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Comment: Re:Malice? more like incompetence... (Score 1) 495

by danheskett (#47357965) Attached to: Microsoft Takes Down Domains

Agree this is extremely sloppy. In fact, it's tempting to take the motion, replace the parties, and file it against Microsoft against some unsuspecting judge, with regardings to the next broken update that Microsoft pushes down the wire to Windows or Office. It is functionally identical to the claims they make and demonstrate.

It's also just not true. There is no irreparable harm that justifies exigency, the ex parte motion making, or the TRO. The harm is of course reparable. There is nothing stating why it had to be granted today. No real reason.

Comment: Re:Should the US government censor political blogs (Score 1) 308

by danheskett (#47298983) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

The people arguing about disproportionate influence are doing a bad job. Disproportionate influence is poorly stated way of saying "disproportionate access". People with lots of money have additional access to the levers of influence than others. You can still have idiots like Karl Rove and his "maths" spending a quarter billion dollars and still loosing badly. And you can still have idiot billionaires like Zukerburg and Murdoch trying to reform immigration, despite it's overall unpopularity.

Comment: Re:Should the US government censor political blogs (Score 1) 308

by danheskett (#47298959) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Lawrence Lessig About His Mayday PAC

In your theory, the tort is not that you can't donate to Democrats, it's that you can donate to Republicans. It's a clear cut equal protection clause. The government must have a compelling state interest in regulating the donation to Democrats but not Republicans, otherwise, it fails equal protection and is unconstitutional.

It is not a 1st amendment issue either under current law or any previous interpretation of it.

Comment: This is what a right is (Score 5, Insightful) 128

by danheskett (#47296269) Attached to: Prisoners Freed After Cops Struggle With New Records Software

I see this is an unmitigated good thing. Accused of a violent crime or not, we are all endowed with the right, recognized and protected by the Constitution, to due process, and a speedy trial.

IT problems don't abridge that right. Police officers having a tough day don't abridge that right. The learning curve doesn't abridge that.

Comment: Re:Oh my ... (Score 1) 253


It's not nearly as bad as you think. When you think about where you want us to be, and how far we are, consider that, even with the largest propaganda effort in 50 years working 24/7, with endless patriotic messages and the complete fabrication of a cause for war, the Iraqi war was never that popular. On it's best day, it was a bare majority. After it started, it immediately lost it's luster and it never recovered. War, and the things you mentioned, are deeply unpopular.

What we have are three related problems:

1. The propaganda machine makes it difficult to get oxygen to dissenting points of view. You can thank the White House and the Judy Miller's and Robert Novaks of the world.

2. The Government can spend without sacrifice to do things that we don't want them to do. I give Pres. Obama immense credit for stepping back on Syria. There is a cadre of powerful people in this country who will never stop trying to get the US to insert itself into foreign conflicts. Every massacre, every war crime is another sick opportunity to contort American in the world cop role. People are wise to it. Syria was a strong indicator that the easy quick cable-war error is declining.

3. People are afraid, irrationally, of things that are not that realistic.

The way to solve all three involving a mandatory enforced balanced budget. The mans for paying for the Iraq war is what was missing that would have stopped the invasion. Bush got 100% Republican support and about 1/3 of the Democrats to codify the Iraqi war. The missing element was we should have been asked to pay for it. Taxes, reductions in spending, something to pay for it. Congress has abdicated it's spending authority and purse strings, and it's a real shame.

Comment: Re:Oh my ... (Score 1) 253


You are completely right and it's great to hear it. The creation and systematization of "unlawful" status is the largest shame on America's soul since Vietnam. And you are right. To this day, we have CIA officers who can't leave the US because we used these shameful tactics to kidnap men off the street of foreign countries, in daylight, and spirit them away.

We have strayed from that idea that we have rights, granted by the creator, that are unalienable. Even if they want to kill us, they have a right endowed by God to due process. Even if they want to kill Americans, or poison Apple pie, or ruin baseball, they have rights. Not from the paper, not from the people, but from the creator.

The chickens are really coming home to roost.

Comment: Re:Oh my ... (Score 1) 253

All of that said, these foes are best described as insurgents or terrorists. They are willing to engage both military and civilian targets, to impersonate members of any local police or military, and are not themselves signatory to the Geneva Conventions and thus denied their protections. Their tactics involve terrorism and generally involve destabilization of a region which would basically be an insurgency against the existing power structure.

You are woefully wrong. Three main points:

1. There is no person who is not protected under the Geneva Conventions. At all. The question is how much protection. If you are a protected person under the 4th convention, you are owed additional protections. If you are not a protected person, you are treated according to one of the four buckets of treatment: non-combatant, combatant, surrendered or wounded combatant. In any case, there is no way under the Convention to hold a person indefinitely. If they are not a protected person, they must be released when hostilities are concluded. Now, you can say, "hey, we [were] occupying Iraq and Afghanistan, so the hostilities were not concluded", but if do say that, then the person is a national held by an occupying power.. which then confers to the prisoner Protected person status. And now you know why the Bush and Obama administration have created from thin-air the "unlawful" status. It does not exist, it's a legal fiction, and it's only reason to exist is to prevent the US government from treating the detainees as proper POW's or as protected persons. It is shameful.

2. Many individuals the government has treated as "unlawful combatants" are actually members of signatory countries. For example, British citizens, Saudi citizens, Egyptians, etc. When you say that they are not nationals of countries that are signatories to the conventions, it's often completely untrue.

3. There really isn't any circumstance that would permit any government from holding people without end, without charge. Either the captured men are soliders, in which case, they are POW's, and must be returned, or they are criminals, and they must be tried, or they are terrorists, and they must be tried.

Comment: Warrant (Score 1) 89

by danheskett (#47252029) Attached to: Help Crowd-FOIA Stingray Usage Across America

I don't care about how a private organization uses data about me, or generated by my devices. That a matter of contract law between me and a party that does not involve you or the government.

I do care that my papers and effects are protected. It is a God-given right to my papers and effects are secured against unreasonable searched and seizures, including against general warrants, and warrants that are not specific to the place and time to be searched. It matters not if the data comes directly from the police looking at my device, or installing something on my phone, or that they get it from a phone company.

Comment: Re:How does one determine the difference... (Score 1) 389

The only reason he didn't do time is because the President commuted his sentence and showed that some people were above the law under his administration.

Libby was sentenced to 30 months for his crimes. Agree that the President commuted his sentence. That is what it is.

But if was shown that Libby or Rove or anyone else knew she was a covert agent, which it was never shown, then they'd be looking at 10 years for each time they leaked her name. In Libby's case, that is at least four separate times that were uncovered. Even if they consolidated into one count, 10 years is a far cry from 30 months.

So my point was that Libby escaped the far more serious charges that he could have been on the hook for.

Comment: Re:How does one determine the difference... (Score 1) 389

He was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice. He told the FBI and the grand jury that he heard Plame's name from Tim Russert. Before that conversation with Russert happened, he had four seperate meetings with Judith MIller of the NYTimes where he discussed Wilson, Plame, Niger and the CIA's involvement in the yellowcake investigation. Then he had a phone conversation with Russert. It is fairly clear that he presumed that Russert would not deny his claimed version of events, but that turned out not be the case and Russert immediately folded. Miller also eventually testified, and that was more than enough evidence to show that Libby lied to investigators and the grand jury.

It was never shown that any of the four known leakers knew she was a covert agent, only that they knew she was a CIA employee.

Comment: Re:How does one determine the difference... (Score 1) 389

You are rewriting history, massively.

1. Plame had non-official cover. She served as analyst for Brewster-Jennings, a CIA front-organization, traveling and meeting with nuclear power operators in many countries, as late as 2002. The Intelligence Identities Protection Act, Title 50, United States Code, Section 42 states:

The term "covert agent" means-
        (A) a present or retired officer or employee of an intelligence agency or a present or retired member of the Armed Forces assigned to duty with an intelligence agency-
                (i) whose identity as such an officer, employee, or member is classified information, and
                (ii) who is serving outside the United States or has within the last five years served outside the United States; or
        (B) a United States citizen whose intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information, and-
                (i) who resides and acts outside the United States as an agent of, or informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency, or
                (ii) who is at the time of the disclosure acting as an agent of, or informant to, the foreign counterintelligence or foreign counterterrorism components of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; or
        (C) an individual, other than a United States citizen, whose past or present intelligence relationship to the United States is classified information and who is a present or former agent of, or a present or former informant or source of operational assistance to, an intelligence agency.

Her role as cover-employee of a CIA front-agency was declassified for the Libby trial, so that it could proceed. Since the travel was within 5 years, and her position was classified, she was easily covered by the IIPA.

Libby raised this defense at trial, and it was dismissed because there were no charges under the IIPA, but for different reasons. Because there was never any evidence that Libby knew Plame was under cover, he was (and none of the other leakers - Rover, Armitage, Flescher) were charged with violating the IIPA.

The definitive take down of this claim was a declassified CIA report detailing her cover: Which lays bare you a-historical claim that Plame was not protected and not covert. Straight from the CIA, she was a covert agent as late 2002, the same year her cover was blown in the media.

2. Libby lied about outing Plame. Outing Plame turned out to be not a crime, because the people who revealed her identity could not be shown to know that she was covert and protected under the IIPA. Libby told the FBI and the grand jury that he learned Plame's name and identity from Tim Russert. However, prior to that conversation, Libby had four seperate meetings with Judith MIller of the NYT, in which he discussed Wilson, Plame, the trip to Niger, and how little weight he placed on Wilson's report. Miller knew this and refused to testify until Libby repeatedly released her of her promise to hold the information secret. Miller testified that Libby clearly revealed that Plame as a CIA employee and that the trip to Niger was prompted by Plame, and that the CIA did not value Wilson's report (Which was also false, just not a crime; the CIA acted on Wilson's report and removed the yellowcake claims from all of their intelligence estimates). Miller's testimony was corroborated by her notebooks, which showed that she wrote down "Valerie Flame" in the margins of her notes about Wilson, the CIA, and Niger that came from her meeting with Libby.

The case for perjury and obstruction was crystal clear and it was not even a close a call. The judge and the final report clearly document that Libby did in fact leak Plame's name, CIA employment status, and role in getting Wilson sent to Niger, and that he then clearly lied about and claims to have learned about Plame from Russert. Russert denied to the FBI that this was the case, and Miller confirmed that she received the information from Libby. Rove testified that he called Novak, who got the information from Armitage, and that they acknowledged that they each knew Plame was a CIA employee. After Russerts death, it was confirmed that Russert was a 30-year source for Novak. It is fairly clear then that Armitage told Novak, Libby and Rove both learned about Plame's role in the matter from Vice President Cheney and an Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs. Russert never revealed how he knew about Plame, but it seems clear he got the information from Novak. Libby likely knew this, and tried to cover his lie, assuming that Russert, like Miller, would hold onto the secret nature of thier conversation and not reveal that his story was a lie. However Russert folded like a rug and immediately confessed to the FBI that Libby had not learned the information from him. Later, Russert, like Miller, refused to testify to the conversation, but his previous statements to the FBI were used as evidence instead and he was spared jail time because of it.

TLDR: You are wrong on both counts. Plame was covert, and knowingly leaking her name was a crime, and Libby did reveal her identity to the media.

Comment: Re:How does one determine the difference... (Score 1) 389

As citizens, I think we should have immediate, real-time access to the systems of all the branches of government that are not specifically dealing with classified or personal information. There is no reason that I shouldn't have immediate real-time access to the White House's e-mail boxes. Make them communicate by listserv, and let me subscribe.

Everything they do is financed by citizens. It's all in our effort. At first this would endlessly news driven controversy, but over time, it would lead to massive transparency and a better news culture. And cost nothing except preventing liars and thieves from lying and thieving with impunity.

The inevitable cries of "wait, this isn't secure" and what about national security, are wrong. Secrets are not secure, by definition. Our nation should not have secrets. Period, full stop.

Comment: Re:How does one determine the difference... (Score 0) 389

The person who disclosed Valerie Plame's name was Richard Armitage, not Libby.

It is indisputable that Armitage spoke Plame's name in connection with her husband to a media figure - Robert Novak.

The investigation was to find out who, if anyone, instigated Armitage to talk to Novak and to get that story in print. The theory that was not proved, but suggested, was that the Vice President's office (who was running the operation to sell the Iraqi War to the public and Congress, while State had the job of convincing allies and the UN) had dispatched Libby, who had gotten his associates to start shopping the story to friendly media sources, anonymously. This is why many other media figures were called to testify.

Chief of State for Vice President Cheney, Scooter Libby has four meetings with the New York Time's Judith Miller, where he reveals Plame's role in getting Wilson sent to Niger, and claims that the uranium finding was a key element of the official intelligence case against Iraq. This was false. By suggesting this to her, he was saying that Wilson's findings were discarded, when in fact, his findings from his Niger trip caused the yellowcake allegations to be removed from the official intelligence estimates.

Libby claimed that he didn't know Plame was an agent of the CIA, undercover or not, but that he learned it from Tim Russert. Russert refused to testify about any conversations between Libby and himself, but it turned out at trial that Russert did immediately tell FBI agents investigating the leak that he not spoken with Libby about Plame. Libby actually heard that Ms. Plame was part of the CIA's counter-proliferation team directly in a phone conversation with Vice President Cheney. Immediately after that, it is now known that Libby also heard the same information from an Undersecretary of State, Marc Grossman. About a month later, Libby tells White House Spokesperson Ari Flescher that Wilson's wife was a CIA asset and had arranged his trip to Niger. Shortly after that, Libby then tells that information to Robert Novak, but without using her name. Novak looks up Wilson in Who's who, gets her name that way. White House Chief of Staff Karl Rove calls Novak, and discloses that he heard, from another unknown journalist, that Plame was a CIA operative.

The same day that Novak's article was published, another journalist, Matt Cooper from Time, is called by Karl Rove, and told not to "get too far out on Wilson", and that his trip to Niger was not approved by the administration, or any highs up at the CIA, but rather, by Ms. Plame, and that there was still plenty of time to implicate Iraq in getting yellowcake from Niger.

One day later, another journalist, Walter Pincus, was told by an unnamed White House source that Mr. Wilson's work was not authorized by the CIA, that it was his wife who sent him, and that the trip was a "boondoggle". The same day that this happened, Pincus was in a "reporting gaggle" that was held by Flescher, on his last day as spokesman, where it was revealed that Flescher also reported that Wilson was sent to Niger by his wife, who was an employee of the CIA.

Two days after the original article by Novak, another article, this time citing two White House officials, re-states that Wilson's wife was a CIA employee and that Wilson's trip was prompted by his wife.

From here, it's pretty clear three things:

1. There was a concerted plan to get Wilson discredited by using friendly journalists. There are at least 4 well-known journalists - Novak, Miller, Cooper and Pincus, who all report that contacts in the White House and State Department told them that Plame was a CIA employee and insinuated that Wilson was sent to Niger at the behest of Plame, and this trip and the related findings were not reliable.

2. This information was factually untrue, Wilsons' trip and it's report led the CIA to strike the yellowcake claims from it's official intelligence estimates. The State Department resisted this report, and pursued it's own version events. White House and State department officials lied to journalists about the value of Wilson's report, and used those lies to instigate anonymously sourced stories in the press discrediting Wilson by using his connection to the CIA through his wife, Plame. The White House ignored the fact that CIA did value Wilson's report, but used an also discredited report from Great Britian to support the claim that yellowcake was obtained via Niger.

3. The only reason that more people did not go to jail - including Rove, Armitage, and Novak is it cannot be proven that any of them knew that Plame was an identity protected person. Because of this, they did not knowingly break the law that protects undercover agents identities. Libby, on the other hand, flatly lied and told the FBI and grand-jury that he had heard Plame's name from Russert. At this point, he had already revealed the name to Judith Miller. Miller refused to testify about this for some time, but as soon as she did, it was the smoking gun that he obviously knew Plame's name before he heard it from Russert. During the trial two more bits of information came out - that Cheney and an Undersecrtary from State also told Libby Plame's name. The only reason Libby isn't doing serious time is that no one specifically testified that Libby was told that Plame had a protected identity. Although it was disclosed she worked on nuclear issues for the CIA, it was never shown that Libby (or any of the other known leakers - namely Rove, Armitage, or the unnamed offical who spoke to Pincus) knew Plame was a protected agent.

There is no doubt that there was a co-ordinated effort to discredit Wilson's report. There is no doubt that multiple White House and State department officials knew the information and passed it along.

The difference between what just happened in Afghanistan and what happened with the Wilson/Plame affair is that the recent event was very likely an honest mistake. The person who made the mistake did not have an intent to discredit the CIA operative. He was not grinding an axe for producing intelligence that the Administration disagreed with. If those assumptions are false, we have a good equivalence. In the Wilson/Plame affair, there was quite obviously a co-ordinated and well-documented campaign to punish Wilson and by association, Plame, for having a contrary voice. Epsecially while this was happening it was blowing up in the administration's face that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq that we didn't already know about.

I have more sympathy towards Rove, Libby, and others because it turns out that Novak called another government source to confirm Plame's identity, and this source correctly did not reveal the name or confirm that she was covert (because confirming it would be to reveal classified information). This leads me to believe that it was routine to think of CIA employees as just government workers, and not covert agents, and that within the CIA there was no obvious and great barrier between career employees and covert agents. Plame basically moved between assignments that had covert and non-covert cover depending on what phase her career was in. When some knew of Plame's covert nature, it was protected, and it was likely that everyone in the administration knew not to intentionally release that type of information. This is effectively why the special prosecutor did not bring more charges - there was no evidence that anyone who leaked knew that they were leaking classified information. Instead, they viewed it as just regular run of the mill political gamesmanship, or as Rove was quoted as saying, "fair game". To me this is despicable, but Fitzgerald probably made the right call not to prosecute on more serious charges because of a lack of clear intent to reveal classified information.

The IQ of the group is the lowest IQ of a member of the group divided by the number of people in the group.