Saturday, January 24, 2015

(American Dumb Snipers?) Shaming the Democrats   (Has the NSA Blackmailed Its Overseers In Washington?)

How the CIA Made Google:  Inside the Secret Network Behind Mass Surveillance, Endless War, and Skynet

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global war, and a new initiative to transform the US military into Skynet.

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks in Paris, western governments are moving fast to legitimize expanded powers of mass surveillance and controls on the internet, all in the name of fighting terrorism.

US and European politicians have called to protect NSA-style snooping, and to advance the capacity to intrude on internet privacy by outlawing encryption. One idea is to establish a telecoms partnership that would unilaterally delete content deemed to “fuel hatred and violence” in situations considered “appropriate.” Heated discussions are going on at government and parliamentary level to explore cracking down on lawyer-client confidentiality.

What any of this would have done to prevent the Charlie Hebdo attacks remains a mystery, especially given that we already know the terrorists were on the radar of French intelligence for up to a decade.

There is little new in this story. The 9/11 atrocity was the first of many terrorist attacks, each succeeded by the dramatic extension of draconian state powers at the expense of civil liberties, backed up with the projection of military force in regions identified as hotspots harbouring terrorists. Yet there is little indication that this tried and tested formula has done anything to reduce the danger. If anything, we appear to be locked into a deepening cycle of violence with no clear end in sight.

As our governments push to increase their powers, INSURGE INTELLIGENCE can now reveal the vast extent to which the US intelligence community is implicated in nurturing the web platforms we know today, for the precise purpose of utilizing the technology as a mechanism to fight global ‘information war’  —  a war to legitimize the power of the few over the rest of us. The lynchpin of this story is the corporation that in many ways defines the 21st century with its unobtrusive omnipresence:  Google.

Google styles itself as a friendly, funky, user-friendly tech firm that rose to prominence through a combination of skill, luck, and genuine innovation. This is true. But it is a mere fragment of the story. In reality, Google is a smokescreen behind which lurks the US military-industrial complex.

The inside story of Google’s rise, revealed here for the first time, opens a can of worms that goes far beyond Google, unexpectedly shining a light on the existence of a parasitical network driving the evolution of the US national security apparatus, and profiting obscenely from its operation.

Poor Mitters Misses Weekend Koch Kampus Klavern!

Comprised of some 300 well-heeled business leaders and often their spouses, the Koch donor network has become one of the most influential forces in politics today, marshaling hundreds of millions of dollars to advance free-market causes, elect Republicans, and defeat Democrats, chief among them President Obama.

The network is not monolithic, but by and large, the organizations it bankrolled stayed out of the 2012 GOP presidential primary, directing resources instead at Obama, congressional races, and policy debates. But as the New York Times recently reported, the Koch network's donors are mulling whether to get more involved in GOP nomination battle, with the possibility that one of the Koch brothers or their lieutenants throws his or her weight behind a handpicked candidate.

Romney, despite earning David Koch's endorsement in 2008, has never been beloved by the Kochs and their allies. In fact, donors who travel in the Kochs' circles singled out Romney for blame after his 2012 defeat at the hands of an unpopular sitting president. Judging by the reception to Romney's flirtation with a 2016 race, Kochworld is unlikely to embrace Romney should he run again—and may actively work to oppose him.

In the 2012 presidential race, the Kochs and their allies threw their weight behind Romney once he'd clinched the nomination, but he didn’t always appear to be their first choice. In September 2011, months after Romney had announced his candidacy, David Koch, who is an executive vice president and board member at Koch Industries, joined a group of other business titans to urge New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to get into the race. At the time, the businessmen were dubbed the Draft Christie committee.

Earlier that summer, Christie had scored an invitation to the Kochs' summer donor retreat at the Ritz-Carlton in Vail, Colorado. The audio of Christie's closely guarded speech, first reported by Mother Jones, included David Koch introducing Christie before the governor's remarks to donors as "my kind of guy."

The SOTU reviews are in.

The Rude Pundit leads the way (with a few choice words for the sniper fantasm):

It's not the film that tells us it's nothing. We know it was for nothing. We know that one of the great crimes of the new century is the invasion of Iraq for absolutely no rational, demonstrable reason. We know that all those "savages," as Kyle calls the Iraqis, that we killed were for nothing. We know that all those Americans who died lost their lives for nothing. Our military was protecting us from nothing. Our freedoms weren't at risk from Iraq.

And the lie many soldiers from Iraq cling to and the lie we tell ourselves, and the lie that so many have worked so hard to maintain, is that as long as we don't discuss that it was for nothing, as long as we pretend that the fact that soldiers fought when they were told to fight and, mostly, did so nobly, we don't have to face the truly gut-wrenching reality of our national complicity in the crime.

American Sniper exists, then, to play to that lie, to silence anyone who would point it out. Shit, once Kyle goes to war, the movie is so devoid of any rationale for being in Iraq that no one mentions Saddam Hussein or weapons of mass destruction. Even George W. Bush isn't mentioned. The film fails, too, because all it's really saying is that, if you put some soldiers somewhere and tell them to do something, they will defend each other and do the job. The fact that the leaders of their country betrayed them in the most elemental way possible never enters the equation. So all we're left with is killing Iraqis because Iraqis are trying to kill us, fuck if we care whose house it is.

William Pitt has his own perspective.

And it's one I completely agree with.

"Fine speech," said Steven. "Now what do we do?"


You see, apparently we've "turned the page" on the economic wasteland created by our Neo-Con/Neo-Liberal brain trust in Washington. The shadow of crisis has passed, and we're on a new foundation.

How many people do you know who actually feel that way?

Just about everyone I know is economically scared to death, and most of them are living paycheck to paycheck...and brothers and sisters, I know a whole hell of a lot of people, in all fifty states and most of the territories. I ain't Pew or Gallup, so take this with as many grains of salt you need to choke it down, but here's the hard truth: No pages have been turned, and the new foundation is just as porous as the old one...because it's the same old God damned foundation. Lather, rinse, repeat.

The President of the United States gave a speech on Tuesday night that would, in parts, have gone over like gangbusters at any Occupy rally in the country, and then he turned on a dime to brag about our massively impressive oil and gas production, i.e. fracking and maybe the Keystone XL pipeline, and then went on further to give an impassioned aria about climate change, at which point my brain crawled out of my ear and slithered into the bathroom, where it wept piteously into the cold porcelain truth of the base of the toilet.

Stephen King, in several of his books, deployed a line I've never forgotten: "So full of shit you squeak going into a turn." Between his cheerleading for fracking and his full-court press for the Trans-Pacific Partnership - which he championed again on Tuesday night out of the other side of his mouth - I honestly don't know how the president sleeps at night, especially after coughing up so many demonstrably phony hairballs about protecting the environment.

It was F. Scott Fitzgerald who said, "The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function," but gods be good, this is a bridge too far.

And then it got worse.

"Now America thrived in the 20th century," said the president on Tuesday night, "because we made high school free, sent a generation of G.I.s to college, trained the best workforce in the world. We were ahead of the curve. But other countries caught on."

Caught on?

Caught on? To what? To this nation's deliberate defenestration of its manufacturing infrastructure and loyal Union work force, all in the name of a quick buck? Never mind the implication that other nations are incapable of their own innovations, but have to "catch on" to what we do. Yeah, that's exactly how we wound up in this ditch.

No, you serial apologist, we signed on to trade pacts like the TPP you're begging for and sold our economic strengths to the lowest bidder. We gave away the best of what we were to serve the people paying your bills and cut our guts out in the process, and you don't have the courage to tell it like it really is.

It was a fine show on Tuesday night, a masterful performance, and a comprehensive waste of time. Leaving aside everything I've said, there is the stone-cold fact that absolutely none of the progressive ideas President Obama proposed on Tuesday night have the vaguest chance of seeing daylight in this new GOP-dominated congress . . . which begs the question:

Why did he wait until now - when everything he proposed was demonstrably doomed before the words even passed his teeth - to uncork the kind of rhetoric so many of his voters have been waiting for? Was it to poke a stick in the eye of this new assemblage? Perhaps to lay some rhetorical groundwork for the 2016 presidential race?

Or did he never mean any of it in the first place, and said it on Tuesday night secure in the fact that none of it would ever come to pass?


It was horseshit.
Somebody should ask him if he could explain, in detail, how the TPP would affect all those ideas regarding minimum wage raises, paid holidays and sick leave.

  • I heard it during the 2008 campaign, the 2012 campaign, many sotu speeches yet we have no justice, TPP, drill baby drill, No arrests on wall street, i was taken in and voted and worked to get him elected. I will not fall again. He is a wall street rep. In dem/ progressive clothes. He is a liar.

  • We should all by now be quite familiar with the discrepancy between Obama´s glib rhetoric and the reality of his dirty deeds. The Pres. appears as a total economic illerate, listens apparently to his mainstream economic advisors. The United States, and Europe to are in a deep and most likely irreversable economic state of recessionary stagnation. And the root of this is the power of the financial oligarcy.

    With financialization of the economy money flows upward to the financiers, not downward to the working population enabling production of goods and services in the “real economy” to expand and consumers to purchase the products produced. The main source of economic stagnation and the crisis of accumulation is the steady decline of the real wages of the working population, workers and sectors of middle class employees, such that there is insufficient demand for the goods and services produced, or potentially produced, by a willing and needy labor force.

    With real wages in decline, workers and middle class employees sent more family members into the labor force and turned to borrowing money on home equities and credit cards as a means to maintain their standards of material existence and social status. The Banksters took advantage of this to the extent that debt levels became unsustainable and the financial system collapsed. The trend toward greater and greater inequalities in the distribution of income in the United States is striking, a trend also evidenced in Europe.

    The distribution of wealth is even more lopsided. The share of global wealth garnered by the Center´s 1% increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, and Oxfam at the 2015 World Economic Forum, forecasts that the 1% assets will be 50% by 2016. The bottom 80% held only 5.5% of assets in 2014, a mere $3,851 average. Obviously, the totally lop-side distribution of income and wealth is a major factor in the stagnation of the U.S. economy and in Europe as well. If most of the 90% are more and more hard pressed economically, their ability to purchase the goods and services they produce is reduced.

    In the terms used by Keynesian economists reduced real income depresses effective demand, and most of the 90% no longer have sufficient assets to draw upon. This in turn causes recession to deepen and extend for a longer period. Keynesian solutions in the Great Depression and since have involved government stimulus measures, tax reductions to spur consumer spending, public works projects, greater government involvement with giving direction to the economy… but the programs of very limited scope applied by the Obama administration proved ineffective and Republican intransigence prevented serious measures. The European Union had even less stimulous, only forced austerity policies that particularly effected Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, and Spain.

  • The Fed´s monetary policies freed up funds that have in the main resulted in speculative investment in stocks pushing up indices; commodity futures spiraling prices for minerals, grains, and oil (until December 2014 when the Saudi´s asserted their oil power); foreign short-term speculations appreciating foreign currencies in relation to the dollar; and other activities that do not have much impact on the productive investment needed to stimulate growth and employment.

    Today, 46 million of the American population materially exist below the official poverty line. 

  • Right - Obama's best campaign speech (as the media recognized) was the one he gave the day after the election. The Ds deliberately threw the election to the Rs - that is the role they play, what they are paid to do. Anyone who thinks that the Ds do anything but play the script they are paid by plutocrats to act out is living in a fantasy world. The D's are there to fool the people who can tolerate the cognitive dissonance between what they hear from people like Obama and what their lying eyes tell them he actually does. R's are for people who don't have enough cognition to have dissonance.

    Obama has fully succeeded in turning that ship around which was steaming fast away from any R in 2008 The current Act IV is where Obama passes the Republican agenda as "bipartisan reform," with the D's out of the way for a couple years to re-polish their tarnished, fake image as an alternative to plutocracy. Obama and the Rs will set up the policy/legal platform for the Rs in 2016, just like Clinton did most of his real damage in the second half of his second term.

    This speech by O was nothing but window dressing of his "good intentions" to disguise the clearly bad actions that have already started with the CRomnibus. For a blow by blow account of his role and that of the Senate Ds in reopening Wall St's casino in exchange for enormous new campaign contributions from plutocrats check out this article:

Robert Kuttner was only a little more generous to the Obamic oracle.

In his speech, the president unveiled a litany of what he calls "fourth-quarter initiatives." Some of these can be accomplished by executive order; most will require legislation.

The measures that can be achieved by presidential order include reducing the down-payment or interest on federally insured mortgages to stimulate home ownership. Obama has already used his executive power to suspend deportation of some 5 million undocumented Dreamers and in some cases their parents. He has required federal contractors to pay something closer to a living wage. He recently ordered federal agencies to give new parents up to six weeks paid leave.

Among the measures requiring legislation is a tax plan that would increase taxes on the wealthiest in order to finance the tuition help for community college students and more generous child tax credits for working families. Obama also wants an excise tax on large banks and he is calling on Congress to pass a law giving all workers seven days of annual sick leave.

All this amounts to a salutary whiff of class warfare, of the sort that identifies the president with most Americans, against the one percent. And there will probably be a few more surprises in the actual address that have not yet been leaked.

These initiatives are welcome. It probably sounds churlish to say that measures such as these should have come much earlier in his presidency, and could have been a lot stronger. Late in the game, when there is no risk that his proposals will be enacted, Obama is belatedly pursuing policies that seek to underscore the differences between Democrats and Republicans in terms of the practical situation of regular people.

The Republican version of tax reform, for instance, is more tax breaks for corporations and the rich, and a puny expansion of the child tax credit, but at the cost of cuts in social spending. Republicans have already said that Obama's community college initiative is dead on arrival, citing states rights. If Republicans want to oppose paid sick leave, let's have that debate; it's one that can remind ordinary people who is on which side.

The time to have fought for such policies was when Obama still had a majority in Congress. But back then, in 2010, he was promoting deficit reduction.

And there are two deeper problems. None of Obama's proposals will fundamentally change the distribution of wealth and power in America. None addresses the structural erosion of decent payroll jobs.

With one hand, the administration proposes some useful, if marginal, help to working families. With the other, it is promoting trade deals such as the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), both of which will increase the power of corporations to weaken health, safety, labor and environmental regulations and increase the outsourcing of jobs.

Obama also insulted regular working people when he tried to appoint a Wall Street deal-maker, Antonio Weiss, to the top Treasury job in charge of financing the national debt. The problem was not only that Weiss had been a key figure in arranging strategies for U.S. corporations to avoid paying taxes. He had no background to qualify him for his proposed job at Treasury. He was a deal-maker, not an expert in the government bond market.

When key Senate Democrats objected to Weiss's appointment, the Treasury orchestrated a maneuver in which Weiss "withdrew" from consideration to be undersecretary in charge of domestic finance, and instead was appointed counselor to the Treasury secretary—a made-up job that does not require Senate confirmation. This was the administration's way of thumbing its nose at progressive critics, and signaling reassurance to its Wall Street allies.

Meanwhile, the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act is slowly being eviscerated, by the administration's glacial pace of issuing regulations, now compounded by the Republican strategy of dismantling the financial reform law through successive amendments to must-pass legislation. Wall Street profits are more lucrative than ever, too-big-to-fail banks are even bigger, and there is no fundamental change to the business model that further enriches the one percent and that crashed the economy in 2008.

The White House policy of business-as-usual for Wall Street plus marginally increased help for working families calls to mind a very useful British expression—"horse and rabbit stew," a supposedly equal ragout made from one horse and one rabbit.

When you add it all up, it still amounts to Rubinism, the ideology associated with America's most influential Wall Street Democrat, Robert Rubin. The former Goldman Sachs co-chair, later chair of the executive committee of Citigroup—with a stint as Clinton economic policy czar and later treasury secretary in between—had a neat formula for serving the interests of Wall Street while signaling concern for America's struggling working families.

The policy was one part financial deregulation and trade deals crafted to enable banks and corporations to outrun the constraints of domestic law. The other part was small-bore initiatives to signal help for ordinary working families. Such proposals are unobjectionable, except for the fact that they don't fundamentally change the political economy of American inequality.

