Time to Break Up the Intelligence Communities and Scatter Them to the Wind
How Covert Agents Infiltrate the Internet to Manipulate, Deceive, and Destroy Reputations
Dedicated to fighting authoritarianism, bigotry, greed, corruption, climate change denial, white supremacy, racism, stupidity and general evil, as well as the exploration of interesting ideas and conspiracy theories including 9/11, UFOs, ET's, the paranormal and the general unknown.
In 2012, the Pentagon kicked off a 13-year program  to commemorate the 50th anniversary  of the Vietnam War, complete with a sprawling website that includes a “history and education ” component. Billed  as a “public service” provided by the Department of Defense, the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration site boasts of its “resources for teachers and students in the grades 7-12” and includes a selection of official government documents, all of them produced from 1943-1954; that is, only during the earliest stages of modern U.S. involvement in what was then called Indochina.
The Vietnam War Commemoration’s educational aspirations, however, extend beyond students. “The goal of the History and Education effort,” according to the site, “is to provide the American public with historically accurate materials and interactive experiences that will help Americans better understand and appreciate the service of our Vietnam War veterans and the history of U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.” To that end, the United States of America Vietnam War Commemoration offers an interactive historical timeline .
It’s an eclectic mix, but give credit where it’s due: the digital chronology does mention casualties  from the oft-forgotten first U.S. attack on Vietnam (an 1845 naval shelling of the city we now know as Danang). For the next 131 years, however, mention of Vietnamese dead and wounded is, to put the matter as politely as possible, in short supply. Flawed history, though, isn’t.
A train that derailed and exploded in rural Alabama was hauling 2.7 million gallons of crude oil, according to officials.The 90-car train was crossing a timber trestle above a wetland near Aliceville late Thursday night when approximately 25 rail cars and two locomotives derailed, spilling crude oil into the surrounding wetlands and igniting a fire that was still burning Saturday.
Each of the 90 cars was carrying 30,000 gallons of oil, said Bill Jasper, president of the rail company Genesee & Wyoming at a press briefing Friday night. It’s unclear, though, how much oil was spilled because some of the cars have yet to be removed from the marsh.
In just the past few years we've seen an explosion of scandals – from the multitrillion-dollar Libor saga (major international banks gaming world interest rates), to the more recent foreign-currency-exchange fiasco (many of the same banks suspected of rigging prices in the $5.3-trillion-a-day currency markets), to lesser scandals involving manipulation of interest-rate swaps, and gold and silver prices.
But those are purely financial schemes. In these new, even scarier kinds of manipulations, banks that own whole chains of physical business interests have been caught rigging prices in those industries. For instance, in just the past two years, fines in excess of $400 million have been levied against both JPMorgan Chase and Barclays for allegedly manipulating the delivery of electricity in several states, including California. In the case of Barclays, which is contesting the fine, regulators claim prices were manipulated to help the bank win financial bets it had made on those same energy markets.
And last summer, The New York Times described how Goldman Sachs was caught systematically delaying the delivery of metals out of a network of warehouses it owned in order to jack up rents and artificially boost prices.
You might not have been surprised that Goldman got caught scamming the world again, but it was certainly news to a lot of people that an investment bank with no industrial expertise, just five years removed from a federal bailout, stores and controls enough of America's aluminum supply to affect world prices.
...the National Security Agency is using complex analysis of electronic surveillance, rather than human intelligence, as the primary method to locate targets for lethal drone strikes. The NSA identifies targets based on controversial metadata analysis and cellphone tracking technologies, an unreliable tactic that has resulted in the deaths of innocent and unidentified people. The United States has reportedly carried out drone strikes without knowing whether the individual in possession of a tracked cellphone or SIM card is in fact the intended target of the strike.
In December, 1967, scientists from the Atomic Energy Commission and officials from the U.S. Bureau of Mines and El Paso Natural Gas Company gathered at a gas well in northern New Mexico, near Farmington. They lowered a 29-kiloton nuclear device more than 4,000 feet down the shaft and set it off.
“The 4,042-foot-deep detonation created a molten glass-lined cavern about 160 feet in diameter and 333 feet tall,” according to the American Oil and Gas Historical Society. “It collapsed within seconds. Subsequent measurements indicated fractures extended more than 200 feet in all directions – and significantly increased natural gas production.”For "33 afficianados", this is freaking gold. Seriously? 333 feet tall, exactly?
The Atomic Energy Commission tried twice more. In 1969 they set off a 43-kiloton nuclear bomb in an 8,500-foot deep well near Rulison, Colorado. In 1973 they set off three 33-kiloton bombs in a single well near Rifle, Colorado. In all three tests, they collaborated with the local gas utilities.
Another report, issued by the New York-based Grassroots Environmental Education by Ivan White, a career scientist for the National Council on Radiation Protection, came to a similar conclusion as the USGS and Penn State reports, maintaining that fracking can produce waste much higher in radiation than previously thought.
White’s report tested 11 vertical wells that were conventionally drilled in New York and found that levels of radium in those wells averaged at 8,433 picocuries per liter. The EPA’s limit for drinking water is 5 pCi/L for both radium-226 and radium-228 combined.And they are pretty evil 33's to boot.
