May 262013
 

Story Leak
Anthony Gucciardi

In another verbal assault on net neutrality, Obama is now warning that both recent and future acts of terrorism stem from the accessibility of information on the internet.

obama-internet-terrorismIn his speech yesterday, Obama said that information available online fuels ‘violent agendas’ through ‘hateful propaganda’ that drives terrorism. Warning that ‘internet materials’ are fueling domestic terror threats and actually causing people to go out and commit mass acts of terrorism, Obama is once again following in the footsteps of his fellow control freak associates in assaulting the openness of the internet that is now a hot spring for alternative news amid the frozen depths of the mainstream media.

In the speech, Obama said:

“Today, a person can consume hateful propaganda, commit themselves to a violent agenda and learn how to kill without leaving their home.”

The simple reality is that the internet is the largest threat to corrupt government officials. It’s how we managed to break open the entire IRS scandal that has blown up in Obama’s face and led to calls for criminal action against top officials responsible for targeting Constitution-based groups with phony financial assaults. It’s also how we know about the truth surrounding Benghazi and what went down there. An event that has also generated serious awareness and even calls for impeachment.

Internet-Based Alt News Growing At Record Levels

So it should come as no surprise to find that Obama and others want the internet to be not only monitored by the government, but regulated as well. By using the ever-looming threat of domestic terrorism, it is simple to trace back extremists to certain internet sites that can be used as catalysts to enact legislation that endangers and annihilates internet freedom. Specifically, people like myself and others can be targeted in these crackdowns in order to give alternative news sources a bad name.

Obama’s latest speech is similar to his previous, in which he warns against those who question what he calls our ‘brave’ new government and warn of tyranny and corruption within it. The bottom line is that Obama is setting the stage here, as he has been for quite a while along with others, for an informational crusade against websites and blogs that dare to criticize government. Already labeled as ‘conspiracy’ and ‘extremist’ websites for even asking the simplest questions of government, the fight against net neutrality and alternative news sources is about to be taken to a whole new level. Continue reading »
May 222013
 

National Review
Jim Geraghty

There’s really no reason for the press to suggest that the recent slew of scandals involving the Obama administration — Benghazi, the AP phone-record seizure, the snooping in James Rosen’s e-mail, the IRS’s targeting of conservative groups, and so on — are a confusing jumble. There is a very clear thread running through all of the administration’s actions:

All of these actions involve an effort to control information.

Some parts of this administration focus on preventing information that is contrary to the administration’s agenda from getting out, or hindering its distribution, and making sure that the only information that goes out supports the perspective of the administration. Other parts leak confidential information designed to attack the reputations of those holding perspectives the administration opposes (NOM, the nine conservative groups) or other whistleblowers (ATF agent Dodson).

Continue reading »

Apr 282013
 

Nation of Change
Dave Lindorff

When a horrific incident like this is used to justify such new threats to our Constitutional freedom as an unprecedented martial law-style lockdown of an entire 1-million-person metropolitan area and a precedent-setting deliberately Miranda-free, attorney-free interrogation of a hospitalized, gravely wounded and sedated suspect, it is critical that the whole story be told, not just the official one.

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Speaking as an investigative reporter with almost 40 years’s experience, I can say that when government officials won’t talk, they’re generally hiding something embarrassing or worse.

I tried, and nobody will talk about those Craft International Services private security personnel who were widely observed and photographed near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, wearing security ear-pieces, hats and T-shirts bearing the company’s skull logo, and all wearing the same dark coats, khaki pants and combat boots, some carrying what appear to have been radiation detectors. (I got no hard answers, though there were some inadvertent hints given.)

I first contacted a man identifying himself as Jack Fleming, a public affairs person with the Boston Athletic Assn., sponsor of the marathon. Fleming advised me that “If you want to ask about that you should contact the Commonwealth (of Massachusetts) Executive Office of Public Safety.”

I called that agency and spoke with the public information office there, a man named Terrell. He first said, “Did you call the Marathon organizers?” When I replied that I had, and that they had said to call his office, he replied, “They did?” Then he said, “You should call the City of Boston Police Department. They released a security plan to some media organizations.”

Indeed they had released that plan to the Boston Globe. Based upon the information it got from the police the article the Globe ran, did report that the Police had deployed “air patrols, K9 units, and more than 1,000 uniformed officers and soldiers along the 26-mile course and the finish line,” but it made no mention of the private contracting of soldiers-for-hire, which is what Craft International does (see the Craft website). News agency Reuters reported, meanwhile, that a top official for the Massachusetts state Homeland Security Department, Undersecretary Kurt Schwartz, told a group at Harvard U. that his agency had “planned” for a possible bombing attack on the marathon, even running a “table-top” exercise about such an event a week before the race.

I called the Boston Police to ask if they had hired the Craft International personnel who were observed at the scene just before and after the bombing, and was told by the public affairs office there that “Anything having to do with the investigation of the bombing would have to be referred to the FBI Boston Division office.” When I pointed out that I wasn’t asking anything about the investigation, but was simply asking who had hired the security personnel from Craft International, the answer was simply repeated: “You’ll have to ask the FBI.”

So I called the FBI, and got a public affairs person there named Amanda Cox. Her initial response to my question was, “I do not have any information on that,” then said I had been referred to her by the Boston Police Department, and said that photos of the scene after the bombing had shown Craft International personnel conversing with FBI agents. She then put down the phone, and I could hear her turn to a supervisor and ask, her voice muffled, “This guy’s asking about the Craft Security Consultants — who hired them and what they were doing.”

I next overheard the muffled voice of another woman to whom she had been speaking reply, “I think you could safely say, ‘I do know we worked with a lot of people who worked on security at the marathon…’” After that I couldn’t make out what was being said.

Cox later returned to the phone, and instead told me, “I’d refer you to the company on any information about who hired them.” (Taken together the overheard conversation and the official answer from Cox would at least seem to confirm that Craft’s people were hired for the event, and that the FBI knows a lot more than it is willing to say about them.)

Next I called Craft International. The company has no phone number listed on its website — just a general email address of info@thecraft.com (to which I wrote to asking for information, but which elicited no response)–but I found one listed for their headquarters office at 2101 Cedar Springs Rd., Suite 1400, Dallas, TX, in a listing on the company published in a directory in Bloomberg Businessweek, This entry noted that the company, in addition to “providing security, defense, and combat weapons training services for military, police, corporate and civilian clients in the US and internationally,” also “offers corporate and private and civilian training services…” The number, published in a business magazine, was clearly meant as a contact for potential customers to call.

A woman answered the phone brightly with the company’s name. However, when I identified myself as a reporter, and said I was wondering if someone could tell me who had hired personnel from the firm to work at the Boston Marathon, she responded with a flummoxed: “Um, I um, don’t really have any information on that. I’m just an answering service.”

I replied, “Look, the number I called is listed as the number of the company’s corporate headquarters at 2101 Cedar Springs Road. You’re not an answering service.”

At that point she said, “Let me see who I can transfer you to.”

However, after a long pause, she was back, and said, “The answer I’ve been given is that you should go to the website, where there’s an email address you can write to with your question.”

I had already done that, I told her. She then said she couldn’t help me and hung up.

I also called the US Department of Homeland Security, but a women named Angela who answered the press office number for this public government agency (she refused to provide her last name despite being the public information office) said the DHS media office was “only taking inquiries sent in by email.” I sent in an inquiry asking if any unit of the DHS had hired Craft International to provide security at the Boston Marathon, but so far have received no response.

As things stand, since it’s highly unlikely that Craft International, a private for-profit enterprise founded by the late ace Navy Seal sniper Chris Kyle, would have “hired” itself to police the Marathon gratis, it seems pretty clear that we had rent-a-special forces-soldier people, hired by some agency, at the scene of the bombing ahead of the bombing.

And we have no reporting on this in the mainstream corporate media.

Why? I have no answer to that.

I did write to Andrea Estes, the lead writer of the Globe’s piece on police security planning mentioned above, who is described in her bio on the Globe’s website staff page as an “investigative reporter specializing in government accountability.”

I called and left a message on her phone, and sent her an email, asking if she had looked into the Craft Security personnel, to see who hired them, what they were doing at the race finish line, and why they appeared be carrying radiation detectors. She has so far not responded to my request for information and assistance concerning anything she had done or learned about this, or whether she had looked into it at all.

Certainly there is a big accountability question. A bunch of them actually. Here are a few:

  • If Craft International people were hired, who hired them and why?
  • If it was the Boston Police or the FBI that hired them, why won’t they just say so? Simply hiring outside security help should not be a secret, and could in no way affect the investigation into the bombing and the captured suspect, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, so why the secrecy about that? Given all the police presence, and the size of the FBI’s Boston division, why did they need those extra guys from a private rent-a-soldier firm?
  • If it was not the Boston Police or the FBI, what agency did hire the company, and why?
  • If it was the state’s Homeland Security Dept. or or the state Executive Office of Public Safety, or perhaps more likely, the US Department of Homeland Security, did they notify the FBI that they had done so, and tell the agency what had prompted them to do this?
  • The big overarching question when it comes to who hired Craft International is, what possible gain in security could have been achieved by adding what appears to be seven guys (or perhaps a few more who didn’t appear in photos) from a private security firm when the Boston Police had in place over 1000 armed security people from their office and the National Guard, and when, as became evident immediately after the bombs went off, a large number of FBI personnel were also on hand?

Unless, of course, the Craft Security people were aware of something that we, the public, including the race participants and spectators, and perhaps even the police and FBI, were not aware of.

Transparency is critical to accountability. At this point, it is clear that we have had a massive failure of the national security state. Despite the fact that the FBI was aware of concerns about Tarmelan Tsarnaev, and the fact that the CIA had him on a watch list, he appears to have been able to work on line to learn how to build a powerful homemade bomb, to obtain the materials, including a substantial quantity of black powder, to build a number of them, and, allegedly with the help of his younger brother Dzhokhar, to place them near the finish line and detonate two of them, killing three people and injuring as many as 200. That’s a huge intelligence fail.

It would be an even bigger fail if it turns out that some agency had awareness of a credible threat and that it hired Craft International personnel to prevent it. We clearly need to know, and have a right to demand to know, who hired those men and why. After all, at a minimum, on the face of things, they did an abysmal job of preventing a bombing right in front of their supposedly well-trained noses.

And of course, as I wrote earlier, there is also another question, which is really disturbing: The image of the exploded backpack released by the FBI and identified as the remains of the pack that was carrying one of the two pressure-cooker bombs, prominently displays a white square on a black background. This is not a doctored photograph; it’s the photograph that was released by the FBI. There are also at least two photos depicting one of the Craft International men who is wearing a black backpack identical to several of the other Craft International personnel. The same white square is also visible on the top of his pack.

There does not appear to be any such white marking — square or otherwise — on the top of the black backpack worn by Tarmelan Tsarnaev, as observed in several security photos taken of him (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was shown carrying a smaller white or light-colored pack, slung over one shoulder). Check out the images below of Tarmelan, the exploded bag and the Craft International character:

I am not drawing any conclusions from any of this, but I will say that when government agencies at all levels and a private contracting firm are all this obtuse and secretive (and in some cases even deceptive) about what should be a simple question — who hired these men? — my suspicions are aroused.

Somebody’s clearly hiding something.

And by the way, why aren’t the mainstream media asking about this? Are corporate media journalists so intimidated about being labeled “conspiracy nuts” that they can’t do their jobs? At a minimum, this goes to the question of accountability. It also goes to the question of inter-agency communication or lack of it. And given what we know about how many times the FBI has been an active encourager and enabler of terror plots which it later thwarts and claims credit for preventing, there’s the question, too of potential official culpability. Furthermore, when an horrific incident like this is used to justify such new threats to our Constitutional freedom as an unprecedented martial law-style lockdown of an entire 1-million-person metropolitan area and a precedent-setting deliberately Miranda-free, attorney-free interrogation of a hospitalized, gravely wounded and sedated suspect, it is critical that the whole story be told, not just the official one. Continue reading »

Apr 282013
 

Russia Today

The mother of the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, Zubeidat Tsarnaev, had been added to a federal terrorism database about 18 months before the attack, according to US officials. The news comes after she accused US police of murdering her son.

The CIA reportedly put Zubeidat on the classified Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment database (TIDE) at the same time that her 26-year-old son Tamerlan was added.

During a Thursday news conference in Russia, Zubeidat and her husband Anzor said their children were innocent, and refused to accept the story pieced together by the authorities.

The suspects’ mother stated that in the days after the Boston bombing, she had seen video footage on the internet appearing to show Tamerlan alive and being put into a police car naked – presumably stripped to check for explosives. The next day, she said she saw pictures of his dead body.

When speaking about the images, she said her son was “Killed, truly killed.”

“I wanted to scream, to scream to the whole world: ‘What did you do? What have you done with my son? He was alive. Why did they need to kill him? Why not send him to Guantanamo or whatever. Why did they kill him? Why did they have to kill him? They got him alive. He was in their hands,” she said.

But police told Business Insider that the naked man was not Tamerlan. According to authorities, Tamerlan was killed in a shootout with police before being run over by his brother, Dzhokhar, who was fleeing the scene in an SUV.

Three people were killed and more than 260 injured when two bombs detonated at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013.

Investigators survey the site of a bomb blast on Boylston Street a day after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 16, 2013. (Reuters / Adrees Latif)

Investigators survey the site of a bomb blast on Boylston Street a day after two explosions hit the Boston Marathon in Boston, Massachusetts April 16, 2013. (Reuters / Adrees Latif)

Seized as evidence

The boat later used as a hiding place by Dzhokhar has meanwhile been moved to an evidence storage facility, the FBI said on Saturday.

Nineteen-year-old Dzhokhar is believed to have hid in the boat for nearly a day while police took part in one of the largest manhunts in US history.

The entire Boston metropolitan area was on lockdown as police searched for Dzhokhar following a deadly shootout which allegedly killed his brother Tamerlan. Dzhokhar was eventually found inside the boat in Watertown, Massachusetts after the lockdown was lifted.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is searched by law enforcement officers in this handout photo provided by the Massachusetts State Police in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013. (Reuters)

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, 19, is searched by law enforcement officers in this handout photo provided by the Massachusetts State Police in Watertown, Massachusetts, April 19, 2013. (Reuters)

After being locked in his home for hours, the owner of the boat ventured into his backyard. He then noticed a rip in the tarp that covered his boat and saw blood on the boat. Upon lifting the tarp, he found a man covered in blood and immediately called authorities.

Dzhokar then was arrested and taken to a civilian hospital. He was transferred to a federal medical detention center in central Massachusetts on Friday.

Dzhokhar was interrogated in his hospital room Sunday and Monday over a period of 16 hours without being read his rights to remain silent and have an attorney present, officials told AP. He immediately stopped talking after a magistrate judge and a representative from the US Attorney’s office entered his room and gave him his Miranda warning.

Before being read his rights, the 19-year-old admitted his role in the attacks and told authorities that his older brother Tamerlan was the mastermind behind the bombings. He said that he was only recently recruited to be a part of the attacks.

It was not clear whether the confession would be admissible in a criminal trial, since it came before he was read his Miranda rights.

Dzhokhar has been charged with one count of using a weapon of mass destruction and one count of malicious destruction of property. The charges came after the White House decided against treating Dzhokhar as an enemy combatant.

The Justice Department released a statement indicating that the charges could carry the death penalty or life in prison.

A man is stripped of his clothing and loaded into a police vehicle in Watertown, Massachusetts. (A screen shot from youtube video user@G4ViralVideos)

A man is stripped of his clothing and loaded into a police vehicle in Watertown, Massachusetts. (A screen shot from youtube video user@G4ViralVideos)

Location of laptops

In an effort to discover the motives behind the deadly attacks, FBI investigators picked through a New Bedford, Massachusetts landfill on Friday, hoping to recover laptop computers that belonged to the Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

The lead to search the landfill came after police interviewed two men from Khazakhstan who knew the terror suspects, law enforcement sources told ABC News under the condition of anonymity. The two men reportedly tipped officers to the possible location of the suspects’ laptops.

The Tsarnaev brothers are believed to have visited the men’s apartment in New Bedford, Massachusetts after the bombing. Police sources said that a cell phone believed to have belonged to Tamerlan was found in the apartment.

However, the FBI has declined to share whether they were looking for laptops at the landfill, or what was discovered there.

“We were seeking evidence but we are not commenting on the nature of what was being sought or what was found,”
Eimiller said. “We can confirm that we were there Thursday, Friday and left yesterday.”

The search for clues is almost certain to continue for the foreseeable future. A federal law enforcement official told AP on Friday that the FBI was gathering evidence regarding “everything imaginable.” Continue reading »