead v. United States, 277 U.S. 438 (1928), Justice Louis D. Brandeis wrote on behalf of a majority of the United States Supreme Court:
Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the Government’s purposes are beneficent. Men born to freedom are naturally alert to repel invasion of their liberty by evil-minded rulers. The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well meaning but without understanding.
58. President Barack Obama has signed an order, euphemistically named a “Presidential Finding,” authorizing covert U.S. government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, further entangling the United States in the Libyan conflict, despite earlier promises of restraint. Truth is invariably the first casualty of war.
59. In response to questions by Members of Congress during a classified briefing on March 30, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton indicated that the President needs no Congressional authorization for his attack on the Libyan nation, and will ignore any Congressional attempt by resolution or otherwise to constrain or halt United States participation in the Libyan war.
60. On March 30, 2011, by persistent silence or otherwise, Secretary Clinton rebuffed congressional inquiries into President Obama’s view of the constitutionality of the War Powers Resolution of 1973. She failed to cite a single judicial decision in support of President Obama’s recent actions, relying instead on the undisclosed legal opinions of White House attorneys.
61. President Barack Obama, in flagrant violation of his constitutional oath to execute his office as President of the United States and preserve and protect the United States Constitution, has usurped the exclusive authority of Congress to authorize the initiation of war, in that on March 19, 2011 President Obama initiated an offensive military attack against the Republic of Libya without congressional authorization. In so doing, President Obama has arrested the rule of law, and saluted a vandalizing of the Constitution that will occasion ruination of the Republic, the crippling of individual liberty, and a Leviathan government unless the President is impeached by the House of Representatives and removed from office by the Senate.
In all of this, President Barack Obama has acted in a manner contrary to his trust as President and subversive of constitutional government, to the great prejudice of the cause of law and justice and to the manifest injury of the people of the United States. (Prison Planet)
Cruel and unusual treatment of WikiLeaks suspect Army Pfc. Bradley Manning has been imprisoned in the Quantico Marine Corps Brig for nine months, suspected of giving highly classified State Department cables to the website WikiLeaks. He has not been tried, yet is kept in solitary confinement in a windowless room 23 hours a day and forced to sleep naked without pillows or blankets.
Human rights groups have condemned his treatment, and even State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley spoke out against it. Crowley has resigned, allegedly under pressure from the Obama administration. Defense officials say Manning is stripped of his clothes nightly to prevent him from committing suicide, yet his civilian lawyer says his client is at no risk.
The problem with the argument that Manning is being kept in long-term solitary confinement to prevent his suicide is that long-term solitary confinement causes suicide.
One of the most stunning statistics in criminology today is that, on average, 50% of U.S. prisoner suicides happen among the 2% to 8% of prisoners who are in solitary confinement, also known as segregation. When I tour prisons as I prepare for expert testimony in class-action lawsuits, many prisoners living in isolation tell me they despair of ever being released from solitary. - Manning is a pretrial detainee. The Constitution requires that innocence be assumed until guilt is proved, and that the defendant in criminal proceedings be provided with the wherewithal to participate in his legal defense.
The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution bars cruel and unusual punishment, and repeatedly, U.S. courts have found that overly harsh conditions of isolation and the denial of mental health treatment to a needy prisoner are Eighth Amendment violations. In international circles, for example, according to the U.N. Convention Against Torture (the United States is a signatory), the same violations of human rights are termed torture.
Clearly, Manning's treatment violates these constitutional guarantees and international prohibitions against torture. Why? Have we permitted our government, under the cloak of security precautions, to set up a secret gulag where conditions known to cause severe psychiatric damage prevail? As a concerned psychiatrist, I strenuously object to this callousness about conditions of confinement that predictably cause such severe harm. (CNN)
Libya army transport deal frozen after US approval In the months before Libyans revolted and President Barack Obama told leader Moammar Gadhafi to go, the U.S. government was moving to do business with his regime on an increasing scale by quietly approving a $77 million dollar deal to deliver at least 50 refurbished armored troop carriers to the dictator's military.
