NOVATO, CALIF. (2-7-2012) - An anonymous internet user going by the name of OP released the bank account numbers, Social Security Numbers, phone numbers and addresses of a massive number of Novato residents Saturday.
The individual, who seemingly appeared out of the blue, addressed the anonymous website as his “crew,” using rhyming language.
Rumors are circulating that the information passed down originated from an accomplished hacker group comprised of remnants of LulzSec.
As leaks poured out, anonymous internet users suspected they might be credit cards, but later determined the leaked information was bank account numbers issued by Westamerica Bank, a local bank of California which issues ten digit account numbers like are found in the leaks, or “dox,” the term sometimes used for the disclosure of sensitive information.
Do you remember me?
Infamous I was
Fucking shit up, causing quite the buzz
I belonged to a team
With a hacker like theme
Now I’m lurking here
For a crew thats top tier
I have a plan thats 4 years in the making
And soon we’ll have what’s ours for the taking
A handful of brave or reckless individuals logged into the bank website using the details.
Others signed up for accounts using the credit information, immediately followed by declarations of deletion of virtual machines, as well as paranoia fueled incineration of their hard drives.
Another user asked, “what did they do to you OP? Seriously, not the whole fucking town could have wronged you.”
“OP” refers to the “original poster,” who has acknowledged the extreme likelihood of going to prison as a result of his or her actions.
After some investigation, it was determined OP’s identity might possibly have something to do with Jack Briner who, in 1997, used stolen lists of information from his former bank of employment for use at Westmerica Bank. Google results reveal Jack Briner is teaching economics to the upcoming best-and-brightest of San Jose.
OP was particularly inclined to call out an individual by the name of Jim Greenway, whose SSN was referenced repeatedly and explicitly. OP added, “the rest and greenway shall pay.”
UPDATE: Jim Greenway is a bank branch manager.
After posting the 25th batch of account numbers, OP quipped, “Don’t fuck with me, I’m football team,” spawning a meme which, as time goes on, will likely gain notoriety with its obscurity.
Also, there was a four hour countdown. At zero hour, this happened:
greenway is gone
i have set us up the bomb
time to say goodbye
as i too shall die
WASHINGTON — Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) gesticulated to an applauding crowd as she asked bank regulators about the last time they have “taken the biggest financial institutions on Wall Street all the way to a trial.”
Comptroller Tom Curry replied that he had obtained a large number of consent orders and, when pressed, claimed that he had not had to bring a large Wall Street bank to trial to achieve their “supervisory goals.”
As Securities and Exchange Commission Elisse Walter said she would have to get back to the senator with specific information, on attendee clapped.
Sen. Warren said she was concerned that “too big to fail had become too big for trial.”
Wired’s Spencer Ackerman at the Committee Press Table Thursday
WASHINGTON — Tuesday the public will not have access to the next round of questions to be leveled against CIA Director Nominee John Brennan before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. However conflicting statements and controversial answers from Thursday’s open hearing provide clues as to what committee members, as well as the nominee himself, can expect in closed session.
Ranking Member Saxy Chambliss (R-GA) said Thursday, “We know that the 2009 executive order removed the CIA from the detention business, but the current framework is simply not working to get real-time access to intelligence from terrorist detainees.”
In fact the 2009 executive order to which Sen. Chambliss referred did not totally remove the CIA from the detention business. Despite that executive order’s prohibition on CIA “detention facilities,” it also said, “[t]he terms ‘detention facilities’ and ‘detention facility’ in section 4(a) of this order do not refer to facilities used only to hold people on a short-term, transitory basis.” Biographer for former CIA Director David Petraeus Paula Broadwell said, when publicly addressing the University of Colorado, that the CIA had “had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner” at the attacked Benghazi, Libya facility, and that the attack on the facility was an attempt to free prisoners.
CIA Spokesperson Preston Golson told CBS News, “Any suggestion that the Agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless,” and despite the executive order’s claims that CIA detention is allowed under certain circumstances, in November CBS News ran with a misleading conclusion:
President Barack Obama issued an executive order in January 2009 stripping the CIA of its authority to take prisoners.
The move means the CIA can no longer operate secret jails across the globe as it had done under the administration of President George W. Bush.
When asked by Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Feinstein (D-CA) about waterboarding in connection with 9/11 plotters, Mr. Brennan described the practice as “reprehensible,” saying that as director the practice would “never come back.” But he told the chair that the CIA was still assessing whether it had been effective in helping capture Osama bin Laden, and resisted calling it “torture,” citing his own lack of legal background. That reluctance came despite Mr. Brennan’s noting that Attorney General Eric Holder considered the “enhanced interrogation technique” out of line with the Geneva Conventions.
Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) expressed exasperation at the limited number of senators with whom the CIA had been willing to discuss the Intelligence Committee’s 6,000-page report on the interrogation program, a program that promoted waterboarding.
“Why was it that they were willing to talk to [former Intelligence Committee Chair Senator] Pat Roberts [(R-KS)] and me or [Intelligence Committee Ranking Member] Saxby Chambliss [(R-AL)] and [Intelligence Committee Chair] Dianne Feinstein but not anybody else until we literally bludgeoned them, [former Intelligence Committee Ranking Member] Kit Bond [(R-MO)] and I, into agreeing to include everybody? Like Carl Levin’s not trustworthy? You know, I mean, it’s amazing.”
