Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Covering a riot - An American nightmare

Washington DC in 1971

An American nightmare

The morning sky was dark with heavy clouds and a chill nipped at my neck as I watched the police ready for a battle that I knew would come. Over 10,000 students had descended on Washington DC in 1971 with the stated objective of shutting the city down. Anti-war protest had grown in intensity as the Vietnam War had groaned on.

I had suffered a broken collarbone covering the Democratic Convention in Chicago in 1968 and had watched white American students become more radicalized in the intervening years. There had been a time when the Black Panthers and the Black Muslims had been America’s most radical voices. Now it was young white groups that led the list of America radicalism that was sweeping the country.

I had arrived in Washington three days earlier. I had been covering protest stories back to back from New York to California. Along the way I had met three different women whom I thought would change my life and didn’t. I was in need of companionship, a head on a soft pillow and someone to talk to. Now I was faced with covering a demonstration that I knew would be filled with violence. With both sides on edge I would again put myself in the middle as I tried to broker a good story.

The day started with a ritual I always followed when covering a demonstration. I put a small bottle of vinegar and cotton in my shirt pocket-- my tear gas protection— and a mouth guard between my teeth. I had sports finders on my cameras so that it would be easy to see through them if the tear gas was bad. I put a blanket under my shirt to protect my body from the blows I knew were coming, and in my back pocket, a small flask of bourbon to steel my courage.

It was just after 9am when the long line of protesters I had joined started their face off with the police. I had spent the previous night with the chief of police and he had told me that he had pledged to the attorney general that he would keep the city open at all cost.

It was the perfect storm of a protest. White and black radicals had come together to fight the government over the war. They were well organized and backing down from the cops was out of the question. I was in the front row and to my left and right were two young women, both holding small flowers in their hands. As I watched, they held them forward as a peace offering to the line of police officers that was moving toward us in a slow and deadly march, their helmeted faces covered with gas masks. Over a loudspeaker I could hear the words “Disperse now or you will be arrested.”

A cry went up from the protesters, “Kill the pigs,” as we moved forward. It was during moments like this that I always wondered to myself why I was doing this. I started to shoot pictures, my cameras my only defense as the police drew closer.

The police were launching tear gas into the crowd now and everyone around me was struggling to move forward. Reaching into my top pocket I pulled the cotton from the bottle and shoved it into my nose. My eyes burned but I could see well enough to shoot.

The police line was now only ten feet from where I stood. A young cop who couldn’t have been more than 20 swung his nightstick at me, catching the camera I was holding to my eye, smashing it to the ground. He pulled at my press tags and hit me hard on my blanketed shoulder, then on my legs and hands, dislocating my thumb. I buckled but didn’t go down. On my left shoulder I had a camera with a 300mm lens, and using it as a club, I swung wildly and the built in lens shade caught the young cop on his left cheek, causing him to stumbled backward. I pushed forward past him, somehow evading his grasp. Up ahead I could see the police command post. It was ten feet off the ground—the perfect spot to shoot.

On the police stand I saw a number of other photographers and they thankfully waved me up. It was like a life raft for a drowning man; the relief I felt made my heart skip about 50 beats. From there I had a great view of the action and was away from the grasp of the now-crazed police that had turned on the protesters with a vengeance.

The protest lasted for another three days. In all, 2,500 protesters were arrested, 800 injured and four were killed.

The image that leads this post was taken at 8:20 in the morning at the urging of Jerry Wilson, police chief of the Washington, DC police department. As I looked at him addressing his top commander with his men behind him, I thought that it would be a short day for the demonstrators. I was so wrong. They came to Washington with passion and a cause they believed in: End the war at all cost. That anthem carried them for three long days and nights, but in the end, they had no choice but to choose the course of cessation.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Prichard, Alabama jail


Prichard, Alabama jail

A cry of innocence that went unheard

People often ask me what it was like to work at the weekly Life magazine. I tell them that they should read The Bridges of Madison County. It was a book and a movie that made me cry. It captured in many ways what life was like for me as a photographer on the road. Mine was life always full to overflowing with new people, people that I often cared deeply about. People that I often formed a lasting bond with, people that I met once and would never see again.

Horace Wilcox was just such a man. I had been on the road for almost two months straight when my best friend at the time, and fellow Life staff photographer, Vernon Merritt, sold the magazine on doing a story on Prichard Alabama. Vernon, a white man born in Alabama, had a perfect insight into the southern mindset and I, a New York-born black kid, felt deeply the need for freedom that all blacks felt. We were a perfect team to cover the changing city, and the magazine was eager to send us. We had worked together often over the years covering riots in Birmingham, Selma, Watts, Detroit, Newark, New York. We photographed back to back; I shot in one direction, he in the other, our bodies never more then two feet apart. That way if the cops were coming after us, we would see them and could beat a hasty retreat into a near by crowd.

Prichard had been the center of Klan activity in Alabama and had just elected its first black mayor a man named Jay Cooper. Vernon covered the city’s whites, and I its blacks. Cooper had vowed to change Prichard, to shatter the Klan’s long strangle hold on city government and bring an end to the violence and segregation that had marked Prichard’s past. Looking back on that period, I sometimes think that the problems our current president is facing are mild when compared to the problems and racial hatred that Cooper faced his first days in office.

It was against this background of racial hatred that I heard about Horace Wilcox. Wilcox was from the windy city of Chicago. He moved to Prichard to work on the Cooper campaign, but with the campaign two years off, he started working as a social activist with the goal of ending segregation in the local high schools. His work put him in touch with many students, both black and white. In the course of his work, he attended many school football games, dances and other social events sponsored by Prichard’s many black churches. Horace was well liked and as his work with white students started to become more visible in the local press, the police and other white city officials marked him as an outside northerner, a troublemaker who wanted to change the status quo. They found their chance after a school dance. He was falsely arrested for dancing and later raping a young white woman.

I went to see Horace in the Prichard county jail. The jail was a grim place that looked like it was pulled from an old thirties movie. Its broken windows and cracked walls provided little shelter from the outside winds and rain. The smell of unwashed flesh filled my nose the moment I stepped from my rental car. As I entered the jail, I watched two rats run along the jailhouse wall and thought about what a night in the jail must have been like with a rat as a bedside companion. As I walked through the maze of tunnels that led to Horace’s cell, voices called out to me from behind locked doors. “Cigarette, mister, cigarette, mister,” was a constant refrain.

When I got to Horace’s cell I found him staring at me with a look that could have frozen the dead. I was able to take one picture before he pulled back from his cell’s only window. The window provided his cell’s only light and was his only contact with the outside world. The cell door was secured with a small lock and had a tray of rotten food sitting at its base. The bread was blue with mold.

“How long has this food been here?” I asked.

“This morning,” he said.

“How long have you been in here?”

“I don’t know, maybe a year. They never turn off the outside light. I don’t know when one day starts and another ends.”

“People tell me that you never raped that girl.”

“Everyone at the so called trial told them that I didn’t do it,” his voice boomed from deep inside his small-blackened cell.

“Then why are they holding you?” I asked.

“You’re in Prichard, mister,” Horace said.

That was the last thing that Horace ever said to me. I told Vernon what had happened to Horace. He shook his head and repeated what Horace had said to me.

“You’re in Prichard mister.”

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Ambassador Kenneth Taylor in Iran


Canada’s own spy who came in from the cold has been revealed 30 years later. Ken Taylor, once Canada’s Ambassador in Iran in 1979 has been revealed to be a CIA Station chief.

Ken Taylor under the direction of then Prime Minister Joe Clark was to work with the Central Intelligence Agency under the United States Jimmy Carter administration. The plan to invade Iran and restore western influence and democracy to Iran failed miserably once Iran’s Islamic Student revolutionaries and supporters of Khomeini gained control of the country.

Previous to the future Islamic Republic taking control, Iran, an oil rich country was once a constitutional monarchy with a parliamentary style of government, woman had the power to vote in elections, complete with a relaxed atmosphere allowing western style dress for both men and women. Iranians for the most part enjoyed a western style democracy and education, including one of the lowest illiteracy rates amongst its populace.

