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Member since: Fri Nov 12, 2004, 08:39 AM
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'Pepper Spray Cop' to Be Questioned by Civilian Complaints Board: Judge

Source: New York Daily News

'Pepper spray cop' to be questioned by civilian complaints board: judge

Anthony Bologna, the NYPD Deputy Inspector who pepper sprayed Occupy Wall Street protesters, has lost his court bid to avoid being questioned by the Civilian Complaint Review Board about the 2011 incident.


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2013, 12:24 PM

Anthony Bologna, the NYPD Deputy Inspector who pepper sprayed Occupy Wall Street protesters, has lost his court bid to avoid being questioned by the Civilian Complaint Review Board about the incident.

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Joan Lobis said the 467 complaints filed with the board after the September 2011 incident "constituted use of excessive force" and that could be construed as a crime.

Since the Manhattan DA's office decided last April that it would not pursue criminal charges against Bologna, the judge said, no court has officially cleared him and thus the CCRB investigation can proceed.

- snip -

The incident at East 12 St. and University Place triggered an investigation by the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, which concluded that Bologna acted "outside department guidelines."

Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/pepper-spray-questioned-civilian-board-judge-article-1.1531027

Paul Krugman: The Whole Horrors-of-Obamacare Meme Will Be Gone in Weeks, Not Months


Paul Krugman - New York Times Blog
November 26, 2013, 2:42 pm

The Obamacare Worm Turns

I suggested yesterday that we’re probably heading for a turning point in the health reform discussion. Conservatives are operating on the assumption that it’s an irredeemable disaster that they can ride all the way to 2016; but the facts on the ground are getting better by the day, and Obamacare will turn into a Benghazi-type affair where Republicans are screaming about a scandal nobody else cares about.

And it’s already starting to happen.

White House officials are sounding increasingly upbeat. They could be deluded or spinning; but after what happened two months ago one suspects that the last thing they want is to inflate expectations unduly.

Meanwhile, media coverage is shifting fast. It’s still mostly trying for equivalence — each positive story of people being helped matched by a negative story of people hurt. But the stories don’t actually match up at all.

- snip -

I don’t know about you, but these don’t sound to me like equivalent stories.

At this rate, the whole horrors-of-Obamacare meme will be gone in weeks, not months. But the GOP echo chamber won’t be able to let it go.


Breaking: Lara Logan Taking Leave Of Absence From '60 Minutes' After Debunked Benghazi Report

Source: Huffington Post / Talking Points Memo

TOM KLUDT – NOVEMBER 26, 2013, 1:44 PM EST659
Weeks after she was forced to retract her "60 Minutes" report on the attack in Benghazi, Libya, Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan will be taking a leave of absence from the CBS News staple.

The Huffington Post's Michael Calderone broke the news. (SEE BELOW)

Logan was forced to admit that the report was a "mistake" after a British security contractor's account of the attack was discredited.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/lara-logan-taking-leave-of-absence-from-60-minutes


Michael Calderone

CBS News' Lara Logan Taking Leave Of Absence Over Discredited '60 Minutes' Benghazi Report

Posted: 11/26/2013 1:48 pm EST

NEW YORK -- Jeff Fager, chairman of CBS News and executive producer of '"60 Minutes," informed staff Tuesday that Lara Logan and her producer, Max McClellan, would be taking a leave of absence following an internal report on the newsmagazine's discredited Oct. 27 Benghazi report.

Fager's memo and findings of an internal review, both obtained by The Huffington Post, are below.

This story is developing

By now most of you have received the report from Al Ortiz about the problems with the 60 Minutes story on Benghazi.

There is a lot to learn from this mistake for the entire organization. We have rebuilt CBS News in a way that has dramatically improved our reporting abilities. Ironically 60 Minutes, which has been a model for those changes, fell short by broadcasting a now discredited account of an important story, and did not take full advantage of the reporting abilities of CBS News that might have prevented it from happening.

As a result, I have asked Lara Logan, who has distinguished herself and has put herself in harm’s way many times in the course of covering stories for us, to take a leave of absence, which she has agreed to do. I have asked the same of producer Max McClellan, who also has a distinguished career at CBS News.

As Executive Producer, I am responsible for what gets on the air. I pride myself in catching almost everything, but this deception got through and it shouldn’t have.

When faced with a such an error, we must use it as an opportunity to make our broadcast even stronger. We are making adjustments at 60 Minutes to reduce the chances of it happening again.

There is a lot of pride at CBS News. Every broadcast is working hard to live up to the high standard set at CBS News for excellence in reporting. This was a regrettable mistake. But there are many fine professionals at 60 Minutes who produce some of the very best of broadcast journalism, covering the important and interesting stories of our times, and they will continue to do so each and every Sunday.

