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.
The Swedish Bahnhof facility raided, along with female employees, Friday evening
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — A backpack weighed heavily on this reporter, as I stood beside one of 30 men in full riot gear regalia, as he, among others, awaited his raid, Friday night, on the Bahnhof Web hosting facility deep beneath Stockholm, Sweden. Goons from the United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) prepared to storm the most secure privately owned Web hosting company on earth. Their target: RonPaul.com.
RonPaul.com, after serving as the grassroots hub for libertarian activists eager to see Dr. Paul become president, has recently received scrutiny from the former congressman’s attorneys, who wish to see the server remain safely out of the hands of “the rabble.” After the sovereign hand of the U.S. government proved impotent against the mighty force of the Internet, Dr. Paul decided that appealing — closer to grave than cradle — to the globalist nanny state would be his best bet for real justice.
A man, who would only agree to be identified as “Karl,” made small talk as he swept snow from the barrel of his Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun. Nine-term former Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) stepped between us, the elderly man who personally organized the team after the proprietors of RonPaul.com, he said, “sought to capitalize on my legacy.”
Spokesman Jesse Benton — then at my other side, sporting a bulletproof vest emblazoned with the initials “U.N.” — winked at me through a gas mask as the WIPO squad prepared to cut through the Web host’s alloy door. We could expect the door, a U.N. covert paramilitary officer said before the raid, to be over a foot thick. The former Galveston representative stepped to the front of the crowd of men in ski masks and, from brown paper wrapping, unveiled a brick of material.
“This is nano-thermite, boys,” he said with a chuckle. “NIST handed some of this off to me as a congratulatory present on my 2008 New Hampshire primary showing.”
After only a few seconds, the door of the compound glowed and disintegrated under the pressure of the igniting thermite. The WIPO men moved in.
One by one the paramilitary officers removed bags from around their shoulders, each unraveling suctions cups on tubes and ominous black machines roughly the size of a normal desktop’s power unit. They restrained weeping female workers in the facility, ripped their clothes from their bodies and proceeded to fasten the machines to their respective labia minora.
Dr. Paul, salivating, watched as the women screamed and squirmed as their uteruses were sucked cleaned by the elite globalist soldiers. He said to me, as I wrote furiously his words down, “We have to be sure that these anarchists haven’t stored a backup version of the pirate RonPaul.com anywhere in their body cavities. Even their wombs could be offering safe harbor to thumb drives, micro-computers. You know how these namby-fancy Euro-types are.”
“The global government has spoken,” he added. “We can’t allow their offspring to rob or humiliate me or Rand ever again.”
Banhof has been host to numerous controversial Internet projects — everything from 4chan.org/b/ to WikiLeaks to the North American Man-Boy Love Association. Members of the WIPO team seemed earnestly convinced that the gynecologist was a member of the 113th Congress, as he seemed to have identified himself on his WIPO complaint form. Dr. Paul left office last month, after declining to seek another term.
A U.N. stormtrooper rushed up a flight of stairs, elegantly polished in steel and IKEA-esque efficiency. He briskly saluted Dr. Paul, then said, “Sir, we’ve deactivated and transferred to Mr. Benton control of RonPaul.com. We at the training center admire your pro-family agenda. At your discretion, we could also permanently shut down WikiLeaks and NAMBLA, if you’d like.” The WIPO paramilitary officer gestured to a Banhof control screen, at which the duo could swiftly and permanently deactivate the whistleblower and pro-pedophilia activists’ respective Web presences.
“Deactive WikiLeaks. Those rapist hippies beat me to the punch,” said the elfin gynecologist, his hands clasped behind his back. Then, Dr. Paul clenched a fist. “They never did put me on the Intelligence Committee. Leave NAMBLA up, though. Those boys are the new voice of freedom. The rest of it can come down.”
“Yes, sir,” said the dutiful WIPO soldier, dutifully typing commands into the server, shutting down Web dissidents and deviants as perennially despised as the former presidential candidate.
The aging libertarian turned, staring upwards, having had a realization. “Oh, and one more thing,” he said. “Keep Stormfront.org going. I owe Don Black a favor for those campaign donations.”
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.”
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.”
FBI Confidential Informant: “We’re busy with other things, Chronicle, so here’s th3j35t3r.”
WASHINGTON — Tuesday morning The Internet Chronicle’s press release email list slowed to a crawl, as an internal FBI source said it wished to step forward and finger to the Washington Bureau neoconservative and militant zionist criminal hacker “th3j35t3r” once and for all.
However, as The Internet Chronicle has noted, “th3” j35t3r is in fact a collective. Here are the members of that collective, in no particular order:
Tom Ryan (an interview with Mr. Ryan here)
U.K. Resident Mark Walker
In coordination throughout 2011 targeting Islamic fundamentalists’ sites, journalists at WikiLeaks, and various others among the American cybersecurity press, including The Internet Chronicle. Now they do not hack anything at all, says the Internet Chronicle confidential informant, but engage in never-ending self-congratulations.
The internal FBI source seemed to find a personal breaking point in the group’s willingness to try to financially exploit the hacker’s “patriot” image, as tons of Special Forces operators seemed all too happy to imagine that there was one among their numbers, a SEAL, retired and fighting the good fight against Islamic extremists. Unfortunately these service peoples’ golden calf was just that. Now a confidential informant from within the FBI has confirmed that th3j35t3r is a group of civilians who have never shed a drop or blood or urea fighting Pashtuns in the high mountains of Southwest Asia.
WASHINGTON – A full 16 hours before an Internet Chronicle writer would issue his dire, satirical indictment of unnamed conspirators for the murder of Aaron Swartz, Iranian state media was already on the case, hinting early Eastern time Sunday morning the Internet activist’s opposition to President Barack Obama’s kill-list targeted assassination program led to his untimely death, which a New York medical examiner’s office has unequivocally called a self-hanging.
This however did not stop the intrepid Iranian state journalistic apparatus from putting two and two together to make whatever it wanted. PressTV quotes the medical examiner spokeswoman selectively to leave in doubt if her office believes foul play to be at work.
Police found the body of the 26-year-old in his apartment in New York City borough of Brooklyn on Friday, said a spokeswoman for the city’s chief medical examiner.
The article declines to mention, as any responsible media outlet would, that the exact same spokeswoman also mentioned a cause of death. Mr. Swartz achieved legal persecution and fame in the United States for redistributing copyrighted academic material from JSTOR. The free flow of this type of information is wholly responsible for the economic rise of the BRIC — Brazil, Russia, India and China — the countries’ middle classes now burgeoning. Education is no longer confined to buildings in Western countries. Increasingly an education is available to absolutely anyone able to read text with an Internet connection. To further the human race, Mr. Swartz supported a greater equilibrium, a crowdsourcing of this kind of academic information. This threat to the status quo is why U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz sought his incarceration for multiple decades.
Monday government snitch Adrian Lamo took to Twitter to term comments on the PressTV Swartz article “new [and] experimental forms of weaponized crazy.”
Iranian state media is also responsible for other complete outrages to decency and media ethics, such as their headline, as seen on Google:
PressTV tries to couch their attribution of the Newtown massacre to Israelis by attributing the claim to an “intelligence analyst” once one clicks the link. The analyst in question is a Gordon Duff, who expresses sympathy for downtrodden Palestinians in the same set of breaths or pen strokes that he blames the Israeli intelligence community for the slaughter of U.S. kindergarteners.
[The Newtown killings are] what [Israeli death squads] do in Gaza every day. It is what was done in Norway. It is what happened at Sandy Hook. Nobody buys the “lone gunman” story anymore, not with the Gabby Giffords’ shooting, not with the Aurora “Batman” shooting, certainly not with Breveik, and certainly not in Connecticut.
PressTV “Intelligence Analyst” Gordon Duff
Indeed, for full disclosure, while Sunday The Internet Chronicle’s own Kilgoar also claimed that Mr. Swartz’s suicide was some kind of Putin-esque murder, it is worth noting that our publisher does not yet have the full financial support of a nonaligned movement nation. Kilgoar also never directly fingered for the death the president. The only American nationals whose liquidations Mr. Obama is known to have unilaterally ordered were the al-Awlakis — a distributor of al-Qaida’s English language Insight magazine, in addition to his two minor children.
The PressTV article insinuating Mr. Obama ordered Mr. Swartz’s execution sings this praise of the now-dead 26-year-old, how Mr. Swartz sought to thwart “corporate cartels” (such as JSTOR) and the draconian Stop Online Privacy Act.
Swartz was critical of monopoly of information by corporate cartels and believed that information should be shared and available for the benefit of society.
“Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves,” he wrote in an online “manifesto” in 2008.
Also from the PressTV Swartz article:
DemandProgress argued that the thwarted Stop Online Piracy Act would have broadly authorized the US government to censor and restrict legitimate Web communication.
Iranian state media do not hasten to add that, for its own citizens, the government of Iran censors millions of Web pages and that, even before getting online in Iran, Internet users have to pledge not to access “non-Islamic” websites.
Yesterday I wrote, “What has happened to Chuck Hagel this week [as he awaits Senate confirmation for defense secretary] has kind of put me on edge about [accusations of anti-Semitism] […] The Weekly Standard and Hagel “friend” [Senator] John McCain [(R-AZ)] have been gloating that the defense secretary nominee has set Iranian leaders into a tizzy of joy. The Internet Chronicle will discuss that a bit more tomorrow.” And so we are, but not in the context of supposed shills claiming they feel guilty for blind deference to Israeli defense policies. This week consideration of Chuck Hagel culminated in a lot of blind furor at the Iranian regime — not for the tyranny that it visits upon domestic females but for the utterly paranoid claptrap continuously circulating in the West about how the supreme leader is chomping at the bit to see Jerusalem turned into a sea of Semitic glass.
New York Times Columnist Nicholas D. Kristof
Take, for example, New York Times Columnist Nick Kristof’s column on the Thursday pages of the Op-ed section. Due to anti-Semitism’s sober reality, reasons Mr. Kristof, the accusations against Chuck Hagel — particularly by the right-wing Israeli Likud Party and its American devotees — have been particularly disgusting to the columnist. Baffingly, Mr. Kristof nearly concludes his column with this worrying line:
“As for Iran, Hagel will need to sound more hawkish in public to mesh with the administration, and it is useful for Iran to worry about a military strike.”
From ‘In Defense Of Hagel For Defense’ – The New York Times – Thursday, January 10, 2013
In those initial 30 words, readers may extract a thousand. While Robert Spencer and his homicidal accolytes in the West claim to bemoan the Iranian human rights record, they — along with Mr. Kristof, albeit in minced words — sadisticly continue to seek to hold over the heads of the Iranian populace a fear of annihilation. The popular Beltway perception that this fear would discourage the Iranian regime from heightening their nuclear aspirations from those of energy development to weapons of mass destruction is — to borrow a turn of phrase suited to the Middle East — a mirage.
Equally along the lines of invisible things perceived in the deserts of Southwest Asia is the view that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon. Now, the American intelligence community has been rubbing its collective hands together for 15 years about the prospect of the Twelvers getting their hands on the big one. For whatever reasons — probably including the tight financial blockage on the Iranian government (they can pretty much only bank out of Qatar now) — Iran, like Israel, has never announced having acquired a nuclear weapon. Many commentaters from the left — and we’ll visit now the opinion of sometime Internet Chronicle pen pal Noam Chomsky — espouse correctly that, “”No one in their right mind wants Iran to develop nuclear weapons.”
However Mr. Chomsky is himself emblematic of a wide culture of denial of terrible developments in Iran — developments that have led to the assassination of a handful of nuclear scientists by the Israeli and U.S. militaries, and the development of the most sophisticated cyberweapon ever, Stuxnet, which infected most of the face of the earth before sabotaging uranian enrichment centrifuges deep in the country. The famed linguist wrote on Common Dreams in September of last year, “If Iran is indeed moving toward nuclear-weapons capability – this is still unknown to U.S. intelligence [emphasis mine] – that may be because it is ‘inspired to do so’ by the U.S.-Israeli threats, regularly issued in explicit violation of the U.N. Charter.”
Well-Meaning Weapons Development Denialist Noam Chomsky
The anti-Vietnam war activist and self-described anarcho-syndicalist simply could not be more in denial about the dire state of development the Iranian government has reached at this point. An International Atomic Energy Agency report from 2011 makes it quite clear the agency’s concern about “a multipoint initiation system [being] used in a nuclear explosive device. However, Iran has not been willing to engage in discussion of this topic with the Agency.” Check out Sections C.5 and C.6 of that report for the real skinny on this.