All that changed in 1979. Iran was undergoing turbulent times during Mohammed Reza Shah’s reign. Many Iranian citizens took exception of the widespread western influence by the United States, western dress and a decadence many felt was contrary to Islamic teachings.

During World War II, Iran’s friendly relations with Germany, resulted in Western allies ousting the elder Reza shah of Iran from the throne and placing his son Mohammed Reza Shah as his successor, with promises of a new reign, western powers were accepting of this new monarch.

Under the rule of the new Reza shah, political infighting, riots, food shortages and accusations of mass torture by the state secret police had many Iranians living in fear. In the mid 70’s the Shah crowned himself King of Kings as Emperor of Iran, certainly many saw this as a man with a bigger ego than god, thus his eventual downfall.

Islamic cleric Ayatollah Khomeini, a thorn in the side of the Shah was exiled in France. The Ayatollah’s followers in Iran yearned for the old days of strict Islamic rule and to oust all form of Western influence.

In 1979, the Shah of Iran was overthrown and the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini quickly took power, reverting Iranian society to a strict Islamic code of conduct, which stands to this day. The Shah of Iran and his family fled to Europe.

Western Embassies in Iran were immediately targeted by the new Islamic revolutionaries, with many embassy staff fearing for their lives soon fled to their home countries. The Canadian and Swedish embassy in downtown Iran seemed safe for the ime being, perhaps because Canada and Sweden has never been seen as a threat to any country and always had a good reputation amongst all countries worldwide.

The United States on the other hand suffered the slings and arrows of Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries bent on removing by hook or by crook all things American, including taking U.S. citizens hostage as the Iranian guard overthrew the U.S. Embassy in Iran. The lucky few who escaped looked to Canada’s Ambassador Ken Taylor. Ken Taylor may have feared that anymore U.S. Embassy staff falling into Iranian hands may result in discovering Canada’s involvement with the U.S.A.

Ken Taylor took in the six U.S. Embassy staff who excaped capture, under the guise as Canadian tourists. Ken Taylor with the help of the U.S.A. gave the Americans Canadian passports, a crash course in lessons on Canadiana and when it was safe to do so brought them through Iranian security checkpoints and home safely under the guise as Canadian citizens.

The U.S. hostages still in Iranian hands were eventually released in January 1981....

Who would have thought Canada would have a spymaster working for the U.S.A? Certainly not Iran, Canadians nor Americans. Surprisingly, Canada had a wolf in sheep’s clothing called Ken Taylor, de facto CIA station chief.

Bespectacled Ken Taylor more Milquetoast than spy looks nothing like the James Bond type western citizens are fed in countless spy movies and novels, certainly Ken Taylor would be difficult to point out in a crowd....

http://www.examiner.com/x-29795-Vancouver-Social-Policy-Examiner~y2010m1d24-Canadas-homegrown-hero-Ken-Taylor-revealed-as-a-CIA-spy-chief-in-Iran

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Army Top Brass Address Gitmo

" ... 'We know from experience that torture does not produce reliable intelligence, and acting on information derived through such abuse is dangerous, to our troops, and to our nation. ... Misinformation abounds, as some have taken to the airwaves to tell us that we must abandon the rules of law, the very principles and values we have cherished since the founding of our nation, the values that [make] America America' ... "

Washington, DC, United States (AHN) - Today a year ago, new incoming U.S. President Barack Obama signed an executive order to "provide the process whereby Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now."

Today, in a letter to President Obama, a group of retired U.S. generals say they are "deeply concerned by the hysteria permeating the public debate" around closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay and filing cases against terrorism suspects in civilian court.

"Opponents of your plan to close Guantanamo are using the attempted bombing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 as an excuse to renew their calls to keep the Guantanamo prison facility open and to oppose bringing terrorist suspects to justice in federal courts," reads a letter from 33 retired flag and general officers.

"We know from experience that torture does not produce reliable intelligence, and acting on information derived through such abuse is dangerous, to our troops, and to our nation."

Four of these retired generals who signed the letter to Obama and who are members of the group of retired Generals and Admirals concerned about prisoner treatment and interrogation policies, spoke to journalists criticizing those who wanted to keep detainees as enemy combatants.

With the lengthening shadows of Christmas Day bombing in the background, Gen. David M. Maddox, Lieut. Gen. Harry E. Soyster, Major Gen. William L. Nash, and Brigadier Gen. James P. Cullen, discussed Guantanamo and Handling of Terrorist Suspects addressed a National Press Club Newsmakers press conference on Thursday, Jan. 21 in Washington, DC.

"We need to close Guantanamo Prison Facility and bring terrorists to justice. Doing so will make America more secure on the battlefield, in the skies, and on our soil," said Maddox, who said that misinformation has dominated the public debate over the issues.

"Misinformation abounds, as some have taken to the airwaves to tell us that we must abandon the rules of law, the very principles and values we have cherished since the founding of our nation, the values that makes America America," Maddox said.

Maddox disclosed that the ongoing process has already made way clear for all but 70 inmates of Guantanamo saying, "not that they're all released yet, but actions determine they will be, down to about 70."

Soyster, on his part warned against "the hysteria that is permeating in the public debate around how the United States should deal with terrorism suspects is not only unwarranted, it is dangerous. It's dangerous to us."

"Gripped by fear, some are calling for the return to the use of torture techniques against terrorism suspects in hopes of garnering useful intelligence," he said.

Soyster, an intelligence pundit asked, "If the father of the Christmas day bomber believed that America would torture his son, would he have turned him in?" adding, "We need more fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, cousins and aunts to trust in American justice and come forward with the tips, the intelligence that we need to thwart those who seek to do us harm."

The generals cautioned that the Guantanamo prison facility provides the support for al-Qaeda in recruiting, in attracting and then using the gullible young men for terrorist activities against the U.S.

Nash echoed the views of others calling for abolition of torture with, "I would just say to you that there's a direct relationship between how we behave and how people react to our behavior, especially in light of our values."

Cullen, a lawyer by profession and hailing from New York, argued, "Bringing somebody back to the scene of the crime has been the traditional thing we do."

Citing that after the World War II, "the high-ranking Nazis" were brought "to trial at Nierenberg, because Nierenberg was so associated with the rise of the terrorists of that era, the Nazi party," Cullen said, "I think the right decision was made in bringing these guys up to New York for trial once they're ready to proceed."

Members of the group had met with eight of the presidential candidates during the 2008 campaign, and when President Obama signed the Executive Orders ending torture and ordering the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison facility in the second full day of his presidency, 16 of the group's retired Generals and Admirals stood with him in the Oval Office.

Today, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, remains open with about 200 inmates.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pravda: Google's China Hypocrisy Ignores Deep CIA Connections

By: Pravda | Jan 14, 2010

The western media is currently full of articles on Google's 'threat to quit China' over internet censorship issues, and the company's 'suspicion' that the Chinese government was behind attempts to 'break-in' to several Google email accounts used by 'Chinese dissidents'.

However, the media has almost completely failed to report that Google's surface concern over 'human rights' in China is belied by its their deep involvement with some of the worst human rights abuses on the planet:

Google is, in fact, is a key participant in U.S. military and CIA intelligence operations involving torture; subversion of foreign governments; illegal wars of aggression; and military occupations of countries which have never attacked the U.S. and which have cost hundreds of thousands of lives in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and elsewhere.

To begin with, Google is the supplier of the core search technology for 'Intellipedia, a highly-secured online system where 37,000 U.S. spies and related personnel share information and collaborate on their devious errands.

Agencies such as the so-called 'National Security Agency' have also purchased servers using Google-supplied search technology which processes information gathered by U.S. spies operating all over the planet.

In addition, Google is linked to the U.S. spy and military systems through its Google Earth software venture. The technology behind this software was originally developed by Keyhole Inc., a company funded by Q-Tel http://www.iqt.org/ , a venture capital firm which is in turn openly funded and operated on behalf of the CIA.

Google acquired Keyhole Inc. in 2004. The same base technology is currently employed by U.S. military and intelligence systems in their quest, in their own words, for "full-spectrum dominance" of the planet.

Moreover, Googles' connection with the CIA and its venture capital firm extends to sharing at least one key member of personnel. In 2004, the Director of Technology Assessment at In-Q-Tel, Rob Painter, moved from his old job directly serving the CIA to become 'Senior Federal Manager' at Google.

As Robert Steele, a former CIA case officer has put it: Google is "in bed with" the CIA.

Googles Friends spy on millions of Internet Users

Given Google's supposed concern with 'break-in's to several of its email accounts, it's worth noting that Google's friends at In-Q-Tel, the investment arm of the CIA, are now investing in Visible Technologies, a software firm specialized in 'monitoring social media'.

The 'Visible' technology can automatically examine more than a million discussions and posts on blogs, online forums, Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon, and so forth each day. The technology also 'scores' each online item, assigning it a positive, negative or mixed or neutral status, based on parameters and terms set by the technology operators. The information, thus boiled down, can then be more effectively scanned and read by human operators.

The CIA venture capitalists at In-Q-Tel say they will use the technology to monitor social media operating in other countries and give U.S. spies “early-warning detection on how issues are playing internationally,” according to spokesperson Donald Tighe. There is every possibility that the technology can also be used by the U.S. intelligence operatives to spy on domestic social movements and individuals inside the U.S.

Finally, there is a curious absence from the statements emanating from Google - and from U.S. media reports - of any substantive evidence linking the Chinese government with the alleged break-in attempts to several Google email accounts.

Words like 'sophisticated' and 'suspicion' have appeared in the media to suggest that the Chinese government is responsible for the break-ins. That may be so. But it is striking that the media has seemingly asked no questions as to what the evidence behind the 'suspicions' might be

It should be noted that the U.S. government and its intelligence agencies have a long history of rogue operations intended to discredit governments or social movements with whom they happen to disagree. To see how far this can go, one need only recall the sordid history of disinformation, lies, and deceit propagated by U.S. government and media to frighten people into supporting the Iraq war.

Whether the attacks on Google email originated from the Chinese government, or from elsewhere, one thing is clear: A company that supplies the CIA with key intelligence technology; supplies mapping software which can be used for barbarous wars of aggression and drone attacks which kill huge numbers of innocent civilians; and which in general is deeply intertwined with the CIA and the U.S. military machines, which spy on millions, the company cannot be motivated by real concern for the human rights and lives of the people in China.

By Eric Sommer
Pravda.ru

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article16486.html

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Fascist Fantasia

Also see: Lou Dobbs' Spokesman, Knight of Malta Robert Dilenschneider

Is CNBC prepared to Invest in Dobbs and His Record of Conspiracy Theories and Inflammatory Rhetoric?
Media Matters | December 01, 2009

A December 1 New York Times blog post reported that Lou Dobbs "has held talks with the business news network CNBC in recent weeks" and that he "could conceivably host a prime time program for CNBC" or "become a commentator for the business news network." Given Dobbs' record of promoting baseless conspiracy theories and engaging in inflammatory rhetoric, Media Matters for America questions why CNBC would want to tarnish its brand -- as CNN did -- by hiring him.

From the December 1 New York Times blog post:
Lou Dobbs, who is likely to make a decision about his post-CNN career this month, has held talks with the business news network CNBC in recent weeks, two people with knowledge of the discussions say.

Mr. Dobbs, a free agent whose exit from CNN last month prompted speculation about plans for a political bid, could conceivably host a prime time program for CNBC. He could also become a commentator for the business news network.

The people who spoke about the talks requested anonymity because they were not authorized by their employers to speak about it. [The New York Times' Media Decoder, 12/1/09]

Is this the kind of brand CNBC wants to be associated with?

Dobbs repeatedly advanced false conspiracy theories about Obama's birth certificate.

As Media Matters extensively documented, Dobbs suggested on his July 15 CNN show that the birth certificate President Obama provided to FactCheck.org was not "the real document" and suggested on his radio show that day that it was not "the real deal." After asking if Obama should be "more forthcoming" about his birth certificate, Dobbs added: "One of our callers, by the way, pointed out that he didn't release -- he didn't release his medical records, either. Now isn't that interesting? And hasn't produced some other documents. What's the deal? What is the deal here? I'm starting to think we have a -- we have a document issue. Do you suppose he's un -- no, I won't even use the word undocumented. It wouldn't be right." On his July 21 radio show, Dobbs faulted "certain quarters of the national liberal media" for "absolutely trying to knock down the issue of President Obama's birth certificate." On his July 23 radio show, Dobbs addressed media reports on his conspiracy theories by declaring, "I do believe in a national left-wing media conspiracy in which they work in concert and attack like hell."

Dobbs used CNN to elevate wild conspiracy theories and legitimize hate groups. The notion that Obama was born outside the United States wasn't the first outrageous theory that Dobbs promoted on CNN. As Media Matters documented, Dobbs has repeatedly accused the U.S. government of secretly plotting with the governments of Mexico and Canada to merge the three countries into a "North American Union" -- a charge his own CNN colleagues labeled a "conspiracy theor[y]." Dobbs has promoted the smear that Mexican immigrants are conspiring to reclaim the Southwest for Mexico and at one point illustrated this theory by using a graphic sourced to the Council of Conservative Citizens, a hate group that "oppose[s] all efforts to mix the races of mankind." Dobbs famously aired a false report about a purported spike in leprosy cases linked to illegal immigration and repeatedly defended his show's reporting even after it had been proven wrong.

Dobbs had close ties to "hate group" FAIR. In September, Dobbs helped lead the annual "Hold Their Feet to the Fire" radio host rally organized by the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) -- an organization the Southern Poverty Law Center has designated a "hate group." On August 28, Media Matters president Eric Burns wrote an open letter to CNN president Jonathan Klein urging him to prohibit Dobbs from participating in the FAIR event. Media Matters also documented that Dobbs used his CNN show to report on the FAIR rally without disclosing during those reports that he was helping lead it. A year earlier, Dobbs had broadcast his CNN show from the FAIR rally. In addition, the group has given Dobbs an award for "his continued efforts in leading the immigration reform movement through both his talk radio show and his television show." In the past year, Dobbs has cited FAIR as a credible source on immigration issues at least six times and has routinely failed to disclose his close association with the group.

Dobbs smeared U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce as sympathetic to "Mexico's export of drugs and illegal aliens." On March 10, Dobbs criticized Obama for delivering a speech on education to the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. Dobbs accused Obama of "pandering to the pro-amnesty open-borders lobby" and aired a clip of a FAIR spokesman saying, "We don't want the president to make it appear as if he's favoring one particular group in the disposition of public benefits." Dobbs also said, "Making a decision to talk about a national initiative on education from the U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, which is effectively an organization that is interested in the export of American capital and production to Mexico, and Mexico's export of drugs and illegal aliens to the United States. This is crazy stuff." On March 17, Dobbs said he "made a mistake," explaining, "I, of course, do not believe that the chamber supports or condones either drug or human trafficking. My apologies to the ... U.S. Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, and I hope that they will forgive me for that misspeaking."

Dobbs declared, "Mexico has become our enemy." As Media Matters documented, Dobbs complained on his March 3 radio show that there are people "trying to control our political agendas" and "social agendas with political correctness, trying to control thought, and, of course, speech through political correctness." He added that while it may be "politically incorrect," it is "absolutely factually correct" that "Mexico has become our enemy."

— J.H.

http://mediamatters.org/research/200912010022

Citizens United used 'Hillary: The Movie' to take on McCain-Feingold

By Philip Rucker
Washington Post | January 22, 2010

David Bossie, a veteran Republican campaign operative [Swiftboater] who made his mark investigating the Clintons, thought his group could offer a conservative answer to Michael Moore's successful films. After Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11" premiered in 2004, Bossie's Citizens United group released "Celsius 41.11."

And after it became clear that Bossie's longtime enemy Hillary Rodham Clinton would run for president, Citizens United released another flick: "Hillary: The Movie." Featuring a who's-who cast of right-wing commentators, the 2008 film takes viewers on a savaging journey through Clinton's scandals. The sole compliment about the then-senator comes from conservative firebrand Ann Coulter: "Looks good in a pantsuit."

