Government Corruption News Stories
Excerpts of Key Government Corruption News Stories in Major Media
Below are many highly revealing excerpts of important government corruption news stories reported in the major media that suggest a major cover-up.
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New York Times editor: we failed to do our job after 9/11
2015-01-28, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-09 04:09:32
Dean Baquet, the executive editor of the New York Times, believes his newspaper – in company with the US mainstream media – failed their audiences after 9/11. He told the German news magazine Der Spiegel that he agreed with the criticism originally made by an NYT reporter, James Risen, Baquet said: “The mainstream press was not aggressive enough after 9/11, was not aggressive enough in asking questions about a decision to go to war in Iraq, was not aggressive enough in asking the hard questions about the war on terror. I accept that for the Los Angeles Times and the New York Times”. Baquet, in charge of the NYT since May 2014, was previously editor-in-chief of the LA Times. In his wide-ranging interview with Der Spiegel, Baquet also spoke about the NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden having chosen to tell his story to the Guardian. He said he regards the Guardian as “a new competitor [for the NYT] in the digital age.” He said: “Does it make me nervous that they compete with us and in fact beat us on the Snowden story? Yes. "It hurt a lot. It meant two things. Morally, it meant that somebody with a big story to tell didn’t think we were the place to go, and that’s painful. And then it also meant that we got beaten on what was arguably the biggest national security story in many, many years.
Note: When asked about the New York Times' refusal to report on military drone base locations in the interview referenced above, Baquet recalls, "A high-ranking CIA official called me up and made the case to leave out where the drone base was. It was Saudi Arabia. I accepted it. And I was wrong." For more along these lines, see these concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about mass media manipulation.
Wall Street's threat to the American middle class
2015-01-27, Chicago Tribune
Posted: 2015-02-09 04:07:22
The middle class can't be saved unless Wall Street is tamed. Yet most presidential aspirants don't want to talk about taming the Street because Wall Street is one of their largest sources of campaign money. Six years ago ... the financial collapse crippled the middle class and poor, consuming the savings of millions of average Americans and causing 23 million to lose their jobs, 9.3 million to lose their health insurance and some 1 million to lose their homes. A repeat performance is not unlikely. Wall Street's biggest banks are much larger now than they were then. Five of them hold about 45 percent of America's banking assets. In 2000, they held 25 percent. Meanwhile, the Street's lobbyists have gotten Congress to repeal a provision of Dodd-Frank curbing excessive speculation by the big banks. The language was drafted by Citigroup and personally pushed by Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase. It's nice that presidential aspirants are talking about rebuilding America's middle class. But to be credible, the candidates have to [propose] to limit the size of the biggest Wall Street banks, to resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act (which used to separate investment banking from commercial banking), to define insider trading the way most other countries do (using information any reasonable person would know is unavailable to most investors), and to close the revolving door between the Street and the U.S. Treasury. It also means not depending on the Street to finance their campaigns.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in government and the financial industry.
'Suppressed' EU report could have banned pesticides worth billions
2015-02-02, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-09 04:04:58
As many as 31 pesticides with a value running into billions of pounds could have been banned because of potential health risks, if a blocked EU paper on hormone-mimicking chemicals had been acted upon. The science paper, seen by the Guardian, recommends ways of identifying and categorising the endocrine-disrupting chemicals (EDCs) that scientists link to a rise in foetal abnormalities, genital mutations, infertility, and adverse health effects ranging from cancer to IQ loss. Commission sources say that the paper was buried by top EU officials under pressure from big chemical firms which use EDCs in toiletries, plastics and cosmetics, despite an annual health cost that studies peg at hundreds of millions of euros. The unpublished EU paper ... was supposed to have enabled EU bans of hazardous substances to take place last year. Under pressure from major chemical industry players, such as Bayer and BASF, the criteria were blocked. In their place, less stringent options emerged. Last month, 11 MEPs complained in a cross-party letter to the health and food safety commissioner, Vytenis Andriukaitis, about the EU’s failure to honour its mandate and adopt the EDC criteria. This was supposed to have happened by the end of 2013. In place of the proposed identification of hormone-mimicking compounds, the EU’s current roadmap favours industry-supported options for potency-based measurements of EDCs. These would set thresholds, below which exposure to low-potency EDCs would be deemed safe.
