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Human resources: Walmart hired Lockheed Martin to keep tabs on employees

RT | November 25, 2015

Walmart hired global security giant Lockheed Martin a few years ago to monitor activism in its massive workforce, according to new documents. The defense contractor tracked employees’ social media and reported protest participation to the retail giant.

Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest defense contractor, provided Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, with intelligence-gathering and surveillance services in 2012, according to a lengthy report by Bloomberg Businessweek. The news has emerged just before Black Friday protests by a union-funded group called OUR Walmart, the report claims. Participants demand higher wages and reliable scheduling for Walmart employees.

While Walmart publicly dismissed the demonstrations as “just another union publicity stunt,” their subsequent actions indicate that they took it seriously. In addition to hiring Lockheed Martin to keep tabs on employees’ social media feeds, the companies ranked stores by labor activity and monitored employees who were known to be involved in labor activism, according to Bloomberg.

The defense contractor offers a product called LM Wisdom, which is marketed as a tool for fighting drug and human trafficking, but which Walmart used  to track employees in 2012 and 2013. Lockheed Martin analysts would follow the Twitter and Facebook feeds of workers and then report information about labor activism back to the company’s corporate headquarters. The defense contractor also put together a map of likely routes for five “Ride for Respect” bus caravans that were sent to HQ to demonstrate.

In one of the documents obtained, when asked about the company’s relationship with Lockheed Martin, Walmart Senior Vice President of Labor Relations Karen Ann Cassey said that the company was even “partnering with the FBI/the Joint Terrorism Task Force” to monitor protesters that planned to go to the company’s headquarters, saying that similar protests have become violent.

Walmart didn’t comment on the specific allegations in the Bloomberg story, but sent a statement via email arguing that the measures had been taken to protect their shoppers, employees and business.

“Unfortunately, there are occasions when outside groups attempt to deliberately disrupt our business and on behalf of our customers and associates we take action accordingly,” the statement reads.

Bloomberg retrieved the information on Lockheed Martin’s labor-monitoring services by acquiring documents ahead of a National Labor Relations Board hearing. The case concerns Walmart’s alleged history retaliation against employees who protested against the retailer.

Earlier this year, Walmart announced that its company-wide minimum wage would go from $9 in 2015 and [to] $10. While OUR Walmart touts this wage increase as a victory, they remain steadfast in their demand for a minimum of $15 an hour. The group will be protesting this Black Friday for the fourth year in a row.

READ MORE: Walmart accused of dodging US taxes by storing $76 billion in assets abroad

November 25, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Economics, Solidarity and Activism | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Federal Appeals Court: US Citizens Can’t Sue FBI Agents For Torture Abroad

By Kevin Gosztola | ShadowProof | October 26, 2015

A federal appeals court decision effectively grants FBI agents involved in terrorism investigations abroad immunity from lawsuits, which allege torture or other constitutional rights violations.

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against Amir Meshal, an American citizen who was detained and tortured by FBI agents in Kenya, Somalia, and Ethiopia, and declined to permit Meshal to pursue damages for what he endured.

According to the federal appeals court [PDF], allowing Meshal to pursue damages would extend Bivens into a new context: the “extraterritorial application of constitutional protections.”

Bivens is a case that created precedent for bringing cases against federal government officials. However, courts have been extremely reluctant to allow plaintiffs to pursue damages when a case may set a precedent or lead to a court intruding upon national security and foreign policy matters.

In Meshal’s case, U.S. agents and foreign officials are accused of working together. A decision would pass judgment on officials working under a “foreign justice system.” Such “intrusion,” the appeals court claimed, could have diplomatic consequences.

The appeals court quoted prior cases and stated:

Allowing Bivens suits involving both national security and foreign policy areas will “subject the government to litigation and potential law declaration it will be unable to moot by conceding individual relief, and force courts to make difficult determinations about whether and how constitutional rights should apply abroad and outside the ordinary peacetime contexts for which they were developed.” Even if the expansion of Bivens would not impose “the sovereign will of the United States onto conduct by foreign officials in a foreign land,” the actual repercussions are impossible to parse. We cannot forecast how the spectre of litigation and the potential discovery of sensitive information might affect the enthusiasm of foreign states to cooperate in joint actions or the government’s ability to keep foreign policy commitments or protect intelligence. Just as the special needs of the military requires courts to leave the creation of damage remedies against military officers to Congress, so the special needs of foreign affairs combined with national security “must stay our hand in the creation of damage remedies. [emphasis added]

Or, more succinctly, the appeals court claims “special factors counsel hesitation” in allowing Meshal to pursue “money damages.”

The appeals court additionally determined Meshal’s citizenship did not override these “special factors.”

In issuing this decision, the appeals court leaves the issue of remedies for torture to Congress or the Supreme Court and makes it virtually impossible for torture survivors to pursue justice when their rights are supremely violated.

Meshal is Detained Incommunicado, Threatened with Transfer to Israel

Meshal was in the Horn of Africa when, on January 24, 2007, Kenyan soldiers captured and interrogated him. He was “hooded, handcuffed and flown to Nairobi, where he was taken to the Ruai Police Station and questioned by an officer of Kenya’s Criminal Investigation Department” and was told that the police had to “find out what the United States wanted to do with him before he could send him back to the United States.” He remained in detention without access to a telephone or his attorney for a week, according to the U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia’s decision.

On February 3, “three Americans,” who turned out to be FBI agents, interrogated Meshal and told him he would be handed over to the Kenyans and remain stuck in a “lawless country” if he did not cooperate. The agents also accused him of “having received weapons and interrogation resistance training in an al Qaeda camp.” Supervising Special Agent Chris Higgenbotham, one of the officials sued, threatened Meshal with being transferred to Israel where the Israelis would “make him disappear.” Meshal was informed that another U.S. citizen he had met in Kenya, Daniel Maldonado, who was also seized by Kenyan soldiers, “had a lot to say about” him and his story “would have to match.”

Meshal was flown by Kenyan officials to Somalia with twelve others on February 9. He was “detained in handcuffs in an underground room with no windows or toilets,” which was referred to as “the cave.” This was allegedly to prevent pressure from Kenyan courts to halt his detention and interrogation by FBI agents.

About a week later, Meshal was transported in handcuffs and a blindfold to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He was held there in incommunicado detention for a week before Ethiopian officials started regularly transporting him to a villa with other prisoners where he could be interrogated by FBI agents. He remained in detention for three months and was moved into solitary confinement twice.

Finally, on May 24, he was taken to the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa and flown back to the U.S. He was detained for four months and lost eighty pounds. US officials never charged him with a crime.

Appeals Court Skeptical of US Secrecy Arguments (But That Didn’t Matter)

Although the U.S. government did not invoke the “state secrets privilege,” it put forward a “laundry list of sensitive issues” that would allegedly be implicated if Meshal was able to pursue a lawsuit against FBI agents.

The government claimed it would involve “inquiry” into “national security threats in the Horn of Africa region,” the “substance and sources of intelligence,” and whether procedures relating to counterterrorism investigations abroad “were correctly applied.” Also, the government insisted it would require discovery “from both foreign counterterrorism officials, and U.S. intelligence officials up and down the chain of command, as well as evidence concerning the conditions at alleged detention locations in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya.”

The appeals court appropriately asked in their decision, “Why would an inquiry into whether the defendants threatened Meshal with torture or death require discovery from U.S. intelligence officials up and down the chain of command? Why would an inquiry into Meshal’s allegedly unlawful detention without a judicial hearing reveal the substance or source of intelligence gathered in the Horn of Africa?”

“What would make it necessary for the government to identify other national security threats?” the court additionally asked.

Despite recognizing the unfounded basis for claims about how the lawsuit would risk disclosure of sensitive information, the appeals court chose to be overly cautious and dismiss the case as the government urged.

Appeals Court Overlooks Affidavit from Former FBI Agent

The American Civil Liberties Union, which filed the suit on behalf of Meshal, obtained an affidavit from former FBI Agent Donald Borelli, who unequivocally made clear FBI agents are expected to follow the U.S. Constitution when in territories abroad.

“The FBI’s longstanding commitment to respect the Constitution—including when it acts abroad in respect of U.S. citizens—reflects and implements the long established rule that the Constitution applies to and constrains U.S. government action against U.S. citizens abroad,” Borelli maintained.

In fact, Borelli cited a Supreme Court decision in 1957 involving two U.S. citizens, “who were tried and convicted by court-martial based on allegations they murdered service member spouses on U.S. military bases.”

From the Supreme Court’s ruling:

At the beginning we reject the idea that when the United States acts against citizens abroad it can do so free of the Bill of Rights. The United States is entirely a creature of the Constitution. Its power and authority have no other source. It can only act in accordance with all the limitations imposed by the Constitution. When the Government reaches out to punish a citizen who is abroad, the shield which the Bill of Rights and other parts of the Constitution provide to protect his life and liberty should not be stripped away just because he happens to be in another land. This is not a novel concept. To the contrary, it is as old as government. It was recognized long before Paul successfully invoked his right as a Roman citizen to be tried in strict accordance with Roman law.

Citizens like Meshal are supposed to have protection from unreasonable searches and seizures, however, the lower courts are unwilling to check the power of the Executive Branch. They have chosen to wait until the Supreme Court or Congress acts and that gives someone like Meshal an exceedingly small chance of ever winning justice.

October 29, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Importance of the Official 9/11 Myth

By Kevin Ryan | Dig Within | October 26, 2015

People sometimes wonder why is it important to investigate the alleged hijackers and others officially accused of committing the 9/11 crimes. After all, the accused 19 hijackers could not have accomplished most of what happened. The answer is that the official accounts are important because they are part of the crimes. Identifying and examining the people who created the official 9/11 myth helps to reveal the ones who were responsible overall.

The people who actually committed the crimes of September 11th didn’t intend to just hijack planes and take down the buildings—they intended to blame others. To accomplish that plan the real criminals needed to create a false account of what happened and undoubtedly that need was considered well in advance. In this light, the official reports can be seen to provide a link between the “blaming others” part of the crimes and the physical parts.

bremerPushing the concept of “Islamic Terrorism” was the beginning of the effort to blame others, although the exact 9/11 plan might not have been worked out at the time. This concept was largely a conversion of the existing Soviet threat, which by 1989 was rapidly losing its ability to frighten the public, into something that would serve more current policy needs. Paul Bremer and Brian Jenkins were at the forefront of this conversion of the Soviet threat into the threat of Islamic terrorism. Both Bremer and Jenkins were also intimately connected to the events at the World Trade Center.

The concerted effort to propagandize about Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden (OBL) seems to have begun in earnest in 1998. That’s when the African embassy bombings were attributed to OBL and the as-yet unreported group called Al Qaeda. The U.S. government responded with bombings of Sudan and Afghanistan and, with help from the New York Times, began to drum up an intense myth about the new enemy.

“This is, unfortunately, the war of the future,” Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said. “The Osama bin Laden organization has basically declared war on Americans and has made very clear that these are all Americans, anywhere.”

In retrospect, it is surprising that this was the first reference to Al Qaeda in the New York Times, coming only three years before 9/11. More surprising is that The Washington Post did not report on Al Qaeda until June 1999, and its reporting was highly speculative about the power behind this new threat.

“But for all its claims about a worldwide conspiracy to murder Americans, the government’s case is, at present, largely circumstantial. The indictment never explains how bin Laden runs al Qaeda or how he may have masterminded the embassy bombings.”

Despite this skepticism from The Post, the reports about Al Qaeda continued in an odd mixture of propaganda and doubt. For example, The Times reported on the trial of the men accused of the African embassy attacks in May 2001. That article contradicted itself saying that “prosecutors never introduced evidence directly showing that Mr. bin Laden ordered the embassy attacks” and yet that a “former advisor” to Bin Laden, one Ali Mohamed, claimed that Bin Laden “pointed to where a truck could go as a suicide bomber.” The fact that Mohamed had worked for the U.S. Army, the FBI, and the CIA was not mentioned.

Other facts were ignored as well. That OBL had worked with the CIA and that Al Qaeda was basically a creation of CIA programs like Operation Cyclone were realities that began to fade into the background. By the time 9/11 happened, those facts were apparently forgotten by a majority of U.S. leaders and media sources. Also overlooked were the histories of people like Frank Carlucci and Richard Armitage, who played major roles in Operation Cyclone and who remained powerful players at the time of the 9/11 attacks.

In the two years before 9/11, the alleged hijackers were very active within the United States. They traveled extensively and often seemed to be making an effort to be noticed. When they were not trying to be noticed, they engaged in distinctly non-Muslim behavior. Mohamed Atta’s actions were erratic, in ways that were similar to those of Lee Harvey Oswald, and Atta appeared to be protected by U.S. authorities.

Meanwhile, leading U.S. terrorism experts seemed to be facilitating Al Qaeda terrorism. Evidence suggests that U.S. intelligence agency leaders Louis Freeh and George Tenet facilitated and covered-up acts of terrorism in the years before 9/11. Both of their agencies, the CIA and FBI, later took extraordinary measures to hide evidence related to the 9/11 attacks. And both agencies have made a mockery of the trial of those officially accused of helping OBL and the alleged hijackers.

Counter-terrorism leader Richard Clarke inexplicably helped OBL stay out of trouble, protecting him on at least two occasions. Clarke blatantly failed to follow-up on known Al Qaeda cells operating within the United States. After 9/11, Clarke was among those who falsely pointed to Abu Zubaydah as a top leader of Al Qaeda. Zubaydah’s torture testimony was then used as the basis for the 9/11 Commission Report.

Former CIA operative Porter Goss created the first official account of what happened on 9/11, along with his mentor Bob Graham. This was the report of the Joint Congressional Inquiry, produced by the intelligence oversight committees of the U.S. Congress. It was greatly influenced by people who should have been prime suspects. For example, Richard Clarke was the one in charge of the secure video conference at the White House that failed miserably to connect leaders and respond to the attacks. In the Joint Inquiry’s report, Clarke was cited as an authoritative reference 46 times. CIA director George Tenet was cited 77 times, and Louis Freeh was cited 31 times.

Therefore it is imperative that the people who worked to create the background story behind OBL and the accused hijackers be investigated for their roles in the 9/11 crimes. This includes not only those who were figureheads behind the official reports, but more importantly the ones who provided the evidence and testimony upon which those reports were built. The alleged hijackers and their associates should also be of considerable interest to 9/11 investigators. That’s because what we know about them was provided by people who we can assume were connected to the crimes and what we don’t yet know about them can reveal more of the truth.

October 26, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Faking the Terrorist Threat

And demonizing Russia at the same time

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • October 20, 2015

A short-lived story appeared in the mainstream media two weeks ago describing how the United States government is working hard to keep everyone safe. The Associated Press (AP) original coverage was headlined “Smugglers busted trying to sell nuclear material to ISIS.” The Boston Herald’s version of the AP story reported it as “Nuclear Material Sellers Target U.S.: Nuclear Material Shopped to ISIS.” The article was also picked up worldwide including by the CNN and the BBC and was replayed in Israel as “ISIS Looking to Build Nuclear Weapons, Turning to Moldovan Gangs for Materials.”

The story is focused on Moldova, a relatively impoverished former Soviet republic, where the mainstream western media is unlikely to have a regular correspondent. The original AP version includes interviews with some of the participants in the police operation while also reviewing the documents and photos relating to the case. Nevertheless, one has to suspect that AP did not just happen to come across the story. The news agency might have been tipped off to pursue it through a leak arranged by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or White House, intended to inform the public that there is a major threat coming from terrorists seeking weapons of mass destruction but U.S. law enforcement is aware of the danger and is working effectively against it.

The media account of what took place goes something like this: Eastern European smugglers have somehow obtained access to nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union weapons arsenals and labs and have been trying to sell them to terrorists, most particularly to ISIS, for use against the United States. There have been multiple attempts in the past five years, all of which were thwarted though the key players were not arrested and the presumed stolen material was not recovered by the authorities. The FBI worked closely with the Moldovan authorities throughout, providing technical services and other support for an undercover sting operation that was instrumental in producing a relatively successful outcome.

As I read the story it occurred to me that something was not quite right. The various security and police organs of the United States government have long faced a public relations dilemma. On one hand, they have sought to exaggerate the threat coming from international terrorism because it is good for the morale of their employees to be seen fighting a formidable enemy while it also induces Congress and the public to support substantial increases in budgets and other funding. But, at the same time, too much cheerleading emphasizing the ability of the bad guys to innovate rather suggests that national security is being undermined or, worse still, that the police and intelligence agencies are not doing their jobs very well to “keep us safe.” This has meant in practice that a fine balance has to be obtained in reporting the threat while at the same time making clear that everyone in government is working hard and very effectively to counter it.

This article about Moldova might indeed be one such story floated to reassure the public but, as it was not current news, its appearance at the present time would seem to be somewhat contrived and possibly even agenda driven. According to the article, there have been four attempts to sell smuggled radioactive material in the past five years, none of them recent, the latest one dating to February. One clue to a possible secondary agenda was the linkage of the criminals in the story to Russia, a country very much seen in adversarial terms by Washington at the present time. The article states that some of the criminal gangs in Moldova have “ties to the Russian KGB’s successor agency,” that Russia has a “vast store of radioactive material – an unknown quantity of which has leached into the black market,” and that the goods were offered by a “shadowy Russian named Alexandr Agheenco, ‘the colonel’ to his cohorts, whom Moldovan authorities believe to be an officer with the Russian FSB, previously known as the KGB.”

So the story is possibly about casting Russia in a negative light as it is about bombs or terrorists. And the bombs themselves are somewhat elusive. The article states that there is a “thriving black market in nuclear materials” in Moldova but it does not indicate where the contraband wound up and who bought it. One version of the AP story claims that a small amount of weapons grade enriched uranium was produced as bona fides prior to an attempt transaction in 2010 but that is contradicted by a Moldovan police assertion that only “one vial [of radioactive cesium was] ultimately recovered” from the smugglers. The article concedes that the cesium was not suitable for building a nuclear weapon and was not even radioactive enough to construct a so-called “dirty bomb.” Cesium, it should be noted, is used in its radioactive form in medical and laboratory applications. A dirty bomb uses nuclear waste or biological and chemical agents combined with conventional explosives to produce widespread contamination. It can be deadly and nasty, but it is not Hiroshima and it is not technically related to an atom bomb.

So the sting operation arrested some low level criminals who claimed to have access to weapons grade nuclear materials but the alleged materials were not actually found. Could it be that it was all a scam, seeking to sell something that the scammers assumed to be in demand but which they did not actually possess? And as for the final point that produced the alarming headlines, what was the role of ISIS in all of this? The article provides no evidence to indicate that ISIS was actually seeking nuclear materials, nor that it desires to do so linked to intentions to attack the United States. Constructing an actual nuclear weapon would be well beyond its engineering and technical capabilities in any event and if it wanted to build a dirty bomb it already has the nuclear waste from hospitals in the area that it controls to do so as well as chemical weapons stocks captured in Iraq.

The article states that “ISIS has made clear its ambition to use weapons of mass destruction” even though no evidence is presented confirming that to be the case. Nor is there any suggestion that the Moldovan smugglers actually contacted ISIS or that ISIS in any way sought to contact the Moldovans.

One smuggler, who allegedly repeatedly “ranted his hatred for America,” said in a wiretapped conversation that he “really want[ed] an Islamic buyer because they will bomb the Americans.” But since the middleman smuggler was trying to sell his product to what he thought to be an ISIS buyer it would be a no brainer for him to express his anti-American animus. And that evidence, such as it is, is far from a solid case that ISIS was seeking a nuclear weapon or dirty bomb to use against Washington, presumably to be detonated within the United States which is what the article implies. In fact, it does not necessarily mean anything at all.

So the alarming story of ISIS’s seeking a nuclear weapons to attack America turns out to be something considerably less, a bit of propaganda to justify continuation and even expansion of the U.S. war on terror. And there is a bit of evil Russia thrown in to explain how it is all happening. In reality, the United States and Russia were cooperating quite well on securing the former Soviet nuclear arsenal until the U.S. Congress in a January 2015 fit of pique cut off funding for the program. As is often the case, if there is a problem developing anywhere in the world, in this case over possible nuclear proliferation to terrorist groups, it is because the woefully ignorant elected officials representing us Americans have consistently failed to act responsibly.

October 20, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 1 Comment

No Eric Garner or Tamir Rice: FBI fails to adequately count civilian deaths by police

RT | October 16, 2015

An the old saying goes: “lies, damned lies, and statistics.” It may not quite apply to a new FBI report on officer-involved shootings, but the phrase expresses some of the frustrations felt by activists on behalf of the victims who went uncounted.

Released Thursday, the FBI’s figures for police-on-civilian deadly shootings lacked adequate substance and included errors, according to a report by the Guardian. The data was collected on a voluntary basis from local police departments, but 99 percent of them did not volunteer any information.

