May 182013
 
There is clear evidence that he has broken the law on multiple occasions. And not even Republicans seem to care.

The Atlantic
Conor Friedersdorf

obama full full full.jpg

Reuters

Prompted by Peggy Noonan’s claim in The Wall Street Journal that “we are in the midst of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate,” Andrew Sullivan steps forward to defend Pres. Obama’s honor. “Can she actually believe this?,” he asks incredulously. “Has this president broken the law, lied under oath, or authorized war crimes? Has he traded arms for hostages with Iran? Has he knowingly sent his cabinet out to tell lies about his sex life? Has he sat by idly as an American city was destroyed by a hurricane? Has he started a war with no planning for an occupation? Has he started a war based on a lie, and destroyed the US’ credibility and moral standing while he was at it, leaving nothing but a smoldering and now rekindled civil sectarian war?”

An Obama critic, having overplayed her hand, gave Sullivan an opening to respond with what amounts to, “It isn’t as bad as Watergate, nor as bad as George W. Bush.” Let’s concede those points. I don’t much care what Obama’s Republican critics say about him. The scandals they’re presently touting, bad as two of them are, aren’t even the worst of Team Obama’s transgressions.

I have a stronger critique. Sullivan hasn’t internalized the worst of what Obama’s done, because his notion of scandal is implicitly constrained by whatever a president’s partisan opponents tout as scandalous. If they criticize Obama wrongly, he defends Obama proportionately.

To see what he’s forgotten as a result, let’s run once more through the first questions in Sullivan’s latest Obama apologia.

Has this president broken the law, lied under oath, or authorized war crimes?

Yes, President Obama has broken the law on multiple occasions. Despite clearly stating, in a 2008 questionnaire, that  the commander-in-chief is not lawfully empowered to ignore treaties duly ratified by the Senate, Obama has willfully failed to enforce the torture treaty, signed by Ronald Reagan and duly ratified by the Senate, that compels him to investigate and prosecute torture. As Sullivan put it earlier this year, “what Obama and Holder have done (or rather not done) is illegal.”

Obama also violated the War Powers Resolution, a law he has specifically proclaimed to be Constitutionally valid, when committing U.S. troops to Libya without Congressional approval.  Or as Sullivan put it in 2011, “I’m with Conor. The war in Libya becomes illegal from now on. And the imperial presidency grows even more powerful.”

On the subject of war crimes, Sullivan wrote that “Obama and attorney-general Eric Holder have decided to remain in breach of the Geneva Conventions and be complicit themselves in covering up the war crimes of their predecessors – which means, of course, that those of us who fought for Obama’s election precisely because we wanted a return to the rule of law were conned.” In a separate entry, he went so far as to say that Obama is “a clear and knowing accessory to war crimes, and should at some point face prosecution as well, if the Geneva Conventions mean anything any more.” That seems rather farther than Noonan went in her column.

Obama has not, as Sullivan points out, traded arms for hostages with Iran, or started a war with no planning for the inevitable occupation that would follow. But there are different questions that could be asked about Obama that would perhaps be more relevant to his behavior.

Has he ordered the assassination of any American citizens in secret without due process? Did he kill any of their teenage kids without ever explaining how or why that happened?

Has he refused to reveal even the legal reasoning he used to conclude his targeted killing program is lawful?

Has he waged an unprecedented war on whistleblowers?

Has he spied on millions of innocent Americans without a warrant or probable cause?

Does he automatically count dead military-aged males killed by U.S. drones as “militants”?

Did he “sign a bill that enshrines in law the previously merely alleged executive power of indefinite detention without trial of terror suspects”?