Note: One key study estimates that as few as zero endocrine-disrupting pesticides will be withdrawn from the EU market as a result of this profit-driven manipulation of policy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing articles about corporate and government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Ohio Men Wrongly Convicted of Murder After 39 Years Released
2014-11-21, NBC News
Posted: 2015-02-09 04:02:40
Two Ohio men wrongly accused of murder experienced freedom for the first time in nearly four decades on Friday morning, but said they don’t harbor bitterness over their unjust imprisonment. A Cleveland judge on Wednesday had dropped all charges against Ricky Jackson, 57, and Wiley Bridgeman, 60, allowing for the pair’s release. Jackson was 19 when he was convicted along with Bridgeman and Bridgeman’s brother, Ronnie, in the 1975 shooting death and robbery of Harold Franks, a Cleveland-area money order salesman. Testimony from a 12-year-old witness helped point to Jackson as the triggerman and led a jury to convict. The witness, Edward Vernon, now 53, recanted his testimony last year, saying he was coerced by detectives, according to Cuyahoga County court documents. Vernon wrote in a 2013 affidavit that he never saw the murder take place, but he was told by detectives that if he didn’t testify against Jackson, his parents would be arrested. The Ohio Innocence Project, which took up the case, said Jackson had been the longest-held U.S. prisoner to be exonerated. Jackson was originally sentenced to death, but that sentence was vacated because of a paperwork error. The Bridgeman brothers remained on death row until Ohio declared the death penalty unconstitutional in 1978. “One of them came within 20 days of execution before Ohio ruled the death penalty unconstitutional” said Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project.
Note: Watch an inspiring five-minute video of this beautiful man who was originally sentenced to death based largely on the testimony of a 12 year old, who it turns out was coerced by police to blame him. And how many have been wrongly executed that we will never know about? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing civil liberties articles from reliable major media sources.
CIA did use United Kingdom territory for secret terror interrogations, says top US official
2015-01-30, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-09 03:59:54
Terror suspects held by the CIA were interrogated on the British owned island of Diego Garcia despite the repeated denials of London and Washington that any such incidents took place, a senior American official said today. Lawrence Wilkerson, who was the chief aide to former US Secretary of State Colin Powell, said the remote UK-administered military base in the Indian Ocean was used as a back-up location for “nefarious activities”, such as the questioning of prisoners in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. In an interview with the Vice News website, Mr Wilkerson said that Diego Garcia did not host a permanent CIA prison but was used as a back-up location to conduct interrogations. Mr Wilkerson, 70, who served as chief of staff to Mr Powell throughout the Iraq war, said he had not learnt of the CIA’s alleged use of Diego Garcia until after he stepped down in 2005. He said that on the basis of his own experience while serving on the island in the 1980s and information from his sources, he believed it to be unlikely that any interrogations could have happened without the knowledge of British liaison staff who are in command of the base. The former Prime Minister Tony Blair and Foreign Secretary Jack Straw have previously denied any use of the coral atoll for rendition. It was reported last year by Al Jazeera that the Senate Intelligence Committee report, which provided an account of torture by the CIA, would confirm Diego Garcia was used for rendition “with the full co-operation of the UK”. When the document was published the locations of black sites had been redacted.
Note: Diego Garcia has been known to be a center for the CIA's nefarious activities for years. This newspaper article shows how the torture was sometimes done on military "prison ships" near the island to keep it hidden from the people there.
New police radars can 'see' inside homes
2015-01-20, USA Today
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:39:27
At least 50 U.S. law enforcement agencies have secretly equipped their officers with radar devices that allow them to effectively peer through the walls of houses to see whether anyone is inside. Those agencies, including the FBI and the U.S. Marshals Service, began deploying the radar systems more than two years ago with little notice to the courts and no public disclosure of when or how they would be used. The technology raises legal and privacy issues because the U.S. Supreme Court has said officers generally cannot use high-tech sensors to tell them about the inside of a person's house without first obtaining a search warrant. The radars work like finely tuned motion detectors, using radio waves to zero in on movements as slight as human breathing from a distance of more than 50 feet. They can detect whether anyone is inside of a house, where they are and whether they are moving. The device the Marshals Service and others are using [was] first designed for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. They represent the latest example of battlefield technology finding its way home to civilian policing and bringing complex legal questions with it. Those concerns are especially thorny when it comes to technology that lets the police determine what's happening inside someone's home.
Note: This technology is not new. Working as interpreter in Washington, DC, WantToKnow.info founder Fred Burks witnessed this technology being used by the police there in the late 1980s. For more along these lines, see this deeply revealing summarized NPR report about The Pentagon's massive Program 1033 to widely distribute military hardware to domestic police forces.
Revealed: how Blair colluded with Gaddafi regime in secret
2015-01-23, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:36:27
Libyan government papers pieced together by [a] team of London lawyers show [that] Tony Blair wrote to Colonel Muammar Gaddafi to thank him for the “excellent cooperation” between the two countries’ counter-terrorism agencies. The letter, written in 2007, followed a period in which the dictator’s intelligence officers were permitted to operate in the UK, approaching and intimidating Libyan refugees. Addressed “Dear Mu’ammar” and signed “Best wishes yours ever, Tony”, the letter was among hundreds of pages of documents recovered from Libyan government offices following the 2011 revolution. Six Libyan men, the widow of a seventh, and five British citizens of Libyan and Somali origin are bringing claims against the British government on the basis of the recovered documents, alleging false imprisonment, blackmail, misfeasance in public office and conspiracy to assault. The recovered documents show that MI5 and MI6 submitted more than 1,600 questions to be put to two opposition leaders after they had been kidnapped with British assistance and flown to one of Gaddafi’s prisons. Both men say they suffered appalling torture. On Thursday an attempt by government lawyers to have the case struck out without admitting liability failed when the high court ruled the allegations “are of real potential public concern” and should be heard and dealt with by the courts.
Note: British intelligence agencies have been trying to silence the lawyers filing this lawsuit, and got caught illegally spying on them. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in intelligence agencies and government.
The Davos oligarchs are right to fear the world they’ve made
2015-01-22, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:31:10
The billionaires and corporate oligarchs meeting in Davos this week are getting worried about inequality. The architects of the crisis-ridden international economic order are starting to see the dangers ... of the widest global economic gulf in human history. The scale of the crisis has been laid out for them by the charity Oxfam. On current trends, the richest 1% will have pocketed more than the other 99% put together next year. The 0.1% have been doing even better, quadrupling their share of US income since the 1980s. In most of the world, labour’s share of national income has fallen continuously and wages have stagnated under this regime of privatisation, deregulation and low taxes on the rich. At the same time finance has sucked wealth from the public realm into the hands of a small minority, even as it has laid waste the rest of the economy. Now the evidence has piled up that not only is such appropriation of wealth a moral and social outrage, but it is fuelling social and climate conflict, wars, mass migration and political corruption, stunting health and life chances, increasing poverty, and widening gender and ethnic divides. Escalating inequality has also been a crucial factor in the economic crisis of the past seven years, squeezing demand and fuelling the credit boom. The thinking person’s Davos oligarch realises that allowing things to carry on as they are is dangerous. What they won’t accept is any change in the balance of social power.
Note: Oxfam's complete report "identifies the two powerful driving forces that have led to the rapid rise in inequality" as "market fundamentalism and the capture of politics by elites." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and secret societies which manipulate global politics.
Lawyers for Billionaire Sex Offender Linked to Prince Andrew Scandal Ask Judge to Keep Documents Sealed
2015-01-27, ABC News
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:25:46
Attorneys for convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein claim in a new court filing that the billionaire financier will be "irreparably harmed" if emails and letters his lawyers sent to federal prosecutors during plea negotiations are made public. Epstein's legal brief ... represents his first formal statements since explosive allegations emerged last month that he had forced a then-17-year-old girl to have sex with Britain's Prince Andrew and other powerful men. Virginia Roberts, 31, [has recently] claimed in court documents that Epstein had kept her for sex for years as a teenager, [as well as] trafficked her for sex with a host of his prominent associates, including ... Prince Andrew [and] Harvard legal professor Alan Dershowitz. Epstein ... was the subject of wide-ranging state and federal investigations, beginning in 2005, looking into claims that he had illegal sexual contact with dozens of minor girls at his Palm Beach mansion and elsewhere. By mid-2007, he was facing a potential federal indictment for alleged sex crimes involving nearly three-dozen teenage girls. If charged and convicted, he could have faced 10 years to life in prison. Instead, Epstein entered into [an] unusual and, at the time, confidential non-prosecution agreement with the federal government. Dershowitz was among a group of prominent attorneys who helped Epstein secure the deal, which also granted federal immunity to any possible co-conspirators who may have assisted Epstein in the commission of the alleged crimes.
Note: Watch powerful evidence in a suppressed Discovery Channel documentary showing that child sexual abuse scandals reach to the highest levels of government. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing sex abuse scandal news articles from reliable major media sources.
The war on leaks has gone way too far when journalists' emails are under surveillance
2015-01-25, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:19:26
The outrageous legal attack on WikiLeaks and its staffers ... is an attack on freedom of the press itself. WikiLeaks has had their Twitter accounts secretly spied on, been forced to forfeit most of their funding after credit card companies unilaterally cut them off, had the FBI place an informant inside their news organization, watched their supporters hauled before a grand jury, and been the victim of the UK spy agency GCHQ hacking of their website and spying on their readers. Now we’ve learned that, as The Guardian reported on Sunday, the Justice Department got a warrant in 2012 to seize the contents – plus the metadata on emails received, sent, drafted and deleted – of three WikiLeaks’ staffers personal Gmail accounts. The tactics used against WikiLeaks by the Justice Department in their war on leaks [are] also used against mainstream news organizations. For example, after the Washington Post revealed in 2013 the Justice Department had gotten a warrant for the personal Gmail account of Fox News reporter James Rosen in 2010 without his knowledge. Despite the ongoing legal pressure, WikiLeaks has continued to publish important documents in the public interest.
Note: In recent years, Wikileaks' radical transparency has made draft texts of the Trans-Pacific Partnership public, and uncovered a secret CIA report that suggests the US government’s policy of assassinating foreign 'terrorists' does more harm than good. So who is the real problem here?
King Abdullah dead: We can't afford not to hold Saudi Arabia's royals to account
2015-01-25, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-02-02 13:17:14
What do you call the unelected leader of a state that beheads people in public, permits only one faith and exports an extreme form of Islam to other countries? If he happens to be Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, self-appointed caliph of Islamic State (Isis), the answer is one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. If he is King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud, the proper form of address is “Your Majesty”. Yesterday, the Prince of Wales and the Prime Minister turned up in Riyadh to pay their respects to Salman’s half-brother, King Abdullah, whose death was announced on Friday. Flags flew at half-mast in Whitehall while David Cameron ... praised the deceased despot’s efforts towards “strengthening understanding between faiths”. This is the same David Cameron who marched in Paris two weeks ago in solidarity with the victims of al-Qaeda-inspired terrorism. Barack Obama ... found the time to praise the absolute monarch and hailed the US-Saudi relationship “as a force for stability and security in the Middle East”. Few of the people hailing Abdullah as a “reformer” said anything about [how] the Saudi royal family promoted the puritanical ideology that created al-Qaeda and its offshoots, [and] sent Osama bin Laden and other young Saudis to fight in Afghanistan, creating a worldwide jihadist movement. Since then, Wahhabist ideology has inspired horrific attacks on civilians in the Middle East, Africa, the US and a string of European capitals.
Note: Read how several current and former US government officials have been trying to expose the Saudi government money behind terrorism. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing government corruption articles from reliable major media sources.
Defense contractor pleads guilty in massive bribery case
2015-01-15, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:56:13
Malaysian defense contractor [Leonard Glenn Francis] pleaded guilty [to bribing] "scores" of U.S. Navy officials [while] presiding over a decade-long corruption scheme. His Singapore-based firm, Glenn Defense Marine Asia ... bilked the service out of tens of millions of dollars. Five current and former Navy officials have pleaded guilty so far. Francis, 50, agreed to forfeit $35 million in ill-gotten proceeds and could face up to 25 years in prison. [He also] provided evidence against two more Navy officials who have yet to be charged: a lieutenant commander and a ... civilian official [that] worked as a mole for Glenn Defense Marine. The Navy says that [Frances] was repeatedly able to thwart criminal investigators by bribing a senior agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, who fed him sensitive files and helped to cover his tracks. A Navy captain, Daniel Dusek, admitted to disclosing military secrets to Francis and his firm in exchange for prostitutes, cash and visits to luxury hotels. Dusek provided classified information about Navy ship schedules dozens of times. According to court records, in October 2010, Dusek [as deputy director of operations for the 7th Fleet] persuaded the Navy to send an aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, and its strike group to visit a port in Malaysia that was largely controlled by Glenn Defense Marine. As a result, the company was able to easily inflate invoices and overcharge the Navy.
Note: Frances bribed Naval officials to redirect an aircraft carrier, and avoided prosecution for years by also bribing military investigators. If he could do this, and if Brent R. Wilkes could persuade the #3 Official at the CIA to award him millions in suspicious agency contracts, what else have corrupt government officials been bribed to do?
Air Force UFO files land on Internet
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:53:19
Nearly 130,000 pages of declassified Air Force files on UFO investigations and sightings are now available in one place online. Declassified government records about UFOs have long existed on microfilm in the National Archives in Washington, DC. Many of them also live on websites devoted to the topic. But UFO enthusiast John Greenewald says his database, Project Blue Book Collection, is the first to compile every single declassified document from the Blue Book project -- headquartered at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio from 1947 to 1969 -- in one place for anyone to search or download for free. The collection consists of files from Project Blue Book, Project Sign and Project Grudge, the names given to official investigations into unidentified flying objects by the United States military. Greenewald's ... says he's just driven by curiosity. "I'm a history buff. I think this stuff should be accessible," he said. "It defied explanation," he said, "and 5,000 FOIAs later my curiosity hasn't gone away." The collection contains 10,000 PDFs, each representing a different case. The files include the details of some of the most famous UFO cases, including the Exeter incident, the Kenneth Arnold sighting and the Mantell crash. Still, Greenewald believes the contents are "just the tip of the iceberg." "It's all a puzzle," he said. "Just when you think you've got all the pieces to make a picture, you realize it's only a piece of a bigger puzzle."
Note: Explore Greenewald's revealing searchable archive of Air Force UFO files. For more along these lines, see the excellent, reliable resources provided in our comprehensive UFO Information Center.
CIA torture report architect denounces Republican attempt to claw back copies
2015-01-21, The Guardian (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:43:00
Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who relinquished the chairmanship of the intelligence committee ... said she objects to Senator Richard Burr's request that the Obama administration return all copies of the full, 6,000-plus-page classified [torture] study. "Doing so would limit the ability to learn lessons from this sad chapter in America's history and omit from the record two years of work," Feinstein said in a statement late on Tuesday. In an extraordinary epilogue to the battle between the Senate intelligence committee and the CIA over the torture report, new chairman Burr, a North Carolina Republican, requested that administration agencies return to the committee all copies of the full report. Burr's request was first reported by the New York Times and the Huffington Post. The Times noted that Burr's request would have the effect of placing the classified report beyond the reach of the Freedom of Information Act, which exempts Congress. President Obama has [given the report] rhetorical support, but [empowered] the CIA to determine what portions of a critique of the agency ought to be public. A CIA-appointed review panel also recently found that the agency's director, John Brennan, consulted with the White House chief of staff, Denis McDonough, before agency employees surreptitiously accessed emails and drafts from committee investigators. Feinstein said in March that the breach represented a constitutional crisis, with the CIA spying on its Senate overseers.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about corruption in intelligence agencies and government.
John Brennan Exonerates Himself with Sham Investigation
2015-01-15, The Intercept
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:31:48
The outrageous whitewash issued Wednesday by the CIA panel John Brennan hand-picked to lead the investigation into his agency's spying on Senate staffers is being taken seriously by the elite Washington media, which is solemnly reporting that officials have been "cleared" of any "wrongdoing". The panel's report is just the latest element in a long string of cover-ups and deceptions orchestrated by Brennan. At issue, of course, is the same intrusion into Senate computers that Brennan initially tried to make people think was a figment of then-Senate Intelligence Committee Chair Dianne Feinstein's warped imagination. "Nothing could be further from the truth," Brennan said when confronted with Feinstein's allegations. Senator Ron Wyden ... issued a statement in response to the newly released documents: "First, agency officers and contractors went far beyond the limits set out even in the Justice Department's torture memos. Then, top officials spent a decade making inaccurate statements about torture's effectiveness to Congress, the White House and the American people. Next, instead of acknowledging these years of misrepresentations, the CIA's current leadership decided to double down on denial. And when CIA officials were worried that the Intelligence Committee had found a document that contradicted their claims, they secretly searched Senate computer files to find out if Senate investigators had obtained it." The panel's report can also be seen as Brennan's total assault on David B. Buckley, the CIA inspector general who wrote the first, highly critical report on the incident – and who suddenly resigned a few days ago.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about the manipulation of mass media and the routine dishonesty of intelligence agencies from reliable sources.
Prison Dispatches from the War on Terror: Ex-CIA Officer John Kiriakou Speaks
2015-01-19, The Intercept
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:29:05
John Kiriakou is the only CIA employee to go to prison in connection with the agency's torture program. Not because he tortured anyone, but because he revealed information on torture to a reporter. Kiriakou is the Central Intelligence Agency officer who told ABC News in 2007 that the CIA waterboarded suspected al-Qaeda prisoners after the September 11 attacks. Kiriakou was sentenced in January 2013 to 30 months in prison. That sentence made him the second CIA employee ever to be locked up under the Intelligence Identities Protection Act. The first was Sharon Scranage, who in 1985 pled guilty to disclosing the identities of intelligence agents in Ghana after giving classified information to a Ghanaian, reportedly her lover. Kiriakou is not without support. His friend and former boss, Bruce Riedel, sent a letter to President Obama, signed by other CIA officers, urging him to commute Kiriakou's prison sentence. That did not happen. A father of five children, Kiriakou says the CIA asked his wife to resign from her job at the agency immediately following his arrest, and he is in major debt. "As part of this conviction, I lost my pension. I had $770,000 saved in that pension. And it's just gone. And I still owe my lawyers almost a million dollars."
Note: Kiriakou himself was misled about the extent and effectiveness of the torture program, but still felt the moral obligation to reveal its existence. The CIA spun his revelation into a pro-torture media narrative, took his money, put him in prison, and fired his wife from her job. Are the many ethical intelligence agents working for the U.S. able to trust their corrupt bosses after this? Watch the powerful documentary "Secrets of the CIA" in which five CIA agents describe how their initial pride at serving their nation turned to anguish and remorse, as they realized that they were actually subverting democracy and killing innocent civilians.
How Saudi Arabia's harsh legal punishments compare to the Islamic State's
2015-01-21, Washington Post
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:23:58
Following the lashing of blogger Raif Badawi and leaked footage that showed the public execution of a woman accused of beating her daughter, Saudi Arabia's harsh interpretation of sharia law and its use of capital punishment have come under international scrutiny. For many, the Saudi justice system sounds not unlike that of the Islamic State, the extremist Islamist group which has struck fear in much of the Middle East. This week, Middle East Eye, a Web site that focuses on news from the region and is frequently critical of Saudi Arabia, contrasted a set of legal punishments recently announced by the Islamic State with the corresponding punishments in Saudi Arabia. One key difference between the Islamic State and Saudi Arabia, of course, is that the latter is a key U.S. ally in the region – and a member of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State. Some experts argue that the fundamentalist brand of Islam practiced by both has theological links, however, and Riyadh's recent crackdown has been interpreted as an act of appeasement for Saudi hard-liners. Saudi Arabia's own concern about the Islamic State is likely genuine (plans to build an enormous wall along its border with Iraq are a good sign of that), but for many Americans, the extremist group's rise is also bringing with it a renewed skepticism about American allies in the region.
Note: Here is the diagram that compares Saudi justice with I.S. justice, and here is a diagram of the big, expensive security wall mentioned above. Is Saudi Arabia concerned that the Islamic State is less aligned with Saudi interests than other popular Islamic terrorist groups have been?
Saudi Arabia's Rights Crackdown Linked to War on Terror
2015-01-20, ABC News
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:20:21
A man is given 50 lashes in a public square for "insulting Islam" on a liberal blog. Another is arrested for filming and uploading a woman's public beheading. Two females are imprisoned and put on trial for writing on Twitter in support of women driving. The cases are part of a sweeping clampdown on dissent. Acts that offend the country's religious hard-liners or open up the kingdom to criticism – like the video of the execution of a woman convicted of murdering her stepdaughter – have landed people in jail as a warning to others. The case of Raif Badawi, a 31-year-old father of three who was flogged this month, has attracted the most attention in recent days, particularly in the aftermath of the deadly attack in Paris. Badawi was arrested in 2012 after writing articles critical of Saudi Arabia's clerics on his Free Saudi Liberals blog. He was sentenced in May to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes and was fined $266,000. Just days after the attacks in Paris, Saudi Arabia's minister of state for foreign affairs took part in the huge march that was held there to support free speech and honor the victims. Two days earlier, Badawi was flogged [for "insulting Islam" on his blog]. Critics of the crackdown on dissent point out that public beheadings are also practiced by al-Qaida and IS.
Note: Saudi Arabia continues to be a key ally of the US. Is this really what we want to support? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles about civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
'I saw papers that show US knew al-Qa'ida would attack cities with aeroplanes'
2004-04-04, The Independent (One of the UK's leading newspapers)
Posted: 2015-01-26 16:16:46
A former translator for the FBI with top-secret security clearance says she has provided information to the panel investigating the 11 September attacks which proves senior officials knew of al-Qa'ida's plans to attack the US with aircraft months before the strikes happened. She said the claim [made by National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice] that there was no such information was "an outrageous lie". Sibel Edmonds said she spent more than three hours in a closed session with the commission's investigators providing information that was circulating within the FBI in the spring and summer of 2001 suggesting that an attack using aircraft was just months away and the terrorists were in place. The Bush administration, meanwhile, has sought to silence her and has obtained a gagging order from a court by citing the rarely used "state secrets privilege". Mrs Edmonds, 33, says she gave her evidence to the commission in a specially constructed "secure" room at its offices in Washington on 11 February. She was hired as a translator for the FBI's Washington field office on 13 September 2001, just two days after the al-Qa'ida attacks. Her job was to translate documents and recordings from FBI wire-taps. She said said it was clear there was sufficient information during the spring and summer of 2001 to indicate terrorists were planning an attack.
Note: Watch the amazing, well documented documentary "Kill the Messenger" on courageous 9/11 whistleblower Sibel Edmonds, the most gagged citizen in U.S. history, who exposes the 9/11 Commission Report as irreparably flawed. For more along these lines, read concise summaries of deeply revealing 9/11 investigation news from reliable major media sources.
With hackers running rampant, why would we poke holes in data security?
2014-12-14, LA Times
Posted: 2015-01-19 21:09:13
Hardly a week goes by without a new report of some massive data theft that has put financial information, trade secrets or government records into the hands of computer hackers. The best defense against these attacks is clear: strong data encryption and more secure technology systems. U.S. intelligence agencies hold a different view. James Comey, the FBI director, is lobbying Congress to require that electronics manufacturers create intentional security holes — so-called back doors — that would enable the government to [easily] access data on every American's cellphone and computer. Building a back door into every cellphone, tablet, or laptop means deliberately creating weaknesses that hackers and foreign governments can exploit. What these officials are proposing would be bad for personal data security and bad for business. Built-in back doors have ... disastrous results. The U.S. House of Representatives recognized how dangerous this idea was and in June approved [an] amendment [to] prohibit the government from mandating that technology companies build security weaknesses into any of their products. I introduced legislation in the Senate to accomplish the same goal. Advances in technology always pose a new challenge to law enforcement agencies. But curtailing innovation on data security is no solution, and certainly won't restore public trust in tech companies or government agencies.
Note: Ron Wyden, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote the article summarized above. The NSA routinely creates and exploits security holes in commercial encryption software and devices to spy on people, and shares the personal data it obtains with the CIA, FBI, IRS, and others through the DEA's Special Operations Division. What exactly is the FBI director asking congress for now?
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