October 29, 2013 CNN
October 29, 2013 CNN
– So Who is James Comey, Obama’s Nominee to Head the FBI? (Liberty Blitzkrieg, June 6, 2013):
In light of the latest revelations that the NSA is spying on the communications of millions of Verizon customers courtesy of information provided by the FBI, it probably makes sense to know a little more about Obama’s nominee to head that Bureau. That man is James Comey, and he was a top Department of Justice attorney under John Ashcroft during the George W. Bush Administration (since then he has worked at Lockheed Martin and at the enormous Connecticut hedge fund Bridgewater Associates). This guy defines the revolving door cancer ruining these United States.
Comey’s defenders point out that he stood up to some of the more egregious spy programs that Bush officials wanted to pursue, and that he also expressed reservations about the torture program. Nevertheless, he signed off on, and provided the legal justification for both. This is the man being recycled back through the revolving door by Obama. I have read many articles on Mr. Comey ever since it surfaced he would be nominated and, as usual, Glenn Greenwald did the best work.
From the Guardian:
In other words, there was something the NSA was doing for years – that we still don’t know – even more extreme than the illegal NSA program revealed by the NYT in 2005. It was Comey, along with Ashcroft, Mueller, and Goldsmith, who threatened to resign if it did not stop, and they deserve credit for that. But the reason they didn’t end up resigning was because Bush officials “modified” that NSA program into something those lawyers could and did endorse: the still-illegal, still-radical NSA eavesdropping program that spied on the communications of Americans without warrants and in violation of the law. And this was accomplished by inventing a new legal theory to accompany the old one: that Congress, when it enacted the 2001 AUMF, silently and “implicitly” authorized Bush to eavesdrop in exactly the ways the law expressly forbade.
– Cloud surfing: US surveilance act ‘grave threat’ to EU sovereignty (RT, Jan 9, 2013):
An intelligence bill has put the frighteners on EU citizens as it allows the US access to their personal data stored in internet clouds like those used on Facebook and Google. The law is a ‘grave risk’ to the rights of EU citizens, says an EU report.
The amendments to Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) was signed into law by President Barack Obama on Monday.
– Supreme Court Terminates Warrantless Electronic Spying Case (Wired, Oct 9, 2012):
The Supreme Court closed a 6-year-old chapter Tuesday in the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s bid to hold the nation’s telecoms liable for allegedly providing the National Security Agency with backdoors to eavesdrop, without warrants, on Americans’ electronic communications in violation of federal law.
The justices, without comment, declined to review a lower court’s December decision (.pdf) dismissing the EFF’s lawsuit challenging the NSA’s warrantless eavesdropping program. At the center of the dispute was 2008 congressional legislation retroactively immunizing the telcos from being sued for cooperating with the government in a program President George W. Bush adopted shortly after the September 2001 terror attacks.
After Bush signed the legislation and invoked its authority in 2008, a San Francisco federal judge tossed the case, and the EFF appealed. Among other things, the EFF claimed the legislation, which granted the president the discretion to invoke immunity, was an illegal abuse of power.
The New York Times first exposed the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping of international phone calls to and from Americans in 2005. A former AT&T technician named Mark Klein later produced internal company documents suggesting that the NSA was surveilling internet backbone traffic from a secret room at an AT&T switching center in San Francisco, and similar facilities around the country. Klein’s evidence formed the basis of the now-dismissed suit, Hepting v. AT&T.
– Homeland Security: Preparing for Massive Civil War (Veterans Today, Oct 6, 2012):
The discovery by the US Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (3 October 2012) that, “Despite reviewing 13 months’ worth of reporting originating from fusion centers from April 1, 2009 to April 30, 2010, the Subcommittee investigation could identify no reporting which uncovered a terrorist threat, nor could it identify a contribution such fusion center reporting made to disrupt an active terrorist plot” means that there is no evidence of the existence of any domestic terrorist threat. On that basis, it is rational to infer (with high probability) that there is no domestic terrorist threat.