The FBI counted 439 police killings for the year 2014 based on reports from 224 local law enforcement agencies, of which there are 18,000 in the country. That’s up from 392 homicides reported in 2009, but the number of reporting agencies also increased from 196 in the same year. No trend can be surmised from the data.

Notorious cases, including Eric Garner from New York City, and Ohio’s Tamir Rice and John Crawford, were not included. Information regarding whether or not the victim was armed was also not included. Other methods and mistakes also complicate any goal of arriving at an accurate estimate.

The reason for not including Garner, the man choked to death by an New York Police Department (NYPD) officer, was simply because the NYPD has not participated in such FBI data gathering since 2006. The NYPD, the nation’s largest police force, promises to release details on officers’ deadly use of force next year.

Garner’s daughter, Erica, told the Guardian she was “outraged but not shocked” at this missing tally from the FBI.

“It’s just another part of the cover-up and erasing of his murder from the record,” she said. “It says to the NYPD and the city and state of New York that my father’s life doesn’t matter.”

Rice, the 12-year-old holding an airsoft gun who was shot in under two seconds by Cleveland police, was not included, and neither was Crawford, the man shot by Beavercreek police in a Walmart while holding a BB gun carried by the store. Both police departments did not participate in the FBI report.

Meanwhile, some cases were recorded incorrectly. Darrien Hunt, a 22-year-old killed by Sarasota Springs police in Utah while running away with a replica sword, was listed as the killer even though he was the one who died. A knife or blade was jotted down as the deadly weapon, even though it was a police officer who shot him. Furthermore, the officer and Hunt were described as acquaintances.

The victim’s mother, Susan, told the Guardian, “There has been so much wrong with the entire incident.”

Several outlets are attempting to keep track of police shootings or non-shootings that end in civilian deaths. The Guardian’s “The Counted” aggregates all deaths at the hands of police and has counted 908 so far in 2015. The Washington Post counts 776 shot dead by police this year.

Last week, FBI Director James Comey told a group of politicians and law enforcement officials that in the same way movie tickets are counted or cases of the flu are counted, so should police killings. “It’s ridiculous – embarrassing and ridiculous – that we can’t talk about crime in the same way, especially in the high-stakes incidents when your officers have to use force,” Comey said.

In a separate 2014 FBI report, 1.16 million incidents of violent crime were reported in 2013. Violent crime hadn’t been that low in 35 years. The population has grown nearly one and a half times in that period, but police-on-civilian killings could be a type of violent crime on the rise. Until there are reliable statistics, no one knows.

October 16, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties | , , , , | Leave a comment

Why Saudi Ties to 9/11 Mean U.S. Ties to 9/11

By Kevin Ryan | Dig Within | September 27, 2015

Media interest in Saudi Arabian connections to the crimes of 9/11 has centered on calls for the release of the 28 missing pages from the Joint Congressional Inquiry’s report. However, those calls focus on the question of hijacker financing and omit the most interesting links between the 9/11 attacks and Saudi Arabia—links that implicate powerful people in the United States. Here are twenty examples.

  1. When two of the alleged 9/11 hijackers, Khalid Al-Mihdhar and Nawaf Al-Hazmi, came to the U.S. in January 2000, they immediately met with Omar Al-Bayoumi, a suspected Saudi spy and an employee of a Saudi aviation company. Al-Bayoumi, who was the target of FBI investigations in the two years before 9/11, became a good friend to the two 9/11 suspects, setting them up in an apartment and paying their rent.
  2. Al-Mihdhar and Al-Hazmi then moved in with a long-time FBI asset, Abdussattar Shaikh, who was said to be a teacher of the Saudi language. Shaikh allowed them to live in his home for at least seven months, later saying that he thought they were only Saudi students. In an unlikely coincidence, both Al-Bayoumi and Shaikh also knew Hani Hanjour, the alleged pilot of Flight 77. Although Shaikh was reported to be a retired professor at San Diego State University, the university had no records of him. He was then said to be a professor at American Commonwealth University but that turned out to be a phony institution. During the 9/11 investigations, the FBI refused to allow Shaikh to be interviewed or deposed. The FBI also tried to prevent the testimony of Shaikh’s FBI handler, which occurred only secretly at a later date. Despite having a very suspicious background, the FBI gave Shaikh $100,000 and closed his contract.
  3. Journalist Joseph Trento claimed that an unnamed former CIA officer, who worked in Saudi Arabia, told him that Alhazmi and Almihdhar were Saudi spies protected by U.S. authorities.
  4. After being appointed CIA Director in 1997, George Tenet began to cultivate close personal relationships with officials in Saudi Arabia. Tenet grew especially close to Prince Bandar, the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Bandar and Tenet often met at Bandar’s home near Washington. Tenet did not share information from those meetings with his own CIA officers who were handling Saudi issues at the agency. These facts are among the reasons to suspect that Tenet facilitated the crimes of 9/11.
  5. Bernard Kerik, the New York City police commissioner at the time of 9/11, spent three years working in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s. He then spent another three years in Saudi Arabia in the 1980s as the “chief investigator for the royal family.” It was Kerik who first told the public that explosives were not used at the World Trade Center (WTC) in a news conference. It was also his police department that was said to have discovered a passport that fell from one of the burning towers, providing dubious evidence identifying one of the alleged hijackers.
  6. One of the two major contractors hired to manage the cleanup of debris at Ground Zero—Bovis Lend Lease—had previously built the Riyadh Olympic stadium in Saudi Arabia.
  7. The other primary cleanup company at Ground Zero—AMEC Construction—had just completed a $258 million refurbishment of Wedge 1 of the Pentagon, which is exactly where Flight 77 was said to impact that building. AMEC had a significant presence in Saudi Arabia for decades, working for the national oil company, Saudi Aramco.
  8. After 9/11, former FBI director Louis Freeh, whose agency failed to stop Al Qaeda-attributed terrorism from 1993 to 2001, became the personal attorney for George Tenet’s dubious cohort, Prince Bandar. Sometimes called “Bandar Bush” for his close relationship to the Bush family, Bandar was the Saudi intelligence director from 2005 to 2015.
  9. The company that designed the security system for the WTC complex, Kroll Associates, had strong connections to Saudi Arabia. For example, Kroll board member Raymond Mabus, now Secretary of the Navy, was the U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia in the 1990s. Control of WTC security speaks to the question of how explosives could have been placed in the three tall buildings that were demolished on 9/11.
  10. All four of the contractors that were involved in implementing Kroll’s security design for the WTC had done significant business in the Saudi kingdom. Stratesec, the company that installed the overall electronic security system at the WTC complex, had also managed security for Dulles airport, where Flight 77 took off, and for United Airlines, which owned two of the three other planes. For many reasons, the company’s managers should be primary suspects in the crimes of 9/11. Stratesec was in partnership with a large Saudi engineering and construction company to develop and conduct business in Saudi Arabia.
  11. Another interesting connection between Stratesec and Saudi Arabia was that, in the years leading up to 9/11, Stratesec held its annual shareholders’ meetings in an office that was leased by Saudi Arabia. This was an office in the Watergate Hotel occupied by the Saudi Embassy (run by Prince Bandar).
  12. The Bush and Bin Laden-financed Carlyle Group owned, through BDM International, the Vinnell Corporation, a mercenary operation that had extensive contracts and trained the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Several of Stratesec’s key employees, including its operating manager Barry McDaniel, came from BDM. In 1995, BDM’s Vinnell was one of the first targets of Al Qaeda, in Saudi Arabia.
  13. In the 1990s, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC), run by Dick Cheney’s protégé Duane Andrews, trained the Saudi Navy and instructed Saudi military personnel at its company headquarters in San Diego. SAIC had a greater impact on counterterrorism programs in the United States than any other non-government entity and it profited greatly from 9/11.
  14. While SAIC was training the Saudi Navy, the Carlyle/BDM subsidiary Vinnell Corporation was training the Saudi Arabian National Guard. Simultaneously, Booz Allen Hamilton was managing the Saudi Marine Corps and running the Saudi Armed Forces Staff College.
  15. Salomon Smith Barney (SSB), the company that occupied all but ten floors of WTC building 7, was taken over by Citigroup in 1998 after Citigroup was taken over by Saudi Prince Alwaleed, in a deal brokered by The Carlyle Group. Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney joined the advisory board for SSB just after Citigroup’s takeover and they only resigned in January 2001 to join the Bush Administration.
  16. The Saudi government was sued by thousands of 9/11 victim’s family members due to the suspicion that Saudi Arabia helped to finance Al Qaeda. The Saudis hired the law firm of Bush Administration insider James Baker to defend them in that lawsuit.
  17. The 9/11 families’ lawsuit against Saudi royals was thrown out on a technicality related to the ability to sue a foreign government and, later, the Obama Administration backed the Saudis during the appeal.
  18. The world’s leading insurance provider, Lloyd’s of London, filed a lawsuit alleging Saudi involvement in the 9/11 attacks. Lloyd’s dropped the lawsuit just days later without explanation.
  19. After 9/11, it became clear that Saudi officials were supporting terrorism. For example, in the case of the would-be “underwear bomber,” it was revealed that the suspect was working for the CIA and Saudi intelligence.
  20. Saudi Prince Bandar has been accused of coordinating an international ring of terrorism in his role as Saudi intelligence chief. From Egypt to Libya, and now in Syria, evidence suggests that Bandar Bush has led a network of terrorists around the globe, with U.S. support.

Therefore it is not surprising that people who hear claims of Saudi involvement in 9/11 wonder why the discussion remains so limited and always avoids the glaring implications those claims should entail.

Now that the U.S. and Saudi Arabia have “reset” their rocky relationship, calls by U.S. leaders to release the “28 pages” may very well die down. Since the new Saudi King came to the U.S. a few weeks ago, the two governments have rediscovered that they are “close allies” and many new deals are in the works. It remains to be seen what cards U.S. and Saudi leaders will play in the ongoing game of terror and deception but discussions of hijacker financing will probably be left behind.

September 27, 2015 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Millions of job seekers’ fingerprints will now be searched for criminal investigations, says FBI

PrivacySOS | September 21, 2015

For years the FBI has performed federal criminal background checks for employers and state governments, amassing tens of millions of biometric records on people accused of no crime. If you want to be a lawyer, teacher, or even bike messenger in many parts of the United States, you’ll need to submit your fingerprints to the FBI. Every single federal employee must submit their prints before employment. Until recently, the FBI claimed it would not search these civil prints when conducting criminal print matching; a wall between the civil and criminal fingerprint databases kept these distinct sets of information separate, the Bureau claimed. But in February 2015, that all changed—very quietly.

EFF‘s Jennifer Lynch:

The change, which the FBI revealed quietly in a February 2015 Privacy Impact Assessment (PIA), means that if you ever have your fingerprints taken for licensing or for a background check, they will most likely end up living indefinitely in the FBI’s [Next Generation Identification] database. They’ll be searched thousands of times a day by law enforcement agencies across the country—even if your prints didn’t match any criminal records when they were first submitted to the system.

This is the first time the FBI has allowed routine criminal searches of its civil fingerprint data. Although employers and certifying agencies have submitted prints to the FBI for decades, the FBI says it rarely retained these non-criminal prints. And even when it did retain prints in the past, they “were not readily accessible or searchable.” Now, not only will these prints—and the biographical data included with them—be available to any law enforcement agent who wants to look for them, they will be searched as a matter of course along with all prints collected for a clearly criminal purpose (like upon arrest or at time of booking).

This seems part of an ever-growing movement toward cataloguing information on everyone in America—and a movement that won’t end with fingerprints. With the launch of the face recognition component of NGI, employers and agencies will be able to submit a photograph along with prints as part of the standard background check. As we’ve noted before, one of FBI’s stated goals for NGI is to be able to track people as they move from one location to another. Having a robust database of face photos, built out using non-criminal records, will only make that goal even easier to achieve.

The FBI’s decision to start using civil prints in criminal investigations demonstrates that we should be very skeptical of all government efforts to collect and retain sensitive information about us. Today they say they won’t do X, Y, or Z with that information. But that can change very easily, and without many of the millions of people affected taking much notice.

Read more about the FBI’s plans to amass biometric information on all of us.

September 23, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

CIA Kept U.S. Agencies in Dark about Investigation into Possible Diversion of Uranium from U.S. to Israel

By Noel Brinkerhoff | AllGov | September 10, 2015

Federal agencies trying to determine if Israel’s nuclear program received uranium from the U.S. during the Cold War were kept in the dark by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Grant Smith, who runs the Institute for Research: Middle Eastern Policy, has long contended that Israel was able to develop nuclear weapons in part because it received 392 pounds of nuclear material that was lost by Nuclear Materials and Equipment Corp. (NUMEC) between 1957 and 1965, according to Courthouse News Service.

A Freedom of Information Act fight with the CIA for records pertaining to NUMEC resulted in Smith getting 130 pages of documents (pdf), one of which from March 9, 1972, dealt with the Atomic Energy Commission’s (AEC) survey of NUMEC’s loss.

The AEC found NUMEC lost 185 pounds of uranium due to inefficiencies in the refinement process, but the agency could not identify an error that led to the remaining loss, according to the memo.

Tim Ryan at Courthouse News Service wrote that other documents revealed a lack of cooperation among three agencies that investigated NUMEC.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also looked into the missing uranium. But the FBI, like the AEC, closed its investigation after meeting with NUMEC director Zalman Shapiro but without consulting the CIA, “even though the agencies knew the CIA was interested in him,” Ryan wrote. He also reported that two CIA employees who worked during the height of the investigations have said diversion of uranium occurred.

“CIA has not furnished to the FBI sensitive agent reporting…since the decision was made by directors [Richard] Helms, [William] Colby and [George H.W.] Bush that this information would not further the investigation of NUMEC but would compromise sources and methods,” according to a 1977 report by CIA Associate Deputy Director for Operations Theodore Shackley.

No criminal charges were ever filed against officials at NUMEC.

