Daily Archives: February 11, 2013

FBI stages another fake bombing with mentally disabled stooge-asset to maintain fear levels and bolster the illusion they are keeping us safe

628x471
Bank of America at 303 Hegenberger Road in Oakland, CA Photo: Google Maps

An undercover FBI agent posing as a go-between with the Taliban in Afghanistan had been meeting with Llaneza since Nov. 30 and accompanied him to the bank, according to an FBI declaration filed in federal court. The declaration said the FBI had built the purported bomb, which was inert and posed no threat to the public.

sfgate.com | Feb 8, 2013

by Jaxon Van Derbeken and Bob Egelko

A mentally disturbed man who said he believed in violent jihad and hoped to start a civil war in the United States was arrested early Friday after trying to detonate what he thought was a car bomb at a Bank of America branch in Oakland, prosecutors said.

Matthew Aaron Llaneza, 28, of San Jose was taken into custody near the bank at 303 Hegenberger Road at 12:30 a.m. after pressing a cell phone trigger device that was supposed to set off the explosives inside a sport utility vehicle and bring down the four-story building, said U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag‘s office.

An undercover FBI agent posing as a go-between with the Taliban in Afghanistan had been meeting with Llaneza since Nov. 30 and accompanied him to the bank, according to an FBI declaration filed in federal court. The declaration said the FBI had built the purported bomb, which was inert and posed no threat to the public.
FBI mocks up another false flag terror attack

The FBI Allowed the 1993 WTC Bombing to Happen

FBI Celebrates Foiling Its Own Terror Plot, Again

New York Federal Reserve ‘bomb’ plotter ensnared in FBI sting

Another FBI Patsy Arrested in Fake Bomb Plot to Start a Civil War

Germany pardons Dutchman beheaded for Reichstag fire

German Parliament marks 75th anniversary of Hitler’s Enabling Act

False Flag Operations: Declassified Military Documents Show How US Government Planned Terrorist Attacks Against its Own Citizens

Llaneza appeared before a federal magistrate in Oakland on Friday on a charge of attempted use of a weapon of mass destruction, which is punishable by life in prison. He is due to return to court for a bail hearing Wednesday. Assistant Federal Public Defender Joseph Matthews, who was assigned to represent him, declined to comment.

Court records and lawyers in a 2011 criminal case against Llaneza in San Jose described him as delusional and suicidal. He told police in that case that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. His attorney in the San Jose case said a judge had verified in two court hearings that Llaneza was getting mental health treatment.

Echoes of N.Y. case

His arrest came a day after a New York man, Quazi Nafis, pleaded guilty to attempting to detonate what he thought was a 1,000-pound bomb at the Federal Reserve Bank in Manhattan in October, in a case unrelated to Llaneza’s. The FBI said an undercover agent had provided Nafis with 20, 50-pound bags of fake explosives.

In Llaneza’s case, the FBI declaration said he told the supposed Taliban representative in their Nov. 30 meeting that he wanted the bank bombing to be blamed on anti-U.S. government militias. He said he supported the Taliban and believed in violent jihad, the agent said, and hoped the bombing would prompt a government crackdown, a right-wing response and, ultimately, civil war.

He chose the Bank of America branch because of its name and because Oakland has been a center of recent protests, the declaration said. It said Llaneza told the agent he would “dance with joy” when the bomb exploded.

Bank cooperation

Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for Bank of America, said the bank was “cooperating fully with law enforcement” and declined further comment.

Llaneza and the agent met several times in December and January, and the FBI, following Llaneza’s suggestion, rented a storage unit in Hayward, the declaration said.

On Thursday night, agents said, Llaneza drove an SUV from the storage unit, hauling a dozen 5-gallon buckets of chemicals, prepared by the FBI to look like explosives, to a parking lot in Union City, where he assembled the bomb in the agent’s presence.

He then drove to the bank, parked the SUV under an overhang near a support column of the building, retreated on foot to a safe distance, and pressed an FBI-constructed cell phone triggering device that was supposed to ignite the bomb, the FBI said. Agents them moved in and arrested him.

The FBI did not say how it first contacted Llaneza, but he had been subject to law enforcement monitoring since serving a jail sentence in the 2011 criminal case in San Jose involving assault weapons charges.

In April 2011, San Jose police were called to a trailer where Llaneza lived with his father, Steve, according to court records. Described as suicidal and combative, and shouting “Allahu akbar” – “God is great” – he was held for observation for 72 hours.

Two days later, his father told police he had found an AK-47 assault rifle and a 30-round extended ammunition clip in the trailer. Officers found two more 30-round clips and other items, including a military-style camouflage sniper suit.

Llaneza was not arrested immediately, but a judge ordered him into custody when he appeared in court in May 2011. He pleaded no contest five months later to transportation of an assault weapon and was sentenced to six years in jail, with all but one year suspended, after agreeing to seek mental treatment. With credit for good behavior, Llaneza was released on Nov. 30, 2011.

Santa Clara County prosecutors objected to the sentence, which they considered too light, said Deputy District Attorney Alaleh Kianerci. She said he got the jail term under California’s realignment law, which took effect in October 2011 and sends most low-level felons to county jail instead of state prison. Under the previous law, she said, prosecutors would have sought at least a four-year prison term.

“Obviously he was a threat to the community,” Kianerci said. “We couldn’t keep him in custody forever, so we are lucky law enforcement was monitoring him.”

She said Llaneza was hearing voices and was apparently suicidal when he was taken to a hospital.

Father’s concern

The prosecutor said Steve Llaneza told police that his son, a native of Arizona, had been living with his mother there, had been in the Marines before being kicked out, and was familiar with weapons. He had worked as a window washer in Arizona before losing his job in May 2010 and was taking medication for bipolar disorder.

The father told police he was concerned about his son, who had recently converted to Islam.

While the AK-47 and the clips were purchased legally in Arizona, bringing them into California is illegal. Matthew Llaneza told police he had bought the rifle to protect himself from people who were after him, and mentioned previous suicide attempts.

“Someday you are going to find me dead in the desert,” he told San Jose officers.

Treatment needs

Llaneza was a different, more stable person when he was in custody and on medication, said Cameron Bowman, his lawyer in the San Jose case. He said he verified that Llaneza had been in the Marines, but that his claims to have been an armorer and a sniper were “his own fantasies – he had a lot of fantasies.”

“When I met him, I thought he was a very troubled person, with clear mental problems,” Bowman said. “I think that the court was trying everything possible to get him into treatment, get him supervised by professionals. I saw him as somebody who is at least bipolar, probably schizophrenic, and not somebody who should be turned out to the streets.

“This new case shows he was not getting the mental health treatment he needed.”

China overtakes US in world trade

Employees work at a shoe factory in Lishui, Zhejiang province, China
Employees work at a shoe factory in Lishui, Zhejiang province, China. Photograph: Lang Lang/Reuters

Combined total for imports and exports of Chinese goods hits $3.87tn, edging past the US for the first time

guardian.co.uk | Feb 11, 2013

by Phillip Inman

China has become the world’s biggest trading nation in goods, ending ending the post-war dominance of the US, according to official figures.

China’s customs administration said the combined total for imports and exports in Chinese goods reached $3.87tn (£2.4tn) in 2012, edging past the $3.82tn trade in goods registed by the US commerce department.

The landmark total for Chinese trade indicates the extent of Beijing’s dependence on the rest of the world to generate jobs and income compared with a US economy that remains twice the size, and more self-contained. The US economy is worth $15tn compared with the $7.3tn Chinese economy.

The US not only has a large internal market for goods, but also dominates the trade in services. US total trade amounted to $4.93tn in 2012, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) with a surplus of $195.3bn.

But like most western nations, the US deficit in the trade of goods weighs heavily and is only expected to get larger.

The deficit in goods was more than $700bn compared with China’s 2012 trade surplus, measured in goods, which totalled $231.1bn.

Jim O’Neill, head of asset management at Goldman Sachs, said the huge market for western goods would disrupt regional trading blocs as China becomes the most important commercial partner for some countries. Germany may export twice as much to China by the end of the decade as it does to France, he told Bloomberg.

“For so many countries around the world, China is becoming rapidly the most important bilateral trade partner,” he said. “At this kind of pace by the end of the decade many European countries will be doing more individual trade with China than with bilateral partners in Europe.”

Gabby Giffords stars in new gun-control TV ad ahead of State of the Union address

NBC News | Feb 11, 2013

By Mark Murray

Americans for Responsible Solutions, the organization founded by former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-AZ) and her husband Mark Kelly, has released a new TV ad in the campaign to curb gun violence.

Giffords ties gun control push to State of the Union

Biden: We’re counting on ‘legitimate media’ for successful gun control effort

“We have a problem — where we shop, where we pray, where our children go to school,” Giffords says in the ad. “But there are solutions we can agree on, even gun owners like us. Take it from me: Congress must act. Let’s get this done.”

The ad — at a six-figure buy — will air this week in DC, as well in the cities represented by congressional leaders: San Francisco (Nancy Pelosi); Cincinnati, OH (John Boehner); Louisville, KY (Mitch McConnell); and Las Vegas, NV (Harry Reid).

And it comes after Giffords and her husband recently sat down with the New York Times for an interview. “Ms. Giffords, a former Democratic congresswoman from Arizona, a gun owner, an astronaut’s wife, a shooting survivor and an incipient gun-control advocate, is settling into the third act of her public life. Her career as a lawmaker is behind her, but so is her role as the fragile, slightly mysterious victim in the months after she was shot point-blank in a parking lot here just over two years ago. Now, she is the face and emotional dynamism behind a new advocacy group and a separate political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, dedicated to reducing gun violence. It is an effort, she said, that gives her ‘purpose.'”

Giffords and Kelly also will attend President Obama’s State of the Union on Tuesday.

New Mexico Inches Toward Stricter Gun Controls

LOOPHOLE-articleLarge
Martin Vosseller, of Alamogordo, N.M., joined several gun-rights groups from around the state for a rally in Santa Fe on Friday. Mark Holm for The New York Times

nytimes.com | Feb 10, 2013

By DAN FROSCH

SANTA FE, N.M. — As state lawmakers around the country wrestle with whether to tighten gun laws, the fierce debate has not always fallen neatly along party lines — especially in the West.

Take New Mexico, where Democrats have dominated both chambers of the Legislature for decades, where Barack Obama twice won handily and where lawmakers have shown a willingness to back progressive causes like medical marijuana and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.

But in this largely rural state, where old Hispanic families have hunted, ranched and farmed the mountain valleys and mesas since Spanish settlers first arrived in the 1500s, efforts to restrict firearms have been viewed warily.

This is a place where you can bring your gun almost anywhere. You can even carry your weapon openly in the Capitol, if you wish — one of only a few states that allows open or concealed carry in their statehouses, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“There have never been any advocates or lobbyists working on gun laws here. The N.R.A. has always been the only game in town,” said Pat Davis, executive director of ProgressNow New Mexico, a liberal political group that supports stricter gun laws. “We have not seen the Auroras or the Virginia Techs here.”

This year, though, is one of the first times in recent history that any significant effort has been made to regulate guns in New Mexico.

In January, State Representative Miguel P. Garcia, a Democrat from Albuquerque, proposed legislation requiring background checks for purchases of firearms made at gun shows and through private sales — both currently unregulated in New Mexico.

The proposal comes just weeks after the brother of a former state senator was shot to death, along with his wife and three of their children. Their 15 year-old son was arrested and charged in the case, which has shocked New Mexico.

Mr. Garcia’s initial bill stalled in a committee hearing after a Democratic lawmaker sided with Republicans against it. But in a compromise, Mr. Garcia introduced a less restrictive version, eliminating background checks on private sales but increasing cooperation between state and federal authorities to keep track of people with mental illness.

“That was a hard pill to swallow,” Mr. Garcia said in an interview. “But if we put together a nonpartisan initiative, we can win over more members of the Legislature and more Democrats will vote for this.

“The reality of the state of New Mexico is that we’ve got a lot of Democrats that represent moderate and conservative leaning districts with a high number of gun owners.”

Late Friday, Mr. Garcia’s bill passed easily in the committee with bipartisan support, a few hours after dozens of gun proponents rallied at the Capitol, carrying pistols and semiautomatic rifles.

“Don’t tell us we can’t be here, because it’s not true,” said a protester with a pistol strapped to his thigh. That New Mexico is only now inching toward more gun regulation belies the social and geographic intricacies that can make the gun debate so complex.

By comparison, neighboring Colorado, which historically leans more conservative, has weighed gun control legislation for years — spurred by the shooting at Columbine High School, and more recently the mass shooting at a movie theater in Aurora.

After the attack at Columbine, voters in Colorado overwhelmingly approved a measure in 2000 that closed the so-called gun-show loophole. And last week, Colorado Democrats unveiled a package of bills that includes universal background checks and a ban on high-capacity magazines.

In New Mexico, State Senator George K. Muñoz, a Democrat from Gallup, said that guns had long been woven into the lives of the state’s rural Hispanic and Native American population, many of whom vote Democratic.

Mr. Muñoz, who said he was open to supporting Mr. Garcia’s legislation, sponsored a bill several years ago allowing individuals with concealed carry permits to bring their guns into restaurants that serve beer or wine, unless explicitly prohibited.

The measure passed and was signed by Gov. Bill Richardson, the state’s most powerful democrat at the time.

“I live in rural New Mexico. If the coyotes come to eat my cats, I’m going to have to shoot the coyotes,” Mr. Muñoz said. “When you say, ‘You can’t do this or you can’t do that,’ then everything goes underground.”

He added: “So how do you regulate guns? I don’t know.”

BBC deletes unsubstantiated claim that Africa is 3.5C hotter from documentary

Sir David Attenborough filming opening Of Africa Series, Northern Kenya
Sir David Attenborough filming opening Of Africa Series in northern Kenya. Photograph: David Chancellor/BBC

BBC removes climate claim from repeated final Africa episode

Part of Sir David Attenborough’s narration is cut after an earlier assertion that the continent was warming by 3.5C

guardian.co.uk | Feb 11, 2013

The BBC removed part of Sir David Attenborough’s narration in the final episode of its flagship nature documentary Africa after it acknowledged it contained a mistaken claim about climate change.

In the original episode first broadcast last Wednesday, Attenborough said: “Some parts of the continent have become 3.5C hotter in the past 20 years.”

But following further scrutiny of this claim by the Guardian, it transpired that the ultimate source of the claim could not be readily verified.

A climatologist told the Guardian that the claim could not be substantiated. “Our data does not support the claim of 3.5C warming in the last 20 years in some regions of Africa,” said Dr Tim Osborn at the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit.

The BBC took the decision on Saturday to re-edit the episode for its repeat showing, as well as remove the original broadcast from its iPlayer online catch-up service. In the edited episode, Attenborough’s words were replaced with a lengthened musical score.

In a statement issued to the Guardian, the BBC said: “There is widespread acknowledgement within the scientific community that the climate of Africa has been changing as stated in the programme. We accept the evidence for 3.5C increase is disputable and the commentary should have reflected that, therefore that line has been removed from Sunday’s repeat and the iPlayer version replaced.”

The BBC also acknowledged that Attenborough had not researched the claim himself. It has been placed in his script by the programme’s production team.

In 2011, the BBC was forced to defend itself after it was accused of misleading viewers in its Attenborough-narrated Frozen Planet series when it used footage of newborn polar bear cubs shot at a wildlife centre in the Netherlands rather than in the Arctic. As the viewers were shown the cubs in a den, Attenborough said: “But on leeside slopes, beneath the snow, new lives are beginning.”

Following criticism, the BBC said the narration had been deliberately “very general”, so viewers would not assume it referred to the specific cubs.

Pentagon contractor Raytheon knows what you are doing, where you are and where you are going

Defence contractor Raytheon has developed a tool that can mine social media to track and predict individuals’ behaviour, according to The Guardian.

Privacy crisis in progress as social media tracking again found to be intrusive

Register | Feb 11, 2013

A global “Big Sinister Defence Company Develops ‘Google For Spies’ That Your Government May Already Have Bought “ story is therefore unfurling as you read this piece.

The key “features” of Raytheon’s tool, developed in co-operation with the US government and delicately titled Rapid Information Overlay Technology (RIOT), are said to be an ability to sift through social media and figure out who your friends are and the places you frequent. With that data in hand, The Guardian feels “monitoring and control” of you, I, and everyone we collectively hold dear is eminently possible. It’s implied, despite Raytheon saying it’s had no buyers, that such software is likely to end up in the hands of a repressive State, or a shadowy agency inside a more open State. Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald has piled in with a story on the same theme.

How Raytheon software tracks you online video

All of which sounds just terrifying, except for the fact similar software can be had from other sources that are far less scary than a “defence contractor.”

IBM, for example, happily sells “social media analytics” software that can “Capture consumer data from social media to understand attitudes, opinions, trends and manage online reputation” and even “Predict customer behavior”. And yes, that’s the same IBM that can whip up a supercomputer or sell you a scale-out NAS capable of storing multiple petabytes of data. Throw in the social stuf and Big Blue, too, could help someone nasty to obtain, retain and analyse petabytes of data about us all.

SAS’ offering in the same software category is capable of “continuously monitoring online and social conversation data to identify important topics” and “continuously captures and retains more than two years of online conversation history”. SAS even offers to host its solution, meaning all that data about you is stored by a third-party company you’ve never heard of (and isn’t even open to the scrutiny afforded to listed companies).

Customer service software outfit Genesys sells “Social engagement” software that “Automates the process of (social) listening to your customers” and “Extends business rules and service level strategies to the growing volume of social media-based customer interactions. Could those business rules become “security rules”?

A quick mention of Big Data, daily and breathlessly advanced as capable of all of the above, and much more to more data, is also surely worth inserting at this point.

And then there are Google, Twitter, Facebook and others whose entire business is built on figuring out who you spend time with and where you spend (or intend to spend) that time, so they can sell that information to advertisers. Or hand it over to the government, when asked, which seems to be happening rather more regularly if the social networks’ own reports on the matter suggest.

We’re not suggesting any of the software or services mentioned above were designed as instruments of State surveillance, but it is surely worth pointing out that Raytheon is far from alone in having developed software capable of tracking numerous data public sources, aggregating them into a file on an individual, and doing so without individuals’ knowledge. That the company has done so in collaboration with the US government should not surprise, either: show The Reg a software company uninterested in adapting their wares for government and/or military applications and we’ll show you a software company begging for a shareholder lawsuit and/or swift and replacement of its top executives.

As for the spatial aspect of the allegations, the fact that photos contain spatial metadata is hardly news, nor is the notion that social media leaves a trail of breadcrumbs novel. One has only to revisit news from 2010 to be reminded of how pleaserobme.com pointed out how social media can alert thieves to the fact you’ve left your home. And let’s not even try to draw a line between a new-wave marketing tool like Geofeedia (today spruiking itself as offering real-time maps showing Tweets around the Grammies and as capable of letting one “monitor events to gather sentiment data”), mashups from clever folks who map check-ins and sinister surveillance-ware.

Far clearer is the fact that you, dear reader, are the product for any free online product. Also crystal clear is that by using such services, data about you will be consumed by a large and diverse audience. The scariest thing of all may be how few of those that use such services care or even realise the reality of the situation.

 

Cops nab 5-Year-Old for wearing wrong color shoes to kindergarten

cop car
Wearing the wrong shoes can get kids thrown into one of these in Mississippi. (Photo: Mitch Kezar)

Cops Nab 5-Year-Old for Wearing Wrong Color Shoes to School

In Mississippi, if kindergarteners violate the dress code or act out in class, they may end up in the back of a police car.

takepart.com | Jan 18, 2013

By Suzi Parker

A story about one five-year-old particularly stands out. The little boy was required to wear black shoes to school. Because he didn’t have black shoes, his mom used a marker to cover up his white and red sneakers. A bit of red and white were still noticeable, so the child was taken home by the cops.

The child was escorted out of school so he and his mother would be taught a lesson.

Ridiculous? Perhaps. But incidents such as this are happening across Mississippi. A new report, “Handcuffs on Success: The Extreme School Discipline Crisis in Mississippi Public Schools,” exposes just how bad it’s become.

Released on January 17, the report is a joint project between state chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and the Mississippi Coalition for the Prevention of Schoolhouse to Jailhouse and the Advancement Project.

The report examined more than 100 school districts and claimed that black students are affected by harsh disciplinary actions at a much greater rate than their white peers. It notes that “for every one white student who is given an out-of-school suspension, three black students are suspended, even though black students comprise just half of the student population.”

Carlos McCray, an associate professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Education in the Education Leadership Administration Program, says, “Research has shown that students who are subjected to multiple suspensions and expulsions are more likely to drop out of school. And we all know where this leads.”

More: In Mississippi, Dress Code Violations and Back-Talk Send Students Straight to Jail

This isn’t something new in Mississippi. Last October, the U.S. Justice Department filed a lawsuit against officials in Meridian, Miss., for operating a school-to-prison pipeline.

“The needless criminalization of Mississippi’s most valuable asset—its children—must be dealt with immediately by school leaders and the communities they serve,” said Nancy Kintigh, the ACLU of Mississippi’s program director, in a statement.

“Zero-tolerance policies were originally designed to protect students from individuals who pose a threat on school grounds. Instead, they are being used to send children home for trivial things that should be solved in the principal’s office.”

Mississippi has long struggled with its education system.

It ranks sixth lowest among the 50 states in graduation rates. On a recent Science and Engineering Readiness Index, the state ranked 50th for high school students on their performance in physics and calculus. It came in last on the National Assessment of Educational Progress survey in 2012.

More out-of-school suspensions result in a school’s lower academic success, Thursday’s report noted. Some Mississippi schools have out-of-school suspension rates that are more than nine times higher than the national average.

Judith Browne Dianis, codirector of Advancement Project and longtime advocate for an end to extreme school discipline policies, said Thursday in a press release that “Implementing a graduated approach to discipline, and using non-punitive measures focused on preventing misbehavior by providing supportive interventions, have been proven to reduce suspensions and expulsions while creating safe, effective learning environments for our youth.”

The report cited several examples of unfair disciplinary measures, including the story of the child with the “black” shoes. Other incidents include:

• Students on a school bus were throwing peanuts at one another. Because one of the peanuts hit the female bus driver, five black male high school students were arrested on felony assault charges.

• A student was sent to a juvenile detention center for wearing the wrong color socks. It was considered to be a probation violation from a previous fight.

Kelly Welch, an associate professor in sociology and criminal justice at Villanova University, said that zero-tolerance policies are often harsher in schools with large minority student populations.

“Since we know that the effects of exclusionary punishments, such as suspension and expulsion, are so detrimental for student learning as well as future involvement in criminal justice, it is imperative that these policies be examined to ensure that they are only used when absolutely necessary and that they are not racially discriminatory,” Welch said.