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dkf's Journal
dkf's Journal
October 8, 2013

Did Obama swap 'black' detention sites for ships?

Associated Press= WASHINGTON (AP) — Instead of sending suspected terrorists to Guantanamo Bay or secret CIA "black" sites for interrogation, the Obama administration is questioning terrorists for as long as it takes aboard U.S. naval vessels.

And it's doing it in a way that preserves the government's ability to ultimately prosecute the suspects in civilian courts.

That's the pattern emerging with the recent capture of Abu Anas al-Libi, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, long-sought for his alleged role in the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. He was captured in a raid Saturday and is being held aboard the USS San Antonio, an amphibious warship mainly used to transport troops.

Questioning suspected terrorists aboard U.S. warships in international waters is President Barack Obama's answer to the Bush administration detention policies that candidate Obama promised to end. The strategy also makes good on Obama's pledge to prosecute terrorists in U.S. civilian courts, which many Republicans have argued against. But it also raises questions about using "law of war" powers to circumvent the safeguards of the U.S. criminal justice system.

By holding people in secret prisons, known as black sites, the CIA was able to question them over long periods, using the harshest interrogation tactics, without giving them access to lawyers. Obama came to office without a ready replacement for those secret prisons. The concern was that if a terrorist was sent directly to court, the government might never know what intelligence he had. With the black sites closed and Obama refusing to send more people to the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it wasn't obvious where the U.S. would hold people for interrogation.


October 8, 2013

Wow: Is Debt Ceiling Fix Essential? 47% Yes, 39% No

Partisans Dug in on Budget, Health Care Impasse
Is Debt Ceiling Fix Essential? 47% Yes, 39% No

Nearly a week into the first government shutdown in more than 17 years, most Americans express frustration and concern about the situation. Yet on the core issue dividing Republicans and Democrats in Washington – whether cuts or delays to the 2010 health care law should be part of any budget deal – there is little support for compromise among members of either party.


39% of the population doesn't care if we raise the debt ceiling. I am flabbergasted

October 7, 2013

AP: Defense in Treason Case Seeks Info on Al-Awlaki

Lawyers for a Muslim scholar convicted in 2005 of soliciting treason on Friday pressed a judge to order prosecutors to disclose information they believe could show that American-born al-Qaida leader Anwar al-Awlaki was once a government informant.

Ali Al-Timimi of Fairfax was the spiritual leader for a group of northern Virginia Muslims who played paintball to train for holy war. He was convicted and sentenced to life in prison for exhorting some of them to join the Taliban and fight against the U.S. after the Sept. 11 attacks. Several of them got as far as Pakistan, training with a militant group called Lashkar-e-Taiba.

Al-Timimi's lawyers said Friday at a hearing in U.S. District Court in Alexandria that they are suspicious about a 2002 visit al-Awlaki paid to al-Timimi. The defense now suspects al-Awlaki, who has since been killed, went there as an informant to get incriminating information on al-Timimi. If so, they say al-Awlaki's role as an informant should have been disclosed at trial.

At the meeting, al-Awlaki purportedly tried to get al-Timimi's help in recruiting men for jihad, but al-Timimi rejected him. Al-Timimi's lawyer, Jonathan Turley, said government documentation of the meeting would refute the case made at trial by prosecutors that al-Timimi was urging Muslims to fight. They also say it would show that al-Timimi had been in the government's crosshairs back in 2002, which would have contradicted other testimony that the government did not begin investigating al-Timimi until 2003.

The suspicions about al-Awlaki stem from newly discovered information that FBI agents involved in Al-Timimi's case may have facilitated al-Awlaki's return to the United States in 2002. Al-Awlaki had been imam of a northern Virginia mosque at the time of the 2001 attacks but left the U.S. shortly thereafter.


October 7, 2013

Feds cagey on early Anwar Al-Awlaki ties (government informant?)

Lawyers for a Virginia man serving a life sentence for supporting jihad against the United States pushed Friday to pry more information out of the federal government about the possibility that cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki may have been recruited as a government informant a decade ago.

During a federal court hearing in Alexandria, Va., U.S. District Court Judge Leonie Brinkema didn't sound inclined to grant motions by former cancer researcher and Muslim scholar Ali Al-Timimi seeking more details on the government's relationship with Al-Awlaki, as well as other facts Al-Timimi's lawyers say were withheld prior to and during his 2005 trial on charges such as aiding the Taliban and soliciting treason.

Al-Timimi lawyer Jonathan Turley said Al-Awlaki, who was killed by a U.S. drone strike in Yemen in 2011, visited Al-Timimi at his home in October 2002 and "encouraged him to recruit....and actually raised issues of possible terrorist acts." The defense lawyer said that recently-released FBI files suggest that Al-Awlaki may have been acting as an "asset" for some government agency when he returned to the U.S. from abroad just prior to his meeting with Al-Timimi.

There was an outstanding warrant for Al-Awlaki's arrest on a fraud charge when he flew back into the U.S. in 2002, but he was admitted at JFK airport in New York after only a short delay.

However, prosecutor Gordon Kromberg insisted that the government turned over all information it was obligated to prior to Al-Timimi's trial and had no duty to detail its dealings with Al-Awlaki.

"Mr. Turley has no right to know (whether the government) had an asset into Awlaki at that time. Mr. Turley has no right to know if Mr. Awlaki was an asset at that time," Kromberg told Brinkema. The prosecutor did say the government had no recording of the meeting and Al-Timimi's defense was told that prior to his trial. "I don't know what happened at that meeting," Kromberg said.


October 7, 2013

Markets (still) arenít too worried about the debt ceiling. Markets are sometimes wrong.

In communications out of the Obama administration lately, you almost detect a sense of frustration. Not just with Congressional Republicans. There's also frustration with financial markets, which aren't reacting with the kind of hyperventilation one might expect when a default by the U.S. government is being discussed as a plausible outcome of another debt ceiling stand-off.

Other measures of market fears tell a similar story: Yeah, markets don't love the direction things are going in Washington, but nobody is panicking. The fact that a government shutdown in and of itself hasn't caused big swings in stock and bond markets is no surprise -- the 1995 government shutdowns caused barely a ripple.

But it's a little odder that there is only the barest hint that the investors who drive markets are pricing in a meaningful risk that the government will default on its obligations (in the event Congress refuses to raise the debt ceiling by roughly Oct. 17), or that such an event could cause major damage to the economy. John Makin of the American Enterprise Institute argued in an article this week that the seeds of a recession in 2014 are being planted now, in part by the debt standoff. But there is no sign that the hedge funds and other money managers with billions on the line agree with him

The Obama administration appears distressed by the paradox. On Thursday, for example, the Treasury Department issued a report titled "The Potential Macroeconomic Effect of Debt Ceiling Brinksmanship" that really could have been titled "What's wrong with you people! Run for the hills!" It is full of charts showing how disastrous the last debt ceiling showdown, in August 2011, was for markets and the economy: Consumer and business confidence measures plummeted, and the premium that businesses and homeowners had to pay to borrow money skyrocketed.


October 7, 2013

Boehner: House to demand spending cuts to avoid default

WASHINGTON – The partial government shutdown headed into its second week with no sign of resolution to the bitter stalemate as key Republicans in Congress on Sunday linked the current budget impasse to the looming confrontation over a potential default on the nation's debt.

House Speaker John Boehner said the GOP-led House would not pass measures to either reopen the government or increase the government's borrowing authority without concessions from the White House, including talks on reducing federal spending.

"I don't want the United States to default on its debt," the Ohio Republican said on ABC'sThis Week. "But I'm not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up. "

President Obama, he said, "is risking default by not having a conversation with us."

Asked how the stalemate would end, Boehner said: "If I knew, I would tell you."


If the R's are as crazy as DU believes, this will not end well.

October 6, 2013

US surpasses Russia as world's top oil and natural gas producer

The US was on pace to achieve global energy domination on Friday, overtaking Russia and Saudi Arabia as the world's top oil and natural gas producer.

New estimates released on Friday by the Energy Information Administration showed America pulling ahead of both countries in oil and natural gas production for 2013.

The rise to the top was fuelled by new drilling techniques, such as horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, which have unlocked vast quantities of oil and gas from shale rock formations – especially in North Dakota and Texas.

America was on track to produce just under 25m barrels a day of oil, natural gas and related fuels, the EIA said. Russia was just under 22m barrels a day.

America had already surpassed Russia in natural gas production last year, pulling ahead for the first time since 1982.

But this was the first year the US was on pace to surpass Russia in production of both oil and natural gas.


October 6, 2013

UK: Cabinet was told nothing about GCHQ spying programmes, says Chris Huhne

Cabinet ministers and members of the national security council were told nothing about the existence and scale of the vast data-gathering programmes run by British and American intelligence agencies, a former member of the government has revealed.

Chris Huhne, who was in the cabinet for two years until 2012, said ministers were in "utter ignorance" of the two biggest covert operations, Prism and Tempora. The former Liberal Democrat MP admitted he was shocked and mystified by the surveillance capabilities disclosed by the Guardian from files leaked by the whistleblower Edward Snowden.

"The revelations put a giant question mark into the middle of our surveillance state," he said. "The state should not feel itself entitled to know, see and memorise everything that the private citizen communicates. The state is our servant."

Writing in Monday's Guardian, Huhne also questioned whether the Home Office had deliberately misled parliament about the need for the communications data bill when GCHQ, the government's eavesdropping headquarters, already had remarkable and extensive snooping capabilities.

He said this lack of information and accountability showed "the supervisory arrangements for our intelligence services need as much updating as their bugging techniques".


October 6, 2013

Tripoli protests US 'kidnap' of Libyan in Qaeda raid

Libya said it had demanded an explanation from Washington on Sunday for the "kidnap" of a citizen in an unauthorised commando raid on its territory that netted a top al Qaeda suspect.

"The Libyan government has been following the reports of the kidnap of one of the Libyan
citizens wanted by the authorities in the United States," a government statement said.
"As soon as it heard the reports, the Libyan government contacted the US authorities to demand an explanation."

US special forces seized Abu Anas al-Libi in a commando raid in broad daylight on Saturday, sealing a 15-year manhunt for the top al Qaeda suspect.

A source close to Libi said he was snatched by armed men in Tripoli.

Libi, who was on the FBI's most wanted list with a $5 million reward, was indicted in US federal court in New York for allegedly playing a key role in deadly 1998 bombings of US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.


October 6, 2013

In Months Before Wild Capitol Scene, Miriam Carey Battled Psychosis

But without in any way discounting the seriousness of postpartum depression, a prominent forensic psychiatrist who is familiar with the details of Carey’s case suggests that she was very likely simmering with a bipolar disorder long before Erica’s birth.

In earlier days, when the disorder only manifested itself as a relatively benign condition known as hypomania, it may even have helped Carey become a success story. People who are hypomanic often possess heightened energy and goal-oriented drive.

With the baby came the exhausting demands any single mother faces, along with postpartum depression. Her irritability became more pronounced and she was fired from her job with a periodontic practice in Hamden.

These stressors, along with the possible effects of the head injury, seemed to push Carey past hypomania into a more serious manifestation of bipolar disorder. Her boyfriend would later say that she began to lose her mental balance in September of last year.

In early December, the stressors apparently triggered the full-blown manic episode that prompted the boyfriend to call the Stamford police. She was briefly hospitalized and sent home with medication in time for a family gathering in Brooklyn on December 20.

One thing that distinguishes manic episodes from schizophrenia is that those who suffer them can suddenly appear to recover themselves completely, as Carey seemed to do by early January. Her boyfriend, as reported by ABC News, told a social worker that she was “100 percent normal.”

“You go back to being your regular self,” says the forensic psychiatrist, who asks not to be quoted by name.

But the psychiatrist cautions that once people suffer an episode of full-blown mania, they are more likely to have another.


Wow...I think this is what Carrie on the Showtime series Homeland has.


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