Weekly Round Up for Sunday, April 24

Police State Status, TSA Pornographers, the Ever-Lasting Anthrax Mystery, Drone-Mania, Israel &Colonialism, Our So-Called Ally-Azerbaijan & More!

Hope you all had a nice week. I’ve been nursing my daughter who is recovering from her first strep throat: 103F fever, antibiotics, miserable cough, and of course sleepless nights. Thankfully, this morning she is feeling much better.

maskI’ve received several e-mails from our readers regarding the identity of ‘The Insider from Turkey,’ and some asking whether that’s ‘me.’ To answer your question: I am not ‘the insider from Turkey.’ This is a pseudo name for an accomplished investigative journalist friend of mine in Turkey. He or she is currently employed by a major publication, and considering her/his area of investigations/reporting for BFP, doesn’t want to lose his/her job, or even worse, end up in jail. As we know, Turkey is now the number one country in jailing reporters and truth tellers. We are expecting another controversial article this week from our insider friend in Turkey; stay tuned!

Also this week, Peter B Collins and I will be recording two highly noteworthy podcast interviews. We’ll have Dr. Aland Mizell on Imam Fethullah Gulen, his CIA ties and joint operations, his infamous US Charter School Empire and more, followed by Elizabeth Gould-Paul Fitzgerald on their recently released groundbreaking book ‘Crossing Zero.’

And now our list of noteworthy articles and developments for this Sunday, April 24:

On the Home Front & Police State Status

Obama Justice Dept. Sides with Police over Warrantless Spying

The U.S. Department of Justice under President Barack Obama has taken the position that law enforcement should be allowed to monitor Americans without a
The administration has appealed a federal appellate court ruling that nullified the assertion by police that they can attach GPS devices to automobiles without obtaining a warrant in order to track a suspect’s movements. The case involved an alleged cocaine distributor whom law enforcement monitored using a global positioning satellite tracking device for a month without seeking permission from a judge.

Police also have also been accused of expanding warrantless spying by extracting information from suspects’ cell phones without court authority. Law enforcement officers in Michigan have used cell phone “extraction” devices to lift text messages, photos, video and GPS data, to which civil libertarians object.

tsaThe unvarnished truth about Un-American TSA

We're either gonna look at you naked or feel you up -- your call." That's the choice the federal Transportation Security Administration offers any law-abiding citizen who wants to fly -- and the fact that we're willing to put up with it shows that there's something seriously wrong in America today.

Two items last week put the problem in stark relief.

First was the viral video of a 6-year-old's recent encounter with the agency in New Orleans. As ABC News described the clip, "It shows a TSA agent rubbing the young girl's inner thighs and running her fingers inside the top of the girl's bluejeans."

Then on Friday, CNN revealed a list of "behavioral indicators" TSA uses to scope out travelers who deserve extra manhandling. Among the agency's red flags are "arrogant" expressions of "contempt against airport passenger procedures." Because, clearly, making a scene on the airport security line is sound strategy for anyone trying to sneak a bomb onto a plane.

There's been a lot of talk lately about "American Exceptionalism," and whether President Obama understands what makes America stand out among the family of nations.

I've always thought that what makes Americans exceptional is our ornery resistance to being bossed around.

But how long can that spirit survive the demands of modern "homeland security"? We're building a country where you're expected to stand by placidly while agents of the state run their rubber gloves under your innocent 6-year-old daughter's waistband.

White House draft bill expands DHS cyber responsibilities

Under a White House plan, the Homeland Security Department will have far-reaching oversight over all civilian agency computer networks. The proposal would codify much of the administration's memo from July 2010 expanding DHS's cyber responsibilities for civilian networks.
The White House, however, is taking those responsibilities further, according to a source familiar with the document. The administration drafted a legislative proposal to give DHS many, if not all, of the same authorities for the .gov networks that the Defense Department has for the .mil networks.

Federal News Radio recently viewed a draft copy of the legislative proposal.

"I have to question why the Executive branch is writing legislation," said the source, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk about it. "This is not a proposal or white paper like the White House usually sends to Capitol Hill. This is the actual legislation."

