Sunday, November 8, 2015

From IBT: German Surveillance Of Allies More Extensive Than Believed

German Surveillance Of Allies More Extensive Than Believed

Germany's surveillance efforts over its own allies included several U.S. agencies, numerous nongovernmental organizations and several U.S. and European diplomats, German magazine Der Spiegel reported Saturday. The report reveals spying by the European power was systematic and went further than previously believed. The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's intelligence service, spied on the likes of the U.S. Department…

Friday, November 6, 2015

From Newsweek: Why Did Ex-Gitmo Detainee Shaker Aamer's Return to U.K. Take So Long?

Why Did Ex-Gitmo Detainee Shaker Aamer’s Return to U.K. Take So Long?

Shaker Aamer spent more than 13 years at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay. Held without charge or trial, he was the last British detainee left at the facility and caught the attention of human rights activists, U.K. politicians and celebrities alike. On October 30, the U.S. released him, some six years after he was cleared…

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Traversing the great divide - I'm going Home

Change will come
Change is here
Love fades out
Then love appears

Now my water's turned to wine
And these thoughts I have
I now claim as mine
I'm coming home

Change has been
Change will be
Time will tell
Then time will ease

Now my curtain has been drawn
And my heart can go
Where my heart does belong
I'm going home

"Reunion," Collective Soul (1995)

Well, I left my home in Georgia headed for the Frisco Bay…

Not quite…

I left my parent's home in Overland Park, Kansas, some 40++ years ago, at the age of 19, based on an urgent need to leave a less than healthy life and life style behind.  My brother, Jonnie, gone; Friends gone (including my oldest, best friend in the universe), familiarity gone, future bleak.  No motivation, no excitement, no growth - I was suffocating.

That "leaving"was filled with more than a little anxiety, fear, stupidity, poor judgment....  Not that it was stupid to leave but it was stupid to do it in the manner I did....

I ran from an offer to move West - an offer by my oldest, best friend in the universe - of life, love, adventure and complete uncertainty as to how the hell I would survive;  I ran to the East - what I believed to be safe, secure, stable, and filled with the newness of being miles and miles away from that stagnant life in a Kansas suburb.

Not the first error in judgment I would make by taking the wrong path to search for "Home". I lost so much more than I gained (including my oldest, best friend in the universe).

I have spent time “living” in multiple cities – Kansas City, Norfolk, Tulsa, Kirksville (really, Kirksville, MO, and even Trenton, MO, before that), San Diego, Denver.  I met great - and some not-so-great - people; saw beautiful - and some not-so-beautiful -  places; and picked up a bit of knowledge along my bizarre little trail.

I have visited many places - The Baja, LA, San Francisco, Portland, Boise, Salt Lake, St. George, Las Vegas (Steven King's, The Stand, pretty much says it about Vegas), Phoenix/Scottsdale, Taos, Santa Fe, Tulia (really, Tulia, TX), Chicago, Cleveland, New Orleans, Boston, The Carolinas, New York (City...The 5 boroughs though I only made it to 3, and out to the edge of Long Island).  I loved many of those cities and places (really, NYC is one of my favorite places to, Central Park, people. energy, intensity, music, art, architecture, history... The whole zeitgeist)

  ....But I never could quite find "Home."

I learned one thing (well, a lot of things but one glaring thing) - The West has always held me captive.  I feel lighter, shinier, healthier, happier the further West I go. The "why" of that makes little difference, I guess.   The Left Coast just feels right...

So, after 20 years of watching mountaintops and Denver skyline changes, I left my existence, my friends - well, my tribe (I have a few very, very, very good friends in Denver and others who gravitate there), and my "comfortably numb" to find "Home."

.... And maybe, just maybe, I have found it.

I have been Seattle bound for weeks, years, decades.

Sounds a little trite, doesn’t it?  A little cliché…

Not really.  I was never “Home” before.  I was always just visiting - comfortable in short jaunts and even more comfortable in long respites.  I just never was "Home."

In my youth, I was always looking for a way out of “here"...
As I got older, I was looking to go "there"...

Hard to get Zen-ie when one cannot find center and for me, that means the entire gestalt... Can't find Self without heart, soul, mind, body .... and "Home".

I know, I know...all you practitioners will tell me that location means nothing...
I submit, yáll have either been home all this time or never experienced home before.  Why did Baba Ram Dass base in Hawaii? Thich Nhat Hanh go to France? Adi Da go to Fiji? I can keep going here...

I've done "touch and goes" on "center" - Climbing trees with my brother; Fence sitting in the eastern pasture of my grandparents farm in Iowa; Sitting under a tree at Volker Park (now gone) with my oldest, best friend in the universe; Playing with old hippies at the annual Row Party on the valley desert floor, San Luis mountains, and visits to the Hot Springs next door;  Solitude on the beach at La Playa de La Fonda (K57 for those better familiar with that term);  Wandering the shoreline of Laguna Beach (pre-housing boom); Roaming the wooded trails at 11,000 ft - North Fork Reservoir, Mt. Shavano; Sitting in the lap of the Buddha while enjoying a chemically induced melding with the floor with friends (I'll leave that there).  All those touch and goes and never a place to land.

Home…..Is where I want to be and guess I’m already there...

I was in search of a thing without knowing.  I was realizing my "lost"and wandering being, again, and restless.  I get like that when I know I need to find "Home".

I retraced my roots to find my numbed soul and a new path - it was a bit more awe inspiring.   Like a bolt of lightning re-igniting a fire nearly snuffed out by complacency...

...And I found my oldest, best friend in the universe once again - after 40 ++ years of searching, he lives in...Seattle. Go figure.

9 days now since I pulled up in front of this little house....

I feel I am "Home"

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

'Safe Harbor' Ruling A Blow To US Tech Firms

'Safe Harbor' Ruling A Blow To US Tech Firms

The European Court of Justice has ruled that the Safe Harbor agreement, a key deal enabling U.S. technology companies to extract European customer data, is illegal. The decision is seen as a direct effect of the Edward Snowden disclosures, which revealed that the U.S. National Security Agency monitors digital communications in Europe as part of a…

Monday, September 14, 2015

The Cosmic Surfer is moving

...well, I am but the site will remain exactly where it is...
Back after the move...
Stay tuned

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Psychology Association Votes to Bar Members From Participating in Interrogations

Updated | The American Psychological Association (APA) voted nearly unanimously on Friday in favor of a resolution prohibiting its members from participating in national security interrogations. Retired Col. Larry James, the former top Army intelligence psychologist at Guantanamo, had the only dissenting vote, Democracy Now reports. The vote was taken amid the group’s 123rd annual convention…

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Happy Anniversary, America! 70 years ago, the US became the first and only nation to use a nuclear bomb on a civilian population (We're #1)

Seventy years ago, Harry S Truman and his MIC, warmongering friends, made history!  They decided to slaughter hundreds of thousands of civilians by dropping the first nuclear bomb ever onto a civilian target - Hiroshima, Japan.

On August 9, 1945, the same crew decided to do it again - this time on Nagasaki, Japan.

To date, the US is still the only nation to use nuclear bombs on a civilian population (without regard for the slaughter of men, women and children; without regard for destruction of land and water; and without regard for the destruction of any moral compass we could ever claim to embrace),...

Happy Anniversary! August 6, 1945, America became the FIRST nation to attack a civilian population with a nuclear bomb....

A photograph shows the first atomic bomb test on July 16, 1945, at 5:30 am 
at the Trinity Site in New Mexico. See more nuclear bomb pictures.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

....and August 9, 1945, America became the last nation to attack a civilian population with a nuclear bomb.

August, 1945 - the final moments of the 2nd part of a world wide war pitting "civilization" against "civilization;" politician against politician; exceptionalist against exceptionalist; ideologue against ideologue; and hubris against hubris.

The "War to End All Wars" morphed into the War that proved war would never end - that proved that old men and women, acting as politicians and guided by their exceptionalist hubris, will always find a way to demand wars to be fought by thousands of the strongest and most innocent of youth and that those innocents caught in the crossfire will always be the ones to suffer the most pain and death.

Little boy.jpg
"Little boy" by US government DOD and/or DOE photograph - Copy from U.S. National Archives, RG 77-
AEC. Chuck Hansen, The Swords of Armageddon: U.S. Nuclear Weapons Development Since 1945 
(Sunnyvale, CA: Chukelea Publications, 1995)[1]
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Handy to spaatz 1945.gif
"Handy to spaatz 1945". Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

The crew of the Enola Gay, August, 1945

(Picture courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)
At the time this photo was made, smoke billowed 20,000 feet above Hiroshimawhile smoke from the burst of the first atomic bomb had spread over 10,000 feet on the target at the base of the rising column. Two planes of the 509th Composite Group, part of the 313th Wing of the 20th Air Force, participated in this mission, one to carry the bomb, the other to act as escort. (August 6, 1945)
At 8:15 a.m, August 6, 1945, Little Boy was dropped from the Enola Gay and exploded 1900 feet above the city of Hiroshima - at the time, a city of approximately 380,000 people (about the size of Honolulu, Hawaii). The mushroom shaped cloud reached an estimated height of 40,000 feet at its peak.

Staff Sergeant George Caron, the tail gunner, described what he saw:
"The mushroom cloud itself was a spectacular sight, a bubbling mass of purple-gray smoke and you could see it had a red core in it and everything was burning inside... It looked like lava or molasses covering a whole city..."

Hiroshima aftermath.jpg
Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

On August 9, 1945, the larger "Fat Man" was dropped on Nagasaki...

And at what cost?


Saturday, August 1, 2015

US Spied On Japan: WikiLeaks

The U.S. government spied on Japanese government officials, including those in Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet, and several Japanese companies, according to documents released by WikiLeaks on Friday. The publication of the documents, named “Target Tokyo,” comes days after the whistleblower website released similar reports of the U.S. spying on France, Germany and Brazil. “In these…

German journalists face treason charges for the first time in decades for publishing state secrets

German journalists and lawmakers warned of an attack on press freedom Friday following news of a treason probe against bloggers who published Internet surveillance plans by the domestic security service. The investigation against two writers of the blog for allegedly publishing state secrets is thought to be Germany's first treason case leveled against media since…

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Remembering our political prisoners standing for transparency and accountabilty

Jeremy Hammond was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his involvement in hacking Stratfor's secure systems and supplying Wikileaks with emails proving that corporations, the US government, as well as Police Departments and other agencies, are paying Stratfor to spy on, infiltrate and manipulate activist organizations.  
Hammond is in prison until 2020; Hector "Sabu" Monsegur, informant and shill for the FBI, and Stratfor still free

For those who may be unfamiliar with and/or have forgotten about Jeremy Hammond (aka, Anarchaos) and Barrett Brown....

Barrett Brown, journalist, activist and author, was sentenced to 63 months in prison and ordered to pay $890,250 in fines and restitution as part of his sentence
... a little reminder.

These are just two men who have put their freedom on the line for the People - standing against the paradigm of secrecy and corruption and striking a blow for transparency and accountability.  They need to be remembered.

Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy Hammond, at 27, was known for his activism -   a "modern day Abbie Hoffman" (as described by a friend).

From my article for FreakOutNation and for this site, (October 8, 2013):

..but what they don't say, anywhere on their large website, is that they spy on and gather information on activists to be given to governments and corporate clients.

Stratfor spied on activists - On Occupy; on Anonymous; on Wikileaks. They spy on anyone for a buck.

At Christmas, 2011, Jeremy Hammond, a young political activist, web developer and musician from Chicago, along with a number of other activists (in the UK and Ireland) broke through the security of Stratfor's computer systems, retrieving evidence of that spying - emails and client credit card information - then left a message for the CIA wanna-bes...something that made George Friedman hopping mad (for a "security" and "intelligence" firm, not great PR)

By February 27, 2012, those emails began to be released on Wikileaks via their "The Global Intelligence Files" page

Emails about Occupy, Anonymous, Wikileaks and the information collection and discussions with Banks (CitiBank for one), with governments around the world and with other clients.......

What Jeremy and friends did was exactly what whistleblowers have done for decades, but Jeremy was arrested and put in jail, denied bail, had his commissary privileges taken away, his phone privileges suspended for 6 months and has been repeatedly held in solidarity confinement - now held for a year

His compadres of Operation Antisec were arrested in other countries - those convicted outside of the US, got 16 months or less.

Jeremy, after being threatened with a lifetime of legal problems, charges all over the country and a potential of decades in prison, pleaded guilty to one count under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act . After his plea, he made the following statement:

Today I pleaded guilty to one count of violating the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. This was a very difficult decision. I hope this statement will explain my reasoning. I believe in the power of the truth. In keeping with that, I do not want to hide what I did or to shy away from my actions. This non-cooperating plea agreement frees me to tell the world what I did and why, without exposing any tactics or information to the government and without jeopardizing the lives and well-being of other activists on and offline.
During the past 15 months I have been relatively quiet about the specifics of my case as I worked with my lawyers to review the discovery and figure out the best legal strategy. There were numerous problems with the government’s case, including the credibility of FBI informant Hector Monsegur. However, because prosecutors stacked the charges with inflated damages figures, I was looking at a sentencing guideline range of over 30 years if I lost at trial. I have wonderful lawyers and an amazing community of people on the outside who support me. None of that changes the fact that I was likely to lose at trial. But, even if I was found not guilty at trial, the government claimed that there were eight other outstanding indictments against me from jurisdictions scattered throughout the country. If I had won this trial I would likely have been shipped across the country to face new but similar charges in a different district. The process might have repeated indefinitely. Ultimately I decided that the most practical route was to accept this plea with a maximum of a ten year sentence and immunity from prosecution in every federal court.
Now that I have pleaded guilty it is a relief to be able to say that I did work with Anonymous to hack Stratfor, among other websites. Those others included military and police equipment suppliers, private intelligence and information security firms, and law enforcement agencies. I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.
I have already spent 15 months in prison. For several weeks of that time I have been held in solitary confinement. I have been denied visits and phone calls with my family and friends. This plea agreement spares me, my family, and my community a repeat of this grinding process.
I would like to thank all of my friends and supporters for their amazing and ongoing gestures of solidarity. Today I am glad to shoulder the responsibility for my actions and to move one step closer to daylight.
Jeremy Hammond

Jeremy is currently serving the remainder of his 10 year sentence at FCI Manchester prison in Kentucky.  He is still keeping the flame burning.

He could use words of encouragement and assistance.  He can receive "mail at the jail" as long as one follows the protocols set by the US Prison System.  More information can be found here

Jeremy needs reading material - Books can be purchased and sent to him via guidelines found here (Jeremy's "wishlist" reading list can be found here).

Barrett Brown

Barrett Brown, journalist, author, activist, and founder of Project PM.

Brown's investigation and reporting, as a part of Project PM, brought revelations about the use of secret surveillance, intelligence gathering techniques, and disinformation plans used by private corporations, at times, at the behest of the US government -  some specifically targeting Anonymous (the Collective), Wikileaks, and journalists like Glenn Greenwald.

From, September 20, 2013, the following list of reports and investigations from Project PM:

1) Team Themis

Team Themis is a consortium of firms, made up of HBGary, Palantir, Berico, and Endgame Systems, that was apparently set up to provide offensive intelligence capabilities against certain enemies on behalf of the law firm Hunton & Williams, who was working at the behest of Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The plans—discovered in emails pilfered by Anonymous from HBGary, which were drawn up but never acted upon—consisted of disinformation efforts against WikiLeaks and its supporters (including Glenn Greenwald) and other activists involved in criticizing the Chamber of Commerce.

Some of the methods proposed, which could feasibly be described as a dirty-tricks campaign using false documents to sow distrust, border upon the criminal. The affair made the news and resulted in calls for an investigation that never materialized, which is not surprising considering that the Department of Justice (DOJ) set the affair in motion by recommending Hunton & Williams to Bank of America, who were then concerned that WikiLeaks possessed information belonging to them. In the end a single Palantir employee was placed on leave pending a review of his actions, and later allowed to return.

2) Romas/COIN

Romas/COIN was a sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining targeted at Arab countries, which was unveiled in an exclusive Project PM report during 2011. The report was picked up by Raw Story and one other outlet, and it resulted in an article by Brown in the Guardian and a segment on Russia Today featuring confirmatory comments from Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer. But otherwise it didn’t get much traction.

Most striking was the revelation that companies like Apple and Google were team partners in this effort. While its exact nature and scope is unknown, mobile phone applications were believed to constitute a major component of the program. The contract for Romas/COIN was set to be replaced by a successor, codenamed Odyssey, which is quite possibly being used today to monitor, deceive, and manipulate whole populations.

3) “Persona Management”

The capability of persona management entails “the use of software by which to facilitate the use of multiple fake online personas, or ‘sockpuppets,’ generally for the use of propaganda, disinformation, or as a surveillance method by which to discover details of a human target via social interactions.” The United States Air Force (USAF) was revealed on the General Services Administration’s Federal Business Opportunities website to have requested bids from contractors for the opportunity to work on this class of software. It’s a high priority for DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), and U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) has admitted to using similar capabilities—including psychological operations on U.S. senators—abroad, under Operation Earnest Voice, to increase support for wars.

There are two very concerning aspects to this. One: the possibility that fake social media profiles, replete with supporting biographical details, could be deployed against Americans, which is against the law. Second: the possibility of a future in which you never know whether you’re communicating with a live person or a software abstraction, and a world where governments control narratives and wield an intense grip upon trends and topics via whole armies of these things. Let’s just say it’s scary.

4) TrapWire

Brown played a central role in the media coverage of TrapWire, a mass video surveillance system developed by Abraxas Corporation that was revealed last year. TrapWire’s marketing material boasts the ability to predict terrorist attacks. The emails, which came out of Stratfor and were published by WikiLeaks, showed that a network of closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras had been installed in most major American cities, the feeds of which were fed into a system designed to detect patterns of suspicious behavior.

Brown demonstrated how the New York Times got TrapWire wrong by arguing its fears were overstated (based on the word of an unnamed and unquoted DHS official) and underplayed its significance by dismissing its own marketing claims. He also detailed how articles about TrapWire were scrubbed from Australian newspapers at the behest of Cubic Corporation, who argued they were not connected to TrapWire, even though they had purchased the company that created it, Abraxas, two years earlier.

5) Cubic Corporation

And what about Cubic, a large company primarily serving the defense sector and its other wholly owned subsidiary, Ntrepid? In 2011, Ntrepid won a $2.76 million contract for persona management from CENTCOM mentioned earlier. Ntrepid also has an interesting product called Tartan, an investigation software with the ability to find hidden relationships within groups, analyze and identify ranks of influence, and locate key voices. Tartan’s own brochures suggest its potential for deployment against anarchist and protest groups; Occupy Wall Street is mentioned specifically.

Cubic also sells a product of dubious trustworthiness called Anonymizer, a proxy tool intended to make Internet activity untraceable, while developing other solutions to investigate, track, and analyze groups of people who are communicating over social media websites. In summary, Ntrepid’s software is intended to help one pick apart organizations, allowing you to discover who is most influential within them, and even uncover the identities of people trying to remain anonymous. Its potential value to law enforcement investigations can’t be understated.

6) Endgame Systems

Another focus of Brown’s research was Endgame Systems—a company named on his search warrant. Endgame conducts vulnerability research that gets used in cyber-warfare. Their premiere product, Bonesaw, is an offensive cyber-targeting application with a map displaying the locations and addresses of most Internet-connected computers and devices around the world, providing situational awareness and a platform from which to launch operations against adversaries and threats.

Endgame is also involved in the sale of zero-day exploits—e.g., weaknesses that can be used to attack and infiltrate systems. They were particularly secretive about the company’s involvement in Team Themis and purposely kept a low profile during the discussions. As one employee told another in an internal email according to this WIRED article, “We don’t ever want to see our name in a press release.” Like other companies, such as VUPEN, that sell exploits to governments, Endgame’s vulnerability research and experience with cyber-weapons has secured them a prominent role in the U.S. cyber-security arena.

7) Qorvis Communications

The public relations firm Qorvis has had certain interactions with the Kingdom of Bahrain that begat a few scandals. Qorvis was reportedly hired by the Bahraini regime to engage in “reputation management”—essentially monitoring the media and manipulating the press to promote a specific perception of the Kingdom while silencing critical voices. This is particularly troubling in view of the human rights situation in Bahrain: There have been violent crackdowns by security forces against demonstrators, and activists are frequently targeted with attacks or censorship by the regime. Actions by Qorvis are suspected to include a coordinated barrage of vicious social media attacks against Maryam al-Khawaja, a Bahraini human rights activist, when she gave a speech at the Oslo Freedom Forum in 2011.

8) Booz Allen Hamilton

Let’s not forget Booz Allen Hamilton, another entity Brown was looking into. A major U.S. intelligence contractor with offices in Virginia, Booz Allen Hamilton was found by Project PM to have an unspecified ‘project’ potentially related to disrupting Anonymous and WikiLeaks. No more details about that have been forthcoming, no doubt due to the firm’s intense culture of secrecy.

Booz Allen is best known as the company that whistle-blower Edward Snowden was briefly employed by as a systems administrator, under contract to the NSA, during which he used his broad access to obtain documents revealing secret surveillance programs. The current Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, who lied to Congress, was a former executive at Booz. It’s been reported that Booz Allen has experienced conflicts of interest and has a history of overbilling, while 99 percent of the company’s revenue comes from the federal government. As the author of that report notes, the firm merits closer scrutiny.

9) Palantir Technologies

Palantir Technologies is a major player in this field who is of great interest to Brown and Project PM. Palantir, known as a “darling of the intelligence and law enforcement communities”, was founded with a boatload of money from In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm, and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel. It’s led by the eccentric Alex Karp. Palantir was also involved in Team Themis, and even apologized to Greenwald for it—but what we know of its work speaks to the company’s expertise in dealing with large datasets.

Palantir’s self-titled flagship product is able to sift through extremely large amounts of data while providing advanced search and discovery capabilities: think things like telephone calls, bank transaction records, emails, text messages, etc. Of course, it’s wildly profitable and boast many customers, chief among them our nation’s counterterrorism and cyber analysts. Palantir claims to have built-in privacy controls, but that isn’t necessarily very reassuring since abuses and violations do happen.

10) Berico Technologies and HBGary

Berico Technologies, another firm implicated in Team Themis, develops fancy tools and infrastructure that are used in data visualization and analysis to assist signals intelligence (SIGINT) missions. After the Themis scandal broke, the company issued a statement that it does “not condone or support any effort that proactively targets American firms, organizations or individuals” and broke off ties with HBGary. For its part, HBGary does a lot of malware detection and also claims to have offensive cyber capabilities (more zero-day exploits).

HBGary Federal, however, is mostly perceived as a joke today—in no small part due to the foolish efforts of one executive, Aaron Barr, to identify the leadership structure of Anonymous. This attempt backfired in spectacular fashion, with the company’s servers being hacked and email spools leaked. Barr had no choice but to resign, and several firms attempted to distance themselves from him and HBGary after they were compromised.

11) Strategic Forecasting, Inc.

Strategic Forecasting, Inc. was hacked by AntiSec in association with Anonymous at the end of 2011 and had thousands of emails stolen. The emails are now continually being published by WikiLeaks as the Global Intelligence Files. Stratfor’s wide-ranging spying activities were later exposed, “including surveillance of Bhopal activists at the behest of Dow Chemical, of PETA on behalf of Coca-Cola, and of Occupy Wall Street under contract to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.” Those facts are less surprising and perplexing than the fact that notorious hacker Sabu was working for the FBI when Stratfor was hacked, and indeed provided the servers used to dump the data by Jeremy Hammond; add to that the fact that Sabu tried to sell the data to Julian Assange as part of a failed sting in which the FBI thought an American company was apparently expendable in its effort to nab the founder of WikiLeaks. Don’t even mention that Brown was indicted for identity theft and fraud for pasting a link in a chat room to an archive that contained unencrypted credit card numbers which, by Stratfor CEO George Friedman’s own account, had already been canceled—the FBI, banks and cardholders having been notified weeks beforehand.

12) Leonie Industries

Then there’s Leonie Industries, a federal contracting firm specializing in information operations which it offers to the Department of Defense. In 2012, it was caught in an online smear campaign against a journalist and an editor from USA Today, who were reporting about tax violations and waste at that same company, Leonie Industries. The article basically made the case that the contract between Leonie and the DoD was expensive and ineffective; the Pentagon then launched an investigation into back taxes owed. A calculated disinformation campaign in response to protected press activity is an ominous signal and reminder that journalists and activists are frequently targeted by these contractors. The person responsible apologized and divested themselves of ownership in the company. That shadowy, unseen forces have the ability to launch allegations to discredit perceived enemies at the behest of their clients is no less than absolutely terrifying.

13) Gamma International

Some who are well-versed in this area might recall Gamma International, the proprietor of the FinSpy/FinFisher spyware that is able to remotely take control of a computer, log keystrokes, copy stored information, and intercept communications. The New York Times reported that this software had been deployed against activists in Bahrain and Egypt. The FinFisher case illustrates the problem very well: here U.K./U.S. firms are actively engaged in selling capabilities to oppressive dictatorships with poor human rights records; tools which can be used to surveil, detain, arrest, torture, or do worse to fellow humans.

