“Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we. They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we.” - George W. Bush

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Alan Dershowitz, a Man of Principle

A disciple to the law and an apostate to partisanship. Dershowitz is speaking out against the incredible damage being done to justice and American trust in our institutions.

More on FBI and DOJ Chicanery:

Plaster every detail of your personal lives, announce every fart, spread it across the internet, record it for all to be disseminated forever. What could possibly go wrong?


The Media Praised or Ignored Obama’s Harvesting of Facebook Data


The political and media establishment have whipped themselves into an almighty frenzy over allegations — yet to be confirmed — that Cambridge Analytica may have used improperly-obtained Facebook data during the 2016 election campaign, a charge they strenuously deny.

Online political advertising is now a “dark art,” according to The Guardian. “Data And The Threat to Democracy” is the blunt headline at the BBC. Facebook likes helped Trump “steal the election,” according to a columnist at the Philadelphia Inquirer. In the U.S., lawmakers are calling for an investigation into Facebook, and in the U.K., the authorities are seeking a warrant to raid the offices of Cambridge Analytica.

There was no such outrage after the 2012 election, in which the Obama campaign harvested data from Facebook users at a scale that, according to a former senior Obama campaign staffer, shocked Facebook themselves. Although Obama’s data-gathering operation was widely known, the tone of establishment media coverage was casual, even celebratory. Certainly, no-one dared suggest that it constituted a “threat to democracy.”

In their cheerfully-titled report “Obama, Facebook And The Power of Friendship: The 2012 data Election,” The Guardian explained how the Obama campaign harvested data on friend networks from unwitting voters.
At the core is a single beating heart – a unified computer database that gathers and refines information on millions of committed and potential Obama voters. The database will allow staff and volunteers at all levels of the campaign – from the top strategists answering directly to Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina to the lowliest canvasser on the doorsteps of Ohio – to unlock knowledge about individual voters and use it to target personalised messages that they hope will mobilise voters where it counts most.
Every time an individual volunteers to help out – for instance by offering to host a fundraising party for the president – he or she will be asked to log onto the re-election website with their Facebook credentials. That in turn will engage Facebook Connect, the digital interface that shares a user’s personal information with a third party. 
Consciously or otherwise, the individual volunteer will be injecting all the information they store publicly on their Facebook page – home location, date of birth, interests and, crucially, network of friends – directly into the central Obama database.
“If you log in with Facebook, now the campaign has connected you with all your relationships,” a digital campaign organiser who has worked on behalf of Obama says.
Ironically, The Guardian is the sister paper of The Observer, the paper that broke the news of Cambridge Analytica’s alleged misuse of Facebook data.
As we reported earlier, the former head of Obama’s data operation, Carol Davidsen, said that the campaign was able to pull data from the “entire social graph.”

“We were actually able to ingest the entire social network of the U.S. that’s on Facebook, which is most people” said Davidsen in a talk delivered in 2015.
“Where this gets complicated is that it freaks Facebook out. So they shut off the feature.”

Republicans, explained Davidsen, failed to obtain this data, whereas the Democrats now have it forever.

“I’m a Democrat, so maybe I could argue that’s a great thing, but really it’s not, in the overall process. That wasn’t thought all the way through and now there’s a disadvantage of information that to me seems unfair.”

This is no secret – The Guardian reported on it in 2012, and Davidsen spoke about it 2015. But only in the aftermath of Donald Trump’s election victory, which many attributed to his superior digital campaigning, has the mainstream devolved into panic over the influence of Facebook.

Davidsen recently revealed that Facebook visited the Obama campaign’s office after the 2012 election, where they admitted they allowed the campaign privileged access to their platform.

Yet despite the obvious closeness of the relationship between Facebook and Obama, the establishment media gave it little scrutiny, even when Obama was invited to speak at Facebook’s headquarters in 2011.

Far from holding Facebook and the Obama administration to account, the establishment media were fawning in their coverage of their relationship.
The Guardian endearingly referred to Obama’s tactics as harnessing the “power of friendship.” According to CNN, Obama’s team used “high-tech wizardry” and “magic tricks” to win. Obama’s own data analytics director, as noted above, thought the insurmountable imbalance between Democrat-owned data and Republican-owned data was unfair, but according to the Washington Post, Obama had simply “won the race for voter data.”

The establishment media didn’t frame Obama’s data operation as invasive or sinister. It was just “hipster tech,” in the words of Wired magazine. It was a “dream team of engineers from Facebook, Twitter and Google” who won the 2012 election, according to an Atlantic piece titled “When The Nerds Go Marching In.” Obama’s data team were the “real heroes” of the election, wrote Rolling Stone, and the former president’s “high-tech, data-driven, socially-networked campaign was one for the history books.” The Telegraph praised Obama for realizing “the potential” of social media to reach “disaffected youth.”

