White House Loosens Standards for Drone Killing

October 1, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

 

 

Political Outcast

Drone killing, as anyone knows who bothers to keep up with it, doesn’t have very strict standards. As the New York Times reported back in June,

The group found that more than a decade into the era of armed drones, the American government has yet to carry out a thorough analysis of whether the costs of routine secret killing operations outweigh the benefits. The report urges the administration to conduct such an analysis and to give a public accounting of both militants and civilians killed in drone strikes.

The findings amount to a sort of report card — one that delivers middling grades — a year after President Obama gave a speech promising new guidelines for drone strikes and greater transparency about the killing operations. The report is especially critical of the secrecy that continues to envelop drone operations and questions whether they might be creating terrorists even as they are killing them.

“There is no indication that a U.S. strategy to destroy Al Qaeda has curbed the rise of Sunni Islamic extremism, deterred the establishment of Shia Islamic extremist groups, or advanced long-term U.S. security interests,” the report concludes.
“No indication that a U.S. strategy to destroy Al Qaeda has curbed the rise of Sunni Islamic extremist groups”? You mean like ISIS, ISIL, or the Islamic State—by whatever name you use?

 

Anyone can look at the documented “double tap” policy to know our standards have always been a sham.

So now that it more months have passed since President Obama did not give new guidelines, what does he do now? He loosens the standards that were allegedly in place. What else would a Nobel Peace Prize winner do?

Thus, Yahoo News tells us, “White House exempts Syria airstrikes from tight standards on civilian deaths.”

The White House has acknowledged for the first time that strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations in Syria and Iraq.

A White House statement to Yahoo News confirming the looser policy came in response to questions about reports that as many as a dozen civilians, including women and young children, were killed when a Tomahawk missile struck the village of Kafr Daryan in Syria’s Idlib province on the morning of Sept. 23.

The village has been described by Syrian rebel commanders as a reported stronghold of the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front where U.S officials believed members of the so-called Khorasan group were plotting attacks against international aircraft.

But at a briefing for members and staffers of the House Foreign Affairs Committee late last week, Syrian rebel commanders described women and children being hauled from the rubble after an errant cruise missile destroyed a home for displaced civilians. Images of badly injured children also appeared on YouTube, helping to fuel anti-U.S. protests in a number of Syrian villages last week.

So, basically, Obama imposed “strict standards” that don’t actually apply to the major battlefield. So why not put it out there as a general principle:

The strict standards President Obama imposed last year to prevent civilian deaths from U.S. drone strikes will not apply to U.S. military operations using drones anywhere in the world.

As much as I am opposed to sending troops back to Iraq, these deaths are the inevitable result of launching mass death from the sky. You can’t do surgery with a sledge hammer.

The main reason we were told we had to intervene in ISIS was because they were killing people, including women and children. Does this long-term, gradual (assuming it will ever succeed) “degrading” of ISIS really constitute help for those victims when we are victimizing them more?

 

James Traficant ‘critical;’ doctors to make determination within 72 hours

September 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

GREENFORD — (Vindy.com) Ex-U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. is in “very critical condition” after an accident on his family farm, his wife, Tish Traficant, said today.

The former congressman, 73, is “sedated and he’s not doing well,” his wife told The Vindicator a few minutes before heading back to the St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown, where he was taken after first being rushed to Salem Regional Hospital.

Traficant was driving a 1943 Ford tractor about 7:50 p.m. Tuesday at his family farm on West South Range Road about 140 feet into a large pole barn when the vehicle struck a large steel blade on the ground, said Goshen Police Chief Steve T. McDaniel.

That caused the tractor to flip with Traficant still in the vehicle’s seat, but trapped with the tractor on top of him, McDaniel said.

Andrew Thomson of Mercer, Pa., was looking at farm equipment with Traficant, when he saw Traficant go into the barn and was talking with the former congressman.

When Thomson didn’t get a response from Traficant, he checked the barn, saw Traficant under the tractor and called 911, McDaniel said.

It is believed that Traficant suffered a heart attack on the tractor, said Linda Kovachik, a longtime family friend and former aide when Traficant was in Congress.

“Jim Traficant would have jumped off the tractor” under normal circumstances, she said.

Traficant is in a medically-induced coma with numerous tests and scans being done, said Kovachik, who spent several hours today with members of his family at the hospital.

Doctors will determine if there is any brain activity about 72 hours after he was brought to St. Elizabeth, Kovachik said.

“If anyone can come out of this, it’s Jim Traficant,” she said.

After the accident, emergency responders were there in minutes, lifted the tractor and administered CPR to Traficant, McDaniel said. They also got Traficant out of the barn because gas was leaking from the tractor, he said.

