April 6, 2012
“Thanks USA. We’re so glad you are so cornered about our lives that you want to watch us all the time. You are doing great work.” –KTRN
The United States has successfully launched a multi-million dollar rocket into the sky outside of Los Angeles, but details regarding the cargo of the craft are not being released, as the government refuses to comment fully on the classified mission.
A Delta IV rocket was launched out of the Vandenberg Air Force base in Western California on Tuesday as part of a mission made possible to support the National Reconnaissance Office, one of the United States’ 16 intelligence agencies. The NRO regularly manages spy satellites and related spacecraft for the US government, and although the specifics of the latest mission are staying sealed, this week’s liftoff is expected to further the country’s surveillance capabilities from high above the Earth.
As the exact purpose of the latest launch remains a matter for high-profile officers only, intelligence analysts speaking with the Associated Press speculate that the rocket was fired off to release a spy satellite that will allow the government to see from a set of eyes in the sky that will more successfully be able to see at night and in bad weather using high-tech radar imagining. To the AP, unidentified experts say they believe the high-tech satellite will be able to zoom into countries of interest and provide a point of view for the intelligence community that is not obtainable by America’s otherwise advanced surveillance equipment.
Jim Sponnick, the vice president of the aerospace contractors and Delta IV maker United Launch Alliance, congratulates the NRO this week for the latest launch, which he only explains as being “critical for national security.” So secretive are the government’s exact intentions, however, that the US ordered the ULA to abort their live broadcast of the missile launch only three minutes after the countdown to liftoff reached zero.
March 20, 2012
By James Bamford
“Nothing you say will be private anymore.” –KTRN
The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.
Today Bluffdale is home to one of the nation’s largest sects of polygamists, the Apostolic United Brethren, with upwards of 9,000 members. The brethren’s complex includes a chapel, a school, a sports field, and an archive. Membership has doubled since 1978—and the number of plural marriages has tripled—so the sect has recently been looking for ways to purchase more land and expand throughout the town.
But new pioneers have quietly begun moving into the area, secretive outsiders who say little and keep to themselves. Like the pious polygamists, they are focused on deciphering cryptic messages that only they have the power to understand. Just off Beef Hollow Road, less than a mile from brethren headquarters, thousands of hard-hatted construction workers in sweat-soaked T-shirts are laying the groundwork for the newcomers’ own temple and archive, a massive complex so large that it necessitated expanding the town’s boundaries. Once built, it will be more than five times the size of the US Capitol.
Rather than Bibles, prophets, and worshippers, this temple will be filled with servers, computer intelligence experts, and armed guards. And instead of listening for words flowing down from heaven, these newcomers will be secretly capturing, storing, and analyzing vast quantities of words and images hurtling through the world’s telecommunications networks. In the little town of Bluffdale, Big Love and Big Brother have become uneasy neighbors.
March 9, 2012
By Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja
In situations of adversity and crises, leaders represent optimism and hope for change, not egoistic agenda and confusion. Peace requires new thinking and new visions that American President and Israeli PM do not have except the war agenda. Would peace and security grow out of nowhere?
Threatening rhetoric of pre-emptive war strikes on Iran’s nuclear centers and the nuisance of individualistic political indoctrination do not articulate rational and responsible opportunities for rational and intelligent leaders to engage in peaceful dialogue or conflict resolution.
Obama appeared confused instead of pragmatic and visionary. His face and body language did not seem to correspond to his movements of lips and the air he was breathing at the AIPAC stage. There is no scarcity of proactive Jewish intellectuals and scholars in Israel and America enriched with political imagination and strong sense of interests of the global humanity. There are people who love peace and harmony with the Arabs and Palestinians, and likewise, American thinkers and political visionaries who could do a better job than Netanyahu and Obama’s warrior mindsets.
In a knowledge-driven global culture of enhanced human communications and proactive visions for sustainable futuristic co-existence between Man and the encompassed Universe of divergent civilizations, we. the educators and learners, are to exercise rational capacity of thoughts, universal ideals and continuous intelligent foresight to change and adaptability to the future-making. This requires intelligent commitment to principles of international peace and security for all, non-aggression in the working of global system, protection of life and a balanced ecological culture of co-existence within the encompassed Universe-Man and the Humanity.
As the presidential elections are dominating the 2012 political culture across the United States, the world is nervously watching when and where the insanity would hit next. It is predictably unpredictable curiosity of the unknown impulse; otherwise, the news media and war-profiteering lobbyists would go bankrupt. Today, Obama spoke to the politically influential AIPAC Israeli lobby in Washington. Global peace, humanity and security of the Middle East region are the net causality of Obama’s egomaniac rhetoric. War of words and hasty and conveniently arrived personalized hypothesis of the few sadistic intellects on complex global issues are draining out the time and opportunities for dialogue and positive thinking.
February 1, 2012
By Karen De Coster
Public education, in its current state, is based on the idea that government is the “parent” best equipped to provide children with the values and wisdom required to grow into intelligent, functional adults. To echo what former first lady Hillary Clinton professed, these public school champions believe “it takes a village” to cultivate a society of competent human beings.
As Hebrew University historian Martin van Crevald points out in his book, The Rise and Decline of the State, nineteenth-century state worshippers who wanted to impose a love of big government ideals upon the youth popularized the archetype for state-directed education. Additionally, there was an overall appetite for discipline of the “unruly” masses that reinforced the campaign to take education out of the hands of individuals. After all, the self-educated masses might resist government decrees, and this kind of disarray would be undesirable in the move toward building a powerful, controlling state apparatus. Prussia’s Frederick William I and France’s Napoleon discerned this, as did a legion of other despotic rulers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries. In a recent article published on the American Daily Herald “Dumberer and Dumberest,” Glenn Horowitz writes:
If you’re not familiar with it, the Prussian system was a teaching methodology designed to stamp out good little worker bees assembly-line fashion, trained to be complacent with their station in life and compliant with every demand of the State. An elite of those better educated but still proven unquestioningly loyal to the State were promoted to lead the proletariat, rewarded with elevated status and material success commensurate with their skills and the zeal they demonstrate in supporting the system. It specifically avoided developing creativity and independent thought, reasoning these were skills the worker classes didn’t need in their roles as mass produced labor.
Modern education is built upon a foundation set forth by tyrants. What is most disquieting about the public education mindset is that those who believe most strongly in it are convinced that there are no other suitable alternatives to the compulsory schooling provided via the public domain. The egalitarian core belief of these public education proponents is that society is responsible for obtaining, maintaining, and paying for the process of equally developing young minds.
Since the laws of the modern state that control the educational system lean heavily toward equality, federal compulsory schooling is necessarily a bias against the best and brightest of America’s children. Federalized education sustains the philosophy that schools have the obligation to treat all students as pure equals – equal in intelligence, work ethic, performance, and desire.
Such nonsense is refuted by H. George Resch in his article “Equality vs. Equity” on the Separation of School and State website. Mr. Resch contends that compulsory, government-controlled education is trying to achieve ends that are not possible due to the fact that general equality is not only impossible to define, but that biological, environmental, and cultural differences among us are so vast that a compulsory, standardized public education poses difficulties that cannot be overcome, and certainly not by a government-run school system.
It’s obvious that public schooling is neither beneficial to most students, nor is it efficient. Education is an acquired good, a good that has to meet the needs of the consumers or else face rejection in the free market. Accordingly, there is a necessity for unique, private educational institutions that cater to the urgencies of the marketplace, or home schools that provide a quality environment for each student’s direct needs.
January 27, 2012
“Be careful what you post on Facebook or Twitter. It could come back back to bite you someday.” –KTRN
The FBI has got tired of monitoring social media sites manually and wants to reinvent the process. So, soon your posts may instantly light up on a map as a big red dot if considered suspicious, marking the location of the ‘bad actor.’
”Social media has become a primary source of intelligence because it has become the premier first response to key events and the primal alert to possible developing situations,” says the Request for Information published by FBI on January 19.
The FBI’s ‘market research’ shows that the bureau is planning to monitor all ‘publicly available’ data on social media sites through a new game-changing system.
The bureau is looking for a company which is interested in and capable of building such a system and has published a list of requirements for it.
The enquiry says that the system should provide an automated search and scrape capability of both social networking sites and open source news sites for breaking events, crises, and threats that meet the search parameters defined by the FBI.
It should also be capable of automated filtering of the data and of providing the operator with instant notification of breaking events and emerging threats.
The FBI places strong emphasis on the fact that the system should access only ‘publicly available’ data, taking every occurrence of this phrase in quotes throughout the whole document.
But most people do not realize that the data they are sharing with their friends on social networking sites is in fact publicly available.
The average user believes that only a narrow circle of close friends and relatives are reading his or her blog, and this gives them “the sense of freedom to say what they want without worrying too much about recourse,” says Jennifer Lynch at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, as cited by newscientist.com. “But these tools that mine open source data and presumably store it for a very long time do away with that kind of privacy. I worry about the effect of that on free speech in the US.”
October 17, 2011
The Associated Press
By ADAM GOLDMAN and MATT APUZZO
Three months ago, one of the CIA’s most experienced clandestine operatives started work inside the New York Police Department. His title is special assistant to the deputy commissioner of intelligence. On that much, everyone agrees.
Exactly what he’s doing there, however, is much less clear.
Since The Associated Press revealed the assignment in August, federal and city officials have offered differing explanations for why this CIA officer , a seasoned operative who handled foreign agents and ran complex operations in Jordan and Pakistan , was assigned to a municipal police department. The CIA is prohibited from spying domestically, and its unusual partnership with the NYPD has troubled top lawmakers and prompted an internal investigation.