If Hillary Clinton should be the next president, we run the risk of having Rubinism as the dominant Democratic economic ideology for three successive Democratic presidencies—and we will keep wondering why working people increasingly give up on Democrats and on government itself. (While Obama is cautiously proposing some modest spending initiatives, Bill Clinton keeps on showing up at events sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, sounding the alarms about the federal deficit.)

Thanks to the historic accident of the date of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birth, MLK Day will forever be on the eve of the president's State of the Union address. Dr. King's courage in fighting not just for racial inclusion but for economic justice should shame Democrats who invoke King's words but not his sense of mission and struggle.

This will continue.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _

I think it's nice that someone hasn't forgotten the city from which the original Bush money originated. At least the most important of them according to legend.

Would you be shocked to learn that the FBI apparently knew that some organization, perhaps even a law enforcement agency or private security outfit, had contingency plans to assassinate peaceful protestors in a major American city — and did nothing to intervene?

Would you be surprised to learn that this intelligence comes not from a shadowy whistle-blower but from the FBI itself – specifically, from a document obtained from Houston FBI office last December, as part of a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the Washington, DC-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund?

To repeat:  this comes from the FBI itself. The question, then, is:  What did the FBI do about it?

The Plot

Remember the Occupy Movement? The peaceful crowds that camped out in the center of a number of cities in the fall of 2011, calling for some recognition by local, state and federal authorities that our democratic system was out of whack, controlled by corporate interests, and in need of immediate repair?

That movement swept the US beginning in mid-September 2011. When, in early October, the movement came to Houston, Texas, law enforcement officials and the city’s banking and oil industry executives freaked out  perhaps even more so than they did in some other cities. The push-back took the form of violent assaults by police on Occupy activists, federal and local surveillance of people seen as organizers, infiltration by police provocateurs — and, as crazy as it sounds, some kind of plot to assassinate the “leaders” of this non-violent and leaderless movement.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what the document obtained from the Houston FBI, said:

An identified [DELETED] as of October planned to engage in sniper attacks against protestors (sic) in Houston, Texas if deemed necessary. An identified [DELETED] had received intelligence that indicated the protesters in New York and Seattle planned similar protests in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, Texas. [DELETED] planned to gather intelligence against the leaders of the protest groups and obtain photographs, then formulate a plan to kill the leadership via suppressed sniper rifles. (Note:  protests continued throughout the weekend with approximately 6000 persons in NYC. ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests have spread to about half of all states in the US, over a dozen European and Asian cities, including protests in Cleveland (10/6-8/11) at Willard Park which was initially attended by hundreds of protesters.)

Occupiers Astounded — But Not Entirely

Paul Kennedy, the National Lawyers Guild attorney in Houston who represented a number of Occupy Houston activists arrested during the protests, had not heard of the sniper plot, but said, “I find it hard to believe that such information would have been known to the FBI and that we would not have been told about it.”  He then added darkly, “If it had been some right-wing group plotting such an action, something would have been done. But if it is something law enforcement was planning, then nothing would have been done. It might seem hard to believe that a law enforcement agency would do such a thing, but I wouldn’t put it past them.”

He adds, “The use of the phrase ‘if deemed necessary,’ sounds like it was some kind of official organization that was doing the planning.” In other words, the “identified [DELETED]” mentioned in the Houston FBI document may have been some other agency with jurisdiction in the area, which was calculatedly making plans to kill Occupy activists.

Kennedy knows first-hand the extent to which combined federal-state-local law enforcement forces in Houston were focused on disrupting and breaking up the Occupy action in that city

He represented seven people who were charged with felonies for a protest that attempted to block the operation of Houston’s port facility. That case fell apart when in the course of discovery, the prosecution disclosed that the Occupiers had been infiltrated by three undercover officers from the Austin Police department, who came up with the idea of using a device called a “sleeping dragon” — actually chains inside of PVC pipe — which are devilishly hard to cut through, for chaining protesters together blocking port access. The police provocateurs, Kennedy says, actually purchased the materials and constructed the “criminal instruments” themselves, supplying them to the protesters. As a result of this discovery, the judge tossed out the felony charges.