There was virtually no mention of the invasiveness of the Obama camapign’s data-gathering operation. Obama staffers joked openly about mass-harvesting data from the Facebook feeds of their supporters’ old college friends and ex-girlfriends. They admitted that their data harvesting was so extensive that it triggered Facebook’s security systems. Yet the media continued to cover them as genius whizz-kids who were revolutionizing political campaigning.

Compare this to the way they covered Facebook in the aftermath of Trump. It’s “fake news,” it’s “misinformation,” it’s “dark arts” and a “threat to democracy.” Trump didn’t win the election, according to the establishment media’s fantasy — he stole it with ill-gotten data.

Absent from this panicked narrative is a far simpler explanation: voters aren’t idiots who were “manipulated.” They are free-thinking individuals who made a decision — to reject the Democrats, to reject corporate  media, and to reject the establishment. But admitting you might be flawed is hard — let’s just blame Facebook instead!

Allum Bokhari is the senior technology correspondent at Breitbart News. You can follow him on TwitterGab.ai and add him on Facebook. Email tips and suggestions to allumbokhari@protonmail.com.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Joe DiGenova or a Rat? Who you gonna believe?

Joe diGenova: DOJ Officials 'Tried to Frame an Incoming President With False Russian Conspiracy' Tale

Former federal prosecutor, special counsel, and prominent Washington attorney Joe diGenova said the scandal at the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ) involves a "brazen plot" to exonerate Hillary Clinton of felony crimes involving her mishandling of classified documents, and an ongoing "false case" to "frame" President Donald Trump with a "false Russian conspiracy that never existed."
The senior DOJ and FBI officials involved knew the Russian conspiracy story was fake, said diGenova, but they "plotted to ruin" Trump as a candidate "and then destroy him as a president."    The FBI now "has to be completely reconstructed from the ground up," he said.

DiGenova, the founding partner of diGenova & Toensing, LLP, in Washington, D.C., which litiagates cases at the federal level, made his remarks in an interview with Ginni Thomas for the Daily Caller News Foundation. (Thomas is the wife of Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas.)

In the Jan. 20 interview, diGenova said, “The FBI used to spy on the Russians. This time they spied on us. It’s about a brazen plot to, again, exonerate Hillary Clinton from a clear violation of the law with regard to the way she handled classified information with her private server – absolutely a crime, absolutely a felony."

Ex-FBI Director James Comey. (DOJ)
"It’s about finding out why -- as the Inspector General is doing at the Department of Justice – why [James] Comey and the senior DOJ officials conducted a fake criminal investigation of Hillary Clinton -- followed none of the regular rules, gave her every break in the book, immunized all kinds of people, allowed the destruction of evidence, no grand jury, no subpoenas, no search warrant," said diGenova. "That’s not an investigation. That’s a Potemkin Village."

DiGenova, who prosecuted Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard and failed presidential assassin John W. Hinckley, continued, “This is about a lavabo, a cleansing of the FBI and the upper echelons of the Department of Justice. We’re going to discover that the attorney general, Loretta Lynch, her deputy Sally Yates, the head of the National Security Division John Carlin, Bruce Ohr, and other senior DOJ officials and, regrettably, line attorneys – people who were senior career civil servants – [allegedly] violated the law, perhaps committed crimes, covered up crimes by a presidential candidate."

Ex-FBI Director Robert Mueller, now
special counsel investigating
“But more than that," he said. "They tried to frame an incoming president with a false Russian conspiracy that never existed, and they knew it, and they plotted to ruin him as a candidate and then destroy him as a president. The FBI now has to be completely reconstructed from the ground up."

“The men and women at the Bureau are great people," said diGenova. "That’s not who we're talking about, never have been. We are talking about people like James Comey, [Andrew] McCabe, [Peter] Strzok, [Lisa] Page, [James] Baker, [Bill] Priestap – a name nobody knows, he’s the head of the counterintelligence division."

Former Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former Democratic presidential 
candidate Hillary Clinton. (YouTube) 
DiGenova, the former U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, further explained, “What the Bureau did was, by working with Fusion GPS and giving contractors access to highly classified information which they had no legal right to see. They needed something to create that they could give to the court, the Foreign Intelligence court, so they could get wiretaps and surveillance taps, email taps, and phone taps on the Trump people, so that if there was anything, they could find it out."

"Of course, there was nothing," he said. "There never was anything. They created false facts so they could get surveillance warrants."

"It was done not for legitimate law enforcement reasons," said diGenova, "not for national security reasons, but to create a false case against a candidate, Donald Trump, a president-elect, Donald Trump, and a president, Donald Trump.”
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Monday, March 19, 2018

Rodent John Brennan, another Deep State Flea Ridden Rat

A Brief History of the CIA's Unpunished Spying on the Senate

President Obama's choice to lead the intelligence agency has undermined core checks and balances with impunity.

This is the story of John Brennan's CIA spying on Congress and getting away with it.  

Last March, Senator Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on the Senate intelligence committee as it labored to finalize its report on the torture of prisoners. “I have grave concerns that the CIA’s search may well have violated the separation of powers principles embodied in the United States Constitution,” she said. “I have asked for an apology and a recognition that this CIA search of computers used by its oversight committee was inappropriate. I have received neither.”

CIA Director John Brennan denied the charge. “Nothing could be further from the truth,” he said. “We wouldn’t do that. That’s just beyond the scope of reason in terms of what we’d do.” It would be months before his denial was publicly proved false. "An internal investigation by the C.I.A. has found that its officers penetrated a computer network used by the Senate Intelligence Committee in preparing its damning report on the C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program," The New York Times reported. "The report by the agency’s inspector general also found that C.I.A. officers read the emails of the Senate investigators and sent a criminal referral to the Justice Department based on false information."
The Senate intelligence committee expressed appropriate outraged at these anti-democratic machinations:
A statement issued Thursday morning by a C.I.A. spokesman said that John O. Brennan, the agency’s director, had apologized to Ms. Feinstein and the committee’s ranking Republican, Senator Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, and would set up an internal accountability board to review the issue. The statement said that the board, which will be led by a former Democratic senator, Evan Bayh of Indiana, could recommend “potential disciplinary measures” and “steps to address systemic issues.” But anger among lawmakers grew throughout the day. Leaving a nearly three-hour briefing about the report in a Senate conference room, members of both parties called for the C.I.A. officers to be held accountable, and some said they had lost confidence in Mr. Brennan’s leadership. “This is a serious situation and there are serious violations,” said Mr. Chambliss, generally a staunch ally of the intelligence community. He called for the C.I.A. employees to be “dealt with very harshly.”

Late last week, that internal "accountability board" announced the results of its review. If you've followed the impunity with which the CIA has broken U.S. laws throughout its history, you'll be unsurprised to learn that no one is going to be "dealt with very harshly" after all. "A panel investigating the Central Intelligence Agency’s search of a computer network used by staff members of the Senate Intelligence Committee who were looking into the C.I.A.’s use of torture will recommend against punishing anyone involved in the episode," The New York Times reports. "The panel will make that recommendation after the five C.I.A. officials who were singled out by the agency’s inspector general this year for improperly ordering and carrying out the computer searches staunchly defended their actions, saying that they were lawful and in some cases done at the behest of John O. Brennan."

Done at the behest of Brennan, who once feigned ignorance about the actions in question, going so far as to declare them beyond the scope of reason! "While effectively rejecting the most significant conclusions of the inspector general’s report," the story continues, "the panel, appointed by Mr. Brennan and composed of three C.I.A. officers and two members from outside the agency, is still expected to criticize agency missteps that contributed to the fight with Congress." Who'd have guessed that a panel appointed by Brennan to look into malfeasance presided over and in some cases ordered by Brennan would decide that neither Brennan nor any of the people Brennan leads should be held accountable?
Brennan and the CIA have behaved indefensibly. But substantial blame belongs to the overseers who've permitted them to do so with impunity, including figures in the Obama administration right up to the president and Senate intelligence committee members who, for all their bluster, have yet to react to CIA misbehavior in a way that actually disincentivizes similar malfeasance in the future. President Obama should fire John Brennan, as has previously been suggested by Senator Mark UdallTrevor TimmDan Froomkin, and Andrew Sullivan. And the Senate intelligence committee should act toward the CIA like their predecessors on the Church Committee. Instead, the CIA is asked to investigate its own malfeasance and issue reports suggesting what, if anything, should be done.

The Times reports:
Mr. Brennan has enraged senators by refusing to answer questions posed by the Intelligence Committee about who at the C.I.A. authorized the computer intrusion. Doing so, he said, could compromise the accountability board’s investigation.

“What did he know? When did he know it? What did he order?” said Senator Carl Levin, the Michigan Democrat who is a member of the Intelligence Committee, said in an interview last week. “They haven’t answered those basic questions.”
Senator Levin, you're a member of a coequal branch. You've flagged outrageous behavior among those you're charged with overseeing. What are you going to do about it?

DOJ / FBI, US Obstruction of Justice Administration

Documents: FBI Carefully Planned Clinton-Lynch Tarmac Trip, Tried To Cover It Up

President Bill Clinton, Facebook
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) under director James Comey carefully plotted logistics and security for President Bill Clinton’s meeting on an airplane tarmac with then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch during the 2016 campaign.
The FBI then attempted to cover up the tarmac meeting by targeting a Bureau whistleblower. The FBI worked with its offices around the country to execute the plan.

Breaking Judicial Watch emails (READ THEM HERE) show an FBI plot to cover up Bill Clinton’s meeting with Lynch, which Lynch claimed was just about golf and grandchildren.

“Judicial Watch states The new FBI documents show FBI officials were concerned about a leak that Bill Clinton delayed his aircraft taking off in order to “maneuver” a meeting with the attorney general.  The resulting story in the Observer is seemingly confirmed and causes a flurry of emails about the source of the article.  FBI official(s) write “we need to find that guy” and that the Phoenix FBI office was contacted “in an attempt to stem any further damage.”  Another FBI official, working on AG Lynch’s security detail, suggests instituting non-disclosure agreements.  The names of the emails authors are redacted. There are no documents showing concern about the meeting itself,” Judicial Watch stated.

“The FBI  originally informed  Judicial Watch they could not locate any records related to the tarmac meeting,” the nonprofit group added.

A knowledgeable FBI insider tells Big League Politics that it was bizarre and completely revealing that different security units, including apparent city police departments, were contacted about security detail for the trip before it happened:
“The email (dated Sunday July 03, 2016 2:06pm), list recipients who are redacted but they didn’t redact the general locations of the email.  The locations are (SECD) which is Security Detail but the others are more interesting (LV) Las Vegas, (NY) New York, (HO) Houston, (CG) Chicago, and (WF) Washington Field.  That leads to only, two possibilities.  One, additional SWAT teams were supplementing the Phoenix trip.  That would be a lot of man power for such a routine trip.  Why so much?  Two, there were different legs of that trip or previous trips that were of concern!”

The insider is also concerned about the level of access ABC News had to the Justice Department, with the news agency acting as a kind of warning system for DOJ officials that a scandal was breaking out:
“First, the email (dated June 28th, 2016 1:14pm), which is from Mike Levine to several DOJ emails.  How does Mike Levine of ABC News have such direct lines of communication with so many DOJ big wigs.  I can understand him having a source’s phone number at the DOJ but it’s like he’s a DOJ employee sending out an all agency heads up.”

Big League Politics reported that an audiotape exists of the President’s conversation with Loretta Lynch on the plane, but the National Security Agency (NSA) refuses to release it.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Judge Jeanine to McCabe: Quit Claiming ‘Victim Status’ — You Should Have Been Taken Out in Handcuffs

James Kallstrom: FBI leaders showed a shocking failure of judgment in the Clinton and Trump investigations

New flap over FBI texts

Did leak unfairly implicate Obama?

One of the most distressing recent developments in American government is the trend toward virtually everyone and everything being politicized.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation was a notable exception to this. During the 27 years I served there, I never once witnessed political bias that affected in any way our ability to conduct fair and honest investigations based on the rule of law and the integrity that it demands.  

But times have changed. The memo recently released by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes, R-Calif., reveals yet more shocking details about the failed leadership and judgement at the highest echelons of the FBI concerning the flawed investigation into Hillary Clinton and the farcical investigation of Donald Trump.

This should trouble every American, because the ability of the FBI to effectively protect our nation and citizens is directly connected to the regard and respect that the American people have for the bureau.
The great shame of this scandal is that the embarrassing actions of a few have sullied the reputation of the entire FBI and the thousands of dedicated FBI field agents who have nothing to do with this mess and who continue to do their jobs with exceptional courage, integrity and dedication.
During the years I served, the FBI neutralized Soviet spy rings, dismantled La Cosa Nostra and other organized crime networks, and pursued the FALN (a Puerto Rican terrorist group) and Weather Underground responsible for waves of bank robberies and bombings. Today the FBI is at the forefront of countering rampant cybercrime, radical Islamic terrorism and an array of other threats.
One of the FBI’s most important tools to protect the homeland and investigate crimes – especially in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks – is its ability to lawfully intercept communications through wiretaps and other means.

If Congress and the courts believe the FBI is abusing this surveillance power, they may become less willing to allow the FBI to use it. This would gravely jeopardize our national security.

But that could now happen. The Nunes memo revealed that in 2016, senior FBI leaders and Department of Justice officials used a discredited intelligence document (the infamous “Steele dossier”) in making their case to a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Court that it should authorize surveillance of Trump campaign official Carter Page.

Here’s what we know about this Steele dossier: its “research” was financed by the Clinton campaign and the Democratic National Committee. It author, Christopher Steele, was a known antagonist of then-candidate Trump.

FBI leadership knew all this at the time, and yet the Steele dossier (a collection of memos) appears to be the primary basis upon which they hoped to convince a FISA Court that they had both probable cause and national security grounds to surveil Page, a U.S. citizen.

It’s a travesty of justice and it begs the question of why then-FBI Director James Comey and others would take such a clearly irresponsible step.

We can’t know what was in their hearts and heads, but it’s obvious to me that the original sin that allowed this to happen was the Obama administration’s weaponization of the Justice Department and U.S. intelligence agencies for political ends.

I say it’s obvious because around the same time the Obama Justice Department was effectively inventing criminal charges against several members of the Trump campaign, it was ignoring the widespread and longstanding criminality of Hillary Clinton and her political operation.

The investigation into Clinton’s private server violated most every investigative standard the FBI is supposed to follow. For starters, Comey never empaneled a grand jury, which has the power to compel testimony and the release of records.
In addition, broad immunity was granted to those close to Hillary Clinton, even though many offered little to no information of value.

Comey also prepared a memo exonerating Clinton weeks before she was even interviewed.

And then of course, there was the infamous Phoenix airport meeting: when then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch violated every standard of propriety and common sense by meeting in private with former President Bill Clinton while his wife was under active investigation.

Alone, any of these missteps could be explained away as a mistake or a coincidence. But together, they paint a more troubling picture of a small group of top officials at the FBI and Justice Department that sacrificed their integrity and politicized an institution that must always operate above politics.

The great shame of this scandal is that the embarrassing actions of a few have sullied the reputation of the entire FBI and the thousands of dedicated FBI field agents who have nothing to do with this mess and who continue to do their jobs with exceptional courage, integrity and dedication.

For the FBI’s reputation to be restored, we need accountability from the leaders who failed the bureau and a thorough accounting of how and why this great American institution lost its way.

James Kallstrom is a former Assistant Director of the FBI, where he served for 27 years. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

War, What is it Good For, Absolutely NOTHING.

Three Heroes at My Lai

And the price they paid for trying to stop a massacre

SP5 Capezza burning a Vietnamese dwelling. Ronald L. Haeberle/Wikimedia CommonsOn March 16, 1968, American soldiers from Charlie Company were angry about Viet Cong booby traps, frustrated by recent casualties, and still shaken by the Tet Offensive. They took these resentments out on the residents of two hamlets, slaughtering around 500 unarmed women, children, and elderly people in what is known today as the My Lai massacre.

Whether Capt. Ernest Medina directly ordered his men to kill civilians is doubtful, but he certainly let it happen for hours without intervention. This was no short firefight: It was an extended series of rapes and murders. About half the soldiers participated; about half stood aside and refused to actively participate. But hardly anyone tried to help the victims.

The exceptions—the morsels of humanity—were three men in a helicopter: Hugh Thompson, 25; Lawrence Coburn, 18; and Glenn Andreotta, 20. Given their aerial view of things, the crew was baffled by the number of bodies they were seeing. None of the dead appeared to be armed, or to be even males of soldier age. Twice the crew landed, marked injured civilians for aid, and returned to find them dead. Colburn said later that Medina was the one who killed a woman they had attempted to help.

All this enraged Thompson, the pilot, though by all accounts gunner Colburn and crew chief Andreotta were in full, horrified agreement that something was going wrong. As Thompson said in the 1989 British documentary Four Hours in My Lai,they "started seeing a lot of bodies—it didn't add up, you know, how many people were getting killed and wounded, and we weren't receiving any fire." Thompson radioed back to base there there was "a whole lot of unnecessary killing going on."

Thompson landed and confronted Lt. William Calley, who was busy eliminating civilians. Calley basically told Thompson to mind his own business. Meanwhile, Sgt. David Mitchell made sure nobody was still moving in the irrigation ditch chosen to be the grave of some 70 civilians. Stunned at the nonstop killing, which he later said reminded him of the Nazis, Thompson yelled: "You ain't heard the last of this!"

Some time later, the crew saw several Vietnamese being chased toward a bunker. That was the moment that Thompson chose a side, risking court martial or worse. He landed his helicopter between the soldiers and the civilians, and he told his men to shoot if the soldiers fired on Thompson or on the Vietnamese. They said they would.

Thompson successfully convinced the civilians to come out, and then he demanded help over the radio, convincing two nearby pilots to come to his aid. With aid from a nearby gunship more used to taking out Vietnamese than taking them out of harm's way, around a dozen civilians were removed from the wrath of Charlie Company. Not quite done, the three men took off to search for any more signs of movement.

Andreotta, with only a month left to live himself, saw something. He climbed into the slaughterhouse that had been an irrigation ditch and came out with a child. The crew hand-delivered them to a hospital, Thompson thinking of his own child at home all the while.

When Thompson returned to base he reported to Lt. Col. Frank Barker, who told the forces to stop the slaughter. Trent Angers, author of The Forgotten Hero of My Lai: The Hugh Thompson Story, says he has "no doubt that Hugh Thompson saved thousands of lives in Vietnam" by kicking up a fuss that halted Taskforce Barker, a plan to cleanse the entirety of the surrounding hamlets. Nobody was overtly saying "kill civilians," but like Medina that day they appeared ready to pacify the population however they could.

After a cover-up failed and the real story came out, the Army was prepared to prosecute the perpetrators. Thompson spent a year as the prosecution's best witness, all the while being browbeaten by powerful men. No less than President Richard Nixon appears to have urged his aide H.R. Haldeman to "discredit one witness" in the My Lai prosecution. Angers argues that Nixon went after Thompson personally.

It wasn't just Nixon. Congressmen, notably F. Edward Hébert (D-La.) and House Armed Service Chairman Mendel Rivers (D-S.C.) joined in the attack According to the chief My Lai prosecutor, Col. William Eckhardt, Hébert and Rivers wanted "to sabotage" the trials. A substantial majority of Americans opposed a life sentence for Lt. Calley, even many of those who agreed his actions were wrong. Calley became a twisted sort of folk hero while Thompson had his loyalty to his country questioned. Many of Thompson's fellow soldiers treated him like a leper.
On top of that, much evidence of the massacre was classified and could not be introduced in court. As a result, the first case—against Sgt. David Mitchell—was dismissed. Others collapsed. Everyone either said they were following orders or swore that they had ordered no such thing.

Eckhardt says he considers any accountability, even having a trial at all, a victory. Medina pled innocent (enough), other higher-ups were dead, still more were already out of the Army and its jurisdiction. Out of 14 people tried, only Calley was convicted, and he only got three years' house arrest—a pitiful punishment for at least 20 murders. "You know, you can blame Richard Nixon, you can do all sorts of things, but it was the country that demanded it," Eckhardt says.

Thompson ended up shutting up about the whole thing for 20 years, while still dutifully flying helicopters for the Army and counseling veterans. Neither he nor Colburn appear to have ever expressed regret or even doubt about their intervention, but it was a long time before they were rewarded for it. Nor were the perps given much punishment.

Thompson and Colburn got some justice eventually. But it wasn't the military or the public who demanded it. After seeing Four Hours in My Lai, a Clemson professor named David Egan was struck by the urge to find out if this soft-spoken Southern man shedding tears onscreen had ever been officially rewarded for putting humanity before country. Thompson had in fact been given and discarded a medal that flat-out lied about what happened at My Lai. Egan thought the man deserved a real one, and he spent the next several years bothering anyone important who would listen about Thompson.

Angers' book details much of the hand-wringing and foot-dragging that took place before Thompson was given the Soldier's Medal. When the medal was dangled in front of him, Thompson demanded that Colburn and Andreotta (posthumously) get one as well, and that the ceremony not be tucked away somewhere quiet. Eckhardt, Angers, and Colburn's widow Lisa all describe the 1998 ceremony at the Vietnam memorial as moving, and as a sort of release.

In the following years, Lawrence Colburn and Hugh Thompson returned to Vietnam several times and were bombarded with letters, praise, and media attention. Lisa Colburn tells Reason that her husband often mentioned the little boy Andreotta had taken from the ditch, wondering how he had fared. The boy, Do Ba, did not have an easy life, and the rest of his family all died at My Lai. But on a 1999 trip to Vietnam, a Quaker group reunited Colburn and Do Ba as a surprise. Lisa recalls that as they drove around on a bus, "Do Ba took Larry's hand, and he held onto [it] the entire day...he wouldn't let go, he held his hand the entire time."

The effects of the men's actions radiated further. Both men were honored to be asked to lecture on military ethics later in life. Says Eckhardt: "You know what the military teaches about My Lai right now?...It says basically, follow Thompson."
Calley and Medina are still alive; the three men who resisted their violent fever are not. But 50 years on, remember these exceptional human beings who did the right thing when they were outnumbered, even if no people in this story got what they deserve. "Most stories, from Greek mythology on, have a hero and a villain," says Eckhardt. "And we know which one's which in this story. And I think we need to concentrate on the hero."

Hugh Thompson - An American Hero

“You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you. Do you understand the rights I have just read to you? With these rights in mind, do you wish to speak to me?”

The Deeper Meaning of Mass Spying in America

 06.14.2013 ::  United States

Introduction: The exposure of the Obama regime’s use of the National Security Agency to secretly spy on the communications of hundreds of millions of US and overseas citizens has provoked world-wide denunciations.

In the United States, despite widespread mass media coverage and the opposition of civil liberties organizations, there has not been any mass protest. Congressional leaders from both the Republican and Democratic Parties, as well as top judges, approved of the unprecedented domestic spy program.. Even worse, when the pervasive spy operations were revealed, top Senate and Congressional leaders repeated their endorsement of each and every intrusion into all electronic and written communication involving American citizens.

President Obama and his Attorney General Holder openly and forcefully defended the NSA’s the universal spy operations.

The issues raised by this vast secret police apparatus and its penetration into and control over civil society, infringing on the citizens freedom of expression, go far beyond mere ‘violations of privacy’, as raised by many legal experts.

Most civil libertarians focus on the violations of individual rights, constitutional guarantees and the citizen’s privacy rights. These are important legal issues and the critics are right in raising them. However, these constitutional–legal critiques do not go far enough; they fail to raise even more fundamental issues; they avoid basic political questions.

Why has such a massive police-state apparatus and universal spying become so central to the ruling regime? Why has the entire executive, legislative and judicial leadership come out in public for such a blatant repudiation of all constitutional guarantees? Why do elected leaders defend universal political espionage against the citizenry? What kind of politics requires a police state? What kind of long-term, large scale domestic and foreign policies are illegal and unconstitutional as to require the building of a vast network of domestic spies and a hundred billion dollar corporate-state techno-espionage infrastructure in a time of budget ‘austerity’ with the slashing of social programs?

The second set of questions arises from the use of the espionage data. So far most critics have questioned the existence of massive state espionage but have avoided the vital issue of what measures are takenby the spymasters once they target individuals, groups, movements? The essential question is: What reprisals and sanctions follow from the ‘information’ that is collected, classified and made operational by these massive domestic spy networks? Now that the ‘secret’ of all-encompassing, state political spying has entered public discussion, the next step should be to reveal the secret operations that follow against those targeted by the spymasters as a ‘risk to national security’.

The Politics behind the Police State
The fundamental reason for the conversion of the state into a gigantic spy apparatus is the nature of deeply destructive domestic and foreign policies which the government has so forcefully pursued. The vast expansion of the police state apparatus is not a response to the terror attack of 9/11. The geometrical growth of spies, secret police budgets, and the vast intrusion into all citizen communications coincides with the wars across the globe. The decisions to militarize US global policy requires vast budgetary re-allocation , slashing social spending to fund empire-building; shredding public health and social security to bailout Wall Street. These are policies which greatly enhance profits for bankers and corporations while imposing regressive taxes on wage and salaried workers.

Prolonged and extended wars abroad have been funded at the expense of citizens’ welfare at home. This policy had led to declining living standards for many tens of millions of citizens and rising dissatisfaction. The potential of social resistance as evidenced by the brief “Occupy Wall Street” movement which was endorsed by over 80% of the population, .The positive response alarmed the state and led to an escalation of police state measures. Mass spying is designed to identify the citizens who oppose both imperial wars and the destruction of domestic welfare; labeling them as ‘security threats’ is a means of controlling them through the use of arbitrary police powers. The expansion of the President’s war powers has been accompanied by the growth and scope of the state spy apparatus: the more the President orders overseas drone attacks, the greater the number of his military interventions, the greater the need for the political elite surrounding the President to increase its policing of citizens in anticipation of a popular backlash. In this context, the policy of mass spying is taken as ‘pre-emptive action’. The greater the police state operations, the greater the fear and insecurity among dissident citizens and activists.

The assault on the living standards of working and middle class Americans in order to fund the endless series of wars, and not the so-called ‘war on terror’, is the reason the state has developed massive cyber warfare against the US citizenry. The issue is not only a question of a violation of individual privacy: it is fundamentally an issue of state infringement of the collective rights of organized citizens to freely engage in public opposition to regressive socio-economic policies and question the empire. The proliferation of permanent bureaucratic institutions, with over a million security ‘data collectors’, is accompanied by tens of thousands of ‘field operators’, analysts and inquisitors acting arbitrarily to designate dissident citizens as ‘security risks’ and imposing reprisalsaccording to the political needs of their ruling political bosses. The police state apparatus has its own rules of self-protection and self-perpetuation; it has its own linkages and may occasionally compete with the Pentagon. The police state links up with and protects the masters of Wall Street and the propagandists of the mass media – even as it (must) spy on them!

The police state is an instrument of the Executive Branch acting as a vehicle for its arbitrary prerogative powers. However on administrative matters, it possesses a degree of ‘autonomy’ to target dissident behavior. What is clear is the high degree of cohesion, vertical discipline and mutual defense, up and down the hierarchy.

The fact that one whistle-blower, Edward Snowden, emerged from the hundreds of thousands of citizen spies is the exception, the lone whistle blower, which proves the rule: There are fewer defectors to be found among the million-member US spy network than in all the Mafia families in Europe and North America.

The domestic spy apparatus operates with impunity because of its network of powerful domestic and overseas allies. The entire bi-partisan Congressional leadership is privy to and complicit with its operations. Related branches of government, like the Internal Revenue Service, cooperate in providing information and pursuing targeted political groups and individuals. Israel is a key overseas ally of the National Security Agency, as has been documented in the Israeli press (Haaretz, June 8, 2013). Two Israeli high tech firms (Verint and Narus) with ties to the Israeli secret police (MOSSAD), have provided the spy software for the NSA and this, of course, has opened a window for Israeli spying in the US against Americans opposed to the Zionist state. The writer and critic, Steve Lendman points out that Israeli spymasters via their software “front companies” have long had the ability to ‘steal proprietary commercial and industrial data” with impunity . And because of the power and influence of the Presidents of the 52 Major American Jewish organizations, Justice Department officials have ordered dozens of Israeli espionage cases to be dropped. The tight Israeli ties to the US spy apparatus serves to prevent deeper scrutiny into its operation and political goals - at a very high price in terms of the security of US citizens. In recent years two incidents stand out: Israeli security ‘experts’ were contracted to advise the Pennsylvania Department of Homeland Security in their investigation and ‘Stasi-like’ repression of government critics and environmental activists (compared to ‘al Queda terrorists’ by the Israelis) – the discovery of which forced the resignation of OHS Director James Powers in 2010. In 2003, New Jersey governor, Jim McGreevy appointed his lover, an Israeli government operative and former IDF officer, to head that state’s ‘Homeland Security Department and later resigned, denouncing the Israeli, Golan Cipel, for blackmail in late 2004. These examples are a small sample illustrating the depth and scope of Israeli police state tactics intersecting in US domestic repression.