Huge swath of GCHQ mass surveillance is illegal, says top lawyer. Legal advice given to MPs warns that British spy agency is 'using gaps in regulation to commit serious crime with impunity'I like that they connect GCHQ to the NSA and then to illegal and murderous drone strikes.
While most of the software is inserted by gaining access to computer networks, the N.S.A. has increasingly made use of a secret technology that enables it to enter and alter data in computers even if they are not connected to the Internet, according to N.S.A. documents, computer experts and American officials.
The technology, which the agency has used since at least 2008, relies on a covert channel of radio waves that can be transmitted from tiny circuit boards and USB cards inserted surreptitiously into the computers. In some cases, they are sent to a briefcase-size relay station that intelligence agencies can set up miles away from the target.
The actual funding lines for America’s spy agencies have been a matter of secrecy until recently, when the Washington Post obtained a $53 billion “black budget” list for fiscal year 2013 from Edward Snowden. That document, reported the Post, mapped “a bureaucratic and operational landscape that has never been subject to public scrutiny." The Post noted that while the government has released its overall intelligence spending every year since 2007, "it has not divulged how it uses the money or how it performs against the goals set by the president and Congress.” In particular, the black budget showed major increases in funding for the CIA and the NSA.Under the proposed legislation, which is titled the “Intelligence Budget Transparency Act of 2014” and was first reported by Politico Huddle, the president, in his annual budget request, would have to make available both the total budget line items for the 16 agencies as well as estimated appropriation levels for the ensuing four fiscal years. He would not be required to go into any programmatic detail.The sixteen agencies that would be affected by this are as follows:
Air Force Intelligence
Central Intelligence Agency
Coast Guard Intelligence
Defense Intelligence Agency
Department of Energy
Department of Homeland Security
Department of State
Department of the Treasury
Drug Enforcement Administration
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Marine Corps Intelligence
National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency
National Reconnaissance Office
National Security Agency
I like how the DEA is considered a secret "Intelligence" agency. And I honestly don't know why each branch of the military has one in addition to the Department of Defense or just what in the hell the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency does, although I'm sure it's very important. None of these agencies will likely ever go away and the thousands of private contractors that feed many of them will continue to get rich on taxpayer dollars. Still, it's good to at least know how much it's costing us don't you think?
For all the money going to the NSA and CIA programs, this study (which I briefly referenced the other day) says that all the high tech super-duper surveillance for which we are spending billions to collect and store doesn't actually catch terrorists:
An analysis of 225 terrorism cases inside the United States since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has concluded that the bulk collection of phone records by the National Security Agency “has had no discernible impact on preventing acts of terrorism.”And keep in mind this whole thing is happening in the context of an ongoing, long term austerity push that has us cutting off the long term unemployed and ending food stamp benefits. That Utah data farm alone cost 1.2 billion and is reportedly going to cost at least a couple billion more before it's online.
In the majority of cases, traditional law enforcement and investigative methods provided the tip or evidence to initiate the case, according to the study by the New America Foundation, a Washington-based nonprofit group.
The study, to be released Monday, corroborates the findings of a White House-appointed review group, which said last month that the NSA counterterrorism program “was not essential to preventing attacks” and that much of the evidence it did turn up “could readily have been obtained in a timely manner using conventional [court] orders.”
There was a moment in the early days of the NSA story in which we discussed the incredible boondoggle all this really was but it passed as the revelations unfolded. It's good that the congress has decided to shine a light on that again, however briefly, in this budget process. After all, we have real people suffering in a stuck economy without enough jobs. We have a growing poverty rate. Our bridges and schools are crumbling. And yet the money for the military, police and all these attendant "intelligence" agencies has been kept secret until now. It's only right that the people should at least know what the numbers really are.
BAGHDAD — The United Nations says at least 733 Iraqis have died during violence in January, excluding casualties from an embattled western province.
Well, as long as they didn't manipulate the numbers, or anything...The figures issued Saturday by the U.N.'s mission to Iraq show 618 civilians and 115 members of the security forces were killed in January. But the UNAMI statement left out deaths from ongoing fighting in Anbar, due to problems in verifying "the status of those killed." The figures also leave out insurgent deaths.
A technology expert fell to his death on Tuesday from the London skyscraper housing investment bank JP Morgan’s European headquarters.
Gabriel Magee, 39, fell from the 33-floor building in London’s financial hub Canary Wharf at around 8:00 am (0800 GMT), police said. He landed on a ninth floor roof.
Magee was a vice-president in JP Morgan’s corporate and investment bank technology division and had worked for the US bank for a decade, his employers said.I love that the JP Morgan building was 33 stories.
As those who have followed the uproar surrounding my lifetime achievement award at this year’s Golden Globes are aware, my name has again become the source of controversy. Once more, the media, the general public, and my own family members have called into question the propriety of continuing to honor and lavish praise upon an individual—myself, legendary film director Woody Allen—who has been accused of committing crimes of the most deplorable nature. Addressing this highly contentious matter would require you to delve into the following ethical quandary: Do you continue to support me as a filmmaker, writer, and human being who has technically not been convicted of any crime, or do you henceforth cease your admiration of me and my work due to the admittedly pretty damn compelling evidence that I molested at least one young child?
The late Capitol Hill staffer Jesse Ryan Loskarn wrote a letter before his death apologizing for the hurt he caused with his arrest on child pornography charges and revealing that he was sexually abused as a 5-year-old.