Congress balked, concerned the deal would improve Libyan army mobility and questioning the Obama administration's support for the agreement, which would have benefited British defense company BAE. The congressional concerns effectively stalled the deal until the turmoil in the country scuttled the sale. Earlier last week, after all military exports to the Gadhafi regime were suspended, the State Department's Directorate of Defense Trade Controls informed Capitol Hill that the deal had been returned without action — effectively off the table, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the deal's sensitive details.
State Department spokesman Mark C. Toner said the proposed license was suspended along with the rest of "what limited defense trade we had with Libya."
The Gadhafi regime's desire to upgrade its troop carriers was so intense that a Libyan official told U.S. diplomats in Tripoli in 2009 that the dictator's sons, Khamis and Saif, both were demanding swift action. Khamis, a commander whose army brigade reportedly attacked the opposition-held town of Zawiya with armored units and pickup trucks, expressed a "personal interest" in modernizing the armored transports, according to a December 2009 diplomatic message disclosed by WikiLeaks, the whistleblower website. (Associated Press)
Darpa's Cheetah-Bot Designed to Chase Human Prey Perhaps you thought the four-legged BigDog robot wasn’t eerily lifelike enough. That’ll change soon. BigDog’s makers are working on a new quadruped that moves faster than any human and is agile enough to “chase and evade.”
Boston Dynamics, maker of the Army’s BigDog robotic mule, announced today that Darpa has awarded it a contract to build a much faster and more fearsome animal-like robot, Cheetah.
As the name implies, Cheetah is designed to be a four-legged robot with a flexible spine and articulated head (and potentially a tail) that runs faster than the fastest human. In addition to raw speed, Cheetah’s makers promise that it will have the agility to make tight turns so that it can “zigzag to chase and evade” and be able to stop on a dime.
Cheetah builds off work on the company’s previous four legged animal bot, BigDog. It was built as a kind of unmanned pack mule, designed to carry equipment for troops on the battlefield. The robotic donkey could carry 300 lbs. over 13 miles on flat ground, take a swift kick and keep on moving. It’s creepy, lifelike movement can be seen on a number of videos online, climbing over hills and snow and hiking alongside soldiers, using GPS coordinates as its waypoints. (Wired)
Revolution U: What Egypt Learned From The Students Who Overthrew Milosevic Early in 2008, workers at a government-owned textile factory in the Egyptian mill town of El-Mahalla el-Kubra announced that they were going on strike on the first Sunday in April to protest high food prices and low wages. They caught the attention of a group of tech-savvy young people an hour's drive to the south in the capital city of Cairo, who started a Facebook group to organize protests and strikes on April 6 throughout Egypt in solidarity with the mill workers. To their shock, the page quickly acquired some 70,000 followers.
But what worked so smoothly online proved much more difficult on the street. Police occupied the factory in Mahalla and headed off the strike. The demonstrations there turned violent: Protesters set fire to buildings, and police started shooting, killing at least two people. The solidarity protests around Egypt, meanwhile, fizzled out, in most places blocked by police. The Facebook organizers had never agreed on tactics, whether Egyptians should stay home or fill the streets in protest. People knew they wanted to do something. But no one had a clear idea of what that something was.
The botched April 6 protests, the leaders realized in their aftermath, had been an object lesson in the limits of social networking as a tool of democratic revolution. Facebook could bring together tens of thousands of sympathizers online, but it couldn't organize them once they logged off. It was a useful communication tool to call people to -- well, to what? The April 6 leaders did not know the answer to this question. So they decided to learn from others who did. In the summer of 2009, Mohamed Adel, a 20-year-old blogger and April 6 activist, went to Belgrade, Serbia. (Foreign Policy)
Sen. Leahy on anthrax case: 'It's not closed' After the deadly shooting rampage in Tucson, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) was asked to reflect on his own experience as the would-be target of an assassin. That's when he let slip something that he rarely talks about publicly: He has never accepted the FBI's decision to close the case in the series of anthrax-laced letters mailed to public officials in fall 2001.
"I still wonder who sent it and why they sent it," the Judiciary Committee chairman told a crowd gathered last month at the Newseum in Northwest Washington to hear his 2011 legislative agenda.
More than a month later, Leahy was given fresh evidence this week that the science in the case was not airtight, reopening emotional wounds 91/2 years after letters sent to him and then-Senate Majority Leader Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.) helped cause the deaths of five people and sickened 17 others. On Tuesday, the National Research Council questioned the efficacy of the genetic testing used by the FBI to allege that a Fort Detrick scientist had acted alone in mailing the deadly letters to Capitol Hill and media outlets. (Washington Post)
Top US Federal Judge Assassinated After Threat To Obama Agenda A Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR) report circulating in the Kremlin today states that the top US Federal Judge for the State of Arizona was assassinated barely 72-hours after he made a critical ruling against the Obama administrations plan to begin the confiscation of their citizen’s private retirement and banking accounts in order to stave off their nations imminent economic collapse, and after having the US Marshals protecting him removed.
According to this SVR report, Federal Judge John McCarthy Roll was the Chief Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Arizona who this past Friday issued what is called a “preliminary ruling” in a case titled “United States of America v. $333,520.00 in United States Currency et al” [Case Number: 4:2010cv00703 Filed: November 30, 2010] wherein he stated he was preparing to rule against Obama’s power to seize American citizens money without clear and convincing evidence of a crime being committed.
The case being ruled on by Judge Roll, this report continues, was about bulk cash smuggling into or out of the United States that the Obama administration claimed was their right to seize under what are called Presidential Executive Orders, instead of using existing laws. The Obama administration used as support for their claim before Judge Roll, the SVR says, the seizing of all American citizens’ gold, in 1933, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s signing of Executive Order 6102, which was ruled at the time to be constitutional.
Should the Obama administration win their argument to seize their citizen’s money by Executive Order without having to abide by the law was made more chilling this past week when reports emerged from the US stating that President Obama and his regime allies were, indeed, preparing to rule America by decree since their loss this past November of their control over the US House of Representatives, and in the words of the Washington Posts columnist Charles Krauthammer: “For an Obama bureaucrat … the will of the Congress is a mere speed bump”.
Since taking office in early 2009, Obama has completely overturned the once free United States through his use of Executive Orders that asserts his power to put anyone he wants in prison without charges or trial forever and his right to assassinate any American citizen he deems a threat. (What Does It Mean)
Leaked Cable #r?a?p?e?: An Open Rant Against the Perpetuation of Rape Myths
A VERY important reminder in the current discussion of Assange:
"People say "but these charges are trumped up! the charges are bogus!" and that may be true and it may not. But why is the starting point for discussion the dismissal of the allegations? You know, it IS POSSIBLE that Julian Assange DID sexually assault a woman in Sweden AND that the charges are trumped up in a way and dealt with in a certain way because of his work with WikiLeaks.
So let's get this straight. You can wrap your head around the fact that there is cross-border collusion and manipulation by police, judicial, and other governmental authorities from various countries... and I agree that there is... but you cannot understand that there may *also* have actually been a sexual assault? Just because someone is being persecuted for their work means that they cannot be guilty of something like sexual harassment?"
"Why is the reaction "this is bogus!" as opposed to "why can't the investigation and prosecution of all sex crimes worldwide be so damn efficient?" Seriously. If there is persecution of Assange through the legal system, it is only clear because the reaction is so uncommon. "
"Calling the allegations "farcical rape charges," Shamir and Bennett write: "Julian Assange now stands accused of: (1) not calling a young woman the day after he had enjoyed a night with her, (2) asking her to pay for his bus ticket, (3) having unsafe sex, and (4) participating in two brief affairs in the course of one week."
Those are clearly not the accusations. Repeating irrelevant details, except perhaps for "having unsafe sex," comes across as dismissive and mocking. The inclusion of irrelevant information and the exclusion of relevant information is misleading and serves to discredit the woman alledging sexual assault." (Vancouver Media Co-op)
Yemen Brings Terror Charges Against US-Born Radical Cleric Al-Awlaki Yemen, under intense U.S. pressure to crack down on al-Qaida, put an American-born radical cleric on trial in absentia Tuesday on charges of plotting to kill foreigners and being a member of the terrorist group.
It was Yemen's first formal legal action against Anwar al-Awlaki and the court brought the same charges against two other men.
Yemen has come under heavy U.S. pressure to crack down on al-Qaida militants following the interception of two mail bombs in Dubai and Britain last week. The U.S. suspects Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, an offshoot of Osama bin Laden's network, was behind the plot.
Al-Awlaki, 39, was born in New Mexico and is based in Yemen. U.S. investigators say e-mails link him to the Army psychiatrist accused of last year's shooting spree at the Fort Hood, Texas military base that killed 13 people. They also allege he helped prepare Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab for the attempt to bomb an airliner over Detroit last Christmas and they link him to the failed bombing in New York City's Times Square in May. (FOX)
Air Force manual describes shadowy cyberwar world A new Air Force manual for cyberwarfare describes a shadowy, fast-changing world where anonymous enemies can carry out devastating attacks in seconds and where conventional ideas about time and space don't apply.
- Responsibility for civilian and government cybersecurity is less clear. Congress is debating between giving more power to the Homeland Security Department or the White House and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.
Homeland Security and the National Security Agency announced this month they would cooperate to strengthen the nation's cybersecurity.
Much of the 62-page manual is a dry compendium of definitions, acronyms and explanations of who reports to whom. But it occasionally veers into scenarios that sound more like computer games than flesh-and-blood warfare.
Enemies can cloak their identities and hide their attacks amid the cascade of data flowing across international computer networks, it warns. (Washington Post)
EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda Leader Dined at the Pentagon Just Months After 9/11 Anwar Al-Awlaki may be the first American on the CIA's kill or capture list, but he was also a lunch guest of military brass at the Pentagon within months of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks, Fox News has learned.
Documents exclusively obtained by Fox News, including an FBI interview conducted after the Fort Hood shooting in November 2009, state that Awlaki was taken to the Pentagon as part of the military’s outreach to the Muslim community in the immediate aftermath of the attacks.
The incident was flagged by a current Defense Department employee who came forward and told investigators she helped arrange the meeting after she saw Awlaki speak in Alexandria, Va.
The employee "attended this talk and while she arrived late she recalls being impressed by this imam. He condemned Al Qaeda and the terrorist attacks. During his talk he was 'harassed' by members of the audience and suffered it well," reads one document.
According to the documents, obtained as part of an ongoing investigation by the specials unit "Fox News Reporting," there was a push within the Defense Department to reach out to the Muslim community. (FOX)
‘Proven’ deceptive or clueless on activist spying, PA official ‘hides’ Four days after Pittsburgh paper posts 'State's homeland security chief goes in hiding' story, ex-Army colonel still MIA - The head of Pennsylvania's Office of Homeland Security said last week that his office was not involved in the tracking of peaceful political activists and has reportedly "gone into hiding" now that his statement has been contradicted.
Recently publicized documents show that an intelligence company hired by the state's Homeland Security office monitored the Tea Party, Students for a Democratic Society, anti-drilling groups, and other activist groups. (The Raw Story)
Development Fund for Iraq: Department of Defense Needs to Improve Financial and Management Controls (SIGIR 10-020) Weaknesses in DoD's financial and management controls left it unable to properly account for $8.7 billion of the $9.1 billion in DFI funds it received for reconstruction activities in Iraq, This situation occurred because most DoD organizations receiving DFI funds did not establish the required Department of the Treasury accounts and no DoD organization was designated as the executive agent for managing the use of DFI funds. The breakdown in controls left the funds vulnerable to inappropriate uses and undetected loss. - SIGIR recommends that the Secretary of Defense take a number of actions to include specifying procedures for the accounting and reporting of non-U.S. funds in future contingencies, designating an executive agent to establish and oversee policy on the use of funds, establishing milestones for issuing guidance consistent with our DFI recommendations made in October 2009, and determining whether DoD organizations are still holding DFI funds. (Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction)
Bilderberg 2010: The security lockdown begins It's midday at the Bilderberg conference hotel – and that means helicopters, riot police and angry staff - The paranoia was riding high amongst the conference organisers. A pair of them talked about the 2006 Bilderberg conference in Ottawa, where the radio host Alex Jones led the protests with his megaphone. "They were very close to the hotel," said one. Another looked shocked and asked: "Did they ever try to attack?" A shake of the head and the answer: "No, but it was very scary." A third leaned in: "This is the negative side of the welfare state. People have enough income, so they can do this – it's like a permanent threat." (London Guardian)
Pentagon, Police Stage Terror Attack Exercise in Long Beach The Adler Realty Investment company in Long Beach has sent a notice to residents (see below) informing them that “response agencies,” including the U.S. Coast Guard, the local police and fire department along with the military will be conducting a training exercise in the city. “Port Protector 2010,” an attachment to the notice states, will consist of a training exercise in response to a “terrorist threat” including a “hostage scenario” and Hazmat training. (Prison Planet)
U.S. Is Still Using Private Spy Ring, Despite Doubts Earlier this year, government officials admitted that the military had sent a group of former Central Intelligence Agency officers and retired Special Operations troops into the region to collect information — some of which was used to track and kill people suspected of being militants. Many portrayed it as a rogue operation that had been hastily shut down once an investigation began. But interviews with more than a dozen current and former government officials and businessmen, and an examination of government documents, tell a different a story. Not only are the networks still operating, their detailed reports on subjects like the workings of the Taliban leadership in Pakistan and the movements of enemy fighters in southern Afghanistan are also submitted almost daily to top commanders and have become an important source of intelligence. (New York Times)
CONTRACTS Booz Allen & Hamilton, Inc., Herndon, Va., was awarded an $8,925,518 contract which will develop innovative cyber security capabilities and network defense for Air Force information systems. At this time, $164,682 has been obligated. 55 CONS/LGCD, Offutt Air Force Base, Neb., is the contracting activity (SP0700-98-D-4002, Delivery Order 0410). (US Department of Defense)
Dial “M” for mangled – Wikipedia and Environment Canada caught with temperature data errors. As I pointed out last Saturday there’s a common reporting flaw in world meteorological stations that use the METAR weather data format to report their hourly temperatures. Just one bad report in a cold location in the Arctic or Antarctic is enough to throw off the whole month’s worth of data when averaged. And it is monthly data that is used for climate. The all time high temperature error identified below has found it’s way into Wikipedia as “factual” when it is clearly wrong. - Given the importance of this weather station as the last surviving GHCN station that far north, also used in GISS, you’d think better quality control would be done, particularly when EC has a statement about data quality on each data page. What has been found seems to point to a corrupted dataset there. (Watts Up With That)
Mainstream Media Questions Inaccuracies in 9/11 Story: The Washington Times publishes story questioning official account. The mainstream press is showing interest in a taboo, however glaring subject; the inconsistencies in the Bush White House 9/11 account.
As The Washington Times reports today, "A lingering technical question about the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks still haunts some, and it has political implications: How did 200,000 tons of steel disintegrate and drop in 11 seconds? A thousand architects and engineers want to know, and are calling on Congress to order a new investigation into the destruction of the Twin Towers and Building 7 at the World Trade Center."
The problems with the official federal stories are endless and according to some of the world's top minds, the suggested account is impossible.
When we first began to write about these seemingly pressing questions, our Web Designer Matt Lintz caught the U.S. Air Force attempting to hack into Salem-News.com.
One person who has never let the matter fade away is Richard Gage. He's a San Francisco architect and founder of the nonprofit Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth.
Gage told The Washington Times, "In order to bring down this kind of mass in such a short period of time, the material must have been artificially, exploded outwards."
The federal government wants you to believe that fires brought the buildings to the ground, yet in all recorded history, no fire has ever toppled a skyscraper. They burn to the framework but they don't fall down. (Salem News)
Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is a form of intelligence collection management that involves finding, selecting, and acquiring information from publicly available sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence. In the intelligence community (IC), the term "open" refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or classified sources); it is not related to open-source software or public intelligence. (Wikipedia)
FBI blew off killer e-mail to al Qaeda Officials admit shrugging off gunman's e-mails to Qaeda - That's when he sent 10 to 20 e-mails to several terror-related Islamic figures, including Anwar Aulaqi, a radical imam from Virginia who has been openly propagandizing for al Qaeda in Yemen and who had ties to several of the 9/11 hijackers, sources told the LA Times. (New York Post)
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