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05.17.15

Links 17/5/2015: NuTyX Saravane 15.05, Panasonic and Firefox OS

Posted in News Roundup at 11:30 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

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Contents

GNU/Linux

Free Software/Open Source

Leftovers

  • Because Personal Drones Aren’t Subject To Enough Ridiculous Rules, A Graffiti Artist Uses His To Tag A Six-Story Billboard

    Drones are a problem. The FAA has subjected private drone use to all sorts of ridiculous stipulations. Law enforcement agencies seem to feel drone operation should be left to the pros, and are suddenly sprouting privacy concerns whenever a citizen flies one over something of theirs. Our nation’s three-letter agencies want to be able to deploy drones almost anywhere without oversight, even though they’ve proven to be much less efficient than boots on the ground. Then, of course, there are those piloted by the CIA — the kind that kill foreigners (and the occasional American) with almost no oversight, and what oversight there is has “bought in.”

  • Security

  • Defence/Police/Secrecy/Aggression

    • Pentagon Takes Charge
    • Interactive graphic: Drone strikes in Yemen, Pakistan over time
    • Is US Drone Warfare Here to Stay?

      In the mean time, strikes are expanding in other regions of the world: they fly from Camp Lemonnier in Djibouti, just north of the Horn of Africa, to strike Yemen and Somalia.

    • Former CIA official claims agency botched call on Arab Spring – new book

      The Central Intelligence Agency failed to anticipate the Arab Spring uprisings and then erroneously believed those revolts would hamper Al-Qaeda’s strength in the region, according to a new book by a former deputy director of the CIA.

    • New push to give Pentagon the lead on drone strikes
    • Family of man killed by U.S. drone strike backs ‘hostage czar’

      The family of an American captive killed in a drone strike said Wednesday it would welcome the creation of a hostage czar to coordinate government efforts to free those held.

    • US to transition control of ‘secret’ drone strikes from CIA to Pentagon after hostage mishap

      The deaths of an Italian and an American in a covert CIA drone strike in Pakistan — and the rhetorical contortions required of the president when he informed the world — have breathed new urgency into a long-stalled plan to give the Pentagon primacy over targeted killing of terrorists overseas.

    • Moving the Drone Program from the CIA to the Pentagon Won’t Improve Transparency

      Generals aren’t better than spooks when it comes to reporting civilian casualties.

    • ANALYSIS Counting the cost of US drones: Local wars killing local people

      As the Bureau revealed recently, the accidental killing of American Warren Weinstein and Italian Giorgio Lo Porto by the CIA in January now means at least 38 Westerners have been killed by covert US drones in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

    • Searching for Hostages Isn’t CIA’s Top Priority, Insiders Say
    • Who’s in charge? Nobody

      Today, as a 38-year veteran of the U.S. Senate, I can’t tell who is running our wars.

    • The Mass Torture of Obama’s Drone Strikes

      In Pakistan alone, drone attacks have killed between 400 and 1,000 civilians and over 100 children.

    • We Need a Full, Transparent Review of the US Targeted Killing Program

      But to the families of hundreds of Pakistani and Yemeni victims of US drone strikes, the United States has offered only silence. President Obama stated that he decided to release information about the January strike because “the Weinstein and Lo Porto families deserve to know the truth.” They certainly do. And so do Yemeni and Pakistani families who have lost their loved ones and who thus far have been denied even simple acknowledgment. The contrast is glaring, unfair, and likely to increase the already strong anti-American sentiment the lethal force program has caused abroad.

    • Did America’s drone strikes lose Yemen?

      Earlier this year, the U.S. announced a new policy for drone exports, purportedly part of a broader effort to work with other countries to “shape international standards” on the use of drones and compel recipient states “to use these systems in accordance with international law.” But, as “Death by Drone” shows, the U.S. drone program is fundamentally flawed and should not be perpetuated. The Obama administration’s recent admissions that its drone strikes killed its own citizens only underscore this fact.