The Political and Economic Consequences of the Spy State
The denunciations of the mass spy operations are a positive step, as far as they go. But equally important is the question of what follows from the act of spying? We now know that hundreds of millions of Americans are being spied on by the state. We know that mass spying is official policy of the Executive and is approved by Congressional leaders. But we have only fragmented information on the repressive measures resulting from the investigations of “suspect individuals”. We can assume that there is a division of labor among data collectors, data analysts and field operatives following up “risky individuals and groups”, based on the internal criteria known only to the secret police. The key spy operatives are those who devise and apply the criteria for designating someone as a “security risk”. Individuals and groups who express critical views of domestic and foreign policy are “a risk”; those who act to protest are a “higher risk”; those who travel to conflict regions are presumed to be in the “highest risk” category, even if they have violated no law. The question of the lawfulness of a citizen’s views and actions does not enter into the spymasters’ equation; nor do any questions regarding the lawfulness of the acts committed by the spies against citizens. The criteria defining a security risk supersede any constitutional considerations and safeguards.

We know from a large number of published cases that lawful critics, illegally spied upon , have subsequently been arrested, tried and jailed – their lives and those of their friends and family members shattered. We know that hundreds of homes, workplaces and offices of suspects have been raided in ‘fishing expeditions’. We know that family members, associates, neighbors, clients, and employers of “suspects” have been interrogated, pressured and intimidated. Above all, we know that tens of millions of law abiding citizens, critical of domestic economic and overseas war policies, have been censored by the very real fear of the massive operations carried out by the police state. In this atmosphere of intimidation, any critical conversation or word spoken in any context or relayed via the media can be interpreted by nameless, faceless spies as a “security threat” – and one’s name can enter into the ever growing secret lists of “potential terrorists”. The very presence and dimensions of the police state is intimidating. While there are citizens who would claim that the police state is necessary to protect them from terrorists – But how many others feel compelled to embrace their state terrorists just to fend off any suspicion, hoping to stay off the growing lists? How many critical-minded Americans now fear the state and will never voice in public what they whisper at home?

The bigger the secret police, the greater its operations. The more regressive domestic economic policy, the greater the fear and loathing of the political elite.
Even as President Obama and his Democratic and Republican partners boast and bluster about their police state and its effective “security function”, the vast majority of Americans are becoming aware that fear instilled at home serves the interest of waging imperial wars abroad; that cowardice in the face of police state threats only encourages further cuts in their living standards. When will they learn that exposing spying is only the beginning of a solution? When will they recognize that ending the police state is essential to dismantling the costly empire and creating a safe, secure and prosperous America?

About James Petras

James Petras is a Bartle Professor (Emeritus) of Sociology at Binghamton University, New York.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Trump Administration Begins

Rumors are that Jeff Sessions days are numbered

Not all Gephyrophobia is irrational

Privatize government education system and get government out of student loans

Don’t ban guns, ban government schools | Letter to the editor

Public schools have become impersonal, sterile and monolithic — like most government institutions.

What have all the school shooters in recent history had in common? They all attended public schools.

It is time to consider whether guns are the problem, or whether perhaps the educational environment in our schools has deteriorated to the point where our children are no longer safe.

School shootings are not the only consequence of this unsafe environment. Children are traumatized in less obvious ways as well.

Public schools have become impersonal, sterile and monolithic — like most government institutions. Kids are falling through the cracks. This makes the schools less safe. Government schools have become incubators for the sort of tragedies we are seeing today. We also see an increase in mental health disorders and overall malaise amongst our children and even the staff.

Private schools are more caring, personal, boutique, couture and tailored to the individual child’s needs. Private security is safer too. Children are more nurtured and can follow their passions. Parents are more engaged and teachers have more freedom.

This is not at all a critique of our teachers or staff. Their hands are tied. They too are left unprotected, dealing with issues they are not trained to address and bound by institutional mandates. They lack the resources or time to give individual attention to children so that they don’t slip through the cracks. They are left to fill the role of parent, guardian, counselor, confidant, friend, nurse, psychotherapist and…teacher. It is an impossible job; all while being “handcuffed.” Heck, they can’t even hug a child nowadays.

There will be a lot of talk about more gun control but to focus singularly on one factor is being dishonest and simplistic. The problem we face as a society runs much, much deeper. These guns have been around for decades but this problem is merely a couple decades old.

The real issue is the deterioration of our education system. That is the conversation we need to have.

At a private school with smaller classes, a teacher, counselor or other staff person would have likely seen warnings signs early on. But in the government system funds are misappropriated and “circle the top,” leaving our children and teachers vulnerable and scared. The learning environment in our government schools has deteriorated and these school shootings are a symptom of much deeper systemic issues that it is time to talk openly about.

Let’s increase access to private schools: choice, charter and vouchers.