Feb 282015
 

When Senator Lamar Alexander’s (R TN) Chief of Staff, Ryan Loskarn, was arrested, last year, for trading in the rape and torture of children, aka child pornography, not one journalist provided context to the story. The media reported Loskarn’s arrest, and subsequent suicide pending trial, as if it were a one-off event. As if, no other high-level government employees were being arrested on child porn charges.

So, I suppose I should be thrilled to see that both Paul Farrell, the Breaking News Editor for Heavy, and Shane Harris, Sr. Intelligence and National Security Correspondent for The Daily Beast and New America Foundation Fellow, have, at least, tried to provide context to the State Department’s Director of Counterterrorism, Daniel Rosen’s arrest this week for attempting to solicit sex from children.

Farrell reported Rosen’s arrest was “the Second Child Sex Scandal to Hit D.C. in 12 Months.” Harris reported Rosen’s arrest marks the “3rd U.S. Official Hit With Child Sex and Porn Charges.” At least Paul and Shane poked their heads up and said something like: Hang on. Seems to me I’ve heard this story before. Haven’t there been other recent arrests of high level government officials on child sex abuse charges?

Nonetheless, both are very far off the mark. A simple Google or Twitter search would have revealed way more than two or three government officials arrested on similar charges in the past few months alone.

Research 101

As I have been documenting, for years now, by all accounts there is both a national child porn crisis and, within that, a crisis of American federal and state employees engaged in child porn. In what appears to be epidemic numbers men are down-loading child porn often on their work computers at The Pentagon, The Department of Homeland Security (DHS), The Department of Justice (DOJ), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), The Department of Transportation (DOT), The Transportation Security Agency (TSA), The Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) not to mention state-level police departments from Maine to California.

Maine’s Governor, Paul LePage, has recognized this crisis by issuing the first, to my knowledge, of its kind Executive Order, on 20 February 2015, prohibiting Maine state employees from accessing pornographic or sexually explicit material on both state computers or devices even when they were off-duty on personal time.

North Carolina’s Congressman, Mark Meadows (R) also recognizes the scope of the crisis and put forward the Eliminating Pornography from Agencies Act. This law, if passed, would stop federal employees from accessing, watching or sharing pornography on government-issued computers and devices. Congressman Meadows introduced this 18 September 2014. To date, he has not one co-sponsor. Not one other member of Congress cares about this issue? Apparently not.

Other Recent Arrests of Government Employees

Because the Department of Justice is not collecting data on child porn arrests, no one knows how many government employees have been arrested on child porn related charged, much less how many are engaged in the child porn industry who have yet to be caught.

The arrests listed here are, therefore, an incomplete data-set, gathered from the most rudimentary search method: simple Google and Twitter searches. On my other Medium postings I have listed recent arrests of police and military: Police Arrested for Trading in Child Rape Torture and Military Staff Trading in Child Rape Torture

From the record of these arrests alone, we can speculate, child porn within our government agencies has reached a crisis level.

A few highlights:

• Former Acting Director of Cyber Security at the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Timothy DeFoggi was recently sentenced to 25 years in federal prison. He was into the rape and murder of small children aka child porn snuff.

• Former Undersecretary of the Navy, 70 year old James Daniel Howard, arrested on child porn possession and reproduction charges in 2013. Howard had served as special assistant to President Ronald Reagan. He plead guilty to ten child porn counts and served only seven months in jail.

• Joint Strike Fighter Program Navy officer, Bruce Babchyck, arrested in 2014 for downloading “hundreds of gigabytes” of young girls and bestiality on government computers. He received a one year sentence.

• Army prosecutor and judge advocate, Daniel Wollverton, father of two, convicted in 2011 for infant sodomy and possession of over 30,000 images and 1,000 videos of brutal child sex abuse including that of a three month old infant.

• Army Colonel, 55 year old Robert Joel Rice, a war game developer at Army War College, was charged with 130 child porn counts. He had more than 30,000 images/videos of child sex abuse when his wife discovered the files and notified local police. The Army War College had continued to employ Rice, and allow him supervised access to Army computers, while on bail pending trial. Col. Rice had been scheduled for a July 2013 arraignment; however, journalist Steve Marroni informed me, on 10 March 2014, that Rice “had a pre-trial conference scheduled for last week, but that was continued until next month pending some defense motions, so the case is still pending.” Andrew Carr, a reporter with The Sentinel, confirmed, on 4 November 2014. Rice’s federal hearing was delayed until February 2015. Rice’s preliminary county hearing had been set for April 2013.

David O’Brien, America’s chief scientist responsible for monitoring global nuclear activity at Patrick Air Force Base’s Technical Applications Center, which operates our Atomic Energy Detection System, was arrested May 2013 and charged with ten counts of child porn possession and distribution.

 

O’Brien had a large child porn collection on his home and Air Force computers. On 17 October 2014 he was sentenced to five years in federal prison in exchange for a guilty plea to one child porn count. O’Brien had download videos of the sex abuse of children as young as three years old. He had taken pictures of his granddaughter and placed images of her head over images of children being sexually abused. He also had pictures of Air Force employees transposed over sex abuse images.

Homeland Security

• 31 year old Eric Higgins, a Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection agent in Michigan, plead guilty to child porn possession. Over forty images of a child previously identified by law enforcement were found on his laptop.

Nicholas Bolden, a 40 year old Homeland Security Customs and Border Patrol agent, was sentenced for child porn possession on his government computer. Bolden had accessed a Russian child porn website while at work from his work computer. A child porn CD was also found at his workplace desk.

Gilbert Lam, a 38 year old Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection agent who worked at San Francisco airport, was charged with child porn possession and distribution. Investigators said his electronic resources were “elaborate” and included “a whole closet… independent server, several computers, several hard drives…”

Robert Rennie, a 43 year old Homeland Security agent who worked in the National Protection and Programs Directorate, was charged with attempting to solicit sexual acts from more than seventy young girls using a fake Facebook account and pretending to be both a male student at a Virginia middle schools as well as a college student at George Mason University.

• An unnamed Homeland Security agent with Customs and Border Protection and Byungki Koo an Air Marshal were arrested for trafficking “young women” from South Korea in a sex-trafficking ring in Queens, New York.

Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

• 48 year old Scott Whitcomb, a former police officer, at the time of his arrest a Drug Enforcement Agent, was sentenced for child porn production. He had been producing and distributing sex abuse of boys under sixteen years old since 2007. Whitcomb lured boys to his house with video games and porn magazines and would turn violent if the boys didn’t submit to the sex abuse. He had been an Air Marshal and a prison guard.

• DEA agent Darren Argento was arrested for possession and distribution of child sex abuse of girls between seven and fourteen years old his work laptop.

Forest and Park Rangers

Bobby Kelly, a 31 year old US Forest Ranger was sentenced to five years for more than two dozen child porn related charges.

Derek Alan Lee, a 44 year old US Forest Service employee, was sentenced for child porn. Lee was sentenced with his 21 year old step-son Jeffrey McMillan. Their computers were found sending “several hundred files” of child sex abuse on the internet. Lee said he had been downloading child porn for ten years. At the time of his arrest his computer had 111 videos and 116 images of child sex abuse. He also had a collection of “incest stories.”

Air Marshals

Michael McGowan, a 41 year old Air Marshal, was convicted for molesting three young boys, age eleven to thirteen, and child porn possession. He had 1,300 videos and images, along with fake FBI and CIA badges.

Richard Castillo, a Houston Air Marshal, was indicted for indecency with a child after his daughter’s fourteen year old friend said he sexually assaulted her during a sleepover.

• Air Marshal Byungki Koo, who was mentioned under the Homeland Security section, received four years probation for participating in the sex trafficking of young women from Korea in Queens.

Transportation Security Agency (TSA)

• 59 year old Boston TSA agent Jose Salgado, charged with possession and distribution of child porn. As of this arrest April 2012, it was reported that a total of twelve child sex crimes in the previous sixteen months had been brought against TSA agents across America.

Michael Wilson, 41 year old Baltimore TSA agent was indicated for child porn possession including videos “depicting a prepubescent female engaged in masturbation and anal sex with an adult male.”

Andrew Smeal, 39 year old Florida TSA agent, was charged with twenty-five counts of child porn possession. An investigator said “…the living room was loaded with electronics, storage devices, hard drives.” I couldn’t locate information on how much child porn he had or what it was depicting; however, given he was charged with twenty-five counts, one can assume he had a large amount of child sex abuse videos and images.

Thomas Gordon, a 46 year old TSA agent in Philadelphia, was sentenced for possession and distribution of child porn. He had over 600 images and videos of child sex abuse including children as young as six years old which were described as “horrific.” He had as many as six fake Facebook accounts he was using to distribute child porn.

• TSA hired 65 year old Thomas Harkin, a former Catholic priest who had been removed from the church for the sex abuse of an eleven year old girl, among possible other victims, to work at Philadelphia airport.

• TSA Agent, 38 year old Miguel Angel Quinones, who worked at Manchester airport in New Hampshire, was indicted on twenty counts of child porn possession. He had more than 1,000 child sex abuse images and videos. He kept his child porn in his airport work locker.

Corrections and Probation Officers

• Former West Virginia Corrections Center Officer, 35 year old Joseph Roush, plead guilty to child porn possession and distribution. He had more than 500 image of child sex abuse.

Leon Perry Brookes, a 39 year old a Corrections Officer for Jacksonville (Florida) Sheriff’s Office was arrested for child porn possession and distribution. Among others, he had child sex abuse files called “pthc- freaky latin parents and 5yr daughter.mpg” and “video-8yr orgasm and anal fuck hard ! new ! (ptch) 2007 new girl img.

Gerald Silva, a 59 year old Rhode Island State Probation Officer, was convicted of child porn for his $1,589 USD purchase of 22 orders of child sex abuse from Azov Film’s website, spending a total of $1,589 on 75 different videos. He was caught by USPS Inspectors and Toronto Police investigation, Project Spade.

Stuart Forrest, 62 year old Chief Probation Officer of San Mateo County, California, was sentenced for child porn possession that included the abuse of young bound boys. He had more than 400 images and videos of child sex abuse. This case was also part of Project Spade, run by the USPS and Toronto Police.

• Supervisor of Adult Probation and Parole and Sex Offender Unit in New Mexico, Larry Franco, 56 years old, was charged two counts of fourth-degree felony sexual exploitation of a minor by possession and one count of tampering with evidence. He had originally been charged with 26 new child porn counts. He was producing child porn.

James Leone, a 50 year old Senior Parole Official in New York who supervised officers who monitored paroled sex offenders, was arrested for child porn possession. He had been downloading child sex abuse images in online searches for “preteen hard-core” including ten or twelve year old girls being sexually abused by their parents and a brother. Leone was a Child Abuse Investigator with New York City Child Welfare Bureau before he became a parole officer.

Barry Porter Griffith, a 45 year old Parole Officer from Flint Texas, was sentenced for child porn possession after investigators noticed “significant Internet bandwidth being used by a state-owned computer to view pornography” including child sex abuse from his office computer.

James Kriegner, a 43 year old Corrections Officer with Mercer County, New Jersey, charged with downloading more than 100 child sex abuse images.

Media Coverage of Ryan Loskarn’s Arrest

The media coverage of late Senate staffer Ryan Loskarn’s arrest for graphic and violent child porn, including the rape of a six year old girl in the woods by her father, ignored, entirely, the children in the videos. These are real children suffering real harm. Will the six year old girl raped in the woods by her father be rescued? No one asked. No one wanted to know.

John Harwood, for example, a DC reporter for CNBC and The New York Times, tweeted “Feeling so sad about Ryan Loskarn. Knew him a bit as a reporter and liked him. RIP.” I asked Harwood about the children in Loskarn’s child porn collection. Harwood’s response was “as father of daughters I’m horrified by that violent abuse. But I knew Ryan Loskarn yes, I am sad for him his family.”

I responded, “I appreciate that. As the father of daughters will you focus media attention on finding the 6 yr girl in Loskarn’s video? That’s all I am asking. It’s a simple I think appropriate request. Given #Loskarn’s final words were to the children. No?

Harwood never replied.

Child Porn as a National Security Threat

America has a child porn crisis. The disturbing number of federal and state employees arrested for child porn charges makes this a national security issue. Over the past two years, I’ve been documenting the scope of America’s child porn industry and the apparent level of involvement by America’s national security and federal employees. Forbes, The Washington Times and others have published my research. Fox News and Canadian TV (CTV) invited me for interviews. My CTV interview went mini-viral as did my Forbes article. I was the first to ask, in 2012, if White House staff might have been involved in the Colombia Secret Service scandal.

I am now researching and writing a book: Child Porn Nation: America’s Hidden Security Threat. My starting premise is men, and increasingly women, are raping children, very young children, including infants and toddlers, and sharing videos, images, and live-streaming of this abuse at epidemic levels. These criminals are, by and large, are getting away with it because America refuses to move beyond our denial.

We are sustaining crisis-level numbers of seemingly normal, often powerful and successful men, and some women, involved in America’s child sex abuse industry; far too many of whom are federal or state employees.

It does not matter if the perpetrator is on the demand-side, with incessant appetites for graphic child abuse to achieve sexual gratification, or the supply-side of abusing children, often their own or children of friends and relatives, and selling this abuse on-line. Both supply and demand, which often cross over, have reached epidemic proportions and no one is talking about it.

My research is intended to be a wake-up call. The problem of child sex abuse and its cover-up is real. A generation of American children are being destroyed. If you think this only happens to other children, and your children are safe, you are sadly mistaken. Your children might be enduring sexual abuse right now while you remain dangerously ignorant. Ryan Loskarn’s parents never knew, until they read his suicide note, that he had suffered sex abuse as a child.

America’s appetite for child porn puts all our children at risk. Your children and mine. Whether you acknowledge it or not.

Dr. Paul Farmer, a humanitarian and personal hero, has said we must find the words to talk about the most painful subjects if we hope to have any positive impact on this world of ours. This is my attempt to find those words and open a subject no one wants to discuss.

That is, that while no one was watching, America has become a child porn nation and that puts us all at risk.

###

Dr. Lori Handrahan’s forthcoming book Child Porn Nation: America’s Hidden National Security Risk details America’s child sex abuse epidemic. Her Ph.D. is from The London School of Economics. She can be reached on Twitter @LoriHandrahan2

Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/State_Dept_Dan_Rosen%E2%80%99s_Arrest%3A_Cheat_Sheet_for_Journos/42246/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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Feb 282015
 
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    Feb 282015
     

    Over the past four years, about 20,000 people around the country have faced versions of this dilemma and chosen to pay up instead of taking their chances with the criminal justice system. Collecting their money and administering the course is a Utah-based outfit called Corrective Education Company (CEC), which was started by a pair of Harvard Business School graduates in 2010.

    According to Darrell Huntsman, CEC’s co-founder and CEO, the company serves four purposes: It saves retailers time that they would have to spend dealing with the police; it frees up law enforcement resources that could be spent on higher priority cases; it reduces the likelihood that a shoplifter will come back to the store to steal again; and it gives second chances to offenders who would otherwise be saddled with a criminal record for life.

    CEC operates in most major American cities, said Huntsman, including Chicago, New York, San Francisco, Boston, Dallas, Houston, San Diego, Los Angeles, Miami, and Atlanta. They work with approximately 20 different retailers, including grocery stores, big-box discount stores, clothing stores, and pharmacies. According to the company’s VP for account management, E.J. Caffaro, retail chains that have used the company’s services include Bloomingdale’s, Burlington Coat Factory, and the shoe store DSW; CEC also contracts with third-party security firms that provide loss prevention services in regional branches of Whole Foods and HM. Retailers can collect a cut of CEC’s $320 fee each time they present an offender with the option of signing up for the program — a form of restitution, said Caffaro, which usually ends up being around $40 per case. CEC doesn’t charge retailers for their services, which the company refers to on its website as being “completely offender funded.”

    (I reached out to all of the stores mentioned in this piece. Representatives for HM, DSW, Whole Foods, and Bloomingdale’s declined to answer questions. The loss prevention department at Burlington Coat Factory did not respond to an interview request.)

    Read More…

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Pay_us_or_we%E2%80%99ll_call_the_cops%3A_Many_U.S._stores_giving_shoplifters_choice_of_punishment_%E2%80%94_but_is_it_coercion%3F/42248/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 282015
     

    The price-fixing agreement would affect beef, lamb, pork, chicken, frozen fish, milk and some dairy products, sugar, salt, sunflower oil, cereals, potatoes, cabbage, and apples, among other foods. Technically, the agreement doesn’t include a specific list of items whose prices stores must freeze. Instead, retailers are expected to generate their own lists, based on broader categories of socially-important goods.

    Retail chains are taking steps to insure themselves against charges of conspiring to fix market prices, one of the Association’s members said. As soon as FAS signs off on the agreement, prices will be frozen for two months. There is little doubt that the government will approve the price-fixing agreement, says one of the retailers.

