Links, 07/29/11

bmaz is working on trash. Here’s a highlight of what I’ll be talking about.

Justice and Injustice

Two developments in the Thomas Drake case. First, Josh Gerstein has posted the excerpt from the transcript where Judge Richard Bennett laid into William Welch about the three year delay after raiding Drake’s house. Also, Steven Aftergood reports that Drake’s lawyers are trying to get one of the charged documents declassified so former ISOO head William Leonard (who would have been the Defense’s expert witness had the case gone to trial), can complain about its improper classification in the first place. Ultimately, we’re going to learn the government pursued Drake for years over a document that was improperly overclassified.

The company that holds a patent on the breast cancer genes BRCA1 and BRCA2 won an Appeals Court ruling, allowing it to sustain its patent. One our own smart rulers explained what this means to me some years back–I’m not at high risk for BRCA, but may be at risk for another genetic issue. But no scientist will study the other possible genetic condition unless I have first disqualified being a BRCA holder–at a cost of thousands.

Pam Bondi, FL’s AG who fired the two women doing some of the best investigation in foreclosure fraud, was getting donations from Lender Processing Services and Provest while investigating them.

Update: Here’s Judge Leonie Brinkema’s order requiring James Risen to testify at the Jeffrey Sterling trial, but with strict limits. I’m betting William Welch either appeals–or starts getting cold fee.

Your Daily Murdoch

Three days after Louise Mensch questioned the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks, she received what is basically a threat to expose her past drug use. She took it in stride, admitting, “Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable.”

The MPs leading inquiries into the Murdoch scandal have called on Gordon Taylor to testify to the judge leading the other inquiry. The settlement–and gag–Taylor made with NotW is at the center of charges that James Murdoch lied to Parliament.

Our Dying Empire

Former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair and Deputy National Security Advisor Douglas Lute have gotten into a pissing match over whether we should use drones or not in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s worth emphasizing, though, that Lute cedes Blair’s argument that we should be cooperating more closely with Pakistan, even while saying we’ve got to make an exception now because we have a chance to take out al Qaeda.

“Most” of Saudi Arabia’s troops are being withdrawn from Bahrain.

Our Dying Economy

As part of the devastating GDP numbers today, they revised GDP downward for the last two years to admit that we’re still not back to where we were before the crash. Now that the Village has data showing what the rest of us already knew–that the Great Recession never ended, at least not for the little people–maybe some of them will remember that jobs are more important than austerity.

The Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit’s Public School system, Roy Roberts is the first to modify an existing contract using his powers: he just cut both union and non-union salaries by 10%. This is on top of a big wage concession last year, not to mention huge student-teacher ratios.

Brian Schweitzer–who would win a race easily–said at a presser yesterday he’s not going to run, because the system is broken. I suspect he’s just one of many good candidates who will pass on DC until it becomes functional.

Terrorists and CyberHacks

Charles Johnson has caught Pam Geller in an interesting attempt to bury the past. Just a few days ago, she removed the following line from an email “from an Atlas reader in Norway” “We are stockpiling weapons, ammunition and equipment. This is going to happen fast.” She admitted in comments to posting this anonymously to prevent his arrest. In his Manifesto, right wing Norwegian terrorist Anders Behring Breivik complained about Johnson’s past criticism of Geller.

HBGary has prevented its former CEO, Aaron Barr, from appearing on a panel on Anonymous at Defcon. They cited his separation agreement in their threat to file an injunction against his appearance.


35 replies
  1. Gitcheegumee says:

    re: Saudis troops being withdrawn in Bahrain.

    Does that include Erik Prince’s non Muslim mercenaries,also?

    May 18, 2011

    Jeremy Scahill on Blackwater Founder Erik Prince’s Private Army of “Christian Crusaders” in the UAE

    The United Arab Emirates has confirmed hiring a company headed by Erik Prince, the billionaire founder of the military firm Blackwater. According to the New York Times, the UAE secretly signed a $529 million contract with Prince’s new company, Reflex Responses, to put together an 800-member battalion of foreign mercenaries. The troops could be deployed if foreign guest workers stage revolts in labor camps, or if the UAE regime were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world. Prince has one rule about the new force: no Muslims.

    (Democracy Now intro)

  2. EoH says:

    Issuing patents on naturally occurring gene patterns, as opposed to artificially constructed ones, seems to be blatant protectionism for corporate cronies. Like patenting sunlight as opposed to spectrum monitors that deconstruct it. Next thing, they’ll be issuing patents on corrupt politicians in order to protect them from discovery, oversight and investigation.

  3. EoH says:

    Re the daily Murdoch, we shouldn’t forget that Australia has spawned some of the world’s deadliest species. As in combat martial arts, the only rule is that there are no rules. Mr. Murdoch has been pushed into the position that he is not defending himself or his British tabloids, but his progeny and his global empire. He will use any means, fair or foul, Franciscan or Rovian, to protect his own.

  4. rkilowatt says:

    re links:
    ““We are stockpiling weapons, ammunition and equipment. She admitted in comments to posting this anonymously to prevent his arrest. This is going to happen fast.””

    Pls correct quotation? Seems to contain a middle sentence that does not belong?

  5. Gitcheegumee says:

    a href=”#comment-166830″>EoH:re Murdcoh protecting his own

    Let us not forget Madame Murdoch, la Chinoise extraordinaire.. protecting his AND her own….formidable!!

  6. Gitcheegumee says:

    EoH @5:46

    Well, if they don’t want to patent the politicians,they can always incorporate them.

  7. rugger9 says:


    Note also that he hasn’t slowed down a bit on his agenda: he cut off access to Current Italia on his satellite network in Italy, meaning no Keith Olbermann there.

    However, the facts: that James is going back in to “clarify” comments made in Parliament, that one of the birdies is starting to sing, that Rebekah gave a compromised phone to one of their best supporters, means that Rupert’s days just might be numbered. There are enough independent shareholders to give him a very hard time indeed, the death march of the government toward no confidence means his protection will be gone, and the fact he hasn’t succeeded in stifling the controversy in the media with all of the effort he’s tried to date tells me he’s done. It’s only a matter of time now, even with all of the guns blazing (and they will).

  8. Gitcheegumee says:

    Pardon if this has already been posted:

    House Panel Approves Bill Forcing ISPs to Log Users’ Web History
    Source: CNet / Raw Story

    House panel approves bill forcing ISPs to log users’ web history
    Published on July 28th, 2011
    Written by: Eric W. Dolan

    The House Judiciary Committee approved legislation on Thursday that would require Internet service providers (ISPs) to collect and retain records about Internet users’ activity.

    CNET reported the bill would require ISPs to retain customers’ names, addresses, phone numbers, credit card numbers, bank account numbers, and temporarily-assigned IP addresses for 12 months.

    The bill passed by a vote of 19 to 10, and is aimed at helping law enforcement track down pedophiles.

    “The bill is mislabeled,” Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), a senior member of the panel told CNET. “This is not protecting children from Internet pornography. It’s creating a database for everybody in this country for a lot of other purposes.”

    Read more:

    • bmaz says:


      Yeah, joints usually improve when I stop going to them too. Never could figure that out…..

  9. Gitcheegumee says:

    From the above linked article:

    The Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011 (H.R. 1981) was sponsored by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL)
    “This bill requires ISPs to retain subscriber records, similar to records retained by telephone companies, to aid law enforcement officials in their fight against child sexual exploitation.”

    The American Civil Liberties Union and 29 other organizations sent a letter (PDF) to Rep. Smith on July 27, claiming that “any data retention mandate is a direct assault on bedrock privacy principles.”

    “The data retention mandate in this bill would treat every Internet user like a criminal and threaten the online privacy and free speech rights of every American, as lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have recognized,” Senior Staff Attorney Kevin Bankston of the Electronic Frontier Foundation said.

    “Requiring Internet companies to redesign and reconfigure their systems to facilitate government surveillance of Americans’ expressive activities is simply un-American. Such a scheme would be as objectionable to our Founders as the requiring of licenses for printing presses or the banning of anonymous pamphlets.”

    (Raw Story)

  10. P J Evans says:

    Their reasoning, such as it is, was a little strange, and can easily lead to results they don’t want.

    It makes me want to require science courses for all law school students. They can be the equivalent of high-school science classes; the idea is to get them more familiar with things besides how many laws can be written on a pinhead.

  11. P J Evans says:

    Congress doesn’t even understand what it’s asking for – and I really, really hope that they discover some of the members who are pushing hardest for morality laws surfing porn sites on their office computers.

  12. MadDog says:

    Another link worth adding is Charlie Savage’s piece over at the NYT:

    Judge Agrees to Limit Writer’s Testimony

    A federal judge dealt a setback on Friday to the Obama administration’s crackdown on the leaking of government secrets to journalists, sharply limiting what prosecutors can ask the author of a book about the C.I.A. in court…


    …In fighting a later subpoena compelling him to testify during the trial, Mr. Risen had offered to testify only that he wrote a particular article or a particular chapter in his book and that what he said in those publications about anonymous sources for his reporting was accurate. But he said that providing more details would allow the identification of his confidential source, which would jeopardize Mr. Risen’s ability to be an investigative journalist.

    Judge Brinkema’s order agreed with his proposal for strictly limited testimony. Her opinion explaining her ruling has not yet been made public.

    “I’m aware of no other case of this magnitude in a federal criminal case where a reporter’s subpoena has been quashed at both the grand jury and trial level,” said Joel Kurtzberg of Cahill Gordon & Reindel, an attorney for Mr. Risen. “It is a big deal.”…

  13. radiofreewill says:

    Extend the deadline to August 9th – buy the time.

    Establish an ‘escalating pain’ position for each day from the 3rd to the 9th, including a ‘downgrade day’ with the credit ratings agencies, and don’t reveal the final plays.

    Now is the time to surround the Constitution with layers of fail-safe protection to give ‘early warning of harmful intent’ in order to guard against Willful Ideological Destruction from Within by the non-compromising, irrational Republicans.

    Default is a ‘suicide-bomb’ that the neocon ideologues would like to run right into Obama and US on the 2nd.

    Defuse it by paying to move the goalposts in the name of sane and orderly processes – freeing those processes from the duress of threats of total destruction…

    It’s time to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic – and that especially includes ‘my way or the highway’ Ideologues who Would Destroy the Full Faith and Credit of the United States of America – if they don’t get ‘their’ way!

    On the other side of Default is pre-Magna Carta Feudalism for All – as in No More Constitution, as we’ve known it.

    So, let no one fail to notice – we’re playing for All the Marbles here…

  14. P J Evans says:


    I think those ‘my way or the highway’ Ideologues ought to be asked (once, politely) to resign, since they’ve broken the terms of their oath of office, and they’re so hot to obey laws. If that doesn’t get through to them (it probably won’t),l then it’s time to tell them their constituents will be showing up with pitchforks and torches when their checks don’t arrive. And the Capitol Police won’t care because their checks aren’t showing up, either.

  15. Bob Schacht says:

    Has anyone commented yet that the end of the paragraph on Justice and Injustice has an interesting typo, unless “cold fee” is a term of art with which I am not familiar.

    Thanks, EW, for a great round up!

    Bob in AZ

  16. EoH says:

    “Cold fee”, in crime novel jargon (e.g., James Ellroy) suggests untraceable funds, most often used to pervert some public purpose, such as public administration or the public pursuit of justice. The usage is similar to a cold or untraceable weapon. Sometimes a back-up, it can also be used or dropped at a crime scene to avoid implicating the shooter or to implicate someone else. So the usage could be a Freudian slurp or a typo.

