rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Diplomatic Abuse of Servants: Not Just for Indians
“These kinds of abuses have been going on for a long time.”
Yes. And the examples cited here aren’t new hires under BO or HRC.
Other than Gutman, most of these people were working for the State Department before January 2009.
“According to Linda Howard’s profile on the professional-networking website LinkedIn, . . . Howard worked as a manager for the State Department at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo from 2008 to 2009. Before that, Howard worked for three years at the Embassy in Yemen.”
“The American driver of the SUV, Joshua Walde, was an information management officer at the
Joshua Walde Kenya Nairobi embassy when he got in the crash on his way home the evening of July 11th. He gave a statement to police, but because he has diplomatic immunity he was not detained.
Walde is an 11-year employee of the State Department who has worked in Kazakhstan, Uruguay, and Croatia. ”
“THURSDAY, JULY 20, 2006
Harold Countryman, a former Department of State agent, and his wife, Kimberly Countryman, a realtor in northern Virginia, pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting visa fraud, the Justice Department announced today. According to the plea agreement, Kimberly Countryman admitted to using the fraudulent visa to further the forced labor of a Cambodian woman in their employ.
Sentencing is scheduled for Oct. 13, 2006, before U.S. District Judge Gerald Bruce Lee. As part of the plea agreement, the Countrymans are required to pay $50,000 in restitution and $50,000 in forfeiture. Visa fraud carries a statutory maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment and a maximum fine of $250,000.
. . . According to court documents, the couple provided materially false information to the Department of State to obtain a visa on behalf of a Cambodian woman, who they then brought to the United States to work for them as a domestic servant for two years. In the plea agreement, Kimberly Countryman admitted that she procured the visa with reason to believe that the visa would be used to commit a felony, namely forced labor. As a result, Kimberly Countryman is subject to an increase in her sentence.”
“Donald L. Moore is a Career Member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Counselor. Mr. Moore joined the Foreign Service in 1992 . . .
His first diplomatic assignment was in Milan from 1993 to 1995 as Consul. He then served at the State Department in Washington, D.C. from 1995-1997 in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, and as Consular Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, France, from 1997-2001. He was the Consular Chief, at the U.S. Embassy in Tirana, Albania, from 2001 to 2003 and at the Consulate General in Milan, Italy from 2003-2007.
Mr. Moore has served most recently from 2007-2010 as Consul General at the U.S. Embassy in Port au Prince, Haiti.”
Moore has been replaced in the latter part of 2013:
“Chuck Lisenbee . . . became a regional security officer at the State Department in 1997″
“Gutman has long been active in Democratic politics, working on policy issues, speech writing, constituency work, legal representation, and media. He also has helped raise money for Democratic presidential, gubernatorial, and congressional candidates, including Al Gore’s presidential campaign in 2000. Gutman served on the legal team representing Gore in the Supreme Court case Bush v. Gore.”
Okay, Gutrman is one for whom cash contributions won an ambassador post. On the other hand, he followed the money.
“Among the media work Gutman performed during the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign, Gutman was a frequent contributor to Fox News.”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Google Funding Tea Party Group That Helped Shut Down Government
Likewise, since reading this:
“The second change is the search function. I changed the site’s search engine from Google to DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t even store IP addresses. Again, you have to trust them on that, but I’m inclined to. . . . Fighting against the massive amount of surveillance data collected about us as we surf the Internet is hard, and possibly even fruitless. But I think it’s important to try.”
Need maps? Try http://here.com/ . No Street View, but no tracking either.
rikkidoglake commented on the diary post 60 Minutes Benghazi Fiasco: There could have been so many more! by Barry Lando.
There may be a typo in the year of the squelched report. The case of the Marine guards at the embassy went to trial in 1987, not 1982.
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post “Ooops I Shot the President” and Other JFK Conspiracies
Why not just release the still classified portions of the Warren Commission report?
“The Archives reversed a commitment by Assistant Archivist Michael Kurtz made at an Archives public forum in 2010 at which time he stated the remaining secret Kennedy assassination records would be released by the end of 2013. The Archives today says that Kurtz ‘misspoke’ when he made that commitment to the public.”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post US Medical Professionals Were Involved in the Design & Administration of Torture
“They stopped loud noises just before ‘permanent hearing loss would occur.’ ”
Hearing loss due to exposure to loud noise is a cumulative process. You might not notice on a per occurrence basis, but it adds up.
The “just before” guideline sounds like BS.
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Chris Christie Screams At Another Teacher On Election Eve
A bumper sticker we rarely see:
“If you can read this, thank a lobbyist.”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post CNN Cancels Hillary Clinton Doc, Director Cites Political Pressure
Bill’s early relationship with the Democratic Leadership Council, and his smoke blowing about “The Third Way”, were just euphemisms for “the Democratic Party ought to do anything necessary to get its share of the loot from the high rollers”.
All the rest was haggling over the price.
If Hillary runs in 2016, the only question is whether she’ll be played by Kang or Kodos.
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post The Other Questions Senator Ron Wyden Wants Answered on NSA Surveillance
Sen. Feinstein appears to think that oversight means don’t make waves, else you won’t have a clear sight line over the waves.
Diane Roark, a Republican staffer, found out the hard way what happens if you attempt actual oversight:
“Diane was the senior staffer. She had the NSA account on the HPSCI side, on the House side. So she was monitoring. She was doing oversight. She was doing real oversight; the others weren’t. Basically, the others were simply taking what the NSA said verbatim and taking them at their word. So, basically, that was not oversight. But Diane would probe and be prying into what they were saying to find out really clearly what was going on.”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Pentagon Proposes Boots On The Ground In Syrian Civil War
The term “moderate opposition” is used exactly once in the transcript of the press conference:
“Q: Secretary, on Syria. Is the Pentagon going to take charge of arming the Syrian rebels? Or is that option now postponed because of this agreement to remove Syria’s chemical weapons? And could you just give us both — both of you give us an idea of what are the factors involved as you look at that option?
SEC. HAGEL: Well, the president has said that he is looking at all options. The Pentagon is not presently directly involved in any of those lethal weapons activities. So the president continues to look at different options… . . .
GEN. DEMPSEY: And, of course, as I’ve said previously, we have any number of options under development that could expand our support to the moderate opposition, but no decision has been taken at this point.”
Maybe those are the people who, on a survey form, selected “Somewhat dissatisfied” when asked about the current regime.
Much more good material (if you’re putting together a stand-up act) in the full story:
” When he ran INSCOM and was horning in on the NSA’s turf, Alexander was fond of building charts that showed how a suspected terrorist was connected to a much broader network of people via his communications or the contacts in his phone or email account.
“He had all these diagrams showing how this guy was connected to that guy and to that guy,” says a former NSA official who heard Alexander give briefings on the floor of the Information Dominance Center. “Some of my colleagues and I were skeptical. Later, we had a chance to review the information. It turns out that all [that] those guys were connected to were pizza shops.”
A retired military officer who worked with Alexander also describes a “massive network chart” that was purportedly about al Qaeda and its connections in Afghanistan. Upon closer examination, the retired officer says, “We found there was no data behind the links. No verifiable sources. We later found out that a quarter of the guys named on the chart had already been killed in Afghanistan.” ”
Alexander’s Spock, James Heath, seems to have a lower on-line profile. There’s this:
“Alexander would only take the job . . . if Dr. James Heath became the senior science adviser to Alexander at NSA.
There was only one problem. Heath had his own company, Object Sciences Corporation, a firm which was intimately involved with tracking “Al Qaeda” operatives prior to the 9/11 attacks. . . .
The issue with Heath was solved when SAIC purchased Object Sciences, providing a handsome profit to Heath prior to his taking the science adviser position under his friend Alexander.”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post US Covered-Up for Decades the Largest Use of Biological & Chemical Weapons in History
One depot that got a lot of press was in Anniston, Alabama. The chemical weapons stockpiles were burned. Clearly, people living downwind had concerns, e.g.:
“When production ended, the Army had an excessive stockpile of unused chemical weapons. The resulting excessive stockpile ended up in depots (waste depository sites) throughout the country and in the Pacific. These excess weapons were disposed of through practices such as ocean dumping until 1972, when the Marine Protection Act was passed by Congress (Bradbury, et. al 1994), disallowing waste disposal of this kind. The Army was forced to find alternative disposal practices that were environmentally safe and sound.”
“Public Law 99-145 (1986) and the earlier public laws, 91121 (1970) and 91-441 (1971), required that the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS, formerly DHEW) provide public health review and oversight of the DOD’s plans and activities to test, transport, and dispose of chemical and biological weapons The chemical weapons are stored at eight locations in the continental United States Pueblo, CO; Tooele, UT; Anniston, AL; Newport, IN; Pine Bluff, AR; Umatilla, OR; Aberdeen, M D; and Lexington, KY; and on Johnston Island, an atoll located in the central Pacific Ocean about 800 miles WSW of Honolulu, HI.”
“Incineration was selected in 1982 as the method of choice for disposal of chemical agent and munitions after long and careful consideration of several technologies. The National Research Council endorsed this selection in 1984 and continued to regard incineration as a demonstrated safe “baseline technology” in 1994.”
Disposal of the Anniston stockpile was completed about 2 years ago.
“November 2, 2011
Anniston is CMA’s sixth site to complete disposal operations. The Umatilla Chemical Agent Disposal Facility recently completed disposal operations and the Pine Bluff Chemical Agent Disposal Facility is in closure operations. Three of CMA’s sites–Newport Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Indiana, Aberdeen Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in Maryland and Johnston Atoll Chemical Agent Disposal Facility in the South Pacific have already closed. CMA continues the safedestruction of chemical weapons at Tooele, Utah, and the safe storage of chemical weapons at Blue Grass, Ky., and Pueblo, Colo.”
“April 17, 2012
Work to destroy the U.S. Army’s remaining stockpiles of chemical weapons in Kentucky and Colorado may take longer and cost about $2.5 billion extra, Defense Department officials said Tuesday.
The latest projection added two years to the estimated schedule to finish each job and was described by one watchdog group as a “worst case” estimate. It also raised the total possible cost for the two projects to $10.6 billion, compared to $8 billion previously.
Under the revised timeline, work to destroy chemical weapons at Pueblo Chemical Depot in Colorado might take until 2019.The project at Blue Grass Army Depot near Richmond, Ky., might take until 2023.”
“In the U.S., the Army has finished destroying chemical weapons at depots in Anniston, Ala.; Pine Bluff, Ark.; Newport, Ind.; Aberdeen, Md.; Umatilla, Ore.; and a Pacific atoll where the work started decades ago, according to the Army’s Chemical Materials Agency.
That leaves a stockpile of mustard agent at Pueblo., Colo., and a mixed inventory of mustard and nerve agents at Kentucky’s Blue Grass Army Depot.”
The slogan at the top of the page sounds like Stephen Colbert:
“U.S. Army Chemical Materials Activity
Creating a Safer Tomorrow”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post American Fast Food Workers Organize Nationwide Strike Over Wages
Some updates from around the country:
Washington’s Farewell Address:
“The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is, in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. So far as we have already formed engagements, let them be fulfilled with perfect good faith. Here let us stop.”
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Trans-Pacific Partnership Will Remove What’s Left Of American Democracy
Related story linked in Fatster’s Roundup on FDL:
Where’s Ross Perot and his “giant sucking sound”?
“In 2008, Diaz`s license to practice law had been suspended. In 2011, Diaz appeared before a 3-member disciplinary panel. After a day-long hearing, the panel recommended a 3 year suspension, retroactive to 2008 and that Diaz should be immediately reinstated to the Kansas Bar. The Kansas Supreme Court Kansas Supreme Court rejected the panel’s recommendation and instead took the harsher measure of disbarment—claiming he revealed information that could have allowed terrorists to identify Guantamao staff—and claiming Diaz thus opened Guantanamo staff to a fear of retaliation. . . . Diaz was disbarred on November 21, 2012, and will have to wait seven years before he can request re-instatement.”
Don’t want any lawyers out there who believe in the rule of law.
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Impossible to Know How Many Violations of Americans’ Privacy NSA Has Committed, Documents Show
The Le Carre quote that opens the essay is from 10 years ago, and the situation is even worse now.
Deep Throat’s advice to “follow the money” still applies, and always has. Do you think that the years of strife in Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Rwanda, wherever, were caused by differences in religion or ethnicity? How about because one group funneled all the good jobs, all the property, all the perks, to others in their own [...]
rikkidoglake commented on the blog post Lawsuit Reveals Wall Street Banks Lied Because They Couldn’t Prove Ownership
MERS was created by a consortium of banks and mortgage lenders, with no coordination or communication with county and state governments. Thus the formerly open recording system was subverted. This had clearly adverse impacts on the title insurance business, county governments in a great reduction in recording fees, and on the average American who wanted to do due diligence in purchasing a house but could no longer access all of the records.
One version of the history is in this law review paper:
which is linked from the Wikipedia page on MERS:
There was some talk 5 years or so ago about class action suits by county governments, but nothing seems to have materialized.
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