Advertisements

Category Archives: Law

Declassified memos show FBI illegally shared spy data on Americans with private parties, by John Solomon and Sara Carter

More disclosures about illegal disclosures of data gleaned by the intelligence agencies and the FBI. From John Solomon and Sara Carter at circa.com:

The FBI has illegally shared raw intelligence about Americans with unauthorized third parties and violated other constitutional privacy protections, according to newly declassified government documents that undercut the bureau’s public assurances about how carefully it handles warrantless spy data to avoid abuses or leaks.

In his final congressional testimony before he was fired by President Trump this month, then-FBI Director James Comey unequivocally told lawmakers his agency used sensitive espionage data gathered about Americans without a warrant only when it was “lawfully collected, carefully overseen and checked.”

Once-top secret U.S. intelligence community memos reviewed by Circa tell a different story, citing instances of “disregard” for rules, inadequate training and “deficient” oversight and even one case of deliberately sharing spy data with a forbidden party.

For instance, a ruling declassified this month by the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISA) chronicles nearly 10 pages listing hundreds of violations of the FBI’s privacy-protecting minimization rules that occurred on Comey’s watch.

The behavior the FBI admitted to a FISA judge just last month ranged from illegally sharing raw intelligence with unauthorized third parties to accessing intercepted attorney-client privileged communications without proper oversight the bureau promised was in place years ago.

The court also opined aloud that it fears the violations are more extensive than already disclosed.

“The Court is nonetheless concerned about the FBI’s apparent disregard of minimization rules and whether the FBI is engaging in similar disclosures of raw Section 702 information that have not been reported,” the April 2017 ruling declared.

The court isn’t the only oversight body to disclose recent concerns that the FBI’s voluntary system for policing its behavior and self-disclosing mistakes hasn’t been working.

The Justice Department inspector general’s office declassified a report in 2015 that reveals the internal watchdog had concerns as early as 2012 that the FBI was submitting ‘deficient” reports indicating it had a clean record complying with spy data gathered on Americans without a warrant.

Advertisements

Will the Trump Administration Overdose on Authoritarianism? by Ron Paul

The Trump administration has come up with a strategy in the losing War on Drugs: lose harder! From Ron Paul at ronpaulinstitute.org:

Last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered federal prosecutors in drug cases to seek the maximum penalty authorized by federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Sessions’ order represents a setback to the progress made toward restoring compassion and common sense to the sentencing process over the past few years. Sessions’ action also guarantees that many nonviolent drug law offenders will continue spending more time in prison than murderers.

Sessions’ support for mandatory minimums is no surprise, as he has a history of fanatical devotion to the drug war. Sessions’ pro-drug war stance is at odds with the reality of the drug war’s failure. Over forty years after President Nixon declared war on drugs, the government cannot even keep drugs out of prisons!

As was the case with alcohol prohibition, the drug war has empowered criminal gangs and even terrorists to take advantage of the opportunity presented by prohibition to profit by meeting the continued demand for drugs. Drug prohibition enables these criminal enterprises to make profits far above the potential profits if drugs where legalized. Ironically, the so-called “law-and-order” politicians who support the drug war are helping enrich the very criminals they claim to oppose!

The war on drugs also makes street drugs more lethal by incentivizing the creation of more potent and, thus, more dangerous drugs. Of course, even as Sessions himself admits, the war on drugs also leads to increased violence, as drug dealers cannot go to the courts to settle disputes among themselves or with their customers.

Before 9/11, the war on drugs was the go-to excuse used to justify new infringements on liberty. For example, laws limiting our ability to withdraw, or even carry, large sums of cash and laws authorizing civil asset forfeiture were justified by the need to crack down on drug dealers and users. The war on drugs is also the root cause of the criminal justice system’s disparate treatment of minorities and the militarization of local police.

The war on drugs is a war on the Constitution as well. The Constitution does not give the federal government authority to regulate, much less ban, drugs. People who doubt this should ask themselves why it was necessary to amend the Constitution to allow the federal government to criminalize drinking alcohol but not necessary to amend the Constitution to criminalize drug use.

To continue reading: Will the Trump Administration Overdose on Authoritarianism?