Jeff Fage
Chairman, CBS News
Executive Producer, 60 Minutes


My review found that the Benghazi story aired by 60 Minutes on October 27 was deficient in several respects:

--From the start, Lara Logan and her producing team were looking for a different angle to the story of the Benghazi attack. They believed they found it in the story of Dylan Davies, written under the pseudonym, “Morgan Jones”. It purported to be the first western eyewitness account of the attack. But Logan’s report went to air without 60 Minutes knowing what Davies had told the FBI and the State Department about his own activities and location on the night of the attack.

--The fact that the FBI and the State Department had information that differed from the account Davies gave to 60 Minutes was knowable before the piece aired. But the wider reporting resources of CBS News were not employed in an effort to confirm his account. It’s possible that reporters and producers with better access to inside FBI sources could have found out that Davies had given varying and conflicting accounts of his story.

--Members of the 60 Minutes reporting team conducted interviews with Davies and other individuals in his book, including the doctor who received and treated Ambassador Stevens at the Benghazi hospital. They went to Davies’ employer Blue Mountain, the State Department, the FBI (which had interviewed Davies), and other government agencies to ask about their investigations into the attack. Logan and producer Max McClellan told me they found no reason to doubt Davies’ account and found no holes in his story. But the team did not sufficiently vet Davies’ account of his own actions and whereabouts that night.

--Davies told 60 Minutes that he had lied to his own employer that night about his location, telling Blue Mountain that he was staying at his villa, as his superior ordered him to do, but telling 60 Minutes that he then defied that order and went to the compound. This crucial point – his admission that he had not told his employer the truth about his own actions – should have been a red flag in the editorial vetting process.

--After the story aired, the Washington Post reported the existence of a so-called “incident report” that had been prepared by Davies for Blue Mountain in which he reportedly said he spent most of the night at his villa, and had not gone to the hospital or the mission compound. Reached by phone, Davies told the 60 Minutes team that he had not written the incident report, disavowed any knowledge of it, and insisted that the account he gave 60 Minutes was word for word what he had told the FBI. Based on that information and the strong conviction expressed by the team about their story, Jeff Fager defended the story and the reporting to the press.

--On November 7, the New York Times informed Fager that the FBI’s version of Davies’ story differed from what he had told 60 Minutes. Within hours, CBS News was able to confirm that in the FBI’s account of their interview, Davies was not at the hospital or the mission compound the night of the attack. 60 Minutes announced that a correction would be made, that the broadcast had been misled, and that it was a mistake to include Davies in the story. Later a State Department source also told CBS News that Davies had stayed at his villa that night and had not witnessed the attack.

--Questions have been raised about the recent pictures from the compound which were displayed at the end of the report, including a picture of Ambassador Stevens’ schedule for the day after the attack. Video taken by the producer-cameraman whom the 60 Minutes team sent to the Benghazi compound last month clearly shows that the pictures of the Technical Operations Center were authentic, including the picture of the schedule in the debris.

--Questions have also been raised about the role of Al Qaeda in the attack since Logan declared in the report that Al Qaeda fighters had carried it out. Al Qaeda’s role is the subject of much disagreement and debate. While Logan had multiple sources and good reasons to have confidence in them, her assertions that Al Qaeda carried out the attack and controlled the hospital were not adequately attributed in her report.

--In October of 2012, one month before starting work on the Benghazi story, Logan made a speech in which she took a strong public position arguing that the US Government was misrepresenting the threat from Al Qaeda, and urging actions that the US should take in response to the Benghazi attack. From a CBS News Standards perspective, there is a conflict in taking a public position on the government’s handling of Benghazi and Al Qaeda, while continuing to report on the story.

--The book, written by Davies and a co-author, was published by Threshold Editions, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, part of the CBS Corporation. 60 Minutes erred in not disclosing that connection in the segment.

Al Ortiz
Executive Director of Standards and Practices
CBS News

Eric Boehlert ‏@EricBoehlert 3m
after CBS's National Guard controversy, outside panel issued 234-page report. For Benghazi, CBS issues an 11-paragraph summary of review

Study: More Than 11,000 Children Killed in Syrian War

Source: CBS News

Study: More than 11,000 children killed in Syrian war

November 24, 2013, 10:37 PM ET

Syria's bloody civil war has claimed the lives of more than 11,000 children, the vast majority killed by bombs or shells in their own neighborhoods, according to a report released Sunday.

The report, Stolen Futures: The Hidden Toll of Child Casualties in Syria, was released by the Oxford Research Group, an independent think tank based in Britain. It used figures provided by Syrian civil society groups that have been recording casualties.

The study found that from the start of the conflict in March 2011 through the month of August 2013, a total of 11,420 children age 17 or under had been killed, out of 113,735 civilians and combatants.

Of the child deaths, boys outnumbered girls more than 2 to 1 overall. The highest number of child deaths occurred in the governorate of Aleppo, where 2,223 were reported killed.