Sen. Rockefeller would also comment on Mr. Brennan’s statement to popular misconceptions about the number of harmed innocents in drone strikes. The CIA, said Mr. Brennan, seeks to “make sure that we do not have any collateral injuries or deaths.”
“[A]ny collateral damage,” the West Virginia senator told the nominee, “is unacceptable.”
As she initiated the meeting Sen. Feinstein stated the executive branch offered the committee figures of drone strike collateral damage “typically” in the “single digits” each year. These figures stand in heavy contrast to many estimates, particularly one 2009 figure of 119 from The Bureau of Investigative Journalism.
At deadline Thursday Wired’s Spencer Ackerman would attribute these estimates to the CIA, not to another possible “executive branch” entity, again, Sen. Feinstein having only cited in the hearing the “branch” as the committee’s source:
During the hearing, Feinstein forcefully insisted that the CIA’s drone strikes kill only “single digits” of civilians annually . . . She suggested that media reports and nongovernmental organization studies claiming larger percentages of civilian deaths from the highly classified program are ignorant. Feinstein emphasized that the CIA has hosted committee staff over 30 times to conduct oversight over the drone program . . . [I]f the CIA misled Congress about torture, how can the committee be confident it’s not misleading Congress about civilian deaths from drones?
Bemoaning a lack of transparency about the Benghazi attack, Senator Richard Burr (R-NC) would receive from the nominee a saw about the importance of separation of powers. “I want to be mindful of that separation,” said Mr. Brennan, “but at the same time meet your legitimate interests.”
Sen. Chambliss confronted Mr. Brennan with statements from former CIA Executive Director Alvin Krongard and boss to the nominee. The senator followed up on statements Mr. Krongard gave The Wall Street Journal last month:
Mr. Krongard said CIA officials submitted possible techniques to Justice officials for review and approval, without taking a stand on specific tactics.
“John would have been part and parcel of that process,” Mr. Krongard said in an interview. “These are approved techniques done under the limitations that came along with them.”
However, Mr. Brennan wasn’t involved in the day-to-day decisions carrying out the program, Mr. Krongard said. “John, as far as I am concerned, gets a total, clean pass,” he said. He said he didn’t recall Mr. Brennan voicing misgivings about the program, but added “that doesn’t mean that he did or he didn’t” have any.
Media critics such as Media Matters for America and Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) pointed to statements from a 2007 CBS “The Early Show” interview to disparage the nominee for supporting waterboarding or torture. FAIR’s Jim Naureckas, indicting New York Times reporters for what he deemed a morally relativistic brand of objectivity, said last month Mr. Brennan’s support for torture was “a matter of public record.” Mr. Brennan’s citing the effectiveness of waterboarding, wrote Mr. Naureckas, meant that Times reporter Scott Shane terming characterizations of Mr. Brennan as “accusations” was bordering on sophistry. FAIR highlighted this Brennan quote from that interview, with CBS’s Harry Smith:
There have been a lot of information that has come out from these interrogation procedures that the agency has in fact used against the real hard-core terrorists. It has saved lives.
Similarly, Media Matters accused the media, particularly the Los Angeles Times, of “downplaying” Mr. Brennan’s support for enhanced interrogation techniques. Media Matters, unlike FAIR, did acknowledge one contravening Brennan quote from the “Early Show” interview, which claimed waterboarding met “the classic definition of torture.”
Waterboarding has critics even among those who claim it is effective. As waterboarding whistleblower and former CIA case officer wrote in his autobiographical The Reluctant Spy:
[E]ven if torture works, it cannot be tolerated — not in one case or a thousand or a million. If their efficacy becomes the measure of abhorrent acts, all sorts of unspeakable crimes somehow become acceptable. Barack Obama got it right when he declassified the [Office of Legal Counsel] memos of 2002 and 2005: “Torture,” the president of the United States said, “corrodes the character of a country.”
Mr. Obama’s opponent in the 2008 election, Senator McCain, also characterized waterboarding as torture, also opposing the practice.
WASHINGTON — Following days of Anonymous defacement and deactivation of the U.S. Sentencing Commission website, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elijah Cummings (D-MD) wrote a letter Monday to the attorney general requesting a briefing on attempts to prosecute late Internet activist Aaron Swartz for computer fraud and theft.
As to whether Anonymous computer fraud spurred the letter, the committee majority’s staff had not responded to requests for comment, and minority press staff say they have “no comment” beyond the letter itself. Meanwhile members of the hacktivist collective are likely to claim the timing of the letter as a success in their “OpLastResort” campaign to draw attention to overzealous copyright enforcement, particularly by former Swartz prosecutor Carmen Ortiz. To the end of drawing that attention, operation participants have loaded a whimsical, custom game of “Asteroids” onto the Justice Department’s Sentencing Commission website, or employed Structured Query Language injection causing its total inaccessibility, such as at the time of this writing.
Notably using the passive voice, the Oversight Committee representatives’ letter to Attorney General Eric Holder reads in part:
They ask that Mr. Holder schedule a committee briefing by next Monday and be prepared to answer the following questions:
As of midday Monday the following presentation from the OpLastResort (Operation Last Resort) campaign was the most viewed YouTube video in any category.
