Feb 17 2015 MBTA Service Map! "Crippled" Boston mass transit system struggles as lines closed

Here is the service map for the Boston MBTA for Tuesday Feb 17 2015:

/// UPDATE Tues 12:15PM Redditors have provided more detail about what they are experiencing today. Summarized: Train is working on Orange Line at Ruggles. Red line is running to JFK. "the T isn't running at NeU or Symphony." Oak Grove to Sullivan should be textured (better). ///

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You may reuse the above image. License Creative Commons Sharealike w Attribution and if possible a tweet to @HongPong. Thanks!

This is based off mbta.com/winter info as of 10:30PM Feb 16 2015. Half the train cars are out of service right now, so active lines are very limited. Textured areas have some kind of "limited" or shuttle bus service. This is just an estimation and who knows if it will really happen this way.

With the exception of the Green Line D Riverside line, most of the older lines in the city have fared poorly and it has been estimated it will be 30 days (without snow) for full service to return. I think I will make a few of these maps during this transportation crisis.

Severe Weather Update - February 16-17, 2015

What to expect when winter weather hits.

As efforts continue to recover from weeks of severe winter weather, the MBTA is announcing it will provide a limited schedule of rail and bus service tomorrow, Tuesday, February 17, 2015.

Service will available on the Red Line from Alewife to Andrew Stations with limited substitute bus service on the Ashmont and Braintree branches. Trains between Alewife and Andrew are scheduled to arrive/depart about every six to seven minutes. Limited bus replacement service will be available between Braintree and Andrew and between Ashmont and Andrew.

Orange Line service will be available from Sullivan to Back Bay Stations with limited substitute bus service from Oak Grove to Sullivan Stations and from Back Bay to Forest Hills Stations. Trains between Sullivan and Back Bay are scheduled to arrive/depart every 12 minutes. Limited bus replacement service will be available between Oak Grove and Sullivan and between Forest Hills and Back Bay.

Green Line service will operate between Kenmore and Lechmere Stations with limited trolley service operating in both directions on the D branch. Trains between North Station and Kenmore will depart/arrive every five to six minutes.

Along the B branch, Route 57 buses will make stops between Packards Corner and Kenmore Stations. There will be no bus service between Packards Corner and Boston College.

Along the C branch, limited shuttle bus service will be available between Cleveland Circle and Kenmore.

Along the E branch, Route 39 buses will make stops between Northeastern and Heath St. Stations.

The Blue Line is serving all stations between Wonderland and Bowdoin. Trains will depart/arrive every seven to eight minutes.

Service remains suspended on the Mattapan Trolley Line. A limited bus replacement service will be available.

Commuter Rail will operate on a modified weekday schedule, but with significant delays and several canceled trips. Revised schedules are available below.

Buses, including the Silver Line, will operate on a weekday schedule with delays due to traffic and road conditions.

Please note that parking in MBTA garages will continue to be permitted, but availability may be limited. Lynn, Beverly, Salem, and Wonderland Garages will continue to have low availability. Additional parking availability information can be found here. Illegally parked vehicles in garages that are found to be blocking pedestrian access ways and/or traffic lanes will be subject to towing. Passengers are encouraged to park in garages only when leaving their vehicle on the premises overnight.

MBTA passengers may also park in available Massport parking at Suffolk Downs Station and board Massport employee shuttles either to Airport terminals or to the Blue Line Airport Station.

As always, the latest service information can be found at the MBTA's winter resource hub:mbta.com/winter. Customers are also urged to check T-Alerts regularly for updates or to join our 106,000 followers on Twitter @MBTA. For Commuter Rail updates, we ask commuters to follow the MBTA Commuter Rail on Twitter @MBTA_CR.

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Even the Vermont National Guard is involved in snow removal right now.

Background: The MBTA's long, winding, infuriating road to failure - Metro - The Boston Globe

MBTA may need 30 days to return to full service - Metro - The Boston Globe

Scott: MBTA service won't be fully restored for 30 days | Weather - WCVB Home

2012: What Exactly is the MBTA's 'Big Dig Debt'? | Boston Magazine ($5.2 billion!)

See also: Boston Using Prison Labor To Shovel Heaps Of Snow In Frigid Temperatures For Pennies | ThinkProgress

After another 16 inches of snow fell on the Boston area this weekend, bringing the city’s total snowfall for the past month up over seven feet, the beset city is turning to prison labor for help digging out.

A mixture of unionized city workers and state prison inmates worked to clear commuter rail tracks of snow on Monday in hopes of having trains running again when businesses reopen Tuesday after the President’s Day holiday. With air temperatures down in the single digits and wind chill values running below zero fahrenheit, the crews shoveled snow off of tracks and above-ground platforms at the Braintree station outside the city, a key outlying stop on the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority’s (MBTA) red line.

Details of the prison labor system remain unclear as state corrections officials have not yet responded to requests for information. An MBTA spokesman confirmed to ThinkProgress that prisoners are assisting union workers but referred further questions to the state Department of Corrections.

The state has deployed inmates to shovel before, according to city Inspectional Services Department commissioner William Christopher, who said that two four-prisoner crews were sent out around the city earlier this month to clear paths to fire hydrants and shovel snow off handicapped access infrastructure. “The amount of snow that we got is record-setting and we’ve pulled out every resource from every possible way to clean this situation up,” Christopher said at the time. Further west, inmates in a community service program at a minimum-security prison have helped clear snow from other storms this winter, and as far back as 2011.

The MBTA’s turn to inmate labor likely means that the system’s contracts prohibit paying non-union members to do the work. The city is reportedly offering $30 an hour for union workers to shovel tracks, and supplementing those paid work crews with prisoners.

Also the politics of the MBTA transit system collapse (trains only operating in the tunnels today) vs new GOP Gov Charlie "No new taxes" Baker are super interesting to watch, because it's so blatantly clear MBTA is a cornerstone of the daily economy, now experiencing cascading failures on a daily/weekly basis.

I am amazed more people are not injured every day, it speaks to the skill and persistence of the tired union transit workers who poke away with shovels and picks at ice in the switches all these cold windy nights.

I don't know when it became acceptable to use the word "crippled" again since that seems to be on roughly the same perjorative word list as "retard". But all the news quotes today were centered on the word "crippled" anyway. I think "disabled" is the preferred nomenclature for technical systems. The "ableism" of the system is also pretty bad, even for people without major medical issues it is quite difficult to get around now.

Crowdfunding for Pine Ridge community food garden project

I just wanted to post the funding link and description for Pine Ridge Community Garden by Lou Brings Plenty - GoFundMe at http://www.gofundme.com/kf6chk. It is at $1350 after 14 days, not bad, with $4K goal. A very practical plan. If only thousands of dollars went to stuff like this instead of political spending.

See also "Isabelle's Garden" | Sundance Short Film Challenge on Vimeo - 8min video.

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From the description:

“We must continue to dream and vision the wisest intelligence we live by.” – Leonard Crow Dog

Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is a food desert, where many tribal members still do not have access to fresh produce and a nutritious diet. The Federal Commodity Foods Program serves food high in fat, sugar, and preservatives, causing Oglala Lakota people to suffer from epidemic levels of diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. Average life expectancy in Pine Ridge is 45 years old.

Sioux Nation is the only grocery store on the reservation and was caught selling spoiled food in 2012. Prices at Sioux Nation are gouged by a company in California, exploiting tribal members with a median income of $2,600 per year. The next closest grocery store is 120 miles away in Rapid City. With healthy food so scarce, Oglala Lakota people are in need of a revolution to reclaim food sovereignty.

Ota Au is an independent Lakota non-profit organization, with a vision of permaculture gardening, sustainable economy, renewable energy, and spiritual enlightenment. The first step of our strategy is to build a community garden on a family allotment in the foothills of Porcupine, South Dakota. We will provide fresh fruit and vegetables for at least 100 people, and the rest will be canned and used for wintertime feasts.

Ota Au needs funding to construct a rain harvesting system that will provide water for daily use and irrigation for the garden. The design is affordable by using gutters, filtering out debris, and connecting 55-gallon drums with PVC piping for storage. Well-water will be used as little as possible because the Oglala Aquifer will by dry within 30 years at the current rate of consumption. Water is life, and protecting sacred water for future generations is most important.

The property is located along the banks of Porcupine Creek, a tributary of the White River downstream from a uranium mine, bombing range, toxic waste dumps, and factory farms. Right now acquiring clean topsoil, compost, and organic fertilizer to remediate the soil is top priority for Ota Au, as there may be radioactive heavy metals and pesticides present. The soil must be purified and revitalized before ecological balance can be restored.

The garden will be built into raised beds, traditional row planting, and three sisters mounds. Traditional rows are used for maximum yield, but Ota Au must be careful not to grow produce in contaminated soil. Raised garden beds are a low-cost solution as they are grown above ground and built with untreated wood pallets, ensuring there is no contamination in the food. Three sisters mounds of corn, beans, and squash provide a balanced diet and ideal growing environment. The corn creates a structure for the beans to climb up, the beans nourish the soil with nitrogen, and the squash leaves protect the soil by acting as a living mulch.

Built to acknowledge the four directions, to the east side of the garden will be a trellis built from ash saplings and used to grow tomatoes, cucumbers, and melons. There will also be potato towers, built with wire, lined with newspaper, and simply designed to add dirt as potato stems grow. Roots form on the buried stems and produce a high yield of potatoes. To the west of the garden will be rows of sunflowers lining the sweat lodge, which is used for ceremonies to receive spiritual guidance. Sunflowers represent the plant nation’s constant prayer to the sun, followed by Lakota people in the four day sundance.

To the south will be the permaculture garden, located inside an underground greenhouse. Year-round gardening is difficult to manage in a climate that ranges from 110 to -50 degrees. Fortunately temperatures are naturally warmer and easier to regulate underground. The greenhouse will be dug into the side of a south-facing hill to maximize sunlight from summer and winter solstices. The foundation is built of stone and gravel, walls are sealed with compressed earth bricks, the roof is covered with plastic sheeting, and irrigation is provided by a drainage system connected to rain barrels. Hardy crops such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and cabbage will be grown in the underground greenhouse, providing produce for more than 20 people throughout the four seasons.

To the north side will be the rain garden, where Ota Au cultivates medicines such as sage, Echinacea, and yarrow. Herbs are used as preventative medicine in Lakota culture, treating the spiritual and scientific relationship between human beings and disease. Oglala Lakota people cannot rely on Indian Health Services, as they are under-funded, under-staffed, and have few preventative health programs. Many tribal members live without healthcare because of the travel distances required to access Indian Health Services. Located only a few miles from downtown Porcupine, Ota Au plans to build an earth home for practicing traditional medicine. With mud and straw for the building blocks, the structure will be cool in the summer and warm in the winter.

