Story 1: Breaking News City of Peshawar, Pakistan, Army Run School Attacked, Resulted in Killing of 141 (132 Students) and 200 Wounded or Injured By 7 Taliban Terrorist Wearing Suicide Vests — Videos
Pakistan Army school Terrorist Attack on Army School in Peshawar Video | Taliban attack school
army school ATTACK Pakistan: Peshawar army school ATTACK kills 21, 500 held hostage Video of attack Terrorist Attack on Army School in Peshawar Pakistan Video | Taliban attack school Pakistan
At least 126 people have been killed, including 84 children, after Taliban gunmen stormed a military school in the north-western Pakistani city of Peshawar, in the worst ever militant attack to hit the troubled region.
It was reported that one suicide bomber blew himself up in a room containing 60 children and a teacher was set on fire in front of pupils, with the children forced to watch.
The attack started with the gunmen entering the 500-pupil school – which has students aged 10 to 18 – in the early hours.
The jihadists shot their way into the building and went from classroom to classroom, shooting at random.
Army commandos quickly arrived at the scene and exchanged fire with the gunmen. Eye-witnesses described how students cowered under desks as dead bodies were strewn along corridors.
Around 160 children, aged 13 and 14, are being held hostage, with four gunmen still inside. A police inspector said they had trapped the terrorists in the principal’s office. Many of the soldiers involved in the rescue operation are trying to save their own children.
During the last hour there were seven blasts. Two of them are said to be suicide blasts, a police superintendent said, the rest were grenade blasts.
‘We selected the army’s school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females,’ said Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani. ‘We want them to feel the pain.’
Pakistan school attack: more than 130 dead in Taliban attack, most of them children – TALIBAN
Taliban School Attack Peshawar Pakistan School Attack 126 killed Take Hostages
World leaders condemn Pakistan school attack
Nobel prize winner Malala ‘heartbroken’ by Pakistan school attack
145+ children, killed in Pakistani Punjabi ISI proxies,Taliban high school attack
Peshawar school attack: Pakistani Taliban kills at least 135 people, most of them young children
Taliban School Attack Peshawar (VIDEO) Pakistan Children Shot Dead in Army School
Raw: Militants Attack Pakistan School
Pakistani officials say siege at school over
By RIAZ KHAN and REBECCA SANTANA
In the deadliest slaughter of innocents in Pakistan in years, Taliban gunmen attacked a military-run school Tuesday and killed 141 people — almost all of them students — before government troops ended the siege.
The massacre of innocent children horrified a country already weary of unending terrorist attacks. Pakistan’s teenage Nobel Peace laureate Malala Yousafzai — herself a survivor of a Taliban shooting — said she was “heartbroken” by the bloodshed.
Even Taliban militants in neighboring Afghanistan decried the killing spree, calling it “un-Islamic.”
If the Pakistani Taliban extremists had hoped the attack would cause the government to ease off its military offensive that began in June in the country’s tribal region, it appeared to have the opposite effect. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif pledged to step up the campaign that — along with U.S. drone strikes — has targeted the militants.
“The fight will continue. No one should have any doubt about it,” Sharif said. “We will take account of each and every drop of our children’s blood.”
Taliban fighters have struggled to maintain their potency in the face of the military operation. They vowed a wave of violence in response to the operation, but until Tuesday, there has only been one major attack by a splinter group near the Pakistan-India border in November. Analysts said the school siege showed that even diminished, the militant group still could inflict horrific carnage.
Pakistani civil society members take part in a candle light vigil for the victims of a school attack …
The rampage at the Army Public School and College began in the morning when seven militants scaled a back wall using a ladder, said Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman. When they reached an auditorium where students had gathered for an event, they opened fire.
A 14-year-old, Mehran Khan, said about 400 students were in the hall when the gunmen broke through the doors and started shooting. They shot one of the teachers in the head and then set her on fire and shouted “God is great!” as she screamed, added Khan, who survived by playing dead.
From there, they went to classrooms and other parts of the school.
“Their sole purpose, it seems, was to kill those innocent kids. That’s what they did,” Bajwa said. Of the 141 people slain before government troops ended the assault eight hours later, 132 were children and nine were staff members. Another 121 students and three staff members were wounded.
The seven attackers, wearing vests of explosives, all died in the eight-hour assault. It was not immediately clear if they were all killed by the soldiers or whether they blew themselves up, he said.
The wounded — some still wearing their green school blazers — flooded into hospitals as terrified parents searched for their children. By evening, funeral services were already being held for many of the victims as clerics announced the deaths over mosque loudspeakers.
The government declared three days of mourning for what appeared to be Pakistan’s deadliest since a 2007 suicide bombing in the port city of Karachi killed 150 people.
“My son was in uniform in the morning. He is in a casket now,” wailed one parent, Tahir Ali, as he came to the hospital to collect the body of his 14-year-old son, Abdullah. “My son was my dream. My dream has been killed.”
One of the wounded students, Abdullah Jamal, said he was with a group of eighth, ninth and 10th graders who were getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of army medics when the violence became real. Panic broke out when the shooting began.
“I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,” he said, speaking from his hospital bed.
Another student, Amir Mateen, said they locked the door from the inside when they heard the shooting, but gunmen blasted through anyway and opened fire.
Responding to the attack, armored personnel carriers were deployed around the school, and a military helicopter circled overhead.
A little more than 1,000 students and staff were registered at the school, which is part of a network run by the military, although the surrounding area is not heavily fortified. The student body is made up of both children of military personnel as well as civilians.
Most of the students appeared to be civilians rather than children of army staff, said Javed Khan, a government official. Analysts said the militants likely targeted the school because of its military connections.
“It’s a kind of a message that ‘we can also kill your children,'” said Pakistani analyst Zahid Hussain.
In a statement to reporters, Taliban spokesman Mohammed Khurasani claimed responsibility for the attack, saying it was retribution for the military’s operation in nearby North Waziristan, the northwestern tribal region where the group’s fighters largely have been based.
“We targeted their kids so that they could know how it feels when they hit our kids,” Khurasani said. He said the attackers were advised not to target “underage” children but did not elaborate on what that meant.
In its offensive, the military said it would go after all militant groups operating in the region. Security officials and civilians feared retribution by militants, but Pakistan has been relatively calm.
The attack raised the issue of whether this was the last gasp of a militant group crippled by a government offensive or whether the militants could regroup.
Hussain, the Pakistani analyst, called the attack an “act of desperation.”
The violence will throw public support behind the campaign in North Waziristan, he said. It also shows that the Pakistani Taliban still maintains a strong intelligence network and remains a threat.
The attack drew swift condemnation from around the world. U.S. President Barack Obama said the “terrorists have once again showed their depravity.”
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry added: “The images are absolutely gut-wrenching: young children carried away in ambulances, a teacher burned alive in front of the students, a house of learning turned into a house of unspeakable horror.”
Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, Pakistan’s longtime regional rival, called it “a senseless act of unspeakable brutality.”
“My heart goes out to everyone who lost their loved ones today. We share their pain & offer our deepest condolences,” Modi said in a series of tweeted statements.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said it was a “an act of horror and rank cowardice to attack defenseless children while they learn.”
The violence recalled the attack on Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman outside her school in the Swat Valley for daring to speak up about girls’ rights. She survived to become a global advocate for girls’ education and received her Nobel Peace Prize last week, but has not returned to Pakistan in the two years since the shooting out of security concerns.
“Innocent children in their school have no place in horror such as this,” the 17-year-old said. “I condemn these atrocious and cowardly acts.”
Death ‘All Around Me': Victims Relive Pakistan School Massacre
BY MUSHTAQ YUSUFZAI, WAJAHAT S. KHAN, F. BRINLEY BRUTON AND ALASTAIR JAMIESON
SHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistan was plunged into mourning Tuesday after Taliban militants in suicide vests laid siege to a school, massacring more than 130 children during eight hours of sheer terror. In total, 145 people were killed, officials said.
Those who survived emerged with stories of horror — of gunmen shooting indiscriminately into crowds or killing youngsters one by one.
“One of my teachers was crying, she was shot in the hand and she was crying in pain,” Shahrukh Khan, 15, who was shot in both legs but survived, told Reuters. “One terrorist then walked up to her and started shooting her until she stopped making any sound.
“All around me my friends were lying injured and dead.”
A military source told NBC News that the attackers were wearing police uniforms and suicide vests.
“They burnt a teacher in front of the students in a classroom,” he said. “They literally set the teacher on fire with gasoline and made the kids watch.”
The government of Pakistan declared three days of mourning for the lives lost.
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Maj. Gen. Asim Bajwa, a military spokesman, told NBC News that at least 132 children were killed in the attack, along with 10 staff from the school — including the principal. Seven militants were killed and seven special forces soldiers were injured.
“They didn’t take any hostages initially and started firing in the hall,” Bajwa also told a press conference. He told NBC News that they had enough ammunition and rations to have kept up the siege for days.
At a hospital near the school, blood stained the floors. Crying relatives roamed the wards and searched operating rooms, desperately searching for their sons and daughters.
One room at at the Central Military hospital was filled with teenagers who had bullet wounds, shrapnel embedded in their flesh and burns.
A doctor, Brig. Muhammad Waqar, said his son attends the school and he watched with dread as victim after victim was brought in
“I was waiting for him to turn up dead in an ambulance,” he said. “I wanted to grab a gun and go to the school.”
The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, which Pakistani officials said appeared to be aimed at the children of senior military personnel.
Uniformed militants struck shortly before 11 a.m. local time (1 a.m. ET) when about 1,000 students — in grades one through 10 — and teachers were believed to be inside.
“We were standing outside the school and firing suddenly started and there was chaos everywhere and the screams of children and teachers,” said Jamshed Khan, a school bus driver.
“The gunmen entered class by class and shot some kids one by one,” one student who was in the Army Public School in Peshawar at the time told local media.
As the siege continued and Pakistani security forces battled to stop the assault, five “heavy” explosions were heard from the school at around 5 a.m. ET. Bombs planted by the attackers slowed rescue efforts, a military official said, and the massacre was not declared over until after 9 a.m. ET.
Dozens of Children Killed as Taliban Gunmen Storm Peshawar School
Wounded student Abdullah Jamal told The Associated Press he was getting first-aid instructions and training with a team of Pakistani army medics when the violence began for real. When the shooting started, Jamal said nobody knew what was going on in the first few seconds.
“Then I saw children falling down who were crying and screaming. I also fell down. I learned later that I have got a bullet,” he said, speaking from his hospital bed. He had been shot in the leg.
Hours after all the children had been removed from the school, soldiers angrily roamed the campus.
“It’s interesting that they came through this graveyard,” said one officer, pointing to a cemetery adjacent to the school. “It’s sad. They stepped over the graves of the dead to create more death.”
President Barack Obama slammed the attack and said America stands with the people of Pakistan and its government’s efforts to fight terrorism.
“By targeting students and teachers in this heinous attack, terrorists have once again shown their depravity,” he said in a statement.
As the carnage played out in Peshawar, Pakistan’s military carried out 10 airstrikes in the Khyber region, between Peshawar and the Afghanistan border, based on “actionable intelligence” according to a spokesman.
Taliban spokesman Muhammad Umar Khorasani told Reuters his group was responsible for the attack. “Our suicide bombers have entered the school, they have instructions not to harm the children, but to target the army personnel,” he said.
Suzanna Gratia Hupp explains meaning of 2nd Amendment!
“Before a standing army can rule, the people must be disarmed; as they are in almost every kingdom in Europe. The supreme power in America cannot enforce unjust laws by the sword; because the whole body of the people are armed….”- Noah Webster, An Examination of the Leading Principles of the Federal Constitution, 1787
On October 16, 1991, Hennard drove his 1987 Ford Ranger pickup truck through the front window of a Luby’s Cafeteria at 1705 East Central Texas Expressway in Killeen, yelled “This is what Bell County has done to me!”, then opened fire on the restaurant’s patrons and staff with a Glock 17 pistol and later a Ruger P89. About 80 people were in the restaurant at the time. He stalked, shot, and killed 23 people and wounded another 20 before committing suicide. During the shooting, he approached Suzanna Gratia Hupp and her parents. Hupp had actually brought a handgun to the Luby’s Cafeteria that day, but had left it in her vehicle due to the laws in force at the time, forbidding citizens from carrying firearms. According to her later testimony in favor of Missouri’s HB-1720 bill and in general, after she realized that her firearm was not in her purse, but “a hundred feet away in [her] car”, her father charged at Hennard in an attempt to subdue him, only to be gunned down; a short time later, her mother was also shot and killed. (Hupp later expressed regret for abiding by the law in question by leaving her firearm in her car, rather than keeping it on her person. One patron, Tommy Vaughn, threw himself through a plate-glass window to allow others to escape. Hennard allowed a mother and her four-year-old child to leave. He reloaded several times and still had ammunition remaining when he committed suicide by shooting himself in the head after being cornered and wounded by police.
Reacting to the massacre, in 1995 the Texas Legislature passed a shall-issue gun law allowing Texas citizens with the required permit to carry concealed weapons. The law had been campaigned for by Suzanna Hupp, who was present at the Luby’s massacre and both of whose parents were shot and killed. Hupp testified across the country in support of concealed-handgun laws, and was elected to the Texas House of Representatives in 1996. The law was signed by then-Governor George W. Bush and became part of a broad movement to allow U.S. citizens to easily obtain permits to carry concealed weapons.
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Story 1: The Democratic Party War on The Central Intelligence Agency Will Lead To Blow-back and Payback When CIA Agents Reveal What They Were Really Doing in Benghazi — Shipping Arms To Syrian Rebels Including Al-Qaeda — Impeachable Offenses — The Genie Is Out of The Bottle and The CIA Knows Where The Bodies Are Buried — Do The Ends Ever Justify The Means? — Remembering September 11, 2001 and 2012 –Videos
“The term “covert action” means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include . . . (2) traditional . . . military activities or routine support to such activities.“
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Rep. Frank Wolf called a press conference outside the capitol to discuss his sponsorship of H. Res. 36, which would create a special congressional committee to investigate the failures that contributed to the deadly jihadist attack in Benghazi, Libya last year. He was joined by Family Research Council’s Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, former Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence and former member of Delta Force. Boykin represented Special Operations Speaks, a group of ex-special forces operators who came together to write a letter to Members of Congress, urging them to commit to getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi, and to end the administration’s cover-up. Finally, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney spoke about the implications of the attack in Libya on America’s national security and foreign policy in the Middle East/North Africa region.
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A presidential finding is an executive directive issued by the head of the executive branch of a government, similar to the more well-known executive order. The term is mostly used by the United States Government, and in other countries may be identified by different terms. Such findings and other executive decrees are usually protocols which have evolved through the course of government and not typically established by law.
Use and history in the United States
“US President Barack Obama has signed a secret order allowing the CIA and other American agencies to support rebels seeking to overthrow the Assad regime, a US government source told Reuters. Obama reportedly gave the order, known as an intelligence “finding”, earlier this year. The presidential finding also provides for US collaboration with a secret command center operated by Turkey and its allies. The full extent of the assistance the “finding” allows the CIA to give the Syrian rebels is unclear. It is also unknown precisely when Obama signed the order.” The report of Obama’s authorization for covert rebel support comes amidst continued fighting between Syrian government troops and rebels over control of Aleppo, the country’s economic capital. Thousands of people have fled the city, while the government and rebels continue to release conflicting reports on the extent of their control over the city. Asia Times Online correspondent Pepe Escobar told RT that the leak’s timing was intended to distort the true nature of Washington’s covert operations on the ground in Syria.
“This intelligence finding signed by Obama – that’s the code for a secret order – this was signed six months ago. So the fact that Reuters has only been allowed now to report about it proves that there have been high deliberations in Washington: ‘should we let people know about what they already know?’”
“In fact, the Washington Post two weeks ago had already reported about it, and when the CIA wants to leak something in the US, they usually go to the Washington Post. The CIA and Mossad, on the ground [in Syria], side by side working with the Qataris, the Turks, the Saudis and a swarm of jihadis coming from everywhere, but especially from across the border in Iraq,” he argues.
Escobar says the leak was intended to make it look as though Washington was leading the Syrian campaign from behind the scenes, when in fact the US is “leading from the front lines alongside al-Qaeda-style Jihadists, Qatari intelligence, and Turkish logistics.” 
The first specific use of presidential findings was precipitated by the Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954, in which the findings indicated that certain conditions of that act had be satisfied and, therefore, sales of agricultural commodities could proceed. In their use under this act, such findings were published in the Federal Register and the CFR Title 3 compilations. In contrast, presidential findings in their modern use are not published in these or other governmental publications.
Current use of the presidential finding stems from the so-called Hughes-Ryan amendment to the Foreign Assistance Act of 1974, which prohibited the expenditure of appropriated funds by or on behalf of the Central Intelligence Agency for intelligence activities “unless and until the President finds that each such operation is important to the national security of the United States and reports, in a timely fashion, a description and scope of such operation to the appropriate committees of Congress” (section 662). This was intended to ensure that clear responsibility for such action was attributable to the President and that Congress was always made aware of such activities. Due to the sensitivity of their content, presidential findings are almost always classified.
The most recent change to exercise of findings occurred in the Intelligence Authorization Act of 1991, which introduced increased flexibility in the reporting requirement: findings are to be “reported to the intelligence committees as soon as possible” after being approved “and before the initiation of the covert action authorized by the finding.” As such, presidential findings are one of the primary means through which the intelligence committees exercise their oversight of the government’s intelligence operations.
Covert Action: Title 10, Title 50, and the Chain of Command
By Joseph B. Berger III
America champions the rule of law and must maintain that moral stance in its international dealings and retain the clarity of an unambiguous chain of command. The Abbottabad raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound highlighted the dangers and vagaries of departing from the traditional military chain of command. The Secretary of Defense was taken out of the chain and the CID Director was inserted. In contrast, the rescue of a U.S. citizen in Somalia was carried out secretively but not covertly by joint forces under military command, maintaining individual Servicemember protections that may be forfeit in the gray zone of questionable legality. National authorities should reconsider the rejection of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that DOD be responsible for paramilitary covert actions, and when DOD acts in that capacity, the operation should be carried out as a traditional military operation with a military chain of command.
Recent media reports have Pentagon officials considering “putting elite special operations troops under CIA [Central Intelligence Agency] control in Afghanistan after 2014, just as they were during last year’s raid on [Osama bin Laden’s] compound.”1 This shell game would allow Afghan and U.S. officials to deny the presence of American troops in Afghanistan because once “assigned to CIA control, even temporarily, they become spies.”2 Nearly simultaneously, Department of Defense (DOD) leaders were warned to “be vigilant in ensuring military personnel are not inappropriately utilized” in performing “new, expanding, or existing missions,” ensuring the force is aligned against strategic choices “supported by rigorous analysis.”3 Placing Servicemembers—uniformed members of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force—under CIA control demands such rigorous analysis. The raid on bin Laden’s compound provides a framework.
n his May 1, 2011, televised address, President Barack Obama reported “to the American people and to the world that the United States ha[d] conducted an operation that killed Osama bin Laden.”4 President Obama initially detailed little beyond noting that he had directed “the[n] Director of the CIA [Leon Panetta], to make the killing or capture of bin Laden the top priority of our war against al Qaeda” and that the operation, carried out by a “small team of Americans” was done “at [his] direction [as President].” In the following days, senior executive branch officials garrulously provided explicit details, from the now-iconic White House Situation Room photograph to intricate diagrams of the Abbottabad compound and the assault force’s composition. Most noteworthy was Panetta’s unequivocal assertion the raid was a covert action:
Since this was what’s called a “Title 50” operation, which is a covert operation, and it comes directly from the president of the United States who made the decision to conduct this operation in a covert way, that direction goes to me. And then, I am, you know, the person who then commands the mission. But having said that, I have to tell you that the real commander was Admiral [William] McRaven because he was on site, and he was actually in charge of the military operation that went in and got bin Laden.5
Despite his self-effacing trumpeting of Vice Admiral McRaven’s role, Panetta’s comment highlights that critical confusion exists among even the most senior U.S. leaders about the chain of command and the appropriate classification of such operations.
Openly describing the raid as both a “covert operation” and “military operation,” Panetta asserted he was the “commander,” describing a chain of “command” that went from the President to Panetta to McRaven. Panetta’s public comments are problematic, as is describing a chain of command that excludes the Secretary of Defense and purports to route command authority through the CIA director. Title 50 is clear:
The term “covert action” means an activity or activities of the United States Government to influence political, economic, or military conditions abroad, where it is intended that the role of the United States Government will not be apparent or acknowledged publicly, but does not include . . . (2) traditional . . . military activities or routine support to such activities.6
The administration did the opposite, making patently clear the raid’s nature and, in exhaustive detail, the precise role of the United States. Instead of categorizing it as a covert action under the director’s “command,” the President could have conducted the raid as a covert action under the Secretary of Defense instead of the CIA director, or under his own constitutional authority as Commander in Chief and the Secretary’s statutory authorities, classifying it as a traditional military activity and excepting it from the statute’s coverage. As a traditional military activity, there would have been no legal limits on subsequent public discussion. Alternatively, conducting the raid as a covert action within a military chain of command removes the issues the director raised in asserting command authority over Servicemembers. The decisionmaking process remains shrouded, but conducting a raid into a sovereign country targeting a nonstate actor using military personnel and equipment under the “command” of the CIA director and classifying it as a covert action raises significant legal and policy questions. Such decisions threaten the legitimacy and moral authority of future U.S. actions and demand a rigorous examination of those associated risks.
The Abbottabad raid illustrates the post-9/11 security environment convergence of DOD military and CIA intelligence operations.7 While dead terrorists attest to this arrangement’s efficacy, many directly challenge the legal and policy framework behind current DOD-CIA cooperation. The discourse focuses largely on distinctions between Title 10 and Title 50 and the legal basis for conducting apparently overlapping military and intelligence operations beyond the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. Notwithstanding the potentially misleadingly simple labels of Title 10 and Title 50, these complex issues lack clear answers. Many argue the legacy structure ill equips the President to effectively combat the threat. But tweaking that structure carries risk. Thus, correctly classifying and structuring our actions within that framework are critical. The law of war is designed to protect our nation’s military forces when they are engaged in traditional military activities under a military chain of command; spies conducting intelligence activities under executive authority have no such protections. This distinction rests on a constitutional, statutory, treaty, and doctrinal framework underpinning the military concept of command authority.
U.S. power relies on moral and legal legitimacy. Exclusive state control over the legitimate use of armed force remains viable domestically and internationally only where exercised within an accepted framework. Thus, employing DOD forces in a nontraditional manner entails significant risk. The policy implications of classification and structure are neither semantic nor inconsequential, and must be understood by senior decisionmakers; likewise, individual Servicemembers must understand the practical effects. A rigorous risk analysis should therefore inform any deviation, however permissible under domestic law.
This article focuses on the risks associated with both using military personnel to conduct kinetic covert action and using them without a military chain of command. Those risks inform the recommendation to change practice, but not the law. Specifically, the author rejects melding distinct operational military (Title 10) and intelligence (Title 50) authorities into the often mentioned Title 60. Properly classifying actions—either under the statute as a covert action or exempted from the statute as a traditional military activity—ensures the correct command structure is in place.8 Ultimately, the analysis argues for revisiting the previously rejected 9/11 Commission recommendation to place paramilitary covert action under DOD control.9
This article first outlines current and likely future threats and then explains the critical terms of art related to covert action and, against that lingua franca, examines why kinetic military operations should be either classified as traditional military activities or kept under a military chain of command. Analyzing the relevant constitutional, statutory, treaty, and doctrinal elements of command, this article illustrates that a raid conducted like the Abbottabad raid, while legally permissible, is best conducted as a traditional military activity.
Changed Character of the Battlefield and Enemy
In the decade since 9/11, DOD and CIA elements have become “operationally synthesi[zed].”10 A senior intelligence official recently noted that “the two proud groups of American secret warriors had been ‘deconflicted and basically integrated’—finally—10 years after 9/11.”11 The direct outgrowth is the increased reliance on special operations forces (SOF) to achieve national objectives against a “nimble and determined” enemy who “cannot be underestimated.”12 While the United States fought wars on geographically defined battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan and beyond, the underlying legal structure remained constant. In the wars’ background, leaders, advisors, academics, and others argued about the structure of the appropriate legal and policy framework. Post-Iraq and post-Afghanistan, the United States must still address other threats, including those that al Qaeda and their associated forces present.
The threats have migrated beyond a battlefield defined by sovereign nations’ borders. When asked recently in “how many countries we are currently engaged in a shooting war,” Secretary of Defense Panetta laughed, responding, “That’s a good question. I have to stop and think about that . . . we’re going after al Qaeda wherever they’re at. . . clearly, we’re confronting al Qaeda in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, [and] North Africa.”13 The unresolved legal and policy challenges will likely increase in complexity on this geographically unconstrained battlefield. Remaining rooted in enduring principles is critical. DOD conduct of kinetic operations beyond traditionally recognized battlefields raises significant legal and policy concerns, especially where the U.S. Government conducts them without knowledge or consent of the host nation, as apparently happened with the Abbottabad operation.14 Properly categorizing and structuring these operations, while vexing for policymakers and their lawyers, carries much greater stakes for the Servicemembers executing them.
The Need for a Lingua Franca
Colloquial usage refers to DOD authorities as Title 10, and the CIA’s as Title 50. That is technically inaccurate and misleading since DOD routinely operates under both Titles 10 and 50.15 Instead of Title 10, this article uses the term military operations; instead of Title 50, it uses CIA operations or the more specific covert action. All three terms require clarification.
CIA operations are all CIA activities except covert action. Covert action is the narrow, statutory subset of Presidentially approved, CIA-led activities.16 Unfortunately, colloquially, covert action “is frequently used to describe any activity the government wants concealed from the public.”17 That common usage ignores the fact that a traditional military activity, notwithstanding how “secretly” it is executed, is by statute not a covert action. DOD defines a covert operation as one “planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor,” where “emphasis is placed on concealment of the identity of the sponsor rather than on concealment of the operation.”18 While not in conflict with the statutory definition, the DOD definition is incomplete; it fails to recognize the President’s role and ignores the exception of traditional military activities.19 Practitioners should use the statutory definition.
The concept of clandestine operations further blurs colloquial and doctrinal imprecision.20 DOD activities “may be both covert and clandestine . . . focus[ing] equally on operational considerations and intelligencerelated activities.”21 Appropriately, DOD officials assert that, absent a Presidential covert action finding, they “conduct only ‘clandestine activities.’” 22 They characterize clandestine activities as those “conducted in secret but which constitute ‘passive’ intelligence information gathering.”23 Interchanging the terms and mixing them with intelligence functions is inaccurate and dangerous; practitioners must draw clear distinctions. The sponsorship of a covert action is hidden, not the act itself. The specific acts of the U.S. Government in influencing a foreign election (for example, posters, marches, election results, and so forth) would be visible, but not the covert sponsorship of those acts. For clandestine acts, the act itself (for example, intercepting a phone call) must remain hidden. The CIA and DOD can conduct clandestine operations without Presidential approval, whereas covert action triggers statutory requirements for a Presidential finding and congressional notification. Some have argued DOD’s “activities should be limited to clandestine” activities, as this would ensure military personnel are protected by the law of war,24 a critical point examined in detail later.
Military operations are DOD activities conducted under Title 10, including activities intended or likely to involve kinetic action. Pursuant to an order issued by the Secretary of Defense, they are conducted by military personnel under DOD command and in accordance with the law of war. They specifically exclude DOD’s intelligence activities (for example, the Joint Military Intelligence Program); like the CIA’s, those intelligence activities are conducted pursuant to Title 50.
Statutorily assigned responsibility helps distinguish between CIA operations and military operations. Although the President can designate which department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government will participate in the covert action, the statute implicitly tasks the CIA as the default lead agency: “Any employee . . . of the [U.S.] Government other than the [CIA] directed to participate in any way in a covert action shall be subject either to the policies and regulations of the [CIA], or to written policies or regulations adopted . . . to govern such participation.25
Executive order 12333 (EO 12333) makes that default tasking explicit:
The Director of the [CIA] shall . . . conduct covert action activities approved by the President. No agency except the [CIA] (or the Armed Forces of the United States in time of war declared by the Congress or during any period covered by a report from the President to the Congress consistent with the War Powers Resolution. . . .) may conduct any covert action activity unless the President determines that another agency is more likely to achieve a particular objective.26
The statute, coupled with EO 12333, unequivocally places all covert action squarely under the CIA’s control; the narrow exception for DOD is currently inapplicable. While the Executive order expressly tasks
the director with conducting covert action, it does not task the Secretary of Defense.27
Default CIA primacy and the absence of statutory specificity in defining traditional military activities create risk when DOD conducts kinetic covert action.
The Unique Nature of Traditional Military Activities
One practitioner described traditional military activities’ exclusion from covert action’s definition as “the exception that swallows the rule.”28 But while DOD-CIA operational convergence blurs the issue, the exception need not swallow the rule. Functionally, anything done by a uniformed member of a nation’s armed forces is a “military” activity; the nuanced requirement is to understand which are traditional military activities. That definition can be consequential, functional, or historical—or a combination of some or all three approaches. The statute’s legislative history provides the best clarification, noting the conferees intended that:
“Traditional military activities” include activities by military personnel under the direction and control of a United States military commander (whether or not the U.S. sponsorship of such activities is apparent or later to be acknowledged) . . . where the fact of the U.S. role in the overall operation is apparent or to be acknowledged publicly.
In this regard, the conferees intend to draw a line between activities that are and are not under the direction and control of the military commander. Activities that are not under the direction and control of a military commander should not be considered as “traditional military activities.”29
That nonstatutory definition frames the follow-on analysis. That functional and historical definition turns on who is in charge.
Activities under the “direction and control of a military commander” meet the requirement to be excepted from the statute; those with a different command and control arrangement are not traditional military activities. “Command” is unique to the military and the definition appears to draw a bright line rule; but the CIA director blurred the line by asserting “command” over a DOD element.30 The confusion questions the necessary nature and scope of leadership by a “military commander.” What level or rank of command is required? Must the chain of command from that military commander run directly back to the Commander in Chief solely through military channels? Must it run through the Secretary of Defense? Can it run through the director if there is a military commander below him? Given Goldwater-Nichols,31 what about the geographic combatant commander? In short, what does the wiring diagram look like? These questions highlight three baseline possibilities as depicted in the figure below.
Chain of Command Possibilities
Part 1A of the figure reflects DOD’s Title 10 chain of command, illustrating the broadest historical, functional, and consequential definition of traditional military activity. The clear chain is rooted in the uniquely military concept of command and the President’s constitutionally defined role as Commander in Chief. It clarifies congressional oversight responsibility, results in unquestioned jurisdiction, and forms the basis of the strongest legal argument for combatant immunity. Part 1B represents the President as chief executive, exercising oversight and control of the CIA under Title 50. This hierarchy lacks the legal command authority exercised over military personnel in 1A. Finally, part 1C represents the paradox created by the covert action statute’s attempts to overlap the parallel structures of 1A and 1B; it is often described as Title 60.
The current Congressional Authorization for the Use of Military Force allows the President to “use all necessary and appropriate force” to prevent “future acts of international terrorism against the United States.”32 This statutory grant of power creates the paradox: here, where the Senate vote was 98 to 0 and the House vote was 420 to 1, the President’s executive authority (as Commander in Chief and chief executive) is greatest,33 the exercise of those powers blurs the clear lines of parts 1A and 1B of the illustration. Merging the two, although permissible under the covert action statute, creates risk.
Consequently, questions about the nature and structure of the chain of command demand rigorous scrutiny and cannot be left to ad hoc arrangements. Defining military command determines whether or not the activity is a traditional military activity and therefore not under the ambit of the statute. The criticality of this categorization is twofold: it is the core of the state’s monopoly on the legitimate use of force and cloaks Servicemembers in the legal armor of combatant immunity.
Chain of Command, or Control?
Since George Washington’s Presidency, the Secretary of War (later Defense) has served without interruption as a Cabinet member. The President’s role, enshrined in the Constitution, is clear: “The President shall be Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy of the United States.”34 With the Secretary of Defense, this embodies the Founders’ vision of civilian control of the military. The Secretary of Defense’s appointment requires the “Advice and Consent of the Senate.”35 While the President can relieve him and replace him with an inferior officer (that is, the Deputy Secretary of Defense), Senateconfirmed executive branch officials are not fungible. He cannot interchange officials individually confirmed to fulfill separate and unique duties—something James Madison warned about in Federalist 51.36
Longstanding U.S. practice is an unbroken chain of command from the President, through his Secretary of Defense, to a subordinate uniformed commander. Even GoldwaterNichols’s37 streamlining the military warfighting chain of command to run from the President through the Secretary and directly to the unified combatant commanders did not alter that fundamental practice.38 Combatant commanders simply replace Service chiefs. The civilian leader between the Commander in Chief and his senior uniformed commander remains unchanged—a specific individual confirmed by the Senate to execute statutory duties. The inviolate concept of civilian control of the military and the Senate’s Advice and Consent requirement make assertion of any executive authority to “trade out” duties between Cabinet officials implausible. The President can place military personnel under CIA control, but control is not command.
Command is the inherently military “privilege” that is “exercised by virtue of office and the special assignment of members of the US Armed Forces holding military grade.”39 In fact, under the Army regulation, “A civilian, other than the President as Commander-in-Chief . . . may not exercise command.”40 Goldwater-Nichols allows the President to exercise command through his Secretary of Defense. Command rests on constitutional and statutory authority (including the Uniform Code of Military Justice) and the customs and practices of the Service. Removing military personnel from that hierarchy— illustrated in part 1C of the figure—changes their fundamental nature. This is Panetta’s assertion: he was in “command” 41 of the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound.
itles 10 and 50 define the specific duties of the Secretary of Defense42 and Title 50 the CIA director’s.43 The duties are neither identical nor interchangeable. In Title 50, Congress explicitly states that DOD shall function “under the direction, authority, and control of the Secretary of Defense” in order to “provide for their unified direction under civilian control.”44 Placing the Services under the Secretary of Defense is necessary to “provide for the establishment of [a] clear and direct line of command.”45 Congress is equally clear in Title 10, granting the Secretary complete authority over DOD: “there shall be a Secretary of Defense, who is the head of the [Department], appointed . . . by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.”46 The statute allows the Secretary to “perform any of his functions or duties, or [to] exercise any of his powers through” other persons, but only persons from within DOD.47
Two caveats exist to the Secretary of Defense’s “authority, direction, and control”: the Secretary’s authority is “subject to the direction of the President” and the 1947 National Security Act.48 The latter covers DOD personnel within the National Foreign Intelligence Program (NFIP). The former appears to be an exception that swallows the rule. But even in empowering the President to limit his Secretary’s authority, Congress did not specifically authorize any change to the fundamental command of military forces. Likewise, in defining the director’s limited authorities over military personnel, Congress maintained the military command structure over military operations.
Congress neither allows the director command nor control of DOD operational assets, nor did it grant the President a caveat like that with the Secretary of Defense’s authority.49 Although the director’s duties include the transfer of “personnel within the NFIP,” which includes DOD personnel, such transfers are limited to personnel within DOD’s Joint Military Intelligence Program (JMIP).50 SOF are not part of the JMIP. When DOD does transfer any JMIP personnel to the CIA, the director must “promptly” report that transfer to both the intelligence oversight and Armed Services Committees of both houses.51 Transfers between other executive branch elements trigger no such requirements. Congress only intended CIA control over DOD intelligence assets and was clearly concerned about even that. Goldwater-Nichols reinforces this analysis.
Goldwater-Nichols codifies geographic combatant commanders’ nearly inviolable command authority: “all forces operating within the geographic area assigned to a unified combatant command shall be assigned to, and under” his command.52 Two exceptions supplant that authority. Servicemembers assigned to U.S. Embassies (for example, the Defense Attaché) are under the Ambassador’s control and the Defense Intelligence Agency’s command. For those Servicemembers, diplomatic protections have replaced law of war protections, but the Secretary of Defense remains in the chain of command. The second exception, carved from GoldwaterNichols’s “unless otherwise directed by the President” language, covers DOD participation in covert action.53 Goldwater-Nichols’s silence on the Secretary of Defense remaining in the chain of command indicates Congress did not intend to change the default hierarchy. DOD recognized that point by defining combatant command as being “under a single commander” and running “through the Secretary of Defense.”54 All these say nothing about covert action.
The statute and EO 12333 put the director “in charge” of the conduct of covert actions.55 CIA “ownership” means any non-CIA employee supporting a covert action “belongs” to the CIA. However, the CIA lacks DOD’s legal command structure and no CIA official possesses the command authority inherent in an officer’s commission.56 The CIA can only be in charge, not in command. The director cannot give a lawful order that would be legally binding on Servicemembers. The Constitution unequivocally grants Congress the authority to “make Rules for the Government and Regulation of the land and naval Forces.”57 Those rules, the Uniform Code of Military Justice, never contemplated CIA personnel exercising command authority over Servicemembers. The CIA’s ownership of covert action is limited. Exclusive CIA control fails elsewhere; the statute authorizes the President to task “departments, agencies, or entities”58 to conduct covert action. The implication is that DOD can conduct a covert action exclusively. EO 12333 specifically envisions that.59 Placing DOD elements under CIA control to conduct a kinetic operation is arguably unnecessary.
This chain of command is constitutionally enshrined, codified, and ratified through longstanding practice; even if Congress had explicitly authorized the President to reroute it, doing so creates risk. First, it removes the law of war’s protections upon which Servicemembers conducting kinetic operations rely. In such an event, Servicemembers must be made aware they are no longer protected. Second, as a state practice, realigning military personnel under a nonmilitary framework to conduct kinetic activities creates precedential risk for U.S. allies. Such a decision must be fully informed at all levels.
Chain of Command: International Law Context
National armies engaged against each other have, throughout modern history, been cloaked in the law of war’s combatant
immunity. Absent that immunity, a captured individual is subject to criminal prosecution for his wartime conduct. His deliberately targeting and killing others become nonmilitary and therefore criminal. In World War II’s aftermath, widespread acceptance of what constituted an “army” rendered a definition unnecessary: “Individuals composing the national forces” automatically enjoyed combatant immunity.60 However, for those outside their nation’s military hierarchy, specificity was necessary. The Third Geneva Convention grants prisoner of war status—which confers combatant immunity—to those who are subordinate to a responsible commander, wear a fixed, distinctive insignia recognizable at a distance, carry their arms openly, and conduct their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.61
The command requirement stems from the “dual principle of responsible command and its corollary command responsibility.”62 The Hague Convention required that a commander be “responsible for his subordinates.”63 The Geneva Convention recognized “no part of [an] army . . . is not subordinated to a military commander,” applying this “from the Commander-in-Chief down to the common soldier.”64 The later protocols “could not conceive” of a hierarchy “without the persons who make up the command structure being familiar with the law applicable in armed conflict.”65 This is DOD’s unchallenged area of expertise.66 Like Congress’s definition of traditional military activity,67 the commentary’s definition, when coupled with the requirements for those not considered part of the Nation’s army, is the parallel to Servicemembers conducting kinetic covert action under CIA control. Combatant immunity necessitates prisoner of war status; for those not acting as part of the army, that status requires a military chain of command. Replacing the Secretary of Defense with the CIA director eviscerates this.
U.S. history records a fundamental belief in the rules for combatant immunity.68 First, to codify these requirements, the 1863 Lieber Code defined prisoner of war as including “all soldiers.”69 The code noted noncompliance with the rules meant no combatant immunity: spies were “punishable with death by hanging by the neck.”70 “Armed prowlers . . . who steal within the lines of the hostile army for the purpose of . . . killing . . . are not entitled to the privileges of the prisoner of war.”71 The code’s noteworthy purpose was not to regulate conduct between nations, but for application in a non-international armed conflict and maintaining the moral high ground necessary to facilitate reconciliation with and reintegration of the confederate states.
The law of war’s efficacy rests on the principle of reciprocity. One party provides the protections to its prisoners believing and hoping its enemies will respond in kind. Commendable German and U.S. treatment of each other’s prisoners during World War II exemplifies this principle; Japanese treatment of U.S prisoners at Bataan proves its imperfections. Regardless, maintaining the moral high ground is critical. Had Abbottabad gone poorly, the United States would have asserted that U.S. personnel in Pakistani custody were entitled to the high standards of prisoner of war treatment. That would have required those Soldiers and Sailors to be in compliance with the law of war. The nonmilitary chain of command may have been problematic in making that assertion.
“From its inception . . . America has venerated the rule of law.”72 Traditional military activities occur against a rich fabric of domestic and international law. Covert action, while uniquely codified, presents multiple dilemmas. Although permissible under U.S. domestic law, covert action is generally illegal in the target country.73 Again, maintaining the moral high ground is critical.
Although inimical to covert action’s fundamental premise, overt executive branch commentary following the Abbottabad raid highlighted the legal risk associated with policy decisions. Placing Servicemembers under CIA command threatens to undermine the protections they rely on when conducting kinetic military operations, especially where the activity is more accurately classified as a traditional military activity.
The risk can—and should—be mitigated by first properly classifying the activity. Classifying a traditional military activity as anything else undermines the very categorization and its inherent law of war protections. DOD can undoubtedly conduct secretive (that is, clandestine and/or unacknowledged) actions as traditional military activities and enjoy the full body of the law of war’s protections. The current framework neither envisions nor facilitates placing Servicemembers under CIA control and preserving the command relationships necessary to cloak them in combatant immunity. The Abbottabad raid utilized this risk-laden approach.
This is not to assert that conducting the raid as a covert action was illegal. There were three likely outcomes: success, failure,
or something in between (that is, aborting the mission). Neither success nor failure required covert action’s plausible deniability. The United States immediately publicly acknowledged killing of “public enemy number one”; regardless, the crashed helicopter disclosed the U.S. role. A noncatastrophic driven decision to abort (for example, Pakistani detection of violation of their sovereign airspace) provides the sole outcome where the United States would likely have hidden behind the statute’s shield, disavowing all. The covert action classification provided an insurance policy, yet the cost of allowing that policy to “lapse” through post-success disclosures undermines the plausibility of such “insurance” in the future.
Compare the Abbottabad covert action with the recent rescue of a U.S. citizen in Somalia, conducted secretively, but not covertly, by “a small number of joint combatequipped U.S. forces.”74 This comparison illustrates that such activities can be conducted as traditional military activities, maintaining secrecy and preserving individual Servicemember protections. The need for continued distinction between covert action and traditional military activities and, where covert, the need for DOD-conducted operations to maintain a military chain of command, drive these recommendations. The United States should revisit the rejection of the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that DOD assume responsibility for paramilitary covert operations.75
Where DOD participation is necessary and primary, the operation should be conducted as an unacknowledged traditional military activity. If the risk analysis drives a decision to conduct the operation as a covert action, the President should maintain the military chain of command. This ensures Servicemembers going in harm’s way have every protection the Nation they serve can provide them—or a clearer understanding of the additional risks they are assuming on behalf
of their Nation. JFQ
The Largest Covert Operation in CIA History
By Chalmers Johnson
The History News Network
Monday 09 June 2003
The Central Intelligence Agency has an almost unblemished record of screwing up every “secret” armed intervention it ever undertook. From the overthrow of the Iranian government in 1953 through the Bay of Pigs, the failed attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro of Cuba and Patrice Lumumba of the Republic of Congo, the Phoenix Program in Vietnam, the “secret war” in Laos, aid to the Greek colonels who seized power in 1967, the 1973 killing of Salvador Allende in Chile and Ronald Reagan’s Iran-contra war against Nicaragua, there is not a single instance in which the agency’s activities did not prove acutely embarrassing to the United States. The CIA continues to get away with this primarily because its budget and operations have always been secret and Congress is normally too indifferent to its constitutional functions to rein in a rogue bureaucracy. Therefore the tale of a purported CIA success story should be of some interest.
According to the author of the newly released Charlie Wilson’s War, the exception to CIA incompetence was the arming between 1979 and 1988 of thousands of Afghan moujahedeen (“freedom fighters”). The agency flooded Afghanistan with an astonishing array of extremely dangerous weapons and “unapologetically mov[ed] to equip and train cadres of high tech holy warriors in the art of waging a war of urban terror against a modern superpower,” in this case, the USSR.
The author of this glowing account, George Crile, is a veteran producer for the CBS television news show “60 Minutes” and an exuberant Tom Clancy-type enthusiast for the Afghan caper. He argues that the U.S. clandestine involvement in Afghanistan was “the largest and most successful CIA operation in history” and “the one morally unambiguous crusade of our time.” He adds that “there was nothing so romantic and exciting as this war against the Evil Empire.” Crile’s sole measure of success is the number of Soviet soldiers killed (about 15,000), which undermined Soviet morale and contributed to the disintegration of the Soviet Union in the period from 1989 to 1991. That’s the successful part.
However, he never mentions that the “tens of thousands of fanatical Muslim fundamentalists” the CIA armed are some of the same people who in 1996 killed 19 American airmen at Dhahran, Saudi Arabia; bombed our embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998; blew a hole in the side of the U.S. destroyer Cole in Aden harbor in 2000; and on Sept. 11, 2001, flew hijacked airliners into New York’s World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Today, the world awaits what is almost certain to happen soon at some airport — a terrorist firing a U.S. Stinger low-level surface-to-air missile (manufactured at one time by General Dynamics in Rancho Cucamonga) into an American jumbo jet. The CIA supplied thousands of them to the moujahedeen and trained them to be experts in their use. If the CIA’s activities in Afghanistan are a “success story,” then Enron should be considered a model of corporate behavior.
Nonetheless, Crile’s account is important, if appalling, precisely because it details how a ruthless ignoramus congressman and a high-ranking CIA thug managed to hijack American foreign policy. From 1973 to 1996, Charlie Wilson represented the 2nd District of Texas in the U.S. House of Representatives. His constituency was in the heart of the East Texas Bible Belt and was the long-held fiefdom of his fellow Democrat, Martin Dies, the first chairman of the House Un-American Affairs Committee. Wilson is 6 feet, 4 inches tall and “handsome, with one of those classic outdoor faces that tobacco companies bet millions on.” He graduated from the Naval Academy in 1956, eighth from the bottom of his class and with more demerits than any other cadet in Annapolis history.
After serving in the Texas Legislature, he arrived in Washington in 1973 and quickly became known as “Good Time Charlie,” “the biggest playboy in Congress.” He hired only good-looking women for his staff and escorted “a parade of beauty queens to White House parties.” Even Crile, who featured Wilson many times on “60 Minutes” and obviously admires him, describes him as “a seemingly corrupt, cocaine snorting, scandal prone womanizer who the CIA was convinced could only get the Agency into terrible trouble if it permitted him to become involved in any way in its operations.”
Wilson’s partner in getting the CIA to arm the moujahedeen was Gust Avrakotos, the son of working-class Greek immigrants from the steel workers’ town of Aliquippa, Pa. Only in 1960 did the CIA begin to recruit officers for the Directorate of Operations from among what it called “new Americans,” meaning such ethnic groups as Chinese, Japanese, Latinos and Greek Americans. Until then, it had followed its British model and taken only Ivy League sons of the Eastern Establishment. Avrakotos joined the CIA in 1961 and came to nurture a hatred of the bluebloods, or “cake eaters,” as he called them, who discriminated against him. After “spook school” at Camp Peary, next door to Jamestown, Va., he was posted to Athens, where, as a Greek speaker, he remained until 1978.
During Avrakotos’s time in Greece, the CIA was instrumental in destroying Greek freedom and helping to turn the country into probably the single most anti-American democracy on Earth today. Incredibly, Crile describes this as follows: “On April 21, 1967, he [Avrakotos] got one of those breaks that can make a career. A military junta seized power in Athens that day and suspended democratic and constitutional government.” Avrakotos became the CIA’s chief liaison with the Greek colonels. After the fall of the colonels’ brutally fascist regime, the 17 November terrorist organization assassinated the CIA’s Athens station chief, Richard Welch, on Dec. 23, 1975, and “Gust came to be vilified in the Greek radical press as the sinister force responsible for most of the country’s many ills.” He left the country in 1978 but could not get another decent assignment — he tried for Helsinki — because the head of the European Division regarded him as simply too uncouth to send to any of its capitals. He sat around Langley for several years without work until he was recruited by John McGaffin, head of the Afghan program. “If it’s really true that you have nothing to do,” McGaffin said, “why not come upstairs? We’re killing Russians.”
Wilson was the moneybags and sparkplug of this pair; Avrakotos was a street fighter who relished giving Kalashnikovs and Stingers to the tribesmen in Afghanistan. Wilson was the more complex of the two, and Crile argues that his “Good Time Charlie” image was actually a cover for a Barry Goldwater kind of hyper-patriotism. But Wilson was also a liberal on the proposed Equal Rights Amendment and a close friend of the late Congresswoman Barbara Jordan (D-Texas), and his sister Sharon became chairwoman of the board of Planned Parenthood.
As a boy, Wilson was fascinated by World War II and developed an almost childlike belief that he possessed a “special destiny” to “kill bad guys” and help underdogs prevail over their enemies. When he entered Congress, just at the time of the Yom Kippur War, he became a passionate supporter of Israel. After he traveled to Israel, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee began to steer large amounts of money from all over the country to him and to cultivate him as “one of Israel’s most important Congressional champions: a non-Jew with no Jewish constituents.” Jewish members of Congress also rallied to put Wilson on the all-powerful Appropriations Committee in order to guarantee Israel’s annual $3-billion subsidy. His own Texas delegation opposed his appointment.
Wilson was not discriminating in his largess. He also became a supporter of Anastasio “Tacho” Somoza, the West Point graduate and dictator of Nicaragua who in 1979 was swept away by popular fury. Before that happened, President Carter tried to cut the $3.1-million annual U.S. aid package to Nicaragua, but Wilson, declaring Somoza to be “America’s oldest anti-Communist ally in Central America,” opposed the president and prevailed.
During Wilson’s long tenure on the House Appropriations Committee, one of its subcommittee chairmen, Clarence D. “Doc” Long, used to have a sign mounted over his desk: “Them that has the gold makes the rules.” Wilson advanced rapidly on this most powerful of congressional committees. He was first appointed to the foreign operations subcommittee, which doles out foreign aid. He then did a big favor for then-Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill Jr. (D-Mass.). The chairman of the Defense Appropriations subcommittee at the time, Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.), had been caught in the FBI’s ABSCAM sting operation in which an agent disguised as a Saudi sheik offered members of Congress large cash bribes. O’Neill put Wilson on the Ethics Committee to save Murtha, which he did. In return, O’Neill assigned Wilson to the defense appropriations subcommittee and made him a life member of the governing board of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, where he delighted in taking his young dates. Wilson soon discovered that all of the CIA’s budget and 40 percent of the Pentagon’s budget is “black,” hidden from the public and even from Congress. As a member of the defense subcommittee, he could arrange to have virtually any amount of money added to whatever black project he supported. So long as Wilson did favors for other members on the subcommittee, such as supporting defense projects in their districts, they would never object to his private obsessions.
About this time, Wilson came under the influence of a remarkable, rabidly conservative Houston woman in her mid-40s, Joanne Herring. They later fell in love, although they never married. She had a reputation among the rich of the River Oaks section of Houston as a collector of powerful men, a social lioness and hostess to her fellow members of the John Birch Society. She counted among her friends Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos, dictator and first lady of the Philippines, and Yaqub Khan, Pakistan’s ambassador to Washington, D.C., who got Herring named as Pakistan’s honorary consul for Houston.
In July 1977, the head of Pakistan’s army, Mohammed Zia-ul-Haq, seized power and declared martial law, and in 1979, he hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the president who had promoted him. In retaliation, Carter cut off U.S. aid to Pakistan. In 1980, Herring went to Islamabad and was so entranced by Zia and his support for the Afghan freedom fighters that on her return to the United States, she encouraged Wilson to go to Pakistan. There he met Zia, learned about the Afghan moujahedeen and became a convert to the cause. Once Reagan replaced Carter, Wilson was able to restore Zia’s aid money and added several millions to the CIA’s funds for secretly arming the Afghan guerrillas, each dollar of which the Saudi government secretly matched.
Although Wilson romanticized the mountain warriors of Afghanistan, the struggle was never as uneven as it seemed. Pakistan provided the fighters with sanctuary, training and arms and even sent its own officers into Afghanistan as advisors on military operations. Saudi Arabia served as the fighters’ banker, providing hundred of millions with no strings attached. Several governments, including those of Egypt, China and Israel, secretly supplied arms. And the insurgency enjoyed the backing of the United States through the CIA.
Wilson’s and the CIA’s greatest preoccupation was supplying the Afghans with something effective against the Soviets’ most feared weapon, the Mi-24 Hind helicopter gunship. The Red Army used it to slaughter innumerable moujahedeen as well as to shoot up Afghan villages. Wilson favored the Oerlikon antiaircraft gun made in Switzerland (it was later charged that he was on the take from the Zurich-based arms manufacturer). Avrakotos opposed it because it was too heavy for guerrillas to move easily, but he could not openly stand in Wilson’s way. After months of controversy, the Joint Chiefs of Staff finally dropped their objections to supplying the American Stinger, President Reagan signed off on it, and the “silver bullet” was on its way. The Stinger had never before been used in combat. It proved to be murderous against the Hinds, and Soviet President Mikhail S. Gorbachev decided to cut his losses and get out altogether. In Wilson’s postwar tour of Afghanistan, moujahedeen fighters surrounded him and triumphantly fired their missiles for his benefit. They also gave him as a souvenir the stock from the first Stinger to shoot down a Hind gunship.
The CIA “bluebloods” fired Avrakotos in the summer of 1986, and he retired to Rome. Wilson became chairman of the Intelligence Oversight Committee, at which time he wrote to his CIA friends, “Well, gentlemen, the fox is in the hen house. Do whatever you like.” After retiring from Congress in 1996, he became a lobbyist for Pakistan under a contract that paid him $30,000 a month. Meanwhile, the United States lost interest in Afghanistan, which descended into a civil war that the Taliban ultimately won. In the autumn of 2001, the United States returned in force after Al Qaeda retaliated against its former weapon supplier by attacking New York and Washington. The president of the United States went around asking, “Why do they hate us?”
Crile knows a lot about these matters and presents them in a dramatic manner. There are, however, one or two items that he appears unaware of or is suppressing. For the CIA legally to carry out a covert action, the president must authorize a document called a finding. Crile repeatedly says that Carter signed such a finding ordering the CIA to provide covert backing to the moujahedeen after the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan on Dec. 24, 1979. The truth of the matter is that Carter signed the finding on July 3, 1979, six months before the Soviet invasion, and he did so on the advice of his national security advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, in order to try to provoke a Russian incursion. Brzezinski has confirmed this sequence of events in an interview with a French newspaper, and former CIA Director Robert M. Gates says so explicitly in his 1996 memoirs. It may surprise Charlie Wilson to learn that his heroic moujahedeen were manipulated by Washington like so much cannon fodder in order to give the USSR its own Vietnam. The moujahedeen did the job, but as subsequent events have made clear, they may not be grateful to the United States.
Mr. Johnson is the author of Blowback: The Costs and Consequences of American Empire and The Sorrows of Empire: Militarism, Secrecy and the End of the Republic, to be published in January by Metropolitan Books.
CIA Covert Action in the Cold War: Iran, Jamaica, Chile, Cuba, Afghanistan, Libya, Latin America
The CIA Controls Al Qaeda
Triple Cross Bin Laden’s Spy In America (Full Documentary)
Covert Action – Operation Field Goal
A CIA special operations officer pursues a tip from an intercepted al-Qaeda transmission and ventures alone into enemy territory – where he’ll need all his training to survive.
CIA Covert Operations and U.S. Interventions Since World War II Full documentary
Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team – The Formation & Purpose of The NSC – PT 1 of 4
Col. L Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team – The CIA’s Origins Of Covert Operations – PT 2 of 4
Col. L Fletcher Prouty: The Secret Team – Covert Operations & Their Consequences – PT 3 of 4
Col. L Fletcher Prouty: Secret Team – Conclusion – PT 4 of 4
Muslim Brotherhood Subversion: 12 Key Players in Obama/Bush Administrations
C.I.A. Agents in Libya Aid Airstrikes and Meet Rebels
By MARK MAZZETTI and ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — The Central Intelligence Agency has inserted clandestine operatives into Libya to gather intelligence for military airstrikes and to contact and vet the beleaguered rebels battling Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi’s forces, according to American officials.
While President Obama has insisted that no American military ground troops participate in the Libyan campaign, small groups of C.I.A. operatives have been working in Libya for several weeks as part of a shadow force of Westerners that the Obama administration hopes can help bleed Colonel Qaddafi’s military, the officials said.
In addition to the C.I.A. presence, composed of an unknown number of Americans who had worked at the spy agency’s station in Tripoli and others who arrived more recently, current and former British officials said that dozens of British special forces and MI6 intelligence officers are working inside Libya. The British operatives have been directing airstrikes from British jets and gathering intelligence about the whereabouts of Libyan government tank columns, artillery pieces and missile installations, the officials said.
American officials hope that similar information gathered by American intelligence officers — including the location of Colonel Qaddafi’s munitions depots and the clusters of government troops inside towns — might help weaken Libya’s military enough to encourage defections within its ranks.
In addition, the American spies are meeting with rebels to try to fill in gaps in understanding who their leaders are and the allegiances of the groups opposed to Colonel Qaddafi, said United States government officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity because of the classified nature of the activities. American officials cautioned, though, that the Western operatives were not directing the actions of rebel forces.
A C.I.A. spokesman declined to comment.
The United States and its allies have been scrambling to gather detailed information on the location and abilities of Libyan infantry and armored forces that normally takes months of painstaking analysis.
“We didn’t have great data,” Gen. Carter F. Ham, who handed over control of the Libya mission to NATO on Wednesday, said in an e-mail last week. “Libya hasn’t been a country we focused on a lot over past few years.”
Several weeks ago, President Obama signed a secret finding authorizing the C.I.A. to provide arms and other support to Libyan rebels, American officials said Wednesday. But weapons have not yet been shipped into Libya, as Obama administration officials debate the effects of giving them to the rebel groups. The presidential finding was first reported by Reuters.
In a statement released Wednesday evening, Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, declined to comment “on intelligence matters,” but he said that no decision had yet been made to provide arms to the rebels.
Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who leads the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday that he opposed arming the rebels. “We need to understand more about the opposition before I would support passing out guns and advanced weapons to them,” Mr. Rogers said in a statement.
Because the publicly stated goal of the Libyan campaign is not explicitly to overthrow Colonel Qaddafi’s government, the clandestine war now going on is significantly different from the Afghan campaign to drive the Taliban from power in 2001. Back then, American C.I.A. and Special Forces troops worked alongside Afghan militias, armed them and called in airstrikes that paved the rebel advances on strategically important cities like Kabul and Kandahar.
In recent weeks, the American military has been monitoring Libyan troops with U-2 spy planes and a high-altitude Global Hawk drone, as well as a special aircraft, JSTARS, that tracks the movements of large groups of troops. Military officials said that the Air Force also has Predator drones, similar to those now operating in Afghanistan, in reserve.
Air Force RC-135 Rivet Joint eavesdropping planes intercept communications from Libyan commanders and troops and relay that information to the Global Hawk, which zooms in on the location of armored forces and determines rough coordinates. The Global Hawk sends the coordinates to analysts at a ground station, who pass the information to command centers for targeting. The command center beams the coordinates to an E-3 Sentry Awacs command-and-control plane, which in turn directs warplanes to their targets.
Lt. Gen. David A. Deptula, who recently retired as the Air Force’s top intelligence official, said that Libya’s flat desert terrain and clear weather have allowed warplanes with advanced sensors to hunt Libyan armored columns with relative ease, day or night, without the need for extensive direction from American troops on the ground.
But if government troops advance into or near cities in along the country’s eastern coast, which so far have been off-limits to coalition aircraft for fear of causing civilian casualties, General Deptula said that ground operatives would be particularly helpful in providing target coordinates or pointing them out to pilots with hand-held laser designators.
The C.I.A. and British intelligence services were intensely focused on Libya eight years ago, before and during the successful effort to get Colonel Qaddafi to give up his nuclear weapons program. He agreed to do so in the fall of 2003, and allowed C.I.A. and other American nuclear experts into the country to assess Libya’s equipment and bomb designs and to arrange for their transfer out of the country.
Once the weapons program was eliminated, a former American official said, intelligence agencies shifted their focus away from Libya. But as Colonel Qaddafi began his recent crackdown on the rebel groups, the American spy agencies have worked to rekindle ties to Libyan informants and to learn more about the country’s military leaders.
A former British government official who is briefed on current operations confirmed media reports that dozens of British Special Forces soldiers, from the elite Special Air Service and Special Boat Service units, are on the ground across Libya. The British soldiers have been particularly focused on finding the locations of Colonel Qaddafi’s Russian-made surface-to-air missiles.
A spokesman for Britain’s Ministry of Defense declined to comment, citing a policy not to discuss the operations of British Special Forces.
Military, CIA shun 9/11 panel on covert operations
Special-ops lead urged in report
By Bill Gertz The Washington Times
The U.S. military and the CIA failed to agree on implementing a key recommendation of the commission that investigated the 9/11 terrorist attacks: Give special-operations commandos the lead for all covert military action.
The 9/11 Commission ordered the shift in response to concerns that CIA covert action — a mainstay of the agency’s World War II predecessor, the Office of Strategic Services — had “atrophied.” The agency also had a “risk averse” approach to spying and semisecret military activities.
The military has expanded special operations forces in recent years. But critics complain that the Pentagon official in charge of the policies for their use is Michael G. Vickers, a former CIA official who comes from the agency’s risk-averse, anti-covert-action culture.
Military covert action involves training and equipping foreign military or paramilitary forces in semisecret activities where the U.S. role is hidden. Past programs included arming Cuban rebels for the ill-fated Bay of Pigs invasion, deploying direct-action hit teams in Vietnam, and the arming and training of anti-communist rebels in Latin America and anti-Soviet rebels in Afghanistan.
Since 2004, the CIA’s most successful covert military operation was the hunt for bin Laden and the raid to kill him in Pakistan on May 2 with Navy SEALs.
The CIA’s other successful covert military action is the war against al Qaeda and other terrorist groups using drone missile strikes in the Middle East and South Asia.
One setback was the suicide bombing by a double agent in December 2009 at a CIA covert base in Khost, Afghanistan, that killed seven agency officers.
“Our capabilities are complementary, not duplicative, and the success of those capabilities should speak for itself,” she said.
Gen. Boykin said a task force was set up to study the 9/11 recommendation, but it failed to define paramilitary covert action. “This was a fundamental question that no one could answer,” Gen. Boykin said.
If the commission meant training, SoCom already had the mission of working with surrogates. But “paramilitary” operations — activities that are militarylike but carried out by groups other than the military — automatically would become military if the function is passed to the Pentagon.
Gen. Boykin said that if the commission wanted to give responsibility for covert action to the Pentagon, the CIA was opposed, arguing that the change would hinder intelligence collection. The agency said its facilities and equipment were “dual-use” — for spying and paramilitary — and could not be transferred.
Gen. Boykin said the command was against duplicating the CIA’s training facilities, methods and equipment, because of high costs needed to “age” equipment and weapons for operations.
“Working from the assumption that the commission was not really sure what they were recommending, the study group determined that the capabilities already in SoCom were competent to train indigenous forces including using clandestine methodology,” he said.
“The agreement was that the CIA would support [special operations] as needed with facilities and other resources.”
Bureaucratic turf also played a role.
“CIA did not want to lose anything since that would result in a reduction of resources as well as a loss of authority,” Gen. Boykin said.
However, special operations forces also “did not want the covert action mission because they saw it as something that would absorb huge amounts of time and resources and would be a distraction,” he said.
Former CIA officer Robert Baer, who was investigated by the Clinton administration during a covert action in northern Iraq, said he favors giving the mission to the military. “No matter what the bosses say, the CIA hates covert and paramilitary operations,” he said.
“The place is managed by liberal-arts majors who do a lot better operating on intuition and big-horizon stuff — like whether we’re winning or losing in Afghanistan,” Mr. Baer said. “But never ask it to run a bunch of Hmong tribesmen or disaffected Pashtuns and ever hope to win a war with them.”
Mr. Baer said the Pentagon is better tactically at making things work and has a larger pool of recruits with foreign-language skills.
“The problem is that presidents always reach for the CIA when they think they need a ‘silver bullet,’ like the Bay of Pigs,” he said. “The CIA inevitably fails, and then it gets blamed for the mess.”
Every covert action requires a presidential directive stating that the proposed action is in the country’s national interest. The procedure is often cumbersome and prone to public disclosure. Supporters of the change say military-led covert action would be more flexible and easier to approve.
Hiring former special operations forces at the CIA will not help the agency’s covert military capabilities, Mr. Baer said. “Outside military discipline, they just don’t perform up to their capabilities,” he said.
Mr. Baer said the covert program to supply Stinger anti-aircraft missiles to Afghan rebels in the 1980s was less a covert action success than a “logistics” plan to ship arms to the fighters in the field. “It was not a proper paramilitary campaign,” he said.
A Harvard University study several years ago quoted anti-covert-action officials at the CIA as opposing the Stinger operation because of fears it would trigger a war with the Soviet Union.
The 9/11 Commission report describes the CIA in 2001 as “institutionally averse to risk, with its capacity for covert action atrophied.”
It also says the CIA did not invest in developing “robust” paramilitary operations with U.S. personnel but instead relied on proxies trained and organized by CIA officers without military experience. “The results were unsatisfactory,” it says.
The 9/11 Commission said the CIA could continue clandestine and nonmilitary covert action, including propaganda and nonmilitary disruption.
“We believe, however, that one important area of responsibility should change,” the commission’s report says. “Lead responsibility for directing and executing paramilitary operations, whether clandestine or covert, should shift to the Defense Department.”
“Whether the price is measured in either money or people, the United States cannot afford to build two separate capabilities for carrying out secret military operations, secretly operating standoff missiles, and secretly training foreign military or paramilitary forces,” the report says.
Story 1: American People Do Not Trust Big Government Democratic and Republican Parties and The Political Elitist Establishment In Washington — New Political Party Formed When Independents Represent 50% or More of Voters — When? 2022 or 2024 — Fiscal Responsibility, Limited Constitutional Government, Consumption Tax Replacing All Federal Taxes, and Stopping All Legal and Illegal Immigration Exceeding 1 Million Persons Per Year, Replacing The Warfare and Welfare State With A Peace and Prosperity Economy — Jobs For Everyone — I Have A Dream — The Winner Takes It All — Part 1 — Videos
ABBA – I Have A Dream (From The Late Late Breakfast Show, England 1982)
U.S. partisanship shifts to net-Republican after midterms
GOP also made gains after 1994 and 2002 midterms
Democrats made gains following 2006 midterms
PRINCETON, N.J. — Since the Republican Party’s strong showing on Election Day last month, Americans’ political allegiances have shifted toward the GOP. Prior to the elections, 43% of Americans identified as Democrats or leaned toward the Democratic Party, while 39% identified as or leaned Republican. Since then, Republicans have opened up a slight advantage, 42% to 41%, representing a net shift of five percentage points in the partisanship gap.
The pre-election results are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews with 17,259 U.S. adults, conducted between Oct. 1 and Nov. 4. The post-election interviews are based on 12,671 interviews conducted Nov. 5-30.
There have been similar “bandwagon” effects for the winning party in the past, including after the 1994 and 2002 midterm elections, when Republicans benefited, and after the 2006 election, when Democrats made gains.
The most dramatic shift occurred after the 1994 midterms, in which Republicans picked up more than 50 seats in the House of Representatives to gain a majority in that chamber for the first time in 40 years. Before the 1994 elections, Democrats enjoyed a four-point advantage in party affiliation, but after the GOP wave, Republicans emerged with a 12-point margin, for a total shift of 16 points in the gap.
In 2002, Republicans capitalized on the popularity of George W. Bush to accomplish the rare feat of having the president’s party gain seats in Congress in a midterm election. After that strong showing, partisanship moved from a five-point Democratic edge to a four-point Republican margin.
Four years later, with Bush’s job approval rating stuck below 40%, Democrats gained control of both houses of Congress. An already strong Democratic partisanship advantage of 14 points swelled to 22 points after the election.
Not every “wave” election has produced a distinct shift in a party’s advantage. The 1998 and 2010 midterms were also notable for their outcomes, but did not produce any apparent change in Americans’ basic party loyalties. In 1998, Democrats gained seats in the House even with a Democratic president in office. In 2010, Republicans gained a net of 63 seats in the House to win back control of that chamber. That year, the shifts in party allegiances seemed to be in place before the election, with the smallest Democratic edge seen in any recent midterm year. Consequently, in 2010 it appeared that shifts in party allegiances drove the election results, whereas in other years the election results seemed to produce shifts in party affiliation after the election.
The bandwagon effect can largely be explained by the amount of positive publicity given to the victorious party after its success. However, it is unclear why there would be a bandwagon effect following most midterm elections but not all of them.
No Clear Historical Pattern on How Long Post-Midterm Party Gains Last
One key question is how long the effects persist when they do occur. A review of the three elections with obvious bandwagon effects reveals no consistent pattern.
The 1994 Republican surge in partisanship was the largest and the longest lasting. Republicans maintained a healthy eight-point advantage in partisanship through December 1994, and an average four-point advantage from January through March 1995. By April, Democrats had regained a slight edge, and for the most part held it throughout the remainder of the year.
The 2002 Republican gains were fairly short-lived, evident in November and December and largely gone by January 2003. However, when the Iraq War commenced in March, Republicans saw another surge in partisanship.
The 2006 Democratic gains were the most brief, disappearing by December — though that still left the party with a healthy 12-point edge in partisanship.
The 2014 midterms were an unqualified success for the Republican Party. The GOP took control of the Senate and expanded its majority in the House, giving Republicans control of both houses of Congress for the first time since 2006. And that success has caused Americans to view the Republican Party more favorably than the Democratic Party, as well as to say congressional Republicans should have more influence than President Barack Obama over the direction the nation takes in the next year. Americans are also now more likely to align themselves politically with the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.
It is not clear how long these good feelings toward the GOP will last. That could be influenced by what Republicans do with their enhanced power. While they are unlikely to achieve many of their major policy objectives with a Democratic president in office, how they and the president navigate the key issues facing the nation over the next two years will go a long way toward determining where each party stands heading into the 2016 presidential election.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Nov. 5-30, 2014, on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey, with a random sample of 12,671 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Obama job approval among whites aged 18 to 29 is down to 34%
White millennials’ approval only 3 points above older whites’
Obama approval remains much higher among nonwhite 18-29s
PRINCETON, N.J. — President Barack Obama’s job approval rating in 2014 among white 18- to 29-year-olds is 34%, three points higher than among whites aged 30 and older. This is the narrowest approval gap between the president’s previously strong support base of white millennials and older white Americans since Obama took office.
By contrast, the president’s approval rating was nine percentage points higher among younger whites in 2009, and 10 points higher in 2010. Additionally, while the president’s approval among younger whites matched his overall national rating in his first two years in office, it is now eight points below the national average. These data underscore the gradual erosion of the disproportionately strong support Obama received from young white voters as he took office in 2009 and ran for re-election in 2012.
The data are based on yearly averages from Gallup’s Daily tracking, including 2014 data through November.
Obama’s support among white millennials has factored into his two presidential election successes. Exit polls conducted after the 2012 election, for example, showed that Obama received 44% of the vote of white 18- to 29-year-olds, about six points higher than he received among whites aged 30 and older. Obama’s 45% job approval rating among 18- to 29-year-old whites in 2012 mirrored these voting results closely. But the president’s 11-point drop among white 18- to 29-year-olds since 2012 is almost double the six-point drop among the national population and among older whites.
Younger Whites’ Approval Now Closer to All Other Age Groups
From a broader perspective, there is relatively little difference today in Obama’s job approval ratings among whites in any of the four major age groups. Whites aged 30 to 49, as well as those 65 and older, have given Obama a 31% approval rating so far in 2014, with 50- to 64-year-olds coming in at 32% and 18- to 29-year-olds at 34%. The spread among age categories was slightly larger in the earliest years of the Obama administration.
Support Down, but Still Higher Among Nonwhite Than Among White Young People
Although Obama’s approval rating has dropped among black, Hispanic and Asian 18- to 29-year-olds from 2009 to 2014, just as it has among white millennials, the president maintains a much higher level of support among these groups than among whites. Specifically, Obama’s approval is 80% among young blacks, 68% among young Asians, and 55% among Hispanic 18- to 29-year-olds — contrasted with his 34% approval among white young adults.
Age affects Obama’s approval ratings differently among each of these racial and ethnic groups. Obama does slightly less well among black young people than among older blacks, and significantly better among Asians younger than 50 than among those who are older. There is little significant difference in his approval rating by age within the Hispanic population.
While Obama is significantly more popular among nonwhites than among whites, he was able to count on proportionately stronger support from young whites than older whites in his 2008 and 2012 presidential election campaigns. Now, his support among white millennials appears to be waning, and these young Americans give Obama an approval rating that is only marginally higher than that among older whites.
These findings demonstrate the general importance of race and ethnicity when one talks about Obama’s job approval ratings by age. Obama continues to enjoy higher approval ratings among all 18- to 29-year-olds — regardless of race or ethnicity — than he does among the general population, but this is largely attributable to younger age groups in the U.S. being disproportionately composed of nonwhites. In other words, a big part of the age gap in Obama’s approval ratings today is attributable not so much to differences in approval within racial or ethnic groups, but to the fact that the white population in the U.S. skews older, while the nonwhite population skews younger.
The white vote has become an increasing challenge for Democratic presidential candidates in recent years, as well as Senate candidates in many Southern and swing states. Just this past weekend, a lack of strong support among white voters was instrumental in incumbent Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s loss in Louisiana’s senatorial runoff election. That loss gives the Republicans control of every southern Senate seat from Texas to the Carolinas. While Democrats are likely to be helped in coming years by a growing Hispanic population, Democratic presidential candidates — and senatorial candidates in many states — will continue to need the votes of a substantial minority of white voters in order to put together a winning coalition. Thus, Obama’s continuing loss of support among younger white voters highlights one of the potential challenges ahead for Democratic candidates in 2016.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted on the Gallup U.S. Daily survey from 2009 through November 2014, with random samples of approximately 355,000 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia for each of the 2009-2012 yearly samples; approximately 175,000 adults for 2013; and 163,847 adults for Jan. 2-Nov. 30, 2014. For results based on the total sample of national adults in each yearly average, the margin of sampling error is ±1 percentage point at the 95% confidence level. The margin of sampling error for each year’s age subgroups varies by sample size.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 50% cellphone respondents and 50% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Bar Chart Data Source: Monthly Treasury Statement (MTS) published by the U. S. Treasury Department. WE DON’T MAKE THIS UP! IT COMES FROM THE U. S. GOVERNMENT! NO ADJUSTMENTS.
The MTS published in October, reports the final actual expenditures for the previous FY. This chart shows FY2014 actual spending data. Here is the link to download your own copy from the Treasury Department web site.
The chart normally shows the proposed budget line for the next fiscal year (FY2015 started 1 October 2014), but Congress has not passed a “budget” for FY2015; we’re still using continuing resolutions to fund the federal government.
The Congressional Budget Office reported on the Federal Debt and the Risk of a Financial Crisis in this report on the non-budget.
NDAC Challenge: Look at the bar chart to find items that are growing and items that are being reduced. Example: One of the largest growth departments is at the Department of Agriculture; it handles Food Stamps (SNAP). You pay taxes, your money is paying for food stamps.
NDAC studies the Budget Proposals submitted to the U.S. Senate each year by the President of the United States and by the House of Representatives. The budget submissions include Budget Historical Tables published by OMB. Expenditures are shown in Table 4.1, scroll way right to find current years actuals and estimates. Our analysis is discussed on the home page of this web site.
— “Deficit” vs. “Debt”—
Suppose you spend more money this month than your income. This situation is called a “budget deficit”. So you borrow (ie; use your credit card). The amount you borrowed (and now owe) is called your debt. You have to pay interest on your debt. If next month you spend more than your income, another deficit, you must borrow some more, and you’ll still have to pay the interest on your debt (now larger). If you have a deficit every month, you keep borrowing and your debt grows. Soon the interest payment on your loan is bigger than any other item in your budget. Eventually, all you can do is pay the interest payment, and you don’t have any money left over for anything else. This situation is known as bankruptcy.
“Reducing the deficit” is a meaningless soundbite. If theDEFICIT is any amount more than ZERO, we have to borrow more and the DEBT grows.
Each year since 1969, Congress has spent more money than its income. The Treasury Department has to borrow money to meet Congress’s appropriations. Here is a direct link to the Congressional Budget Office web site’s deficit analysis. We have to pay interest* on that huge, growing debt; and it dramatically cuts into our budget.
Cut spending??? What would you cut?
[All federal expenses are shown on the chart above].
And there is a lot of missing money! Where is it?
The Treasury Department has the third largest expense in the federal budget. Only Defense andentitlement programs (run by Departments of Health and Human Services, HUD, and Agriculture (food stamps)) spend more. As the debt increases, so does the interest payment. Entitlement spending is the largest item in our federal budget. Do you have “Compassion” for lower income earners?
In FY2013 the U. S. Treasury Department spent$416 Billion of your money on interest payments to the holders of the National Debt.
Compare that to NASA at $17B,
Agriculture at $156B,
Labor at $80B,
Transportation at $76B!Can the federal budget be balanced? Here’s a video about that.
When you buy something, all the companies involved in producing and delivering it, were charged a wide range of taxes, and those costs are part of the price ofeverything you buy. The price of everything you buy will go up to cover any business tax increases.You are paying those corporate taxes! Read more about the proposed Energy Tax increases. So don’t forget that the price of fuel is in the cost of everything.
The “Economic Stimulus” is shifting us from an “economic crisis” to a debt crisis!Consider this; if businesses could print their own money and give it away to customers so they could buy the products, many folks would be happy for a while; but the businesses would go bankrupt. Well, that’s what our government is currently doing, printing and giving away money.
It has been reported that about 50% of Americans pay no income tax. But, if those folks buy anything, they pay “embedded taxes”*. Here is a video about taxation.
*[About 22% of the price of any product you buy is because of taxation on the companies that were involved in that product being produced and being at a place where it could be bought; and that’s before local sales taxes were added.] Every company must cover ALL its costs (including taxation) in the price of its product; or it will go bankrupt.
Healthcare… some proponents want to pay for the new plan by taxing insurance companies.Insurance companies do not pay taxes. To a corporation, tax is just another cost. So policy premiums will go up to cover the cost.
Government Programs always cost more than originally predicted. What about Healthcare?
**The Government cannot provide anything to anyone without first taking money from someone else to pay for it.
“For society as a whole, nothing comes as a ‘right’ to which we are ‘entitled’. Even bare subsistence has to be produced…. The only way anyone can have a right to something that has to be produced is to force someone else to produce it… The more things are provided as rights, the less the recipients have to work and the more the providers have to carry the load.” Thomas Sowell, quoted in Forbes and Reader’s Digest.
According to Mr. Kneeland, “…all dollars come from the people. Where do [you] think Coca-Cola gets the money to pay its taxes, Exxon gets its money to pay the Exxon Valdez fines, Denny’s gets the money to pay its Justice Department fines, or even Microsoft gets the money to defend itself? It all ultimately can come from only one place, and that’s from individuals.” ED: When you buy a product, the price of that product has to cover ALL the costs to get that product to you.
“A politician cannot spend one dime on any spending project without first taking that dime from the person who earned it. So, when a politician votes for a spending bill he is saying that he believes the government should spend that particular dollar rather than the individual who worked for it.” Neal Boortz.
“There is no such thing as government money – only taxpayer money.” William Weld, quoted in Readers Digest.
“Who will provide the roof to protect you from the rain, the heat to comfort you from the cold, and the coffee to fill your stomach when the damn, greedy capitalists are all gone?” – David Berresford, Thursday, May 20, 2010, Canada Free Press.
SOCIAL SECURITYis not part of the Federal Budget (General Fund). It is a separate account from the General Fund, and has its own source of income (“Payroll Tax”). Social Security payments go in the Social Security Trust Fund (SSTF), and should NOT be counted as general revenue. The SSTF is supposed to be used to pay benefits. But, the Government is under NO OBLIGATION to pay Social Security benefits, and has even borrowed substantially fromtheSSTF for general operations!As of August 2010, there is less being paid into the Social Security Trust Fund than is being paid out to beneficiaries. Social Security is now using its “surplus”.Other Government agencies borrowed from that trust fund, and now have to pay it back. But they already spent it! So how will they pay it back? Through bailouts and taxes. Here is a “must read” about the problem. Your payroll taxes are going into a bottomless hole!The Social Security Administration’s FAQ page about the Trust Fund, and their latestReport (May 2011) explain it well.Beware the term “Social Security Surplus”; there is no such thing. Social Security is aPonzi Scheme, there is never more in the Trust Fund than will ever be needed.
The Government does not have any money, it does nothing to earn money (maybe defense). Government takes money from you and borrows more (from your children), then spends that! The bailouts of 2008 and 2009 are purely deficit spending. Expect to see enormous deficits in the forseeable future, leading to much more debt.Interest payments on that growing debt will become the largest item in the federal budget. On C-SPAN, President Obama boldly told Americans: “We are out of money.”
In 1913, when the Federal Reserve was created with the duty of preserving the dollar, one 20-dollar bill could buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Today, fifty 20-dollar bills are needed to buy one 20-dollar gold piece. Under the Fed’s custody, the U.S. dollar has lost 98 percent of its value. The dollar is the storehouse of our wealth. Has the Fed faithfully safeguarded that storehouse? Thomas Jefferson said, “In questions of power let us hear no more of trust in men, but bind them down from mischief with the chains of the Constitution.”
A perfect storm of historic dysfunction combined with a lame-duck Congress, a looming power change in the Senate, a budget deadline, the holidays and the countdown to the 2016 elections has not prodded lawmakers to make compromises or to do their basic budgetary work. It has, however, led to a brand-new Washington term. Enter the “cromnibus.”
That’s the name being assigned to a tortured GOP strategy to stick it to President Barack Obama and make a bold statement on immigration and border security – all while avoiding shutting down the federal government right before the holidays, a tactic that didn’t work out so well for the GOP when it happened last year.
Described as a trial balloon, the approach was floated by House Speaker John Boehner at the party’s Tuesday morning meeting last week. The GOP plan goes like this: Congress would pass an omnibus funding bill to keep almost the entire government running into September 2015. However, the Department of Homeland Security – the department that deals with the implementation of Obama’s executive action on immigration, which the Republicans hate – would limp along on a mere continuing resolution that would fund it until sometime next March. That would give Republicans time and opportunity to pressure the Obama administration into backing off its executive action somehow – or at least isolate the DHS budget so Republicans, who next year will control both the House and Senate, could deny the funds needed to implement the action. Meanwhile, House members were given a chance, before recessing for the year, to take what is widely regarded as a show vote to undo the executive action.
This way, lawmakers explained, House Republicans can vent about border security, Obama and the use of an executive action to grant temporary legal status to more than 4 million people in the country illegally, all without suffering the political consequences of another government shutdown.
Boehner acknowledged that there’s no easy way for congressional Republicans to undo Obama’s executive action; rank-and-file members have thrown around ideas ranging from refusing to provide funds to implement the action to a lawsuit or impeachment.
Each has its logistical and political complications: Refusing to fund Homeland Security could make Republicans look like they don’t care about the safety of the nation’s citizens; a lawsuit (even if the House is deemed to have standing to sue) could cause a political backlash; and impeachment could lead to a repeat of 1998, when a similar action against former President Bill Clinton backfired against the GOP.
In countering Obama on immigration, the GOP has to weigh the interests of the Hispanic community against the ideals of the party’s base.
And Republicans must be mindful of two important constituencies in 2016 – the GOP base, which wants the action undone and might reject a presidential primary candidate who won’t commit to doing so, and the Hispanic community, which might align itself even more firmly against Republicans if the GOP commits to a policy that would break up families living here with temporary legal status.
“We’re looking at a variety of options, both for right now and when Republicans control both houses of the Congress next year,” Boehner, R-Ohio, told reporters. “Frankly, we have limited options and limited abilities to deal with it directly.”
Thus, GOP strategists have proposed the “cromnibus,” a compromise that would keep nearly all agencies and programs humming along until next September (since Congress has been unable to pass any of the appropriations bills that make up the federal budget) and avoid a government shutdown that would occur if nothing is done before the current continuing resolution expires Dec. 11.
Meanwhile, Homeland Security would be put on a short budgetary leash until March. By that point, Republicans reason, they will be running both chambers of Congress and will be able to pass legislation excising funding for the part of the department that deals with the new executive action, killing it by starvation.
“The most effective thing we can do is to limit spending,” says Rep. John Fleming, R-La. While Fleming says Obama is assuming excessive powers as the nation’s chief executive, “we’ve got our own power – the power of the purse,” he adds.
But Fleming, like some other House conservatives, is irked by the idea that the House should wait until next year to go full-force against the immigration action – meaning Boehner may need House Democrats to get such a plan approved.
“I don’t think anybody wants a shutdown,” says Rep. Matt Salmon, R-Ariz. But “I think we have significant leverage.”
The simmering rebellion by House conservatives means Boehner is likely to continue to face the same internal divisions he’s had since 2011, when a wave of new tea party-aligned lawmakers gave the GOP the House majority and demanded a rightward turn in the way the party ran things. That pressure largely drove the 16-day government shutdown in October 2013 – a development polls showed Americans blamed on Republicans. So would the public also blame the GOP if Homeland Security does not get the cash it needs to keep Americans safe?
“Republicans are blamed for everything, anyway – what difference does it make?” Fleming says.
However, Senate Democrats are determined not to end their reign with a shutdown, even if the GOP gets blamed for it. Getting almost all of the government funded until next fall would be “a big accomplishment,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told reporters.
Moreover, the GOP needs to worry about overreach, Democrats say. Any specific effort to undo the executive action is likely to be vetoed by Obama. That leaves Republicans in the same position as they were with the Affordable Care Act. They could hold a series of votes opposing it or defunding it, but none would get signed into law. And the difference with immigration, notes Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., is that the substance of the order (as opposed to the process) is indeed popular with the public, in a way Obamacare is not.
“You’re talking about changing the trajectory of a family’s destiny for generations – that’s deep,” Cummings says.
Opposing Obama’s order as executive overreach might excite the GOP base, but Hispanic families are equally excited about the opportunity to stay intact in the U.S., he adds. For Boehner, the challenge may be keeping his Republican family united.
Urgent Issue Of Immigration & The Budget – Special Report 1st Segment
Americans: In Obama we don’t trust
President’s Unilateral Action on Immigration Undermines Americans’ Trust
***AMERICANS DONT TRUST THE GOVERNMENT *** there criminals.
Top 10 Government Lies – When said ‘Trust Us’
Krauthammer on Obama: American “People Think This Is Failed Presidency”
Why Shouldn’t I Work for the NSA? (Good Will Hunting)
U.S. Drones kill more people than ISIS: Chris Hedges
Chris Hedges, author, Pulitzer-prize winning journalist and polemicist discusses the importance of resistance to empire, and passionately condemns US foreign policy, saying “There is no difference between a beheading by ISIL and a US drone strike.”
Chris Hedges: The Absurdity of American Empire [FULL INTERVIEW]
Chris Hedges Call to Action to create “New Movements” replacing corrupt Government
George Carlin on American Foreign Policy – Bombing Brown People
The Best of George Carlin: Exposing our government and fall of humanity one joke at a time
The Pursuit Of Happyness – Job Interview
Best scene pursuit of happyness, Will Smith at his best
Story 1: First Good Jobs Report In Years with 321,000 Jobs Created In November With 5.8% Unemployment Rate U-3, 9.1 Million Unemployed — Still 10-12 Million Jobs Short Due To Low Labor Participation Rate of 62.8% — Years Away From Near Full Unemployment Rate of 3% With 67% Labor Participation Rate — National Debt Hits $18 Trillion and Climbing — Videos
Get Ready for More Layoffs and Higher Unemployment
Ep 28: Media Spins Horrible Holiday Sales as Reflecting Economic Strength
The Real Reason for Falling Oil and Gas Prices
Crude Oil Drop – Richard Perrin – December 5, 2014
Could Oil Fall To $60?
Series Preview: The Global Drop in Oil Prices
Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction
Over $150 Billion of Oil Projects Face Axe in 2015
Nook Fail, Jobs Report, Buffet backs Clinton – Today’s Investor News
Mohamed El-Erian: Nov. Jobs Report Is Great News for Economy
Hiring surge: 321k jobs added in November
Employment Situation Report – November 2014
Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey
Series Id: LNS12000000
Series title: (Seas) Employment Level
Labor force status: Employed
Type of data: Number in thousands
Age: 16 years and over
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.
Civilian Labor Force Level
Series Id: LNS11000000
Seasonally Adjusted Series title: (Seas) Civilian Labor Force Level Labor force status: Civilian labor force Type of data: Number in thousands Age: 16 years and over
1 : Data affected by changes in population controls.
Labor Force Participation Rate
Series Id: LNS11300000
Series title: (Seas) Labor Force Participation Rate
Labor force status: Civilian labor force participation rate
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over
Series Id: LNS13000000
Series title: (Seas) Unemployment Level
Labor force status: Unemployed
Type of data: Number in thousands
Age: 16 years and over
Unemployment Rate U-3
Series Id: LNS14000000
Series title: (Seas) Unemployment Rate
Labor force status: Unemployment rate
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over
Employment -Population Ratio
Series Id: LNS12300000
Seasonally Adjusted Series title: (Seas) Employment-Population Ratio Labor force status: Employment-population ratio Type of data: Percent or rate Age: 16 years and over
Unemployment Rate 16-19 Years Old
Series Id: LNS14000012
Seasonally Adjusted Series title: (Seas) Unemployment Rate – 16-19 yrs. Labor force status: Unemployment rate Type of data: Percent or rate Age: 16 to 19 years
Average Weeks Unemployed
Series Id: LNS13008275
Series title: (Seas) Average Weeks Unemployed
Labor force status: Unemployed
Type of data: Number of weeks
Age: 16 years and over
Not In Labor Force
Series Id: LNU05026642
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Unadj) Not in Labor Force, Searched For Work and Available
Labor force status: Not in labor force
Type of data: Number in thousands
Age: 16 years and over
Job desires/not in labor force: Want a job now
Reasons not in labor force: Available to work now
Not In Labor Force Searched For Work and Available, Discouraged Reasons For Not Currently Looking
Series Id: LNU05026645
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Series title: (Unadj) Not in Labor Force, Searched For Work and Available, Discouraged Reasons For Not Currently Looking
Labor force status: Not in labor force
Type of data: Number in thousands
Age: 16 years and over
Job desires/not in labor force: Want a job now
Reasons not in labor force: Discouragement over job prospects (Persons who believe no job is available.)
Total Unemployment Rate U-6
Series Id: LNS13327709
Series title: (seas) Total unemployed, plus all marginally attached workers plus total employed part time for economic reasons, as a percent of all civilian labor force plus all marginally attached workers
Labor force status: Aggregated totals unemployed
Type of data: Percent or rate
Age: 16 years and over
Percent/rates: Unemployed and mrg attached and pt for econ reas as percent of labor force plus marg attached
Employment Situation Summary
Transmission of material in this release is embargoed until USDL-14-2184
8:30 a.m. (EST) Friday, December 5, 2014
Household data: (202) 691-6378 • email@example.com • www.bls.gov/cps
Establishment data: (202) 691-6555 • firstname.lastname@example.org • www.bls.gov/ces
Media contact: (202) 691-5902 • PressOffice@bls.gov
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION -- NOVEMBER 2014
Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 321,000 in November, and the unemployment
rate was unchanged at 5.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today.
Job gains were widespread, led by growth in professional and business services, retail
trade, health care, and manufacturing.
Household Survey Data
In November, the unemployment rate held at 5.8 percent, and the number of unemployed
persons was little changed at 9.1 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and
the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7 million,
respectively. (See table A-1.)
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men rose to 5.4 percent
in November. The rates for adult women (5.3 percent), teenagers (17.7 percent), whites
(4.9 percent), blacks (11.1 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little change
over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted),
little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)
The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little
changed at 2.8 million in November. These individuals accounted for 30.7 percent of
the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed declined
by 1.2 million. (See table A-12.)
The civilian labor force participation rate held at 62.8 percent in November and has
been essentially unchanged since April. The employment-population ratio, at 59.2
percent, was unchanged in November but is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year.
(See table A-1.)
The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to
as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.9 million, changed little in November. These
individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time
because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time
job. (See table A-8.)
In November, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force,
essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work,
and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as
unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the
survey. (See table A-16.)
Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in November,
little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.)
Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe
no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached
to the labor force in November had not searched for work for reasons such as school
attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)
Establishment Survey Data
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 321,000 in November, compared with an
average monthly gain of 224,000 over the prior 12 months. In November, job growth
was widespread, led by gains in professional and business services, retail trade,
health care, and manufacturing. (See table B-1.)
Employment in professional and business services increased by 86,000 in November,
compared with an average gain of 57,000 per month over the prior 12 months. Within
the industry, accounting and bookkeeping services added 16,000 jobs in November.
Employment continued to trend up in temporary help services (+23,000), management
and technical consulting services (+7,000), computer systems design and related
services (+7,000), and architectural and engineering services (+5,000).
Employment in retail trade rose by 50,000 in November, compared with an average
gain of 22,000 per month over the prior 12 months. In November, job gains occurred
in motor vehicle and parts dealers (+11,000); clothing and accessories stores
(+11,000); sporting goods, hobby, book, and music stores (+9,000); and nonstore
Health care added 29,000 jobs over the month. Employment continued to trend up in
offices of physicians (+7,000), home health care services (+5,000), outpatient care
centers (+4,000), and hospitals (+4,000). Over the past 12 months, employment in
health care has increased by 261,000.
In November, manufacturing added 28,000 jobs. Durable goods manufacturers accounted
for 17,000 of the increase, with small gains in most of the component industries.
Employment in nondurable goods increased by 11,000, with plastics and rubber products
(+7,000) accounting for most of the gain. Over the year, manufacturing has added
171,000 jobs, largely in durable goods.
Financial activities added 20,000 jobs in November, with half of the gain in insurance
carriers and related activities. Over the past year, insurance has contributed 70,000
jobs to the overall employment gain of 114,000 in financial activities.
Transportation and warehousing employment increased by 17,000 in November, with a
gain in couriers and messengers (+5,000). Over the past 12 months, transportation
and warehousing has added 143,000 jobs.
Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in November
(+27,000) and has increased by 321,000 over the year.
Construction employment also continued to trend up in November (+20,000). Employment in
specialty trade contractors rose by 21,000, mostly in the residential component. Over
the past 12 months, construction has added 213,000 jobs, with just over half the gain
among specialty trade contractors.
In November, the average workweek for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose
by 0.1 hour to 34.6 hours. The manufacturing workweek rose by 0.2 hour to 41.1 hours,
and factory overtime edged up by 0.1 hour to 3.5 hours. The average workweek for
production and nonsupervisory employees on private nonfarm payrolls was unchanged at
33.8 hours. (See tables B-2 and B-7.)
Average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls rose by 9 cents
to $24.66 in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 2.1 percent.
In November, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory
employees increased by 4 cents to $20.74. (See tables B-3 and B-8.)
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for September was revised from +256,000
to +271,000, and the change for October was revised from +214,000 to +243,000. With
these revisions, employment gains in September and October combined were 44,000 more
than previously reported.
The Employment Situation for December is scheduled to be released on Friday,
January 9, 2015, at 8:30 a.m. (EST).
| Upcoming Changes to the Employment Situation News Release |
|Effective with the release of January 2015 data on February 6, 2015, the U.S. |
|Bureau of Labor Statistics will introduce several changes to The Employment |
|Situation news release tables. |
|Household survey table A-2 will introduce seasonally adjusted series on the labor |
|force characteristics of Asians. These series will appear in addition to the not |
|seasonally adjusted data for Asians currently displayed in the table. Also, in |
|summary table A, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for Asians will replace|
|the not seasonally adjusted series that is currently displayed for the group. |
|Household survey table A-3 will introduce seasonally adjusted series on the labor |
|force characteristics of Hispanic men age 20 and over, Hispanic women age 20 and |
|over, and Hispanic teenagers age 16 to 19. The not seasonally adjusted series for |
|these groups will continue to be displayed in the table. |
|The establishment survey will introduce two data series: (1) total nonfarm |
|employment, 3-month average change and (2) total private employment, 3-month |
|average change. These new series will be added to establishment survey summary |
|table B. Additionally, in the employment section of summary table B, the list |
|of industries will be expanded to include utilities (currently published in |
|table B-1). Also, hours and earnings of production and nonsupervisory employees |
|will be removed from summary table B, although these series will continue to be |
|published in establishment survey tables B-7 and B-8. A sample of the new summary |
|table B is available on the BLS website at www.bls.gov/ces/cesnewsumb.pdf. |
| Revision of Seasonally Adjusted Household Survey Data |
|In accordance with usual practice, The Employment Situation news release for |
|December 2014, scheduled for January 9, 2015, will incorporate annual revisions in|
|seasonally adjusted household survey data. Seasonally adjusted data for the most |
|recent 5 years are subject to revision. |
Job losers and persons who completed temporary jobs
Duration of unemployment
Less than 5 weeks
5 to 14 weeks
15 to 26 weeks
27 weeks and over
Employed persons at work part time
Part time for economic reasons
Slack work or business conditions
Could only find part-time work
Part time for noneconomic reasons
Persons not in the labor force (not seasonally adjusted)
Marginally attached to the labor force
- Over-the-month changes are not displayed for not seasonally adjusted data.
NOTE: Persons whose ethnicity is identified as Hispanic or Latino may be of any race. Detail for the seasonally adjusted data shown in this table will not necessarily add to totals because of the independent seasonal adjustment of the various series. Updated population controls are introduced annually with the release of January data.
Employment Situation Summary Table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Summary table B. Establishment data, seasonally adjusted
Footnotes (1) Includes other industries, not shown separately. (2) Data relate to production employees in mining and logging and manufacturing, construction employees in construction, and nonsupervisory employees in the service-providing industries. (3) The indexes of aggregate weekly hours are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate hours by the corresponding annual average aggregate hours. (4) The indexes of aggregate weekly payrolls are calculated by dividing the current month’s estimates of aggregate weekly payrolls by the corresponding annual average aggregate weekly payrolls. (5) Figures are the percent of industries with employment increasing plus one-half of the industries with unchanged employment, where 50 percent indicates an equal balance between industries with increasing and decreasing employment. (p) Preliminary
EMBARGOED UNTIL RELEASE AT 8:30 A.M. EST, TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 25, 2014
* See the navigation bar at the right side of the news release text for links to data tables,
contact personnel and their telephone numbers, and supplementary materials.
National Income and Product Accounts
Gross Domestic Product: Third Quarter 2014 (Second Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Third Quarter 2014 (Preliminary Estimate)
Real gross domestic product -- the value of the production of goods and services in the United
States, adjusted for price changes -- increased at an annual rate of 3.9 percent in the third quarter of
2014, according to the "second" estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. In the second
quarter, real GDP increased 4.6 percent.
The GDP estimate released today is based on more complete source data than were available for
the "advance" estimate issued last month. In the advance estimate, the increase in real GDP was 3.5
percent. With the second estimate for the third quarter, private inventory investment decreased less than
previously estimated, and both personal consumption expenditures (PCE) and nonresidential fixed
investment increased more. In contrast, exports increased less than previously estimated (see
"Revisions" on page 3).
The increase in real GDP in the third quarter reflected positive contributions from PCE,
nonresidential fixed investment, federal government spending, exports, residential fixed investment, and
state and local government spending that were partly offset by a negative contribution from private
inventory investment. Imports, which are a subtraction in the calculation of GDP, decreased.
The deceleration in the percent change in real GDP reflected a downturn in private inventory
investment and decelerations in exports, in nonresidential fixed investment, in state and local
government spending, in PCE, and in residential fixed investment that were partly offset by a downturn
in imports and an upturn in federal government spending.
The price index for gross domestic purchases, which measures prices paid by U.S. residents,
increased 1.4 percent in the third quarter, 0.1 percentage point more than in the advance estimate; this
index increased 2.0 percent in the second quarter. Excluding food and energy prices, the price index for
gross domestic purchases increased 1.6 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 1.7
percent in the second.
FOOTNOTE. Quarterly estimates are expressed at seasonally adjusted annual rates, unless otherwise
specified. Quarter-to-quarter dollar changes are differences between these published estimates. Percent
changes are calculated from unrounded data and are annualized. "Real" estimates are in chained (2009)
dollars. Price indexes are chain-type measures.
This news release is available on BEA's Web site along with the Technical Note and Highlights related
to this release. For information on revisions, see "The Revisions to GDP, GDI, and Their
Real personal consumption expenditures increased 2.2 percent in the third quarter, compared
with an increase of 2.5 percent in the second. Durable goods increased 8.7 percent, compared with an
increase of 14.1 percent. Nondurable goods increased 2.2 percent, the same increase as in the second
quarter. Services increased 1.2 percent, compared with an increase of 0.9 percent.
Real nonresidential fixed investment increased 7.1 percent in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of 9.7 percent in the second. Investment in nonresidential structures increased 1.1 percent,
compared with an increase of 12.6 percent. Investment in equipment increased 10.7 percent, compared
with an increase of 11.2 percent. Investment in intellectual property products increased 6.4 percent,
compared with an increase of 5.5 percent. Real residential fixed investment increased 2.7 percent,
compared with an increase of 8.8 percent.
Real exports of goods and services increased 4.9 percent in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of 11.1 percent in the second. Real imports of goods and services decreased 0.7 percent, in
contrast to an increase of 11.3 percent.
Real federal government consumption expenditures and gross investment increased 9.9 percent
in the third quarter, in contrast to a decrease of 0.9 percent in the second. National defense increased
16.0 percent, compared with an increase of 0.9 percent. Nondefense increased 0.4 percent, in contrast to
a decrease of 3.8 percent. Real state and local government consumption expenditures and gross
investment increased 0.8 percent, compared with an increase of 3.4 percent.
The change in real private inventories subtracted 0.12 percentage point from the third-quarter
change in real GDP after adding 1.42 percentage points to the second-quarter change. Private
businesses increased inventories $79.1 billion in the third quarter, following increases of $84.8 billion in
the second quarter and $35.2 billion in the first.
Real final sales of domestic product -- GDP less change in private inventories -- increased 4.1
percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 3.2 percent in the second.
Gross domestic purchases
Real gross domestic purchases -- purchases by U.S. residents of goods and services wherever
produced -- increased 3.0 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 4.8 percent in the
Gross national product
Real gross national product -- the value of the goods and services produced by the labor and
property supplied by U.S. residents -- increased 3.8 percent in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of 4.6 percent in the second. GNP includes, and GDP excludes, net receipts of income from the
rest of the world, which decreased $1.6 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase of $1.4
billion in the second; in the third quarter, receipts decreased $1.1 billion, and payments increased $0.5
Current-dollar GDP -- the market value of the production of goods and services in the United
States -- increased 5.3 percent, or $227.0 billion, in the third quarter to a level of $17,555.2 billion. In
the second quarter, current-dollar GDP increased 6.8 percent, or $284.2 billion.
Gross domestic income
Real gross domestic income (GDI), which measures the value of the production of goods and
services in the United States as the costs incurred and the incomes earned on that production, increased
4.5 percent in the third quarter, compared with an increase of 4.0 percent (revised) in the second. For a
given quarter, the estimates of GDP and GDI may differ for a variety of reasons, including the
incorporation of largely independent source data. However, over longer time spans, the estimates of
GDP and GDI tend to follow similar patterns of change.
The upward revision to the percent change in real GDP primarily reflected upward revisions to
private inventory investment, to personal consumption expenditures, and to nonresidential fixed
investment that were partly offset by a downward revision to exports and an upward revision to imports.
Advance Estimate Second Estimate
(Percent change from preceding quarter)
Real GDP............................... 3.5 3.9
Current-dollar GDP..................... 4.9 5.3
Real GDI............................... -- 4.5
Gross domestic purchases price index... 1.3 1.4
Profits from current production
Profits from current production (corporate profits with inventory valuation adjustment (IVA) and
capital consumption adjustment (CCAdj)) increased $43.8 billion in the third quarter, compared with an
increase of $164.1 billion in the second.
Profits of domestic financial corporations increased $20.3 billion in the third quarter, compared
with an increase of $33.3 billion in the second. Profits of domestic nonfinancial corporations increased
$22.5 billion, compared with an increase of $134.3 billion. The rest-of-the-world component of profits
increased $1.0 billion, in contrast to a decrease of $3.6 billion. This measure is calculated as the
difference between receipts from the rest of the world and payments to the rest of the world. In the third
quarter, receipts were unchanged, and payments decreased $1.0 billion.
Taxes on corporate income decreased $4.8 billion in the third quarter, in contrast to an increase
of $45.7 billion in the second. Profits after tax with IVA and CCAdj increased $48.6 billion, compared
with an increase of $118.4 billion.
Dividends decreased $3.9 billion in the third quarter, compared with a decrease of $0.5 billion in
the second. Undistributed profits increased $52.5 billion, compared with an increase of $118.8 billion.
Net cash flow with IVA -- the internal funds available to corporations for investment -- increased $25.1
billion, compared with an increase of $133.4 billion.
The IVA and CCAdj are adjustments that convert inventory withdrawals and depreciation of
fixed assets reported on a tax-return, historical-cost basis to the current-cost economic measures used in
the national income and product accounts. The IVA increased $16.8 billion in the third quarter,
compared with an increase of $11.9 billion in the second. The CCAdj increased $1.2 billion, in contrast
to a decrease of $0.8 billion.
Gross value added of nonfinancial domestic corporate business
In the third quarter, real gross value added of nonfinancial corporations increased, and profits per
unit of real gross value added increased. The increase in unit profits reflected an increase in unit prices
that was partly offset by an increase in unit nonlabor costs; unit labor costs were unchanged.
* * *
BEA's national, international, regional, and industry estimates; the Survey of Current Business;
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Next release -- December 23, 2014 at 8:30 A.M. EST for:
Gross Domestic Product: Third Quarter 2014 (Third Estimate)
Corporate Profits: Third Quarter 2014 (Revised Estimate)
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Release dates in 2015
Gross Domestic Product
2014: IV and 2014 annual 2015: I 2015: II 2015: III
Advance.... January 30 April 29 July 30 October 29
Second..... February 27 May 29 August 27 November 24
Third...... March 27 June 24 September 25 December 22
Preliminary... .. May 29 August 27 November 24
Revised....... March 27 June 24 September 25 December 22
Story 1: Secretary of Defense Hagel Out — Ferguson Verdict In — No True Bill — No Charges — Case Closed — Videos
President Obama’s Statement on Ferguson Grand Jury Decision
No indictment in Michael Brown shooting! (Video) HD
BREAKING! Ferguson Grand Jury Announces Verdict
Ferguson, Missouri protesters riot; tear gas released following follow Michael Brown ruling
Who will interview Darren Wilson first?
Deluge Of Ferguson MO Leaks – Show Officer’s Side Of Micheal Brown Killing – Media Buzz Spin Cycle
Michael Brown Shooting: Surveillance Video Shows Ferguson Officer After Shooting
Grand Jury Decides Not To Indict Officer Darren Wilson For The Shooting Death Of Michael Brown! (HD)
Answers to questions about the Ferguson grand jury
President Obama asks Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to resign
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel Resigns stepping down Breaking News November 24 2014
US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel Resigns
Hagel resigns as U.S. defense secretary, official says
Ferguson Grand Jury Reportedly Comes to a Decision; Announcement Expected Later Today
Michael Brown shooting | Ferguson jury reaches verdict
No indictment for Ferguson officer
A white police officer will not face charges for fatally shooting an unarmed black teenager in a case that set off violent protests and racial unrest throughout the nation.
A St. Louis County grand jury declined to indict officer Darren Wilson, 28, for firing six shots in an August confrontation that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch said Monday night.
The decision had been long awaited and followed rioting that resembled war-zone news footage in this predominantly black suburb of St. Louis.
Crowds of protesters filled streets near the Ferguson police station following the announcement.
In Washington, President Obama appeared before TV cameras. “We need to accept that this decision was the grand jury’s to make,” he said in calling for peaceful protests. But he said the Ferguson case “speaks to broader challenges that we still face as a nation.”
Prosecutor McCulloch made the announcement in an unusual nighttime presentation in a courtroom. He spoke at length about media coverage of the case and what he called the unreliability of eyewitness accounts. He said the grand jury weighed evidence and testimony before concluding there was no probable cause to indict the officer.
“The duty of the grand jury is to separate fact from fiction,” McCulloch said.
He said prosecuting attorneys presented five potential indictments to the grand jury, and all were rejected.
“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Benjamin Crump, an attorney for Brown’s family, said after being informed of the decision by authorities.
Brown’s family attorneys received a call from McCulloch shortly before the announcement. Crump took the call and and delivered the news to Brown’s family in an area hotel.
“The jury was not inclined to indict on any charges,” Crump said to Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother. “He (McCulloch) said he would be willing to meet with you all.”
McSpadden began crying and shouting. Her body vibrated with pain as she jumped to her feet.
“I do want to meet with him right now,” McSpadden screamed. “What do you mean no indictment?!”
She then ran out of a hotel room followed by family members.
Brown’s family later released a statement saying, “We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.” The urged others who share their pan to “channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change.”
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, called for calm after calling up National Guard troops to stand by in case of unrest. Speaking before the decision was announced, he urged that “regardless of the decision, people on all sides show tolerance, mutual respect and restraint.”
Crowds gathered around the Ferguson police headquarters in anticipation of the announcement at the courthouse in Clayton, Mo., another St. Louis suburb.
The 12-person grand jury had been considering whether probable cause existed to bring charges against Wilson, 28, the white officer who fatally shot Brown, an 18-year-old black man, after their Aug. 9 confrontation. The shooting inflamed tensions in a largely minority community that is patrolled by an overwhelmingly white police force.
Brown’s lifeless and bleeding body lay for more than four hours in a Ferguson residential street after the shooting, prompting dismay and anger as a crowd gathered. Protests turned into rioting and looting the following night, and police responded with armored vehicles and tear gas, triggering a nationwide debate over police tactics.
The 12-person grand jury, including nine whites and three African Americans, had been meeting in secret for months, hearing evidence and weighing whether Wilson’s should face charges that could have ranged from involuntary manslaughter to murder.
Brown’s family joined thousands of protesters to demand Wilson’s arrest. As anger at official inaction grew following Brown’s death, protesters clashed with police, who began patrolling the streets with military-grade weapons and armored vehicles.
Wilson has been on paid leave and largely invisible since the shooting.
While the grand jury met in secret to hear evidence in the case, two starkly different versions of the events leading to the shooting emerged in media accounts.
Police have said a scuffle broke out after Wilson asked Brown and a friend to move out of the street. Wilson told investigators he shot Brown only after the teenager reached for the officer’s gun. Some witnesses said Brown had run away from Wilson, then turned and raised his hands in the air in a gesture of surrender before he was shot in the head and chest.
The unusual timing of the grand jury’s announcement, after darkness had fallen, was a decision of prosecutors, Nixon said.
He said several local churches would provide shelter, safe haven and medical care in the event of unrest.
As officials called for peace, security preparations were beefed up around the courthouse and at other locations including the Ferguson police headquarters. Barricades were erected and Missouri state troopers were present with rifles, 3-foot batons, riot shields and other equipment. Crowds of protesters waving signs and chanting spilled into streets near the police offices.
“This is not the time to turn on each other; it is a time to turn to each other,” said St. Louis County Executive Charley Dooley. “We are one community,” he said.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay acknowledged the case “has deeply divided us” but said “turning violent or damaging property will not be tolerated.”
“The world will be watching us,” Slay said.
Anthony Gray, a lawyer for the Brown family, said they were informed the announcement by the county prosecutor, Robert McCulloch, was imminent.
Police have said Brown struggled with Wilson inside his police car, then reached for Wilson’s weapon. Brown’s family and some witnesses say Wilson killed Brown as he raised his hands in surrender.
The death of Brown, 18, touched off weeks of protests, and the decision by the grand jury on whether to bring charges prompted extraordinary precautions by law enforcement and the community. The Ferguson school district canceled Tuesday classes.
Police officials and protest organizers have collaborated on rules of engagement — that is, rules for conduct when protesters meet police again on the streets. Nixon has declared a state of emergency and activated the state’s National Guard.
What we know today about Ferguson
Ferguson needs facts, not passions: Column
Brown’s family called for 4½ minutes of silence after the grand jury announcement, Maggie Crane, spokeswoman for St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, said in a tweet Monday afternoon.
St. Louis County Police asked for donations for officers working round-the-clock shifts in Ferguson. Items requested on the department’s Facebook page include Visa gift cards, water, Gatorade, soda, hand and foot warmers, DayQuil and cough drops. The department said it uses the gift cards to order hot meals for the command centers.
Hagel Resigns Under Pressure as Global Crises Test Pentagon
By HELENE COOPER
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel handed in his resignation under pressure on Monday, the first cabinet-level casualty of the collapse of President Obama’s Democratic majority in the Senate and the struggles of his national security team to respond to an onslaught of global crises.
In announcing Mr. Hagel’s resignation from the State Dining Room on Monday, the president, flanked by Mr. Hagel and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., called Mr. Hagel critical to ushering the military “through a significant period of transition” and lauded “a young Army sergeant from Vietnam who rose to serve as America’s 24th secretary of defense.”
Mr. Obama called Mr. Hagel “no ordinary secretary of defense,” adding that he had “been in the dirt” of combat like no other defense chief. He said that Mr. Hagel would remain in the job until his successor is confirmed by the Senate.
Administration officials said that Mr. Obama made the decision to remove Mr. Hagel, the sole Republican on his national security team, last Friday after a series of meetings between the two men over the past two weeks.
The officials characterized the decision as a recognition that the threat from the militant group Islamic State will require different skills from those that Mr. Hagel, who often struggled to articulate a clear viewpoint and was widely viewed as a passive defense secretary, was brought in to employ.
Mr. Hagel, a combat veteran who was skeptical about the Iraq war, came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestrations.
Now, however, the American military is back on a war footing, although it is a modified one. Some 3,000 American troops are being deployed in Iraq to help the Iraqi military fight the Sunni militants of the Islamic State, even as the administration struggles to come up with, and articulate, a coherent strategy to defeat the group in both Iraq and Syria.
“The next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that the defense secretary initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave.
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis and the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Even before the announcement of Mr. Hagel’s removal, Obama officials were speculating on his possible replacement. At the top of the list were Michèle A. Flournoy, a former under secretary of defense, and Ashton B. Carter, a former deputy secretary of defense.
Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a former officer with the Army’s 82nd Airborne, was also considered to be a contender, but a spokesman said that the senator was not in the running. “Senator Reed loves his job and does not wish to be considered for secretary of defense or any other cabinet post,” the spokesman said.
Mr. Hagel, a respected former senator who struck a friendship with Mr. Obama when they were both critics of the Iraq war from positions on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has nonetheless had trouble penetrating the tight team of former campaign aides and advisers who form Mr. Obama’s closely knit set of loyalists. Senior administration officials have characterized him as quiet during cabinet meetings; Mr. Hagel’s defenders said that he waited until he was alone with the president before sharing his views, the better to avoid leaks.
Whatever the case, Mr. Hagel struggled to fit in with Mr. Obama’s close circle and was viewed as never gaining traction in the administration after a bruising confirmation fight among his old Senate colleagues, during which he was criticized for seeming tentative in his responses to sharp questions.
He never really shed that pall after arriving at the Pentagon, and in the past few months he has largely ceded the stage to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, who officials said initially won the confidence of Mr. Obama with his recommendation of military action against the Islamic State.
In Mr. Hagel’s less than two years on the job, his detractors said he struggled to inspire confidence at the Pentagon in the manner of his predecessors, especially Robert M. Gates. But several of Mr. Obama’s top advisers over the past few months have also acknowledged privately that the president did not want another high-profile defense secretary in the mold of Mr. Gates, who went on to write a memoir of his years with Mr. Obama in which he sharply criticized the president. Mr. Hagel, they said, in many ways was exactly the kind of defense secretary whom the president, after battling the military during his first term, wanted.
Mr. Hagel, for his part, spent his time on the job largely carrying out Mr. Obama’s stated wishes on matters like bringing back American troops from Afghanistan and trimming the Pentagon budget, with little pushback. He did manage to inspire loyalty among enlisted soldiers and often seemed at his most confident when talking to troops or sharing wartime experiences as a Vietnam veteran.
But Mr. Hagel has often had problems articulating his thoughts — or administration policy — in an effective manner, and has sometimes left reporters struggling to describe what he has said in news conferences. In his side-by-side appearances with both General Dempsey and Secretary of State John Kerry, Mr. Hagel, a decorated Vietnam veteran and the first former enlisted combat soldier to be defense secretary, has often been upstaged.
He raised the ire of the White House in August as the administration was ramping up its strategy to fight the Islamic State, directly contradicting the president, who months before had likened the Sunni militant group to a junior varsity basketball squad. Mr. Hagel, facing reporters in his now-familiar role next to General Dempsey, called the Islamic State an “imminent threat to every interest we have,” adding, “This is beyond anything that we’ve seen.” White House officials later said they viewed those comments as unhelpful, although the administration still appears to be struggling to define just how large is the threat posed by the Islamic State.
Story 1: Agent Provocateur: Government Agencies (FBI and NSA and others) and Mass Media Provoking Riots in Ferguson To Increase Budgets and Ratings — Is Justice Department Under Holder Using The FBI As Agent Provocateurs? — Playing The Blame Game — Videos
Stuff They Don’t Want You to Know – Dirty Tricks: Agent Provocateur
Preparing for violence in Missouri
Ferguson Nervously Awaits Grand Jury Decision
How police Agent Provocateur frame people
Provocateur Caught Throwing Bricks At Ferguson Police
John Sayles on New FBI Rules & Role of Agent Provocateurs in Disrupting Social Movements
FBI Warns of Ferguson Violence from ‘Extremists’ After Grand Jury Decision
Ferguson braces for grand jury decision
Biracial couple: We’re staying in Ferguson
Snipers Take Aim and Push Infowars Reporters
Combat Vet Ferguson Missouri Has Turned Into Fallujah Iraq
Infowars Shatters Multiple Mainstream Media Lies in Ferguson, MO
Infowars Recounts Ferguson Police State
Missouri Deploys National Guard
Occupy LA – Police Provocateurs Confirmed
Occupy LA has become victim to police provocateur (under cover cops causing violence) much like other cities around the world. What to look for:
The same boots,
specific type of black bandana.
Police Provocateurs are not smart, and they are easy to spot. Do not let your 1st amendment rights be trampled by corrupt police.
LAPD Infiltrators and Agent Provocateurs Targeted Left and Panthers – Johnston on RAI – (2/4)
The Deep State and the Power of Billionaires – David Cay Johnston on Reality Asserts Itself (3/4)
Ferguson on the edge: RT America special on eve of grand jury ruling
Michael Brown Protests Turns Into RIOT…LOOTINGS…VIOLENCE(RIOT Police Called In)
Ferguson, Missouri LOOTERS Target FOOT LOCKER…FAMILY DOLLAR …RIMS… BURNS Down QUICKTRIP!!
Violence erupts in Ferguson
COINTELPRO 101 – The Sabotage Of Legitimate Dissent
Activists Who Stole FBI Documents in 1971 Revealing COINTELPRO Speak Out
Betty Medsger “The Burglary”
TREASON 101 FBI Cointelpro
COINTELPRO: The FBI’s War on Black America
BUSTED! Proof Missouri Riots Were Obama’s Attempt To Implement A Martial Law Police State!
FBI Agent Provocateur Suggested Terror Attack at Mosque
FBI – Don’t post that or I’ll be “livid”
Return of the Ferguson War Zone? Missouri Enacts State of Emergency Ahead of Mike Brown Grand Jury
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon has declared a state of emergency in advance of the grand jury’s pending decision in the Michael Brown shooting case. On Monday, Nixon issued an executive order to activate the state’s National Guard in response to what he called “the possibility of expanded unrest.” Nixon cited the protests in Ferguson and the St. Louis area since Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was killed by police officer Darren Wilson on August 9. The grand jury has been meeting for nearly three months, and protests are expected to escalate if they choose not to indict. But while state officials say they fear violence, protesters say they fear a return to the militarized crackdown that turned their community into a war zone. As the grand jury nears a decision and all sides prepare for the unknown under a state of emergency, we are joined by two guests: Jeff Smith, a New School professor and former Missouri state senator whose new book is “Ferguson: In Black and White,” and Montague Simmons, chair of the St. Louis-based Organization for Black Struggle and a key organizer in the movement that has emerged since Brown’s killing.
Under Obama, U.S. personal freedom ranking slips below France
U.S. Secrets: Classified Intelligence, CIA,FBI,NSA,Secret Service, Edward Snowden
#Ferguson Protest Group Releases List of Targets, Including: Anheuser Busch, Boeing, Emerson Electric, Airport
Posted by Jim Hoft on Monday, November 17, 2014, 11:28 AM
The No Indictment.org Ferguson protest group released its list of potential targets following the decision by the St. Louis County Courthouse on the Mike Brown case.
The published map shows expected landmarks like the Ferguson City Hall and the County Courthouse.
But it also marks things that have NOTHING to do with the Michael Brown situation, like Anheuser Busch and Boeing.
Most telling thing is the mark for Emerson Electric. Emerson has been in Ferguson for at least 50 years, long before Ferguson became a minority municipality. Yet not only do they mark Emerson they make note of the CEO’s salary. Maybe they’re mutating into an extortion group straight out of the playbook of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow Push Coalition?
In preparation for a no-indictment decision, here is the important information to know.
On August 9, 2014, Mike Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson. For nearly 100 days, we have protested to demand an indictment. We are hopeful that Darren Wilson will be indicted for murder, but the recent signs do not seem that this outcome is likely.
We will update this page daily with key information regarding post indictment decision announcement planning. And this isn’t meant to replace twitter or the newsletter, but to be a central space for information that can be updated in real-time.
Lawyers, Legal Workers, and Law Students – The Ferguson Legal Defense Fund, a coalition of St. Louis lawyers and firms, has issued an emergency call to action to find volunteers to assist with legal representation, jail supports and visits, legal research, legal observation, and legal observation and training. Click here to learn more and to volunteer.
Nationwide Actions Planned
Click here to learn more about the actions planned across the country in the event of a non-indictment. Actions are currently planned in 50+ cities across America.
For a primer and re-cap of the direct action trainings, click here to access the core materials. More information will be posted in the coming days.
Support With Safe House Supplies
All supplies are to be delivered to World Community Center at 438 N Skinker Blvd.
FBI Warns Ferguson Decision ‘Will Likely’ Lead to Violence By Extremists Protesters
By MIKE LEVINE, PIERRE THOMAS, JACK DATE and JACK CLOHERTY
As the nation waits to hear whether a Missouri police officer will face charges for killing unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the FBI is warning law enforcement agencies across the country that the decision “will likely” lead some extremist protesters to threaten and even attack police officers or federal agents.
Peaceful protesters could be caught in the middle, and electrical facilities or water treatment plants could also become targets. In addition, so-called “hacktivists” like the group “Anonymous” could try to launch cyber-attacks against authorities.
“The announcement of the grand jury’s decision … will likely be exploited by some individuals to justify threats and attacks against law enforcement and critical infrastructure,” the FBI says in an intelligence bulletin issued in recent days. “This also poses a threat to those civilians engaged in lawful or otherwise constitutionally protected activities.”
“Those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed…”
The FBI bulletin expresses concern only over those who would exploit peaceful protests, not the masses of demonstrators who will want to legitimately, lawfully and collectively express their views on the grand jury’s decision.
The bulletin “stresses the importance of remaining aware of the protections afforded to all U.S. persons exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and freedom of assembly.”
Within hours of the FBI issuing its bulletin, some police departments across the country issued their own internal memos urging officers to review procedures and protocols for responding to mass demonstrations.
Still, the bulletin’s conclusions were blunt: “The FBI assesses those infiltrating and exploiting otherwise legitimate public demonstrations with the intent to incite and engage in violence could be armed with bladed weapons or firearms, equipped with tactical gear/gas masks, or bulletproof vests to mitigate law enforcement measures.”
Jeff Roberson/AP Photo
PHOTO: A protester kicks a smoke grenade that had been deployed by police back in the direction of police, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
The bulletin cites a series of recent messages threatening law enforcement, including a message posted online last week by a black separatist group that offered “a $5,000 bounty for the location” of Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who fired the shots that killed Brown on Aug. 9.
In interviews with ABC News, police officials said their departments have identified a number of agitators who routinely appear at mass demonstrations.
“How many of those sympathizers are actually sympathizers?” Rick Hite, the chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan police department, wondered. Many of them see the protests as a way to “chime in with their own personal agenda,” he said.
In its new intelligence bulletin, obtained by ABC News, the FBI says “exploitation” of mass demonstrations “could occur both in the Ferguson area and nationwide.”
“All it takes is one.”
Overall, though, law enforcement officials contacted by ABC News – stretching from Los Angeles to the Atlanta area – remained confident that any protests in their cities would not be tainted by violence.
“We are not expecting any issues in our city,” said Billy Grogan, the chief of police in Dunwoody, Ga., outside Atlanta. “However, we are preparing just in case. I believe most departments are watching the situation closely and are prepared to respond if needed.”
A law enforcement official in Pennsylvania agreed, saying that while authorities there are not enacting any significant new measures they are “monitoring” developments out of Ferguson.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
PHOTO: Plywood covers the glass front of a strip mall along West Florissant Street on Nov. 12, 2014 in Ferguson, Mo.
In addition, police officials emphasized that efforts to address a big decision like the one pending in Ferguson actually begin well before that decision.
In Indianapolis, police have held two town-hall meetings in the past two months to discuss the Ferguson issue with concerned residents, and meetings like that help build a “bank of trust,” Hite said.
But it’s sometimes hard to build such trust between a community and the law enforcement officers working its streets.
With several recent cases involving allegations of excessive force by police officers, many in African-American communities can’t help but wonder why seemingly routine encounters escalate so dramatically.
Jeff Roberson/AP Photo
PHOTO: A man watches as police walk through a cloud of smoke during a clash with protesters, Aug. 13, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
In a recent interview with ABC News, Philadelphia Police Chief Charles Ramsey said people in “communities of color” often “don’t view us as people who really have the right to enforce laws or tell them what to do,” and sometimes it’s because of “the way they’ve seen us conduct ourselves in the past.”
“Not all cops, but all it takes is one,” Ramsey said. “As human beings, we tend to remember the one bad incident, not the 10 good ones that we may have experienced.”
On the other side of the spectrum, there are some uncomfortable facts that may be influencing how some police respond to African-Americans they encounter on routine patrols.
In particular, African-Americans are disproportionally represented in crime. According to the FBI, 4,379 blacks were arrested for murder last year, while 3,799 whites were arrested for murder – even though census numbers show there are six times more whites than blacks in the United States.
But as Ramsey said, crime statistics are no excuse for police bias.
“Protest. But protest peacefully. Have your voices be heard.”
And now a grand jury in Ferguson and federal prosecutors are separately looking into whether that type of bias led to Brown’s death.
It’s unclear whether the facts of the case will lead to any prosecution. Indeed, it seems few pieces of evidence are without dispute.
The day after the encounter that resulted in Brown’s death, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told reporters that Brown “physically assaulted” Wilson inside his police car and that “there was a struggle over the officer’s weapon.” At least one shot was fired inside the car, but the fatal shot was fired when both Wilson and Brown were outside the car, according to Belmar. At least one witness said Brown was shot “with his arms up in the air,” while the police claim Wilson fired because Brown was advancing towards him.
Jeff Roberson/AP Photo
PHOTO: People raise their hands in the middle of the street as police wearing riot gear move toward their position trying to get them to disperse, Aug. 11, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.
Pressed in September to acknowledge that the Justice Department’s own civil rights investigation may not result in charges, outgoing Attorney General Eric Holder would only say that “at the end of the day, it’s most important that we get it right.”
As for what’s ahead in Ferguson and communities across the country, Ramsey offered this piece of advice: “Protest. But protest peacefully. Have your voices be heard.”
Only Martians, by now, are unaware of the phone and online data scooped up by the National Security Agency (though if it turns out that they are aware, the NSA has surely picked up their signals and crunched their metadata). American high-tech surveillance is not, however, the only kind around. There’s also the lower tech, up-close-and-personal kind that involves informers and sometimes government-instigated violence.
Just how much of this is going on and in how coordinated a way no one out here in the spied-upon world knows. The lower-tech stuff gets reported, if at all, only one singular, isolated event at a time—look over here, look over there, now you see it, now you don’t. What is known about such surveillance as well as the suborning of illegal acts by government agencies, including the FBI, in the name of counterterrorism has not been put together by major news organizations in a way that would give us an overview of the phenomenon. (TheACLU has done by far the best job of compiling reports on this sort of spying on Americans.)
Some intriguing bits about informers and agents provocateurs briefly made it into the public spotlight whenOccupy Wall Street was riding high. But as always, dots need connecting. Here is a preliminary attempt to sort out some patterns behind what could be the next big story about government surveillance and provocation in America.
Two Stories From Occupy Wall Street
The first is about surveillance. The second is about provocation.
On September 17, 2011, Plan A for the New York activists who came to be known as Occupy Wall Street was to march to the territory outside the bank headquarters of JPMorgan Chase. Once there, they discovered that the block was entirely fenced in. Many activists came to believe that the police had learned their initial destination from e-mail circulating beforehand. Whereupon they headed for nearby Zuccotti Park and a movement was born.
The evening before May Day 2012, a rump Occupy groupmarched out of San Francisco’s Dolores Park and into the Mission District, a neighborhood where not so many 1 percenters live, work or shop. There, they proceeded to trash “mom and pop shops, local boutiques and businesses, and cars,” according to Scott Rossi, a medic and eyewitness, who summed his feelings up this way afterward: “We were hijacked.” The people “leading the march tonight,” he added, were
clean cut, athletic, commanding, gravitas not borne of charisma but of testosterone and intimidation. They were decked out in outfits typically attributed to those in the “black bloc” spectrum of tactics, yet their clothes were too new, and something was just off about them. They were very combative and nearly physically violent with the livestreamers on site, and got ignorant with me, a medic, when I intervened.… I didn’t recognize any of these people. Their eyes were too angry, their mouths were too severe. They felt “military” if that makes sense. Something just wasn’t right about them on too many levels.
He was quick to add, “I’m not one of those tin foil hat conspiracy theorists. I don’t subscribe to those theories that Queen Elizabeth’s Reptilian slave driver masters run the Fed. I’ve read up on agents provocateurs and plants and that sort of thing and I have to say that, without a doubt, I believe 100 percent that the people that started tonight’s events in the Mission were exactly that.”
Taken aback, Occupy San Francisco condemned the sideshow: “We consider these acts of vandalism and violence a brutal assault on our community and the 99%.”
Where does such vandalism and violence come from? We don’t know. There are actual activists who believe that they are doing good this way; and there are government infiltrators; and then there are double agents who don’t know who they work for, ultimately, but like smashing things or blowing them up. By definition, masked trashers of windows in Oakland or elsewhere are anonymous. In anonymity, they—and the burners of flags and setters of bombs—magnify their power. They hijack the media spotlight. In this way, tiny groups—incendiary, sincere, fraudulent, whoever they are—seize levers that can move the entire world.
The Sting of the Clueless Bee
Who casts the first stone? Who smashes the first window? Who teaches bombers to build and plant actual or spurious bombs? The history of the secret police planting agents provocateurs in popular movements goes back at least to nineteenth-century France and twentieth-century Russia. In 1905, for example, the priest who led the St. Petersburg’s revolution was some sort of double agent, as was the man who organized the assassination of the czar’s uncle, the grand duke. As it happens, the United States has its own surprisingly full history of such planted agents at work turning small groups or movements in directions that, for better or far more often worse, they weren’t planning on going. One well-documented case is that of “Tommy the Traveler,” a Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) organizer who after years of trying to arouse violent action convinced two 19-year-old students to firebomb an ROTC headquarters at Hobart College in upstate New York. The writer John Schultz reported onlikely provocateurs in Chicago during the Democratic National Convention of 1968. How much of this sort of thing went on? Who knows? Many relevant documents molded in unopened archives, or have been heavily redacted or destroyed.
As the Boston marathon bombing illustrates, there are homegrown terrorists capable of producing the weapons they need and killing Americans without the slightest help from the US government. But historically, it’s surprising how relatively often the gendarme is also a ringleader. Just how often is hard to know, since information on the subject is fiendishly hard to pry loose from the secret world.
Through 2011, 508 defendants in the United States were prosecuted in what the Department of Justice calls “terrorism-related cases.” According to Mother Jones’s Trevor Aaronson, the FBI ran sting operations that “resulted in prosecutions against 158 defendants”—about one-third of the total. “Of that total, forty-nine defendants participated in plots led by an agent provocateur—an FBI operative instigating terrorist action. With three exceptions, all of the high-profile domestic terror plots of the last decade were actually FBI stings.”
In Cleveland, on May Day of 2012, in the words of a Rolling Stone exposé, the FBI “turned five stoner misfits into the world’s most hapless terrorist cell.” To do this, the FBI put a deeply indebted, convicted bank robber and bad-check passer on its payroll, and hooked him up with an arms dealer, also paid by the bureau. The FBI undercover man then hustled five wacked-out wannabe anarchists into procuring what they thought was enough C4 plastic explosive to build bombs they thought would blow up a bridge. The bombs were, of course, dummies. The five were arrested and await trial.
What do such cases mean? What is the FBI up to? Trevor Aaronson offers this appraisal:
The FBI’s goal is to create a hostile environment for terrorist recruiters and operators—by raising the risk of even the smallest step toward violent action. It’s a form of deterrence.… Advocates insist it has been effective, noting that there hasn’t been a successful large-scale attack against the United States since 9/11. But what can’t be answered—as many former and current FBI agents acknowledge—is how many of the bureau’s targets would have taken the step over the line at all, were it not for an informant.
Perhaps Aaronson is a bit too generous. The FBI may, at times, be anything but thoughtful in its provocations. It may, in fact, be flatly dopey. COINTELPRO records released since the 1960s under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) show that it took FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover until 1968 to discover that there was such a thing as a New Left that might be of interest. Between 1960 and 1968, as the New Left was becoming a formidable force in its own right, the bureau’s top officials seem to have thought that groups like Students for a Democratic Society were simply covers for the Communist Party, which was like mistaking the fleas for the dog. We have been assured that the FBI of today has learned something since the days of J. Edgar Hoover. But of ignorance and stupidity there is no end.
Trivial and Nontrivial Pursuits
Entrapment and instigation to commit crimes are in themselves genuine dangers to American liberties, even when the liberties are those of the reckless and wild. But there is another danger to such pursuits: the attention the authorities pay to nonexistent threats (or the creation of such threats) is attention not paid to actual threats.
Anyone concerned about the security of Americans should cast a suspicious eye on the allocation or simply squandering of resources on wild goose chases. Consider some particulars which have recently come to light. Under the Freedom of Information Act, thePartnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) has unearthed documents showing that, in 2011 and 2012, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal agencies were busy surveilling and worrying about a good number of Occupy groups—during the very time that they were missing actual warnings about actual terrorist actions.
From its beginnings, the Occupy movement was of considerable interest to the DHS, the FBI and other law enforcement and intelligence agencies, while true terrorists were slipping past the nets they cast in the wrong places. In the fall of 2011, the DHS specifically asked its regional affiliates to report on “Peaceful Activist Demonstrations, in addition to reporting on domestic terrorist acts and ‘significant criminal activity.’ ”
Aware that Occupy was overwhelmingly peaceful, the federally funded Boston Regional Intelligence Center, one of seventy-seven coordination centers known generically as “fusion centers,” was busy monitoring Occupy Boston daily. As the investigative journalist Michael Isikoff recently reported, it was not only tracking Occupy-related Facebook pages and websites but “writing reports on the movement’s potential impact on ‘commercial and financial sector assets.’ ”
It was in this period that the FBI received the second of two Russian police warnings about the extremist Islamist activities of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the future Boston Marathon bomber. That city’s police commissioner later testified that the federal authorities did not pass any information at all about the Tsarnaev brothers on to him, though there’s no point in letting the Boston police off the hook either. The ACLU has uncovered documents showing that, during the same period, they were paying close attention to the internal workings of… Code Pink and Veterans for Peace.
Public Agencies and the “Private Sector”
So we know that Boston’s master coordinators—its Committee on Public Safety, you might say—were worried about constitutionally protected activity, including its consequences for “commercial and financial sector assets.” Unsurprisingly, the feds worked closely with Wall Street even before the settling of Zuccotti Park. More surprisingly, in Alaska, Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Tennessee and Wisconsin, intelligence was not only pooled among public law enforcement agencies, but shared with private corporations—and vice versa.
Nationally, in 2011, the FBI and DHS were, in the words of Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, executive director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, “treating protests against the corporate and banking structure of America as potential criminal and terrorist activity.” Last December using FOIA, PCJF obtained 112 pages of documents (heavily redacted) revealing a good deal of evidence for what might otherwise seem like an outlandish charge: that federal authorities were, in Verheyden-Hilliard’s words, “functioning as a de facto intelligence arm of Wall Street and Corporate America.” Consider these examples from PCJF’s summary of federal agencies working directly not only with local authorities but on behalf of the private sector:
• “As early as August 19, 2011, the FBI in New York was meeting with the New York Stock Exchange to discuss the Occupy Wall Street protests that wouldn’t start for another month. By September, prior to the start of the OWS, the FBI was notifying businesses that they might be the focus of an OWS protest.”
• “The FBI in Albany and the Syracuse Joint Terrorism Task Force disseminated information to…[twenty-two] campus police officials.… A representative of the State University of New York at Oswego contacted the FBI for information on the OWS protests and reported to the FBI on the SUNY-Oswego Occupy encampment made up of students and professors.”
• An entity called the Domestic Security Alliance Council (DSAC), “a strategic partnership between the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, and the private sector,” sent around information regarding Occupy protests at West Coast ports [on November 2, 2011] to “raise awareness concerning this type of criminal activity.” The DSAC report contained “a ‘handling notice’ that the information is ‘meant for use primarily within the corporate security community. Such messages shall not be released in either written or oral form to the media, the general public or other personnel…’ Naval Criminal Investigative Services reported to DSAC on the relationship between OWS and organized labor.”
• DSAC gave tips to its corporate clients on “civil unrest,” which it defined as running the gamut from “small, organized rallies to large-scale demonstrations and rioting.” It advised corporate employees to dress conservatively, avoid political discussions and “avoid all large gatherings related to civil issues. Even seemingly peaceful rallies can spur violent activity or be met with resistance by security forces.”
• The FBI in Anchorage, Jacksonville, Tampa, Richmond, Memphis, Milwaukee and Birmingham also gathered information and briefed local officials on wholly peaceful Occupy activities.
• In Jackson, Mississippi, FBI agents “attended a meeting with the Bank Security Group in Biloxi, MS with multiple private banks and the Biloxi Police Department, in which they discussed an announced protest for ‘National Bad Bank Sit-In-Day’ on December 7, 2011.” Also in Jackson, “the Joint Terrorism Task Force issued a ‘Counterterrorism Preparedness’ alert” that, despite heavy redactions, notes the need to ‘document…the Occupy Wall Street Movement.’ ”
Sometimes, “intelligence” moves in the opposite direction—from private corporations to public agencies. Among the collectors of such “intelligence” are entities that, like the various intelligence and law enforcement outfits, do not make distinctions between terrorists and nonviolent protesters. Consider TransCanada, the corporation that plans to build the 1,179-mile Keystone-XL tar sands pipeline across the US and in the process realize its “vision to become the leading energy infrastructure company in North America.“ The anti-pipeline group Bold Nebraska filed a successful Freedom of Information Act request with the Nebraska State Patrol and so was able to put TransCanada’s briefing slideshow up online.
So it can be documented in living color that the company lectured federal agents and local police to look into the use of “anti-terrorism statutes” against peaceful anti-Keystone activists. TransCanada showed slides that cited as sinister the “attendance” of Bold Nebraska members at public events, noting “Suspicious Vehicles/Photography.” TransCanada alerted the authorities that Nebraska protesters were guilty of “aggressive/abusive behavior,” citing a local anti-pipeline group that, they said, committed a “slap on the shoulder” at the Merrick County Board Meeting (possessor of said shoulder unspecified). They fingered nonviolent activists by name and photo, paying them the tribute of calling them “’Professionals’ & Organized.” Native News Network pointed out that “although TransCanada’s presentation to authorities contains information about property destruction, sabotage, and booby traps, police in Texas and Oklahoma have never alleged, accused, or charged Tar Sands Blockade activists of any such behaviors.”
Centers for Fusion, Diffusion and Confusion
After September 11, 2001, government agencies at all levels, suddenly eager to break down information barriers and connect the sort of dots that had gone massively unconnected before the Al Qaeda attacks, used Department of Homeland Security funds to start “fusion centers.” These are supposed to coordinate anti-terrorist intelligence gathering and analysis. They are also supposed to “fuse” intelligence reports from federal, state and local authorities, as well as private companies that conduct intelligence operations. According to the ACLU, at least seventy-seven fusion centers currently receive federal funds.
Much is not known about these centers, including just who runs them, by what rules and which public and private entities are among the fused. There is nothing public about most of them. However, some things are known about a few. Several fusion center reports that have gone public illustrate a remarkably slapdash approach to what constitutes “terrorist danger” and just what kinds of data are considered relevant for law enforcement. In 2010, the American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee learned, for instance, that the Tennessee Fusion Center was “highlighting on its website map of ‘Terrorism Events and Other Suspicious Activity’ a recent ACLU-TN letter to school superintendents. The letter encourages schools to be supportive of all religious beliefs during the holiday season.” (The map is no longer online.)
So far, the prize for pure fused wordiness goes to a 215-page manual issued in 2009 by theVirginia Fusion Center (VFC), filled with Keystone Kop–style passages among pages that in their intrusive sweep are anything but funny. The VFC warned, for instance, that “the Garbage Liberation Front (GLF) is an ecological direct action group that demonstrates the joining of anarchism and environmental movements.” Among GLF’s dangerous activities well worth the watching, the VFC included “dumpster diving, squatting, and train hopping.”
In a similarly jaw-dropping manner, the manual claimed—the italics are mine—that “Katuah Earth First (KEF), based in Asheville, North Carolina, sends activists throughout the region to train and engage in criminal activity. KEF has trained local environmentalists in non-violent tactics, including blocking roads and leading demonstrations, at action camps in Virginia.While KEF has been primarily involved in protests and university outreach, members have also engaged in vandalism.” Vandalism! Send out an APB!
The VFC also warned that, “although the anarchist threat to Virginia is assessed as low, these individuals view the government as unnecessary, which could lead to threats or attacks against government figures or establishments.” It singled out the following 2008 incidents as worth notice:
• At the Martinsville Speedway, “A temporary employee called in a bomb threat during a Sprint Cup race…because he was tired of picking up trash and wanted to go home.”
• In Missouri, “a mobile security team observed an individual photographing an unspecified oil refinery.… The person abruptly left the scene before he could be questioned.”
• Somewhere in Virginia, “seven passengers aboard a white pontoon boat dressed in traditional Middle Eastern garments immediately sped away after being sighted in the recreational area, which is in close proximity to” a power plant.
What idiot or idiots wrote this script?
Given a disturbing lack of evidence of terrorist actions undertaken or in prospect, the authors even warned:
It is likely that potential incidents of interest are occurring, but that such incidents are either not recognized by initial responders or simply not reported. The lack of detailed information for Virginia instances of monitored trends should not be construed to represent a lack of occurrence.
Lest it be thought that Virginia stands alone and shivering on the summit of bureaucratic stupidity, consider an “intelligence report” from the North Central Texas fusion center, which in a 2009 “Prevention Awareness Bulletin” described, in the ACLU’s words, “a purported conspiracy between Muslim civil rights organizations, lobbying groups, the antiwar movement, a former US Congresswoman, the US Treasury Department, and hip hop bands to spread tolerance in the United States, which would ‘provide an environment for terrorist organizations to flourish.’ ”
And those Virginia and Texas fusion centers were hardly alone in expanding the definition of “terrorist” to fit just about anyone who might oppose government policies. According to a 2010 report in the Los Angeles Times, the Justice Department Inspector General found that “FBI agents improperly opened investigations into Greenpeace and several other domestic advocacy groups after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, and put the names of some of their members on terrorist watch lists based on evidence that turned out to be ‘factually weak.’ ” The Inspector General called “troubling” what the Los Angeles Times described as “singling out some of the domestic groups for investigations that lasted up to five years, and were extended ‘without adequate basis.’ ”
Subsequently, the FBI continued to maintain investigative files on groups like Greenpeace, the Catholic Worker, and the Thomas Merton Center in Pittsburgh, cases where (in the politely put words of the Inspector General’s report) “there was little indication of any possible federal crimes… In some cases, the FBI classified some investigations relating to nonviolent civil disobedience under its ‘acts of terrorism’ classification.”
One of these investigations concerned Greenpeace protests planned for ExxonMobil shareholder meetings. (Note: I was on Greenpeace’s board of directors during three of those years.) The inquiry was kept open “for over three years, long past the shareholder meetings that the subjects were supposedly planning to disrupt.” The FBI put the names of Greenpeace members on its federal watch list. Around the same time, an ExxonMobil-funded lobby got the IRS to audit Greenpeace.
This counterintelligence archipelago of malfeasance and stupidity is sometimes fused with ass-covering fabrication. In Pittsburgh, on the day after Thanksgiving 2002 (“a slow work day” in the Justice Department inspector general’s estimation), a rookie FBI agent was outfitted with a camera, sent to an antiwar rally, and told to look for terrorism suspects. The “possibility that any useful information would result from this make-work assignment was remote,” the report added drily.
The agent was unable to identify any terrorism subjects at the event, but he photographed a woman in order to have something to show his supervisor. He told us he had spoken to a woman leafletter at the rally who appeared to be of Middle Eastern descent, and that she was probably the person he photographed.
The sequel was not quite so droll. The Inspector General found that FBI officials, including their chief lawyer in Pittsburgh, manufactured postdated “routing slips” and the rest of a phony paper trail to justify this surveillance retroactively.
Moreover, at least one fusion center has involved military intelligence in civilian law enforcement. In 2009, a military operative from Fort Lewis, Washington, worked undercovercollecting information on peace groups in the Northwest. In fact, he helped run the Port Militarization Resistance group’s Listserv. Once uncovered, he told activists there were others doing similar work in the Army. How much the military spies on American citizens is unknown and, at the moment at least, unknowable.
Do we hear an echo from the abyss of the counterintelligence programs of the 1960s and 1970s, when FBI memos—I have some in my own heavily redacted files obtained through an FOIA request—were routinely copied to military intelligence units? Then, too, military intelligence operatives spied on activists who violated no laws, were not suspected of violating laws, and had they violated laws, would not have been under military jurisdiction in any case. During those years, more than 1,500 Army intelligence agents in plain clothes were spying, undercover, on domestic political groups (according to “Military Surveillance of Civilian Politics, 1967–70,” an unpublished dissertation by former Army intelligence captain Christopher H. Pyle). They posed as students, sometimes growing long hair and beards for the purpose, or as reporters and camera crews. They recorded speeches and conversations on concealed tape recorders. The Army lied about their purposes, claiming they were interested solely in “civil disturbance planning.”
Years later, I met one of these agents, now retired, in San Francisco. He knew more about what I was doing in the late 1960s than my mother did.
In 2009, President Obama told the graduating class at the Naval Academy that, “as Americans, we reject the false choice between our security and our ideals.” Security and ideals: officially we want both. But how do you square circles, especially in a world in which “security” has often enough become a stand-in for whatever intelligence operatives decide to do?
The ACLU’s Tennessee office sums the situation up nicely: “While the ostensible purpose of fusion centers, to improve sharing of anti-terrorism intelligence among different levels and arms of government, is legitimate and important, using the centers to monitor protected First Amendment activity clearly crosses the line.” Nationally, the ACLU rightly worries about who is in charge of fusion centers and by what rules they operate, about what becomes of privacy when private corporations are inserted into the intelligence process, about what the military is doing meddling in civilian law enforcement, about data-mining operations that Federal guidelines encourage, and about the secrecy walls behind which the fusion centers operate.
Even when fusion centers do their best to square that circle in their own guidelines, like the ones obtained by the ACLU from Massachusetts’s Commonwealth Fusion Center (CFC), the knots in which they tie themselves are all over the page. Imagine, then, what happens when you let informers or agents provocateurs loose in actual undercover situations.
“Undercovers,” writes the Massachusetts CFC, “may not seek to gain access to private meetings and should not actively participate in meetings.… At the preliminary inquiry stage, sources and informants should not be used to cultivate relationships with persons and groups that are the subject of the preliminary inquiry.” So far so good. Then, it adds, “Investigators may, however, interview, obtain, and accept information known to sources and informants.” By eavesdropping, say? Collecting trash? Hacking? All without warrants? Without probable cause?
“Undercovers and informants,” the guidelines continue, “are strictly prohibited from engaging in any conduct the sole purpose of which is to disrupt the lawful exercise of political activity, from disrupting the lawful operations of an organization, from sowing seeds of distrust between members of an organization involved in lawful activity, or from instigating unlawful acts or engaging in unlawful or unauthorized investigative activities.” Now, go back and note that little, easy-to-miss word “sole.” Who knows just what grim circles that tiny word squares?
The Massachusetts CFC at least addresses the issue of entrapment: “Undercovers should not become so involved in a group that they are participating in directing the operations of a group, either by accepting a formal position in the hierarchy or by informally establishing the group’s policy and priorities. This does not mean an undercover cannot support a group’s policies and priorities; rather an undercover should not become a driving force behind a group’s unlawful activities.” Did Cleveland’s fusion center have such guidelines? Did they follow them? Do other state fusion centers? We don’t know.
Whatever the fog of surveillance, when it comes to informers, agents provocateurs, and similar matters, four things are clear enough:
• Terrorist plots arise, in the United States as elsewhere, with the intent of committing murder and mayhem. Since 2001, in the US, these have been almost exclusively the work of freelance Islamist ideologues like the Tsarnaev brothers of Boston. None have been connected in any meaningful way with any legitimate organization or movement.
• Government surveillance may in some cases have been helpful in scotching such plots, but there is no evidence that it has been essential.
• Even based on the limited information available to us, since September 11, 2001, the net of surveillance has been thrown wide indeed. Tabs have been kept on members of quite a range of suspect populations, including American Muslims, anarchists, and environmentalists, among others—in situation after situation where there was no probable cause to suspect preparations for a crime.
• At least on occasion—we have no way of knowing how often—agents provocateurs on government payrolls have spurred violence.
How much official unintelligence is at work? How many demonstrations are being poked and prodded by undercover agents? How many acts of violence are being suborned? It would be foolish to say we know. At least equally foolish would be to trust the authorities to keep to honest-to-goodness police work when they are so mightily tempted to take the low road into straight-out, unwarranted espionage and instigation.
The official COINTELPRO label took place between 1956 and 1971. The FBI’s stated motivation was “protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order.”
The FBI engaged in the political repression of “communism” almost from the time of the agency’s inception in 1908, at a time of widespread social disruption due to anarchists and labor movements. Beginning in the 1930s, antecedents to COINTELPRO operated during the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Trumanadministrations. Centralized operations under COINTELPRO officially began in August 1956 with a program designed to “increase factionalism, cause disruption and win defections” inside the Communist Party U.S.A. (CPUSA). Tactics included anonymous phone calls, IRS audits, and the creation of documents that would divide American communists internally. An October 1956 memo from Hoover reclassified the FBI’s ongoing surveillance of black leaders, including it within COINTELPRO, with the justification that the movement was infiltrated by communists. In 1956, Hoover sent an open letter denouncing Dr. T.R.M. Howard, a civil rights leader, surgeon, and wealthy entrepreneur in Mississippi who had criticized FBI inaction in solving recent murders of George W. Lee, Emmett Till, and other blacks in the South. When the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) was founded in 1957, the FBI began to monitor and target the group almost immediately, focusing particularly on Bayard Rustin, Stanley Levison, and, eventually, Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.
In the light of King’s powerful demagogic speech. … We must mark him now, if we have not done so before, as the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and national security.
Soon after, the FBI was systematically bugging King’s home and his hotel rooms.
In the mid-1960s, King began publicly criticizing the Bureau for giving insufficient attention to the use of terrorism by white supremacists. Hoover responded by publicly calling King the most “notorious liar” in the United States. In his 1991 memoir, Washington Post journalist Carl Rowan asserted that the FBI had sent at least one anonymous letter to King encouraging him to commit suicide. Historian Taylor Branch documents an anonymous November 21, 1964 “suicide package” sent by the FBI that contained audio recordings of King’s sexual indiscretions combined with a letter telling him “There is only one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”
During the same period the program also targeted Malcolm X. While an FBI spokesman has denied that the FBI was “directly” involved in Malcolm’s murder, it is documented that the Bureau fostered the violent schism between Malcolm and the Nation of Islam that led to the black leader’s death. The FBI heavily infiltrated Malcolm’s Organization of Afro-American Unity in the final month’s of his life. The Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Malcolm X by Manning Marable asserts that most of the men who plotted Malcolm’s assassination were never apprehended and that the full extent of the FBI’s involvement in his death cannot be known.
A March 1968 memo stated the programs goal was to “prevent the coalition of militant black nationalist groups” ; to “Prevent the RISE OF A ‘MESSIAH’ who could unify…the militant black nationalist movement” ; “to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence [against authorities].” ; to “Prevent militant black nationalist groups and leaders from gaining RESPECTABILITY, by discrediting them to…both the responsible community and to liberals who have vestiges of sympathy…”; and to “prevent the long-range GROWTH of militant black organizations, especially among youth.” Dr. King was said to have potential to be the “messiah” figure, should he abandon nonviolence and integrationism;Stokely Carmichael was noted to have “the necessary charisma to be a real threat in this way.” 
Overall, COINTELPRO encompassed disruption and sabotage of the Socialist Workers Party (1961), the Ku Klux Klan (1964), the Nation of Islam, the Black Panther Party (1967), and the entire New Left social/political movement, which included antiwar, community, and religious groups (1968). A later investigation by the Senate’sChurch Committee (see below) stated that “COINTELPRO began in 1956, in part because of frustration with Supreme Court rulings limiting the Government’s power to proceed overtly against dissident groups …” Official congressional committees and several court cases have concluded that COINTELPRO operations against communist and socialist groups exceeded statutory limits on FBI activity and violated constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech and association.
The building broken into by the Citizen’s Commission to Investigate the FBI, at One Veterans Square, Media, Pennsylvania
Additional documents were revealed in the course of separate lawsuits filed against the FBI by NBC correspondent Carl Stern, the Socialist Workers Party, and a number of other groups. In 1976 the Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities of the United States Senate, commonly referred to as the “Church Committee” for its chairman, Senator Frank Church of Idaho, launched a major investigation of the FBI and COINTELPRO. Journalists and historians speculate that the government has not released many dossier and documents related to the program. Many released documents have been partly, or entirely, redacted.
Since the conclusion of centralized COINTELPRO operations in 1971, FBI counterintelligence operations have been handled on a “case-by-case basis”; however allegations of improper political repression continue.
The Final Report of the Select Committee castigated conduct of the intelligence community in its domestic operations (including COINTELPRO) in no uncertain terms:
The Committee finds that the domestic activities of the intelligence community at times violated specific statutory prohibitions and infringed the constitutional rights of American citizens. The legal questions involved in intelligence programs were often not considered. On other occasions, they were intentionally disregarded in the belief that because the programs served the “national security” the law did not apply. While intelligence officers on occasion failed to disclose to their superiors programs which were illegal or of questionable legality, the Committee finds that the most serious breaches of duty were those of senior officials, who were responsible for controlling intelligence activities and generally failed to assure compliance with the law. Many of the techniques used would be intolerable in a democratic society even if all of the targets had been involved in violent activity, but COINTELPRO went far beyond that … the Bureau conducted a sophisticated vigilante operation aimed squarely at preventing the exercise of First Amendment rights of speech and association, on the theory that preventing the growth of dangerous groups and the propagation of dangerous ideas would protect the national security and deter violence.
The Church Committee documented a history of the FBI exercising political repression as far back as World War I, through the 1920s, when agents were charged with rounding up “anarchists, communists, socialists, reformists and revolutionaries” for deportation. The domestic operations were increased against political and anti-war groups from 1936 through 1976.
The intended effect of the FBI’s COINTELPRO was to “expose, disrupt, misdirect, or otherwise neutralize” groups that the FBI officials believed were “subversive” by instructing FBI field operatives to:
create a negative public image for target groups (e.g. by surveilling activists, and releasing negative personal information to the public)
break down internal organization
create dissension between groups
restrict access to public resources
restrict the ability to organize protests
restrict the ability of individuals to participate in group activities
While the declared purposes of these programs were to protect the “national security” or prevent violence, Bureau witnesses admit that many of the targets were nonviolent and most had no connections with a foreign power. Indeed, nonviolent organizations and individuals were targeted because the Bureau believed they represented a “potential” for violence—and nonviolent citizens who were against the war in Vietnam were targeted because they gave “aid and comfort” to violent demonstrators by lending respectability to their cause.
The imprecision of the targeting is demonstrated by the inability of the Bureau to define the subjects of the programs. The Black Nationalist program, according to its supervisor, included “a great number of organizations that you might not today characterize as black nationalist but which were in fact primarily black.” Thus, the nonviolent Southern Christian Leadership Conference was labeled as a Black Nationalist-“Hate Group.”
Furthermore, the actual targets were chosen from a far broader group than the titles of the programs would imply. The CPUSA program targeted not only Communist Party members but also sponsors of the National Committee to Abolish the House Un-American Activities Committee and civil rights leaders allegedly under Communist influence or deemed to be not sufficiently “anti-Communist”. The Socialist Workers Party program included non-SWP sponsors of anti-war demonstrations which were cosponsored by the SWP or the Young Socialist Alliance, its youth group. The Black Nationalist program targeted a range of organizations from the Panthers to SNCC to the peaceful Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and included every Black Student Union and many other black student groups. New Left targets ranged from the SDS to the InterUniversity Committee for Debate on Foreign Policy, from Antioch College (“vanguard of the New Left”) to the New Mexico Free University and other “alternate” schools, and from underground newspapers to students’ protesting university censorship of a student publication by carrying signs with four-letter words on them.
Examples of surveillance, spanning all presidents from FDR to Nixon, both legal and illegal, contained in the Church Committee report:
President Roosevelt asked the FBI to put in its files the names of citizens sending telegrams to the White House opposing his “national defense” policy and supporting Col. Charles Lindbergh.
President Truman received inside information on a former Roosevelt aide’s efforts to influence his appointments, labor union negotiating plans, and the publishing plans of journalists.
President Johnson asked the FBI to conduct “name checks” of his critics and members of the staff of his 1964 opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. He also requested purely political intelligence on his critics in the Senate, and received extensive intelligence reports on political activity at the 1964 Democratic Conventionfrom FBI electronic surveillance.
President Nixon authorized a program of wiretaps which produced for the White House purely political or personal information unrelated to national security, including information about a Supreme Court Justice.
The COINTELPRO documents show numerous cases of the FBI’s intentions to prevent and disrupt protests against the Vietnam War. Many techniques were used to accomplish this task. “These included promoting splits among antiwar forces, encouraging red-baiting of socialists, and pushing violent confrontations as an alternative to massive, peaceful demonstrations.” One 1966 COINTELPRO operation tried to redirect the Socialist Workers Party from their pledge of support for the antiwar movement.
According to attorney Brian Glick in his book War at Home, the FBI used four main methods during COINTELPRO:
Infiltration: Agents and informers did not merely spy on political activists. Their main purpose was to discredit and disrupt. Their very presence served to undermine trust and scare off potential supporters. The FBI and police exploited this fear to smear genuine activists as agents.
Psychological warfare: The FBI and police used myriad “dirty tricks” to undermine progressive movements. They planted false media stories and published bogus leaflets and other publications in the name of targeted groups. They forged correspondence, sent anonymous letters, and made anonymous telephone calls. They spread misinformation about meetings and events, set up pseudo movement groups run by government agents, and manipulated or strong-armed parents, employers, landlords, school officials and others to cause trouble for activists. They used bad-jacketingto create suspicion about targeted activists, sometimes with lethal consequences.
Legal harassment: The FBI and police abused the legal system to harass dissidents and make them appear to be criminals. Officers of the law gave perjured testimony and presented fabricated evidence as a pretext for false arrests and wrongful imprisonment. They discriminatorily enforced tax laws and other government regulations and used conspicuous surveillance, “investigative” interviews, and grand jury subpoenas in an effort to intimidate activists and silence their supporters.
Illegal force: The FBI conspired with local police departments to threaten dissidents; to conduct illegal break-ins in order to search dissident homes; and to commit vandalism, assaults, beatings and assassinations. The object was to frighten or eliminate dissidents and disrupt their movements.
The FBI specifically developed tactics intended to heighten tension and hostility between various factions in the black militancy movement, for example between the Black Panthers, the US Organization, and the Blackstone Rangers. This resulted in numerous deaths, among which were San Diego Black Panther Party members John Huggins, Bunchy Carter and Sylvester Bell.
The FBI also conspired with the police departments of many U.S. cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Philadelphia, Chicago) to encourage repeated raids on Black Panther homes—often with little or no evidence of violations of federal, state, or local laws—which resulted directly in the police killing many members of the Black Panther Party, most notably Chicago Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton on December 4, 1969.
In order to eliminate black militant leaders whom they considered dangerous, the FBI is believed to have worked with local police departments to target specific individuals, accuse them of crimes they did not commit, suppress exculpatory evidence and falsely incarcerate them.Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, a Black Panther Party leader, was incarcerated for 27 years before a California Superior Court vacated his murder conviction, ultimately freeing him. Appearing before the court, an FBI agent testified that he believed Pratt had been framed, because both the FBI and the Los Angeles Police Department knew he had not been in the area at the time the murder occurred.
Some sources claim that the FBI conducted more than 200 “black bag jobs“, which were warrantless surreptitious entries, against the targeted groups and their members.
J. Edgar Hoover
In 1969 the FBI special agent in San Francisco wrote Hoover that his investigation of the Black Panther Party (BPP) had concluded that in his city, at least, the Panthers were primarily engaged in feeding breakfast to children. Hoover fired back a memo implying the agent’s career goals would be directly affected by his supplying evidence to support Hoover’s view that the BPP was “a violence-prone organization seeking to overthrow the Government by revolutionary means”.
Hoover supported using false claims to attack his political enemies. In one memo he wrote: “Purpose of counterintelligence action is to disrupt the BPP and it is immaterial whether facts exist to substantiate the charge.”
In one particularly controversial 1965 incident, white civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo was murdered by Ku Klux Klansmen, who gave chase and fired shots into her car after noticing that her passenger was a young black man; one of the Klansmen was Gary Thomas Rowe, an acknowledged FBI informant. The FBI spread rumors that Liuzzo was a member of theCommunist Party and had abandoned her children to have sexual relationships with African Americans involved in the Civil Rights Movement. FBI records show that J. Edgar Hoover personally communicated these insinuations to President Johnson. FBI informant Rowe has also been implicated in some of the most violent crimes of the 1960s civil rights era, including attacks on the Freedom Riders and the 1963 Birmingham, Alabama 16th Street Baptist Church bombing.According to Noam Chomsky, in another instance in San Diego, the FBI financed, armed, and controlled an extreme right-wing group of former Minutemen, transforming it into a group called the Secret Army Organization that targeted groups, activists, and leaders involved in the Anti-War Movement, using both intimidation and violent acts.
Hoover ordered preemptive action “to pinpoint potential troublemakers and neutralize them before they exercise their potential for violence.”
Too many people have been spied upon by too many Government agencies and too much information has been illegally collected. The Government has often undertaken the secret surveillance of citizens on the basis of their political beliefs, even when those beliefs posed no threat of violence or illegal acts on behalf of a hostile foreign power. The Government, operating primarily through secret and bias informants, but also using other intrusive techniques such as wiretaps, microphone “bugs”, surreptitious mail opening, and break-ins, has swept in vast amounts of information about the personal lives, views, and associations of American citizens. Investigations of groups deemed potentially dangerous—and even of groups suspected of associating with potentially dangerous organizations—have continued for decades, despite the fact that those groups did not engage in unlawful activity.
Groups and individuals have been assaulted, repressed, harassed and disrupted because of their political views,social believes and their lifestyles. Investigations have been based upon vague standards whose breadth made excessive collection inevitable. Unsavory, harmful and vicious tactics have been employed—including anonymous attempts to break up marriages, disrupt meetings, ostracize persons from their professions, and provoke target groups into rivalries that might result in deaths. Intelligence agencies have served the political and personal objectives of presidents and other high officials. While the agencies often committed excesses in response to pressure from high officials in the Executive branch and Congress, they also occasionally initiated improper activities and then concealed them from officials whom they had a duty to inform.
Governmental officials—including those whose principal duty is to enforce the law—have violated or ignored the law over long periods of time and have advocated and defended their right to break the law.
The Constitutional system of checks and balances has not adequately controlled intelligence activities. Until recently the Executive branch has neither delineated the scope of permissible activities nor established procedures for supervising intelligence agencies. Congress has failed to exercise sufficient oversight, seldom questioning the use to which its appropriations were being put. Most domestic intelligence issues have not reached the courts, and in those cases when they have reached the courts, the judiciary has been reluctant to grapple with them.
While COINTELPRO was officially terminated in April 1971, critics allege that continuing FBI actions indicate that post-COINTELPRO reforms did not succeed in ending COINTELPRO tactics. Documents released under the FOIA show that the FBI tracked the late David Halberstam—a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author—for more than two decades. In 1978, then-acting FBI Director William H. Webster indicated that, by 1976, most of the program’s resources has been rerouted.[better source needed]
“Counterterrorism” guidelines implemented during the Reagan administration have been described as allowing a return to COINTELPRO tactics.[pages needed] Some radical groups accuse factional opponents of being FBI informants or assume the FBI is infiltrating the movement.
The IG report found these “troubling” FBI practices between 2001 and 2006. In some cases, the FBI conducted investigations of people affiliated with activist groups for “factually weak” reasons. Also, the FBI extended investigations of some of the groups “without adequate basis” and improperly kept information about activist groups in its files. The IG report also found that FBI Director Robert Mueller III provided inaccurate congressional testimony about one of the investigations, but this inaccuracy may have been due to his relying on what FBI officials told him.
Several authors have accused the FBI of continuing to deploy COINTELPRO-like tactics against radical groups after the official COINTELPRO operations were ended. Several authors have suggested the American Indian Movement (AIM) has been a target of such disturbing operations.
Authors such as Ward Churchill, Rex Weyler, and Peter Matthiessen allege that the federal government intended to acquire uranium deposits on the Lakota tribe’s reservation land, and that this motivated a larger government conspiracy against AIM activists on the Pine Ridge reservation. Others believe COINTELPRO continues and similar actions are being taken against activist groups. Caroline Woidat says that, with respect to Native Americans, COINTELPRO should be understood within a historical context in which “Native Americans have been viewed and have viewed the world themselves through the lens of conspiracy theory.” Other authors note that while some conspiracy theories related to COINTELPRO are unfounded, the issue of ongoing government surveillance and repression is real.
Story 1: Good News and Bad News Concerning Ebola — 2 Nurses Ebola Free and 1 Doctor Has Confirmed Case of Ebola in New York City — Ebola Infected Dr. Craig Spencer Took A-Train, L-Train and High-Line – Went Bowling — Contact Tracing Begins — Airborne Ebola Theme Song — If I can make it there, I can make it anywhere, New York, New York — Videos
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New York City, Bellevue Hospital nurse Belkys Fortune, left, and Teressa Celia, Associate Director of Infection Prevention and Control, pose in protective suits in an isolation room, in the Emergency Room of Bellevue Hospital.
Note: They are not wearing a
Biosafety Level 4 Positive Pressure Spacesuit!
(See above photos)
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Ebola Theme Song — New York, New York
Frank Sinatra-New York,New York
Frank Sinatra-New York,New York-Lyrics
Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York
These vagabond shoes, are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New YorkI want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heapThese little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York..New YorkNew York…New York
I want to wake up, in a city that never sleeps
And find I’m A number one, top of the list
King of the hill, A number one….These little town blues, are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York
If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you, New York..New York New York!!!
Frank Sinatra – New York New York Song **Lyrics** [HD]
My Kind of Town (Chicago) – Frank Sinatra
“My Kind Of Town”
Now this could only happen to a guy like me
And only happen in a town like this
So may I say to each of you most gratef’lly
As I throw each one of you a kissThis is my kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of people, too
People who smile at youAnd each time I roam, Chicago is
Calling me home, Chicago is
Why I just grin like a clown
It’s my kind of town[brief instrumental]My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of town, Chicago is
My kind of razzmatazz
And it has all that jazzAnd each time I leave, Chicago is
Tuggin’ my sleeve, Chicago is
The Wrigley Building, Chicago is
The Union Stockyard, Chicago is
One town that won’t let you down
It’s my kind of town
New York, New Jersey Set Up Mandatory Quarantine Requirement Amid Ebola Threat Christie: New Policy Has Already Been Used At Newark Liberty International Airport
As CBS 2’s Alice Gainer reported, no other states have yet set up increased screening procedures for Ebola.
“We believe it’s appropriate to increase the current screening procedures from people coming from affected countries from the current (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention screening procedures),” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday afternoon. “We believe it within the State of New York and the State of New Jersey’s legal rights.”
Under the new rules, state officials will establish a risk level by considering the countries that people have visited and their level of possible exposure to Ebola.
The patients with the highest level of possible exposure will be automatically quarantined for 21 days at a government-regulated facility. Those with a lower risk will be monitored for temperature and symptoms, Cuomo explained.
The New York and New Jersey health departments will determine their own specific procedures for hospitalization and quarantine, and will provide a daily recap to state officials on the status of screening, New York State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said at the news conference.
The new procedures already have been put into use at Newark Liberty International Airport.
On Friday, a health care worker landed at Newark after treating Ebola patients in West Africa, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said at the news conference. A legal quarantine was issued for the woman, who was not a New Jersey resident and was set to go on to New York afterward.
“This woman, while her home residence is outside the area, said her next stop was going to be here in New York,” Christie said. “Governor Cuomo and I discussed it before we came out here, and a quarantine order will be issued.”
The woman will be quarantined in either New York or New Jersey, Christie said.
In discussing the new plan, Cuomo and Christie said a policy of voluntary quarantine simply does not go far enough.
“Voluntary quarantine – you know it’s almost an oxymoron. This is a very serious situation.” Cuomo said. “Voluntary quarantine – raise your right hand and promise you’re going to stay home for 21 days. We’ve seen what happens.”
The new rules were announced a day after Dr. Craig Spencer, a member of Doctors Without Borders, became New York City’s first Ebola patient.
He reported Thursday morning coming down with a fever and diarrhea and is being treated in an isolation ward at Bellevue Hospital, a designated Ebola center.
Spencer returned from West Africa last Friday after treating Ebola patients in Guinea with Doctors Without Borders. He arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport, passing the extensive CDC screening process.
“When he arrived in the United States, he was also well with no symptoms,” said New York City Health Commissioner Mary Travis Bassett.
Doctors Without Borders said per the guidelines it provides its staff members on their return from Ebola assignments, “the individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately.” But Spencer also took the subway, walked the High Line, and went bowling in Williamsburg, Brooklyn the day before he became sick.
“He was a doctor, and even he didn’t follow the guidelines,” Cuomo said.
With that in mind, the states have to lay down the law, the governors said.
“It’s too serious a situation to leave it to the honor system,” Cuomo said.
The CDC is reviewing its policy for health care workers returning from West Africa, but anyone flying into a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey airport will need to abide by the new procedures.
Ebola Arrives in New York. How Prepared Is the City to Handle It?
Dr. Craig Spencer, the health care worker who recently returned from Guinea and tested positivefor the Ebola virus, is now the first patient to be treated at New York’s Bellevue Hospital.
But the hospital, as well as city, state and federal officials, have been working for weeks or more to ensure the city is ready to identify and treat Ebola cases.
This preparation reflects the now-proven fact that the longer the outbreak rages on in West Africa, the more likely it was that a patient would wind up in Western cities, including New York.
On Oct. 15, the state designated Bellevue Hospital Center as the facility to receive Ebola patients from among the city’s 11 public hospitals, and to receive transferred patients from other hospitals as well, in the event that any Ebola cases occur in the city.
According to a statement from the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation, the hospital has four single-bed rooms in its infectious disease ward to treat “high probability or confirmed Ebola cases.” This part of the hospital also has a new laboratory that can test for Ebola, separate from the rest of the hospital’s labs, to handle Ebola blood samples.
Because the virus can be spread through contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids, careful handling of blood and other samples is necessary.
The hospital is particularly well suited due to its long history of being on the front lines of epidemics and emerging public health threats, and managing an isolation unit for diseases, such as TB, for many years with support from and collaboration with the City Health Department.
Three other hospitals in New York City have also been designated by the state to treat suspected and confirmed Ebola cases, including Mt. Sinai and New York Presbyterian in Manhattan and Montefiore in the Bronx, according to Governor Cuomo’s Ebola preparedness plan.
None of these hospitals, including Bellevue, has an isolated biocontainment unit like those that have treated patients at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska.
The American public may not have much faith in ordinary hospitals to treat Ebola, considering that the only non-specialized hospital to treat Ebola patients, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, allowed the virus to spread to two nurses who worked on the original patient, Thomas Eric Duncan, who died of Ebola on Oct. 8. Both of the nurses are now being treated in a biocontainment unit.
The probability of an Ebola case in New York was always considerably higher than it was for many other cities in the U.S., given that two of the city’s international airports — JFK and Newark — are key gateways for travelers to and from West Africa, via stops in Europe or elsewhere in Africa.
“New York City is a frequent port of entry for travelers from West Africa, a home to communities of West African immigrants who travel back to their home countries, and a home to health care workers who travel to West Africa to treat Ebola patients,” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a report on Oct. 17.
“Ongoing transmission of Ebola virus in West Africa could result in an infected person arriving in NYC,” the report said. However, the chance that a New Yorker who has not traveled to an Ebola hotspot would come down with the virus is “extremely slim,” since the disease is only spread through direct contact with an infectious person’s bodily fluids.
Ultimately, it was a doctor who lived in the city who would bring the virus home.
In recent weeks, the New York Health Commissioner issued a “Commissioner’s Order” to all hospitals and ambulance services in the state, “requiring that they follow protocols for identification, isolation and medical evaluation of patients requiring care.”
The state has been conducting “unannounced drills” at hospitals and health care facilities to test preparedness for handling possible Ebola cases. The state has also involved the Metropalitan Transit Authority, which operates the city’s subways and buses, in training for encountering possible Ebola patients.
And a mass Ebola training for health care workers, which included demonstrations for putting on and taking off protective equipment, took place in the city on Oct. 21.
According to new guidelines the CDC issued on Monday, there are now 30 steps health care workers have to take every time they treat a patient with Ebola or Ebola-like symptoms.
At hospitals like Bellevue, actors have played the role of patients with Ebola symptoms have been part of the drills, and the city’s 911 operators have been told to ask people who call in with Ebola-like symptoms if they have recently traveled to West Africa, according to the Guardian.
As of Thursday, there have been nearly 10,000 cases of Ebola in West Africa, along with about 4,900 deaths. However, these figures are likely to be underestimates, since the lack of treatment facilities and other circumstances are causing many patients to go uncounted.
A doctor in New York City who recently returned from treating Ebola patients in Guinea became the first person in the city to test positive for the virus Thursday, setting off a search for anyone who might have come into contact with him.
The doctor, Craig Spencer, was rushed to Bellevue Hospital Center and placed in isolation at the same time as investigators sought to retrace every step he had taken over the past several days.
At least three people he had contact with in recent days have been placed in isolation. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which dispatched a team to New York, is conducting its own test to confirm the positive test on Thursday, which was performed by a city lab.
While officials have said they expected isolated cases of the disease to arrive in New York eventually, and had been preparing for this moment for months, the first case highlighted the challenges involved in containing the virus, especially in a crowded metropolis. Dr. Spencer, 33, had traveled on the A and L subway lines Wednesday night, visited a bowling alley in Williamsburg, and then took a taxi back to Manhattan.
The next morning, he reported having a fever, raising questions about his health while he was out in public. The authorities have interviewed Dr. Spencer several times and are also looking at information from his credit cards and MetroCard to determine his movements.
Health officials initially said that Dr. Spencer had a 103-degree fever when he reported his symptoms to authorities at around 11 a.m. on Thursday. But on Friday, health officials said that was incorrect and that Dr. Spencer reported having a 100.3-degree fever. They said the mistake was because of a transcription error.
People infected with Ebola cannot spread the disease until they begin to display symptoms, and it cannot be spread through the air. As people become sicker, the viral load in the body builds, and they become increasingly contagious.
Mayor Bill de Blasio, speaking at a news conference at Bellevue on Thursday night, sought to reassure New Yorkers that there was no reason to be alarmed.
“Being on the same subway car or living near a person with Ebola does not in itself put someone at risk,” he said.
Dr. Spencer’s work in Africa and the timing of the onset of his symptoms led health officials to dispatch disease detectives, who “immediately began to actively trace all of the patient’s contacts to identify anyone who may be at potential risk,” according to a statement released by the health department.
Dr. Spencer’s fiancée has also been quarantined at Bellevue. Two other friends, who had contact with him on Tuesday and Wednesday, have been told by the authorities that they too will be quarantined but whether they will isolate themselves in their homes or be relocated was still under discussion, according to a person briefed on the investigation. None of the three were showing signs of illness.
The driver of the taxi, arranged through the online service Uber, did not have direct contact with Dr. Spencer and was not considered to be at risk, officials said.
Speaking at the news conference, city officials said that while they were still investigating, they did not believe Dr. Spencer was symptomatic while he traveled around the city on Wednesday and therefore had not posed a risk to the public.
“He did not have a stage of disease that creates a risk of contagiousness on the subway,” Dr. Mary Bassett, the city health commissioner, said. “We consider it extremely unlikely, the probability being close to nil, that there will be any problem related to his taking the subway system.”
Still, out of an abundance of caution, officials said, the bowling alley in Williamsburg that he visited, the Gutter, was closed on Thursday night, and a scheduled concert there, part of the CMJ music festival, was canceled. Health workers were scheduled to visit the alley on Friday.
At Dr. Spencer’s apartment building, his home was sealed off and workers distributed informational fliers about the disease.
Dr. Spencer had been working with Doctors Without Borders in Guinea treating Ebola patients, and completed his work on Oct. 12, Dr. Bassett said. He flew out of the country on Oct. 14, traveling via Europe, and arrived in New York on Oct. 17.
Since returning, he had been taking his temperature twice a day, Dr. Bassett said.
He told the authorities that he did not believe the protective gear he wore while working with Ebola patients had been breached but had been monitoring his own health.
Doctors Without Borders, in a statement, said it provides guidelines for its staff members to follow when they return from Ebola assignments, but did not elaborate on the protocols.
“The individual engaged in regular health monitoring and reported this development immediately,” the group said in a statement.
Dr. Spencer began to feel sluggish on Tuesday but did not develop a feveruntil Thursday morning, he told the authorities. At 11 a.m., he found that he had a 100.3-degree temperature and alerted the staff of Doctors Without Borders, according to the official.
The staff called the city’s health department, which in turn called the Fire Department.
Emergency medical workers, wearing full personal protective gear, rushed to Dr. Spencer’s apartment, on West 147th Street. He was transported to Bellevue and arrived shortly after 1 p.m.
He was placed in a special isolation unit and is being seen by the designated medical critical care team. Team members wear personal protective equipment with undergarment air ventilation systems.
Bellevue doctors have been preparing to deal with an Ebola patient with numerous drills and tests as well as actual treatment of suspected cases that turned out to be false alarms.
A health care worker at the hospital said that Dr. Spencer seemed very sick, and it was unclear to the medical staff why he had not gone to the hospital earlier, since his fever was high.
Dr. Spencer is a fellow of international emergency medicine at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, and an instructor in clinical medicine at Columbia University.
“He is a committed and responsible physician who always puts his patients first,” the hospital said in a statement. “He has not been to work at our hospital and has not seen any patients at our hospital since his return from overseas.”
Before Thursday, more than 30 people had gone to city hospitals and raised suspicions of Ebola, but in all those cases health workers were able to rule out the virus without performing blood tests.
While the city has stepped up its laboratory capacity so it can get test results within four to six hours, the precautions required when drawing blood and treating a person possibly sick with Ebola meant that it took until late in the evening to confirm Dr. Spencer’s diagnosis.
Doctors said that even before the results came in, it seemed likely that he had been infected. Symptoms usually occur within eight to 10 days of infection. Dr. Spencer stopped working with Ebola patients 11 days ago and returned home six days ago.
Ebola is transmitted through bodily fluids and secretions, including blood, mucus, feces and vomit.
Because of its high mortality rate — Ebola kills more than half the people it infects — the disease spreads fear along with infection.
The authorities have been on high alert ever since Thomas Eric Duncan traveled to the United States in September from Liberia, and was later given a diagnosis of Ebola.
Several days after his death, a nurse who helped care for Mr. Duncan learned she had Ebola. Two nurses who treated Mr. Duncan fell ill, but are recovering.
That single case led to hundreds of people being quarantined or being asked to remain isolated from the general public.
The missteps by both local and federal authorities in handling the nation’s first Ebola case raised questions about the ability of health care workers to safely treat those with the disease.
In the New York City region, hospitals and emergency workers have been preparing for the appearance of the virus for months.
Dr. Irwin Redlener, the director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University and a special adviser to Mayor de Blasio, said that the risk to the general public was minimal, but depended on the city moving swiftly.
“New York has mobilized not only a world-class health department, but has full engagement of many other agencies that need to be on the response team,” he said.
The new Ebola infection in New York City exposed flaws in the system and raised new concerns, lawmakers said Friday, as they criticised the U.S. government response to the outbreak and questioned top officials’ credibility.
“I can tell you it’s not working. All you need to do is look at Craig Spencer,” said Rep. John Mica, a Republican, naming the doctor in New York who was diagnosed with Ebola late Thursday a week after returning from Guinea. “He was tested there, it’s not working.”
Spencer, the fourth person diagnosed in the U.S., did not exhibit symptoms until Thursday and so the temperature screening in place at the five U.S. airports that receive passengers from Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the three West African countries that have borne the worst of the outbreak, would not have caught him. Some lawmakers questioning administration officials at a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing said that just showed that a new approach was needed.
Less than two weeks before hard-fought elections, many lawmakers, especially Republicans, have called for a travel ban from the hot spots in West Africa where the deadly disease has infected roughly 10,000 people and killed about half of them. Others have suggested quarantining people for the 21-day incubation period once they arrive.
The Obama administration has resisted, saying such an approach could make things worse by limiting sorely needed supplies and medical workers to West Africa and encouraging travelers to hide their travel histories. Instead the administration has implemented new guidelines for screening all people arriving here from the hot zones and ensuring they’re all monitored by medical experts for 21 days.
Rep. Stephen Lynch, a Democrat, said Friday that anyone who travels here from West Africa should be quarantined for 21 days in their home country before even boarding a plane to the U.S.
“This can’t just be about ideology and happy talk,” Lynch said. “We need to be very deliberate (and) take it much more seriously than I’m hearing today.”
The committee’s chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, a Republican, complained about wrong information and shifting standards coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the first case diagnosed in the U.S., a man who traveled from Sierra Leone to Texas and later died. He infected two nurses who cared for him. As of Friday both nurses have been declared free of the virus.
“We said we were planning to deal with infectious diseases, prepare our health care system and our doctors and nurses,” Issa said. “And in fact it appears as though we trained them but not trained them to the level we should.”
Dr. Nicole Lurie, assistant HHS secretary for preparedness and response, defended the government’s response.
“I think our failures largely relate to the fact that we’re learning some new things about Ebola,” she said. “Ebola’s never been in this hemisphere before, and as we’re learning those things we’re tightening up our policies and procedures as quickly as possible.”
In her prepared testimony, Lurie assured lawmakers that a large-scale outbreak of Ebola is unlikely in this country. “There is an epidemic of fear, but not of Ebola, in the United States,” she said.
New York City police officers enter the building where Dr. Craig Spencer (inset with fiancée Morgan Dixon) lives in New York on Oct. 24.Photo: Reuters/Mike Segar
Efforts are under way to decontaminate the apartment building of the Big Apple’s first Ebola patient.
Cops moved people back around 9:15 am as two officers with the Sanitation Department’s Environmental Police Unit arrived on the scene and entered the building through a side entrance.
They were later joined by several people in plain-clothes who exited out of a truck belonging to the Bio-Recovery Corporation — a full service crime scene cleanup and bio remediation company.
“Today we’re expecting a specialized crew [to] come in full protective gear and will clean and sterilize Dr. [Craig] Spencer’s apartment for signs of bodily fluid,” said City Council member Mark Levine, adding that officials would “confiscate material that might have come into contact with his body such as sheets and pillowcases and bath towels and toothbrushes.”
The 7th District councilman was on the scene Friday morning, giving updates specifically aimed at people in the community whose fears were heightened Thursday when Spencer, a Doctors Without Borders volunteer, tested positive for the Ebola virus.
“We’ve had neighbors understandably concerned that live right across the street, maybe they live down the hall, maybe they’ve seen him in the local bodega and they’re worried,” he told the crowd. “But the truth is and the facts they need to understand are they’re really not at risk.”
Police and health officials enter the New York apartment building of Dr. Craig Spencer, who has been diagnosed with the Ebola virus, on Oct. 24.
Levine made it clear that while fear of catching the disease was high, the actual possibility that Spencer could have spread the illness before being hospitalized was minimal.
“If he was well enough to go for a run, then he was almost certainly not sick enough to be contagious,” he said. “Frankly, if he was well enough to go bowling, he was probably not sick enough to be contagious, so people should not worry.”
When Spencer first reported his elevated temperature to officials, firefighters worked quickly to make sure the risk of infection was extremely low.
“The first thing they did was seal off the apartment,” he said. “That happened immediately after Dr. Spencer was taken to the ambulance.”
The ambulance carrying Dr. Craig Spencer arrives at Bellevue Hospital.
A neighbor who lives across from Spencer told The Post that four of his relatives panicked shortly after the Harlem doctor was picked up and eventually left the apartment.
“They’re gone, they weren’t moved by the authorities, they left on their own because of the scare, because they were frightened,” said Stan Malone, 45. “This really hits home … I believe it’s gonna get worse.”
Malone added that while he thought Spencer had only come in contact with a few people, he felt the city wasn’t doing enough to ensure the safety of New Yorkers.
“I think this whole building should be quarantined now,” he said. “What’s taking the city so long to do that?”
A physician who treated dying Ebola patients in Liberia flew in to JFK on Thursday night — and stayed at an airport hotel, a source told The Post.
Colin Bucks, a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University’s medical school, arrived on a Royal Moroccan Air flight, sources said.
He spent the night at the Hilton Garden Inn in Jamaica, Queens, where Centers for Disease Control workers also stay, according to a source.
On Friday, he was cleared to travel home to Northern California, where he will “be monitored by CDC there,” the source said.
“He is asymptomatic and he’s being allowed to leave the hotel and fly home,” a source added.
Sources said that Bucks, who works with International Medical Corps, was told to self-quarantine at the hotel, but he told The Post he merely missed a connecting flight. He said he was screened at the airport in Africa and again upon arrival at Kennedy airport.
“If there had been a flight yesterday, I would’ve not spent the night here,” he said in a telephone interview.
Bucks is strictly following the CDC’s recommendations and self-monitoring, he said. The CDC is also keeping track of his whereabouts, as standard protocol dictates, he added.
“I worked for over a month with no national staff or ex-patriot staff showing any signs of illness,” he said. “In general I’m amazed by the national staff I was working with. I really want them to be viewed as the heroes of Ebola response.
Bucks didn’t know Spencer, but said, “It sounds like this is someone who’s cut from the same cloth as me who followed all the rules and has not put other people at risk.”
He’s confident that by following proper guidelines, health care workers can do life-saving work abroad and stay safe.
“I have every confidence that [by] following CDC return recommendations, nurses, doctors, lab technicians can go to West Africa and do what’s necessary to protect the rest of the world and not come back and be the ones that need protection.”
On Friday afternoon, the governors of New York and New Jersey announced extra measures that will require all at-risk passengers touching down at JFK and Newark Liberty airports from Ebola-stricken countries to be quarantined for 21 days.
Because the natural reservoir host of Ebola viruses has not yet been identified, the way in which the virus first appears in a human at the start of an outbreak is unknown. However, scientists believe that the first patient becomes infected through contact with an infected animal, such as a fruit bat or primate (apes and monkeys), which is called a spillover event. Person-to-person transmission follows and can lead to large numbers of affected people. In some past Ebola outbreaks, primates were also affected by Ebola, and multiple spillover events occurred when people touched or ate infected primates.
When an infection does occur in humans, the virus can be spread in several ways to others. Ebola is spread through direct contact (through broken skin or mucous membranes in, for example, the eyes, nose, or mouth) with
blood or body fluids (including but not limited to urine, saliva, sweat, feces, vomit, breast milk, and semen) of a person who is sick with Ebola
objects (like needles and syringes) that have been contaminated with the virus
infected fuit bats or primates (apes and monkeys)
Ebola is not spread through the air or by water, or in general, by food. However, in Africa, Ebola may be spread as a result of handling bushmeat (wild animals hunted for food) and contact with infected bats. There is no evidence that mosquitos or other insects can transmit Ebola virus. Only a few species of mammals (for example, humans, bats, monkeys, and apes) have shown the ability to become infected with and spread Ebola virus.
Healthcare providers caring for Ebola patients and the family and friends in close contact with Ebola patients are at the highest risk of getting sick because they may come in contact with infected blood or body fluids of sick patients.
During outbreaks of Ebola, the disease can spread quickly within healthcare settings (such as a clinic or hospital). Exposure to Ebola can occur in healthcare settings where hospital staff are not wearing appropriate protective equipment, including masks, gowns, and gloves and eye protection.
Dedicated medical equipment (preferable disposable, when possible) should be used by healthcare personnel providing patient care. Proper cleaning and disposal of instruments, such as needles and syringes, is also important. If instruments are not disposable, they must be sterilized before being used again. Without adequate sterilization of the instruments, virus transmission can continue and amplify an outbreak.
Once someone recovers from Ebola, they can no longer spread the virus. However, Ebola virus has been found in semen for up to 3 months. Abstinence from sex (including oral sex) is recommended for at least 3 months. If abstinence is not possible, condoms may help prevent the spread of disease.
As the death toll from Ebola reaches 3,800, experts are warning that the virus could mutate and become airborne, meaning that it could be caught by breathing it in.
The public is being told by health officials that the virus that causes Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air and can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids – blood, sweat, vomit, feces, urine, saliva or semen – of an infected person who is showing symptoms.
However, several leading Ebola researchers claim that the virus mutating and spreading through the air should not be ruled out.
As the death toll from Ebola reaches 3,800, experts are warning that the virus could mutate and become airborne
Virus expert Charles L. Bailey, who in 1989 helped the American government tackle an outbreak of Ebola among rhesus monkeys being used for research, told the LA Times: ‘We know for a fact that the virus occurs in sputum and no one has ever done a study [disproving that] coughing or sneezing is a viable means of transmitting.
‘Unqualified assurances that Ebola is not spread through the air are “misleading”.’
Dr C J Peters, who has undertaken research into Ebola for America’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told the paper: ‘We just don’t have the data to exclude it [becoming airborne].’
Meanwhile virologist Dr Philip K Russell, a former head of the U.S Army’s Medical Research and Development Command, told the paper: ‘I see the reasons to dampen down public fears. But scientifically, we’re in the middle of the first experiment of multiple, serial passages of Ebola virus in man…. God knows what this virus is going to look like. I don’t.’
In September, Michael Osterholm, the director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, writing in the New York Times, said experts who believe that Ebola could become airborne are loathed to discuss their concerns in public, for fear of whipping up hysteria.
Discussing the possible future course of the current outbreak, he said: ‘The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air.’
The public is being told by health officials that the virus that causes Ebola cannot be transmitted through the air and can only be spread through direct contact with bodily fluids
Defence Secretary won’t talk about UK airport Ebola screening
Dr Osterholm warns viruses similar to Ebola are notorious for replicating and reinventing themselves.
It means the virus that first broke out in Guinea in February may be very different to the one now invading other parts of West Africa.
Pointing to the example of the H1N1 influenza virus that saw bird flu sweep the globe in 2009, Dr Osterholm said: ‘If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola.’
Dr Osterholm said public health officials, while discussing the possibility in private, are reluctant to air their concerns.
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‘They don’t want to be accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater – as I’m sure some will accuse me of doing.
‘But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.’
He called for the United Nations to mobilise medical, public health and humanitarian aid to ‘smother the epidemic’.
The chair of the UK’s Health Protection Agency, Professor David Heymann of the London School of Hygiene of Tropical Medicine, said it is impossible to predict how any virus will mutate.
He said scientists across the world do not know enough about genetics to be able to say how the Ebola virus will change over time.
He told MailOnline: ‘No one can predict what will happen with the mutation of the virus. I would like to see the evidence that this could become a respiratory virus.’
The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. died on Wednesday despite intense but delayed treatment, and the government announced it was expanding airport examinations to guard against the spread of the deadly disease.
The checks will include taking the temperatures of hundreds of travelers arriving from West Africa at five major American airports.
The new screenings will begin Saturday at New York’s JFK International Airport and then expand to Washington Dulles and the international airports in Atlanta, Chicago and Newark. An estimated 150 people per day will be checked, using high-tech thermometers that don’t touch the skin.
The White House said the fever checks would reach more than 9 of 10 travelers to the U.S. from the three heaviest-hit countries – Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.
President Barack Obama called the measures ‘really just belt and suspenders’ to support protections already in place. Border Patrol agents now look for people who are obviously ill, as do flight crews, and in those cases the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is notified.
As of Wednesday, Ebola has killed about 3,800 people in West Africa and infected at least 8,000, according to the World Health Organization.
A medical official with the U.N. Mission in Liberia who tested positive for Ebola arrived in the German city of Leipzig on Thursday to be treated at a local clinic with specialist facilities, authorities said.
The unidentified medic infected in Liberia is the second member of the U.N. mission, known as UNMIL, to contract the virus. The first died on September 25. He is the third Ebola patient to arrive in Germany for treatment.
The virus has taken an especially devastating toll on health care workers, sickening or killing more than 370 of them in the hardest-hit countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone – places that already were short on doctors and nurses.
There are no approved medications for Ebola, so doctors have tried experimental treatments in some cases, including drugs and blood transfusions from others who have recovered from Ebola.
The survivor’s blood could carry antibodies for the disease that will help a patient fight off the virus.
Experts raise specter of more-contagious Ebola virus
Osterholm mentioned the risk of Ebola migrating to developing-world megacities like Nairobi, Kenya.
Amid fears that West Africa’s Ebola epidemic may spiral out of control, two experts are using the pages of leading newspapers to raise the specter of a mutant Ebola virus that could become airborne, and appealing for massive interventions to preclude that nightmare scenario.
Michael T. Osterholm, PhD, MPH, wrote in a New York Times commentary today that the scale of the epidemic is offering the virus unprecedented opportunities to evolve toward greater transmissibility, which could give it the capability to spread worldwide. He is director of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, publisher of CIDRAP News.
Richard E. Besser, MD, chief health editor at ABC News and a former acting director at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), wrote in the Washington Post last night that a more-contagious Ebola virus could threaten the United States and said the crisis warrants the deployment of thousands of American troops to the affected countries.
What virologists don’t like to talk about
The possibility of an airborne-transmissible Ebola virus is one “that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private,” wrote Osterholm. In its current form, the virus spreads only through contact with bodily fluids, he noted, but with more human transmission in the past few months than probably occurred in the past 500 years, the virus is getting plenty of chances to evolve.
“Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice,” he said.
“If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.”
Osterholm added that public officials are reluctant to talk about this risk because they fear being accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater. “But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.”
As evidence of the risk, he noted that Canadian researchers in 2012 showed that Ebola Zaire, the species in the West African epidemic, could spread by the respiratory route from pigs to monkeys.
Even without airborne Ebola contagion, there’s a risk of Ebola migrating to developing-world megacities such as Nairobi, Kinshasa, or Karachi, possibly touching off new epidemics, Osterholm wrote.
In the face of the grave risks, someone needs to exercise “command and control,” and the best candidate is the United Nations, he asserted.
The UN “is the only international organization that can direct the immense amount of medical, public health, and humanitarian aid that must come from many different countries and nongovernmental groups to smother this epidemic. Thus far it has played at best a collaborating role, and with everyone in charge, no one is in charge.”
Besser: US must take the lead
Besser, in appealing for a vastly greater Ebola response from the United States, sketched bleak scenes of sick people in Monrovia, Liberia, waiting to get into overcrowded treatment centers and burial teams trying to collect bodies from the homes of terrified people who deny that their loved ones died of Ebola.
Recalling the warning last week from current CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, that the window of opportunity to stop the epidemic is closing, Besser wrote, “I don’t think the world is getting the message. The magnitude of the response needed for a deadly outbreak like this in a staggeringly poor country demands both dollars and people.”
He said his CDC experience taught him that “a military-style response during a major health crisis saves lives.” In foreign public health emergencies, the CDC usually provides technical support to governments, but “this crisis calls for much more.”
Noting that the epidemic is threatening the stability of the affected countries, Besser asserted that an expanded American response would improve both global security and health security.
“While one Ebola case in the United States is unlikely to spark an outbreak, things could change if the virus becomes more easily transmittable,” he added. “We already know it’s mutating.” He called the outbreak more disturbing than anything he witnessed in 13 years at the CDC.
Besser welcomed recent moves to scale up US aid to West Africa, including the Obama administration’s request for more funds, but he said much more is needed.
He called for large field hospitals staffed by Americans to treat Ebola patients, plus active US involvement in strengthening infection control, staffing burial teams, and detecting new cases.
“A few thousand U.S. troops could provide the support that is so desperately needed,” he added. “There could be casualties, but what military operation is ruled out solely because it is dangerous?”
“We know how to control Ebola. It’s time to step up and get the job done,” he concluded.
MSF president speaks out
Some similar points were made in another Washington Post commentary, this one from Joanne Liu, MD, president of Doctors without Borders (MSF), the leading private aid group fighting Ebola in West Africa.
Using words similar to those she used at a UN briefing last week, Liu described the grim situation in West Africa and said MSF has been “completely overwhelmed.”
“We need a large-scale deployment of highly trained personnel who know the protocols for protecting themselves against highly contagious diseases and who have the necessary logistical support to be immediately operational. Private aid groups simply cannot confront this alone,” she wrote.
THE Ebola epidemic in West Africa has the potential to alter history as much as any plague has ever done.
There have been more than 4,300 cases and 2,300 deaths over the past six months. Last week, theWorld Health Organization warned that, by early October, there may be thousands of new cases per week in Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Nigeria. What is not getting said publicly, despite briefings and discussions in the inner circles of the world’s public health agencies, is that we are in totally uncharted waters and that Mother Nature is the only force in charge of the crisis at this time.
There are two possible future chapters to this story that should keep us up at night.
The first possibility is that the Ebola virus spreads from West Africa to megacities in other regions of the developing world. This outbreak is very different from the 19 that have occurred in Africa over the past 40 years. It is much easier to control Ebola infections in isolated villages. But there has been a 300 percent increase in Africa’s population over the last four decades, much of it in large city slums. What happens when an infected person yet to become ill travels by plane to Lagos, Nairobi, Kinshasa or Mogadishu — or even Karachi, Jakarta, Mexico City or Dhaka?
The second possibility is one that virologists are loath to discuss openly but are definitely considering in private: that an Ebola virus could mutate to become transmissible through the air. You can now get Ebola only through direct contact with bodily fluids. But viruses like Ebola are notoriously sloppy in replicating, meaning the virus entering one person may be genetically different from the virus entering the next. The current Ebola virus’s hyper-evolution is unprecedented; there has been more human-to-human transmission in the past four months than most likely occurred in the last 500 to 1,000 years. Each new infection represents trillions of throws of the genetic dice.
If certain mutations occurred, it would mean that just breathing would put one at risk of contracting Ebola. Infections could spread quickly to every part of the globe, as the H1N1 influenza virus did in 2009, after its birth in Mexico.
Why are public officials afraid to discuss this? They don’t want to be accused of screaming “Fire!” in a crowded theater — as I’m sure some will accuse me of doing. But the risk is real, and until we consider it, the world will not be prepared to do what is necessary to end the epidemic.
In 2012, a team of Canadian researchers proved that Ebola Zaire, the same virus that is causing the West Africa outbreak, could be transmitted by the respiratory route from pigs to monkeys, both of whose lungs are very similar to those of humans. Richard Preston’s 1994 best seller “The Hot Zone” chronicled a 1989 outbreak of a different strain, Ebola Reston virus, among monkeys at a quarantine station near Washington. The virus was transmitted through breathing, and the outbreak ended only when all the monkeys were euthanized. We must consider that such transmissions could happen between humans, if the virus mutates.
First, we need someone to take over the position of “command and control.” The United Nations is the only international organization that can direct the immense amount of medical, public health and humanitarian aid that must come from many different countries and nongovernmental groups to smother this epidemic. Thus far it has played at best a collaborating role, and with everyone in charge, no one is in charge.
A Security Council resolution could give the United Nations total responsibility for controlling the outbreak, while respecting West African nations’ sovereignty as much as possible. The United Nations could, for instance, secure aircraft and landing rights. Many private airlines are refusing to fly into the affected countries, making it very difficult to deploy critical supplies and personnel. The Group of 7 countries’ military air and ground support must be brought in to ensure supply chains for medical and infection-control products, as well as food and water for quarantined areas.
The United Nations should provide whatever number of beds are needed; the World Health Organization has recommended 1,500, but we may need thousands more. It should also coordinate the recruitment and training around the world of medical and nursing staff, in particular by bringing in local residents who have survived Ebola, and are no longer at risk of infection. Many countries are pledging medical resources, but donations will not result in an effective treatment system if no single group is responsible for coordinating them.
Finally, we have to remember that Ebola isn’t West Africa’s only problem. Tens of thousands die there each year from diseases like AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis. Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea have among the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Because people are now too afraid of contracting Ebola to go to the hospital, very few are getting basic medical care. In addition, many health care workers have been infected with Ebola, and more than 120 have died. Liberia has only 250 doctors left, for a population of four million.
This is about humanitarianism and self-interest. If we wait for vaccines and new drugs to arrive to end the Ebola epidemic, instead of taking major action now, we risk the disease’s reaching from West Africa to our own backyards.
Story 1: Breaking News — Third Confirmed Case of Ebola in Dallas, Texas, Airborne Ebola Spreading Through Tiny Aerosolized Droplets in Sneezes and Coughs — Time To Send Ebola Patients to A Biosafety Level 4 Safety Hospitals with A Total of 19 Beds — Videos
“We shall not grow wiser before we learn that much that we have done was very foolish.”
Friedrich August von Hayek
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In 1918-1919, the worst flu in recorded history killed an estimated 50 million people worldwide. The U.S. death toll was 675,000 – five times the number of U.S. soldiers killed in World War I. Where did the 1918 flu come from? Why was it so lethal? What did we learn?
RED ALERT: TOP GENERAL WARNS EBOLA WILL NOT STAY IN WEST AFRICA!!!!
Dallas Mayor: ‘It May Get Worse Before it Gets Better’
“There are two things that I harken back to this. The only way that we are going to beat this is person by person, moment by moment, detail by detail. We have those protocols in place, the city and county, working closely with the CDC and the hospital. The second is we want to minimize rumors and maximize facts. We want to deal with facts, not fear. And I continue to believe that while Dallas is anxious about this and with this news this morning, the anxiety level goes up a level, we are not fearful and I’m pleased and proud of the citizens that I talk to day in and day out knowing that there is hope if we take care and do what is right in these details. It may get worse before it gets better. But it will get better.”
The comments were given at a news conference in Dallas this morning announcing that another hospital worker in Dallas has been diagnosed with Ebola.
Nurses’ Union: Ebola Patient Left In Open Area Of ER For Hours
A Liberian Ebola patient was left in an open area of a Dallas emergency room for hours, and nurses treating him worked without proper protective gear and faced constantly changing protocols, according to a statement released by the nation’s largest nurses’ union.
Among those nurses was Nina Pham, 26, who has been hospitalized since Friday after catching Ebola while caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, the first person diagnosed with the virus in the U.S. He died last week.
Public-health authorities announced Wednesday that a second Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital health care worker had tested positive for Ebola, raising more questions about whether American hospitals and their staffs are adequately prepared to contain the virus.
The CDC has said some breach of protocol probably sickened Pham, but National Nurses United contends the protocols were either non-existent or changed constantly after Duncan arrived in the emergency room by ambulance on Sept. 28.
Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Duncan’s family show that Pham helped care for him throughout his hospital stay, including the day he arrived in intensive care with diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, and the day before he died.
When Pham’s mother learned she was caring for Duncan, she tried to reassure her that she would be safe.
Pham told her: “Mom, no. Don’t worry about me,” family friend Christina Tran told The Associated Press.
Duncan’s medical records make numerous mentions of protective gear worn by hospital staff, and Pham herself notes wearing the gear in visits to Duncan’s room. But there is no indication in the records of her first encounter with Duncan, on Sept. 29, that Pham donned any protective gear.
Deborah Burger of National Nurses United, who convened a conference call with reporters to relay what she said were concerns of nurses at the hospital, said they were forced to use medical tape to secure openings in their flimsy garments and worried that their necks and heads were exposed as they cared for Duncan.
RoseAnn DeMoro, executive director of Nurses United, said the statement came from “several” and “a few” nurses, but she refused repeated inquiries to state how many. She said the organization had vetted the claims, and that the nurses cited were in a position to know what had occurred at the hospital. She did not specify whether they were among the nurses caring for Duncan.
The nurses allege that his lab samples were allowed to travel through the hospital’s pneumatic tubes, possibly risking contaminating of the specimen-delivery system. They also said that hazardous waste was allowed to pile up to the ceiling.
Wendell Watson, a Presbyterian spokesman, did not respond to specific claims by the nurses but said the hospital has not received similar complaints.
“Patient and employee safety is our greatest priority, and we take compliance very seriously,” he said in a statement. He said the hospital would “review and respond to any concerns raised by our nurses and all employees.”
The nurses’ statement said they had to “interact with Mr. Duncan with whatever protective equipment was available,” even as he produced “a lot of contagious fluids.” Duncan’s medical records underscore that concern. They also say nurses treating Duncan were also caring for other patients in the hospital and that, in the face of constantly shifting guidelines, they were allowed to follow whichever ones they chose.
When Ebola was suspected but unconfirmed, a doctor wrote that use of disposable shoe covers should also be considered. At that point, by all protocols, shoe covers should have been mandatory to prevent anyone from tracking contagious body fluids around the hospital.
A few days later, however, entries in the hospital charts suggest that protection was improving.
“RN entered room in Tyvek suits, triple gloves, triple boots, and respirator cap in place,” a nurse wrote.
The Presbyterian nurses are not represented by Nurses United or any other union. DeMoro and Burger said the nurses claimed they had been warned by the hospital not to speak to reporters or they would be fired.
The AP has attempted since last week to contact dozens of individuals involved in Duncan’s care. Those who responded to reporters’ inquiries have so far been unwilling to speak.
David R. Wright, deputy regional administrator for the U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which monitors patient safety and has the authority to withhold federal funding, said his agency is going to want to get all of the information the nurses provided.
“We can’t talk about whether we’re going to investigate or not, but we’d be interested in hearing that information,” he said.
CDC officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Duncan first sought care at the hospital’s ER late on Sept. 25 and was sent home the next morning. He was rushed by ambulance back to the hospital on Sept. 28. Unlike his first visit, mention of his recent arrival from Liberia immediately roused suspicion of an Ebola risk, records show.
The CDC said 76 staff members at the hospital could have been exposed to Duncan after his second ER visit. Another 48 people who may have had contact with him before he was isolated are being monitored. Pham remained hospitalized Tuesday in good condition and said in a statement that she was doing well.
The Rev. Jim Khoi, pastor at Our Lady of Fatima Church in Fort Worth, which Pham’s family attends, said the 2010 Texas Christian University nursing school graduate appeared to be in good spirits when she spoke to her mother via video chat.
Pham’s mother, Ngoc Pham, is “calm,” Khoi said. “She trusts in God. And she asks for prayers.”
CDC: Ebola Patient Traveled By Air With “Low-Grade” Fever
The CDC has announced that the second healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola — now identified as Amber Joy Vinson of Dallas — traveled by air Oct. 13, with a low-grade fever, a day before she showed up at the hospital reporting symptoms.
The CDC is now reaching out to all passengers who flew on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth. The flight landed at 8:16 p.m. CT.
All 132 passengers on the flight are being asked to call 1 800-CDC INFO (1 800 232-4636). Public health professionals will begin interviewing passengers about the flight Wednesday afternoon.
“Although she (Vinson) did not report any symptoms and she did not meet the fever threshold of 100.4, she did report at that time she took her temperature and found it to be 99.5,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. Her temperature coupled with the fact that she had been exposed to the virus should have prevented her from getting on the plane, he said. “I don’t think that changes the level of risk of people around her. She did not vomit, she was not bleeding, so the level of risk of people around her would be extremely low.”
Vinson first reported a fever to the hospital on Tuesday (Oct. 14) and was isolated within 90 minutes, according to officials. She did not exhibit symptoms while on the Monday flight, according to crew members. However, the CDC says passenger notification is needed as an “extra level of safety” due to the proximity in time between the flight and the first reported symptoms.
“Those who have exposures to Ebola, she should not have traveled on a commercial airline,” said Dr. Frieden. “The CDC guidance in this setting outlines the need for controlled movement. That can include a charter plane; that can include a car; but it does not include public transport. We will from this moment forward ensure that no other individual who is being monitored for exposure undergoes travel in any way other than controlled movement.”
Frieden specifically noted that the remaining 75 healthcare workers who treated Thomas Duncan at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital will not be allowed to fly. The CDC will work with local and state officials to accomplish this.
Frontier Airlines is working closely with the CDC to identify and notify all passengers on the flight. The airline also says the plane has been thoroughly cleaned and was removed from service following CDC notification early Wednesday morning.
However, according to Flighttracker, the plane was used for five additional flights on Tuesday before it was removed from service. Those flights include a return flight to Cleveland, Cleveland to Fort Lauderdale–Hollywood International Airport (FLL), FLL to Cleveland, Cleveland to Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), and ATL to Cleveland.
While in Ohio, Vinson visited relatives, who are employees at Kent State University. The university is now asking Vinson’s three relatives stay off campus and self-monitor per CDC protocol for the next 21 days out of an “abundance of caution.”
“It’s important to note that the patient was not on the Kent State campus,” said Kent State President Beverly Warren. “She stayed with her family at their home in Summit County and did not step foot on our campus. We want to assure our university community that we are taking this information seriously, taking steps to communicate what we know,” said Dr. Angela DeJulius, director of University Health Services at Kent State.
Vinson is a Kent State graduate. She received degrees from there in 2006 and 2008.
Cleveland’s Public Health Director, Toinette Parrilla, said Vinson was visiting in preparation for her wedding. While there, she visited her mother and her fiance.
The latest Ebola diagnosis was announced by the Texas Department of State Health Services early Wednesday morning.
Vinson is the second worker at Presbyterian Hospital to be diagnosed after providing health care to Duncan, the first person to be diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. He died last week.
Medical records provided to The Associated Press by Thomas Eric Duncan’s family show Amber Joy Vinson was actively engaged in caring for Duncan in the days before his death. The records show she inserted catheters, drew blood, and dealt with Duncan’s body fluids.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings addressed the media on Wednesday, saying the patient lives alone and has no pets.
“It may get worse before it gets better,” Rawlings said, “but it will get better.”
Crews worked to decontaminate the common areas of Vinson’s Dallas apartment building Tuesday morning. The apartment unit will be decontaminated by contractors starting early Wednesday afternoon.
The CDC announced that Vinson will be transported to Emory Hospital in Atlanta for further treatment. Two previous American Ebola patients, Dr. Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol, were treated at Emory and were the first Ebola patients to be treated in the United States. They were released in August.
Nina Pham was diagnosed with the virus over the weekend and remains isolated in good condition. Pham’s dog — a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel named Bentley — has been taken into custody and is being cared for at an undisclosed location.
Frontier Airlines released the following statement:
“At approximately 1:00 a.m. MT on October 15, Frontier was notified by the CDC that a customer traveling on Frontier Airlines flight 1143 Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth on Oct. 13 has since tested positive for the Ebola virus. The flight landed in Dallas/Fort Worth at 8:16 p.m. local and remained overnight at the airport having completed its flying for the day at which point the aircraft received a thorough cleaning per our normal procedures which is consistent with CDC guidelines prior to returning to service the next day. It was also cleaned again in Cleveland last night. Previously the customer had traveled from Dallas Fort Worth to Cleveland on Frontier flight 1142 on October 10.
Customer exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on flight 1143, according to the crew. Frontier responded immediately upon notification from the CDC by removing the aircraft from service and is working closely with CDC to identify and contact customers who may traveled on flight 1143.
Customers who may have traveled on either flight should contact CDC at 1 800 CDC-INFO.
The safety and security of our customers and employees is our primary concern. Frontier will continue to work closely with CDC and other governmental agencies to ensure proper protocols and procedures are being followed.”
Frontier jet made 5 flights before taken out of service in Ebola scare
The Frontier Airlines jet that carried a Dallas healthcare worker diagnosed with Ebola made five additional flights after her trip before it was taken out of service, according to a flight-monitoring website.
Denver-based Frontier said in a statement that it grounded the plane immediately after the carrier was notified late Tuesday night by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the Ebola patient.
Ebola patient flew day before symptoms surfaced
Amber Joy Vinson of Dallas, traveled by air on Oct. 13, the day before she first reported symptoms.
Flight 1143, on which the woman flew from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth, was the last trip of the day Monday for the Airbus A320. But Tuesday morning the plane was flown back to Cleveland and then to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., back to Cleveland and then to Atlanta and finally back to Cleveland again, according to Daniel Baker, chief executive of the flight-monitoring site Flightaware.com.
He said his data did not include any passenger manifests, so he could not tell how many total passengers flew on the plane Tuesday.
The airline said it is working with the CDC to contact all 132 passengers on the Monday flight that carried the Ebola patient.
Frontier could not be reached to confirm the FlightAware data, and it was unclear if passengers on the additional flights were being contacted.
The passenger “exhibited no symptoms or sign of illness while on Flight 1143, according to the crew,” Frontier said.
The plane went through a routine but “thorough” cleaning Monday night, Frontier said. Airline industry experts said routine overnight cleaning includes wiping down tray tables, vacuuming carpet and disinfecting restrooms.
The healthcare worker also had flown to Cleveland from Dallas three days earlier on Frontier Flight 1142, the airline reported.
In response to the news that another Ebola patient flew on a commercial flight, the union that represents 60,000 flight attendants on 19 airlines is asking the CDC to monitor and care for the four flight attendants who were on flight from Cleveland to Dallas/Fort Worth.
whats it going to take to close the border to people from africa? 10 dead? 100 dead? 1000 dead? we know obumma doesnt give a flying fluke about the american citizens, but isn’t there someone in the government with an ounce of brains? or is this part of obumma’s scheme to declare martial law?…
The Assn. of Flight Attendants “will continue to press that crew members are regularly monitored and provided with any additional resources that may be required,” the group said.
The Ebola scare prompted the union last week to call for better measures to protect flight attendants from exposure to the deadly virus.
The group’s international president, Sara Nelson, suggested that flight attendants are being asked to do too much in the fight against Ebola.
“We are not, however, professional healthcare providers and our members have neither the extensive training nor the specialized personal protective equipment required for handling an Ebola patient,” she said in a statement.
Earlier this month, United Airlines was rushing to contact passengers who flew on two flights that carried a Liberian man infected with Ebola from Brussels to Washington, D.C., and then to Dallas.
The Ebola-stricken healthcare worker who flew on Frontier had been treating the Liberian man, Thomas Eric Duncan, who has since died.
Airline-industry stock prices have taken a beating in recent weeks, with some analysts blaming the Ebola scare.
On Wednesday, stocks of Delta Air Lines and American Airlines fell more than 6% in early trading before partially recovering. With less than 90 minutes remaining in the regular trading session, the two stocks were each down about 2% from Tuesday’s closes. Frontier is privately held.
There are only 19 level 4 bio-containment beds in the whole of the United States…and four in the UK
The UK is well set for an Ebola outbreak (sarcasm alert) We have TWO isolation units, but one is getting ‘redeveloped’ so it’s not available right now. Called High Security Infectious Diseases Units there are two in the country, each capable of taking two patients. One is at The Royal Free Hospital in Hampstead North London, the other, the one getting a bit of a make-over, is at The Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle, up in the north-east of England.
Four level 4 bio-containment beds between 69,000,000 people
In the US there are 4 units geared up to handle Ebola. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) Clinical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, has 3 beds. Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha, has 10 beds. Emory Hospital, Atlanta has 3 beds and St Patricks Hospital, Missoula has 3 beds (source)
19 level four biocontainment beds for 317,000,000 people
I think we just found out why the government(s) are under-playing the situation. They simply do not have the facilities to cope with even a small outbreak. They are, in fact in exactly the same position as the dirt-poor hospitals in West Africa…there are not enough facilities to stop the spread of the disease if it gets out. The quality of care is better, but the availability of containment most likely isn’t.
I am sure ‘regular’ isolation units will be pressed into use but they are not designed to handle level 4 biohazards, they are nowhere near as secure medically speaking, as biocontainment units.
A couple of days ago I explained how exponential spread works. You can read that article here if you like. As a quick recap. Once a disease is at the point where every carrier infects 2 more people,(exponential spread) it will continue until it:
A) runs out of hosts
B) is stopped by medical science or
C) mutates into something less harmful.
What follows will show you how woefully inadequately our governments have prepared for something as lethal as Ebola.
In the flu pandemic of 1918-1920 28% of Americans were infected with the disease…try to remember I am talking numbers here not HOW disease spreads or any medical similarities between diseases, 625,000 Americans lost their lives out of some 29,400,000 infections. The population of the United States at that time was 105,000,000 people. (source)
Fast forward to today. If that flu pandemic had hit the United States in 2014, when the population stands at 317,000,000 people 88,760,000 people would have been infected and 2,130,240 of them would have died.
Now, let’s try this with Ebola. I have picked Liberia just because it is in the news due to the Thomas Duncan case.
Liberia has a population of 4,290,000 people, as of the latest figures there have been 3692 cases of Ebola, this represents 0.0086% of the population.Of those infections, 1998 people have died that’s a fatality rate of 54%. (source)
If that same infection and death rate were applied to the United States Ebola would infect 269,000 people and of those 156,281 would die.
Now, if as doctors and scientists fear the basic reproduction rate rises to 2 in Liberia the numbers change very quickly. Using the mean average incubation time of 9 days it would take around 13 weeks for the entire population of Liberia to become infected. (10 doublings starting with 3692 = just under the population of Liberia. This multiplied by 9 days gives us 90 days which divided by 7 gives 12.85 weeks.) Of the 4,290,000 people infected 2,316,000 would lose their lives.
This is just Liberia, not the other affected countries in West Africa.
Translated to an equivalent outbreak in the United States, where the basic reproduction rate is also 2, the numbers are horrifying. Starting with patient zero it would take around 245 days, 35 weeks for every person in the United States to become infected. Of those 17,118,000 people would die. (27.17 doublings x 9 days = 245 days =35 weeks)
Please remember the figures for Liberia are pulled from the CDC website, the percentages are correct.
United States was based on exactly the same parameters as for Liberia…a like for like comparison.
The CDC could be spending their time educating people, advising people to stock up, get ready for the possibility of staying in their homes. Self imposed isolation, or if need be state imposed isolation, that may last for an extended time period may become a reality. They’re not doing it though are they? They are sprouting figures and applying them to West Africa, and they can’t even get that right. They are saying that there could be 1.4 deaths in West Africa in a worst case scenario. When actually applying the figures they supplied with some simple mathematics we can see that 1.4 million deaths is a gross understatement.
Even a basic reproduction rate of 1.7, the latest figure for Liberia it will only take around 30 weeks to get to the same point as the above scenario, over 2,000,000 dead.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that the UK government is any better, if anything they are worse, they don’t even try to do the maths. Most of them went to Eton (a very expensive school that churns out politicians) so it’s unlikely they would be capable of it even if they wanted to. You only have to look at our national finances to see they are no good at sums. They send out press briefings that there will be an emergency COBRA meeting, do you have any clue what that stands for? Let me enlighten you, Cabinet Office Briefing Room A. COBRA is not an emergency planning group, it’s an effing office.
Although I am loathed to say it, it’s time that our governments started worrying about the facilities at home rather than worrying about the facilities abroad. Stopping the disease in Africa does not mean we are out of the woods. There are so many unreported cases, people turned away from medica facilities in West Africa that nobody has the slightest idea how many cases of Ebola are actually out there. The porous borders of the region mean that people move around without the controls that are usually exercised in the west. There has to be a travel ban on non-US citizens entering the United States from these areas, the same applies from the UK.
Border control has to be improved in both countries if we have any hope of halting the spread of this terrible disease. The west is going to be the destination for anyone from Ebola hit areas that can afford to make their way from Africa. Many West Africans have contacts in the west who will help them get out, and shelter them when they arrive. As harsh as it seems this has to be stopped, it’s time for governments to put their own citizens first. Repatriation of your own is one thing, risking millions of lives at home because you won’t man up and prevent foreigners entering is quite another.
Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone have been struggling since March to stop what has become the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded. The disease is causing widespread fear and disruption in West Africa, and shows no signs of being brought under control.
CHRONOLOGY OF COVERAGE
OCT. 15, 2014
Spain’s ad hoc, improvisational response to citizens infected by Ebola virus and brought back to the country underscores holes in West’s readiness to confront wider outbreak; cases of Ebola in Spain have raised urgent questions about risks of disease spreading even in developed countries, particularly among health care workers. MORE
OCT. 15, 2014
Doctors Without Borders criticizes lack of reliable evacuation systems from West Africa, saying that more would volunteer to fight Ebola in region if it were not so difficult to leave in case of emergency; cites fact that it took 50 hours to evacuate French nurse to Paris after she tested positive for virus. MORE
OCT. 15, 2014
Bellevue Hospital is designated as center for treatment of the Ebola virus should it emerge in New York City; announcement comes amid widespread concerns that disease may not be so easily contained by every hospital that has an isolation unit. MORE
OCT. 15, 2014
World Health Organization warns new cases of Ebola virus could reach 10,000 a week in West Africa by December, nearly 10 times the current rate; reports none of the three most heavily affected countries, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, are adequately prepared for epidemic; comments come in report before the United Nations Security Council, which voices fear that epidemic could renew the risk of political instability in a region barely recovering from civil war.MORE
OCT. 15, 2014
Dr Thomas R Frieden, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director, acknowledges for first time that quicker and more concerted action on agency’s part might have kept Dallas nurse from contracting Ebola virus; says agency plans a more robust response to any future Ebola cases in American hospitals. MORE
OCT. 15, 2014
Frank Bruni Op-Ed column contends other, more common ailments deserve more concern and attention in United States than Ebola; points out influenza kills between 3,000 and 50,000 Americans per year, and skin cancer kills 10,000 per year; lists other common, and much-researched, illnesses that Americans should vaccinate and protect themselves against. MORE
OCT. 15, 2014
Jere Longman On Soccer column examines plight of SIerra Leone’s national soccer team, caught amid self-destructive feud between nation’s soccer federation and sports ministry; observes that team was already exhausted from playing road-only games due to Ebola outbreak. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Transmission of Ebola virus to Dallas nurse Nina Pham forces Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to reconsider its approach to containing the disease; state and federal officials are re-examining whether equipment and procedures are adequate or too loosely followed, and whether more decontamination steps are necessary when health workers leave isolation units. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Experience of Emory University Hospital in Atlanta in caring for three Ebola patients calls into question oft repeated assurances from federal health officials that most American hospitals can safely treat disease; transmission of virus to Dallas nurse Nina Pham has also raised questions about general level of preparedness in hospitals around the country; medical experts have begun to suggest it may be better to transfer patients to designated centers with expertise in treating Ebola. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Public health concerns about Ebola virus have spread to both political parties, which are engaged in finger-pointing debate that could jar midterm elections; Republicans blame the Obama administration for failing to protect the United States, and Democrats are saying it is GOP budget cutting that has put Americans at risk. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Experts rule out notion that Ebola virus has become a super-pathogen and raise doubts that it will evolve into one; say virus is not fundamentally different from those in previous outbreaks dating back to 1976, and it is highly unlikely that natural selection will give it ability to spread more easily, particularly by becoming airborne. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Friends of Dallas nurse Nina Pham describe the 26-year-old, part of the team that treated Thomas Eric Duncan, as conscientious and caring, and from a very private family. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Editorial warns effort to combat the Ebola virus in Western Africa is lagging dangerously behind; contends the international community must dramatically step up aid if epidemic is to be controlled; holds obligation is particularly strong for the United Sates as it faces first case of patient who contracted the virus domestically. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
Sierra Leone’s national soccer team is enduring a series of demeaning and discouraging indignities since outbreak of Ebola in West Africa; team is barred from playing in its own stricken country and it must play every match on the road as it struggles to qualify for the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, continent’s biennial championship. MORE
OCT. 14, 2014
World Bank president Dr Jim Yong Kim, frustrated with slow global response to Ebola outbreak, has made fighting epidemic his mission, driving bank to act on Ebola with uncharacteristic speed; bank has committed $400 million to fighting disease. MORE
OCT. 13, 2014
The topic everyone on Wall Street is discussing urgently but quietly isn’t the volatile stock market. It is Ebola. MORE
OCT. 13, 2014
News that a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital has contracted Ebola virus transforms part of Dallas into scene of concern and contamination; residents in victim’s neighborhood are filled with anxiety, while hazardous-materials crews scramble to clean her apartment building. MORE
OCT. 13, 2014
Nurse at Texas Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas becomes first person to contract Ebola within United States; development prompts local, state and federal officials to scramble to determine how she became infected, despite wearing protective gear, and to monitor others potentially at risk; news further stokes fears among health care workers across country. MORE
OCT. 13, 2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say agency will take new steps to help hospital workers protect themselves, providing more training and urging hospitals to practice dealing with potential Ebola patients. MORE
OCT. 13, 2014
Op-Ed article by Prof Siddhartha Mukherjee contends Ebola case of Thomas Eric Duncan in Dallas shows that medical community must rethink concept of quarantine, in light of the absence of any established anti-viral treatment; calls for development of pilot program for rapid-testing quarantine. MORE
OCT. 12, 2014
Liberian Army has suddenly become linchpin in fight against Ebola virus rampaging the country; for decades, Liberians viewed the armed forces with fear due to atrocities committed during civil war. MORE
OCT. 11, 2014
Doctors Without Borders, first to respond to Ebola crisis in West Africa, remains primary international medical aid group battling disease there; strained and overworked charity has erected six treatment centers in West Africa, with plans for more, and has treated the majority of patients, just as they have in previous Ebola outbreaks and some other epidemics in the developing world. MORE
OCT. 10, 2014
Health workers at International Medical Corps treatment center in Liberia face dilemma of how to care for newborn whose mother may have died of Ebola; many health workers have contracted Ebola while attending to births and being exposed to blood and other body fluids, provoking fears of providing maternity care; doctors speculate that Ebola can be transmitted from mother to baby (Series: The Ebola Ward). MORE
OCT. 10, 2014
Britain says it will introduce measures at airports and rail terminals to screen passengers from affected countries as concerns over Ebola grow in Europe. MORE
OCT. 10, 2014
Presidents of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, nations most affected by the Ebola outbreak, implore world leaders to increase their support to fight the disease; speak at meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund in Washington. MORE
OCT. 10, 2014
Nebraska Biocontainment Patient Care Unit in Omaha, with arrival of two Ebola patients in last six weeks, is at forefront of the nation’s response to the disease; unit’s 10 beds sat empty for years. MORE
OCT. 10, 2014
Dallas officials say Sgt Michael Monnig, local shefiff’s deputy examined for possible infection with Ebola virus, has tested negative and is sent home from hospital; many in city remain uneasy. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
Thomas Eric Duncan dies of Ebola in Dallas, renewing questions about whether delay in receiving treatment could have played a role in his death and what role it played in the possibility of his spreading the disease to others; it remains unclear why, and how, Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital did not initially view the Liberian man as a potential Ebola case; nearly 50 people who came into contact with Duncan when he was experiencing active symptoms are being monitored. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
Federal health officials will require temperature checks for the first time at five major American airports for people arriving from three West African countries hardest hit by Ebola epidemic; however, health experts say measures are more likely to calm worried public than to prevent people with Ebola from entering country; move comes after death of Thomas Eric Duncan, Liberian man who was the first person diagnosed with Ebola in the United States. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
Bellevue Hospital Center in Manhattan shows off its isolation rooms and its leave-no-skin-cell-uncovered precautions in an attempt to reassure New Yorkers that should the Ebola virus arrive in the city, its premier public hospital could handle it. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
European leaders are scrambling to upgrade their response to Ebola crisis after Pres Obama’s announcement that he will send 3,000 troops to West Africa to build hospitals and otherwise help in fight against the disease. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
Spanish health officials explain how auxiliary nurse Maria Teresa Romero Ramos became the first Ebola case in Western Europe, saying that it was likely she became infected when she touched her face with the gloves she had worn while tending to a Spanish missionary with Ebola at a Madrid hospital. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
Dog named Excalibur who belonged to Ebola-infected nurse Maria Teresa Romero Ramos is destroyed by Spanish health officials, even as protesters and animal rights activists surround Madrid home of the nurse and her husband; online petition calling for dog’s life to be spared drew hundreds of thousands of signatures. MORE
OCT. 9, 2014
Editorial notes new screening procedures directed at travelers entering United States from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone, center of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa; holds screenings, while burdensome and possibly of little practical value, may ease public anxieties about keeping virus out of country and assure people that risks are being minimized. MORE
OCT. 8, 2014
Schedule for a single day at newly opened Ebola treatment center in Suakoko, Liberia, run by International Medical Corps charity, offers portrait of efforts to halt spread of virus; center is both ordinary and otherwordly, where health workers tend to those infected and those quarantined while awaiting test results (Series: The Ebola Ward).MORE
OCT. 8, 2014
Spain’s government comes under heavy criticism for its handling of Western Europe’s first Ebola case, as health care workers argue that they have not been given proper training or equipment to handle the disease; government quarantines three more people and monitors dozens who had come into contact with infected nurse. MORE
OCT. 8, 2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention scrambles to address concerns from health workers nationwide as anxiety mounts over Ebola virus; agency has scheduled two nationwide conference calls, but has so far not changed its recommendations on protective gear.MORE
OCT. 8, 2014
Doctors report first positive signs in recovery of Thomas Eric Duncan, Liberian man battling Ebola virus in Dallas hospital; Duncan’s temperature and blood pressure have normalized, though he remains on a ventilator and is still receiving kidney dialysis. MORE
OCT. 8, 2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials promise additional measures to screen airline passengers arriving in United States for Ebola virus; remain opposed to draconian travel restrictions such as outright bans, saying that they would cause more problems than they would solve. MORE
OCT. 7, 2014
Nurse in Spain becomes first health worker to be infected with Ebola virus outside West Africa, raising serious concerns about how prepared Western nations are to safely treat people with the deadly illness; nurse contracted the illness while treating a Spanish missionary who was infected in Sierra Leone and flown to Madrid, where he died; infection exposes weak spots in Spain’s highly praised health care defense systems. MORE
OCT. 7, 2014
Adel Faqih, Saudi Arabia’s acting health minister, says this year’s hajj has been free of Ebola and other contagious diseases like Middle East Respiratory Syndrome because of measures taken to protect more than two million Muslim pilgrims. MORE
OCT. 7, 2014
Pres Obama says screening for Ebola virus at airports both in the United States and West Africa will increase, but does not offer specifics; Dallas residents remain on edge as they await to learn if those who came into contact with Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan became infected. MORE