FBI Response

WhoWhatWhy contacted FBI headquarters in Washington, and asked about this document—which, despite its stunning revelation and despite PCFJ press releases, was (notwithstanding a few online mentions) generally ignored by mainstream and “alternative” press alike.

The agency confirmed that it is genuine and that it originated in the Houston FBI office. (The plot is also referenced in a second document obtained in PCJF’s FOIA response, in this case from the FBI’s Gainesville, Fla., office, which cites the Houston FBI as the source.)  That second document actually suggests that the assassination plot, which never was activated, might still be operative should Occupy decisively re-emerge in the area. It states:

On 13 October 20111, writer sent via email an excerpt from the daily [DELETED] regarding FBI Houston’s [DELETED] to all IAs, SSRAs and SSA [DELETED] This [DELETED] identified the exploitation of the Occupy Movement by [LENGTHY DELETION] interested in developing a long-term plan to kill local Occupy leaders via sniper fire.

Asked why solid information about an assassination plot against American citizens exercising their Constitutional right to free speech and assembly never led to exposure of the plotters’ identity or an arrest—as happened with so many other terrorist schemes the agency has publicized — Paul Bresson, head of the FBI media office, offered a typically elliptical response:

The FOIA documents that you reference are redacted in several places pursuant to FOIA and privacy laws that govern the release of such information so therefore I am unable to help fill in the blanks that you are seeking.  Exemptions are cited in each place where a redaction is made.  As far as the question about the murder plot, I am unable to comment further, but rest assured if the FBI was aware of credible and specific information involving a murder plot, law enforcement would have responded with appropriate action.

Note that the privacy being “protected” in this instance (by a government that we now know has so little respect for our privacy) was of someone or some organization that was actively contemplating violating other people’s Constitutional rights— by murdering them. That should leave us less than confident about Bresson’s assertion that law enforcement would have responded appropriately to a “credible” threat.

Houston Cops Not Warned?

The Houston FBI office stonewalled our requests for information about the sniper-rifle assassination plot and why nobody was ever arrested for planning to kill demonstrators. Meanwhile, the Houston Police, who had the job of controlling the demonstrations, and of maintaining order and public safety, displayed remarkably little interest in the plot:  “We haven’t heard about it,” said Keith Smith, a public affairs officer for the department, who told us he inquired about the matter with senior department officials.

Asked whether he was concerned that, if what he was saying was correct, it meant the FBI had not warned local police about a possible terrorist act being planned in his city, he said, 

“No. You’d have to ask the Houston FBI about that.”

Craft International Again

Sniper action by law enforcement officials in Texas would not be anything new. Last October, a border patrol officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety, riding in a helicopter, used a sniper rifle to fire at a fast-moving pickup truck carrying nine illegal immigrants into the state from Mexico, killing two and wounding a third, and causing the vehicle to crash and overturn. It turns out that Border Patrol agents, like a number of Texas law enforcement organizations, had been receiving special sniper training from a Dallas-based mercenary-for-hire organization called Craft International LLC.  It seems likely that Houston Police have also received such training, possibly from Craft, which has a contract for such law-enforcement training funded by the US Department of Homeland Security.

Efforts to obtain comment from Craft International have been unsuccessful, but the company’s website features photos of Craft instructors training law enforcement officers in sniper rifle use (the company was founded in 2009 by Chris Kyle, a celebrated Navy SEAL sniper who last year was slain by a combat veteran he had accompanied to a shooting range). A number of men wearing Craft-issued clothing and gear, and bearing the company’s distinctive skull logo, were spotted around the finish line of the April Boston Marathon, both before and after the bombing. Some were wearing large black backpacks with markings resembling what was seen on an exploded backpack image released by the FBI.(For more on the backpacks that allegedly contained the bombs, see this piece we did in May.)

An Activist Responds

Remington Alessi, an Occupy Houston activist who played a prominent role during the Occupy events, was one of the seven defendants whose felony charge was dropped because of police entrapment. He says of the sniper plot information, which first came to light last December as one of hundreds of pages of FBI files obtained by PCJF, “We have speculated heavily about it. The ‘if deemed necessary’ phrase seems to indicate it was an organization. It could have been the police or a private security group.”