His role is important because the last time a CIA officer worked so closely with the NYPD, beginning in the months after the 9/11 attacks, he became the architect of aggressive police programs that monitored Muslim neighborhoods. With the earlier help from this CIA official, the police put entire communities under the microscope based on ethnicity rather allegations of wrongdoing, according to the AP investigation.
It was an extraordinary collaboration that at times troubled some senior CIA officials and may have stretched the bounds of how the CIA is legally allowed to operate in the United States.
The arrangement surrounding the newly arrived CIA officer has been portrayed differently than that of his predecessor. When first asked by the AP, a senior U.S. official described the posting as a sabbatical, a program aimed at giving the man in New York more management training.
Testifying at City Hall recently, New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said the CIA operative provides his officers “with information, usually coming from perhaps overseas.” He said the CIA operative provides “technical information” to the NYPD but “doesn’t have access to any of our investigative files.”
CIA Director David Petraeus has described him as an adviser, someone who could ensure that information was being shared.
But the CIA already has someone with that job. At its large station in New York, a CIA liaison shares intelligence with the Joint Terrorism Task Force in New York, which has hundreds of NYPD detectives assigned to it. And the CIA did not explain how, if the officer doesn’t have access to NYPD files, he is getting management experience in a division built entirely around collecting domestic intelligence.
James Clapper, the director of national intelligence, mischaracterized him to Congress as an “embedded analyst” , his office later quietly said that was a mistake , and acknowledged it looked bad to have the CIA working so closely with a police department.
All of this has troubled lawmakers, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who has said the CIA has “no business or authority in domestic spying, or in advising the NYPD how to conduct local surveillance.”
“It’s really important to fully understand what the nature of the investigations into the Muslim community are all about, and also the partnership between the local police and the CIA,” said Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., a member of the House Intelligence Committee.
Still, the undercover operative remains in New York while the agency’s inspector general investigates the CIA’s decade-long relationship with the NYPD. The CIA has asked the AP not to identify him because he remains a member of the clandestine service and his identity is classified.
The CIA’s deep ties to the NYPD began after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, when CIA Director George Tenet dispatched a veteran officer, Larry Sanchez, to New York, where he became the architect of the police department’s secret spying programs.
While still on the agency payroll, Sanchez, a CIA veteran who spent 15 years overseas in the former Soviet Union, South Asia, and the Middle East, instructed officers on the art of collecting information without attracting attention. He directed officers and reviewed case files.
Sometimes, officials said, intelligence collected from NYPD’s operations was passed informally to the CIA.
Sanchez also hand-picked an NYPD detective to attend the “Farm,” the CIA’s training facility where its officers are turned into operatives. The detective, who completed the course but failed to graduate, returned to the police department where he works today armed with the agency’s famed espionage skills.
Also while under Sanchez’s direction, documents show that the NYPD’s Cyber Intelligence Unit, which monitors domestic and foreign websites, also conducted training sessions for the CIA.
Sanchez was on the CIA payroll from 2002 to 2004 then took a temporary leave of absence from the CIA to become deputy to David Cohen, a former senior CIA officer who became head of the NYPD intelligence division just months after the 9/11 attacks.
In 2007, the CIA’s top official in New York complained to headquarters that Sanchez was wearing two hats, sometimes operating as an NYPD official, sometimes as a CIA officer. At headquarters, senior officials agreed and told Sanchez he had to choose.
He formally left the CIA, staying on at the NYPD until late 2010. He now works as a security consultant in the Persian Gulf region.
Sanchez’s departure left Cohen scrambling to find someone with operational experience who could replace him. He approached several former CIA colleagues about taking the job but they turned him down, according to people familiar with the situation who, like others interviewed for this story, spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the department’s inner workings.
When they refused, Cohen persuaded the CIA to send the current operative to be his assistant.
He arrived with an impressive post-9/11 resume. He had been the station chief in Pakistan and then Jordan, two stations that served as focal points in the war on terror, according to current and former officials who worked with him. He also was in charge of the agency’s Counter Proliferation Division.
But he is no stranger to controversy. Former U.S. intelligence officials said he was nearly expelled from Pakistan after an incident during President George W. Bush’s first term. Pakistan became enraged after sharing intelligence with the U.S., only to learn that the CIA station chief passed that information to the British.
September 13, 2011
The Co-Chair of the Congressional Inquiry into 9/11 and former Head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Bob Graham, previously stated that an FBI informant had hosted and rented a room to two hijackers in 2000 and that, when the Inquiry sought to interview the informant, the FBI refused outright, and then hid him in an unknown location, and that a high-level FBI official stated these blocking maneuvers were undertaken under orders from the White House (confirmed here).
Today, Graham called for a new 9/11 investigation. As Raw Story notes:
Graham on Monday called on the U.S. government to reopen its investigation into 9/11 after a report found that links between Saudi Arabia and the hijackers were never disclosed by the FBI to the 2002 joint Congressional intelligence committee investigating the attacks.
“In the final report of the congressional inquiry, there was a chapter related primarily to the Saudi role in 9/11 that was totally censored, every word of the chapter has been withheld from the public,” Graham said on MSNBC’s The Dylan Ratigan Show.
“Some of the other questions we ought to be asking are if we know that the Saudis who lived in San Diego and now apparently in Sarasota received substantial assistance, what about the Saudis who lived in Phoenix, Arizona? Or Arlington, Virginia? … What was happening in those places?”
“I believe these are questions for which there are definitive answers, but the American people and largely their elected representatives have been denied that information.”
Many other 9/11 Commissioners and congressmen have called for a new investigation, including:
* 9/11 Commissioner Bob Kerrey said that “There are ample reasons to suspect that there may be some alternative to what we outlined in our version . . . We didn’t have access . . . .” He also says that it might take “a permanent 9/11 commission” to end the remaining mysteries of September 11
* 9/11 Commission co-chair Lee Hamilton says “I don’t believe for a minute we got everything right”, that the Commission was set up to fail, that people should keep asking questions about 9/11, and that the 9/11 debate should continue
* 9/11 Commissioner Max Cleland resigned from the Commission, stating: “It is a national scandal”; “This investigation is now compromised”; and “One of these days we will have to get the full story because the 9-11 issue is so important to America. But this White House wants to cover it up”
* Senator Mike Gravel – who was the main congressman responsible for making the Pentagon Papers public – calls for a new 9/11 investigation
* Congressman Ron Paul calls for a new 9/11 investigation and states that “we see the [9/11] investigations that have been done so far as more or less cover-up and no real explanation of what went on”
* Congressman Dennis Kucinich wants a new investigation
* Congressman Jason Chafetz says that we need to be vigilant and continue to investigate 9/11
* Senator Lincoln Chaffee endorses a new investigation
* Congressman Dan Hamburg wants a new investigation
In addition,many high-level military and intelligence officials have called for a new investigation, including:
* Daniel Ellsberg has called for a new investigation
* U.S. General, Commanding General of U.S. European Command and Supreme Allied Commander Europe, decorated with the Bronze Star, Silver Star, and Purple Heart (General Wesley Clark) said “We’ve never finished the investigation of 9/11 and whether the administration actually misused the intelligence information it had. The evidence seems pretty clear to me. I’ve seen that for a long time”
* Former Deputy Secretary for Intelligence and Warning under Nixon, Ford, and Carter (Morton Goulder), former Deputy Director to the White House Task Force on Terrorism (Edward L. Peck), and former US Department of State Foreign Service Officer (J. Michael Springmann), as well as a who’s who of liberals and independents) jointly call for a new investigation into 9/11
And numerous high-level judges, legal professors and trial lawyers call for a new investigation. See this and this.
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April 1st, 2011
President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorising covert United States government support for rebel forces seeking to oust Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, government officials told Reuters yesterday.
Mr Obama signed the order, known as a presidential “finding”, within the last two or three weeks, according to government sources familiar with the matter.
Such findings are a principal form of presidential directive used to authorise secret operations by the CIA. This is a necessary legal step before such action can take place, but does not mean that it will.
“As is common practice for this and all administrations, I am not going to comment on intelligence matters,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said. “I will reiterate what the President said yesterday – no decision has been made about providing arms to the opposition or to any group in Libya.”
The CIA declined comment.
People familiar with US intelligence procedures said that presidential covert action “findings” are normally crafted to provide broad authorisation for a range of potential US government actions to support a particular covert objective.
In order for specific operations to be carried out under the provisions of such a broad authorisation – for example the delivery of cash or weapons – the White House also would have to give additional “permission” allowing such activities to proceed.
Former officials say these follow-up authorizations are known in the intelligence world as “‘Mother may I’ findings.”
In 2009, Mr Obama gave a similar authorisation for the expansion of covert US counter-terrorism actions by the CIA in Yemen. The White House does not normally confirm such orders have been issued.
News that Mr Obama had given the authorisation surfaced as the President and other US and allied officials spoke openly about the possibility of sending arms supplies to Col Gaddafi’s opponents, who are fighting better-equipped government forces.
The US is part of a coalition, including NATO, which is conducting air strikes on Libyan government forces under a United Nations mandate aimed at protecting civilians opposing Col Gaddafi.
In interviews by US networks on Tuesday, Mr Obama spoke of applying “steady pressure, not only militarily but also through these other means”, with the objective of having Col Gaddafi “ultimately step down” from power.