    → VEDOMOSTI
    Since late 2014, Russian grocery stores have faced accusations of price gouging, and some political groups have begun inspecting stores’ pricing policies.
    Average retail prices in stores across Russia have risen significantly since fall 2014 in connection with the sudden collapse of the ruble, falling oil prices, and an exchange of economic sanctions between Russia and the West.
    Some retail chains have already announced fixed prices on certain socially important foods, such as one chain’s decision to freeze the prices of flour, grain, fish, butter, pasta, and pelmeni for an entire month.

    Read More…

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Russia_moves_to_freeze_prices_of_%E2%80%98socially_important%E2%80%99_foods/42249/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 272015
     

    Barack Obama Giving Orders - Public DomainBecause he can’t get Congress to approve the things that he wants to do, Barack Obama has apparently decided to rule by decree for the rest of his time in the White House.  One of Obama’s latest moves is to try to ban some of the most popular ammunition for the most popular rifle in America.  Previously, the Obama administration attempted unsuccessfully to ban the AR-15.  That didn’t work, so now Obama is going after the ammunition.  This is yet another example of the war on preppers that is going on all over the nation.  Whether you are a gun owner or not, this assault on our constitutional rights should disturb you greatly.  Barack Obama has promised to try to squeeze as much “change” as possible out of his last two years, and in the process he is “fundamentally transforming” America.  But what will our country look like when he is done?

    At the top of the Drudge Report today, there was a story from the Washington Examiner detailing this ammo ban…

    As promised, President Obama is using executive actions to impose gun control on the nation, targeting the top-selling rifle in the country, the AR-15 style semi-automatic, with a ban on one of the most-used AR bullets by sportsmen and target shooters.

    The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives this month revealed that it is proposing to put the ban on 5.56mm ammo on a fast track, immediately driving up the price of the bullets and prompting retailers, including the huge outdoors company Cabela’s, to urge sportsmen to urge Congress to stop the president.

    And here is more on this ammo ban from the NRA

    As NRA has been reporting since the night the news broke, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) is moving to infringe upon the rights of law-abiding gun owners with a drastic reinterpretation of a nearly 30-year-old law regulating so-called “armor piercing” ammunition. So draconian is BATFE’s new “Framework” that it would prohibit the manufacturing, importation, and sale of M855 ball ammunition, one of the most popular cartridges for the most popular rifle in America, the AR-15. Not coincidentally, the AR-15 is among the firearms the Obama Administration has unsuccessfully sought to outlaw. If they can’t ban the pie, so the thinking apparently goes, they might at least get the apples.

    In an effort to thwart BATFE’s attempted action, NRA has worked with U.S. Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, to draft a letter to BATFE expressing the lawmakers’ opposition to the proposed Framework. To read a copy of the letter, please click this link.

    According to the letter, “The idea that Congress intended [the ‘armor piercing’ ammunition law] to ban one of the preeminent rifle cartridges in use by Americans for legitimate purposes is preposterous.” It goes on to state that the law “should be construed in accordance with the American tradition of lawful firearms ownership, as protected by the Second Amendment.” This includes due consideration of “the many legitimate uses Americans make of their firearms including target practice, hunting, organized and casual competition, training and skills development, and instructional activities.“ The letter concludes with several pointed questions for B. Todd Jones, BATFE’s director, including why the agency bypassed the Administrative Procedures Act in proposing such a radical change to its prior interpretation and enforcement of the law.

    The crazy thing about all of this is the fact that this ammunition has never met the legal definition of being “armor piercing”.  So what the Obama administration is attempting to do is outside the law.

    A recent Infowars article broke this down…

    The ATF is trying to ban M855 AR-15 ammunition by declaring it “armor piercing,” despite the ammo containing lead which exempts it from the classification according to law.

    To be considered “armor piercing” under 18 U.S.C. 921 (a)(17)(B), a bullet must have an entirely metal core or have a jacket weighting more than 25% of its weight, which wouldn’t include M855 rounds because their bullets are partly lead.

    The definition in full:

    (17)

    (A) The term “ammunition” means ammunition or cartridge cases, primers, bullets, or propellent powder designed for use in any firearm.

    (B) The term “armor piercing ammunition” means- (i) a projectile or projectile core which may be used in a handgun and which is constructed entirely (excluding the presence of traces of other substances) from one or a combination of tungsten alloys, steel, iron, brass, bronze, beryllium copper, or depleted uranium; or (ii) a full jacketed projectile larger than .22 caliber designed and intended for use in a handgun and whose jacket has a weight of more than 25 percent of the total weight of the projectile.

    (C) The term “armor piercing ammunition” does not include shotgun shot required by Federal or State environmental or game regulations for hunting purposes, a frangible projectile designed for target shooting, a projectile which the Attorney General finds is primarily intended to be used for sporting purposes, or any other projectile or projectile core which the Attorney General finds is intended to be used for industrial purposes, including a charge used in an oil and gas well perforating device.

    Needless to say, this ban is creating quite a bit of panic among gun owners.

    Many gun owners are stocking up on this ammo while they still can

    Word of ATF’s proposal sparked a run on ammo at some Springfield gun stores, and steep price spikes for steel-tipped military surplus ammo at some online ammo dealers. Rounds that sold for 25 to 30 cents apiece tripled at some some stores after BATF posted its proposal on its web site.

    “We sold out of what we had in stock,” said Ryan Cook, manager of Eagle Armory in Springfield. “We didn’t have a lot in the store but I might have sold four or five cases after ATF’s statement came out. I called our suppliers but they said there was none available to order. It’s like the ammo shortage before. People are going to panic.”

    Like I said earlier, even if you are not a gun owner you have got to be extremely concerned about this erosion of our constitutional rights.

    We have a man occupying the White House that seems absolutely determined to stretch the limits of presidential power as far as they can possibly go.

    And at this point he has become so arrogant that he doesn’t even care if Congress believes that what he is doing is legal.  Just consider what he said during one recent speech

    Pres. Obama is daring Republicans to vote on whether or not his executive actions are legal.

    Discussing opposition to his executive amnesty orders at an immigration town hall Wednesday, Obama said he would veto the vote because his actions are “the right thing to do”:

    “So in the short term, if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the Speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote on whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote. I will veto that vote, because I’m absolutely confident that what we’re doing is the right thing to do.”

    This is how republics die.  When one man starts grabbing more and more power and nobody stops him, eventually a dictatorship is born.

    This is not what our founding fathers intended.  If they could see us today, they would be rolling over in their graves.

    And a lot of Americans are getting fed up.

    In fact, according to one recent survey only 47 percent of Americans still believe that Obama loves this country…

    While the creepy #ILOVEOBAMA continues to trend on Twitter, fewer than half of American adults, 47 percent, say they believe that the president loves his country.

    According to a survey conducted by Huffington Post/YouGov and released this week, a whopping 35 percent of Americans, more than one in three, believe that Obama doesn’t love the United States, while 17 percent said they weren’t sure.

    The poll was conducted in the wake of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani telling a gathering in Manhattan that “I do not believe, and I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I do not believe that the president loves America.”

    So what do you think?

    Do you believe that what Obama is trying to do is legal?

    And do you believe that Obama actually loves this country and everything that it is supposed to stand for?

    Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below… 

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/The_War_On_Preppers%3A_Obama_Bans_Ammo_For_The_Most_Popular_Rifle_In_America/42220/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 272015
     

    On Tuesday morning, I woke up to news of a Berkeley City Council meeting that would pass or reject a 2-year moratorium on the use of drones by the city happening later in the afternoon. By the evening, I was pleasantly surprised to hear that City Council had indeed passed a one-year ban on police drones and referred recommendations on remodeling community-police relations to the city manager.

    During the 1 year suspension, City Council has pledged to work toward developing appropriate policies regarding city use of unmanned aircrafts. While this may come as good news to some, vice chair ofBerkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission Robert Meola was a bit disappointed.

    The commission had originally proposed a complete 2-year ban on all use of drones by the city in 2012, but rather got a one year ban with exceptions; these exceptions being use of drones by the fire department and police in case of an emergency response situation. Surely, one could see why Meola feels that they “might as well have done nothing” about the drones. The idea behind the moratorium was to stop it completely until clear policies could be made in regards to heir use, making the ban with exceptions virtually pointless

    Like Meola, councilmember Jesse Arreguin has vocalized his distaste for drones and has claimed that he is completely against their use due to privacy invasion. Nonetheless, a disappointed Arreguin voted in favor of the moratorium, stating that a “one-year moratorium is better than nothing.”

    But as stated earlier, the drone ban wasn’t the only thing passed along in Tuesday’s City Council meeting. A list of suggested action items regarding community-police relations to the City Manager to be further reviewed. These suggested amendments were originally assembled at previous council work sessions as a result of a public backlash after police violently responded to protesters in December.

    The suggested amendments address quality of performance by the Drug Task Force and aim to demilitarize police tactics against the public.

    Now, Berkeley residents are playing the waiting game, as it is now up to the City Manager to decide whether or not to move the items according toArreguin.

    Berkeley residents: want to keep city operated drones out of your neighborhood? Contact your city manager and voice your opinions at:

    2180 Milvia Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
    TEL: (510) 981-7000, TDD: (510) 981-6903, FAX: (510) 981-7099
    Office Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Email: manager@cityofberkeley.info

    Domestic drone use by law enforcement has become a hot topic around the country. Contrary to the City Council’s seeming intentions, Berkeley’s local police — among those of many departments around the country — have been pushing for more drones. Americans worried about privacy and civil liberties have been opposing drone use by law enforcement all over the country.

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Berkeley_Bans_Police_Drones%2C_Taking_Other_Steps_to_Demilitarize_Cops/42221/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 272015
     

    A Republic of Texas meeting filmed in 2013.  (Source: RT documentary / YouTube)

    A Republic of Texas meeting filmed in 2013. (Source: RT documentary / YouTube)

    BRYAN, TX — Federal and local police forces raided a political meeting, taking unusual measures to document every attendee by taking fingerprints and photographs, and seizing every cell phone and all recording equipment in the meeting hall.

    The raid took place on February 14, 2015, at VFW Post 4892 in Bryan, Texas. At 10:10 a.m., an “army of policing agencies with flashing emergency lights” showed up, shut down the meeting of “congenial and unimposing” Texans and forced them to hand over their private effects and biometric data.

    MySanAntonio described the raid:

    Minutes into the meeting a man among the onlookers stood and moved to open the hall door, letting in an armed and armored force of the Bryan Police Department, the Brazos County Sheriff’s Office, the Kerr County Sheriff’s Office, Agents of the Texas District Attorney, the Texas Rangers and the FBI.

    In the end, at least 20 officers corralled, searched and fingerprinted all 60 meeting attendees, before seizing all cellphones and recording equipment in a Valentine’s Day 2015 raid on the Texas separatist group.

    “We had no idea what was going on,” said John Jarnecke, president of the Republic of Texas. “We knew of nothing that would warrant such an action.”

    The meeting was the monthly gathering of a group known as the Republic of Texas. Drawing participants from hundreds of miles away, the group shares a common vision of an independence Texan nation.

    This group differentiates itself from others because it believes that the 19th century Republic of Texas was never legally dissolved, and the subsequent integration of Texan land into the USA was illegitimate. This is explained on the group’sProclamation statement:

    There is no need for the Republic of Texas to secede from the United States. We never “ceded” the land of Texas to them or to anyone else. A fraudulent color-of-law annexation agreement was foisted on elected officials in Texas, but no lawful treaty was ever ratified to allow the United States to take over our nation, which had already been established forever by international treaties. Those elected officials in Texas were never authorized to give up the sovereignty of the Republic of Texas.

    For over a decade, a movement of Texans has carried on the tradition of the Republic of Texas, and even held elections to to fill its offices.

    Rejecting the media’s “patently false” characterization of the group as a “militia,” the Republic’s website says that “the Republic of Texas is a self-determined people attempting to throw off the yoke of military occupation of Texas through peaceful and lawful process.”

    Bob Wilson holds an elected position and described the group to RT: “In the early 2000s, a number of people got together and said, ‘You know what? If the land is still ours, and if there is a perpetual treaty that says we are a nation, lets just be a nation.’ And so they elected, but with a vote from the people, a President, Vice President, a Secretary of State, a Congress, Supreme Court justices — and all of those are still occupied and manned to this day. In fact, that government meets every month on the second Saturday of the month, and the people of Texas who are interested come to those meetings.”

    Wilson currently sits as an elected Senator of the Republic of Texas.

    “The purpose, the goal of the Republic of Texas,” Wilson explained, “is to restore and to preserve all the freedoms and all the sovereign rights that were won in 1836 at the Battle of San Jacinto, when that treaty was signed. In other words, we’re here to make sure that people get to exercise those rights, even though an overreaching federal government of the U.S. keeps trying to take away more and more of the rights and freedoms. We’re here to restore them and make sure that they’re preserved.”

    RT ran a 26-minute documentary on the Republic of Texas in 2013. See it below:

    The pretext of the raid was that two individuals from the group had reportedly sent out “simulated court documents” — summonses for a judge and a banker to appear before the Republic of Texas to discuss the matter of a foreclosure.

    These “simulated documents” were rejected and the authorities decided to react with a “show of force” — twenty officers and an extremely broad search warrant.

    “As if dangerous criminals, many of the Texian people — generally seniors of respected middle-class business, farming, broadcasting, engineering, scientific, health, veterans, and faith-based backgrounds — were one-by-one physically searched on their person and in their vehicles, fingerprinted, detained and then had their personal belongings and property searched and seized,” the Republic of Texas described on its website.

    The website noted some of the belongings that were seized by police: “cell phones, iPads, laptops, business papers, Republic of Texas paperwork, coinage and other valuables.”

    “How is it that a supposedly free people can be subjected to intimidating, rough, and highly intrusive search and seizure when assembling lawfully and peaceably from all corners of the vast Country of Texas to educate those in attendance about the Historical 1836 Republic of Texas Constitution and celebrate a Nation wide Valentine’s Day and a fellow Texian’s 89th birthday?” the group wondered.

    No arrests were made, and the matter remains under investigation.

    The tactics used went well beyond what was necessary to address a few individuals over a matter of disputed paperwork. It is clear that full-blown raid was performed to intimidate and harass every member of the group.

    The irony of the situation is that the thuggish tactics employed by the police and federal government actually validate the concerns of the members of the Republic of Texas and other Americans who would prefer independence from the United States federal government. 

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Feds_raid_Texas_political_meeting%3B_fingerprint_and_photograph_all_attendees%2C_seize_phones/42222/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 272015
     

    Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 1.09.30 PM

    The Washington Post reported last week that foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have given the foundation more than $1 million over time. The Post found that the foundation, begun by former president Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001.

    Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.

    – From the Washington Post article: Foreign Governments Gave Millions to Foundation While Clinton Was at State Dept.

    Of all the idiotic wars that the dangerously inept American politicians propagandize the public into accepting, the latest ISIS conflict is the most Orwellian and terrifying. Not only was the emergence of ISIS the direct consequence of the chaos left over by the Iraq war — which in itself was based on lies and inaccurate information — but the primary funders of the latest existential terrorist threat du jour are America’s Persian Gulf allies.

    This is something I’ve covered before. For example, in last summer’s piece, America’s Disastrous Foreign Policy – My Thoughts on Iraq, I highlighted:

    But in the years they were getting started, a key component of ISIS’s support came from wealthy individuals in the Arab Gulf States of Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Sometimes the support came with the tacit nod of approval from those regimes; often, it took advantage of poor money laundering protections in those states, according to officials, experts, and leaders of the Syrian opposition, which is fighting ISIS as well as the regime.

    “Everybody knows the money is going through Kuwait and that it’s coming from the Arab Gulf,” said Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Studies. “Kuwait’s banking system and its money changers have long been a huge problem because they are a major conduit for money to extremist groups in Syria and now Iraq.”

    Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has been publicly accusing Saudi Arabia and Qatar of funding ISIS for months. Several reports have detailed how private Gulf funding to various Syrian rebel groups has splintered the Syrian opposition and paved the way for the rise of groups like ISIS and others.

    The Gulf monarchs didn’t attain absolute power by being teddy bears. They are devious, ruthless experts in playing one side against the other. Incredibly, many of these same countries allowing funds to flow to ISIS were simultaneously padding the coffers of the Clinton Foundation, while Hillary Clinton was Secretary of State. TheWashington Post reports:

    The Clinton Foundation accepted millions of dollars from seven foreign governments during Hillary Rodham Clinton’s tenure as secretary of state, including one donation that violated its ethics agreement with the Obama administration, foundation officials disclosed Wednesday.

    Most of the contributions were possible because of exceptions written into the foundation’s 2008 agreement, which included limits on foreign-government donations.

    The agreement, reached before Clinton’s nomination amid concerns that countries could use foundation donations to gain favor with a Clinton-led State Department, allowed governments that had previously donated money to continue making contributions at similar levels.

    Can you believe that the Secretary of State’s foundation is able to accept donations from foreign governments while she is the chief diplomat of the nation? Truly mind-boggling.

    The new disclosures, provided in response to questions from The Washington Post, make clear that the 2008 agreement did not prohibit foreign countries with interests before the U.S. government from giving money to the charity closely linked to the secretary of state.

    In one instance, foundation officials acknowledged they should have sought approval in 2010 from the State Department ethics office, as required by the agreement for new government donors, before accepting a $500,000 donation from the Algerian government.

    The money was given to assist with earthquake relief in Haiti, the foundation said. At the time, Algeria, which has sought a closer relationship with Washington, was spending heavily to lobby the State Department on human rights issues.

    While the foundation has disclosed foreign-government donors for years, it has not previously detailed the donations that were accepted during Clinton’s four-year stint at the State Department.

    Some of the donations came from countries with complicated diplomatic, military and financial relationships with the U.S. government, including Kuwait, Qatar and Oman.

    Kuwait and Qatar, if you recall from earlier in the piece, are two of the countries specifically highlighted as providing a financial spigot to ISIS. What about everybody’s favorite, Saudi Arabia? More on that later…

    Rarely, if ever, has a potential commander in chief been so closely associated with an organization that has solicited financial support from foreign governments. Clinton formally joined the foundation in 2013 after leaving the State Department, and the organization was renamed the Bill, Hillary Chelsea Clinton Foundation.

    The Washington Post reported last week that foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have given the foundation more than $1 million over time. The Post found that the foundation, begun by former president Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001.

    Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits.

    The Wall Street Journal reported last week that the foundation had accepted new foreign-government money now that the 2008 agreement has lapsed.

    A review of foundation disclosures shows that at least two foreign governments — Germany and the United Arab Emirates — began giving in 2013 after the funding restrictions lapsed when Clinton left the Obama administration. Some foreign governments that had been supporting the foundation before Clinton was appointed, such as Saudi Arabia, did not give while she was in office and have since resumed donating.

    When the foundation released a list of its donors for the first time in 2008, as a result of the agreement with the Obama administration, it disclosed, for instance, that Saudi Arabia had given between $10 million and $25 million.

    Naturally, the Saudis had to be in there somewhere. Perhaps the most evil regime on earth, and certainly one of the greatest sponsors of terrorism worldwide.

    The donation from Algeria for Haiti earthquake relief, they said, arrived without notice within days of the 2010 quake and was distributed as direct aid to assist in relief. Algeria has not donated to the foundation since, officials said.

    The contribution coincided with a spike in the North African country’s lobbying visits to the State Department.

    That year, Algeria spent $422,097 lobbying U.S. government officials on human rights issues and U.S.-Algerian relations, according to filings made under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

    The country was a concern for Clinton and her agency.

    A 2010 State Department report on human rights in Algeria noted that “principal human rights problems included restrictions on freedom of assembly and association” and cited reports of arbitrary killings, widespread corruption and a lack of transparency. Additionally, the report, issued in early 2011, discussed restrictions on labor and women’s rights.

    “Algeria is one of those complicated countries that forces the United States to balance our interests and values,” Clinton wrote in her 2014 book, “Hard Choices.”

    Which interests precisely, fundraising targets for the Clinton Foundation?
     

    A State Department spokesman referred questions about the ethics-office reviews to the charity. Nick Merrill, a Clinton spokesman, declined to comment.

    Think about how completely creepy all of this is. The woman who very well might end up President of the United States has extraordinarily close financial relationships with some of the most autocratic regimes on earth. Regimes which at the very least turn a blind eye to the funding of ISIS. Oh, and just in case you think they only funded ISIS in the early days, but have since pulled back, think again.

    The Independent reported the following over the weekend:

    Islamic State is still receiving significant financial support from Arab sympathisers outside Iraq and Syria, enabling it to expand its war effort, says a senior Kurdish official.

    The US has being trying to stop such private donors in the Gulf oil states sending to Islamic State (Isis) funds that help pay the salaries of fighters who may number well over 100,000.

    Fuad Hussein, the chief of staff of the Kurdish President, Massoud Barzani, told The Independent on Sunday: “There is sympathy for Da’esh [the Arabic acronym for IS, also known as Isis] in many Arab countries and this has translated into money – and that is a disaster.” He pointed out that until recently financial aid was being given more or less openly by Gulf states to the opposition in Syria – but by now most of these rebel groups have been absorbed into IS and Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda affiliate, so it is they “who now have the money and the weapons”.

    Mr Hussein would not identify the states from which the funding for IS comes today, but implied that they were the same Gulf oil states that financed Sunni Arab rebels in Iraq and Syria in the past.

    Dr Mahmoud Othman, a veteran member of the Iraqi Kurdish leadership who recently retired from the Iraqi parliament, said there was a misunderstanding as to why Gulf countries paid off IS. It is not only that donors are supporters of IS, but that the movement “gets money from the Arab countries because they are afraid of it”, he says. “Gulf countries give money to Da’esh so that it promises not to carry out operations on their territory.”

    Of course, it’s not just her financial ties to terrorist funding regimes that are a huge concern. As highlighted in the piece, Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations as Secretary of State, she is more in bed with large multi-national corporations than perhaps any other American alive today. As noted:

    That approach, which Mrs. Clinton called “economic statecraft,” emerged in discussions with Robert Hormats, a former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker who has worked in Democratic and Republican administrations and became an undersecretary of state. “One of the very first items was, how do we strengthen the role of the State Department in economic policy?” he says.

    Early in Mrs. Clinton’s tenure, according to Mr. Hormats, Microsoft’s then Chief Research Officer Craig Mundie asked the State Department to send a ranking official to a fourth annual meeting of U.S. software executives and Chinese government officials about piracy and Internet freedom. Mr. Hormats joined the December 2009 meeting in Beijing.

    Mr. Hormats says there was no relation between Microsoft’s donations and the State Department’s participation in the China conference.

    Before every overseas trip, says Mr. Hormats, the former undersecretary of state, he helped prepare a list of U.S. corporate interests for Mrs. Clinton to advocate while abroad. 

    Hillary Clinton is beholden to many interests, unfortunately, the American public isn’t one of them.

    The revelations in this piece should alone disqualify Hillary Clinton from being President, but it won’t. Why? Oligarchy stupid.

    For related articles, see:

    Hillary Clinton Exposed Part 1 – How She Aggressively Lobbied for Mega Corporations as Secretary of State

    This is Why Rand Paul is Hillary Clinton’s Worst Nightmare

    Glenn Greenwald on Hillary Clinton: “Soulless, Principle-Free, Power Hungry…”

    How the Washington D.C. Money Machine Stopped a Documentary on Hillary Clinton

    Jeb Bush Exposed Part 1 – His Top Advisors Will Be the Architects of His Brother’s Iraq War

    Jeb Bush Exposed Part 2 – He Thinks Unconstitutional NSA Spying is “Hugely Important”

    Jeb Bush to Present the “Liberty Medal” to Hillary Clinton

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Hillary_Clinton_Exposed_Part_2_%E2%80%93_Clinton_Foundation_Took_Millions_From_Countries_That_Also_Fund_ISIS/42223/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 262015
     

    Source: The Intercept

    Featured photo - Why Does the FBI Have to Manufacture its Own Plots if Terrorism and ISIS Are Such Grave Threats?

    The FBI and major media outlets yesterday trumpeted the agency’s latest counter-terrorism triumph: the arrest of three Brooklyn men, ages 19 to 30, on charges of conspiring to travel to Syria to fight for ISIS (photo of joint FBI/NYPD press conference, above). As my colleague Murtaza Hussain ably documents, “it appears that none of the three men was in any condition to travel or support the Islamic State, without help from the FBI informant.” One of the frightening terrorist villains told the FBI informant that, beyond having no money, he had encountered a significant problem in following through on the FBI’s plot: his mom had taken away his passport. Noting the bizarre and unhinged ranting of one of the suspects, Hussain noted on Twitter that this case “sounds like another victory for the FBI over the mentally ill.”

    In this regard, this latest arrest appears to be quite similar to the overwhelming majority of terrorism arrests the FBI has proudly touted over the last decade. As my colleague Andrew Fishman and I wrote last month – after the FBI manipulated a 20-year-old loner who lived with his parents into allegedly agreeing to join an FBI-created plot to attack the Capitol – these cases follow a very clear pattern:

    The known facts from this latest case seem to fit well within a now-familiar FBI pattern whereby the agency does not disrupt planned domestic terror attacks but rather creates them, then publicly praises itself for stopping its own plots.

    First, they target a Muslim: not due to any evidence of intent or capability to engage in terrorism, but rather for the “radical” political views he expresses. In most cases, the Muslim targeted by the FBI is a very young (late teens, early 20s), adrift, unemployed loner who has shown no signs of mastering basic life functions, let alone carrying out a serious terror attack, and has no known involvement with actual terrorist groups.

    They then find another Muslim who is highly motivated to help disrupt a “terror plot”: either because they’re being paid substantial sums of money by the FBI or because (as appears to be the case here) they are charged with some unrelated crime and are desperate to please the FBI in exchange for leniency (or both). The FBI then gives the informant a detailed attack plan, and sometimes even the money and other instruments to carry it out, and the informant then shares all of that with the target. Typically, the informant also induces, lures, cajoles, and persuades the target to agree to carry out the FBI-designed plot. In some instances where the target refuses to go along, they have their informant offer huge cash inducements to the impoverished target.

    Once they finally get the target to agree, the FBI swoops in at the last minute, arrests the target, issues a press release praising themselves for disrupting a dangerous attack (which it conceived of, funded, and recruited the operatives for), and the DOJ and federal judges send their target to prison for years or even decades (where they are kept in special GITMO-like units). Subservient U.S. courts uphold the charges by applying such a broad and permissive interpretation of “entrapment” that it could almost never be successfully invoked.

    Once again, we should all pause for a moment to thank the brave men and women of the FBI for saving us from their own terror plots

    .

    One can, if one really wishes, debate whether the FBI should be engaging in such behavior. For reasons I and many others have repeatedly argued, these cases are unjust in the extreme: a form of pre-emptory prosecution where vulnerable individuals are targeted and manipulated not for any criminal acts they have committed but rather for the bad political views they have expressed. They end up sending young people to prison for decades for “crimes” which even their sentencing judges acknowledge they never would have seriously considered, let alone committed, in the absence of FBI trickery. It’s hard to imagine anyone thinking this is a justifiable tactic, but I’m certain there are people who believe that. Let’s leave that question to the side for the moment in favor of a different issue.

    Read More…

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Why_Does_the_FBI_Have_to_Manufacture_its_Own_Plots_if_Terrorism_and_ISIS_Are_Such_Grave_Threats%3F/42200/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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    Feb 262015
     

    Source: ABC News

    Cypruson Wednesday signed a deal with Russia allowing its navy ships to make regular port calls on the divided Mediterranean island.

    The deal with European Union member Cyprus, which also hosts British military bases, comes amid strong Russia-West tensions over Ukraine, the worst since the Cold War times.

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said after Wednesday’s talks with visiting Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades that the agreement primarily refers to Russian navy ships involved in international counter-terrorism and anti-piracy efforts. He added that military cooperation between Russia and Cyprus isn’t directed against any third party.

    “Our friendly ties aren’t aimed against anyone,” Putin said. “I don’t think it should cause worries anywhere.”

    Russia has sought permission for its navy ships to use ports around the world to replenish supplies and undergo maintenance, deals that allow Moscow to expand its global military presence.

    Read More…

    Article source: http://www.blacklistednews.com/Cyprus_Signs_Military_Deal_to_Let_Russian_Navy_Ships_Dock/42201/0/38/38/Y/M.html

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