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02.08.15

The EPO Shaken by Croatian Revelations: Part XIV

Posted in Europe, Patents at 4:07 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Stay tuned for more material about Topić

Croatian flag

Summary: An interlude calling for additional evidence and a roundup of things to come

FOLLOWING our coverage of the Ivan Kabalin case we intend to delve deeper into the corrupt affairs of SIPO, the Croatian roots of the EPO’s current (for now) Vice-President, Željko Topić. As opposition grows from within and outside the EPO, including some coverage from German newspapers, Danish papers etc. we don’t expect the EPO to last in its current form. It’s an utter turmoil and this isn’t due to anything other than bad conduct (if not misconduct) from the EPO’s management.

We recently received a lot of SIPO material by E-mail and we invite readers to add to our body of supportive evidence so that we can carry on shedding light on what Topić has been trying to suppress. If you choose to send material by E-mail, please consider using Tor or some other anonymising software for increased protection. The EPO's own Stasi Unit, for example, wrongly assumes that material comes from EPO staff. It has a track record of harassing people whom it views as detrimental to the management’s façade.

The EPO’s Vice-President Željko Topić and the Case of Ivan Kabalin: Part XIII

Posted in Site News at 3:36 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Berlin views

Summary: Another look back at what Željko Topić had been doing in Croatia before Benoît Battistelli made Topić his right-hand man in Germany

AMID swirling allegations that the EPO may have hired crackers or is actively attacking/vandalising sites that are critical of EPO management (“Coincidently,” said one commenter in IPKat, “the SUEPO website has been hacked last wednesday”) we deem it a good time to open another can of worms. It’s impossible to know if SUEPO’s site is another silenced victim because of EPO/Željko Topić criticism (like Stilin, whose case we highlighted in several older articles of ours), but let’s take some time to look at the case of Ivan Kabalin in Croatia. In PDF form we now have all the relevant documents, even in English.

“In case you haven’t got enough already,” says a source of ours, “there is a story about a Croatian engineer and inventor called Ivan Kabalin who developed an improved razor design and alleges that his patent was “stolen” by Gillette. Again this involves allegations of irregularities at the Croatian SIPO under Topić’s management. Unfortunately, we don’t have the full details of the Kabalin case, but there are some Croatian reports.”

Here is an article from 2007 and another from 2013, which strangely enough was removed (we don’t know why). The Web Archive still has a copy of the latter article, which is written in Croatian.

We have received an English translation of the second one of these reports (the removed one). It’s a long article from November 2013 where it is reported that Kabalin has filed a complaint with the EU Anti-Fraud agency OLAF. Here it goes [PDF with addenda]:

CROATIAN PATENTS WORTH BILLIONS – BUT NOT FOR THE INVENTORS!

EU accession has not brought any improvements in this area
Date: 16 October 2013
Author: Franjo Dobrović

Following Croatia’s accession to the EU this summer, many of our citizens hoped that this would lead to rapid and efficient changes, especially in relation to the judicial system with its multiple layers of corruption. At the beginning of September, the Croatian engineer Mr. Ivan Kabalin submitted a complaint to OLAF [the EU Anti-Fraud Office] in Brussels – via the Croatian Ministry of Finance. He requested an interim status report concerning Docket No. OF / 2005 / 0390. This case and a number of others, all of which share a common denominator, namely corruption, have prompted us to once again focus our attention on the problems relating to the field of intellectual property rights.

THE MINISTRY OF FINANCE ACTS AS OLAF’S POSTMAN

We contacted the Ministry of Finance for clarification and received confirmation of the authenticity of the request along with a note explaining that the case had been referred to the State Attorney’s Office and the Croatian Ministry of Internal Affairs. We were particularly surprised by that because the Ministry of Finance, together with its Antifraud Division (SSNIP) acts as a postman for OLAF providing mailbox facilities for the latter in Croatia. To be more precise, we quote from their official response: “Accordingly, OLAF does not have an office in the Republic of Croatia, so the SSNIP is main focal point for the exchange of information and coordination of OLAF’s activities in the Republic of Croatia.”

If that is so, the question arises as to why our citizen’s document was not forwarded by the Ministry of Finance to OLAF, but to Ranko Ostojic [the Minister for the Interior] and Mladen Bajic [the Chief Public Prosecutor].

In addition, the State officials used their reply to provide us with the following insight into their mission: “The Department for Combating Irregularities and Fraud (hereinafter referred to as the SSNIP) is responsible for the coordination of legislative, administrative and operational activities of the bodies in the AFCOS system, aimed at protecting the financial interests of the European Union, and, consequently, for direct cooperation with OLAF. The scope of SSNIP’s work is prescribed by the Regulation on the Internal Organization of the Ministry of Finance (Official Gazette 32/12, 67/12, 124/12, 78/13 and 102/13).”


CROATIA AS AN INTELLECTUAL COLONY

Mr. Ivan Kabalin’s request to OLAF relates to alleged irregularities and breaches of law at the Croatian State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO), which for many years was headed by the controversial Željko Topić. To remind our readers, Mr. Kabalin filed his innovative solutions with the then Central Bureau for Patents, as it was formerly called, i.e. what is now the State Intellectual Property Office. Kabalin specifically states that, apart from the aforementioned chicanery to which he and the Republic of Croatia have been subjected, there is plenty of publicly available evidence to indicates that the U.S. administration has been an active participant in the expropriation inflicted on both himself and his homeland.

While Mr. Kabalin hopes that his concept has not been irrevocably stolen from him for further industrial application, it must be noted that the state of which he is a citizen is apparently in no position to offer him any protection in this regard. The former member of the Croatian Parliament Pero Kovačević has asked the Croatian Government to comment on Mr. Kabalin’s allegations that the decision of the SIPO in this matter was unprofessional and irresponsible.

Mr. Kabalin patented a special razor which is known to the world today as the Gillette Sensor Excel, a product from which the U.S. company Gillette earns billions of dollars a year. The same invention is also marketed worldwide by the British company Wilkinson Sword while the true inventor is living in abject poverty near Petrinja.

Unfortunately, the Republic of Croatia has condemned itself to being an intellectual colony. In the interest of foreign exploiters, certain individuals have left the inventions of Croatian inventors devoid of any effective protection. At a time when technology rules the world and the number of inventors per capita puts the Republic of Croatia among the leading countries in the world in that field, the legislation in force results in a situation where patents are essentially worthless. Therefore it comes as no surprise that The Law School of the University of Zagreb has only recently introduced an elective course on intellectual property.

Apart from Mr. Kabalin’s case, a further reason for OLAF’s involvement in investigations in Croatia relates to a state institution of the Federal Republic of Germany – the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt – DPMA) which some years ago in the context of international cooperation provided financial assistance amounting to tens of thousands of Euros for improving the documentation and computerization of the SIPO. However, it appears that the payment was remitted to the private bank account of the former SIPO director, Mr. Željko Topic. How the details of his private bank account found their way into the official correspondence and documents of SIPO and whether or not the error was ever corrected remains an unsolved mystery for the moment.


WHAT IS THE ROLE OF THE STATE ATTORNEY’S OFFICE?

Aside from Mr. Kabalin’s petition, our portal has received several documents from German sources which indicate a malfunctionining in the cooperation and coordination between our national authorities and international institutions. According to documents which we have obtained, it would appear that either the State Attorney’s Office (SAO) or USKOK have issued a document confirming that there are no criminal proceedings against the former director of SIPO, Mr. Željko Topić as all charges against him have been dropped. According to the information at our disposal, this is not correct because the County and Municipal State Attorney’s Offices in Zagreb are currently processing at least six pending criminal cases against Željko Topić.

So it seems that someone from the aforementioned State authorities responsible for conducting prosecutions improperly issued a document by which the compromised former SIPO Director maintains his current position at the European Patent Office (EPO), a European intergovernmental institution based in Munich. If this is the case, such a document could only have been signed by the Chief Public Prosecutor.

Against this background, the matter starts to assume the dimension of a criminal offence of abuse of office and authority specified in the Criminal Code as an offence against official duties. It is precisely because the SAO and USKOK failed to exercise proper control over the operations of the SIPO that individual citizens were forced to do the job that these bodies were under an official obligation to perform: i.e. to investigate and prosecute criminal offences which had been reported to them or of which they themselves had become aware in the course of their official duties.

This international scandal involving the suspicion of illegal actions on the part of the Chief State Attorney also brings the Republic of Croatia into disrepute. The rule of law is proclaimed as a matter of public interest and it deserves to be accorded priority over the interests of current President of the Republic or those of the Prime Minister or the presiding official of the SAO.

According to our information, proceedings before the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg which also refer to Mr. Topić’s bribing of the former Minister of Science in the Government led by the corrupt Ivo Sanader are still pending.

As long as the real culprits are not brought to account, i.e. those persons who have failed and who still continue to fail to take measures to prevent such irregularities thereby committing a grave and cumulative breach of official duties defined in the Civil Service Act as the offence of negligent performance of duty, conduct of this kind will continue to generate a profound sense of dissatisfaction among the citizens of Croatia. An even greater problem than those relating to the Croatian judicial system, seems to be the inaction of the administrative apparatus which, as a rule, is not held to account for its negligence. It is not sufficient to loudly proclaim the rule of law, this principle also
needs to be enforced.


The situation in Croatia was recently described in graphic terms by an American journalist:

“There is a country in the Balkans where the Government despises its citizens as inconvenient witnesses, where the laws lack legitimacy and where anarchy is the normal state of affairs.”

TOPIĆ UNDER INVESTIGATION BY THE SIPA*?

[* SIPA = The Bosnian State Investigation and Protection Agency]

In response to numerous media reports, the European Patent Office (EPO) carried out an investigation at the University of Banja Luka, with the aim of examining the allegations relating to the forgery of Mr. Topić’s M.Sc. degree. In his report (which is attached to this article), the EPO investigator Florian Andres claimed to have found nothing suspicious in the documentation or during his discussions with the Dean of the University Rector, Dr. Stanko Stanić. However, according to our sources in Banja Luka and Sarajevo, Dr. Stanić neither knows nor could have known anything about a possible forgery in the case of Mr. Topić’s “M.Sc.” university documents because he signs off thousands of diplomas in a purely formal capacity without going into the details of the documentation placed before him.

The trail relating to the potential forgery of Mr. Željko Topić’s university documentation leads from Banja Luka to Sarajevo. Why? Because the Faculty of Economics in Banja Luka was established by the Faculty of Economics of the University of Sarajevo in the 1970s. Coincidentally or not, the mentor listed on the degree thesis of Mr. Željko Topić [i.e. Dr. Boris Tihi] is a retired economics professor from the Faculty of Economics in Sarajevo who now works as an economic adviser in the Office of the Ministerial Council of Bosnia and Herzegovina, i.e. the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Our sources in Sarajevo close to the government reported that their current economic advisor can neither confirm nor deny that he acted as a mentor for anybody at the Banja Luka Faculty of Economics prior to 1990! Of particular interest here is the fact that Mr. Topić’s master’s thesis does not list the names of the committee members before which the controversial thesis was defended but only bears the name of the mysterious mentor from Sarajevo.

According to unofficial information, this matter is under investigation by the the State Investigation and Protection Agency of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SIPA) which is responsible for collecting and processing data of interest for the implementation of international and criminal law. It now looks as if the intrepid EPO investigator Mr. Andres may have to go on another official journey. But this time to Sarajevo …

Given that the EU and other international bodies are following this case with great interest, it can be expected that Mr. Željko Topić, M.Sc., will very soon become a major focus of attention for all those who take an interest in patent-related matters connected to the former Yugoslavia, but unfortunately in a negative sense.


THE TANGLED WEB BEGINS TO UNRAVEL IN GERMANY

Our claims are confirmed by information coming from German journalistic sources according to which EPO employees have in recent months approached members of the Bundestag based in Berlin who in turn have requested a written response from EPO President Benoît Battistelli. In addition, it seems that an investigative action into the case of Mr. Željko Topić, now a senior EPO employee, has been initiated by the German Ministry of Justice. Thus, our “Master” is accompanied by the strains of ZAMP music not only in the Republic of Croatia but also beyond its borders.

According to our sources, the EPO President Battistelli is currently mounting a vigorous defence of Topić. The explanation for this according to the unofficial information provided by our sources at the EPO in Vienna and the Hague is as follows. Topić faithfully carries out the orders of his master Battistelli as a coordinator of the EPO’s internal voting machine particularly in relation to the countries of the former Yugoslavia which make up a significant proportion of the member states in the decisionmaking body of this organization. So it seems that he literally co-exists with the EPO President in a harmonious symbiosis. In this capacity, he occasionally has the responsibility for inviting the members of national judiciaries to participate in “study tours” thereby becoming involved in a direct conflict of interest. Our portal is in possession of a list of persons who attended one of the aforementioned “study tours”. A tragic-comical aspect of this story is that cases related to intellectual property matters may soon land on the desks of these judges requiring them to decide on matters which may have some points of contact with certain persons from this Balkan saga and which have already been the subject of prior deliberation in some seedy Munich beer hall.

As can be seen, our “Master” is for the time being enjoying the benefits of the European Union. Indeed, he started to enjoy them long before normal Croatian citizens became full members of the EU’s enlarged family, especially when one considers his current salary which is estimated to be in the order of an astronomical EUR 15,000 per month.

Notice in the PDF’s first addendum (see the original PDF) just what Mr. Battistelli says in his strongly-worded letter to staff, alluding to a case that was recently dismissed and ruled in favour of Stilin and against Topić. This sure looks like some shrewdly-worded coverup and the above article makes mention of half a dozen criminal cases in Croatia, as we noted before. Topić is under heavy fire as judges too rule against him. The evidence is pointing in a direction that Topić’s endless litigation must be fuming over.

“This sure looks like some shrewdly-worded coverup and the above article makes mention of half a dozen criminal cases in Croatia, as we noted before.”“As you can see,” alleged our source, “this is an ongoing saga because the first of the above reports (untranslated) about Kabalin’s problems dates from 2007. By 2014, he doesn’t seem to have made any progress and has probably given up all hope at this stage.

“This seems to be typical of Croatia where the pendency times in the legal system are inordinately long. This is one of the major contributory factors protecting Topić so far – he can invoke the “presumption of innocence” because the lawsuits against him are stuck in the dysfunctional Croatian legal system.”

This is a SLAPP-like tactic for bullying or silencing opposition, usually opposition with pockets far less deep than the bully’s.

“We were informed by Vesna Stilin,” added our source, “that she still has a civil lawsuit pending against the first Director-General of the SIPO (Nikola Kopcic) who was dismissed from office in January 2002 due to an undeclared “conflict of interest” (see these documents [PDF] from a while back [PDF] as they are translated into English).

“Kopcic was (and still is) a senior partner in a law firm which was registered to act an authorised representative before the SIPO in intellectual property matters (while at the same time he was the Director-General of the SIPO!)

“In 2001, Kopcic was expelled from the Croatian branch of the AIPPI (International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property) for bringing the organisation into disrepute (copy of the AIPPI document is available [PDF], unfortunately only in Croatian). Amazingly, even after his dismissal as SIPO Director-General he managed to secure a position as a representative of Croatia on the “Council of the Institute of Professional Representatives before the European Patent Office” until last year [PDF].