Elizabeth H. Traficant, one of his daughters, is the owner of record of the 76-acre farm at 6908 W. South Range Road since Dec. 10, 1999.

Her father, the Mahoning Valley’s most famous and infamous politician of the last half-century, was indicted by a federal grand jury on May 4, 2001.

The farm was a key location in Traficant’s political corruption trial in 2002. Among his convictions was having contractors do work at the farm for political favors, and having congressional staff members work there while on federal time.

Traficant served more than 17 years in the U.S. House as a Democrat before being expelled in July 2002. That came after a federal jury convicted him of 10 felony counts including racketeering, bribery, tax evasion and obstruction of justice.

He unsuccessfully ran for re-election from prison in 2002, and in 2010, the year he was released, as an independent losing both times to Democrat Tim Ryan, a former Traficant aide.

Vindy.com will post further updates as they become available.

– See more at: http://www.vindy.com/news/2014/sep/24/update-jim-traficant-very-critical-condition-after/#sthash.Deskjn6w.dpuf

US Capital Votes to Allow Concealed Firearms

September 24, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

 

City council members voted unanimously but reluctantly Tuesday to allow residents and visitors alike to carry concealed weapons in the streets of the U.S. capital.

The measure replaces Washington’s longstanding ban on carrying firearms in public, which a federal judge in July declared unconstitutional.

“We really don’t want to move forward with allowing more guns in the District of Columbia,” said council member Muriel Bowser, a front-runner in the city’s mayoral election in November.

“But we all know we have to be compliant with what the courts say,” she said, quoted by The Washington Post newspaper.

Washington outlawed public ownership of firearms in the mid-1970s, until the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2008 that the ban violated Americans’ constitutional right “to keep and bear arms.”

Strict regulation remained in place, however, until July when a U.S. District Court judge ruled that a prohibition on carrying guns in public also violated the U.S. Constitution.

Tough gun laws are credited in part with helping to bring down Washington’s once-notorious homicide rate, with just over 100 murders reported last year.

Tuesday’s vote came amid the aftershock of a major security breach Friday when a former U.S. army soldier, carrying a small folding knife, jumped over a fence and into the White House.

Prosecutors revealed Monday in court that the accused, Omar Gonzalez, had more than 800 rounds of ammunition in his car, and had previously been arrested in Virgina with a sawed-off shotgun, among other firearms.

Under the city’s new legislation, gun owners would still have to apply for a permit to carry a firearm in public, and show police that they have good reason to do so.

It would also remain illegal to carry a gun inside schools, hospitals, government buildings, public transit, sports venues and anywhere within 1,000 feet of a dignitary under police protection.

More at Newsmax

Obama DOJ Refuses to Release Fast and Furious Docs

September 19, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

Stall until next POTUS pardons everyone, ala Iran Contra…. got ya

Front Page Mag

The “most transparent administration in history” is once again revealing the rank hypocrisy of President Obama’s assessment. In a motion filed Monday night, lawyers from the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) asked U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson to delay the transfer of documents related to the Fast and Furious gun-running scandal to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, until after her rulings requiring that transfer can be appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. If their bid is successful, it could push the appeals process past the Obama administration’s time in office. In short, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is trying to run out the clock.

Last July, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ordered the DOJ to turn over a “Vaughn index” of all Fast and Furious-requested documents sought by Judicial Watch, which had filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request in June 2012. The records sought by Judicial Watch were those withheld from the Oversight Committee when President Obama cited executive privilege in a transparent effort to protect his Attorney General. U.S. District Court Judge John D. Bates lifted the 16-month delay, despite contentions by the DOJ that turning over the records would interfere with litigation between the agency and the Oversight Committee, which had subpoenaed the same documents.

Bates’ ruling was clear:

In the [February 15, 2013] order granting the stay, this court explicitly noted that the DOJ ‘does not seek, and the court will not award, an indefinite stay pending ultimate resolution of the House Committee litigation,’ and  that ‘the benefits of delaying this case might well [become] too attenuated to justify any further delay …Because many of the issues to be resolved in this case do not overlap with the House committee, and because resolving those issues will not risk upsetting the delicate balance of powers in subpoena disputes between the political branches, the Court will require DOJ to produce a Vaughn index here.

Bates also noted that no court has ever “expressly recognized” the executive privilege claims made by Obama preventing these documents from being seen by Congress and the American public.

A month later, with the dispute now being adjudicated by Berman, the DOJ was also ordered to turn over a “privilege log,” a.k.a. a list of the documents being withheld. Both orders were supposed to be fulfilled by Oct. 1, 2014.

