Category Archives: Disclosure

Federal Judge Investigates Destruction of Evidence in Whistleblower Case

Earlier this month a federal judge launched an investigation into allegations that the U.S. government may have illegally destroyed documents related to the leak investigation of whistleblower Thomas Drake.

Drake is a former senior executive with the National Security Agency. Beginning in 2010 he was the focus of an investigation for allegedly leaking documents to the media. Drake, however, believed he was being targeted for speaking out against the Trailblazer and ThinThread programs, which he said were violating the privacy of innocent people.

The veteran of military and government then decided to pursue the standard channels for filing complaints. He complained to his bosses, including the NSA Inspector General, the Defense Department Inspector General, and both the House and Senate Congressional intelligence committees. Eventually Drake would work with journalists to get the story out and in 2007 his house was raided by the FBI.

Although Drake would eventually be cleared of all 10 original charges and charged with a single misdemeanor, the court found that Drake was not being targeted by the government. However, In early June 2015, U.S. Magistrate Judge Stephanie Gallagher launched an investigation into claims made by Drake’s lawyers. His defense says that the Pentagon inspector general’s office destroyed evidence during the criminal prosecution.

McClatchy first reported:

“In a May 13 letter, Gallagher told Justice Department lawyers that the judge who had presided over the case asked her to evaluate the allegations from Drake’s lawyers “for further investigation and to make recommendations
as to whether any action by the court is warranted or appropriate.”

The allegations raise new questions about a prosecution that had been excoriated by the presiding judge after the Justice Department’s case against Drake unraveled and resulted in the former senior NSA official pleading guilty to a misdemeanor charge.”

Despite rejecting Drake’s claims of retaliation by the government, the inspector general’s office only looked at two of the 10 years of alleged retaliation.

Jesselyn Radack, national security director with the Government Accountability Project and Drake’s current lawyer, told McClatchy her client is “grateful that the court sees this as serious enough to look into. The fact that there is a court-ordered investigation is a partial vindication.”

The Justice Department claims that documents that were destroyed were done so “pursuant to a standard document destruction policy.”

Radack wrote to the judge regarding the alleged document destruction policy, stating, “I investigated the destruction of documents and learned that the (the Pentagon inspector general’s office) does not have a document destruction policy. Rather, (the inspector general’s office) has a Records Management Program, which dictated that the documents should have been retained.”

Rand Paul Reminds Us Why Questioning 9/11 Still Matters

WASHINGTON, D.C. – On June 2nd, Senator Rand Paul stood with family members of victims of the 9/11 terrorist attacks as he announced new bipartisan legislation that would force President Obama to declassify 28 pages of the Senate investigation into the attacks.

Senator Paul was joined at the press conference by Terry Strada, National Chair of the 9/11 Families and Survivors United For Justice Against Terrorism, who lost her daughter Kaitlyn Strada, and Abraham Scott, husband of a victim. Also present were U.S. Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Stephen F. Lynch (D-MA), and Thomas Massie (R-KY) and former U.S. Senator Bob Graham (D-FL).

The Transparency for the Families of 9/11 Victims and Survivors Act of 2015 was co-sponsored by Senators Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). The bill marks the latest attempt at revealing what the Bush and Obama Administrations have been hiding within the 28 pages of the report, officially known as the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Community Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001.

“I stand with my colleagues today to call for the release of the final 28 pages of the 9/11 Congressional Inquiry,” Paul said. “I firmly believe the family members of the victims of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks have the right to know the details surrounding the tragedies that occurred on that sad day.” Paul will reportedly push for a vote on the bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act of 2016.

Senator Paul has already become unpopular in the Republican Party for his challenging of the Patriot Act. Bringing the 9/11 attacks to the forefront will not likely win him any more Republican friends. More importantly, Paul’s support of declassifying the pages might help bring the role of Saudi Arabia in financing the 9/11 attacks into the presidential debate.

“Information revealed over the years does raise questions about [Saudi Arabia’s] support, or whether their support might have been supportive to these Al Qaeda terrorists,” Paul said at the press conference. “We can not let page after page of blanked-out documents be obscured behind a veil, leading these families to wonder if there is additional information surrounding these horrible acts.”

Former Senator Graham once again asserted that the release of the documents “will cause the American government to reconsider the nature of our relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

“Nearly every significant element that led to the attacks of Sept. 11 points to Saudi Arabia,” said Terry Strada.

The claim is echoed by Massie, Graham and others who have seen the 28 pages. Despite the claims the Saudi government denies any involvement and remains a crucial ally to the United States government.

In April, Saudi Arabia asked a judge to reject a lawsuit from the families of the 9/11 victims. Lawyers representing Saudi Arabia filed papers in a Manhattan federal court claiming that no evidence exists linking the nation to the attacks. The family members of the 9/11 victims point to testimony from the so-called 20th hijacker, Zacarias Moussaoui, as evidence that Saudi Arabia did not cut ties to al-Qaeda members in 1994.

As we approach the 14th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks we should see Senator Rand Paul’s new legislation as an opportunity to remind the American people why questioning the official narrative of the terror attacks remains imperative.

For 5 more reasons to question the 9/11 attacks see this article from Truth In Media. 

Ben Swann reports on the 9/11 terror attacks and the ReThink 9/11 Campaign:

ABC News Chief Anchor Admits Donating $75,000 To Clinton Foundation

On Friday, ABC News chief anchor George Stephanopoulos apologized for failing to disclose $75,000 in personal donations he has made to the Clinton Foundation over the last three years:

[pull_quote_center]”Over the last several years, I have made substantial donations to dozens of charities, including the Clinton Global Foundation. Those donations were a matter of public record, but I should have made additional disclosures on air when we covered the Foundation, and I now believe that directing personal donations to that foundation was a mistake. Even though I made them strictly to support work done to stop the spread of AIDs, to help children, and protect the environment in poor countries, I should have gone the extra mile to avoid even the appearance of a conflict. I apologize to all of you for failing to do that.”[/pull_quote_center]

While the donations made by Stephanopoulos are included in the public records on the Clinton Foundation’s website, questions were initially raised on Thursday, by the Washington Free Beacon, noting that he had not “previously disclosed it to ABC viewers,” even though he took part in “on-air discussions about the Clinton Foundation and its controversial relationship with foreign donors.

Politico noted that Stephanopoulos, who is currently the chief anchor and political correspondent for ABC News, the co-anchor of Good Morning America and host of This Week on ABC, previously served as the communications director for Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, and was the communications director and senior adviser for policy and strategy to Clinton during his presidency.