The video claims that federal sentencing guidelines are out of keeping with the Eighth Amendment, which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. To encourage authorities to institute enforcement and legislative changes, the video encourages members of Anonymous to download and redistribute “warheads,” information files encoded via the same PGP “.aes256″ standard WikiLeaks utilized for its eventually unraveled Cablegate “insurance” file. The video says that activists will release heavily redacted, private government files to a select media outlet. In order for authorities to deter the release of the full information “warheads,” the video makes the following demands:
 There must be reform of outdated and poorly-envisioned legislation, written to be so broadly applied as to make a felony crime out of violation of terms of service, creating in effect vast swathes of crimes, and allowing for selective punishment.
 There must be reform of mandatory minimum sentencing.
 There must be a return to proportionality of punishment with respect to actual harm caused, and consideration of motive and mens rea.
 The inalienable right to a presumption of innocence and the recourse to trial and possibility of exoneration must be returned to its sacred status, and not gambled away by pre-trial bargaining in the face of overwhelming sentences, unaffordable justice and disfavorable odds.
 Laws must be upheld unselectively, and not used as a weapon of government to make examples of those it deems threatening to its power.
While Anonymous has become famous for inciting vigilantism with imagery from the 2005 film “V for Vendetta,” this video also promotes action using scenes and music from the Batman “Dark Knight Trilogy.”
In publishing his tome, Let the Dead Bury the Dead, Indiana-based researcher Matt Janovic documents pervasive corruption, zany paranoia culture and desperate legal harassment. Although he had a list of prostitutes, servicing the capital region’s elites, employed by Jeane Palfrey, former Johns were “going after all of them,” he says, “to shut them up.” For 13 years Ms. Palfrey was able to sell sex to thousands of D.C. clients, including politicians, and well-compensated defense and intelligence contractors.
The Johns’ attempts to shut up their prostitutes worked, far more than the prostitutes’ fear of their own criminal liability. Mr. Janovic, along with the rest of the team working for the cause of defending Ms. Palfrey, “couldn’t find [the former prostitutes].”
Following D.C. Federal Judge Gladys Kessler’s having obtained in late 2007 subpoena power over various law enforcement and intelligence agencies in connection to Ms. Palfrey’s case, Judge Kessler was replaced by Judge James Robertson, who subsequently quashed that subpoena power. “All of a sudden,” says Mr. Janovic, “Judge Kessler is replaced without any explanation, nothing.” It was at this time, he says, that Ms. Palfrey threatened, in front of defense counsel Montgomery Sibley, to kill herself. The author speculates that a suicide threat even in front of Judge Kessler may have been the reason for her replacement.
Mr. Janovic makes clear that he hates conspiracy nuts. These peddlers of fear, he says, are “incredibly irresponsible, dishonest with themselves and everybody.” Their distrust of absolutely all parties to everything, says the author via phone, is “intellectually lazy,” adding that their unhealthy distrust is a “cop-out.” He thinks their basic view of the world is, “like, ‘well, if I don’t have to be a responsible citizen I can just go running to irrationality.” This is the reason that, despite prostitution ring operator Jeane Palfrey’s radio show assurances that she would not commit suicide, he was entirely certain that her suicide was not the product of any foul play whatsoever.
But after being her investigated for fraud by the Postal Service, and informants turning on her multimillion-dollar sex ring — and receiving numerous, spurious legal threats, intended to intimidate him into silence — Matt Janovic, a former researcher for Ms. Palfrey, has still come to the conclusion that there are practical and ethical limits to unhinged distrust. The Postal Service busted Ms. Palfrey twice in the early ’90s for money laundering. He says, “I was getting the fake cease-and-desists for a while, but now they’ve halted because the book is out,” adding that letter writers were “just trying to fake me out and intimidate me into not putting the book out . . . If anything they emboldened me to do it.”
The evidence that Ms. Palfrey hung herself, as his book’s maccabre cover makes clear, is her “making comments that were filled with absolutes: ‘I will not serve one more day in prison;’ ‘they’re not getting one penny of my money;’ ‘I’m getting it all back.’” Because the “D.C. Madam,” as the press would advertise her, killed herself before sentencing, the government was not able to keep as many of her assets, of which her estate eventually received the majority.
Mr. Janovic’s skill as a researcher, apparent to her by his early comments on the case, made it unnecessary for him to solicit his considerable talents. She hired him directly. The author thinks, in addition to his own blogging, that that philosophical coinage of Sun-Tzu, “keep your friends close but your enemies closer,” also informed her decision to hire him.
“She contacts me after I write these observations, maybe a month after. I think about a week after she contacts me, she starts making comments about suicide. And we started talking about one of her former escorts, Brandy Britton. She was a sociology professor at the University of Maryland. And [Ms. Britton] killed herself the same way. And [Ms. Palfrey] said in an email . . . June 20, 2007, ‘oh, I’ve thought many times of killing myself but apparently I’m a tougher nut than [Ms. Britton] was.’”
In February 2008 Ms. Palfrey sent an email to Jason Leopold and Mr. Janovic’s co-researcher, carbon-copying Mr. Janovic, “kind of like, ‘OK, I want you to bear witness to this.’” While Truthout’s own Mr. Leopold tried to reassure her of her odds in the federal investigation, she responded nonetheless with, “Jason… let’s put it like this, the bastards aren’t going to take me alive.” She struggled with the idea of doing only three years in jail, daresay the far longer, bluffing sentences tossed before her by federal prosecutors.