The source said the 100-page document is going through interagency review. DHS sent the document around to agencies late last Friday and asked for comments by Monday. The source said few agencies had time to take a hard look at the document, especially in light of the possible government shutdown.

billogrightsPrivacy 'bill of rights' exempts government agencies

Two U.S. senators introduced sweeping privacy legislation today that they promise will "establish a framework to protect the personal information of all Americans." There is, however, one feature of the bill (PDF) sponsored by senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) that has gone relatively unnoticed: it doesn't apply to data mining, surveillance, or any other forms of activities that governments use to collect and collate Americans' personal information.

At a press conference in Washington, D.C., McCain said the privacy bill of rights will protect the "fundamental right of American citizens, that is the right to privacy." And the first sentence of the legislation proclaims that "personal privacy is worthy of protection through appropriate legislation."

But the measure applies only to companies and some nonprofit groups, not to the federal, state, and local police agencies that have adopted high-tech surveillance technologies including cell phone tracking, GPS bugs, and requests to Internet companies for users' personal information--in many cases without obtaining a search warrant from a judge.

Airport passenger screener charged in distributing child pornography

A passenger screener at Philadelphia International Airport is facing charges that he distributed more than 100 images of child pornography via Facebook, records show.Federal agents also allege that Transportation Safety Administration Officer Thomas Gordon Jr. of Philadelphia, who routinely searched airline passengers, uploaded explicit pictures of young girls to an Internet site on which he also posted a photograph of himself in his TSA uniform.

Was FBI too quick to judge anthrax suspect killer?

WASHINGTON — Scouring the anthrax-laced mail that took five lives and terrorized the East Coast in 2001, laboratory scientists discovered a unique contaminant — a tiny scientific fingerprint that they hoped would help unmask the killer. One senior FBI official wrote in March 2007, in a recently declassified memo, that the potential clue "may be the most resolving signature found in the evidence to date."

Yet once FBI agents concluded that the likely culprit was Bruce Ivins — a mentally troubled, but widely regarded Army microbiologist — they stopped looking for the contaminant, after testing only a few work spaces of the scores of researchers using the anthrax strain found in the letters. They quit searching, despite finding no traces of the substance in hundreds of environmental samples from Ivins' lab, office, car and home.

It's been two and a half years since Ivins committed suicide in the face of prosecutors' threats to charge him with five murders, each carrying a potential death sentence. It's been more than a year since the Justice Department, despite lacking hard proof, formally declared that Ivins "perpetrated the anthrax letter attacks."

From Around the World
 
Azerbaijan police detain 65 in breaking up second pro-democracy rally this month

BAKU, Azerbaijan - Police in Azerbaijan detained 65 protesters Sunday as they broke up a pro-democracy rally for the second time this month. The rally was banned, but small groups of protesters made several attempts to march down streets in the centre of the capital, Baku, shouting "freedom" and calling for the ouster of the authoritarian government.

Police said 25 of those detained were released after a warning, but the remaining 40 would face charges.

An Associated Press reporter witnessed the arrests of more than 20 people, including two Swedish television journalists who were standing with other reporters on a central square.

Azerbaijan has been ruled since 2003 by President Ilham Aliyev, and he looks set to continue indefinitely after a referendum he pushed through in 2008 abolished presidential terms. Police called two opposition leaders in for questioning before the rally. The head of the opposition party Musavat, Isa Qambar, said he was questioned for seven hours Friday.

Three myths of Israel's insecurity

Here are the Three Sacred Commandments for Americans who shape the public conversation on Israel:

1. For politicians, especially at the federal level: as soon as you say the word "Israel", you must also say the word "security" and promise that the United States will always, always, always be committed to Israel's security. If you occasionally label an action by the Israeli government "unhelpful", you must immediately reaffirm the eternal US commitment to Israel's security.

2. For TV talking heads and op-ed pundits: if you criticize any policies or actions of the Israeli government, you must immediately add that Israel does, of course, have very real and serious security needs that have to be addressed.

3. For journalists covering the Israel-Palestine conflict for major American news outlets: you must live in Jewish Jerusalem or in Tel Aviv and take only occasional day trips into the Occupied Territories. So your reporting must inevitably be slanted toward the perspective of the Jews you live among. And you must indicate in every report that Jewish Israeli life is dominated by anxiety about security.

US opinion-shapers have obeyed the Three Commandments scrupulously for decades. As a result, they've created an indelible image of Israel as a deeply insecure nation. That image is a major, if often overlooked, factor that has shaped and continues to shape Washington's policies in the Middle East and especially the longstanding American tilt toward Israel.

Russia kills 'Saudi Al-Qaeda leader' in Chechnya

Russia on Friday announced the killing of Al-Qaeda's top militant in the Caucasus in an operation analysts said marked one of the biggest successes by security forces in the region in years. Security officials identified the Saudi-born militant -- known by the nom-de-guerre of Moganned -- as a "religious authority" and top field commander responsible for the most recent bombings on Russian soil.

"Almost all acts of terror using suicide bombers in the last years were prepared with his involvement," a spokesman for the National Anti-Terror Committee said in a televised statement.The rebel-linked kavkazcenter.com website confirmed that the militant was killed on Thursday in a clash with security forces in Chechnya that also claimed the lives of at least two other militants.

"The rats have started coming out of the woodwork," the war-torn republic's Kremlin-appointed leader Ramzan Kadyrov told news agencies after the death was confirmed. "Each one of them will be either arrested or destroyed."

Russian officials said Moganned had been operating in the Northern Caucasus since 1999 and by 2005 had emerged as the main "coordinator" for handling money that was coming in from abroad to support the militant underground.

US sanctions Kurdish rebel leaders for trafficking

The United States is slapping drug trafficking sanctions on leaders of a Kurdish rebel group.

The U.S. Treasury Department said that it would add five individuals tied to Kongra-Gel to a sanctions list that already covers the group more generally.

They include Cemil Bayik and Duran Kalkan, who the U.S. says founded the group, as well as Remzi Kartal, Sabri Ok and Adem Uzun. The Treasury Department alleges that Kongra-Gel maintains a drug trafficking network across Europe that helps fund the group.

Kongra-Gel, formerly Kurdistan Workers' Party or PKK, has been fighting for self-rule in the mainly Kurdish areas of southeastern Turkey since 1984. The United States considers the group a terrorist organization.

Daily brief: U.S. drone strike reportedly kills 26 in NW Pakistan

As many as 26 people, including five women and children, were reportedly killed earlier today in a suspected U.S. drone strike targeting a compound used by local militant commander Hafiz Gul Bahadur in the Spinwam area of North Waziristan (Reuters, AP, WSJ, CNN, BBC, Geo). Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs, reportedly told Pakistani Army head Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani during his visit to Pakistan this week that the drone strikes would continue until the Pakistani military targets the Haqqani network in North Waziristan (ET). Pamela Constable points out that "this week, there was no smiling photo op" between Adm. Mullen and Gen. Kayani, indicating the current tense relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan (Post).  

In a step toward addressing Pakistan's long-standing request for drone technology, the U.S. military said it will provide Pakistan with 85 Raven mini-drones, used for surveillance (Reuters). Pakistan is expected to receive some $3 billion in U.S. military aid in the next fiscal year. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met with Pakistan's foreign secretary, Salman Bashir, who is currently in D.C., and said the U.S. and Pakistan should "work and succeed together" (ET).

At Least Nine Civilians Slain as Missiles Destroy Nearby Homes

Fresh off the angry rancor between US Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen and his Pakistani counterpart Gen. Parvez Kayani, the US has launched another drone strike at North Waziristan Agency. The latest strike targeted a “suspected militant compound” killing at least 26 people.

Though some of the slain are still being referred to as “suspects,” the missile strikes also destroyed some nearby homes killing at least nine civilians, five women and four children. Large numbers of people were also wounded according to local officials.

Israel: UN recognition of a Palestinian state will turn us into ‘colonialists’

A source in the Israeli government warned of disaster dubbed “September’s tsunami” with regards to an expected UN recognition for the Palestinian state. Israel’s Channel Two broadcasted that the sources said with respect to the direct repercussions of recognising Palestine that it would have four detrimental results:

First, he said, the world’s perception of Israel will shift from an occupying state to a colonising state.

Second, countries that vote for a Palestinian state would enforce an economic boycott on Israel and cease trade and commerce with the Israeli state. The boycott will not be limited to the illegal settlements and their products, the source argued.

Third, Israel would be expelled from international trade organisations.

Fourth, the world would pressure Israel into “approving” the construction of the first Palestinian international airport in the West Bank.

The source noted that Israel’s official estimates suggest that from 192 member states in the UN’s general assembly around 180 could possibly vote for the recognition of Palestine, six would abstain and six others would oppose.

Marching for Anzac in the 51st State

The street where I grew up in Sydney was a war street. There were long silences, then the smashing of glass and screams. Pete and I played Aussies-and-Japs. Pete’s father was an object of awe. He weighed barely 100 pounds and shook with malaria and was frequently demented. He would sit in a cane chair, drunk, scything the air with the sword of a Japanese soldier he said he had killed. There was a woman who flitted from room to room, always red-eyed and fearful, it seemed. She was like many mothers in the street. Wally, another mate, lived in a house that was always dark because the black-out blinds had not been taken down. His father had been "killed by the Japs." Once, when Wally’s mother came home, she found he had got a gun, put it in his mouth and blown his head off. It was a war street. 

The insidious, merciless, life-long damage of war taught many of us to recognize the difference between the empty symbolism of war and the actual meaning. "Does it matter?" mocked the poet Siegfried Sassoon at the end of an earlier slaughter, in 1918, as he grieved his younger brother’s death at Gallipoli. I grew up with that name, Gallipoli. The British assault on the Turkish Dardanelles was one of the essential crimes of imperial war, causing the death and wounding of 392,000 on all sides. The Australian and New Zealander losses were among the highest, proportionally; and 25 April, 1915 was declared not just a day of remembrance but the "birth of the Australian nation." This was based on the belief of Edwardian militarists that true men were made in war, an absurdity about to be celebrated yet again.  

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Comments

  1. Gallipoli. I had two Grandfathers there. anzac day today.

    As to Bills of Right.
    Between Judge John Walker, Judge Hellerstein, and Lucky Larry., there are many conspiracies [theories.etc], all with a sharp point at the end of them.

  2. Further to Judge John Walker and discussion of Amercian Law.

    “In The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, Kuhn argues that the traditional picture of science—in which scientists conduct universally replicable experiments to accumulate verified facts, which together make up the body of scientific truths—is without basis in the actual history of science. Instead, scientists are trained to see the world in terms of a certain framework of interrelated concepts, which Kuhn calls a paradigm. In the overwhelming majority of cases, the paradigm not only determines the interpretation that a scientist gives the facts, but even what facts there are to be interpreted: The “facts” that scientists consider admissible for discussion are those that easily conform to the dominant paradigm, or that can be made to conform to it by extending the paradigm or introducing minor repairs into it. Those facts that can’t be made to conform to the reigning paradigm are overlooked entirely or dismissed as unimportant.”[Y.Hazony
    [http://www.jidaily.com/4fU ] ]

    This can also apply to the courts. For example, if the Uncle, or first cousin of George BUSH were sitting[as he was] presiding Judge[one of three], in a case concerning the conspiracy to attack the Pentagon on 911, one could argue a certain ‘Paradigm’ or ‘framework of interrelated concepts’ at work while deciding the fate of Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld accused of high treachery and murder. Or at least conspiracy.

    UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK ___

    APRIL GALLOP, for Herself and as Mother and Next Friend of ELISHA GALLOP, a Minor, No. _____________

    Plaintiff, Jury Trial Demanded

    vs.

    DICK CHENEY, Vice President of the U.S.A., DONALD RUMSFELD, former U.S. Secretary of Defense, General RICHARD MYERS, U.S.A.F. (Ret.), and John Does Nos. 1– X, all in their individual capacities, Defendants.

    __________________________________________

    COMPLAINT FOR VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS, CONSPIRACY, AND OTHER WRONGS

    http://justgetthere.us/blog/archives/Pentagon-Survivor-April-Gallop-Sues-Rumsfeld,-Cheney,-Saying-No-Evacuation-Order-Given-On-911.html
    http://revolutionarypolitics.com/?p=5275

    The ‘Structure of Scientific Revolutions’ paradigm as explained by Mister Hazony may also explain Shyam Sunders bald faced WTC NIST reports describing the physics of steel framed high rise building collapse at FreeFall without explosive demolition sequencing.

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