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Tag: U.S.

Brazilian Official Seeks Protection from U.S. Secret Surveillance of Phone, Email Records

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A top Brazilian official has expressed anger over the U.S.’s secret surveillance of telephone and email conversations in his South American country, The USA Today reports.

Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said he’d learned that the NSA has subjected Brazilian residents to espionage through the widespread surveillance of phone and email records.

The USA Today wrote that Patriota and others are lobbying the U.N. to establish measures to protect countries from against unwanted surveillance.

The Office of the Director of National Intelligence responded: “The U.S. government will respond through diplomatic channels to our partners and allies in the Americas … While we are not going to comment publicly on specific alleged intelligence activities, as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.”

U.S., Russia Try to Repair Decades of Distrust to Protect Each Other from Common Threats

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Mutual distrust between the U.S. and Russia is threatening to jeopardize cooperation between the FBI and Russia’s Federal Security Service, the Washington Post reports.

Cooperation over security threats is guarded and restrained, making it difficult for the two countries to share information about mutual safety concerns.

The Boston Marathon bombing has prompted officials from both countries to try and mend the relationship, according to the Post.

“This tragedy should motivate us to work closer together,” said Russian President Vladimir Putin at a news conference late last month. “If we combine our efforts, we will not suffer blows like that.”

President Obama made similar statements earlier.

Independent Reports Says U.S. Engaged in Torture

By SCOTT SHANE
New York Times

WASHINGTON — A nonpartisan, independent review of interrogation and detention programs in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks concludes that “it is indisputable that the United States engaged in the practice of torture” and that the nation’s highest officials bore ultimate responsibility for it.

The sweeping, 577-page report says that while brutality has occurred in every American war, there never before had been “the kind of considered and detailed discussions that occurred after 9/11 directly involving a president and his top advisers on the wisdom, propriety and legality of inflicting pain and torment on some detainees in our custody.” The study, by an 11-member panel convened by the Constitution Project, a legal research and advocacy group, is to be released on Tuesday morning.

Debate over the coercive interrogation methods used by the administration of President George W. Bush has often broken down on largely partisan lines. The Constitution Project’s task force on detainee treatment, led by two former members of Congress with experience in the executive branch — a Republican, Asa Hutchinson, and a Democrat, James R. Jones — seeks to produce a stronger national consensus on the torture question.

To read more click here.

China Exports Dangerous Designer Drugs for U.S. Teens

Ross Parker was chief of the criminal division in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Detroit for 8 years and worked as an AUSA for 28 in that office.

By Ross Parker
ticklethewire.com

Cyber information is not the only thing the Chinese are stealing from the United States. A new generation of synthetic designer drugs is robbing the physical and mental health of thousands of American teenagers. In the last two years enterprising rogue Chinese chemists have introduced hundreds of these new chemical combinations into the American market.

Although the motive is crassly profit-oriented rather than something even more sinister, the effect is sadly the same. Emergency room admissions and law enforcement reports reveal a looming public health crisis unlike that caused by any preceding class of drugs.

And there is often little either group can do about it as they struggle to react to the problem.

A dizzying variety of medical and psychological problems are listed in recent reports.

A Hawaii man tried to throw his girlfriend off the 11th floor balcony of their apartment building.

A Kentucky woman threw her two-year old son from her car onto the highway because she believed him to be a demon.

A Mississippi man stabbed himself repeatedly in the abdomen with a hunting knife to remove wires he thought were inside his body.

The list of bizarre and tragic stories of behavior caused by the psychoactive drugs goes on and on and on.

Just when the public and law enforcement were beginning to grab a hold on the problems caused by cathinones (“bath salts”) and cannabinoids (“spice,” incorrectly referred to as synthetic marijuana), Chinese laboratories have unleashed modified chemical compounds beyond the practical and legal reach of all but the most sophisticated law enforcement authorities. The public, parents, and teachers, are almost completely unaware of the new drug problem that is unfolding. Medical professionals who treat these kids in hospitals are just becoming aware of the problem.

Drug analogues and chemical compounds altered to avoid enforcement are not a new phenomenon. Since heroin was made illegal in the 1920s, amoral profiteers have developed related and uncontrolled substances whose effects mimic, or even exceed, those of the illegal substance.

Efforts to modify illegal drugs are unwittingly assisted by legitimate, academic researchers studying psychoactive drugs for medical purposes who then publish the results of their research. A current example is a Purdue University professor studying the effect such compounds have on brain receptors in animals. His scientific publications are immediately co-opted by renegade chemists who use the knowledge to create new “legal” drugs to sell to their customers.

About a decade ago rogue chemists from China and elsewhere started using similar research to develop drugs such as bath salts and spice. The market developed in a generally westerly direction into Russia, then Europe, and finally to the United States.

These drugs were cheap. They were beyond law enforcement, and easily accessible through the internet. Middlemen wholesalers sold them in gas stations, convenience and liquor stores, and smoke shops. They were advertised as plant food, incense, and other purposes for which they had no actual utility. In fact, the substances have no legitimate medical or industrial application. For example, “bath salts” is just a street name and has nothing in common with those colorful little granules you put in your bathtub to make it bubbly. The sellers side-stepped even a misdemeanor FDA violation by printing “not for human consumption” on the brightly colored packaging–sometimes adding a cartoon character to appeal to youthful customers.

Read more »

Halloweeen Posed Challenge to Border Authorities As Costumed Trick-Or-Treaters Cross Into U.S.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Ghosts, zombies, witches and princesses.

The increasing number of wannabe trick-or-treaters who crossed the Mexican border into the U.S. on Halloween posed tricky challenges to custom inspectors, Fox News reports.

Customs and Border Protection has had the painstaking responsiblity of verifying the identify of costumed travelers making their way to El Paso for trick-or-treating. Although Mexican celebrate Halloween, trick-or-treating has not caught on, Fox News wrote.

 

Calls for Investigation into Border Patrol Shooting Increase After Latest Death

 Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

 The latest fatal shooting by the U.S. Border Patrol has raised questions about the agency’s use of force over the past two years, the Arizona Republic reports.

The ACLU and other human-rights advocates are questioning the frequency of the shootings, which have left 18 people dead since January 2010, according to the Arizona Republic.

On Oct. 10, Border Patrol caught criticism from numerous sources for shooting 16-year-old Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez 8 times to defend against rock-throwers at a Mexican border in Arizona.

The shooting has prompted the ACLU and some Congressional members to step up pressure for a comprehensive investigation of Border Patrol.

STORIES OF OTHER INTEREST

U.S. and Israel Developed Virus called “Flame” to Slow Iran’s Nuclear Program

By Allan Lengel
tickletheiwre.com

More info is leaking out about the virus aimed at Iran’s nuclear program.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that the U.S. and Israel jointly developed the Flame computer virus that collected intelligence to help slowdown the nuclear program.

To read more click here.

 

FBI Joins Interpol in Int’l Gold Scam Investigation

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

The FBI has joined international law enforcement agencies in investigating a 100 million pound gold scam in West Africa, reports the Belfast Telegraph.

The scam, which the FBI is looking into with Interpol, is thought to have originated in Lagos, Nigeria, according to the Telegraph. It allegedly was  masterminded by a Nigerian gang and involves an Irish passport used to steal millions of dollars from US investors over nearly 12 months.

Scammers offered US investors the ability to purchase unprocessed gold directly from a west African mine, telling them the purchases were tax and fee free.

US Investors put $3 million in creating a secure export system.

The scam was discovered when an Irish security team arrived in west Africa to escort the gold out. The team was unable to make direct contact with the main organizer of the gold shipment–John Recketts–and reported their suspicions to the US investors.

The US investors immediately withdrew from the plans and abandoned the Irish team.

To read more click here.