But "Hillary: The Movie" never became a blockbuster. The Federal Election Commission restricted Citizens United's ability to advertise the film during the 2008 primary season, a decision that Bossie and other conservative activists saw as a threat to their freedom of speech.

"The marketplace for my movie was completely and totally shut down by the Federal Election Commission," Bossie said in an interview Thursday.

So he sued -- and thus was born Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the legal drama that resulted in Thursday's dramatic Supreme Court decision to overturn restrictions on corporate spending on behalf of or in opposition to political candidates.

Critics said Citizens United created the withering movie knowing that it would fall under the tangle of broadcast and advertising restrictions in the McCain-Feingold campaign finance law.

"The movie was created with the idea of establishing a vehicle to chip away at the decision," said Nick Nyhart, president of Public Campaign, a group that opposed Thursday's decision. "It was part of a very clear strategy to undo McCain-Feingold." ...

Bossie and his legal team fast-tracked the case, appealing to the Supreme Court. They easily recruited one of the right's most experienced lawyers, Theodore B. Olson. He worked with the group's counsel, Michael Boos, and Floyd Abrams, a veteran First Amendment lawyer who worked on the Pentagon Papers case.

Olson, a former solicitor general, had argued before the Supreme Court countless times, including representing George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount. But this case was special.

"Hillary: The Movie" was dedicated to his wife, Barbara Olson, a conservative commentator who was a passenger on American Airlines Flight 77 when it crashed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001. She was a longtime Clinton critic, working with Bossie in the trenches on Capitol Hill through the 1990s investigations, and wrote the book "Hell to Pay: The Unfolding Story of Hillary Rodham Clinton." ...

Full story at the Washington Post

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/21/AR2010012103582.html?hpid=topnews

Monday, January 18, 2010

Questions over Deaths of 3 Guantanamo Detainees Raised by Magazine Article

Also see: The Suppressed Fact: 100 Deaths by U.S. Torture

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS (CP)

WASHINGTON — Three Guantanamo Bay detainees whose deaths were ruled a suicide in 2006 apparently were transported from their cells hours before their deaths to a secret site on the island, according to an article in Harper's magazine.

The published account released Monday raises serious questions about whether the three detainees actually died by hanging themselves in their cells and suggests the U.S. government is covering up details of what precisely happened in the hours before the deaths.

Harper's reports that the deaths of the three detainees, or the events that led directly to their deaths, most likely occurred at a previously undisclosed facility a mile or so from the main Guantanamo Bay prison complex.

Harper's based much of its account on interviews with several prison guards who said they knew of the existence of the "black" site and that they saw three detainees removed from Camp Delta several hours before the deaths were reported and were in a white van proceeding toward the secret site.

Those who knew of the black facility referred to it as "Camp No," reported the magazine, quoting Army Sgt. Joe Hickman, one of the guards.

Anyone who asked if the black site existed would be told, "No, it doesn't," the magazine reported, quoting Hickman.

After the terror attacks on U.S. soil on Sept. 11, 2001, the CIA set up a number of so-called "black" sites around the world, where harsh interrogations of terrorism-era suspects took place. The Harper's article suggested such a site at Guantanamo Bay may have belonged to the CIA or to the U.S. military's Joint Special Operations Command.

On Monday, in response to the article, Army Col. Michael Bumgarner said in an email that "this blatant misrepresentation of the truth infuriates me."

Bumgarner said that Hickman "is only trying to be a spotlight ranger; he knows nothing about what transpired in Camp 1 or our medical facility. I do, I was there." Camp 1 is the facility where the three detainees were ordinarily held."

Bumgarner added that he would have to get clearance before he can talk to the news media, "but rest assured, I do want to talk to you very badly and set the record straight."

The three Guantanamo detainees who died the night of June 9-10, 2006 were Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, 37, of Yemen; Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, 30, of Saudi Arabia; and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, 22, of Saudi Arabia.

The article says that at a 7 a.m. meeting on June 10, 2006 with 50 or so soldiers and sailors, Army Col. Michael Bumgarner said that the three men had died by swallowing rags, causing them to choke to death. Bumgarner was a commander at Guantanamo Bay.

According to the magazine, Bumgarner went on to say that the news media would be guided to report something different - that the three prisoners had committed suicide by hanging themselves in their cells.

The servicemen were to make no comments or suggestions that in any way undermined the official report, Bumgarner reminded them, according to the Harper's piece, written by Scott Horton, an attorney who has worked for years on Guantanamo Bay detainee issues.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5h97BGvSdx97hHzNDkUiDzI8JsB7A

Qaeda Says Fighters Alive, Yemen Vows More Strikes

DUBAI (Reuters) - The Yemen-based wing of al Qaeda said on Monday its fighters had survived an air strike last week that Yemeni officials said killed six leaders of the militant group.

"The Yemeni government has been making many false claims ... against the Mujahideen leaders in the Arabian Peninsula," al Qaeda's Yemen-based wing, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, said in a statement on an Islamist website used by the group.

"The latest of these claims is that it killed six of them between the provinces of al-Jawf and Saada. We assure our Muslim nation that none of the Mujahideen were killed in that strike, but some have suffered mild injuries," it added. ...

Yemen ... came to the forefront of U.S.-led efforts to battle militants after al Qaeda's Yemen wing said it was behind an attempt on December 25 to bomb a U.S.-bound passenger plane. ...

Friday's strike on two cars was reported to have killed the Yemeni al Qaeda wing's military chief Qasim al-Raymi as well as Ayed al-Shabwani, accused of sheltering militants on his farm in Maarib province where their training took place. ...

The death of another militant, Anwar al-Awlaki, who Yemen reported last month might have been killed in an air strike, was never confirmed.

FULL STORY

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE60H1MP20100118

The Brother of James Earl Ray Links the CIA to the Murder of Martin L. King and Details His Abuse at the Hands of the FBI

Also see: "MLK: Sex, Lies & (FBI) Idiot Types"

By Alex Constantine


The following letter to Barry F. Kowalski, former special counsel at the Criminal Section of the Civil Rights Division of the U. S. Department of Justice, was written by John Larry Ray, brother of James Earl Ray, on March 8, 1999. I acqured this document shortly after it was written, and am revealing some of its contents here for the first time.

The letter has not been edited for typographical and grammatical errors. It is transcribed here exactly as typed.



Joseph Paul Franklin, mentioned in the text, crippled Larry Flynt, publisher of Hustler, for life with a bullet meant to silence the publisher's investigation of the John Kennedy assassination. Franklin has never been tried for the attempted murder of Mr. Flynt, but was convicted for an unrelated homicide.
••••••
Greetings Barry F. Kowalski:

In 1998, u.s. attorney-general Janet Reno put you in charge of conducting a limited investigation into the shooting of Rev. Martin Luther King. A few months later, I made copies of confessions of James Earl Ray, and John Larry Ray to you, and told you to make information from these confessions available to the public, such information as:

• That military policeman James Earl Ray, and the OSS/CIA agents had connections to another racial shooting in Germany.

• That James Earl Ray accepted a sum of money from mobsters, and CIA agents in Illinois, and Canada to carry out some type of assignment.

• That since 1968, all the FBI directors, all the Attorney Generals, and members of Congress has buried this connection between Ray, and the CIA.

• That all the afore-mentioned FBI directors, Attorney Generals, and Congressmen carried out the following act of terrorism against John Larry Ray because he wouldn't join up with them in this Grand Conspiracy:

1) That the feds put John Larry Ray under custody for 18 years for supposedly picking a person up on a highway, who was not found guilty of robbing a bank in St. Peters, Missouri.

2) That the feds added an additional three (3) years to this sentence, because he was tardy about submitting a sample of his handwriting to the FBI.

3) That the feds ran John Larry Ray in and out of prisons, because he would not give testimony to Congress supporting their conspiracy.

4) That the feds tried to get serial-assassing Joseph Paul Franklin to give testimony that John Larry Ray was connected to the shooting of Urban-League president Vernon Jordan.

5) That the feds tried to put the SPECIAL DANGEROUS OFFENDERS ACT on the back of John Larry Ray.

6) That the feds beat on the head of John Larry Ray so much that he had to take two brain waive tests. Once at the Incarante Word hospital in St. Louis, Missouri, and once at the St. Johns hospital in Springfield, Illinois. Its believed by some doctors that such injuries can cause Diabetes.

7) That the feds withheld Diabetic medication from John Larry Ray, wich shortened his lifespan, and made a cripple out of him for life.

9) That the feds tried to put John Larry Ray in an Illinois insane asylum, because he would not go along with their Grand Conspiracy, but a sanity jury ruled, that there was nothing wrong with the sanity of John L. Ray.

10) That the feds accused,or charged John Larry Ray of committing more than 30 felonies in justifying holding him under custody for more than 25 years.

I am still waiting for you to made the afore-mentioned information available to the public. If you do not I will have to make such information available to the public. If I do not make such information available to the public, I moght wind up in solitary confinement in some asylum in the united states, or stretched out beneath a tombstone before my time.

One reason I believe that the feds are involved in assassinations is that after each investigation, they seal up their findings for 50 years, thus, the feds
investigating assassinations in the united states, would be like Jack the Ripper investigating who was carving up ladies of the night in England.

I Remain,

John Larry Ray,
Soulard City, Missouri

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Scott Brown, Right-Wing Nut: Smeared Obama as Born Out of Wedlock

January 17, 2010

(ChattahBox)—-A recent video uncovered by the blog Blue Mass Group, reveals Massachusetts Republican senatorial candidate Scott Brown to be something of a right-wing birther nut. It’s long been known that the state lawmaker has sought out and received support from fringe teapartiers and right-wing corporate front groups, such as the Club for Growth and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks, which are funded by Wall Street to kill the health care bill and financial regulatory reform. But it’s not been known how much of the fringe right-wing conspiracy laced Kool-Aid Scott has consumed. Well, according to an interview in 2008, Brown has OD’ed on the stuff.

Brown advanced the fringe conspiracy notion that then-presidential candidate Barack Obama was illegitimate. The former nude Cosmo model apparently thought it was amusing to falsely suggest that Barack Obama was born out of wedlock to an unmarried 18-year-old mother.

Brown even gleefully chuckled when responding to the interviewer’s statement that Obama’s parents were married when he was born, “Well I don’t know about that.” “Uh huh huh,” Brown chuckled.

According to the report by Blue Mass Group, Brown was part of a panel that aired on the now-defunct CN8 cable news channel shortly after the 2008 Republican convention. During the panel discussion, Brown vigorously defended Sarah Palin as a vice presidential candidate as having “a lot of good core values.”

When the discussion turned towards Bristol Palin’s teenage pregnancy, Brown compared the situation to Obama’s mother Ann Dunham who was 18-years-old when she gave birth to Obama. Brown then odiously suggested that Obama was born out of wedlock:

“And quite frankly Barack’s mom had him when she was—18 years old?” When the interviewer noted that Obama’s parents were married, Brown replied, “Well, I don’t know about that. Uh huh huh.”

As pointed out by the Blue Mass Group, the context to Brown’s suggestion that Obama is illegitimate is important. During that time in 2008, fringe birther conspirators were promoting a campaign to discredit Obama as illegitimate to become President of the United States, claiming that he was not a natural born citizen. Right-wingers like Jerome Corsi, co-author of “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” and the fevered swamps of World Net Daily pushed the lie that Obama was born out of wedlock, despite ample evidence that his parents were married when he was born in 1961.

The right-wing birthers somehow linked their crazed conspiracy theories to the notion that Obama was illegitimate. As encapsulated by Steve Benen of the Political Animal: “Brown wasn’t just attacking the future president and his parents during the interview; he was also lending credence to fringe right-wing stupidity.”

Brown has attempted to distance himself from Sarah Palin during his campaign and he has portrayed himself as a voice for ordinary citizens who are tired of the political machine. “It’s me against the machine,” says Brown. But based on his past statements, and present associations with fringe right-wing groups, if he somehow becomes elected to the U.S. Senate, Brown intends to appease the crazed right-wingers and his corporate masters; not the people of Massachusetts. The prospect is chilling.

Watch Brown gush over Sarah Palin and suggest Obama was born out of wedlock:

Pacifica Radio's Steve Brown (WBAI-NY Station Board) is a Mail-Order Fraud

Steve Brown is a prominent member of the Local Station Board (LSB) of WBAI 99.5FM in New York. He is currently running for reelection and is a leader of the Alliance for Community Elections (ACE), which has endorsed 8 other board candidates.

Steve Brown is also a multi-millionaire with a history of being one of the biggest direct mail marketers in the US. According to the Seattle Times, at one point Steve Brown claimed to be responsible for four percent of all the junk mail in the country. According to the New York Times, in 1986 alone he earned $500,000 in salary and up to $13 million in dividends.

Steve Brown's Direct Mail Career

The businesses Steve Brown owned engaged in questionable practices that caused the Attorneys General of seven states, including New York, to step in.

They "investigated, filed suit or forced the company to halt various business practices." (NYT) The Times notes that "The F.T.C. in 1986 issued a consent decree under which Raffoler [one of Brown's business names], without admitting guilt, paid a $150,000 penalty and agreed not to violate mail order rules."

In 1988, "Elizabeth Bradford, an assistant attorney general, said last summer in a complaint filed in State Supreme Court, "Having shown themselves incapable of making an honest sale or a consistently timely delivery, they should not be permitted to conduct any further mail order business in the state of New York." (NYT) According to Crain's, "In January [1992], DME [Direct Marketing Enterprises, another business name of Brown's] settled a five-year-old lawsuit with the New York state attorney general. DME, while admitting no guilt, agreed to changes in advertising, complaint resolution and its refund procedures. It also paid the state $175,000 in investigation costs."

For more detailed info:

A NY Times exposé on Steve Brown's mail-order business practices
Crain's New York Business on complaints against Steve Brown's company
The Seattle Times on Steve Brown's marketing to the gullible
UPI on Steve Brown's settlement with the NY State Attorney General
Crain's on a canceled IPO and a Post Office probe
Misc. articles about complaints and legal actions against Steve Brown's companies
Steve Brown's $7 million French chateau
A bibliography of articles referenced
WBAI LSB disassociates itself from public comments of Steve Brown
Video: Behind Steve Brown's Fabulous Wealth

Brown's company's plan to go public was scuttled -- in part because investors' confidence was shaken by a US Postal Service probe. "Investors apparently won't get their once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy stock in Direct Marketing Enterprises Ltd., the Long Island mail-order company known for its low-priced, hyperbolically promoted merchandise." (Crain's)

Incidentally, Steve Brown also owns an 18th century French Chateau, called Chateau des Thons, on sale for $7 million, which had been disassembled in France and brought to the US and reconstructed in Long Island.

Steve Brown's Controversial Actions in the WBAI Community

At WBAI Steve Brown has been a member of a group that has opposed affirmative action in the governance of Pacifica, and has attacked and vilified progressive African American Program Director Bernard White. The attacks have been on a number of fronts. Brown has regularly exaggerated, distorted and even fabricated stories about the program director and has used e-mail for the last several years to spread the stories.

Steve Brown has issued clear, unequivocal calls to turn the station's main focus away from oppressed communities and in the direction of serving the white middle class -- the same kind of audience that NPR and Air America already serve. In 2003 on a public email list he wrote: "... There is not just 'one' WBAI audience -- but 'two.' The first of these audiences, we have always sought to attract -- it comprises the voiceless, the downtrodden, and the oppressed. But we must be careful not to indulge in an orgy of misguided nobility and political correctness by convincing ourselves that this should be our ONLY audience, or even our 'main' audience."

Steve Brown has relentlessly used racist and violent imagery to attack Black station staff. At one point after making unsubstantiated charges against Bernard White, Brown wrote: "If you were there, you should have been at her [Interim General Manager Indra Hardat's] side whacking Bernard with a baseball bat and then calling the police." At another point he wrote: "One witness describes coming to the station these days as like living in the South Bronx, where rival gangs are shooting at each other and all you can do is keep your head down to keep from getting beaten up, knifed, or shot." This is not only a patently and outrageously false depiction of the station, it is also designed to play on the racial fears of white people.

