Archive for February 7th, 2008

McCain Loudly Booed At CPAC

By- Suzie-Q @ 4:00 PM MST

McCain booed at CPAC

Speaking to a right-wing crowd at CPAC today, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was loudly booed when he mentioned his push for comprehensive immigration reform last year. (A position he has since given up.)

McCAIN: Surely, I have held other positions that have not met with widespread agreement from conservatives. I won’t pretend otherwise, nor would you permit me to forget it. On — on the issue of illegal immigration, a position which –

CROWD: Boo! Boo!

Watch it

This morning, Politico reported that CPAC organizers had instructed conference attendees not to boo McCain. Last year, McCain was the only major Republican presidential candidate to skip CPAC.


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by Geezer Power …2:04 pm



On August 9, 2007 at Chautauqua Institution, NY, Paul Zarembka confronted Philip Zelikow. exec. director of the official 9/11 … all » investigation, with a couple of uncensored questions. Professor Zarembka had done his homework. He is the editor of The Hidden History of 9-11-2001. In this video, Zarembka outlines the book’s chapters: What we now know about the 9-11 hijackers (Jay Kolar); Initiation of the 9-11 operation, with evidence of insider trading beforehand (Zarembka); The destruction of the World Trade Center: why the official account cannt be true (David Ray Griffin); The military drills on 9-11: bizarre coincidence or something else? (Four Arrows aka Don Jacobs); Terrorism and Statecraft: Al-Qaeda and western covert operations after the Cold War (Nafeez Mossaddeq Ahmed); September 11 as Machiavellian State Terror (David MacGregor); Making History: the compromised 9-11 Commission (Bryan Sacks); Islamophobia and the War on Terror: the continuing pretext for US imperial conquest (Diana Ralph). Filmed Aug 9, 2007, Chautauqua, NY by snowshoefilms and Chautauqua Books.

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By- Suzie-Q @ 2:00 PM MST

Dozens sought in mob raids in US, Italy

Authorities in US, Italy Target Dozens in Raids Aimed at Trans-Atlantic Mafia Ties

American and Italian authorities arrested dozens of people Thursday in a takedown of what they called a trans-Atlantic drug trafficking operation run by the Mafia.

The operation, code-named “Old Bridge,” was centered on New York and the Sicilian capital of Palermo, targeting Mafia figures who were strengthening contacts between mob groups in Italy and the United States.

A federal grand jury in New York also accused 62 people of ties to the Gambino crime family and offenses including murders, drug trafficking, robberies, extortion, and other crimes dating back to the 1970s.

“Today we are able to bring closure to crimes from the past,” U.S. Attorney Benton Campbell said in Brooklyn. “Today we seek justice for those men and their families and we make clear that those crimes and those victims are not forgotten.”

The sprawling indictment covers gangland killings from the days when the crime family was run by Paul Castellano, who was assassinated in 1985. Some of the charges allege more recent crimes including credit fraud conspiracies and theft of union benefits.

In the 170-page indictment, authorities allege that associates of the crime family extorted people in the construction industry, embezzled from labor unions, engaged in loansharking and bookmaking. The massive investigation also includes charges brought in state court by the Queens district attorney.

The federal indictment’s targets include a long list of well-known mobsters and people believed to be top leaders in the Gambino clan, some of whom have already served prison time for past offenses. Among those being sought was the reputed acting boss of the Gambino family, John “Jackie the Nose” D’Amico, who is accused of playing a lead role in a broad racketeering conspiracy.

“Organized crime still exists in the city and the state of New York,” said New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said. “We like to think that it’s a vestige of the past. It’s not.”

As of Thursday morning, the FBI had arrested 54 people in New York City and its northern suburbs, New Jersey and Long Island. Police in Palermo said they hoped to bring in 25 to 30 suspects.

Authorities in Rome said they were targeting alleged members of Mafia families who control drug trafficking between the two sides of the Atlantic.

There has been renewed attention to the Sicilian Mafia’s ties to the United States since November, when police in Sicily arrested Salvatore Lo Piccolo, a top mobster on the run for more than a decade who was vying to become La Cosa Nostra’s next “boss of bosses.”

At the time, investigators warned that Lo Piccolo had been working to mend ties with U.S.-Italian clans such as the Gambino and Inzerillo crime families.