Actress Mimi Kennedy, who portrayed Jeane Palfrey in an episode of ABC Drama “Scandal” (via: IMDB)
Additionally she made other statements to Mr. Janovic that made him suspect she was on the way self-down — suicidal themes pervading her conversations with the author of this 600-page tell-all. Mr. Janovic relays the story of an acquaintance who met Ms. Palfrey in Florida, the operator of a straightforward escort service, who saw Ms. Palfrey taking anti-depressents, “very casually, popping [them] in front of her.” Ms. Palfrey eventually overdosed on anti-depressants to ensure that she could not be revived following her own hanging. The author says, “She was drugging herself to keep her head on.”
For 10 months after June 2007, the author of Let the Dead Bury the Dead was deeply frightened of an upcoming suicide on the part of Ms. Palfrey, whose clients included Senator David Vitter (R-LA), former USAID Administrator Randall Tobias, political consultant Jack Berkman, and political analyst Dick Morris. Regulars included Mr. Morris, Sen. Vitter, and former Naval Commander Harlan Ullman, author of the Iraq War’s “shock and awe” doctrine, which called for “overwhelming power, dominant battlefield awareness, dominant maneuvers, and spectacular displays of force to paralyze an adversary’s perception of the battlefield and destroy its will to fight.”
Mr. Janovic says, laughing,”Some of the girls complained about him having problems with bathing hygiene and that he was abusive emotionally.”
Of particular frustration to Mr. Janovic is the continuing power of client Jack Burkman, a former lobbyist for James Dobson’s Focus on the Family, and 2004 Bush-Cheney campaign strategist. The author writes in Chapter Eight:
[Mr.] Burkman was provided supporting fire (cover) by the mainstream press. They let him off the hook completely when it was blatantly obvious that he was in the phone records; published the finding at that time. But the mainstream media can ignore that when it has to, and it did. They wouldn’t touch it.
The Associated Press and ABC’s Brian Ross, says the author in his Internet Chronicle phone interview, “stayed as far away from the true nature of the case as they possibly could.” If Jack Burkman’s claims that he denied to mainstream media sources having purchased sex can be believed, the author blames those (unknown) sources for having taken Mr. Burkman at his word. Gawker, says Mr. Janovic, pulled several links down relating to Mr. Burkman’s own, other sexual foibles, specifically an account two lesbian women posted to a MySpace page, claiming that Mr. Burkman offered them a thousand dollars to have sex in front of him. Mr. Burkman threatened the two women legally, and they pulled the tale. The two had a scan of Mr. Burkman’s business card, which he offered them.
One commenter on Mr. Janovic’s blog, an NPR employee who spoke to the author from her place of work, spoke to the author of dating Mr. Burkman. Mr. Janovic says her story jives with that of the two women from MySpace.
As to why Sen. Vitter escaped the scandal without prosecution, and with re-election, Mr. Janovic blames U.S. attorneys kowtowing to those who place them in power. The author considers these attorneys and assistant attorneys “handlers and fixers” for senators, who “clean up their messes for them.” Sen. Vitter, says the author, had a “favorite” prostitute at Pamela Martin & Associates, who the feds “put on ice,” into protection.
The escort agency’s subpoenaed Verizon phone records, to which the author was privy, he says, are “the smoking gun for Hookergate.” Included in the phone records “was even the archbishop of D.C.” Ms. Palfrey would tell the author that other clients of Pamela Martin & Associates included Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and then Halliburton CEO and future Vice President Dick Cheney.
“She also mentioned Fred Thompson,” says Mr. Janovic. “And then,” he starts to say with a laugh, “– and this is interesting because I started writing about it. You know, I actually started writing about it after she was dead. And then lo and behold I start getting on his mailing list in my email box.” The former senator was at the time launching what would be an ill-fated campaign for the Republican Party presidential nomination.
Air Force Global Strike Command Image Celebrating Martin King’s 83rd Birthday
WASHINGTON — Monday the Air Force Global Strike Command Programming Division published commentary claiming that slain civil rights leader and proponent of nonviolence Martin Luther King would be proud of a team commandeering the military’s nuclear-capable assets. The command’s ethnic, religious and socioeconomic diversity, presumably deduces commentary author Mr. Warren Ward, would outweigh any concerns by Mr. King that the vast technological enterprise could capably end the lives of all people on earth.
Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team — comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion — standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the U.S. arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. . . [ellipses AFGSC's] Our team must overlook our differences to ensure perfection as we maintain and operate our weapon systems. . . Maintaining our commitment to our Global Strike team, our families and our nation is a fitting tribute to Dr. King as we celebrate his legacy.
This is not the first time that Defense Department officials have tried to co-opt the legacy of the slain civil rights activist to forward the cause of military operations following his death. At a press conference January 13, 2011, then Defense Department General Counsel Jeh Johnson, who heard Mr. King speak in person, said, “I believe that if Dr. King were alive today, he would recognize that we live in a complicated world, and that our nation’s military should not and cannot lay down its arms and leave the American people vulnerable to terrorist attack.” Mr. Johnson acknowledged Mr. King’s opposition to America’s involvement in Vietnam but claimed that contemporary military theaters constitute involvements with which Mr. King would have had special sympathy.
In analysis of Mr. Johnson’s remarks, Terri Moon Cronk for American Forces Press Service wrote, “[Mr.] Johnson said today’s service members might wonder whether the mission they serve is consistent with King’s message and beliefs.”
Quoting pieces of Mr. Johnson’s remarks, Ms. Cronk continued:
“The question is not, ‘If I stop to help this man in need, what will happen to me?’ The question is, ‘If I do not stop to help the sanitation workers, what will happen to them?’”
Johnson compared today’s troops to the Samaritan, who chose to help instead of taking an easier path.
“I draw the parallel to our own servicemen and women deployed in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, away from the comfort of conventional jobs, their families and their homes,” Johnson said.”
“Every day, our servicemen and women practice the dangerousness — the dangerous unselfishness Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.”
Mr. Johnson further said that day, “Those in today’s volunteer Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps have made the conscious decision to travel a dangerous road, and personally stop and administer aid to those who want peace, freedom and a better place in Iraq, in Afghanistan, and in defense of the American people. Every day our servicemen and women practice that ‘dangerous unselfishness’ Dr. King preached on April 3, 1968.”
That evening in 1968, while giving his famous “Mountaintop” speech, Mr. King allowed his imagination to expand on the text of Luke and ponder the motivations of those two Hebrews who ignore the victim of robbers.
Mr. King said:
It’s possible that the priest and the Levite looked over that man on the ground and wondered if the robbers were still around. Or it’s possible that they felt that the man on the ground was merely faking. And he was acting like he had been robbed and hurt, in order to seize them over there, lure them there for quick and easy seizure.
If we expand on Mr. Johnson’s take on the “Moutaintop” address, and the former general counsel’s drawing a parallel between the robbers, Pashtun and dissident militias; U.S. service people and the Good Samaritan, Mr. King would have intended the Samaritan to search nearby hills to capture or kill the robbers so that they did not trouble another traveler. If Mr. Johnson’s metaphor for the Afghan and Iraqi conflicts is naturally expanded in light of Mr. King’s speech, whether apparent Afghan and Iraqi victims are genuinely seeking “peace, freedom and a better place” should have remained suspect to American service men and women.
Of course Martin King’s legacy borders on an intensely critical eye towards U.S. military involvement overseas, repeatedly denouncing those who would decry a role for America as the world’s “police men.” His actual statements reveal a man who talked in absolute terms about violence and nonviolence, not in relationship just to the Vietnam War but to humanity’s longer-term plight and condition. Also in the “Mountaintop” speech Mr. Johnson referenced was this claim by Mr. King:
Men, for years now, have been talking about war and peace. But now, no longer can they just talk about it. It is no longer a choice between violence and nonviolence in this world; it’s nonviolence or nonexistence. That is where we are today.
A year before that speech, on April 30, at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, Mr. King would lay out his specific rationalization for opposing the war in Vietnam, the conditions of which stand in the face of the conflict in Afghanistan and a global annihilation strike force, whose technological prowess dwarfs any of the late 1960s.
I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic, destructive suction tube. And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only $53 for each person classified as poor, and much of that $53 goes for salaries to people that are not poor. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such.
Mr. King wrote that the violence pervading America’s inner cities drew ferocity from the death tolls the U.S. government threatened or did visit on millions of people in Vietnam. Today the U.S. government has legislatively enshrined the practice of killing minor citizens without trial, and a tolerance for murdering children reigns in the new, glorified technological wonder of drones, which have since replaced the vast carpet bombings of Vietnamese civilians. Mr. King rejected those bombings as evil.
Mr. King further said:
As I have walked among the desperate, rejected, and angry young [American] men, I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action; for they ask and write me, “So what about Vietnam?” They ask if our nation wasn’t using massive doses of violence to solve its problems to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without first having spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence I cannot be silent.
He added, “[T]he Vietcong, or to Castro, or to Mao, as a faithful minister to Jesus Christ . . . [,] can I threaten them with death, or must I not share with them my life?” What Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro and South Vietnam’s National Liberation Front had in common were much larger threats and actualizations of democide. Yet in the face of disenfranchised Islamist extremists, the Air Force Global Strike Command and Jeh Johnson would have the American people believe that Mr. King would have celebrated the maintenance and deployment of nuclear weapons, in addition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
How could the legacy of a man, who leaned quite nearly into pacifism, be thought of as pro-interventionist war? How has his legacy been co-opted by the huge defense establishment of the United States? How has this symbol of defiance and subversion become understood as an enemy of a state’s enemies?
To this end Internet Chronicle readers should look to 20th century French philosopher Roland Barthes’ and his dissection in Mythologies of a piece of 1950s nationalistic propaganda, a cover of Paris-Match, a publication incidentally still in print.
African Soldier Boy on Cover of mid-’50s Imperial French Periodical
Wrote Mr. Barthes (see Page 116) in 1955, “On the cover, a young Negro in a French uniform is saluting, with his eyes uplifted, probably fixed on a fold of the tricolour [French flag]. All this is the meaning of the picture. But, whether naively or not, I see very well what it signifies to me: that France is a great Empire, that all her sons, without any colour discrimination, faithfully serve under her flag, and that there is no better answer to the detractors of an alleged colonialism than the zeal shown by this Negro in serving his so-called oppressors. I am therefore again faced with a greater semiological system: there is a signifier, itself already formed with a previous system (a black soldier is giving the French salute); there is a signified (it is here a purposeful mixture of Frenchness and militariness); finally, there is a presence of the signified through the signifier.”
This week the Air Force has tried to contrast its organization’s relatively sexist and (internally) racist practices from the ’60s, Mr. King’s world, with that of today. Mr. King signified equality in a sense in the ’60s and in the modern ’10s. However, it is by forwarding this image of Mr. King as a symbol of equality that the Air Force’s article seeks to whitewash his image as a proponent of nonviolence, as an enemy of militarism, as an advocate against a philosophy of retaliation.
As Mr. King said in an April 30 1967 speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, “When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, militarism and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered.”
Indeed, maintaining a commitment to one’s nation, to the exclusion of other nations, touted by Mr. Ward flies in the face of the Ebenezer speech’s “call for a worldwide fellowship that lifts neighborly concern beyond one’s tribe, race, class, and nation” and “call for an all-embracing, unconditional love for all men.”
Anecdotes evincing the inappropriateness of the Air Force’s most recent appropriation of Mr. King’s legacy flow freely, including this example from Riverside Church, New York City on April 4, 1967, in which he unequivocally said, “War is not the answer,” speaking not just of the Vietnam conflict but war in general. He added. “Communism will never be defeated by the use of atomic bombs or nuclear weapons.” It was in that same speech that the southern reverend saw a fork in the road for human beings between “nonviolent coexistence or violent co-annihilation.” Violence and coexistence have no apparent ready place in the rhetoric of Mr. King.
Barthes, again in Mythologies, wrote: “[T]he signifier already postulates a reading, I grasp it through my eyes, it has a sensory reality (unlike the linguistic signifier, which is purely mental), there is a richness in it . . . the Negro’s salute” is a credible whole, at its disposal “a sufficient rationality. As a total of linguistic signs, the meaning of the myth has its own value, it belongs to a history, that of . . . the Negro: in the meaning, a signification is already built, and could very well be self-sufficient if myth did not take hold of it and did not turn it suddenly into an empty, parasitical form. The meaning is already complete, it postulates a kind of knowledge, a past, a memory, a comparative order of facts, ideas, decisions. When it becomes form, the meaning leaves its contingency behind; it empties itself, it becomes impoverished, history evaporates, only the letter remains. [emphasis, mine]”
With respect to the Paris-Match cover Mr. Barthes adds: “[O]ne must put the biography of the Negro in parentheses if one wants to free the picture, and prepare it to receive its signified.”
RICHMOND, VA. — “We just seen the opportunity, and I couldn’t pass it up. I had to own a slave,” said Internet Chronicle Publisher Frank Mason, speaking to clerical staff and press called to a conference at 1000 Monument Ave. With Jeff Schapiro from the Times-Dispatch busily taking notes, Mr. Mason continued, lamenting that he could only purchase a worker’s mortal flesh, “his gametes but never his soul.” He emphasized every syllable with a bang on the marble table top.
“God ain’t legalized that yet,” said Mr. Mason with a dry, wheezing laugh, before ejecting a runny stream of “baccy” from between tarred lips into a spittoon two meters away, carved apparently from a human skull.
“See that spitoon over there?” he said, gesticulating for reporters and Richmond business leaders. “That there’s a Czech. You can tell by the shape of the unity lobe.”
Editor of Chronicle.su — and lifelong friend of Mr. Mason’s — Kilgoar Trout complained that he was given no say in the matter. “Frank wanted to own a human being, he said. He said it’d make him feel powerful. It does.”
Lebal Drocer is a limited liability corporation. In God’s new America NAFTA and GATT have railroaded the communist unions that used to effectively clip and snip job creators. Those days are over. 1999 and Seattle came and went.
And they lost.
In addition to having assembled Virginia business leaders and various Saudi investors to show off what he called “his new Chinese,” Frank Mason told Internet Chronicle enthusiasts present that he was encouraging staff to obtain concealed-carry permits as soon as possible, and to fasten as many rails as possible to any “tricked-out rifles” staff might have hoarded in secret rooms in their basements. “That one’s putting a clampdown on on everything holy. Like my grandpappy used to say, Jesus won’t tolerate no clip with less capacity than days in his months,” adding, “And I ain’t talking about February!”
It was at this point that Raymond H. Boone of the Richmond Free-Press left the conference.
Editor Kilgoar Trout shared his concern that the company was moving too quickly away from the model of documenting the most frightening developments in cybersecurity and the out-of-control, privately bought-out surveillance state. “With this new venture into human trafficking,” said Mr. Trout to the publisher of Southside’s Community Weekly, “Frank’s really hijacking my religion of peace.”
WASHINGTON — Monday a D.C. Public Library representative contacted The Internet Chronicle’s Washington Bureau for a second time to explain that lawsuit-bait The Human Factor: Inside the CIA’s Dysfunctional Intelligence Culture had been “lost” in transit from the Virginia- and D.C.-based Defense Intelligence Agency. The representative offered what to her seemed to be an unusual failure to account for a book, one which The Internet Chronicle had requested on inter-library loan but which she now says will be purchased for the edification of D.C. Public Library patrons.
The book, written under the pseudonym Ishmael Jones, is by a CIA case officer, specializing in human intelligence, or HUMINT, who was subsequently sued by “the company” in 2010 after the book’s publication.
“Although ‘Jones’ submitted his manuscript to the Agency’s Publications Review Board as his secrecy agreement requires,” the CIA said in an October, 19, 2010 statement, “he did not let that review process run its course and instead published in defiance of the Board’s initial disapproval. He chose to violate a contract that he, and every other Agency employee, signs voluntarily as a condition of service with the CIA.”
“CIA officers are duty-bound to observe the terms of their secrecy agreement with the Agency,” Director Leon Panetta said, adding, “This lawsuit clearly reinforces that message.”
This reporter has requested The Human Factor in order to conduct background research on the greed and incompetence, its author says, that defines the CIA. The two phone calls weeks apart from the same library representative from the Martin Luther King Memorial Library in Chinatown indicate the book’s loss in transit is unusual.
Pro-Manning Protesters Outside of Fort Meade Tuesday
WASHINGTON – Retired Colonel Dan Choike, the former commander of Marine Corps Base Quantico, at which Private Bradley Manning was held, took the stand Tuesday and shed more light on the public relations and mental health concerns surrounding the incarceration of the Army intelligence analyst whose “Cablegate” document provisions to WikiLeaks sparked a global conflagration, culminating in the Arab Spring and the Occupy movement. Senior Quantico Marine officers anticipated ongoing complaints about the private’s treatment, and disregarded repeated advice from base forensic psychiatrists that the private did not need to be on suicide watch. Outright disagreement continued regarding the facts of an incident in which Private Manning alleges he was forced to stand naked. Col. Choike claims that he was offered a suicide smock and a blanket but refused those coverings.
Defense attorney David Coombs asked Col. Choike if he “knew” that Private Manning was asked to “put the blanket [covering him] back” when ordered to stand up. First the colonel replied simply, “no,” before adding to the attorney, “You’re talking hypotheticals.” As this exchange proceeded the private watched with wider, more interested eyes than usual, biting his lips.
Black-and-white factual disagreement also exists as to whether Private Manning was allowed only 20 minutes, as opposed to a full hour, of “sunshine call,” time outside in shackles.
The commander consistently ignored the advice of two psychiatrists, and Captain William Hoctor and Colonel Rick Malone — Capt. Hoctor’s advice particularly because one of his patients had recently killed himself while in the brig only a couple of weeks into his detention.
Presented exhibits included a “standard confinement pillow;” a “suicide mattress;” a green “suicide smock,” a cousin to the straitjacket; and two nooses — one a peach-colored makeshift bedsheet noose, the other constructed from sandbag ties. While defense counsel were quick to chime in that Private Manning had used neither noose, later this week Private Manning would testify to having made the bedsheet noose during his initial detention in Kuwait, a time during which American politicians and media personalities were roundly calling for the prisoner’s execution. Col. Choike cited factors that encouraged him to disregard psychiatrists’ advice that Manning not any longer be required to be put on suicide watch, a condition that would necessitate his wearing a chafing, restrictive smock the private claims gave him rub burns. Col. Choike, now a civilian employed at Stafford, Virginia’s Technology Associates, said the “seriousness” of Private Manning’s charges, “strained family relationships” and “erratic behavior” contributed to the continuing suicide watch. The “erratic behavior,” testified Col Choike, included “playing peek-a-boo,” “erratic dancing” and licking the bars of his cell.
Incredibly defense counsel claimed that the bar-licking might have been due to sleepwalking caused by anti-anxiety agents given to Private Manning. Neither side offered any details on the specific prescription medications given to Private Manning, but Capt. Hoctor said that Private Manning’s medication could cause sleepwalking and allegedly the bar-licking.
Col. Choike said that, instead of Capt. Hoctor and Col. Malone, he deferred to the chain of command and specifically the judgment of a dentist in charge of the Quantico medical clinic.
Both sides agree that Private Manning communicated to a guard that if he really wanted to hurt himself he could do with his waistband or his flip-flops. Col. Choike said that that guard took the statement so seriously that he relayed the concern to Barnes. In Mr. Coombs’ questioning of Col. Choike, he said that Private Manning was merely commenting on the absurdity of his being on suicide watch, a status that denied him more comfortable bedding and underwear to sleep in at night. Col. Choike said that subordinates did not make him aware that Private Manning was smiling when he made the observation, as Mr. Coombs implied.
Upon being questioned by David Coombs, Col. Choike disavowed the tone of a Dr. Seuss-ian poem in an email by Marine Corps legal counsel Christopher Greer to Col. Choike:
“I can wear them in a box. I can wear them with a fox. I can wear them in the day. I can wear them so I say. But I can’t wear them at night. My comments gave the staff a fright.”
Brig Commander Col. Robert Oltman would respond to Lt. Col. Greer’s email by himself referencing “Green Eggs & Ham,” signing his name “Sam I am.” On Wednesday, when he took the stand, Col. Oltman said that it would have been irresponsible not to take what Manning’s “flip-flop” line as being serious. “You don’t joke about suicide,” Col. Oltman testified, according to Bradley Manning Support Group writer Nathan Fuller.
