The US Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the NSA phone metadata collection program illegal. They skip over the constitutional question of Smith v. Maryland and say that since it was not authorized by Section 215 or any other law, it is not legal for the government to do. I love it.

This also does not seem to be an April Fool's Day joke. I think the whole country saw this coming when Shrub started seizing accused terrorists' assets without a warrant.

Florida's Department of Environmental Protection has banned all use of the terms "climate change" and "global warming". Permanent sea-level rise is referred to as "nuisance flooding". The order appears to come from the office of Governor Rick Scott.

Somebody emailed al-Jazeera a cache of documents from Mossad, MI6, FSB, and the Australian and South African intelligence agencies. Which means someone who views Qatar favorably was part of a network that had the kind of access to these agencies needed to get these documents.

Someone calling themselves "BillCaseyHoneyPot" and "the rodeo clown" made some comments to the Washington Post about alleged past covert operations, the Washington Post scrubbed the comments, Cryptome republished them, and Network Solutions blocked access to Cryptome (likely a coincidence -- see note at bottom of this post). Copies of the comments are held at SkidPaste and Archive.today. The comments look like the ramblings of a total crank and touch on several subjects:

  • A DARPA data harvesting project called GROVER that was capable of recreating the Washington Post's internal database in 2005
  • A satellite called Big Bird that could read the label off a golf ball from orbit
  • A satellite called SK-91 that orbits three times a day
  • A key: E4A966FF04DD296A41F5AAD497C64494 that should "scare the hell out of the CIA"
  • A 3/4 inch "Helms tape" that, if it were released publicly, would put Henry Kissinger and Porter Goss on death row, implicate Donald Rumsfeld and Richard Cheney, and collapse the US dollar and make everyone go over to LlamaCoin, a cryptocurrency for people who don't think Dogecoin sounds dorky enough
  • Porter Goss "should be very grateful" that someone named Roman "is controlled"
  • Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid, who he claims the NSA is making no effort to track
  • "Kabul - Kazakhstan - Unocal - Bearden - NORTH"
  • "16 people shot" in Balochistan after Timothy L. Towell is dispatched there by Hillary Clinton, possibly a reference to an incident in 2010
  • Towell drugging a man and tying him to a bed in Uruguay. There is no evidence online that this ever happened. [Edit Mar 2] The location was Paraguay, and Towell was charged with rape.
  • The assassination of Northern Alliance commander Ahmad Shah Massoud. He claims the CIA did it and that he has a full trail of documentation.

About the author:

  • He claims to have participated in talks by the Helmand Valley with North (Oliver?), Casey (Bill?), and Bush (George Sr?).
  • He claims to have enrolled at a university in Pennsylvania at 12 years old in 1973, which should make it easy to identify him.
  • He he claims to have taken the Helms tape in his first year at university.
  • He doesn't know how to use Youtube or else that tape would be online already.
  • He claims to have "taken everything from Loftus's computer", a possible reference to CIA historian John Loftus [Edit March 4] whose book he recommends. He is also a fan of Bodansky and avacados.
  • He claims that the Department of Justice is tracking him for talking to Edward Snowden.

It's possible that this is a real spook going senile or drunkposting, but it has a very crankish feeling to it.

Llamacoin is a nearly blank webpage with the text "You may also know Llamacoin by the name of TurtleCalabrese Coin." About which no, you may not have because no one else on the web has ever mentioned TurtleCalabrese Coin or any variation of Turtle Calabrese. There is another Llamacoin related to an Andres Abad in South America, but this seems to be a different person.

The takedown of Cryptome may be a coincidence. Reading between the lines of their twitter account, it looks like they were hosting the full-length movie Citizen Four and ate too much bandwidth for their shared hosting plan. The Internet Archive has also deleted a copy of the movie that they were hosting.


Updates cut for space )

A former US Army psyops officer named Scott Bennett has published a report titled "Shell Game" alleging that data on al-Qaeda's finances are hidden from US intelligence and military by US government officials at the highest levels. It opens with an executive summary alleging that:

  • unnamed members of the intelligence community are committing treason.
  • unnamed people responsible for "intentional" intelligence failures.
  • Union Bank of Switzerland banker Brad Birkenfeld was jailed for reporting terrorist funding to US intelligence agencies.
  • Booz Allen Hamilton fired Bennett for reporting terrorist finance issues up the chain of command.
  • Edward Snowden turned traitor after seeing what happened to Birkenfeld.
  • Bennett predicted the Benghazi attack.
  • The Department of Justice attempted to assassinate a whistleblower.

