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When COINTELPRO = National Security - 'NBC Reporter Recounts Breaking FBI Spying Story' - NBC

NBC reporter recounts breaking FBI spying story
By Michael Isikoff - NBC News National Investigative Correspondent


The files stolen from an FBI office outside Philadelphia in 1971 were stunning, describing secret efforts to spy on student protestors and infiltrate civil rights groups. But one document proved especially interesting to the NBC News correspondent who would later break the news of the FBI’s most notorious secret program of nationwide domestic surveillance. It discussed a proposal from bureau headquarters that agents send letters “anonymously” to college professors who had “shown a reluctance to take decisive action” against left-wing protestors. And it included a cryptic acronym he’d never seen before: “COINTELPRO.”

“The first question that popped in my mind was, ‘By what authority do FBI agents write anonymous letters?’” recalls Carl Stern, who covered the Justice Department for NBC News for nearly 30 years. He also wanted to know what “COINTELPRO” stood for. But when he pressed those questions with top DOJ officials, “nobody would talk to me about it.”

Stern recalled his efforts to learn more about the document—and the mysterious reference to “COINTELPRO” -- on Tuesday after the confession by three former peace activists that they had committed the unsolved burglary of the Media, Pa. office in order to document what they were convinced was “massive illegal surveillance” by J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI. The identities of the burglars are revealed in a new book, “The Burglary,” by former Washington Post reporter Betty Medsger, and were reported Tuesday on the “Today” show.

The burglars cracked open the door to exposing illicit FBI snooping by stealing the files and sending them to select journalists, but it was Stern who opened it all the way. Using a then-novel tool called the Freedom of Information Act to obtain documents from the government, Stern uncovered the long-running surveillance program known as COINTELPRO, a now-infamous effort at political intimidation and disruption that may have been Hoover's biggest secret.

As Stern recalled it, when his initial inquiries about COINTELPRO were rebuffed, he refused to take no for an answer and sought an explanation over lunch with L. Patrick Gray, who had become acting director of the FBI after Hoover died in 1972. He got back a terse letter in Sept. 1972. “This matter involved a highly sensitive operation,” it read. “It has now been discontinued” and any further disclosures “would definitely be harmful to the Bureau’s operations and to the national security.”

So Stern filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act...


More: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/08/22220561-nbc-reporter-recounts-breaking-fbi-spying-story?lite

12 Bible Quotes That CONDEMN Republicans While They Cause Millions to Lose Unemployment Benefits

Pass this along...

12 Bible Quotes That CONDEMN Republicans While They Cause Millions to Lose Unemployment Benefits
Posted by: John Prager in Economic Issues, Most Popular on AATTP, Religion, TEApublican Smack Downs
December 28, 2013


Despite right wingers’ certainty that Jesus is down with letting poor people starve, the Bible is not so sure about that. Had they actually read one, they would know this. After all, should one not understand that which he is shoving down another’s throat?

Let’s see how God feels about these moochers.

Deut. 15-7

If there is a poor man among you, one of your brothers, in any of the towns of the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand to your poor brother; but you shall freely open your hand to him, and generously lend him sufficient for his need in whatever he lacks.

Lev. 19:19

Now when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap to the very corners of your field, neither shall you gather the gleanings of your harvest. Nor shall you glean your vineyard, nor shall you gather the fallen fruit of your vineyard; you shall leave them for the needy and for the stranger.

1 John 3:17

But if someone who is supposed to be a Christian has money enough to live well, and sees a brother in need, and won’t help him–how can God’s love be within him?

Prov. 14:31

Anyone who oppresses the poor is insulting God who made them. To help the poor is to honor God. Prov. 21:13 He who shuts his ears to the cries of the poor will be ignored in his own time of need.

Luke 3:11

“If you have two coats,” he replied, “give one to the poor. If you have extra food, give it away to those who are hungry.”

2 Cor. 9-9

It is as the Scriptures say: “The godly man gives generously to the poor. His good deeds will be an honor to him forever.”


More: http://aattp.org/12-bible-quotes-that-condemn-republicans-while-they-cause-millions-lose-unemployment-benefits/

And... We Wonder Why They Hate Us... Fuck...