Those relations were wrecked during Sicily’s internal Mafia war of the 1980s and the rise of the Corleonesi clan, which dominated La Cosa Nostra until the arrests of boss Salvatore “Toto” Riina in 1993 and of his successor Bernardo Provenzano in 2006.

The Gambino crime family has been the subject of a steady stream of government indictments and prosecutions since its late don, John Gotti, was sentenced to life in prison in 1992. One acting boss after another has gone to prison, including Gotti’s son, John Gotti Jr., who was not named in this most recent indictment.

In the government’s last high-profile attack on the family, the younger Gotti, freed after completing his prison term, was tried three times on charges that he conspired to murder the radio talk show host Curtis Sliwa for insulting his father.

Each trial ended in a hung jury and prosecutors finally gave up the case last year.

Source: AP News

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By- Suzie-Q @ 1:15 PM MST

In search for foreign intelligence, spies turn to YouTube, MySpace, blogs

With rapidly advancing technology spreading across the globe, US spies are shifting their focus from surreptitiously photographing secret Soviet documents to trolling the Internet for what could be the next key nugget of foreign intelligence.

Among the most valuable sources, one top spook says, are blogs, MySpace and other Web 2.0 hallmarks.

“We’re looking now at YouTube, which carries some unique and honest-to-goodness intelligence,” Doug Naquin, director of the CIA’s Open Source Center said in a recent speech to CIA retirees.

The speech was posted this week on SecrecyNews, the blog of the Federation of American Scientists Project on Government Secrecy.

“I would not have thought of YouTube as an obvious source of intelligence,” Steven Aftergood, the project’s director, told InfromationWeek, “but I think it’s a good sign that the Open Source Center is looking at it, and at other new media.”

Open source intelligence collection focuses on compiling and analyzing unclassified data from publicly available sources for use by the CIA, policy makers and other law enforcement agencies. Formerly known as the Foreign Broadcast Information Service, the Open Source Center’s mission in recent years has shifted from translating newspaper and television reports from abroad to culling the Web for information on foreign targets. The center trains intelligence agents and others in government.

“This training includes everything from media analysis to advanced Internet exploitation, way beyond Googling,” Naquin said.

The goal of open-source collection is to provide information that goes beyond what appears in the morning newspaper, and analysis of Web 2.0 content has become a key part of that, he said.

“A couple years back we identified Iranian blogs as a phenomenon worthy of more attention, about six months ahead of anybody else,” he said.

Now even Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has his own blog.

“We’re looking at chat rooms and things that didn’t even exist five years ago, and trying to stay ahead,” Naquin said. “We have groups looking at what they call ‘Citizens Media’: people taking pictures with their cell phones and posting them on the Internet. Then there’s Social Media, phenomena like MySpace and blogs.”

With the end of the Cold War, Naquin said open source collection became a low priority in the Intelligence Community, causing the FBIS staff to be cut in half during the 90s. The terror attacks aimed at New York and Washington changed all that.

“[Nine-Eleven] was sort of a watershed for us,” Naquin said. “The 9/11 Commission and WMD Commission both said, ‘You know what? There are a lot of open sources out there. We should be putting a lot more attention toward exploiting those sources.”

Naquin’s full speech is available here (.pdf).

George Thorogood- “Bad To The Bone”

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By- Suzie-Q @ 1:00 PM MST

Calling All Angels – Effect of Katrina

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Will The Third Time Be A Charm For Surveillance Act?

By- Suzie-Q @ 12:30 PM MST

Reid: GOPers Are Pulling The Ol’ Surveillance Squeeze Again

It worked in August. It didn’t work last week. But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) says the White House and GOP seem set to give it a third try. From CQ:

Legislation to overhaul the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act remained stalled in the Senate Tuesday, held hostage by a partisan clash over procedures for consideration of an unrelated economic stimulus package.A frustrated Majority Leader Harry Reid , D-Nev., complained that Republicans were blocking his efforts to schedule votes on proposed amendments to the bill (S 2248). He questioned Minority Leader Mitch McConnell ’s commitment to the legislation, saying Republicans have declined to allow FISA to move forward.

“The Orwellian Bush administration has now slopped over into the Senate, and now the Republican leader is now becoming Orwellian himself,” Reid said. “They want to stall the FISA legislation as long as they can, and they’ve done a pretty good job, because they want this legislation to be completed at the last minute, to give the House and the Senate conferees little time to work on this.”

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Video: Mitt Romney Out!!

GEF @ 11:28 AM MST

Well looks like Mittens is leaving the race.. Being that his money is dried up and his numbers are gone.. This is GREAT NEWS for the Military because now Mitt’s boys will be able to serve in Iraq! 🙂

Via: C&L See Video at link below:

Breaking: Mitt Romney To Suspend His Presidential Campaign

Wave goodbye Mittens…

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anthony @ 17:50 GMT

Think Progress | Thursday February 7, 2008

On the NBC Today Show, liberal radio host Rachel Maddow, conservative pundit Pat Buchanan, and Democratic strategist Paul Begala discussed the importance of “change” in the upcoming election. Voters want a “clean break from Bush,” argued Maddow. Begala added that McCain does not represent that type of change:

BEGALA: If McCain wins, he’s running for a third term for Bush. He wants to make Bush’s Iraq war permanent, Bush’s economic program permanent.

Buchanan concluded the segment by arguing that McCain “will make Cheney look like Gandhi.” Watch it:

Yesterday, ThinkProgress released a video documenting the fact that the leading Republican candidates are mimicking Bush’s policies and are looking to institute a third Bush term.

On issue after issue, Mike Huckabee, John McCain, and Mitt Romney have shown themselves eager to carry on President Bush’s legacy. Here’s evidence.

The Conservative Agenda For 2008: A Third Bush Term

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We Don’t Talk Unless We Want To… So There!

By- Suzie-Q @ 9:30 AM MST

We Don’t Discuss Interrogation Techniques until We Want to

It was one of the most familiar refrains from the White House’s mouthpieces over the past several years: we don’t discuss interrogation techniques. Take, for instance, this characteristic exchange between White House spokeswoman Dana Perino and a reporter at a briefing in December, after Perino explained that “al Qaeda listens closely to everything that we do and say”…

Q But when you have a former CIA officer, John Kiriakou, now saying that waterboarding was used — since you’re saying the interrogations were legal; he’s saying on the record now, waterboarding was used in at least one case. You’re saying waterboarding is legal?

MS. PERINO: Ed, I’m saying I’m not commenting on any specific technique. I’m not commenting on that gentleman’s characteristics of any possible technique. I’ve given you a very general statement about interrogations being legal, limited and —

Q You just said it was legal.

MS. PERINO: I’m sorry?

Q You said it was within the legal framework.


Q Everything that was done.


Q So waterboarding is legal.

MS. PERINO: I’m not commenting on any specific techniques. And you can ask me all sorts of different ways, and we can go back and forth, but I’m not going to do it, Ed.

Only a few weeks ago, the line was still in vogue. But no more.

What’s changed? Congress is pushing legislation that would limit the use of waterboarding, in addition to other enhanced interrogation techniques. So “the consensus” in the administration was to reverse course.

It’s reminiscent of the White House’s recent reversal with regard to documents concerning the administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. For nearly a year, they ignored the House intelligence committee’s request. But now that retroactive immunity is being fiercely contended in the new surveillance bill, the White House had a change of heart.

Note: TPM Reader BM writes in to ask that we remind readers on what this medieval torture technique entails. Not a bad idea. See here for a detailed description by former Navy instructor Malcolm Nance and here for a history lesson.

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Travel Advisory: Pass on Mexico!

GEF @ 8:08 AM MST

Sophisticated Mexican groups plot abductions


Organized, well-financed and violent Mexican kidnapping cells are targeting a growing number of U.S. citizens visiting communities popular with San Diegans and other California residents.

Last year, at least 26 San Diego County residents were kidnapped and held for ransom in Tijuana, Rosarito Beach or Ensenada, local FBI agents overseeing the cases said yesterday. In 2006, at least 11 county residents had been kidnapped in the three communities.

“Some of the 26 were recovered, some were hurt and some were killed,” said agent Alex Horan, who directs the FBI’s violent-crime squad in San Diego.

“It’s not a pleasant experience. Victims have reported beatings, torture and there have been rapes. . . . Handcuffs and hoods over the head are common,” he said.


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