What Does This Mean for the WBAI Elections?

Steve Brown is the leader of ACE, the Alliance for Community Elections. ACE is the 2006 makeover of List-Prog, the 2004 slate in which he also played a leading role. List-Prog members discarded the name following widespread criticism of their role in pushing out Don Rojas, the General Manager of WBAI, attempts to remove Program Director Bernard White, and an attempt to remove Father Lawrence Lucas from the WBAI Local Station Board after he became hospitalized, saying he had "unexcused absences."

Steve Brown brings to WBAI the kind of tactics that made him a wealthy but legally embattled king of the direct mail business. And now WBAI is paying the price.

For an alternative to Steve Brown, visit the Justice & Unity website.

http://whoisstevebrown.info/

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New poll shows broad public support for health-care reform, even as Obama’s approval ratings suffer

Story at the Moderate Voice.

Court: Feds Can Hide Alleged Spying on Gitmo Lawyers

By David Kravets
December 30, 2009

A federal appeals court on Wednesday upheld the government’s refusal to admit or deny it has documents related to warrantless eavesdropping on Guantanamo Bay detainees and their lawyers.

In doing so, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals accepted a little-known defense called the Glomar doctrine. The doctrine, the court ruled, allows the National Security Agency to refuse to acknowledge to the lawyers suing under the Freedom of Information Act that there are any documents responsive to allegations their clients had been or are being targeted under the Terrorist Surveillance Program adopted following the 2001 terror attacks.

“Confirming or denying the mere existence of specific records in a general surveillance program would logically be both confirming or denying that the NSA was targeting a specific individual and confirming or denying that the NSA is conducting a general surveillance program,” (.pdf) the New York-based appellate court wrote Wednesday.

Typically, under Freedom of Information Act requests unrelated to national security, the government announces that it has documentation related to a request, and releases or withholds some or all of it. ...

More: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2009/12/gitmo-lawyer-eavesdropping/

Friday, January 15, 2010

Obama Staffer wants ‘Cognitive Infiltration’ of 9/11 Conspiracy Groups

Suggestion: Tax revenue would be better spent on the cognitive infiltration of Harvard University. The ranking Ivy League institution offers no course on the history of fascism and its corporate roots - because students would quickly come to realize that they live in a fascist state, that their basic beliefs about themselves and their country are cooked public relations concepts. The cognitive infiltration of Harvard is necessary to correct this perceptual imbalance and introduce lackluster academic minds like Prof. Sunstein's to actual reality, a place where fascism is inherently conspiratorial and not a "theory." Students exposed to the cognitive infiltration of reality at Harvard will recognize that Prof. Sunstein is an enabler of fascism whose counter-Constitutional proposals have underpinnings of intellectual quackery and state propaganda. - AC

By Daniel Tencer
Raw | January 13th, 2010

Cass Sunstein

In a 2008 academic paper, President Barack Obama's appointee to head the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs advocated "cognitive infiltration" of groups that advocate "conspiracy theories" like the ones surrounding 9/11.

Cass Sunstein, a Harvard law professor, co-wrote an academic article entitled "Conspiracy Theories: Causes and Cures," in which he argued that the government should stealthily infiltrate groups that pose alternative theories on historical events via "chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine" those groups.

As head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Sunstein is in charge of "overseeing policies relating to privacy, information quality, and statistical programs," according to the White House Web site.

Sunstein's article, published in the Journal of Political Philosphy in 2008 and recently uncovered by blogger Marc Estrin, states that "our primary claim is that conspiracy theories typically stem not from irrationality or mental illness of any kind but from a 'crippled epistemology,' in the form of a sharply limited number of (relevant) informational sources."

By "crippled epistemology" Sunstein means that people who believe in conspiracy theories have a limited number of sources of information that they trust. [?]Therefore, Sunstein argued in the article, it would not work to simply refute the conspiracy theories in public -- the very sources that conspiracy theorists believe would have to be infiltrated.

Sunstein, whose article focuses largely on the 9/11 conspiracy theories, suggests that the government "enlist nongovernmental officials in the effort to rebut the theories. It might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts."

Download a PDF of the article here.

Sunstein argued that "government might undertake (legal) tactics for breaking up the tight cognitive clusters of extremist theories." He suggested that "government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action."

"We expect such tactics from undercover cops, or FBI," Estrin writes at the Rag Blog, expressing surprise that "a high-level presidential advisor" would support such a strategy.

Estrin notes that Sunstein advocates in his article for the infiltration of "extremist" groups so that it undermines the groups' confidence to the extent that "new recruits will be suspect and participants in the group’s virtual networks will doubt each other’s bona fides."

Sunstein has been the target of numerous "conspiracy theories" himself, mostly from the right wing political echo chamber, with conservative talking heads claiming he favors enacting "a second Bill of Rights" that would do away with the Second Amendment. Sunstein's recent book, On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done, was criticized by some on the right as "a blueprint for online censorship."

Sunstein "wants to hold blogs and web hosting services accountable for the remarks of commenters on websites while altering libel laws to make it easier to sue for spreading 'rumors,'" wrote Ed Lasky at American Thinker.

http://rawstory.com/2010/01/obama-staffer-infiltration-911-groups/

Sarah Palin, Polar Bears and Exxon Junk Science

Posted by kert_davies | Greenpeace | 10/01/2008

Guardian writer Ed Pilkington took a fresh swat at Governor Sarah Palin's use and defense of Exxon-funded junk science on polar bears in the State of Alaska's attempts to to kill the listing of the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act. ...

Much has been made of Palin's denial of global warming since she was nominated as the GOP Veep candidate, but no one has questioned her credibility for using 'research' that was funded by ExxonMobil, American Petroleum Institute and Charles Koch Foundation.

We are wondering if Gwen Ifill of PBS will ask Ms. Palin a pointed question tomorrow? or if Senator Biden has read the Guardian story?

Tom Kizza at the Anchorage Daily News has followed this story the best. ...

This classic ExxonSecrets map of the junk science authors from the Dyck, Soon, et al article shows once again the tentacles of the Denial Machine (see page 9 for acknowledgement of funding from Exxon and friends). Palin's goon squad cited the Dyck, Soon paper 6 times and even attached a copy of the article (pre-publication) to their 49 page submission to the Department of Interior.

All the background documents can be found on Greenpeace Investigations:

Exxon funded junk science
rebuttal by real polar bear scientists
Alaska's submissions to Department of Interior

No reporters have questioned Exxon or API about funding this research and no one has gotten the scientists themselves on the record as to how much money they got from Exxon and friends and the marching orders attached to that funding.

http://members.greenpeace.org/blog/exxonsecrets/2008/10/01/sarah_palin_polar_bears_and_exxon_junk_s

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Scott Ritter - Ex-UN weapons inspector in child-sex sting

Ex-UN weapons inspector in child-sex sting
Ritter had said earlier charges were meant to silence criticism of Iraq war
Mike Groll / AP via MSNBC
Police Affidavit

Scott Ritter talks to reporters at his home in Delmar, N.Y., on Thursday.

PHILADELPHIA - A longtime U.N. weapons inspector who blamed a 2001 sex-sting arrest on his criticism of the Iraq war has again been charged in an online child-sex case, and this time he was caught on camera.

Scott Ritter, 48, of Delmar, New York, engaged in a sexually graphic online chat with an undercover police officer posing as a 15-year-old girl nearly a year ago, police in northeastern Pennsylvania said. He then turned on a webcam and masturbated on camera, they charged.

Monroe County authorities traced the exchange to Ritter through a cell phone number he provided, and confirmed the match through photographs, according to a police affidavit. Charges were filed in November and the Pocono Record revealed Ritter's involvement on Thursday.

Ritter, an ex-Marine, declined to comment to reporters gathered Thursday at his home near Albany, New York.

"I told you guys I'm not going to say anything, so please just go away," he said after answering the door to the home, adorned with a welcome mat that reads "U.S. Marine Corps, The Ritters."

Ritter, born William Scott Ritter Jr., served as a UN weapons inspector from 1991 to 1998 before resigning. He soon became a harsh critic of the administration of President George H.W. Bush administration's push toward war with Iraq.

In 2003, he acknowledged in TV news appearances that he had faced online child-sex charges in 2001 in New York, but said they were designed to silence his war criticism. The charges were dismissed.

Ritter waived a Dec. 17 preliminary hearing and is free on $25,000 bail. He is due in court Feb. 23 for a status hearing, and would face trial March 9 barring any requests for continuance.

Defense lawyer Todd Henry did not immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

According to published interviews, Ritter has twin daughters who are about 16. He met his second wife, Marina, a translator, while assigned as a counterintelligence officer in the former Soviet Union. They moved to upstate New York about 10 years ago.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The CIA Deliberately Misspells Terrorists' Names and Bypasses TSA to Let Terrorists Fly

The CIA Misspells Al Qaeda Terrorists Names and Bypasses TSA to Let Terrorists Fly – A DCBureau.org Exclusive
11 Jan 2010
DCBureau.org
Press Release

WASHINGTON - (Business Wire) One of the 9/11 hijackers appeared on the no-fly list with a deliberately misspelled name. The CIA supplied that name just like they did Umar Farouk Abulmutallab’s. DCBureau is publishing the page from the 2006 no-fly list with the misspelled 9/11 hijacker’s name.

Veteran investigative reporters Susan and Joseph Trento, who first obtained and exposed the flaws in the no-fly list in 2006, have completed a new investigation of the CIA’s role in airline security. It reveals that the CIA is bypassing other government agencies and following terrorists on airplanes without telling TSA or the airlines involved. It shows how terrorists and nuclear proliferators have been allowed to fly because the CIA has refused to add their correct names or aliases to the no-fly list.

Part I of their two-part investigation –“The No Fly List”– is posted on the DCBureau.org Web site. The two part investigation reveals:

The CIA deliberately misspells names and does not provide aliases of suspected terrorists and criminals who are being targeted for recruitment or have relationships with the agency when it passes names on to the National Counterterrorism Center to be integrated in the Terrorism Identity Datamart Environment (TIDE), Selectee, and no-fly lists.

Khalid al-Mihdhar was known to the CIA as one of two men who had attended a meeting of Al Qaeda officials in Malaysia before coming to the United States. That hijacker was also a Saudi Arabian intelligence agent with the General Intelligence Directorate, the Saudi agency that works closely with the CIA. Al-Mihdhar was on the no-fly list as “al-Midham.” Al-Mihdhar helped fly American Airline Flight 77 into the Pentagon on 9/11. Fourteen other 9/11 hijackers appeared on the list five years after they had supposedly died in the attacks. The report also discloses the CIA refused to share language software that would vastly ease problems in matching Arab names to other government agency lists.

DCBureau reveals that the CIA in 2006 deliberately allowed a flight school associate of the 9/11 hijackers to fly to New Zealand and lost track of him only to have New Zealand authorities learn that he had signed up for airline training.

DCBureau reports that Issa Abdullah (Cleven Holt) is not on the no-fly list even though he was a suspect in the Beirut Marine Barracks bombing and was suspected of planning attacks on US troops in Bosnia during a visit by President Clinton. Holt visited the United States last fall and had no trouble flying into the country.

All articles published by DCBureau.org can be reprinted for free with attribution by any outlet.

DCBureau.org
Joseph Trento, 202-466-4310
mobile: 202-255-2441

http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/show/the-cia-misspells-al-qaeda,1114977.shtml

Oliver Stone Suggests Hitler is 'Easy Scapegoat'

" ... The director ... said his intention was to broaden minds, delving into the funding of the Nazi party and how American corporations were involved in it. ... "
Oliver Stone, the controversial film director, is facing another backlash after suggesting that Hitler was made an "easy scapegoat" by history.

By Nick Allen in Los Angeles
Telegraph | 10 Jan 2010

Stone ... has made a new documentary series which he says will place historical figures including Hitler and Stalin "in context".

The director claimed many people in America did not understand the connection between the First World War and the Second World War and said his intention was to broaden minds, delving into the funding of the Nazi party and how American corporations were involved in it.

Stone said he did not want to make an "easy" history programme and talked about trying to understand people he despises. His series will aim to uncover little reported facts that shaped the modern United States.

Professor Peter Kuznick, the lead writer on the series, said the programme would not portray Hitler in a more positive light, but would describe him as a historical phenomenon rather than "somebody who appeared out of nowhere".

Stone has courted controversy before, most notably in his film JFK which suggested a high level conspiracy to assassinate President Kennedy. He has also polarised opinion with controversial films about President George W Bush, and Fidel Castro, the former Cuban leader.

Stone said his latest series would show history from an internationalist, rather than an American, point of view. That included a "complete other story" about how Stalin had fought against the German war machine more than anyone.

The director said he fully expected to face a backlash from conservative pundits.

He said: "Obviously, Rush Limbaugh is not going to like this history and, as usual, we're going to get those kind of ignorant attacks." Stone, 63, who won Oscars for directing Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July, also won a Purple Heart for his own military service in Vietnam.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/celebritynews/6962475/Oliver-Stone-suggests-Hitler-is-easy-scapegoat.html

Monday, January 11, 2010

Flight 253: The Cover-Up (Re UnderpantsGate)

See: "UnderpantsGate: Big Oil, the CIA and the Attempted Bombing of Flight 253 as Justification for Military Operations in Yemen & Nigeria (w/Updates)"

NOW we'll get to the bottom of this ...

Ex-CIA official to lead inquiry into plane incident
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post | January 9, 2010

The Obama administration's top intelligence official has appointed a retired CIA analyst to head an internal investigation of the failures that led to the Dec. 25 attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner.

John E. McLaughlin, a former deputy CIA director, will lead a review of missteps by U.S. intelligence agencies and assess proposals for correcting weaknesses in a system that did not respond to warnings about terrorism suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, said Director of National Intelligence Dennis C. Blair.

Blair said the review will also examine the events leading to the Nov. 5 shootings at Fort Hood, Tex. The assessments will produce "candid, constructive guidance to improve our future performance," he said.

McLaughlin, 67, was named deputy CIA director under George J. Tenet in 2000. McLaughlin briefly served as acting director of the spy agency after Tenet stepped down in 2004. McLaughlin retired later that year.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/08/AR2010010803754.html

And WHO is John McLaughlin?

" ... With this appointment, President Barack Obama has assured that the culture of intelligence cover-up will continue. ... "

President Obama, the CIA and the Master of the Cover-Up
11 December 2010

by: Melvin A. Goodman

The Obama administration quietly announced Friday the appointment of John McLaughlin, former deputy CIA director, to head the internal investigation of the intelligence failures that led to the Christmas Day attempted bombing of a Delta airliner headed for Detroit as well as the events leading to the shootings at Fort Hood in November.

With this appointment, President Barack Obama has assured that the culture of intelligence cover-up will continue. McLaughlin has participated in and sought to cover-up many of the CIA's most egregious failures and misdeeds of the past decade. When he left the CIA, he then served as the agency's chief apologist.

So, who is John McLaughlin? Most of official Washington and the mainstream media view McLaughlin as the mild-mannered, professorial CIA bureaucrat, who former CIA director George Tenet called the "smartest man he had ever met."

Few people understand, however, that McLaughlin played the most important role in making sure that the Bush administration received the intelligence that would be used and misused to justify the use of force against Iraq in 2003.

Washington insiders remember that it was CIA director Tenet who told President George W. Bush, "Don't worry, it's a slam dunk," in response to the president's demand for stronger intelligence on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD) to provide to the American people. Few people remember that it was McLaughlin who actually delivered the "slam-dunk" briefing to the president in January 2003.

McLaughlin was the "villain" behind the politicized intelligence on Iraq in the run-up to the war. He perverted the intelligence process, ignored high-level briefings on the weakness of the intelligence on WMD and tried to silence David Kay, the chief of the Iraq Survey Group, when the weapons inspectors found no evidence of strategic weapons in Iraq.

When Kay returned to CIA headquarters from Baghdad, Tenet and McLaughlin made sure that Kay was given a tiny, windowless office at the end of a distant, deserted corridor undergoing construction. It had no secure phone or classified computer. Kay called it Siberia.

McLaughlin was also the villain behind the CIA's preparation of Secretary of State Colin Powell's speech to the United Nations in February 2003 that used phony intelligence to convince an international audience of the need for war. According to Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as Powell's chief of staff, Tenet and McLaughlin lied to the secretary of state about the sourcing of serious allegations dealing with Saddam Hussein's efforts to obtain strategic weapons.

The most serious allegation came from an Iraqi con man known as "Curveball," who maintained that Iraq had mobile biological laboratories, a key charge in the phony intelligence to justify the Iraq war. German intelligence debriefed Curveball, and German intelligence officials warned the CIA that Curveball was unstable and that there was no validation for his claims. Tyler Drumheller, the chief of CIA's European Division, knew that Curveball was mentally unstable and a liar, and he urged McLaughlin to drop all references to the mobile biological labs from Powell's speech. McLaughlin ignored him, too.

Five weeks after the invasion of Iraq, Powell and McLaughlin shared a table at the White House correspondents' dinner, where McLaughlin, an amateur magician, agreed to perform a few magic tricks during a break in the action. The CIA deputy director conjured coins out of thin air and transformed a single dollar into a $100 bill;
everyone at the table laughed except for Powell, who seemed tense and out of sorts.
According to Bob Drogin, who wrote an authoritative book on Curveball, Powell stared at McLaughlin and requested another trick. "Let's see you find the WMD in Iraq," an unsmiling Powell demanded. McLaughlin looked surprised and his broad grin faded. "We will," he replied, "they're there and we'll find them."

In addition to being one of the ideological drivers for the CIA's policies of torture and abuse, secret prisons and extraordinary renditions, McLaughlin demonstrated early in his career that he was a company man willing to do what was necessary to advance his career. In the 1980s, when CIA Director William Casey and his Deputy Robert Gates were "cooking the books" on intelligence dealing with the Soviet Union, Central America and Southwest Asia, McLaughlin offered no dissent.

When the CIA did an internal investigation of one of the worst examples of politicization of intelligence, the case for Soviet complicity in the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981, McLaughlin made sure there were no references to politicization in the final report and made every effort to hide Gates' role in preparing the Papal plot intelligence assessment. When Gates' nomination as CIA director was in trouble during the confirmation process in 1991, it was McLaughlin who stepped forward to defend his former boss from charges of politicization. ...

http://www.truthout.org/article/president-obama-cia-and-master-cover-up

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Jordanians: CIA Bomber Was No Double Agent

Intel Sources Tell TIME that Suicide Bomber Wasn't Working for al Qaeda but That He Was Angry over Civilian Casualties

CBS News | Jan. 7, 2010

(CBS/ AP) The Jordanian doctor accused of blowing himself up and killing seven CIA operatives at a U.S. camp in Afghanistan may not have been a double agent after all, according to a published report.

Anonymous Jordanian intelligence sources told TIME that Humam Khalil Abu-Mulal al-Balawi was not a double agent working for al Qaeda, as claimed by the U.S. government. ... He had provided bona fide information, including the location of al Qaeda leaders killed by CIA drone strikes, but a U.S. intelligence official says "there were still questions" about his "reliability" and the "access" he claimed to have to senior al Qaeda leaders, reported CBS News chief national security correspondent David Martin. ...

A top al Qaeda leader Wednesday praised the Dec. 30 attack on the CIA outpost and said it was to avenge the deaths of a Pakistani Taliban leader and two al Qaeda figures. The claim was made in a message on jihadist Internet forums. It added further confusion to which group orchestrated the suicide bombing that killed seven CIA employees and a Jordanian intelligence officer and wounded six.

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/07/world/main6068776.shtml

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Fall guy

New York Commissioner of Corrections Russell Oswald at attica prison riot

 

Portraits that tell a story

 

It’s been awhile since my last post; sometimes life gets in the way. I have started a new web site, which you will see the link for in the upper left corner of my blog page. I hope you enjoy it and if you’re interested in purchasing prints, please contact me.

 In looking through my pictures for the web site I started to think about portraits and how they have changed over the years. Early portraits were very formal. People sat before the camera dead still, the exposures often lasted twenty or thirty seconds. They were often beautifully posed but beyond a strong look in the eyes, a turn of a shoulder, the nature of what they wore, the viewer new little about who they were.

Russell Oswald was the New York Commissioner of Corrections. The Attica prison riot left a deep stain on the America conscious; see my August 6, 2009 post. We lived in a world of deep denial, we had fought a war very few supported and race relations in America, was nearing an all time low.  Oswald was one of the good guys who took a fall for the man above. Nelson Rockefeller was the governor of New York at the time of the Attica prison riot. Everyone wanted him to come to the prison, talk with the prisoners, make things right. He didn’t come.

Oswald had been a reformer. He cared about the inmates. He wanted them to leave prison better people than when they came. He cared about family and had set up a program where wives could spend the weekend with their husbands twice a year.  He developed retraining programs that worked and hired a stream of consultants who delivered on his promise.

1972 had been a turbulent year for me. I had covered a story on George Jackson, the Black Panthers leader who was killed in San Quentin in an alleged prison escape that never happened. Prison authorities said that he had a gun in his hair when he escaped but anyone who knew him recognized the fallacy of this statement: at a half inch it would be hard to hide a gun in his hair.

I was traveling twenty-nine days a month and breaking up with my girlfriend as a result. I was very much alone and trying to find myself in all that I had covered. People seemed to be very happy with my pictures but I found it hard to be an observer, which by now was my life’s first rule. I had covered gangs and race riots of all kinds and just watched people at their worst. Hardest of all was that there was no one to talk to about what I was feeling. Making a great picture that was all that mattered.

Attica prison was not far from Buffalo. I had just gotten home from the Jackson story and I had turned off my phone. My girlfriend and I were lying in bed when we heard a loud knock on the door. It was Bob Stokes, a writer from Life magazine. A riot seemed to be starting at the Attica prison. I packed quickly and we were off.

There must have been 500 journalists when we got there on that rain-filled morning but I was lucky. The inmates wanted me inside as an observer, a merit badge for all the civil rights stories I had covered.  Early on in the struggle, a prison guard who had been taken hostage had been killed and the inmate leaders didn’t want anymore violence, just their rights. Getting inside was a lucky break for me. For Bob, his view from the outside would later cost him his job.

I remember the sound of the doors closing behind me as I entered the prison. There was no way out. I walked one dark hall after the other. There was dark grit on the walls and the wet floors squeaked from all the rain that had fallen and the many broken windows. The prison had a hard smell, one of unwashed flesh from too few showers. It was a place of cold food and a concrete bed. It was a time before cell phones. I was on my own and I was ready to take whatever pictures I could. I spent time in cellblock D where the inmates were camped. Everyone was one edge. Voices came over loud speakers from outside the prison wall. ‘Put down your arms or we’re coming in,’ they said. Not a man flinched.

I remember a big man as tall as a redwood tree who grabbed my arm between two large fingers and said, “Remember this day son, you’ve never done time till now and if we see a morning sun it will be a day you remember for the rest of your life.”

The next day I worked my way to a part of the prison where all of the officials and other members of the press were encamped. It was about an hour before all hell would break loose. A last call had been put into the governor’s office and with no response, the decision to move on the inmates rested on Russell Oswald’s shoulders.

 A TV cameraman tested his lights and Oswald was standing alone in the corner of the room where we all waited. When I saw the light hit his face it was clear to me that here was a man under pressure and man who saw his life’s work turn to ashes, a man alone, hung out to dry. You could see it in his eyes, the lines of his face—a big man made small. It was the third day of a stalemate. He had little choice.  He ordered the guards to retake the prison. Oswald was a great man; his name now lives in infamy.

In the split second in which the camera lights illuminated Oswald’s face, I was able to create a portrait that told his story.

 

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