  17. Jackie says:

    regarding the link to the Detroit Emergency Manager story, I can’t ‘share it because FB keeps telling me it is a ‘spammy or abusive something’..

  18. Garrett says:


    The Strategic Agreement

    The secrecy surrounding the deliberations on the yet to be inked US-Afghan Strategic Partnership is causing considerable disquiet both within and outside Afghanistan.

    Since June this year, both countries are locked in secretive discussions for finalizing a long-term security agreement that would clear the ways for retention of US troops (20,000 to 30,000 approx) in the country beyond 2014.

    Shanthie Mariet D’Souza: What’s with the secrecy surrounding the US-Afghan strategic partnership?, Al Arabiya

    Long-term deal with U.S. must be on Afghan terms: Karzai, Reuters.

    Mullah Omar in Kabul for Negotiations

    Homa Sultani is a member of Wolesi Jirga, the lower house. She was also the candidate for the post of the Speaker of the Wolesi Jirga therefore she is no ordinary person. She was talking to Khyber TV, a Pushto netwrork where to a question, she confirmed that it was only two days back that she met Mullah Omar in the suburbs of Kabul. She is negotiating on behalf of Hamid Karzai, indirectly for the US.

    Mullah Omar In Kabul, Opinion-Maker

    There is some ugliness in the above post, but the article is informative.

    KABUL — The nine women appointed last year to negotiate with the Taliban were ready to confront the architects of Afghanistan’s most repressive regime. But they were not prepared for a slew of unlikely critics: the very women they claim to represent.

    The Afghan government, along with the United States and other foreign powers, has shifted its focus toward an endgame for the war that could involve a deal with insurgents. That strategy has created a rift between President Hamid Karzai’s High Peace Council — whose nine women and 60 men are charged with directing Taliban negotiations — and the leaders of Afghanistan’s nascent women’s rights movement.

    At the heart of the debate: how to preserve the gains of the past 10 years during talks with the notoriously ruthless group.

    Afghan women opposed by former allies, WaPo

    Reuters sniggers about the meeting story: Mullah Omar, headscarves and bizarre Afghan peace talks

    About the seeming unlikelihood of Omar being in Kabul: news articles last fall were talking specifically about U.S./NATO safe passage deals for negotiations.

    This is expressive of the current U.S. seriousness about the negotiations.

    The United States on Thursday said it welcomes a U.N. decision to remove sanctions against 14 former Taliban leaders in what is perhaps the latest signal of its willingness to reconcile with militants who break ties with al Qaeda.

    Among the list are four members of a committee called the High Peace Council of Afghanistan, a group formed last year in September by Afghan authorities.

    U.S. welcomes decision to remove former Taliban from sanctions list, CNN

    So, Karzai’s council is now OK. Or, at least four more of them.

  19. radiofreewill says:

    What might be behind the curtain?

    McConnell and Boehner – both ‘read-in’ to Bush’s Ideological War of the Unitary Executive – still talk and behave like they’re active-duty soldiers in Bush’s War, which places them above the Rule of Law and the Constitution.

    Even today, if Bush tells them to Default – though it would destroy the Nation – then that’s what they’d do…

    …because they’re Loyal – to Bush – more than to the Constitution and the Rule of Law.

    And Bush would rather destroy the Nation than be called to account for his crimes.

    So, are we dealing here with a case of Treasonous political extortion by the still-active Bush, or what?

    Is the secret Neocon threat to either make the Torture-accountability/Bankster-investigations go away and give them everything they want – or they’ll suicide the economy?

  20. radiofreewill says:

    Wow! A debt deal – negotiated in Secret – that gives the Republicans all the cuts they wanted – and more – Plus No Revenues – Plus No Jobs – Plus automatic triggers to cut Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

    The Goopers will be smiling like Casey Anthony by this afternoon…

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