ABC News released a statement ultimately supporting Stephanopoulos, while admitting that he should have been more transparent about his donations, when covering stories related to the Foundation:

[pull_quote_center]”As George has said, he made charitable donations to the Foundation to support a cause he cares about deeply and believed his contributions were a matter of public record. He should have taken the extra step to notify us and our viewers during the recent news reports about the Foundation. He’s admitted to an honest mistake and apologized for that omission. We stand behind him.”[/pull_quote_center]

On Thursday, Stephanopoulos told Politico that he should not have donated money to the Clinton Foundation, and that as a result, he will not moderate ABC’s 2016 GOP Presidential debate in New Hampshire in February.

“I think I’ve shown that I can moderate debates fairly,” Stephanopoulos said. “That said, I know there have been questions made about moderating debates this year. I want to be sure I don’t deprive viewers of a good debate.”

2016 GOP Presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told the New York Times that Stephanopoulos’ close ties with the Clintons should disqualify him from moderating any of the 2016 presidential debates.

“It’s impossible to divorce yourself from that, even if you try,” Paul said. “I just think it’s really, really hard because he’s been there, so close to them, that there would be a conflict of interest if he tried to be a moderator of any sort.

Stephanopoulos is also under fire for his interview with Peter Schweizer on an episode of ABC’s This Week that aired on April 26. Schweizer is the author of the book “Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hillary Rich,” which looks at how foreign donations impacted Hillary Clinton’s decisions during her tenure as Secretary of State.

In his interview with Schweizer, Stephanopoulos claimed that ABC News had “done investigative work” and had ultimately “found no proof of any kind of direct action.” Stephanopoulos maintained that there was “no smoking gun,” and no evidence Clinton “changed the policy based on donations to the foundation.”

Following the announcement from HarperCollins, that it would be making “7-8 factual corrections” to the e-book version of “Clinton Cash,” Schweizer told Bloomberg Politics that “the corrections are all minor,” and that he was “really quite stunned” by the revelation of Stephanopoulos’ donations.

Calling the donations a “massive breach of ethical standards,” Schweizer said, “He fairly noted my four months working as a speech writer for George W. Bush. But he didn’t disclose this?”

In addition to discussing the donations on This Week, Stephanopoulos addressed the subject during an appearance on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on April 28, where he said that people who give money to the Clinton Foundation are expecting a return.

Everybody also knows when those donors give that money… there’s a hope that that’s going to lead to something and that’s what you have to be careful of,” Stephanopoulos said.

For more news related to the 2016 Presidential election, click here.

Report: At Least 1.3 Million People Killed In US War On Terror

A recent report found that in the estimated number of casualties from the United States’ “War on Terror,” at least 1.3 million people were killed in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan. While the report emphasizes that this is a “conservative estimate,” 1.3 million is 10 times higher than the number of casualties previously reported by mainstream media in the US.

The report, titled Body Count: Casualty Figures after 10 Years of the War on Terror, was put together by the groups Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War. They recorded the lives taken in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan from 2003 to 2013 which occurred as a result of the “War on Terror” declared by the United States in the aftermath of September 11, 2001.

This investigation comes to the conclusion that the war has, directly or indirectly, killed around 1 million people in Iraq, 220,000 in Afghanistan and 80,000 in Pakistan,” stated the report. “Not included in this figure are further war zones such as Yemen. The figure is approximately 10 times greater than that of which the public, experts and decision makers are aware of and propagated by the media and major NGOs.”

The report claimed that while the US-led Multinational Force in Iraq and the NATO International Security Assistance Force and US Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan have kept a total of casualties, the military’s only interest has been in counting “their” bodies.

According to the report, the total estimate of 1.3 million casualties was a “conservative estimate,” due to the fact that the total number of deaths in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan “could also be in excess of 2 million, whereas a figure below 1 million is extremely unlikely.

The report cited multiple studies, which claimed that by 2008, there were already “over one million Iraqis” that had died as a result of war, occupation and indirect consequences.

In Afghanistan, the report found that from Oct. 2001 to Dec. 2013, 55,000 individuals defined as members of the “Taliban” were killed, along with 22 journalists, 281 NGO workers, 1,700 civilian employees of the US government, 3,000 private US security forces, 3,409 ISAF and OEF solders, 15,000 Afghan security forces, and between 106,000 and 170,000 Afghan civilians.

The report stated that in Pakistan, from 2004 to 2013, while 26,862 individuals described as “militants” were killed, 45 journalists, 5,498 Pakistani security forces and 48,504 Pakistani civilians were also killed. Between 416 and 951 civilians were killed by drone strikes.

SCANDAL: Brian Williams Now Accused of Lying About Seeing “A Dead Body” During Katrina

Following NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ revelation that he had lied about being on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003, his credibility as a journalist has been called into question, and there is now speculation regarding his reporting during Hurricane Katrina.

The New Orleans Advocate reported that once Williams admitted to lying about his Iraq story, there was an “online feeding frenzy,” which turned the focus to his coverage of Hurricane Katrina.

In 2006, during an interview with Michael Eisner, Williams discussed the time he spent  on the ground, covering Hurricane Katrina. He claimed that he had watched a man “float by face down” from his hotel room window in the French Quarter:

When you look out of your hotel window in the French Quarter and watch a man float by face down, when you see bodies that you last saw in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, and swore to yourself that you would never see in your country.”

However, the New Orleans Advocate noted that the French Quarter is the “original high ground of New Orleans,” and “was not impacted by the floodwaters that overwhelmed the vast majority of the city.”

During a 2014 interview with Tom Brokaw, Williams claimed that while he was covering Hurricane Katrina, he “accidentally ingested some of the floodwater” and “became very sick with dysentery.”

Dr. Brobson Lutz, a former city health director who was on the street manning an EMS trailer in the French Quarter, told the New Orleans Advocate that the area was “never wet” and that as for dysentery, he didn’t recall a “single, solitary case of gastroenteritis during Katrina or in the whole month afterward.”

While Williams has yet to comment on the accusations related to Hurricane Katrina, he did issue a public apology on Wednesday for claiming he was on a helicopter that was shot down by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In his apology, William claimed that while he wasn’t on the Chinook that was hit, he was on one of the helicopters in the same formation. However, crewmembers on board the helicopter that was grounded by RPG fire claim Williams arrived at the scene an hour after the helicopter made its emergency landing, and then left shortly after, according to a report from Stars and Stripes.