There is more, as Sullivan knows, and it all amounts to a scandalous presidency, even if it happens that few Republicans care about the most scandalous behavior, and have instead spent almost a year* now obsessing about Benghazi. The IRS scandal and Department of Justice leak-investigation excesses are worrisome, but the biggest scandals definitely go all the way to the top, and are still largely ignored even by commentators who have acknowledged that they’re happening. Sullivan has noted the stories as they broke, and seemed, for fleeting moments, to confront their gravity, noting the violation of very serious laws, and even once stating that Obama deserves to be prosecuted! Yet in response to Noonan, he writes, “So far as I can tell, this president has done nothing illegal, unethical or even wrong.” How inexplicably they forget.

And Sullivan is hardly alone. At the New York Times, Mother Jones, The New Yorker, and beyond, exceptional journalists take great care to document alarming abuses against the rule of law, the separation of powers, transparency, and human rights perpetrated by the Obama Administration. On a given subject, the coverage leaves me awed and proud to be part of the same profession. But when it comes time for synthesis, bad heuristics take over. Confronted with the opportunism and absurdity of the GOP, Obama’s sins are forgiven, as if he should be graded on a curve. His sins are forgotten, as if “this president has done nothing illegal, unethical or even wrong.”

Yes. He. Has. Continue reading »

May 072013
 

Real Clear Politics

“Most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States,” President Obama said during a speech at Mexico’s Anthropology Museum. “I think many of you know that in America, our Constitution guarantees our individual right to bear arms. And as president, I swore an oath to uphold that right, and I always will.”

“But at the same time, as I’ve said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common-sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people. That can save lives here in Mexico and back home in the United States. It’s the right thing to do,” Obama added. Continue reading »

Apr 232013
 

World Socialist Website
Bill Van Aken

The Boston Marathon bombings last week, which killed three and wounded over 170, were seized on to implement a far-reaching attack on democratic rights, including a police lockdown of an entire city. As with previous incidents, much remains unknown, including the motive of those who allegedly carried it out, whether others were involved, and what connection the FBI and other government agencies had to them.

In a televised statement immediately after the capture of 19-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the bombings, President Barack Obama told the American public: “Obviously, tonight there are still many unanswered questions. Among them, why did young men who grew up and studied here, as part of our communities and our country, resort to such violence? How did they plan and carry out these attacks, and did they receive any help?”

However, it is the government that has released very little information about what it knows. Moreover, the Obama administration has decreed that Dzhokhar will be denied his Miranda rights, allowing CIA, FBI and military interrogators to question him without the presence of an attorney, thereby further limiting any information surfacing outside of what is vetted by the government and its intelligence agencies.

In addition to the questions raised by Obama, there are a number of others that bear serious scrutiny.

  • How did the two brothers obtain the explosives used in the bombings?
  • What relationship existed between the Tsarnaev brothers and the FBI and other US intelligence agencies?
  • Did US authorities have any knowledge about the Boston bombing plot before it was executed?
  • What role did US policy in relation to Russia and the separatist movements in Chechnya and other parts of the North Caucasus play in the US government’s attitude toward the Tsarnaevs?

While much remains murky about these and other issues, one thing is clear: the Boston bombing, like virtually every other major terrorist incident, real or invented, since the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York City and Washington, was carried out by someone who was known to and under surveillance by US intelligence agencies.


Armored vehicles in downtown Boston [Photo: Jeff Cutler]

There have been increasing questions raised concerning the FBI’s handling of a request from a foreign government, presumed to be Russia, that it investigate Tamerlan Tsarnaev on suspicion of involvement in Islamist terrorism.

The request came in advance of a six-month visit that Tamerlan made to Russia beginning in January of last year, during which he stayed with his father in Dagestan and visited Chechnya, where several members of the family live.

In a statement released in the wake of the Boston bombings, the FBI acknowledged that Russian authorities had determined that Tamerlan Tsarnaev was a “follower of radical Islam and a strong believer, and that he had changed drastically since 2010 as he prepared to leave the United States for travel to the country’s region to join unspecified underground groups.”

The FBI said that in response to this request it “checked US government databases and other information to look for such things as derogatory telephone communications, possible use of online sites associated with the promotion of radical activity, associations with other persons of interest, travel history and plans, and education history.”

The statement concluded that the FBI “did not find any terrorism activity, domestic or foreign, and those results were provided to the foreign government in the summer of 2011.”

The Russian media has reported that Russian security services again contacted the FBI about Tamerlan Tsarnaev in November of last year.

Both of the parents of the two suspects have provided accounts of the FBI’s role that contradict the agency’s public statement.

The mother of the two brothers, Zubeidat Tsarnaeva, a naturalized US citizen, told Russia Today that the FBI agents had told her that “Tamerlan was an extremist leader and they were afraid of him. They told me whatever information he is getting, he gets from these extremists’ web sites.”

“It is a setup,” she added. “He was controlled by FBI for three to five years. They knew what my son was doing. They knew what actions and what sites on the Internet he was going… So how could this happen? How could they, they were controlling his every step, and they are telling today that this is a terrorist act.”

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, the young men’s father, Anzor Tsarnaev, said that the FBI had visited the family’s home in Cambridge, Massachusetts at least five times looking for Tamerlan. He said: “They said there were doing preventive work. They were afraid there might be some explosions on the streets of Boston.”

The father said that he had been present at one FBI interrogation in which agents had told his son, “We know what sites you are on, we know where you are calling, we know everything about you. Everything.” Like the mother, he insisted that his sons had been “framed up.”

Russian sources reported that both parents had subsequently been questioned by Russia’s Federal Security Service, after which they cut off further contact with the Western media.

Reports of FBI involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev have led to criticism by US lawmakers, including South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who has called for the younger brother to be treated as an “enemy combatant” and turned over to the US military. He said in a Sunday television interview that “the ball was dropped” by the FBI.

There have been no explanations forthcoming about how “the ball was dropped.” And without either of the two suspects or anyone else providing a motive for the bombings, much is unclear.

Among the explanations that have been suggested is one from the Israeli web site Debka, citing “counterterrorism and intelligence sources,” who it said had concluded that the two brothers were “recruited by US intelligence as penetration agents” to gain access to jihadist networks in the Russian Caucasus, but then “turned coat and bit their recruiters.”

It has been widely charged that Washington has offered covert support to Chechen and other Islamist separatists in the Caucasus, who have waged two wars with Russian forces in 1994-1996 and again in 1999.

Chechen fighters have also been reportedly active in the Western-backed Islamist militias fighting to overthrow the regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria. Videos supporting this war for regime-change were found on Tamerlan Tsarnaev’s YouTube channel, along with other Islamist material. The channel had some 700 subscribers. Moscow Times quoted Russian “intelligence expert” Andrei Soldatov as questioning the FBI’s handling of the case. “He was very open about his beliefs,” he said of Tamerlan. “I’m at a loss as to why the FBI didn’t pay attention to him then.”

A web site backing the Islamist groups in the North Caucasus posted a statement on Sunday denying any link between them and those who carried out the Boston Marathon bombings. “The Caucasus fighters are not waging any military activities against the United States of America,” the Kavkazcenter.com web site said. Servers for the site are located in the US.

A Russian intelligence source also told AFP, “At the moment we have no credible information about the Tsarnaev brothers’ involvement with the Caucasus Emirate movement,” the main Islamist organization in the region. The group has previously claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks such as the bombing of the Moscow airport in January 2011 in which 37 died and bombings of its metro system in 2010, which killed over 40.

As to whether the government had prior knowledge of the Boston bombing plot before last Monday’s explosions at the Marathon finish line, participants in the event have cited what they saw at the time as unusual developments. The coach of the University of Mobile’s cross-country team, Ali Stevenson, told the Alabama media that he found it odd that bomb-sniffing dogs were brought out at both the starting and finish lines.

“They kept making announcements to the participants do not worry, it’s just a training exercise,” he said. He added that he had also observed “law enforcement spotters” on roofs at the start of the race. “Evidently, I don’t believe they were just having a training exercise,” Stevenson said. “I think they must have had some sort of threat or suspicion called in.”

If such prior knowledge did exist, this raises another question. In all but a handful of cases, every major terrorist plot reported in the US over the past decade has been the product of a sting operation organized by the FBI or other police agencies. In almost all of these cases, those arrested and prosecuted for terrorism would never have had the means or even the intention of carrying out such acts without the guiding hand of covert informers and agent provocateurs.

This pattern goes back at least to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, in which a former Egyptian army officer, Emad Salem acting as a paid FBI informant, actually participated in building the bomb, claiming that the original plan had been to substitute harmless powder for the explosives.

Were the Boston bombings the result of such an operation that got out of control? Or did sections of the state know about it and allow it to go forward?

How the Boston Marathon bombing plot unfolded and what motives lay behind it are still not known. Only one thing is certain: whatever the source of this terrorist atrocity, it will be used by the US government as a pretext to escalate militarism abroad and repression at home. Continue reading »

Apr 102013
 

Breitbart
Wynton Hall

Those wondering why the Department of Justice has refused to go after Jon Corzine for the vaporization of $1.6 billion in MF Global client funds need look no further than the documents uncovered by the Government Accountability Institute that reveal that the now-defunct MF Global was a client of Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer’s former law firm, Covington & Burling.

There’s more.

Records also reveal that MF Global’s trustee for the Chapter 11 bankruptcy retained as its general bankruptcy counsel Morrison & Foerester–the very law firm from which Associate Attorney General Tony West came to DOJ.

And more.

As Government Accountability Institute President Peter Schweizer explains in the Washington Times Thursday, the trustee overseeing MF Global’s bankruptcy is former FBI Director Louis Freeh. At Holder’s Senate confirmation hearing Freeh served as a character witness for Holder and revealed that Holder had previously worked for Freeh. “As general counsel,” Freeh said, “I could have engaged any lawyer in America to represent our bank. I chose Eric.”

Until now, the conventional wisdom for why Holder wouldn’t throw the book at Corzine was that Corzine is an Obama campaign bundler. Indeed, as Breitbart News reported, four of the top officials at the Department of Justice–Eric Holder, Thomas Perrelli, Karol Mason, and Tony West–were also big money bundlers for Obama.

But the newly understood crony connections reveal conflicts of interest that extend well beyond mere political support for a common candidate–they go to a tangle of prior business dealings that further underscore the need for a special prosecutor in the Corzine case.

At least 65 members of Congress have already signed a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder requesting that he appoint a special prosecutor to investigate MF Global’s collapse and the loss of $1.6 billion in customer money. What’s more, even progressives have begun to wonder whether Holder’s Covington & Burling connection explains why the Department of Justice has not charged, prosecuted, or jailed a single Wall Street executive after the biggest financial collapse in American history.

As Richard Eskow of the Huffington Post recently wrote:

More and more Washington insiders are asking a question that was considered off-limits in the nation’s capital just a few months ago: Who, exactly, is Attorney General Eric Holder representing? As scandal after scandal erupts on Wall Street, involving everything from global lending manipulation to cocaine and prostitution, more and more people are worrying about Holder’s seeming inaction — or worse — in the face of mounting evidence.

This isn’t going away.

Both the left and the right are onto Holder’s Wall Street head fake. With the revelation of the new crony connections, the time for Eric Holder to appoint a special prosecutor in the Corzine/MF Global case is now. Continue reading »

Dec 162012
 

Wired
Kim Zetter

 

In a secret government agreement granted without approval or debate from lawmakers, the U.S. attorney general recently gave the National Counterterrorism Center sweeping new powers to store dossiers on U.S. citizens, even if they are not suspected of a crime, according to a news report.

Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder granted the center the ability to copy entire government databases holding information on flight records, casino-employee lists, the names of Americans hosting foreign-exchange students and other data, and to store it for up to five years, even without suspicion that someone in the database has committed a crime, according to the Wall Street Journal, which broke the story.

