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Journalists Arrested While Covering Ferguson Protests Sue St. Louis County Police for Rights Violations

By: Monday March 30, 2015 4:51 pm

St. Louis County police officer during Ferguson protest on August 19

Journalists arrested while covering ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri, after Michael Brown was killed by a police officer have sued the St. Louis County police.

The lawsuit alleges [PDF] that at least twenty officers, whose identities remain unknown, engaged in “unlawful conduct” that “was undertaken with the intention of obstructing, chilling, deterring, and retaliating against plaintiffs for engaging in constitutionally-protected speech, newsgathering, and recording of police activities.”

Police are accused of obstructing press, who were assigned to provide “oversight of police action against citizens engaged in protest activity.” As they suppressed the journalists’ First Amendment rights, they allegedly violated their right to be “free from unreasonable searches and seizures” and subjected them to “false arrest and battery” in violation of state law.

Ryan Devereaux, a journalist with The Intercept, Lukas Hermsmeier, a freelance journalist for several German newspapers, Ansgar Graw, senior political US correspondent for Die Welt and Welt am Sonntag and Frank Herrmann, US correspondent for a group of regional newspapers in Germany are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Both Devereaux and Hermsmeier were arrested on August 18-19 of last year when armored police vehicles were entering the streets around West Florissant while firing tear gas into the residential area. An armored vehicle came close to Devereaux and Hermsmeier as they were trying to get back to their car and both stepped forward with their hands in the air. They held their press identification and announced they were “press” or “journalists.”

Officers had their weapons trained on the journalists as they motioned them to move toward them. They were instructed by one unit to move toward a second unit of officers. That second unit opened fire and hit Devereaux and Hermsmeier with rubber bullets. Devereaux was hit once in his back and Hermsmeier was hit twice by shots.

Book Review – “This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since”

By: Saturday March 28, 2015 7:07 pm

There is no historical controversy as contentious or long-lasting as the North Korean and Chinese charges of U.S. use of biological weapons during the Korean War. For those who believe the charges to be false — and that includes much of American academia, but not all — they must assume the burden of explaining why the North Koreans or Chinese made up any bogus claims to attack the credibility of U.S. forces. Because they had no reason to do that.

It is a historical fact that the United States carpet-bombed and napalmed North Korea, killing nearly 3 million civilians thereby.

In other words, massive war crimes are already self-evident, and if there is any mystery, it is how historical amnesia and/or callous disregard for crimes such as those committed by the U.S. and its allies in Korea, or the millions killed by the U.S. in Southeast Asia, can go ignored today.

But the U.S. media and academia largely ignore evidence of U.S. use of weapons of mass destruction in its wars against independence struggles and for imperial dominance, or hock their wares to support propaganda that claims such crimes never took place. Evidence to the contrary, such as the 1950s International Scientific Commission investigation into U.S. use of bacteriological weapons in the Korean War, or the many confessions under interrogation by U.S. Air Force personnel, were generally suppressed. (I published myself the ISC’s summary report earlier this year.)

The suppression of the ISC investigation was, as Chaddock points out, at least in part because ISC chair, Sir Joseph Needham, was not shy in mentioning the connections between the US use of BW in Korea and China and Japanese use of biological experimentation and warfare against China during World War II. This was of high sensitivity to the U.S. as they publicly denied that, having made a deal with Shiro Ishii and the Japanese war criminals of Unit 731 to not prosecute them if US scientists from Fort Detrick and the CIA could get Japanese data and samples — of human tissues gathered via vivisection! — and use them for the US’s own secretive BW program in the early years of the Cold War.

One man with evident integrity and unwilling to let the truth be buried is Dave Chaddock. His book, This Must Be the Place: How the U.S. Waged Germ Warfare in the Korean War and Denied It Ever Since, is a superb exercise in historical rebuttal. The falsifications and lies and secrets propounded by the U.S. on the issue of its crimes has been going on for decades now. For instance, the U.S. populace did not learn of its government’s post-war deal with Nazis, or its amnesty of the Japanese Imperial Army’s Unit 731, until nearly 40 years had passed from the time of these events. If the book seems partisan at times, it is understandably the passion of someone outraged at what he has discovered — just as many who have served in America’s imperial wars returned home outraged, and too often broken, by what they had seen and endured.

Chaddock builds on the seminal work of Stephen Endicott and Edward Hagerman, whose 1998 book, The United States and Biological Warfare: Secrets from the Early Cold War and Korea, laid out the best case we have thus far for proving the U.S. BW campaign really did take place. Chaddock takes on Endicott and Hagerman’s critics, and has a particularly trenchant critique of the discovery of Soviet documents that indicate the BW evidence was “faked.” The documents were oddly serendipitously discovered at the time Endicott and Hagerman were publishing their book. (The actual documents have not been publicly released, if they in fact exist.) Chaddock shows that the Soviet “fake”, as presented, could not possibly have covered all the sites and evidence of biological weapons used in as short a time as given to create such a fantastic fraud.

Chaddock also takes on the controversy that surrounded the testimonies (“confessions”) of downed flyers interrogated by North Korean and Chinese captors. The flyers’ testimony was considered very convincing at the time, and the U.S. scrambled to find a way to discredit it. (The U.S. separated the flyers’ upon repatriation, with one group claiming they were tortured, and the other insisting they told the truth. All were threatened with court-martial if they did not recant.)

This Must Be the Place is unique in delving into the actual matter of the U.S. flyers’ confessions themselves. Chaddock makes a number of convincing observations. He notices that many of the flyers spoke to their shock at being told the U.S. was involved in germ warfare. One said he was shocked “beyond words,” while Air Force Colonel Walker “Bud” Mahurin described how pilots in his command reacted to his revelations surrounding the U.S. “campaign of germ warfare” with looks of “great shock.”

There is certainly more that could be unearthed about these confessions, and their aftermath, revelations that would add to Chaddock’s heavily documented analysis. For one thing, it is of high interest that Boris Pash, then chief of the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division (CID), and formerly a member of the secretive Counter Intelligence Corps (CIC), not to mention the head of security on the Manhattan Project and the leader of the mysterious Alsos Mission, AND also a CIA assassin, was involved in the interrogations of the returned flyers, and the threats to prosecute some of them. Also of high importance is the fact the record of those interrogations have been “lost” by the military.

The CIA and military created a cover-story that the men that confessed to use of BW had been “brainwashed.” This so-called brainwashing was then used as an excuse to increase funding in their own mind-control programs, the most famous of which was MKULTRA. The CIA pushed the “brainwashing” story even though, as a memo by then CIA chief Allen Dulles showed the Agency knew there was “little scientific evidence to support brainwashing.”

Nevertheless, CIA efforts to push the “brainwashing” charges included recruiting the leading members of a generation (or two) of social science and psychological/psychiatric academics and practitioners, whose experiments on use of drugs like LSD, and on sensory deprivation, and mock torture at government “survival” camps, led ultimately to an institutional use of torture by the U.S. government itself after 9/11. Chaddock details much of this history, and as with other topics he covers, refers readers to ample numbers of sources and references. His bibliography is an important assemblage of modern literature on the entire controversy.

Given the scare campaigns that are still used by the West about use of chemical or biological weapons by any country dubbed “evil” by the U.S., Chaddock’s book takes on added relevance, if not urgency.

Chaddock’s book is a real treasure. It presents in an entertaining and convincing fashion what Chaddock himself calls the “overwhelming evidence” of BW use by the Americans during the Korean War.

This is a time when independent thinking is in short supply. Curiosity and a zest for fact and truth are not traits highly valued today, particularly not when it comes to politics or historical controversies. But if you are someone who really wants to know the truth, who wants to see what someone who has spent a good deal of time researching this subject has to say, then Chaddock’s book is just the thing for you.

FBI Claims Disrupted Plot Against ‘Military Installation’ But No Plot Existed Before Agent Impersonated ISIS Fighter

By: Friday March 27, 2015 1:44 pm

Hasan Edmonds (left) and Jonas Edmonds (right) accused of plotting attack on US military installation

The FBI announced in a press release that it had stopped a US Army National Guard soldier and his cousin from carrying out a terrorism plot against a “military installation” in Illinois on behalf of the Islamic State. The men were charged with conspiracy to “provide material support” to the terrorist organization and arrested as part of a sting operation.

Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds, a black US citizen, allegedly planned to travel to Egypt to join the Islamic State. Jonas Edmonds, Hasan’s cousin and also a black US citizen, allegedly planned to remain in the US to carry out an attack against a “military installation” in Hasan’s uniform and with information Hasan “supplied” on how to access the “installation.”

John P. Carlin, the Assistant Attorney General for National Security for the FBI’s Chicago Division, declared, “They plotted to attack members of our military within the United States. Disturbingly, one of the defendants currently wears the same uniform of those they allegedly planned to attack. I want to thank the many agents, analysts, and prosecutors who are responsible for disrupting the threat posed by these defendants.”

Is there any reason to be skeptical of the idea that these two men posed a threat, particularly before the FBI had undercover agents interact with them? Did the FBI provide the means, opportunity and desire to commit an attack as undercover agents and paid informants have done in previous sting operations?

There are a set of questions worth asking any time the US government claims the FBI has “disrupted” a terrorism plot, according to Mike German, a former special agent for the FBI and fellow with the Brennan Center for Justice.

First, did either of the men engage in any direct action with the terrorist organization?

Did either of the men obtain weapons prior to the FBI’s decision to intervene? If they had weapons, what type of weapons were obtained?

Following those questions, did the men have the resources or capabilities to carry out this plot or attack without government assistance? And were plans for an attack formulated before a government agent was introduced?

Undercover FBI Employee Contacted Hasan on Facebook, Impersonated Islamic State Fighter

According to a “special affidavit” filed by an FBI special agent [PDF], it does not appear the men had any interactions with any alleged members of the Islamic State prior to an undercover FBI employee (“UC1″) contacting Hasan on Facebook.

UC1 impersonated an Islamic State fighter “located in countries outside the United States.” The agent sent a friend request to Hasan in late 2014.

On January 19, Hasan communicated with UC1 about leaving the United States and taking the “plunge” by giving his all to his faith or the religion of Islam. [Note: What happened in between 2014 and January 19 between Hasan and UC1 is not included in the affidavit. The affidavit says UC1 represented himself as an Islamic State fighter in "subsequent communications" but doesn't state whether UC1 claimed to be a fighter in any communications before January 19.]

It does not appear either of the men had the weapons to carry out an attack, although Jonas allegedly told a second undercover FBI agent (“UC2″) the men met with in person in March that he would “purchase weapons, including AK47s and grenades, from a third-party.”

Jonas allegedly told UC2 he had “access to firearms.” Hasan also allegedly took a photo of himself in a military uniform while holding a rifle and sent it to UC1. This rifle may have been left for Jonas, however, Jonas allegedly was going to get the weapons for the attack from a “third-party.” He did not have weapons for an attack before talking to any FBI agents.

UC1 contacted Hasan on January 27. It is unclear what prompted the statement, but Hasan allegedly replied, “I can own handguns shotguns and rifles but no automatic weapons or heavy machine guns. We have plenty people here who have them and hide them so we will do the same.” This would seem to indicate Hasan had no weapons either.

9/11 Review Commission Suggests FBI Expand Spying on Entire Racial or Ethnic Communities

By: Wednesday March 25, 2015 5:38 pm

A 9/11 Review Commission report on the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s efforts to implement recommendations the commission issued in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks was released. One of the report’s key aspects is how it suggests the agency should expand its domestic spying operations on entire racial or ethnic communities in the United [...]

FBI Ordered by Judge to Release Files on Surveillance & Infiltration of Muslim Communities, Including Mosques

By: Tuesday March 24, 2015 10:58 am

The FBI has effectively been ordered to release numerous files on surveillance against Muslim communities in the San Francisco Bay Area of California, including infiltration of mosques. Judge Richard Seeborg of the Northern District of California found the FBI could not invoke a “law enforcement” exemption in the Freedom of Information Act, which is commonly [...]

In Rare & Extraordinary Decision, Judge Dismisses Defamation Lawsuit Over State Secrets

By: Monday March 23, 2015 5:05 pm

A federal judge made an extremely rare and unusual decision and dismissed a defamation lawsuit in between two private parties because the government invoked the state secrets privilege. He denied lawyers for the plaintiff in the case access to reasons why the government invoked the privilege. Greek businessman and ship owner Victor Restis alleged that [...]

Chicago Has a Bigger Problem with Stop-and-Frisks by Police Than New York Had

By: Monday March 23, 2015 3:12 pm

A report from the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois suggests Chicago has a much greater problem with stop-and-frisks by police than New York in 2011, which is considered the “height of the practice” and two years before a court ruled the New York Police Department’s policy violated Fourth Amendment rights. A “sample of 250 [...]

Podcast: Government Doesn’t Want Anyone to Know FBI Agents Can See They’re Creating Terrorists

By: Sunday March 22, 2015 10:18 am

On this week’s episode of the “Unauthorized Disclosure” podcast, the guest is Trevor Aaronson, contributing writer to The Intercept and executive director of the Florida Center of Investigative Reporting at the University of Miami. Aaronson wrote a feature on Sami Osmakac, a mentally ill Muslim man who was the target of an FBI sting operation [...]

Judge Orders Thousands of Detainee Abuse Photos to Be Disclosed After US Government Fails to Justify Secrecy

By: Friday March 20, 2015 5:02 pm

A federal district court judge will no longer accept the United States government’s secrecy arguments and has ruled that it must release thousands of photographs of detainee abuse and torture in Afghanistan and Iraq, including inhumane treatment at Abu Ghraib prison. The government is “required to disclose each and all the photographs responsive” to the [...]

Elite Guard Unit in Illinois Prisons Allegedly Beat & Sexually Abused Numerous Inmates During Shakedowns

By: Friday March 20, 2015 9:11 am

A class action lawsuit filed against officers of an elite guard unit in Illinois prisons accuses the officers of beating and sexually abusing and humiliating hundreds of inmates. The officers, as well as the wardens of multiple facilities and leadership of the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), are accused of engaging in a conspiracy in [...]

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