In his 2003 report of the incident, Williams said, “On the ground we learned the Chinook ahead of us was almost blown out of the sky” by a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), which “punched cleanly through the skin of the ship,” but did not explode.

In 2008, Williams retold the story in a blog post, stating once again that the Chinook helicopter flying in front of his “took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”

However, Williams’ story changed in 2013 when he gave an account of the incident on an episode of Late Night with David Letterman. “Two of our four helicopters were hit by ground fire, including the one I was in,” Williams said.

Although Williams’ 2013 version of the story was false, he did not correct it, and went on to repeat the same lie during a broadcast of NBC Nightly News on Friday, claiming that the helicopter he was flying in was “forced down after being hit by an RPG.”

On Saturday, Lance Reynolds, one of the soldiers on board the Chinook helicopter that was hit, addressed Williams in a Facebook comment, saying that while he didn’t remember Williams being on the helicopter, he did remember the NBC team leaving the scene and flying to Kuwait to report their “war story” for the Nightly News, all while the crew from the grounded flight was “stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft.”

Williams replied to the comment, saying that Reynolds, along with several others who had called Williams out on the inaccurate report, were right, and that he “felt terrible about making this mistake.” Williams wrote that he “was in fact on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp.”

On Wednesday, Williams issued a public apology on the Nightly News, claiming that he had made a mistake. 

“I made a mistake in recalling the events of 12 years ago and it did not take long to hear from some of the brave men and women in the air crew who were also in that desert,” said Williams. “I want to apologize, I said I wasn’t traveling in an aircraft that was hit by RPG fire. I was instead in the following aircraft. We all landed after the ground fire.”

While Williams claimed that he was riding in the helicopter “following” the Chinook that was hit by RPG fire, he made it sound as if his helicopter landed shortly after.

In contrast, those who were actually on board the 159th Aviation Regiment’s Chinook that was hit told Stars and Stripes that Williams was “nowhere near that aircraft or two other Chinooks flying in the formation that took fire.” Instead, the crewmembers claimed Williams “arrived in the area about an hour later on another helicopter after the other three had made an emergency landing.”

Stars and Stripes reported that Williams and his NBC news team only stayed on the scene for “about 10 minutes,” before they left “to see the Army armored units that had been guarding the nearby Forward Operating Base Rams.”

On Thursday, Ben Swann addressed the story on RT America’s newscast, and he pointed out that while the crew members’ stories have not been verified, if they do turn out to be true, it will mean that not only was Williams’ story untrue, “the 2003 story that aired on NBC News is untrue as well.”

Swann was joined by RT Producer Tyrel Ventura to discuss the potential impact of the crewmembers’ claims being true and NBC News providing a false report. Watch the full video below:

Feb 8, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams Announces Hiatus as NBC News Launches Internal Investigation

Feb. 9, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay

Brian Williams Admits Lying for 12 Years About Iraq War Story

On Wednesday, NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams admitted that his story about being on board a helicopter that was hit by RPG fire during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 was false.

NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams brought up the original story on Friday, in a video it posted on Facebook. In this video, Williams claimed that in 2003, during the invasion of Iraq, a helicopter he was traveling in was shot down by an RPG.

Williams said that he and his NBC team were “rescued, surrounded and kept alive” by an armored, mechanized platoon from the U.S. Army’s 3rd Infantry. One of the men who Williams attributed with protecting his safety, retired Command Sgt. Major Tim Terpak, was reunited with Williams during a New York Rangers hockey game. Their reunion was featured in the video.

The post received nearly 75,000 likes, over 45,000 shares, and over 2,500 comments. While many of the comments said things such as “made me cry,” and “class act Brian Williams,” there was one particular comment that received a response from Williams.

On Saturday, the flight engineer, Lance Reynolds, left a comment on the video, saying that while he didn’t remember Williams being on the aircraft, he did remember the NBC team leaving the scene and flying to Kuwait to report their “war story” for the Nightly News, all while the crew from the grounded flight was “stuck in Iraq trying to repair the aircraft” and pulling their own Security:

Lance Reynolds Comment

Williams replied to Reynolds’ comment on Wednesday, admitting that he was actually  “on the Chinook behind the bird that took the RPG in the tail housing just above the ramp,” and calling the false report a mistake:

Brian Williams Comment

Reynolds told Stars and Stripes that he spoke up in the comments section, in order to preserve his account of the event.

It was something personal for us that was kind of life-changing for me. I know how lucky I was to survive it,” said Reynolds. “It felt like a personal experience that someone else wanted to participate in and didn’t deserve to participate in.”

After originally reporting the story in 2003, Williams mentioned it again in 2008, when he wrote a blog post for NBC News:

We came under fire by what appeared to be Iraqi farmers with RPG’s and AK-47’s,” wrote Williams. “The Chinook helicopter flying in front of ours (from the 101st Airborne) took an RPG to the rear rotor, as all four of our low-flying Chinooks took fire.”

Williams then referenced the story in 2013, during an appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman. This time, while he changed his story by stating that only two of the four helicopters were hit by ground fire, he reiterated that he was aboard one of the helicopters that was hit:

Feb. 6, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams Now Accused of Lying About Seeing “A Dead Body” During Katrina

Feb 8, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams Announces Hiatus as NBC News Launches Internal Investigation

Feb. 9, 2015: UPDATE: Brian Williams’ Coverage of Rocket Fire in Israel Raises Questions

Feb. 10, 2015: UPDATE: NBC Suspends Brian Williams for 6 Months without Pay


Survivors of Bhopal Gas Disaster Call on President Obama to Hold Henry Kissinger Accountable

In early December protesters in India marked the 30th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy, calling on President Obama to hold American officials, including former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, accountable. 

On December 2, 1984 methyl isocyanate, a lethal ingredient in insecticides, leaked from a tank at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, India. The area surrounding the plant was tightly packed with a large population. Residents exposed to the gas had their eyes and throats burned. The immediate deaths resulting range in estimates from 3,787 to 8,000.

In the last three decades those numbers have climbed to 25,000 deaths. Residents of the area are dying from diseases caused by water and soil contamination. An estimated 150,o00 people are fighting chronic illnesses including cancer. Children in the region are often born sick and disabled. 50,000 people are said to still be living among the poison. Only 8 convictions have come since the event happened, all former plant employees, who were convicted of “death by negligence”. 