With respect to Mr. Chomsky’s assessment of the U.S. intelligence community’s body of knowledge, we suspect that someone down at the Central Intelligence Agency might have skimmed that open-source report. To be sure, these are not high-enrichment activities, which international law does prohibit Iran from engaging in, but it is certainly an indicator that Iran is moving towards a nuclear weapon. In the Republican debates of early 2012 Representative and Islamic infiltration detector Michele Bachmann (MN) was trying to point out this report’s result to Representative Ron Paul (R-TX). But he declined to acknowledge it, and Mr. Chomsky and Rep. Paul declining to do so will do nothing to keep Israelis, Americans and Iranians safe — daresay make Iranians free.
Similarly unconcerned with these individuals’ safety is the National Security editor of ThinkProgress.org, a Mr. Ben Armbruster, who in his zeal to defend the administration’s SECDEF nominee, wildly accused the Iranian foreign ministry of engaging in “anti-American propaganda.”
This week, answering a question about Hagel, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said, “We hope there will be practical changes in American foreign policy and that Washington becomes respectful of the rights of nations.”
Thursday, in discussing a supposedly confessing shill, we referenced the public doubts of Israel’s Likud Party, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) and The Weekly Standard, all of whom scoffed at Foreign Minister Mehmanparast’s statement above. In attempting to disparage these Hagel critics — and to wit, to distance himself from any moderate statements made by the Iranian government — Mr. Armbruster himself wrote, “[T]he neocons have become so desperate in their anti-Hagel smear campaign that they’re now promoting anti-American propaganda from Iran’s foreign ministry to make their case.”
Anti-Iranian Think Progress National Security Editor Ben Armbruster
Mr. Armbruster seems to take Mr. Mehmanparast’s call for practical foreign policy changes and respect for national sovereignty to be hate speech against Americans. This is reputedly a liberal website intended to counteract neoconservative propaganda, but Think Progress is apparently saying that Iran is fanning flames by insisting that nations have rights. No good, daresay none of the “Progress” with a capital P espoused by this organization, can come to pass if even supposedly leftist foreign policy commentaters are this defensive and show this much disdain for Iranian diplomats.
Thursday a Conscious Life News report went viral, claiming to relay the point of view of a “pro-Israeli” shill, who claimed to have worked out of a mysterious, transient San Francisco office for a company that shills for corporate and political donors. Being apolitical, in addition to desperate, said guilty feeling alleged shill, was key to doing a good job fighting ideological opponents.
The San Francisco Office of Shill Central Floats Away to Safer Harbors: FILE
The mission of the poster was simple: Go on message boards and claim that critics of Israeli policy were necessarily racists or Nazis. This (probably) man was probably an expert in all of the facets of Godwin’s Law, especially as relentlessly accusing strangers of being Nazi sympathizers elicits some pretty serious outrage. The guilty-feeling shill says that, although he is still “pro-Israel” to this day, the dishonesty of the methods bothered him. Surely legions of Israel’s critics have already forwarded this to Max Blumenthal and Philip Weiss, and they’re probably spilling some ink on these sort of thing, as I write this message. Anyway, says the supposedly confessing shill . . .
If a poster wrote something close to “X,” we were supposed to respond with something close to “Y.” “You have to mix it up a bit, though,” said my trainer. “Otherwise it gets too obvious. Learn to use a thesaurus.”
Talented Internet social engineers know that changing up phrasing is the best way to avoid seeming like a singular personality. If supposed shill was even halfway serious, he had probably flooded the message boards on which he posted with numerous sockpuppet accounts. If this stuff is true I wish he would elaborate on how he hid his IP address, as moderators would surely watch for that sort of thing
[His trainer also discussed] a number of hints for de-railing conversations that went too far away from what we were attempting. These strategies included various forms of personal attacks, complaining to the forum moderators, smearing the characters of our opponents, using images and icons effectively, and even dragging the tone of the conversation down with sexual innuendo, links to pornography, or other such things. “Sometimes we have to fight dirty,” or trainer told us. “Our opponents don’t hesitate to, so we can’t either.”
It’s interesting that this shadow advocacy firm did not seek to simply bring off-topic conversations back online. Anyone who has browsed the Internet enough — or especially commented on YouTube videos — knows that people often never hesitate to engage in character assassination, even with people whose backgrounds are totally obscured. It is really a shame that we cannot see these low-blow tactics in action, as they are surely really instructive. How would linking to pornography really smear anyone? That’s one of the more dubious claims made in this confessional. Surely there are many saying that this confessional is just an attempt to smear pro-Israel activists. I do not even need to wade into the waters of Stormfront to know that a bunch of evil racial supremacists, actual Jew haters, are congratulating each other on the reality of this confessional, as well as far actually more understandably frustrated Palestinian rights activists.
