Friday, October 31, 2014

Trick or Treeeeet!

The Ongoing US Operation

Happy Anniversary William Binney

Today marks the anniversary of whistleblower William Binney's resignation from the NSA.  If you need refreshing, read this Frontline interview from December 2013.

A 36-year NSA veteran, William Binney resigned from the agency and became a whistleblower after discovering that elements of a data-monitoring program he had helped develop -- nicknamed ThinThread -- were being used to spy on Americans.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

But We Don't Have Any Boots on the Ground, You Understand

American military advisers are needed in Iraq’s volatile Anbar province, the nation’s top military officer said Thursday.

There are currently 1,400 U.S. troops in Iraq, 600 of whom are involved in an advise and assist mission to help Iraqi government and Kurdish forces take on the Islamic State terrorist group, which has taken over large chunks of the country.

  Stars & Stripes
...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, October 30, 2014


Check here to see where you can see the film - you can also buy tickets.

Shadow Report on US Torture Regime

[A] new report [by advocates from the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School] submitted to the United Nations Committee Against Torture has been released that excoriates [the Obama] administration for shielding the officials responsible [for torture in the “War on Terror”] from prosecution.

The report describes the post-9/11 torture program as “breathtaking in scope”, and indicts both the Bush and Obama administrations for complicity in it – the former through design and implementation, and the latter through its ongoing attempts to obstruct justice. Noting that the program caused grievous harm to countless individuals and in many cases went as far as murder, the report calls for the United States to “promptly and impartially prosecute senior military and civilian officials responsible for authorizing, acquiescing, or consenting in any way to acts of torture.”

  The Intercept
That would be pretty much the entire Bush administration, and arguably, Obama and his DOJ, if failure to hold accountable the Bush group is considered consenting, and I think it is.
[The report names] former President George W. Bush, Department of Justice lawyer John Yoo and former CIA contractor James Mitchell, among many others, as individuals sanctioned torture at the highest levels.


The [...]report cites former Yale Law School Dean Harold Koh as describing the Bush administration’s legal definition of torture as, “so narrow that it would have exculpated Saddam Hussein.”
Proud to be an American.

And nothing will come of the report.  I assume the UN Committee Against Torture will file it in a cabinet somewhere.

More than 100 organizations and individuals across civil society have already signed on to the report. Advocates for US Torture Prosecutions will continue to gather signatures from individuals and organizations to submit to the UN Committee in Geneva; you can sign on here until November 6.

  Harvard Law
Yes, you can, but you're asked to offer some title or institution to which you belong.  Apparently, it doesn't matter whether the untitled dregs of American society think there ought to be accountability and prosecution for war crimes.

UPDATE:  November 11 - hearings are being live-streamed; US delegation to be called up Wednesday, November 12.

Wait! Wait! Khorasan Again!

They're here! They're Dead! They're Alive!   (Just like al Qaeda in Iraq a decade ago.  Only these guys are MUCH worse, of course.)

Still have your scorecard?

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Literal Overkill

Today the ACLU is presenting this video at a conference about racial disparities in the US criminal justice system before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, which is part of the Organization of American States. The surfacing of the graphic video comes at a particularly sensitive time in the US, where the nation is still grappling with the killing of 18 year-old African-American Michael Brown, who was shot by a white police officer in August in Ferguson, Missouri, sparking days of protests and violence that continues to simmer.

It shows a mentally ill homeless black man with a penknife being shot at 46 times (hit 14) by eight white police officers at a safe distance (and with a police dog) in Saginaw, Michigan, two years ago. 

We Just Need More Apartheid

[Israeli] Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon told the Knesset on Wednesday that continuing to allow Palestinians to ride buses in the West Bank with Israeli Jews, including soldiers, guaranteed a terror attack.

"You don't have to be a security official to understand that when there are 20 Arabs on a bus with a Jewish driver and two or three passengers and an armed soldier, that's a guarantee of a terror attack," he told Knesset members Wednesday, in response to a question from MK Dov Khenin (Hadash) about the Haaretz report.

Ya'alon's proposed method of keeping Palestinians and settlers from riding the same buses heading from Israeli cities within the Green Line into the West Bank, he said, is an Israeli pilot program to keep Jews and Arabs on segregated buses by creating Palestinian-only bus lines.

And that WON’T encourage attacks.
"I did not ban Arabs from traveling in Judea and Samaria, and there is no plan to ban them from traveling on public transportation in Judea and Samaria," Ya'alon said.
Because, for some reason, THOSE Palestinians are not a problem. Only those in the West Bank.
GOC Central Command Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon has said Palestinian passengers are not a security threat because before they board the buses to the West Bank, they must have obtained pre-approval from the Shin Bet security service and Israel Police. They then undergo body checks at the border crossings heading into Israel. Alon also noted that terror attacks within the Green Line, like the murder of soldier Eden Attias, were carried out by those without permits, not by authorized workers.
Yeah? What does HE know?
The Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem has been closed to all worshipers for the first time since 1967. Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called the closure a ‘declaration of war.’

Both Jewish and Muslim worshipers will be prohibited from visiting the site “until further notice,” Israel’s public security minister said.


The closure of Al-Aqsa, Islam’s third holiest site, followed the shooting of a right-wing Jewish activist, Yehuda Glick, on Wednesday.
Looks like everything is going along swimmingly. Who needs peace talks?

Epidemic Proportions

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What Oil?

A new report published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences shows that a massive layer of coagulated oil remains on the Gulf of Mexico’s seafloor nearly five years after the Deepwater Horizon sank and spilled some 5 million barrels of oil in the area.

The “bathtub ring,” a layer of water containing high levels of oil, covers 1,200 square miles about a half mile below the surface. The researchers also say that a “fallout plume” of oil particles sank into sediment as much as a mile below the surface.

Well, yeah. Did anyone think that shit they sunk was just going to magically disappear?
BP released a statement Monday criticizing the report over the chemical fingerprinting used to identify the oil on the seafloor.
Of course they did.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

What Took Them So Long?

As Ebola spreads further from its current epicenter in West Africa, American and British insurance companies have started to adjust their standard policies for hospitals and other vulnerable businesses to exclude the virus.


"What underwriters are doing at the moment is they're generally providing quotes either excluding or including Ebola - and it's much more expensive if Ebola is included," Gary Flynn, an event cancellation broker at London’s Jardine Lloyd Thompson Group Plc, told Reuters.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

GOP & US Media Darling to be Quietly Dropped

Malala Yousafazi, the 17-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman for speaking out for girls' right to education, has announced that she is donating the $50,000 she received for winning the World's Children's Prize to rebuild UN schools damaged during the summer's fighting in Gaza.


"Innocent Palestinian children have suffered terribly and for too long," said Yousafzai, who won this year's Nobel Peace Prize for her advocacy efforts in Pakistan. "We must all work to ensure Palestinian boys and girls, and all children everywhere, receive a quality education in a safe environment. Because without education, there will never be peace. Let us stand together for peace and education because together we are more powerful.”


Ferguson Plans

The first steps in a major shakeup of the Ferguson, Missouri police department – including the resignation of Chief Thomas Jackson – could come as early as next week, according to local and federal officials who’ve been briefed on plans still being worked out by city and state leaders.

According to tweets on St. Louis alderman Antonio French’s account, Chief Jackson says he isn’t going anywhere.
The plan, described by a source with direct knowledge of the plans as “extremely delicate,” said the details are still being hashed out in closed-door meetings between Ferguson city and St. Louis County officials. [...] The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the plan could include not just the resignation of Chief Jackson but the resignation of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on a Ferguson street, setting the city into weeks of unrest.
I should think that would be the major concession.
The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the plan could include not just the resignation of Chief Jackson but the resignation of Officer Darren Wilson, who shot and killed Brown on a Ferguson street, setting the city into weeks of unrest. [...] CNN reported Tuesday that Jackson was expected to step down as early as next week. Jackson denied that report, telling NBC News “I have not been asked to resign, I have not been fired, and I will not be resigning next week. If I do resign, it will be my choice.”
Of course, chief. Of course.

This comes with reports of the tens of thousands of dollars St. Louis is spending in preparation of renewed trouble if (should we say 'when'?) the grand jury fails to indict Officer Wilson.

Sure.  Every county needs a military vehicle with a machine gunner topside, right?

Is the Marriage in Trouble?

US relations with Israel have plunged to new depths of bitterness and hostility as senior officials in the Obama administration decried Binyamin Netanyahu as a “chickenshit prime minister”, “coward” and a man more interested in his own political survival than peace.


Despite the deepening frustration in Washington, Netanyahu continued to hit back over the latest settlement announcement, saying US criticism was “detached from reality”


The furious assessment delivered in anonymous but no-holds barred comments in an interview with the American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg in the Atlantic underline a state of anger with Netanyahu that is characterised as “red hot”.


Despite the deepening frustration in Washington, Netanyahu continued to hit back over the latest settlement announcement, saying US criticism was “detached from reality.”


In comments designed to further sting Netanyahu, who has expended huge diplomatic effort on attempting to derail any deal with Iran over its nuclear programme, another official suggested the White House no longer believed Netanyahu would launch a pre-emptive strike on Iran to prevent it obtaining nuclear weapons.

  The Guardian
Is that a challenge?
Responding to the remarks in the Atlantic late on Tuesday night, Israel’s far-right economics minister, Naftali Bennett, used his Facebook page to call for Washington to renounce the comments: “If what was written [in The Atlantic] is true, then it appears the current administration plans to throw Israel under the bus.
Should be forthcoming.
By next year, the Obama administration may actually withdraw diplomatic cover for Israel at the United Nations, but even before that, both sides are expecting a showdown over Iran, should an agreement be reached about the future of its nuclear program.

  Jonah Goldberg: The Atlantic
I doubt the Obama administration will do anything of the sort.
Netanyahu has told several people I’ve spoken to in recent days that he has “written off” the Obama administration, and plans to speak directly to Congress and to the American people should an Iran nuclear deal be reached.
Which is precisely why the Obama administration will be apologizing to rather than cutting off Israel.
From time to time, current and former administration officials have described Netanyahu as a national leader who acts as though he is mayor of Jerusalem, which is to say, a no-vision small-timer who worries mainly about pleasing the hardest core of his political constituency. (President Obama, in interviews with me, has alluded to Netanyahu’s lack of political courage.)
Well, there’s the pot calling the kettle black.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dick Cheney: "So What?"

The U.N. General Assembly voted Tuesday for the 23rd year in a row to condemn the U.S. commercial, economic and financial embargo against Cuba.

The symbolic vote passed 188-2, with only the U.S. and Israel voting against it. Three nations abstained: Palau, Micronesia and the Marshall Islands.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Second Leaker

The FBI has identified an employee of a federal contracting firm suspected of being the so-called "second leaker" who turned over sensitive documents about the U.S. government's terrorist watch list to a journalist closely associated with ex-NSA contractor Edward Snowden.


The FBI recently executed a search of the suspect's home, and federal prosecutors in Northern Virginia have opened up a criminal investigation into the matter, the sources said.


Contacted Monday, [the Intercept reporter who broke the watch list story, [Jeremy] Scahill declined any comment about his source, but said neither he nor The Intercept had been notified by federal officials about the investigation. He added, however, that he is not surprised to learn of the probe: "The Obama administration in my view is conducting a war against whistleblowers and ultimately against independent journalism."

This article also references a remark Eric Holder made regarding the persecution of New York Times reporter James Risen:
"As long as I am attorney general, no reporter who is doing his job will go to jail," Holder said at a meeting with news media representatives when asked about the Risen case.
And that immediately rung a bell for me. I’d asked why Eric Holder had decided to resign. Perhaps he wasn’t willing to do the administration’s bidding and was “asked” to leave.

Monday, October 27, 2014

In Deep Hiding

The felony drug case that earned Ferguson, Mo. police officer Darren Wilson a commendation earlier this year was thrown out of court on Monday because he was a no-show, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

So does he get to keep his commendation?

Chris Christie: We Won't Be Seeing Him in 2016 Prez Race

First the bridge scandal. Now an Ebola quarantine fiasco.
It's not surprising that he tries to claim he didn't change the policy. That's standard for polls, particularly ones like Christie. But he actually claims that the nurse was symptomatic for Ebola (not true) and had a temperature (not true). They held on to her for 24 hours and now that she apparently doesn't or no longer has Ebola they're letting her go.

Look at the bright side Chris: you don’t have to stick to that diet.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

UPDATE: 11/28/2014
Not discouraged, Christie plows on.

Understanding Edward Snowden

[July 10, 2013] Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein has expressed dislike for Snowden’s actions and is not interested in making a film about him any time soon.

Harvey Weinstein, a longtime supporter of President Obama, has remained silent on the subject of Citizenfour. He had previously been critical of Snowden's actions.


Speaking Saturday at a PGA [Producers Guild of American] conference in New York, Weinstein said Citizenfour changed his view of Snowden. He then went on to praise Radius-TWC co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego for acquiring the rights to the doc from HBO Films and Participant Media.

"They have one of the best movies, period, in this movie called Citizenfour. It is about Edward Snowden, and it changed my opinion about him," Weinstein said.

  Hollywood Reporter
Hopefully, others will change their minds, too.

Maybe this interview will help them. One important excerpt:
"What defines patriotism, for me, is the idea that one rises to act on behalf of one’s country. As I said before, that’s distinct from acting to benefit the government—a distinction that’s increasingly lost today. You’re not patriotic just because you back whoever’s in power today or their policies. You’re patriotic when you work to improve the lives of the people of your country, your community and your family. Sometimes that means making hard choices, choices that go against your personal interest. People sometimes say I broke an oath of secrecy—one of the early charges leveled against me. But it’s a fundamental misunderstanding, because there is no oath of secrecy for people who work in the intelligence community. You are asked to sign a civil agreement, called a Standard Form 312, which basically says if you disclose classified information, they can sue you; they can do this, that and the other. And you risk going to jail. But you are also asked to take an oath, and that’s the oath of service. The oath of service is not to secrecy, but to the Constitution—to protect it against all enemies, foreign and domestic. That’s the oath that I kept, that James Clapper and former NSA director Keith Alexander did not. You raise your hand and you take the oath in your class when you are on board. All government officials are made to do it who work for the intelligence agencies—at least, that’s where I took the oath.

"As for labeling someone a whistleblower, I think it does them—it does all of us—a disservice, because it “otherizes” us. Using the language of heroism, calling Daniel Ellsberg a hero, and calling the other people who made great sacrifices heroes—even though what they have done is heroic—is to distinguish them from the civic duty they performed, and excuses the rest of us from the same civic duty to speak out when we see something wrong, when we witness our government engaging in serious crimes, abusing power, engaging in massive historic violations of the Constitution of the United States. We have to speak out or we are party to that bad action."

  Edward Snowden in The Nation

Moral Lapses

At the height of the Cold War in the 1950s, law enforcement and intelligence leaders like J. Edgar Hoover at the F.B.I. and Allen Dulles at the C.I.A. aggressively recruited onetime Nazis of all ranks as secret, anti-Soviet “assets,” declassified records show. They believed the ex-Nazis’ intelligence value against the Russians outweighed what one official called “moral lapses” in their service to the Third Reich.


One SS officer, Otto von Bolschwing, was a mentor and top aide to Adolf Eichmann, architect of the “Final Solution,” and wrote policy papers on how to terrorize Jews.


In 1980, F.B.I. officials refused to tell even the Justice Department’s own Nazi hunters what they knew about 16 suspected Nazis living in the United States.

The bureau balked at a request from prosecutors for internal records on the Nazi suspects, memos show, because the 16 men had all worked as F.B.I. informants, providing leads on Communist “sympathizers.” Five of the men were still active informants.


In all, the American military, the C.I.A., the F.B.I. and other agencies used at least 1,000 ex-Nazis and collaborators as spies and informants after the war, according to Richard Breitman, a Holocaust scholar at American University who was on a government-appointed team that declassified war-crime records.

The full tally of Nazis-turned-spies is probably much higher, said Norman Goda, a University of Florida historian on the declassification team, but many records remain classified even today, making a complete count impossible.


In 1968, Mr. Hoover authorized the F.B.I. to wiretap a left-wing journalist who wrote critical stories about Nazis in America, internal records show. Mr. Hoover declared the journalist, Charles Allen, a potential threat to national security.

Kill the messenger.

Also, it seems that to avoid embarrassment when they were caught up with, the US government has been paying Social Security benefits to Nazi war criminals if they would go somewhere else. (They wouldn't be receiving anything if they stayed in this country and were convicted and imprisoned.)
Documents released in a Freedom of Information Act request reveal that since 1979, 38 of 66 former Nazis who were forced to leave the U.S. have been able to keep their Social Security benefits. The Associated Press story says that [one such man who moved to Croatia] Jakob Denzinger collects about $1500 a month in Social Security payments, almost twice what the average Croatian worker earns. The investigation revealed that among the former Nazis who received Social Security benefits were some who participated in heinous acts. They were far from just soldiers following orders.


The Justice Department’s Office of Special Investigations (OSI) is in charge of finding former Nazis who have settled in the U.S. Legislation was introduced that would close the loophole that allows the Nazis to keep their Social Security some 15 years ago, but it failed, in part due to opposition from the OSI.

According to the Associated Press, by March 1999, Social Security had paid out over $1.5 million to 28 suspected Nazi war criminals. Based on the number of former Nazis who would have qualified for payments, the report estimates that they have received millions more since that time.

Nice. And we are constantly hearing that there’s not enough money in the Social Security program to keep it afloat.

 ...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Ebola: Scary; Be Afraid

Remember when Ronald Reagan appointed an AIDS czar as soon as there were two confirmed deaths from it in the US? Me neither. How many hundreds died before any national political attempt to address it?

We now have an “Ebola Czar” who has no medical background. But we still don’t have a surgeon general because…well, idiots.
The Ebola epidemic is a global health crisis that demands a concerted, global response. Here in the United States, action has been disjointed, seemingly driven by fear rather than science. One clear reason for this: The nomination of President Barack Obama’s choice to fill the public health position of surgeon general, Dr. Vivek Murthy, is languishing in the U.S. Senate. You would think that an Ebola epidemic would move people to transcend partisan politics.


[T]he surgeon general commands more than 6,500 healthcare workers in the “Commissioned Corps” who are tasked with protecting U.S. public health.


But Vivek Murthy, despite his impressive medical credentials, made one crucial mistake before being nominated: He said that guns are a public health problem. That provoked the National Rifle Association to oppose him, which is all it takes to stop progress in the Senate.


Since the Democrats have a 55-to-45 majority in the Senate (at least for now), Murthy’s approval as surgeon general should have been routine.

Fear of the NRA’s perceived power, however, prompted several Democrats — those with tight re-election races in 2014 — to indicate they would not vote to support Murthy. Among those expected to vote against him were Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Mark Begich of Alaska.

  Democracy Now!
Underscoring Dr. Murthy’s comments.
“Tired of politicians playing politics w/ guns, putting lives at risk b/c they’re scared of NRA. Guns are a healthcare issue,” he wrote in [a tweet] October 2012

More of the Same for Palestine

The Israeli government has approved plans to build over 1,000 new settler homes in East Jerusalem. It will expand two existing Israeli settlements on part of the territories seized in 1967.

An official in Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s office declined to comment on the possible political and diplomatic impact.


He also said that plans would be "advanced for infrastructure projects in the West Bank that will include roads for the Palestinians."

Roads to where, though?
The new plan isn’t welcomed by some Israeli politicians. Israeli Finance Minister Yair Lapid of the centrist Yesh Atid party told Reuters the settlement building "should not be promoted now because there is a crisis with the US and the world."

"There is never a good time to do such things, now more than ever as Jerusalem is burning," Lior Amichai of the settlement watchdog Peace Now told AFP. He added that it was unclear at what stage the Israeli plans were, or how close they were to construction.

The international community hasn’t shown any support for Israeli settlement building.
Perhaps not, but it hasn’t done anything to stop it.  And I don't think Mr. Lapid need worry.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has asked the Palestinian Authority (PA) to delay a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council for a timetable for ending the Israeli occupation to early next year, a Palestinian official has said.

"Kerry wants us to delay the draft resolution until early next year to give room for him to present ideas [for resuming peace talks]," Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) member Hanna Omaira told Anadolu Agency on Thursday.

  World Bulletin
Sure. That’s it. That’s why he wants to stall.
"He [Kerry] wants us to delay the Palestinian move at the U.N. Security Council until after next month's Congress election," he said.
Isn’t that a funny coincidence?
Palestinians plan to present a draft resolution at the U.N. Security Council that, according to recent statements by PA President Mahmoud Abbas at the U.N. General Assembly, would seek to achieve a "two-state solution," providing the Palestinians with a sovereign state inside pre-1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital.


It would also put Washington, which hopes to maintain its Arab allies in its coalition against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militant group, in a difficult position if it vetoes the draft resolution, the paper reported.
Yes. It will look bad when the US inevitably vetoes a bid to end the Israeli occupation and set up a Palestinian sovereign state. And that, friends, is the reason Kerry wants to stall it until after the elections.
According to the paper, the U.S. administration believes the Palestinian request threatens to put the peace process in crisis.
Forgive me for asking: WHAT peace process?

Future Flight

For those who will be able to afford it. If we have a future.

What caught my eye flew by quickly at the end of the video.

China? Is that where they have the slave labor to build the cheaper parts?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Boy, What a Great Job


What it is (and isn't), and how we respond to it.

Glenn Greenwald in Ottawa 10/25/2014
 (First half is his presentation; second half is discussion, Q&A.)

Freedom of the Press

Reporters Without Borders has released their press freedom index for 2014. Find your country. (Click the graphic to get there.)

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Wow, We Took Out a Flag

A coalition airstrike has taken out an ISIS flag recently planted on a hill near Kobane, Syria, where Islamic extremist forces have seized a strategically valuable position from Kurdish forces close to the Turkish border.

I wonder how many tens of thousands of dollars that cost?

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Meanwhile in Egypt and the Gaza Strip

Egypt has declared a three-month state of emergency on the Sinai Peninsula after a suicide car bomb attack killed more than 30 soldiers.

The bombing on Friday was carried out by a suspected jihadist who rammed a checkpoint with his explosives-packed vehicle, security officials said.

The attack, in an agricultural area northwest of El Arish, the main town in north Sinai, killed 33 soldiers and left more over 25 injured, medics said.


Militants also shot dead an officer and wounded two soldiers on Friday at another checkpoint south of El Arish, security officials said.

Jihadists in the peninsula have killed scores of policemen and soldiers since Islamist president Mohammed Morsi was overthrown to avenge a police crackdown on his supporters.


The decision was also taken to close the Rafah crossing into the Gaza Strip, the only route into the Palestinian territory not controlled by Israel.

Over the past eight years, Egypt has been temporarily opening the crossing for humanitarian cases, mainly students studying abroad, patients who need urgent medical care and Palestinians holding double nationalities.

So now, they are well and truly trapped.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Where Were His Boots?

Neal was in Iraq in support of Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S. military effort to halt and dismantle the so-called Islamic State jihadist group fighting Iraqi government forces in Iraq and Syria.

Neal’s death is under investigation, the Pentagon said.

  UT San Diego

Boots on the Ground

Former CIA analyst Ray McGovern talks about the inevitability of American combat troops back in Iraq and Syria, and the shamefulness of our "poverty draft" whereby "nobody important's" child will be killed.


Internet Security

The Electric Frontier Foundation has published an instructional site for activists, protesters, human rights defenders, journalists, and anyone wanting to secure their internet activities and communications.

Click the logo to get it:

Delaying the Report

The Obama administration, along with Congress and the CIA are managing quite well to suppress the release of the Senate report on torture.
The report, which Senate Democratic staffers worked on for five years, is over 6,000 pages long and is said to disclose new details about both the CIA’s brutal and systemic abuse of detainees and the pattern of deceit CIA officials used to hide what they had done.


Human-rights lawyer Scott Horton, who interviewed a wide range of intelligence and administration officials for his upcoming book, “Lords of Secrecy: The National Security Elite and America’s Stealth Foreign Policy,” told The Intercept that the White House and the CIA are hoping a Republican Senate will, in their words, “put an end to this nonsense.”

Stalling for time until after the midterm elections and the start of a Republican-majority session is the “battle plan,” Horton said. “I can tell you that Brennan has told people in the CIA that that’s his prescription for doing it.”

Republicans are widely expected to win control of the Senate Nov. 4.

  The Intercept
Check out Ray McGovern's interview where he backs up the idea that the report "will never see the light of day in any real semblance of what it really is."

..but hey, do what you will anyway.

P.S.  He says Obama "is afraid" of the CIA.  "He knows what happened to John Kennedy."  Says he lacks backbone.  "It's about cowardice on the part of Obama and Biden, the attorney general and the others."

So Much for Airport Screening

A New York City physician who worked with Doctors Without Borders treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus after returning to Manhattan, city officials said Thursday. He is the fourth confirmed case in the United States.


Spencer arrived at JFK airport on Oct. 17 and went through the ramped-up screening. The CDC said he had "participated in the enhanced screening for all returning travelers from these countries."

The doctor "went through multiple layers of screening and did not have a fever or other symptoms of illness," the CDC added in a statement.

All together now:  WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!

(Although, to be fair, this was a doctor who was supposedly well trained and well prepared to deal with Ebola patients who went over with Doctors Without Borders in mid-September.  How did he contract the disease?)

How long before health workers refuse to treat fevers?

The doctor did not come directly here.  He traveled in Europe before coming back to th states.  Will the howlers start demanding that no airplanes from anywhere be allowed to land on our soil?

Maybe we'll start up another quarantine center at Ellis Island.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Blowback and Gas Prices

Don't forget, IS did not spontaneously spawn.
The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has “amassed wealth at an unprecedented pace” and is now “probably the best-funded terrorist organization” the US has confronted, according to Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, David Cohen.


Oil sales, ransoms and extortions help ISIS “generate tens of millions of dollars” monthly, the US Treasury estimates, promising to undermine the group’s finances and to impose sanctions on anyone attempting to do business with the extremists.

Pretty bold words coming from a country which left behind stockpiles of arms and old chemical weapons that IS has captured, not to mention dropped two loads of small arms in their territory that were supposedly meant for someone else.
The official specified that the IS was selling oil at lower-than-market prices to various middlemen, including those from Turkey.

“It also appears that some of the oil emanating from territory where ISIL operates has been sold to Kurds in Iraq, and then resold into Turkey,” Cohen said.

He has also lashed out at Damascus over a possibility of it cooperating with the IS.
I’ll be waiting for the leak that says US oil refineries are buying from IS – lower-than-market prices; how can they pass that up?  Is that why our gas prices are as low as $2.75 a gallon here?
“And in a further indication of the [President Bashar] Assad regime’s depravity, it seems the Syrian government has made an arrangement to purchase oil from ISIL.”
Oh, yes. The Kurds, the Turks need to stop buying, but the Syrians? They’re depraved for buying.
“The middlemen, traders, refiners, transport companies, and anyone else that handles ISIL’s oil should know that we are hard at work identifying them, and that we have tools at hand to stop them,” Cohen warned.

“We not only can cut them off from the US financial system and freeze their assets, but we can also make it very difficult for them to find a bank anywhere that will touch their money or process their transactions,’ he added.
Yes, we’re all-powerful like that.
The total profit of the extremist group was then estimated at $3 million a day by Luay al-Khatteeb, a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution's Doha Center in Qatar.

An October report by IHS, a US-based consulting group, estimated that the IS was making up to $2 million per day, or $800 million a year, by selling oil on the black market before the US-led airstrikes.
Which is, no doubt, why IS is billed as the worst terrorists on the planet in all of history.

And in related news…how are those Russian sanctions working?
The sanctions imposed on Russia by the US and the West, among other financial blunders, are mistakes that have triggered the world to de-dollarize. Russian President Putin describes this as like “cutting down the branches, upon which they are sitting.”

Putin warned of the danger of mixing politics and economics, especially when nations are so deeply financially intertwined.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

In case you never got the opportunity to watch the documentary filmed by two Irish film makers who happened to be on the scene when the US-supported (and perhaps led) coup against Venezuela's Hugo Chavez took place, you can see it now while you're waiting for Citizenfour to come to a theater near you.  Lucky you.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.


USAID (U.S. Agency for International Development) has long been roundly criticized in other countries as a cover for stirring unrest and destabilizing a virtual extension of the CIA. Here’s just one more incident to make that believable.
Less than a year [after Hosni Mubarak was ousted and USAID paid for other NGOs to “democratize” Egypt], the Egyptian government charged 43 NGO workers with operating illegally. Sixteen of them were Americans, including the son of then-U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.  [review the story here]

The Americans were freed in March 2012 after USAID secretly paid the Egyptian government $4.6 million in “bail” money.

That May, USAID’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) completed a confidential draft audit of the program that questioned the wisdom of the program and the legality of using the money to post bail.

But when the inspector general’s office publicly issued its final audit report five months later, those findings and other critical conclusions had been removed. [...] What was once a 21-page report had been reduced to nine.


On Wednesday, [acting USAID inspector general Michael G.] Carroll withdrew his nomination [for the permanent postion], which had been pending for 16 months. Carroll declined to discuss his decision.


He told his staff that he plans to remain in the office as a deputy inspector general.


Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) [ranking Republican on the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees all federal inspectors general] said he was concerned after his office looked into complaints by a half-dozen whistleblowers who say their audits were altered.

“You don’t hardly ever see this with other IGs,” Coburn recently told The Post. “You certainly don’t see it to this extent. This is the worst we’ve seen.”


The allegations of improperly altered audit reports were independently examined last year by the National Labor Relations Board’s inspector general. [USAID IG Carroll’s chief of staff, Justin H.] Brown said the confidential examination, which concluded in May 2013, “did not substantiate the allegations” and recommended that “no disciplinary or administrative action be taken.”

Of course. Confidential.
NLRB Inspector General David P. Berry said through a spokeswoman: “We cannot confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation.”
Very confidential.
“I don’t think they’re cleared at all,” said [Senator] Coburn. [...] “The people who actually knew what was going on were never actually interviewed. This is the first time in my career that I have some doubts about the integrity of one of these investigations.”
That’s rich, though, isn’t it? A politician questioning the integrity of anybody.

Brown says allegations of covering up are unfounded. He claims discrepancies occur because they are short-staffed and have too much work, no time. And yet, they had time to remove negative information from the reports. Funny how that worked out.

The Post reporters managed to get hold of 12 audit drafts and compared them to the final published versions. They found more than 400 negative references that were deleted from the final reports.
In one audit, the number of negative references fell from 113 to 61; in another, from 170 to 13.


At the USAID inspector general’s office, several auditors and employees told The Post that their authority has been undermined, and some have hired attorneys to file whistleblower and employment discrimination claims. Auditors stationed in different offices around the world have come forward with similar complaints.
In 2010, USAID (probably under pressure) set up a program to reduce fraud and waste in the billion-dollar aid allotment to Pakistan.
In a draft audit of the program written in 2012, auditors found that $32 million of the program’s $44 million budget went to “fringe benefits, consultants and travel.” Auditors also found that one contractor hired to provide training billed the agency $954,000 for “expenses such as salaries, fringe benefits, and travel” but did not train anyone for the 16 months of the contract.
Those findings were removed from the final report.


And I think there's a typo..."conflict mitigation"...I think they meant "conflict instigation".

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Blackwater Verdict

A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007.

The jury found one guard, Nicholas Slatten, guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter.


A fifth Blackwater guard [...] had already pleaded guilty to lesser charges and cooperated with prosecutors in the case against his former colleagues. The trial lasted ten weeks and the jury has been in deliberations for 28 days.


Known as “Baghdad’s bloody Sunday,” operatives from Blackwater gunned down 17 Iraqi civilians at a crowded intersection at Nisour Square on September 16, 2007. The company, founded by secretive right-wing Christian supremacist Erik Prince [...] had deep ties to the Bush Administration and served as a sort of neoconservative Praetorian Guard for a borderless war launched in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.


Just as with the systematic torture at Abu Ghraib, it is only the low level foot-soldiers of Blackwater that are being held accountable. Prince and other top Blackwater executives continue to reap profits from the mercenary and private intelligence industries. Prince now has a new company, Frontier Services Group, which he founded with substantial investment from Chinese enterprises and which focuses on opportunities in Africa. Prince recently suggested that his forces at Blackwater could have confronted Ebola and ISIS.

  Jeremy Scahill
Camouflage hazmat suits?
While the Blackwater verdict is an important and rare moment of accountability in an overwhelmingly unaccountable private war industry, it does not erase the fact that those in power—the CEOs, the senior officials, the war profiteers—walk freely and will likely do so for the rest of their lives.
It’s the way of the world. Or the code of the west.

You really should read that article which gives the account of a survivor of the massacre. Or you could listen to his interview there in a video, which is heart-rending and amazing at the same time.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

In a Word...Yes

It could also mean that our congress know well what the CIA is capable of doing to them personally.

Then again, they've ignored plenty of other illegality in the administration, so maybe they just aren't interested in the Constitution.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Laugh or Cry?

The Islamic State has released a new video in which it brags that it recovered weapons and supplies that the U.S. military intended to deliver to Kurdish fighters, who are locked in a fight with the militants over control of the Syrian border town of Kobane.


The incident highlights the difficulty in making sure all airdrops are accurate, even with GPS-guided parachutes that the Air Force commonly uses. Airdrops of food and water to religious minorities trapped on mountain cliffs in northern Iraq in August hit the mark about 80 percent of the time, Pentagon officials said at the time.

So, with an 80% success rate, we think it’s a good idea to drop weapons. Brilliant.  Arm everyone.

Turkey, of course, is none too happy about this development.  And we were already having trouble keeping Turkey happy in our new "coalition".

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Yes, It Could Always Be Worse

[In January 2002 in Afghanistan, American Central Command] identified two sites as likely “al-Qaeda compounds.” It sent in a Special Forces team by helicopter; the commander, Master Sergeant Anthony Pryor, was attacked by an unknown assailant, broke his neck as they fought and then killed him with his pistol; he used his weapon to shoot further adversaries, seized prisoners, and flew out again, like a Hollywood hero.


As [Anand] Gopal [a Wall Street Journal and Christian Science Monitor reporter] explains [in his book No Good Men Among the Living], the American team did not attack al-Qaeda or even the Taliban. They attacked the offices of two district governors, both of whom were opponents of the Taliban. They shot the guards, handcuffed one district governor in his bed and executed him, scooped up twenty-six prisoners, sent in AC-130 gunships to blow up most of what remained, and left a calling card behind in the wreckage saying “Have a nice day. From Damage, Inc.” Weeks later, having tortured the prisoners, they released them with apologies. It turned out in this case, as in hundreds of others, that an Afghan “ally” had falsely informed the US that his rivals were Taliban in order to have them eliminated. In Gopal’s words:
The toll…: twenty-one pro-American leaders and their employees dead, twenty-six taken prisoner, and a few who could not be accounted for. Not one member of the Taliban or al-Qaeda was among the victims. Instead, in a single thirty-minute stretch the United States had managed to eradicate both of Khas Uruzgan’s potential governments, the core of any future anti-Taliban leadership—stalwarts who had outlasted the Russian invasion, the civil war, and the Taliban years but would not survive their own allies.
Gopal then finds the interview that the US Special Forces commander gave a year and a half later in which he celebrated the derring-do, and recorded that seven of his team were awarded bronze stars, and that he himself received a silver star for gallantry.

  New York Review of Books
That was a shame, but everything is okay now in Afghanistan, and so we are going to leave soon.  we need to focus on Syria and Iraq (again).
I—like thousands of Western politicians—have often repeated the mantra that there are four million more children, and 1.5 million more girls, in school than there were under the Taliban. Gopal, however, quotes an Afghan report that in 2012, “of the 4,000 teachers currently on the payroll in Ghor, perhaps 3,200 have no qualifications—some cannot read and write…80 percent of the 740 schools in the province are not operating at all.” And Ghor is one of the least “Taliban-threatened” provinces of Afghanistan.
Dr. Hafizullah, Zurmat’s first governor, had ended up in Guantanamo because he’d crossed Police Chief Mujahed. Mujahed wound up in Guantanamo because he crossed the Americans. Security chief Naim found himself in Guantanamo because of an old rivalry with Mullah Qassim. Qassim eluded capture, but an unfortunate soul with the same name ended up in Guantanamo in his place.
[US ambassadors] often joke about [Abdul Rashid] Dostum’s heavy drinking and his extravagance (he is rumored to have paid $100,000 for a fighting dog). A Washington Post journalist records Dostum thundering, when posing for his US visa photo: “My friend, even if you take a picture of my ass, the US will know this is Dostum.” All the American generals, Pakistani intelligence chiefs, heads of European NGOs, ambassadors, ministers, and foreign correspondents who have met Dostum over thirty years compete to tell such anecdotes. He cooked hundreds of Taliban prisoners to death in shipping containers. But he has just become vice-president.


We already tried counterinsurgency and state-building in the same area of Iraq in response to a very similar group—al-Qaeda in Iraq—in 2008. We invested $100 billion a year, deployed 130,000 international troops, and funded hundreds of thousands of Sunni Arab militiamen. And the problem has returned, six years later, larger and nastier.


Why should we be any better at targeting ISIS than we were at targeting the Taliban and al-Qaeda? We are now funding Syrian and Iraqi militia commanders and tribal leaders. In Afghanistan such commanders made themselves wealthy off international contracts, misrepresented their rivals as terrorists, and used their connections with us to terrorize and alienate the local population. How different will our new allies be?
I give up.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Spicing up the Supreme Court

Another Correction That Won't Matter

The West’s case blaming Russia for the shoot-down of a Malaysia Airlines plane over Ukraine last July appears to be crumbling as the German foreign intelligence agency has concluded that the anti-aircraft missile battery involved came from a Ukrainian military base, according to a report by the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.


The Russians denied providing the rebels with the weapon and the rebels denied shooting down the plane. But the tragedy gave the U.S. State Department the emotional leverage to get the European Union to impose tougher economic sanctions on Russia, touching off a trade war that has edged Europe toward a new recession.

Robert Parry: Consortium News
Mission accomplished.

Why Don't They Hate Us?

On Second Thought, Torture Looks Pretty Good to Him

When the Bush administration revealed in 2005 that it was secretly interpreting a treaty ban on “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” as not applying to C.I.A. and military prisons overseas, Barack Obama, then a newly elected Democratic senator from Illinois, joined in a bipartisan protest.


But the Obama administration has never officially declared its position on the treaty, and now, President Obama’s legal team is debating whether to back away from his earlier view. It is considering reaffirming the Bush administration’s position that the treaty imposes no legal obligation on the United States to bar cruelty outside its borders.

According to anonymous officials.
The administration must decide on its stance on the treaty by next month, when it sends a delegation to Geneva to appear before the Committee Against Torture, a United Nations panel that monitors compliance with the treaty.
Maybe Obama will change his mind about sending a delegation, too.
[M]ilitary and intelligence lawyers are said to oppose accepting that the treaty imposes legal obligations on the United States’ actions abroad. They say they need more time to study whether it would have operational impacts.
I can only imagine that means to study whether they can claim some loophole if they’re caught.
[In Mr. Obama’s first term, his top State Department lawyer, Harold H.] Koh argued that both treaties protected prisoners in American custody or control anywhere. In a 90-page memo he signed in 2013, before leaving the State Department to return to teaching at Yale Law School, he declared, “In my legal opinion, it is not legally available to policy makers to claim” that the torture treaty has no application abroad.


Both treaties contain phrases that make it ambiguous whether they apply to American-run prisons on foreign territory. For example, the provision barring cruelty that falls short of torture applies to a state’s conduct “in any territory under its jurisdiction.”


In March, the Obama administration rejected Mr. Koh’s view about the Bill of Rights-style accord, telling the United Nations that the United States still believed that it applied only on domestic soil.
What kind of sick people would argue that torture is okay as long as it’s not done on their own soil? Who would even imagine that a treaty banning torture would have been drawn up with such a clause? Aside from government lawyers  and scum-sucking politicians, I mean.
That disclosure prompted Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, to propose legislation prohibiting cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment anywhere. After Congress enacted it, President George W. Bush issued a signing statement claiming that his powers as commander in chief overrode the statute, leaving a cloud over the law until Mr. Obama ordered strict compliance with it.
And now, he’s rethinking that.

And considering his recent proposition that we don't need to concern ourselves about trying to avoid civilian deaths in Syria, I'm guessing he's probably already made up his mind.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The More Things Change, Part 2

Troops songs from WWI
(Performed here by Chumbawamba and Rab Noakes)

Business. As Usual.

We have the best democracy money can buy.

Oh, Well Done

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Surprisingly, Not from The Onion

Several people were injured and at least a dozen were arrested as young people gathered for the Keene Pumpkin Festival near Keene State College [Keene, New Hampshire] clashed with police in riot gear.

About 30 people were injured as hundreds of students threw beer cans and bottles at police and ripped up street signs, fire officials said. Police used pellets and pepper spray to try and disperse the crowds.


“Despite the concerted efforts of organizers, city officials, police, and Keene State College, there continued to be disruptive behavior at parties in multiple locations around the city, injuries, and property damage.”


The unrest continued into the night, as students overturned cars and photos on social media showed fires on the street near the campus.

  CBS Boston
I don't see any comment on what the rioting was about. Are there just crazy kids in New Hampshire?Did someone unleash a test chemical?
Keene State student Ellery Murray told The Boston Globe she was at a party that had drawn a large crowd when people started throwing things. She said police responded in riot gear and used tear gas to break up the crowd.

"People were just throwing everything they could find — rocks, skateboards, buckets, pumpkins," she said. "People just got too drunk."

  Star Tribune
People get too drunk at lots of events, but they don’t riot. Well, except at sports events.
College President Anne Huot said in an emailed statement that the festival has been promoted by others "as a destination for destructive and raucous behavior" and the college had tried on the front end, in working with the city and campus, to prevent this from happening.

"We deplore the actions of those whose only purpose was to cause mayhem," she said, adding that the students involved will be held accountable.

  Lowell Sun
Who are these “others” and why do they want to cause mayhem at Keene? What did the college do to try to prevent it?  We need more information.

It's Sunday

Pope Francis appeared on Saturday night to have lost out to powerful conservatives in the Roman Catholic church after bishops scrapped language that had been hailed as a historic warming of attitudes towards gay people.

I had no idea you could veto the Pope.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

He'll Wish He'd Considered "the Optics"

Obama told on himself.
US President Barack Obama insisted that he really has been paying his bills, after his credit card was turned down at a posh New York restaurant. First Lady Michelle was forced to pick up the tab following the hiccup.

Obama revealed the slip-up as he was signing a new anti-fraud order into law on Friday at the Consumers Financial Protection Bureau. The law will make chip and pin technology compulsory on all federal government credit and debit cards, the Huffington Post reported.

“It turned out I guess I don’t use it enough, so they thought there was some fraud going on. I was trying to explain to the waitress, ‘No really, I think that I’ve, uh, been paying my bills.’ So even I’m affected by this,” he quipped.

They thought there would be fraud? From the president? Man, New York is tough.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The More Things Change

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Good Grief

And if all that doesn't make you shake your head, how about this?
President Barack Obama on Friday named a former longtime top aide to coordinate the government’s efforts to combat Ebola, a veteran insider with experience in navigating the government bureaucracy but also a man with no medical background.

Now I'm betting on a pandemic.

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

Kill the Messenger

For those of you who won't be able to see the movie "Kill the Messenger" - and for those of you who will, but still want a thorough summary (or reminder) of what Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Gary Webb was writing about (Iran-Contra-CIA-cocaine-crack-connections) and eventually gave his life over, read James DiEugenio's article here at Consortium News. (

...but hey, do what you will anyway.

The Current War in Iraq

How Long Before We Have to Quit Calling Turkey Part of Our "Mideast Coalition"?

On Wednesday night, Turkey’s foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, hosted a posh party for diplomats at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York, where many of the guests predicted an easy victory for Turkey [to become a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council].


In a tremendous upset, Turkey lost [the] contest in the United Nations General Assembly.


Turkey lost out to Spain and New Zealand in a contest for two available seats reserved for a voting bloc called the Western European and Others Group, which includes the United States.


After several rounds of voting, Turkey ended up receiving the support of only 60 General Assembly members, while Spain got 132 votes, more than enough to satisfy the necessary threshold of 128 supporters.


“It’s surprising, because I was told just days ago that Turkey received letters of support from 160 countries,” said one diplomat after the secret ballot ended in Turkey’s failure to edge out Spain. The diplomat noted, however, that Spain received 154 letters of support from the 193 General Assembly members. “This isn’t the way this should be done,” said the diplomat, referring to the habit among member states of expressing support publicly while opposing membership in secret balloting.

A bit embarrassing for Turkey, I’d say.  And they don't seem to be feeling the coalition of  love these days anyway.

How Grateful They Are That We Rescued Them from Saddam Hussein

And we're congratulating ourselves for keeping IS out of Baghdad.

Oh, wait a minute....update:
Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno said Monday he is "somewhat" confident that the Iraqi army can defend Baghdad from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

"I believe the capability is there to defend Baghdad. ... But we'll have to see what plays out over the coming days," he told reporters at the Association of the United States Army on Monday.

  The Hill

No Surprise Here

A soon-to-be released Senate report on the CIA doesn’t assess the responsibility of former President George W. Bush or his top aides for any of the abuses of the agency’s detention and interrogation program, avoiding a full public accounting of one of the darkest chapters of the war on terror.


The Senate Intelligence Committee report also didn’t examine the responsibility of top Bush administration lawyers in crafting the legal framework .

“This report is not about the White House. It’s not about the president. It’s not about criminal liability. It’s about the CIA’s actions or inactions,” said a person familiar with the document, who asked not to be further identified because the executive summary – the only part to that will be made public – still is in the final stages of declassification.

We don’t need no steenkeen context.

We're Confident Anyway

President Barack Obama has authorized the Pentagon to call up reserve and National Guard troops if they are needed to assist in the U.S. response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.


In announcing the executive order permitting the deployment of National Guard troops, the White House said the additional personnel would not be providing direct health care aid in the countries.

So Obama’s “much more aggressive way” to deal with Ebola is to call out the guards to bring the hammer down on you panicking, rioting mobs. Will they be guarding hospitals?
Also on Thursday, federal health officials in the U.S. said they still don't know how two Dallas nurses caught Ebola from a patient.
That’s encouraging, isn’t it?
Nevertheless, Dr. Tom Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said "despite these latest incidents, we remain confident that our public health and health care systems can prevent an Ebola outbreak here," in prepared testimony for the hearing on Capitol Hill.
Confidence is good. Unmerited confidence can be downright deadly.

And perhaps it's time to get a little more pro-active at Kennedy Airport.
A male passenger who died after vomiting on a trans-Atlantic flight from Nigeria to New York sparked panic he could be carrying the Ebola virus. However, initial tests on the 63-year-old man show that he tested negative to the virus.

So you say. (The New York Post called it a "cursory" exam.) Even if he truly did not have the virus, at this date, his symptoms should have triggered more caution.
[O]nce airborne, the man complained of vomiting during the flight and was sick in his seat. He died sometime before the plane landed at JFK.


Upon the plane's arrival at the terminal at around 6am local time, the door was left open connecting the plane to the airport building, “which a lot of the first responders found alarming.”

And all the passengers were just let go?

In other Ebola news (and there's lots):
A Dallas healthcare worker who handled a lab specimen from an Ebola-infected man has self-quarantined on a Caribbean cruise ship, according to a report by the Associated Press.

  The Hill
Now THAT’s what you should do when you realize you may have had some chance of being exposed. Not call the CDC with a slight fever and then fly to another city to rummage through bridal shops.
It’s not clear whether the worker has contracted Ebola, but State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki in a statement said the woman had shown no signs of the disease and has been asymptomatic for nearly three weeks.
...but hey, do what you will anyway.