To Learn More:

Discord Apparent in Nuclear ‘Diversion’ Probe (by Tim Ryan, Courthouse News Service )

CIA Releases Files about Illegal Weapons-Grade Uranium Diversions from U.S. to Israel (PR Newswire )

Grant F. Smith v. Central Intelligence Agency (U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia) (pdf)

Records Released by CIA to IRMEP via FOIA (Michael Lavergne, CIA) (pdf)

The Apollo Affair (Wikipedia)

September 10, 2015 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

City of Boston’s license plate reader database was online in plain text with no password protection

PrivacySOS | September 8, 2015

The Boston Transportation Department has been operating a license plate tracking program seeking to identify parking scofflaws, people with expired insurance, stolen cars, and even people suspected of gang and terrorist ties, according to recently discovered documents. Up until a few weeks ago, this sensitive information about thousands of people, including every person with a Boston resident parking permit, was stored online in plain text for the world to see.

In mid-August 2015, officials in Boston were surprised to receive a phone call from journalist Kenneth Lipp, who informed them that the Boston Transportation Department’s entire license plate reader database was online and available to download for anyone with an internet connection. There was no password guarding the database, which contained a million or so license plate reader records, the home addresses of every single person with a Boston parking permit, and lists of 2,500 people the police or FBI (it remains unclear which) have designated suspected gang members or terrorists, among other data.

Through some Googling, Lipp discovered that BTD’s license plate reader system, run by the Canadian technology giant Genetec, was dumping all of its records into an online server maintained by a Xerox subsidiary for the world to see—if it knew where to look.

Included in the files available on this public facing, password-free server were records suggesting that the Boston Police Department has been piggybacking off BTD license plate reader data for years. One of the files shows what appear to be records of automated emails from the BTD server to the Boston Police department’s stolen vehicle office, alerting the police each time a car on the stolen car hotlist encountered a BTD license plate reader.

I was surprised to discover these records because in 2013, in the wake of local reporter Shawn Musgrave’s expose on privacy and civil liberties problems with the department’s license plate reader program, the Boston Police told the public that it was scrapping the program altogether. The Xerox records suggest scrapping isn’t at all what occurred. Indeed, the automated emails from BTD’s license plate reader program to the Boston Police, left on the Xerox server for anyone to download at will, appear to have started at around the same time the cops told the public they’d stopped using license plate readers. That’s to say, instead of scrapping the program as the police told the public they would, BPD appears to have bootstrapped their license plate reader program from BTD data.

While the Boston Transportation Department’s license plate reader program is primarily used for parking enforcement, the records obtained freely online reveal that the information was processed for other purposes that go well beyond hunting for stolen cars.

Lipp reports for the Dig :

In collecting data, the BTD patrols city blocks—in some cases, both literally and figuratively sweeping the street with ALPR-equipped sanitation trucks—and not exclusively in search of plates belonging to scofflaws. Files obtained in our investigation reveal that as the BTD’s software searches databases, it alerts department operators if a plate is connected to a “convicted person on supervised release,” or to someone pegged to a “protection order.” Commonly called hotlists, these compendiums are created by fusing criminal intelligence from sources like the FBI’s National Crime Information Center and the AMBER Alert program, as well as from data furnished by banks, collection agencies, and the civil court system.

It’s not clear whether or how the public is any safer when authorities use massive watchlists. In Boston, a city of approximately 600,000 people, parking enforcement has one hotlist with 720,000 hits, each of which notes a plate number, location info, and available make and model data. Among the targets listed in August: 19 license numbers classified as “immediate threats,” nearly 4,000 affiliated with “wanted persons,” 25 plates linked to bad checks, 75 tied to payment defaults, and 468,617 flagged for cancelled insurance. Also exposed were 2,500 hits on a “Gang/Terrorist Watch…”

We don’t know for certain from which list the 2,500 people identified as gang members or terrorists were so designated, or who designated them, but a likely suspect is the FBI’s Violent Gang and Terrorist Organization File (VGTOF) database.

According to a 2007 Inspector General report, the FBI at that time included nearly half a million people in this database, assigning them one of three codes meant to inform law enforcement “whether there is an active arrest warrant, a basis to detain the individual, or an interest in obtaining additional intelligence information regarding the individual,” respectively.

It’s not certain that the 2,500 people identified as “Gang/Terrorist Watch” in the Xerox/Boston Transportation Department license plate reader database were identified as such because of their inclusion in the FBI’s VGTOF, but it seems probable. The FBI may be interested to know that information about who is a suspected terrorist is posted on the internet for anyone in the world to download and peruse.

Government agencies routinely implore the public to trust them with our sensitive information, whether it’s license plate reader records detailing our movements and life patterns or information collected about political activists for so-called “public safety” purposes. But incidents like this one demonstrate that we should be very circumspect about allowing governments and corporations to collect, share, and manipulate information about us in secret.

Journalist Kenneth Lipp found this database and exposed it to the company and transportation department, triggering an added layer of security that shielded the information from the public. We will likely never know how many other people stumbled across it, or what they might have done with the information, before then.

September 9, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

U.S. Turns Teen into “Terrorist”

 By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | September 2, 2015

Ali Shukri Amin is 17-years old, a minor under American law, yet he was just sentenced to eleven years in federal prison. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced as an adult for providing material support for terrorists. This is a crime defined in any way the government wants it to be. Amin had a twitter account, @amreekiwitness, devoted to the group Islamic State, ISIS. He also helped a friend travel to Syria in hopes of joining ISIS. That is the substance of his crime, online opinion and facilitating travel.

The crime of providing material support for terrorists only came into existence with the Patriot Act passed in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks. There are now people serving very long prison terms for providing humanitarian aid, translating documents, sending money abroad, or expressing views in support of nations or groups the United States classifies as terrorist. These crimes are vaguely defined and are often of little consequence to ISIS or any other organization the federal government designates as an enemy.

The prosecutions of Amin and others are meant to make the case for continuing the “war on terror.” This is actually a war of American terror used to justify endless interventions around the world. The Department of Justice would have us believe that a teenager tweeting about making donations to ISIS via bitcoin posed a serious threat. Of course, the United States government is the biggest threat to life in the world. It is the most violent organization with the largest number of kills.

The application of the material support for terror statute is used to capture innocent or harmless people. Some are hoodwinked by agent provocateurs or, like Amin, pose little or no danger. Most importantly, ISIS would not be a credible force in Syria or Libya were it not for American machinations. The United States created the monster and now wants to punish anyone who interacts with it.

At one point Amin, who lived in a Virginia suburb of Washington, DC, had over 4,000 twitter followers who conversed about a variety of issues, including protests in Ferguson, Missouri.

“They cower in fear of us whilst they massacre and oppress you! It’s time to strike fear into the hearts of the oppressors. #FergusonUnderIS”

“May be time to organize Muslims in America upon haqq and mobilize to #Ferguson. Defend the oppressed, start jihad here.”