"What is most disturbing about the findings of this report is not only the sheer numbers of children killed in this conflict, but the way they are being killed," said co-author Hana Salama. "Bombed in their homes, in their communities, during day-to-day activities such as waiting in bread lines or attending school; shot by bullets in crossfire, targeted by snipers, summarily executed, even gassed and tortured."

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-more-than-11000-children-killed-in-syrian-war

Loya Jirga Assembly Votes for U.S.-Afghan Security Deal

Source: Reuters

@AP: BREAKING: Afghan president says he won't sign security deal with US immediately, despite council request.

Loya Jirga assembly votes for U.S.-Afghan security deal

Sun Nov 24, 2013 3:11am EST

KABUL (Reuters) - Afghanistan's Loya Jirga assembly voted on Sunday in favor of a crucial security deal with the United States, a deputy speaker said, a deal that would pave the way for U.S. troops to remain in the country after 2014.

The verdict was read out after 50 committees made up of about 2,500 elders, tribal leaders and other influential people had made their final address to the gathering. Not one objected to signing the deal.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE9AN04X20131124

BREAKING: Nuclear Deal Reached Between Iran, 6 Powers (Obama: 'New Path Toward a World More Secure')

Source: Associated Press / Reuters / CBS News

@AP: BREAKING: French foreign minister: Iran, 6 world powers reach deal on Iranian nuclear program

@AP: BREAKING: Obama to make statement Saturday night on Iran nuclear deal from the White House

Nuclear deal reached between Iran, 6 powers

November 23, 2013, 10:56 PM ET

GENEVA - Iran and six world powers have reached an agreement on curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for limited sanctions relief, several delegations in the talks said early Sunday.

"We have reached an agreement," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced on his Twitter feed.

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius also confirmed the deal.

No details of the agreement reached were immediately available.

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/iran-digs-in-heels-on-nuclear-enrichment


@ajam: Obama on Iran nuclear deal: "While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal." http://t.co/4V1QKpk8zJ


World powers reach nuclear deal with Iran at Geneva talks

November 23, 2013 9:18PM ET

Negotiators say they have reached a deal on Iran's nuclear program and sanctions

- snip -

The deal – struck after negotiations in Geneva that stretched into the early hours of Sunday (late Saturday in the U.S.) – has "opened a new path toward a world that is more secure," President Barack Obama said in an address broadcast live on television networks.

"While today's announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal," Obama said.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif echoed Obama's point that the deal is just the beginning of a political rapprochement.

"We need to start moving in the direction of restoring confidence, a direction in which we have managed to move against in the past," Zarif said.

Obama said the deal includes "substantial limitations which will prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon."


@AP: MORE: The discussions between the US and Iran were kept hidden even from America's closest friends: http://t.co/3YG56LXPhH -RAS

@rezamarashi: Kerry slams the Bush administrain for rejecting #Iran's 2003 offer! Says we're in a worse place now because of their mistake. #Beautiful

CNN Breaking News - Deal with Iran halts progress on its nuclear program and provides for intrusive inspections, U.S. official says. Reply STOP 2 unsub

CNN Breaking News - President Obama said 6-month deal includes limitations to "help prevent Iran from creating a nuclear weapon." Reply STOP 2 unsub

CNN Breaking News - The deal with Iran does not roll back the "vast majority of sanctions," U.S. Secretary of State Kerry said. Reply STOP 2 unsub

@AP: Key players in the US, Iran secret talks that helped lead to nuclear deal: http://t.co/FGbG34JQ73 -RAS

Illinois Legalizes Same-Sex Marriage as Gov. Pat Quinn Signs Bill Into Law

Source: NBC News

@BreakingNews: Illinois legalizes same-sex marriage as Gov. Pat Quinn signs bill into law - @nbcchicago broadcast http://t.co/Qet5Pu2kJG

Sweet 16: Illinois Gov. Signs Gay Marriage Bill
"We welcome in a new proud chapter in our state's history of progress."

By Mary Ann Ahern
Wednesday, Nov 20, 2013 • Updated 4:41 PM CST

With the stroke of the governor's pen, Illinois on Wednesday became the 16th state in the nation to allow same sex couples to marry.

Hundreds packed the University of Illinois at Chicago Forum to witness Gov. Pat Quinn sign the legislation -- SB10 -- on the desk Abraham Lincoln used to write his first inaugural address.

"I am a proud Illinoisan today," Lt. Gov. Sheila Simon said Wednesday, kicking off a line of speakers celebrating the signing. "Thanks to everyone in the state of Illinois for making this a land we can all be proud of. It's time to stop planning rallies and start planning weddings."

"We understand in our state that part of our unfinished business is to help other states in the United States achieve marriage equality," Quinn said. "We want to have a new birth of freedom across America, and love is not relegated to second-class citizen status."

Read more: http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/232663461.html

US, UK Struck Secret Deal to Allow NSA to 'Unmask' Britons' Personal Data

Source: The Guardian

@BreakingNews: US, UK reportedly struck secret deal to allow NSA to 'unmask' Britons' personal data - @GuardianUS http://t.co/KWwmHJzotx

US and UK struck secret deal to allow NSA to 'unmask' Britons' personal data

• 2007 deal allows NSA to store previously restricted material
• UK citizens not suspected of wrongdoing caught up in dragnet
• Separate draft memo proposes US spying on 'Five-Eyes' allies
Wednesday 20 November 2013 14.00 EST 2 comments

James Ball

The phone, internet and email records of UK citizens not suspected of any wrongdoing have been analysed and stored by America's National Security Agency under a secret deal that was approved by British intelligence officials, according to documents from the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

In the first explicit confirmation that UK citizens have been caught up in US mass surveillance programs, an NSA memo describes how in 2007 an agreement was reached that allowed the agency to "unmask" and hold on to personal data about Britons that had previously been off limits.

The memo, published in a joint investigation by the Guardian and Britain's Channel 4 News, says the material is being put in databases where it can be made available to other members of the US intelligence and military community.
Britain and the US are the main two partners in the 'Five-Eyes' intelligence-sharing alliance, which also includes Australia, New Zealand and Canada. Until now, it had been generally understood that the citizens of each country were protected from surveillance by any of the others.

But the Snowden material reveals that:

• In 2007, the rules were changed to allow the NSA to analyse and retain any British citizens' mobile phone and fax numbers, emails and IP addresses swept up by its dragnet. Previously, this data had been stripped out of NSA databases – "minimized", in intelligence agency parlance – under rules agreed between the two countries.
• These communications were "incidentally collected" by the NSA, meaning the individuals were not the initial targets of surveillance operations and therefore were not suspected of wrongdoing.

Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/nov/20/us-uk-secret-deal-surveillance-personal-data

Judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

Source: Ars Technica

@trevortimm Newly released FISA court opinion shows NSA violated or ignored court orders in at least three different ways arstechnica.com/tech-policy/20…

2:07pm - 19 Nov 13


Judge: “NSA exceeded the scope of authorized acquisition continuously”

New declassifed documents show legal arguments over bulk metadata collection.

by Cyrus Farivar - Nov 19 2013, 1:36am EST

Yet another Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) judge has blasted United States intelligence officials for disregarding the court’s guidelines for domestic surveillance of American e-mail metadata traffic, a program that ran for around a decade before ending in 2011.

“(National Security Agency’s) record of compliance with these rules has been poor,” wrote Judge John D. Bates in a 117-page opinion (PDF) whose date was redacted. The opinion is just one of a series of documents released and declassified late Monday evening by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI).

“Most notably, NSA generally disregarded the special rules for disseminating United States person information outside of NSA until it was ordered to report such disseminations and certify to the FISC that the required approval had been approved. The government has provided no meaningful explanation why these violations occurred, but it seems likely that widespread ignorance of the rules was a contributing factor.”

This set of documents, which include annual reports from the Attorney General to Congress, memos, presentations, and training documents, were released in relation to an Electronic Frontier Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union lawsuit. Earlier batches were released in September 2013 in August 2013. In total, ODNI says it has now released nearly 2,000 new documents in recent months.

Read more: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2013/11/judge-nsa-exceeded-the-scope-of-authorized-acquisition-continuously

Draft of US-Afghan Security Deal Shows US Would Maintain Military Presence in Afghanistan for Years

Source: NBC News

@BreakingNews: Draft of US-Afghan security deal shows US would maintain military presence in Afghanistan for years, @NBCNews reports http://t.co/s7T53ypIds

Endless Afghanistan? US-Afghan agreement would keep troops in place and funds flowing, perhaps indefinitely

By Richard Engel, NBC News Chief Foreign Correspondent

KABUL – While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key US-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC NEWS shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.

The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of US taxpayer dollars.

The document outlines what appears to be the start of a new, open-ended military commitment in Afghanistan in the name of training and continuing to fight al-Qaeda. The war in Afghanistan doesn’t seem to be ending, but renewed under new, scaled-down US-Afghan terms.

“The Parties acknowledge that continued US military operations to defeat al-Qaeda and its affiliates may be appropriate and agree to continue their close cooperation and coordination toward that end,” the draft states.
The 25-page “Security and Defense Cooperation Agreement Between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan” is a sweeping document, vague in places, highly specific in others, defining everything from the types of future missions US troops would be allowed to conduct in Afghanistan, to the use of radios and the taxation of American soldiers and contractors.

Read more: http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/11/19/21534305-endless-afghanistan-us-afghan-agreement-would-keep-troops-in-place-and-funds-flowing-perhaps-indefinitely
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