14) Raytheon

Last but far from least, Raytheon was shown earlier this year to have secretly developed a program called Riot that is, according to the Guardian, “capable of tracking people’s movements and predicting future behaviour by mining data from social networking websites.” Here we have a military defense contractor—the fifth largest in the world—working on a product that combines social networking, big data, and analytics in ways that could be extremely invasive to the privacy of average, law-abiding citizens. Like TrapWire, Riot boasts predictive powers that might be dangerously misused or just plain wrong. It recalls the concept of pre-crime from the short story/film The Minority Report. Clients of Raytheon are buying into the promise of predictive analytics: techniques from statistics, modeling, machine learning and data mining are being applied to complex human behavior.

In 2012, the FBI raided Barrett Brown's house, and later that year Barrett was indicted in 12 federal charges relating to the 2011 Stratfor hack (see Jeremy Hammond).

Brown—a longtime journalist and activist has written for Vanity Fair, the Onion, and the Guardian—has been the subject of a controversial government witchhunt for more than two years now, stemming from his association with members of the hacker collective Anonymous and his own journalism website known as “Project PM,” which investigated shadowy intelligence contractors like Booz Allen (long before Edward Snowden made them a household name).

The FBI relentlessly pursued Brown for his relationship with source and hacker Jeremy Hammond, who last year pled guilty to hacking into Stratfor, the intelligence contractor whose emails were the subject of that notorious link. It’s important to note: the FBI never accused Brown of hacking. (For more on this, read Anonymous expert Biella Coleman in Slate: “Barrett Brown isn’t a hacker, but he’s being punished like one.”)

However, the FBI would eventually charge Brown with obstruction of justice and threatening an FBI agent that stemmed from his reaction to their hacking investigation, and also included a charge of “trafficking” in stolen information for merely sharing a hyperlink with his collaborators on Project PM.

The hyperlink, which Brown just copied from an Anonymous chatroom into a private Project PM chatroom, led to a trove of the Statfor documents, some which contained newsworthy information, and some which also contained private credentials. In other words, it’s the type of link journalists share between each other and on Twitter all the time.

After Brown’s lawyers wrote a blistering legal brief accusing the Justice Department of violating the First Amendment, the government swiftly drop the linking indictment, but Brown eventually had to plead guilty to three lesser charges (including threatening an FBI agent, which Brown freely admitted in court was wrong and stupid).

But you’d think that would be the end of trying to punish him for linking. But at the sentencing hearing on Thursday, the Justice Department again brought the hyperlink up, arguing that even though Brown was NOT charged for the linking to a public document, he should still be punished more for his other crimes because it is “relevant conduct.”

So instead of being sentenced for just his crimes, Brown—as explained in detail by his defense attorney Marlo Cadeddu—got at least a year more in jail because the judge accepted the argument sharing a hyperlink—his First Amendment right, mind you—should factor into a longer sentence.

Barrett Brown continues to write for D Magazine and other publications from prison.

His sentence of 63 months (30 months were credited for the time he spent in jail awaiting trial)  and $890,250 in fines and restitution began this year. He will be out of  prison in 2018 but may live as an indentured servant to the state for the rest of his life.

On top of fines and restitution, Brown has his legal fees and commissary fees to pay and he can use some help. has set up a page for donations "here."

One can write him or send him books per guidelines and information that can be found "here."

I encourage everyone standing for transparency and accountability to take a minute to show solidarity with these two freedom fighters in the revolution;  Remember them for what they have sacrificed and what they have accomplished as two of many who have inspired us to keep the fight alive.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

From IBT: US Is Watching In Brazil, Too, Per WikiLeaks Release

US Is Watching In Brazil, Too, Per WikiLeaks Release

On the heels of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s visit to the United States, Wikileaks Saturday revealed what it called details of the U.S. National Security Agency’s efforts to spy on Brazil. The website says the information gathering included surveillance on Rousseff’s presidential plane as well as the cell phones and other communications devices of more than…

Friday, June 19, 2015

New Online Collection of Declassified Documents Chronicles America's "Year of Intelligence"

ProQuest and National Security Archive team on CIA Covert Operations II, now on the ProQuest platform ANN ARBOR, Mich., June 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- As Americans once again scrutinize elements of the Patriot Act, the National Security Archive and its publishing partner ProQuest are providing new avenues for research on government spying. The Digital National Security…

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

CIA Torture Reportedly Violated Human Experimentation Rules

CIA Torture Reportedly Violated Human Experimentation Rules

The CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” on terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks may have constituted a violation of the government’s rules against “human experimentation,” according to a report by the Guardian. A previously classified CIA document released Monday outlined the CIA director’s ability to “approve, modify or disapprove all proposals pertaining to human…

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Six Yemeni Guantanamo prisoners sent to Oman

The United States says it has sent another six Yemeni detainees from its controversial Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba to Oman for resettlement. In a statement issued late on Friday, the Pentagon said it had transferred Idris Ahmad Abd Al Qadir Idris, Sharaf Ahmad Muhammad Masud, Jalal Salam Awad Awad, Saad Nasser Moqbil Al Azani, Emad…

Saturday, June 13, 2015

U.S. court decision bodes well for Omar Khadr case, his lawyers say

A U.S. court decision overturning the conviction of a Guantanamo Bay detainee is the “nail in the coffin” for the case against Canadian Omar Khadr, his attorneys said Friday. “It confirms that Omar spend more than 12 years in prison without any legal justification,” Edmonton lawyer Nate Whitling said, confident the ruling concerning an alleged Al…

Friday, May 8, 2015

"Mr Khadr, you're free to go" - Omar Khadr experiences freedom for the 1st time in over a decade

'Mr Khadr, you're free to go'

I have covered Omar Khadr’s incarceration and legal battles since 2004, when the United States first convened the controversial military commissions to try inmates at Guantanamo Bay. As the youngest prisoner at the US military base in Cuba, he was seen by rights groups as a juvenile, and entitled to much more lenient treatment than he…

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Kansans' Human and Civil Rights not for consideration by Sam "Right to [Destroy] Life" Brownback

Sam Brownback by DonkeyHotey

In the spirit of full disclosure, Kansas was my "home" for the first 18 years of life. I left, returned and left again (1984) - I was done with Kansas.

The Kansas of my youth (as a post-war Baby Boomer growing up in a northeastern Kansas wealthy suburb of upwardly mobile Middle Class, very white Americans always fearful of the ever pervasive "threat" of a mushroom cloud), was Dwight D. Eisenhower and John Anderson, Jr,  strong education and progressive teachers; neighborhoods of like kind families of single incomes; Mental Health facilities, hospitals, PTAs and concern for children, but there was that ever pervasive "Red Scare" and imagined mushroom cloud (one of my first memories beyond climbing trees, my imaginary friend named Johnny P, and running, feral, with my brother, Jonnie, was a National Geographic insert about a place called Vietnam - a place the US sent more "advisers" to assist after the French withdrew from the fight against "Communism"...I think I was about 6).

As I grew in my political awareness (for me, I was still in the single digit age bracket), I developed major issues with the political bend of a state hell bent on Republicanism. I watched the Jekyll and Hyde mentality of Eastern Republicans (more liberal, bigger cities, more money, more highly educated) vs Western Republicans (small farming communities isolated by wheat fields and clinging strongly to fundamentalist religion) and a state growing more and more rigid under the insanity of it's "elected" officials - abortion was legalized while juvenile judges declared women and children property (and upon reaching the age of 18, men became emancipated, women were still considered "owned by the state" until "wed" - or so I was told repeatedly, as an adult, as I attempted to advocate for adolescents in front of the courts); Kansas supported the ERA but still prosecuted women who defended themselves against rape by their husbands.

Historically, Kansas came by its Republicanism before and during the Civil War - back when Republicans were abolitionists, educated and actually somewhat liberal - but Kansas was known to embrace their religious zealots even then.

Carrie Nation

****Note: Kansas was used as the example for Prohibition. Prohibition of alcohol (well, except communion wine) went in to effect in 1917 and wasn't changed until 1948.  Kansas continued to have strict laws banning saloons as well as liquor sales - no "liquor by the drink" was allowed until 1986.

40 years after Carrie Nation, Fred Phelps incorporated his Westboro Baptist Church, Incorporated - a  Kansas "not-for-profit" entity (1967).

In 1971,  Vern Miller, Attorney General (1971-1975) initiated his terrorist campaign busting up church cakewalks (against the law to gamble), prosecuting farmers for allowing ditch weed/hemp to grow in their fields and in creeks - Kansas is covered in that ubiquitous plant and it is nearly impossible to eradicate; and raiding Amtrak trains for serving alcohol...The horror!

And in 2010, Kansas elected another zealot to governor, Sam Brownback (bad enough Kansas "elected" him to the US House, then the Senate under the Bush administration. Brownback was a resident at the C Street House in DC).

Courtesy of "The Kansas City Star"

Mr. Brownback has always been on the far side of Right-wingery.  His stance on issues (From Ballotpedia):

...But this is only a snapshot of  views and views are not necessarily indicative of actions.  It is his actions that I deal with here.

Since Brownback became governor, he has declared war on human and civil rights of nearly everyone except like-minded, irrational, non-reality based people and corporations.  Like all ideologues, his actions aren't based on facts, they are based on a personal set of rigid and dogmatic "beliefs" that have little to do with fact.

The following is a review of just some of the laws and executive orders supported and signed by Sam Brownback:
Gov. Sam Brownback abided by a pledge to sign Tuesday a controversial income tax reduction bill after hope dissolved a less-risky version would be adopted by the Legislature.

Brownback, who urged the House and Senate to pass a more modest blueprint for slicing taxes, said the commitment to lowering the state's tax burden would result in renewed business investment and job growth.

"My faith is in the people of Kansas, not the government's ability to tax and redistribute," Brownback said. "Today's legislation will create tens of thousands of new jobs and help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business."

On Sunday, the 2012 Legislature adjourned the regular session without passing an alternative bill slowing the pace of tax reductions, holding longer to budget surpluses and moderating the threat of deficits.

From the "Lawrence Journal-World," June, 2012:
Brownback, a conservative Republican, made tax cuts the centerpiece of the 2012 legislative session.

The bill he signed will cut the individual income tax rates of 6.45 percent, 6.25 percent and 3.5 percent to just two rates at 4.9 percent and 3 percent.

It will also eliminate state income taxes for the owners of partnerships, S corporations and limited liability companies. In addition, it exempts from taxes income from farms, royalties on minerals, oil, gas copyrights and patent, and real estate rental income.

“The ramifications of this are really something,” Dickinson said about the business tax changes.

For example, he said, in a partnership of physicians, the physicians won’t pay state income taxes under the new law, but the nurses, lab techs and clerical workers will continue to pay income taxes.

Brownback has said the changes will stimulate the economy like an adrenaline shot to the heart. He said that the tax cuts will create 22,900 new jobs, give $2 billion more in disposable income to Kansans and increase population by 35,740, in addition to normal population growth.

The tax cuts, Brownback said, will “help make Kansas the best place in America to start and grow a small business.” The Brownback administration has said the new law will leave $1.1 billion in the pockets of Kansans during a two-year stretch.

What could possibly go wrong? Besides the failed Reaganomics policy of "trickle down"  - proven to be nothing more than creating a fully protected and pampered class of the "Landed Gentry" and corporations now feeding everything into their personal piggy banks (Real gluttonous, arrogant, hybridized and teflon coated pig banks....OINK). Sounds all great for everyone except the working stiffs who will now have to foot the bill for their corporate overlords.

It's not like the Governor wasn't warned of problems ...

From House Minority Leader Paul Davis, June 2012:
"Governor Brownback completely choreographed this fiscally irresponsible plan from start to finish," Davis said. "There is no feasible way that private-sector growth can accommodate the price tag of this tax cut, which means our $600 million surplus will become a $2.5 billion deficit within just five years."

The Tax Foundation, May 29, 2012:
“First, the exemption creates an incentive for businesses to structure as pass-throughs for tax reasons, even if it might be unwise to do so for non-tax reasons. Instead of the Kansas tax system treating similar activity similarly, the system will encourage economically inefficient, though tax-reducing activities.
“While this can be difficult and complicated, especially in business taxation, Kansas’s decision to exempt one type of business structure completely from taxation (pass-throughs) while continuing to tax others (C corporations) is problematic. It rewards certain business structures while punishing others. There is no sound economic justification for treating these two types of business activity so dramatically differently.”
“Further, while tax reductions can have positive economic benefits, they will cost revenue and will ultimately have to be paid for either by cutting spending or increasing taxes elsewhere.”
"Forbes," June, 2012:
“Kansas slashed the tax rate for the better off and exempted huge chunks of business, farm and self employment income from its individual income tax, while increasing the burden on some of the state’s poorest residents by eliminating a rebate they now get to offset the state’s sales tax on food.”
“When the food sales tax rebate disappears next year, Kansas will join Alabama and Mississippi as the only states that levy a tax on food and don’t in some way compensate lower income residents for the strain on their budgets.”

Kansas Economic Progress Council released their report in October, 2012:

Their conclusion:

Here we are in 2015, so how did that all work out for Kansas?

From "The Atlantic," April 9, 2015:
Surviving a tough reelection race, as Sam Brownback did in Kansas last year, can often be a cleansing experience for a governor. It should certainly bring relief. After all, Brownback managed to earn a fresh nod of support from voters despite a messy first term marked by a fiscal embarrassment of his own making.

Yet three months later, the humbling in the heartland goes on, much to the frustration of a Republican governor and one-time presidential contender who hoped to make Kansas the national emblem of conservative governance. Brownback's hard-fought victory on election day won him another four years, but it did nothing to fix the problem that nearly cost him his job: the state's finances. Kansas's budget has for months resembled a wallet with a hole in it—every time the state's bookkeepers peek inside, they find less money than the government thought would be there. Just a few days after the November election, the Kansas budget office revealed that revenue projections were off by more than $200 million, bringing the budget gap facing Brownback to $600 million in all.

The yawning deficit is widely blamed on the deep income tax cuts that Brownback, along with a Republican legislature, enacted during his first two years in office. They not only slashed rates, but more importantly, they created a huge exemption for business owners who file their taxes as individuals. By Brownback's own description, the tax plan was a "real live experiment" in supply-side economics, with the idea being that lower taxes would spur investment, create jobs, and refill Kansas's coffers through faster growth. Yet even under the most charitable analysis, revenue has plummeted much faster than the economy has expanded.
Brownback, refusing to admit to the failure, has gone on to cut everything  until it bleeds out - an all out destruction of the social safety net (what little there is in Kansas)   while proposing more taxes - not on the wealthy but on the people (remember that promise of $1.1 Billion in the pockets of Kansans?) in the way of  "Sin" taxes and begging to slow the flood of red ink:

More from "The Atlantic":
Now, Kansas's red ink has left the governor red- faced. Brownback is asking Republican state lawmakers to slow the income tax cuts over the next few years, raise taxes on cigarettes and alcohol, overhaul school funding, and divert money from the state's highway fund in order to balance the budget. It's not as if he's abandoning his conservative economic philosophy—he still wants to replace the state's income tax entirely with consumption taxes over time. And like any politician on the ropes, he is preaching patience. "These things take time," he said last month. He also acknowledged the toll his stumbles have taken on his image. "We're in Lent season, so I'm giving up worldly things, like popularity," he joked to a small crowd. Brownback has blamed the budget shortfall in part on automatic increases in education spending (a subject of a long-running court dispute), and he's cited a recent uptick in job growth as evidence that the tax cuts, on the whole, are working. "Kansas is on the rise, and the state of our state is strong," the governor proclaimed in an annual budget address in January.

Guess who takes the heat?  The elderly, the poor, the working class and kids.

February, 2015, Brownback executes an executive order to rescind former Governor Sebilius' orders - to include LGBT protections.  From the "Kansas Office of the Governor"  Press Release:
Governor Sam Brownback issues Executive Orders

TOPEKA – Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today released two executive orders, one rescinding certain Executive Orders and another encouraging employment practices for veterans and disabled individuals.

Executive Order 15-01 rescinds nine previous executive orders and abolishes specific inactive councils, task forces, committees, boards, advisory councils and commissions created through the following Executive Orders:

07-21 rescinds an order signed by Governor Sebelius making the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees/Child Care Providers Together the exclusive majority representative of all registered and licensed family child care providers.

07-24 is replaced by Executive Order 15-02 and rescinds an order signed by Governor Sebelius that unilaterally established additional “protected class rights” for state employees, specifically for sexual orientation and gender identity. 

08-01 rescinds the order signed by Governor Sebelius establishing the Governor’s Wind Working Group.

08-05 abolishes the the Governor’s P20 Education Council, established by Governor Sebelius.

09-02 abolishes the Kansas Coalition for Children in Nature established by Governor Seblius. The functions of this coalition duplicate efforts of the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks.

10-04 abolishes the Commission on Graduation and Dropout Prevention and Recovery established by Governor Mark Parkinson. Current programs including Jobs for America’s Graduates and Career and Technical Education address these issues more efficiently.

10-08 abolishes the Kansas Broadband Advisory Task Force established by Governor Mark Parkinson.

10-11 abolishes the Kansas Food Security Task Force established by Governor Mark Parkinson.

10-13 abolishes the Interagency Working Group for Wind Energy established by Governor Mark Parkinson.

“Many of these commissions, working groups and task forces have not met for several years or duplicate other ongoing efforts,” Governor Brownback said. “These changes streamline operations and reduce operational costs of maintaining these various committees.”

Executive Order 15-02 reaffirms the commitment of the State of Kansas to employment practices which do not discriminate based on race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry or age. It further establishes that state entities will implement employment management practices for veterans and disabled individuals that include outreach, hiring, support, mentoring, development, rewards and recognition for achievement.

“This Executive Order ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional ‘protected classes’ as the previous order did,” Governor Brownback said. “Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action. The order also reaffirms our commitment to hiring, mentoring and recognizing veterans and individuals with disabilities.”
***Note - 07-24 made bold by this author

In Kansas, state employees can now be fired from their jobs for being gay.

Gov. Sam Brownback signed an executive order on Tuesday reversing a 2007 measure that barred employment discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender state workers.

“This Executive Order ensures that state employees enjoy the same civil rights as all Kansans without creating additional ‘protected classes’ as the previous order did,” the governor said in a statement. “Any such expansion of ‘protected classes’ should be done by the legislature and not through unilateral action.”

Doug Bonney, the legal director of ACLU’s Kansas chapter, called the ruling “shocking” and “unprecedented.” “I read this as a signal ‘go ahead’ you can discriminate against people on their sexual orientation,” he said. “It sends absolutely the wrong message … it says, frankly, ‘please leave.’”

Under Brownback’s new order, Kansas workers can still be protected against “race, color, gender, religion, national origin, ancestry or age” discrimination, however.

State employees now join the rest of Kansas’ workforce — none of whom have no workplace protections against discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

While the state workers lose the discrimination protections they’ve had for more than seven years, they are returning to a situation all too familiar to many American employees: 29 states, including Kansas, have no protections in place to prevent discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

But he wasn't done there....

TOPEKA - Kansas became the first state Tuesday to ban a common second-trimester abortion procedure that critics describe as dismembering a fetus.

Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong abortion opponent, signed a bill imposing the ban. The new law takes effect July 1.

Two abortion rights groups that operate clinics with abortion services, Trust Women and Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said they’re considering challenging the new law in court.

The law bans the dilation and evacuation procedure and redefines it as “dismemberment abortion.” Drafted by the National Right to Life Committee, the measure also has been introduced in Missouri, Oklahoma and South Carolina, though only Kansas lawmakers have passed it.

“This is a horrific procedure,” Brownback spokesman Eileen Hawley said. “He hopes the nation follows suit.”

The procedure is banned except when necessary to save a woman’s life or prevent irreversible damage to her physical health. Doctors cannot use forceps, clamps, scissors or similar instruments on a fetus to remove it from the womb in pieces.

Abortion rights supporters said the procedure is often the safest for women seeking to terminate pregnancies during the second trimester. The procedure accounted for about 9 percent of abortions last year in Kansas, where most pregnancies are terminated in the first trimester and the state already bans most abortions at or after the 22nd week.

“This dangerous law dictates to qualified physicians how they can practice medicine and treat their patients,” Julie Burkhart, founder and CEO of Trust Women, said in a statement.

Brownback continues his 5 year war against a woman's right to choose in Kansas, practicing his own dismemberment abortion of Kansas women's right to self determination (back to that state ownership thing again).

From WIBW:
An abortion provider and an attorney spoke out in a news conference Tuesday against Governor Brownback's bill banning a certain abortion procedure.

Dr. Kris Neuhaus and her attorney, Bob Eye say Brownback's decision to make Kansas the first state to ban a second trimester abortion procedure is "anti-scientific and anti-woman."
***Note - Physician who's license was revoked by the state of Kansas Board of Healing Arts for her referrals and 2nd opinions in late term abortion cases, specifically for her work with Dr. George Tiller, murdered by Scott Roeder in 2009.  The state claimed it was for "sloppy" records.  The coincidental prosecution following the acquittal of Dr. George Tiller and the continued harassment of same by Kansas indicates otherwise.

Laura McQuade, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Kansas and Mid-Missouri, said, “Kansas is now not only the sole state with this atrocious law; it also now has more restrictions on abortion than any state in the U.S.”

Nationally, nearly nine in 10 abortions are performed in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy, commonly using a vacuum method that would not be affected by the Kansas law. By some accounts, about 9 percent of abortions in Kansas could be affected.

Alternatives in the second trimester, like medically induced, nonsurgical abortions, are more dangerous for some women, can involve days of uncertain waiting and may require access to hospital facilities, said Dr. Kathleen Morrell, a gynecologist and obstetrician in New York and a fellow of Physicians for Reproductive Health, which defends abortion rights.

“When it is safe to offer a choice of induction or D and E,” she said, referring to dilation and evacuation, “my patients overwhelmingly choose D and E. They are able to be asleep and comfortable for the procedure and then can go home to their own beds at night.”

It might also be possible, some experts said, for doctors to comply with the law by killing the fetus with an injection of the heart drug digoxin before starting a dilation and evacuation procedure. This is commonly done in very late abortions, after perhaps 18 weeks, but not earlier because, experts say, it seems unnecessary and adds uncertainties to the procedure.

Earlier in pregnancy, the fetus’s neurological system is just developing and by all accounts cannot feel pain, medical experts say. But in addition, the safety and efficacy of using digoxin earlier than 18 weeks into pregnancy have not been studied, and there are some indications that it could increase the chance of complications, said Dr. Colleen McNicholas, an obstetrician and gynecologist at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, who spoke on behalf of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

The Kansas law includes no exemptions for rape or incest, only to preserve a woman’s life or prevent irreversible impairment of a major bodily function. Doctors who violate the law could be charged with a misdemeanor on the first offense and a felony for successive violations.

“The law raises very grave constitutional concerns,” said Janet Crepps, a lawyer with the Center for Reproductive Rights in New York.

Brownback is unfazed. In fact, he merges the latest atrocity with his destruction of the state's coffers in a beautifully created psychotic package and touts it as being good for the Kansas economy. From "Salon":

It takes a special kind of delusion to believe — despite decades of empirical evidence — that massive income tax cuts for the wealthy will unleash economic prosperity, thereby boosting job creation and increasing government revenues. Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, however, clung to that delusion. Advised by the charlatan Art Laffer — originator of the curve — Brownback slashed income taxes for individuals and businesses, promising that his supply-side “experiment” would jump-start the Sunflower State’s economy. Instead, Kansas’ rendezvous with voodoo has created a $344 million revenue shortfall that legislators must fill by June, while the tax cuts haven’t delivered the promised economic benefits: Kansas’ rate of job growth has lagged behind that of the nation, per-capita income has remained stagnant, and the state’s GDP growth has fallen behind that of its neighbors in the Midwest and Great Plains.

How, then, does the delusional emperor of Brownbackistan respond? By insisting that all is going swimmingly, of course.

In an interview with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins over the weekend, Brownback hailed his state’s phantom progress, asserting that Kansas’ economic engines were roaring and arguing that the good times will become even better provided that the state — wait for it — continues to make it harder for women to have abortions.

“You have advanced pro-life policies, pro-family policies, and now you are building a strong economic base that is showing the federal government a thing or two when it comes to job creation,” a fawning Perkins said, displaying either embarrassing obsequiousness or an utter ignorance of recent news — or some combination thereof.

“Well, it’s working,” Brownback replied. “And we’re pretty straightforward here. What we want Kansas to be is the best place in America to do two things: Raise a family, grow a small business.”....

....“I’ve signed 10 pro-life bills. There’s another one moving through the legislature on ending dismemberment abortions, where you actually dismember the child to abort it,” he said, vowing to sign the latest bill.

Reflecting on the connection between socially conservative policies and economic growth, Brownback said, “They really support each other. Frankly, one of the problems we have in the country is we’re not forming enough families. And that is hurting our economic work, and it’s hurting our economic projections, because the best place for a child is within a strong family unit. And if you’re not forming the family unit you’re also slowing your economic performance, so these things really tie closely together. And I think we do a disservice politically when we separate them.”

From Right Wing Watch - Brownback and Tony Perkins, president, Family Research Council:

As Sam Brownback and his right wing charlatan Republican sycophants in Topeka continue their attacks on both civil and human rights, they prove to have little concern for the progress of Kansas. Instead, he is continuing the state's retrograde, at full speed, as if on a mission to be the first state to return to the days when the Ozarks were beachfront property - next to the Late Cretaceous Niobrara Seaway.....

Science, welfare and humanity be damned in Brownback's Kansas..