On Monday the DOJ made it clear they will make yet another attempt to defy both orders. “The Department respectfully submits that it would be preferable for the parties, this Court, and the D.C. Circuit — if an appeal were taken — to have any injunctive order await the conclusion of the district court litigation to allow for orderly and complete appellate proceedings,” DOJ lawyers wrote.

The additional documents run to 64,000 pages and relate directly to the operation that saw as many as 2000 firearms “walked” into Mexico — and into the hands of drug cartel leaders. These weapons have shown up at as many as 200 crime scenes in Mexico, and are responsible for the murder or wounding of approximately 300 Mexicans, including 14 Mexican teenagers who were killed, along with 12 wounded, during a birthday party in Ciudad Juarez in January 2010. F&F weapons were also used to murder Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry, who was killed December 14, 2010 while on night patrol in the Arizona desert near the Mexican border, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Agent Jaime Zapata, who was killed on Feb. 15, 2011.

It is critical information about this trail of carnage the DOJ is desperately trying to suppress. Furthermore, as seen in the filing, The DOJ may withhold the documents regardless of the court order, claiming that because it “is clearly injunctive in nature, the Department would be entitled to appeal it as a matter of right.” The DOJ further insists that such an appeal was a “temporal request” aimed at avoiding “intermediate injunctive orders that could generate multiple piecemeal appeals.” If the Court doesn’t buy it, Holder and company want an extension to December 15, 2014, using the rationale that the Court has extended the deadline for producing the log until November 3, 2014.

It should be noted that the mid-term elections occur on Nov. 4. It should also be noted that the DOJ has stonewalled the Fast and Furious investigation for three years, despite numerous subpoenas issued by Oversight Committee chairman Darryl Issa (R-CA), who began issuing them shortly after the GOP gained control of the House in the 2010 election. By June 2011 the DOJ’s delaying tactics were so transparent, Issa began threatening Holder with contempt citations. On June 28, 2012, Holder became the first sitting Cabinet member in history to be held in contempt of Congress. The vote of 255-67 included 17 Democrats who supported the criminal contempt resolution.

Twenty-seven months later, nothing has changed. The DOJ continues to subvert the law, even as Democrats and their allies in the mainstream media continue to insist — as they do with every scandal afflicting the Obama administration — that the investigation amounts to little more than a politically-motivated witch hunt.

Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) is approaching the problem in a different way. On Wednesday, he proposed completely eliminating the agency at the heart of the scandal. The ATF Elimination Act seeks to “abolish the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, transfer its functions relating to the Federal firearms, explosives, and arson laws, violent crime, and domestic terrorism to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and transfer its functions relating to the Federal alcohol and tobacco smuggling laws to the Drug Enforcement Administration, and for other purposes.”

Sensenbrenner believes the benefits of the bill will be twofold, as in a chance to streamline government, and clean up a scandal-ridden agency. “Washington should be responsible stewards of the American taxpayers’ money,” he said in a statement about the bill. He continued:

While all too often that is not the case, this is a good government bill to streamline agency activity at DOJ—increasing effectiveness while decreasing cost. The ATF is a largely duplicative, scandal ridden agency that lacks a clear mission. It is plagued by backlogs, funding gaps, hiring challenges and a lack of leadership. For decades it has been branded by high profile failures. There is also significant overlap with other agencies. At a time when we are approaching $18 trillion in debt, waste and redundancy within our federal agencies must be addressed. Without a doubt, we can fulfill the role of the ATF more efficiently.

Eliminating a chunk of the Executive branch might be a cathartic response for the kind of stonewalling routinely employed by Holder and company, but it doesn’t eliminate the problem. The Obama administration abides one rule of governance above all else: we’re going to do whatever we want, and we dare someone to stop us.

Pick any scandal, be it Fast and Furious, Benghazi, the IRS targeting of conservatives, the lies at the heart of ObamaCare, the dropping of the Black Panther voter intimidation case, the seizing of AP reporter files, etc., etc., and the common thread is transparent. Aided and abetted by an in-the-tank mainstream media and see-no-evil Democrats, the Obama administration has employed an avalanche of lies, stonewalling, and disinformation aimed at producing one outcome: “scandal fatigue” among the American public.

Tragically, that strategy has been enormously successful. For the last six years, this administration has completely avoided anything resembling genuine accountability. For six years, everything has been “someone else’s fault.”

Three hundred dead and wounded Mexicans and two murdered American agents deserve better. Much better.

 

ALSO SEE:

Onerous ATF rules threaten to put gun dealers out of business

Obama administration forcing new gun buyers to declare race, ethnicity

September 17, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

ATF policy irks dealers, risks privacy intrusion, racial profiling: critics

The Washington Times – Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Obama administration quietly has been forcing new gun buyers to declare their race and ethnicity, a policy change that critics say provides little law enforcement value while creating the risk of privacy intrusions and racial profiling.

With little fanfare, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) in 2012 amended its Form 4473 — the transactional record the government requires gun purchasers and sellers to fill out when buying a firearm — to identify buyers as either Hispanic, Latino or not. Then a buyer must check his or her race: Indian, Asian, black, Pacific Islander or white.

The amendment is causing a headache for gun retailers, as each box needs to be checked off or else it’s an ATF violation — severe enough for the government to shut a business down. Many times people skip over the Hispanic/Latino box and only check their race, or vice versa — both of which are federal errors that can be held against the dealer.

Requiring the race and ethnic information of gun buyers is not required by federal law and provides little law enforcement value, legal experts say. And gun industry officials worry about how the information is being used and whether it constitutes an unnecessary intrusion on privacy.

“This issue concerns me deeply because, first, it’s offensive, and, secondly, there’s no need for it,” said Evan Nappen, a private practice firearms lawyer in New Jersey. “If there’s no need for an amendment, then there’s usually a political reason for the change. What this indicates is it was done for political reasons, not law enforcement reasons.”

ATF said the change came about because it needed to update its forms to comply with an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reporting standard put into effect during the Clinton administration. The ATF declined to comment on why race and ethnicity information are needed in the first place or what they are used for. On its prior 4473 forms, the bureau had been collecting race data.

OMB’s race and ethnicity standards require agencies to ask both race and ethnicity in a specific manner (as done on [Form 4473]), and agencies may not ask for one without asking for the other,” wrote Elizabeth Gosselin, a spokeswoman for the ATF, in an emailed response to The Washington Times. She did not say why the agency suddenly made the change in response to a rule that was more than a decade old.

For ATF to ask for a purchaser’s race and ethnicity is not specifically authorized under federal statute, and since a government-issued photo ID — like a driver’s license — and a background check are already required by law to purchase a gun, the ethnicity/race boxes aren’t there for identification reasons, Mr. Nappen said.

“There is nothing [in ATF or OMB’s website links addressing the change in policy] that supports the requirement that ATF collect race-based information. The OMB guidance merely describes what categories of race should look like if information is collected,” Laura Murphy, the American Civil Liberties Union director for legislative affairs in Washington, said in an emailed statement.

In addition, Mrs. Murphy notes, the OMB guidance was supposed to be implemented by 2003; there’s no information given why ATF decided to make this change almost a decade later, she said.

“If there is a civil rights enforcement reason for the ATF to collect this data, I have not heard that explanation from ATF or any other federal agency,” said Mrs. Murphy.

Both the NAACP and the National Council of La Raza — the nation’s largest national Hispanic civil rights group — declined comment.

Access to the form

The 4473 form is supposed to be kept in a gun retailer’s possession at all times — allowing ATF agents to inspect the form only during the course of a criminal investigation or during a random audit of the dealer. The form is to be kept out of the hands of the government, hence the distinction between “sales/transaction form” and “registration form.” But that isn’t always the case, gun rights advocates say.

“We’ve been contacted by several dealers saying ATF is or has been making wholesale copies of their 4473 forms, and it’s just not legal,” said Erich Pratt, spokesman for Gun Owners of America, a gun advocacy group. “If this is what they’re doing somewhat out in the open, what’s going on behind closed doors? Are these names and demographic information getting phoned [in and] punched into a government computer? Do they ever come out?”

Story Continues →

 

 

Obama plays both sides: Sought repeal of Bush war statute now used to justify Islamic State strikes …

September 15, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

White House employs 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Resolution to evade Congress

 

Washington Times

 

President Obama’s first initiated war against an Islamic terrorist group is authorized, the White House says, by George W. Bush-signed legislation that Mr. Obama has criticized and wanted to repeal since last year.

Since beginning airstrikes last month against the Islamic State, also known by the acronyms ISIS and ISIL, the White House has said it does not need congressional approval to carry out such missions.

 

Last week, on the 13th anniversary of al Qaeda’s attacks on the United States, the administration announced why, saying President Bush’s Authorization for Use of Military Force resolution in 2001 is all the authority Mr. Obama needs.

In a May 2013 speech to a military audience at the National Defense University, Mr. Obama portrayed the law as dated and as a potential blank check to get the U.S. into wars.

“The AUMF is now nearly 12 years old,” he said. “Unless we discipline our thinking, our definitions, our actions, we may be drawn into more wars we don’t need to fight, or continue to grant presidents unbound powers more suited for traditional armed conflicts between nation states.”

President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 10, 2014. Opening a new military front in the Middle East, Obama authorized U.S. airstrikes inside Syria for the first time, along with expanded strikes in Iraq as part of a broad mission to root out the violent Islamic State militants whose reign of terror has spread across both countries.  (AP Photo/Saul Loeb, Pool)
President Barack Obama addresses the nation from the Cross Hall in the … more >

Last week, The Washington Times asked a National Security Council spokeswoman whether the president still wants to repeal the authorization, given the rise of the Islamic State terrorist group.

 

“On the 2001 AUMF, we remain committed to engaging with Congress and the American people to refine, and ultimately repeal, the AUMF,” the spokeswoman said. “The president has made clear that he wishes to take America off a permanent war footing.”

Two days later, the White House cited the authorization as Mr. Obama’s go-ahead for airstrikes on the Islamic State.

Said Charles “Cully” Stimson, a national security law analyst at the Heritage Foundation: “There’s not only a disconnect but a failure to clearly articulate in a public forum the legal basis for the strikes.”

White House press secretary Josh Earnest defended the irony of the president’s reliance on a war authorization law that he has wanted to be changed and repealed since at least 2013.

Mr. Earnest did not repeat the call for repeal Thursday as he explained to reporters why the 2001 resolution applies to the Islamic State.

“The president is ready to engage in a conversation with members of Congress as it relates to this specific AUMF,” he said. “And we welcome or would welcome a show of support from the United States Congress for the strategy that the president has laid out.”

Mr. Obama went on national TV Wednesday night to announce a counterterrorism campaign to destroy the Islamic State over time. The U.S. will provide airstrikes, intelligence, training and advice. Iraqis and Syrians will muster their ground forces.

Mr. Obama campaigned for re-election as a president who was put into office to “end wars, not start them.”

The Obama administration has not given a name to the military operation, a departure from past Pentagon practices.

Congressional aides said that, by relying on a law tied to the Bush administration, Mr. Obama avoids signing new legislation that would officially and historically link him to the war against the Islamic State.

Mr. Stimson believes the constitutional lawyer in Mr. Obama “would prefer to work with Congress for a narrowly tailored ISIS-specific AUMF that has a ‘sunset’ provision within it.”

“But the political reality is that if he were to ask for one and not get it, that would be politically damaging,” the national security analyst said. “If he were to ask for one and get it, then he would be the author, the owner, of an Obama AUMF, which probably, according to their political calculus, would hurt them even more.”

The 2001 law authorizes military force against al Qaeda and its associated groups. The Obama administration argues that the Bush authorization applies to the Islamic State group, a version of al Qaeda in Iraq, which waged war against U.S. troops and the Baghdad government beginning in 2004.

“It is the view of this administration that the 2001 AUMF continues to apply to ISIL,” Mr. Earnest said.

Although al Qaeda and the Islamic State have had public disagreements over how and whom to kill, and in what numbers, some al Qaeda fighters view the offshoot as the one created in Osama bin Laden’s image.

“So these ties between ISIL and al Qaeda persist,” Mr. Earnest said.

As for Mr. Obama’s call to repeal the authorization he now embraces, Mr. Earnest said the president has always said, “Our systematic effort to dismantle terrorist organizations must continue.”

In August, the White House justified its bombing campaign in Iraq as the prerogative of the commander in chief. It also has sent at least seven notifications to Congress about actions against the Islamic State to comply with the 1973 War Powers Act.

Mr. Stimson said the letters “are a direct reflection of the administration’s public stated position that these are more like counterterrorism operations and not war, like against Taliban and al Qaeda and associates. I think that’s a tough one to swallow for some people.”

Palin Family Gets Into A Messy “Booze Fueled” Brawl In Alaska

September 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas



A majority of the Palin family — Sarah, Todd, Bristol, and Track — was allegedly involved in a booze-filled brawl over the weekend in which the former vice presidential candidate reportedly screamed, “Don’t you know who I am?”

According to reports from local bloggers, the Palin crew showed up at a party in Wasilla following a day at the Iron Dog snowmobile race.

According to local blogger Amanda Coyne, witnesses at the scene said Palin’s eldest son, Track, showed up to the party in a stretch Hummer. He then confronted a man who had previously dated one of his sisters, according to Coyne and another blog called Immoral Minority.

“That led to some pushing and shoving, which escalated somehow to the family being asked to leave the premises,” Immoral Minority, reported.

 

Alaska political blogger Amanda Coyne spoke to several witnesses who say they were in attendance at the party and compiled a pretty incredible account of what allegedly went down:

Word is that Bristol has a particularly strong right hook, which she employed repeatedly, and it’s something to hear when Sarah screams, “Don’t you know who I am!” And it was particularly wonderful when someone in the crowd screamed back, “This isn’t some damned Hillbilly reality show!” No, it’s what happens when the former First Family of Alaska comes knocking. As people were leaving in a cab, Track was seen on the street, shirtless, flipping people off, with Sarah right behind him, and Todd somewhere in the foreground, tending to his bloody nose.

Head over to Coyne’s blog for more.

Another Alaska-based blogger, Jesse Griffin, also offered up a report on the alleged melee:

According to the grapevine Track had some altercation with a person who may or may not have once dated one of the Palin girls. That led to some pushing and shoving, which escalated somehow to the family being asked to leave the premises.

However before that could happen a certain former abstinence spokesperson unleashed a flurry of blows at some as of yet identified individual before being pulled off by by another partygoer, after which Todd apparently puffed up his chest and made some threatening remarks. (The “C’ word may have been uttered at one point.)

Anchorage Police Department communications director Jennifer Castro confirmed to The Huffington Post that police responded to a “verbal and physical altercation” outside a residence just before midnight on Saturday, and that “some of the Palin family members were in attendance at the party.” Police believe that alcohol was a “factor” in the incident.

“The case is still an open and active investigation and is being reviewed by APD and our Municipal Prosecutor’s office, therefore, we are unable to release any police reports or further information at this time,” Castro wrote in an email.

(h/t Raw Story)

U.S. Treasury: Boston Marathon Bombing Not ‘Act Of Terrorism’

September 12, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

Right – Get pay outs on this under a False Flag? No no no …. Move on now please. (Now read the 1/2 propaganda below) 

 

Exhibit A …………

WGBH

After the September 11 terrorist attacks, insurance companies paid out billions in damages — more than ever before. So in 2002, Congress agreed to help in the future by creating federally insured — and relatively cheap — terrorism coverage for businesses.

Claims under that coverage were filed for the first time after the Boston Marathon bombings. But insurance companies haven’t paid out — because the federal government doesn’t consider the Boston Marathon bombing an act of terrorism.

After the marathon bombings, police and other investigators swarmed downtown and barricaded off whole blocks to examine what’s been called the most complex crime scene in history.

“Nobody knew if there was going to be more bombs or anything,” said Perry Geyer, whose company, Cybersound Studios, is around the corner from the bombing sites on Newbury street. He says as the manhunt for suspects continued, artists from across the country canceled recording sessions and Geyer lost thousands of dollars.

“In the back of my mind, the whole time when this happened, I was like, ‘Wow, thank God I have the terrorism insurance — I’m sure this is going to cover it, if this isn’t a terrorist act, then what is?'”

There’s an answer to that question from the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury.

In an email yesterday, a spokesperson for the office said they have reviewed the events in Boston, and the treasury secretary did not find that there had been an “act of terrorism” under the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act.

That’s the act that Congress passed in 2002 to create this type of federally-backed insurance. Under the law, insurance companies only have to pay claims when property damage tops $5 million and the U.S. Attorney General and the secretaries of state and treasury certify it a terrorist attack.

Since that didn’t happen in the case of the marathon bombings, claims like Geyer’s, for $9,000, were denied. He’s since canceled his terrorism coverage.

“Why should I pay if I’m not going to receive anything?” he asked.

It’s confusing for Geyer and other business owners like him, especially since President Obama has called the marathon bombings an act of terror, and the Justice Department’s indictment of suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev charges him with federal crimes of terrorism.

The issue, says Robert Hartwig, president of the Insurance Information Institute in New York, is size and scope. He says terrorism insurance is meant to cover acts on the scale of the September 11 attacks.

“What terrorism insurance does, is it provides protection against those more severe losses — the type of losses that can put you out of business,” Hartwig said. “Generally it’s not for the lower level claims that might arise, the less-costly type of claims.”

But Boston Mayor Marty Walsh says any formal distinction shouldn’t matter.

“Regardless of whether or not this was ruled an official act of terrorism, insurance companies should be willing to do anything and everything in their power to assist these businesses,” Walsh said in a statement.

One business is fighting back. Edward Borash says his Sir Speedy print shop on Bolyston still hasn’t fully recovered since it was shut for 14 days after the bombings.

“It was such a terrible, heinous act and I was never going to let a terrorist tell me what to do, or whatever, so I fought so hard to stay in business and be strong here,” Borash said.

He’s suing the agent that sold him terrorism coverage, and his insurance company, Magna Carta, for more than $1 million. Borash’s attorney, James Rudolph, says they misled his client.

“His agent never said, ‘Listen, there has to be claims for $5 million, otherwise you’re not going to get anything,'” Rudolph said. “And his insurance agent never said, ‘Listen, it has to be declared an act of terrorism by some politicians in Washington.’ Had he been told that, he might have said, ‘Well this is ridiculous. They’re never going to do that.’”

Magna Carta declined to comment.