Thirty years later the death toll keeps climbing and survivors continue to demand justice. Five organizations representing victims of the gas disaster sent a letter to President Obama asking him to ““acknowledge the central role played by the United States government in the creation of the disaster in Bhopal and in the denial of justice to the victims”.

The groups called on supporters to force Union Carbide and its current own Dow Chemical to take responsibility for human suffering in Bhopal. The groups  said despite a 1991 ruling from the Indian Supreme Court ordering the Indian government to provide medical insurance coverage to 100,000 children affected by the disaster, not a single child has received medical help.

The organizations were calling for the United States to extradite Union Carbide Secretary John McDonald  under charges of manslaughter and grievous assault in the Bhopal district court. In addition they are demanding that the US government “acknowledge and express regret” for not extraditing Warren Anderson, former CEO of Union Carbide, before his death earlier this year.

Rashida Bee President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh also called out former Secretary of State for his responsibility in the disaster. Bee points to documents released by Wikileaks which show Kissinger facilitating a loan from the Export-Import Bank of the United States to Union Carbide for the creation of the Methyl Isocyanate plant responsible for the deaths. In 1975 and 1976 Kissinger assisted in the creation of the pesticide plant by assuring the loan from the EXIM bank was successful. With his help Union Carbide was able to secure a loan of $1.3 million to cover half of the cost of building the plant.

Bee and other critics of Kissinger say that a recently released letter obtained under the Right to Information Act also shows the diplomat attempting to wield his influence to help Union Carbide settle out of court after the disaster. The letter was from May 31, 1988 written by former Tata Sons Chairperson JRD Tata to then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. Tata delivers a message from Kissinger to Gandhi, stating that Union Carbide would be willing to be higher settlements then those ordered by Indian courts but only if the deal could be reached out-of-court.

Tata tells the Prime Minister that Kissinger is a “consultant and adviser to many Government and large corporations , including Union Carbide in America.” Kissinger, Tata said, had concerns about the delay in reaching a settlement. Rajiv Gandhi responds to the letter, stating that “The suggestions will be given consideration.” Less than a year later a settlement would be reached in the Supreme Court. This decision would force Union Carbide to pay $470 million USD and absolve them of paying any future settlements.

The Bhopal Disaster is not the first time Henry Kissinger has come under fire for his actions as a government official and adviser. Although he is known by some as the greatest diplomat the United States has ever had for his work opening relations between the Soviet and Chinese governments, Kissinger is also known as  a war criminal to a large portion of the world.

Kissinger has evaded questions and legal summons by investigators in France, Spain, Chile and Argentina. They seek answers about his involvement in disappearances of citizens in the US and other countries in regard to Operation Condor. Condor was a campaign of political repression and terror involving assassination and intelligence operations implemented in 1975 by the dictatorships of South America. The former Secretary of State was heavily involved in Operation Condor.

On September 10, 2001, the family of General Schneider initiated a civil action in federal court in DC, claiming that Kissinger gave the agreement to murder the general because he had refused to endorse plans for a military coup in Chile.

November 13, 2002, 11 individuals brought suit against Kissinger for human rights violations following the coup. They accused him of forced disappearance, torture, arbitrary detention, and wrongful death. The suit claims that Kissinger provided practical assistance and encouragement to the Chilean regime with reckless disregard for the lives and well-being of the victims and their families.

Both cases were dismissed based on sovereign and diplomatic immunity.

For more on the controversial career of Henry Kissinger check the following report.

REPORT: Vaccine Court Keeps Thousands of Injured Families Waiting for Compensation

A recent report by the Associated Press has found that thousands of families with claims with a special vaccine court are left to wait for years, sometimes decades before receiving help.

The AP examined hundreds of court decisions, performed more than 100 interviews, and studied a database containing more than 14,500 cases. The database was last updated in January 2013 with the government refusing to release any new updates.

Officially known as the Office of Special Masters of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, the so-called vaccine court is a little known system that is intended to address claims of Americans who believe their children have been harmed by vaccinations. The court is an established part of the federal judiciary system however the authorities over the cases are not called judges but rather “special masters”.

The AP investigation found several issues with the court. These include tens of millions of taxpayer dollars that has been paid to private attorneys who often practice “churning”, a practice described as filing a large number of claims regardless of the quality of the claims. In the private court attorneys are paid out whether or not they succeed in convincing the court. That fact has lead to questionable billing practices and an increase in court claims.

The AP report also found that “expert” witnesses for the families and the government often have a lack of credibility or conflicts of interest. The report says that some of the experts are also involved in setting up nonprofits that question vaccine safety. Meanwhile doctors hired by the government to testify in defense of vaccines have ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

Another complaint involving the system is the lack of publicity it receives. The court purposefully spends very little of its budget on promotional campaigns, fearing that admission of harm from vaccines would lead to a decrease in vaccinations. The AP alleges that the court has “a burden of proof more easily met than civil lawsuits.” The report highlights efforts by government doctors to deny 1,600 families more than $1.1 billion in cash from 1998 to 2012.

While the court requires claims to be resolved within a 240 day period, less than 7 percent of 7,876 claims not involving autism met this deadline. Cases involving autism claims were resolved in less than 240 days only 4.5 percent of the time. While non-autism claims drag on for an average of two and a half years, the other cases average more than three years. Hundreds of cases have taken longer than ten years and some people died while waiting to be compensated.

The Associated Press initially ran the report in mid-November, however, they republished an updated version on December 22. The update states that officials with the court have “vowed to publicize the program better”, and would use “plain language” in their literature and website. They also promised to target promotions to “health care providers, parents and expectant parents, adults aged 50 years and older (including Spanish-speaking older adults), and civil litigation and health attorneys.” Whether the government upholds those promises remains to be seen.

The money for compensation comes from the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. If government doctors and lawyers believe vaccines were more than likely the cause of injury they award payment for future care and lost wages. The fund currently operates with a $3.5 billion budget.

In late 2013, Ben Swann reported on the VICP:

“In 1986 when the VICP was first created vaccine makers were protected from lawsuit by the public. The VICP insulates vaccine manufacturers from liability and requires that petitioners bring their petitions solely against HHS. They may not sue manufacturers or healthcare practitioners. The rationale for this industry and professional protection was to ensure a stable childhood vaccine supply and to keep prices affordable.

The 1986 Law also permits the vaccine makers the right to not disclose known risks
to parents or guardians of those being vaccinated. Based on something called the “learned intermediary” doctrine, manufacturers bear no liability for giving, or failing to give, accurate or complete information to those vaccinated.