Alessi, who hails from a law-enforcement family and who ran last year for sheriff of Houston’s Harris County on the Texas Green Party ticket, garnering 22,000 votes, agrees with attorney Kennedy that the plotters were not from some right-wing organization. “If it had been that, the FBI would have acted on it,” he agrees. “I believe the sniper attack was one strategy being discussed for dealing with the occupation.” He adds:

I assume I would have been one of the targets, because I led a few of the protest actions, and I hosted an Occupy show on KPFT.  I wish I could say I’m surprised that this was seriously discussed, but remember, this is the same federal government that murdered (Black Panther Party leader) Fred Hampton. We have a government that traditionally murders people who are threats. I guess being a target is sort of an honor.

There, Alessi is referring to evidence made public in the Church Committee hearings of the 1970s which revealed that the FBI was orchestrating local police attacks (in Chicago, San Francisco and New York) on Panther leaders. (For more on that, see this, starting at p. 185, esp. pp. 220-223; also see this .)

Alessi suspects that the assassination plot cited in the FBI memo was probably developed in the Houston Fusion Center (where federal, state and local intelligence people work hand-in-glove). During our trial we learned that they were all over our stuff, tracking Twitter feeds etc.  It seems to me that based on the access they were getting they were using what we now know as the NSA’s PRISM program.

He notes, correctly, that in documents obtained from the FBI and Homeland Security by the PCJF’s FOIA search, the Occupy Movement is classed as a “terrorist” activity.

Ironically, while the Occupy Movement was actually peaceful, the FBI, at best, was simply standing aside while some organization plotted to assassinate the movement’s prominent activists.

The FBI’s stonewalling response to inquiries about this story, and the agency’s evident failure to take any action regarding a known deadly threat to Occupy protesters in Houston, will likely make protesters at future demonstrations look differently at the sniper-rifle equipped law-enforcement personnel often seen on rooftops during such events. What are they there for? Who are the threats they are looking for and potentially targeting? Who are they protecting?  And are they using “suppressed” sniper rifles?  Would this indicate they have no plans to take responsibility for any shots silently fired?  Or that they plan to frame someone else?


FBI Documents (click on each to enlarge)



Tell us, Dianne.

Who are the spooks?

Is the NSA Blackmailing Its Overseers In Washington?

Posted on


During the Vietnam war, the NSA spied on two prominent politicians – Senators Frank Church and Howard Baker – as well as critics of government policy Muhammad Ali, Martin Luther King, and a Washington Post humorist.

A recently declassified history written by the NSA itself called the effort “disreputable if not outright illegal.”

The main whistleblower who revealed the Vietnam-era spying was Christopher H. Pyle. Pyle told Rob Kall of OpEdNews:

They targeted Sen. Frank Church and Sen. Howard Baker. It could mean they were trying to get information or dirt on senators involved in the Church committee and Watergate committee investigations respectively — either to learn something about their investigations or to discredit them.


We still need more information about what happened then. But more critically, we need more information about what’s happening now. These revelations raise the obvious question:  If the NSA was targeting people like Sen. Frank Church, who were in a position to oversee the NSA — is that happening now? That is, are people like intelligence committee chairs Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and other congressional leaders — who are supposed to be providing oversight themselves — compromised in some way by the NSA? If so, as seems quite certain from the recent Edward Snowden revelations, then how can they conduct genuine oversight of the NSA with their committees?”

If I were a member of congress, I would be terrified that NSA would do to them what J. Edgar Hoover did to members back during his time.
Sound paranoid?

Maybe. But remember:

  • The NSA has been tracking people’s porn in order to discredit them. The New York Times reports that this type of behavior has been going on for a long time: “J. Edgar Hoover compiled secret dossiers on the sexual peccadillos and private misbehavior of those he labeled as enemies — really dangerous people like … President John F. Kennedy, for example”.
  • Another very high-level NSA whistleblower – the head of the NSA’s global intelligence gathering operation – says that the NSA targeted CIA chief Petraeus
Postscript: Of course, there’s always the carrot

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