[The shill's trainer offered] some notes on how to “push the psychological buttons” of different posters. Although I didn’t work for [Above Top Secret], I did see they had a lot of info on your so-called “WATS” posters here (the ones with gold borders around their edges). “Focus on the popular posters,” my trainer told me. “These are the influential ones. Each of these is worth 50 to 100 of the lesser known names.”
Fascinatingly, the inevitable Above Top Secret post of the original message was pulled, only a handful of comments on it available via a Google cache. It remains unclear whether this was the result of a lack of credulity offered to the article, or whether the moderators there are simply ashamed at not having been able to ID said shill.
As the Web crowd is ever larger and of diverse age groups, many news sources have actually been paying people to filter comments. How strenuous the filters are varies. The Huffington Post hires people who read the equivalent of Moby Dick in a matter of days. Reddit only edits “obvious nonsense.”
Supposed shill mentions that his trainers talked about playing hardball. Unlike in the famed art of politics, supposed shill firm were not seriously seeking to convince people in a conversation, but rather apparent bystanders who might stumble upon the article and be convinced either way.
“If you can convert one of the hostile posters from the enemy side to our side, you get a nice bonus. But this doesn’t happen too often, sadly. So mostly you’ll be attacking them and trying to smear them.”
If this person is as pro-Israel as he or she claims, it’s fascinating that he or she does not bother to offer any defense of the seriously held beliefs. The not-converting thing seems like a veiled crack at the actual Jewish religion here, and so that makes me skeptical. After all, the author himself claims to be a great liar one way or the other.
What is so cynical about the “pro-Israel” shill was his willingness to call anyone racist to score political points for an unpopular foreign policy regime, as well as his unironic lack of consciousness that Semitism can refers to Arabs as well. What has happened to Chuck Hagel this week has kind of put me on edge about this, as The Weekly Standard and Hagel “friend” John McCain have been gloating that the defense secretary nominee has set Iranian leaders into a tizzy of joy. The Internet Chronicle will discuss that a bit more tomorrow.
A lot of my job was de-railing and spamming threads that didn’t go our way, or making accusations of racism and anti-Semitism. Sometimes I had to simply lie and claim a poster said something or did something “in another thread” they really hadn’t said or done I felt bad about this[...]but in the end I felt worse about the possibility of losing the first job I’d been able to get since losing my “real” job.
Another aspect of this article that made me skeptical of its source was that the supposed shill does not discuss his “real” job. While his habits were dubious they were not illegal. How rare and identifiable could his “real job” have been that he could not tell us how desperate he was? The self-described meme patrol would generate a lot more sympathy if we understood him to be dirt poor or accustomed to some humble lifestyle. All of this is suspect, especially since he calls himself such an awesome writer.
As “pro-Israel” shill came to know the issue, as though a Thesaurus-armed fundraiser or marketing specialist, he started to get farther into debate. Again, no policy details here, no information on what he was writing that was so compelling about drawing attention away from Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. The supposed shill became an expert in Internet pop art, which has long included the cat, due to the Internet user’s typically sedentary nature it mirrors.
There were a lot of details to this more advanced [complex debate] stage of the job – everything from how to select the right avatar to how to use “demotivationals” [link added] (humorous images with black borders that one finds floating around the web). Even the proper use of images of cats was discussed. Sometimes we used faked or photo-shopped images or doctored news reports (something else that bothered me).
It is only toward the end of his essay that the self-described shill gets into his pangs of conscience about what he was doing. There is little sense from him earlier in the essay that his smearing might actually be making the pro-Israel side of the debate look uninvolved. Whether this confessional is real, people have grabbed onto this story in the United States because they view defense of Israel as something that is more of the brain, a path that can be made with less of a bleeding heart for a disenfranchised, more recently, anyway, indigenous population. It reminds me of Pamela Geller’s now famous “support the civilized man/ defeat jihad” “pro-Israel” public transit ads.
This supposed shill has written a lot about his methods but very little about why Israel has a great foreign policy, treats Palestinians well (or why they would not deserve such treatment); or why Zionism is promulgating apartheid. The only obvious reason the poster would not do this is to cover his tracks, and we would think he was just more imaginative than that, given how he says he got the job.
If my arguments were so correct, I wondered, why did we have to do this in the first place? Shouldn’t truth propagate itself naturally, rather than through, well…propaganda? And who was behind this whole operation, anyway? Who was signing my paychecks?
It is believable that an ardently self-considered American “pro-Israel” activist would see that country’s enemies as being mainly neo-Nazis. However that just doesn’t jive with the vast majority of the people all over the world who remain critical of the way Israel treats Palestinians. If so desperate and able to operate more or less autonomously from the secret office, why does the shill care who was writing the checks? Is he insinuating worry that he was inadvertently being paid off by anti-Israel trolls, goy supremacists?
[T]he shill way of life . . . is a deceptive way of life, and no matter how noble the goals (I remain pro-Israel, by the way), these sleazy means cannot be justified by the end.
Make no mistake, though: Even if this letter is fake, or even written by genuine Jew haters, the shill way of life will remain profitable for anyone willing to get his or her hands dirty. Private conglomerates, I was aware, had the resources and interest in pushing their products. If you have ever read the obsequious reviews over at Amazon, you know of that industry. What is changing is that the shill is now a nihilist, a mercenary of states (certainly not just Israeli ultra-nationalism), instead of the famous, self-interested 419 scammer.
AUSTIN, TEXAS — This afternoon federal agents killed Alex Jones and 52 Genesis Communications Network associates, each with two gunshot wounds to the back of the head. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, now investigating the incident, describes these wounds as “self-inflicted.” Before the standoff reached its bloody conclusion, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney clarified at the daily briefing that Mr. Jones faced charges of pedophilia, illicit gun alteration and roughly two decades of back income taxes. Photographers captured ATF agents placing the bodies of the 52 employees into plastic coffins. The compound collapsed in place after suffering damage from armored Caterpillar bulldozers specially deployed by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.
Thursday morning undercover Waco Child Protective Service agents showed up at the door of the GCN compound and asked to speak to Mr. Jones. They presented themselves as wandering members of the milita movement, sympathetic following what Mr. Jones had termed his “explosive” appearance on “Piers Morgan Tonight.” When surrogates showed Mr. Jones to the door, they presented him with a Remington 870 shotgun. CPS asked if Mr. Jones could help them shorten the barrel below 22 inches. Mr. Jones, standing in his doorway, they say, happily agreed, took the American-made 12-gauge shotgun into a back lot and shortened it. When child protective services asked to take Mr. Jones’s children, the radio host disclosed that he was a sovereign citizen tax protester, having avoided the income tax due to its “unconstitutionality” since 1913.
Mr. Jones was 38 and is survived by millions of followers, having hosted the 10th most popular radio show in the United States. Mr. Jones was most famous for his December 31, 1999 broadcast, during which he was the only media source to break a taboo on reporting on the Russian missile attack that occurred that evening. During Y2K numerous power plants imploded due to computer error, and the North American Aerospace Defense Command failed to intercept Russian missiles, which killed millions of Americans in secret.
The radio host attracted international attention, including from the British royal family, after having made statements referring to his owning more than 50 “guns” and those “firearms” having increased in value two, three or four times. “It was at that point,” said FBI consultant Kenneth Lanning, previously responsible for helping cover up the Boystown fiasco with Larry King, “that we felt comfortable assuming that firearms referred to child spouses, and so we moved in.”
Friday morning ATF bulldozers, shipped to Houston 12 years ago from the West Bank, made their way slowly toward the South Wall of the Genesis Communications Network Compound. Upon mowing down solar panels and finally the outer wall of the compound, the six bulldozers reached a sudden halt. Their path, said one of the drivers, was impeded by cache of bullion six feet high just inside the inner wall. Representatives of the Dallas FBI Bureau, speaking by phone, said they feared the worst. “We were worried that the Prison Planet crew might be able to hold out for years on end.” Regardless, soon after having breached the flaming outer wall, the building collapsed.
A defector from the followers, whom Mr. Jones refers to as “listeners,” former Infowars.com contributor Mark Dice, informed authorities that GCN’s contract with eFoodsDirect would mean that freedom-loving audiovisual technicians and website contributors might be able to hold out for up to seven decades.
