Tag Archives: Report

Report: Hillary Ignored Labor Violations, Following Donations To Clinton Foundation

A recent report claims that after the Clinton Foundation received millions of dollars in donations from the head of a Colombian oil company, the State Department under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, agreed to support a free trade agreement with Colombia in 2011, overlooking the same ongoing labor rights violations Clinton pledged to stop in 2008.

According to a report from International Business Times, at the same time that Clinton’s State Department was condemning human rights violations in Colombia, the Clinton family was also “forging a financial relationship” with the extensive petroleum company Pacific Rubiales, which is “at the center of Colombia’s labor strife.

In April 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported that Clinton pledged to defeat a controversial free trade agreement between the US and Colombia, saying that it was bad for labor rights.

As I have said for months, I oppose the deal,” Clinton said. “I have spoken out against the deal, I will vote against the deal, and I will do everything I can to urge the Congress to reject the Colombia Free Trade Agreement.”

However, by 2010, Clinton had completely changed her stance on the agreement. The report from IBT attributes this change to the fact that millions of dollars from Pacific Rubiales, supplemented by the company’s founder, Canadian financier Frank Giustra, were donated to the Clinton Foundation.

In January 2008, the New York Times reported that after securing a major uranium mining deal in Kazakhstan, Giustra gave $31.3 million to the Clinton Foundation, followed by a pledge of $100 million. According to the Times, this donation secured Giustra’s spot in Clinton’s “inner circle.”

In June 2010, Investor’s Business Daily noted that Clinton seemed to have a change of heart towards the free trade agreement, and was now promoting it, saying that the deal is “strongly in the interests” of both the US and Colombia.

First, let me underscore President Obama’s and my commitment to the Free Trade Agreement,” Clinton said. “We are going to continue to work to obtain the votes in the Congress to be able to pass it. We think it’s strongly in the interests of both Colombia and the United States.

In Feb. 2014, three Colombian labor activists claimed that they were imprisoned over a lawsuit against Pacific Rubiales, regarding protests that occurred in 2011, when thousands of members of Union Sindical Obrero in Puerto Gaitan, Meta, “went on strike in opposition to inadequate living conditions and unfair labor practices at the hands of Pacific Rubiales.

According to Colombia Reports, the international president of the United Steelworkers Union, Leo W. Gerard, wrote a letter to Clinton in Nov. 2011, asking her to protect Colombian union leaders, after the family of Juan Carlos Galvis, an executive committee member of the Sinaltrainal workers union, was attacked in their home.

The report from IBT noted that instead of responding to the Union leaders, Clinton’s State Department “publicly praised Colombia’s progress on human rights,” which led to the deposit of “hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. aid” into the Colombian military that labor activists were accusing of helping “intimidate workers” into working in inhumane conditions.

DOJ Report: Philadelphia Police Shot 400 People in 7 Years

On Monday a new report was released by the US Department of Justice which condemned the Philadelphia Police Department for “poor training”, and for the shooting of approximately 400 civilians over the last 7 years. The report came at the request of Philadelphia Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey.

The Justice department found a lack of “guidelines, objectives, or lesson plans that detail PPD officer training on the department’s use of force policies.” The DOJ is calling on the PPD to create a specific unit that looks into every case where an officer uses deadly force. They also requested that an independent outside agency investigate shootings of unarmed individuals and hold a press conference within three days to reveal details.

The report found a lack of accountability when it comes to officer-involved shootings, or OIS.  “All PPD should be required to report any misconduct, including but not limited to excessive use of force.”  The report also concluded that “all across OIS  investigations, we found a general lack of consistency in quality.”

Philadelphia Mayor Nutter said the city must heed the warnings of the DOJ. “We will examine fully this report and work on a realistic approach for implementation of the recommendations as quickly as possible,” he stated.

Despite a lack of “official” statistics on the number of police officer shootings of civilians, independent estimates have found that over 1,000 individuals were killed by police in 2014.  The Washington Post drew the following comparison:

“In New York, for example, there were 30 police shootings in 2012 (16 of the people shot were killed, while the rest were injured) and 25 such shootings in 2013 (eight of those people were killed), according to the police. The Dallas Police Department, responsible for a city closer in size to Philadelphia, said it had 23 shootings in 2012 and 22 in 2013. Meanwhile, police in Philadelphia had 58 shootings in 2012 and 44 shootings in 2013.”

The DOJ report comes after another study done last month by the ACLU of Pennsylvania and the law firm of Kairys, Rudovsky, Messing & Feinberg, LLP. The two groups found that the PPD illegally stops and frisks tens of thousands of individuals.

Truth in Media Gets It Right, DOJ Says Policing for Profit Part of Ferguson Discrimination

A report from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice revealed that the police department in Ferguson, Missouri, exercised discrimination against the black community by using excessive force, issuing minor citations and making unnecessary traffic stops.

While the full report has not yet been released, anonymous federal law enforcement officials told the Associated Press that it “chronicles discriminatory practices across the city’s criminal justice system, detailing problems from initial encounters with patrol officers to treatment in the municipal court and jail.

The investigation began weeks after an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, was shot and killed by a white police officer, Darren Wilson, in the city of Ferguson in August.

The officials told the Associated Press the investigation found that in a city that is 67 percent African American, “black were 68 percent less likely than others to have their cases dismissed by a municipal court judge.”

The officials also found that 88 percent of the time use of excessive force was documented by police, it was being used against a black individual, and that out of the city’s 53 police officers, only three were black.

Investigative Journalist Ben Swann documented the clashes between the residents and local police when he visited the city of Ferguson in November.

Swann pointed out that while a lot of people would describe the moment Brown was shot by Wilson as the moment conflict began, some of the city’s residents would say the shooting was the highlight of something that has been building under the surface for decades.

Mark and Earl Banks, brothers who grew up in Ferguson, and now live in Detroit, told Swann that they aren’t surprised by this incident, and that the issues in Detroit are no different than the issues in Ferguson.

Joe Stevenson, who also grew up in Ferguson, told Swann that 30 years ago, just like today, the relationship between citizens and police was tense. He attributed this to the fact that police would look for anyone to write tickets for in order to obtain money from fines.

You could make the argument that this all comes back to social media and new media: the ability for people to rally together, to protest, to communicate, for information to rise to the surface,” Swann said. “Maybe this incident was a long time coming, but for many they’re glad that the moment is finally here.”

Report: TSA Not Prepared to Detect “Catastrophic” Aviation Threat

A report from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) admitted that its agents are not prepared to detect or to respond to the threat posed by a bomb made of the substance thermite, which could have a catastrophic effect if ignited on an airplane.

The classified document, first released by The Intercept, revealed that if igniting on an aircraft, thermite, which is a “mixture of rust and aluminum powder,” could result in “catastrophic damage and the death of every person onboard.”

Written in Dec. 2014, by the TSA’s Office of Intelligence and Analysis, the report stated that not only are thermite-based devices “easily assembled and concealable,” they are also likely to go undetected under current TSA screening procedures.

The report claimed that both a thermite-based substance and an ignition source can be placed in items that would “not arouse suspicion as they pass through TSA security screening,” such as children’s toys and water canteens.

Several anonymous TSA officials told The Intercept that while they had been briefed on the threat, they were given “no information or training on identifying thermite ignition.”

One federal air marshal described the situation by saying, “They say to identify something we don’t know how to identify and say there is nothing we can do. So basically, we hope it’s placed somewhere it does minimal damage, but basically we’re screwed.

When ignited, thermite burns violently and at extremely high temperatures, and may spray molten metal in all directions,” the report stated. “Thermite has the ability to burn through steel, and every other material of which an aircraft is comprised, it will continue to burn to completion.

The report went on to state that not only would a thermite-based incendiary device burn through all of the parts of an aircraft, it would also produce toxic gasses, “which can act as nerve poison,” along with a thick black smoke, which would “significantly inhibit any potential for in-flight safety officers to address the burn.”

The anonymous officials told The Intercept that while TSA “floods its employees with intelligence products from other agencies on various types of threats,” it has not told them how to respond to this threat.

The FBI released a statement saying that the “coordination between public safety, aviation, and national security focused agencies occurs on a continuous and collaborative basis to identify and neutralize threats to aviation safety.”

Councilman Kirby Delauter apologizes for threatening to sue reporter

After much online ridicule was thrown his way, Frederick County, Md. Councilman Kirby Delauter has apologized to the Frederick News-Post for threatening to sue the publication for publishing his name.

In an article published by the Frederick News-Post on Saturday, Delauter was mentioned briefly in relation to asking for more parking spots for council members. Once this article was published, Delauter took to social media to chastise the Frederick News-Post as well as the author of the article, Bethany Rodgers.

The social media post, made to Facebook, reads, “Shame on Bethany Rodgers for an unauthorized use of my name and my reference in her article today…” Delauter admitted Rodgers attempted to contact him by phone, but he did not return her calls.

Delauter's Facebook post.
Delauter’s Facebook post.

Rodgers responded to the post by writing, “there is no requirement to get a person’s authorization in order to mention them in the paper…” Delauter then went on the offensive by writing, “you’ll be paying for an Attorney,” if his name is ever used again without his consent. Then, he felt the need to write, “Your rights stop where mine start.”

Terry Headlee, the managing editor for the News-Post, said, “Kirby Delauter can certainly decline to comment on any story… But to threaten to sue a reporter for publishing his name is so ridiculously stupid that I’m speechless.”

Now, after nationwide coverage of the incident, Delauter has issued an apology saying his statements made online were “wrong” and “inappropriate.”

The apology, which was posted by the News-Post, reads, “The first amendment is alive and well in Frederick County… Of course, as I am an elected official, the Frederick News-Post has the right to use my name in any article related to the running of the county.”

Delauter continued by saying he felt “misrepresented and misinterpreted” in past news articles about him. However, Headlee said, according to the AP, that he and his staff of editors found no factual errors in the article which sparked Delauter’s online outburst.

Review finds Secret Service needs an ‘overhaul’

The Secret Service has faced a lot of scrutiny recently after allowing multiple people to breach the perimeter of the White House and approach the president unhindered.  Now, a review panel released a report of the agency responsible for protecting the president, and is calling for a major overhaul of the agency.

The panel heard one common critique from those inside and outside the Service: The Service is too insular,” reads the summary of the report.  The report also says the Secret Service is “starved for leadership that rewards innovation and excellence.”

The report outlined a few recommendations for ways to help the Secret Service, the first of which, according to Reuters, is to simply build a higher fence around the White House.  The new fence would be “4 to 5 feet higher” than the current fence and the top of which would curve outwards.

Another recommendation was also hiring more agents.  “The Secret Service is stretched to and, in many cases, beyond its limits,” said the report.  The addition of close to 300 new agents, the report found, would shorten the long hours the agents currently work and allow more needed rest for agents.  

Finally, the report suggests the need for a non-Secret Service person to be selected for the position of leader within the agency.  This goes against the long-standing practice of choosing a Secret Service member as the leader, but it would also bring a fresh view of the agency from the outside.  This, the report claims, would bring more accountability to the agency.

Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson weighed in on the review, saying, according to CBS News, the panel findings were “astute, thorough and fair.”

“It is now up to the leadership of the Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security to ensure that all the recommendations are carefully considered,” said Johnson.  “In fact, some of the panel’s recommendations are similar to others made in past agency reviews… The Secret Service itself must commit to change.”

Many Americans are OK with torture after the release of the CIA’s report

After the release of the CIA Torture Report, many politicians are defending the report or analyzing the results, but the American public seems unchanged from the findings.  In fact, many Americans are alright with torture and have not bothered by torture for some years.

A 2009 Pew Research poll found 71 percent of Americans were fine with torture on some level as long as it was justified by obtaining important information which could save American lives or similar reasons.

A similar study in 2012 by YouGov yielded similar results.  And more recently, Amnesty International published a study in early 2014 showing the U.S. is the most supportive western country of the use of torture against those deemed enemies.

Now, CBS held a poll in the wake of the release of the torture report showing 57 percent of those polled think the tactics outlined in the report had extracted reliable and important information.  Some of the tactics mentioned in the report were waterboarding, forcing a prisoner to stay awake for 18 hours, threatening sexual abuse against the prisoners family, and forced ice water baths.

The poll also found 57 percent of Americans believed the CIA when they said these torture tactics were effective.

However, while many Americans believe the use of torture was a helpful asset, the committee responsible for compiling and releasing the report found, “The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.”  The report itself also says the effectiveness of the strategies to extract information were exaggerated.

The site Hot Air points out this should not be a surprise though.  The site contends the rise of ISIS has many Americans valuing security rather than civil liberties.

New Report Shines Light on NSA’s Mishaps and Ineffective Surveillance

Unfortunately for National Security Agency (NSA) bureaucrats and policymakers in Congress, another report has seeped through the headlines showing yet more inconsistencies with government-approved stories on the NSA’s surveillance state. The latest report comes from the New American Foundation (NAF), which outright calls director Keith Alexander’s thwarted terror attacks claim misleading and overblown.

While the NAF does claim the federal government has stopped dozens of terrorist attacks, the organization believes NSA bulk data collection had “minimal” involvement in those thwarted plots. Jumping right in, out of the 225 allegedly foiled plots by state agents, roughly 1.3 percent of the plots were dismantled by “NSA surveillance under an unidentified authority.” And besides unidentified authority, the numbers are still low.

Crunching the numbers, NAF writes that NSA surveillance under section 702 of the Patriot Act was involved in 4.4 percent of thwarted plots. Under section 215, only 1.8 percent was deterred because of NSA surveillance. Simply put, NAF explains that the American surveillance complex hasn’t actually stopped terrorist plots, but rather, related plots that come secondary to the actual plot such as fundraising for groups.

Even in one case of NSA intervention where exchange took place between San Diego cabdriver Basaaly Moalin and an al-Qaeda affiliate group al-Shabaab, the actual intervention took place two months later by FBI officials. Although the call between Moalin and the Somalian-based al-Shabaab occurred under the NSA’s radar, the actual surveillance and wiretapping by FBI agents happened months later, stalling the capture.

The NAF notes, “This undercuts the government’s theory that the database of Americans’ telephone metadata is necessary to expedite the investigative process, since it clearly didn’t expedite the process in the single case the government uses to extol its virtues.” Another case, which has been sprinkled with NSA exaggeration, is the David Coleman Headley and Najiullah Zazi’s case – better known as the NYE bomb plot. 
In addition, court files show other references where NSA surveillance played a role in tampering with terrorist activities, however the NAF was unable to detail how much of a role was played.

Concluding, the NAF believes the problem with NSA techniques is that once the information is compiled, officials are lacking the proper tools to actually do something with the compiled information, making it a soft point for stopping plots. 
With such low NSA intervention after bulk data collection, it’s a wonder whether or not the bureaucrats are actually doing this for national security or rather vast domestic surveillance of Americans.

Government Demands Facebook Hand Over Data On 38K Users

According to a report from Facebook, more than 70 countries are hitting the social giant up for its data on users. The report confirms what many have been worried about for years now. The US is responsible for approximately 1/2 of  the 26,000 requests reflecting facebook38,000 users. The report confirming the data handover does not specify the type of data released. It does show that the United States is at the very top of intrusion.

The US sent out 11,000-12,000 total requests on 20,000-21,000 users. The United States government got exactly what it wanted 79% of the time. Only India came close to America with 3,245 total requests on 4,144 users. This is only a 6 month report. Facebook is the most recent tech company to release such data. Twitter also releases a transparency report along with Google.

Are you concerned with the US government requesting so much data through Facebook?

Let us know what you think in the comments below-