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Posts Tagged ‘NSA’

Spying on Journalists – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 6, 2020

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/08/andrew-p-napolitano/spying-on-journalists/

By

Last week, this column argued that the only constitutional role for armed federal forces in Portland, Oregon, was to assist U.S. marshals in protecting federal property and personnel there — in this case, the federal courthouse and those who come to it. The column also argued that under the U.S. Constitution, the feds have no lawful role in policing streets unless requested to do so by the governor or legislature of any state.

In Portland’s case, the governor of Oregon and the mayor of Portland both asked acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to bring his forces home. He agreed to do so when Oregon’s governor offered to beef up security at the federal courthouse.

Yet, the federal forces were doing more than just protecting federal property. They were agitating the peaceful demonstrators in Portland’s streets by firing an internationally banned variant of tear gas repeatedly and indiscriminately into crowds for hours at a time every night. The feds were also spying on journalists who were in the crowds of protestors reporting on what they observed.

Here is the backstory.

The Supreme Court has held, for many generations, that the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution protects the “right to be let alone.” Today, we call this privacy.

Those who wrote the Constitution were acutely aware of the proclivities of government to monitor the communications and behavior of folks it hates and fears. King George III sent British troops and government agents into the homes of colonists under various pretexts, the most notorious of which was to examine letters, papers and pamphlets to ascertain if the king’s tax on them had been paid.

This Stamp Act tax cost more to enforce than it generated in revenue. Was the king dumb or dumb like a fox? Probably the latter; the true purpose of the tax was not to raise money but to remind the colonists that the king could cross the thresholds of their homes — a right he did not have in Great Britain — through the use of his soldiers and agents. And, while inside the home, his agents could discover who was agitating for secession.

With memories of these royal abuses fresh in their minds, the members of the first Congress — led by James Madison — approved and passed the Fourth Amendment. The states ratified it as part of the Bill of Rights. Madison also drafted the Ninth Amendment, which reflects the existence in all people of natural human rights — knowable by the exercise of reason and insulated from government intrusion. Among those rights is privacy.

May the government lawfully invade the right to privacy? Under the Fourth Amendment, it may do so only pursuant to search warrants issued by a judge, and the judge may only issue a search warrant after taking testimony under oath demonstrating that it is more likely than not that the place to be searched will yield evidence of criminal behavior. Plus, the warrant must specify the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

The language and requirements in the Fourth Amendment are the most specific in the Constitution. Madison insisted upon this so it would be both an obstacle to the new American government doing to its citizens what the king and his agents had done to the colonists, and an inducement to the government to focus law enforcement on probable causes of crime rather than spying on political enemies.

Now, back to the feds in Portland.

We know from their admissions that the feds compiled dossiers on numerous journalists covering their activities in Portland. We also know that some data in those dossiers came from public sources and some did not. The governmental acquisition of data from nonpublic, nongovernment sources without search warrants constitutes spying.

The government spies routinely on Americans today — so much so that the revelation of it ceases to shock.

Why would the feds do this?

For starters, it is far easier to spy unlawfully than it is to obtain a search warrant. As well, the feds have established a vast network of domestic spies — the 60,000-person strong National Security Agency. It captures all electronic data, voice and text, communicated within the United States — without warrants and with few complaints.

All this directly assaults the right to privacy, but the feds do it anyway. The spying is so normal that a deputy DHS secretary ordered it in Portland without seeking approval up his chain of command.

The government also spies to intimidate — and this brings us back to Portland. When the government discovers personal information that it has no right to acquire without a warrant — information devoid of criminal evidence, information that the Fourth Amendment bars the government from obtaining without a warrant — and then tells you it has this information, it chills your freedom.

Chilling can make you pause before exposing or criticizing the government. The Supreme Court has characterized this as a violation of both the Fourth Amendment and the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment.

To Wolf’s credit, he either fired or transferred (it is unclear which) the deputy secretary who ordered DHS agents to spy on journalists in Portland. Yet, when ordered, they readily complied with the order. That’s how commonplace federal spying has become — and how easy.

The folks who did this should all lose their jobs. Why? Because it is unlawful to obey an unlawful order.

Or have our constitutional rights been so emasculated that the government doesn’t know the difference?

Andrew P. Napolitano [send him mail], a former judge of the Superior Court of New Jersey, is the senior judicial analyst at Fox News Channel. Judge Napolitano has written nine books on the U.S. Constitution. The most recent is Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty. To find out more about Judge Napolitano and to read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit creators.com.

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The Evil, Immoral, Vicious, and Hypocritical Embargo Against Cuba – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on July 24, 2020

A dark irony, of course, is that the embargo has enabled the U.S. government to wield and exercise the same type of economic control over the American people that the Cuban socialist regime exercises over the Cuban people. It’s called adopting socialism to oppose socialism.

https://www.fff.org/2020/07/20/the-evil-immoral-vicious-and-hypocritical-embargo-against-cuba/?utm_source=FFF%2BDaily&utm_campaign=ddd8480a92-FFF%2BDaily%2B07-20-2020&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1139d80dff-ddd8480a92-317323329

by

The banality of evil that characterizes the U.S. national security state is demonstrated perfectly by the continuation of its deadly economic embargo against Cuba, which has been ongoing for some 60 years.

What’s the point of the embargo? After all, the Pentagon’s, CIA’s, and NSA’s official enemy Fidel Castro died years ago. Why continue to intentionally inflict harm on the Cuban people?

And make no mistake about it: Inflicting harm on the Cuban people is the purpose of the embargo. Its aim is to impoverish or starve Cubans into ousting their post-Castro regime and installing another pro-U.S. right-wing brutal dictatorship similar to the one that Castro ousted from power in the Cuban revolution.

In fact, the first embargo that the U.S. implemented against Cuba was during the reign of the crooked, corrupt, and brutal pro-U.S. right-wing dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista. That was an arms embargo. U.S. officials didn’t want weaponry imported into Cuba because that might enable the Cuban people to oppose Batista in a violent revolution.

During his reign, Batista partnered with the Mafia, the premier criminal organization that was smuggling drugs into the United States. As part of their partnership agreement, Batista let the Mafia operate gambling casinos in Cuba. As part of that cozy relationship, Batista would have his henchmen kidnap underaged girls in Cuba and turn them over to the Mafia, which would then provide them as perks to the high-rollers in its casinos. That’s one of the things that brought on the Cuban Revolution.

That’s the guy that the U.S. national-security state was hell-bent on keeping in power. Thus, it should surprise no one that the CIA, like Batista, later entered into partnership with the Mafia, knowing full well that the Mafia was engaged in massive criminal activity. The purpose of the CIA-Mafia partnership was assassination. They were working together to assassinate Castro.

It stands to reason that the Mafia would try to assassinate Castro. It has lost all its casinos to Castro’s nationalization. And it was in the business of killing people.

But the U.S. government? In the business of murder? And in partnership with the biggest criminal organization in the world?

Don’t forget something important here: Castro, Cuba, and the Cuban people have never attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. No invasion. No terrorist attacks. No assassinations.

In fact, it has always been the other way around. In the more than six decades of bad relations between Cuba and the U.S., it has always been the U.S. government that has been the aggressor. An invasion, terrorist attacks, assassination attempts, and the embargo, all on the part of the U.S. government.

U.S. national-security state officials always justified such actions under the notion that Cuba was the spearhead of a worldwide communist conspiracy to take over the United States, one that was supposedly based in Moscow. It was always a ridiculous notion but that was the mindset of CIA, NSA, and Pentagon officials during the Cold War — that Cuba’s communist regime posed a grave threat to U.S. “national security.”

But the Cold War ended more than 30 years ago. Do the CIA, NSA, and Pentagon still think that the United States is in danger of falling to the Cuban communists?

Of course not. Now, it’s just sheer viciousness. Now, it’s just a matter of doing everything possible to oust the current regime in Cuba from power and restoring a Batista-like dictatorship, one that will be loyal and deferential to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA.

The viciousness is demonstrated by the fact that the embargo doesn’t just criminalize Americans who do business with Cuba. It also targets foreign companies who do so. If they are caught doing so, they are targeted for prosecution or economic banishment here in the United States. In the minds of U.S. officials, it’s more imperative than ever to squeeze as many Cubans as possible into death and suffering.

Needless to say, the embargo has made things significantly worse for the Cuban people during the COVID-19 crisis. That’s fine with U.S. officials. The more Cubans who die, the greater the chance of an internal regime-change operation.

Sure, there is no doubt that Cuba’s socialist economic system is a major factor in the economic suffering of the Cuban people. But there is also no doubt that the U.S. embargo has served as the other side of a vise that has squeezed the economic lifeblood out of the Cuban people.

A dark irony, of course, is that the embargo has enabled the U.S. government to wield and exercise the same type of economic control over the American people that the Cuban socialist regime exercises over the Cuban people. It’s called adopting socialism to oppose socialism.

When will the evil, immoral, vicious, and hypocritical U.S. embargo against Cuba be lifted? When a critical mass of the American people, including those who go to church every Sunday, have a crisis of conscience and demand that it be lifted.


This post was written by:

 

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.

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How the Pentagon failed to sell Afghan government’s bunk ‘Bountygate’ story to US intelligence agencies  | The Grayzone

Posted by M. C. on July 11, 2020

The Times reported first on June 28, then again on June 30, that a large amount of cash found at a “Taliban outpost” or a “Taliban site” had led U.S. intelligence to suspect the Russian plot.  But the Times had to walk that claim back, revealing on July 1 that the raid that turned up $500,000 in cash had in fact targeted the Kabul home of Rahmatullah Azizi, an Afghan businessmen said to have been involved in both drug trafficking and contracting for part of the billions of dollars the United States spent on construction projects.

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/07/07/pentagon-afghan-bountygate-us-intelligence-agencies/

Another New York Times Russiagate bombshell turns out to be a dud, as dodgy stories spun out by Afghan intelligence and exploited by the Pentagon ultimately failed to convince US intelligence agencies.

By Gareth Porter

The New York Times dropped another Russiagate bombshell on June 26 with a sensational front-page story headlined, “Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says.”  A predictable media and political frenzy followed, reviving the anti-Russian hysteria that has excited the Beltway establishment for the past four years.

But a closer look at the reporting by the Times and other mainstream outlets vying to confirm its coverage reveals another scandal not unlike Russiagate itself: the core elements of the story appear to have been fabricated by Afghan government intelligence to derail a potential US troop withdrawal from the country. And they were leaked to the Times and other outlets by US national security state officials who shared an agenda with their Afghan allies.

In the days following the story’s publication, the maneuvers of the Afghan regime and US national security bureaucracy encountered an unexpected political obstacle: US intelligence agencies began offering a series of low confidence assessments in the Afghan government’s self-interested intelligence claims, judging them to be highly suspect at best, and altogether bogus at worst.

In light of this dramatic development, the Times’ initial report appears to have been the product of a sensationalistic disinformation dump aimed at prolonging the failed Afghan war in the face of President Donald Trump’s plans to withdraw US troops from it.

The Times quietly reveals its own sources’ falsehoods

The Times not only broke the Bountygate story but commissioned squads of reporters comprising nine different correspondents to write eight articles hyping the supposed scandal in the course of eight days. Its coverage displayed the paper’s usual habit of regurgitating bits of dubious information furnished to its correspondents by faceless national security sources. In the days after the Times’ dramatic publication, its correspondent squads were forced to revise the story line to correct an account that ultimately turned out to be false on practically every important point.

The Bountygate saga began on June 26, with a Times report declaring, “The United States concluded months ago” that the Russians “had covertly offered rewards for successful attacks last year.” The report suggested that US intelligence analysts had reached a firm conclusion on Russian bounties as early as January. A follow-up Times report portrayed the shocking discovery of the lurid Russian plot thanks to the recovery of a large amount of U.S. cash from a “raid on a Taliban outpost.” That article sourced its claim to the interrogations of “captured Afghan militants and criminals.”

However, subsequent reporting revealed that the “US intelligence reports” about a Russian plot to distribute bounties through Afghan middlemen were not generated by US intelligence at all.

The Times reported first on June 28, then again on June 30, that a large amount of cash found at a “Taliban outpost” or a “Taliban site” had led U.S. intelligence to suspect the Russian plot.  But the Times had to walk that claim back, revealing on July 1 that the raid that turned up $500,000 in cash had in fact targeted the Kabul home of Rahmatullah Azizi, an Afghan businessmen said to have been involved in both drug trafficking and contracting for part of the billions of dollars the United States spent on construction projects.

The Times also disclosed that the information provided by “captured militants and criminals” under “interrogation” had been the main source of suspicion of a Russian bounty scheme in Afghanistan. But those “militants and criminals” turned out to be thirteen relatives and business associates of the businessman whose house was raided.

The Times reported that those detainees were arrested and interrogated following the January 2020 raids based on suspicions by Afghan intelligence that they belonged to a “ring of middlemen” operating between the Russian GRU and so-called “Taliban-linked militants,” as Afghan sources made clear.

Furthermore, contrary to the initial report by the Times, those raids had actually been carried out exclusively by the Afghan intelligence service known as the National Directorate of Security (NDS). The Times disclosed this on July 1. Indeed, the interrogation of those detained in the raids was carried out by the NDS, which explains why the Times reporting referred repeatedly to “interrogations” without ever explaining who actually did the questioning.

Given the notorious record of the NDS, it must be assumed that its interrogators used torture or at least the threat of it to obtain accounts from the detainees that would support the Afghan government’s narrative. Both the Toronto Globe and Mail and the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) have documented as recently as 2019 the frequent use of torture by the NDS to obtain information from detainees.  The primary objective of the NDS was to establish an air of plausibility around the claim that the fugitive businessman Azizi was the main “middleman” for a purported GRU scheme to offer bounties for killing Americans.

NDS clearly fashioned its story to suit the sensibilities of the U.S. national security state. The narrative echoed previous intelligence reports about Russian bounties in Afghanistan that circulated in early 2019, and which were even discussed at NSC meetings. Nothing was done about these reports, however, because nothing had been confirmed.

The idea that hardcore Taliban fighters needed or wanted foreign money to kill American invaders could have been dismissed on its face. So Afghan officials spun out claims that Russian bounties were paid to incentivize violence by “militants and criminals” supposedly “linked” to the Taliban.

These elements zeroed in on the April 2019 IED attack on a vehicle near the U.S. military base at Bagram in Parwan province that killed three US Marines, insisting that the Taliban had paid local criminal networks in the region to carry out attacks.

As former Parwan police chief Gen. Zaman Mamozai told the Times, Taliban commanders were based in only two of the province’s ten districts, forcing them to depend on a wider network of non-Taliban killers-for-hire to carry out attacks elsewhere in the province. These areas included the region around Bagram, according to the Afghan government’s argument.

But Dr. Thomas H. Johnson of the Naval Postgraduate School, a leading expert on insurgency and counter-insurgency in Afghanistan who has been researching war in the country for three decades,  dismissed the idea that the Taliban would need a criminal network to operate effectively in Parwan.

“The Taliban are all over Parwan,” Johnson stated in an interview with The Grayzone, observing that its fighters had repeatedly carried out attacks on or near the Bagram base throughout the war.

With withdrawal looming, the national security state plays its Bountygate card

Senior U.S. national security officials had clear ulterior motives for embracing the dubious NDS narrative. More than anything, those officials were determined to scuttle Trump’s push for a complete withdrawal from Afghanistan. For Pentagon brass and civilian leadership, the fear of withdrawal became more acute in early 2020 as Trump began to demand an even more rapid timetable for a complete pullout than the 12-14 months being negotiated with the Taliban.

It was little surprise then that this element leapt at the opportunity to exploit the self-interested claims by the Afghan NDS to serve its own agenda, especially as the November election loomed. The Times even cited one “senior [US] official” musing that “the evidence about Russia could have threatened that [Afghanistan] deal, because it suggested that after eighteen year of war, Mr. Trump was letting Russia chase the last American troops out of the country.”

In fact, the intelligence reporting from the CIA Station in Kabul on the NDS Russia bounty claims was included in the Presidential Daily Brief (PDB) on or about February 27 — just as the negotiation of the U.S. peace agreement with the Taliban was about to be signed. That was too late to prevent the signing but timed well enough to ratchet up pressure on Trump to back away from his threat to pull all US troops out of Afghanistan.

Trump may have been briefed orally on the issue at the time, but even if he had not been, the presence of a summary description of the intelligence in the PDB could obviously have been used to embarrass him on Afghanistan by leaking it to the media.

According to Ray McGovern, a former CIA official who was responsible for preparing the PDB for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, the insertion of raw, unconfirmed intelligence from a self-interested Afghan intelligence agency into the PDB was a departure from normal practice.

Unless it was a two or three-sentence summary of a current intelligence report, McGovern explained, an item in the PDB normally involved only important intelligence that had been confirmed.  Furthermore, according to McGovern, PDB items are normally shorter versions of items prepared the same day as part of the CIA’s “World Intelligence Review” or “WIRe.”

Information about the purported Russian bounty scheme, however, was not part of the WIRe until May 4, well over two months later, according to the Times. That discrepancy added weight to the suggestion that the CIA had political motivations for planting the raw NDS reporting in the PDB before it could be evaluated.

This June, Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) convened a meeting to discuss the intelligence report, officials told the Times. NSC members drew up a range of options in response to the alleged Russian plot, from a diplomatic protest to more forceful responses. Any public indication that US troops in Afghanistan had been targeted by Russian spies would have inevitably threatened Trump’s plan for withdrawal from Afghanistan.

At some point in the weeks that followed, the CIA, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency each undertook evaluations of the Afghan intelligence claims. Once the Times began publishing stories about the issue, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe directed the National Intelligence Council, which is responsible for managing all common intelligence community assessments, to write a memorandum summarizing the intelligence organizations’ conclusions.

The memorandum revealed that the intelligence agencies were not impressed with what they’d seen. The CIA and National Counter-Terrorism Center (NCTC) each gave the NDS intelligence an assessment of “moderate confidence,” according to memorandum.

An official guide to intelligence community terminology used by policymakers to determine how much they should rely on assessments indicates that “moderate confidence” generally indicates that “the information being used in the analysis may be interpreted in various ways….” It was hardly a ringing endorsement of the NDS intelligence when the CIA and NCTC arrived at this finding.

The assessment by the National Security Agency was even more important, given that it had obtained intercepts of electronic data on financial transfers “from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account,” according to the Times’ sources.  But the NSA evidently had no idea what the transfers related to, and essentially disavowed the information from the Afghan intelligence agency.

The NIC memorandum reported that NSA gave the information from Afghan intelligence “low confidence” — the lowest of the three possible levels of confidence used in the intelligence community.  According to the official guide to intelligence community terminology, that meant that “information used in the analysis is scant, questionable, fragmented, or that solid analytical conclusions cannot be inferred from the information.”

Other intelligence agencies reportedly assigned “low confidence” to the information as well, according to the memorandum. Even the Defense Intelligence Agency, known for its tendency to issue alarmist warnings about activities by US adversaries, found no evidence in the material linking the Kremlin to any bounty offers.

Less than two weeks after the Times rolled out its supposed bombshell on Russian bounties, relying entirely on national security officials pushing their own bureaucratic interests on Afghanistan, the story was effectively discredited by the intelligence community itself. In a healthy political climate, this would have produced a major setback for the elements determined to keep US troops entrenched in Afghanistan.

But the political hysteria generated by the Times and the hyper-partisan elements triggered by the appearance of another sordid Trump-Putin connection easily overwhelmed the countervailing facts. It was all the Pentagon and its bureaucratic allies needed to push back on plans for a speedy withdrawal from a long and costly war.

Gareth Porter

Gareth Porter is an independent investigative journalist who has covered national security policy since 2005 and was the recipient of Gellhorn Prize for Journalism in 2012.  His most recent book is The CIA Insider’s Guide to the Iran Crisis co-authored with John Kiriakou, just published in February.

 

 

 

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How Make Your Vote Count – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on June 13, 2020

Do Not Consent

Voting in the state’s elections continues the racket.  And it will continue.  Your vote would consent to it.   Don’t do it.   Would you vote for new leaders in the Mafia or Ku Klux Klan while believing that doing so will encourage those organizations to play nice?

Don’t let the enemies of freedom get away with equating the state with government.  Government can and should exist without the state.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/06/george-f-smith/how-to-make-your-vote-count/

…The message I’m delivering is pro-government-in-the-market sense only, anti-state.

To sum up, my advice is:

Do not consent to the coercive agencies that are currently installed at all levels of our current system of government, from federal to local.  At the federal level they include the usual enemies such as the DEA, NSA, IRS, and the Federal Reserve.

Do not consent to what’s called taxation, to the right of some people to confiscate your wealth, however great or modest your wealth may be.

Do not consent to the current institutions that thrive on “wars” of all kinds, whether it’s a war on a bug, a drug, or an unfortunate condition of human existence, most of which the state created and intensify the problems they’re alleged to fix, that are done in your name and with your expropriated money.

Do not consent to the vast military – industrial – congressional – media – educational complex that claims to be a defender of your liberty as it murders families overseas and destroys their society’s infrastructures — again, with your expropriated wealth.

Do not consent to the idea that you need to surrender your right to self-defense, including defense against the state.

Do not consent to the criminal invasions of your privacy that the state has made legal.

Do not consent to the state’s educational system as it attempts to train obedient servants of the state while continually dumbing-down the requirements for advancement.

Do not consent to any government that claims the right to enlist your sons or daughters in a war or project against their will.

Do not consent to the state’s war on market giants that achieved their status because consumers voluntarily traded their money for the products or services the businesses offered.  Remember, consumers can and have shut down market giants by taking their business elsewhere.

Do not consent to the practice of state – business “partnerships” that create unfair competitive advantages for the business or industry, while cheating consumers with higher prices and/or inferior products or services — a practice best described as crony capitalism but which for anti-market purposes is usually called capitalism.

Do not consent to any state institution that attempts to dictate how we should live, what we can or cannot consume, read, watch, say, or listen to.

Do not consent to any government that does not secure your property rights, including your right to life.

Voting in the state’s elections continues the racket.  And it will continue.  Your vote would consent to it.   Don’t do it.   Would you vote for new leaders in the Mafia or Ku Klux Klan while believing that doing so will encourage those organizations to play nice?

Don’t let the enemies of freedom get away with equating the state with government.  Government can and should exist without the state.

In this book I’m speaking to adults who wish to take full responsibility for their lives, regardless of their age, medical condition, race, sex, or anything else, who are fighters not wimps, who want to lay the foundation for a better life not just for themselves but for their families and the generations to come, who want to end the acrimonious fighting over the levers of power that would force the winner’s agenda on the rest of us.  If you are in agreement then express your conviction with a thumbs-up to the movie Do Not Consent, coming in late Julyon my YouTube channel, GFS543.

In the meantime, I hope this book will convey the message the movie will dramatize.

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Fifty Years Later, NSA Keeps Details of Israel’s USS Liberty Attack Secret

Posted by M. C. on June 9, 2020

Over the course of Israel’s remarkable territorial acquisition and
military victory, it allegedly committed a war crime by slaughtering Egyptian prisoners of war in the city of El Arish in the northern Sinai.
Bamford argued in his 2001 book, “Body of Secrets,” that the USS
Liberty’s proximity to the Sinai, and its ability to intercept Israel’s
motives and activities during the Six-Day War, might have prompted
Israel’s attack on the vessel.

https://theintercept.com/2017/06/06/fifty-years-later-nsa-keeps-details-of-israels-uss-liberty-attack-secret/

On June 8, 1967, an Israeli torpedo tore through the side of the unarmed American naval vessel USS Liberty, approximately a dozen miles off the Sinai coast. The ship, whose crew was under command of the National Security Agency, was intercepting communications at the height of the Six-Day War when it came under direct Israeli aerial and naval assault.

Reverberations from the torpedo blast sent crewman Ernie Gallo flying across the radio research room where he was stationed. Gallo, a communications technician aboard the Liberty, found himself and his fellow shipmates in the midst of an attack that would leave 34 Americans dead and 171 wounded.

This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assault on the USS Liberty, and though it was among the worst attacks in history against a noncombatant U.S. naval vessel, the tragedy remains shrouded in secrecy. The question of if and when Israeli forces became aware they were killing Americans has proved a point of particular contention in the on-again, off-again public debate that has simmered over the last half a century. The Navy Court of Inquiry’s investigation proceedings following the incident were held in closed sessions, and the survivors who had been on board received gag orders forbidding them to ever talk about what they endured that day.

Now, half a century later, The Intercept is publishing two classified documents provided in the cache of files leaked by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden related to the attack and its aftermath. They reveal previously unknown involvement by Government Communications Headquarters, the U.K. signals intelligence agency; internal NSA communications that seem to bolster a signals intelligence analyst’s account of the incident, which framed it as an accident; as well as a Hebrew transliteration system unique to the NSA that was in use at least as recently as 2006.

NSA’s USS Liberty Incident Classification Guide10 pages

The first document, a formerly unreleased NSA classification guide, details which elements of the incident the agency still regarded as secret as of 2006. The second lists a series of unauthorized signals intelligence disclosures that “have had a detrimental effect on our ability to produce intelligence against terrorist targets and other targets of national concern.” Remarkably, information relevant to the attack on the Liberty falls within this highly secret category.

Though neither document reveals conclusive information about the causes of the assault, both highlight that at the time of their publication — approximately four decades after the incident — the NSA was determined to keep even seemingly minor details about the attack classified. The agency declined to comment for this article.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Seth Rich Refuses to Stay Buried – American Thinker

Posted by M. C. on May 12, 2020

“I spent three hours with Julian Assange on Saturday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” said Ratner with a curious lack of emphasis. “One thing he did say was the leaks were not from, they were not from the Russians. They were an internal source from the Hillary campaign.”

https://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2020/05/seth_rich_refuses_to_stay_buried.html

By Jack Cashill

“I am reliably informed that the NSA or its partners intercepted at least some of the communications between Mr. Rich and Wikileaks,” wrote attorney Ty Clevenger in a startling letter last week to Richard Grennell, Interim Director of National Intelligence.

Clevenger represents Ed Butowsky, a high-profile author and financial adviser who dared to ask questions about the late Seth Rich and was sued for his troubles.

The known facts of Rich’s still unsolved murder were largely established within hours by the local media. “A 27-year-old man who worked for the Democratic National Committee was shot and killed as he walked home early Sunday in the Bloomingdale neighborhood of Northwest Washington, D.C.,” NBC Washington reported.

The shooting occurred at 4:19 a.m. on Sunday, July 10, 2016. “There had been a struggle,” said Seth’s mother, Mary Rich. “His hands were bruised, his knees are bruised, his face is bruised, and yet he had two shots to his back, and yet they never took anything.” She added, “They took his life for literally no reason.”

In the real world, most killers have a reason. Those who fire two shots and take nothing from the victim always do. In the major newsrooms, journalists have been perversely keen on not knowing what this reason was. In the years since the shooting, they have offered little useful information beyond the account above.

Butowsky was much more curious. The woman who stirred his curiosity was Ellen Ratner, a veteran TV news analyst. On the day after the 2016 presidential election, Ratner participated in a videotaped panel discussion at Embry-Riddle University.

“I spent three hours with Julian Assange on Saturday at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” said Ratner with a curious lack of emphasis. “One thing he did say was the leaks were not from, they were not from the Russians. They were an internal source from the Hillary campaign.”

As Ratner should have known, this was a major revelation, and she was a credible source. An open supporter of Hillary Clinton with access to Assange through her late brother and Assange attorney, Michael Ratner, she had no reason to make this up.

Ratner was referring to emails from inside the DNC and the Hillary campaign that the media, the Democrats and the deep state insisted had been hacked from the DNC computers by the Russians. She should have been shouting this contrary news from the rooftops, but she did little more than share it with colleague Butowsky.

According to Butowsky’s multi-party suit, Ratner repeated to him a more detailed claim by Assange, namely that “Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron, were responsible for releasing the DNC emails to WikiLeaks.” Following up on this claim got Butowsky into a world of a trouble. He is one several would-be investigators, Fox News included, who have been sued into silence.

Based on his deposition of Asst. U.S. Attorney Deborah Sines, Clevenger makes a compelling case that the FBI did indeed review Rich’s electronic accounts. Sines’s testimony contradicted the official FBI narrative that Rich was never the subject of an FBI investigation and has no records pertaining to Rich.

Clevenger also cites a troubling August 2016 FBI email chain unearthed by Judicial Watch. The exchange began with a note from an FBI public-affairs official, name redacted, noting Assange’s recently televised suggestion that Rich was involved in the DNC hack. The official wanted to know “what involvement the Bureau has in the investigation.”

An unidentified agent passed the email along to the FBI’s notorious Peter Strzok with the notation, “Just FYSA [for your situational awareness]. I squashed this with [redacted].” Strzok, in turn, forwarded this email to his lover and co-conspirator, Lisa Page.

Clevenger reports too that former NSA officials Bill Binney, Ed Loomis, and Kirk Wiebe “are prepared to testify that the DNC emails published by Wikileaks could not have been obtained via hacking.”

Clevenger’s evidence that the NSA captured exchanges between Rich and Assange is largely circumstantial but credible. According to Clevenger, the NSA refused to produce 32 pages of records about Seth Rich due to their classified nature.

In addition, one of Clevenger’s consultants was reportedly informed that the NSA possessed “additional communications between Mr. Rich and Wikileaks.” Were Rich and Assange communicating, capturing that information would have been within the legitimate purview of the NSA or its “Five Eyes” partners.

“I believe the NSA is trying to conceal wrongdoing that occurred during the Obama Administration,” Clevenger concludes his letter to Grennell. “I respectfully request that you de-classify the NSA’s records about Seth Rich.”

Clevenger adds, “Disclosure would go a long way toward exposing the depravity of the ‘deep state,’ and that is long overdue.”

If Rich’s ultimate fate remains certain, what is altogether clear is the conspiratorial role the major media have played in keeping this story buried. As renegade Rolling Stone reporter Matt Taibbi observed in his book Hate Inc., “Being on any team is a bad look for the press, but the press being on team FBI/CIA is an atrocity, Trump or no Trump.”

(Hat tip to Gateway Pundit.)

Fox News screen grab via Vox

 

 

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Cuomo: Need ‘Hard Look’ at Experts, Organizations, and ‘International Watchdogs’ on Coronavirus

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2020

Even commies can find the acorn once in a while.

CDC, NIH, NIAID, WHO, NSA, CIA, FIB, Fauci all missed it.

How can they all miss it when it has been known since H1N1 or before than Wuhan was a coronavirus cesspool.

The US even funded the Wuhan research lab.

How could everyone miss this? How indeed…

https://www.breitbart.com/clips/2020/04/23/cuomo-need-hard-look-at-experts-organizations-and-international-watchdogs-on-coronavirus/

by Ian Hanchett

During a town hall on CNN on Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) stated that there has to be a “hard look” at “the experts, the organizations, the international watchdogs” who should have been watching for the coronavirus outbreak “because obviously, we missed it.” Cuomo also stated that banning travel from China was sensible, but came after it was too late.

Cuomo said, “Well, look, global pandemic, the words had been used for many years, doctor, but we’ve never actually lived through it. So, I don’t think that this country was ready for it. I don’t even think our experts were ready for it. You know, in retrospect, it seems so simple, right? China has a virus last November, last December. The virus can get on a plane, can go to Europe, can come to New York, can be anywhere in 24 hours. What made anyone think it was going to stay in China last November and last December? And then, we’re taking actions in March. What happened to January and February? You know, when you look back at it, it seems to be so plain and so obvious. The president has talked — spoken about the World Health Organization and what they should have done, but I think we have to take a hard look. Where were the experts, the organizations, the international watchdogs who should be watching for something like this? Because obviously, we missed it. March — we’re taking actions in March. I have the first case in March, but the data is now saying it may have been here in January. It may have been here in February.”

He added, “Well, in retrospect, close the door on China, yeah that makes sense. But it had already left China.”

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Beware: Our New Online Culture is a Feast for Mass Surveillance | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2020

What! You still haven’t taped over your PC and selfie camera lenses?

Nothing is private online unless you are using VPNs and secure email. Even then…

Do you really think Facebook messenger and (Facebook’s) WhatsApp are secure?

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/beware-our-new-online-culture-is-a-feast-for-mass-surveillance/

The rapid spread of COVID-19 has caused network traffic to surge as Internet users resort to video conferencing to work remotely.

For example, last December online meeting provider Zoom hosted roughly 10 million participants. In March this statistic jumped to 200 million. The public’s stampede to the cloud is an auspicious development for the intelligence community as sensitive discussions that once occurred in physical office buildings are now channeled through a relatively small number of digital gatekeepers. The implications are unsettling.

From the vantage point of professional spies, the desire to eavesdrop on popular communication channels is all but irresistible. In the United States we’ve witnessed classified programs like PRISM, where the NSA succeeded in convincing all of the big names in Silicon Valley to participate. Chatting up tech CEOs on a first name basis. Authoritarian regimes like China are even more eager to tap commercial data streams. Which is particularly salient given that most of Zoom’s engineers work over in China and that Zoom has unfettered access to the online conferences that it hosts despite marketing claims to the contrary.

Hence, efforts to limit the spread of contagion offer a golden opportunity to double down on mass surveillance. Data collection tools wielded during an emergency on behalf of public safety —facial recognition, drones, mobile device apps, smart phone geolocation, payment card records— over time take on a hue of legitimacy. Furthermore the bureaucrats using such tools are loath to give up their newfound access and will actively identify additional threats to justify it.

China serves as an instructive example. The Communist Party remains in power through an unspoken agreement with the rest of Chinese society. It’s the sort of deal that exists in many repressive nations. The government assures economic growth and in return citizens are expected to stay out of politics and submit to extreme social control measures. The Chinese government asserts that growth will continue at around 6 percent, but keep in mind that it also aggressively censors bad economic news, in the same manner that it suppressed news about the COVID-19 outbreak.

It’s highly unlikely that the Party will be able to keep delivering results forever. The COVID-19 outbreak will simply hasten a looming economic crisis in China, despite the Party’s best efforts to maintain control. With China’s towering mountain of debt, zombie factories, and conspicuous industrial overcapacity, it’s just a matter of time before the average citizen realizes that they’re not going to get what they were promised. This raises the specter of military action as the government directs attention outward in search of enemies to mobilize its restive populace. Against this backdrop mass surveillance will be ramped up in a desperate attempt to buttress the status quo.

Common sense dictates that relying on technology that’s developed in a police state like China is inherently risky. The instinctive response for many users is to turn to American technology. However, thanks to whistleblowers like Edward Snowden the public record shows that domestic companies are also cooperating with the intelligence community as well as monetizing their access to user data. So if you’re wondering whether a particular online platform is secure, you’re asking the wrong question. The salient question is which group of security services and big data aggregators have access?

Sadly this makes achieving higher levels of communication security a sort of DIY affair. The key is to prevent the current COVID-19 setting from becoming the new normal by recognizing what’s at stake. The more that we rely on Internet platforms to communicate the more power we yield to a narrow set of vested interests. Such that our need to stay in touch with each other during a disaster secretly morphs into a feeding frenzy for spies. Just as it did in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. As always, freedom entails responsibility. This means leaving mainstream channels for sensitive discussions and doing so in a manner that doesn’t create baseline anomalies that might alert watchers.

Pervasive monitoring is not the behavior of a confident nation. Mass surveillance isn’t the harbinger of stability. It’s a dangerous political tremor. A display of anxiety rather than strength. An indicator that leaders have recklessly chosen to dispense with civil liberties behind closed doors under the guise of addressing perceived threats. As citizens we have an obligation to protect the values which actually make America strong. To encourage lawmakers to resist the impulse to trade essential liberty for short-term promises of security and to forge our own paths forward when they fail to do so.

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Who killed Thomas Merton? | Catholics Against Militarism

Posted by M. C. on February 25, 2020

The most likely suspect in plotting Merton’s murder, a man who was a much stronger force for peace than most people realize, they identify as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government. Thomas Merton was the most important Roman Catholic spiritual and anti-warfare-state writer of the 20th century and the powers-that-be in the corporate world, in the military world, in the world of the CIA, FBI and NSA and in the world of government were as acutely aware of the power he possessed to undermine their bloody profit making schemes as they were of King and Kennedy’s power to do the same.

http://catholicsagainstmilitarism.com/uncategorized/who-killed-thomas-merton/

The following was written by Fr. Emmanuel McCarthy:

Friends,

On February 18: The U.S. State Department announced the highest U.S. casualty toll of the Vietnam War, with 543 Americans killed in action and 2,547 wounded during the previous week.

On March 16: U.S. ground troops murdered more than 500 Vietnamese civilians in the My Lai Massacre in South Vietnam.

On April 4: Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered in Memphis, TN

On June 5: Robert Kennedy was murdered in Los Angeles, CA.

On December 10: Thomas Merton is murdered in Bangkok, Thailand

The Martyrdom of Thomas MertonPaperback – March 7, 2018

 Hugh Turley (Author), David Martin (Author)

Review from Amazon:

“Seldom can one predict that a book will have an effect on history, but this is such a work. Merton’s many biographers and the American press now say unanimously that he died from accidental electrocution. From a careful examination of the official record, including crime scene photographs that the authors have found that the investigating police in Thailand never saw, and from reading the letters of witnesses, they have discovered that the accidental electrocution conclusion is totally false. The widely repeated story that Merton had taken a shower and was therefore wet when he touched a lethal faulty fan was made up several years after the event and is completely contradicted by the evidence. Hugh Turley and David Martin identify four individuals as the primary promoters of the false accidental electrocution narrative. Another person, they show, should have been treated as a murder suspect. The most likely suspect in plotting Merton’s murder, a man who was a much stronger force for peace than most people realize, they identify as the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States government. Thomas Merton was the most important Roman Catholic spiritual and anti-warfare-state writer of the 20th century and the powers-that-be in the corporate world, in the military world, in the world of the CIA, FBI and NSA and in the world of government were as acutely aware of the power he possessed to undermine their bloody profit making schemes as they were of King and Kennedy’s power to do the same. To date, Merton has been the subject of 28 biographies and numerous other books. Remarkably, up to now no one has looked critically at the mysterious circumstances surrounding his sudden death in Thailand. From its publication date on the 50th anniversary of his death, into the foreseeable future, this carefully researched work will be the definitive, authoritative book on how Thomas Merton died.”

I read this book cover to cover and it is a solid presentation of the logically unbridgeable abyss between the physical evidence that is available for anyone to examine and the official story put out by the U.S. Government and the Church regarding Thomas Merton’s death. What concerns me is not that the U.S. government had a hand in Merton’s murder and cover-up of the murder. Clandestinely murdering innocent people is the ordinary modus operandi of all major governments all the time. What concerns me is that the leadership of the institutional Church acquiesced to a narrative regarding the murder of one of its own, which narrative cannot be sustained, indeed is in contradiction to, the evidence. Of course, maybe the leadership of the institutional Church did not see Merton as one of its own but saw him rather as a hair shirt of truth to whom they were glad to say, ever so piously, “Good riddance.”

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Thomas Merton | January 30, 2015 | Religion & Ethics ...

 

 

 

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We Were Warned About the Deep State, but Refused to Listen by Larry C Johnson – Sic Semper Tyrannis

Posted by M. C. on January 2, 2020

What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.

https://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2019/12/we-were-warned-about-the-deep-state-but-refused-to-listen-by-larry-c-johnson.html

by Larry C Johnson

Larry Johnson-5x7

Many of the critical tools employed in the coup to paint Donald Trump as a tool of the Russians and to manufacture a pretext for removing him from office, were created more than twenty years ago. I am talking about the surveillance state that the American electorate has ignorantly accepted as necessary in order to keep us safe from terrorists. Despite previous warning from whistleblowers like Russ Tice, Bill Binney, Ed Loomis and Kird Wiebe, no action to rein in the surveillance monster was taken until Edward Snowden absconded with the documents exposing the vast amount spying that the U.S. Government is doing to its own citizens. But even those weak efforts to supposedly rein in the NSA proved to be nothing more than mere window dressing.

The spying got worse. Just ask Donald Trump and the members of his campaign that were targeted first by the CIA and NSA and then by the FBI. Fundamental civil rights were trampled.

The real irony in all of this is that Barack Obama, as President, took credit for helping revise the laws in order to prevent the spying exposed by Edward Snowden. But under the Obama Administration, spying on political opponents–both real and perceived–escalated. We know for a fact that journalists, such as James Rosen and Sheryl Atkinson, were targets and their communications and computers attacked by the U.S. Government.

We know, thanks to a memo released by Judge Rosemary Collyer, that “FBI consultants” were making illegal searches of NSA material using the names of Donald Trump, his family and members of his campaign staff.

Some of this NSA material came courtesy of the Brits and their collection on U.S. targets. Some of this material came from the NSA’s own collection and storage of all electronic communications and was obtained using a nifty NSA tool called XKEYSCORE. Listen to Ed Snowden’s description. Also, take time to appreciate the irony that CNN and other journalists were actually trying to report real news. Now they are full blown apologists for the abuse of the intelligence collection tools. 

Six years ago, former NSA Technical Director for Military and Geopolitical Issues, Bill Binney, and Russ Tice, a former NSA analyst, appeared on the PBS News Hour. Once again, they make very clear the enormous nature to the threat to our civil liberties.

Too bad Donald Trump did not listen to their warning.

Given the robust, wide ranging ability of the NSA to probe all communications by any person in the United States, it is remarkable that no real dirt on Donald Trump was ever uncovered. Had such information existed, it would be in the NSA’s storage vaults in Utah and crooked CIA analysts under Brennan’s direction would have found it and used it. But that did not happed. The best the intel folks could fabricate were the salacious claims attributed to reports ostensibly created by former British spy, Christopher Steele. Turns out that the titillating account that Trump hired hookers to perform coprophilia (could of been worse, coprophagia) was nothing more than idle bar talk.

What has happened to Donald Trump can happen to any of us. It is time to take this threat seriously and put the intel agencies back into a properly monitored corral. Otherwise, we will lose this Republic.

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FIB

 

 

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