The Special Counsel Comes to Town: It’s the Moscow Trials, Revisited, by Justin Raimondo

One can argue that during the McCarthy heyday in the 1950s, the USSR did in fact present a threat. Their spies had stolen atomic secrets and had penetrated the US government in other ways. There’s a world of difference between Alger Hiss or the Rosenbergs and some member of the Trump team making anodyne speeches to a Russian group or having a discussion with a Russian diplomat. Yet, the present hysteria, as Justin Raimondo reminds us, harkens back to either 1950s America or 1930s Soviet Union. It has nothing to do with the actual security of the US, so scratch 1950s America, and everything to do with eliminating a political opponent, or 1930s Soviet Union. From Raimondo at antiwar.com:

Donald Trump ran on a platform of improving relations with Russia: his victory was a mandate for that policy. Yet the real power in this country doesn’t reside within the ballot box, and that reality was brought home when the Justice Department appointed a “special counsel” to investigate “any links and/or coordination with the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump.”

After months of leaks coming from the intelligence agencies, who bitterly oppose the new policy, and a barrage of innuendo, smears, and character assassination in the media, the will of the people has been abrogated: the Deep State has the last word. The denizens of Langley, and the career spooks within our seventeen intelligence agencies, have exercised their veto power – a power that is not written into the Constitution, but is nevertheless very real.

Their goal is to not only make détente with Russia impossible – and Trump’s goal of “getting along with Russia” will surely not be implemented now that the regime of the special counsel has trumped him – but also to overthrow a democratically elected chief executive, and perhaps prosecute him for “high crimes and misdemeanors” in the process.

No matter what you think of Trump, this is an ominous development for all those who care about the future of our republic. Because the warning to our politicians could not be clearer: So you want to effect a fundamental change in US foreign policy? You dare to question the permanence of NATO? Let this be a lesson to you.

This goes way beyond the Trump administration: the potential targets of the investigation are potentially unlimited. Deputy Attorney General Ron Rosenstein’s letter to the Special Counsel – Bush era  FBI Director Robert Mueller – also states that the counsel’s purview includes “any matters that arose directly from the investigation,” as well as “any other matters within the scope of 28 CFR 600.4 (a),” which refers to anyone who might conceivably be involved in obstructing the Special Counsel’s probe.

In short, Mueller has virtually unlimited power to expand his investigation, and, given the history of Special Counsels, you can be sure that this one will wander far afield and become a general probe into “Russian influence” on the election – a matter already taken up by at least two congressional committees.

Any politician, especially one who supported Trump, who advocates peaceful and productive relations with Russia is a likely target. The War Party has already got Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-California) in its sights for his fearless questioning of the anti-Russian propaganda campaign.

To continue reading: The Special Counsel Comes to Town: It’s the Moscow Trials

 

Let’s Connect the Dots, by Robert Gore

If Seth Rich was the source of the WikiLeaks’ DNC email disclosures and the FBI knew it, then the Russian hacking story was a fabrication, and James Comey was probably involved in an attempt to drive President Trump from office.

The biggest story of the entire Russiagate controversy was published Tuesday. Not the story about President Trump’s alleged statement to former FBI Director James Comey: “I hope you can let this go.” A witness is only as good as his or her credibility. If the actual big story pans out, Comey has none, which is why the mainstream media is obsessing over Trump’s alleged statement and doing everything it can to ignore and stifle the other story.

Seth Rich was on the staff of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). He was gunned down on July 10, 2016. Robbery has been speculated as a motive for the murder, but his wallet and watch were not taken. There is also speculation that Rich was the source of the DNC emails that were released by WikiLeaks twelve days later, to the consternation and embarrassment of the DNC. Fueling that speculation was WikiLeaks’ offer of a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of Rich’s murderer. WikiLeaks has neither confirmed nor denied that Rich was its source.

The emails appeared to show a concerted DNC effort to stop Senator Bernie Sanders’ primary campaign for the Democratic nomination and led to the resignation of party chairperson Debbie Wasserman Schultz. After WikiLeaks’ DNC disclosure, the DNC refused to let the FBI investigate its computer servers. Instead, it allowed a cybersecurity firm, CrowdStrike, to investigate. It’s conclusion, subsequently undercut, was that the Russians had hacked the DNC’s server.

Fox News reported that an unnamed source, almost certainly from the FBI, has seen and read emails between Seth Rich and the late Gavin MacFadyen, a director of WikiLeaks. A FBI forensic report on Seth Rich’s computer was allegedly compiled within 96 hours of his murder. The source said there were 44,053 emails and 17,761 attachments between DNC leaders transferred from Rich to MacFadyen from January 2015 through May 2016.