Whereas previously the law prohibited the center from storing data compilations on U.S. citizens unless they were suspected of terrorist activity or were relevant to an ongoing terrorism investigation, the new powers give the center the ability to not only collect and store vast databases of information but also to trawl through and analyze it for suspicious patterns of behavior in order to uncover activity that could launch an investigation.

The changes granted by Holder would also allow databases containing information about U.S. citizens to be shared with foreign governments for their own analysis.

A former senior White House official told the Journal that the new changes were “breathtaking in scope.”

But counterterrorism officials tried to downplay the move by telling the Journal that the changes come with strict guidelines about how the data can be used.

“The guidelines provide rigorous oversight to protect the information that we have, for authorized and narrow purposes,” Alexander Joel, Civil Liberties Protection Officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, told the paper.

The NCTC currently maintains the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database, or TIDE, which holds data on more than 500,000 identities suspected of terror activity or terrorism links, including friends and families of suspects, and is the basis for the FBI’s terrorist watchlist.

Under the new rules issued in March, the NCTC can now obtain almost any other government database that it claims is “reasonably believed” to contain “terrorism information.” This could conceivably include collections of financial forms submitted by people seeking federally backed mortgages or even the health records of anyone who sought mental or physical treatment at government-run hospitals, such as Veterans Administration facilities, the paper notes.

The Obama administration’s new rules come after previous surveillance proposals were struck down during the Bush administration, following widespread condemnation.

In 2002, the Pentagon’s Total Information Awareness program proposed to scrutinize both government and private databases, but public outrage killed the program in essence, though not in spirit. Although Congress de-funded the program in 2003, the NSA continued to collect and sift through immense amounts of data about who Americans spoke with, where they traveled and how they spent their money.

The Federal Privacy Act prohibits government agencies from sharing data for any purpose other than the reason for which the data was initially collected, in order to prevent the creation of dossiers, but agencies can do an end-run around this restriction by posting a notice in the Federal Register, providing justification for the data request. Such notices are rarely seen or contested, however.

The changes to the rules for the NCTC were sought in large part after authorities failed to catch Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab before he boarded a plane on Christmas Day in 2009 with explosives sewn into his underwear. Abdulmutallab wasn’t on the FBI watchlist, but the NCTC had received tips about him, and yet failed to search other government databases to connect dots that might have helped prevent him from boarding the plane.

As the NCTC tried to remedy that situation for later suspects, legal obstacles emerged, the Journal reports, since the center was only allowed to query federal databases for a specific name or a specific passenger list. “They couldn’t look through the databases trolling for general ‘patterns,’” the paper notes.

But the request to expand the center’s powers led to a heated debate at the White House and the Department of Homeland Security, with Mary Ellen Callahan, then-chief privacy officer for the Department of Homeland Security, leading the charge to defend civil liberties. Callahan argued that the new rules represented a “sea change” and that every interaction a citizen would have with the government in the future would be ruled by the underlying question, is that person a terrorist?

Callahan lost her battle, however, and subsequently left her job, though it’s not known if her struggle over the NCTC debate played a role in her decision to leave.

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Oct 302012
 

Daily Caller
Matthew Boyle

The latest congressional report on Operation Fast and Furious found that the gunwalking-program-turned-scandal was the result of a “deliberate strategy created at the highest levels of the Justice Department aimed at identifying the leaders of a major gun trafficking ring.”

The report is the second installment in a three-part series from Senate Judiciary Committee Ranking Member Sen. Chuck Grassley and House oversight committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa.

That “deliberate strategy,” congressional investigators argue, sprang from “a series of speeches about combating violence along the Southwest border” that Attorney General Eric Holder delivered shortly after taking office.

“Although [the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives] ATF did not officially open the Fast and Furious investigation until the fall of 2009, the groundwork for the strategy that would guide the operation began shortly after new leadership took control of the Department of Justice nine months earlier,” the report reads. “On February 25, 2009, just one month after Attorney General Eric Holder took office, he gave a speech noting the danger of the Mexican drug cartels, focusing on the Sinaloa cartel in particular.”

