Feb. 28

New Yorker, Keeping Quiet About Davis, Amy Davidson, Feb. 28, 2011. The column by the Times’s Public Editor, Arthur Brisbane, on the case of Raymond Davis—the man who reportedly had some connection to the C.I.A. and is now in Pakistani custody after killing two policemen who, he has said, he thought were thieves—is genuinely puzzling. The Times reported last week that it had kept silent about Davis’s C.I.A. connection. Brisbane attempted to explain why. What we get, instead, is Brisbane’s credo: “Editors don’t have the standing to make a judgment that a story—any story—is worth a life.”

Feb. 27

Salon Unclaimed Territory, The military/media attacks on the Hastings article, Glenn Greenwald, Feb. 27, 2011. Here, for instance, is what Norah O'Donnell said on MSNBC when reporting on the controversy with Tamron Hall: “I can tell you that there are a number of people in the military and the Defense Department who are not happy with The Rolling Stone because of what happened earlier with General Stanley McCrystal.” O'Donnell just mindlessly passes on the smear, protecting the identity of the accusers while failing to identify a single specific reason why Hastings' journalism should be called into question. She's simply acting as dutiful, protective spokesperson-stenographer for military leaders.

Independent, Phone hacking: Now judge tells police to stop protecting names, Cahal Milmo and Martin Hickman, Feb. 25, 2011. Ruling threatens to implicate more News International executives. The likelihood of further News of the World (NotW) journalists being dragged into the phone-hacking scandal increased yesterday when a judge ruled that names believed to belong to the paper's employees should no longer be blanked out on key documents. In a ruling designed to streamline the snowballing number of legal claims being brought against Rupert Murdoch's top-selling title, the High Court said that notes written by the private investigator Glenn Mulcaire which it is claimed show who at the NotW commissioned him to hack phone messages must be disclosed to his alleged victims.

Feb. 25

Defense Department Tanker Refueling Decision

Connecticut Watchdog, Inside Story on DoD’s Boeing Air Force Tanker Deal: Opinion Analysis, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 25, 2011.  The Department of Defense Feb. 24 announced its choice of Boeing for a $35 billion contract to build the Air Force’s next generation of mid-air refueling tankers. Boeing’s selection, subject to any challenge by the losing bidder EADS, could end a decade-long, scandal-ridden process that became one of the controversial and important in modern U.S. procurement history.

Justice Integrity Project, Inside Story on DoD's $35 Billion Boeing Air Force Tanker Deal, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 25, 2011. The Department of Defense Thursday announced its choice of Boeing for a $35 billion contract to build the Air Force’s next generation of mid-air refueling tankers. Boeing’s selection, subject to any challenge by the losing bidder EADS, could end a decade-long, scandal-ridden process that became one of the controversial and important in modern U.S. procurement history.The Justice Integrity Project has tracked the proceeding closely for a year and a half after learning from reliable sources details about industrial espionage and skullduggery in the contract battle. This went far beyond even the scandals showcased in Senate oversight hearings led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). Those scandals sent a Boeing executive and former Air Force procurement officer to prison on bribery charges and led to DoD revocation in 2005 of the initial award to Boeing.

Financial Times (United Kingdom), Europe dismayed by Boeing’s tanker win, Feb. 25, 2011. EADS, the rival bidder in the contest, is part-owned by the French and Spanish government and by a proxy for the German government. The German government described the decision as a “missed opportunity to deepen the transatlantic partnership”.

Mobile Press Register, Air force tanker contract: EADS wants process details before making protest decision, George Talbot, Feb. 25, 2011. The decision confounded industry analysts and elected officials close to the competition, who boldly declared EADS as the favorite in the days leading up to the announcement. Those predictions vanished in a blink on Thursday afternoon, followed swiftly by the cancellation of arrangements for a ceremonial groundbreaking Monday at the Brookley Aeroplex  “I have no doubt” that EADS will contest the award, said Richard Aboulafia, an aerospace analyst for the Teal Group in Arlington, Va. “This is by no means the end of the contract.”

USA Today, Pentagon awards tanker contract to Boeing, Bart Jasen, Feb. 25, 2011.  "Boeing was a clear winner," said Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn. Boeing will build the planes in Kansas and Washington state. EADS would have built them in Mobile, Ala.

Washington Post, Boeing wins $35 billion contract to supply new aerial refueling tankers, Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus, Feb. 24, 2011.  The Pentagon awarded Boeing a $35 billion contract Thursday for a new-generation aerial refueling tanker, after a decade-long battle between the U.S.-based aircraft manufacturer and Europe's largest aerospace company. The weapons contract, which will provide an estimated 50,000 jobs, is one of the biggest in history and by far the largest likely to be awarded under the Obama administration. "What that means is that, in the end, Boeing won on price," said Loren B. Thompson, a defense policy analyst for the Arlington-based Lexington Institute. "Price consists of the cost of producing the plane, plus the cost of operating it over 30 years. The Airbus plane is so much bigger and burned over a ton more fuel per flight hour.

Economist (United Kingdom), Home-team advantage pays off for Boeing, Clausewitz, Feb. 25, 2011. It should not have come as a surprise, because this was a competition decided more by politics than the capabilities of the two aircraft on offer.

Boeing, Boeing Receives US Air Force Contract to Build Next-Generation Refueling Tanker, Feb. 24, 2011. The Boeing Company [NYSE: BA] has received a contract from the U.S. Air Force to build the next-generation aerial refueling tanker aircraft that will replace 179 of the service’s 400 KC-135 tankers. The contract calls for Boeing to design, develop, manufacture and deliver 18 initial combat-ready tankers by 2017.

MarketWatch, Boeing faces plenty of risk in tanker award, Christopher Hinton, Feb. 25, 2011. The overall contract — valued at more than $30 billion — is written as fixed-price, which means the customer won’t pay for any unforeseen and additional costs incurred by the manufacturer. That will prove a challenge for the Chicago-based company as the aircraft in its offer, a converted 767 jet, may have been aggressively priced.

Atlanta Journal Constitution, Military Gravy Train, Jamie Dupree, Feb. 25, 2011. The news to me wasn't so much who won the tanker competition, but a reminder of how widely distributed U.S. defense contracts are, and how much the Pentagon has become a jobs creation magnet for lawmakers around the country.

Legal Schnauzer, Pentagon Dumps Alabama at the Altar on Air Force Tanker Deal, Roger Shuler, Feb. 25, 2011.  Perhaps the nastiest competition in American history concluded yesterday when the Pentagon announced that it had awarded a $35-billion Air Force refueling-tanker contract to Boeing, over the European Aeronautics Defence and Space Company (EADS). The process had dragged on for 10-plus years and involved apparent scandal on both sides. Greed, fraud, and subterfuge seemed to mark a battle that left scars on our political system, especially here in Alabama, where EADS had planned to build a manufacturing facility in Mobile. How close to home does this hit? Our blog, in a nutshell, is about the befouling of Alabama government by what amounts to an organized-crime syndicate--and how that criminal mindset has been spread by Karl Rove and his minions throughout the American political system. We suspect the battle for the Air Force tanker contract has played a pivotal role in soiling our democracy.

U.S. Crackdown on Whistleblowers

InfoTorg Law, Julian Assange’s British lawyer defends his Swedish colleague, Nicholas Ringskog Ferrada-Noli, Feb. 25, 2011. In an exclusive interview, Assange lawyer Mark Stephens tells InfoTorg Law that he believes that a United Kingdom judge unfairly criticized Assange's Swedish laywer in order to justify extradition.

Salon Unclaimed Territory, The DOJ's creeping war on whistle-blowers, Glenn Greenwald, Feb. 25, 2011.  Last April, the DOJ served a subpoena on New York Times reporter James Risen, demanding to know his source for a story he published in his 2006 book regarding a "reckless" and horribly botched CIA effort to infiltrate Iran's nuclear program. That subpoena had originally been served but was then abandoned by the Bush DOJ, but its revitalization by the Obama administration was but one of many steps taken to dramatically expand the war on whistleblowers being waged by the current President, who ran on a platform of "protecting whistleblowers."

Harper’s No Comment, Justice Cranks Up Its Covert War on Whistleblowers, Scott Horton, Feb, 25, 2011. As noted previously, candidate Barack Obama promised to protect whistleblowers who come forward with information disclosing government waste, abuse, and inefficiency. Unfortunately, President Obama has done exactly the opposite. Obama’s real policies are exposed in documents filed in the prosecution of former CIA agent James Stirling [sic].

Wall Street Journal Online, Mortgage Broker Kohen Sentenced To 30 Months In Fraud Case, Matt Jarzemsky, Feb. 24, 2011. A U.S. district judge sentenced former New Jersey mortgage broker Joseph Kohen to 30 months in prison for committing a $25 million fraud against PNC Financial Services Group Inc. (PNC), according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney's New Jersey office. The 40-year-old Long Branch resident had previously admitted to committing the crime with associate Solomon Dwek, the key figure in a New Jersey corruption probe that led to dozens of arrests in 2009.

Feb. 24

Connecticut Watchdog, Court Slaps Feds Again For Christie-Era NJ Prosecutions, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 24, 2011. In a major setback for the U.S. Justice Department, a federal appeals court last week dismissed federal bribery and conspiracy charges against two New Jersey Democrats targeted in a trap set by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. More generally, the ongoing court battles over the prosecutions that Christie, below left, launched as his state’s U.S. Attorney could hurt his image as a rising national political star within Republican ranks and as a cost-cutting corruption-fighter. Beyond that, the Justice Department’s policies are national in scope and raise intriguing issues about how government can best fight corruption without wasting taxpayer money and violating civil rights.

Politico, Feds spy on reporter in leak probe, Josh Gerstein, Feb. 24, 2011. Federal investigators trying to find out who leaked information about a CIA attempt to disrupt Iran’s nuclear program obtained a New York Times reporter’s three private credit reports, examined his personal bank records and obtained information about his phone calls and travel, according to a new court filing.

Feb. 22

Huffington Post, Scott Walker Gets Punked By Journalist Pretending To Be David Koch, Jason Linkins, Feb. 23, 2011. Here's something for your "can this possibly be for real" file this morning. Now, why on earth would Scott Walker want to talk on the phone with the editor of an online site in Buffalo? Well, he wouldn't….

Huffington Post, Top Six Revelations in the Call Between Fake David Koch and Governor Scott Walker, Jesse Berney, Feb. 23, 2011.   The call made by a Buffalo blogger pretending to be billionaire right-wing activist David Koch to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is quickly making an impact on the news cycle. Walker is extremely frank with the man he believes to be an important financial supporter, both of his own campaign and right-wing causes. Below are the six most important revelations we learn from listening to the Governor speak his mind. 1. Walker and the Senate Republicans are conspiring to withhold Democratic lawmakers' paychecks.

Connecticut Watchdog, WikiLeaks Journalist Guest On Internet Radio/Television Program Today, George Gombossy, Feb. 22, 2011. Andrew Kreig, a journalist, attorney and author, who recently turned his investigative talents on attempts to silence WikiLeaks disclosures, will be the guest today on the HORN, an Internet radio/television station based in Avon, Connecticut, as part of the Connecticut Watchdog Newshour. You can join the conversation by logging in to The HORN and to the accompanying chatroom, which requires a separate login. The interview will be stored on the website if you wish to view it later.

Feb. 21

Second Opinion (Sweden), Swedish media apparatus censorship, Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Feb. 21, 2011. Twingly [IT consultant to several major Swedish newspapers] equivocally admits that a Swedish newspaper would exercise censure against the publications [with content] estimated as inappropriate. The question is still who had authored the request for censuring BOTH Naomi Wolf’s and Andrew Kreig’s articles on the theme Karl Rove, Assange and Sweden, published in the Swedish based Professors blog? Why to indulge in this shameful, hypocrite distinction between “the man” and “the project”, “the legal case” and the “ideological case” while everybody knows that behind the flagrant justice-anomalies and accusations in the legal Swedish case against Assange are ultimately the corporative powers? This is the truth that some in the Swedish media apparatus wish to filter with help of "technical censorship"

Justice Integrity Project, Court Slaps Feds Again For Christie-Era NJ Prosecutions, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 21, 2011. In a major setback for the U.S. Justice Department and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a federal appeals court last week dismissed federal bribery and conspiracy charges against two New Jersey Democrats targeted in a trap set by Christie. Our non-partisan Justice Integrity Project has repeatedly pointed to the 46-defendant “Bid Rig III” case as one of the nation’s most scandalous political prosecutions of recent years.

Politico, Christie adviser mulls PAC, Maggie Haberman, Feb. 20, 2011. One of Chris Christie's top political advisers revealed that he is considering formation of a federal political action committee because of the extraordinary interest in the New Jersey governor. Bill Palatucci, often described as Christie's "political godfather," said that not forming such a fundraising committee would be "leaving money on the table."

Feb. 20

Newsmill (Sweden),The Trial by the Media of Julian Assange, Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Feb. 20, 2011. The author, at right, hold a Ph.D. in Psychiatry (Karolinska Institutet) and is Professor Emeritus in Public Health Sciences. Formerly Research Fellow in Social Medicine at Harvard Medical School. He is currently Senior Advisor at the Department of Immunology, Stockholm University, and edits "Professors Blogg," which focuses on European human rights issues. His special report is excerpted below:

Svenska Dagbladet, a major Swedish newspaper, illustrated its Feb. 17, 2011 article, "Idyllic picture of Sweden is darkened" with a montage showing the notorious criminal Göran Lindberg -- a world-reviled, convicted serial rapist (including the rape of a 14-year old child) -- portrayed together with Julian Assange and his lawyer Mark Stephens. A conspicuous columnist of the newspaper Aftonbladet refers 13 Feb 2011 to Julian Assange as "a paranoid idiot who refuses come to Sweden to confront trial".  The competitor newspaper, Expressen, describes "the sexual pleasure of Mr Assange is just an inescapable element for his severe compulsive needs."

The above is a sample of recent publications by four main Swedish newspapers. These media (DN, SvD, Expressen and Aftonbladet) have published a total of 802 articles on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks since the reports on the subject began in July 2010. To assess such reports I have conducted an empirical and statistical analysis based in a consecutive sample of 103 articles corresponding to the total reports published in the last month-period ending 17 February 2011.

Professors Blogg (Italy-Sweden), Does Sweden Inflict Trial By Media on Assange? Dr. Marcello Ferrada de Noli, Feb. 20, 2011.  The analysis suggests a manifested hostility by the Swedish media against Assange and objectivity deficits in the news reports related to the case, raising questions about the journalists’ professional culture and ethics, their disregard for the critical and investigative function of journalism, and their passivity or condescendence towards press-information provided by authority. The results of the investigation raise also the question why Swedish journalists employed by traditional media act so uniformly.Professors Blogg (Italy-Sweden), Anonymous Thwarts U.S. Business Plot Against Bloggers, Unions, Rights Activists, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 19, 2011. A new article by the prominent American journalist and attorney Andrew Kreig in his guest-column at Professors Blogg.  You are welcome also to visit the site of the Justice Integrity Project for further analyses authored by this notable human-rights defender.

Feb. 18

Salon / Unclaimed Territory, U.S. Justice v. the World, Glenn Greenwald, Feb.18, 2011. Yesterday, in South Carolina, an Obama-appointed federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Padilla against former Bush officials Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Paul Wolfowitz and others. That suit alleges that those officials knowingly violated Padilla's Constitutional rights by ordering his due-process-free detention and torture.  All of this -- including the torture -- was carried out pursuant to orders from President Bush, Secretary Rumsfeld and other high-ranking officials. Just as the Supreme Court was about to hear Padilla's plea to be charged or released -- and thus finally decide if the President has the power to imprison American citizens on U.S. soil with no charges of any kind -- the Government indicted him in a federal court on charges far less serious than Ashcroft had touted years earlier, causing the Supreme Court to dismiss Padilla's arguments as "moot"; Padilla was then convicted and sentenced to 17 years in prison.

Think Progress, Rep. Chris Murphy Announces Bill To End Supreme Court Immunity To Judicial Ethics Law, Ian Millheiser, Feb. 18, 2011. The Code of Conduct for United States Judges provides that in almost all circumstances, “a judge should not personally participate in fund-raising activities.” Yet, because the Justices of the Supreme Court have exempted themselves from this Code, conservative Justices Scalia, Thomas and Alito have all participated in high-dollar fundraisers for right-wing political causes. In response to this unethical — but technically legal — conduct by these three justices, Rep. Chris Murphy (D-CT) is pushing a bill that would end the Supreme Court’s immunity to federal ethics law:

Examiner, US Gov. Software Creates 'Fake People' on Social Networks to Promote Propaganda,
Sean Kerrigan, Feb. 18, 2011. The US government is offering private intelligence companies contracts to create software to manage "fake people" on social media sites and create the illusion of consensus on controversial issues. The contract calls for the development of "Persona Management Software" which would help the user create and manage a variety of distinct fake profiles online. The job listing was discussed in recently leaked emails from the private security firm HBGary after an attack by internet activist last week. According to the contract, the software would "protect the identity of government agencies" by employing a number of false signals to convince users that the poster is in fact a real person. A single user could manage unique background information and status updates for up to 10 fake people from a single computer.  The software enables the government to shield its identity through a number of different methods including the ability to assign unique IP addresses to each persona and the ability to make it appear as though the user is posting from other locations around the world.

BradBlog, U.S. Chamber Plot Update: Malware, Fake Personas, Government Contracts, Public Shame, Bar Complaints, Media Failures and Other News, Feb. 18, 2011.  For those new to the story, it involves email revelations that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation's largest corporate lobbying firm, was working with the law firm Hunton & Williams (H&W), to develop a scheme with three well-connected, government-contracted cyber-security/intelligence firms (HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies and Palantir Technologies --- calling themselves "Team Themis" collectively) to use nefarious and likely illegal schemes in hopes of discrediting VR, myself and other progressive citizens, journalists and organizations who had opposed the Chamber's extremist corporate agenda.

Feb. 17

Huffington Post, Spy vs. Spy As Hackers Square Off Over DC Dirty Tricks, Andrew Kreig, Feb.17. 2011. The mainstream media are paying increasing attention to a shocking scandal arising from retribution by pro-WikiLeaks hackers against government contractors apparently trying to sell political dirty tricks services to hurt critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of America.

SEIU Press, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Law Firm Linked to "Dirty Tricks," Tyler Prell, Feb. 17, 2011. Server Logs and Leaked Emails Reveal Extent of Hunton & Williams Information Operation Against Chamber Critics Server logs and leaked emails reveal that employees at Hunton & Williams, the principal law firm of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spent 20 hours on SEIU websites last November while partners from the firm were working with private security firms on an illegal "dirty tricks" campaign aimed at undermining the credibility of the Chamber's political opponents, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU).

The leaked emails from private security firm HBGary Federal reveal that Hunton & Williams staff assembled a data set for "Phase I" of an "information operation" and were planning a second data dump in the lead-up to a final pitch meeting between the Chamber, Hunton & Williams and Team Themis (the adopted name of the three private security firms working with Hunton & Williams -- HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies) scheduled for February 14. Team Themis hoped to walk away from that meeting with a $2 million contract, as a Hunton & Williams subcontractor to the Chamber, to implement its plans which included creating "false documents" and "false personas" to embarrass and discredit the Chamber's political opponents. It is unknown whether this meeting took place or whether the leak of these documents led the Chamber to cancel the meeting.

Associated Press/Bergen Record, Court upholds dismissal of N.J. corruption charges, Feb. 17, 2011. Last updated: Thursday February 17, 2011. See also NJ.com, Feb. 17, 2011.  A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that a pair of brothers arrested in New Jersey's massive 2009 corruption sting won't have to face the most serious charges against them, a decision that could lead to the dismissal of similar charges against several other defendants. The ruling by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals represents another defeat to the government in its prosecution of the cases stemming from the bust. Though about half of the 46 people arrested have pleaded guilty, in recent months two trials ended in acquittals and charges were dropped against another defendant. The acquittals represented the first defeats in corruption cases for the U.S. attorney's office in New Jersey in more than 10 years.

Feb.16

Washington Post, Clinton warns governments that limiting Internet will backfire,  Mary Beth Sheridan, Feb. 16, 2011.  Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton warned governments from China to Syria on Tuesday that blocking the Internet ultimately would backfire, damaging their economies and creating pent-up demands that would boil over in demonstrations like those that have swept the Middle East and North Africa. Clinton's speech, planned weeks ago and billed as a major address on Internet freedom, came against the backdrop of the mass protests that toppled the presidents of Egypt and Tunisia. Aides said Clinton wanted to take advantage of the attention being paid to the protesters' use of Facebook and Twitter in order to highlight broader issues.

Washington Post, WikiLeaks, free speech and Twitter come together in Va. court case, Dana Hedgpeth, Feb. 16, 2011. An odd confluence of important issues came together in a federal courtroom in Alexandria on Tuesday: The criminal investigation of WikiLeaks, free speech and social networking from the government's attempts to get personal information from the Twitter accounts of three people linked to the WikiLeaks probe. Their lawyers argued that the data - screen names, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, credit card and bank account information, and Internet protocol addresses - are protected by the First Amendment. Prosecutors said the request is a routine part of their criminal probe.

Connecticut Watchdog, Spy vs. Spy As Hackers Square Off Over DC Dirty Tricks, Andrew Kreig, Feb. 16, 2011. The mainstream media is paying increasing attention to a shocking scandal last week arising from retribution by pro-WikiLeaks hackers against government contractors apparently caught trying to sell political dirty tricks services to hurt critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Bank of America. Blogs and specialty publications have provided much of the in-depth coverage after the hacker group Anonymous announced that it had hijacked 40,000 emails from contractor HBGary Federal because the latter was compiling dossiers to hurt Anonymous, among others.

Electronic Frontier Foundation, Newly Released Documents Detail FBI’s Plan to Expand Federal Surveillance Laws, Deeplink, Jennifer Lynch, Feb. 16, 2011.  EFF just received documents in response to a 2-year old FOIA request for information on the FBI’s "Going Dark" program, an initiative to increase the FBI's authority in response to problems the FBI says it's having implementing wiretap and pen register/trap and trace orders on new communications technologies. The documents detail a fully-formed and well-coordinated plan to expand existing surveillance laws and develop new ones. And although they represent only a small fraction of the documents we expect to receive in response to this and a more recent FOIA request, they were released just in time to provide important background information for the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing tomorrow [Feb. 17] on the Going Dark program.

Feb. 15

International Bar Association, WikiLeaks and America, Skip Kaltenheuser, Feb. 15, 2011. One fallout of WikiLeaks is arguably seen in an attempt at whistleblower protection legislation that initially started out with strong administrative and judicial remedies, including for national security employees. Part of the motivation was to provide better oversight mechanisms for the massive amounts of money being shovelled into intelligence and security arenas. But, as legislation that early on had broad support for protections did a chacha moving back and forth between House and Senate, remedies for national security whistleblowers were whittled away, and then the dance ended when Congress turned off the lights.

Washington Post, Anthrax report casts doubt on scientific evidence in FBI case against
Bruce Ivins
, Jerry Markon, Feb. 15, 2011. A panel of prominent scientists is casting new doubt on scientific evidence that was a key part of the FBI's case against Bruce E. Ivins, the deceased Army scientist accused of carrying out the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks. The National Research Council, in a report issued Tuesday (read the 39-page summary), questioned the link between a flask of anthrax bacteria in Ivins's lab at Fort Detrick, Md., and the anthrax-infested letters that killed five people and sickened 17 others. The Justice Department has said genetic testing conclusively linked the letters to spores in the flask - labeled RMR-1029 - found at the laboratory, where Ivins was a longtime researcher before committing suicide in 2008. The government closed the case last year after concluding that Ivins had single-handedly prepared and mailed the deadly anthrax spores, an incident that terrorized a nation still reeling from the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

Ars Technica, Spy games: Inside the convoluted plot to bring down WikiLeaks, Nate Anderson, Feb. 15, 2011. When the US Chamber of Commerce wanted to look into some of its opponents, Aaron Barr,left, teamed with two other security companies and went nuts, proposing that the Chamber create an absurdly expensive "fusion cell" of the kind "developed and utilized by Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC)"—and costing $2 million a month. And if the fusion cell couldn't turn up enough opposition research, the security firms would be happy to create honeypot websites to lure the Chamber's union-loving opponents in order to grab more data from them. The security companies even began grabbing tweets from liberal activists and mapping the connections between people using advanced link analysis software most often used by the intelligence community.

FireDogLake, Traditional Media Takes Notice of ChamberLeaks Scandal, David Dayen Tuesday Feb. 15, 2011. The traditional media has finally taken note of the campaign by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to enlist private security firms in a plan to smear their political enemies using dirty tricks. The Washington Post actually pushes back on the Chamber’s lies, noting that one email from HBGary to another security firm that he spoke “directly” to the Chamber, and others calling a Hunton & Williams lawyer “the key client contact operationally” with the Chamber. There are multiple emails showing multiple contacts between the security firms, Hunton & Williams and the Chamber of Commerce. They cannot hide behind the fact that they didn’t sign a contract.

Washington Post, Hacked e-mails reveal plans for dirty-tricks campaign against U.S. Chamber foes, Dan Eggen, Feb. 15, 2011.  A feud between a security contracting firm and a group of guerrilla computer hackers has spilled over onto K Street, as stolen e-mails reveal plans for a dirty-tricks-style campaign against critics of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Feb. 14

Emptywheel, The HBGary Scandal: Using Counterterrorism Tactics on Citizen Activism, Marcy Wheeler,  Feb. 14, 2011. The essence of the Chamber of Commerce/Bank of America/HBGary scandal is the use of intelligence techniques developed for use on terrorists deployed for use on citizens exercising their First Amendment rights.

FireDogLake, Key Players in Operation Ratf%!k, Jane Hamsher, Feb. 14, 2011. Listing of key players.  Sample: Richard Wyatt Jr., Partner:  According to Steckman of Palantir, the Department of Justice called Bank of America’s General Council (Edward O’Keefe) and told them to hire Wyatt to deal their Wikileaks problem. This allowed communications with Operation Ratf%&k subcontractors to hide under attorney-client privilege.

BradBlog, Late Updates on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Plot to Target, Discredit, Defraud Political Enemies, Brad Friedman, Feb. 14, 2011.  A few quick followups tonight to my lengthy story from this morning on the proposed $2 million per month plot created for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to use tools and techniques from the so-called "War on Terror" against U.S. citizens, journalists and groups who opposed their strong-arm lobbying tactics. As noted, one of those they'd planned to target in hopes of discrediting in their nefarious scheme was yours truly, as well as my family. I was specifically targeted personally as the Chamber's first, "Tier 1" opponent in a Power Point presentation prepared for the nation's largest corporate lobby's law firm Hunton & Williams (H&W) by the three cyber-security/intelligence firms, HBGary Federal, Berico Technologies & Palantir Technologies. The triumvirate called themselves "Team Themis" in the plots developed for the U.S. Chamber to fraudulently discredit opponents and for a very similar scheme made for Bank of America to try and disrupt WikiLeaks.

Legal Schnauzer, Chamber of Commerce Thuggery Comes As No Surprise, Roger Shuler, Feb. 14, 2011. Reports last week that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce had engaged in a campaign to sabotage its political opponents were not a surprise here at Legal Schnauzer headquarters.  Evidence strongly suggests that we were targeted by people with ties to the Alabama Republican Party, which has been heavily influenced by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and its local affiliate, the Business Council of Alabama (BCA).

Security Dark Reading, HBGary Launches HBGary Federal, Dec. 7, 2009. HBGary, Inc., the leader in enterprise malware detection and analysis, today announced the spin-off of its U.S. government cybersecurity services group. "As an early adopter of HBGary Digital DNA, the U.S. government understands that the bad guys not only exist but are already inside our mission critical systems." said Greg Hoglund, CEO and founder of HBGary.

Asbury Park Press, Solomon Dwek a liability in trials? Hampers prosecution in two corruption cases, so officials decide to do without his help, Jean Mikle, Feb. 14, 2011. When Solomon Dwek ran his national real estate Ponzi scheme, he used the power of persuasion to con relatives, investors and even a major bank out of tens of millions of dollars. When Dwek later worked undercover for the FBI, 46 politicians, political operatives and rabbis were arrested on money laundering and bribery charges, mostly because Dwek had convinced them he could be trusted. Now, though, Dwek's silver tongue may have lost its luster. In the last year, the developer has had mixed results convincing federal juries that he is indeed telling the truth. The tally: one conviction, one partial conviction and one acquittal. Federal prosecutors didn't bother calling him to a fourth trial. Those two losses were the first defeat for the government in a corruption case since 1999, when four West New York police officers beat racketeering charges.

Feb. 13

Professors Blogg (Sweden), Karl Rove’s Swedish Connections: The Controversy And The Facts, Andrew Kreig (Blog edited by Prof. Marcello Ferrada de Noli), Feb. 13, 2011. My Huffington Post column in December describing links between Karl Rove and Sweden’s governing party continues to generate controversy. That’s because of implications of Sweden’s all-out effort to capture WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Developments since then illustrate how the Assange law enforcement scandal is similar to many Rove-style political prosecutions in the United States. Among the tell-tale signs are using the media to smear a defendant with pre-trial leaks. These foster an anti-defendant climate in the courts and public, helping to ensure that unfair court procedures won’t generate effective protest by legislators, the media or general public.

Feb. 12

Washington Post, Arguments in Assange extradition hearing end; ruling expected Feb. 24, Anthony Faiola and Karla Adam, Feb. 11, 2011. Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange insisted in the closing arguments of his extradition hearing Friday that the Swedish arrest warrant against him was not valid, adding that media leaks about the sexual assault allegations against him had created a "toxic atmosphere" that ensured he could not get a fair trial in Sweden.

McClatchy Newspapers, Obama assertion: FBI can get phone records without oversight, Marisa Taylor, Feb. 12, 2011. The Obama administration's Justice Department has asserted that the FBI can obtain telephone records of international calls made from the U.S. without any formal legal process or court oversight, according to a document obtained by McClatchy. That assertion was revealed -- perhaps inadvertently -- by the department in its response to a McClatchy request for a copy of a secret Justice Department memo. Critics say the legal position is flawed and creates a potential loophole that could lead to a repeat of FBI abuses that were supposed to have been stopped in 2006. The controversy over the telephone records is a legacy of the Bush administration's war on terror. Critics say the Obama administration appears to be continuing many of the most controversial tactics of that strategy, including the assertion of sweeping executive powers.

Makthavare (Sweden, Those in Power), Naomi Wolf: Karl Rove works for the Conservatives, Andreas Hendriksson, Feb. 11, 2011. (Google Translation). A guest post by Naomi Wolfe has now found its way into the Swedish blogosphere. Makthavare.se sorts out what is really true and not about Roves Swedish connections.

Feb. 11
Washington Post, DeLay aide sentenced to 20 months in Abramoff lobbying scandal, Spencer Hsu, Feb. 11, 2011.  A federal judge sentenced a onetime media aide to former House majority leader Tom DeLay to 20 months in prison Thursday, crediting him with serving as a key government witness in the unraveling of the corruption scandal surrounding the congressman and lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Washington Post, Ex-CIA staffer alleges agency coverup in toxin exposure case, Feb. 11, 2011. A former CIA security officer is alleging that the agency is unjustifiably invoking a "state secrets" claim to cover up evidence that he and his family suffered illnesses as a result of exposure to environmental contamination at an agency facility. Kevin Shipp, 55, a counterterrorism consultant now employed by a firm with government contracts, said that the agency also has sought to prevent him from publicizing his ordeal by heavily redacting the manuscript he hopes to publish.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, The leaked campaign to attack WikiLeaks and its supporters, Glenn Greenwald, Feb 11, 2011. The only unusual aspect here is that we happened to learn about it this time because of Anonymous' hacking.  hat a similar scheme was quickly discovered by ThinkProgress demonstrates how common this behavior is.

USA Today, U.S. Chamber joins BofA in denying ties to disinformation campaigns, Byron Acohido, Feb. 11, 2011. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce -- like the Bank of America -- is scrambling to distance itself from a cache of stolen e-mails that continue to disgorge stunning details of how high-stakes, corporate-backed disinformation campaigns get birthed. The chamber and BofA are embroiled in mirror-image controversies stemming directly from the spontaneous hack last Sunday of HBGary Federal, a digital intelligence firm. The hack was pulled off by the elite global hacking group known as Anonymous.

News From Underground, Something Rotten in the State of Sweden: 8 Big Problems with the ‘Case’ Against Assange, Naomi Wolf, Feb. 11, 2011. See also, Blogosfären (Sweden), (Sweden's Bloggers on Julian Assange) and Makthavare (Sweden), all by Naomi Wolf, right.

Harper’s No Comment, Gimme Shelter: The Game’s Afoot, Scott Horton, Feb. 11, 2011. The Swiss Federal Council acted quickly on news that Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak has resigned. Neue Zürcher Zeitung reports: The Swiss Federal Council has immediately frozen all money deposited in Switzerland by resigned Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak and his personal entourage. The Federal Council has issued an appropriate order, Federal Council press spokesman André Simonazzi informed the news agency SDA on Friday. The order requires all Swiss banks to examine their accounts and to freeze any which are covered.

Harper’s No Comment, The CIA’s Culture of Impunity, Scott Horton, February 10, 2011. What happens to a CIA agent who authorizes the torture of an innocent citizen of a NATO ally, leaving a long trail of dumb mistakes behind? The answer appears to be: promotion. That’s the message from an impressive Associated Press story by Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, two of the best reporters covering the intelligence beat today. Newspapers around the country pared the AP story down, and the Washington Post mysteriously edited out critical details, but it’s worth going straight to the AP site for the whole 3,700-word feature.

FireDogLake, Exclusive Interview with Brad Friedman on Being Targeted by ChamberLeaks, David Dayen, Feb. 11, 2011. According to hacked documents, a series of private security firms pitched a strategy to the US Chamber of Commerce to engage in smear campaigns against opponents of the Chamber’s work. The apparent spearhead of this project was Aaron Barr, an executive at HB Gary (one of the security firms). Barr circulated numerous emails and documents detailing information about political opponents’ children, spouses, and personal lives.

New emails reveal that the private spy company investigated the families and children of the Chamber’s political opponents. The apparent spearhead of this project was Aaron Barr, an executive at HB Gary. Barr circulated numerous emails and documents detailing information about political opponents’ children, spouses, and personal lives. One of the targets was Mike Gehrke, a former staffer with Change to Win. Among the information circulated about Gehrke was the specific “Jewish church” he attended and a link to pictures of his wife and two children.

FireDogLake/Emptywheel, HBGary Fees: “Dam It Feels Good to Be a Gangsta,” Marcy Wheeler, Feb. 11, 2011. One of the more interesting documents on HBGary et al’s partnership with the Chamber of Commerce details the prices they wanted to charge. Now, other emails make it clear that the Chamber balked at what the team originally proposed would be $2 million of work–the Chamber didn’t pay these rates (indeed, they probably haven’t paid for any of this). As the Palantir employee working with Barr on these numbers put it, “Most of all that we are the best money can buy! Dam it feels good to be a gangsta.”

Wayne Madsen Report, CIA makes up half of some US embassies, runs independent air forces and armies, Feb. 11, 2011. (Subscription-only), The Central Intelligence Agency makes up fifty percent of U.S. embassy staff in certain countries, according to a former senior State Department official who has recently been in Afghanistan.

Feb. 10

Ars Technica, How one man tracked down Anonymous—and paid a heavy price, Nate Anderson, Feb.10, 2011. How one man tracked down Anonymous—and paid a heavy price. Aaron Barr believed he had penetrated Anonymous. The loose hacker collective had been responsible for everything from anti-Scientology protests to pro-WikiLeaks attacks on MasterCard and Visa, and the FBI was now after them. But matching their online identities to real-world names and locations proved daunting. Barr found a way to crack the code. In a private e-mail to a colleague at his security firm HBGary Federal, which sells digital tools to the US government, the CEO bragged about his research project.

Think Progress, To Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children To Investigate Opponents’ Families, Children, Scott Keyes, Feb. 10, 2011. Earlier today, ThinkProgress published an exclusive report that the law firm representing the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a right-wing trade association representing big business, is working with set of “private security” companies and lobbying firms to undermine their political opponents, including ThinkProgress. According to e-mails obtained by ThinkProgress, the Chamber hired the lobbying firm Hunton and Williams. Attorneys for the firm solicited a set of private security firms — HB Gary Federal, Palantir, and Berico Technologies (collectively called Team Themis) — to develop a sabotage campaign against progressive groups and labor unions, including ThinkProgress, the labor coalition Change to Win, SEIU, U.S. Chamber Watch, and StopTheChamber.com.

Feb. 9

Professors Blogg, Karl Rove, Sweden and the Eight Major Aberrations in the Police Sex Crime Reporting Process in the Assange Case, Naomi Wolf, Feb. 9, 2011. Based on my 23 years of reporting on global rape law and my five years of supporting women at rape crisis centers and battered women's shelters, this case is not being treated as a normal rape or sexual assault case. [Published also in News from Underground, edited by Dr. Mark Crispin Miller.]

Professors Blogg, Prof. Med. Marcello Vittorio Ferrada-Noli, at left, Feb. 9, 2011. Sweden's Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt has tried a few times to give the notion that his government is “neutral” in the matter. He had to lie.

Wall Street Journal, Assange Probe Hits Snag: Inquiry Suggests WikiLeaks Founder Didn't Induce Soldier to Leak Documents, Julian Barnes and Evan Perez, Feb. 9, 2011. U.S. investigators have been unable to uncover evidence that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange induced an Army private to leak government documents to his website, according to officials familiar with the matter. New findings suggest Pfc. Bradley Manning, the intelligence analyst accused of handing over the data to the WikiLeaks website, initiated the theft himself, officials said. That contrasts with the initial portrait provided by Defense Department officials of a young man taken advantage of by Mr. Assange.

Huffington Post, The Government's Case Against Julian Assange Is Falling Apart, Jason Linkins,  Feb. 9, 2011. With popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt spinning along, each with a certain amount of world-reshaping potential, there's been a lot of new attention focused on the role that WikiLeaks has played in these events. U.S. officials have been gamely attempting to make the case that Assange induced Manning to provide WikiLeaks with government documents.

Emptywheel/FireDogLake, Security Firms Pitching Bank of America on WikiLeaks Response Proposed Targeting Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler, Feb. 9, 2011.  On Saturday, private security firm HBGary Federal bragged to the FT that it had discovered who key members of the hacking group Anonymous are. In response, Anonymous hacked HB Gary Federal and got 44,000 of their emails and made them publicly available. “You have blindly charged into the Anonymous hive, a hive from which you’ve tried to steal honey. Did you think the bees would not defend it? Well here we are. You’ve angered the hive, and now you are being stung.”

Emptywheel/FireDogLake, Security Firms Pitching Bank of America on WikiLeaks Response Proposed Targeting Glenn Greenwald, Marcy Wheeler, Feb. 9, 2011. On Saturday, private security firm HBGary Federal bragged to the FT that it had discovered who key members of the hacking group Anonymous are. In response, Anonymous hacked HB Gary Federal and got 44,000 of their emails and made them publicly available.

Wayne Madsen Report, Peering through the shroud of global corruption: Hillary's "all hands" meeting and bribery and kickbacks, Wayne Madsen, Feb. 9, 2011 (Subscription-only). Amid a major FBI and Department of Justice criminal investigation of a hacktivist group known as "Anonymous," which has hacked into public and private computer systems in retaliation for actions taken against WikiLeaks for its release of over 250,000 classified State Department cables, WMR has been contacted by a source close to Anonymous to set the record straight on the group's intentions and convey a road map of its future plans.

Washington Post, Assange attorneys cast doubt on accusations at extradition hearing in London, Anthony Faiola and Karla Ada Feb. 9, 2011. Attorneys for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange launched a blistering attack on the credibility of Swedish prosecutors and two women who are accusing the 39-year-old Australian of sexual assault, arguing on the first day of an extradition hearing that he faces the prospect of a closed-door show trial if British authorities send him to Stockholm.

Associated Press/Washington Post, At CIA, Mistake By Officers Are Often Overlooked, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo, Feb. 9, 2011. In December 2003, security forces boarded a bus in Macedonia and snatched a German citizen named Khaled el-Masri. For the next five months, el-Masri was a ghost. Only a select group of CIA officers knew he had been taken to a secret prison for interrogation in Afghanistan. But he was the wrong guy. That botched case is but one example of a CIA accountability process that even some within the agency say is unpredictable and inconsistent. In the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, officers who committed mistakes that left people wrongly imprisoned or even dead received only minor admonishments or no punishment at all, an Associated Press investigation has found.

Washington Post, 3 in WikiLeaks case fight Twitter disclosure order, Matt Apuzzo, Feb. 9, 2011. Three people associated with the anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks are asking a federal judge in Alexandria not to force the social-networking site Twitter to turn over data about whom they communicate with online.

Feb. 8

Wayne Madsen Report, Peering through the shroud of global corruption, Wayne Madsen, Feb. 8, 2011. (Subscription-only), Amid a major FBI and Department of Justice criminal investigation of a hacktivist group known as "Anonymous," which has hacked into public and private computer systems in retaliation for actions taken against WikiLeaks for its release of over 250,000 classified State Department cables, WMR has been contacted by a source close to Anonymous to set the record straight on the group's intentions and convey a road map of its future plans.

New York Times, Droughts, Floods and Food, Paul Krugman, Feb. 6, 2011. We’re in the midst of a global food crisis — the second in three years. World food prices hit a record in January, driven by huge increases in the prices of wheat, corn, sugar and oils. The consequences of this food crisis go far beyond economics. After all, the big question about uprisings against corrupt and oppressive regimes in the Middle East isn’t so much why they’re happening as why they’re happening now. And there’s little question that sky-high food prices have been an important trigger for popular rage.

Harper’s No Comment, The Institutionalization of Torture—Six Questions for Cherif Bassiouni, Scott Horton, Feb. 8, 2011. Cherif Bassiouni, a law professor at DePaul University in Chicago, was one of the key authors of the Convention Against Torture and is one of the world’s preeminent experts in international criminal law, particularly from the prosecutor’s perspective. He has just published The Institutionalization of Torture by the Bush Administration: Is Anyone Responsible?, a scholarly work that documents the development of torture policy in the Bush Administration and presents a roadmap for the use of future prosecutors.

Feb. 7

Russia Today, Stockholm Syndrome, Rory Suchet, Laura Emmett, Wayne Madsen and Anisa Ardway, Feb. 7, 2011. (Video).

Huffington Post, WikiLeaks, Revolution, and the Lost Cojones of American Journalism, Naomi Wolf, Feb. 4, 2011. U.S. journalists also know perfectly well that they too traffic in classified material continually -- and many of our most prominent reporters have built lucrative careers doing exactly what Assange is being charged with. Any sophisticated dinner party in media circles in New York or Washington has journalists jauntily showing prospective employers their goods, or trading favors with each other, by disclosing classified information.

Feb. 4

Washington Post, The Right Message for Mubarak, Saad Eddin Ibrahim, Feb. 4, 2011.  After supporting him with money and weapons for 30 years, the United States and all democracies must insist that Hosni Mubarak heed the voices of his young citizens who call for him to step down immediately and spare Egypt further bloodshed and economic loss. When Mubarak became president after the assassination of Anwar Sadat in 1981, he vowed to serve only one six-year term. But he has ruled under a "state of emergency" since those chaotic days.

Foreign Policy, Gimme Shelter, Scott Horton, Feb. 2, 2011. Why is Hosni Mubarak clinging to power? Maybe because the life of an exiled dictator isn't what it used to be.
 
Global Research, U.S. Chickens Come Home to Roost in Egypt, Marjorie Cohn, Feb. 2, 2011.  Barack Obama, like his predecessors, has supported Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to the tune of $1.3 billion annually, mostly in military aid. In return, Egypt minds U.S. interests in the Middle East, notably providing a buffer between Israel and the rest of the Arab world. Egypt collaborates with Israel to isolate Gaza with a punishing blockade, to the consternation of Arabs throughout the Middle East. The United States could not have fought its wars in Iraq without Egypt’s logistical support. Now with a revolution against Mubarak by two million Egyptians, all bets are off about who will replace him and whether the successor government will be friendly to the United States.
 
Wayne Madsen Report, Obama's gambit: Holding Egypt for Holder, Wayne Madsen, Feb. 3, 2011 (Subscription-only). WMR has learned from a well-informed political insider that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have waffled on support for Egypt's pro-democracy revolution in order to safeguard a covert U.S.-Egyptian rendition and torture program that dates back to the Clinton administration.  Clinton's Deputy Attorney General, Eric Holder, now Obama's Attorney General, has long been a coddler of torturous regimes.
 
Free Republic, Eric Holder, an Accessory to Murder and Torture? Frank USA, Aug. 27, 2009. US Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday appointed a special prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's "enhanced interrogation" program. Ironically, though, it is Mr. Holder himself who should be investigated for the role he played in the Clinton administration's extraordinary rendition program.
 
Washington Post, The CIA's complicated relationship with Egypt, Jeff Stein, Jan. 30, 2011.  Like a long and mostly unhappy marriage, the CIA’s relationship with Egypt is complicated, with plenty of ups and downs.  The Egyptian security services and the CIA have been co-dependents for over six decades, from 1952, when the young agency supported the Free Officers movement that toppled the monarchy, to the twilight partnership against Islamic fundamentalist terrorism that began in earnest in 1995.
 