“My client completely denies that it acted improperly, and certainly denies that any misrepresentation was made,” said said Kurt Fliegauf, attorney for the agent, Allan Insurance Agency in Salem. “We’re confident that we will prevail on the merits in court.”

As the case progresses, lawmakers in Washington are deciding whether this type of insurance will even continue to exist. If they don’t extend the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, it expires at the end of the year, ending affordable federally backed terrorism coverage.

That would be unfortunate, says Robin Helfand of Robin’s Candy Shop on Newbury Street. She thinks businesses need this kind of protection. She still has her terrorism policy, even though after the marathon bombing, her claim for thousands of dollars lost in unsold truffles was denied.

“But you can imagine my concern,” she said. “How do I insure this time that I have coverage because — God forbid a million times over — there’s another incident, I lose everything, and it’s not declared terrorism?”

If it happened again, Helfand says, her business might not survive.

Obama ISIS Speech 9-10-14: Declares Open-Ended MIddle East War

September 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

Night before 911 Anniversary 13…………

 

by Stephen Lendman

He did so in flagrant violation of international law. It’s not the first time. It won’t be the last.

It’s longstanding US policy. All US wars are lawless. They violate the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause (Article VI, Clause 2).

It states all US laws and treaties “shall be the supreme law of the land…”

International law is clear and unequivocal. No nation may attack another except in self-defense.

None may do so without Security Council authorization. None exists. Expect none forthcoming.

UN Charter Article 2(7) states:

“Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter.”

Under no circumstances may one nation, or combination thereof, intervene against another without Security Council authorization.

Article 8 of the 1933 Montevideo Convention of Rights and Duties says: “No state has the right to intervene in the internal or external affairs of another.”

Under Article 10, differences between states “should be settled by recognized pacific methods.”

Article 11 calls sovereign state territory “inviolable…”

Other charters affirm non-intervention. They include:

  • the Organization of American States;
  • Organization of African Unity;
  • League of Arab States;
  • Buenos Aires;
  • Chapultepec; and
  • First Conference of Heads of State or Government of Non-Aligned Countries in Belgrade, among others.

Washington flagrantly violates rule of law principles. It does so repeatedly. It’s to advance its imperium.

On Wednesday night, Obama declared open-ended Middle East war. It includes war on Syria.

The Islamic State is the pretext. Assad’s government is the target. Regime change is the objective.

So is eliminating an Israeli rival, isolating Iran and wanting unchallenged regional control.

So-called ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State (IS) “terrorists” are a US creation. They’re used strategically as both allies and enemies.

Washington arms, trains, funds and directs them. Obama’s address included a litany of Big Lies.

Obama: “As Commander-in-Chief, my highest priority is the security of the American people.”

Fact: Throughout his tenure, Obama caused more harm to more Americans than any of his predecessors.

Fact: He’s done so multiple ways.

Fact: He serves monied interests at the expense of populist ones.

Fact: He uses America’s resources for war-making, corporate tax cuts and other handouts.

Fact: He presides over a homeland police state apparatus.

Fact: He’s waging war on freedom.

Fact: Francis Boyle calls his planned campaign an “impeachable offense.”

Fact: Claiming he has authority is “baloney,” said Boyle.

Fact: He plans “dron(ing) people to death with enormous civilian casualties,” he added.

Obama: “(W)e continue to face a terrorist threat.”

“If left unchecked, these terrorists could pose a growing threat beyond that region, including to the United States.”

Fact: The only threats America faces are ones it invents.

Fact: The Islamic State doesn’t threaten America’s security.

Fact: Claims otherwise are Big Lies.

Fact: Obama hyped them to enlist public support.

Obama: “Our objective is clear: We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”

“I will not hesitate to take action against ISIL in Syria, as well as Iraq.”

“This is a core principle of my presidency. It you threaten America, you will find no safe haven.”

Fact: It bears repeating. America’s only threats are ones it invents.

Fact: At issue is replacing all independent governments with pro-Western stooge ones.

Fact: It’s wanting control of world resources.

Fact: It’s wanting ordinary people exploited at home and abroad.

Fact: War on humanity is official US policy.

Fact: Perhaps destroying planet earth to save it will follow.

Obama: “(W)e will send an additional 475 service members to Iraq…(T)hese American forces will not have a combat mission. We will not get dragged into another ground war in Iraq.”

Fact: Hundreds of US special forces were sent to Iraq.

Fact: They’re trained killers.

Fact: They’re not good will ambassadors.

Fact: Obama plans sending 475 more.

Fact: Perhaps larger numbers will follow given protracted conflict Obama envisions.

Obama: “(W)e have ramped up our military assistance to the Syria opposition.”

“Tonight, I call on Congress again to give us additional authorities and resources to train and equip these fighters.”

“(T)he Assad regime…terrorizes its own people. It will never regain the legitimacy is has lost.”