While Amin and thousands of others expressed their outrage about deadly police brutality, the State Department actually engaged in online debates with the teenager. A bizarre social media program called Think Again, Turn Away is a useless attempt to influence young Muslims who want to fight imperialism through jihad. Aside from having a name reminiscent of a love song title, the effort allowed Amin to engage in argument with and troll the State Department. When the would-be jihad deprogrammers pointed out that ISIS “slaughters innocent people,” Amin had a ready and accurate retort:

“slaughter innocents? You mean like AbdurRahman al-Awlaki, the 16 year old boy not involved with any militants? or what about the thousands killed in drone strikes weekly that make the news? The thousands that don’t? you are nothing more than criminals who betray the Muslims you claim to defend across the globe, butchering them 1.7 million in Iraq, hundreds of thousands in Afghanistan, left, right, everywhere. only an ignoramus who knows nothing about American foreign policy or any Muslim country could accept your lies.”

A few months after these embarrassing interactions, Amin’s mother and his imam unwisely reported him to the FBI in an effort to stop his online involvement with ISIS. He would not have been discovered otherwise.

Killer cops roam the streets with no fear of federal prosecution, but a confused teenager is sent to prison because he holds and expresses opinions contrary to those of the government. Prosecutors use children to make names for themselves and climb the ladder in a corrupt system. American terror is not just carried out abroad with drone strikes and invasions, but it is carried out on a daily basis by the criminal injustice system.

While the Saudis, Israelis and their allies use American money and arms to target civilians for death, anyone who crosses over the thin line of expression is at risk of prosecution and many years in prison. The hypocrisy is stunning but not really surprising. This system will use a child to make its point clear. We live in a police state and anyone who dares to speak up against it is at risk of being made an example.

The federal government does not operate any juvenile facilities. Ali Shukri Amin is now in custody in an adult facility. One need not be a follower of ISIS to see that this is a gross injustice unworthy of a country which claims to be a democracy.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

September 2, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , | Leave a comment

Here’s How Law Enforcement Agencies Impersonate Your Friends

By Sonia Roubini | ACLU | August 31, 2015

We recently received a handbook from the DEA, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, seeking information about the use of impersonation as an investigative technique. While the 1999 handbook, titled Online Investigative Principles for Federal Law Enforcement Agents, was almost identical to a version of the handbook that is available online, there is one notable difference: the version that the DEA sent us includes a copy of the DEA’s Consent to Assume Online Identity: Adult Consent form.

The DEA apparently used this fifteen-year-old form to obtain consent from individuals to impersonate their online identities. It states:

“I ____ hereby voluntarily provide consent to the Drug Enforcement Administration or other Federal, State or Local Task Force officers to assume my Internet online identity. My Internet screen name(s), nick name(s), and/or e-mail addresses are as follows.”

It goes on to state:

I understand that these law enforcement officers will changes [sic] the password(s) to this account so that I will no longer have access to these accounts. My Internet online identity may be used by these law enforcement officers for any official purpose relating to an official investigation, including sending and receiving e-mail, making direct communications on systems such as ICQ or AOL instant messaging, and any other electronic communications. I have been advised of my right to refuse to allow the assumption of my identity. I give this consent freely and voluntarily.

We filed this FOIA request because the impersonation of actual individuals and organizations by law enforcement agencies has the unique ability to erode our trust in each other’s identities. If government agencies impersonate Senate staffers, Internet repair technicians, newspapers, and individual citizens at will — as they appear to have done in the past — or others in our lives, it will erode a form of trust that is critical for relationships in a free society: our ability to trust stated identities.

Unfortunately, the documents released to us so far raise more questions than they answer. This consent form in particular raises some thorny ones, including:

  1. Under what circumstances can law enforcement agencies ask for consent to impersonate actual individuals?
  2. If the individual does not consent, can law enforcement get a warrant to impersonate someone?
  3. Once a law enforcement agency is impersonating someone, what is it allowed to do? Can it communicate with the individuals’ Facebook friends? Can it respond to emails from their family members?
  4. What factors do law-enforcement agencies consider in deciding whether the extraordinary risks of impersonation are worth the possible reward?

Without this information, it is difficult to assess the lawfulness or wisdom of the DEA’s impersonation of actual individuals — a practice which raises serious constitutional questions. The Fourth Amendment prohibits “unreasonable searches and seizures,” and while courts have generally approved of the government’s use of deception (for example, undercover officers), few have ruled upon the constitutionality of the impersonation of actual individuals.

A recent decision in a Las Vegas District Court involved evidence collected by members of the FBI who impersonated Internet repair technicians to gain physical access to suspects’ hotel rooms. During their investigation of an online gambling ring, FBI agents disconnected the Internet in three rooms of a Las Vegas hotel and impersonated technicians to enter the rooms without suspicion and to collect evidence later used against the suspects in court. The judge eventually tossed the evidence out on the grounds that it was “fruit of a poisonous tree” — legal jargon indicating that the evidence was obtained using an unlawful search.

In another case, the DEA created a fake Facebook profile for a real individual, Sondra Prince, who was arrested on drug charges in 2010, in order to investigate an alleged New York drug ring. The DEA agent who arrested Prince seized her cell phone and mined it for photographs. These were then used to create the fraudulent Facebook profile which was used by the agents as a critical part of their investigation into the drug ring. These photographs notably included ones of Prince in a bathing suit, and photos of her two young children. Prince ultimately sued the DEA over its impersonation of her profile. The Justice Department eventually paid $134,000 to settle the case, which drew the public’s attention to potential privacy violations at play in government agencies’ impersonation of individuals (not to mention the potential dangers involved).

The consent form also raises tricky questions about the scope of consent. Does the form allow the agents, for example, to answer incoming messages from the mother of the consenter? What about a romantic partner or close friends? The form does nothing to clarify these questions. Nor does it address the fact that asking people to turn over their passwords so that law enforcement can then log in to their accounts violates the terms of service of Facebook and a number of other major service providers, which all prohibit password sharing. The government itself has argued in other cases that such password sharing may be a crime under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

Finally, the date of the form — 1999 — raises an obvious but unanswered question: what is the DEA’s current practice? Technology and social media have transformed our society in the last sixteen years. Have the DEA’s practices changed since then? Do they impersonate individuals routinely now? What are the rules that now govern that impersonation? We just don’t know, and that’s a problem.

September 1, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blood in the Hills: Leonard Peltier and the Pine Ridge Reservation Shoot Out, Forty Years Later


By Mark Trecka | The End Of Being | June 26, 2015

In the late morning of June 26th, 1975, two young FBI agents named Jack Coler and Robert Williams entered the property of Lakota Sioux elders Harry and Cecelia Jumping Bull while ostensibly investigating the theft of a pair of cowboy boots, and engaged in a firefight with several native activists who were camped there. Those two FBI agents and a young Indian named Joe Stuntz would be dead by mid-afternoon, slain in the South Dakota sun. Leonard Peltier, one of the activists camped at Jumping Bull that day, is currently serving back-to-back life sentences for the deaths of Coler and Williams. No investigation into the death of Stuntz was ever undertaken.

     Reports of military style bunkers and strongholds and large stockpiles of weapons on the Jumping Bull property were disseminated to the American public within the days following this incident, but such reports were promptly found to be fabricated. In an enforced absence of the media during the first days after the event, the deaths of the agents were told to be execution-style murders, the work of hateful, vengeful native militants. This, too, proved to be false. The agents, it seems, did not announce themselves that day and so appeared simply as two armed white men on reservation land. A compelling case has been made that Coler and Williams drove onto that land that day and fired shots for no reason but to set into motion the chain of events which followed.

     Violence against Indians on the greater Pine Ridge Reservation was entirely common at that time, and although at least some of that violence was funded and enabled by the FBI, the agency usually maintained a slightly more removed role than it did on this day. Dick Wilson, chairman of the Oglala Lakota Sioux was a militant assimilationist who had made it his mission throughout the early 1970s to suppress and punish expressions of native identity. He and his heavily armed, often drunk and extremely violent private squad of henchmen began terrorizing the Pine Ridge Reservation in 1972. Throughout his reign, uninvestigated violent deaths would befall more than one hundred residents of the reservation, and a climate of fear was pervasive. The Pine Ridge reservation, under Wilson’s rule, achieved the highest per-capita murder rate in the country and the dark clouds of alcoholism and poverty hung over everyday life there. Wilson received funds, arms, and reportedly alcohol from the federal government to operate and fuel his militia. The native activists camped on the Jumping Bull property on June 26th, 1975 were largely present as a response to these conditions, offering support and security to the residents of Pine Ridge in the face of Wilson’s thuggery.

     Relations between such Native American traditionalist activists, loosely organized under the banner of the American Indian Movement (AIM) and various government agencies had become explosive through the early 1970s. AIM was inspired in part by the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panthers but uniquely mobilized around pan-native spiritual practices, identity, and a vision that sought not necessarily advancement within the broader society, but the right to exist unmolested and to live a form of traditional native life without the violence and manipulation and strategic neglect so commonly experienced at the hands of the US government.

     Two-and-a-half years before the Pine Ridge shootout, supporters of AIM had assembled in the town of Custer, South Dakota to respond to the sentencing of Darold Schmitz for the murder of an Indian named Wesley Bad Heart Bull. While the two men had essentially engaged in a drunken tussle which resulted in Bad Heart Bull’s death, several witnesses testified to hearing Schmitz earlier in the evening state that “he was going to kill him an Indian.” After word got out of an involuntary manslaughter verdict and low bail, AIM leaders mobilized and dozens of supporters flooded the little town of Custer. While AIM leaders Russell Means, Dennis Banks, Leonard Crow Dog and Dave Hill were in talks with local officials, the victim’s grieving mother, Sarah Bad Heart Bull was beaten by police while attempting to enter the courthouse. The ensuing conflict between Indians and police turned into a riot in which several buildings were burned. (Sarah Bad Heart Bull was subsequently sentenced to one to five years in prison while Schmitz never served one day.)

     This incident is commonly considered the impetus for the 1973 occupation of the Wounded Knee memorial site by AIM activists and the subsequent 71-day standoff between two hundred AIM supporters and an army of federal agents, U.S. marshals, Dick Wilson’s thugs, and local ranchers. Russell Means and Dennis Banks were tried in 1974 as leaders of AIM and the primary organizers of that occupation. Means and Banks were acquitted after a disastrous and circus-like trial. The presiding judge, Fred Joseph Nichol, was so astonished by the questionable prosecutorial feats that he was, as quoted in Peter Matthiessen’s In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, moved to words of derision for the FBI.

It’s hard for me to believe that the FBI, which I have revered for so long, has stooped so low. I am forced to conclude that the prosecution acted in bad faith at various times throughout the course of the trial and was seeking convictions at the expense of justice. [ … ] The waters of justice have been polluted, and dismissal, I believe, is the appropriate cure for the pollution in this case.”

     By June of 1975, the FBI was apparently frustrated beyond clear-headedness. Matthiessen’s exhaustive account elucidates the details of the incident at Jumping Bull which would eventually result in Leonard Peltier’s conviction. Among the most striking is the fact that while agents Coler and Williams were ostensibly investigating the theft of a pair of cowboy boots, a myriad of law enforcement and paramilitary forces totaling at least 250 men were assembling within a few miles of the Jumping Bull property, which was soon surrounded.

     Throughout the exchange of fire, all of the Indians involved were able to escape into the hills, except for the fallen Joe Stuntz. Leonard Peltier, who was certainly among those who fled, eventually escaped to Canada, from where he was extradited back to the U.S. and tried for the murders of agents Coler and Williams.

     Peltier’s extradition and trial proved to be even more fraught with fraud than the Means-Banks trial. The prosecution depended largely on the testimony of a mentally unstable woman named Myrtle Poor Bear who later admitted that she had been threatened and coerced by the FBI. Although she was groomed to damn Peltier, she later admitted that she had never met him.

     Despite this and several other witnesses’ claims of coercion at the hands of the FBI, ballistics evidence which concluded in favor of Peltier’s innocence, and a general lack of evidence, Leonard Peltier was convicted and sentenced to two back-to-back life sentences.

     He remains in prison today, at the United States Penitentiary in Coleman, Florida, where he was moved after being severely beaten by inmates at a facility in Canaan, Pennsylvania in 2009. He is today 70-years-old. Several presidents, including Barack Obama, have flirted with the idea of granting Peltier clemency amidst enormous pressure from the international human rights community, intellectuals, celebrities, and spiritual leaders, though none has yet followed through. Recent reports highlight Peltier’s failing health and lack of proper medical treatment.

     Peltier is considered by many of his supporters to have been arbitrarily chosen for conviction after earlier attempts to convict AIM leaders failed. Although obviously a controversial and contentious subject, enough evidence has emerged in defense of Peltier over the years that he counts among his supporters the Dalai Lama, the late Nelson Mandela, the late Mother Theresa, the European Parliament, the National Lawyers Guild, Angela Davis, Amnesty International, The Human Rights Alliance, Rev. Jesse Jackson, and many others who believe that he is held as a political prisoner.

     With the 1983 publication of In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, Peter Matthiessen was sued for libel by the FBI and related parties. As Martin Garbus explains in the afterword for the second edition of the book, the very existence of that edition is significant in the face of these legal battles.

The printing of this new edition is thus a joyful occasion for those of us who care about the dissemination of ideas, no matter how controversial, and worry about any erosion of the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. It is a defeat for former South Dakota Governor William Janklow, for the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and for FBI Special Agent David Price, all of whom tried to stop this book by filing suits in three stages, waging an eight-year litigation, and calling and threatening booksellers and book buyers. It is also a defeat for all those who wish to keep this country in the dark about abuses against its citizens in the past and present eras.”

     Matthiessen’s legal victories essentially validated all accounts in the book as sound.

     In addition to the 1991 edition of Matthiessen’s book, the 1992 documentary, Incident at Oglala, produced and narrated by Robert Redford, also helped to renew public interest in Peltier’s story. The Washington Post review of that film states: “Only the willfully partisan will disagree [Peltier’s] trial was anything but a government-cooked travesty.”

     Efforts are ongoing to convince President Obama to grant clemency to Peltier, as are efforts to prevent just such a thing from happening. His next parole hearing is scheduled for 2024.


August 30, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments


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