In its first year Ota Au will build a foundation, learning how to build a garden with recycled materials and working with compressed earth brick technology to construct housing. The earth houses are mold-free, preventing a major health risk on the reservation. Sixty percent of homes in Pine Ridge are infested with deadly black mold and need to be burned down. The on-reservation housing crisis is severe, and some two-bedroom homes shelter thirty or more people at a time. The long-term goal is to empower families by teaching them build earth houses complete with a permaculture garden, so they can teach their tiospaye or extended family this sustainable way of life.

Ota Au expresses deep gratitude to allies who are able to give what they can, when they can. A $20 donation will help buy heirloom seeds needed to develop a seed saving program, which already includes indigenous species of corn, beans, and squash. $50 will buy us by gardening tools such as hoes, pickaxes, and shovels necessary for construction and maintenance. $100 will cover the cost of hoses, sprinklers, and timers necessary for irrigation. $250 will supply lumber, PVC piping, plastic sheeting, and 55 gallon drums needed for the rain harvesting system, greenhouse, and raised garden beds. Please support the vision of Ota Au to bring health and wellness to the Pine Ridge reservation community.

“We need to work on coming back to reality, which is a natural way of life. This economic breakdown is reality, and it’s going to get worse. It’s going to force people to plant. It’s going to force people out of the city. It’s going to force people to live off the Earth.” – Floyd Buffalo Hand

MN Legislature 2015: A bill for lowering fees on bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota: HF 652

Bankruptcy is a process that the modern banking establishment has made a point of hiding in plain sight these days, since it lets regular people cut loose tons of debt that would otherwise make a mess of their life. Unfortunately student loans are not dischargeable this way, because it's better to keep graduates on the hamster wheel and prop up the higher ed debt bubble.

I am cross posting this post w permission from Nathan Hansen - it covers a nasty local fee required to clear more local debts even after a federal bankruptcy has been accepted and put in motion. via Nathan M. Hansen's Blog: Rep. Mary Franson introduces HF 652: A bill that helpsa lot of consumer bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota:

One of the major parts of my law practice is consumer bankruptcy and litigation in bankruptcy court related to consumer bankruptcy. I am a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys (NACBA) and have been for several years.

Bankruptcy is a Federal proceeding that a debtor can bring to absolve themselves of their debts. At the end of a bankruptcy proceeding, an honest debtor receives a "discharge" order signed by a United States Bankruptcy Judge. This discharge order absolves a debtor of most debts (there are exceptions to this, but such a discussion is beyond the scope of this post). For example, credit card debts are generally dischargeable in bankruptcy.

I routinely communicate with my fellow members of NACBA in Minnesota. These are excellent attorneys with varying political beliefs as diverse as the general population. For the past few years, a serious issue has been plaguing bankruptcy debtors in Minnesota, our clients. The issue is debtors having to pay exorbitant filing fees to state court administrators to remove state court money judgments entered on debts that were already discharged in bankruptcy. While Minnesota Statute 548.181 Subd. 1 states that this removal of judgments should only cost $5.00 payable to the court administrator, the Minnesota State Court Administrator has taken the position that debtors with "default judgments" against them need to pay the full filing fee for an answer to a lawsuit in addition to the $5.00. In my home County of Ramsey, this extra fee is $327.00, for a total of $332.00 per judgment to be removed. If a debtor had several judgments, they could easily be forced to pay $1,000 to $2,000 or more to remove their judgments for debts that have already been discharged by the bankruptcy court. Regardless of political beliefs, almost anyone can run into financial troubles for any number of reasons.

Representative Mary Franson (R- Alexandria) listened to the concerns of Minnesota NACBA members about this common sense issue affecting all kinds of people in Minnesota. She introduced a bill today,HF 652, to address the bipartisan concerns of NACBA members for their clients. This bill will prohibit Minnesota Court Administration from charging these exorbitant filing fees to debtors for filing their applications for discharge of judgments, and keeps the fee at the $5.00 originally set forth by the Legislature.

My fellow NACBA members are absolutely elated that a bill has been brought to fix this injustice that keeps people from getting their fresh start to which honest debtors are entitled. Bankruptcy is specifically mentioned in the Constitution, so I do mean entitled. On behalf of Minnesota NACBA members who are my friends and colleagues, our sincere thanks to Rep. Franson for taking a leadership role on this issue.

Please contact your Representative and Senator and ask them to co-sponsor and support this very important bill that will have a very positive effect on Minnesotans trying to get back on their feet. If you want to know who represents you in the Minnesota Legislature, here is a link to a tool for finding out from the Minnesota Legislature's website.
If anyone has any questions about this issue, please feel free to e-mail me at nathan.hansen@gmail.com.

Also disclosure note I did some professional work w Hansen back in the day - nice guy to work with. You can say hi to him at twitter.com/nathanmhansen .

Barrett Brown Bonus Points; Listening for the Panaudicon; "Highlands Group" Pentagon incubator network for Intelligence kickstarts Google; Four Rogue Lords & UK Snoopers Charter

Roundup post. Barrett Now on the Hook for Stratfor My Post Cyberpunk Indentured Servitude - The Daily Beast [DailyBeast dropped the "you lost some rights" headline apparently as well]. Imprisoned journalist Barrett Brown gets his Declaration of Independence Back, but the +5 snark chainmail didn't do any good: cryptome.org/2015/01/brown-105.pdf

Federal sentencing agreements add and subtract points based on mysterious, occult rules derived from RolePlayingGames deep in the sweaty basement of the Federalist Society on the Yale campus.

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As you can see, both dexterity and Photoshop skilz qualify as "deadly skull" level 63 month sentence:

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Wait maybe this is actually the real one.

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Yes "Unauthorized Access Devices" is hyperlinks.

via ( Clever: D&D Character Sheet Styled Resume | Geekologie & http://www.mmorpg-info.org/wp-content/uploads/2008/07/dd2.jpg )

Quinn Norton: We Should All Step Back from Security Journalism — The Message — Medium.

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Intelligence community incubated Google: A few pretty large chunks turned up with new work from Nafeez Ahmed via crowdfunding, focused on period around the time Google was developed at Stanford. One of the computer scientists involved disputes part of Ahmed's story (and prepended his PDF source at that URL w a new statement), but the overall scope of the Highlands Forum / Group, along with the CIA's In-Q-Tel venture capital development/incubator operations, reconfigures our understanding of intersecting tech and intelligence worlds.

SEE: HIGHLANDS GROUP - About

Highlands Group Overview The Highlands Group is an international consulting network that has been interestingly termed an "intellectual capital venture firm" with extensive experience assisting corporations, organizations, and government leaders frame issues and consider alternatives in the achievement of their objectives. The Highlands Group is a leader in helping clients to explore the edges for new ideas and approaches, create new networks, manage creativity, and succeed. The Highlands Group provides clients with a wide range of services, including: strategic planning, scenario creation and gaming for expanding global markets, and special events planning and assistance. The Highlands Group assists clients in identifying new technologies, ideas, and opportunities. Highlands draws on a network of subject matter experts and facilitates cross-disciplinary gatherings of creative thinkers, working with clients to build strategies for execution. We are a small and agile firm, supported by the strengths of a global network of experts, and provide our clients with personal involvement and dedication. The Highlands Group is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and Carmel Highlands, California, and is supported by a network of companies and independent researchers. It is truly a collaborative effort with great contributions from our sponsors; our Highlands Forum partners for the past ten years at SAIC; and the vast Highlands network of participants in the Highlands Forum, Singaporean Island Forum, the St. Michaels Forum, and the Information Engagement Forum.

Highlands Forum also has Thomas Barnett who provided crucial early post-9/11 backing for "core and gap" geopolitical dichotomy and 'rule setting' military hegemony quests within Pentagon circles. I read his book ages ago Thomas P.M. Barnett's Globlogization - The Pentagon's New Map: War & Peace in the 21st C. - it is important for understanding what framework got installed - as Ahmed digs up this was a transmission belt for Barnett and many others.

This gives earlier knowledge than the more wellknown roots of Google Earth as CIA's In-Q-Tel supported Keyhole -- they bought it partially from In-Q-Tel and turned in to Google Earth Enterprise as a platform for geospatial intelligence (GEO INT).

The powers that be have a strong interest in having one big Google (and Walmart, and foreign militant groups etc) - so it's no surprise that support among key figures - along with funding and special privileges, eventually contracts - to keep the tech scene consolidated.

INSURGE INTELLIGENCE, a new crowd-funded investigative journalism project, breaks the exclusive story of how the United States intelligence community funded, nurtured and incubated Google as part of a drive to dominate the world through control of information. Seed-funded by the NSA and CIA, Google was merely the first among a plethora of private sector start-ups co-opted by US intelligence to retain ‘information superiority.’

The origins of this ingenious strategy trace back to a secret Pentagon-sponsored group, that for the last two decades has functioned as a bridge between the US government and elites across the business, industry, finance, corporate, and media sectors. The group has allowed some of the most powerful special interests in corporate America to systematically circumvent democratic accountability and the rule of law to influence government policies, as well as public opinion in the US and around the world. The results have been catastrophic: NSA mass surveillance, a permanent state of global

PART 1: How the CIA made Google — Medium

PART 2: Why Google made the NSA — Medium

There is plenty to go over here and many links - it is a lot of material to get through, but worth your time. See Clifton - CV - Technical Reports . The Anatomy of a Search Engine.

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Ubiquity of web enabled microphones: very much worth reading. If you don't know how the zeroday market works now especially. via https://panaudicon.wordpress.com/ - Jan 23 2015

Cross posted at Cryptome.org: On the Ubiquity of Web-enabled Microphones

Bruce Schneier (computer security expert, now also with the EFF) has remarked: "It's bad civic hygiene to build technologies that could someday be used to facilitate a police state. No matter what the eavesdroppers and censors say, these systems put us all at greater risk."

There are two elements of this emerging technology that prompt me to regard this as bad civic hygiene: the omnipresence of these microphones, and the increasing lack of technological constraint allowing their compromise by state and other actors.

When I say "increasing lack of technological constraint", I am referring to several things: the descriptions of actions by agencies such as NSA, GCHQ, and the FBI who are specifically targeting smartphones (e.g. Tailored Access Operations of NSA and Remote Operations Unit of FBI), the exploding grey market for zero-day vulnerabilities dominated by state actors (especially the United States), and the emerging market for contractors who are developing exploits and software tools which enable to these vulnerabilities to be efficiently utilized. (Vupen in France, Hacking Team in Italy, Endgame Systems in U.S., FinFisher in the U.K., etc.)