In exchange for being subject to the vaccine court, families of those injured would be compensated through an administrative process based on a table of presumptive vaccine injuries.

Last year our Truth in Media Project took on a similar issue regarding vaccine court and autism. At the time we pointed out that a review of compensated cases of Vaccine-Induced Brain Injury finds that The VICP has compensated approximately 2,500 claims of vaccine injury since the inception of the program in 1986.

Since that time, despite the official ruling that there is no link between vaccines and autism, there have been at least 83 cases of autism among those compensated for vaccine-induced brain damage.”

In August of this year a scientist with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) made headlines when he spoke about a study he was involved in that deliberately omitted important information from a study on the link between vaccines and autism.

Dr. William Thompson has been a scientist with the CDC since 1998. After his admission began garnering attention Thompson released a statement through a team of lawyers. Dr. Thompson stated that he and co-authors from a 2004 article published in the journal Pediatrics omitted data demonstrating a connection between an increased risk of autism in African American males who were given the MMR vaccine before 36 months of age.

Thompson believes vaccines have and continue to save lives but says that the CDC has been hiding controversial data. At the time he stated that he had handed over documents relating to the study to the office of Congressman William Posey for review. Posey’s office did not confirm or deny whether the documents were received but at the time we reported that “sources however tell that thousands of pages of documents are now in possession of the Congressman’s staff and will be reviewed over the next few weeks.”

Posey’s office could not be reached for an update.

What are the implications of the Associated Press report?

Is the vaccine court doing more harm than good?

What are your thoughts on CDC scientist Dr. William Thompson?

Let us know in the comments below.

Notorious Former Police Chief Claims He Was Federal Informant

Former police chief Mark Kessler, a controversial figure in the Pro-2nd Amendment movement, has confessed to making inflammatory online videos in the hopes of attracting “the worst of the worst” for the federal government.

Kessler is a former police chief with the Gilberton Police Department in Pennsylvania. He resigned in early 2014 after being suspended for posting videos online in which he fires guns and aggressively insults liberals as “libtards”.  The videos garnered hundreds of thousands of views, a rabid fan club and an equally excited group of haters. After being suspended he was allowed to resign and received $30,000 from the department.

Tuesday on “The Alan Colmes Show,”  the former police chief told Colmes that he did not believe the things he said in the videos and was simply part of a larger operation designed to ferret out “lone wolf” terrorists, and “sovereign citizens”.  A transcript of the conversation reveals Kessler’s true intentions and feelings.

Kessler claims after he did initial activism in his community he was approached by individuals talking about killing police. He says at that point he didn’t realize what he was getting involved so he went to the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Kessler claims he was sent out to attract and investigate patriot groups, Second Amendment groups, and militia groups. When Colmes asks Kessler if he thinks “the left are a bunch of libtards” he states, “That’s not my job, That was specifically designed to attract groups of people, who are extremists. Sovereign Citizens, Insurrectionists.”

KESSLER: I signed up with those agencies, several different agencies and began an operation where I was just a magnet. I was sent out there to attract the worst of the worst and frankly it worked.
COLMES: You were sent out by whom?
KESSLER: I was sent out for, well I can’t really say exactly who but, I was sent out by agencies to go out and attract and investigate, whatever I can do to find out who’s who and what’s what among these groups. When I say groups, I’m talking about Second Amendment groups, patriot groups, alleged patriot groups, militia groups.

Kessler refuses to give details about what agency he was working with but admits that the videos were a collaborative effort.

KESSLER: They were put out by me and they were put out by the people that I worked for at the time.
COLMES: Were you not working for the police department of Gilberton PA?
KESSLER: No I wasn’t
COLMES: Were you working for the federal government?
KESSLER: Yes, I can’t say what agency.

At one point Kessler tells Colmes that he was unable to tell anyone and believes his work saved many lives.

KESSLER: I couldn’t tell anybody. I just couldn’t, it was complete deniability. I could not say a word to anyone about the operation. So again it was bigger than me. I’d seen an opportunity to advance my law enforcement career, and there was no way I was going to turn it down.
COLMES: Is this the first time you revealed this?
KESSLER: Yes absolutely, yep
COLMES: Were you promised a job by somebody in the federal government to do this?
KESSLER: No, it was volunteer work.
COLMES: What was in it for you?
KESSLER: I got to save a lot of lives, I can tell you that.

Kessler also claims the federal government told him his work helped stop several attacks, including a group called the Triple X Minutemen in Georgia, and lone wolves in Texas.

KESSLER: I’m happy to say that we took down several plotted attacks that didn’t go through, we took down a group in Georgia. We took down a group in Texas.
COLMES: Can you name any of the groups you took down?
KESSLER: The Triple X Minutemen is one group.
COLMES: Who are they?
KESSLER: They are from the Georgia area, and they were planning to blow up a federal building.
COLMES: Any other groups you can cite that you took down?
KESSLER: We took some lone wolves down in Texas that were militia guys, I should’t say militia, they were wanna be terrorists.

When asked if he genuinely feels the way he speaks in the videos Kessler says “absolutely not”. Kessler claims he jumped on the opportunity to work with the federal government and was reimbursed for some of his work but was not on salary. When Colmes presses Kessler further on information on who he was working with, he continues to say he cannot expose the ongoing operations.

Kessler also claims that his videos attracted thousands and thousands of people to the attention of the federal government. At that point he says they would begin investigating individuals for possible violent intentions. Kessler claims his job was to gather intel and states that his work led to the arrest of individuals deemed “a threat to society”.

The statements have not yet been confirmed by an federal agency. Supporters of Kessler are likely surprised to hear his claims of helping the federal government to look for domestic terrorists. Many 2nd Amendment supporters and libertarian activists see the federal government as a grave danger to personal liberties. Documents like the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) report and other documents from the Department of Homeland Security have many Americans wondering why everyday, constitutionally protected behavior and thought is becoming criminalized.

Back in February, Kessler spoke at a news conference announcing his plans for a new militia called 3 Percent Boots on the Ground, which, he claimed, has a “few thousand” members in chapters around the country. Kessler made it clear that his group was not interested in overthrowing the government but “Basically it’s just a group of people who believe in the country, the Constitution, and what our founding fathers enacted.”