New York Times, Food Prices Worldwide Hit Record Levels, Fueled by Uncertainty, U.N. Says, Neil MacFarquhar, Feb. 3, 2011.  Global food prices are moving ever higher, hitting record levels last month as a jittery market reacted to unpredictable weather and tight supplies, according to a United Nations report released Thursday. It was the seventh month in a row of food price increases, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, which put out the report. And with some basic food stocks low, prices will probably continue reaching new heights, at least until the results of the harvest next summer are known, analysts said.

Salon/Unclaimed Territory, Preliminary facts and thoughts about Eric Holder, Glenn Greenwald, Nov. 19, 2008. The bulk of what I've read about and from Holder suggests, with a couple of ultimately marginal exceptions, that this appointment would be a very positive step….The most disturbing part of Holder's background are his comments in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 concerning the legal status of "War on Terror" detainees….He should be asked about his views of holding Bush officials accountable for lawbreaking.  e was undoubtedly involved with polices at the Clinton DOJ that many civil libertarians will oppose.  Some of those early post-9/11 comments are definitely disturbing.  And one can never really know what someone will do with power until they wield it.
 
Salon Unclaimed Territory, Guantanamo death highlights U.S. detention policy, Glenn Greenwald. Feb. 4, 2011.  A 48-year-old Afghan citizen and Guantanamo detainee, Awal Gul, died on Tuesday of an apparent heart attack.  Gul, a father of 18 children, had been kept in a cage by the U.S. for more than 9 years -- since late 2001 when he was abducted in Afghanistan -- without ever having been charged with a crime.  Gul's death -- and what turned out to be his due-process-free life sentence -- is an important reminder of the heinous detention policies of the U.S.: not as a matter of the Bush/Cheney past, but very much the current U.S. posture as well.  The only difference is that there is no more partisan gain to be squeezed from the controversy, so it has blissfully disappeared into the harmonious dead zone of bipartisan consensus. All of this finds a nice symbolic parallel in the Obama administration's apparent efforts to install Omar Suleiman as interim Egyptian leader; Suleiman is not only steadfastly pro-American and pro-Israeli, but was long the U.S.'s point man for renditions and the severe torture which accompanied it. This is what is meant when we hear repeatedly about what a stalwart "ally" the Mubarak government been in the "War on Terror": they've dutifully detained and brutalized anyone we wanted.xxxx
 
New Yorker, Who is Omar Suleiman? Jane Mayer, Jan. 29, 2011. One of the “new” names being mentioned as a possible alternative to President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, Omar Suleiman, is actually not so new to anyone who has followed the American policy of renditions for terror suspects. Since 1993 Suleiman has headed the feared Egyptian general intelligence service. In that capacity, he was the C.I.A.’s point man in Egypt for renditions—the covert program in which the C.I.A. snatched terror suspects from around the world and returned them to Egypt and elsewhere for interrogation, often under brutal circumstances.

OpEd News, Police Brutality -- Americans Are Oppressed, Too, Paul Craig Roberts, Feb. 2, 2011.  Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists, as the greatest threat to the American public.

Feb. 2

Associated Press/Huffington Post, Ken Feinberg, BP Not Independent According To Judge, Harry R. Weber and Brian Skoloff, Feb. 2, 2011. The administrator of the $20 billion compensation fund for Gulf oil spill victims is not independent from BP and must stop telling potential claimants that he is, a federal judge said in a ruling Wednesday that may spur more people to sue rather than settle. U.S. District Judge Carl Barbier said claims czar Ken Feinberg and any of his agents must change the way they communicate with people seeking money from the fund. The ruling came just hours after Feinberg released details on how final payments would be determined. The ruling cuts at the heart of one of Feinberg's central arguments that because he's independent, thousands of people who have been denied money or received less than they feel they deserve should trust his decisions. And it could prompt more people to sue rather than accept relatively quick settlements with the fund, raising the potential for further uncertainty and liability for BP.

Russia TodayWashington Post Bleeds Money But For-Profit School Keeps It Afloat, reported by Kristine Frazeo, produced Rosalena Ramirez with interviews with Peter Goodman, etc., Feb. 2, 2011 (video). See also, "The Washington Post’s Hidden Agenda?" by the Justice Integrity Project.

Huffington Post, WH Reporters Send Terse Letter To Gibbs Over Press Shop's Handling Of Egypt, Sam Stein, Feb. 2, 2011. The White House Correspondents Association, of which The Huffington Post is a member, sent a sharply worded letter to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Wednesday, complaining of limited access to the president and Gibbs himself as chaos in Egypt unfolded. The note includes a formal protest over the press office's decision to keep the president's signing of the START nuclear nonproliferation treaty off-limits to everyone but still photographers. But the main thrust of the critique involves Gibbs's handling of media relations during the past week, when the president has taken no questions and the daily briefings have been either delayed or canceled altogether.

Huffington Post, WH Reporters Send Terse Letter To Gibbs Over Press Shop's Handling Of Egypt, Sam Stein, Feb. 2, 2011. The White House Correspondents Association, of which The Huffington Post is a member, sent a sharply worded letter to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs on Wednesday, complaining of limited access to the president and Gibbs himself as chaos in Egypt unfolded. The note includes a formal protest over the press office's decision to keep the president's signing of the START nuclear nonproliferation treaty off-limits to everyone but still photographers. But the main thrust of the critique involves Gibbs's handling of media relations during the past week, when the president has taken no questions and the daily briefings have been either delayed or canceled altogether.

Independent (United Kingdom), Secular and devout. Rich and poor. They marched together with one goal, Robert Fisk, Feb. 2, 2011.   The cries of loathing for Mubarak are becoming familiar, the posters ever more intriguing. "Neither Mubarak, nor Suleiman, and we don't need you Obama – but we don't dislike USA," one of them announced generously. "Out – all of you, including your slaves," announced another.
 
Huffington Post, Michele Bachmann: 'Naked Pictures' Of Me Could Show Up On Internet After Full-Body Scan, Feb. 1, 2011. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) recently announced her opposition to the federal Transportation Security Administration's full-body scanners due to worries that "naked pictures" of herself could somehow end up on the internet for the world to see after being screened.  Bachmann told patrons at an Iowa coffee shop that she planned on opting out of such security procedures in order to avoid the possibility that such exposing images could end up online.  While certain full-body scan images have indeed been leaked, TSA officials have maintained that the devices' ability to save and upload images is disabled once they are deployed at airports.