Zero-day vulnerabilities are essentially unintentional backdoors that are discovered in various software applications every year by hackers. There are hundreds of these things discovered every year, and they are an unavoidable by-product of the software development cycle. They are a special kind of software bug that can permit a third-party who knows about them to take over a person's device. Sort of like skeleton keys which allow entry into anyone's device that happens to use the operating system or application in which the vulnerability is discovered, and they permit various degrees of power over a person's device. Programmers create exploits known as "zero-day exploits" to make use of these vulnerabilities. A market has emerged whereby these exploits are sold to the highest bidders, which, unsurprisingly, happen to be state actors. An exploit for the iPhone's iOS was sold for $500,000 at one point to an unknown buyer -- the NSA perhaps, but every intelligence agency on the planet is willing to pay top dollar for these things. Parties are willing to pay much more if it seems the exploit is likely to go undetected for some time and if it provides a lot of power over the device (laptop, smartphone, or tablet). However, when a vulnerability is discovered "in the wild" and reported to the software company (as should be the case), the value drops to near zero very quickly as the software company develops a "patch" and sends out security updates to consumers. In any event, the result of these activities over just the past decade is that sophisticated intelligence agencies, and certainly the FBI and NSA, now possess a revolving set of skeleton keys that allow them to reach inside virtually anyone's device on the planet. They don't need a warrant to do this, and they don't need permission from the telecoms or software companies. They don't have to notify any third parties that this is happening. This is a HUGE amount of power for any state actor to have.

Federal law enforcement agencies like the FBI have been clamoring for mandatory backdoors into all these new web-based technologies, but there are fundamental technical issues with integrating a CALEA-type system with the internet (CALEA = Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act of 1994). Security experts are suggesting that the feds (including domestic agencies like the FBI) develop teams of hackers to perform wiretaps in the future. They are essentially recommending that the FBI develop their own Tailored Access Operations (an NSA hacking division). Installing a CALEA-type system will fundamentally weaken the security of the internet for everyone, they claim, and it's also not very practical because new technologies develop so rapidly. It will hinder innovation. (From later note: we now know the FBI has already developed their own hacking team with the Remote Operations Unit. Chris Soghoian, principal technologist with the ACLU, discovered the Remote Operations Unit through former contractors' CVs on LinkedIn and put the pieces together.)

See this paper for background:

https://www.cs.columbia.edu/~smb/papers/GoingBright.pdf

"Going Bright: Wiretapping without Weakening Communications Infrastructure" | Steven M. Bellovin, Matt Blaze, Sandy Clark, Susan Landau | IEEE Security & Privacy 11:1, Jan/Feb 2013

My comments on the authors' analysis in this paper: OK, fine, mandatory backdoors are unacceptable. But if the feds' teams of hackers develop the power to enact wiretaps and bugs without having to ask for third-party permission, that will facilitate intelligence laundering on a wide scale. Sure, the information/evidence can't be presented in court. But they are more than happy to find other ways to use the information. Numerous examples of this have cropped up in the past year in the press (e.g. Special Operations Division -- a joint operation between DEA, FBI, and NSA -- slides were released a few months after Snowden to the press in a leak, but they were not part of the Snowden dump. Agents are specifically instructed to "recreate" the trail of an investigation to hide the original sources. They are effectively removing any poisonous taint from illegal surveillance by fabricating an independent source and never revealing the original surveillance. I believe they are generally handling narcotics cases, and the ACLU and EFF filed an Amicus brief late last year in a case in SF court as a result of the slides, because they suspected illegal surveillance might be taking place and intelligence was being laundered -- see United States of America v. Diaz-Rivera -- a very recent case, not sure what the outcome was at the suppression hearing. Google: Special Operations Division) ….

The "recreated trails" are also known as "parallel construction." Also here a good solution for analog switch on the mics for cell phones & also antenna & GPS seems a very constructive idea. Good deal. SEE DEA and NSA Team Up to Share Intelligence, Leading to Secret Use of Surveillance in Ordinary Investigations | Electronic Frontier Foundation August 2013.

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Besides the NYC Homeland Security grant madness, there is naturally a Rainbow Family in Montana Homeland Security money story now too: Police Seek DHS Grant to Deal With "Extremist" Hippy Group Which Stresses 'Non-violence, Peace and Love' - via Paul Joseph Watson.

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Four Rogue Lords & UK Snoopers Charter: Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN - Boing Boing && Shameless: rogue Lords sneak Snooper's Charter back in AGAIN - Boing Boing

Tragic Gray State fallout: "Sandy Hook Hoaxer" stalker troll squad turns against Minnesota Truthers & late filmmaker David Crowley's family & friends in bizarre twist

If you want to help stop acting crazy so we can tell our loved ones that there is nothing to worry about. All the conspiracy buzz is freaking them out. They are afraid some of you lunatics are gonna come for them thinking we are covering stuff up.
One of late director David Crowley's friends begging the hoaxers to lay off before the funeral

One of the more disgusting displays I've ever seen on the Internet has gone down in the last week or so, with a bunch of creepy cats and sockpuppets emerging seemingly from nowhere to disparage the friends and family of the late David Crowley, a Minnesota alternative filmmaker who investigators currently believe shot himself as well as his wife and daughter. Unfortunately today this has escalated into veiled threats against at least one of Crowley's friends as well, a horrible display.

To cut a long and stupid story short, the core of this network of people are best known as the "Sandy Hook Hoaxers" who have now latched onto a new tragedy to wrap themselves in and give their lives meaning. Until now, I've never seen gangstalking instigated against Truthers after a tragedy, even before the funerals. These are the very same key people who have been harassing various families in Newtown Connecticut, generally creeping and making fools of themselves. They are the operators of Sandy Hook Hoax facebook group and friends.

While both the Sandy Hook shooting and the unfortunate demise of David Crowley & his family are both tragic and weird, these tragedies are seized upon by really unbalanced people who go crusading around after whoever they can find, in an effort to draw attention to themselves.

This mob of sick troll behavior also quite effectively wrecks the efforts of more principled "citizen investigators" or Truthers that attempt to discern the truth in these matters, not continuously verbally abuse the townspeople so to speak. This could be termed "poisoning the well" or "muddying the waters". Nowadays even people Obama cites in speeches get this treatment.

//// UPDATE 1/29: Brandan Hunt reiterates some points (w credits to this post) on a Youtube video which seems an accurate summary. Thanks! ////

A "poisoning the well" example in Sandy Hook: many of these hoaxers latched onto the memes and frame of "dallasgoldbug" who is notorious for claiming political figures are actually actors, like Steve Buscemi is actually Terrence McKenna for example. This delusion got thrown at seemingly everyone in Newtown CT, which also effectively helps poison research on the issue should covert operators actually use 'crisis actors' in some shady event.

Naturally this same delusion got directed at Crowley's friends and acquaintances - for some reason these people with the yellow 9/11 USA avatars are seemingly devoid of discernment and decency:

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So-called "Justice for David Crowley & family" group run by full fruitbats: The Sandy Hook Hoaxer trolls are flocking to this new tragedy. Here, for example, the sole group administrator, Daniel Michael Hennen of Chaska, says that Crowley's friends, on Instagram sharing a laugh together on the same day they did media interviews on two local networks, are "the four guys who have the 'most to gain' from David Crowley NOT being alive. Let that sink in." and "...They have the most to gain with david six feet under, that's all." [Not run by the same person as this other page, which is not attacking the family or friends]

Hennen is essentially unknown to Crowley's friends, but has started a whole bunch of "Justice for X" groups of which he is always the sole administrator. This group is by far the most popular with 700+ people. Here he's attempting to demonize Crowley's friends using a favorite old Sandy Hook theory that bereaved people apparently never smile again. ("it takes me back to the Sandy Hook days…" as he tries to live within that tragedy's fallout.)

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The day before, Hennen posited that Crowley's brother was "jealous" and therefore had a major motive to murder his own brother and his family. And earlier today he said that one of Crowley's close friends "certainly needs his ass kicked." Hennen's kept the innuendoes against David's brother rolling today:

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Here is today's veiled threat against Crowley's friend Sean - I'm posting the both the folded and unfolded versions:


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On this thread first it's worth noting that Minnesotan Michael Okishoff has some criminal convictions for domestic issues (and not surprisingly tried to order around female group members in private chats). Okishoff is also attempting to raise money in a GoFundMe he claims will ultimately be turned over for family medical bills, as a clone of a legitimate fundraising campaign Crowley's brother started.

Here we have the Sandy Hook Hoaxer rabbit hole of madness: As noted last May by CW Wade, Thomas Lapp has been cited as involved in cyberstalking Newtown parents and children, as well as his friend Tony Mead, also highly active on this group. Dan Hennen wrote a piece defending flagship hoaxer Wolfgang Halbig in March 2014. Wolfgang apparently briefly checked into this new group and then bounced.

Another Sandy Hook alt media writer, Brandan Hunt, traced Wolfgang Halbig's operations and circle of troll friends: SANDY HOOK: Wolfgang Halbig is a LIAR (Video Presentation, Transcript + Downloads) - Brendan Hunt.com. Halbig has adeptly scammed people who hope that some light can be shed on Sandy Hook.

Unfortunately apparently Jim Fetzer has been all over this bad behavior with Sandy Hook as well, embarrassing more respectful alternative researchers. Apparently he started promoting dallasgoldbug ages ago.

If anything the accusations and paranoia leveled by Hennen, Lapp and Mead resemble when another horrible middle aged hoaxer, Rick Santilli, accused Jim Fetzer of a role in murdering a Truther in Uptown Minneapolis several years ago, which I found appalling (and almost finished writing a post about shortly after it happened).

These kind of crazy accusations against other researchers and their friends is part of how this bitter conspiracy troll class seems to bond, and the more people call them out, the more they bunker up into their own worldview. More Sandy Hook links below...

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Sean messaged me the same block message and suggests that we not engage Hennen or his hoaxer friends anymore, and instead go with the copypasta. I am including Sean's message here so it's not lost in the shuffle - linebreaks added for clarity:

dan michael hennen you coward... you take a few sentences of our conversation and share that why would you not share the whole thing... Like I said on the phone respect and rights are 2 completely different things, and when it comes to this you have neither. I will not let you get me angry, you do not have that power nor the respect to even let you cloud my thoughts through all of this. What I am happy to see is the true friends of mine, family and gray state team who have put countless hours to try and reason with your delusional false empathetic gestures.