    • Quick Takes: Drone Strikes

      Without transparency, there is no accountability. The facts validate this. According to CNN, the Obama administration has become famous for launching “signature strikes.” These drone attacks choose targets merely based on patterns of suspicious behavior by a group of men, rather than identification of a particular militant. That is our government’s current criteria for sending a drone strike, and it is alarmingly flexible.

    • Obama’s Drone War: Indiscriminate Killing and Selective Apology

      I wish Obama regretted,apologised, and mourned the deaths of thousands of non-Western victims of U.S. drone attacks, duly compensated the family members of the dead, and the severely maimed victims in Pakistan and elsewhere. Distressingly, Obama’s only regret was U.S. drone attackers didn’t know the presence of Weinstein and Le Porto at the al Qaeda camp in the first place. His regret implies, had the attackers been aware of Weinstein’s and Le Porto’s presence at the camp, they would have definitely called a halt to the attack. Conversely, there’s altogether a different strategy for U.S. drone attacks. The attackers don’t bother to know if there are innocent Pakistani, Afghan or Yemeni women, children and elderly in and around their targets.

    • Two US Citizens Released by E Ukraine Militia Have Links to CIA – DPR Head

      Two US citizens released by the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s (DPR) forces in eastern Ukraine are linked to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), DPR head Alexander Zakharchenko said Saturday.

    • Shared battlefield goals trump ideology among Syria rebels – for now

      Hardline Islamists fighting side-by-side with groups backed by the United States have made gains in northern Syria in recent weeks while showing rare unity, which some fear may be short-lived.

      An Islamist alliance calling itself Army of Fatah, a reference to the conquests that spread Islam across the Middle East from the seventh century, has seized northwestern towns including the provincial capital Idlib from government forces.

      The alliance, which includes al-Qaeda’s wing in Syria, known as the Nusra Front, and another hardline militant group, the Ahrar al-Sham movement, is edging closer to the coastal province of Latakia, President Bashar al-Assad’s stronghold.

    • CIA-Backed, ‘Vetted Moderate’ Syrians … Now Openly Working with Al-Qaeda

      As if “coordinating” with al-Qaeda is functionally different from “aligning” with al-Qaeda.

    • His Brother’s Keeper

      The Dalai Lama’s older brother deeply regrets accepting CIA aid. It ‘contributed to the complete destruction of Tibetan culture.’

    • Macedonian Opposition Uses CIA and Soros Funds to Hire 2,000 Violent Thugs for Sunday Protest
    • SCF: CIA and Soros NGO Finance SDSM and Destabilization of Macedonia

      What occurred in Macedonia was a classic disinformation ploy to mire the democratically-elected government in a bogus political scandal. The ploy is directly from the CIA playbook and it is now being carried out against Presidents Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner of Argentina, Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, and Michelle Bachelet of Chile. All face financial scandals cooked up by the CIA and its owned and operated media in the three nations.

    • CIA warns Washington about possible new Balkan Wars – report

      If the United States, after the terrorist attacks in Kumanovo, continue with the policy of unconditional support for the Albanians and if the EU continues to tacitly pass over the revival of the “Greater Albania” project, it could lead to the formation of the Orthodox Alliance of Serbia, Greece, Macedonia and Bulgaria, perhaps even the third Balkan War, writes Serbian daily “Kurir”, quoting “Informer”.

    • Documents: Green Beret Who Sought Job At CIA Confessed To Murder

      On September 14, 2011, the CIA sent an alarming message to the Pentagon: a decorated U.S. special operations commando admitted during a job interview with the agency to hunting down and killing “an unknown, unarmed” Afghan man.

    • Report: Green Beret confessed to killing Afghan during CIA interview

      Special Forces Maj. Mathew Golsteyn was stripped of a Silver Star for valor after the Army investigated the alleged 2011 confession.

    • Army weighs if ex-Green Beret hero should be dismissed
    • Case against former Green Beret accused of murder is delayed because of CIA ties

      The hearing for a former Green Beret soldier accused of murder by the Army has been delayed in part because of the same organization that brought him scrutiny in the first place: the CIA.

    • Pope Francis Explains To Children How War Profiteers Never Want Peace

      Pope Francis did not mince words when he told a group of children gathered at the Vatican that some people will never want peace because they profit off of war.

      “Some powerful people earn their living off making weapons,” the pope said, in a translation provided by Rome Reports. “For this reason, many people do not want peace.”

      He also called the weapons business an “industry of death,” according to Catholic Herald.

      The pontiff spoke in front of roughly 7,000 children at the Vatican on Monday, in a visit sponsored by the Fabbrica della pace (“Peace Factory”), a non-governmental organization that operates educational programming in primary schools with the purpose of promoting cross-cultural understanding.

    • Jeb Bush’s “gaffe”: A revealing comment on the Iraq war

      On Tuesday, Bush phoned into the Sean Hannity program on Fox to begin the process of retraction and correction, claiming that he had “interpreted the question wrong, I guess.” He added, “I was talking about, given what people knew then.” When Hannity repeated Kelly’s question about the 2003 invasion, Bush stalled, saying, “That’s a hypothetical.”

    • The Phony ‘Bad Intel’ Defense on Iraq

      Jeb Bush’s stumbling start to his presidential bid has refocused attention on Official Washington’s favorite excuse for the illegal, aggressive and disastrous war in Iraq – that it was just a case of “bad intelligence.” But that isn’t what the real history shows, as ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern recalls.

    • Robert Gates: Jeb Bush should have been prepared for Iraq question
    • Jeb Bush: How serious is his Iraq War flub?

      It took Jeb Bush nearly a week to settle on an answer about the Iraq War. Many Republicans worry about what this says regarding his presidential campaign skills.

    • Things In Politico That Make Me Want To Guzzle Chateau Petrus

      In which we learn that the CIA would have preferred to have tortured one guy to death.

    • Operation Gladio: The Untold Story of the Unholy Alliance Between the Vatican, the CIA, and the Mafia

      Williams quotes FBI whistle blower Sibel Edmonds who said, “Between 1996 and 2002, we, the United States, planned, financed, and helped execute every major terrorist incident by Chechen rebels (and the Mujahideen) against Russia. Between 1996 and 20002, we, the United States, planned, financed, and helped execute every single uprising and terror related scheme in Xinjiang (aka East Turkistan and Uyhurstan). Between 1996 and 2002, we, the United States, planned and carried out at least two assassination schemes against pro-Russian officials in Azerbaijan.”

    • Documentary is a searing indictment of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan

      Drone is a searing indictment of U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, which between 2004 and 2013 killed as many as 200 children, compared with 49 high-profile militants – and as many as 3,646 people in total, according to the film. One horrifying tactic described in the documentary is a double wave of bombing: After the first strike kills and injures people on the ground, rescuers who flock to the scene to help are bombed by a second attack. This has resulted in a reluctance to help the injured, who cry out for help for hours because nobody goes to help them, the film explains.

    • Papering Over Extra-Judicial Killings

      The Obama administration, like its predecessor, holds that the “exceptional” U.S. has the right to enter other countries to kill “terrorists,” but it would never tolerate, say, Cuba targeting CIA-trained terrorists harbored in Miami, one of many double standards posing as international law, as Coleen Rowley notes.

    • After betrayal comes hope for a better future

      On Oct. 22, 1963, the Supreme Court upheld a death penalty ruling for Hwang on charges of spying for the North. On Dec.14, Hwang was executed by a firing squad. A reporter who covered the Ministry of Defense watched the execution in order to quell suspicions that Park had sneaked Hwang out of the country.

    • Debate targets Ukraine: who’s to blame for this tragedy?
    • Deadly discrimination

      FATA is an area where the media cannot go and research …

    • Zoe Kravitz talks drones and Hollywood’s racism

      There’s something to be said about choosing to go to war for your country and having to leave your family. You go and you get dirty and you get bloody and you sacrifice yourself. People really think about what they’re doing in those situations. There’s a human contact. You have to look into the person’s eyes you’ve just killed and understand what it means. And when that’s taken away, it’s scary, because the human aspect of war — and war is human instinct, I believe — is gone.

    • The drone war is supposed to kill al-Qaeda leaders. It’s killing way more than just them.

      Council on Foreign Relations fellow Micah Zenko dug up a 2011 assessment, from Pentagon official Michael Vickers, that there were “perhaps four important Qaeda leaders left in Pakistan, and 10 to 20 leaders over all in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.”

    • Inside Muse’s ‘Drones’ Strike: Matt Bellamy on High-Concept LP
    • Muse’s Matt Bellamy: ‘I always perceived Obama as a likeable guy, but he makes kill decisions’
    • U.S. domestic drone debate: Supported abroad, suppressed at home

      The problem with Obama’s overemphasis on the use of drones for counterterrorism is that it does nothing to address the underlying political problems that allow terrorist organizations to flourish. Because the United States is forced to partner with local governments – many of them authoritarian or military-led regimes – to gain access to sovereign airspace in order to carry out drone strikes, its ability to then pressure its allies to make necessary political reforms is seriously limited.

    • To count or not to count
    • When It Comes to Drone Body Counts, Whose Body Counts?

      From Vietnam to Pakistan, the business of counting deaths by American hands has never been simple math.

    • Counting the Dead in the Age of Drone Terrorism
    • Legality of Drone Warfare or Illegality of Drone Assassination? Let a Real Debate Begin!

      The bottom line is that all law, but most importantly international law, which is sometimes called “soft law” due to its lack of formalized international police enforcement, derives its legitimacy and power from principles of reciprocity and equality, not from the double standards that Harold Koh, John Yoo and other war enablers have worked at legalizing inside and outside our government. International legal principles must therefore not only be rooted in universal Kantian ethics but must also be efficacious and pragmatic, not counterproductive as more and more research is showing is the case with US drone assassination policy that serves to promote and increase terrorism worldwide. To stand the test of time regardless of evolving technology, international law must “work” from all participants’ standpoints, not just those nations which view themselves as most militarily powerful at the moment. Unfortunately the Nuremberg Principle has largely been forgotten that wars of aggression, aka wars of choice, are the supreme crime because they encompass and lead to all other war crimes, regardless of whether utilizing low end box cutters or high end drone and satellite technology.

    • Protecting American Citizens From Drones

      No doubt the military will claim that dropping ordnance from drones is more accurate than bombing from bombers, bombers that the military claimed during World War Two were accurate enough to drop a bomb into a pickle barrel. While it is true that drones are often more accurate than bombers, the drone program has been sold on it ability to minimize “collateral damage,” a euphemism for unintended deaths near the target that would be called manslaughter if a citizen did it.

    • The Military Industrial Complex behind the never-Ending War on Terror (4-4)

      In other words, when it came to counting, civil society rode to the rescue, though the impact of the figures produced has remained limited indeed in this country. In some ways, the only body count of any sort that has made an impression here in recent years has been sniper Chris Kyle’s 160 confirmed Iraqi “kills” that played such a part in the publicity for the blockbuster movie American Sniper.

    • Drone Deaths v. Broken Windows

      The outrage of Baltimore residents after the fatal police abuse of Freddie Gray spilled over into ugly rioting, drawing media condemnation and public disapproval. But a different attitude prevails toward U.S. drone assassinations around the world despite many civilian deaths, a contradiction addressed by Nat Parry.

    • American Support for Drone Strikes Plummets When Innocent US Civilians Killed

      US policymakers need to know the answer to a simple question about American attitudes toward drones. Does the widely-reported strong public support for drone strikes drop off when confronted with the reality of civilian casualties? Of course those policymakers are not alone in their need for such information. Advocacy groups and others would also benefit from knowing whether—and to what degree—American attitudes are contingent on such aspects of drone warfare. Disappointingly, most of the time and money spent on opinion polls asks only generic questions about Americans’ attitudes toward drone strikes against terrorists. These surveys fail to seek information about public attitudes in the face of drone operations that, in reality, often cause civilian deaths.

    • Civilian Casualties, Drones, Airstrikes and the Perils of Policy

      Last week, the Daily Beast breathlessly reported an “exclusive” story, alleging that Department of Defense officials admitted that anti-ISIS airstrikes had killed what the Beast characterized as “innocents.”

    • Exclusive: Pentagon Admits Anti-ISIS Strikes Killed Civilians
    • Pentagon Admits that Airstrikes against ISIS Led to Civilian Deaths; Group Claims Victims Include 31 Children, 19 Women

      Officials at the Pentagon have claimed that the bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria against ISIS has been precise and accurate. However, an internal military investigation claimed civilians were caught in the crossfire.

    • Mr. Obama: Who Apologizes For the Other Drone Victims?

      A little over a week ago, a somber President Obama delivered early morning remarks on the tragic deaths of Warren Weinstein and Giovanni Lo Porto, two hostages who were accidentally killed by U.S. drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan. It was a rare moment for several reasons: the President openly acknowledged the loss of these men through a covert program, and he took personal responsibility for all of our counter terrorism operations, including these recent ones. But as he offered condolences to the families of Weinstein and Lo Porto, and promised a thorough review of intelligence failures, the President opened himself up to criticism of an unmanned aerial program that has killed thousands – including thousands of civilians according to some reports – in a host of countries.

    • The Tyranny of One Man’s Opinion

      President Barack Obama has rejected not only the theory but also the practice of due process by his use of drones launched by the CIA to kill Americans and others overseas. The use of the CIA to do the killing is particularly troubling and has aroused the criticism of senators as disparate in their views as Rand Paul and John McCain, both of whom have argued that the CIA’s job is to steal and keep secrets and the military’s job is to further national security by using force; and their roles should not be confused or conflated, because the laws governing each are different.

    • When states kill: individuals pay ultimate price of geopolitical strife

      We are also living in an era when technology allows states to use unmanned drones to kill alleged terrorists and, in the process, maims or kills civilians. According to data from human rights group Reprieve, analysed by the Guardian in 2014, US drone strikes that attempted to kill 41 men resulted in the deaths of an estimated 1147 people, including children, mainly in Pakistan but also in Yemen.

    • Defense of drones reads like Pentagon press conference

      Robby Rothfeld’s April 30 defense of drone bombings was surprising and alarming. He starts by assuring us that he has devoted his lifetime to nonviolence, so we can feel OK about what’s coming. We should stay on guard, however. His rationalizations are thoroughly unoriginal: a) we are at war, b) this is the best way to prosecute the war because b1) drones are accurate and kill only bad guys, and b2) fewer of our people will be endangered. And by the way, if you only knew all the secret stuff, you’d be on board.

    • U.S. excuses its civilian casualties, but not Israel’s

      This is not a “gotcha” column. But before reviewing American drone and airstrike policy, it is not inappropriate to remind the president and company that hubris is an unattractive trait.

      Last summer, as Israel was defending itself from Hamas rockets fired at its civilian population often from within the civilian population of Gaza, the White House was vehement in its criticism of Israel. A White House spokesman called Palestinian casualties, “totally unacceptable and totally indefensible.”

    • When the Government Kills

      If the U.S. was wrong about what Israel was doing, what about what the U.S. was doing? And specifically, what it was doing to American citizens?

    • A Debate Over How Long Democracy Can Wage Battles in Shadows
    • Israeli veterans say permissive rules of engagement fueled Gaza carnage

      The war last summer between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip left more than 2,100 Palestinians dead and reduced vast areas to rubble. On Monday, a group of Israeli veterans released sobering testimony from fellow soldiers that suggests permissive rules of engagement coupled with indiscriminate artillery fire contributed to the mass destruction and high numbers of civilian casualties in the coastal enclave.