After his latest admission one wonders if his “militia” was legitimate or an effort to entrap others? Kessler claims he is no longer working with the federal government, but as reported, a study by the New York Times found that at least 40 different agencies of the US government have active undercover operations involving officers pretending to be students, protesters, doctors, ministers, and welfare recipients.  

With surveillance programs and the use of undercover informants, America is mimicking the plot of George Orwell’s 1984. What will you do to halt the creeping tyranny?

Exclusive: Redacted ATF Gunrunning Documents Hint At Secret Surveillance Tactics

According to a recently released federal audit, agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) allowed a known smuggler to bring thousands of grenade parts from the U.S. into Mexico as part of a weapons smuggling operation similar to the failed Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver.

The report comes from the Office of the Inspector General with the  Department of Justice. Conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch first reported on the audit.  In September 2012 the OIG  issued its report on Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver. That report found those operations to be seriously flawed in several aspects, including a failure to adequately consider the risk to public safety in the U.S. and Mexico. The report stated that the failures stemmed “from a strategy of not taking overt enforcement action against individuals making unlawful firearm purchases.”

This latest report examines the ATF, the Customs and Border Patrol (CBP), and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and their failure to apprehend weapons smuggler Jean Baptiste Kingery.  Agents with the ATF were monitoring Kingery since at least November 2008 all the way until his arrest by Mexican authorities in August 2011. He first came to the attention of two special agents with ATF after he was suspected of making illegal purchases of AK-47s. In December 2008 the two agents interviewed Kingery at his mother’s house in Arizona.

The ATF continued monitoring Kingery for the next year until October 2009 when they learned he was ordering components to build grenades via an online military surplus dealer. The agency allowed Kingery to place the order in the hopes that they could track the shipments to drug cartels and other criminals. Between January 26, 2010 and February 1, 2010 the ATF intercepted 100 hand grenade fuse assembles, 4000 spring kits, and 4000 safety clips. According to the audit, the ATF agents “marked” the intercepted grenade components in a manner that would allow them to be identified later. Just how exactly the agents marked the components is unknown. The document contains redacted text related to the technology that is used to track the weapons.



Undercover agents with the ATF delivered the marked grenade components to the address Kingery had specified and began 24-hour surveillance. The report notes that agents were worried that Kingery had become aware of the surveillance. At one point ” Kingery approached an ATF agent’s vehicle and knocked on its window.” Kingery apparently was so upset by the monitoring that he ” smashed all of the GPS sensors that agents had placed on his vehicle.” After six days the agents ended their surveillance, failing to catch Kingery take the grenades into Mexico.

Shortly after Kingery is stopped by the Customs and Border Patrol while attempting to enter Mexico. CBP agents find over a hundred grenade hulls and fuses, and more than 2000 rounds of ammunition hidden in a spare tire. ICE Agents and an ATF agent interview Kingery, asking him to return the following morning for an interview. The Assistant US Attorney (AUSA) Emory Hurley decides against taking action against Kingery.  Eventually he is released under the auspices that he is agreeing to work with law enforcement. There does seem to be a difference of opinion on whether or not he was in fact working with the authorities.  AUSA Hurley claimed Kingery was an informant yet the agents said he was not an informant but only allowed to leave because AUSA refused to file charges. Hurley is the same prosecutor who did not bring charges against suspects in the Fast and Furious scandal.

In June 2010 Kingery is stopped crossing back into the United States. Once again AUSA Hurley does not agree to charges and states that Kingery will be indicted at a later date. Kingery is released once again. It is at this point that the ATF loses track of Kingery and the grenades. Nearly two months later soldiers in Mexico detain six men with live grenades, two of which were marked in a similar fashion as the grenade components that were intercepted by the ATF in November 2009. In March 2011 Mexican soldiers recover 15 live grenades following a firefight with drug cartel members. Four of the grenades are marked in the same way.

In August 2011 Kingery was arrested by Mexican authorities for violating organized crime laws. The case was reassigned to the AUSA for the central district of California following Hurley’s failure to prosecute. The report concludes that ” Kingery was a dangerous individual” and the ATF’s failure to charge him “demonstrated an inadequate consideration of public safety.” The OIG also states that one ICE agent described the relationship between the various agencies as “horrible.” They claim that “lack of coordination” and “friction” between the agencies hindered ICE and the ATF’s investigations into Kingerey,  and Operations Fast and Furious and Wide Receiver. In the end it was the ATF and ICE agents in Yuma and Phoenix themselves who “undercut and withheld information from each other”.

The failures (and possible crimes) of the ATF and this grenade-running operation has been described as a prequel to Operation Fast and Furious. In the Fast and Furious the Obama administration reportedly allowed guns to go to Mexican drug cartels in hopes of tracking them. Once again the agents lost track of the weapons until some of them began appearing at crime scenes, including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry and hundreds of other innocents in Mexico.  

In Summer 2012 the blame went up the chain of command as high as Attorney General Eric Holder. Holder was held in contempt by the House of Representatives after refusing to turn over records related to the Obama administration’s refusal to cooperate with Congress and false statements regarding who had knowledge of the operation. This was the first time in U.S. history a sitting Attorney General was held in contempt of Congress.

Shortly after President Obama asserted executive privilege over the records the House Oversight Committee had subpoenaed. After failed efforts through open records requests, Judicial Watch filed a FOIA lawsuit against the Department of Justice on September 12, 2012. Since that time a number of documents have been released which highlight previously unknown aspects of the Fast and Furious debacle.

Most recently  Sheryl Attkisson (formerly of CBS news) released documents proving that Holder had lied to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee while testifying on May 3, 2011. The documents show that Holder had received a briefing paper on Fast and Furious  on June 5, 2010. Despite this, Holder testified that he, “probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks.”

As of this publication no government official has been charged for the failures of these operations.

What are your thoughts? Share with us in the comments below.

The U.S. Government Sues AT&T

WASHINGTON, DC, October 29, 2014 – On Tuesday, officials with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued AT&T, America’s second largest cellular provider, for allegedly misleading customers by selling them “unlimited” data plans that were then “throttled” by the company by slowing internet speeds of customers who consumed an excess of data past a certain point.

The FTC claims AT&T has used this practice since 2011 and estimates that it has affected over 3.5 million customers on at least 25 million occasions.

Customers experienced these data slow downs an average of 12 days a month and in some cases internet speeds were cut up to 90%. The FTC reportedly received thousands of complaints about the practice.

FTC Chairwoman Edith Ramirez stated, “AT&T promised its customers ‘unlimited’ data, and in many instances, it has failed to deliver on that promise. The issue here is simple: ‘unlimited’ means unlimited.”

According to the FTC’s complaint, AT&T emphasized the unlimited amount of data available to consumers who signed up for their unlimited plans. When these unlimited plan consumers renewed their contracts the company failed to inform them of the throttling program. Customers who later attempted to cancel their contracts after experiencing the throttling were charged early termination fees, often amounting to several hundred dollars.

Ramirez stated, “They stopped providing the service that customers understood they had purchased when they entered into their contract. Customers would be subject to an early termination fee if they wanted to get out of their existing contract.”

In a statement AT&T’s general counsel Wayne Watts called the FTC’s complaint “baseless” and stated, “We have been completely transparent with customers since the very beginning. We informed all unlimited data-plan customers via bill notices and a national press release that resulted in nearly 2,000 news stories, well before the program was implemented.”

Watts also stated, “ It’s baffling as to why the FTC would choose to take this action against a company that, like all major wireless providers, manages its network resources to provide the best possible service to all customers, and does it in a way that is fully transparent and consistent with the law and our contracts.”

However, the FTC found in its investigation that AT&T was aware consumers found the throttling practice inconsistent with the promise of unlimited data. According to the FTC’s complaint, AT&T received over 190,000 customer calls complaining about the throttling practice. Consumers in AT&T focus groups strongly objected to the practice and felt “unlimited should mean unlimited.”

After the findings of the focus group, AT&T’s own researchers urged the company’s marketers to change their verbiage, cautioning that “saying less is more” when selling related services.

The FTC worked closely with the Federal Communications Commission on this issue. The FTC voted 5-0 authorizing the staff to file the complaint. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, San Francisco Division.

The official complaint charges state that, “AT&T violated the FTC Act by changing the terms of customers’ unlimited data plans while those customers were still under contract, and by failing to adequately disclose the nature of the throttling program to consumers who renewed their unlimited data plans.”


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Will Obama Prosecute the Newly Identified Second Whistleblower?

The Federal Bureau of Investigation has reportedly identified the second whistleblower who has been providing Glenn Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill with documents related to government watchlists.

Michael Isikoff reported for Yahoo! News that the FBI searched the home of  a federal contracting firm employee suspected of being the source of documents provided to Jeremy Scahill, Ryan Devereaux and The Intercept. Scahill, Greenwald and film-maker Laura Poitras are the editors for the adversarial journalism site The Intercept, founded in February. Isikoff says that federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have launched an investigation into the situation.

His sources also say the Department of Justice may be reluctant to bring criminal charges against the whistleblower. The source said the U.S. intelligence community is trying to avoid any more press from pursuing whistleblowers such as Chelsea Manning or Edward Snowden. Jeremy Scahill said he was not aware of an investigation by federal officials.

The existence of a second whistleblower was first noticed in late July as a 166-page document related to terrorism watch lists was released through The Intercept. In early August another document was released, this one detailed the activities of the Directorate of Terrorist Identities, a counterterrorism unit within the National Counterterrorism Center. The NCTC is responsible for maintaining one of the watchlists Scahill wrote about.

As and CNN reported,  the document could not have come from whistleblower Edward Snowden, as it is dated August 2013, after Snowden left for Russia. At the time  The Intercept only referred to the whistleblower as “a source in the intelligence community”.

A newly released documentary also confirms the existence of the latest whistleblower. Citizenfour  details the story of whistleblower Edward Snowden and his efforts to contact Laura Poitras. In the film Glenn Greenwald tells Snowden about the second source. Jeremy Scahill describes the figure as “an extremely principled and brave whistleblower”.

While we wait to learn the fate of this new whistleblower it is important to remember that the current President has continuously persecuted whistleblowers and built a reputation around a lack of transparency and unfriendly relations to the press.Earlier this year the Columbia Journalism Review reported on the U.S. dropping 13 spots in a global index on freedom. Delphine Halgand, the US Director for Reporters Without Borders, said 2013 was marked by Chelsea Manning’s 35 year sentence and the pursuit of Edward Snowden and journalists such as James Risen. 

In October 2013 the Committee to Protect Journalist released a report title “Leak investigations and surveillance in post-9/11 America”. The report covers the Obama Administrations attacks on the free press and implementation of surveillance measures that threaten free and independent journalism. Most recently, USA Today Washington Bureau Chief Susan Page stated that the Obama Administration was more “restrictive” and “dangerous” than any other administration.

If free thinking individuals want to continue to have access to information about the corporations, governments and their mutual partners, we must support independent and alternative media ventures. Controlled, contrived news programming will never be the target of the government’s attacks and censorship. Only the free media that is unbound by corporate dollars or government pay offs can succeed in reporting the unfiltered facts. It is more important than ever to invest in indie media projects, share articles, videos, and create your own media. Together we can keep the press and the people free.

ISIS intervention price-tag shocking many American taxpayers

WASHINGTON, D.C., September 30, 2014 –  Last week, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel presented reporters with a price-tag that is shocking many war-weary Americans. According to Hagel, roughly $7 million to $10 million per day has been spent on U.S. operations against the Islamic State (ISIS) since June 16, when American troops were first deployed to assess the Iraqi military and advise its commanders.

That number brings U.S. military efforts against the Islamic State to nearly a billion dollars thus far, with an expected $2.4 billion to $3.8 billion price tag for the year if air and ground operations continue as planned. These expected budget cost analysis were released Monday by the non-partisan think tank, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

The analysis also noted an even higher price tag for the fight against ISIS could be expected if an increase in air-strikes and ground troops occurs, with annual costs possibly reaching $13 billion or even $22 billion.

The report by the Center stated, “Future costs depend, to a great extent, on how long operations continue, the steady-state level of air operations, and whether additional ground forces are deployed beyond what is already planned”.

Since August 8, when the U.S. first launched its air strikes against the Islamic State, 290 air strikes have been carried out in Iraq and Syria, with the U.S conducting 265 of that number. Over 1600 U.S. troops are being deployed in Iraq and U.S. planes are flying an average of 60 attacks a day.

Taking these statistics into account, the analysis figured that the U.S. military’s efforts against the Islamic State would currently costs between $200 million and $320 million a month.

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Former State Department official: Clinton camp destroyed Benghazi documents

WASHINGTON D.C., September 15, 2014 – Today, former Deputy Assistant Secretary Raymond Maxwell dropped a Benghazi bombshell in a statement.