On Feb. 25, 2009, Holder said the drug cartels “are lucrative, they are violent, and they are operated with stunning planning and precision” and, under his leadership, he promised “these cartels will be destroyed.”

A little more than a month later, on April 2, 2009 in Cuernavaca, Mexico, congressional investigators say Holder “gave further insight into the department’s new strategy for combating these dangerous cartels.”

“He spoke about the development of a prosecution and enforcement strategy with respect to firearms trafficking, noting that the ‘administration launched a major new effort to break the backs of the cartels,’” the report reads. “In particular, the attorney general said that the Justice Department was committed to adding ‘100 new ATF personnel to the Southwest Border’ and that Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) would add ‘16 new positions on the border.’ Most importantly, the attorney general noted that there must be ‘an attack in depth, on both sides of the border, that focuses on the leadership and assets of the cartel.’”

Shortly after that April 2, 2009 speech by Holder, congressional investigators say “a Firearms Trafficking Working Group was formed.” Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer, the head of DOJ’s Criminal Division, led the working group. It was tasked with “exploring and recommending proposals to enhance law enforcement efforts to curb firearms trafficking, focusing specifically on investigation, interdiction, training, prosecution, and intelligence-sharing.”

Later, on June 30, 2009, congressional investigators say Deputy Attorney General David Ogden argued that the border between the U.S. and Mexico was the “front line” to fight firearms trafficking. The report lays out how Ogden “also said that ATF and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would sign a new agreement to ‘ensure coordination between the departments on firearms investigations.’”

Then, on Aug. 19, 2009, that working group presented its recommendations to Holder in a memo. “The recommendations section of this August 2009 memo included many of the previous public comments by Attorney General Holder and Deputy Attorney General Ogden,” the congressional report says of that memo.

“The document went on to recommend “intelligence-based, prosecutor-led, multi-agency task forces,’” congressional investigators write. “It suggested that under its new model, ‘we develop priority targets through the extensive use of intelligence,’ which would allow it to ‘build cases, coordinating long-term, extensive investigations to identify all the tentacles of a particular organization.’”

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Oct 272012
 

IntelHub
JG Vibes

This week financial news organization CNBC gave some mainstream attention to the largest money laundering and racketeering lawsuit in United States History, in which “Banksters” and their U.S. racketeering partners are being accused of laundering of 43 trillion dollars worth of ill gotten gains.

The lawsuit is said to involve officials located in the highest offices of government and the financial sector.

