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TBR News August 7, 2013

Aug 07 2013

The Voice of the White House

          Washington, D.C. August 6, 2013: “It is truly amazing how little the administration respects the intelligence of Americans. I am speaking here of the NSA universal surveillance and the public objections to being constantly spied on. And now to see the “defense” of this project, approved, by the way, by the President himself. Now, the stupid public is supposed to believe the childish official stories about “fanatical Arabs about to bomb our embassies.” And of course that they won’t do this (because they never intended to) and were thwarted by our Brave Protectors is on a par with “Sorcha Faal’s Planet X.” We, the public, pay the salaries of these boobus americani and their paycheck ought to be gift wrapped!?

 

Embassy closures earn little respect for a US that’s lost the benefit of the doubt

We might be forgiven for thinking embassy closures provoked by terrorist threats were all very convenient for the NSA

August 5, 2013

by Richard Norton-Taylor

theguardian.com

 

Not so long ago, a decision by the US and other western countries to close their embassies because of a risk of terrorist attacks, citing “chatter” from intercepted communications between al-Qaida-inspired jihadists, would have been treated overwhelmingly with unquestioning respect.

 

That the response may be very different now is recognised by members of the US senate intelligence committee. The closure of 25 US embassies across North Africa and the Middle East demonstrated just how important the National Security Agency (NSA) and its ability to bug huge amounts of communications, was in protecting the security of Americans, they insisted.

 

That they needed to go so far out of their way to defend the NSA is testament to growing concern among many other members of Congress and the US public, according to opinion polls, since the disclosure by Edward Snowden, to the Guardian and Washington Post, of the extent to which the NSA is intercepting the personal communications of Americans and non-Americans alike.

 

We might be forgiven for the thought that the embassy closures provoked by terrorist threats were all very convenient – even though they came after attacks on prisons in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere, reportedly leading to the escape of many al-Qaida-inspired extremists.

 

The US state department in Washington said the decision on Monday to extend the embassy closures was taken “out of an abundance of caution”. That might be understandable given the political fallout of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last September and the death of the US ambassador Chris Stephens – fallout now fuelled by reports that up to 35 CIA operatives were in the Libyan city at the time trying to procure weapons for rebels in Syria.

 

Scepticism is healthy. For far too long the intelligence agencies of the US – and Britain – have been allowed to hide behind a wall of secrecy as they hoisted the flag of “national security” before which everyone else must genuflect. Secret courts and congressional committees in the US, and parliamentarians in the UK, tasked with monitoring the activities of the agencies, have been seduced too easily by the privilege of being allowed to be party to those secrets.

 

That scepticism may lead to potentially dangerous cynicism is the fault of the failure adequately and convincingly to hold the intelligence agencies to account. The detail of operations, certainly recent ones and ones planned for the near future, may need to be protected by secrecy. But as other commentators have pointed out, the US government, in its approach to secrecy and in particular in its attitude towards WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, has not been able to distinguish between a US Apache helicopter crew shooting unarmed men, including Reuters journalists in Iraq, and the exposure of operations that might conceivably threaten the lives of innocent Americans.

 

The US and UK securocracies have not been able to distinguish between the invasion of privacy and a legitimate need to protect the public from terrorist threats. Until they do so, they will sacrifice the “benefit of the doubt” approach, the public’s trust, that they will need to depend on in future.

 

Secret US drug agency unit passing surveillance information to authorities

Wiretaps and telephone records are being funnelled across the country to launch criminal investigations of Americans

August 5, 2013

Reuters in Washington

theguardian.com

 

A secretive US Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

 

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

 

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

 

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

 

“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

 

The special operations division

 

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

 

Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive”, a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

 

“Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”

 

A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

 

But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

 

A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it,” the agent said.

 

‘Parallel construction’

 

After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction”.

 

The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”

 

A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

 

“It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

 

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

 

A question of constitutionality

 

“That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice-chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”

 

Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional”.

 

Lustberg and others said the government’s use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant’s identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

 

“You can’t game the system,” said former federal prosecutor Henry E Hockeimer Jr. “You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

 

Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

 

“It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years,” Spelke said. “Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I’m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.”

 

Concealing a tip

 

One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a US citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

 

“I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

 

A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

 

The SOD’s role providing information to agents isn’t itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

 

The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD’s role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don’t accidentally try to arrest each other.

 

SOD’s big successes

 

The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

 

Since its inception, the SOD’s mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit’s annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125m.

 

Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as Dice.

 

The Dice database contains about 1bn records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

 

About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, Dice linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the US south-west border to a major drug case on the east coast.

 

“We use it to connect the dots,” the official said.

 

‘An amazing tool’

 

Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, US intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller’s citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former US military intelligence analyst.

 

“They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American,” the senior law enforcement official said.

 

Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

 

As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SOD’s involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

 

Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful – one estimated their accuracy at 60%. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

 

“It was an amazing tool,” said one recently retired federal agent. “Our big fear was that it wouldn’t stay secret.”

 

DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review

 

 

WIKILEAKS PLANS

 

[This is a restricted internal development mailing list for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.

Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’.

This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer

and plenty of backbone.]

 

wikileaks.org, wikileaks.cn, wikileaks.info done

 

Domain Name:WIKILEAKS.ORG (etc)

 

Created On:04-Oct-2006 05:54:19 UTC

 

Last Updated On:04-Oct-2006 06:45:38 UTC

Expiration Date:04-Oct-2007 05:54:19 UTC

Sponsoring Registrar:Dynadot, LLC (R1266-LROR)

Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED

Registrant ID:CP-10335

Registrant Name:John Young c/o Dynadot Privacy

Registrant Street1:PO Box 1072

Registrant Street2:

Registrant Street3:

Registrant City:Belmont

Registrant State/Province:CA

Registrant Postal Code:94002

Registrant Country:US

Registrant Phone:+1.6505851961

Registrant Phone Ext.:

Registrant FAX:

Registrant FAX Ext.:

Registrant Email:privacy@dynadot.com

 

 

To: Daniel Ellsberg

From: Wikileaks

Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:42:37 +1100

 

This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g. Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’. This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer and plenty of backbone.

 

Dear Mr. Ellsberg.

 

We have followed with interest and delight your recent statements on document leaking.

 

We have come to the conclusion that fomenting a world wide movement of mass leaking is the most cost effective political intervention available to us* We believe that injustice is answered by good governance and for there to be good governance there must be open governance.

 

Governance by stealth is governance by conspiracy and fear. Fear, because without it, secrecy does not last for long. Retired generals and diplomats are vociferous, but those in active service hold their tune.

 

Lord Action said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”.

 

This degeneration comes about because when injustice is concealed, including plans for future injustice, it cannot be addressed. When governance is closed, man’s eyes become cataracts. When governance is open, man can see and so act to move the world towards a more just state; for instance see

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders which shows a striking correlation between press freedom and countries known for their quality of life.

 

Here is a beginning listing of persons that can materially advance our purposes and we now consider to be “for us*: some attributes may have been swapped to protect selected  identities, no particular order.

 

 1) Retired new york architect and notorious intelligence leak   facilitator (John Young- Cryptome)

 2) Euro cryptographer/programmer

 3) Pacific physicist and illustrator(Chinese national)

 4) A pacific author and economic policy lecturer(Chinese national)

 5) UK, Ex-Cambridge mathematician/cryptographer/programmer

 6) Swiss businessman and security specialist/activist

 7) Author of software than runs 40% of the world’s websites.

 8) US pure mathematician with criminal law background

 9) An infamous US ex-hacker

 10) Asian cryptographer/physicist and activist(Chinese national)

 11) US/euro cryptographer and activist/programmer

 12) Pacific/Asian programmer(Chinese national)

 13) Pacific/Asian architect / foreign policy wonk(Chinese national)

 14) Senior level US intelligence SIGINT specialist. COSMIC and GALACTIC

 

New technology and cryptographic ideas permit us to not only encourage document leaking, but to facilitate it directly on a mass scale. We intend to place a new star in the political firmament of man.

 

We are building an uncensorizable branch of Wikipedia for leaked documents and the civic institutions & social perceptions necessary to defend and promote it. We have received over 1 million documents from 13 countries, despite not having publicly launched yet!

 

We have approached you now for two reasons.

 

Firstly, we have crossed over from `prospective’ to `projective’. The basic technology has been prototyped and we have a view as how we must proceed politically and legally. We need to move and inspire people, gain volunteers, funding, further set up the necessary political-legal defenses and deploy. Since you have thought about leaking more than anyone we know, we would like you on board. We’d like your advice and we’d like you to form part of our political armor. The more armor we have, particularly in the form of men and women sanctified by age, history and class, the more we can act like brazen young men and get away with it.

 

Secondly, we would like to award “The Ellsburg Prize for Courageous Action” and “The Ellsburg Prize for Courageous Action (USA)”, for the two leaks submitted in the past year which most assist humanity. The regionalization of the second prize is to encourage patrons of similar awards in other countries. Although it is premature to go into detail, we have designed a scheme were this can be meaningfully awarded to anonymous leakers. We have been pledged substantial initial funding.

 

Please tell us your thoughts. If you are happy, we will add you to our internal mailinglist, contacts, etc.

 

Solidarity!

 

WL.

            I wonder if that letter to Ellsberg has been routed to somewhere  other than the spam bucket. Can someone step forward to chase down his postal address? Perhaps one of our bay area people?

 

            Any other suggestions? xxxxxx noted that Psyphon [poorly chosen name!],  a sort of poor mans tor/i2p lulled Soros and a bunch of others into  giving them US$3,000,000 for development. As some of you may know we  were recently leaked the entire Davos (World Economic Forum) 

attendees contacts list, which has Soros, Sergi-Brin, any many others on it.

 

            Presumably one of the reasons Psyphon was able to get these $ was its  affilication with some Canadian uni — makes donors feel safe. We  have some people with affiliations, but that’s not quite the same thing.

 


 

            WL has developed and integrated technology to foment untracable, unstoppable mass document leaking and discussion. Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in china, russia and central eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our technology is fast and usable by non-technical people. We have

received over a million documents of varying quality. We plan to numerically eclipse the content the english wikipedia with leaked documents. We believe that the increasing familiarity with wikipedia.org provides a comfortable transition to those who wish to leak documents and comment on leaked documents.

 

            We feel that per hour spent this provides the greatest positive impact on the world and ourselves that is within our means to achieve.

 

[…]

 

            PS. We can always use additional assistance, any ideas, let us know.

    We are also looking for stable and trustworthy document drop-offs in

    different countries. There are two types of drop-offs:

 

   1) deniable

   2) regular

 

            A deniable drop off will receive a leaked CD/DVD/thumbdrive with encrypted information to which they do not have the key. Their job is to simply upload this to WL. Since at no time do they have access to the information they can not later be held to be knowingly concerned with its contents.

 

            A regular drop off is willing to receive and upload both deniable media, regular digital media and printed documents. In the case of printed documents, they are expected to scan/ocr the documents or if there prove to be too many, forward some on to a regular drop off.

 

            Is riseup interested in being the location of one of the US drop-offs? We have one in NY, one in CA. Seattle and washington would probably make a full US complement.

 

 

  WikiLeaks.Org

  anon1984@fastmail.to

 

From: Julien Assange me@iq.org

Date: 16 December 2006 19:00:14 GMT+11:00

To: gnu@eff.org, gnu@toad.com

Subject: document leaking

 

 

 

Dear J,

 

            Are you interested in helping us build/support/get support for  this: www.wikileaks.org

 

            We have come to the conclusion that fomenting a world wide movement of mass leaking is the most cost effective political intervention available to us*. We believe that injustice is answered by good governance and for there to be good governance there must be open governance. Governance by stealth is governance by conspiracy and fear. Fear, because without it, secrecy does not last for long. Retired generals and diplomats are vociferous, but those in active service hold their tune.

 

             Lord Action said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”.

 

             This degeneration comes about because when injustice is concealed, including plans for future injustice, it cannot be addressed. When governance is closed, man’s eyes become cataracts. When governance is open, man can see and so act to move the world towards a more just> state; for instance see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders which shows a striking correlation between press freedom and countries known for their quality of life.

 

            How will WikiLeaks operate?

            To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.

 

            WikiLeaks will be the outlet for every government official, every bureaucrat, every corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information which the institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WikiLeaks can broadcast to the world.

            WikiLeaksreduces the risk to potential leakers and improves the analysis and dissemination of leaked documents.

            website hosted on a Google server

            WikiLeaks provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable leaking of documents.

            WikiLeaks is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.

 

            Wikia was founded by Angela Beesley and Jimmy Wales, originally under  the name “Wikicities”, in October 2004. It celebrated its first birthday on November 2, 2005. Wikicities relaunched as “Wikia” in  March 2006 Administrative Contact:Wales, Jimmy  jasonr@bomis.com

Wikia Inc.

200 2nd Ave. S

Suite 306

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

United States

 

Cc: wmreditor@waynemadsenreport.com,

 funtimesahead@lists.riseup.net

 

From: Julien Assange me@iq.org

Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 21:07:48 -0600

To: John Young jya@pipeline.com

Subject: [WL] Re: Wikileaks Suspects You

 

[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.

Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’.

This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer

and plenty of backbone.]

 

 

            John, can you delete the reference to “IQ.ORG” in that document near  “my daughters photo”.

 

 


7 January 2007

A writes:

            Just read the majority of the mailing list conversation and did not understand your, what I thought, sudden shift in direction. I imagine something that did not make its way onto the mailing list conversation prompted you to pull your support and then publish the emails? If so, can you fill us in?

            Cryptome:

            All the messages received were published. My objections had been building, shown in later messages, after initial support. The finally fed-up turnaround occurred with the publication today of the $5 million dollar by July fund-raising goal — see messages at the tail-end. I called that — along with a delay in offering a public discussion and critique forum and failure to provide a credible batch of leaked documents for public scrutiny — a surefire indication of a scam. This is the exact technique used by snake oilers, pols and spies. Requests to Cryptome to keep stuff quiet are regular fare and they always get published. Next up, the names and affiliations of the perps if they don’t reveal themselves in an open forum.

 

 

[A decrypted PGP message.]

 

            Dear J,

 

            The difficulties that confront a conspirator are infinite.

 

            many have been the conspiracies, but few have been successful; because he who conspires can not act alone, nor can he take a companion except from those whom he believes malcontent,

and as soon as you have opened your mind to a malcontent you have given him the material with which to content himself. –Macchiavelli

 

            wikileaks.org, wikileaks.cn, wikileaks.info done

 

            Domain Name:WIKILEAKS.ORG (etc)

 

            Created On:04-Oct-2006 05:54:19 UTC

 

Last Updated On:04-Oct-2006 06:45:38 UTC

Expiration Date:04-Oct-2007 05:54:19 UTC

Sponsoring Registrar:Dynadot, LLC (R1266-LROR)

Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED

Registrant ID:CP-10335

Registrant Name:John Young c/o Dynadot Privacy

Registrant Street1:PO Box 1072

Registrant Street2:

Registrant Street3:

Registrant City:Belmont

Registrant State/Province:CA

Registrant Postal Code:94002

Registrant Country:US

Registrant Phone:+1.6505851961

Registrant Phone Ext.:

Registrant FAX:

Registrant FAX Ext.:

Registrant Email:privacy@dynadot.com

 

The privacy forwarding service is part of the dynadot.com rego.

 

Many thanks. Far from jya to be content 🙂

 

            Beware of attributions like Department of State, they regularly pop up along with TLA nyms. Even idiotic spammers use them.

 

            None of this should hold up publication for that will set in motion a slew of tests from a wide variety of skeptics eager to debunk.

 

            The first debunkers will probably be the media approached to lend credibility and provide exposure. They, rather their lawyers, are ever eager to avoid liability and, worse, loss of reputation marketability. The fret a lot about being stung by “leaks,” black and white. The analysis could bring them around, but it also conveys suspicion of authenticity. Too much caution, though, sharply limits what gets published. This forum got to face the

fact it will be treated with caution until a strong bonafide is established, maybe requiring a ride on the back of a gold plated reputation, but that’s might hard to come by. Still, all the gold-plates

once were once fools gold and rejected by the old reputables, then wham, a supernova of expose brought an invite into the comfy club. Most exposers never make it, and most leakers don’t get the attention they have dreamed of. I think the Net offers opportunities the MSM just won’t provide until the gauntlet is run.

 

            WikiLeaks is developing an uncensorable version of WikiPedia for untraceable mass document leaking and discussion. Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our technology is (like the WikiPedia) fast and usable by non-technical people.

 

            We have received over one million documents so far. We plan to numerically eclipse the content the English WikiPedia with leaked documents and analysis.

 

 [http://www.wikileaks.org/]

 

            We believe fostering a safe, easy, socially sanctified way for uncensorable mass document leaking, publishing and analysis is THE most cost effective generator of good governance. We seek good governance, because good governance does more than run trains on time.

             Good governance responds to the sufferings of its people. Good governance answers injustice.

 

            We are looking for initial advisory board members to advise us politically, since our strengths are in building large technical projects such as the WikiPedia. In particular we’d like your advice

 on:

 

   1. How can WikiLeaks help you as a journalist and consumer of leaks?

   2. How can WikiLeaks motivate, protect, and help your sources or people like them?

   3. Who are some other good people to approach, of the figurehead variety and of

       the will-actually-do-work variety?

   4. What is your advice on political frame setting and possible funding bodies?

 

            We expect difficult state lashback unless WikiLeaks can be given a sanctified frame (“center for human rights, democracy, good government and apple pie press freedom project” vs “hackers strike again”). Our initial reputation is carried over form the success of the WikiPedia, but we do not feel this association is, by itself, enough to protect us. The public support of organisations like FAS, who are in some sense sanctified, is vital to our initial survival.

 

            Advisory board positions will. at least initially, be unpaid, but we feel the role may be of significant interest to you.

 

            There are benefits to exposure even at this early stage: greater publicity, widespread knowledge of the project, scaring oppressive power wherever it resides. Attract more potential users and board members. Obtain more respect.

 

            And costs: greater chance of govt surveillance/attacks. At this stage not much cover from respectable advisory board. Without proper launch and clarifications, all sorts of unfounded attacks can be made. Lose respect.

 

            On the one hand, freedom of information is a respected liberal value, and we may get some sympathy, but I wouldn’t count on it. On the other, institutionally residing within and sympathetic to authoritarian hierarchical structures, corporate media will tend towards pillorying the project as a threat, for any number of potential reasons: for being irresponsible, derailing war on terrorism, undermining perceived good work by governments, whatever.

 

Our options include:

Make a press release or something equivalent.

Don’t respond.

Respond to particular inquiries.

 

            I’m not sure what is the best approach here. Posting a press release on the website is maybe best? Also, maybe we should think about posting some sort of statement of principles eventually? Though it’s maybe a bit early for this?

 

            Corporate media will shy away from or distort nuanced arguments. Need to make a few clear points and hold to them. I suggest the following, as a start, all up for discussion. (In particular, we could be more specific, or more vague about details.)

 

 

            1. Ethics. We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We do not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose oppression or major crimes, we recognise a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, this project provides means and opportunity to minimise such risks.

 

            2. Under construction. The project is not yet fully under way. Membership of our advisory board is not yet settled. Website/editorial policies are not yet fully formulated. No agreed statement of principles is yet published.

 

            3. Gauntlet. We are no friends of oppressive regimes, dictators, authoritarian governmental institutions or exploitative corporations. We fully intend to expose injustice and make the world a better place; this is our overarching goal and all policy will be formulated with this goal in mind.

 

            4. Wikipedia gives reassurance. Concerns raised here regarding privacy and irresponsibility also arise with wikipedia. The wikipedia project has proved remarkably successful at providing accurate, relevant and up-to-date information without breaches of privacy. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting or editing of material, or posting of false material, can be reversed by  other users, and the results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring. There is no reason to expect any different from WL. Indeed, as discovered with wikipedia to the surprise of many, there is hope that the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may provide rapid and accurate dissemination, verification and analysis.

 

            5. Room for debate. There is the possibility of false or malicious leaks. Despite the example of wikipedia, there is the possibility of leaks encroaching upon the privacy of innocent individuals. There are legitimate questions to be asked and discussions to be had. On the one hand censorship is a hallmark of oppressive power structures. On the other, if an absolutely free forum for information distribution is used for irresponsible purposes, it undermines its own goals. In some sense any forum for freely posting information involves the potential for abuse, but measures can be taken to minimise any potential harm. In conjunction with the advisory board, policy will be formulated in line with these considerations. The overriding goal is to provide a forum where embarrassing information can expose injustice; beyond this, no particular method or policy is set in stone.

 

            Thank you for your letter. We’re surprised by the very early press interest , which we would have welcomed later, but which is now difficult for us, as it will affect our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute and other funding bodies.  But as several journalists have contacted us now, there’s clearly no stopping it, so we’ll try do our best to help you.

 

            1. WL was founded by chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. 

            1.1 Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers. 

            2. There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project.

            3. We haven’t sought public feedback so far, but dissident communities have been been very gracious with their assistance.

            4. The wiki does not require registration and the users behaves in the same manner as the Wikipedia. You can’t see the wiki on www.wikileaks.org, because the public launch date is at least a month away.

            5. Wikileaks integrates a number of cryptographic technologies into Wikipedia to create anonymity and censorship resistance while retaining most of Wikipedia’s ease of use and performance including modified versions of http://freenetproject.org, http://tor.eff.org, PGP and software of our own design. 

            6. The prototype has been successful in testing, but there are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full public deployment. These include additional funding, the support of further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media representative bodies (as “consumers” of leaks), language regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.

            7. Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.

 

            We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We do not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose oppression or major crimes, we recognise a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, this project provides means and opportunity to minimise such risks.

 

Wikia Inc.

    200 2nd Ave. S

    Suite 306

    St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

    United States

 

    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)

    Domain Name: WIKILEAKS.NET

       Created on: 03-Jan-07

       Expires on: 04-Jan-09

       Last Updated on:

 

    Administrative Contact:

       Wales, Jimmy  jasonr@bomis.com

       Wikia Inc.

       200 2nd Ave. S

       Suite 306

       St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

       United States

       17273886691

 

 

Officials: Man who knew Boston bombing suspect was unarmed when shot

by Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn,

 

            A Chechen man who was fatally shot by an FBI agent last week during an interview about one of the Boston bombing suspects was unarmed, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

 

An air of mystery has surrounded the FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev, 27, since it occurred in Todashev’s apartment early on the morning of May 22. The FBI said in a news release that day that Todashev, a former Boston resident who knew bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during an interview with several law enforcement officers.

 

            The FBI has provided few other details, saying that the matter is being investigated by an FBI review team that may not finish its probe for several months.

 

            “The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement Wednesday. “The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

 

            The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday called for an independent investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Officials said the division and local prosecutors are already reviewing the case.

 

            At the time of the shooting, Todashev was being interviewed about his possible connection to a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Law enforcement officials said he had acknowledged involvement in the murders and had implicated Tsarnaev. Officials said Todashev was not suspected of involvement in the April 15 Boston bombing.

 

            Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police four days after the bombing. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured later that day and remains in custody.

 

            In the statement about Todashev’s shooting issued on the day of the incident, the FBI said that an agent, along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel, were interviewing “an individual” in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.”

 

            An agent sustained non-life-threatening injuries, later described by one law enforcement official as “some cuts and abrasions.”

 

            Initial reports citing anonymous law-enforcement individuals provided conflicting accounts of what happened. Some law enforcement officials said Todashev wielded a knife and others suggested that he attempted to grab the FBI agent’s gun.

 

            One law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Wednesday that Todashev lunged at the agent and overturned a table. But the official said Todashev did not have a gun or a knife. A second official also said Todashev was unarmed.

 

            An official said that according to one account of the shooting, the other law enforcement officials had just stepped out of the room, leaving the FBI agent alone with Todashev, when the confrontation occurred.

 

            The shooting followed hours of questioning by the law enforcement officials that had begun the night before.

 

            Todashev’s father said after the shooting that he didn’t believe the FBI’s account of why they killed his son.

 

            “My son could never commit a crime, I know my son too well,” Abdul-Baki Todashev, who lives in Chechnya, told the Daily Beast Web site. “He worked helping disabled people in America and did sports, coached other sportsmen. The FBI made up their accusations.”

 

            Todashev, a martial arts fighter, met Tamerlan Tsarnaev in fighting circles in Boston before Todashev moved to Orlando.

 

            Todashev’s family said he had a ticket to fly to Russia this month and planned to spend the summer in his native Chechnya.

 

 

The FBI’s Fishy Story on Killing Tsarnaev’s Friend

May 31, 2013

by Matthew Rothschild

The Progressive

 

            This story always smelled a little fishy to me

 

            I’m talking about the FBI’s killing of Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen down in Florida who was a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. When he was fatally shot by an FBI agent on May 22 while being questioned by several law enforcement officers, we were told that he had lunged at an agent with a knife or tried to grab the agent’s weapon.

 

            Well, now it turns out he didn’t have a knife, according to the Washington Post. (And the excuse “he lunged for my weapon” is one of the most common police lies in the book.)

 

            Now I’m prepared to believe that Todashev was no angel. The FBI said he confessed to involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple murder in Waltham, Massachussets, on September 11, 2011.

 

            But Todashev, like everyone here in the United States, was supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Yet he was never charged and never faced trial. Instead, he was fatally shot seven times while unarmed.

 

            And now we’ll never know for sure what involvement he had, or Tsarnaev had, in that triple murder or whether he, too, was involved somehow in the Boston marathon bombings.

 

            But the larger point is simply this: Too many people in our country die at the hands of law enforcement every year.

 

            And the excuses are often lame, as they appear to be in this case.

 

Point-Blank Shot Killed Friend of Alleged Boston Bomber – Father

May 30, 2013

by Alexey Eremenko

RIA Novosti

 

Updated with FBI comment.

 

            MOSCOW, May 30 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) – The father of Ibragim Todashev, who was shot to death last week by US authorities while being questioned about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, said Thursday that his son was killed with a point-blank shot to the head, raising even more questions about an already murky case.

 

            “He was questioned for eight hours,” Abdulbaki Todashev told reporters in Moscow. “Then they shot him, six times in the body and once in the head.”

 

            The May 22 shooting death has been cloaked in mystery, with US media raising questions early on about officials’ use of lethal force – a concern echoed by the dead man’s father.

 

            “They could have wounded him, in the leg or the shoulder. But this is a killing with a ‘control shot,’” Todashev said, using the Russian phrase for a point-blank shot used by hit men to ensure their victim is dead. He also showed reporters photographs of what looked like his son’s bullet-riddled body, including one of a bullet wound to the head.

 

            “I’ve only seen things like that in movies,” he said in an even, almost detached tone.

 

            The FBI has said it is conducting an investigation into the incident. In emailed comments, Dave Couvetier, a spokesman for the FBI in the Orlando area, where the internal investigation is being handled, directed RIA Novosti to a Thursday statement on the FBI’s website saying the bureau would not comment on details of the case until the ongoing internal review is wrapped up. It gave no time frame.

 

            On the day of the shooting, law enforcement officials had been questioning the younger Todashev at his home in Orlando, Florida, both about his relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the suspected marathon bombers, and an unsolved 2011 triple murder in a Boston suburb. One of the victims had reportedly been a close friend of Tsarnaev’s and investigators were trying to piece together whether Tsarnaev and Todashev had been involved in the killing.

 

            According to early media reports, including one in the New York Times, unnamed law enforcement officials said Ibragim Todashev had admitted to carrying out the murder with Tsarnaev, but then went “off the deep end” and attacked the investigators with an unidentified object – “a knife or a pipe or something” – and was killed before writing a confession.

 

            The Washington Post, also citing unnamed law enforcement sources, reported Wednesday that Todashev had been unarmed.

 

            The elder Todashev said Ibragim had never mentioned the murder case to him.

 

            Ibragim, a 27-year-old native of Russia’s Chechnya region who had lived in America since 2008, met the bombing suspects, fellow ethnic Chechens Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in Boston, where he used to live, the father told reporters. (Earlier media reports had only linked Ibragim to Tamerlan.)

 

            The three were mixed martial arts enthusiasts and used the same gym, but they were never close friends, the father said, adding that his son was a devout Muslim but not a fundamentalist.

 

            Ibragim had never believed that the Tsarnaevs were behind the Boston bombings, which killed three and injured over 200 in April, his father said.

 

            Abdulbaki Todashev also complained that the FBI had not provided his family with any information about Ibragim’s death. The photos he showed at the press conference, which seem to have been taken in a morgue or funeral home, had been obtained through contacts in United States, Todashev said.

 

            He offered conflicting explanations for the shooting, first saying the law enforcement agents may have wanted to rob Ibragim and then speculating that they may have wanted to silence him for an unspecified reason.

 

            “They are bandits, not FBI agents,” he said. He questioned the reasons for shooting his son in the back of the head, though stopped short of explicitly saying the agents deliberately killed him.

 

            A US Islamic group called Thursday for an official investigation into the killing, saying it planned to file a formal complaint with the US Department of Justice.

 

            The Todashevs fled war-torn Chechnya in the 1990s, settling in Russia’s Saratov region, a thousand kilometers to the north. They moved back to the Chechen capital Grozny in 2008, said the father, who now works in the city administration.

 

            Ibragim Todashev, the eldest of 12 siblings, obtained permanent residency in the United States last March, his father said, adding that Ibragim was due to fly back to Russia for his first visit since 2008 on May 24.

 

Father of Russian Killed in Boston Probe Weighs FBI Lawsuit

August 6, 2013

RIA Novosti

 

            WASHINGTON, August 6 (RIA Novosti) – The father of a Chechen immigrant shot dead by an FBI agent during questioning in connection with the Boston Marathon bomb attack was to meet Tuesday with lawyers in Florida and is considering a lawsuit against the FBI, civil rights groups said.

 

            Abdulbaki Todashev was to meet with representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is representing Todashev in connection with the shooting death of his son, Ibrahim Todashev, by an FBI agent during a May 22 interrogation in Orlando, Florida, according to Hassan Shibly, director of CAIR’s branch in Tampa, Florida.

 

            “Basically we’re exploring the legal options that we have,” Shibly told RIA Novosti on Tuesday. “Our office should know in the next few weeks whether that involves a lawsuit against the FBI.”

 

            Time Magazine reported Monday that Todashev plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the FBI in order to force the agency to disclose details about his son’s shooting by a Boston-based FBI agent during an interrogation by several different law enforcement agencies.

 

            At the time of his death, Ibragim Todashev, 27, was being questioned at his Orlando apartment about a triple murder in the Boston area and about his relationship to suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown four days after the deadly April 15 Boston attack.

 

            Both Todashev and Tsarnaev moved to the United States from the former Soviet Union, and both men had ethnic and family roots in the volatile southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

 

            Todashev had once lived in Boston and was a “casual friend” of Tsarnaev as both were involved at some point in mixed martial-arts fighting, the Orland television station WESH reported after Todashev’s death.

 

            The report said that Todashev and Tsarnaev had spoken by phone or Skype for about five minutes around one week before the April 15 twin bomb attacks in Boston that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police several days after the attack.

 

            Shibly said CAIR is continuing its own investigation into Todashev’s death and said its investigators have evidence suggesting that he was shot while he was on the ground. The FBI’s decision to block the release of Todashev’s autopsy by the Florida medical examiner’s office last month, however, has delayed the release of the group’s investigation, Shibly said.

 

            “The only way to confirm if he was on the ground when he was shot – making the circumstances of his death a lot more questionable – is based on information in the autopsy,” he said. “We need to get that information.”

 

            Hours after the shooting media reports quoting law enforcement officials said Todashev was being interviewed by the FBI about a possible connection to a Sept. 11, 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts. The officials said Todashev had acknowledged his involvement in the murders and had also implicated Tsarnaev.

 

            Accounts from law enforcement officials published by US media in the immediate aftermath of the shooting were contradictory, with some saying Todashev was armed with a knife and others saying he attempted to grab an FBI agent’s gun.

 

            The Washington Post, however, cited an unidentified law enforcement official in May as saying that Todashev was not holding a gun or a knife when he was shot seven times by the FBI agent.

 

            Shibly said CAIR had also uncovered what he called “very clearly illegal acts in the days leading up to the shooting,” including harassment of Todashev’s friends by investigators and purported threats by the FBI to jail two Russian citizens “of Chechen background” and revoke their US green cards if they did not spy on local Muslim “houses of worship” and restaurants frequented by Muslim clientele in the Orlando area.

 

            Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the ACLU of Florida, told RIA Novosti that while the prominent rights group’s representatives will meet with Todashev’s father on Tuesday, the ACLU does not participate in wrongful-death lawsuits.

 

            Both the ACLU and CAIR, however, have fiercely criticized the official shroud of silence enveloping Todashev’s death.

 

            CAIR filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Justice in June in connection with the case, while the ACLU last month called on Florida and Massachusetts to open their open their own investigations into the deadly shooting,

 

            “Based on several of the reports, it seems unlikely that the agents were justified in using deadly force against a single unarmed suspect,” CAIR’s civil rights director, Thania Diaz Clevenger, said in the complaint. “The circumstances surrounding the shooting are at the very least alarming.”

 

            “Florida officials are simply deferring to the FBI, allowing the FBI to investigate itself, but it is difficult to accept the FBI’s honesty in this matter,” the ACLU wrote in a July 22 letter to Commissioner Gerald Bailey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, adding, “Now, more than eight weeks later, the public has very little information about this incident.”

 

            In a similar letter to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the ACLU pointed to a New York Times analysis that found “FBI shooting reviews… virtually always clear the agency of wrongdoing.”

 

            Authorities in Massachusetts and Florida have refused to investigate Todashev’s death independently, leaving his survivors little recourse other than a civil suit to force disclosures about the circumstances of the shooting, ACLU staff attorney Yvette Acosta MacMillan told Time this week.

 

            “They would be able to obtain the records and the information through discovery in a lawsuit because right now, none of the information, none of the documents are being released,” the attorney, who works in the organization’s Florida chapter, was quoted by Time as saying.

 

 FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes

New documents show FBI agents gave their informants permission to break the law thousands of times in 2011.

 

August 4, 2013

by Brad Heath

USA TODAY

 

WASHINGTON — The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

 

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

 

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.

 

“It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context,” said Shawn Henry, who supervised criminal investigations for the FBI until he retired last year. “This is not done in a vacuum. It’s not done randomly. It’s not taken lightly.”

 

USA TODAY obtained a copy of the FBI’s 2011 report under the Freedom of Information Act. The report does not spell out what types of crimes its agents authorized, or how serious they were. It also did not include any information about crimes the bureau’s sources were known to have committed without the government’s permission.

 

Crimes authorized by the FBI almost certainly make up a tiny fraction of the total number of offenses committed by informants for local, state and federal agencies each year. The FBI was responsible for only about 10% of the criminal cases prosecuted in federal court in 2011, and federal prosecutions are, in turn, vastly outnumbered by criminal cases filed by state and local authorities, who often rely on their own networks of sources.

 

“The million-dollar question is: How much crime is the government tolerating from its informants?” said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles who has studied such issues. “I’m sure that if we really knew that number, we would all be shocked.”

 

A spokeswoman for the FBI, Denise Ballew, declined to answer questions about the report, saying only that the circumstances in which its informants are allowed to break the law are “situational, tightly controlled,” and subject to Justice Department policy. The FBI almost always keeps its informants’ work secret. The agency said in a 2007 budget request that it has a network of about 15,000 confidential sources.

 

Justice Department rules put tight limits on when and how those informants can engage in what the agency calls “otherwise illegal activity.” Agents are not allowed to authorize violent crimes under any circumstances; the most serious crimes must first be approved by federal prosecutors. Still, the department’s Inspector General concluded in 2005 that the FBI routinely failed to follow many of those rules.

 

The rules require the FBI — but not other law enforcement agencies — to report the total number of crimes authorized by its agents each year. USA TODAY asked the FBI for all of the reports it had prepared since 2006, but FBI officials said they could locate only one, which they released after redacting nearly all of the details.

 

Other federal law enforcement agencies, including the ATF and the DEA, said last year that they cannot determine how often their informants are allowed to break the law.

 

“This is all being operated clandestinely. Congress doesn’t even have the information,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who sponsored a bill that would require federal agencies to notify lawmakers about the most serious crimes their informants commit. “I think there’s a problem here, and we should have full disclosure to Congress.”

 

Bulger, long a notorious Mob figure, is facing murder and racketeering charges in federal court in Boston. Prosecutors allege that he used his status as an FBI informant to steer police away from his own crime ring. Bulger has not disputed some of the charges against him, but his lawyers insist that he was not an informant; the former crime boss on Friday called the case “a sham.”
Germany ends Cold War spying pact with US, Britain

August 2, 2013

by Frank Jordan

AP

 

            BERLIN (AP) — Germany canceled a Cold War-era surveillance pact with the United States and Britain on Friday in response to revelations by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden about those countries’ alleged electronic eavesdropping operations.

 

The move appeared largely symbolic, designed to show that the German government was taking action to stop unwarranted surveillance directed against its citizens without actually jeopardizing relations with Washington and London. With weeks to go before national elections, opposition parties had seized on Snowden’s claim that Germany was complicit in the NSA’s intelligence-gathering operations.

 

Government officials have insisted that U.S. and British intelligence were never given permission to break Germany’s strict privacy laws. But they conceded last month that an agreement dating back to the late 1960s gave the U.S., Britain and France the right to request German authorities to conduct surveillance operations within Germany to protect their troops stationed there.

 

“The cancellation of the administrative agreements, which we have pushed for in recent weeks, is a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

 

British Foreign Office brushed off the significance of the German move. “It’s a loose end from a previous era which is right to tie up,” the Foreign Office said in a statement, noting that the agreement had not been used since 1990.

 

A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin, Ruth Bennett, confirmed that the agreement had been canceled but declined to comment further on the issue.

 

A German official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the cancellation would have little practical consequences.

 

He said the agreement had not been invoked since the end of the Cold War and would have no impact on current intelligence cooperation between Germany and its NATO allies. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

 

Germany is currently in talks with France to cancel its part of the agreement as well.

 

Public reaction in Germany to Snowden’s revelations was particularly strong, with civil rights campaigners recalling the mass surveillance carried out by secret police in communist East Germany and during the Nazi era. Chancellor Angela Merkel went so far as to raise the issue of alleged NSA spying with President Barack Obama when he visited Berlin in June.

 

“The government needs to do something to show voters it’s taking the issue seriously,” said Henning Riecke of the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think tank. “Ending an agreement made in the pre-Internet age gives the Germans a chance to show they’re doing something, and at the same time the Americans know it’s not going to hurt them. Given the good relations between the intelligence agencies, they’ll get the information they need anyway.”

 

According to Snowden, Germany has been a particular focus on U.S. intelligence gathering operations in recent years. Several of those who plotted and carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States had lived in Germany.

 

In March 2011, two U.S. Air Force members were killed and two wounded when a gunman from Kosovo fired on a military bus at Frankfurt International Airport. The gunman told police he was motivated by anger over the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Voice of the White House

          Washington, D.C. August 6, 2013: “It is truly amazing how little the administration respects the intelligence of Americans. I am speaking here of the NSA universal surveillance and the public objections to being constantly spied on. And now to see the “defense” of this project, approved, by the way, by the President himself. Now, the stupid public is supposed to believe the childish official stories about “fanatical Arabs about to bomb our embassies.” And of course that they won’t do this (because they never intended to) and were thwarted by our Brave Protectors is on a par with “Sorcha Faal’s Planet X.” We, the public, pay the salaries of these boobus americani and their paycheck ought to be gift wrapped!?

 

Embassy closures earn little respect for a US that’s lost the benefit of the doubt

We might be forgiven for thinking embassy closures provoked by terrorist threats were all very convenient for the NSA

August 5, 2013

by Richard Norton-Taylor

theguardian.com

 

Not so long ago, a decision by the US and other western countries to close their embassies because of a risk of terrorist attacks, citing “chatter” from intercepted communications between al-Qaida-inspired jihadists, would have been treated overwhelmingly with unquestioning respect.

 

That the response may be very different now is recognised by members of the US senate intelligence committee. The closure of 25 US embassies across North Africa and the Middle East demonstrated just how important the National Security Agency (NSA) and its ability to bug huge amounts of communications, was in protecting the security of Americans, they insisted.

 

That they needed to go so far out of their way to defend the NSA is testament to growing concern among many other members of Congress and the US public, according to opinion polls, since the disclosure by Edward Snowden, to the Guardian and Washington Post, of the extent to which the NSA is intercepting the personal communications of Americans and non-Americans alike.

 

We might be forgiven for the thought that the embassy closures provoked by terrorist threats were all very convenient – even though they came after attacks on prisons in Iraq and Libya and elsewhere, reportedly leading to the escape of many al-Qaida-inspired extremists.

 

The US state department in Washington said the decision on Monday to extend the embassy closures was taken “out of an abundance of caution”. That might be understandable given the political fallout of the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last September and the death of the US ambassador Chris Stephens – fallout now fuelled by reports that up to 35 CIA operatives were in the Libyan city at the time trying to procure weapons for rebels in Syria.

 

Scepticism is healthy. For far too long the intelligence agencies of the US – and Britain – have been allowed to hide behind a wall of secrecy as they hoisted the flag of “national security” before which everyone else must genuflect. Secret courts and congressional committees in the US, and parliamentarians in the UK, tasked with monitoring the activities of the agencies, have been seduced too easily by the privilege of being allowed to be party to those secrets.

 

That scepticism may lead to potentially dangerous cynicism is the fault of the failure adequately and convincingly to hold the intelligence agencies to account. The detail of operations, certainly recent ones and ones planned for the near future, may need to be protected by secrecy. But as other commentators have pointed out, the US government, in its approach to secrecy and in particular in its attitude towards WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, has not been able to distinguish between a US Apache helicopter crew shooting unarmed men, including Reuters journalists in Iraq, and the exposure of operations that might conceivably threaten the lives of innocent Americans.

 

The US and UK securocracies have not been able to distinguish between the invasion of privacy and a legitimate need to protect the public from terrorist threats. Until they do so, they will sacrifice the “benefit of the doubt” approach, the public’s trust, that they will need to depend on in future.

 

Secret US drug agency unit passing surveillance information to authorities

Wiretaps and telephone records are being funnelled across the country to launch criminal investigations of Americans

August 5, 2013

Reuters in Washington

theguardian.com

 

A secretive US Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

 

Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin – not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

 

The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence – information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

 

“I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

 

“It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”

 

The special operations division

 

The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

 

Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive”, a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

 

“Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”

 

A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

 

But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

 

A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it,” the agent said.

 

‘Parallel construction’

 

After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction”.

 

The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”

 

A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

 

“It’s just like laundering money – you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

 

Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.

 

A question of constitutionality

 

“That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice-chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”

 

Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional”.

 

Lustberg and others said the government’s use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant’s identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

 

“You can’t game the system,” said former federal prosecutor Henry E Hockeimer Jr. “You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

 

Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

 

“It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years,” Spelke said. “Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I’m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.”

 

Concealing a tip

 

One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a US citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

 

“I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

 

A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

 

The SOD’s role providing information to agents isn’t itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

 

The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD’s role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don’t accidentally try to arrest each other.

 

SOD’s big successes

 

The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

 

Since its inception, the SOD’s mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit’s annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125m.

 

Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as Dice.

 

The Dice database contains about 1bn records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

 

About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, Dice linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the US south-west border to a major drug case on the east coast.

 

“We use it to connect the dots,” the official said.

 

‘An amazing tool’

 

Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, US intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller’s citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former US military intelligence analyst.

 

“They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American,” the senior law enforcement official said.

 

Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

 

As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SOD’s involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

 

Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful – one estimated their accuracy at 60%. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

 

“It was an amazing tool,” said one recently retired federal agent. “Our big fear was that it wouldn’t stay secret.”

 

DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review

 

 

WIKILEAKS PLANS

 

[This is a restricted internal development mailing list for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.

Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’.

This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer

and plenty of backbone.]

 

wikileaks.org, wikileaks.cn, wikileaks.info done

 

Domain Name:WIKILEAKS.ORG (etc)

 

Created On:04-Oct-2006 05:54:19 UTC

 

Last Updated On:04-Oct-2006 06:45:38 UTC

Expiration Date:04-Oct-2007 05:54:19 UTC

Sponsoring Registrar:Dynadot, LLC (R1266-LROR)

Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED

Registrant ID:CP-10335

Registrant Name:John Young c/o Dynadot Privacy

Registrant Street1:PO Box 1072

Registrant Street2:

Registrant Street3:

Registrant City:Belmont

Registrant State/Province:CA

Registrant Postal Code:94002

Registrant Country:US

Registrant Phone:+1.6505851961

Registrant Phone Ext.:

Registrant FAX:

Registrant FAX Ext.:

Registrant Email:privacy@dynadot.com

 

 

To: Daniel Ellsberg

From: Wikileaks

Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:42:37 +1100

 

This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g. Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’. This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer and plenty of backbone.

 

Dear Mr. Ellsberg.

 

We have followed with interest and delight your recent statements on document leaking.

 

We have come to the conclusion that fomenting a world wide movement of mass leaking is the most cost effective political intervention available to us* We believe that injustice is answered by good governance and for there to be good governance there must be open governance.

 

Governance by stealth is governance by conspiracy and fear. Fear, because without it, secrecy does not last for long. Retired generals and diplomats are vociferous, but those in active service hold their tune.

 

Lord Action said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”.

 

This degeneration comes about because when injustice is concealed, including plans for future injustice, it cannot be addressed. When governance is closed, man’s eyes become cataracts. When governance is open, man can see and so act to move the world towards a more just state; for instance see

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders which shows a striking correlation between press freedom and countries known for their quality of life.

 

Here is a beginning listing of persons that can materially advance our purposes and we now consider to be “for us*: some attributes may have been swapped to protect selected  identities, no particular order.

 

 1) Retired new york architect and notorious intelligence leak   facilitator (John Young- Cryptome)

 2) Euro cryptographer/programmer

 3) Pacific physicist and illustrator(Chinese national)

 4) A pacific author and economic policy lecturer(Chinese national)

 5) UK, Ex-Cambridge mathematician/cryptographer/programmer

 6) Swiss businessman and security specialist/activist

 7) Author of software than runs 40% of the world’s websites.

 8) US pure mathematician with criminal law background

 9) An infamous US ex-hacker

 10) Asian cryptographer/physicist and activist(Chinese national)

 11) US/euro cryptographer and activist/programmer

 12) Pacific/Asian programmer(Chinese national)

 13) Pacific/Asian architect / foreign policy wonk(Chinese national)

 14) Senior level US intelligence SIGINT specialist. COSMIC and GALACTIC

 

New technology and cryptographic ideas permit us to not only encourage document leaking, but to facilitate it directly on a mass scale. We intend to place a new star in the political firmament of man.

 

We are building an uncensorizable branch of Wikipedia for leaked documents and the civic institutions & social perceptions necessary to defend and promote it. We have received over 1 million documents from 13 countries, despite not having publicly launched yet!

 

We have approached you now for two reasons.

 

Firstly, we have crossed over from `prospective’ to `projective’. The basic technology has been prototyped and we have a view as how we must proceed politically and legally. We need to move and inspire people, gain volunteers, funding, further set up the necessary political-legal defenses and deploy. Since you have thought about leaking more than anyone we know, we would like you on board. We’d like your advice and we’d like you to form part of our political armor. The more armor we have, particularly in the form of men and women sanctified by age, history and class, the more we can act like brazen young men and get away with it.

 

Secondly, we would like to award “The Ellsburg Prize for Courageous Action” and “The Ellsburg Prize for Courageous Action (USA)”, for the two leaks submitted in the past year which most assist humanity. The regionalization of the second prize is to encourage patrons of similar awards in other countries. Although it is premature to go into detail, we have designed a scheme were this can be meaningfully awarded to anonymous leakers. We have been pledged substantial initial funding.

 

Please tell us your thoughts. If you are happy, we will add you to our internal mailinglist, contacts, etc.

 

Solidarity!

 

WL.

            I wonder if that letter to Ellsberg has been routed to somewhere  other than the spam bucket. Can someone step forward to chase down his postal address? Perhaps one of our bay area people?

 

            Any other suggestions? xxxxxx noted that Psyphon [poorly chosen name!],  a sort of poor mans tor/i2p lulled Soros and a bunch of others into  giving them US$3,000,000 for development. As some of you may know we  were recently leaked the entire Davos (World Economic Forum) 

attendees contacts list, which has Soros, Sergi-Brin, any many others on it.

 

            Presumably one of the reasons Psyphon was able to get these $ was its  affilication with some Canadian uni — makes donors feel safe. We  have some people with affiliations, but that’s not quite the same thing.

 


 

            WL has developed and integrated technology to foment untracable, unstoppable mass document leaking and discussion. Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in china, russia and central eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our technology is fast and usable by non-technical people. We have

received over a million documents of varying quality. We plan to numerically eclipse the content the english wikipedia with leaked documents. We believe that the increasing familiarity with wikipedia.org provides a comfortable transition to those who wish to leak documents and comment on leaked documents.

 

            We feel that per hour spent this provides the greatest positive impact on the world and ourselves that is within our means to achieve.

 

[…]

 

            PS. We can always use additional assistance, any ideas, let us know.

    We are also looking for stable and trustworthy document drop-offs in

    different countries. There are two types of drop-offs:

 

   1) deniable

   2) regular

 

            A deniable drop off will receive a leaked CD/DVD/thumbdrive with encrypted information to which they do not have the key. Their job is to simply upload this to WL. Since at no time do they have access to the information they can not later be held to be knowingly concerned with its contents.

 

            A regular drop off is willing to receive and upload both deniable media, regular digital media and printed documents. In the case of printed documents, they are expected to scan/ocr the documents or if there prove to be too many, forward some on to a regular drop off.

 

            Is riseup interested in being the location of one of the US drop-offs? We have one in NY, one in CA. Seattle and washington would probably make a full US complement.

 

 

  WikiLeaks.Org

  anon1984@fastmail.to

 

From: Julien Assange me@iq.org

Date: 16 December 2006 19:00:14 GMT+11:00

To: gnu@eff.org, gnu@toad.com

Subject: document leaking

 

 

 

Dear J,

 

            Are you interested in helping us build/support/get support for  this: www.wikileaks.org

 

            We have come to the conclusion that fomenting a world wide movement of mass leaking is the most cost effective political intervention available to us*. We believe that injustice is answered by good governance and for there to be good governance there must be open governance. Governance by stealth is governance by conspiracy and fear. Fear, because without it, secrecy does not last for long. Retired generals and diplomats are vociferous, but those in active service hold their tune.

 

             Lord Action said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it can bear discussion and publicity”.

 

             This degeneration comes about because when injustice is concealed, including plans for future injustice, it cannot be addressed. When governance is closed, man’s eyes become cataracts. When governance is open, man can see and so act to move the world towards a more just> state; for instance see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders which shows a striking correlation between press freedom and countries known for their quality of life.

 

            How will WikiLeaks operate?

            To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.

 

            WikiLeaks will be the outlet for every government official, every bureaucrat, every corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information which the institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WikiLeaks can broadcast to the world.

            WikiLeaksreduces the risk to potential leakers and improves the analysis and dissemination of leaked documents.

            website hosted on a Google server

            WikiLeaks provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable leaking of documents.

            WikiLeaks is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.

 

            Wikia was founded by Angela Beesley and Jimmy Wales, originally under  the name “Wikicities”, in October 2004. It celebrated its first birthday on November 2, 2005. Wikicities relaunched as “Wikia” in  March 2006 Administrative Contact:Wales, Jimmy  jasonr@bomis.com

Wikia Inc.

200 2nd Ave. S

Suite 306

St. Petersburg, Florida 33701

United States

 

Cc: wmreditor@waynemadsenreport.com,

 funtimesahead@lists.riseup.net

 

From: Julien Assange me@iq.org

Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 21:07:48 -0600

To: John Young jya@pipeline.com

Subject: [WL] Re: Wikileaks Suspects You

 

[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.

Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’.

This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer

and plenty of backbone.]

 

 

            John, can you delete the reference to “IQ.ORG” in that document near  “my daughters photo”.

 

 


7 January 2007

A writes:

            Just read the majority of the mailing list conversation and did not understand your, what I thought, sudden shift in direction. I imagine something that did not make its way onto the mailing list conversation prompted you to pull your support and then publish the emails? If so, can you fill us in?

            Cryptome:

            All the messages received were published. My objections had been building, shown in later messages, after initial support. The finally fed-up turnaround occurred with the publication today of the $5 million dollar by July fund-raising goal — see messages at the tail-end. I called that — along with a delay in offering a public discussion and critique forum and failure to provide a credible batch of leaked documents for public scrutiny — a surefire indication of a scam. This is the exact technique used by snake oilers, pols and spies. Requests to Cryptome to keep stuff quiet are regular fare and they always get published. Next up, the names and affiliations of the perps if they don’t reveal themselves in an open forum.

 

 

[A decrypted PGP message.]

 

            Dear J,

 

            The difficulties that confront a conspirator are infinite.

 

            many have been the conspiracies, but few have been successful; because he who conspires can not act alone, nor can he take a companion except from those whom he believes malcontent,

and as soon as you have opened your mind to a malcontent you have given him the material with which to content himself. –Macchiavelli

 

            wikileaks.org, wikileaks.cn, wikileaks.info done

 

            Domain Name:WIKILEAKS.ORG (etc)

 

            Created On:04-Oct-2006 05:54:19 UTC

 

Last Updated On:04-Oct-2006 06:45:38 UTC

Expiration Date:04-Oct-2007 05:54:19 UTC

Sponsoring Registrar:Dynadot, LLC (R1266-LROR)

Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED

Registrant ID:CP-10335

Registrant Name:John Young c/o Dynadot Privacy

Registrant Street1:PO Box 1072

Registrant Street2:

Registrant Street3:

Registrant City:Belmont

Registrant State/Province:CA

Registrant Postal Code:94002

Registrant Country:US

Registrant Phone:+1.6505851961

Registrant Phone Ext.:

Registrant FAX:

Registrant FAX Ext.:

Registrant Email:privacy@dynadot.com

 

The privacy forwarding service is part of the dynadot.com rego.

 

Many thanks. Far from jya to be content 🙂

 

            Beware of attributions like Department of State, they regularly pop up along with TLA nyms. Even idiotic spammers use them.

 

            None of this should hold up publication for that will set in motion a slew of tests from a wide variety of skeptics eager to debunk.

 

            The first debunkers will probably be the media approached to lend credibility and provide exposure. They, rather their lawyers, are ever eager to avoid liability and, worse, loss of reputation marketability. The fret a lot about being stung by “leaks,” black and white. The analysis could bring them around, but it also conveys suspicion of authenticity. Too much caution, though, sharply limits what gets published. This forum got to face the

fact it will be treated with caution until a strong bonafide is established, maybe requiring a ride on the back of a gold plated reputation, but that’s might hard to come by. Still, all the gold-plates

once were once fools gold and rejected by the old reputables, then wham, a supernova of expose brought an invite into the comfy club. Most exposers never make it, and most leakers don’t get the attention they have dreamed of. I think the Net offers opportunities the MSM just won’t provide until the gauntlet is run.

 

            WikiLeaks is developing an uncensorable version of WikiPedia for untraceable mass document leaking and discussion. Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our technology is (like the WikiPedia) fast and usable by non-technical people.

 

            We have received over one million documents so far. We plan to numerically eclipse the content the English WikiPedia with leaked documents and analysis.

 

 [http://www.wikileaks.org/]

 

            We believe fostering a safe, easy, socially sanctified way for uncensorable mass document leaking, publishing and analysis is THE most cost effective generator of good governance. We seek good governance, because good governance does more than run trains on time.

             Good governance responds to the sufferings of its people. Good governance answers injustice.

 

            We are looking for initial advisory board members to advise us politically, since our strengths are in building large technical projects such as the WikiPedia. In particular we’d like your advice

 on:

 

   1. How can WikiLeaks help you as a journalist and consumer of leaks?

   2. How can WikiLeaks motivate, protect, and help your sources or people like them?

   3. Who are some other good people to approach, of the figurehead variety and of

       the will-actually-do-work variety?

   4. What is your advice on political frame setting and possible funding bodies?

 

            We expect difficult state lashback unless WikiLeaks can be given a sanctified frame (“center for human rights, democracy, good government and apple pie press freedom project” vs “hackers strike again”). Our initial reputation is carried over form the success of the WikiPedia, but we do not feel this association is, by itself, enough to protect us. The public support of organisations like FAS, who are in some sense sanctified, is vital to our initial survival.

 

            Advisory board positions will. at least initially, be unpaid, but we feel the role may be of significant interest to you.

 

            There are benefits to exposure even at this early stage: greater publicity, widespread knowledge of the project, scaring oppressive power wherever it resides. Attract more potential users and board members. Obtain more respect.

 

            And costs: greater chance of govt surveillance/attacks. At this stage not much cover from respectable advisory board. Without proper launch and clarifications, all sorts of unfounded attacks can be made. Lose respect.

 

            On the one hand, freedom of information is a respected liberal value, and we may get some sympathy, but I wouldn’t count on it. On the other, institutionally residing within and sympathetic to authoritarian hierarchical structures, corporate media will tend towards pillorying the project as a threat, for any number of potential reasons: for being irresponsible, derailing war on terrorism, undermining perceived good work by governments, whatever.

 

Our options include:

Make a press release or something equivalent.

Don’t respond.

Respond to particular inquiries.

 

            I’m not sure what is the best approach here. Posting a press release on the website is maybe best? Also, maybe we should think about posting some sort of statement of principles eventually? Though it’s maybe a bit early for this?

 

            Corporate media will shy away from or distort nuanced arguments. Need to make a few clear points and hold to them. I suggest the following, as a start, all up for discussion. (In particular, we could be more specific, or more vague about details.)

 

 

            1. Ethics. We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We do not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose oppression or major crimes, we recognise a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, this project provides means and opportunity to minimise such risks.

 

            2. Under construction. The project is not yet fully under way. Membership of our advisory board is not yet settled. Website/editorial policies are not yet fully formulated. No agreed statement of principles is yet published.

 

            3. Gauntlet. We are no friends of oppressive regimes, dictators, authoritarian governmental institutions or exploitative corporations. We fully intend to expose injustice and make the world a better place; this is our overarching goal and all policy will be formulated with this goal in mind.

 

            4. Wikipedia gives reassurance. Concerns raised here regarding privacy and irresponsibility also arise with wikipedia. The wikipedia project has proved remarkably successful at providing accurate, relevant and up-to-date information without breaches of privacy. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting or editing of material, or posting of false material, can be reversed by  other users, and the results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring. There is no reason to expect any different from WL. Indeed, as discovered with wikipedia to the surprise of many, there is hope that the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may provide rapid and accurate dissemination, verification and analysis.

 

            5. Room for debate. There is the possibility of false or malicious leaks. Despite the example of wikipedia, there is the possibility of leaks encroaching upon the privacy of innocent individuals. There are legitimate questions to be asked and discussions to be had. On the one hand censorship is a hallmark of oppressive power structures. On the other, if an absolutely free forum for information distribution is used for irresponsible purposes, it undermines its own goals. In some sense any forum for freely posting information involves the potential for abuse, but measures can be taken to minimise any potential harm. In conjunction with the advisory board, policy will be formulated in line with these considerations. The overriding goal is to provide a forum where embarrassing information can expose injustice; beyond this, no particular method or policy is set in stone.

 

            Thank you for your letter. We’re surprised by the very early press interest , which we would have welcomed later, but which is now difficult for us, as it will affect our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute and other funding bodies.  But as several journalists have contacted us now, there’s clearly no stopping it, so we’ll try do our best to help you.

 

            1. WL was founded by chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. 

            1.1 Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers. 

            2. There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project.

            3. We haven’t sought public feedback so far, but dissident communities have been been very gracious with their assistance.

            4. The wiki does not require registration and the users behaves in the same manner as the Wikipedia. You can’t see the wiki on www.wikileaks.org, because the public launch date is at least a month away.

            5. Wikileaks integrates a number of cryptographic technologies into Wikipedia to create anonymity and censorship resistance while retaining most of Wikipedia’s ease of use and performance including modified versions of http://freenetproject.org, http://tor.eff.org, PGP and software of our own design. 

            6. The prototype has been successful in testing, but there are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full public deployment. These include additional funding, the support of further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media representative bodies (as “consumers” of leaks), language regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.

            7. Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.

 

            We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We do not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose oppression or major crimes, we recognise a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, this project provides means and opportunity to minimise such risks.

 

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Officials: Man who knew Boston bombing suspect was unarmed when shot

by Sari Horwitz and Peter Finn,

 

            A Chechen man who was fatally shot by an FBI agent last week during an interview about one of the Boston bombing suspects was unarmed, law enforcement officials said Wednesday.

 

An air of mystery has surrounded the FBI shooting of Ibragim Todashev, 27, since it occurred in Todashev’s apartment early on the morning of May 22. The FBI said in a news release that day that Todashev, a former Boston resident who knew bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev, was killed during an interview with several law enforcement officers.

 

            The FBI has provided few other details, saying that the matter is being investigated by an FBI review team that may not finish its probe for several months.

 

            “The FBI takes very seriously any shooting incidents involving our agents and as such we have an effective, time-tested process for addressing them internally,” FBI spokesman Paul Bresson said in a statement Wednesday. “The review process is thorough and objective and conducted as expeditiously as possible under the circumstances.”

 

            The Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations on Wednesday called for an independent investigation by the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. Officials said the division and local prosecutors are already reviewing the case.

 

            At the time of the shooting, Todashev was being interviewed about his possible connection to a triple murder in Waltham, Mass., on Sept. 11, 2011. Law enforcement officials said he had acknowledged involvement in the murders and had implicated Tsarnaev. Officials said Todashev was not suspected of involvement in the April 15 Boston bombing.

 

            Tsarnaev was killed in a shootout with police four days after the bombing. His younger brother, Dzhokhar, was captured later that day and remains in custody.

 

            In the statement about Todashev’s shooting issued on the day of the incident, the FBI said that an agent, along with two Massachusetts State Police troopers and other law enforcement personnel, were interviewing “an individual” in connection with the Boston Marathon bombing investigation when a “violent confrontation was initiated by the individual.”

 

            An agent sustained non-life-threatening injuries, later described by one law enforcement official as “some cuts and abrasions.”

 

            Initial reports citing anonymous law-enforcement individuals provided conflicting accounts of what happened. Some law enforcement officials said Todashev wielded a knife and others suggested that he attempted to grab the FBI agent’s gun.

 

            One law enforcement official, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss an ongoing investigation, said Wednesday that Todashev lunged at the agent and overturned a table. But the official said Todashev did not have a gun or a knife. A second official also said Todashev was unarmed.

 

            An official said that according to one account of the shooting, the other law enforcement officials had just stepped out of the room, leaving the FBI agent alone with Todashev, when the confrontation occurred.

 

            The shooting followed hours of questioning by the law enforcement officials that had begun the night before.

 

            Todashev’s father said after the shooting that he didn’t believe the FBI’s account of why they killed his son.

 

            “My son could never commit a crime, I know my son too well,” Abdul-Baki Todashev, who lives in Chechnya, told the Daily Beast Web site. “He worked helping disabled people in America and did sports, coached other sportsmen. The FBI made up their accusations.”

 

            Todashev, a martial arts fighter, met Tamerlan Tsarnaev in fighting circles in Boston before Todashev moved to Orlando.

 

            Todashev’s family said he had a ticket to fly to Russia this month and planned to spend the summer in his native Chechnya.

 

 

The FBI’s Fishy Story on Killing Tsarnaev’s Friend

May 31, 2013

by Matthew Rothschild

The Progressive

 

            This story always smelled a little fishy to me

 

            I’m talking about the FBI’s killing of Ibragim Todashev, the Chechen down in Florida who was a friend of Tamerlan Tsarnaev. When he was fatally shot by an FBI agent on May 22 while being questioned by several law enforcement officers, we were told that he had lunged at an agent with a knife or tried to grab the agent’s weapon.

 

            Well, now it turns out he didn’t have a knife, according to the Washington Post. (And the excuse “he lunged for my weapon” is one of the most common police lies in the book.)

 

            Now I’m prepared to believe that Todashev was no angel. The FBI said he confessed to involvement with Tamerlan Tsarnaev in a triple murder in Waltham, Massachussets, on September 11, 2011.

 

            But Todashev, like everyone here in the United States, was supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Yet he was never charged and never faced trial. Instead, he was fatally shot seven times while unarmed.

 

            And now we’ll never know for sure what involvement he had, or Tsarnaev had, in that triple murder or whether he, too, was involved somehow in the Boston marathon bombings.

 

            But the larger point is simply this: Too many people in our country die at the hands of law enforcement every year.

 

            And the excuses are often lame, as they appear to be in this case.

 

Point-Blank Shot Killed Friend of Alleged Boston Bomber – Father

May 30, 2013

by Alexey Eremenko

RIA Novosti

 

Updated with FBI comment.

 

            MOSCOW, May 30 (Alexey Eremenko, RIA Novosti) – The father of Ibragim Todashev, who was shot to death last week by US authorities while being questioned about the Boston Marathon bombing suspects, said Thursday that his son was killed with a point-blank shot to the head, raising even more questions about an already murky case.

 

            “He was questioned for eight hours,” Abdulbaki Todashev told reporters in Moscow. “Then they shot him, six times in the body and once in the head.”

 

            The May 22 shooting death has been cloaked in mystery, with US media raising questions early on about officials’ use of lethal force – a concern echoed by the dead man’s father.

 

            “They could have wounded him, in the leg or the shoulder. But this is a killing with a ‘control shot,’” Todashev said, using the Russian phrase for a point-blank shot used by hit men to ensure their victim is dead. He also showed reporters photographs of what looked like his son’s bullet-riddled body, including one of a bullet wound to the head.

 

            “I’ve only seen things like that in movies,” he said in an even, almost detached tone.

 

            The FBI has said it is conducting an investigation into the incident. In emailed comments, Dave Couvetier, a spokesman for the FBI in the Orlando area, where the internal investigation is being handled, directed RIA Novosti to a Thursday statement on the FBI’s website saying the bureau would not comment on details of the case until the ongoing internal review is wrapped up. It gave no time frame.

 

            On the day of the shooting, law enforcement officials had been questioning the younger Todashev at his home in Orlando, Florida, both about his relationship with Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the older of the suspected marathon bombers, and an unsolved 2011 triple murder in a Boston suburb. One of the victims had reportedly been a close friend of Tsarnaev’s and investigators were trying to piece together whether Tsarnaev and Todashev had been involved in the killing.

 

            According to early media reports, including one in the New York Times, unnamed law enforcement officials said Ibragim Todashev had admitted to carrying out the murder with Tsarnaev, but then went “off the deep end” and attacked the investigators with an unidentified object – “a knife or a pipe or something” – and was killed before writing a confession.

 

            The Washington Post, also citing unnamed law enforcement sources, reported Wednesday that Todashev had been unarmed.

 

            The elder Todashev said Ibragim had never mentioned the murder case to him.

 

            Ibragim, a 27-year-old native of Russia’s Chechnya region who had lived in America since 2008, met the bombing suspects, fellow ethnic Chechens Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, in Boston, where he used to live, the father told reporters. (Earlier media reports had only linked Ibragim to Tamerlan.)

 

            The three were mixed martial arts enthusiasts and used the same gym, but they were never close friends, the father said, adding that his son was a devout Muslim but not a fundamentalist.

 

            Ibragim had never believed that the Tsarnaevs were behind the Boston bombings, which killed three and injured over 200 in April, his father said.

 

            Abdulbaki Todashev also complained that the FBI had not provided his family with any information about Ibragim’s death. The photos he showed at the press conference, which seem to have been taken in a morgue or funeral home, had been obtained through contacts in United States, Todashev said.

 

            He offered conflicting explanations for the shooting, first saying the law enforcement agents may have wanted to rob Ibragim and then speculating that they may have wanted to silence him for an unspecified reason.

 

            “They are bandits, not FBI agents,” he said. He questioned the reasons for shooting his son in the back of the head, though stopped short of explicitly saying the agents deliberately killed him.

 

            A US Islamic group called Thursday for an official investigation into the killing, saying it planned to file a formal complaint with the US Department of Justice.

 

            The Todashevs fled war-torn Chechnya in the 1990s, settling in Russia’s Saratov region, a thousand kilometers to the north. They moved back to the Chechen capital Grozny in 2008, said the father, who now works in the city administration.

 

            Ibragim Todashev, the eldest of 12 siblings, obtained permanent residency in the United States last March, his father said, adding that Ibragim was due to fly back to Russia for his first visit since 2008 on May 24.

 

Father of Russian Killed in Boston Probe Weighs FBI Lawsuit

August 6, 2013

RIA Novosti

 

            WASHINGTON, August 6 (RIA Novosti) – The father of a Chechen immigrant shot dead by an FBI agent during questioning in connection with the Boston Marathon bomb attack was to meet Tuesday with lawyers in Florida and is considering a lawsuit against the FBI, civil rights groups said.

 

            Abdulbaki Todashev was to meet with representatives from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is representing Todashev in connection with the shooting death of his son, Ibrahim Todashev, by an FBI agent during a May 22 interrogation in Orlando, Florida, according to Hassan Shibly, director of CAIR’s branch in Tampa, Florida.

 

            “Basically we’re exploring the legal options that we have,” Shibly told RIA Novosti on Tuesday. “Our office should know in the next few weeks whether that involves a lawsuit against the FBI.”

 

            Time Magazine reported Monday that Todashev plans to file a wrongful-death lawsuit against the FBI in order to force the agency to disclose details about his son’s shooting by a Boston-based FBI agent during an interrogation by several different law enforcement agencies.

 

            At the time of his death, Ibragim Todashev, 27, was being questioned at his Orlando apartment about a triple murder in the Boston area and about his relationship to suspected marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev, who was killed during a shootout with police in the Boston suburb of Watertown four days after the deadly April 15 Boston attack.

 

            Both Todashev and Tsarnaev moved to the United States from the former Soviet Union, and both men had ethnic and family roots in the volatile southern Russian republic of Chechnya.

 

            Todashev had once lived in Boston and was a “casual friend” of Tsarnaev as both were involved at some point in mixed martial-arts fighting, the Orland television station WESH reported after Todashev’s death.

 

            The report said that Todashev and Tsarnaev had spoken by phone or Skype for about five minutes around one week before the April 15 twin bomb attacks in Boston that killed three people and wounded more than 260 others. Tsarnaev was killed during a shootout with police several days after the attack.

 

            Shibly said CAIR is continuing its own investigation into Todashev’s death and said its investigators have evidence suggesting that he was shot while he was on the ground. The FBI’s decision to block the release of Todashev’s autopsy by the Florida medical examiner’s office last month, however, has delayed the release of the group’s investigation, Shibly said.

 

            “The only way to confirm if he was on the ground when he was shot – making the circumstances of his death a lot more questionable – is based on information in the autopsy,” he said. “We need to get that information.”

 

            Hours after the shooting media reports quoting law enforcement officials said Todashev was being interviewed by the FBI about a possible connection to a Sept. 11, 2011 triple murder in Waltham, Massachusetts. The officials said Todashev had acknowledged his involvement in the murders and had also implicated Tsarnaev.

 

            Accounts from law enforcement officials published by US media in the immediate aftermath of the shooting were contradictory, with some saying Todashev was armed with a knife and others saying he attempted to grab an FBI agent’s gun.

 

            The Washington Post, however, cited an unidentified law enforcement official in May as saying that Todashev was not holding a gun or a knife when he was shot seven times by the FBI agent.

 

            Shibly said CAIR had also uncovered what he called “very clearly illegal acts in the days leading up to the shooting,” including harassment of Todashev’s friends by investigators and purported threats by the FBI to jail two Russian citizens “of Chechen background” and revoke their US green cards if they did not spy on local Muslim “houses of worship” and restaurants frequented by Muslim clientele in the Orlando area.

 

            Baylor Johnson, a spokesman for the ACLU of Florida, told RIA Novosti that while the prominent rights group’s representatives will meet with Todashev’s father on Tuesday, the ACLU does not participate in wrongful-death lawsuits.

 

            Both the ACLU and CAIR, however, have fiercely criticized the official shroud of silence enveloping Todashev’s death.

 

            CAIR filed a formal complaint with the US Department of Justice in June in connection with the case, while the ACLU last month called on Florida and Massachusetts to open their open their own investigations into the deadly shooting,

 

            “Based on several of the reports, it seems unlikely that the agents were justified in using deadly force against a single unarmed suspect,” CAIR’s civil rights director, Thania Diaz Clevenger, said in the complaint. “The circumstances surrounding the shooting are at the very least alarming.”

 

            “Florida officials are simply deferring to the FBI, allowing the FBI to investigate itself, but it is difficult to accept the FBI’s honesty in this matter,” the ACLU wrote in a July 22 letter to Commissioner Gerald Bailey of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, adding, “Now, more than eight weeks later, the public has very little information about this incident.”

 

            In a similar letter to Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley, the ACLU pointed to a New York Times analysis that found “FBI shooting reviews… virtually always clear the agency of wrongdoing.”

 

            Authorities in Massachusetts and Florida have refused to investigate Todashev’s death independently, leaving his survivors little recourse other than a civil suit to force disclosures about the circumstances of the shooting, ACLU staff attorney Yvette Acosta MacMillan told Time this week.

 

            “They would be able to obtain the records and the information through discovery in a lawsuit because right now, none of the information, none of the documents are being released,” the attorney, who works in the organization’s Florida chapter, was quoted by Time as saying.

 

 FBI allowed informants to commit 5,600 crimes

New documents show FBI agents gave their informants permission to break the law thousands of times in 2011.

 

August 4, 2013

by Brad Heath

USA TODAY

 

WASHINGTON — The FBI gave its informants permission to break the law at least 5,658 times in a single year, according to newly disclosed documents that show just how often the nation’s top law enforcement agency enlists criminals to help it battle crime.

 

The U.S. Justice Department ordered the FBI to begin tracking crimes by its informants more than a decade ago, after the agency admitted that its agents had allowed Boston mobster James “Whitey” Bulger to operate a brutal crime ring in exchange for information about the Mafia. The FBI submits that tally to top Justice Department officials each year, but has never before made it public.

 

Agents authorized 15 crimes a day, on average, including everything from buying and selling illegal drugs to bribing government officials and plotting robberies. FBI officials have said in the past that permitting their informants — who are often criminals themselves — to break the law is an indispensable, if sometimes distasteful, part of investigating criminal organizations.

 

“It sounds like a lot, but you have to keep it in context,” said Shawn Henry, who supervised criminal investigations for the FBI until he retired last year. “This is not done in a vacuum. It’s not done randomly. It’s not taken lightly.”

 

USA TODAY obtained a copy of the FBI’s 2011 report under the Freedom of Information Act. The report does not spell out what types of crimes its agents authorized, or how serious they were. It also did not include any information about crimes the bureau’s sources were known to have committed without the government’s permission.

 

Crimes authorized by the FBI almost certainly make up a tiny fraction of the total number of offenses committed by informants for local, state and federal agencies each year. The FBI was responsible for only about 10% of the criminal cases prosecuted in federal court in 2011, and federal prosecutions are, in turn, vastly outnumbered by criminal cases filed by state and local authorities, who often rely on their own networks of sources.

 

“The million-dollar question is: How much crime is the government tolerating from its informants?” said Alexandra Natapoff, a professor at Loyola Law School Los Angeles who has studied such issues. “I’m sure that if we really knew that number, we would all be shocked.”

 

A spokeswoman for the FBI, Denise Ballew, declined to answer questions about the report, saying only that the circumstances in which its informants are allowed to break the law are “situational, tightly controlled,” and subject to Justice Department policy. The FBI almost always keeps its informants’ work secret. The agency said in a 2007 budget request that it has a network of about 15,000 confidential sources.

 

Justice Department rules put tight limits on when and how those informants can engage in what the agency calls “otherwise illegal activity.” Agents are not allowed to authorize violent crimes under any circumstances; the most serious crimes must first be approved by federal prosecutors. Still, the department’s Inspector General concluded in 2005 that the FBI routinely failed to follow many of those rules.

 

The rules require the FBI — but not other law enforcement agencies — to report the total number of crimes authorized by its agents each year. USA TODAY asked the FBI for all of the reports it had prepared since 2006, but FBI officials said they could locate only one, which they released after redacting nearly all of the details.

 

Other federal law enforcement agencies, including the ATF and the DEA, said last year that they cannot determine how often their informants are allowed to break the law.

 

“This is all being operated clandestinely. Congress doesn’t even have the information,” said Rep. Stephen Lynch, D-Mass., who sponsored a bill that would require federal agencies to notify lawmakers about the most serious crimes their informants commit. “I think there’s a problem here, and we should have full disclosure to Congress.”

 

Bulger, long a notorious Mob figure, is facing murder and racketeering charges in federal court in Boston. Prosecutors allege that he used his status as an FBI informant to steer police away from his own crime ring. Bulger has not disputed some of the charges against him, but his lawyers insist that he was not an informant; the former crime boss on Friday called the case “a sham.”
Germany ends Cold War spying pact with US, Britain

August 2, 2013

by Frank Jordan

AP

 

            BERLIN (AP) — Germany canceled a Cold War-era surveillance pact with the United States and Britain on Friday in response to revelations by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden about those countries’ alleged electronic eavesdropping operations.

 

The move appeared largely symbolic, designed to show that the German government was taking action to stop unwarranted surveillance directed against its citizens without actually jeopardizing relations with Washington and London. With weeks to go before national elections, opposition parties had seized on Snowden’s claim that Germany was complicit in the NSA’s intelligence-gathering operations.

 

Government officials have insisted that U.S. and British intelligence were never given permission to break Germany’s strict privacy laws. But they conceded last month that an agreement dating back to the late 1960s gave the U.S., Britain and France the right to request German authorities to conduct surveillance operations within Germany to protect their troops stationed there.

 

“The cancellation of the administrative agreements, which we have pushed for in recent weeks, is a necessary and proper consequence of the recent debate about protecting personal privacy,” Germany’s Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said in a statement.

 

British Foreign Office brushed off the significance of the German move. “It’s a loose end from a previous era which is right to tie up,” the Foreign Office said in a statement, noting that the agreement had not been used since 1990.

 

A spokeswoman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin, Ruth Bennett, confirmed that the agreement had been canceled but declined to comment further on the issue.

 

A German official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also said the cancellation would have little practical consequences.

 

He said the agreement had not been invoked since the end of the Cold War and would have no impact on current intelligence cooperation between Germany and its NATO allies. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to publicly discuss the issue.

 

Germany is currently in talks with France to cancel its part of the agreement as well.

 

Public reaction in Germany to Snowden’s revelations was particularly strong, with civil rights campaigners recalling the mass surveillance carried out by secret police in communist East Germany and during the Nazi era. Chancellor Angela Merkel went so far as to raise the issue of alleged NSA spying with President Barack Obama when he visited Berlin in June.

 

“The government needs to do something to show voters it’s taking the issue seriously,” said Henning Riecke of the German Council on Foreign Relations, a Berlin-based think tank. “Ending an agreement made in the pre-Internet age gives the Germans a chance to show they’re doing something, and at the same time the Americans know it’s not going to hurt them. Given the good relations between the intelligence agencies, they’ll get the information they need anyway.”

 

According to Snowden, Germany has been a particular focus on U.S. intelligence gathering operations in recent years. Several of those who plotted and carried out the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States had lived in Germany.

 

In March 2011, two U.S. Air Force members were killed and two wounded when a gunman from Kosovo fired on a military bus at Frankfurt International Airport. The gunman told police he was motivated by anger over the U.S.-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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