Bennett ties together so many big claims that the report is difficult to believe. I almost stopped reading at this point. The report opens like a crime novel, not a report. The facts are buried under layers of rhetoric. Stripping that away, Bennett makes a number of notable specific claims. These claims include:

About Booz:

  • Booz Allen Hamilton ran the terrorist finance investigation unit of the US Central Command. It was called the Optimus Foundation and stationed in Fort MacDill. Bennett worked there.
  • BAH antiterrorist officials include Mike Maravilla, William Lubliner, Troy Hensely, and Bob Thompson.

About Bennett

  • Bennett worked counterterrorism and psyops at the State Department before he joined the Army, and was given a "VIP" flight to Florida on the executive jet of Eric Olson, head of US Special Operations Command.
  • Shortly after arriving in Florida, Bennett was arrested off-base by MPs, interrogated for 12 hours, and beaten by Detective Edward Garcia and Lt. Col. Martin Mitchell. The supposed justification for the arrest was a failure to properly register privately owned firearms that he had declared.
  • Mitchell distributed "BOLO" wanted posters of Bennett to every US military post showing his picture and describing him as an Army intelligence officer investigating al-Qaeda's money supply. Bennett describes this as an attempt to have him killed by supposing that the information would reach al-Qaeda through a spy.
  • The Army made some kind of policy change "due to negative stigma given to Psychological Operations by another defense contractor named Mike Furlong", a former coworker of Bennet.
  • Bennett forecasted the Benghazi attack in report written two years before the incident on the subject of the Furlong-inspired psych policy change and a prediction of its strategic impact.
  • After writing the psych report, Bennett was prosecuted by the Department of Justice for the earlier gun incident. Bennett claims that this is the first time in US history that the military has surrendered its jurisdiction to civilian authorities.
  • Assistant US Attorney Sara Sweeney "invented all kinds of exaggerations, had me followed by Secret Service, and engaged in the same illegal harassment which the Justice Dept. had employed against Senator Ted Stevens", and Special Assistant US Attorney Timothy Goins dressed in a US Air Force uniform to give the jury the impression that the military supported the prosecution.
  • Bennett is selling a book titled Conspiracy, Torture, and Betrayal at US Central Command. It is self-published on Lulu and the single review is not good.

About the DoJ:

  • Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant AG Lanny Breuer formerly worked for UBS and suppressed attempts to prosecute the company.
  • The DoJ "assassination attempt" against Birkenfeld was in the form of writing a letter to UBS claiming that Birkenfeld was giving away proprietary banking information. The letter was forged in the name of an Islamic "international banking friend" in London. The letter came from the CIA substation in Bern.
  • Bennett suspects DoJ attorneys Kevin O'Connor and Kevin Downing of being behind the forgery against Birkenfeld, and alleges that the two have connections to Rudy Giuliani and an Abdullah Azziz named as an al-Qaeda financier in Matt Taibbi's article Too Big To Jail. There is no one by that name in Taibbi's article, but it does mention Sulaiman bin Abdul Aziz Al Rajhi of the SAAR Foundation. Bennett also calls the Golden Chain the "Golden Triangle".

Others:

  • Edward Snowden personally observed CIA communications regarding the operation against Birkenfeld and turned traitor because of it.
  • In 2009, Hillary Clinton agreed to jail Birkenfeld and release two Uighur terrorists from Guantanamo Bay in exchange for "the US being given preferential status on a Swiss financial treaty." This treaty is likely the US-Switzerland tax information exchange treaty of 2009 The detainees are likely Arkin Mahmud and Bahtiyar Mahnut who were transferred to Switzerland in February 2010 (according to Wikipedia).
  • Birkenfeld's information was not known to the Optimus Foundation, the National Counterterrorism Center, Treasury's Office of Terrorism and Financial intelligence, the Defense Intelligence Operations Coordination Center, the office of the Director of National Intelligence, SOCOM, JSOC, CENTCOM, CAPOC, or EUCOM.
  • Senator Carl Levin personally suppressed Birkenfeld's report on al-Qaeda's finances from reaching Army intelligence. The evidence is that Birkenfeld claims to have given Levin this information, and it did not spread any further.
  • President Obama personally suppressed Birkenfeld's information as repayment for campaign contributions from Robert Wolf. No evidence is presented.

Overall conclusions:

Bennett does not seem like a reliable source. The report is written like a work of fiction. The most sweeping stuff is most likely bullshit.

The most serious allegations, in the sense of being able to take them seriously, hinge on the presumption of Birkenfeld having this information about al-Qaeda financing.

[Edit Feb 11] Regarding the naming of "Fort MacDill", from a comment to WaPo in 2009:

FYI, yello, if you Google "Fort MacDill" with quotes around it, you get 160 hits, the gist of which are that Fort MacDill is the informal nickname of the two Army headquarters based inside the larger MacDill AFB complex. One is CENTCOM, Central Command, Gen. Petraus's outfit, the unit with jurisdiction over the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters. The other is SOCOM, Special Operations Command, one of Clancy's great loves. ... It would appear that Clancy did his homework so well he knew the special "insider" nickname of CENTCOM and SOCOM. Posted by: Curmudgeon- | May 29, 2009 10:06 PM | Report abuse

A bunch of financial data from HSBC was leaked to a consortium of journalists. What they have released so far includes this scrap of information about Abdul-Karim Dan Azoumi which is small enough that I will copy it in full:

Abdoul-Karim Dan-Azoumi is the owner of Badica, the largest diamond exporter in the Central African Republic (CAR). An October 2014 United Nations report by a panel of experts branded Dan-Azoumi’s company a key financial backer of the rebel Seleka group which has been fighting government forces in the CAR conflict that has resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians. The United Nations alleged that fees paid by Dan-Azoumi’s companies to Séléka rebels in order to illegally export diamonds allowed the rebels to remain armed. Dan-Azoumi lives in Antwerp, Belgium’s diamond capital.

Dan-Azoumi became an HSBC client in 2000. He was linked to five bank accounts. Two of them were associated with a client account under the name of “Kampala Holdings S.A.,” which lists Dan-Azoumi as beneficial owner. The maximum amount in the account in 2006/2007 was $467,592. The other three bank accounts belonged to a numbered client account, which was closed in 2006. He was linked to “32618 BG” alongside another individual. HSBC bank communications explain that the bank closed the account for the benefit of an offshore account that was going to have Dan-Azoumi as beneficial owner.

So according to this report, this guy was a key financier of al-Qaeda's invasion of the Central African Republic (mentioned earlier and earlier). Neither this guy or his company appear in a web search, and I cannot find this supposed United Nations report. Al-Qaeda had been involved in the West African diamond trade in the 1990s, as described in Douglas Farah's book Blood From Stones.

From J.M. Berger:

ISIS has released a video that appears to show Jordanian pilot Muath al-Kassasbeh being burned alive.

Quick thoughts:

  • 1. Jordan is where much of ISIS was trained. By the USA. Expect this to end if it hasn't already. They might spread around some incriminating information about this training.
  • 2. Retaliation is the default reaction, but Jordan is on leashes by the USA and its own public which is far more pro-terrorist than the leadership. The fact that a Jordanian was killed is going to anger and split the public unless they fall for ISIS propaganda that it was his fault for opposing Islam.
  • 3. If Jordan wanted to invade Syria to rout ISIS, there is nothing to stop them. There is no border anymore.

Predictions:

  • Limited retaliatory airstrikes
  • Civil disturbances in Jordan if the retaliation goes beyond limited airstrikes
  • Increased Jordanian cooperation with Iraq, and possibly Iran
  • Drop in Jordanian respect for US
  • Increased distance from Israel (afraid of Iran, wants Assad gone) and the Gulf Arab states (funding ISIS)
  • Weaker Jordanian pro-Western monarchy. It has already lost the public and is losing allies.

Addendum: The news says Jordan killed an ISIS prisoner in retaliation. Unconfirmed reports have that Jordan was already attacking ISIS (which would explain why their pilot was shot down) and that the prisoner was killed a month ago and everyone knew it, both of which suggest that this measured response may be as much as Jordan will openly do at this time.


[Edit Feb 7] There are reports of limited airstrikes as originally predicted, so I was wrong about being wrong.

Succession

Jan. 23rd, 2015 03:04 am

Saudi Arabia's new king funded al-Qaeda in the 1990s and has told us all the problems in the Middle East would go away if we'd kill all the Jews. Expect less cooperation.

Edit: this may become a moot issue since the guy is 79 years old.

The Obamacare website is giving away Americans' personal information to marketing agencies. They claim not to provide people's names, but Facebook and Twitter can correlate that and much more that from your IP address.

ROFL

Jan. 17th, 2015 02:38 pm

Lizard Squad stored their customers' passwords in plaintext. They do have a skiddie reputation and this certainly adds to it.

On second thought, that may have been intentional. Most people use the same usernames and passwords on multiple sites. The Lizards now have a plaintext username and password pair for each of their customers, and there are certainly some people dumb enough to use a common username and password when doing business with criminals.

Page generated May. 24th, 2015 06:55 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios