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What Was Done During A Declared War With Terrorists

(Operation Pastorius – Wikipedia)

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941, followed by Nazi Germany’s declaration of war on the United States four days later[1] (and the United States’ declaration of war on Germany in response), Hitler authorized a mission to sabotage the American war effort and to make terrorist attacks on civilian targets to demoralize the American civilian population inside the United States.[2] The mission was headed by Admiral Canaris, chief of the German Abwehr. Canaris recalled that during World War I, he organized the sabotage of French installations in Morocco, and entered the United States with other German agents to plant bombs in New York arms factories, including the destruction of munitions supplies at Black Tom Island, in 1916. He hoped that Operation Pastorius would have the same kind of success they had in 1916.[3]

 

I remember my Father telling me what little he knew, in guarded terms of the events.  He had been deferred to to asthma and flat feet, but was anxious to somehow to serve.  Little did he know what was to befall him.

Meanwhile, one of the potential saboteurs betrayed the others, and they all were arrested , tried and convicted.   My father (and his father) were then civilian police for the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad, and were commandeered as private ‘volunteered’ to transport prisoners through the Easter United States.  This was all Top Secret, was all kept secret until the 60’s.  Much of what my Father shared with me he thought remained with so, as he was unaware of the earlier declassification!

He was given no official title or rank, and was not paid – the RR paid him.

I will not hon0r these men by linking their names with their photos.

The trial for the eight defendants ended on 1 August 1942. Two days later, all were found guilty and sentenced to death. Roosevelt commuted Burger’s sentence to life in prison and Dasch’s to 30 years because they had turned themselves in and provided information about the others. The others were executed on 8 August 1942 in the electric chair on the third floor of the District of Columbia jail and buried in a potter’s field in the Blue Plains neighborhood in the Anacostia area of Washington.

And was told never to speak of this…

This irked me my entire childhood – friends whose fathers who served in the Pacific Theater, the Atlantic, and my Dad had flat feet!

What did you do in the War Daddy?

What little did I know…

I was always proud of my father – more proud today.

Cutting To The Chase On This Rights Thing

One of the neatest things about getting to know folks through this Internet thing (and sometimes, if one is lucky, meeting them in meatspace!) is finding folks who are one’s intellectual superior – from whom one may learn.

I’m a pretty bright guy.  Despite the fact I squandered my education and made some poor life choices.  Things are as they are.  I do appreciate the higher-educated, more erudite folks I’ve been fortunate to befriend on the Internet.  Sometimes (as in the cases of Tam, Borepatch, Brigid, Peter and others) I learn something!

This is from the magnificent Kevin Baker (of The Smallest Minority) (with whom I have been lucky enough to meet and shoot!), in part:

So I’ve cut way back posting here, but I’m still occasionally answering stuff over at Quora.  Seems a waste to let this one vanish in their bit-buckets, so here’s a question-n-answer with an associated comment thread I did recently.

The question was:

Why are guns a right in the US, meanwhile education and healthcare are not?
The question is not about whether or not the government will prevent you from having an education/healthcare. My question is about why education and healthcare aren’t considered in the constitution.

I stumbled onto it fairly early, so there weren’t many answers, but most of them talked about how the Constitution conferred rights on citizens, etc. Here’s my answer:

Oy vey. After reading the current answers (there are eight not downvoted enough to be hidden) it becomes blindingly obvious that our free “education” system has failed pretty dramatically. As one student stated “I Was Never Taught That Knowledge.”

The fundamental question is “What is a ‘Right’?”

Several people here state that education is a right, or that healthcare is a right.

No, they’re not.

While I’m not an Objectivist, I think Ayn Rand was correct when she stated:

A ‘right’ is a moral principle defining and sanctioning a man’s freedom of action in a social context. There is only one fundamental right (all others are its consequences or corollaries): a man’s right to his own life.

As others have stated, “guns” aren’t a right, the right to self-defense – protection of one’s own life – is. The right to keep and bear arms is its corollary, for if denied the tools of that defense, the right is essentially stripped.

Education? You have the right to study anything you wish. What you don’t have is the right to make someone teach you. Health care? Same thing. You have the right to take care of yourself, but not force others to care for you.

Because forcing others violates their rights.

So why is the right to arms listed in the Bill of Rights, but education and healthcare are not? Because the Constitution is a legal document that establishes the limits of power of a governing body. If the Constitution were a document that said only what government could not do, it would be infinitely long. Instead, the body of the Constitution itself lists the powers that the Federal government has, and the mechanism under which those powers are established, maintained and exercised. The Bill of Rights is a (limited) list of things that government is warned explicitly not to trifle with, and a warning that there are other such rights not so listed.

The Tenth Amendment, too, is a limit that basically says “Only powers defined here belong to the Federal Government. Everything else is a power reserved to the States or The People. Hands off.”

So of course that’s the first one that got folded, spindled, mutilated and incinerated.

So what do we gather from this? That EDUCATION and HEALTHCARE are not in the purview of the FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. It’s not the job of the Federal Government to provide these things, subsidize these things, or regulate these things except as they affect interstate commerce. (A clause that has been stretched to obscene lengths ever since Wickard v. Filburn.)

It doesn’t matter if they seem to be good ideas. Those powers were not given to the Federal Government by the Constitution. They’re (as you observed) not mentioned in that document. They’re among the “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution.” And they’re not rights.

But they are most definitely powers.

You should really visit Kevin’s blog, and read the whole post (The Smallest Minority-link)

He doesn’t post often, but when he does, it’s GOLD!

 

 

The CIA Hack – From Borepatch

My friend Borepatch is an Internet security professional.  And a fine blogger and good friend.

Here’s what he has to say about the latest Wikileaks CIA revelations:

(Here’s a hint – the media is less-than-accurate!)

CIA Hack details – beware of what you read in the media

The media has a poor track record of getting security stories right, and the CIA Wikileaks document dump is no exception.  For example, they don’t hack your TV over the network:

The CIA didn’t remotely hack a TV. The docs are clear that they can update the software running on the TV using a USB drive. There’s no evidence of them doing so remotely over the Internet. If you aren’t afraid of the CIA breaking in an installing a listening device, then you should’t be afraid of the CIA installing listening software.

So as long as you’re not worried about a CIA operative breaking into your house, this specific exploit isn’t going to be aimed at you.  Does this mean you should hook your smart TV up to the ‘net?  Ohhellsno.  Just no.

And this is pretty interesting:

There’s no false flags. In several places, the CIA talks about making sure that what they do isn’t so unique, so it can’t be attributed to them. However, Wikileaks’s press release hints that the “UMBRAGE” program is deliberately stealing techniques from Russia to use as a false-flag operation. This is nonsense. For example, the DNC hack attribution was live command-and-control servers simultaneously used against different Russian targets — not a few snippets of code. [More here]

Like I said, it’s hard to get stories like this right and mostly the Press doesn’t.  There are more examples at the link.

I’ve no expertise in this area, but I trust Borepatch.

You gotta trust someone, right?

Social Media Is NOT Your Friend!

fedbook-spying-social-mediaPrivacy mavens have been going on for some time regarding the complete lack of privacy on the Internet.  Coupled with private industry and public intelligence, license plate readers and facial recognition software, the NSA listening to our cellular telephone calls and reading our email, and cameras everywhere, from about 2002, lets face it…

We’re hosed. 

Now, another factor has entered the arena.

(from Peter)

“Militarizing” social media?

According to Motherboard, it’s a real threat.

A global conference of senior military and intelligence officials taking place in London this week reveals how governments increasingly view social media as “a new front in warfare” and a tool for the Armed Forces.

The overriding theme of the event is the need to exploit social media as a source of intelligence on civilian populations and enemies; as well as a propaganda medium to influence public opinion.

. . .

The event, the Sixth Annual Conference on Social Media Within the Defence and Military Sector, is sponsored by the Thales Group, the tenth largest defense company in the world, which is partially owned by the French government.

Participants in the conference—chaired by Steven Mehringer, Head of Communication Services at NATO—will include military and intelligence leaders from around the world, especially “social media experts from across the armed forces and defense industry.”

. . .

“Social Media is increasingly important to the portrayal of armed forces, at home and abroad on operations; raising awareness of institutional issues; and gaining support through successful recruitment campaigns,” said conference Chairman, NATO’s Steven Mehringer, in an invitation brochure for the event.

The military’s goal of using social media to influence the beliefs of populations to win wars is alluded to in the description of other panels. A proposed panel titled ‘NATO’s Digital Outreach: Creating a Global Conversation’, describes NATO’s aim of “cultivating a global audience through social media to support The Alliance.”

Another panel discussion makes direct reference to the role of social media in covert US military ‘psychological warfare’ operations—i.e. propaganda—as well as the use of social media to support mass surveillance.

There’s more at the link.

At first I assumed that the conference was about nothing more or less than the usual propaganda exercises employed by all sides in any conflict.  However, reading between the lines, it appears that they’re talking about more active – and more covert – interventions, such as ‘sock-puppeting‘ comments on or reactions to articles, blog posts, etc. that they don’t like.  In other words, they wouldn’t act openly, or say that this is the view of a particular party;  so one wouldn’t be able to exercise informed judgment on what they have to say.

I know some of the more totalitarian governments have been doing this for decades.  (The so-calledGreat Firewall of Chinais a good example, and it’s now morphing into acitizen scorefor every person, upon which will depend their ability to get good jobs, get loans, or even eat well.)  If Western nations are now starting to venture into the same territory, we’ll have to be on our guard.

To coin a phrase: Big Brother is not your friend.

THIS Is CNN, Part Two

from Brock Townsend

Unbelievable! CNN says it’s ILLEGAL for you to read the Wikileaks/Hillary Clinton emails; but they’ll tell you what they think! 🙂

Via Billy

The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Private Investigating

I’ve not been a private investigator since 1986.  I’ve not been a credit card fraud investigator since 2009.  But I’ve been some-kind of investigator (private security, process server) most of my adult life.

It’s in my blood.

As such, I’ve tried to keep up with the latest regarding what records are available, what has been limited (due to privacy concerns) and the like.

And, of course, the overall erosion of privacy since Al Gore invented the Internet!  And the government passed The Patriot Act, NDAA, et al.

My dear friend Biff (previously lauded in song and story in these pages – well story, anyway) recently met me for coffee, and, as he oft wants to do, presented me with a gift!

I like gifts!  🙂

As he peruses used bookstores (in search of first editions and signed editions) he sometimes finds books his friends might appreciate.

And he found THIS!

pi-book

It was obviously used and in fair condition.  He was curious what I thought of it and it’s value to today’s sleuth.

It took me a few days to read it.  I had to keep reminding myself this was geared for the neophyte.  Hence the clever title…

Overall it’s a pretty good book.  The author claims to be a retired FBI agent who now has his own P.I. agency in Florida. (The Internet does confirm this.)  It’s fairly well organized and has both current and historic information regarding how to find stuff and to keep out of jail in so doing.  It even has material regarding sources on the Internet, and electronic surveillance.

My copy is the second edition.  An Amazon search revealed there is now a third.

It now holds a place of honor on my bookshelf, adjacent to Where’s What (the CIA book regarding where to find records, circa 1974).

Yeah, I’m a snoop at heart…

(FTC – neither Amazon, nor this book’s author gave me anything!  Biff did, but he’s my friend!  BACK OFF!)

‘No, the Constitution Does Not Bar Religious Tests in Immigration Law’

from Free North Carolina)

Via Mike

Properly vetting would-be immigrants’ religious beliefs is not only legal — it would be wise and prudent. Of all the ignorant pronouncements in the 2016 presidential campaign, the dumbest may be that the Constitution forbids a “religious test” in the vetting of immigrants. Monotonously repeated in political speeches and talking-head blather, this claim is heedless of the Islamic doctrinal roots on which foreign-born Islamists and the jihadists they breed base their anti-Americanism. It is also dead wrong.

The clause said to be the source of this drivel is found in Article VI. As you’ll no doubt be shocked to learn, it has utterly nothing to do with immigration. The clause states, “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States” (emphasis added). On its face, the provision is not only inapplicable to immigrants at large, let alone aliens who would like to be immigrants; it does not even apply to the general public. It is strictly limited to public officials — specifically to their fitness to serve in government positions.

More @ NRO
But…But…RACISM!  BIGOTRY!  No Wall!  Yadda, Yadda…
But ‘they’ don’t let facts get in the way of their agenda.
AGAIN – political correctness will be the death of us.

National “Security” (In Air Quotes)

© Office of the Inspector General

© Office of the Inspector General

Senator Wyden Puts A Hold On Intelligence Authorization Bill To Block FBI Warrantless Surveillance

from the there-goes-that-wyden-guy-again dept

As we’ve discussed, some surveillance/law enforcement hawks have tried to rush through a law to expand the power of national security letters (NSLs) to paper over the long standing abuse of NSLs, by saying that they can use those documents (which have basically no oversight and don’t require a warrant) to collect a ton of private info, including email info and web browsing histories. The rushed vote on this — stupidly citing the Orlando attacks, despite the fact it would have done nothing to stop that — failed but just barely. Basically, if Senator Dianne Feinstein were able to attend the vote, it likely would have passed. The support for it was one vote shy, and then Sen. Mitch McConnell changed his vote for procedural reasons to be able to bring it back for a quick follow up vote.

Now, as Congress rushes towards that vote, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up today to use his power as a Senator to put a hold on the entire Intelligence Authorization bill. He gave a short floor speech explaining his reasons.

I certainly appreciate the FBI’s interest in obtaining records about potential suspects quickly. But Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court judges are very capable of reviewing and approving requests for court orders in a timely fashion. And section 102 of the recently-passed USA FREEDOM Act gives the FBI new authority to obtain records immediately in emergency situations, and then seek court review after the fact. I strongly supported the passage of that provision, which I first proposed in 2013. By contrast, I do not believe it is appropriate to give the government broad new surveillance authorities just because FBI officials do not like doing paperwork. If the FBI’s own process for requesting court orders is too slow, then the appropriate solution is bureaucratic reforms, not a major expansion of government surveillance authorities.

The fact of the matter is that ‘electronic communication transaction records’ can reveal a great deal of personal information about individual Americans. If government officials know that an individual routinely emails a mental health professional, or sends texts to a substance abuse support group, or visits a particular dating website, or the website of a particular political group, then the government knows a lot about that individual. Our Founding Fathers rightly argued that such intrusive searches should be approved by independent judges.

It is worth noting that President George W. Bush’s administration reached the same conclusion. In November 2008, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel advised the FBI that National Security Letters could only be used to obtain certain types of records, and this list did not include electronic communication transaction records. The FBI has unfortunately not adhered to this guidance, and has at times continued to issue National Security Letters for electronic communications records. A number of companies that have received these overly broad National Security Letters have rightly challenged them as improper. Broadening the National Security Letter law to include electronic communication transaction records would be a significant expansion of the FBI’s statutory authority.

And unfortunately, the FBI’s track record with its existing National Security Letter authorities includes a substantial amount of abuse and misuse. These problems have been extensively documented in reports by the Justice Department Inspector General from 2007, 2008, 2010 and 2014. As one of these reports noted, “the FBI [has] used NSLs in violation of applicable statutes, Attorney General guidelines, and internal FBI policies.” No one in the Senate should be surprised by this pattern of abuse and misuse, because this is unfortunately what happens when federal agencies are given broad surveillance powers with no judicial oversight. In my judgment, it would be reckless to expand this particular surveillance authority when the FBI has so frequently failed to use its existing authorities responsibly.

Of course, to some extent, this is little more than show. It’s pretty clear that McConnell has the votes to get this passed, which is why Wyden has now taken the dramatic step of putting a hold on the bill. But the 60 votes here are usually what is necessary to break a hold (which remains a widely used, but informal, Senate rule). So in the end this won’t mean much, but we’ve been here before again and again and again. And by now it should be clear: When Ron Wyden says that the government is abusing laws to spy on Americans, he’s not lying. We shouldn’t then paper over that abuse and give the FBI or the NSA or anyone else greater powers to spy on Americans. Because they use that power and they don’t tend to use it wisely and judiciously.

Can anyone explain, seriously, why the emergency powers that allow the FBI to do the search in an emergency and then get the warrant after are somehow too problematic? Or why the FBI can’t go and get a warrant at all? It’s a petty quick process for them these days. This whole effort seems designed solely to wipe out what little oversight there is of the FBI and its use of national security letters.  (Techdirt.com)

AND, how much coverage of this was out there in the “press” (again, in air quotes)?
More importantly, why doesn’t the American Public care?

Neither A Follower Nor A Leader Be…

Because I’m more a follower…   (sigh)

Tamara and Borepatch took the test.  So I was compelled to follow…

Your English Vocabulary Size is:

22350

★★★ Top 6.08%

Your vocabulary is at the level of professional white-collars in the US!
Apparently, my blog-building/copying graphics ability is not as refined!  Please visit Tam (which you should already be doing, regardless!) to use her link to take the test, should you so desire…

The Panama Papers

(As stolen borrowed from Counting Cats in Zanzibar)

The Panama Papers - Mossack Fonseca

 

The Panama Papers are an unprecedented leak of 11.5m files from the database of the world’s fourth biggest offshore law firm, Mossack Fonseca. The records were obtained from an anonymous source by the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, which shared them with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ). The ICIJ then shared them with a large network of international partners, including the Guardian and the BBC.

What do they reveal?
The documents show the myriad ways in which the rich can exploit secretive offshore tax regimes. Twelve national leaders are among 143 politicians, their families and close associates from around the world known to have been using offshore tax havens.

A $2bn trail leads all the way to Vladimir Putin. The Russian president’s best friend – a cellist called Sergei Roldugin – is at the centre of a scheme in which money from Russian state banks is hidden offshore. Some of it ends up in a ski resort where in 2013 Putin’s daughter Katerina got married.

Among national leaders with offshore wealth are Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan’s prime minister; Ayad Allawi, ex-interim prime minister and former vice-president of Iraq; Petro Poroshenko, president of Ukraine; Alaa Mubarak, son of Egypt’s former president; and the prime minister of Iceland, Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson.

An offshore investment fund run by the father of British prime minister David Cameron avoided ever having to pay tax in Britain by hiring a small army of Bahamas residents to sign its paperwork. The fund has been registered with HM Revenue and Customs since its inception and has filed detailed tax returns every year.

The Grauniad – What are the Panama papers?

As a libertarian and someone who believes that all tax is theft, I have some measure of sympathy and indeed support for those who go to extraordinary lengths to avoid taxation and government meddling in the private affairs of citizens, for example Facebook’s Eduardo Saverin who paid a 15% exit tax on his US assets to expatriate to Singapore in 2011.

Those who are unworthy of such libertarian acclaim are those who use illegal means to hide wealth arising from bribery and corruption or who enforce taxation on the little people, but evade it themselves.  (Agree – Guffaw)

Traditionally, this has been 3rd world dictators or the governors of oil rich provinces in Nigeria and such places who essentially steal the wealth of their own populace / electorate. So it was not surprising to find these “usual suspects” in the Panama papers.

Even Vladimir Putin is not someone that I am particularly surprised at given that he has ruled Russia as President and proxy for nearly 20 years.

The sorts of names that you don’t expect are the legislators of modern Western countries such as Iceland’s PM (but not I suspect for long), Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson. Bastards like this who illustrate Leona Helmsley’s view that “We don’t pay taxes. Only the little people pay taxes”* should face the full force of the law.

[EDIT: and as predicted, less than a day later he’s quit]

For UK politicians and business leaders, it is not just tax evasion that the Panama papers might reveal, but also crimes committed under the Bribery Act 2010 and earlier criminal statutes. For example, those cosy little 3rd world arms deals so recently brought to life in the BBC’s adaptation of John Le Carre’s “The Night Manager”.

I suspect that quite a few of the worlds elite will be having sleepless nights over the revelations and since the papers go back 40-years, I expect we will be pissing on the graves of quite a few ex politicians and members of the elite as well. GOOD!

* – Leona Helmsley disputes that she ever said this.

Why should we as Americans care?

Bilton, Richard (April 4, 2016). “Panama Papers: How a British man, 90, covered for a US millionaire”. BBC News. Retrieved April 4, 2016.

Hall, Kevin G.; Taylor, Marisa (April 4, 2016). “Americans, including a Bellevue man, show up in Panama Papers”. Seattle Times. Retrieved April 5, 2016.

Is this just the tip of the iceberg?  Or has malfeasance at the highest level of someone other than Americans made the papers for a change?

Interesting that in the list of those nations investigating this matter the United States is absent*

 

"Round up the usual suspects."

In Loving Memory…