We also know that there are 300 or more FEMA camps distributed around the country. We know that Congress has authorized 30,000 drones to conduct surveillance on the American people. We know that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) had requisitioned 1.5 billion rounds of .40 calibre hollow-point ammunition, which is not even permissible for use in warfare under the Geneva Conventions. Since DHS does not conduct operations abroad, it is rational to infer (with virtual certainty) that DHS must be acquiring that massive stock of ammo for use in the United States.
And we now learn that Congress is in the process of passing H.R. 6566, “The Mass Fatality Planning and Religious Considerations Act”, which was posted on the govtrack.us website FEMA To Mobilize For “Mass Fatality Planning” (5 October 2012), mandating federal agency to respond to “funeral homes, cemeteries, and mortuaries” being “overwhelmed” in the aftermath of a mass terror attack, natural disaster or other crisis. It was posted this after having been approved by the House on 28 September 2012. Not to make an obvious point, but there is no domestic terrorist threat and no conceiveable natural disaster could possibly justify this dramatic authorization for coping with staggering numbers of bodies.
You don’t have to have spent 35 years teaching logic, critical thinking and scientific reasoning to put together the following premises and draw the obvious conclusion:
– Appeals Court OKs Warrantless Wiretapping (Wired, Aug 7, 2012):
The federal government may spy on Americans’ communications without warrants and without fear of being sued, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday in a decision reversing the first and only case that successfully challenged President George W. Bush’s once-secret Terrorist Surveillance Program.
“This case effectively brings to an end the plaintiffs’ ongoing attempts to hold the executive branch responsible for intercepting telephone conversations without judicial authorization,” a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote. (.pdf)
Author’s Note: What you have just read didn’t actually happen… yet.
This is an open letter to the President requesting a new investigation.
Reported by Charlie Sheen
I recently had the pleasure of sitting down with our 44th President of the United States of America, Barack Hussein Obama, while he was out promoting his health care reform initiative. I requested 30 minutes given the scope and detail of my inquiry; they said I could have 20. Twenty minutes, 1200 seconds, not a lot of time to question the President about one of the most important events in our nation’s history. The following is a transcript of our remarkable discussion.
Charlie Sheen – Good afternoon Mr. President, thank you so much for taking time out of your demanding schedule.
President Barack Obama – My pleasure, the content of your request seemed like something I should carve out a few minutes for.
CS – I should point out that I voted for you, as your promises of hope and change, transparency and accountability, as well as putting government back into the hands of the American people, struck an emotional chord in me that I hadn’t felt in quite some time, perhaps ever.
PBO – And I appreciate that Charlie. Big fan of the show, by the way.
CS – Sir, I can’t imagine when you might find the time to actually watch my show given the measure of what you inherited.
PBO – I have it Tivo’d on Air Force One. Nice break from the traveling press corps. (He glances at his watch) not to be abrupt or to rush you, but you have 19 minutes left.
CS – I’ll take that as an invitation to cut to the chase.
PBO – I’m all ears. Or so I’ve been told.
CS – Sir, in the very near future we will be experiencing our first 9/11 anniversary with you as Commander in Chief.
PBO – Yes. A very solemn day for our Nation. A day of reflection and yet a day of historical consciousness as well.
CS – Very much so sir, very much so indeed…. Now; In researching your position regarding the events of 9/11 and the subsequent investigation that followed, am I correct to understand that you fully support and endorse the findings of the commission report otherwise known as the ‘official story’?
PBO – Do I have any reason not to? Given that most of us are presumably in touch with similar evidence.
CS – I really wish that were the case, sir. Are you aware, Mr. President, of the recent stunning revelations that sixty percent of the 9/11 commissioners have publicly stated that the government agreed not to tell the truth about 9/11 and that the Pentagon was engaged in deliberate deception about their response to the attack?