    • The IDF’s New Tactics

      Several months ago, a young woman working in Kibbutz Dorot’s carrot fields noticed a piece of paper lying on the ground with a short inscription in Arabic. It looked like a treasure map. She put it in her pocket. Some time later, she gave it to her friend Avihai, who works for Breaking the Silence, an organisation of military veterans who collect testimony from Israeli soldiers to provide a record of everyday life in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Avihai was in the middle of interviewing soldiers about their experiences during Operation Protective Edge, Israel’s assault on the Gaza Strip last summer. He recognised the piece of paper as a leaflet that had been dropped by an Israeli plane above Palestinian neighbourhoods in the northern part of the Strip; the wind had blown it six miles from its intended landing point.

      The leaflet helps explain why 70 per cent of the 2220 Palestinians killed during the war were civilians. The red line on the map traces a route from a bright blue area labelled Beit Lahia, a Palestinian town of 60,000 inhabitants at the north edge of the Strip, and moves south through Muaskar Jabalia to Jabalia city.

    • The Day After
    • Israeli veterans allege gross misconduct during Gaza war
    • Michael Jansen: The waning Intifada
    • EU is keeping Tripoli in the dark about military action, says Libya’s UN ambassador

      Libya has said it is deeply alarmed over EU proposals to take military action against the smugglers responsible for despatching tens of thousands of desperate migrants across the Mediterranean.

    • ‘NYT’ plays shameless propagandist for Israel’s threats to kill Lebanese civilians

      Israel is preparing for another war that kills masses of civilians– and it’s preparing its propaganda campaign early with the New York Times happy to help.

    • Should we use our special operations troops as assassins? Is it right, or even smart?

      I believe if we continue on this path our special operations forces will be seen as villains, as is the CIA today. Ultimately the US too will be judged by the means used to enforce our policies, not just as the policies themselves. We pride ourselves on being the exceptional nation, the exceptional City on a Hill of Matthew 5:14), the one those on the Mayflower hoped to build. The world might hold us to the standard we set for ourselves, and which we have for long boasted about — and see us as just more global gangsters.

    • State-sanctioned killing

      Two issues have dominated the national public discourse in Australia over recent weeks, both of which relate to different manifestations of state-sanctioned killing. The first involved a sometimes highly charged discussion of the impending execution of two Australian citizens in Indonesia for their roles in a drug importation syndicate called the Bali 9, and the legal and moral foundations for capital punishment. In pleading for the commutation of the death penalty in the Bali 9 case the Australian Government enunciated its implacable opposition to capital punishment.

    • Saudis Drop US-Made Cluster Bombs in Criminal War on Yemen

      Costa Rica condemns Saudi Arabia’s dropping US-made cluster bombs on Yemen, in defiance of international law, including the Convention on Cluster Munitions that specifically outlaws the development, production, distribution, stockpiling, and use of cluster munitions, including the cluster bombs the Saudis have used since March 26 in their uncontested air attack on Yemen with an estimated 215 jet fighters from nine countries. (The Saudis are also bombing people in Syria and Iraq.)

    • Techno-Financial Capital and Genocide of the Poorest of the Poor

      Today, the Euro-American powers actively support the absolutist regime of Saudi Arabia as it bombs and slaughters thousands of Yemeni civilians and resistance fighters. Yemen is the poorest country in the Gulf region.

  • Transparency Reporting

    • Ex-CIA chiefs scold New York Times for outing secret officers

      A group of 20 former leaders of the CIA issued a scathing criticism of The New York Times on Monday for “outing” the identities of three top officials whose names had largely been a secret.

    • 20 Ex-C.I.A. Officials Fault The Times

      In a recent interview in the Lawfare blog discussing his decision to publish the names of three undercover Central Intelligence Agency officers, Dean Baquet, executive editor of The New York Times, defended the decision on the grounds that the benefits of public accountability outweigh the risk to these officers.

    • 20 Senior Former CIA Officials Criticize NYT For Publishing Names of Covert Operatives

      Twenty senior former CIA officials—including every CIA Director (including DCIs) dating back to William Webster (1987-91)—wrote a letter to the NYT to take issue with NYT Executive Editor Dean Baquet’s defense (in this interview on Lawfare) of his decision to publish the names of the three covert CIA operatives in a story a few weeks ago.

    • Court won’t reveal money details of CIA ‘torture’ program

      A federal judge has rejected a journalist’s lawsuit seeking to reveal more financial details about the CIA’s detention and interrogation program for terror suspects.

    • CIA didn’t forcibly drug war-on-terror detainees before interrogations, says CIA

      VICE News has obtained and published 39 pages of redacted documents from the CIA that shed new light on the treatment of CIA detainees after 9/11.

    • CIA Investigation Minimizes Use of Drugs on Rendition & Black Site Detainees

      The documents were released to Jason Leopold at VICE News, who posted a comprehensive article examining them earlier today. Leopold and I have previously written on the subject of drugging prisoners, and examined an earlier Department of Defense IG report on the subject a few years ago, as well as the use of mefloquine at Guantanamo, about which more below.

    • CIA Drugging of 9/11 Detainees and Jeb Too Dumb to Run
    • Did the CIA Drug Detainees for Information in the War on Terror?

      But newly declassified documents obtained by VICE show that the CIA conducted its own investigation prior to the Senate’s. Despite claims of those held in black site prisons who reported being forced to take “mind-altering” substances, the CIA would not confirm these claims.

    • CIA reorganizes — again. What could go wrong?

      But mixing and mingling analysts and operations officers as a general proposition is a terrible idea. Operations officers are charged with carrying out government policy on the ground; analysts are supposed to be sifting through intelligence to figure out if policy is working. When the analysts get too close to policy, they’re likely to be seduced by it, to ignore signs that it’s gone off the tracks.

      That possibility is more dangerous than ever because the CIA is more involved in carrying out policy than ever. When the agency’s 2013 budget leaked, it showed the CIA is now spending more money on covert action programs than on collecting human intelligence. Another sign of the times: Earlier this year, the CIA’s top paramilitary officer was named chief of its spying branch.

  • Environment/Energy/Wildlife

    • Creepy Ads Use Litterbugs’ DNA to Shame Them Publicly

      In the case of Hong Kong’s Face Of Litter campaign, the creative team teamed up with Parabon Nanolabs, a company out of Virginia that has developed a method to construct digital portraits from small traces of DNA. Parabon began developing this technology more than five years ago in tandem with the Department of Defense, mostly to use as a tool in criminal investigations.

  • Finance

  • PR/AstroTurf/Lobbying

    • Former CIA Director Porter Goss Registers to Lobby for Turkey
    • Former CIA Boss Goss Hired to Lobby for the Turkish Government
    • Turkey hires ex-CIA director to lobby US Congress
    • Charter School “Flexibility” Linked to Major Failures; $3.3+ Billion in Taxes Spent (Part 3)

      The “accountability” criterion was added in 2010 following Obama’s reauthorization of ESEA. after which Secretary Arne Duncan pledged in a blueprint on school choice that charter schools receiving funding under the program would now be held to even higher standards of accountability than traditional public schools.

      [...]

      For decades, a small group of millionaires and billionaires, like the Koch Brothers, have backed a legislative agenda to privatize public education in America. Lobbying groups funded by them, like the corporate bill mill ALEC (the “American Legislative Exchange Council”), have been pushing states to create and expand charter schools outside of the authority of the state public school agencies and local school boards, confining the state to limited oversight of whether authorizers have adequate policies, not over how charters spend tax dollars.

    • WATCH: How the CIA Helped Make “Zero Dark Thirty”

      Behind the scenes, the CIA secretly worked with the filmmakers, and the movie portrayed the agency’s controversial “enhanced interrogation techniques” — widely described as torture — as a key to uncovering information that led to the finding and killing of bin Laden.

    • CIA-embedded Hollywood liars and their lies

      Zero Dark Thirty, written by Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow, was a detestable work for many reasons. The film, released in December 2012 to much critical acclaim, was promoted as the true story of the decade-long hunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, assassinated by the US military in Pakistan in May 2011.

      [...]

      Hersh points out in his lengthy piece that bin Laden was not living secretly at the time of his killing in a well-guarded hideout, as depicted in the film, but “had been a prisoner of the ISI [Pakistani intelligence service] at the Abbottabad compound since 2006.” He further explains “that the CIA did not learn of bin Laden’s whereabouts by tracking his couriers, as the White House has claimed since May 2011 [seconded by Zero Dark Thirty], but from a former senior Pakistani intelligence officer [a “walk-in”!] who betrayed the secret in return for much of the $25 million reward offered by the US.”

      So there was no intense debate at CIA headquarters as to whether bin Laden was actually living at the location in question, an important sequence in Bigelow’s film. In the face of rather wishy-washy superiors, Maya boldly insists it is a “100 percent” certainty that the house’s mysterious resident is indeed the al Qaeda leader. In actual fact, Pakistani officials had acknowledged to their American counterparts he was there in Abbottabad (“less than two miles from the Pakistan Military Academy,” and “another mile or so away” from “a Pakistani army combat battalion headquarters,” observes Hersh) and even handed over a DNA sample to prove the point.

      Nor was there a deadly shoot-out at the compound. The Pakistani military and intelligence deliberately stood down and let the US Navy Seal team do its dirty work. “An ISI liaison officer flying with the Seals guided them into the darkened house and up a staircase to bin Laden’s quarters,” writes Hersh. Bin Laden was unguarded and unarmed, living on the third floor of the “shabby” house “in a cell with bars on the window and barbed wire on the roof.”

  • Censorship

  • Privacy

    • Belgian privacy bods slam Facebook for its ‘disregard’ of EU laws

      THE SOCIAL NETWORK Facebook come under fire yet again from the Belgian Privacy Commission, which has critcised the website’s “disregard” for European law.

      Documents seen by The INQUIRER show that the Belgian Privacy Commission warned Facebook on Friday that it’s “make or break” time for the company to respect the private lives of internet users.

    • The CEO and the CIA

      Hayden called up the CEO of Hewlett Packard, Carly Fiorina. “HP made precisely the equipment we needed, and we needed in bulk,” says Robert Deitz, who was general counsel at the NSA from 1998 to 2006. Deitz recalls that a tractor-trailer full of HP servers and other equipment was on the Washington, D.C. Beltway, en route to retailers, at the very moment Hayden called. Fiorina instructed her team to postpone the retailer delivery and have the driver stop. An NSA police car met up with the tractor-trailer and the truck proceeded, with an armed escort, to NSA headquarters in Fort Meade, Maryland.

    • Does Carly Fiorina have foreign policy cred?

      In 2007, then-CIA Director Michael Hayden was wrestling with a pressing question, one that would rattle the secretive organization long after his tenure: How, he wondered, could the U.S. spy agency continue to fulfill its mission in a society that increasingly demanded more transparency and public accountability?

    • Judge: Arpaio’s Attorney Must Consult CIA On Paid Informant’s Data Dump

      The revelation that Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio hired computer consultant Dennis Montgomery to investigate an alleged conspiracy by the Central Intelligence Agency is creating ripples in the contempt of court case against the sheriff.

      On Friday, United States District Court Judge Murray Snow instructed the sheriff’s attorney to contact the chief counsel for the CIA to apprise them the sheriff’s office could be in possession of CIA data.

      During the first round of the contempt hearing in April, Chief Deputy Jerry Sheridan gave a few cryptic details about why the sheriff’s office had hired Montgomery as a paid informant.

      Sheridan said Montgomery “had information that the CIA hacked into individual bank accounts.” The chief deputy testified he believed there were 50,000 Maricopa County residents impacted.

    • NSA/CIA whistleblower Dennis Montgomery intervenes and files motion to disqualify federal judge G. Murray Snow in Arpaio contempt trial

      The pleadings explain the basis for the disqualification and are supported by the sworn declaration of renowned ethics professor and expert Ronald Rotunda. Caught in the judge’s “crossfire” of his “contempt” for Sheriff Joe Arpaio is whistleblower Dennis Montgomery, whose due process, attorney/client privileges, work product and intellectual property rights have been violated.

  • Civil Rights

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