US investigates Yemenis' charge that drone strike 'turned wedding into a funeral'
By Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News

Yemeni shepherd Ahmed Mohammed Al Shafe'ee, 70, told a human rights activist that his 25-year-old son Aref, shown in photo, the father of seven children, was among those killed in the drone attack. (Nasser Al-Shane / Reprieve)


The Obama administration has launched an internal investigation into a Dec. 12 drone strike in Yemen that targeted an al Qaeda militant but which local villagers say ended up hitting a wedding party, killing 12 and injuring 14 others, U.S. officials tell NBC News.

NBC News has obtained exclusive videos and photos taken in the aftermath of the strike. The graphic images show the scorched bodies of young men who villagers say were part of a convoy on their way to the wedding celebration when they were killed in their pickups by two Hellfire missiles fired by a U.S. drone.

The video and photographs were shot by Nasser Al-Sane, a local Yemeni journalist, and given to NBC News by Reprieve, a human rights group critical of U.S. drone policy. NBC News showed the video to White House and Pentagon officials who declined comment. A Yemeni official said the images are consistent with what its government knows about what happened after the attack.

“You cannot imagine how angry people are (about the strike). They turned a wedding into a funeral,” Al-Sane, who lives near the town of Radda, where the drone strike took place, told NBC News.

U.S. officials acknowledge the seriousness of the claims and say the strike is being investigated by administration officials -- one of the few times the U.S. government has confirmed an internal review of a drone strike and the first time since President Barack Obama pledged to tighten rules for the strikes in a major speech in May.

“Given that there are claims of civilian casualties, we are reviewing it,” said one U.S. official, who like the others spoke on condition of anonymity.


More: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/07/22163872-us-investigates-yemenis-charge-that-drone-strike-turned-wedding-into-a-funeral?lite

Whoa, And... Oopsie... 'The Danger of NSA Spying on Members of Congress' - TheAtlantic

The Danger of NSA Spying on Members of Congress
An executive-branch agency has been empowered to store revealing information about the communications of everyone in the legislature.

Conor Friedersdorf
Jan 6 2014, 12:00 PM ET


Should anyone doubt how much mischief could come from spying on even one member of Congress, let's look back at the story of former Democratic Representative Jane Harman and what happened when the NSA intercepted and transcribed one of her telephone calls. That's right: There's a known instance in which a legislator's private communications were captured by the NSA, though it's a complicated story, and there isn't any conclusive evidence that the NSA did anything wrong. In fact, the NSA's apparent blamelessness is what makes this story particularly instructive: It shows that intercepting congressional communications has a high cost even when it's done innocently, inadvertently, and defensibly.

The story begins with the NSA surveilling two Israeli nationals suspected of being spies. Unbeknownst to them, their phone calls were being recorded by the NSA–and one day, a conversation with Harman got swept up in the ongoing wiretap. No one on the call knew it was being recorded.

"One of the leading House Democrats on intelligence matters was overheard on telephone calls intercepted by the National Security Agency agreeing to seek lenient treatment from the Bush administration for two pro-Israel lobbyists who were under investigation for espionage," the New York Times reported on April 20, 2009, following up on a story broken by Congressional Quarterly's Jeff Stein.

Let's assume the NSA wiretap was totally legitimate. As Marcy Wheeler noted at the time, it seems to have been approved by a court as part of a long-running investigation, and "the investigation–and the wiretaps–were the classic, proper use of FISA: for an intelligence investigation targeting suspected agents of a foreign power operating in the US ... We all better hope the NSA listens closely to conversations between powerful members of Congress and suspected spies, and that when they make quid pro quo deals, that conversation gets looked at much more closely."

But the story doesn't end there. Congressional Quarterly reported that a criminal case against Harman was dropped because she was a useful ally to the Bush Administration:

Justice Department attorneys in the intelligence and public corruption units who read the transcripts decided that Harman had committed a “completed crime,” a legal term meaning that there was evidence that she had attempted to complete it, three former officials said. And they were prepared to open a case on her, which would include electronic surveillance approved by the so-called FISA Court ...

First, however, they needed the certification of top intelligence officials that Harman’s wiretapped conversations justified a national security investigation ... But that’s when, according to knowledgeable officials, Attorney General Gonzales intervened. According to two officials privy to the events, Gonzales said he “needed Jane” to help support the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program, which was about to be exposed by the New York Times.

Harman, he told Goss, had helped persuade the newspaper to hold the wiretap story before, on the eve of the 2004 elections. And although it was too late to stop the Times from publishing now, she could be counted on again to help defend the program.

He was right.

On Dec. 21, 2005, in the midst of a firestorm of criticism about the wiretaps, Harman issued a statement defending the operation and slamming the Times, saying, “I believe it essential to U.S. national security, and that its disclosure has damaged critical intelligence capabilities.”

More: http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2014/01/the-danger-of-nsa-spying-on-members-of-congress/282827/

Conservatives (Go Nuts) Don’t Want To Talk About Income Inequality. That’s Why We Should. - RawStory

Conservatives Don’t Want To Talk About Income Inequality. That’s Why We Should.
By Amanda Marcotte RawStory
Tuesday, January 7, 2014 12:45 EST


Jesse Myerson wrote a great piece in the Rolling Stone: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/five-economic-reforms-millennials-should-be-fighting-for-20140103 rolling out five bold ideas for reducing—permanently—the very serious problem of income inequality. As he says in the piece, while some of these ideas may seem outrageous, they aren’t new or untried ideas. In some places, such as Alaska, things like having the government buy up a bunch of stocks and bonds and pay the dividends directly to the people are already in place. The point of the piece is to be bold and to start pushing progressives to think big, particularly as there’s starting to be a lot more support for progressive economics in the larger public. It also caused right wingers to go on major meltdown alert, as Brian Beutler explains.

But conservatives went absolutely apeshit. So severe was the apoplexy that they failed to recognize that included in these ideas were a bunch of things conservatives like — replacing income taxes and replacing paternalistic welfare programs with cash transfers — and that already exist successfully in the non-communist world. It was amazing.

In their rendering, Myerson hadn’t sketched out a road to serfdom. He’d planned a massive frog-march to Siberia for our society.

Part of this was emotional affect. Myerson’s Twitter bio is satirically hashtagged #FULLCOMMUNISM. Combine that with the article’s hyperbolic framing and many conservatives reacted tribally.

He wisely points out that the reason they’re going over the top like this is not because they think Myerson’s going to get his way any time soon on any of these agenda items.

I don’t think the ongoing freakout over the Rolling Stone article is simply a reflection of cultural anxieties. It also reflects an effort to limit the scope of that debate, so that progressive ideas fall outside the sphere of mainstream public debate.


More: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2014/01/07/conservatives-dont-want-to-talk-about-income-inequality-thats-why-we-should/

After 43 Years, Activists Admit Theft At FBI Office That Exposed Domestic Spying - NBCNews

After 43 years, activists admit theft at FBI office that exposed domestic spying
By Michael Isikoff, National Investigative Correspondent, NBC News

John and Bonnie Raines today.


Forty-three years after the mysterious theft of up to 1,000 documents from an FBI office outside Philadelphia, three former political activists are publicly confessing to the brazen burglary, calling it an act of “resistance” that exposed “massive illegal surveillance and intimidation.”

“We did it … because somebody had to do it,” John Raines, 80, a retired professor of religion at Temple University, said in an interview with NBC News. “In this case, by breaking a law -- entering, removing files -- we exposed a crime that was going on. … When we are denied the information we need to have to act as citizens, then we have a right to do what we did.”

Raines, his wife, Bonnie, and Keith Forsyth, a former Philadelphia cab driver, said they were part of an eight-member ring of anti-Vietnam War protesters that —while much of the country was gripped by the so-called “Fight of the Century” in New York between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier— broke into the FBI’s Media, Penn., office on March 8, 1971.

Members of the burglary team, armed with little more than a crowbar and wearing suits and ties, then walked off undetected with suitcases stuffed with sensitive bureau files that revealed a domestic FBI spying operation known as COINTELPRO. The heist enraged the bureau’s legendary Director J. Edgar Hoover , who launched a massive but ultimately futile manhunt.

The identities of the burglars are revealed in a book being published Tuesday...


More: http://investigations.nbcnews.com/_news/2014/01/06/22205443-after-43-years-activists-admit-theft-at-fbi-office-that-exposed-domestic-spying?lite

New Years News Dump: The MIC Speaks (Sort Of)... Ah, Crap...

Insurgents could quickly bounce back in Afghanistan, analysis warns
If U.S. troops fully withdraw next year, a resurgent Taliban could launch serious strikes within months, say officials familiar with a classified assessment.

By David S. Cloud - LATimes
December 29, 2013


WASHINGTON — U.S. intelligence agencies warn in a new, classified assessment that insurgents could quickly regain control of key areas of Afghanistan and threaten the capital as soon as 2015 if American troops are fully withdrawn next year, according to two officials familiar with the findings.

The National Intelligence Estimate, which was given recently to the White House, has deeply concerned some U.S. officials. It represents the first time the intelligence community has formally warned that the Afghan government could face significantly more serious attacks in Kabul from a resurgent Taliban within months of a U.S. pullout, the officials said, speaking anonymously to discuss classified material.

The assessment also concludes that security conditions probably will worsen regardless of whether the U.S. keeps troops in the country. "It's very pessimistic about the future, more pessimistic than ever before," said one of the officials.

The new analysis comes as the chief allied commander in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., has recommended keeping 12,000 troops in the country after next year. In private discussions this month with President Obama and his top advisors, Dunford has proposed that the U.S. keep 8,000 troops in the country and that other countries contribute 4,000, according to one of the officials.

Under Dunford's plan...


More: http://articles.latimes.com/2013/dec/29/world/la-fg-us-afghanistan-20131230

What Would Happen If Democrats...

Started loudly pushing the notion...

the fact...

That the Republican's refusal to extend unemployment benefits in this economy, is an admission of both the failure of "trickle-down-economics" and their particular Un-Christian cruelty?

Sounds like a two-fer.

NSA Activity Flips The Security Equation - ZDNet

NSA activity flips the security equation
Summary: With each Snowden document release, it seems that the only way to avoid the NSA's tendrils is one's own obscurity, and there is so much more yet to be revealed.

By Chris Duckett for Null Pointer - ZDNet
January 6, 2014 -- 06:12 GMT (22:12 PST)

If 2013 was the year that the tech industry recoiled in horror at the scale of the NSA's intelligence-gathering activities, it would be nice to think that 2014 could be the year of pushback, or at least increased resistance.

But alas, as more of the cache of NSA documents liberated by Edward Snowden are revealed to the public, a picture of the all-encompassing surveillance agency from Maryland continues to crystallise, and few appear capable of avoiding its ire, once garnered.

Last week, Der Spiegel detailed...


The impact of the NSA's actions on American companies can already be seen, as evidenced by Boeing recently losing a $4.5 billion contract to supply Brazil with fighter aircraft thanks to "the NSA problem", and the UAE having balked at the discovery of US components in a pair of French-made intelligence satellites.

It wasn't that long ago that technology from US companies was implicitly trusted, and former White House special adviser on cybersecurity Richard Clarke was sounding warnings that China had hacked every major US company.

A lot has changed since then, and we now know that the Five Eyes nations — the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — have contributed quite a lot to the state-sponsored hacking stakes.

To pontificate and extrapolate on what this coming year holds for security and technology vendors is wasteful. Only a fool would extrapolate based on 1 percent of the entire dataset being available, and yet that is the state of play at the present time, as the bulk of Snowden's documents have yet to see the light of day.

The rest: http://www.zdnet.com/nsa-activity-flips-the-security-equation-7000024796/

Well Knock Me Over With A Feather... 'Apple, Amazon Downgraded 'On Moral And Ethical Grounds' - CNBC

Apple, Amazon downgraded 'on moral and ethical grounds'
By: Katie Little - CNBC
Published: Monday, 6 Jan 2014 | 12:41 PM ET


One analyst blacklisted several companies on Monday, citing a reason not often (or possibly ever) heard on Wall Street—moral and ethical grounds. In the report, Ronnie Moas, Standpoint Research's founder and director of research, downgraded Apple stock from a "hold" to a "sell," reiterated a "sell" recommendation for Amazon.com shares and initiated Philip Morris stock with a "sell" rating.

After holding in his feelings for "too long," Moas wrote that he couldn't sleep despite taking his nightly sleeping pill. At 1 a.m., he reached his boiling point and felt compelled to speak his mind. Moas' Standpoint bio page states he began his career as an analyst and market strategist at Herzog Heine Geduld, which was bought by Merrill Lynch in 2002, before leaving to start his own firm in 2000. Before this, he served for three years in the Israeli army and worked in concert productions.

"For Apple Computers to pay their workers $2 an hour while they have $150 billion in the bank is nothing short of obscene. I heard all of the arguments in their defense and they make no sense to me," wrote Moas in the note.

Thomson Reuters StarMine, which tracks and ranks analysts' performance, has no record of Moas' recommendations on Apple. According to published reports, he downgraded the stock in August from "buy" on valuation concerns.

While Moas said there are dozens (if not hundreds) of companies he would like to blacklist, he singled out just three in the report, noting that he planned to speak his mind even if it resulted in the destruction of his business.

More: http://www.cnbc.com/id/101312871

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