“He now seems to have retired or else he failed to get re-elected as he is no longer listed as a member of the current Council. We just noticed that Kopcic recently managed to get a position as a “Project Deputy Team Leader” on an EU-financed “IPR Enforcement Project” in Bosnia which runs from 2012-2015. See also the entry on his CV.

“Because Stilin was actively involved in trying to get Kopcic removed from office as Director-General of the Croatian SIPO in the late 1990s, he engineered her dismissal from the SIPO in 1999. She was subsequently reinstated as an Assistant Director in 2004 but crossed swords with Topić who got her dismissed again in 2008.

“According to Stilin, a civil lawsuit which she filed against Kopcic in 2000 is still pending before the courts in Croatia!!!

“Here are some of the comments which she made about that:

“In 2000 I started civil process against Mr. Kopcic/DZIV which is still pending: three judges and me suggested settlement between DZIV and me, but Mr. Topic was against it, so that’s why he wrote in a „press release“ that I „had been conducting a campaign against the DZIV for over 12 years.“
The biggest problem in accession of Republic of Croatia to EU, was a problem of duration of court proceedings. It is not a justice if you need to wait 14 years for first level court decision, as it has been in this case”

For those who are still confused about the Kopcic story we shall revisit this another day and provide more documents with English translations. There are many inter-connected stories at hand. It’s a banana republic, much like what the EPO is becoming. Benoît Battistelli brought quite a mess into the EPO and by choosing to defend this mess he becomes complicit.

IRC Proceedings: January 25th – February 7th, 2015

Posted in IRC Logs at 1:44 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

IRC Proceedings: January 25th – January 31st, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

IRC Proceedings: February 1st – February 7th, 2015

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#techrights log

#boycottnovell log

GNOME Gedit

GNOME Gedit

#boycottnovell-social log

#techbytes log

Enter the IRC channels now

Links 8/2/2015: Fluxbox 1.3.7, GNU Lightning 2.1.0

Posted in News Roundup at 12:55 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

GNOME bluefish

Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

  • Events

  • BSD

    • PC-BSD 10.1.1 Cinnamon review

      The last PC-BSD release I reviewed was PC-BSD 10.1. And that was actually just late last year. You may read that review at PC-BSD 10.1 review.

      It was the worst edition of any distribution I have even reviewed.

      An installation of the Cinnamon desktop, which shipped with Cinnamon 2.2, was especially bad. Out of the box, it was unusable. When PC-BSD 10.1.1 was released (on February 2 2015), I knew I had to take another look at a Cinnamon installation.

      So that’s what this article is about – a cursory review of an installation of PC-BSD 10.1.1 Cinnamon.

  • FSF/FSFE/GNU/SFLC

Leftovers

  • Sochi Winter Olympic stadiums lie empty and abandoned

    Pictures have emerged showing the Sochi Olympics Winter Park standing empty and neglected just a year after Russian president Vladimir Putin pumped billions into the venue.

    Many of the custom built stadiums, which cost an estimated $51 billion in total, now appear deserted and unused.

    The companies that maintain the facilities are reportedly struggling to stay afloat as tourist numbers plummet.

  • Nick Clegg to lose his seat at the next election, poll finds

    The Deputy Prime Minister is found to be trailing Labour by 10 points in his Sheffield Hallam constituency, according to a survey for the trade union Unite.

  • Health/Nutrition

  • Security

    • Security services capable of bypassing encryption, draft code reveals

      Britain’s security services have acknowledged they have the worldwide capability to bypass the growing use of encryption by internet companies by attacking the computers themselves.

      The Home Office release of the innocuously sounding “draft equipment interference code of practice” on Friday put into the public domain the rules and safeguards surrounding the use of computer hacking outside the UK by the security services for the first time.

      The publication of the draft code follows David Cameron’s speech last month in which he pledged to break into encryption and ensure there was no “safe space” for terrorists or serious criminals which could not be monitored online by the security services with a ministerial warrant, effectively spelling out how it might be done.

    • Did North Korea Really Hack Sony?

      The Obama administration has accused North Korea of hacking Sony in retaliation for “The Interview,” a goofball comedy about assassinating the country’s real-life leader, but the case may be another politicized rush to judgment by the U.S. government, writes James DiEugenio.

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Over 100 Boko Haram fighters killed in group’s first Niger attack

      The government of Niger claims it killed over 100 fighters from Islamic militant group Boko Haram when the fighters attacked within the borders of the country for the first time.

    • Book review: ‘American Reckoning’ takes a look at Vietnam and the mistakes we keep making

      President John F. Kennedy increased U.S. involvement, and the CIA encouraged the assassination of South Vietnam President Ngo Dinh Diem, which led to a succession of unstable and short-lived juntas.

      Fifty years ago, President Lyndon Baines Johnson embarked upon the massive escalation that would bring us the Vietnam War as we came to know it and that would bring an end to his presidency.

    • Obama’s Drones Have Killed More Than the Spanish Inquisition

      So Barack Obama has killed at least 2,500 in drone strikes during the six years of his presidency, not including those killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. The Spanish Inquisition reportedly killed 2,250 over 350 years. For comparative purposes, I would note, as I reported here at PJ Media last month, that Boko Haram reportedly killed 2,000 over several days in a massacre in Northern Nigeria.

    • U.S.-NATO Threaten Wider War in Ukraine

      Nothing good so far has come out of all the high-level meetings in Kiev and Moscow. US-NATO continue to threaten Russia with more and wider war in Ukraine. Russia is basically told they have to accept the US-NATO backed onslaught in eastern Ukraine. Russia must stop supporting eastern self-defense forces or expect even more of the west’s Strategy of Tension.

    • CIA job interview leads to criminal investigation of Green Beret

      A Green Beret officer who was stripped of a prestigious valor award and dropped from the Special Forces fell out of favor with Army officials after the CIA shared information it gathered about him while he was going through screening for a potential job, according to officials familiar with the case.

    • Ukraine Conflict Escalates as Poroshenko Requests Aid

      If a decision is made to honor Poroshenko’s request for aid in the escalating conflict in Ukraine, action will not be taken right away. An anonymous official said that a public effort to arm Poroshenko’s troops could cause tension between the United States and its allies in NATO and the EU. The official also said that it would take time to decide what to send. In the past, the government has sent Soviet-made weapons from a CIA warehouse in North Carolina. The official said that this could be a viable option in this case, if the United States decides to offer support.

    • Killing Fidel

      These were largely courtesy of the CIA, which reportedly devised no fewer than 638 plots to kill him, ranging from your typical poisoned handkerchief scheme to fungus-infected diving suits and exploding molluscs.

    • Is ‘American Sniper’ the perfect military recruitment film?

      While watching the film, I kept waiting for something to be said or even suggested, about the deeper reason our military was in Iraq other than the film’s repetitive message: “They are the bad guys and we are the good guys.”

      I kept hoping to at least see a Chevron Oil rig burning in the distance.

      One scene was quite effective in portraying even the women and children as evil, showing a veiled mother and child in an almost Madonna and child way, beautiful but evil and carrying a grenade. The message here was that all Iraqis were evil, men, women and children, and all of the American troops there were the good guys.

    • Oil, Empire, and False Paradox: Washington’s Contrasting Responses to the Deaths of King Abdullah and Hugo Chavez

      Obama and Washington had a very different response to the March 2013 death of Hugo Chavez, the democratically elected president of Venezuela who used his nation’s also remarkable oil wealth to reduce poverty and inequality in his nation. Chavez won respect and even adoration from much of his nation’s citizenry, including especially the poor, even as he offered remarkable tolerance and freedom to wealthy elites who hated him and his egalitarian agenda.