PBO – I am aware of certain “in fighting” during the course of their very thorough and tireless investigative process.
CS – Mr. President, it’s hard to label this type of friction as “in fighting” or make the irresponsible leap to “thorough,” when the evidence I insist you examine regarding 6 of the 10 members are statements of fact.
(At this point one of Obama’s senior aides approaches the President and whispers into his ear. Obama glances quickly at his watch and nods as the aide resumes his post at the doorway, directly behind me.)
PBO – No disrespect Mr. Sheen, but I have to ask; what is it that you seem to be implying with the initial direction of this discussion?
CS – I am not implying anything Mr. President. I am here to present the facts and see what you plan to do with them.
PBO – Let me guess; your ‘facts,’ allegedly supporting these claims are in the folders you brought with you?
CS – Good guess Mr. President.
(I hand the first folder of documents to the President)
CS – Again sir, these are not my opinions or assumptions, this is all a matter of public record, reported through mainstream media, painstakingly fact checked and verified.
(the President glances into the folder I handed him)
CS – You’ll notice sir on page one of the dossier dated August of ’06 from the Washington Post, the statements of John Farmer, senior council to the 9/11 commission, his quote stating, “I was shocked how different the truth was from the way it was described.”
PBO – (as he glances down at the report, almost inaudible) …. um hmm….
CS – He goes on to further state “The [NORAD Air Defense] tapes told a radically different story from what had been told to us and the public for two years….”
(the President continues to view the documents)
CS – On pages two and three, sir, are the statements, as well, from commission co-chairmen Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, commissioners Bob Kerrey, Timothy Roemer and John Lehman, as well as the statements of commissioner Max Cleland, an ex-Senator from Georgia , who resigned, stating:
“It is a national scandal. This investigation is now compromised. 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.”
He also described President Bush’s desire to delay the process as not to damage the ‘04 re-election bid. They suspected deception to the point where they considered referring the matter to the Justice Department for criminal investigation. Mr. President, this information alone is unequivocally grounds for a new investigation!
PBO – Mistakes were clearly made but we as a people and as a country need to move forward. It is obviously in our best interest as a democratic society to focus our efforts and our resources on the future of this great nation and our ability to protect the American people and our allies from this type of terrorism in the coming years.
CS – Sir, how can we focus on the future when THE COMMISSION ITSELF is on record stating that they still do not know the truth??
PBO – Even if what you state, might in some capacity, begin to approach an open discussion or balanced debate, I can’t speak for, or about the decisions certain commission members made during an extremely difficult period. Perhaps you should be interviewing them instead of me. Wait, don’t tell me; I was easier to track down than they were?
CS – Not exactly sir, but let’s be honest. You’re the President of the United States, the leader of the free world, the buck stops with you. 9/11 has been the pretext for the systematic dismantling of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. Your administration is reading from the same playbook that the Bush administration foisted on America through documented secrecy and deception.
PBO – Mr. Sheen, I’m having a difficult time sitting here and listening to you draw distorted parallels between the Bush/Cheney regime and mine.
CS – Mr. President the parallels are not distorted just because you say they are. Let’s stick to the facts. You promised to abolish the Patriot Act and then voted to re-authorize it. You pledged to end warrantless wire tapping against the American people and now energetically defend it. You decried the practice of rendition and now continue it. You promised over and over again on the campaign trail, that you would end the practice of indefinite detention and instead, you have expanded it to permanent detention of “detainees” without trial. This far exceeds the outrages of the former administration. Call me crazy Mr. President, but is this not your record?
PBO – Mr. Sheen, my staff and I authorized this interview based on your request to discuss 9/11 and deliver some additional information you’re convinced I’d not previously reviewed. Call me crazy, But it appears as though you’ve blindly wandered off topic.
CS – Sir, the examples I just illustrated are a direct result of 9/11.
PBO – And I’m telling you that we must move forward, we must endure through these dangerous and politically challenging years ahead.
CS – Mr. President, we cannot move forward with a bottomless warren of unanswered questions surrounding that day and its aftermath.
PBO – I read the official report. Every word every page. Perhaps you should do the same.
CS – I have sir, and so have thousands of family members of the victims, and guess what; they have the same questions I do and probably a lot more. I didn’t lose a loved one on that horrific day Mr. President and neither did you. But since then I, along with millions of other Americans lost something we held true and dear for most of our lives in this great country of ours; we lost our hope.
PBO – And I’d like to believe that I am here to restore that hope. To restore confidence in your leaders, in the system that the voting public chose through a peaceful transfer of power.
(An odd moment of silence between us. Precious time ticking away).
CS – Mr. President, are you aware of the number of days it took to begin the investigation into JFK’s assassination?
PBO – If memory serves I believe it was two weeks.
CS – Close. Seventeen days to be exact. Are you aware sir, how long it took to begin the investigation into Pearl Harbor?
PBO – I would say again about….two weeks.
CS – Close again sir, eleven days to be exact. Are you aware Mr. President how long it took to begin the investigation into 9/11?
PBO – I know it must have seemed like a very long time for all the grieving families.
CS – It was a very long time Mr. President – four hundred and forty days. Roughly 14 months. Does it bother you Mr. President that it only took FIVE HOURS for Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld after the initial attack to recommend and endorse a full scale offensive against Iraq?
Hundreds of US citizens overseas, including US troops in Iraq, have been eavesdropped on, according to two former military and NSA intercept operators, despite pledges by President George W. Bush and American intelligence officials. (ABC News )
The inspector general for the National Security Agency, the NSA, has begun an investigation into allegations that US intelligence operators intercepted, recorded and shared intimate phone calls and “phone sex” between hundreds of American citizens, the Director of National Intelligence, J.M. McConnell, has told US Senators.
In a letter released today, McConnell said the NSA was unaware of the allegations, made by two former intercept operators, until ABC News reported them.
Former Army Arab linguist Adrienne Kinne and former Navy Arab linguist David Murfee Faulk told ABC News they observed and participated in intercepting private calls between Americans while they were detailed to a NSA listening post at Fort Gordon, outside Augusta, Georgia.
The two said calls by American journalists, aid workers and soldiers serving in Iraq were targeted for interception, because, they say they were told, there were “special waivers” to make it legal.
As the nation focuses on Sen. John McCain’s choice of running mate, President Bush has quietly moved to expand the reach of presidential power by ensuring that America remains in a state of permanent war.
In a victory for tyranny and injustice, a federal appeals court ruled the president has the power to arrest American citizens and imprison them indefinitely without charging them – at whim.
Judges of the U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, in a 5-4 decision, ruled that the president can legally, by simply labeling an individual an “enemy combatant,” imprison anyone, citizen or not, without due process for months, years, decades – or indefinitely.
WASHINGTON (AP) – The House Friday easily approved a compromise bill setting new electronic surveillance rules that effectively shield telecommunications companies from lawsuits arising from the government’s terrorism-era warrantless eavesdropping on phone and computer lines in this country.
The bill, which was passed on a 293-129 vote, does more than just protect the telecoms. The update to the 30-year-old Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act is an attempt to balance privacy rights with the government’s responsibility to protect the country against attack, taking into account changes in telecommunications technologies.
The Bush administration said yesterday that it plans to start using the nation’s most advanced spy technology for domestic purposes soon, rebuffing challenges by House Democrats over the idea’s legal authority.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said his department will activate his department’s new domestic satellite surveillance office in stages, starting as soon as possible with traditional scientific and homeland security activities — such as tracking hurricane damage, monitoring climate change and creating terrain maps.
Sophisticated overhead sensor data will be used for law enforcement once privacy and civil rights concerns are resolved, he said. The department has previously said the program will not intercept communications.