Since this information was surprisingly revealed by the mainstream news organization there has been a very suspicious and deadly fallout at the CNBC headquarters.
Within hours the original page for the article was taken down, and CNBC senior vice president Kevin Krim received news that his children were killed under very suspicious circumstances.
It seems that the murder happened first and then the page was removed later.
According to mainstream accounts the children’s nanny is responsible for the murders, allegedly stabbing both children.
However, those same mainstream news sources report the highly unlikely story that the nanny slit her own throat just after committing the homicides.
Police have released very little information and although a wider plot has not been officially implicated, it seems very possible that these murders are a show of force against the press organization for releasing such damning information about the most powerful people in the world.
Here is some more information about the lawsuit from the Wall Street Journal:
“In the District Court lawsuit, Spire Law Group, LLP — on behalf of home owner across the Country and New York taxpayers, as well as under other taxpayer recompense laws — has expanded its mass tort action into federal court in Brooklyn, New York, seeking to halt all foreclosures nationwide pending the return of the $43 trillion ($43,000,000,000.00) by the “Banksters” and their co-conspirators, seeking an audit of the Fed and audits of all the “bailout programs” by an independent receiver such as Neil Barofsky, former Inspector General of the TARP program who has stated that none of the TARP money and other “bailout money” advanced from the Treasury has ever been repaid despite protestations to the contrary by the Defendants as well as similar protestations by President Obama and the Obama Administration both publicly on national television and more privately to the United States Congress.
Because the Obama Administration has failed to pursue any of the “Banksters” criminally, and indeed is actively borrowing monies for Mr. Obama’s campaign from these same “Banksters” to finance its political aspirations, the national group of plaintiff home owners has been forced to now expand its lawsuit to include racketeering, money laundering and intentional violations of the Iranian Nations Sanctions and Embargo Act by the national banks included among the “Bankster” Defendants. “
Some of the alleged conspirators are Attorney General Holder, Assistant Attorney General Tony West, the brother in law of Defendant California Attorney General Kamala Harris, Jon Corzine (former New Jersey Governor), Robert Rubin (former Treasury Secretary and Bankster), Timothy Geitner, Treasury Secretary, Vikram Pandit (recently resigned and disgraced Chairman of the Board of Citigroup), Valerie Jarrett (a Senior White House Advisor), Anita Dunn (a former “communications director” for the Obama Administration), Robert Bauer (husband of Anita Dunn and Chief Legal Counsel for the Obama Re-election Campaign), as well as the “Banksters” themselves, and their affiliates and conduits.
It is expected that all news on this subject will be removed from CNBC, and that other news organizations will be discouraged from covering such information.
However, screen shots of the original CNBC article were taken to verify the authenticity of this story.
Assassination and brute intimidation are common strategies for the ruling class to use on people who may threaten their agenda.
This is the second situation this week in which a high level executive was the victim of a suspicious attack that seemed very much like an assassination.
The Intel Hub just reported that Nicholas Mockford, a 60 year old British executive for the oil company ExxonMobil was shot dead in front of his wife in an assassination-style killing in Brussels.

We will be keeping a close eye on both of these stories and provide more details as they become available.Help Us Transmit This Story

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Oct 192012
 

Why is President Obama’s attorney general handing out prizes for sweeping torture under the rug?

Foreign Policy
David Cole

On Oct. 17, Eric Holder handed out the Justice Department’s annual awards for distinguished service to a slew of department employees. Featured at the top of the awards announcement were the men and women who successfully prosecuted 10 New Orleans police officers for killing innocent civilians in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and a U.S. marshal who risked his life to protect a victim from a violent fugitive during the fugitive’s capture. But buried at the bottom of the list — the 13th of 14 “distinguished service awards” — was a more unusual awardee: Assistant U.S. Attorney John Durham. Durham and his team received the award not for bringing anyone to justice, but for declining to hold accountable anyone in the CIA for its brutal interrogations of detainees at secret prisons, or “black sites,” in connection with President George W. Bush’s “war on terror.”

“In order to conduct the investigations,” the citation reads, “the team had to review significant amounts of information, much of which was classified, and conduct many interviews in the United States and at overseas locations.”
There’s no question that Durham worked hard for a long time, and that the investigation was complex and substantial. After all, more than 100 men were “disappeared” into the CIA’s black sites for extended incommunicado detention and interrogation. Because the CIA prisons were a secret, everything that happened there is classified, complicating investigation still further. And because the investigation itself is secret, we can’t know precisely what evidence Durham considered, what roadblocks he faced, what judgment calls he made.
But here’s what we do know. Many of those “disappeared” into the CIA’s black sites were tortured and/or illegally subjected to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment. Abu Zubaydah and Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, for example, were waterboarded 83 and 183 times, respectively. They and other detainees were stripped naked, doused with water, beaten about the face and stomach, slammed into walls, deprived of sleep for days on end, forced into painful stress positions, and confined in small dark boxes for hours at a time. And these were just the “authorized” torture tactics, given a green light by a secret memo written in August 2002 by John Yoo and Jay Bybee from the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and specifically okayed by President Bush, Vice-President Dick Cheney, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Attorney General John Ashcroft, and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales, among others.
We also know, thanks to the CIA’s own Inspector General, that CIA interrogators in the black sites went beyond even the illegal brutality authorized by high-level officials. One detainee was threatened with a handgun and a power drill. A mock execution was staged next to a detainee’s cell. Interrogators threatened to kill the children of another detainee if he didn’t tell them what they wanted to know.
We also know that in 2005, CIA higher-up Jose Rodriguez ordered the destruction of videotapes of two of those interrogations, shortly after the Washington Post revealed the existence of the CIA secret prisons where the interrogations took place, and while the tapes were under request from several courts and a Senate committee looking into charges of abuse.
Durham cleared everyone in the CIA of accusations of wrongdoing. Does he deserves a medal for that? Maybe so, but then there are a few other recipients the attorney general left out. Surely John Yoo and Jay Bybee deserve medals for making the interrogations possible in the first place, by issuing a memo that Jack Goldsmith, director of the Office of Legal Counsel after Bybee, has called a “get out of jail free card.” Goldsmith himself, along with his successors as OLC heads under Bush — Daniel Levin and Steven Bradbury — also deserve medals for secretly allowing the torture tactics to continue even after the administration rescinded the initial memo when the Post published it. Tellingly, the Bush administration could not publicly defend, even for a moment, what everyone had signed off on in secret; but Goldsmith, Levin, and Bradbury ensured, in subsequent secret memos and authorizations, that the CIA’s illegal program could go on.

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Oct 162012
 

The Blaze
Jason Howerton

Department of Justice Seeks Dismissal of Fast and Furious Lawsuit
The Justice Department on Monday night sought dismissal of a lawsuit by a Republican-led House committee demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder produce records about the botched law enforcement probe of gun-trafficking called Operation Fast and Furious.
President Barack Obama has invoked executive privilege and the attorney general has been found to be in contempt of Congress for refusing to turn over documents that might explain what led the Justice Department to reverse course after initially denying that federal agents had used a controversial tactic called gun-walking in the failed law enforcement operation. The tactic resulted in hundreds of illegally acquired weapons purchased at Arizona gun shops winding up in Mexico, where many of them were recovered from crime scenes. Two guns in Operation Fast and Furious were found on the U.S. side of the border at the scene of a shooting in which U.S. border agent Brian Terry was killed. In a Feb. 4, 2011 letter to Congress, the Justice Department said that agents made every effort to interdict weapons that have been purchased illegally and prevent their transportation to Mexico, which turned out to be incorrect. Ten months later, the department withdrew the letter.
In its court papers, the Justice Department says the Constitution does not permit the courts to resolve the political dispute between the executive branch and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that is seeking the records. The political branches have a long history of resolving disputes over congressional requests without judicial intervention, the court filing said.

If the lawsuit is allowed to go forward, “countless other suits by Congress are sure to follow, given the volume of document requests issued by the dozens of congressional committees that perform oversight functions,” the Justice Department’s court filing stated. “This case thus illustrates vividly why the judiciary must defer to the time-tested political process for resolution of such disputes.”

The Justice Department cited a Supreme Court ruling which said the court lacked jurisdiction to decide a challenge brought by several members of Congress to the constitutionality of the line item veto law.
In the current dispute over records from Operation Fast and Furious, the House asked the court to reject a claim by the president asserting executive privilege, a legal position designed to protect certain internal administration communications from disclosure.
The failure of Holder and House Republicans to work out a deal on the documents led to votes in June that held the attorney general in civil and criminal contempt of Congress.
In Fast and Furious, ATF agents abandoned the agency’s usual practice of intercepting all weapons they believed to be illicitly purchased, often as soon as they were taken out of gun shops. Instead, the goal of the tactic known as “gun-walking” was to track such weapons to high-level arms traffickers, who had long eluded prosecution, and to dismantle their networks. Federal agents lost track of many of the guns. The operation identified more than 2,000 illicitly purchased weapons, and some 1,400 of them have yet to be recovered.

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