      Surely, then, the president of the world’s self-proclaimed greatest democracy, the United States, reacted to Chavez’s death with words of sympathy and respect that went beyond the reverence and compassion he expressed for the deceased king of an absolutist, arch-repressive, and ultra-reactionary dictatorship, right? Hardly. The White House responded with the following dismissive and disrespectful statement: “At Venezuela begins a new chapter in its history, the United States remains committed to policies that promote democratic principles, the rule of law, and respect for human rights” – a commitment that finds curious expression in Washington’s longstanding support for the Saudi dictatorship.

    • Was the Saudi Government Complicit in the 9/11 Attacks?

      The brouhaha about possible Saudi Arabian funding of Al Qaeda in the run-up to the September 11, 2001, attacks is being fueled from two directions. It is being pushed by Zacarias Moussaoui, sometimes called the “twentieth hijacker,” now serving a life sentence in a federal supermax penitentiary. There are also allegations of Saudi funding in a congressional report on 9/11, a portion of which has not been released. That Saudi Arabia or its royal family were complicit in an attack on New York and Washington is completely implausible. The Saudi ruling class long ago decided that they would trade foreign policy independence for an American security umbrella, given that they preside over a small country with enormous petroleum wealth and resources, and could not protect themselves from external threats. Moreover, they are heavily invested in the New York stock market, and took an enormous bath on September 12 and after, as the latter suddenly lost half its value. The whole idea is a nonstarter.

    • Saudi Arabia, 9/11 and the “war on terror”
    • 9/11: Classified information on the Saudis

      A CIA leak and the a reading of the 28 pages by two US senators had revealed that there was enough evidence to show the involvement of the Saudis in the attack. A CIA leaked memo had gone on to show that it was not the Al-Qaeda or the Taliban that carried out this attack, but it was Saudi Arabia.

      Further the memo also went on to read that wealthy Saudis, diplomats and intelligence officials employed by the Saudi Royal family had helped the hijackers with both logistics and finances.

      The pages which had been blacked out by the Bush administration suggest that the Saudi consulate in Los Angeles had facilitated the arrival of two hijakers Khalid al-Mihdhar and Nawaf al-Hazmi in 2000.

      A Saudi intelligence official named Osama Bassnan and a spy Omar Bayoumi established a base in San Diego which housed the hijackers. This was the same place where al Qaeda cleric Ankar Al-Awlaki met with the hijackers.

      [...]

      Some of the pages even indicate that a huge amount of money had been sent to the hijackers. Specific information suggests the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the US, Prince Bandar had sent $130,000 to Saudi intelligence agent Osama Bassnan.

      Although Prince Bandar had claimed that this money was a donation made to Bassnan who had an ailing wife, the US had managed to track that this money had infact reached the hijackers. There was also a trail that Prince Bandar had paid for the establishment of an Islamic Centre in Virgina which was incidentally close to the Pentagon.

    • US officials: 9/11 plotter’s claims Saudi royals aided al-Qaida ‘inconceivable’

      Zacarias Moussaoui, the so-called ‘20th hijacker’ in the 9/11 plot, has alleged that Saudi diplomat discussed plans to shoot down Air Force One

    • Jailed al Qaeda operative makes explosive claims about Saudi royals funding pre-9/11 terror

      A convicted al-Qaeda operative has claimed that members of the terrorist network received extensive financial support from members of the Saudi royal family throughout the late 1990′s and into 2000, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

    • Venezuela: Media attacks part of US-backed coup

      There is a coup underway in Venezuela. The pieces are all falling into place like a bad CIA movie.

      At every turn, a new traitor is revealed, a betrayal is born, full of promises to reveal the smoking gun that will justify the unjustifiable. Infiltrations are rampant, rumours spread like wildfire, and the panic mentality threatens to overcome logic.

      Headlines scream danger, crisis and imminent demise, while the usual suspects declare covert war on a people whose only crime is being gatekeeper to the largest pot of black gold in the world.

    • Political conflict between Argentinian president and intelligence agencies intensifies

      The fallout in Argentina from the mysterious death of a prosecutor in January has exposed to the public a power struggle at the highest levels of the state.

      On February 1, a Buenos Aires newspaper reported that prosecutor Alberto Nisman—who was found dead on January 18 with a suspicious gunshot wound to the head—had prepared draft warrants for the arrest of President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Foreign Minister Hector Timmerman, and Congressman Andres Larroque preceding his death.

    • GOP’s 2016 war primary
    • What Steven F. Cohen & Other Liberals Get Wrong About Obama & Ukraine’s War

      The founder of Stratfor, the “private CIA” firm, says that the overthrow of Viktor Yanokovych in Ukraine in February 2014 was “the most blatant coup in history.” The President of the Czech Republic contrasts that coup versus Czechoslovakia’s authentically democratic 1968 “Velvet Revolution,” and he says that “only poorly informed people” don’t know that the governmental overthrow in Ukraine in 2014 was a coup. America’s liberals, then, are indeed poorly informed, and they are so partly because they don’t want to know the truth about Obama; America’s conservatives, by contrast, simply hate Obama, merely because he’s a black Democratic politician (and any President who has been so good to Wall Street would be loved by them if he were a white Republican); they don’t mind (and they actually support) that Obama hates Russia and institutes an ethnic cleansing campaign in his aggressive war against Russia. Whereas conservatives don’t mind Obama’s ethnic-cleansing campaign to get rid of pro-Russians in Ukraine, liberals don’t want to know about it. The result is actually conservatives reigning in both Parties, not just in one: we now have one-party government, in all but name.

    • Op-Ed: Clashes continue in Libya in spite of ceasefire

      Clashes took place in Benghazi where pro-government forces led by CIA-linked General Khalifa Haftar have been trying to retake the city from an umbrella group of Islamist militias opposed to the Tobruk governent.

    • Mughniyeh assassination signals decline of NATO’s genocidal colonial rule over Middle East

      The cowardly NATO assassinations of Hezbollah’s top commander Imad Mughniyeh (2008) and his son Jihad Mughniyeh (2015) which both took place outside any battlefield, highlights the criminal nature of colonial militarism which does not recognize ‘military rules of engagement’ because it has never had any legal grounds for being in the Middle East.

    • This Is Reportedly The CIA’s Shadowy Car Bomb Facility In North Carolina

      In 2008, Lebanese terrorist overlord Imad Mughniyeh was killed by a car bomb in Damascus, Syria. Twisted metal wreckage was all that remained of his Mitsubishi Pajero. And according to a report from the Washington Post, the CIA built and tested the entire system at a secret facility, somewhere in North Carolina.

    • Unfortunate Timing: New NBC Show Will Have Scene of Man Being Burned Alive

      NBC’s new show Allegiance, debuting tomorrow night, starts out with a scene of a man being burned alive, which appears to be a case of very unfortunate timing, given what’s been in the news this week.

    • Departure of CIA’s top watchdog signals roadblocks to reining in agency

      When word recently leaked that the CIA inspector general was preparing to step down, agency Director John Brennan issued a glowing statement about his watchdog’s work.

      Left unsaid was the role CIA Inspector General David Buckley had in refereeing one of the most acrimonious disputes between a spy director and his congressional overseers in decades.

    • What the Warren Commission Didn’t Know

      A member of the panel that investigated JFK’s death now worries he was a victim of a “massive cover-up.”

    • Warren Commission Member: JFK Shooting Was a Conspiracy

      Lee Harvey Oswald may have been part of a conspiracy, according to investigative reporter Philip Shenon, whose book “A Cruel and Shocking Act: The Secret History of the Kennedy Assassination,” has just been issued in paperback.

    • Warren Commission a CIA Cover-up?

