The U.S. continued air strikes against ISIS today in its effort to help the Kurds retake the Mosul Dam. According to CENTCOM, on August 15th the U.S. was just using “remotely piloted aircraft.” Yesterday, when the strikes began near Irbil and the Mosul dam, CENTCOM said the strikes consisted of “a mix of fighter and remotely piloted aircraft.”
Today, according to CENTCOM, the U.S. has now added bombers and attack aircraft:
U.S. military forces continued to attack ISIL terrorists in Iraq Sunday, using a mix of fighter, bomber, attack and remotely piloted aircraft to successfully conduct airstrikes near the Mosul Dam.
Obama today sent a new letter to Congress authorizing the enhanced attacks. Continue Reading →
The Government responded to several of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s motions today. In its response to his motion to suppress statements, it reprinted what Jahar has scrawled while hiding inside the boat:
I’m jealous of my brother who ha[s] [re]ceived the reward of jannutul Firdaus (inshallah) before me. I do not mourn because his soul is very much alive. God has a plan for each person. Mine was to hide in this boat and shed some light on our actions. I ask Allah to make me a shahied (iA) to allow me to return to him and be among all the righteous people in the highest levels of heaven. He who Allah guides no one can misguide. A[llah Ak]bar!
Continue Reading →
David Cole in the New York Review of Books has a new article, “We Kill People for Metadata” on the mistaken notion that the NSA’s collection of metadata in its pursuit of terrorists is no big deal because it does not collect the content of communications, only details about them. First he quotes NSA counsel Stewart Baker:
“Metadata absolutely tells you everything about somebody’s life. If you have enough metadata, you don’t really need content.”
He then quotes General Michael Hayden, former director of the NSA and the CIA:
“We kill people based on metadata.”
Continue Reading →
Murillo Karam, Attorney General for Mexico, gave an interview today to Radio Fórmula during which he expressed displeasure with DOJ‘s recent plea deal with Jesus Vicente Zambada-Niebla, son of Sinaloa co-leader Ismael Zambada-Garcia. (The details of Zambada-Niebla’s plea agreement are here.)
He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. [More...]
He also said Mexico presently has no intention of extraditing Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the U.S. (“no tenemos ninguna intensión de mandarlo a Estados Unidos.”) He added that Mexico still hasn’t received a formal extradition request for Chapo’s extradition. Continue Reading →
The House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on “Taking Down the Cartels” this week. Predictably, several committee members called for the quick extradition of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman.
There were four witnesses at the hearing: James Dinkins, a director of Homeland Security Investigations for ICE; John Feeley, a deputy assistant secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the State Dept; Alan Bersin, an assistant secretary of international affairs and diplomatic officer at Homeland Security; and Christopher Wilson, from the Mexico Institute of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
I just read the transcript of the hearing (available on Lexis.com). A Republican from Georgia named Paul Broun really stood out — and not in a positive way — repeatedly referring to El Chapo as “an animal.” Here are some of his remarks: Continue Reading →
The Bureau of Prisons has announced renovations will commence on the Thomson maximum security prison in Illinois. The funding was approved in January in the Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2014.
The “state of the art” unoccupied state prison was built in 2001 and purchased by the U.S. from Illinois as a possible place to house Guantanamo inmates when Gitmo closed. Then Congress killed the transfer of Guantanamo inmates to the U.S.
Check out the gleeful response of Illinois senator Richard Durbin:
This is the news we’ve been waiting for. The funding that the Bureau of Prisons reported to Congress today is a significant investment in the economic future of Northern Illinois,” said Durbin.
Continue Reading →
Republican intransigence over immigration reform may result in President Obama easing Homeland Security’s removal (previously called deportation) policies. Two measures are under consideration.
Obama met with various Latino groups yesterday. After the meeting:
Obama announced late on Thursday that he had decided to review deportation practices to seek a more “humane” way to enforce immigration laws.
Immigration law experts have said Obama could use his executive authority to also stop deporting parents of those children to keep families together.
Continue Reading →
larger version here.
It sure is cold outside, but the view from my living room was very pretty yesterday.
I’ve been mostly reading news from Mexico today. The papers there have been filled the past few days with revelations that the DEA made deals with top Sinaloa cartel members to provide information about rival cartels in exchange for immunity and the freedom to continue their illegal activities. This is about the case of Jesus Vincent Zambada-Niebla, awaiting trial in Chicago. I’m not sure why the Mexican papers are just picking it up now — it was news in the U.S. in 2011. The reporter does a good job though, and includes references to some of the pleadings. Here’s a long post I wrote about the case and the DEA’s “snitch and carry on” policy. It’s an interesting question whether Humberto Loya-Castro, the Sinaloa lawyer who became a DEA informant and provided information about rival cartels for years to the DEA, and who set up a meeting in Mexico City between the DEA and Zambada-Niebla, at which Zambada-Niebla claimed the DEA offered him the same deal as Loya — become a snitch against rivals and continue on without fear of busts — was not so much an informant as an agent of the Cartel doing business with the U.S. Government.
Snitch and receive a get out of jail free card pales in comparison to snitch, stay in business and be free from arrest. The DEA used the same strategy in Colombia when targeting Pablo Escobar. It’s called “Divide and Conquer.” [More...] Continue Reading →
If you run across any bugs, or want to suggest a change or feature, here’s a place to do it.
I’m still tinkering with the site, both in terms of design and features.
The Department of Justice signed a contract in late December to pay $544,000 for an “enhanced profile” on the social networking site “Linked In” to “increase its branding” and improve its ability to recruit prosecutors. The recipient of the contract is Carahsoft Technology Corporation, and you can view the contract details here.
Here is DOJ’s justification for avoiding the open-bidding process and what it gets for its money. Among the benefits: full access to every Linked-In profile.
This will include an enhanced company profile within a large-scale, professional networking platform, and targeted online job advertising to attract highly qualified Criminal Division employees and intern applicants as well as use the already existing Criminal Division presence,” the document said.
I find this particularly inappropriate when sequester cuts are still in effect for federal defenders and indigent defense counsel. Federal defenders have been hit with lay-offs and furloughs, while indigent defense counsel had their payment vouchers delayed for four weeks this fall and their already reduced rates cut $15.00 an hour. The pay cuts will last at least until September, 2014.
Here is Chief Justice John Roberts’ 2013 end of year State of the Judiciary report. The judiciary cuts from sequester amounted to $350 million.