But obviously you are a sociopath and unable to decipher with rational reason or emotion. I most feel sorry for your children. a message to all who are trying to rationalize with this psychotic please do not waste your time he is in this only to fulfill his sick needs of torment and has lacked the ability to deal with his inner demons im sure that he is sick and needs help. even through his hatred and disrespect for this situation I still have hope for him that he will one day learn respect and honor, for the only reason is that you have children. You are so lucky I am where I am mentally and have only strived to improve myself daily that I will never be the reason you look over your shoulder.

I cannot speak for others but all you have done is put yourself as the target for misguided anger, I pray that no one would ever harm you as that would be against the crowleys wishes and disappoint me. as far as any and all of my friends please do as I and the family and friends are doing and ignore these trolls. Dan is the one who has to look at himself and tho he might not see any of his actions as wrong that is just an apparent red flag is his sickness. Sean Wright, family friend of David Komel and Raniya

/// I sean Wright Give Dan Feidt full permission to troll Dan hennen with my comment and think this will be enough to get him to stop but we do not need to waste any of our time on him other than clicking "control v" that is all the respect he deserves, he does not deserve any actualy intellectual responses from any of us please keep our anger harnessed as it will only fulfill his sick mind. Thank you respectfully Sean Wright 1/25/2014

Before I realized that this was the Sandy Hook Hoaxer troll squad I posted the following to the group, a few days ago:

The statement from the group admin "In some circles, HE committed the crimes." referring to someone in Crowley's immediate family is a dangerous and defamatory statement to peg on the internet especially when David's actual real-world friends have warned plenty of times that they and the family are worried about unbalanced people coming after them. This followed an ad hominem attack saying anyone who doesn't believe it wasn't a murder/suicide is missing something obvious to a 5th grade education.

Detaching from reality and asserting an alternate one "In some circles, HE committed the crimes" as opposed to stating "some circles believe that" is defamatory and makes the situation more dangerous. There are mentally ill people sucked into this thing now and if you don't put some boundaries, especially defamation of family members, things are going to get worse, not better, and that is shameful.

Making ad hominem attacks about people who don't buy these speculative storylines peddled around all week is also the shortcut to failing to achieve any "truth" or justice and the lack of class shown in this moment is appalling.

Sean posted this back on the 22nd, before things got even crazier (check the thread from hell):

Please stop with the accusations of an inside job, and its our right to upload video thats not your work. Trolling is pointless. Us friends and fam have issued statements, met w press, and have been very accomodating due to the suspiciousness of the tragic events which took place. To settle the trolls:

Not a conspiracy of murder.

David did not receive 30 mil.

Not going to confirm any facts of the investigation until its complete and delivered to family.

The rise was only rough cut for a reason it was never meant to be publicly viewed. He put that up 2 years so we could help him with stuff he needed input on.

The 2nd cut and 3 are way different than the rough cut.

The finsl cut is what david wanted released and that will come out in time, first we must bury our friends and let the investigation take place there is a ton of information to go thru and so much more piling in daily. I have faith in the detectives working this case as does the family and rest of close friends.

We are not covering anything up.

We are carefully sharing what we can. We need to get access to all the pages to insure accurate information is released.

Too many people are trying to get their name out in vein of this event. david was on bring of many projects (cant disclose publicly and cuz of all that is going on from speculation you see why)

Only facts out is they went out painlessly and not a conspiracy. Please stop with the nonsense its scaring our loved ones and we have been so busy we have not even been able to begin to grieve. Its not fair to us.

If you want to help stop acting crazy so we can tell our loved ones that there is nothing to worry about. All the conspiracy buzz is freaking them out. They are afraid some of you lunatics are gonna come for them thinking we are covering stuff up.

Please have class and respect for the dead if not for me then please for the families of the deceased.

I had to tell my daughter her friend and whole family died. She was only able to smile when i told her paleo is ok. Stop scaring my loved ones. Put urself in our shoes how could you handle this better than we are i would love to know (not).

Danny August Mason Adam Shambour Mason Norsk Hest and have not had a second to grieve. Please give us the same respect the families deserve. Please respect david komel and rani and their families.

today we did 2 interviews w msm, that was shadowed by the release of the rough cut. Tomorrow ben swann interview. Family set up fund raiser and taking care of funerals wakes and everything else that has to be done.

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Earlier vultures perch: I thought it was contemptible that Kevin Barrett immediately blamed the Mossad for this tragedy via Iranian state media PressTV site, without a particle of evidence. The ever-trashy Southern Poverty Law Center of course has a field day with all the fruitbattery and re-posting Crowley's videos under "hatewatch". Of course SPLC cites the stalker/hoaxer Thomas Lapp to prove their overall persistent point, that generally alt-media people are dangerous and prone to inducing violence.

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Other Sandy Hook related material: For example this enters into the topic of the Sandy Hook Hoaxers and their military intelligence links: Sandy Hook Stalkers | Tracking the Vultures and Predators of the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre - a number of specific hoaxes they've run in the Sandy Hook context. Hoaxers Put Sandy Hook Parents in Their Crosshairs | Sandy Hook Stalkers

Wolfgang’s Bad Company « Memory Hole: A prominent researcher on Sandy Hook James F Tracy explained that shadowy people tried to get him to peddle the crisis actors meme, and when he turned them down, then they started putting Wolfgang at the head of the hoaxer troll pack. Unfortunately he gave stalker Tony Mead space on his site in July as well, but this is probably the first thing worth reading about this mess:

"Those in the 9/11 Truth movement are well aware of the “cognitive infiltrators” who are only too happy to harness a loose cannon or two that will sabotage or otherwise hinder the genuine remedy of collective intelligence. I am aware that at least one of the parties who misinformed me is now operating as Wolfgang Halbig’s handler."

Via Brandan Hunt (xrayultra): EXPOSED - The Secret Troll Network Preying on the Truth Movement: Montagraph, October Reignz, CaliberHitter… "Try your best not to internalize their bullshit. Instead, speak out, but don’t spend any more of your precious time exposing these freaks than is absolutely necessary. It will distract you from the good work you do, and indeed, that is the goal." Great advice. Also: Sandy Hook Truth Movement takeover by Disinfo Agents & Morons - YouTube

Sandy Hook Hoax admins are LIARS [Videos + Transcript] - Brendan Hunt:

"folks who are posing as truth-seekers and online researchers, but are actually injecting disinformation into the communities that are looking into 9/11, the JFK assassination, and things like Sandy Hook…. Lenny Pozner’s recent editorial on Sandy Hook truthers which singled out Tony Mead and Wolfgang Halbig as some of the more toxic individuals in the community. I’m not saying I trust Pozner at all, but since the truther community hasn’t really taken a hard-line stance against these frauds, as I’ve tried to encourage, the media can hold them up as examples of the research community and say “See! We told you these truthers were bad!” These crazed individuals, such as Tony Mead and Erik Pearson, ReviewManify aka TeamWakeEmUp, Thomas Lapp, FreeRadioRevolution and his idiot pal RedPillRevolution, Odinrok, Jim Fetzer and the Veteran’s Today crew, and George Mason are all pissed at me for calling them out on the lies they've tried to perpetrate upon the truth movement."

Much of the same crew now turned against the MN Truthers via this group. Also: SANDY HOOK: Wolfgang Halbig is a LIAR (Video Presentation, Transcript + Downloads) - Brendan Hunt.com

Tracker blog: Sandy Hook Hoax Hall Of Shame

Satirizing hoaxers: Sandy Hook Hoax Hoaxers and Sandy Hook Hoaxers Are Not Bright

CW Wade's debunking site (also here) including on Wolfgang trying to demand identities of children. Sandy Hook- Facts & Research: Sandy Hook Hoax Erik Pearson and Tony Mead Continue Stalking of Victims

This is one of the hoaxer pages: Sandy Hook Hoax mainly promoting Wolfgang Halbig.

WillyLoman: Rainmaker Wolfgang Halbig – A Pure Fraud in the Classic Sense | American Everyman - March 2014

Unfortunately Tony Mead has been posting at ActivistPost (Aug 2014). Typical stuff. Another hoaxer site. They defend themselves from stalking charges in a convoluted post here.

Identity hijacking from Tony Mead's friends at InsaneMedia: Insanemedia Caught Stealing Woman’s Identity To Promote Sandy Hook Conspiracy Theory | Newtown Post-Examiner, see also “We Need To Talk About Sandy Hook” Stalker Craven S Moorehead aka Swansong aka Swan | Newtown Post-Examiner: "In a previous post on the Sandy Hook Stalkers blog, Craven S Moorehead was shown to be partnered with Katja Bush, the wife of Captain Lashon Bush of the U.S. Army Cyber Command– all three of whom our team found linked to the IP-phishing Insanemedia website. For those unfamiliar, Tony Mead’s Sandy Hook Hoax Facebook page is where Hoaxers (those who believe that the SHES massacre was a government “false flag” operation) gather to spew libelous accusations and plot strategies to harass and intimidate those personally affected by the SHES tragedy. Their stalking and predations occur on a daily basis and have been well documented by those of us who have been monitoring their activities." Seems legit.

Delusional Internet postings saying Sandy Hook was a hoax deny the pain and anguish of parents, relatives and Newtown residents - Hartford Courant by Lenny Pozner, parent of one of the dead kids. July 25 2014:

Unfortunately, there still exists a small but obsessive faction of hoaxers who are either unable or unwilling to objectively discern the hard facts from among the fleeting hunches and groundless accusations. Others are well aware of the truth but exploit the tragedy for their own aggrandizement. Regardless of their motivation, all have one thing in common: They persist in stalking and harassing the Sandy Hook parents and others intimately connected to the tragedy.

Among their most active leaders is Tony Mead, apparently a resident of Florida. For several months, this serial cyber stalker has hosted a Facebook page where he has amassed a cult following of like-minded hoaxers who ravenously feed off each other's paranoia and hatred for anyone who was affected by the Sandy Hook tragedy.

This is not a place where meaningful discussions are held or investigative inquiries are made. This is a place where strategies are plotted against grieving relatives and children's identities are stolen and exploited to fulfill a twisted fantasy.

This is exactly the network that has now turned against the Minnesota Truthers and Crowley's friends and family.

HAL-BIG IS WOLF’S GANG? | THE CONSPIRACY CRITIC (March 2014)

The persistent Glenn Canady shills for VT, Wolfgang & Fetzer etc: The Sandy Hook "Smoking Gun": Game Set Match! | Alternative

Conspiracy cats more likely to conspire? Seems like this type all right: Does it take one to know one? New research reveals conspiring conspiracy theorists — ScienceDaily

There is even a counter-harassment org set up now: HONR Network: Report Harassment, Sandy Hook Hoaxers, Conspiracy Theories

Rather than focusing their delusional grievances and accusations on authorities, the ‘hoaxers’ take the path of least resistance, harassing and emotionally abusing the victims’ family members online, on the telephone, and even in person. This practice allows them to feel as though they are doing something productive to have their voices heard, while staying safely away from the clutches of the authorities. This is a cowardly approach to having their grievances heard, and we need to ensure that they find some other method of doing so which doesn’t directly affect victims’ family members, or anyone else involved in the management of the tragedies, such as emergency service workers or those who were in any way involved. Even these individuals have found themselves the target of hoaxer hostility and harassment.

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Unfortunately until such disgusting tactics are railed out of the Truther world, we will continue to see investigations around tragedies like Sandy Hook and the Crowley family backfire horribly. To paraphrase what one of Crowley's Truther friends told me, he was damn near ready to switch into believing the official 9/11 story simply because of these appalling people. My condolences to all.

On a final note, I was able to exchange email with the late Crowley about the Oct 2013 draft cut of his film Gray State: The Rise, but I will hold those comments over for another time. There are other relevant statements, social media items and images that clearly show Crowley was going into a dark place. But this post is focused on the ugly troll crowd that wants to find another tragedy to cling to, with Sandy Hook now becoming a messy, opaque memory.

[Full research credit to Scott Wilson who originally flagged the Sandy Hook Hoaxer squad's existence on the fruitbat group, thank you.]

How a billionaire gets away with it: FULL TEXT Jeffrey Epstein's federal sex abuse non-prosecution agreement; #OpDeathEaters gets traction

epstein-mug.jpgHere's another new piece of hard evidence showing how billionaire sex abusers get their own special treatment in America. One of the most dire problems facing the United States is the double-standard justice system.

If you're a greasy billionaire like Jeffrey Epstein, federal prosecutors (who ultimately report to your chums) will eventually bend over backwards to let you get away with running an international sex abuse ring, and even protect your co-conspirators from prosecution.

Epstein pled guilty to limited charges and was forced to spend at least a few hours a day in a Florida jail for several months (he could wander during the day), and then on "house arrest" to cruise around to his various international pads. The deal specifically protects his unnamed co-conspirators from prosecution.

For apparently the first time on the open interwebs, here is the full text of Epstein's non-prosecution agreement, republished on HongPong.com with permission of alt journalist Wayne Madsen at WayneMadsenReport.com:

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An additional issue that Wayne cites in his paywalled article is that the timeline here casts shadows on both the Clinton and the Bush families, since both noxious dynasties had roles overseeing the federal prosecutors and accepting this chummy deal published above at different points in the timeline.

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Epstein wants to keep all the correspondence leading up the deal above secret, as reported by New York Daily News which has been relatively aggressive on the story:

Freaky financier Jeffrey Epstein wants to keep negotiations for his shady nonprosecution deal with the feds under wraps.

In papers filed in Florida federal court, Epstein, 61, has asked for a protective order keeping all correspondence about his controversial deal with the feds under seal.

The feds agreed not to pursue charges against Epstein and four alleged co-conspirators in dozens of cases involving under-aged girls if he pleaded guilty to a single state felony case back in 2007 — but the deal was kept hidden from the victims at Epstein’s request, court papers say.

The billionaire perv pal of Prince Andrew pleaded guilty to soliciting sex from a minor in mid-2008. Four of Epstein’s alleged victims are challenging the nonprosecution agreement in court.

In a ruling Thursday, Judge Kenneth Marra said, “Public policy favors judicial records being open to the public,” and that Epstein has to submit additional filings “setting forth the extraordinary circumstances or particularized needs necessitating a seal in this case.” Dareh Gregorian

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#OpDeathEaters & a history of political blackmail: I would like to call attention to the project spearheaded by Anonymous type cats called #OpDeathEaters (a reference to Voldemort's buddies in Harry Potter), which is a pretty quick-moving research project to expose multiple levels and nodes of what they describe as the global paedosadist network.

They are trying to get away from the term 'pedophile' which is actually preferred by child sex abusers because 'phile' means love, when in fact it's really child abuse. It started around November 2014.

An important dimension stressed by some of the articles below is that the power and depth of the pedosadist and child abuse networks has grown so deep that it has overrun the ability of honest elements of law enforcement to deal with, so to some extent Internet activists are trying to expose the networks and render difficult investigations into open-and-shut cases if possible, with the hopes of obtaining justice for victims and their families as well as preventing future abuse.

Recommend following the #opdeatheaters hashtag, Heather Marsh @georgieBC and @der_bluthund as well as @opDeathEatersUS and @opdeatheaters. ExaroNews.com has been leading the way on systematically advancing the British wing of the exposure of high level sex abuse among members of Parliament and key intelligence figures, as well as the giant coverups of decades past.

SEE recent coverage in last 2 weeks: Heard of #OpDeathEaters? Anonymous Movement Seeks End To Child Sex Trafficking; Justice For Victims Inquisitr.com Jan 24 2015

Telegraph pretty good story: Video: Anonymous hackers release video to target global paedophile menace - Telegraph

UK Mirror: Anonymous 'hacktivists' target paedophile networks with Harry Potter-inspired #OpDeathEaters campaign - Mirror Online Jan 23 2015

DailyMail: Hacking group Anonymous to target paedophiles | Daily Mail Online

VICE: Behind Anonymous’s Operation to Reveal Britain’s Elite Child-Rape Syndicate | VICE | United States Jan 15 2015

Plenty more news floating around. Give it a search and see what you find.

This systematic abuse and trafficking has gone on for decades. Homophobic closet case attorney Roy Cohn, Sen. Joe McCarthy's sidekick, was even said to have been one of the original sleazebuckets who got this tactic rolling for the CIA to get control of members of Congress, but that is a difficult case to prove of course.

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More background on the case:

Papantonio: The Plot Thickens in the Dershowitz-Epstein Story - YouTube

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What scandal involving Prince Andrew says about Britain’s elites | Al Jazeera America (Jan 17 2015)

U.S. Lawyers Seek to Interview Prince Andrew About Sex-Crime Claims | TIME (Jan 21 2015)

Exclusive: Epstein’s First Accuser Tells Her Story - The Daily Beast (Jan 25 2015). Legal docs at link

Gawker on the case, seems like Nick Bryant is doing a good job: Here Is Pedophile Billionaire Jeffrey Epstein's Little Black Book (Jan 23 2015)

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Flight Logs Put Clinton, Dershowitz on Pedophile Billionaire’s Sex Jet - Gawker (Jan 22 2015)

Dershowitz addresses appearing on Epstein flight logs - CNN Video (Jan 24 2015). Dersh is wiggin pretty hard and the new claim he kept his undies on during massages is truly the "did not have sexual relations with that woman" escape phrase of the day.

Dersh: "I kept my underwear on during the massage," he said. "I don't like massages particularly." Alan Dershowitz: 'Sex slave' accuser is serial liar, prostitute | News - Home - worth reading in full to sense the anger and panic here.

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Intelligence Rabbit Hole Begins: Additionally Epstein's close confidante for many years, Ghislaine Maxwell (L), has also been tagged as a major player in the abuse ring. Adding an intelligence twist to the matter, Ghislaine's late father Robert Maxwell ( R ) is pretty widely known to have supported the Israeli Mossad secret intelligence service. With Epstein's island home apparently stuffed with hidden cameras, this suggests he was generating sexual blackmail material which could certainly prove handy to manipulate political figures.

This leads to a bunch of speculation such as JEFFREY EPSTEIN, MOSSAD AND 9 11 etc etc, with Florida airfields that were used by Mohammed Atta perhaps intersecting with this sordid tale prior to 2001. [I am not claiming that I support such a line of inquiry as the evidence isn't really there yet, but there are some overlapping data points]

That particular rabbit hole would take a long time to sort out, but shady rich people, aviation and weird covert ops certainly are a Florida tradition. The only thing missing is yet another Gulfstream owned by CIA shell company packed with cocaine or heroin.

Barrett Brown's sentencing under shadow of federal falsehoods signals doom for Internet journalism, but at least information == drugs now!

In principle, American Internet Journalism just died horribly.

Fuck it dude, let's go bowling (and keep posting without prior restraint till they drag us all away).

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Unfortunately, a confused federal judge in Texas decided to disregard the Supreme Court's round rejection of prior restraint and enhanced Barrett Brown's sentence because copying and pasting a link to a zip file — a file whose contents he only had a loose notion of at the time, and was posted in the context of corporate research — is now apparently a forbidden form of speech.

As best conveyed by Texas mag Dallas Frontburner here, the whole court hearing was surreal and full of strange and new concepts. Quinn Norton is quitting working on information security journalism because of this situation, and she was a defense witness for Brown, explaining the stupidity around credit card numbers to a court that never understood.

It's interesting – indeed horrifying – because almost no one actually looks at the full content of any link they post, ever. If Time Magazine were to post a link to some story that has credit card numbers attached in an invisible Javascript, they'd be fully liable under this new rationale. More likely they'd throw the book at a smaller target than Time.

I don't get if DOJ has a helpdesk for these things or what. Like are you supposed to call the division dedicated to killing modern journalism and check with them how prior restraint works next week? Does it count for giant zip files, invisible javascripts, Pastebins or what?

We are all targets now. If we are to take the DOJ at their word, internet journalism has more or less been made impossible. Responsibility got shifted from publishers (or 'leakers') to observers, researchers and aggregators. Will corporate weasel lawyers forbid high level journalists from linking to things? The chilling effects are open-ended and basically endless, as well as impossible to ascertain without skimming the HTML source code of every page you link to and every autoloading script attached therein.

Even after reviewing the HTML, it will still become more chilling if the proposed White House CFAA revision goes in because of some weird notion about trafficking that they were able to get to stick at Barrett's sentencing.

See: Barrett Brown Obama's War on Hackers | Al Jazeera America Jan 23 2015: What no one in government seems to understand about cases such as Brown’s is that this is simply the way journalism is done today.

Obama's cybersecurity plan: Share a password, click a link, go to prison as a hacker | Computerworld Jan 21 2015: you could be considered a hacker for innocent behavior like sharing your Netflix password with family members or clicking a link that contains unauthorized content.


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So this speech would effectively be nuked, for example:

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...could make either retweeting or clicking on the above (fictional) link illegal. The new laws make it a felony to intentionally access unauthorized information even if it's been posted to a public website. The new laws make it a felony to traffic in information like passwords, where "trafficking" includes posting a link.

Via the link above ErrataRob Graham explains that security research will be rendered impossible, thereby making it a felony to correctly develop software with any defense:

Obama proposes upgrading hacking to a “racketeering” offense, means you can be guilty of being a hacker by simply acting like a hacker (without otherwise committing a specific crime). Hanging out in an IRC chat room giving advice to people now makes you a member of a “criminal enterprise,” allowing the FBI to sweep in and confiscate all your assets without charging you with a crime.

What Obama Gets Wrong About Cybersecurity Gizmodo last Tuesday.

Also Jan 16 2015: Obama's Computer Security Solution is a Mishmash of Old, Outdated Policy Solutions | Electronic Frontier Foundation

In this ludicrous security panic post-CharlieHebdo, they are also going back to Clipper Chip Redux demanding to be able to backdoor and intercept all encrypted communications, both the White House and Downing Street. This isn't the 1990s, they will have to ban Github and destroy General Purpose Computing soon enough.

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On the upside, after the child porn argument fell apart, the government had to claim that information is the same kind of thing as drugs in order to cram the situation into a statutory conspiracy. So well done there, Barrett, you forced them to make speech into drugs. Drugs = Speech. The Supreme Court previously said that Speech = Money, so therefore Drugs = Money. Party on, robed ones.

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Barrett Brown Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison in Connection to Stratfor Hack | WIRED

The ruling, in Texas, brings to a close an unusual saga that had the feds initially charging Brown with 12 counts of aggravated identity theft and trafficking in stolen data for simply posting a link in a chat room. That link pointed to a file containing data stolen by members of the hacktivist group Anonymous from the intelligence firm Stratfor, or Strategic Forecasting. The data included company emails as well as credit card numbers belonging to subscribers of Stratfor’s service. The charges against Brown caused a stir when they were first revealed, because Brown hadn’t stolen the data himself, but had simply copied the hyperlink from one public chatroom and posted it to another.

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Oh well: Living in America will literally drive you insane. Indeed it is hard to attempt to contort one's mind to whatever the government's reasoning is in Barrett's case. We live under a ruthless system with little regard for logic and nothing but fear and loathing for hyperlinks. Federal prosecutors can blatantly lie in court and face no punishment - indeed they earn merit instead.

Blah. Keep plugging on lolcats. As the radicals know it's a good idea to live as if you are already free; the "prefigurative" application of traditional (and previously protected) legal principles of speech might eventually be respected in America again, but only if masses of writers don't flee from these terrible people after losing this ugly battle on terrible grounds.

There is plenty more that could be said but I will crosspost Barrett's daring allocution statement. I would bet it got him a couple more months from that judge but at least it's honest, and certainly the appropriate spot to bring up prosecutorial misconduct.

Good afternoon, Your Honor.

The allocution I give today is going to be a bit different from the sort that usually concludes a sentencing hearing, because this is an unusual case touching upon unusual issues. It is also a very public case, not only in the sense that it has been followed closely by the public, but also in the sense that it has implications for the public, and even in the sense that the public has played a major role, because, of course, the great majority of the funds for my legal defense was donated by the public. And so now I have three duties that I must carry out. I must express my regret, but I must also express my gratitude. And I also have to take this opportunity to ensure that the public understands what has been at stake in this case, and why it has proceeded in the way that it has. Because, of course, the public didn’t simply pay for my defense through its donations, they also paid for my prosecution through its tax dollars. And the public has a right to know what it is paying for. And Your Honor has a need to know what he is ruling on.

First I will speak of regret. Like nearly all federal defendants, I hope to convince Your Honor that I sincerely regret some of the things that I have done. I don’t think anyone doubts that I regret quite a bit about my life including some of the things that brought me here today. Your Honor has the Acceptance of Responsibility document that my counsel submitted to you. Every word of it was sincere. The videos were idiotic, and although I made them in a manic state brought on by sudden withdrawal from Paxil and Suboxone, and while distraught over the threats to prosecute my mother, that’s still me in those YouTube clips talking nonsense about how the FBI would never take me alive. Likewise, I didn’t have the right to hide my files from the FBI during a lawful investigation, and I would’ve had a better chance of protecting my contacts in foreign countries if I had pursued the matter in the courts after the raid, rather than stupidly trying to hide those laptops in the kitchen cabinet as my mother and I did that morning. And with regard to the accessory after the fact charge relating to my efforts to redact sensitive emails after the Stratfor hack, I’ve explained to Your Honor that I do not want to be a hypocrite. If I criticize the government for breaking the law but then break the law myself in an effort to reveal their wrongdoing, I should expect to be punished just as I’ve called for the criminals at government-linked firms, like HBGary and Palantir, to be punished. When we start fighting crime by any means necessary, we become guilty of the same hypocrisy as law enforcement agencies throughout history that break the rules to get the villains, and so become villains themselves.

I’m going to say a few more words about my regrets in a moment, but now I’m going to get to the unusual part of the allocution. I’m going to make some criticisms of the manner in which the government has pursued this case. Normally this sort of thing is left to one’s lawyers rather than the defendant, because to do otherwise runs the risk of making the defendant seem combative rather than contrite. But I think Your Honor can walk and chew bubble gum at the same time. I think Your Honor understands that one can regret the unjust things one has done, while also being concerned about the unjust things that have been done to him. And based on certain statements that Your Honor has made, as well as one particular ruling, I have cause to believe that Your Honor will understand and perhaps even sympathize with the unusual responsibility I have which makes it necessary that I point out some things very briefly.

I do so with respect to Your Honor. I also do it for selfish reasons, because I want to make absolutely certain that Your Honor is made aware that the picture the government has presented to you is a false one. But it is also my duty to make this clear as this case does not just affect me. Even aside from the several First Amendment issues that have already been widely discussed as a result of this case, there is also the matter of the dozens of people around the world who have contributed to my distributed think tank, Project PM, by writing for our public website, echelon2.org. Incredibly, the government has declared these contributors—some of them journalists—to be criminals and participants in a criminal conspiracy. As such, the government sought from this court a subpoena by which to obtain the identities of all of our contributors. Your Honor denied that motion and I am very grateful to Your Honor for having done so. Unfortunately the government thereafter went around Your Honor and sought to obtain these records by other means. So now the dozens of people who have given their time and expertise to what has been hailed by journalists and advocacy groups as a crucial journalistic enterprise are now at risk of being indicted under the same sort of spurious charges that I was facing not long ago, when the government exposed me to decades of prison time for copying and pasting a link to a publicly available file that other journalists were also linking to without being prosecuted. The fact that the government has still asked you to punish me for that link is proof, if any more were needed, that those of us who advocate against secrecy are to be pursued without regard for the rule of law, or even common decency.

Your Honor, I understand that this is my sentencing hearing and not an inquiry into the government’s conduct. This is not the place to go into the dozens of demonstrable errors and contradictions to be found in the government’s documentation and the testimony by the government. But it would be hypocritical of me to protest the government’s conduct and not provide Your Honor with an example. I will do so very briefly. At the September 13th bond hearing, held in Judge Stickney’s court the day after my arrest, Special Agent Allen Lynn took the stand and claimed under oath that in reviewing my laptops he had found discussions in which I admit having engaged in, quote, “SWATting”, unquote, which he referred to as, quote, “violent activity”, unquote. Your Honor may not be familiar with the term SWATting; as Mr. Lynn described it at the hearing it is, quote, “where they try to place a false 911 call to the residence of an individual in order to endanger that individual.” He went on at elaborate length about this, presenting it as a key reason why I should not receive bond. Your Honor will have noted that this has never come up again. This is because Mr. Lynn’s claims were entirely untrue. But that did not stop him from making that claim, any more than it stopped him from claiming that I have lived in the Middle East, a region I have never actually had the pleasure of visiting.

Your Honor, this is just one example from a single hearing. But if Your Honor can extrapolate from that, Your Honor can probably get a sense of how much value can be placed on the rest of the government’s testimony in this case. Likewise, Your Honor can probably understand the concerns I have about what my contributors might be subjected to by the government if this sort of behavior proves effective today. Naturally I hope Your Honor will keep this in mind, and I hope that other judges in this district will as well, because, again, there remains great concern that my associates will be the next to be indicted.

I’ve tried to protect my contributors, Your Honor, and I’ve also tried to protect the public’s right to link to source materials without being subject to misuse of the statutes. Last year, when the government offered me a plea bargain whereby I would plead to just one of the eleven fraud charges related to the linking, and told me it was final, I turned it down. To have accepted that plea, with a two-year sentence, would have been convenient—Your Honor will note that I actually did eventually plead to an accessory charge carrying potentially more prison time—but it would have been wrong. Even aside from the obvious fact that I did not commit fraud, and thus couldn’t sign to any such thing, to do so would have also constituted a dangerous precedent, and it would have endangered my colleagues, each of whom could now have been depicted as a former associate of a convicted fraudster. And it would have given the government, and particularly the FBI, one more tool by which to persecute journalists and activists whose views they find to be dangerous or undesirable.

Journalists are especially vulnerable right now, Your Honor, and they become more so when the FBI feels comfortable making false claims about me. And in response to our motion to dismiss the charges of obstruction of justice based on the hiding of my laptops, the government claimed that those laptops contained evidence of a plot I orchestrated to attack the Kingdom of Bahrain on the orders of Amber Lyon. Your Honor, Amber Lyon is a journalist and former CNN reporter, who I do know and respect, but I can assure Your Honor that I am not in the habit of attacking Gulf state monarchies on her behalf. But I think it’s unjust of them to use this court to throw out that sort of claim about Miss Lyon in a public filing as they did if they’re not prepared to back it up. And they’re not prepared to back it up. But that won’t stop the Kingdom of Bahrain from repeating this groundless assertion and perhaps even using it to keep Miss Lyon out of the country. Because she has indeed reported on the Bahraini monarchy’s violent crackdowns on pro-democracy protests in that country, and she has done so from that country. And if she ever returns to that country to continue that important work, she’ll now be subject to arrest on the grounds that the United States Department of Justice itself has explicitly accused her of orchestrating an attack on that country’s government.

Your Honor, this is extraordinary. Miss Lyon isn’t the only journalist that’s been made legally less secure by this prosecution. Every journalist in the United States is put at risk by the novel, and sometimes even radical, claims that the government has introduced in the course of the sentencing process. The government asserts that I am not a journalist and thus unable to claim the First Amendment protections guaranteed to those engaged in information-gathering activities. Your Honor, I’ve been employed as a journalist for much of my adult life, I’ve written for dozens of magazines and newspapers, and I’m the author of two published and critically-acclaimed books of expository non-fiction. Your Honor has received letters from editors who have published my journalistic work, as well as from award-winning journalists such as Glenn Greenwald, who note that they have used that work in their own articles. If I am not a journalist, then there are many, many people out there who are also not journalists, without being aware of it, and who are thus as much at risk as I am.