      However, David Slawson was a young lawyer who became a part of the Warren Commission in January, 1964. He is now 83-years of age. The retired law professor now believes that he and the other members of the commission victims of a ‘massive cover-up.’

      Slawson’s individual assignment within the Warren Commission was to investigate whether there was any involvement from a foreign nation in the assassination of President Kennedy. Until last year, he was certain that his reported findings were accurate. Recently he discovered that the CIA and other agencies withheld large amounts of information from his investigation. He has now determined that others were aware of Oswald’s plans before the shooting occurred. With the definition of ‘conspiracy,’ when at least two people conspire to commit a wrongful act, Slawson now is certain that a conspiracy did exist.

    • New JFK Conspiracy Theory: Warren Commission Lawyer Claim Of CIA Cover-Up Just More Disinformation?
    • Ukrainian forces already use US cluster munitions: Former CIA contractor

      A former CIA contractor says since the Ukrainian forces are using cluster bombs and illegal weapons against civilians, Washington’s decision to provide Kiev with further lethal aid does not make any difference.

    • U.S. Mulls Arming Ukraine Against Russian-Backed Separatists as Truce Talks Collapse
    • Islamic State: Is the US-led coalition working six months on?

      A series of recent setbacks underlines this point. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has quietly withdrawn from strike missions in Syria, with questions emerging about how far any country other than the US is now operating over it.

    • Former Church Committee Staffers Urge Overhaul Of Spy Agency Oversight

      It’s no secret that the mid-20th century was a dirty time for U.S. intelligence agencies. J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was waging personal wars through the government, infiltrating social movements and encouraging civil rights leaders to commit suicide. The CIA was working with the Mafia to assassinate foreign leaders, and had gotten into the business of overthrowing foreign governments, leaving a trail of fractured regimes through Africa and the Middle East.

    • Did the US Win the Greek Elections?

      In most countries controlled by the Emperor the most important “asset” are the military.

    • Chechen leader blames US & Western intel for Islamic State terrorists

      Kadyrov also suggested the West was backing IS in order to distract public attention from numerous problems in the Middle East, in the hope of destroying Islamic nations from inside.

  • Transparency Reporting

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

  • Finance

    • IRS is overwhelmed by identity theft fraud

      Rashia Wilson bought a $92,000 Audi, proclaimed herself a millionaire, and announced on her Facebook page that she was “the queen of IRS tax fraud,” as prosecutors told the story.

      But even more than her flamboyance, it was the seeming ease of her crime that was most stunning: She and an accomplice were alleged to have hijacked the identities of other taxpayers to get fraudulent refunds. They used stolen Social Security numbers, a computer, and basic knowledge of how to file a tax return, according to the government.

    • Economic Plan Is a Quandary for Hillary Clinton’s Campaign

      With advice from more than 200 policy experts, Hillary Rodham Clinton is trying to answer what has emerged as a central question of her early presidential campaign strategy: how to address the anger about income inequality without overly vilifying the wealthy.

      Mrs. Clinton has not had to wade into domestic policy since before she became secretary of state in 2009, and she has spent the past few months engaged in policy discussions with economists on the left and closer to the Democratic Party’s center who are grappling with the discontent set off by the gap between rich and poor. Sorting through the often divergent advice to develop an economic plan could affect the timing and planning of the official announcement of her campaign.

    • Controversial tycoon Lajos Simicska on his estranged patron, Viktor Orbán

      Business tycoon and former Fidesz insider Lajos Simicska, speaking out as the key editors of his media group resigned, apparently in protest against Simicska’s threat to launch a “media war” against Orbán’s government.

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • The great illusion of free press

      William Colby, ex-director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a man who should know Western media: “The CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) owns everyone of any significance in the major media.” Not long after becoming a whistle-blower Colby died in a freak canoeing accident.

    • CIA in the Crosshairs

      Not only did Williams lie just one time about the incident, he’d done it numerous times over the years.

    • Report: Brian Williams’ account of Hurricane Katrina coverage in question

      Further scrutiny of NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ other past statements began to surface Friday when the New Orleans Advocate reported that the newsman’s account of his experience covering Hurricane Katrina may not be entirely accurate.

      In a 2006 interview with former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, Williams said he witnessed a body floating in the French Quarter area of the city. “When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country,” Williams told Eisner, who suggested in the interview that Williams emerged from former NBC News anchor Tom Brokaw’s shadow with his Katrina coverage.

    • Anchors Aweigh

      But the caustic media big shots who once roamed the land were gone, and “there was no one around to pull his chain when he got too over-the-top,” as one NBC News reporter put it.

    • The Interview

      You don’t have to be North Korean to be annoyed by this film.

    • The Interview? Kim Jong-Un, you really shouldn’t have bothered

      There’s a whole host of people that’ll tell you that comedy can’t be insulting – by its very nature, it’s a joke, therefore it’s not an insult. What they forget is, if it’s not funny, it’s just sort of sad and offensive.

    • The Interview is another Rogan and Franco comedy… Take that for what you will
    • “The Interview”, Dangerous Lies, Propaganda For Imperialist Murder and Aggression

      As the South Korean government, which has executed hundreds of thousands of leftists and suspected leftists, now bans the Unified Progressive Party (UPP), which got 10% of the vote in the last election, so too the U.S. imperialists are ratcheting up their economic sanctions and cyber attacks on North Korea. They are doing this partially on unsubstantiated accusations of terrorist threats flowing from the idiotic movie “The Interview”.

      Korea was divided by the U.S. imperialists after WW II who imposed a far right capitalist dictatorship on South Korea that carried out mass executions of hundreds of thousands of leftists and suspected leftists. While in the south the new government employed the torturers and murderers of the Japanese occupation, in the north a new government was born out of the leadership that fought against Japanese occupation. Through social revolution they established a planned socialist economy that greatly benefitted the working class. In the 1950s the United States sent troops to Korea and carried out a brutal war against the Korean people in an attempt to destroy the social revolution in the north and protect the brutal capitalist dictatorship in the south. In that war, conservative estimates are that the U.S. murdered 3,000,000 people. North Koreans, perhaps more accurately, estimate 5,000,000 people.

      Korea is one country and discussion of reunification is popular. Leninist -Trotskyists also call for Korean reunification, but only through a social revolution in the South. Kim Il Sung’s illusions in a peaceful reunification after the imperialists murdered 5,000,000 people is a deadly pipe dream. The only reunification the imperialists and the capitalist government in the South will agree to is one that annexes the north and destroys the gains of the North Korean Revolution, much as was done to East Germany. For any useful reunification to occur, the brutally repressive capitalist state of South Korea must be smashed in a proletarian socialist revolution. In addition, the highly deformed Stalinist government in the DPRK that promotes these kinds of deadly illusions really needs to be swept away in a political revolution as well. That is a revolution that overthrows the Stalinist bureaucracy and establishes workers democracy and an internationalist revolutionary program, while at the same time maintaining the social gains of the revolution including the socialist planned economy, socialist food distribution, free education to higher grade levels than the South, and guaranteed free socialized healthcare.

    • Seth Rogan’s The Interview ‘wreaks of deluded arrogance and poor taste’

      JAMES FRANCO and Seth Rogen reteam for this infamous comedy romp that’s finally released after generating global headlines for all the wrong reasons.

      [...]

      VERDICT: An abomination of a comedy, pitched to the lowest common denominator, with some seriously questionable intent to boot.

  • Censorship

    • What could be more absurd than censorship on campus?

