New Scandals Link Sex, Spying, War, Wall Street, Power and Politics

A series of seemingly unrelated recent scandals share a common denominator: ambitious politicos well-rewarded by powerful interests and seemingly caught in compromising positions.

Fulfilling one of modern journalism’s most popular practices, many news organizations have focused on New York Mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner’s sexting scandal. Armchair psychiatrists in the political press have especially enjoyed about the reactions of his wife, Huma Abedin, a longtime aide to Hillary Clinton.

have enjoyed moralistic revival concerns about Weiner, his family, and a rogues gallery of previous political miscreants in articles amply illustrated with the most lithesome and soft-porn peddlers

David Petraeus

 
 
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National Police, Prosecutor Trends

Huffington Post, The Untouchables: America's Misbehaving Prosecutors, And The System That Protects Them Over, Radley Balko, Aug. 1, 2013. Radley Balko  the last year or so, a number of high-profile stories have fostered discussion and analysis of prosecutorial power, discretion and accountability: the prosecution and subsequent suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz; the Obama administration's unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers; the related Department of Justice investigations into the sources of leaks that have raised First Amendment concerns; and aggressive prosecutions that look politically motivated, such as the pursuit of medical marijuana offenders in states where the drug has been legalized for that purpose. In May, an 82-year-old nun and two other peace activists were convicted of "sabotage" and other "crimes of violence" for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant to unfurl banners, spray paint and sing hymns. Even many on the political right, traditionally a source of law-and-order-minded support for prosecutors, have raised concerns about "overcriminalization" and the corresponding power the trend has given prosecutors.

Las Vegas Family Court
KLAS-TV, I-Team: Cover-Up Alleged in Family Court, Nathan Baca and Alex Brauer, March 8, 2013. Multiple employees and managers at the Clark County family court are under investigation for allegedly covering up a sexual assault by a court marshal. The I-Team has uncovered video showing a woman claiming a court marshal sexually assaulted her. She was later arrested by that same marshal. The marshal has since been fired. The I-Teams investigation shows how the internal affairs investigation is revealing much larger problems at family court. There are multiple marshals involved and allegations ranging from sexual assaults to choking a citizen in court. Monica Contreras went to family court with her 2-year-old daughter in August 2011. As Contreras was leaving, family court marshal Ron Fox ordered her into a waiting room for an unexplained drug search. Contreras said Fox touched her buttocks, breast, and ordered her to lift up her shirt. A later internal investigation by Clark County courts validated her claims. Contreras went back into the same courtroom and told hearing master Patricia Donninger that her requests to have a female marshal handle the search were ignored. The video shows Marshal James Kenyon preparing to arrest Contreras. She can be heard pleading with him. "For what, sir? Why would I be arrested? Can you please tell me?"

Gawker, Judge Ignores Pleas of Woman Arrested for Protesting Sexual Assault, Max Read, June 12, 2013. From the "Videos That Will Give You Nightmares" department: KLAS in Las Vegas has obtained tape of family court marshals illegally arresting a woman accusing one of them of sexual assault—as the presiding officer ignores her pleas for help or explanation.

Above the Law, Horrifying Video Of Alleged Sexual Assault While Family Court Judge Literally Looks The Other Way, Elie Mystalm, June 13, 2013. A disturbing video is making its way around social media today. It’s a six-minute family court video from August 2011 of a woman who complains that a marshal sexually assaulted her in a back room. The woman becomes increasingly agitated as the marshal, who is in the courtroom, then arrests her for “making false allegations about a police officer,” all while the magistrate plays with the woman’s child, at least until the child begs the arresting officer to not take her momma away.

Las Vegas Tribune, Clark County Court to Patricia Doninger: YOU’RE FIRED, Rolando Larraz, June 19, 2013. The family court hearing master that allowed two court marshals to abuse, degrade and sexually assault a woman that was in court for a divorce matter was quietly fired last week. Patricia Doninger is no longer employed by Clark County Courts after an alleged investigation into the August 11 incident in her court, during which she turned her back on a disgusting situation to play with the victim’s underage daughter. Doninger heartlessly ignored the young mother’s plea for help while two Clark County Court Marshalls tortured, groped and viciously attacked the Hispanic woman that was in court for a routine divorce case. A court video of the incident was obtained by Las Vegas Tribune, and after reviewing it for several days, the newspaper was ready to begin a campaign to demand Hearing Master Patricia Doninger’s termination – but that is no longer necessary.


David Petraeus

David Petraeus

Wayne Madsen Report, State Department "foreign affairs," Wayne Madsen, right, Aug 2, 2013 (Subscription required). Recent revelations about former New York Democratic Congressman and New York mayoral candidate Anthony Weiner's texting of lewd digital messages with attached photographs of his genitals, coupled with his wife's admission that some of Weiner's problems are her fault, were not enough to maintain the Washington rumor mill during the normally driest month for news -- August.

