whistleblowing wednesday

Whistleblowing Wednesday: Human Rights Group Exposes Secret CIA Torture Prisons

Human rights campaigners welcomed on Wednesday a report that prosecutors had charged the former head of Poland’s intelligence service for helping set up CIA prisons for al Qaeda suspects in the country at the height of the U.S.-led “war on terror.”

Daily Gazeta Wyborcza, a leading Polish newspaper, said on Tuesday that Zbigniew Siemiatkowski was charged as part of a classified investigation into the matter launched in 2008.

At least two prisoners of the U.S. military jail in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah, have said they had been held by U.S. agents in Poland.

Rights groups say detainees were kept there without court orders and often tortured.

Poland deserves credit for this step, as the first European state to begin to deal with CIA torture on its own soil,” London-based human rights group Reprieve said and urged Romania and Lithuania to follow Poland’s lead.

Poland’s smaller neighbor, Lithuania, was the first country in Europe to acknowledge it had worked with CIA in establishing two secret detention facilities in 2002-2006.

Every state that has signed the (United Nations’) Convention Against Torture has an obligation not just to prevent torture but to hold accountable officials who authorize or facilitate it,” said Jameel Jaffer of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Poland has traditionally been one of the staunchest U.S. allies in Europe and has taken part in missions both in Afghanistan and Iraq.

The Polish constitution bans torture and imprisonment without court order. Politicians who authorize such activity could be tried in regular courts as well as the State Tribunal, a special court set up to try senior state officials.

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#WhistleblowingWednesday: Corrupted FDA Approving Dangerous Medical Devices That Causes Cancer And Miscarriages

The FDA is being accused of spying on 6 former employees who attempted to blow the whistle on agency practices of approving medical devices that posed a risk to patients.

They claim the Food and Drug Administration spied on their private e-mail correspondence after learning they were planning to expose their corrupt practices.

The employees, all of them scientists or doctors, filed a complaint in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., seeking an injunction to halt the surveillance, according to the Washington Post.

The plaintiffs say the agency spied on correspondence they sent through personal Gmail accounts that they accessed from government computers and took screenshots of their computer desktops after they began corresponding with congressional staffers about their concerns.

The employee computers displayed a warning at startup that they have “no reasonable expectation of privacy” over any data passing through or stored on the computer

The plaintiffs were all working for the agency’s Office of Device Evaluation when they voiced concerns to Congress and the media about radiological devices the agency was about to approve, despite evidence that the devices had missed signs of breast cancer during testing.

They also expressed concern about an ultrasound device that they said could malfunction while monitoring pregnant women in labor, risking harm to the fetus, and about several devices for colon cancer screening that they feared could give healthy patients cancer because they used excessive doses of radiation!

Of the six plaintiffs, two were fired, two did not have their contracts renewed, and two suffered harassment and were passed over for promotions after they began warning Congress and the media about the agency’s approval process.

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#WhistleblowingWednesday: 5,200 military employees, contractors and Pentagon officials purchased child pornography.

Only 3,500 were crosschecked, 70 personnels were investigated and of those investigated, only 10 were charged.

264 employees and contractors of the U.S. Department of Defense purchased child pornography via their Paypal accounts or credit cards using government-owned computers.

Seventy-six of these individuals had “Secret” or higher clearances, with nine having “Top Secret Sensitive Compartmentalized Information”.

Whistleblowing Wednesday: Spy Blimp Caught Rogue Soldier on Tape After Afghan Massacre

Above a small base in southern Afghanistan, a spy blimp captured video of the perpetrator of Sunday’s massacre surrendering to base forces. The question now becomes what other aspects of the killings, which left 16 Afghan civilians dead, are detailed in that video — or in any other footage that may have been shot by the U.S. military’s innumerable surveillance sensors in the region.

Reuters reports that video footage, “taken from a security camera mounted on a blimp above” the base, showed the perpetrator, allegedly a U.S. Army staff sergeant, surrendering after his fateful, early-morning trip off the Combat Outpost Belamby. “The footage showed the uniformed soldier with his weapon covered by a cloth,” Reuters adds, walking to the gates “and throwing his arms up in surrender.”

The existence of the video is a new and potentially major detail in a case that’s still under investigation. And it’s possible that the video shows much, much more than the surrender.

Navy Capt. John Kirby, a top Pentagon spokesman just back from Afghanistan, said he would not discuss “evidence into an ongoing investigation.

The video wasn’t just snapped, it was preserved and distributed. Reuters says that it’s been shown to Afghans investigating the massacre, “to help dispel a widely held belief among Afghans, including many members of parliament” that there were multiple gunmen. If the video can establish a lone shooter, then it very likely displays the entire grisly incident. Even if the video can’t capture what happened inside houses, sequential muzzle flashes inside darkened buildings could tell the story of the massacre.

Most accounts of the shooting in the media say the suspect only left the base for a short amount of time before he turned himself in. It probably wouldn’t have taken long for the search party to have gotten approval from nearby Kandahar airfield, which is home to lots and lots of drones and manned spy aircraft. (The coalition flew 717 recon missions over Afghanistan in the last week alone, according to U.S. Air Force statistics.)  There may also have been other eyes in the sky on separate missions that might have absorbed imagery of the assault. “I don’t know what ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance] assets were available at the time, or were used at the time,” Kirby said.

The Washington Post notes that the reaction inside Afghanistan to the horror has been surprisingly muted. It’s possible that the lack of nationwide protests has to do with the routinization of U.S. special operations “night raids,” which many Afghans already believe are as bloody as the Zangabad massacre. But if videotape emerges, that relative calm may not hold.

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Whistleblowing Wednesday: U.S. Creates Giant Spy Blimps To Monitor Entire Afghan Villages

It’s a story so convoluted, only Washington could serve it up. Eighteen months ago, the Pentagon’s chief ordered the Air Force to start building a king-sized blimp that could spy on whole Afghan villages at once. That blimp is almost ready for flight testing. But the Air Force doesn’t want to deploy the thing, for reasons both sensible and not. So now a pair of influential senators are demanding that the Air Force send the blimp to the skies above the warzone.

We believe it would be a significant failure to stop work and not deploy this much needed platform to Afghanistan,” Senators Thad Cochran and Daniel Ionuye complain in a Feb. 14 letter to Deputy Defense Secretary Ashton Carter (.pdf), obtained by Danger Room.

Just two small problems. These senators, though powerful, are pretty famous on Capitol Hill for backing some rather wacky and useless projects. Oh, and there’s a second giant spy blimp that is also scheduled for a flight test soon, and also promised to the generals in Afghanistan.

The airship that’s attracted the senators’ attention is known as Blue Devil Block 2. At 370 feet long and 1.4 million cubic feet fat, it is one of the largest blimps built in this country since World War II. All that size allows it to stay in the air for days at a time at 20,000 feet. And it enables the airship to carry an enormous array of cameras and eavesdropping gear — enough to keep tabs on at least four square kilometers at a time. No other singular eye in the sky could track insurgents for so far around.

No wonder then-Defense Secretary Bob Gates noted in a Nov. 17, 2010 memo (.pdf), obtained by Danger Room, that “the Blue Devil Air Ship initiative [is] urgently needed to eliminate combat capability deficiencies that have resulted in combat fatalities.

A $211 million crash program was begun almost immediately, with the goal of sending the Blue Devil to Afghanistan before the end of 2011. The contract to lead the development was given to Mav6, a tiny but influential shop drawn from veterans of the Blackwater mercenary firm. David Deptula, the general in charge of Air Force intelligence was so excited about the project, he became the company’s CEO right after his retirement from the military.

It brings to bear a completely different concept for ISR [intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance]: multiple sensors on one platform integrated with on-board processing and storage,” Deptula told Danger Room in January of 2011. “We’ve got the world’s largest ISR payload — and ‘real estate’ to host it, and nearly a supercomputer on board to process what they find.”

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#WhistleblowingWednesday: UK admits using fake rock to spy on Russians

Britain has admitted for the first time that it was caught spying when Russia exposed its use of a fake rock in Moscow to conceal electronic equipment.

Russia made the allegations in January 2006, but Britain has not publicly accepted the claims until now.

Jonathan Powell, then Prime Minister Tony Blair’s chief of staff, told a BBC documentary it was “embarrassing”, but “they had us bang to rights”.

He added: “Clearly they had known about it for some time.”

They had been “saving it up for a political purpose”, he said.

The story was first aired on Russian television, which ran a report showing how the rock contained electronic equipment and had been used by British diplomats to receive and transmit information.

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Whistleblowing Wednesday: Report Says America Sent Spies To North Korea To Infiltrate The Regime’s Nuclear Facility

A team of specially-trained U.S. commandos infiltrated North Korea in a spy mission focused on the regime’s nuke program, according to a controversial report that the U.S. military denies.

According to a report in The Diplomat, Brigadier Gen Neil H. Tolley acknowledged that U.S. and South Korean special forces have parachuted into the North to get a closer look at underground military tunnels the regime has constructed.

From the report:

The entire tunnel infrastructure is hidden from our satellites,’ the online magazine reported Gen Tolley as saying at a Florida press conference last week.

So we send [South Korean] soldiers and U.S. soldiers to the North to do special reconnaissance.

If true, the mission would break rules set in place by the 1953 armistice agreement that marked the end of the Korean War.

A portion of the document states: ’No person, military or civilian, shall be permitted to cross the military demarcation line unless specifically authorized to do so by the Military Armistice Commission’.

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Today is #WhistleblowingWednesday!!! What should I post first?

Mitt Romney’s plan to hand out billions more to the 1%?

An email by Oakland police chief that reveals him trying to discredit Occupy Oakland?

Leaked Stratfor emails?

Or Dept of Homeland Security creating fictitious user accounts on social media?


Guantanamo Bay Prison: A decade later

Today I will be releasing unclassified/secret/confidential/official-use-only information and documents about Guantanamo Bay Prison, the Vatican church, Cablegate, the Haiti Earthquake funds and whatever juicy info I come across on WikiLeaks and reliable underground whistleblowing sites. If you know of an .onion whisteblowing site on Tor or on the FreeNet please submit the link.

From this time forth, Wednesdays will be called Whistleblowing Wednesday!

To the Feds, come at me bro.

Whistleblowing Wednesday: U.S. adds Vatican to money-laundering ‘concern’ list

The Vatican has for the first time appeared on the U.S. State Department’s list of money-laundering centres but the tiny city-state is not rated as a high-risk country.The 2012 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report was made public earlier this month and Washington’s list of 190 countries classifies them in three categories: of primary concern, of concern and monitored.

The Vatican is in the second category, grouped with 67 other nations including Poland, Egypt, Ireland, Hungary and Chile.

It was added to the list because it was considered vulnerable to money-laundering and had recently established programmes to prevent it, a State Department official said.

“To be considered a jurisdiction of concern merely indicates that there is a vulnerability to a financial system by money launderers. With the large volumes of international currency that goes through the Holy See, it is a system that makes it vulnerable as a potential money-laundering center,” Susan Pittman of the State Department’s Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, told Reuters.

Last year, the Vatican adapted internal laws to comply with international standards on financial crime.

The Vatican is seeking inclusion on the European Commission’s so-called “white list” of states who comply with international standards against tax fraud and money-laundering. A decision on its inclusion is expected in June.

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It's #WhistleblowingWednesday!!

What should I release first?

Headlines:

1. Ex-CIA Leaks Classified Documents About Detainee Torture

2. Congress Secretly Passes Insider Threat Detection Program Through NDAA

3. The Latest AntiSec release by Anonymous

4. Is This The Real Reason Why MegaUpload Was Censored?

#WhistleblowingWednesday Breaking!: Ex-CIA Leaks Classified Documents About Detainee Torture

John Kiriakou, 47, the CIA’s former director of counterterrorism operations in Pakistan, was arraigned in federal court in Virginia on Monday on charges of espionage, lying to investigators and disclosing the identity of a covert operative. He was released on bond.

His attorney, Plato Cacheris, said he would plead not guilty to the charges, which carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.

Official Criminal Complaint and Arrest Warrant: