In early October, New York lawyer Stanley Cohen found himself at the forefront of a private effort to negotiate the release of Islamic State captive Abdul-Rahman (Peter) Kassig, documented in a recent report by The Guardian. Cohen, whose past legal clients have included members of Hamas and Hezbollah, used his extensive contacts in the region to help arrange a promising dialogue between a prominent Jordan-based Salafi Islamist scholar and his counterpart in Islamic State.
Barely a month later, Kassig was dead at the hands of his captors — thanks to U.S. authorities who refused to intervene with a friendly government, Cohen now says. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-124 – Michael’s Blog
Claiming to be acting under the bloody “banner of Liberty and Truth,” Jerad Miller and his wife Amanda, entered CiCi’s Pizza in Las Vegas on Sunday right before noon and executed two local policemen on their lunch break. Authorities say Jerad approached one officer while he was refilling his soda cup and shot him in the head from behind, before he and Amanda opened fire on his partner.
While patrons scrambled to safety, one of the shooters reportedly shouted that the “revolution” had begun. The duo then stripped the officers of their weapons and ammunition and badges, and covered them with cloth that featured the “Don’t tread on me” Gadsden flag, which has recently been adopted as a symbol of the tea party movement. The couple also left a swastika on one of the officers. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-122 – Michael’s Blog
A year on from a U.S. drone strike in Yemen that hit a wedding convoy, killing 12, the United States government have refused to formally recognise the attack, or publicly acknowledge that unarmed civilians died as a result of the strike. However, recent investigations have found that they have secretly paid a record sum of over $1 million in compensation to the families of the victims.
According to the victims, on 12th December 2013, Abdallah Mabkhut al-Ameri, his new wife and about 60 of their friends and family, were travelling in a wedding procession outside the city of Rada’a when four Hellfire missiles hit the convoy, resulting in the deaths of more than 10 people, including the groom’s son from a previous marriage, and injury of 24 more. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-120 – Michael’s Blog
For the past eight months, there has been a furious battle raging behind closed doors at the White House, the C.I.A., and in Congress. The question has been whether the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence would be allowed to use pseudonyms as a means of identifying characters in the devastating report it released last week on the C.I.A.’s abusive interrogation and detention program. Ultimately, the committee was not allowed to, and now we know one reason why.
The NBC News investigative reporter Matthew Cole has pieced together a remarkable story revealing that a single senior officer, who is still in a position of high authority over counterterrorism at the C.I.A.—a woman who he does not name—appears to have been a source of years’ worth of terrible judgment, with tragic consequences for the United States. Her story runs through the entire report. She dropped the ball when the C.I.A. was given information that might very well have prevented the 9/11 attacks; she gleefully participated in torture sessions afterward; she misinterpreted intelligence in such a way that it sent the C.I.A. on an absurd chase for Al Qaeda sleeper cells in Montana. And then she falsely told congressional overseers that the torture worked. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11Y – Michael’s Blog
The day before US missiles began raining down on Muammar el-Qaddafi’s Libya, hundreds of miles away—across the Red Sea—security forces under the control of Yemen’s US-backed president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, massacred more than fifty people who were participating in an overwhelmingly peaceful protest in the capital, Sana. Some of the victims were shot in the head by snipers.
For months, thousands of Yemenis had taken to the streets demanding that Saleh step down, and the regime had responded consistently with defiance and brute force. But on March 21, a severe blow was dealt to Saleh that may prove to be the strike that sparked the hemorrhaging that ultimately brought down his regime. That day, the most powerful figure in Yemen’s military, Gen. Ali Muhsin al-Ahmar, commander of the First Armored Division, threw his support behind the protests and vowed to defend Yemen’s “peaceful youth revolution.” Other senior military figures soon followed suit. Senior civilian officials, including scores of ambassadors and diplomats, announced their resignations. Important tribal leaders, long the most crucial element of Saleh’s grip on power, swung to the opposition. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11W – Michael’s Blog
An 18-year-old armed teenager identified as Antonio Martin has been shot by officers in the St. Louis area, police confirmed. The incident was followed by protesters clashing with police at the scene, accompanied by the sound of loud bangs.
A police officer was conducting a routine check at the Mobil gas station in the suburb of Berkeley, St. Louis at about 11:15 pm local time, St. Louis County Police said. The officer saw two male suspects and approached them. One man pulled a handgun and pointed it at the police officer. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11U – Michael’s Blog
North Korea said on Saturday that U.S. accusations indicating it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were “groundless slander” and warned of “serious consequences” for any possible retaliation against it. But at the same time, the isolated nation offered to prove its innocence by proposing a joint investigation into the incident with Washington—a move that Pyongyang knows the U.S. is not likely to take seriously.
The statement, which was attributed to an unnamed Foreign Ministry spokesperson and carried by North Korea’s official KCNA news agency, is in response to President Obama’s statement on Friday that blamed North Korea for the hacking and the suggestion that the U.S. would retaliate. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11S – Michael’s Blog
Here in prison, I am asked a lot about hacking and especially about Anonymous, because of course there is interest in new technologies like Bitcoin for money or darknets for fraud. After all, convicts – like hackers – develop their own codes and ethics, and they are constantly finding ways to scam and exploit cracks in the system.
The anti-government message of Anonymous rings true among prisoners who have been railroaded, condemned and warehoused. So when they hear about hacked government websites and cops getting doxed, my fellow inmates often tell me things like, “It’s good to see people finally doing something about it.” That rejection of established, reformist avenues for achieving social change is why Anonymous continues as a force to be reckoned with, made all the more obvious by the presence of Guy Fawkes masks at the protests in Ferguson, Missouri – and beyond. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11O – Michael’s Blog
Barrett Brown entered the federal courtroom shackled, with a slight swagger in his step and squinting into the light. He took his seat next to his defense team and quietly set about flipping through a stack of loose-leaf papers and then began writing. When asked by the judge if he knew why he was in court that day, Tuesday, Brown – who has spent two years in federal custody – leaned into the microphone and with a warbly Texas accent, said clearly and plainly, “I am to be sentenced today.” And then he returned to his papers.
Wearing a prison-issued orange uniform, the 33-year-old Brown scribbled for hours as a federal prosecutor attempted to portray him, not as a freelance journalist whose work has appeared in The Guardian, Vanity Fair and the Dallas-based Dmagazine, but instead as a spokesman, strategist and contributor to the hacktivist collective Anonymous. It was the final phase of a criminal prosecution that at one point threatened Brown with more than 100 years in prison, as a result of his work on thousands of files hacked by Anonymous from the servers of HBGary Federal and Stratfor, security intelligence firms and government contractors. Through the online collective he founded, called Project PM, Brown analyzed and reported on the thousands of pages of leaked documents. The HBGary hack revealed a coordinated campaign to target and smear advocates for WikiLeaks and the Chamber of Commerce, while the Stratfor hack provided a rare window into the shadowy world of defense contractors. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11M – Michael’s Blog
Earlier this year, readers of the Tampa Bay Times’ fact-checking project PolitiFact were asked to vote on what they believe was the year’s biggest lie. And as of Wednesday, the results are in: “Climate change is a hoax” was the overwhelming choice.
Over nine other options, almost 32 percent of the PolitiFact’s 14,467 poll voters chose the “hoax” claim, which was the title of a video released this summer by failed congressional candidate Lenar Whitney. Whitney, who proclaimed herself as one of the most conservative members of Louisiana’s state Legislature, released a 5-minute tirade against climate scientists and the existence of global warming. To prove her point, Whitney stated that the earth is getting colder, that there is a record amount of sea ice in the Arctic, and that climate scientists have been proven to actively falsify their data. [Read more]
– http://wp.me/p4sUqu-11K – Michael’s Blog