Citing the deaths of 20 children in Newtown, Connecticut last month, Bilderberg President and ATF chief David Rockefeller said, “We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and then we watched the building collapse.”
At a Friday morning press conference in Washington, FBI Director David Mueller described subsequent events. He said Israeli Armored D9s, “teddy bears,” caused the walls of the compound to collapse. Mr. Mueller said, “Once the ‘doobis’ breached the outer wall, the mosquito-netting-like structure of the compound was compromised, causing the building to collapse, first starting with the penthouse, and then the children’s bedrooms.” Producer Aaron Dykes escaped, but his son, whom authorities believe to actually be Mr. Jones’s, was found in the remains of the compound.
As bulldozers approached initially, federal marshals demanded that Mr. Jones exit the building. After he did so, he ignored their calls that he continue walking toward waiting SUVs, instead re-entering his doorway. Returning from the doorway, facing away from authorities, he brandished what appeared to them be an M-16, but what was actually a Bushmaster he purchased at Wamart in early December. Officials say it was then, walking backwards, that Waco sheriff’s deputies opened fire. All of their bullets missed, but Mr. Jones, deputies said in sworn statements, placed the Bushmaster to the back of his head and pulled the trigger twice.
The fire spread faster due to hundreds of kilograms of uncured cannabis, which Mr. Jones’ one surviving child claimed no one was imbibing as a psychoactive but rather that Mr. Jones was encouraging his children to eat raw for anti-carcinogenic properties.
الرياض، المملكة العربية السعودية – أشارت فرنسا القائمة على عبادة الاستنساخ أتباع رايل، وهذا الصباح أن نجاحهم في إنتاج في مجمع جزر البهاما استنساخ من نبي الإسلام النهائي، محمد بن عبد الله، وبعد أربع محاولات سابقة فاشلة.
يتحدث من مكان لم يكشف عنه في جزر البهاما، المتحدث باسم الرائيليين بريجيت الوطنية الفرنسية وبويسلييه، الذي أشرف على إنشاء استنساخ أول إنسان، وذكر ان العملية كانت ناجحة. “لقد أمضينا عدة أشهر في البحث عن مرشح المناسب تماما من خلال كريغزلست، وأخيرا وجدت الأم المثالية البديلة من خلال Jdate.com. في حين أن الأجنة المتقدمة القليلة الأولى انتهى يجري – كيف تقول – “لم تنفجر، ‘استغرق الخامس بشكل جيد، ومحمد جديد، ونحن ندعو له، وقد حصلت للتو من خلال الثلث الأول من الحمل وتبحث صحية” و. الرائيليين عبادة يقول أن الحيوانات المستنسخة السابقة كانت إما “مشوهة” أو “غير صحية”. أمراض النساء الرائيليين إحباط الأربعة الأولى الأجنة محمد بعد تسعة أسابيع من الحمل.
السيدة بويسلييه، الكيميائي عن طريق التدريب، بالتفصيل كيف أن أتباع رايل تعاونت مع المجتمع الاستخبارات الإسرائيلية للحصول على الحمض النووي من التبجيل وأكثرها شهرة على قيد الحياة البشرية من أي وقت مضى. في العام الماضي وعلم أن الحمض النووي لديه نصف العمر فقط العملية لبضعة آلاف من السنين. ذهب أتباع رايل والموساد أقفال العديد من الشعر النبوية هي تطوف في العالم، ولكن من أجل ضمان جديد محمد كان حقيقيا، والحق في المصدر.
في أكتوبر 2012 من قبر محمد والمنزل السابق كانت مخترقة من قبل مصور. أخبار الشيعة Shafaqna الموقع يبرهن هذه الحقيقة جدا. وقد داهمت قبر محمد، والمادة الوراثية المستخرجة من الجسم بالنسبة لنا في الاستنساخ.
وقال النبي، نيي كلود فوريلهون، وقال انه يأمل أن المشروع سوف تثير المزيد من الاهتمام في استنساخ البشر ورفع القيود المفروضة على الممارسة، في مواجهة العديد من بلدان العالم وأتباع رايل بعد أن تجرم الاستنساخ البشري بعد فترة وجيزة من إنشاء الثورية خروف مستنسخ ، دوللي، في 1990s. ولا ينبغي له أن يواجه أي مضاعفات في الثلث الثاني أو الثالث، ومن المقرر الجديد محمد أن يولد يونيو من عام 2013.