Your Honor, it would be one thing if the government were putting forth some sort of standard by which journalists could be defined. They have not put forth such a standard. Their assertion rests on the fact that despite having referred to myself as a journalist hundreds of times, I at one point rejected that term, much in the same way that someone running for office might reject the term “politician.” Now, if the government is introducing a new standard whereby anyone who once denies being a particular thing is no longer that thing in any legal sense, that would be at least a firm and knowable criteria. But that’s not what the government is doing in this case. Consider, for instance, that I have denied being a spokesperson for Anonymous hundreds of times, both in public and private, ever since the press began calling me that in the beginning of 2011. So on a couple of occasions when I contacted executives of contracting firms like Booz Allen Hamilton in the wake of revelations that they’d been spying on my associates and I, for reasons that we were naturally rather anxious to determine, I did indeed pretend to be such an actual official spokesman for Anonymous, because I wanted to encourage these people to talk to me. Which they did.

Of course, I have explained this many, many times, and the government itself knows this, even if they’ve since claimed otherwise. In the September 13th criminal complaint filed against me, the FBI itself acknowledges that I do not claim any official role within Anonymous. Likewise, in last month's hearing, the prosecutor accidentally slipped and referred to me as a journalist, even after having previously found it necessary to deny me that title. But, there you have it. Deny being a spokesperson for Anonymous hundreds of times, and you’re still a spokesperson for Anonymous. Deny being a journalist once or twice, and you’re not a journalist. What conclusion can one draw from this sort of reasoning other than that you are whatever the FBI finds it convenient for you to be at any given moment. This is not the rule of law, Your Honor, it is the rule of Law Enforcement, and it is very dangerous.

Your Honor, I am asking you to give me a time-served sentence of thirty months today because to do otherwise will have the effect of rewarding this sort of reckless conduct on the part of the government. I am also asking for that particular sentence because, as my lawyer Marlo Cadeddu, an acknowledged expert on the guidelines, has pointed out, that’s what the actual facts of the case would seem to warrant. And the public, to the extent that it has made its voice heard through letters and donations and even op-eds, also believes that the circumstances of this case warrant that I be released today. I would even argue that the government itself believes that the facts warrant my release today, because look at all the lies they decided they would have to tell to keep me in prison.

I thank you for your indulgence, Your Honor, and I want to conclude by thanking everyone who supported me over the last few years. I need to single out one person in particular, Kevin Gallagher, who contributed to my Project PM group, who stepped up immediately after my arrest to build up a citizens' initiative by which to raise money for my defense, and to spread the word about what was at stake in this case. For the two and a half years of my incarceration, Kevin has literally spent the bulk of his free time in working to give me my life back. He is one of the extraordinary people who have given of themselves to make possible this great and beautiful movement of ours. A movement to protect activists and journalists from secretive and extra-legal retaliation by powerful corporate actors with ties to the state. Your Honor, Kevin Gallagher is not a relative of mine, or a childhood friend. This is only the third time I’ve been in the same room with him. Nonetheless, he has dedicated two years of his life to ensure that I had the best possible lawyers on this case, and to ensure that the press understood what was at stake here. Your Honor, he set up something on Amazon.com whereby I could ask for books on a particular subject and supporters could buy them and have them sent to me. And he spoke to my mother several times a week. During that early period when I was facing over a hundred years worth of charges, and it wasn’t clear whether or not I would be coming home, he would reassure her.

A few weeks ago, he got a job at Freedom of The Press Foundation, one of the world’s most justifiably respected advocacy organizations. And, according to the government, he is also a member of a criminal organization, because, like dozens of journalists and activists across the world, he has been a contributor to Project PM, and the government has declared Project PM to be a criminal enterprise. I think that the government is wrong about Kevin, Your Honor, but that is not why I’ve brought him up. And although I am very glad for the opportunity to express my gratitude to him in a public setting, there are some gifts for which conventional gratitude is an insufficient payment. One can only respond to such gifts by working to become the sort of person that actually deserves to receive them. A thank you will not suffice, and so I am not bringing him up here merely to thank him. Instead, I am using him in my defense. Your Honor, this very noble person, this truly exemplary citizen of the republic who takes his citizenship seriously rather than taking it for granted, knows pretty much everything there is to know about me—my life, my past, my work, the things I’ve done and the things I’ve left undone, to the things I should not have done to begin with—and he has given himself over to the cause of freeing me today. He is the exact sort of person I tried to recruit for the crucial work we do at Project PM. I am so proud to have someone like him doing so much for me.

Your Honor, the last thing I will say in my own defense is that so many people like Kevin Gallagher have worked so hard on my behalf. And having now said all those things that I felt the need to say, I happily accept Your Honor’s decision.

For further updates see FreeBarrettBrown.org / https://twitter.com/freebarrett_

///

All the news isn't horrible. Robert MacLean won his TSA / Air Marshal whistleblower case at the Supreme Court, which took many years to achieve. With luck Barrett or the next sacrificial lamb will win in that venue as well.

Big banhammer falls on Hongpong.com comments

Hey all,

due to the profusion of horrible comment spam, I swung the big banhammer and hid the comment threads on all the previous material on the site. This should markedly improve performance and with luck the search engine rankings as well (SEO). I am really sorry to the people that left legit comments, it got too far out of hand for me to control. It's too bad regular hosted comments aren't a viable business these days.

The new policy is that comments will be open on posts for two weeks, and then they close. Hopefully this means that we will not have to hide comment threads in the future.

Also if you want to leave a comment and you're legit, be sure to save your comment in Notepad or whatever because the spam filter will dump/delete/discard everything it rejects.

As always you can reach me via the Contact form or at hongpong at hongpong.com.

Pipeline Politics: MNGOP moves fast for fossils; Minnesota Range Congressman Rick Nolan certain Keystone XL will "support" 42,000 jobs

A tough fight is brewing at both the state and federal level over the direction of environmental policies. In Minnesota, Republicans are totally committed to expanding fracked gas, shale oil from Bakken, and genocidal tar sands bitumen pipelines from Canada.

The Sandpiper pipeline project in Minnesota is the current major project with ongoing public hearings, opposition spearheaded by Friends of the Headwaters, the Carlton County Land Stewards, Winona LaDuke's Honor The Earth group has worked on this; MN350 has also been working on this. The PUC calendar has other date info..

Pipelines in the MN political economy: To capture the House in 2014, Minnesota Republicans leaned heavily on independent expenditures from the Minnesota Jobs Coalition, which in turn leaned heavily on Northern Oil & Gas Co., a shale oil finance shop in run by a colorful family in suburban Wayzata, to pay for it all.

The joke's on Northern (NOG): as the international oil price war has taken hold their stock plummeted, but if they're going to salvage any of this they need new pipelines more than ever.

northern-oil.png

The MN House GOP isn't wasting any time fighting for their backers' needs. One of the first House bills posted in St Paul this year, HF21 would slash pipeline review to 150 days up or down - just enough time to get ahead of ticked off locals before they know what's going on.

Democrats are split over the pro-pipeline agenda in Minnesota, and the pro-industry crowd has a plan this year. The Iron Rangers are trying to wheel out "streamlining" mining regulations, willing to work with ALEC-friendly GOP. Key players here include DFL Sen. Tom Bakk, GOP Rep. Rod Hamilton for Big Ag (especially hog corporations) & the affable GOP Rep. Paul Garofalo for twitter-friendly ALEC corporate agendas.

For the top circles of people pushing this agenda, ideally environmental concerns will get flipped around — usually pollution affects poor people & people of color (POC) communities the worst — to make it appear a hobby of oblivious, elite metro consultant people. They are interested in reframing environmental justice as an elitist hobby, all the better to roll queasy and/or suburban Democrats.

Other corporate agendas: The industrial agriculture lobby wants to max out factory farm sizes with minimal oversight. Killing the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency's citizen review board system is another major priority, and disinfo is already rolling out on that topic.

They've also tried running meetings without public notice (see Rural Task Force and AURI in Sept 2014 via Bluestem Prairie) in order to reconfigure obscure government organizations to their agenda.

In this context we have to wonder what you're supposed to do when your member in Congress peddles blatantly deceptive spin (Nolan represents an area where a lot of my family is from). I will highlight some major chestnuts in bold. Source from a friend on FB:

Dear [Submitter].,

Thank you for contacting me regarding your views on the Keystone Pipeline project.

The simple truth we must deal with is that the Alberta tar sands are already being developed and producing roughly two million barrels of oil per day which are then shipped by truck and rail. Additionally, the U.S. State Department and the government of Canada have confirmed these tar sands will continue to be developed regardless of this project's approval. Therefore, those of us who care about saving the environment must ensure that the heavy crudes are transported in the safest and most environmentally sensitive way possible. Pipelines – while not immune from accidents – have been shown to be a safer energy transportation method than truck and rail, producing a lower carbon footprint and preventing further rail and highway congestion. The fact is, the State Department concluded alternative rail transportation options to move the heavy crude from the tar sands would result in the release of 28-42% more carbon emissions than through the pipeline.

Moreover, the Keystone project will provide access to additional oil reserves not subject to the ongoing turmoil in the Middle East, while supporting more than 42,000 good-paying jobs across our nation, translating to $2 billion in earnings for workers, substantial local and state tax revenue, and an additional $3.4 billion to our gross domestic product.

The Keystone XL Pipeline has been rigorously studied and will generate urgently needed jobs and economic development across our nation. To that end, I recently joined the majority of the House in voting to pass legislation (H.R.3) to move forward with the Keystone XL pipeline project. Unlike previous Keystone legislation I opposed in the past, this legislation requires that Keystone be compliant with all other existing EPA and other US federal agency requirements that would need to be met by a domestic pipeline application.

I am disappointed we were not permitted to amend the bill to require use of 100 percent American steel in construction because it is proven to be better and less accident prone. Nonetheless, this legislation puts an end to almost seven years of gridlock, requires the pipeline operators to comply with tough U.S. environmental protections, and allows for a route change in Nebraska that will avoid the environmentally sensitive Sandhills region.