      Last week, students at Goldsmiths College in London banned a performance by the fantastic feminist comedian Kate Smurthwaite in an act of neurotic prudery that bordered on the insane. Her show was on freedom of speech – yes, yes, I know. She told me that Goldsmiths did not close it because of what she had planned to say, but because she had once said that the police should arrest men who go with prostitutes and that she was against patriarchal clerics forcing women to wear the burqa. In the demonology of campus politics, these were not legitimate opinions that could be contested in robust debate. They marked her as a “whoreophobe” and “Islamophobe”, who must be silenced.

    • Spiked criticises Oxford’s “censorship”

      Online magazine Spiked has published a ranking of the attitudes of British universities towards free speech, placing Oxford in the “red” category. The website states that universities in this category, the “most censorious” one, have “banned and actively censored ideas on campus”.

    • How the academy green-lit student censorship

      Spiked’s Free Speech University Rankings, which launched this week, shows that many of the day-to-day restrictions on campus free speech emanate not from universities but rather from students themselves. This free-speech league table came out in the same week as a debate about the impact of the government’s proposed anti-terror legislation on higher education really took off. Vice chancellors have taken to the airwaves, started petitions, and penned letters to national newspapers in defence of academic freedom. It would be easy to get the impression that students have created an environment in which banning things on a whim is the new normal, while academics look on in horror and champion the cause of free speech.

    • The 3 places where Facebook censors you the most

      This isn’t about your photos or public messages violating Facebook’s own rules, like posting pornography. This is Facebook (FB, Tech30) acting as a government censor on that country’s behalf.

      It’s worst in India, Turkey and Pakistan, where thousands of pages and photos get pulled down every year for “blasphemy,” criticizing the government or posting something that’s religiously offensive.

    • India’s Censorship Board Bleeped Out ‘Bombay’ From a Music Video

      Mihir Joshi, an Indian musician recording his first album last year, needed a word to rhyme with today in one of his songs and found one that he thought fit perfectly. But India’s Central Board of Film Certification disagreed, and replaced it with a beep when the music video debuted on TV over the weekend.

    • China Widens Online TV Censorship Rules To Include Hong Kong Shows
    • How reporters are experiencing censorship on social media

      “As a correspondent, I just shared a piece of news that was true with my followers. Sharing this kind of news with people is my job,” Yazıcı said. Her colleague, Taraf’s political editor Dicle Baştürk, received a similar notification and did not delete her tweet. She says it’s still visible. Days later, Baştürk received another email from Twitter informing her that the company may still have to remove it.

    • All aboard the dox bus! Suburban Express owner keeps going after customers [Updated]

      Dennis Toeppen, the owner of the Illinois bus company Suburban Express, has become something of a legend for the way he manages his company’s reputation online and deals with customers who fail to play by his rules. Still facing a trial in Lake County for misdemeanor charges of electronic harassment, Toeppen has continued to police reviews of Suburban Express on Yelp and other services, using his company’s website as a way to call out those who he believes have wronged him. From his perspective, this is just digital self-defense; from the perspective of his targets, it’s Internet intimidation and an attempt to damage the reputations of anyone who complains about how Toeppen does business.

    • Judge orders action over photographs depicting US military abuse

      The US Department of Defense has been given a week to explain why it has not yet complied with a federal court order to list the individual exemptions for the disclosure of over 2,000 photographs depicting military abuse of detainees in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • Court presses US govt to act on withheld photos of post-9/11 detainee abuse
  • Privacy

    • Facebook will soon be able to ID you in any photo

      Appear in a photo taken at a protest march, a gay bar, or an abortion clinic, and your friends might recognize you. But a machine probably won’t—at least for now. Unless a computer has been tasked to look for you, has trained on dozens of photos of your face, and has high-quality images to examine, your anonymity is safe. Nor is it yet possible for a computer to scour the Internet and find you in random, uncaptioned photos. But within the walled garden of Facebook, which contains by far the largest collection of personal photographs in the world, the technology for doing all that is beginning to blossom.

    • White House Seeks Boost In Spy Agency Funding

      The Obama administration requested $53.9 billion for its spy agencies in the year beginning Oct. 1, up sharply from its request of $45.6 billion last year.

      The money would be used to fund operations spread across six federal departments, as well as the Central Intelligence Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

    • Ronald Bailey: Abolish the Intelligence-Industrial Complex

      In 1991, Senator Daniel P. Moynihan (D-N.Y.) introduced The End the Cold War Act that would have abolished the Central Intelligence Agency and transferred all of its functions to the Department of State. The Act declared that “the creation of the Central Intelligence Agency as a separate entity during the Cold War undermined the role of the Department of State as the primary agency of the United States Government formulating and conducting foreign policy and providing information to the President concerning the state of world affairs.”

    • Report: Britain’s GCHQ threatens to end work with Germany’s BND spy agency

      The German magazine Focus says Britain has threatened to cease cooperation with Germany’s BND intelligence service. The BND in turn has been accused by a Berlin inquiry panel of withholding documents.

    • US-German Intelligence Rift Hits New High

      Germany’s Parliament is getting ready to review the NSA with a Parliamentary inquiry. Both Britain and the U.S. are threatening to discontinue sharing intelligence with Germany as a result. This ‘threat’ has not been verified. However, with tensions as they are and a crisis meeting to discuss intelligence in Germany’s intelligence sharing, the threat may be genuine.

    • Britain ‘threatens to stop sharing intelligence’ with Germany
    • Good News! Your Samsung TV Is Probably Spying On You For Third Parties.

      This shouldn’t come as much of a shock, but your Smart TV is probably spying on you. This doesn’t mean it is out to do something malicious or that the machine has become self-aware, but it does mean that advertisers and third parties have another route to figure out how to reach you.

    • Before Snowden, There Was the Citizens Commission

      Director Johanna Hamilton talks about her latest documentary, “1971.” On March 8, 1971, The Citizens’ Commission to Investigate the FBI, as they called themselves, broke into a small FBI office in Media, Pennsylvania, took every file, and shared them with the American public. These actions exposed COINTELPRO, the FBI’s illegal surveillance program that involved the intimidation of law-abiding Americans and helped lead to the country’s first Congressional investigation of U.S. intelligence agencies. Never caught, forty-three years later, these everyday Americans – parents, teachers and citizens – publicly reveal themselves for the first time and share their story in this documentary. Hamilton is joined by two members of The Citizens’ Commission, Bonnie Raines and John Raines. The film opens at Cinema Village February 6.

    • ‘Trust us’ mantra undermined by GCHQ tribunal judgment

      For more than 18 months the response from the security services to the disclosure by Edward Snowden of the mass harvesting of personal data of British citizens has been to say: “Trust us, nothing we are doing is unlawful.”

  • Civil Rights

    • Virginia House Committee Passes Anti-NDAA Indefinite Detention Bill, 20-0

      Yesterday, an important committee in the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill to take action against federal indefinite detention powers. The unanimous tally was 20-0.

    • Washington State Bill Takes Steps to Nullify NDAA Indefinite Detention

      A bill introduced in the Washington state legislature would prohibit the state from assisting the federal government in the indefinite detention without due process under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA) or any other federal acts purporting to authorize such powers.

    • Mississippi Bill a First Step to Nullify NDAA Indefinite Detention

      A bill up for consideration in the Mississippi Senate would prohibit the state from assisting the federal government in the indefinite detention without due process under provisions of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2012 (NDAA), or any other federal acts purporting to authorize such powers.

    • Sweden Tells the UN that Indefinite Detention Without Charge is Fine

      The United Kingdom’s costs for its embassy “siege” against Julian Assange, who has not been charged with an offence, has hit 10 million pounds, Scotland Yard confirmed today.

    • The Saudis are every bit as sickening as Islamic State

      We’re all braced for another grotesque video clip from the fundamentalist nutters of the so-called Islamic State, because they’ve released a primer on the likely beheading of two Japanese hostages – unless Tokyo will hand over a $US200 million ransom in the coming days.

      IS’s video production values are sickeningly creepy – the prisoners in orange jumpsuits; their would-be executioner in black, wielding a knife and spewing bile.

    • How The Left Failed France’s Muslims – OpEd

      The real breeding ground for extremism stems from the treatment of immigrant groups within Europe. Racial, ethnic, and religious discrimination have driven a generation of young migrants to radical movements as a solution to an absence of job prospects, poor education, deteriorated neighborhoods, lack of respect, and repeated bouts in jail. Ironically, the crackdown on these communities in the aftermath of the attacks could potentially escalate the problem.

    • When Silencing Dissent Isn’t News

      So, what if I told you that an internationally known American – a 75-year-old Army veteran and a longtime official at the Central Intelligence Agency, someone who had famously questioned the imperious Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld about his Iraq War lies in a public event that led evening newscasts in 2006 – was recently denied entry to a public speech by another Iraq War icon, Gen. David Petraeus, and – despite having paid for a ticket – was brutally arrested by the police and jailed?

      Wouldn’t that be a story? Wouldn’t that be something that the news media, especially the “liberal” news media, should jump all over? Wouldn’t a newspaper like the New York Times just love something like that?

      But what if I told you that the New York Times wasn’t interested at all? You might think that perhaps the event occurred in some distant hamlet, maybe a small college town where there wasn’t much media, so it just fell through the cracks.

      Yet, this story actually played out in New York City, the media capital of the world, on the Upper East Side at the 92nd Street Y in full view of hundreds of New Yorkers on the night of Oct. 30, 2014. Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern was roughly arrested, with the police ignoring his howls of pain as they pulled his arms behind his back. (McGovern had recently suffered a painful shoulder injury from a fall.}

    • Video Shows NYPD Arresting Former CIA Analyst Ray McGovern When He Tried to Attend Petraeus Event
    • Convicting Sterling to Chill Whistleblowing
    • Imprisoned CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Reacts to How Loretto Handled a Prison Guard’s Suicide

      CIA whistleblower John Kiriakou, who has been serving a prison sentence at the federal correctional institution in Loretto, Pennsylvania, has written a letter reporting that a correctional officer committed suicide in January. How the prison officials handled the death stood in stark contrast to the treatment prisoners experience when an inmate dies or an inmate needs to go to a funeral for an immediate family member.

      For much of Kiriakou’s prison sentence, Firedoglake has published his “Letters from Loretto.” He was the first member of the CIA to publicly acknowledge that torture was official US policy under President George W. Bush’s administration. In October 2012, he pled guilty to violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA) when he confirmed the name of an officer involved in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation (RDI) program to a reporter. He was sentenced in January 2013 and reported to prison on February 28, 2013.

      Kiriakou writes in the letter dated January 22, 2015, that he did not know the officer or ever “have any contact with him,” however, it is his understanding that the man was a “nice guy,” someone “friendly, reasonable and honest.” He feels very sorry for his family, but the response from staff was “fascinating.”

      As a CIA officer, when he lost a colleague, a star would go up on the agency’s Wall of Honor. Everyone would move on. That is not how the prison chose to handle the death.

    • John Kiriakou Torture Whistleblower Released
    • Greek-American CIA Whistleblower Released From Jail
    • CIA torture whistleblower John Kiriakou released from prison
    • CIA Whistleblower John Kiriakou Released from Prison
    • CIA Torture Whistleblower Released From Prison, Subject to House Arrest
    • CIA Torture Whistleblower Released From Prison

      John Kiriakou was the first whistleblower to reveal that torture was the official policy of the the Goerge W. Bush Administration.

    • Whistleblower John Kiriakou, only person jailed over CIA torture program, is out of prison
    • CIA agent from New Castle who shared secrets released from prison
    • Ex-CIA agent, a New Castle native, starting over after prison sentence

      “I knew I was not guilty, and my attorneys knew I was not guilty, but a jury would convict a ham sandwich given a chance,” he said.

      The government pursued the prosecution on the leak because of the 2007 television interviews, he said.

      “I’ve maintained from the very beginning, as did my attorneys, that my case was not about a leak. My case was about torture,” he said.

      A Justice Department spokesman said Kiriakou has made the whistleblower retaliation claim since he was indicted.

    • Exiles from Chagos Islands given hope of returning soon to their lost paradise

      It is a scandal stretching across six decades: the forced removal of hundreds of native people from a British overseas territory to make way for a US military base. That Diego Garcia, the main island in the Chagos archipelago – seven atolls in the Indian Ocean – has played a part in the CIA’s torture programme has only added to Britain’s sense of shame.

    • War on terror shouldn’t justify torture: UN Rights Chief

      The United Nations, which is the legal guardian of scores of human rights treaties banning torture, unlawful imprisonment, degrading treatment of prisoners of war and enforced disappearances, is troubled that an increasing number of countries are justifying violations of UN conventions on grounds of fighting terrorism in conflict zones.

    • In his first interview since leaving prison, CIA torture whistleblower says it was ‘worth it’

      The ex-CIA officer who first blew the whistle on the agency’s waterboarding practice says the 30-month prison sentence he got for revealing classified information was “worth it.”

      “It’s been a terrible three years, and it’s ruined me financially and personally, but in the greater picture it’s all been worth it,” John Kiriakou told Fusion over the phone from Arlington, Virginia, where he just began serving an 85-day house arrest sentence. It was his first interview since leaving a federal prison in Pennsylvania on Tuesday.

      “I’m proud I had a role in seeing that torture is now banned in the United States,” he said.

      For now, he’s only able to leave his home to go to a halfway house or to church, so Kiriakou, 50, is struggling to wrap his head around everything that happened while he was behind bars—namely the release of the Senate’s torture report less than two months ago.

    • Obama won’t return ‘torture report’ without court OK

      The Obama Administration is pledging that it won’t destroy or return copies of the full-length Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA detention and interrogation practices without permission from the federal courts.

      In a court filing Friday night, the Justice Department asked U.S. District Judge James Boasberg not to grant an American Civil Liberties Union motion seeking to block the government from returning the unabridged versions of the so-called torture report to the Senate as new Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) has requested.

      However, Justice Department lawyers agreed not to send the report back to the Hill while the ACLU’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit is pending, unless they seek Boasberg’s okay to do so.

    • Who? When? Why? 10 Times the Bible Says Torture is OK

      When conservative Christians claim that the Bible God condones torture, they’re not making it up. A close look at the good book reveals why so many Christians past and present have adopted an Iron Age attitude toward brutality.

    • Birth of a shadow doctrine: How a small group of lawyers launched a war against international law

      When the hijacked airplanes hit the World Trade Towers on 9/11, John Yoo was working in his Justice Department office in Washington, D.C. At the time, he was assigned to one of the most crucial legal departments in the federal government, the Office of Legal Counsel (OLC). Although he was an important lawyer in the administration of President Bush, Yoo himself was not well known outside of a close circle of Washington bureaucrats and policy wonks. He wasn’t famous. But all of that would change very quickly.

      Yoo had taken a leave of absence from Berkeley Law School to work for the Bush administration. His academic work had focused on constitutional law and foreign affairs, and he had earned a reputation for being a strong supporter of presidential war powers. According to Yoo, the president of the United States has virtually unlimited power as the constitutionally appointed commander in chief of the armed forces. Although Congress can play some role in times of war, Yoo had insisted in a series of law review articles that this role was secondary at best. In times of crisis, presidential power always trumps congressional deliberation.

    • Change of attitude from democratization to authoritarianism

      Everybody gets upset by the anti-democratic acts, the shelving of the Constitution, the non-compliance with judicial decisions and the pressure on the business world, civil society and opposition parties.

      Maybe we should just be sad about people who, after being humiliated in the past and imprisoned for exercising fundamental rights, embraced democratic reforms and standards, only to abandon this democratic stance. Maybe we should be just sad about a person or a group of people who have been against a single-party regime for many years but have started to implement one. We should be sad about people who, after arguing that they would subscribe to religious and ethical principles, violated all ethical rules and considerations once they acquired power.

    • Anti-Islam frenzy in France targets kids

      An 8-year-old boy in Nice, a small city on France’s Mediterranean coast near Italy, was hauled out of school to the police station. The boy’s father was called, television crews were summoned and headlines blared about the boy allegedly not respecting the minute of silence for Charlie Hebdo victims. An atmosphere of frenzied overreaction was created. (TV2, Jan. 28)

    • Political Dysfunction at Home Erodes US Leadership Abroad

      The US leadership role in the world is undermined by political dysfunction and polarization in the country, the US National Security Strategy released on Friday stated.

      [...]

      A CIA torture report released in December detailed a wide range of practices used by the agency, including waterboarding, mock executions, prolonged sleep deprivation and threats of sexual abuse in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and Washington.

    • DOJ Probe Into Alleged Senate and CIA Torture Report Crimes Is Shrouded in Secrecy

      Last year, government lawyers made inquires into allegations that CIA personnel and Senate Intelligence Committee staffers broke federal laws in connection with the committee’s work on the Senate torture report. But the Department of Justice has classified dozens of pages of documents related to that investigation.

      [...]

      VICE News filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for those criminal referrals as well as all documents that “refer” to it. In a letter dated January 26, the Justice Department’s National Security Division said it identified about 85 pages — and that it was withholding all but two pages on grounds that disclosure would threaten national security, result in an unwarranted invasion of privacy, and reveal behind-the-scenes deliberations.

    • Focus of Feinstein’s Intelligence Committee uproar shifts from CIA to Democratic Senate staffers

      Many in Congress and the news media were surprised by a recent CIA Accountability Board report that cleared CIA personnel of wrongdoing in last year’s spying-on-Congress scandal, a finding that contradicted a July 2014 report by the CIA Inspector General. However, a close reading of both reports — which were released in unclassified form last month — indicates that the fault in this affair lies almost entirely with the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose staff appeared to have engaged in serious misconduct, including trying to smuggle a camera into a secure CIA facility, hacking into a CIA computer system, and stealing and misusing classified documents subject to attorney-client privilege.

    • Former undercover CIA man discloses Norway connection

      Mr Krongard was Executive Director of the CIA from 2001 to 2004 and a former chairman of Alex. Brown and Sons, a Baltimore investment bank.

      After being recruited, Hale says he helped run a fake company created under a legitimate corporation the Agency created.

      The fake company included shipping and trucking companies which Hale ran whilst leading the bank.

      Hale travelled extensively to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Israel, Poland, Denmark, and Norway. This was in order to provide cover to operatives supposedly working for the company.

    • Sen. Richard Burr, stop burying the CIA detention and torture report

      “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived,” wrote Maya Angelou, “but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.” We call on U.S. Sen. Richard Burr to stop trying to unlive our nation’s ugly torture program, and face it with courage.

    • Torture and the CIA’s Unaccountability Boards

      Last Saturday, January 31, CIA Inspector General David Buckley resigned after a little more than four years in office. His departure came at the end of the same month his office published a scathing report that found the agency committed serious wrongdoings in connection to its rendition, detention, and torture program. It was also the same month that his report was swept aside by a parallel investigation conducted by a CIA “Accountability Board” that was hand-picked by agency leadership. Unsurprisingly, the Accountability Board recommended holding no one accountable for any failings.

    • Sen. Richard Burr, stop burying the CIA detention and torture report (COMMENTARY)
    • Gary Gloster and Christina Cowger: Burr should end efforts to bury torture report

      Winston-Salem’s own Sen. Richard Burr is at the center of an epic struggle over whether we will be allowed to know the truth about the taxpayer-funded torture that stains our nation’s soul. He has taken an astonishing action that appears at odds with both law and morality.

      Sen. Burr, now chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, recently wrote to the White House insisting that all copies of his committee’s 6,900-page report on CIA torture be “returned immediately.” The report had been distributed to many agencies and departments within the executive branch, and the idea of its being totally wrapped in secrecy again is ludicrous.

    • Enhanced Misinformation Techniques

      The FAIR study reviewed the guests of several popular news shows in the week when the report was most prominently discussed. The surveyed programs included the five Sunday talk shows (NBC’s Meet the Press, CBS’s Face the Nation, ABC’s This Week, Fox News Sunday, and CNN’s State of the Union) along with four weekday news shows (MSNBC’s Hardball, Fox’s Special Report, CNN’s Situation Room, and the PBS NewsHour).

      [...]

      Only 18 guests articulated clear opposition to the CIA’s torture practices. That’s just half the number who spoke up in support.

    • UK to launch probe in country’s involvement in CIA torture: David Cameron

      British prime minister David Cameron has hinted that UK will launch an investigation by an independent inquiry into the country’s involvement in CIA torture.

      The Intelligence Security Committee (ISC) is already investigating whether British officials were complicit in torture overseas.

      Revelations were made recently that British overseas territory of Diego Garcia had been used to interrogate terrorist suspects.

    • UN human rights chief makes 1st official US visit since 2007

      He also has expressed concern at the “disproportionate” number of young black Americans who die in encounters with police officers and the high rate of blacks in U.S. prisons and on death row.

    • China Accuses Human Rights Watch Of Working For U.S. Government

      The article continues with a condemnation of a petition from Nobel Peace Prize winners Adolfo Perez Esquivel and Mairead Corrigan Maguire, with 129 other signatories, which criticized HRW for having “close ties to the U.S. government which call into question its independence.” There has been plenty of mudslinging back and forth about this, but in essence, the authors of the petition contend that Human Rights Watch employs too many former American officials, including veterans of the CIA and a former NATO Secretary General, thus compromising the independence of the group. They think this influence causes Human Rights Watch to go easy on American violations.

    • Don’t Call them Expats, They are Immigrants like Everyone Else

      According to Wikidpedia, “An expatriate (often shortened to expat) is a person temporarily or permanently residing in a country other than that of the person’s upbringing. The word comes from the Latin terms ex (“out of”) and patria (“country, fatherland”).”

      Defined that way, you should expect any person going to work outside of his or her country for a period of time would be an expat regardless of his skin color, country, etc.

      That is not the case in reality: expat is a term reserved exclusively for western White people going to work abroad.

      Africans are immigrants.
      Arabs are immigrants.
      Asians are immigrants.
      However Europeans are expats because they can’t be at the same level as other ethnicities. They are superior. Immigrants is a term set aside for inferior races.

  • Internet/Net Neutrality

    • Net neutrality forever? Not if the lawyers can stop it

      After waffling for months on the question of Net neutrality, who would have guessed that former telecom lobbyist Tom Wheeler would argue such a strong case for reclassifying broadband as a Title II common carrier? Though the FCC steered clear of onerous regulation, the reaction from telecoms has been largely a howl of distress.

    • Anti-Net Neutrality Propaganda Reaches Insane Levels With Bad Actors And Porn Parody

      There’s been plenty of propaganda concerning the net neutrality fight, but with FCC boss Tom Wheeler finally making it official that the FCC is going to move to reclassify broadband, it’s kicked into high gear of ridiculousness. An astroturfing front group that’s anti-net neutrality is trying to make a “viral” anti-net neutrality video, and it did so in the most bizarre way, by making an attempted parody porno video, based on the classic “cable guy” porno trope.

  • DRM

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