“What they were looking for is anything that made them look bad. That’s the way it was described to us,” said Chaffetz. 

In his account, Maxwell claims that allies of Hillary Clinton removed potentially damaging documents before handing over files to the Accountability Review Board investigating the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi.

Maxwell, the former head of the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, told lawmakers an after hours session to separate documents took place over a weekend in a operations-type center at the State Department in Washington D.C. 

Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) confirmed Maxwell’s story. Chaffetz stated that Maxwell told him and other lawmakers his sum of events last year when he was privately interviewed in the aftermath of the attacks. At that time, according to Chaffetz, Maxwell claimed that Clinton’s chief of staff and deputy chief of staff oversaw the alleged weekend.

Maxwell claims that he was not invited to the after hours session, but walked in on the Sunday afternoon after hearing about it. He reportedly saw stacks of documents and a office director who worked for him. According to Maxwell, the director told him they had been instructed to go through files and pull out items that could put anybody in the NEA in a bad light.

These new allegations come two days before the House Select Committee on Benghazi is scheduled to open its first hearing. This is the first time Maxwell has gone public with his account. Chaffetz described Maxwell’s account as “consistent” throughout the whole time.

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Is the ATF Targeting Minorities for Manufactured Drug Crimes?

Washington, July 21, 2014 – An investigation by USA Today has sparked fresh debate on the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) use of drug sting operations. The report once again calls into question the tactics of government informants encouraging suspected criminals to commit crimes, and whether or not these operations unfairly target minority communities.

USA Today analyzed court files and prison records from the last decade and found that the ATF’s use of drug stings has quadrupled. Under federal mandatory minimum sentence laws for drug crimes, the stings produce prison sentences of at least a decade. In many cases the drugs in question do not even exist. ATF officials use informants to seek out potential criminals and invite them to take part in a robbery of a suspected drug stash house. As with the drugs, the stash houses are non-existent.

Records reviewed by USA Today show that 91% of people locked up under these stings were racial or ethnic minorities. The large majority were black or Hispanic. Melvin King, ATF’s deputy assistant director for field operations, denies the agency is profiling individuals. He says they target “the worst of the worst”, specifically looking for violent criminals using firearms to conduct illegal activities.

Despite these assurances, lawyers in three states are reportedly working to force the Department of Justice to release its records on how they conduct the stings and how they choose suspects. In 2013, U.S. District Court Judge Ruben Castillo ordered the government to produce information related to the stings. The Justice Department continues to fight the order.

A federal appeals court in Chicago said the operations “seems to be directed at unsophisticated, and perhaps desperate, defendants who easily snap at the bait.” In California, a federal judge said the ATF agents were “trolling poor neighborhoods” and dismissed charges against three men. Even still, judges have been reluctant to call the operations entrapment.

In their 2013 report on the topic, USA TODAY found 22 people acquitted by juries, out of 512 cases. The jurors in the acquittals believed the suspects had been entrapped or were unconvinced they played a significant role in hatching the robbery. There are at least 89 prosecutions pending in federal court.

To argue entrapment a defendant must prove the government pressured them to commit a crime. The government can not pressure innocent people to commit crimes but it has become commonplace to use informants to find individuals with criminal records and provided incentive for them to commit new crimes. The tactics the ATF informants use have come under fire as well. ATF informants report attempting to involve people in stash house robberies after meeting them one time at a gas station or a park. In one court case an informant was questioned about the neighborhoods he used to recruit suspects. The informant seemed unaware of wealthier communities, only listing low-income, minority neighborhoods as his target. Until the ATF releases its records on how the informants operate, the public will remain in the dark.

In another article I will explore this and other questionable actions by the ATF. It will be the latest in my “The Crimes of…” series, which explores the tactics of various government agencies and corporations. Previous articles examined The Crimes of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Canadian Mining company Goldcorp, and European bank HSBC.

Secret Trade in Services Agreement draft has been leaked

A draft of the secret Trade in Services Agreement (TISA)  Financial Services Annex has been released by WikiLeaks today in a press release.

In an anti-transparency feat, the draft is meant to remain private during the negotiations which started in April 2013, and are set to commence for a seventh round of talks from June 23-27 in Geneva, Switzerland.  An amendment is also in place within the Agreement to keep it a secret for five years after its inception if it does pass.

According to the draft, financial multi-nationals would be assisted in expansion to other nations with no interference from regulatory barriers, resulting in cross-border data flow between other government entities and third-parties.

Cross-border data flow includes financial reports and personal data from citizens and corporations alike, of which the report says the U.S. is “particularly keen on boosting.”

This would allow for the dissemination of citizen’s financial and personal data not only across their own government, but across the governments of all other members included in the Agreement.

Preventative regulations to stop such actions were set in place after the financial collapse and crisis from 2007-2008.

TISA is being set up outside of the General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS), but when the draft is finished, the report says the agreement will be “crafted to be compatible” with any GATS regulations set in place.

GATS was set up, according to the World Trade Organization, to ensure “fair and equitable treatment of all participants,” and “promoting trade… through progressive liberalization.”  GATS also calls for members to publish all measures of general application and to present transparency in terms of their policies.

If TISA were to be passed, the Agreement would not be in violation of any of the measures set in place by GATS.

The Agreement would also allow nations already signed on to be able to bully and pressure other nations into signing the Agreement, forfeiting their internal data to the other nations in the process.

TISA covers over fifty countries including major world and financial leaders such as the United States and all members of the EU, while also covering many financially weaker countries such as Colombia and Pakistan.

The BRICS countries, Brazil, Russia, India, and China, are all absent from the draft and subsequent agreements.  This may be an attempt to soften the financial stability and bargaining power of such countries in future services negotiations.

Fully restrained inmate pepper-sprayed by sheriff & left to suffer


NASHVILLE, January 30, 2014–  A video below shows a completely restrained inmate getting pepper spayed in the face by Rutherford County Deputy Sheriff Vanderveer. Vanderveer claims that the inmate was being combative in a report. However, the video evidence does not warrant those claims.

Although the events leading up to the sheriff’s assault on the inmate are  not immediately clear, the inmate in no way seems combative during the duration of the video.

According to the video provided by the Rutherford County Tennessee Beacon, The inmate was sprayed in the face and left in the room to choke on the fumes without the ability to use his hands or feet for at least fifteen minutes.

Vanderveer received a warning from the Rutherford County Sheriff’s office where the event took place.

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