Given the generally high rate of guilty verdicts in military trials, and his own offers to make a conditional plea “by substitution,” Private Manning’s defense strategy over the next three months hinges on calls for sympathy based, respectively, on the length of his pre-trial incarceration (over 900 days), and the severity of his treatment during that time. Private Manning will try to cut deals in which each day of his upcoming will count for multiple days, depending on how much defense counsel can impress upon Judge Denise Lind the degree of unpleasantness in at least 23-hour-a-day lockdowns in a 6-foot-by-8-foot cell. Private Manning has called for a dismissal of his case due to a claim that his right to a speedy trial was ignored.
David Coombs and prosecutor Major Ashden Fein are locked in a chicken-and-egg argument on the relationship between precautions allegedly intended to prevent Private Manning’s suicide, and those measures’ ironic, potential debilitating effects on Private Manning’s state of mind. The private’s treatment faced such scrutiny that it was enough to elicit criticism from a State Department spokesman and a U.N. special rapporteur on torture. Throughout his hours of questioning Tuesday’s witness Mr. Coombs tried to highlight for the judge and the press in attendance a contrast in the levels of attention Col. Choike and his superiors paid to public relations management of Private Manning’s incarceration, as opposed to the prisoner’s actual treatment.
Observers to the first day of the trial included Maryland Green Party Senate candidate and attorney Kevin Zeese and Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst who briefed multiple presidents on the Soviet Union during the Cold War. As the trial was on recess, waiting in the observers trailer next to the courtroom, Mr. McGovern communicated his confidence that there was a net social benefit to Private Manning’s leaking of secret-classified documents. Near and dear to Mr. McGovern’s heart is fragmentary order (FRAGO) 242, revealed via the Iraq War logs, which Mr. McGovern said was the brain-child of now resigned CIA director David Petraeus, who then served as the commander of U.S. forces in Iraq.
Field reports, made available through Private Manning’s infractions, reveal a tolerance of detainee abuse by occupying U.S. authorities, in light of FRAGO 242, named in one May 16, 2005 instance as: “Provided the initial report [of abuse] confirms US forces were not involved in the detainee abuse, no further investigation will be conducted unless directed by [higher headquarters].”
A November 29, 2005 press conference provides an exchange in contradiction with this fragmentary order, during which then Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chair General Peter Pace exhibited differing perspectives on the blind eye UPI’s Pam Hess said the U.S. military was turning to prisoner abuse by Iraqi security forces, who Secretary Rumsfeld opined were doing a “darn good job.”
General Pace said, “It is absolutely the responsibility of every U.S. service member, if they see inhumane treatment being conducted, to intervene to stop it. As an example of how to do it if you don’t see if happening but you’re told about it is exactly what happened a couple weeks ago. There’s a report from an Iraqi to [General Karl Horst] that there is possibility of inhumane treatment in a particular facility. That U.S. commander got together with his Iraqi counterparts. They went together to the facility, found what they found, reported it to the Iraqi government, and the Iraqi government has taken ownership of that problem and is investigating it. So they did exactly what they should have done.
Secretary Rumsfeld said, “But I don’t think you mean they have an obligation to physically stop it. It’s to report it.”
To this General Pace offered contradiction, “If they are physically present when inhumane treatment is taking place, sir, they have an obligation to try to stop it.”
Ray McGovern published a blog post Wednesday that details his own take on Private Manning’s treatment, which takes much inspiration from The Guardian’s reporting on the revelations Private Manning brought to the eyes of the world. Secretary Rumsfeld did publicly urge the Iraqi government to investigate grisly examples of prisoner abuse, while insisting on deferring to Iraq’s own investigative mechanisms, citing the occupied nation’s “sovereignty.”
From The Guardian:
A man who was detained by Iraqi soldiers in an underground bunker reported that he had been subjected to the notoriously painful strappado position: with his hands tied behind his back, he was suspended from the ceiling by his wrists. The soldiers had then whipped him with plastic piping and used electric drills on him. The log records that the man was treated by US medics; the paperwork was sent through the necessary channels; but yet again, no investigation was required.
The court has ruled that Private Manning’s own motives or the effects of his leaks, as The Internet Chronicle has previously reported while attending a pre-trial session, are to have no effect on the outcome on his sentence or charges. As evinced by the private two consective nominations for the Nobel Peace Prize, his motives have elicited widespread laud.
As The Internet Chronicle reported last April, David Coombs’ pre-trial arguments suggested the possibility that Private Manning may have exercised personal discretion in his choice of particular documents to hand off to WikiLeaks, leaving open the possibility that the private may have removed information to protect U.S. assets, techniques, tactics and procedures. However, as was reported, “the defense’s suggestions that Private Manning, Mr. Fein argued, had performed self-redactions to mitigate damage were not material; the defendant, he said, lacked the direct knowledge as well as the original classification authority (OCA) to properly make such an assessment [of what to leak].”
In conversation with Kevin Zeese in the parking lot of the Fort Meade base theater, long-time source Mr. Zeese contended that, had any harm come to a U.S. serviceman or servicewoman, as a result of Private Manning’s leaks, political pressure would have been too seductive to avoid placing this additional heat on the private, despite the State Department’s standard line, dating back to December 2010, that it does not comment on leaked classified information.
“If the government could show the documents Manning released caused direct harm they would jump at the opportunity,” said Mr. Zeese. “I would be surprised if they didn’t.”