Please know I have long been a strong supporter of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Clean Water Act, as well as other laws and regulations to protect our precious environment. To that end, during the 113th Congress I proudly cosponsored H.R.3674, the End Polluter Welfare Act of 2013 which would eliminate tax loopholes and subsidies that support the oil, gas and coal industries. Additionally, H.R.3674 would end taxpayer-funded fossil fuel research and prevent companies from escaping liability for spills or deducting cleanup costs. At a time when energy companies are making record profits, we should not be providing them with generous subsidies.

Rest assured I will keep your concerns in mind as I continue to look for ways to protect our precious environment here in the Congress.

Thank you again for sharing your views with me. I truly appreciate your advice and counsel and hope that you will contact me in the future whenever I can be of assistance.

I encourage you to follow me on Facebook and Twitter and visit my website at nolan.house.gov to receive daily updates.

Sincerely,

Richard M. Nolan

Member of Congress

/////

"Heavy Crude": Nolan distributes disinformation here. The product thrown down these pipelines is superheated tar sands diluted bitumen ('dilbit' - wiki). It is a trade-secret laden petrochemical mixture which makes the bitumen (essentially raw asphalt - wiki) just slick enough to move along. In order to smooth the political process, diluted bitumen is reframed as "heavy crude oil (wiki)" and occludes the presence of environmentally dangerous secret diluent ingredients.

The bitumen also contains tiny quartz (sand) particles which steadily etch the pipeline interiors, as NRDC/Sierra Club mention (PDF). Whenever this mixture leaks, the bitumen sinks in water while much of the more volatile diluents tend to float - making cleanups a far messier affair than with conventional or "light crude", which does actually float and is pretty familiar in Hazmat training world. See: The Dangers of Diluted Bitumen Oil - NYTimes.com (OpEd Aug 2012) re Kalamazoo River in Michigan:

After the dilbit gushed into the river, it began separating into its constituent parts. The heavy bitumen sank to the river bottom, leaving a mess that is still being cleaned up. Meanwhile, the chemical additives evaporated, creating a foul smell that lingered for days. People reported headaches, dizziness and nausea. No one could say with certainty what they should do. Federal officials at the scene didn’t know until weeks later that the pipeline was carrying dilbit, because federal law doesn’t require pipeline operators to reveal that information.

Transcanada has its view on dilbit: "Is it really crude oil? Yes." but… "Dilbit and synbit approximate the characteristics of typical conventional heavy crude oil." Seems like they're having it both ways. And they're blatantly lying here: "Does it float or sink if it spills in water? Oil sands-derived crudes behave the same way as conventional crude oil, which floats in still or slow-moving water."

More on dilbit controversies: Will Canadian Crude Make the Keystone XL Pipeline Leak? | StateImpact Texas

Here is the actual Keystone XL State Dept thing on Dilbit:

Dilbit is bitumen mixed with a diluent so it can be transported by pipeline. The composition of the dilbit is only provided here generically because the particular type of bitumen and diluents blend produced is variable and is typically a trade secret. A common condensate stream (liquids derived from natural gas) is currently the primary type of diluent used for Canadian heavy crude. Diluent consists of condensates, ultra-light sweet crudes, and refinery and upgrader naphtha streams from several supply sources. Typically, dilbit uses approximately 25 percent of condensate, where companies use either their own supply sources of light hydrocarbons or purchase the above condensate stream. According to the Saskatchewan Condensate Monthly Report dated September 1, 2012 (Crudemonitor 2012b), the composition of gas condensate is mainly light hydrocarbons such as iso-butene, n-butane, iso-pentane, n-pentane, and hexanes. Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDSs) (for informational/planning purposes only) for two types of diluents, naphtha and natural gas condensate, assuming a maximum diluent mix, are provided in Appendix Q. It is important to note that the chemical make-up of the diluents can vary greatly from source to source. The bitumen-diluent mixture with bitumen from the oil sands is generally similar to heavy sour crude, which is discussed in more detail. SCO may also be used as a diluent for bitumen, in which case the commodity is known as synbit (bitumen diluted with SCO). Properties of generic dilbit are shown in Table 3.13-1.

dilbit-chart.png

Huh Toxicity is Class D Division 2 Subdivision A: Very Toxic Material. Interesting, didn't see that on Transcanada's page. Also "BTEX = benzene, toluene, ethylbenzene, and xylenes". Benzene is definitely carcinogenic.

See also: Keystone pipeline's 'dilbit' moment - Los Angeles Times - Dec 2012.

A Dilbit Primer: How It's Different from Conventional Oil | InsideClimate News - June 2012

Keystone XL Primer: Secrecy Still Shrouds Diluted Bitumen Risks | InsideClimate News - Nov 2011.

"supporting more than 42,000 good-paying jobs": This is another block of disinformation and reaches into the more dishonest level by adding "good-paying". This has been heavily debated since it counts temporary and partial work, and general economic ripples, as partial equivalents to a full job.

The most recent mainstream coverage on this spin chunk: Will Keystone XL pipeline create 42,000 ‘new’ jobs? - The Washington Post - Glenn Kessler Jan 6 2015 (reported by wapo in 2013 originally)

See: Keystone XL Job Claims Wouldn't Live Up To Hype, Experts Say - March 2014.

TransCanada CEO says 42,000 Keystone XL pipeline jobs are 'ongoing, enduring' | PunditFact - "Girling said, 'the 42,000 jobs is in ongoing, enduring jobs.'" Sure buddy. Even his spokester had to walk that whopper back.

This figure comes from the State Department study which, for example, claims that 300+ entertainment jobs indirectly get supported by pipeline construction, and assumes that the actual construction jobs last 19.5 weeks. These are batched together to count as one full "job", and the totals for the physical pipes that have already been completed are also included in this figure.

"these tar sands will continue to be developed regardless of this project's approval": That is not necessarily true - on two levels. The projects have been hitting the skids and losing investors, and funding is getting pulled as rapidly as they can from early-stage projects. Saying they "will continue to be developed" when they're losing investors is inaccurate. And of course, the projects only move if they are financially feasible. If they get priced out from transportation due to lack of capacity, then the overall statement is also false.

There is not some magic way to make these projects profitable without export capacity - and even with more export capacity the whole thing is going over the cliff anyway. See:

“Citizen Interventions” Have Cost Canada’s Tar Sands Industry $17B, New Report Shows | DeSmogBlog: "The report said market forces and public opposition have played a significant role in the cancellation of three major tar sands projects in 2014 alone: Shell’s Pierre River, Total’s Joslyn North, and Statoil’s Corner Project. " Yeah sounds like they are continuing to be developed, for sure.

Tar sands industry faces 'existential' $246 billion loss - The Ecologist- Nov 27 2014: "The report suggests that that investors are being misled about the economic viability of oil sands production… CTI calculate that 92% of future oil sands production will only viable if oil prices are $95 per barrel. However, prices stand at only $85, so producers are losing money for every barrel of oil they sell - unless they are cushioned by existing higher-priced contracts, which will sooner or later expire."

Is it time to panic in the oil sands? - Macleans.ca - Nov 29 2014 - graphic shows that bitumen is lower-priced because it requires so much processing, making it even worse of a business prospect. Plenty of industry details in this story.


ab_oil.jpg

As Oil Prices Drop, Canadian Oil Sands May Be Wasted Investment

Tar-sands industry loses $17.1 billion thanks to public opposition | Grist Nov 4 2014

////

It is also worth noting that the anti-pipeline candidate, Green Party American Indian elder Skip Sandman got 4.3% or 11,450 votes. The diligent efforts of many at least forced Nolan to cover his flank with some better votes — frustrating but hardly wasted. Nolan received 48.5%, narrowly edging Stewart Mills at 47.1%. (Side note: the cheesy DCCC messaging to pigeonhole Mills as a rich guy seems to have backfired, this district shouldn't be that close really.)

For further nitty gritty updates: Please check out Minnesota Brown for the Ranger side and BluestemPrairie.com for industrial agriculture & related political maneuvering. Both sites did a great job covering another ranger, DFL Sen. Tomassoni, trying to double dip with lobbying gig.

A clue in Fellini's La Dolce Vita about that old Mithraic esotericism: To live outside of time, detached...

This is a random thing but it caught my attention. At almost the exact middle of Fellini's La Dolce Vita there is a somber discussion as Marcello, the tabloid journalist protagonist, tells Steiner the intellectual he wishes he had such a nice & accomplished life.

But Steiner looks out the window and fears for the life his children will face. He says he wishes he could "live outside of time, detached" in English subtitles, anyway. He's one of the more distinctly anti-fascist characters in the film & he seems to also be lamenting what appear to be persistent spotlights of the spectacle outside his windows.

to-live-outside-time.png

Sometimes at night this darkness, this silence, weighs on me. Peace frightens me. I'm afraid of peace more than anything else. To me it seems that it's only an outer shell and that hell is hiding behind it. I think of what my children will see tomorrow. "The world will be wonderful," they say. From what point of view? When a phone call can announce the end of the world. One should live outside of passions, beyond emotions, in that harmony you find in completed artworks in that enchanted order. We should learn to love each other so much, to live outside of time, detached. Detached.

Thus ends the middle segment of the film divided into seven days and nights.

PtolemaicChainsWoman_HiRes.jpg

Only a couple days earlier, thanks to @daviDNAlexander I ran into a funny essay, "The Entheogen Theory of Religion and Ego Death" by Michael Hoffman which dives into the idea that ancient mystery religions sought a very similar sort of avenue to enlightenment.

Tauroctony.jpg

The idea is explored by associating the various snakes and orphic egg iconography with the sort of wiggly path that a person's life takes, as if it were seen from a five-dimensional or timeless perspective, a "frozen universe". Likewise the notions of fixed fates & destinies were always so big in ancient western mythology. Connections are made to the ancient Mithra cult, an important underlying source of symbolism for Roman Catholicism. No surprise, then, that the idea would have wiggled its way into a film so closely linked to Italy & Catholicism as Vita.

Side note: The floppy red Phrygian cap worn by Mithra turns up later in a lot of revolutionary and Freemasonry-friendly artwork in the time of the French Revolution, as well as within the Romanesque iconography of America's "civic religion". I posted a whole bunch of related art including the symbolic caps, see images posted previously: June 2011: Dashing Wartime Philosopher Bernard Henri Lévy ties Libyan rebels & Netanyahu, lolz at teh Bilderberg conspiracy - and your French Revolution Freemason delirium too! | HongPong.com

And of course, Hoffman writes about the notion that entheogenic drugs allow the 'ego death' so that one can finally see a glimpse of that weird little fixed place in the cosmos, before you shake it off and resume weaving forward on your linear life path…

I'm sure there are other interesting symbols stuffed into Dolce Vita that I've only barely begun to find, but I definitely dig how this particular moment is right at the very middle of the film.

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