If this is correct, then within 96 hours of Rich’s murder, or by July 14, 2016, the FBI knew that Rich had communicated with WikiLeaks and it knew what he had communicated. That means that when WikiLeaks subsequently released the DNC emails on July 22, the FBI knew that Rich, not the Russian government, was the source. That would make the entire “Russia hacked the DNC” story nothing more than a concocted fabrication. Comey, the director of the FBI, surely knew the truth, and indeed was probably the mastermind behind the fabrication. If so, the subsequent investigation has been nothing but a sham, designed to discredit Trump and drive him from office. If that is indeed the case, Comey has zero credibility and his notes, supposedly made after a conversation with Trump, have zero credibility as well. Not only is Comey’s credibility destroyed, he, and potential coconspirators Barack Obama, James Clapper (Director of National Intelligence), John Brennan (Director of the Central Intelligence Agency until January 2017), could be charged with a myriad of criminal offenses, including treason. And who knows where a rejuvenated Seth Rich murder investigation might lead.

Which is why official Washington and its media are doing everything they can to squelch this line of inquiry. Curiously, even Fox News seemed ambivalent about its bombshell. Its story was titled “Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link,” and it led with a denunciation by the family of a private investigator it had itself hired, Rod Wheeler, for suggesting to Fox’s Sean Hannity the Rich-WikiLeaks connection. The general practice is to publish allegations and evidence, then the reactions from interested parties. The family released a statement through a spokesman, Brad Bauman.

“As we’ve seen through the past year of unsubstantiated claims, we see no facts, we have seen no evidence, we have been approached with no emails and only learned about this when contacted by the press,” the statement said. “Even if tomorrow, an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered and we’ve seen that those interest in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so.”

“We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers. The services of the private investigator who spoke to the press was offered to the Rich family and paid for by a third party, and contractually was barred from speaking to press or anyone outside of law enforcement or the family unless explicitly authorized by the family.”

The Fox story didn’t even report, as WikiLeaks had reported in August 2016, that Brad Bauman was “a professional Democrat crisis PR consultant with the Pastorum Group.” Note that there is no point-blank denial by the family that Rich was WikiLeaks’ source.

There is a simple way to get to the bottom of all this: release Seth Rich’s computer to carefully vetted investigators. It is probably in the custody of the FBI, although it could be with the Washington Police Department, which is also investigating the murder. Rich’s computer will have the record of his email transmissions, unless someone tampered with the computer. If the record is intact, it will offer conclusive confirmation or refutation of the Fox story. If the record is not intact, or if the computer has been lost or is otherwise unavailable, or if its files have been corrupted, the conclusion is unavoidable: Seth Rich was the source for the WikiLeaks’ DNC email disclosure and the FBI knew it. The implications are horrendous.

Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link, by Malia Zimmerman

Here is the Fox News source story for yesterday’s Zero Hedge story posted on SLL on the murder of Seth Rich. Please click the link to the original story for Sean Hannity’s interview with Rod Wheeler.

“My investigation up to this point shows there was some degree of email exchange between Seth Rich and WikiLeaks.”

– Rod Wheeler, former DC homicide investigator

Wheeler made his comments on the possible Rich-Wikileaks connection in a story first reported Monday night by Fox 5 DC.

In an appearance on Fox News’ “Hannity” Tuesday night, Wheeler said a “federal investigator that was involved on the inside of the case” saw Rich’s computer and the case file.

Wheeler told host Sean Hannity the investigator “came across [as] very credible. When you look at that, with the totality of everything else that I found in this case, it’s very consistent for a person with my experience to begin to think, ‘Well, perhaps there were some email communication between Seth and Wikileaks.'”

But a spokesman for Rich’s family on Tuesday said Wheeler was not authorized to speak for the family and called assertions Seth Rich sent emails to WikiLeaks “unsubstantiated.” Brad Bauman said even if purported emails were to surface, it would not necessarily mean Rich had helped WikiLeaks.

“Even if tomorrow, an email was found, it is not a high enough bar of evidence to prove any interactions as emails can be altered and we’ve seen that those interested in pushing conspiracies will stop at nothing to do so,” Bauman said. “We are a family who is committed to facts, not fake evidence that surfaces every few months to fill the void and distract law enforcement and the general public from finding Seth’s murderers.”

To continue reading: Family of slain DNC staffer Seth Rich blasts detective over report of WikiLeaks link

Doug Casey on the Militarization of US Police Departments

Here’s a scary thought: there are thousands of well-armed enforcers out there who see it as their duty to enforce, without question, every one of America’s millions of laws. Another scary thought: these enforcers are getting better armed all the time. From Doug Casey at caseyresearch.com:

Justin’s note: Yesterday, Casey Research founder Doug Casey and I discussed the opioid crisis that’s spreading across the country like a virus.

Today, Doug and I pick up that conversation. But this time, Doug shares his thoughts on the militarization of US police departments. We hope you enjoy this conversation as much as we did.

Justin: Doug, yesterday you called out anti-drug lawmakers, or what you called “drug warriors,” for their immense hypocrisy and stupidity. But what about the growing number of “warrior cops” who seem to view the United States as their own personal battleground?

Doug: I started writing about the militarization of American police back in the 1990s, when it started happening in earnest. And it’s very disturbing, because the way a solider deals with the enemy is necessarily quite different from the way the police are supposed to deal with citizens.

The US has these numerous continuing wars around the world, so they wind up with lots of spare military equipment. And what to do with it? They bring it home and give it to the police because they think it might be helpful. And then, driving APCs and wearing body armor, the police get the wrong idea.

Furthermore, all the military vets—many of whom have extra y chromosomes, as do most police generally—like the idea of wearing a uniform and like the idea of carrying a gun and giving and taking orders. They’re preferred hires for police forces. But they shouldn’t be, because you inevitably pick up bad habits, and inappropriate skills, hanging out in a war zone.

All these things compound upon the other. It’s a very bad trend. I see no reason why that trend is going to turn around. In fact, I expect it to accelerate, especially as the economy turns downhill and people become more restless and the Deep State feels that the plebs have to be kept under control. So, yeah, it’s a trend that’s been accelerating for several decades. And it’s going to keep accelerating until some type of a crisis blows it all up.

To continue reading: Doug Casey on the Militarization of US Police Departments

Doug Casey on the Opioid Crisis

Justin’s note: “Enjoy looking over your shoulder, constantly wondering if today’s the day we come for you. Enjoy trying to sleep tonight, wondering if tonight’s the night our SWAT team blows your front door off the hinges. We are coming for you.”

This sounds like something from an ‘80s action movie. But that’s an actual quote from the Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Tavares, Florida.

Sheriff Grinnell delivered this message last month while flanked by four combat-ready officers wearing ski masks. It looks like someone from ISIS directed it. You can watch the bizarre video here.

Grinnell’s message was aimed at local drug dealers. You see, Lake County has a serious opioid problem. And like many other places in the US, it’s fighting its drug problem as if it were a war.

After I watched it, I called up Casey Research founder Doug Casey to get his take on the opioid crisis. Below is a transcript of our conversation. We hope you enjoy it.


Justin: Doug, what do you make of the opioid crisis?

Doug: The news cycle seems to be emphasizing the use of opioids at the moment. Now, these are almost all legal prescription drugs, not illegally smuggled heroin and morphine, as was the case in The French Connection. People get their doctors to prescribe opioids for pain. Of course, pain is not something that you can prove. So it’s legitimate for doctors to prescribe these things. After a while the patient may develop a chemical dependency.

This gets into why people become addicted. I’m of the opinion that all kinds of addictions, not just the opioids in question, but addictions to cocaine, meth, other kinds of narcotics, alcohol, or anything else are basically because of pain.

But it’s not necessarily physical pain. It’s psychological pain, which may be even more important. And psychological pain means that people want to check out of reality. So as the economy gets worse—and I think it will get much, much worse in the near future—you can expect levels of addiction to skyrocket, not to go down.

Addiction is a bad habit, but it’s nobody else’s business. From an ethical point of view, your primary possession is your own body. If you don’t own it, and have a right to do whatever you want with it, then you in fact have no rights at all. That’s why the drug war itself is criminal, and morally insane.

The efforts of dangerous idiots like Sheriff Grinnell are counterproductive. If they confiscate a ton of drugs, that just drives up the market price for those that remain. And increases the profits of dealers, drawing more dealers into the business. And encouraging addicts who can’t afford the higher prices to turn to crime in order to support their habit. That’s entirely apart from increasing the level of violence in society, corrupting the police, and lots of other negative fallout.

To continue reading: Doug Casey on the Opioid Crisis

%d bloggers like this: