Links, July 18, 2011

Btw, DDay tells me I stole this idea from him. So I’m going to admit it fair and square that I did, indeed, take this idea partly from him.


The whistleblower who first tied Andy Coulson to the HackGate scandal, Sean Houre, was found dead in his home last night and the police are, for some reason, not treating the “unexplained” death as suspicious. I find that particularly curious given that Houre had just explained to the NYT and Guardian how News Corp journalists used cell phone data for geolocation, in much the same way our government secretly does under the PATRIOT Act.

Spencer has a really important article on TruePosition, one of the big players in geolocation. Of particular concern? It’s part of Liberty Media, one of the big players in media consolidation.

Chris Soghoian warns that the security problem that Murdoch’s minions used in HackGate may still exist on three US carriers–AT&T, T-Mobile, and Sprint. He reminds that when AT&T and T-Mobile got caught with an open back door to the kind of hacking Murdoch’s minions used in the UK, they only had to reveal that vulnerability, not fix it.

Rule of Law

Thomas Drake was sentenced to a year of probation last Friday. Both the NYT and the Government Accountability Project describe the new asshole Judge Richard Bennett ripped William Welch and the government more generally for the way they treated Drake.

Remember Tim DeChristopher, the UT man who walked into a BLM auction and bid on land in an effort to prevent it from being drilled? In March, he was convicted of two counts of fraud. Bill McKibben writes about his upcoming sentencing, wondering why DeChristopher will be punished but not the MOTUs who crashed our economy.

The head of Obama’s Financial Task Force is leaving after 17 months on the job. Quick! Can you think of any high profile crime he has prosecuted?


Steven Aftergood reviews two of the snowflakes released in the latest batch of RummyLeaks, both address Rummy’s view on secrecy. I’m particularly interested in the November 2, 2005 one where Rummy muses that the US government can’t keep a secret. As Aftergood notes, Rummy doesn’t say what secret he was worried about. But there are two that were about to break: news of the black sites (Dana Priest broke that story just days later and Carl Levin was looking into it), and the warrantless wiretap program.

Corporate Government

Last week, the Center for Media and Democracy rolled out an important new project, ALEC Exposed, chronicling the way that the American Legislative Exchange Council serves as a means for corporations to dictate legislative agenda at the state level. Here’s DemocracyNow on some of what CMD discovered. John Nichols looks at how ALEC has tried to curtail democracy.

One of the things the corporatists are trying to do is cut back access to justice. As part of this, Republicans in Congress are trying to cut over a quarter of legal aid’s funding. Adam Bonin has an update on what you can do to stop them.

The Empire and the Rest of the World

Josh Rogin reports on a letter a couple of Congresswomen sent to the PLO, warning that if they don’t drop a plan to ask for a UN vote giving Palestine statehood, they’ll lose US aid. This follows votes in both the House and Senate condemning the plan.

The perennial prediction of an impending Israeli attack on Iran continues, this time with a prediction from former spook Bob Baer. A big basis for recent claims of imminent attack–including this one–stems from warnings from former Mossad chief Meir Dagan. Needless to stay, if the Israelis decide to attack Iran, they’ll be doing it over the heads of Americans stationed in Iraq.

Via Steve Hynd, Nuri al-Maliki’s got a new solution to his dilemma of whether to ask US troops to stay: to ask for mercs–er, um, trainers defended by mercs. That way Maliki can bypass his parliament without forgoing our footprint (and/or inviting us to bigfoot in the name of Iranian containment). Of particular note? The last line of the article, which emphasizes Iraq will continue to have US intelligence cooperation.

Eating the World

Mark Bittman links to this Environmental Working Group site that shows you how much better the globe would be if you ate lentils instead of cow. Among other things, it tracks the carbon footprint of 4 oz portions of a variety of foods.

24 replies
  1. Brian Silver says:

    I hope it’s not just scoop poop.

    Re Hoare, do we know whether he was formally deposed by Scotland Yard? If so, then his testimony can be used in legal proceedints in a way that mere stories told to news media cannot. (Though, of course, if he were alive he would be cross-examined in such proceedings.)

  2. rugger9 says:

    Houre’s passing may preclude his deposition (if any) being introduced in the trials to come, but as a PR element, it only adds to the level of suspicion. The Met police need to go over-the-top in investigation intensity, completely transparent, or the non-Murdoch press (like the Guardian) will roast them as being in cahoots. This scandal will take out the coalition government before it is done, and the fact it has reached into Scotland Yard with enough effect to cause two resignations already means the rot runs deep. Miliband for his part has the “poodle problem” because his predecessor was just as compromised. If he solves that conundrum, Cameron is toast.

    As far as the Israeli strike possibility, there is no way at all the Muslim world will ever believe the USA was not involved if it happens. We’d have to ignore bmbers and/or missiles flying over our forces in Iraq [and/or the Arabian Peninsula] at the least, with all of our top-notch military equipment there. The fallout will not be pretty, and will be potentially a worldwide fiasco for the USA.

    However, the Dominionists will be happy, it’s one step closer to the Armageddon they crave.

  3. Gitcheegumee says:

    The Hoare death put me in mind of David Kelley and Mike Connell. I wonder who has Hoare’s phone records..the police??

    • bmaz says:

      There has never been any credible evidence that Connell was anything other than an accident, whether due to icing or pilot error.

  4. rugger9 says:

    However, Connell was concerned about nefarious activity intended to silence him, and he had the goods about Ohio in 2004. While there is no proof [yet] that bad things have happened to Connell, Kelley, the DC Madam, and Houre, there are enough MOTUs that profited from their respective demises that a real investigation is warranted for each one. In all cases that have been checked so far, the investigations were whitewashes at best with holes.

    • bmaz says:

      I read the NTSB report at the time; it appeared to be completely appropriate and not a whitewash at all. There has been absolutely nothing credible to support that it was anything other than a plane crash accident. Sometimes planes crash.

  5. rugger9 says:

    I’ll agree on the credibility, but how can the police really have it if so many top cops have already resigned for being on the take? Murdoch, Inc. has made a lot of hay from making perception appear to be reality. It’s a double edged sword.

    As far as Connell goes for the NTSB report, maybe it was an accident only. I’ll review the report and the sites that don’t buy it.

  6. ed says:

    No comedy writer can possibly top real life.

    The top of the page story on Google News right now is Sean Hoare. Most headlines say something like “Whistleblower Found Dead”.

    However, the highly independent Wall Street Journal, which operates on the highest principles of journalism, states the case more cautiously:

    “Former Tabloid Reporter in News Case Believed Dead

    Wall Street Journal – ‎50 minutes ago‎

    By CASSELL BRYAN-LOW LONDON – A person believed to be Sean Hoare, a former reporter at News Corp.’s News of the World tabloid who last year made a key allegation against the paper’s former editor, was found dead Monday, according to a person familiar . . . ”

    No need to open the whole story to know good reporting when you see it.

    In other news, the person believed to be Generalissimo Francisco Franco may or may not still be dead.

  7. Gitcheegumee says:

    rugger9: I forgot to mention the death three weeks ago of Christopher Shales,David Cameron’s “rock”. He was found dead in a portalet at a music festival.


  8. Gitcheegumee says:

    David Cameron’s friend Christopher Shale dies at Glastonbury after ……/David-Camerons-friend-Christopher-Shale-dies-at- …
    Jun 26, 2011 – Christopher Shale, a close friend and political ally of David Cameron, died at the Glastonbury festival shortly after receiving a call from …

    ►Senior Tory Christopher Shale found dead at Glastonbury festival ……/26/tory-christopher-shale-dead-glastonbury – CachedJun 26, 2011 – David Cameron pays tribute to ‘a big rock in my life’ after Shale is found in toilet on day his strategy documents were leaked.

    Christopher Shale received warning of leaked memo before ……/christopher-shale-glastonbury-festival-mem… – CachedJun 26, 2011 – Senior Conservative was ‘big rock in my life’, says PM, as …

  9. P J Evans says:

    The bag that was found in the trash and being examined by the police … it contained a computer and other stuff, including papers, from Rebekah Brooke’s home. Her husband is trying to blame someone else (anyone else, actually: he says the bag was put in the garage and mistakenly trashed by cleaners).

  10. Gitcheegumee says:

    O/T: Looks like DOJ is backpedaling somewhat on Bruce Ivins:

    Justice Department lawyers contradict FBI findings in anthrax case
    Source: McClatchy

    Now, however, Justice Department lawyers have acknowledged in court papers that the sealed area in Ivins’ lab — the so-called hot suite — didn’t contain the equipment needed to turn liquid anthrax into the refined powder that floated through congressional buildings and post offices in the fall of 2001.

    The government said it continued to believe that Ivins was “more likely than not” the killer. But the filing in a Florida court didn’t explain where or how Ivins could have made the powder, saying only that his secure lab “did not have the specialized equipment . . . that would be required to prepare the dried spore preparations that were used in the letters.”

    Read more:

  11. rugger9 says:

    Add Ivins to the list [or as I call him for FBI snark purposes, Contestant #2, after Hatfill, for the Amerithrax investigation] of those conveniently dead. No one as far as I know says anything other than the suicide is involved, the issue for Ivins is that the FBI, et al., pushed him into it which is really murder on their part. Ivins deserved his day in court, and deserves better than FBI character assassination in the press. The fact that the FBI still keeps pinning blame on Ivins (after paying out big bucks to Hatfill) when at least 95% of their “evidence” really isn’t incriminating Ivins means they have not yet figured out who Contestant #3 is going to be. And because they’ve guessed wrong twice I can’t see any jury convicting C#3 even if the FBI collared the right one. Imagine bmaz on cross, if you will…..

    As far as Connell conspiracy theorists go, the ball was started rolling by an [Akron?] Ohio TV station, Channel 19, on 12/25/08, the day after the NTSB preliminary report was issued and holes were poked by them in their report. Google away. has this as well, with links to the video that shows a fire (which burned Connell’s body, yet the wallet with an intact receipt and his blue suit were recovered, hmmm) and further digging by Raw Story which got some heat in the bradblog comments, plus links to interviews and reports about Connell getting death threats from Rove, as well as warnings of a sabotaged plane. However, nothing seems to have been in play after early 2009, so draw your own conclusions. Maxim did a story on this in 2010, probably tied to the NTSB final report release, as if anyone reads it for the news stories…. [OT, but one of the more amusing articles I had read years ago in the barbershop was a joint effort allegedly with the Cosmopolitan staff on dating etiquette, covering useful items like just how far around could the guy’s head turn if a hot chick walked by without getting in trouble. They said 60 degrees, I’d get zero]

    The NTSB final report says Connell became disoriented while turning in a cloud (although the stations’ footage and weather showed clear skies just above freezing), it was issued 1/28/10, # CEN09FA099 accorind to the wiki references. However, my review of the NTSB website for aviation incidents showed no reference to this report sorting by incident date, location, or report date on a db extending to 1994. There are nonfatal incidents large and small, as well as fatal ones listed before and after this one. So, what’s going on here? No incidents at all are listed for Akron/Canton or Canton/Akron crash site, or College Park Maryland where the flight originated. This is the kind of situation / gap that feeds conspiracy theories, and needs to be cleared up.

    Could someone get a link to the NTSB report so we can see this?

  12. rugger9 says:

    Update: The site of the incident is listed as “North Canton” and one has to go to the NTSB docket management system using the CEN number [via “accident dockets”]. It’s 154 pages long, developed starting 2/19/09 and publicly released (according to the NTSB docket management system) on 11/9/09, so I’m not sure why there is the discrepancy on the release dates.

    31 separate docs of varying lengths go into this report. Using the NC reference there is still no report listed in the reports area.

  13. rugger9 says:

    For Fractal: I’m sure Miliband is pushing very hard for it, that’s why coalition governments are usually quite weak, and this one more so than most since the LibDems and the Tories have severe ideological differences. There’s less of a gap to Labour, for the LibDems, but how does Miliband cover the “poodle problem” presented by Blair, since he was tight with Rupert as well? If he can’t why would Clegg trade one compromised coalition partner with another compromised one, depending on what Miliband offers for joining Labour? IMHO, Clegg would be better off staying out of it, triggering a no confidence vote, and getting a government out of the resulting election because the LibDems would be perceived as “clean” compared to the other two main parties.

  14. MikeD says:

    Just a formatting suggestion: you should definitely stick with this feature, but I’d suggest going back to boldface for the subect heads that you used in the opening installment. It really helped it function as the quick-glance/getcher-hot-links utility I think you want it to be.

  15. Gitcheegumee says:


    Many thanks for the time and efforts expended on the Connell crash.
    (There are quite a few posts on the subject if one uses the FDL search engine.)
    Thanks again.

  16. Pete says:

    Very poor choice of wording “asshole” as it can be construed to be referring to the judge.

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