Fact: There’s nothing civil about war in Syria.

Fact: Washington, rogue EU allies and complicit Arab states imported thousands of death squad killers.

Fact: They did so from dozens of countries.

Fact: US special forces and CIA operatives arm, fund, train and direct them.

Fact: Syrians overwhelmingly support Assad.

Fact: In a June presidential election independent monitors judged open, free and fair, he was reelected by a near 89% majority.

Fact: Syrians want no one else leading them.

Fact: Assad’s legitimacy is solid.

Fact: Hands off Syria, they demand.

Fact: Its sovereign independence is inviolable.

Obama’s strategy is four-fold, he claims. It includes:

  • airstrikes aiding its stooge Iraqi government;
  • US special forces support;
  • “counterterrorism” against America’s invented enemies; and
  • false claims about humanitarian concerns.

Obama seeks another coalition of the willing. He’ll bully, pressure and bribe other nations to go along.

He calls it “American leadership at its best.”

He lied claiming “(w)e stand with people who fight for their own freedom, and we rally other nations on behalf of our common security and common humanity.”

He lied claiming authorization to attack America’s enemies. None exists. Expect none forthcoming.

It bears repeating. The Security Council has sole authority over whether one country may attack another.

It’s permitted only in self-defense. So-called Middle East terrorist elements don’t threaten America. Nor does Syria.

Obama intends lawless aggression. Big Lies drown out truths explaining it.

All wars are based on misinformation, deception and Big Lies. Official reasons don’t wash.

Waging war on “terrorists” masks Washington’s real agenda. A previous article explained as follows:

Obama’s campaign has nothing to do with with humanitarian intervention. Or responsibility to protect.

Or protecting national security. Or safeguarding US personnel. Or spreading democratic values. Or championing right over wrong.

It’s the oil, stupid. Iraq has huge reserves. It’s protecting Big Oil’s divine right to exploit them.

It’s Washington wanting unchallenged regional control. It’s making the world safe for war-profiteers.

It’s pillage on a grand scale. It’s disenfranchising whole populations. It’s turning workers into serfs.

It’s prioritizing capital’s divine right. It’s America’s dark side writ large. It’s got nothing to do with internal or external threats.

Not according to MSM scoundrels. When America goes to war or plans one, they march in lockstep.

Rule of law principles don’t matter. Nor right over wrong.

Might over right justifies the unjustifiable. MSM scoundrels are on the wrong side of history.

New York Times  editors want “(t)he formation of an international coalition that includes Arab states, Western allies and the United States Congress…to give the American-led operation legitimacy.”

Unexplained was that waging war extrajudicially denies it altogether.

Washington Post  editors support war without mercy. Naked aggression doesn’t matter.

“American drones and warplanes must pursue the Islamic State wherever it can be found, and that includes its havens in Syria,” they said.

“We hope Congress welcomes Mr. Obama’s renewed commitment and approves funds” he’ll request.

Wall Street Journal  editors said Obama “deserves public support as long as he is willing to fight this war…with more resolve and persistence than he has heretofore shown in his Presidency.”

“Targeting Syria is crucial,” they claimed. Unexplained is that Assad’s government is the target. Regime change the objective. Waging war without Security Council authorization is lawless aggression.

Don’t expect MSM editors to explain. They’re in lockstep with what demands opposition.

Cheerleading war on humanity is longstanding MSM practice. Denouncing what’s wrong isn’t their long suit. Or assuming the moral high ground.

War without end persists. Homeland needs go begging.

Rule of law principles don’t matter. World peace hangs by a thread.

 

 

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached atlendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html 

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com . 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 

http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour  

 

Full Disclosure? Reps Jones, Massie, and Lynch Want 9/11 Report Pages Declassified

September 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Americas

Only 28 pages? Why not go for broke here? Seems these guys are only interested in uncovering the “outside job”.  Could lead to new info just the same.  

 

WITN 7

A Congressman representing some of us in the east wants the President to declassify part of a report on the 2001 terror attacks which have been kept under wraps.

Congressman Walter B. Jones, along with representatives Thomas Massie from Kentucky and Stephen Lynch of Massachusetts, announced they would use House Resolution #428 to ask that President Obama declassify 28 pages of the report.

Those pages of the Joint Inquiry into Intelligence Activities Before and After the Terrorist Attacks of September 2001 were originally classified under President George W. Bush.

This House resolution says, in part, that the pages need to be made public to give Americans “the full truth surrounding the tragic events of September 11, 2001, particularly relating to the involvement of foreign governments.”

Jones, the other two Congressman, and some family members of the victims of 9/11 will host a press conference about this resolution at 1 p.m. Monday at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington D.C.

 

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