In seven days, Donald J. Trump is due to be inaugurated as the 45th President of the United States of America. What happens next? [more inside]
In yet another week of "surely this...", Russia is accused of helping him win the US election to a Senator's dismay and possible retaliation, Mitt loses out to Tillerson, Rick Perry is nominated for can't remember oops, other people are nominated, and librarians and science come under attack, with net neutrality possibly next. The Electoral College is but a few days away, with lobbying, labels, opinions and angry celebrities. However, the chances of a shock are low. Elsewhere, the public vote gives Hillary a large lead with comparisons to previous elections, Louisiana voted, the 2018 midterms are underway, Barack is interviewed, contemporary capitalism, Putin's revenge, un-democracy in North Carolina, latest odds, and piñata. [more inside]
It’s an experience that may not appeal to everyone—a seven-day cruise at sea, with the aim of “taking back power from corrupt and greedy institutions, attain true self-authority, and realize our genuine Self behind the masks … discovering the truth, taking command of our lives, and attaining genuine inner realization” —with every odd belief you can think of listed as entertainment: GMOs, Monsanto, bee colony collapse, ecology, global warming, climate change, fracking, HIV, autism, Big Pharma, medical suppression, vaccinations, fluoridation,… electoral fraud, identity chips, 2nd amendment, and so much more. Anna Merlan writes charitably yet unflinchingly for Jezebel about her experience joining them [more inside]
The government says Matt DeHart is an online child predator. He says that’s a ruse created because he discovered shocking CIA secrets and claims he was tortured by federal agents. The only thing that’s clear is that he’s in deep trouble.
"She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked." "But instead of being sanctioned, she was promoted."
Edward Snowden - The Untold Story, from Wired's Threat Level.
The FBI could have stopped 9/11. There was no need for a metadata-collection program. What was needed was cooperation with other federal agencies.
Americans Elect is an organization creating a ready-made slot on the 2012 presidential ballot for an unnamed independent ticket, thus removing the biggest barrier to a 3rd party challenge. (Donald Trump suggests himself.) The NYT thinks they'll qualify in all 50 states. They say they want a non-partisan, mixed-party ticket. Some on the left see a cabal of shadowy millionaires with ties to the FBI, CIA and military behind it. Team Obama is concerned.
Mining the Mother of all Data Dumps We now have a relatively massive haul of digital data from the OBL strike. There are several forensic toolkits in use by the private (commercially available) and public sector as well as open-source. Best practices include inventorying all the sources, cloning the sources so as to not damage pristine data, recovering any partial or damaged content, making the cloned sources read-only, adhering to legally-admissible tools standards, and documenting everything. There is an excellent source titled Digital Forensics and Born-Digital Content from the Council on Library and Information Resources [pdf, Resource Shelf]. But what to do next*? [more inside]
Bored on your summer vacation? Well, the US government has lots of fun stuff for kids to do on line. Learn fascinating facts about cows (and agricultural marketing!) from the Department of Agriculture. Take a ride to Money Central Station with the Bureau of Engraving and Printing. If you live in a federally-funded housing project, HUD wants you to learn more about being a good citizen. Want something more action-packed? Help FBI Special Agent Bobby Bureau go undercover, or become one of America's Crypto-Kids at the NSA. Play thrilling puzzle games or visit the world's most secret museum at the CIA. Play more games or become a Disaster Action Kid at FEMA! And no list of government kids' pages would be complete without revisiting the children's art contest from the ATF, which I've linked to before...
Game developer/ perfume critic Theresa Duncan has died, and longtime companion Jeremy Blake is missing. The art world is buzzing about the seeming suicide-by-water of video installation artist Jeremy Blake. The perfume blogs are fizzing with sadness over the death of Theresa Duncan, whose suicide preceded Blake's. The cops are not releasing the notes left by the late, pretty people, but a clue might be found in the paranoiac screed Duncan posted on her blog in May, in which Blake's ex-girlfriend, the CIA, FBI, Church of Scientology, Jeff Gannon, bloated plutocrats and many other bugbears of the psy-ops crowd were put on Duncan's mental merry-go-round and given a real strong spin.
Missed Opportunities...Lawrence Wright tells, for the first time, the story of the F.B.I. agent who had the best chance of foiling the 9/11 plot. Here, with Amy Davidson, Wright talks about how turf wars with the C.I.A. got in the way. Wright’s book “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11” will be published by Knopf in August.
CIA Gives Up on Bin Laden Search says a post full of links on Sploid, it was revealed yesterday (when no one was paying attention) that the CIA disbanded its Bin Laden unit one year ago. The post also links to news that the FBI has "no hard evidence" connecting Bin Laden to the 9/11 attacks.
Fred Burks: Conscientious whistle-blower or American traitor? Fred Burks was a State Department interpreter in Indonesian for almost two decades. After resigning his contract when asked to sign a confidentiality agreement, he suddenly appeared as a defence witness in the case of Abu Bakar Ba'asyir who masterminded the Bali bombing. His testimony was instrumental in Ba'asyir's acquittal on terror charges. In court, he divulged the details of a secret meeting between Indonesian President Megawati and CIA and NSA operatives who demanded Megawati arrest Ba'asyir and hand him over which put pressure on the Indonesian court to give Ba'asyir a wrist slap. Fred Burks: Conscientious whistle-blower or American traitor? You decide.
The Pond is the history of a secret, independent US intelligence-gathering group which preceded (and outlasted) the OSS. Shuffled from Cabinet to Cabinet to the CIA, it eventually ran aground against the infighting of McCarthy's Red Scare hearings and was no more by 1955.
Al Gore claims the Bush administration is not helping America, but hurting it by focusing on all the wrong things. Gore:The administration is still not investing in local government training and infrastructures where they could make the biggest difference. The first responder community is still being shortchanged. In many cases, fire and police still don’t have the communications equipment to talk to each other. The CDC and local hospitals are still nowhere close to being ready for a biological weapons attack. The administration has still failed to address the fundamental disorganization and rivalries of our law enforcement, intelligence and investigative agencies. In particular, the critical FBI-CIA coordination, while finally improved at the top, still remains dysfunctional in the trenches. The constant violations of civil liberties promote the false impression that these violations are necessary in order to take every precaution against another terrorist attack. But the simple truth is that the vast majority of the violations have not benefited our security at all; to the contrary, they hurt our security.
The CIA's Freedom Fighter's Manual is chock full of helpful hints like how to be lazy and how to screw things up at work! For more government comic hijinks, check out the FBI's Black Panther Coloring Book. Find out more information here via Social Design Notes.
U.S. authorities had seven chances to catch the hijackers before September 11th.
Did the government hinder the FBI to investigate against the Bin Laden family? Transcript from last night's BBC Newsnight: GREG PALAST: The CIA and Saudi Arabia, the Bushes and the Bin Ladens. Did their connections cause America to turn a blind eye to terrorism? UNNAMED MAN: There is a hidden agenda at the very highest levels of our government. JOE TRENTO, (AUTHOR, "SECRET HISTORY OF THE CIA"): The sad thing is that thousands of Americans had to die needlessly.
Drastic changes due for America after terror attacks We are to become a garrison state, for better or worse, with the CIA more intimately involved with internal (domestic) doings and the FBI taking on new duties.
9/11 Conspirators Stole Identities of Murdered Students: "HAD FBI agents bothered to ask college lecturers in South Wales about the terrorist bomber they supposedly taught over a decade ago, then security chiefs would have realised how Osama bin Laden had carefully created a generation of impostors . . . his agents stole the identities and life histories of at least a dozen Western-educated young men who were all murdered in 1990, according to a former head of the CIA."
Uh-oh-- I got a CD-ROM from John's site a few months ago. Am I on some CIA/FBI list now? (His site is down apparently.)