NSA controls global Internet traffic via private fiber-optic cables
July 8, 2013

Deals brokered between federal agents and foreign corporations have allowed the United States government to easily intercept and interpret a vast swath of communication data sent around the world, new documents reveal.

In a National Security Agency slideshow obtained by The Washington Post and attributed to NSA leaker Edward Snowden, the US government encouraged analysts to tap into an array of underwater, fiber-optic cables that serve as conduits for around 99 percent of the world’s Internet and phone traffic.

The report, published by the Post’s Craig Timberg and Ellen Nakashima, explains how NSA slides leaked by Snowden reveal yet another surveillance program undertaken as an alleged counterterrorism measure but at the cost of putting the privacy of millions, if not billions, of people at risk.

According to that report, the US government sent a team of attorneys from a number of alphabet soup agencies — including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Departments of Defense, Justice and Homeland Security — to oversee post-9/11 efforts that would ensure most intelligence sent throughout the world could be collected by American agents.

“Among their jobs, documents show, was ensuring that surveillance requests got fulfilled quickly and confidentially,” the journalists wrote.

That much, the Post alleges, was accomplished by maintaining “an internal corporate cell of American citizens with government clearances” within the ranks of the foreign companies that control the fiber-optic cables carrying most telecommunications data around the world. One of those entities was Asia’s Global Crossing, and the US moved quickly to infiltrate its roster of employees shortly after 9/11.

The post writes that the “Network Security Agreement” signed between Global Crossing and the US in 2003 was one of the first major contractors giving the US the power to tap into these major telecom pipes, and in the decade since countless others have been authorized. In that instance and others, federal attorneys cooperating under the name “Team Telecom” compelled foreign owners of these cables to comply with American requests for information.

In the case of the Global Crossing contract, the US had the firm sign off on a deal that assured American intelligence agents could call up the company and be at a US-based “Network Operations Center” in only 30 minutes time to monitor and collect data. And while laws exist in order to allegedly provide safeguards to protect the privacy of Americans, the Post says that doesn’t stop American agencies from being able to collect that data nonetheless.

“As people worldwide chat, browse and post images through online services, much of the information flows within the technological reach of US surveillance. Though laws, procedural rules and internal policies limit how that information can be collected and used, the data from billions of devices worldwide flow through Internet choke points that the United States and its allies are capable of monitoring,” the Post writes. Along with the PRISM program disclosed by Snowden last month, tapping into these cables gives the US the ability to monitor essentially any communication that passes near the US.

The Post notes that both PRISM and the “Upstream” program that pulls from underwater cables intend to only target communications in which one part is believed to be outside of the US, but government agencies are unwilling to say how many Americans have incidentally or inadvertently entered the radar of the NSA. Previously, though, members of the United States Senate have used phrases like “profoundly appalled” to predict how Americans would likely react if they knew the full extent and scope of their country’s surveillance programs.

In the wake of Mr. Snowden’s disclosures that first began surfacing last month, the NSA, President Barack Obama and his administration have all celebrated the surveillance programs as necessary implements in the war against terror. The White House maintains that the practices are legally authorized through both the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and the post-9/11 PATRIOT Act, but continue to draw criticism from the public and politicians alike. Snowden, 30, is seeking asylum to avoid prosecution in the US where he is accused under the Espionage Act.

Source

Made rebloggable by request:
We’ve been told by multiple sources who’ve claimed that they are in direct contact with the legal team for Pfc. Manning, that as a strategic legal decision, they are not focusing on Pfc. Manning’s gender. We think that’s probably accurate and will respect what the legal team thinks will best position Pfc. Manning for as successful of a trial as possible. 
As an exception, in this post I used “Bradley” when referencing the Bradley Manning contingent because that’s how the group named themselves, same with the “Bradley Manning Support Network.” 
Based on conversations (both recorded and reported) with Pfc. Manning, there is reason to believe that Manning identifies as a woman and would like to use the name Breanna, instead of Bradley.
For anyone who is curious, Manning confided in informant Adrian Lamo about their fear as being publicized as a man:
"I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me…plastered all over the world press…as a boy."
However, Pfc. Manning has made no public statements on the matter and their legal team continues to use the name ‘Bradley’.

The People’s Record originally used the name ‘Breanna’ out of respect for expressed preference but after hearing back from people who say they’ve been in contact with the legal team, we’ve made the decision to try and remain as gender neutral as possible & refer to them as Pfc. B. Manning — although we often share pictures at pride and stuff with banners that say ‘Bradley’. 

Made rebloggable by request:

We’ve been told by multiple sources who’ve claimed that they are in direct contact with the legal team for Pfc. Manning, that as a strategic legal decision, they are not focusing on Pfc. Manning’s gender. We think that’s probably accurate and will respect what the legal team thinks will best position Pfc. Manning for as successful of a trial as possible. 

As an exception, in this post I used “Bradley” when referencing the Bradley Manning contingent because that’s how the group named themselves, same with the “Bradley Manning Support Network.” 

Based on conversations (both recorded and reported) with Pfc. Manning, there is reason to believe that Manning identifies as a woman and would like to use the name Breanna, instead of Bradley.

For anyone who is curious, Manning confided in informant Adrian Lamo about their fear as being publicized as a man:

"I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me…plastered all over the world press…as a boy."

However, Pfc. Manning has made no public statements on the matter and their legal team continues to use the name ‘Bradley’.

The People’s Record originally used the name ‘Breanna’ out of respect for expressed preference but after hearing back from people who say they’ve been in contact with the legal team, we’ve made the decision to try and remain as gender neutral as possible & refer to them as Pfc. B. Manning — although we often share pictures at pride and stuff with banners that say ‘Bradley’. 

eat-the-oppressor asked:

I'm a little confused on the appropriateness of the use of the names Bradley, Breanna, or B. for PFC Manning. Have they expressed desire for any of the above in particular?

We’ve been told by multiple sources who’ve claimed that they are in direct contact with the legal team for PFC Manning, that as a strategic legal decision, they are not focusing on PFC Manning’s gender. We think that’s probably accurate and will respect what the legal team thinks will best position PFC Manning for a successful trial. 

+ In this post I used “Bradley” when referencing the Bradley Manning contingent because that’s how the group named themselves, same with the “Bradley Manning Support Network.” 

Based on conversations (both recorded and reported) with PFC Manning, there is reason to believe that Manning identifies as a woman and would like to use the name Breanna, instead of Bradley.

For anyone who is curious, Manning confided in informant Adrian Lamo about their fear as being publicized as a man:

"I wouldn’t mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn’t for the possibility of having pictures of me…plastered all over the world press…as a boy."

However, PFC Manning has made no public statements on the matter and their legal team continues to use the name ‘Bradley’.

The People’s Record originally used the name ‘Breanna’ out of respect for expressed preference but after hearing back from people who say they’ve been in contact with the legal team, we’ve made the decision to try and remain as gender neutral as possible & refer to them as Pfc. B. Manning — although we often share pictures at pride and stuff with banners that say ‘Bradley’. 

Mozilla, ACLU, others join fight against NSA domestic spyingJune 12, 2013
In response to the recent revelations of massive, secret surveillance programs conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA), organizations, businesses, and activists across the country are taking action.
On Tuesday, Mozilla announced that it has assembled a broad coalition of almost 100 groups and individuals aimed at pressuring Congress to take action address the issue of domestic spying.

The American Civil Liberties Union, on the other hand, is taking a more combative approach, having filed a lawsuit against the involved agencies in federal court.

The Mozilla campaign, appropriately named StopWatching.Us, posted an open letter to Congress on Tuesday that has already garnered more than 27,000 signatures.
The letter condemns both the NSA programs revealed last week, including the mass monitoring of phone conversations and the so-called PRISM initiative, which involves widespread, unrestricted collection of multiple forms of user data from major online service providers:

This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that protect their right to privacy.

The letter calls upon Congress to take immediate action to reform sections of the Patriot Act, the state secrets privilege, and the recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to make it clear that blanket surveillance of US residents is against the law, whether it involves US citizens or not.
It also calls for a special Congressional committee to investigate the NSA’s programs and practices, and issue a report revealing to the public the true extent of the agency’s domestic spying, as well as making specific recommendations as to how to ensure that any unconstitutional surveillance programs are ended.
Finally, the letter’s last demand is plain enough:

Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

Among the organizations backing the StopWatching.Us effort are the American Library Association, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace, the Internet Archive, MoveOn.org, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and many others.
"Now is the time for Congress to act," EFF attorney Mark Rumold said in astatement. “We don’t need a narrow fix to one part of the PATRIOT Act; we need a full public accounting of how the United States is turning sophisticated spying technology on its own citizens, we need accountability from public officials, and we need an overhaul of the laws to ensure these abuses can never happen again.”
A number of businesses have also joined the cause – including Amicus, BoingBoing, DSLReports.com, Namecheap, and Reddit, among others – as have such activists and thinkers as John Perry Barlow, Cory Doctorow, Xeni Jardin, and Alexis Ohanian.
Taking it to the courts
Meanwhile, not content with writing letters to Congress, the American Civil Liberties Union has brought the matter to a different branch of government – the judicial – by filing a lawsuit in federal court charging the NSA with violating multiple constitutional protections.
"The ACLU’s complaint filed today explains that the dragnet surveillance the government is carrying out … infringes upon the ACLU’s First Amendment rights, including the twin liberties of free expression and free association," the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.
It added that the knowledge that the government is engaged in blanket monitoring of ACLU phone records might cause some people who would otherwise call the ACLU – many of whom might prefer to remain anonymous – to think twice.
"The kind of personal-data aggregation accomplished … also constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment," the statement goes on to explain, adding that the NSA’s activities violate the plain language of the relevant laws, which require data gathered to be "relevant" to ongoing foreign-intelligence or terrorism investigations.
The ACLU’s suit was filed in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York, and names a number of prominent government officials as defendants, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, NSA Director Keith Alexander, Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel, US Attorney General Eric Holder, and FBI Director Robert Mueller.
This latest effort joins the ACLU’s earlier attempts to uncover the government’s secret policy interpretations of the relevant laws through legal means, both through Freedom of Information Act requests and through an appeal to the FISA Court.
"When the government is claiming such chillingly expansive surveillance powers, it’s all hands on deck," the ACLU’s statement explains. "Stay tuned."
Source
Submitted by DashielSheen.

Mozilla, ACLU, others join fight against NSA domestic spying
June 12, 2013

In response to the recent revelations of massive, secret surveillance programs conducted by the US National Security Agency (NSA), organizations, businesses, and activists across the country are taking action.

On Tuesday, Mozilla announced that it has assembled a broad coalition of almost 100 groups and individuals aimed at pressuring Congress to take action address the issue of domestic spying.

The American Civil Liberties Union, on the other hand, is taking a more combative approach, having filed a lawsuit against the involved agencies in federal court.

The Mozilla campaign, appropriately named StopWatching.Us, posted an open letter to Congress on Tuesday that has already garnered more than 27,000 signatures.

The letter condemns both the NSA programs revealed last week, including the mass monitoring of phone conversations and the so-called PRISM initiative, which involves widespread, unrestricted collection of multiple forms of user data from major online service providers:

This type of blanket data collection by the government strikes at bedrock American values of freedom and privacy. This dragnet surveillance violates the First and Fourth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution, which protect citizens’ right to speak and associate anonymously and guard against unreasonable searches and seizures that protect their right to privacy.

The letter calls upon Congress to take immediate action to reform sections of the Patriot Act, the state secrets privilege, and the recent amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) to make it clear that blanket surveillance of US residents is against the law, whether it involves US citizens or not.

It also calls for a special Congressional committee to investigate the NSA’s programs and practices, and issue a report revealing to the public the true extent of the agency’s domestic spying, as well as making specific recommendations as to how to ensure that any unconstitutional surveillance programs are ended.

Finally, the letter’s last demand is plain enough:

Hold accountable those public officials who are found to be responsible for this unconstitutional surveillance.

Among the organizations backing the StopWatching.Us effort are the American Library Association, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Greenpeace, the Internet Archive, MoveOn.org, the National Coalition Against Censorship, and many others.

"Now is the time for Congress to act," EFF attorney Mark Rumold said in astatement. “We don’t need a narrow fix to one part of the PATRIOT Act; we need a full public accounting of how the United States is turning sophisticated spying technology on its own citizens, we need accountability from public officials, and we need an overhaul of the laws to ensure these abuses can never happen again.”

A number of businesses have also joined the cause – including Amicus, BoingBoing, DSLReports.com, Namecheap, and Reddit, among others – as have such activists and thinkers as John Perry Barlow, Cory Doctorow, Xeni Jardin, and Alexis Ohanian.

Taking it to the courts

Meanwhile, not content with writing letters to Congress, the American Civil Liberties Union has brought the matter to a different branch of government – the judicial – by filing a lawsuit in federal court charging the NSA with violating multiple constitutional protections.

"The ACLU’s complaint filed today explains that the dragnet surveillance the government is carrying out … infringes upon the ACLU’s First Amendment rights, including the twin liberties of free expression and free association," the organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

It added that the knowledge that the government is engaged in blanket monitoring of ACLU phone records might cause some people who would otherwise call the ACLU – many of whom might prefer to remain anonymous – to think twice.

"The kind of personal-data aggregation accomplished … also constitutes an unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment," the statement goes on to explain, adding that the NSA’s activities violate the plain language of the relevant laws, which require data gathered to be "relevant" to ongoing foreign-intelligence or terrorism investigations.

The ACLU’s suit was filed in the US District Court of the Southern District of New York, and names a number of prominent government officials as defendants, including Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, NSA Director Keith Alexander, Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel, US Attorney General Eric Holder, and FBI Director Robert Mueller.

This latest effort joins the ACLU’s earlier attempts to uncover the government’s secret policy interpretations of the relevant laws through legal means, both through Freedom of Information Act requests and through an appeal to the FISA Court.

"When the government is claiming such chillingly expansive surveillance powers, it’s all hands on deck," the ACLU’s statement explains. "Stay tuned."

Source

Submitted by DashielSheen.

robert-cunningham
The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication 
Remembering Pat Tillman: Lies shield truth behind veteran’s deathMay 28, 2012
Former NFL player Pat Tillman enlisted in the U.S. Army after the events of 9/11 in 2002. After completing several tours, he began to develop a strong anti-war sentiment and spoke to his fellow comrades about rallying against another George W. Bush term once he was stationed in Afghanistan. This disapproval grew when he met outspoken MIT professor Noam Chomsky, who could have helped elevate Tillman’s voice as a veteran against wars once he had completed his tour. Word about the veteran’s anti-imperialism stance spread, and government officials are believed to have ordered Tillman’s assassination under the guise of friendly fire.
According to the Army’s initial reports, Tillman was shot three times in the forehead and killed in an ambush near the Pakistan border on April 22, 2004. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Defense found that his death was caused when a platoon he was a part of was divided in two and shot at each other by mistake when an explosive went off nearby.The lieutenant general withheld details on Tillman’s death from his family for several months.
But army doctors who conducted the autopsy found the shots on Tillman’s forehead were too close together, suggesting he was murdered from a shooter a couple of yards away from him by an M-16 rifle, which the military does not use as a weapon. There were reports that snipers were in the second platoon group who used the explosive device to create chaos as the opportune time to shoot Tillman. No evidence of enemy fire was found, and no other soldier was injured or shot on the scene. Doctors who conducted the autopsy released a report to AP about their suspicion that the veteran was murdered, and that an investigation should begin immediately.
Three years later, on March 26, 2007, the Pentagon released a statement saying, “None of the investigations suggested that CPL Tillman’s death was anything other than accidental. Our review, as well as the investigation recently completed by Army CID, obtained no evidence contrary to those key findings.” His mother, Mary Tillman, commented, “”Nothing is going to bring Pat back. It’s about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived.”
The Obama administration has continued this war on whistleblowers, most notably with the detainment of Army soldier Bradley Manning who passed on classified government cables to shine light on war crimes and human rights violations all over the world. Tillman was approaching as a notable war opponent who would have brought his anti-war message home if he had not been gunned down by the U.S. Army.
So as we commemorate men and women who have given their lives in armed forces, we must question the legitimacy of the government that subjected Tillman and thousands of others to war in the first place. We must recognize the global bloodshed continuing to take place at the hands American imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries beyond. The troops must be brought home, and with the solidarity of veterans and servicemembers, we must bring an end to all wars. 
- G. Razo
Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.
— — — — —
From our 2012 Memorial Day posts.

The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication 

Remembering Pat Tillman: Lies shield truth behind veteran’s death
May 28, 2012

Former NFL player Pat Tillman enlisted in the U.S. Army after the events of 9/11 in 2002. After completing several tours, he began to develop a strong anti-war sentiment and spoke to his fellow comrades about rallying against another George W. Bush term once he was stationed in Afghanistan. This disapproval grew when he met outspoken MIT professor Noam Chomsky, who could have helped elevate Tillman’s voice as a veteran against wars once he had completed his tour. Word about the veteran’s anti-imperialism stance spread, and government officials are believed to have ordered Tillman’s assassination under the guise of friendly fire.

According to the Army’s initial reports, Tillman was shot three times in the forehead and killed in an ambush near the Pakistan border on April 22, 2004. An investigation by the U.S. Department of Defense found that his death was caused when a platoon he was a part of was divided in two and shot at each other by mistake when an explosive went off nearby.The lieutenant general withheld details on Tillman’s death from his family for several months.

But army doctors who conducted the autopsy found the shots on Tillman’s forehead were too close together, suggesting he was murdered from a shooter a couple of yards away from him by an M-16 rifle, which the military does not use as a weapon. There were reports that snipers were in the second platoon group who used the explosive device to create chaos as the opportune time to shoot Tillman. No evidence of enemy fire was found, and no other soldier was injured or shot on the scene. Doctors who conducted the autopsy released a report to AP about their suspicion that the veteran was murdered, and that an investigation should begin immediately.

Three years later, on March 26, 2007, the Pentagon released a statement saying, “None of the investigations suggested that CPL Tillman’s death was anything other than accidental. Our review, as well as the investigation recently completed by Army CID, obtained no evidence contrary to those key findings.” His mother, Mary Tillman, commented, “”Nothing is going to bring Pat back. It’s about justice for Pat and justice for other soldiers. The nation has been deceived.”

The Obama administration has continued this war on whistleblowers, most notably with the detainment of Army soldier Bradley Manning who passed on classified government cables to shine light on war crimes and human rights violations all over the world. Tillman was approaching as a notable war opponent who would have brought his anti-war message home if he had not been gunned down by the U.S. Army.

So as we commemorate men and women who have given their lives in armed forces, we must question the legitimacy of the government that subjected Tillman and thousands of others to war in the first place. We must recognize the global bloodshed continuing to take place at the hands American imperialism in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen and other countries beyond. The troops must be brought home, and with the solidarity of veterans and servicemembers, we must bring an end to all wars. 

- G. Razo

Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.

— — — — —

From our 2012 Memorial Day posts.

robert-cunningham
The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication B. Manning: Updates on the Whistleblower’s Trial (photo source)
May 28, 2012United States Army soldier Breanna Manning, also known as Bradley Manning, has become one of the most influential figures in the quest for government transparency across the world. He was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 on suspicion of leaking classified government cables to activist publishers, Wikileaks. Cables he leaked revealed corruption in Kenya, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay, footage of journalists and civilians being gunned down by U.S. military, expenditures of the Afghanistan war and other intelligence documents. Information Manning leaked to Wikileaks is considered to be one of the stimuli that sparked the revolution in Tunisia and in other countries throughout the Middle East.He is being detailed in Virginia on 22 charges, including a capital offense of “aiding the enemy,” which if found guilty, could imprison Manning in jail for life. Currently, Manning’s defense team says he is being denied a fair trial because of withheld information that may help prove his innocence. His lawyer has laid out the inconsistencies and violations of a fair trial. The military has not searched its own files to find any evidence that may aid in his release, which is it legally obligated to complete. In addition, the Center for Constitutional Rights is petitioning the Army court of criminal appeals to open up more details about the case to the public and the media. Petitioners include Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and Salon writer Glenn Greenwald. The secrecy behind the case is a clear violation of the First Amendment and cannot allow Manning to have a fair trial. Manning’s defense attorney has also called for 10 of the charges be dropped as they are “unconstitutionally vague or fail to state a prosecutable offense.” A military judge will review the charges and make a ruling at the pre-trial on June 8 in Fort Meade.
Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications. 
— — — — —
From our 2012 Memorial Day posts.

The People’s Record Memorial Day Dedication 
B. Manning: Updates on the Whistleblower’s Trial (photo source)

May 28, 2012

United States Army soldier Breanna Manning, also known as Bradley Manning, has become one of the most influential figures in the quest for government transparency across the world. He was arrested in Iraq in May 2010 on suspicion of leaking classified government cables to activist publishers, Wikileaks. Cables he leaked revealed corruption in Kenya, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay, footage of journalists and civilians being gunned down by U.S. military, expenditures of the Afghanistan war and other intelligence documents. Information Manning leaked to Wikileaks is considered to be one of the stimuli that sparked the revolution in Tunisia and in other countries throughout the Middle East.

He is being detailed in Virginia on 22 charges, including a capital offense of “aiding the enemy,” which if found guilty, could imprison Manning in jail for life.

Currently, Manning’s defense team says he is being denied a fair trial because of withheld information that may help prove his innocence. His lawyer has laid out the inconsistencies and violations of a fair trial. The military has not searched its own files to find any evidence that may aid in his release, which is it legally obligated to complete.

In addition, the Center for Constitutional Rights is petitioning the Army court of criminal appeals to open up more details about the case to the public and the media. Petitioners include Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman and Salon writer Glenn Greenwald. The secrecy behind the case is a clear violation of the First Amendment and cannot allow Manning to have a fair trial.

Manning’s defense attorney has also called for 10 of the charges be dropped as they are “unconstitutionally vague or fail to state a prosecutable offense.” A military judge will review the charges and make a ruling at the pre-trial on June 8 in Fort Meade.

Click here for a complete list of The People’s Record’s Memorial Day dedications.

— — — — —

From our 2012 Memorial Day posts.

Democracy Now! Exclusive: Julian Assange on Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, Cypherpunks & the Surveillance State

"When we look at what happens when civilization moves onto the Internet, how is it controlled at the moment? A lot of the problems we face on the Internet & the idea of the Internet is guys with guns can simply turn up to any Internet server & tell the people there to behave in a certain way just like they do with oil wells or they do with customs.

So as an international news civilization, a forum were people intellectually express themselves, where we deposit our history, political ideals & ambition, the Internet is suffering from mass interception, but on the other hand it is still subservient to the physical force in the various states that its infrastructure is located in.

Cryptography offers a way, an abstract a way from the physical world, to create as a sort of mathematical barrier between the physical world & the intellectual world, & in that way slowly declare independence from nation states. Our intellectual world cannot simply be deleted or taxed in the manner which we have suffered from for so long in nation states.”

Compare Amy Goodman & Juan Gonzalez’s great interview to CNN’s really annoying, unprofessional interview with Assange yesterday. 

Anonymous hacker behind Stratfor attack faces life in prisonNovember 23, 2012
A pretrial hearing in the case against accused LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond this week ended with the 27-year-old Chicago man being told he could be sentenced to life in prison for compromising the computers of Stratfor.
Judge Loretta Preska told Hammond in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday that he could be sentenced to serve anywhere from 360 months-to-life if convicted on all charges relating to last year’s hack of Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence company whose servers were infiltrated by an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous.
Hammond is not likely to take the stand until next year, but so far has been imprisoned for eight months without trial. Legal proceedings in the case might soon be called into question, however, after it’s been revealed that Judge Preska’s husband was a victim of the Stratfor hack.
According to the indictment filed in March, Hammond illegally obtained credit card information stolen from Stratfor and uploaded it to a server that was unbeknownst to him maintained by the federal government. Months earlier the FBI had arrested Hector Xavier Monsegur, a New York hacker who spearheaded LulzSec under the alias “Sabu,” and relied on from thereon out to help the authorities nab other individuals affiliated with Anonymous and LulzSec. The feds say Hammond openly admitted to compromising Stratfor’s data in online chats with their informant and unsealed a three count indictment against him relating to hacking back in March.
After Anons gained access to Stratfor’s servers, they collected a trove of internal emails and more thousands of credit card details belonging to the firm’s paid subscribers that were released last Christmas. A class action suit was filed against Strafor over the breach of security, and in June the company settled with its customers at an estimated cost of $1.75 million. Just now, though, it’s been learned that Judge Preska may have a vested interest in seeking a prosecution by any means necessary.
Among the thousands of Statfor client’s whose credit card data was compromised in the hack alleged to be linked to Hammond is Thomas J. Kavaler, a partner at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and the husband of Judge Preska. The archived document dump released by LulzSec last year includes personal information from Mr. Kavaler that suggests he was victimized in the attack and thus qualifies for the class action settlement.
In a press release issued under the branding of the Anonymous collective, supporters for Hammond call for Judge Preska’s immediate resignation from the case.
“Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy’s case, therefore violating multiple Sections of Title 28 of the United States Code,” the statement reads.
“Judge Loretta Preska’s impartiality is compromised by her Husband’s involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements,” it continues. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.”
According to Sue Crabtree, a member of the Jeremy Hammond Solidarity Network and a witness to his bail hearing this week, Judge Preska ordered the continue incarceration of Hammond on the basis that he is a danger to the community and likely to flee the country if released from holding. Crabtree notes that Hammond does not now nor has he ever had a passport, though, and has also since been added to a terrorist watch list.
“In the end, Jeremy was denied bail because he was deemed a flight risk and more dangerous than [a] sexual predator. And yes, if you are asking yourself if this was said, it was said. Jeremy’s legal team stated they would appeal this denial of bail,” she writes on a Facebook group for Hammond.
After Anonymous went public with the hack of Strafor in December 2011, the internal emails from the intelligence firm were handed off to WikiLeaks, who soon after began publishing the findings. Among the information stored in the emails was documentation alleging that law enforcement agencies spied on Occupy Wall Street protesters and proof of an international surveillance system called Trapwire. Hammond is at this point likely to be the first US citizen tried in a civilian court for crimes relating to the whistleblower site.
Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) tells The Real News network this week that the denial of bail is both “very disturbing” and “legally wrong.”
“The bigger story is what they’ve done in this country to Jeremy Hammond, Bradley Manning, and what they have proposed to do to Julian Assange, and that’s really say that they’re going to come down as heavily as they can on people who expose government secrets, whistleblowers,” Ratner says.
Source

Anonymous hacker behind Stratfor attack faces life in prison
November 23, 2012

A pretrial hearing in the case against accused LulzSec hacker Jeremy Hammond this week ended with the 27-year-old Chicago man being told he could be sentenced to life in prison for compromising the computers of Stratfor.

Judge Loretta Preska told Hammond in a Manhattan courtroom on Tuesday that he could be sentenced to serve anywhere from 360 months-to-life if convicted on all charges relating to last year’s hack of Strategic Forecasting, or Stratfor, a global intelligence company whose servers were infiltrated by an offshoot of the hacktivist collective Anonymous.

Hammond is not likely to take the stand until next year, but so far has been imprisoned for eight months without trial. Legal proceedings in the case might soon be called into question, however, after it’s been revealed that Judge Preska’s husband was a victim of the Stratfor hack.

According to the indictment filed in March, Hammond illegally obtained credit card information stolen from Stratfor and uploaded it to a server that was unbeknownst to him maintained by the federal government. Months earlier the FBI had arrested Hector Xavier Monsegur, a New York hacker who spearheaded LulzSec under the alias “Sabu,” and relied on from thereon out to help the authorities nab other individuals affiliated with Anonymous and LulzSec. The feds say Hammond openly admitted to compromising Stratfor’s data in online chats with their informant and unsealed a three count indictment against him relating to hacking back in March.

After Anons gained access to Stratfor’s servers, they collected a trove of internal emails and more thousands of credit card details belonging to the firm’s paid subscribers that were released last Christmas. A class action suit was filed against Strafor over the breach of security, and in June the company settled with its customers at an estimated cost of $1.75 million. Just now, though, it’s been learned that Judge Preska may have a vested interest in seeking a prosecution by any means necessary.

Among the thousands of Statfor client’s whose credit card data was compromised in the hack alleged to be linked to Hammond is Thomas J. Kavaler, a partner at the law firm of Cahill Gordon & Reindel LLP and the husband of Judge Preska. The archived document dump released by LulzSec last year includes personal information from Mr. Kavaler that suggests he was victimized in the attack and thus qualifies for the class action settlement.

In a press release issued under the branding of the Anonymous collective, supporters for Hammond call for Judge Preska’s immediate resignation from the case.

“Judge Preska by proxy is a victim of the very crime she intends to judge Jeremy Hammond for. Judge Preska has failed to disclose the fact that her husband is a client of Stratfor and recuse herself from Jeremy’s case, therefore violating multiple Sections of Title 28 of the United States Code,” the statement reads.

“Judge Loretta Preska’s impartiality is compromised by her Husband’s involvement with Stratfor and a clear prejudice against Hammond exists, as evident by her statements,” it continues. “Without justice being freely, fully, and impartially administered, neither our persons, nor our rights, nor our property, can be protected.”

According to Sue Crabtree, a member of the Jeremy Hammond Solidarity Network and a witness to his bail hearing this week, Judge Preska ordered the continue incarceration of Hammond on the basis that he is a danger to the community and likely to flee the country if released from holding. Crabtree notes that Hammond does not now nor has he ever had a passport, though, and has also since been added to a terrorist watch list.

“In the end, Jeremy was denied bail because he was deemed a flight risk and more dangerous than [a] sexual predator. And yes, if you are asking yourself if this was said, it was said. Jeremy’s legal team stated they would appeal this denial of bail,” she writes on a Facebook group for Hammond.

After Anonymous went public with the hack of Strafor in December 2011, the internal emails from the intelligence firm were handed off to WikiLeaks, who soon after began publishing the findings. Among the information stored in the emails was documentation alleging that law enforcement agencies spied on Occupy Wall Street protesters and proof of an international surveillance system called Trapwire. Hammond is at this point likely to be the first US citizen tried in a civilian court for crimes relating to the whistleblower site.

Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) tells The Real News network this week that the denial of bail is both “very disturbing” and “legally wrong.”

“The bigger story is what they’ve done in this country to Jeremy Hammond, Bradley Manning, and what they have proposed to do to Julian Assange, and that’s really say that they’re going to come down as heavily as they can on people who expose government secrets, whistleblowers,” Ratner says.

Source

European Parliament votes to protect Wikileaks against financial blockadeNovember 21, 2012
European Parliament votes to protect WikiLeaks. In a landmark decision today the European Parliament initiated the drafting of legislation that would stop the arbitrary banking blockades against WikiLeaks and other organizations facing economic censorship. This is an important signal from the European lawmakers. It is a recognition of the seriousness of the precedents set in December 2010, still in force, when Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America launched a unilateral, extrajudicial banking blockade against donations to WikiLeaks. The blockade has cost the organization more than US$50 million. The US Treasury formally found last year that there is no lawful reason why WikiLeaks should be placed on the US embargo list, but the highly political blockade continues. WikiLeaks welcomes the support of MEPs on this important issue and agrees with the European Parliament, which “considers it likely that there will be a growing number of European companies whose activities are effectively dependent on being able to accept payments by card; [and] considers it to be in the public interest to define objective rules describing the circumstances and procedures under which card payment schemes may unilaterally refuse acceptance.”
This underlines the claim by WikiLeaks that if the financial blockade against WikiLeaks is not stopped, US financial giants will be free to unilaterally decide which European companies and organizations live or die. As WikiLeaks has previously pointed out, this is an attack on fundamental rights that cannot be left unchallenged. The organization has already launched lawsuits in two European jurisdictions and is awaiting the final outcome in its complaint to the European Commission against the major credit card companies for violations of competition laws. The Commission’s decision is expected before the end of the year. WikiLeaks has been victorious in all court hearings about this issue to date.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “I welcome this response from EU lawmakers. European independence is important. But there is no sovereignty without economic sovereignty. Politicized US financial monopolies must not be able to censor European organizations with impunity.”
Source

European Parliament votes to protect Wikileaks against financial blockade
November 21, 2012

European Parliament votes to protect WikiLeaks. In a landmark decision today the European Parliament initiated the drafting of legislation that would stop the arbitrary banking blockades against WikiLeaks and other organizations facing economic censorship. This is an important signal from the European lawmakers. It is a recognition of the seriousness of the precedents set in December 2010, still in force, when Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America launched a unilateral, extrajudicial banking blockade against donations to WikiLeaks. The blockade has cost the organization more than US$50 million. The US Treasury formally found last year that there is no lawful reason why WikiLeaks should be placed on the US embargo list, but the highly political blockade continues. WikiLeaks welcomes the support of MEPs on this important issue and agrees with the European Parliament, which “considers it likely that there will be a growing number of European companies whose activities are effectively dependent on being able to accept payments by card; [and] considers it to be in the public interest to define objective rules describing the circumstances and procedures under which card payment schemes may unilaterally refuse acceptance.”

This underlines the claim by WikiLeaks that if the financial blockade against WikiLeaks is not stopped, US financial giants will be free to unilaterally decide which European companies and organizations live or die. As WikiLeaks has previously pointed out, this is an attack on fundamental rights that cannot be left unchallenged. The organization has already launched lawsuits in two European jurisdictions and is awaiting the final outcome in its complaint to the European Commission against the major credit card companies for violations of competition laws. The Commission’s decision is expected before the end of the year. WikiLeaks has been victorious in all court hearings about this issue to date.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said: “I welcome this response from EU lawmakers. European independence is important. But there is no sovereignty without economic sovereignty. Politicized US financial monopolies must not be able to censor European organizations with impunity.”

Source

Wikileaks comment on the reelection of President ObamaNovember 7, 2012
Obama promised a more open government. But instead his administration has built a state within a state, placing nearly five million Americans under the national security clearance system, replete with secret laws, secret budgets, secret bailouts, secret killings, secret mass spying, and secret detention without charge.Four more years in the same direction cannot be tolerated.The Obama administration continues to conduct a “whole of government” investigation of “unprecedented scale and nature” into WikiLeaks and its people. It has fuelled the extrajudicial banking blockade against the WikiLeaks and has held an alleged WikiLeaks source, Bradley Manning, for 899 days without trial, in conditions that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, formally found amounted to torture.Mr Assange has been formally found to be a political refugee over the Obama administration’s behavior, U.S. ambassadors publicly warned countries such as Switzerland not to offer him asylum.The Obama-Biden campaign brags of having prosecuted twice as many national security whistleblowers as “all previous administrations combined”. This must change.Politicians always say your decision, come election-time, will determine the future. But, as has been seen with the Obama administration, deciding on who gets into formal office is not a meaningful choice, because when you vote your party into government you also vote the government, including all its agencies and contractors, into your party.Parties taking office are eliminated as the restraining voice of opposition. The last four years, like the next four years, will see the U.S. republican party as the ‘restraining’ voice of opposition. But there is another option.It was WikiLeaks’ revelations – not the actions of President Obama – that forced the U.S. administration out of the Iraq War. By exposing the killing of Iraqi children, WikiLeaks directly motivated the Iraqi government to strip the U.S. military of legal immunity, which in turn forced the U.S. withdrawal. It was WikiLeaks’ revelations and pan-Arab activists, not the Obama administration, that helped to trigger the Arab Spring. While WikiLeaks was exposing dictators from Yemen to Cairo, Vice-President Joseph Biden was calling Hosni Mubarak a democrat, Hillary Clinton was calling his government “stable” and the U.S. administration was colluding with Yemeni dictator Saleh to bomb his own people.And it was WikiLeaks’ revelations, not the White House, that led to the reform of the largest children’s hospital network in the United States. Just over a month ago, on 28 September, the Pentagon again threatened WikiLeaks. Pentagon spokesman George Little demanded WikiLeaks destroy its publications, including the Iraq War logs which revealed the killings of more than 100,000 civilians. Little said: “continued possession by WikiLeaks of classified information belonging to the United States government represents a continuing violation of law”. The Pentagon also again “warned Mr Assange and WikiLeaks” against “soliciting” material from U.S. military whistleblowers.Don’t ‘hope’. ACT.
Source
Agreed.

Wikileaks comment on the reelection of President Obama
November 7, 2012

Obama promised a more open government. But instead his administration has built a state within a state, placing nearly five million Americans under the national security clearance system, replete with secret laws, secret budgets, secret bailouts, secret killings, secret mass spying, and secret detention without charge.

Four more years in the same direction cannot be tolerated.

The Obama administration continues to conduct a “whole of government” investigation of “unprecedented scale and nature” into WikiLeaks and its people. It has fuelled the extrajudicial banking blockade against the WikiLeaks and has held an alleged WikiLeaks source, Bradley Manning, for 899 days without trial, in conditions that the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez, formally found amounted to torture.

Mr Assange has been formally found to be a political refugee over the Obama administration’s behavior, U.S. ambassadors publicly warned countries such as Switzerland not to offer him asylum.

The Obama-Biden campaign brags of having prosecuted twice as many national security whistleblowers as “all previous administrations combined”. This must change.

Politicians always say your decision, come election-time, will determine the future. But, as has been seen with the Obama administration, deciding on who gets into formal office is not a meaningful choice, because when you vote your party into government you also vote the government, including all its agencies and contractors, into your party.

Parties taking office are eliminated as the restraining voice of opposition. The last four years, like the next four years, will see the U.S. republican party as the ‘restraining’ voice of opposition. 

But there is another option.

It was WikiLeaks’ revelations – not the actions of President Obama – that forced the U.S. administration out of the Iraq War. By exposing the killing of Iraqi children, WikiLeaks directly motivated the Iraqi government to strip the U.S. military of legal immunity, which in turn forced the U.S. withdrawal. 

It was WikiLeaks’ revelations and pan-Arab activists, not the Obama administration, that helped to trigger the Arab Spring. While WikiLeaks was exposing dictators from Yemen to Cairo, Vice-President Joseph Biden was calling Hosni Mubarak a democrat, Hillary Clinton was calling his government “stable” and the U.S. administration was colluding with Yemeni dictator Saleh to bomb his own people.

And it was WikiLeaks’ revelations, not the White House, that led to the reform of the largest children’s hospital network in the United States. 

Just over a month ago, on 28 September, the Pentagon again threatened WikiLeaks. Pentagon spokesman George Little demanded WikiLeaks destroy its publications, including the Iraq War logs which revealed the killings of more than 100,000 civilians. Little said: “continued possession by WikiLeaks of classified information belonging to the United States government represents a continuing violation of law”. The Pentagon also again “warned Mr Assange and WikiLeaks” against “soliciting” material from U.S. military whistleblowers.

Don’t ‘hope’. ACT.

Source

Agreed.

Obama’s reelection marks the 899th day of detention without charge for Pfc. Manning.
Here’s to four more years of drone strikes, the war on whistleblowers, indefinite detention of Americans in military camps without trial or charge, more Guantanamo renovations, the expansion of the prison industrial complex, billions in funding for the Israeli apartheid, public education cuts, the ever-expanding targeted kill/capture list, the failed War on Drugs, etc. etc. etc.!
Now, let’s organize. 

Obama’s reelection marks the 899th day of detention without charge for Pfc. Manning.

Here’s to four more years of drone strikes, the war on whistleblowers, indefinite detention of Americans in military camps without trial or charge, more Guantanamo renovations, the expansion of the prison industrial complex, billions in funding for the Israeli apartheid, public education cuts, the ever-expanding targeted kill/capture list, the failed War on Drugs, etc. etc. etc.!

Now, let’s organize. 

Pentagon prisons revealed: Wikileaks publishes terror detainee manualsOctober 25, 2012
Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks is releasing over 100 classified documents detailing US Department of Defense procedures for running Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and other infamous prisons where terror suspects are detained.
The directives and manuals, which for more than a decade directed the US military’s policy for treatment of its detainees, will be released chronologically over the next month, WikiLeaks said in a statement.
The first batch of the documents released is the 2002 Camp Delta – Guantanamo Bay prison – Standing Operating Procedure manuals.
“This document is of significant historical importance. Guantanamo Bay has become the symbol for systematized human rights abuse in the West with good reason,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said.
Several of the documents slated for publishing “can only be described as ’policies of unaccountability,’” WikiLeaks said in its press release.
One document such document that has been previewed but not yet published is the ’Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers’. Wikileaks claims it is a manual on how to “disappear” sensitive prisoners "by systematically holding off from assigning a prisoner record numbers".
Another apparently contains the notorious instructions to “purge” interrogations tapes, which became notorious following the Abu Ghraib torture scandals in the mid 2000s. WikiLeaks called on NGOs, activists and the general public to thoroughly read the documents to gain a better understanding of the evolution of the Pentagon’s post-9/11 attitude towards prisoners.
Source
The importance of these files is monumental. They illustrate how the United States is the terrorist, unlawfully detaining prisoners, violating human rights & committing acts of torture. This is why Wikileaks is so important. Despite any outside conflicts the organization may currently have, it needs our support because no one else is providing this kind of in-depth information about policies the US government fights to keep secret.
We’ll continue to post about Wikileaks’ Detainee Policies as they are released. 

Pentagon prisons revealed: Wikileaks publishes terror detainee manuals
October 25, 2012

Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks is releasing over 100 classified documents detailing US Department of Defense procedures for running Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Camp Bucca and other infamous prisons where terror suspects are detained.

The directives and manuals, which for more than a decade directed the US military’s policy for treatment of its detainees, will be released chronologically over the next month, WikiLeaks said in a statement.

The first batch of the documents released is the 2002 Camp Delta – Guantanamo Bay prison – Standing Operating Procedure manuals.

“This document is of significant historical importance. Guantanamo Bay has become the symbol for systematized human rights abuse in the West with good reason,” WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said.

Several of the documents slated for publishing “can only be described as ’policies of unaccountability,’” WikiLeaks said in its press release.

One document such document that has been previewed but not yet published is the ’Policy on Assigning Detainee Internment Serial Numbers’. Wikileaks claims it is a manual on how to “disappear” sensitive prisoners "by systematically holding off from assigning a prisoner record numbers".

Another apparently contains the notorious instructions to “purge” interrogations tapes, which became notorious following the Abu Ghraib torture scandals in the mid 2000s. WikiLeaks called on NGOs, activists and the general public to thoroughly read the documents to gain a better understanding of the evolution of the Pentagon’s post-9/11 attitude towards prisoners.

Source

The importance of these files is monumental. They illustrate how the United States is the terrorist, unlawfully detaining prisoners, violating human rights & committing acts of torture. This is why Wikileaks is so important. Despite any outside conflicts the organization may currently have, it needs our support because no one else is providing this kind of in-depth information about policies the US government fights to keep secret.

We’ll continue to post about Wikileaks’ Detainee Policies as they are released. 

Whistleblower who revealed CIA torture sentenced to prisonOctober 23, 2012
Former CIA agent John Kiriakou pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to crimes related to blowing the whistle on the US government’s torture of suspected terrorists and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.
The Wall Street Journal reports that Kiriakou, 48, agreed to admit to one count of disclosing information identifying a covert agent early Tuesday, just hours after his attorney entered a change of plea in an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom outside of Washington, DC.
Kiriakou was originally charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 after he went public with the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of waterboarding on captured insurgents in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. On Monday morning, though, legal counsel for the accused former CIA agent informed the court that Kiriakou was willing to plead guilty to a lesser crime.
Initially, Kiriakou pleaded not guilty to the charge that he had outted two intelligence agents directly tied to the drowning-simulation method by going to the press with their identities.
As RT reported last week, defense attorneys had hoped that the government would be tasked with having to prove that Kiriakou had intent to harm America when he went to the media. Instead, however, prosecutors were told they’d only need to prove that the former government employee was aware that his consequences had the potential to put the country in danger.
Had Kiriakou been convicted under the initial charges filed in court, he could have been sentenced to upwards of five decades behind bars.
“Let’s be clear, there is one reason, and one reason only, that John Kiriakou is taking this plea: for the certainty that he’ll be out of jail in 2 1/2 years to see his five children grow up,” Jesselyn Raddack, a former Justice Department official who blew the whistle on Bush administration’s mishandling in the case of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, wrote Tuesday.
Kiriakou, Raddack wrote, was all but certain to enter the Alexandria courthouse on Tuesday and plead guilty to the lesser charge of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), explaining, “there are no reported cases interpreting it because it’s nearly impossible to prove—for “outing” a torturer.”
“’Outing’ is in quotes because the charge is not that Kiriakou’s actions resulted in a public disclosure of the name, but that through a Kevin Bacon-style chain of causation, GITMO torture victims learned the name of one of their possible torturers,” Raddack wrote. “Regardless, how does outing a torturer hurt the national security of the U.S.? It’s like arguing that outing a Nazi guarding a concentration camp would hurt the national security of Germany.”
Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former government official told Firedoglake recently that the CIA was “totally ticked at Kiriakou for acknowledging the use of torture as state policy” and allegedly outing the identity of a covert CIA official “responsible for ensuring the execution” of the water-boarding program.
Kiriakou “outted” to the reporters the identities of the CIA’s “prime torturer” under its Bush-era interrogations, Firedoglake wrote. “For that, the CIA is counting on the Justice Department to, at minimum, convict Kiriakou on the charge of leaking an agent’s identity to not only send a message to other agents but also to continue to protect one of their own.”
Former National Security Agency staffer Thomas Drake suffered a similar fate in recent years after the government went after him for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s poorly handled collection of public intelligence. A grand jury indicted Drake on five counts tied to 1917’s Espionage Act as well as other crimes, but prosecutors eventually agreed to let him off with a misdemeanor computer violation that warranted zero jail time.
Together, Drake and Kirakou are two of six persons charged under the Espionage Act during the administration of US President Barack Obama. The current White House has indicted more people under the antiquated World War 1-era legislation than all previous presidents combined.
Source
Expose torture? Two years in prison. Commit acts of torture? You’re called a government agency.

Whistleblower who revealed CIA torture sentenced to prison
October 23, 2012

Former CIA agent John Kiriakou pleaded guilty Tuesday morning to crimes related to blowing the whistle on the US government’s torture of suspected terrorists and was sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Kiriakou, 48, agreed to admit to one count of disclosing information identifying a covert agent early Tuesday, just hours after his attorney entered a change of plea in an Alexandria, Virginia courtroom outside of Washington, DC.

Kiriakou was originally charged under the Espionage Act of 1917 after he went public with the Central Intelligence Agency’s use of waterboarding on captured insurgents in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attack. On Monday morning, though, legal counsel for the accused former CIA agent informed the court that Kiriakou was willing to plead guilty to a lesser crime.

Initially, Kiriakou pleaded not guilty to the charge that he had outted two intelligence agents directly tied to the drowning-simulation method by going to the press with their identities.

As RT reported last week, defense attorneys had hoped that the government would be tasked with having to prove that Kiriakou had intent to harm America when he went to the media. Instead, however, prosecutors were told they’d only need to prove that the former government employee was aware that his consequences had the potential to put the country in danger.

Had Kiriakou been convicted under the initial charges filed in court, he could have been sentenced to upwards of five decades behind bars.

“Let’s be clear, there is one reason, and one reason only, that John Kiriakou is taking this plea: for the certainty that he’ll be out of jail in 2 1/2 years to see his five children grow up,” Jesselyn Raddack, a former Justice Department official who blew the whistle on Bush administration’s mishandling in the case of “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh, wrote Tuesday.

Kiriakou, Raddack wrote, was all but certain to enter the Alexandria courthouse on Tuesday and plead guilty to the lesser charge of violating the Intelligence Identities Protection Act (IIPA), explaining, “there are no reported cases interpreting it because it’s nearly impossible to prove—for “outing” a torturer.”

“’Outing’ is in quotes because the charge is not that Kiriakou’s actions resulted in a public disclosure of the name, but that through a Kevin Bacon-style chain of causation, GITMO torture victims learned the name of one of their possible torturers,” Raddack wrote. “Regardless, how does outing a torturer hurt the national security of the U.S.? It’s like arguing that outing a Nazi guarding a concentration camp would hurt the national security of Germany.”

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a former government official told Firedoglake recently that the CIA was “totally ticked at Kiriakou for acknowledging the use of torture as state policy” and allegedly outing the identity of a covert CIA official “responsible for ensuring the execution” of the water-boarding program.

Kiriakou “outted” to the reporters the identities of the CIA’s “prime torturer” under its Bush-era interrogations, Firedoglake wrote. “For that, the CIA is counting on the Justice Department to, at minimum, convict Kiriakou on the charge of leaking an agent’s identity to not only send a message to other agents but also to continue to protect one of their own.”

Former National Security Agency staffer Thomas Drake suffered a similar fate in recent years after the government went after him for blowing the whistle on the NSA’s poorly handled collection of public intelligence. A grand jury indicted Drake on five counts tied to 1917’s Espionage Act as well as other crimes, but prosecutors eventually agreed to let him off with a misdemeanor computer violation that warranted zero jail time.

Together, Drake and Kirakou are two of six persons charged under the Espionage Act during the administration of US President Barack Obama. The current White House has indicted more people under the antiquated World War 1-era legislation than all previous presidents combined.

Source

Expose torture? Two years in prison. Commit acts of torture? You’re called a government agency.