FireDogLake, Bogus State Department Keystone XL Climate Study the Basis of David Petraeus’ CUNY Seminar, Steve Horn, July 25, 2013.  Former CIA-head David Petraeus’ City University of New York (CUNY) Macaulay Honors College seminar readings include several prominent Big Oil-funded “frackademia” studies, a recent DeSmogBlog investigation revealed. Further digging into records obtained via New York’s Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) also reveals “a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course” – as stated in an email from Petraeus to an unknown source due to redaction – utilizes the U.S. State Department’s Keystone XL environmental review written by Environmental Resources Management (ERM Group) to argue that Transcanada’s tar sands export pipeline deserves approval. “[Redacted], attached is a document that my Harvard researchers and I put together for the seminar I’ll lead at Macaulay Honors College of CUNY,” wrote Petraeus in the email. “It is intended to be a survey of the global economy to set the stage for the course…[It] will have considerable value, I think, for the undergrads in the course.” The “Global Economy” survey was penned on behalf of Petraeus by Vivek Chilukuri, one of Petraeus’ researchers at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Public Policy, where Petraeus sits as a Non-Resident Fellow. Chilukuri serves as Editor-in-Chief for the Harvard Journal of Middle Eastern Politics & Policy, and worked for Obama For America before the 2008 election.

New York Daily News, David Petraeus will take $1 salary for CUNY teaching post; Instead of earning $150,000 to lecture three hours a week at CUNY, former CIA director David Petraeus will earn $1, Bill Hutchinson, July 16, 2013. Former CIA director David Petraeus has taken a pay cut — instead of earning $150,000 to lecture three hours a week at CUNY, he’ll receive $1. Petraeus’ lawyer, Robert Barnett, and CUNY officials confirmed the salary cut on Monday. The move came just days after the six-figure salary was blasted on the Daily News’ editorial page and called “obscene” by CUNY’s faculty union.

Domestic Austerity

The Huffington Post, Food Stamp Cuts Twice As Deep In New GOP Proposal, Arthur Delaney, Aug. 1, 2013. Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are considering a new food stamp bill that would cut nutrition assistance by twice as much as a previous bill that died on the House floor last month. The previous measure would have reduced spending on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $20.5 billion over 10 years, or roughly 2 percent of the program's $800 billion cost in that time frame. Rep. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.), one of the Republicans huddling on food stamps since then, said the new proposal would have deeper cuts.

Bradley Manning

FireDogLake, Bradley Manning’s Sentencing: WikiLeaks, Manning Have No Blood on Their Hands from Afghan War Logs Release, Kevin Gosztola,  Aug. 1, 2013.  During the first day of the sentencing phase of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s trial yesterday, a military judge heard testimony about names of local nationals revealed in the “Afghanistan War Logs” Manning disclosed to WikiLeaks and whether anyone had been killed as a result of their name being disclosed. The government initially tried to slip testimony suggesting Manning’s disclosure had resulted in the death of someone past Judge Army Col. Denise Lind. The government was trying to hold Manning responsible for using the “war logs” as propaganda to justify killing someone, but the judge said at the end of the open session that she would disregard all testimony on the Taliban killing someone who was not named in the disclosures. Once again, it is proven that government officials will hype up how released information will lead to deaths or cause great damage, even when it is rare for casualties to occur as a direct result or that damage would occur because naturally the military adapts so forces are not vulnerable. Finally, the evidence that no persons were killed as a result of their names being disclosed should be good for Manning.

OpEdNews, Double-Feature: "Bradley Manning Verdict Convicts Washington" and "Hiding Economic Depression With Spin," Paul Craig Roberts, Aug. 1, 2013. Bradley Manning's "trial" was equivalent to Joseph Stalin's "trial" of Nikolai Bukharin. It did not take place in a real court with a real jury. Imagine the US government accusing Manning of aiding the enemy when the US government itself is supporting al Qaeda's attempt to overthrow the Syrian government!...By printing dollars to support the banks, the Fed has created a bond market bubble, a stock market bubble, and a dollar bubble. If the Fed stops printing money, not only will the banks' balance sheets take a hit, but so will the bond, stock, and real estate markets. Wealth would be wiped out. No one could any longer pretend that there is an economic recovery. The real reason that the US economy cannot recover is that it has been moved offshore. Millions of US manufacturing and tradable professional service jobs such as software engineering have been moved to China, India and other countries where wages and salaries are a fraction of those in the US. Using "free trade" as a cloak, corporations have turned labor costs into a profits center. The use of foreign labor in place of US labor is beneficial to executives and shareholders in the short-run, but it is detrimental in the longer-run. The long-run effect is to destroy the US consumer market.

Edward Snowden

AP via Washington Post, Snowden has left Moscow airport, his lawyer says, Staff report, Aug 1, 2013. A Russian lawyer says documents were granted that allowed the former NSA contractor to enter Russia. Snowden’s whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons, he adds. National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden left transit zone of a Moscow airport and entered Russia after authorities granted him temporary asylum, his lawyer said Thursday. Anatoly Kucherena said that Snowden’s whereabouts will be kept secret for security reasons. The former NSA systems analyst was stuck at Moscow’s Sheremetyevo airport since his arrival from Hong Kong on June 23. The U.S. has demanded that Russia send Snowden home to face prosecution for espionage, but President Vladimir Putin dismissed the request. Putin had said that Snowden could receive asylum in Russia on condition he stops leaking U.S. secrets. Kucherena has said Snowden accepted the condition. The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday published a new report on U.S. intelligence-gathering based on information from Snowden, but Kucherena said the material was provided before Snowden promised to stop leaking.

Agonist, We are the enemy Manning and Snowden aided, Michael Collins, July 31st, 2013. What do Manning and Snowden have in common? I asked that question and came up nothing at first.  Manning gave specific information on the content of U.S. intelligence.  Edward Snowden exposed the structure and targets of a massive spying operation without exposing specific content.   However, there is a common element to both cases – aiding the enemy.  And, who are the enemies?  The enemies are we the people, the citizens of the United States. Since our allies are partners in the NSA spying programs, the fact we spied on them should have been no big surprise. The citizens of the United States, however, were not aware of the vast array of information collected concerning their communication patterns.  Snowden, like Manning, had a main target for their whistleblowing — the citizens of the United States.

NSA Surveillance

Washington Post, NSA chief asks a reluctant crowd of hackers to help agency do its job, Robert O’Harrow Jr., July 31, 2013. It doesn’t get much stranger than this, even in Vegas. Gen. Keith B. Alexander, director of the National Security Agency, stood in front of a standing-room-only crowd Wednesday, selling the idea of government surveillance programs. His audience? More than 3,000 cybersecurity specialists, including some of the world’s best hackers, an unruly community known for its support of civil liberties and skepticism of the government’s three-letter agencies. Alexander praised the group as one of the brightest collections of technical minds in the world. He asked them to help the NSA fulfill its mission of protecting the country, while also protecting privacy. “We stand for freedom,” Alexander told the crowd in a vast ballroom at Caesars Palace. “Help us to defend the country and develop a better solution.” Some in the crowd weren’t buying, and one hacker hurled an expletive back at him. “I’m saying I don’t trust you!” a voice shouted. This is Black Hat, the annual hacker conference. For a few days every year, it takes center stage in the topsy-turvy worlds of cyberspace, network computing and digital security. The conference serves as a platform for hacking seminars, partying and — more and more — policy discussions about what the government and corporate worlds ought to be doing to confront problems like cyber-espionage and cyberattacks, growing threats with no clear-cut remedies.

Benghazi
CNN, Exclusive: Dozens of CIA operatives on the ground during Benghazi attack, Jake Tapper, Aug. 1, 2013. CNN has uncovered exclusive new information about what is allegedly happening at the CIA, in the wake of the deadly Benghazi terror attack. Four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed in the assault by armed militants last September 11 in eastern Libya. Sources now tell CNN dozens of people working for the CIA were on the ground that night, and that the agency is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret. CNN has learned the CIA is involved in what one source calls an unprecedented attempt to keep the spy agency's Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out. Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels. It is clear that two U.S. agencies were operating in Benghazi, one was the State Department, and the other was the CIA. The State Department told CNN in an e-mail that it was only helping the new Libyan government destroy weapons deemed "damaged, aged or too unsafe retain," and that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries. But the State Department also clearly told CNN, they "can't speak for any other agencies."

Guccifer Hacking and Posting
The Smoking Gun, ‘Sex And The City’ Author, Members Of Council On Foreign Relations Join List Of ‘Guccifer’ Hacking Victims, Staff report, May 7, 2013. Days after breaching online accounts of members of the Council on Foreign Relations, the hacker “Guccifer” this week broke into the e-mail and Twitter accounts of “Sex and the City” author Candace Bushnell, The Smoking Gun has learned. After illegally accessing Bushnell’s Earthlink account yesterday, “Guccifer” rooted through it and located an e-mail the 54-year-old writer sent last week to her editor at Grand Central Publishing. The correspondence included a Word attachment containing the first 37,000 words of Bushnell’s next novel. In addition to hacking Bushnell’s e-mail, “Guccifer” also took control of her Twitter account and web site (candacebushnell.com). Armed with Bushnell’s manuscript, the hacker created about 50 screen grabs of the text, and then uploaded those images to a Google Drive page. In control of Bushnell’s Twitter page, “Guccifer” yesterday sent a tweet to the author’s 9100 followers announcing, “Here you can read my last book ''killing monica'' first 50 pages; enjoy as long as you can!” The tweet--which was resent earlier today--included a link to the Google Drive page. In an interview this morning, Bushnell (seen above) said that her e-mail and Twitter accounts were broken into yesterday, and that she had no idea how they were breached. She added that a simultaneous attempt was made to compromise her Facebook account, but that she received an alert that someone was attempting to access it from an IP address in Albuquerque, New Mexico that was not recognized by the social networking firm.

FastCompany, Now PayPal Goes for Cryptome, Suspends Account, Addy Dugdale, March 8, 2010. wo weeks after Cryptome.com had the plug pulled temporarily on it by host Network Solutions, it seems the site has run into more problems--only this time, with someone else. The site's current frenemy is eBay, who has suspended Cryptome's PayPal account and all donations received since February 24, around the time that Cryptome ran into problems with Microsoft, following publication of the software giant's guide to online surveillance.

The Huffington Post, Colin Powell Denies Affair With Romanian Diplomat After Guccifer Hacking, Ashley Alman, Aug. 1, 2013. The denial comes after famed hacker Guccifer breached Powell's email and Facebook accounts, revealing 10 years of communication with Corina Cretu, a member of the European Parliament. Powell, who left the State Department in 2005, kept in touch with Cretu over email after leaving his post. "Over time, the emails became of a very personal nature, but did not result in an affair," Powell said in a statement. Powell, who married his wife Alma in 1962, reportedly asked Cretu to delete the email exchange, as Guccifer posted personal emails from 2010 and 2011 online this week.  Guccifer has received a lot of attention since March, when he began hacking the accounts of members of government and celebrities. His victims include Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), the Bush family and venture capitalist John Doerr.

Catching Our Attention on other Justice, Media & Integrity Issues

Huffington Post, Supreme Court Ethics Act Proposed In Response To Controversial Behavior By Justices Scalia, Thomas, Nick Wing, Aug. 1, 2013.

OpEdNews, Syrian Support Group Stumbles, Falls - The Empire Project Failing, Michael Collins, Aug. 2, 2013. The latest news of the effort to depose a government that never attacked the United States and posed no imminent threat has more to do with hypocrisy than death and destruction. The United States, United Kingdom, France, Turkey, and the Gulf oligarchies sponsored a rebellion in Syria that chose cities as the primary battleground.  Syrian rebels entered the cities, took over without invitation by the residents, and battled the police and other representatives of the Syrian government.  Nobody expected the government to simply surrender the cities to the rebels.  This often-overlooked fact explains the scale of death and destruction in Syria.  The above listed cast of characters supported or looked the other way as foreign fighters from Al Qaeda in Iraq took on a major combat role. The group, known as Al-Nusra, is credited as the best combat force fighting the Syrian government.   The group slaughters civilians and captured soldiers.  A favorite targets for violence and kidnapping are the minorities of Syrian Christians and Kurds. The latest news of the effort to depose a government that never attacked the United States and posed no imminent threat has more to do with hypocrisy than death and destruction.  Craven, rapacious greed flowers in the context of a full tilt violence.

Atlanta Journal and Constitution, Chattanooga editor fired for ‘shove it’ headline aimed at Obama, Jim Galloway, Aug. 1, 2013. A Chattanooga newspaper editor has been fired for that “Take your jobs plan and shove it” headline that greeted President Barack Obama on his arrival to the city earlier this week. We noted the rude nature of the greeting here: Chattanooga newspaper's welcome to Obama: ‘Take your jobs plan and shove it.’

Dystopia Film Fantasies

(1968) Starring Jackie Cooper, Gene Hackman. Made-for-TV drama about fascist takeover of America.

Huffington Post, The Untouchables: America's Misbehaving Prosecutors, And The System That Protects Them Over, Radley Balko, Aug. 1, 2013. Radley Balko  the last year or so, a number of high-profile stories have fostered discussion and analysis of prosecutorial power, discretion and accountability: the prosecution and subsequent suicide of Internet activist Aaron Swartz; the Obama administration's unprecedented prosecution of whistleblowers; the related Department of Justice investigations into the sources of leaks that have raised First Amendment concerns; and aggressive prosecutions that look politically motivated, such as the pursuit of medical marijuana offenders in states where the drug has been legalized for that purpose. In May, an 82-year-old nun and two other peace activists were convicted of "sabotage" and other "crimes of violence" for breaking into a nuclear weapons plant to unfurl banners, spray paint and sing hymns. Even many on the political right, traditionally a source of law-and-order-minded support for prosecutors, have raised concerns about "overcriminalization" and the corresponding power the trend has given prosecutors.