July 11, 2013 - The Constantine Report    
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

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March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading
March 5th 2020 12

Are you using the best credit card when ordering food for delivery?

The key to more success is to have a lot of pillows. Always remember in the jungle there’s a lot of they in there, after you will make it to paradise. Egg whites, turkey sausage, wheat toast, water.

Continue reading

It Wasn't Only Whitey Bulger: The FBI and the Mob's Gregory Scarpa, Sr.

This is a modified py-6 that occupies the entire horizontal space of its parent.

Photo: Gregory “The Grim Reaper” Scarpa, Sr.

Creepy: The clandestine alliance between domestic intelligence and organized crime began with Operation Underworld during WW II and survives to the present day. Whitey Bulger is one of many state intelligence “assets” with Mafia credentials. Boston’s Rossetti Gang and the remnants of the Miami-based Lansky faction fit the profile, as well. So do the “Honor Society” pot growers, coke refiners and meth cooks of Griffith, Australia, with roots in the south of Italy and ties to Rupert Murdoch and the CIA. And then there is the Colombo Family, led by an FBI-sanctioned “Killing Machine” … but why go on all day. What? “Funny?” You mean “funny, ha-ha?” … – AC

The Colombo family killer stopped counting after 50 murders. A deal with the feds helped him get away with it all

Excerpted from “Deal With the Devil: The FBI’s Thirty-Year Relationship With a Mafia Killer”

Gregory Scarpa Sr. was a study in complication. A peacock dresser, he carried a wad of $5,000 in cash at all times. He wore a seven-carat pinky ring and a diamond-studded watch. He made millions from drug dealing, hijackings, loan sharking, high-end jewelry scores, bank heists, and stolen securities. He owned homes in Las Vegas, Brooklyn, Florida, and Staten Island, and a co-op apartment on Manhattan’s exclusive Sutton Place. He was the biggest trafficker in stolen credit cards in New York and ran an international auto theft ring. A single bank robbery by his notorious Bypass Gang on the July 4 weekend in 1974 netted $15 million in thirteen duffel bags full of cash and jewels. His sports betting operation made $2.5 million a year. His crew grossed $70,000 weekly in drug sales. And yet, fifteen years after becoming a “made” member of the Colombo crime family, while he was a senior capo, Scarpa was arrested for “pilfering” coins from a pay phone. He simply couldn’t resist a chance to steal—even a handful of change from the phone company.

Five foot ten, two hundred and twenty pounds, Scarpa was described by one of his FBI contacting agents as “an ox of a man; like a short piano mover [with a] thick neck and huge biceps.” For more than forty-two years, as capo of the Colombo family (or borgata), he roamed the streets of Brooklyn like a feudal lord, earning the nicknames “the Grim Reaper,” “the Mad Hatter,” “Hannibal Lecter,” and “the Killing Machine.” He even signed personal letters with the initials “KM.”

But Scarpa was also a homebody with three separate families. In 1949 he married Connie Forrest. They had four children, including Gregory Jr., who started doing crimes for his father at the age of sixteen. Then, while still married to Connie, whom he shipped off to New Jersey, Scarpa moved in with Linda Diana, a gorgeous brunette nineteen years younger, who had been dating wiseguys since her mid-teens. Scarpa had two children with Linda, but in an effort to hide the fact that they were Greg’s, she married a man named Schiro, who believed the kids were his own. Then, in 1975, while still married to Forrest and living as Linda’s common-law husband, Scarpa ran off to Las Vegas and married Lili Dajani, a thirty-five-year-old former Miss Israel. Years later, Dajani’s lover, an ex-abortion doctor named Eli Shkolnik, was murdered on Scarpa’s orders. Yet in 1979 Scarpa agreed to let Linda carry on a torrid sexual relationship with Larry Mazza, a handsome eighteen-year-old delivery boy—and later made Mazza his protégé, schooling him in the crimes of loan sharking, bank robbery, and homicide.

“I started out one way and ended up with the devil,” Mazza later said. The former grocery worker expressed shock when Scarpa once suggested to him that they kill the mother of a mob turncoat in order to demonstrate “what happens to rats.”

Still, Scarpa, who bragged that he “loved the smell of gunpowder,” had no compunctions about killing women. When he heard that Mary Bari, the beautiful mistress of the family underboss, might talk to authorities, he had her lured to a club, then shot her in the head point-blank and dumped her body in a rolled-up canvas two miles away. Later, when the dog of one of his crew members’ wives found a piece of the dead woman’s ear, Scarpa joked about it over dinner. “He was just a vicious, violent animal,” said Mazza. “Unscrupulous and treacherous . . . just a horrible human being.”

And yet Scarpa’s daughter, “Little Linda” Schiro, described him as “incredibly loving—the kind of dad who was there for us every night for dinner at five o’clock. Whatever he was on the outside, he was really gentle at home.” Like a true sociopath, Scarpa was apparently capable of shifting at will from brutal murderer to loyal dad. After one bloody rubout, when Mazza and Scarpa shot a rival in the head, they went home to play with Greg’s infant grandson, drink wine, and watch Seinfeld on TV.

“He could transform himself,” says Little Linda. “He could go kill someone and five minutes later he’d be home watching Wheel of Fortune with my brother and me.”

The Grim Reaper ruled Thirteenth Avenue in Bensonhurst with an iron fist. He was responsible for more than twenty-five separate homicides between 1980 and 1992. With Mazza’s help, Scarpa killed three people in one four-week period. He shot one of his victims with a rifle while he was stringing Christmas lights with his wife. He killed a seventy-eight-year-old member of the Genovese family because the old man happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Then, a few weeks later, after FBI and NYPD surveillance had been pulled away from a Mafia social club, he rolled up next to Colombo capo Nicholas Grancio, and when his own rifle jammed, he ordered him shot. Grancio’s nose was blown off and one of his teeth was later found in a nearby building At another point, tipped that Cosmo Catanzano, one of his crew members, might talk to the Feds, Scarpa ordered his grave dug in advance of the murder, but Catanzano escaped when DEA agents arrested him before the execution could take place.

“The man was the master of the unpredictable and he knew absolutely no bounds of fear,” said Joseph Benfante, one of Scarpa’s former lawyers. “If he’d lived four hundred years ago, he would have been a pirate.” The brazen Scarpa even gave himself a reason to wear an eye patch. In 1992, after being diagnosed with HIV and given only months to live, he broke house arrest and went after a pair of local drug dealers who had threatened his younger son. In the ensuing gun battle, Scarpa got his right eye shot out, but he walked home and downed a glass of scotch before Larry Mazza was summoned and drove him to the hospital.

“Scarpa had an action jones,” one former assistant district attorney recalled. Another investigator described the killer’s need to stay on the edge: “Capos ain’t supposed to be out on the street hijacking trucks, doing drug deals,” he said. “I mean, that’s why you have a crew. But Greg was there. He always had to walk point.”

And yet, even as he openly disparaged “rats,” Scarpa devoted more than three decades off and on to betraying his larger “family,” the Colombos.

The Secret Files

More than eleven hundred pages of files, uncovered in the course of investigating Scarpa’s career, demonstrate that his relationship with federal law enforcement dates back to the Kennedy administration. More than two years before celebrated Mafia turncoat Joseph Valachi “sang” to the McClellan rackets committee in a historic series of hearings televised from coast to coast, Scarpa was already coughing up the family’s most intimate secrets to the FBI.

The detailed multi-page memos, called airtels (later designated as FBI 209 reports) show that Scarpa, whose code designation was NY 3461-C-TE, met two or three times a month with agents from the FBI’s New York Office. During these secret sessions, conducted in hotel rooms, automobiles, and Scarpa’s various homes in Brooklyn, he fed them the kind of inside-the-family dirt that J. Edgar Hoover craved. Every one of those airtels went straight to the Director himself, and as we’ll see, while many of the debriefings contained detailed intelligence on the organizational structure of the Mafia, “34,” as Scarpa was known, also gave the Bureau reams of disinformation.

A brilliant Machiavellian strategist, Scarpa not only stayed on the street for forty-two years, avoiding prison after fourteen separate arrests or indictments for his crimes, but he repeatedly “ratted out” his competition in the family—literally eliminating many of the capos above him along with the two family bosses: Joseph Colombo and Carmine Persico. He also succeeded in fomenting a series of internal conflicts or wars that tore the borgata apart.

It was Scarpa whose duplicity paved the way for the notorious assassination attempt on Joseph Colombo at an Italian-American Civil Rights League rally in front of fifty thousand people in 1971. It was Scarpa whose backdoor machinations ignited the second Colombo war between wiseguys loyal to Persico and the violent Gallo brothers in the early 1970s, and it was Scarpa who fueled the battle that led to the infamous rubout of Crazy Joe Gallo in 1972. Most important to the Feds, it was Scarpa who provided the probable cause that led to the Title III wiretaps in the historic Mafia Commission case in the mid-1980s, sending Persico and two other New York bosses to prison for life.

In 1989, Everett Hatcher, a decorated DEA agent, was gunned down by Scarpa’s nephew Gus Farace, who was a member of Greg’s Wimpy Boys crew. That cold-blooded shooting led to the formation of a five-hundred-man FBI/DEA task force and an international manhunt that lasted more than nine months. New evidence now suggests that it was Scarpa who set up his own nephew’s murder to take the heat off the other New York families.

Scarpa was such a master chess player that he used his position as a Top Echelon informant to earn hundreds of thousands of dollars, beyond the millions he made from racketeering. Not only did the FBI pay him $158,000 in fees and bonuses for his services, but his control agent from the mid-1960s to the early ’70s, Anthony Villano, brokered kickbacks from insurance companies for some of the high-end hijackings Scarpa was executing. Those “rewards,” amounting to tens of thousands of dollars, went back to Scarpa for his own thefts of “swag” ranging from liquor to negotiable stocks to gold bullion, jewelry, and mercury. Scarpa even got a cut of a reward for the return of the Regina Pacis jewels after a gang of junkies stole the coveted items from a Brooklyn church. That led to national headlines for the Bureau after Villano negotiated the recovery.

The Killing Machine also worked for the government in a series of “black bag jobs” that he performed off the books. The first was his well-known trip to Mississippi in the summer of 1964, when he tortured a Ku Klux Klan member in order to solve the mystery of the MISSBURN case—locating the bodies of slain civil rights workers Goodman, Schwerner, and Chaney when FBI agents assigned to the probe came up empty.

After breaking a second civil rights murder in 1966 as an FBI “special” asset, Scarpa traveled to Costa Rica in the early 1980s to extradite fugitive Colombo capo Anthony Peraino, the notorious porn king who had made millions from the production of the film Deep Throat.

In return for his assistance to the Feds, Scarpa collected in spades, using his influence with the FBI to avoid prosecution on three separate indictments by organized crime strike forces over the years. Not only did he beat a 1974 indictment for stealing $520,000 in securities and conspiring to counterfeit, transport, and sell $4 million in IBM stock, but when Secret Service agents arrested him in 1986 for credit card fraud, on charges that could have led to seven years in prison and a $250,000 fine, the FBI intervened and helped him get his sentence reduced to probation and a $10,000 fine.

By that time, Scarpa had been infected with HIV after a tainted blood transfusion and was given only months to live. At least that’s what the government told the sentencing judge. If he’d gone to prison then, Scarpa would never have been on the street to foment his last great conspiracy: the third Colombo war. But he lived for another six years.

The man who vouched for him during the time was Roy Lindley DeVecchio, known in the Bureau as “Mr. Organized Crime” for his purported success putting wiseguys away. After officially reopening Scarpa in 1980 following a five-year hiatus, Lin, as he was known, quickly rose through the Bureau ranks, commanding two organized crime squads. He also taught informant development at the FBI Academy and became supervising case agent on the Mafia Commission case, due in large part to his “management” of Informant NY-3461-C-TE, a.k.a. “34.”

But defense attorneys would later allege that Lin’s relationship with Scarpa was an “unholy alliance.” In 1994, the FBI opened an Office of Professional Responsibility internal affairs investigation after four agents under DeVecchio effectively accused him of leaking key intelligence to the Mafia killer. DeVecchio, who refused to take a polygraph test, was nevertheless granted immunity during the probe, making it virtually impossible for the Justice Department to indict him. In 1996, he retired with a full pension. Later, he was granted immunity a second time, but he answered “I don’t recall,” or words to that effect, more than fifty times at a 1997 hearing as defense lawyers tried to peel back the layers on his clandestine dealings with Scarpa.

In March 2006, the Brooklyn district attorney unsealed an indictment charging Lin DeVecchio with four counts of murder stemming from his twelve-year relationship with Gregory Scarpa Sr. The following year, after an aborted two-week trial, those charges were dismissed. But not before Scarpa’s protégé Larry Mazza testified that his homicidal mentor had “stopped counting” after fifty executions. Said his own daughter, “Little Linda” Schiro, “It was like growing up with a serial killer.”

The Killing Machine’s most violent period came during that third Colombo war, which he incited. The death toll during that conflict was fourteen, and the evidence demonstrates that Scarpa was personally responsible for at least six of the hits. Each time he executed a significant rubout, Scarpa would punch the satanic digits 6-6-6 into the pager of his consigliere to let him know that the job was done.

A final murder he committed four days after Christmas in 1992 brought the number of homicides he’d ordered or executed on Lin DeVecchio’s watch to twenty-six. That figure amounted to half the murders Mazza says Scarpa committed before he quit keeping track. (Mazza later reaffirmed the number in a 2012 interview with the New York Post.) Those fifty homicides made the Grim Reaper perhaps the most prolific hit man in the history of organized crime and put him in the ranks of the world’s top serial killers. The fact that most of those deaths occurred while he was being paid as a virtual agent provocateur by the Feds is a testament to the FBI’s willingness to make “a deal with the devil,” as DeVecchio’s trial judge put it.

A Month in Jail over More than Four Decades

In more than forty-two years as a hyper-violent gangster, Gregory Scarpa Sr. served only thirty days in jail—and that was during the years when he was “closed” as an FBI source. The rest of that time, a series of FBI agents intervened to keep the so-called Mad Hatter on the street. But that wasn’t the most disturbing aspect of Scarpa’s relationship with the government. In light of the 1,150-plus pages of FBI files on Scarpa we’ve now accessed, it can be fairly argued that the FBI’s very playbook against “La Cosa Nostra” was defined and shaped by what Scarpa fed them—particularly in the years from 1961 to 1972, when J. Edgar Hoover himself was on the receiving end of “34”’s airtels. Given the Bureau’s relationship with Scarpa, it’s no surprise that a senior federal judge sentenced one minor Colombo capo convicted in 1992 to multiple life terms for crimes far less repugnant than Scarpa’s.

Even as he was being ravaged by the HIV virus—shrinking from 220 pounds to an emaciated 116 toward the end of his life—Scarpa beat the real grim reaper by many years, staying alive to commit multiple homicides as he schemed to take over the family in the phony war he’d engineered. Few figures in the annals of organized crime have operated with such tenacity, deviousness, and reckless disregard for human life.

Today, as suspicion of governmental ethics and competence runs higher than ever, the fact that the FBI used such a known murderer as its secret weapon against what Lin DeVecchio calls “the Mafia enemy” underscores the moral ambiguity that colors so much federal law enforcement in the United States. From the time J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI forged its alliance with Gregory Scarpa Sr., a young capo for the Profaci crime family, there was no turning back. “They enlisted a violent killer to stop much less capable murderers,” says defense lawyer Ellen Resnick, whose work helped to expose this unholy alliance. “It was the ultimate ends-justify-the-means relationship.”

Excerpted from “Deal With the Devil: The FBI’s Thirty-Year Relationship With a Mafia Killer” by Peter Lance. Published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers. Copyright 2013 by Tenacity Media Group Ltd. Reprinted with permission of the publisher. All rights reserved.

Peter Lance is the author of three previous works of investigative journalism, “1000 Years For Revenge,” “Cover Up” and “Triple Cross.” He is a former correspondent for ABC News.

More lawmakers in North Carolina than in any other state have signed Americans for Prosperity’s pledge against spending money to address the climate crisis.

The political clout of conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch of the Koch Industries oil and chemical conglomerate is hardly news, but a fresh investigation provides interesting details about their influence — including the outsized sway they hold over the North Carolina legislature when it comes to climate policy.

A report released last week by the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University found the Koch brothers spent $134 million over a recent five-year period promoting their brand of libertarian politics through campaign contributions, lobbying, nonprofit public policy underwriting, and educational institutional support. It also documented the way the various parts of the Koch influence machine work together to promote anti-regulatory policies that benefit Koch Industries, the second-largest privately held company in the United States.

Among the policies of interest to Koch Industries are those related to climate — a pressing concern for a corporation that’s the 27th largest greenhouse gas emitter in the United States, according to the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts. In 2011, Koch Industries and its subsidiaries emitted more than 24 million metric tons of heat-trapping carbon dioxide to the earth’s atmosphere.

To influence policy making on climate and other issues, the Koch brothers and Koch Industries corporate board member Richard Fink in 2004 launched Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a political advocacy group that promotes an aggressive anti-regulatory agenda and has close ties to the ultra-conservative tea party movement. In 2008, coinciding with its “Hot Air Tour” to promote doubt about the scientific reality of global warming, AFP created a “No Climate Tax Pledge” for politicians, with signers promising not to spend any money to address climate change without an equivalent amount of tax cuts.

To date, the pledge has been signed by 411 current office-holders and politicians, including 25 U.S. Senators and 144 members of the U.S. House.

The pledge has also been signed by many state politicians — and North Carolina is far ahead of other states in the number of signatories.

Seventeen current members of the North Carolina Senate, all Republicans, have signed the pledge — more than in any other state. Arkansas comes in a distant second with 11, followed by Missouri with six. …

The Pope Connection

Why would so many North Carolina lawmakers have signed AFP’s pledge against taking climate action? One likely factor is the influence of conservative mega-donor Art Pope, CEO of the Variety Wholesalers discount retail chain and a longtime AFP leader.

Until McCrory appointed him state budget director in January, Pope served for many years as one of a handful of national directors of AFP, and his family foundation is the second-largest backer of AFP’s sister group, the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. Pope is also a close associate of the Kochs outside of AFP, attending their secretive annual gatherings of wealthy conservatives. And like the Kochs, Pope has been a major backer of groups that work to cast doubt on climate change, giving to many of the same organizations. In North Carolina, Pope’s policy network has been the leading voice of climate science denial.

Pope played a big role in getting the current Republican supermajorities in both the state House and Senate elected. …



Praise for WikiLeaks as Manning Defense Rests

FT. MEADE, Md. (CN) – Pfc. Bradley Manning’s disclosures to WikiLeaks mark one of the “high points” in the history of journalism, a Harvard professor testified Wednesday as the last defense witness in the landmark court-martial.

Manning has freely admitted his responsibility for the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history: a more-than-700,000-file stash of battlefield reports from two war zones, diplomatic cables and footage of airstrikes on civilians.

Prosecutors claim that the 25-year-old soldier “aided the enemy” and committed espionage, theft and computer fraud through these disclosures.

Harvard professor Yochai Benkler countered that the soldier enriched the “Networked Fourth Estate,” a phrase that he coined in the subtitle of his paper, “A Free Irresponsible Press.”

The last witness to testify for the defense, Benkler is considered an academic authority in the evolution of media in the age of the Internet, and the most widely cited scholar on WikiLeaks.

His concept of a “networked” Fourth Estate describes not only how traditional journalism outlets use online resources, but how the Internet forced the newsgathering process to evolve.

The military judge, Col. Denise Lind, admitted him as an expert on this topic, for the first time in U.S. jurisprudence.

Benkler testified that neither Manning, nor anybody else, would have had any reason to consider WikiLeaks a terrorist-enabler before overheated rhetoric against it came from Washington.

In its early days, WikiLeaks set its sights on authoritarian regimes, publishing about the Chinese government’s use of “Green Dam” software, Benkler noted. The program had been billed as anti-pornography software, but it also censored political dissent.

Other early scoops included evidence of a tax shelter scam at the Swiss bank, Julius Baer; toxic waste dumping off the Ivory Coast by Trafigura, a Dutch multinational corporation; and extrajudicial killing by the Kenyan government.

The latter expose won WikiLeaks an award by Amnesty International and solidified its reputation as a whistle-blowing website, Benkler said.

As the accolades poured in, a Pentagon counterintelligence official wrote and published a paper, “WikiLeaks.org – An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?”

Prosecutors argue that Manning, who leaked this document, knew about the organization’s supposedly secret nature and threat.

But Benkler said that even the paper’s author, Michael Horvach, never answered that question. The paper meanwhile describes WikiLeaks and its employees in traditional journalistic terms like “staff writers,” “editors” and “analysis of documents,” the professor noted.

“These are the things that are at the very core of investigative journalism,” Benkler said.

Horvach’s concern about WikiLeaks, moreover, stemmed from the “false, simply mistaken” assertion that it does not authenticate its documents, Benkler added.

In reality, verification procedures at WikiLeaks have differentiated it from short-lived competitors like LiveLeaks, Benkler said.

Noting that WikiLeaks never issued a significant retraction, Benkler quipped: “Dan Rather, I’m sure, would like to say the same thing.”

Perhaps the most prominent of the Manning’s leaks is the footage of an Apache helicopter’s footage of a Baghdad airstrike that killed two Reuters employees, which WikiLeaks titled “Collateral Murder.”

By unveiling this at the venerable National Press Club, WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange signaled “a bridge between new media and old media,” Benkler said.

The professor pointed out that The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, a German daily, coordinated with WikiLeaks in reporting on the Afghanistan and Iraq “war logs.”

This marked “a clear distinct component of what in the history of journalism we see as high points, where journalists are able to come in and say, here’s a system operating in a way that is obscure to the public and now we’re able to shine the light,” Benkler said. “That’s what WikiLeaks showed how to do for the networked public sphere.”

Around this period, statements by government officials “began to shift publicly” against the website. Then-Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen accused WikiLeaks of having blood on its hands, and Vice President Joe Biden called Assange “a high-tech terrorist.”

Newspapers that published the scoops meanwhile mostly avoided such condemnation.

“The wrath was reserved purely for WikiLeaks,” Benkler said.

With “Cablegate,” a compendium of more than 250,000 diplomatic cables Manning leaked, the rhetoric continued to heat up. One Fox News host called for the government to “illegally shoot” Assange, and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman ranked “super-empowered individuals” like the WikiLeaks chief as a threat on par with China.

Some level heads remained as then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates called official reactions to the leaks “fairly significantly overwrought” in a letter to Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich.

Benkler called the remark “an extraordinarily well-placed assessment.”

Manning’s lead attorney, David Coombs, said it was the bluster from Washington that put WikiLeaks on al-Qaida’s radar. U.S. officials found Afghan war logs and diplomatic cables during the raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabod, Pakistan, trial evidence showed.

With its major leaker facing the potential of life imprisonment, and its editor-in-chief holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, Benkler noted that the organization’s fate is uncertain.

“WikiLeaks might fail in the future because all of these events, but the model of some form of decentralized leaking that is secure technologically and allows for collaboration among different media in different countries – that’s going to survive, and somebody else will build it.

“But WikiLeaks played that critical role of that particular critical component of what muckraking and investigative journalism has always done,” he said, ending his direct examination.

One of the prosecutors, Capt. Joe Morrow, acknowledged that Benkler was a “distinguished academic and clearly a very smart man” as he tried to undermine the methods that behind the professor’s conclusions.

In his research, Benkler said that he perused “at least 700 articles” about WikiLeaks that he found on WestLaw.

When Benkler published a draft of “A Free Irresponsible Press” on his website, Assange sent him an annotated version with comments, information and requested corrections. Benkler said he followed every lead, without taking any annotation at face value.

Morrow suggested that Benkler did not apply enough skepticism to allegations of Manning’s solitary confinement in a Marine brig in Quantico, Va.

Manning’s nearly nine-month stay at Quantico, from July 29, 2010, to April 19, 2011, provoked international attention, as reports trickled out that he had been forced to spend more than 23 hours a day alone, ordered to strip and denied permission to exercise in his windowless, 6-by-8-foot cell.

Col. Lind found before trial that Manning had experienced “unlawful pretrial punishment,” but she refused to define his isolation as “solitary confinement” because it had been intended for his protection.

Benkler declined to be drawn into that debate when asked his view of the subject today.

“That was the information that was then available,” he said of Manning’s isolation.

Morrow also tried to make Benkler budge from his characterization of WikiLeaks as a legitimate and effective journalistic enterprise. Traditional critics of the website and its employees tend to cast them as activist, anti-secrecy absolutists that dump documents without regard to their individual news value.

The prosecutor touched upon all of these points, which Benkler rebuffed in turn.

Though he agreed there was a difference between journalism and activism, Benkler called reporting a “behavior” rather than an identity, and said that The Nation and Fox News push points of view while also presenting the news.

When Morrow asked whether journalists encouraged anonymity with their sources, the professor pointed to “Deep Throat,” who remained unknown to the Washington Post’s Bob Woodward even while providing clues to the Watergate puzzle.

The reception of the Iraq war logs also showed the news value to documents leaked en masse, Benkler added, pointing to a nonprofit organization that used them to challenge official estimates of casualty counts.

Morrow pressed that Assange, unlike a traditional editor-in-chief, used the language of espionage in describing the newsgathering process by calling his outlet “The People’s Intelligence Agency,” and speaking of “intelligence sources” and “outing a spy” in the organization.

Taking the remarks less literally, Benkler said that individuals within organizations vary in their conduct and their rhetoric.

The prosecutor finished with an attempt to call the professor’s neutrality into question. “Your views on the court-martial are very well-known,” Morrow said.

Benkler co-authored a New York Times op-ed “Death to Whistle-Blowers,” and wrote “The Dangerous Logic of the Bradley Manning Case” in The New Republic.

On redirect, Coombs had Benkler explain both pieces, which took issue with unique charges against Manning. The professor noted that the potential capital offense of “aiding the enemy” has not been charged for a leak to the press since the Civil War, and carries the specter of life imprisonment over the heads of future journalism sources.

The defense rested with Benkler’s testimony. Proceedings resume next week with oral argument on Manning’s attempt to dismiss several major charges, including aiding the enemy. Prosecutors revealed plans to present a rebuttal case before the parties move on to closing arguments.

WASHINGTON, Jun 17 2013 (IPS) – Edward Snowden, a low-level employee of Booz Allen Hamilton who blew the whistle on the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), unexpectedly exposed a powerful and seamless segment of the military-industrial complex – the world of contractors that consumes some 70 percent of this country’s 52-billion-dollar intelligence budget.

Some commentators have pounced on Snowden’s disclosures to denounce the role of private contractors in the world of government and national security, arguing such spheres are best left to public servants. But their criticism misses the point.

It is no longer possible to determine the difference between the two: employees of the NSA – along with agencies like the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) – and the employees of companies such as Booz Allen have integrated to the extent that they slip from one role in industry to another in government, cross-promoting each other and self-dealing in ways that make the fabled revolving door redundant, if not completely disorienting.

Snowden, a systems administrator at the NSA’s Threat Operations Centre in Hawaii, had worked for the CIA and Dell before joining Booz Allen. But his rather obscure role pales in comparison to those of others.

“It is no longer possible to determine the difference between employees of the NSA and employees of companies such as Booz Allen.”

To best understand this tale, one must first turn to R. James Woolsey, a former director of CIA, who appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives in the summer of 2004 to promote the idea of integrating U.S. domestic and foreign spying efforts to track “terrorists”.

One month later, he appeared on MSNBC television, where he spoke of the urgent need to create a new U.S. intelligence czar to help expand the post-9/11 national surveillance apparatus.

On neither occasion did Woolsey mention that he was employed as senior vice president for global strategic security at Booz Allen, a job he held from 2002 to 2008.

“The source of information about vulnerabilities of and potential attacks on the homeland will not be dominated by foreign intelligence, as was the case in the Cold War. The terrorists understood us well, and so they lived and planned where we did not spy (inside the U.S.),” said Woolsey in prepared remarks before the U.S. House Select Committee on Homeland Security on Jun. 24, 2004.

In a prescient suggestion of what Snowden would later reveal, Woolsey went on to discuss expanding surveillance to cover domestic, as well as foreign sources.

“One source will be our vulnerability assessments, based on our own judgments about weak links in our society’s networks that can be exploited by terrorists,” he said. “A second source will be domestic intelligence. How to deal with such information is an extraordinarily difficult issue in our free society.”

One month later, Woolsey appeared on MSNBC’s “Hardball”, a news-talk show hosted by Chris Matthews, and told Matthews that the federal government needed a new high-level office – a DNI, if you will – to straddle domestic and foreign intelligence. Until then, the director of the CIA served as the head of the entire intelligence community (IC).

“The problem is that the intelligence community has grown so much since 1947, when the position of director of central intelligence was created, that it’s [become] impossible to do both jobs, running the CIA and managing the community,” he said.

Both these suggestions would lead to influential jobs and lucrative sources of income for his employer and colleagues.

The Director of National Intelligence

Fast forward to 2007. Vice Admiral Michael McConnell (ret.), Booz Allen’s then-senior vice president of policy, transformation, homeland security and intelligence analytics, was hired as the second czar of the new “Office of the Director of National Intelligence”, a post that oversees the work of Washington’s 17 intelligence agencies, which was coincidentally located just three kilometres from the company’s corporate headquarters.

Upon retiring as DNI, McConnell returned to Booz Allen in 2009, where he serves as vice chairman to this day. In August 2010, Lieutenant General James Clapper (ret), Booz Allen’s former vice president for military intelligence from 1997 to 1998, was hired as the fourth intelligence czar, a job he has held ever since. Indeed, one-time Booz Allen executives have filled the position five of the eight years of its existence.

When these two men were put in charge of the national-security state, they helped expand and privatise it as never before.

McConnell, for example, asked Congress to alter the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow the NSA to spy on foreigners without a warrant if they were using Internet technology that routed through the United States.

“The resulting changes in both law and legal interpretations (and the) new technologies created a flood of new work for the intelligence agencies – and huge opportunities for companies like Booz Allen,” wrote David Sanger and Nicole Perlroth in a profile of McConnell published in the New York Times Jun. 15.

Last week, Snowden revealed to the Guardian’s Glenn Greenwald that the NSA had created a secret system called “Prism” that allowed the agency to spy on electronic data of ordinary citizens around the world, both within and outside the United States.

Snowden’s job at Booz Allen’s offices in Hawaii was to maintain the NSA’s information technology systems. While he did not specify his precise connection to Prism, he told the South China Morning Post newspaper that the NSA hacked “network backbones – like huge Internet routers, basically – that give us access to the communications of hundreds of thousands of computers without having to hack every single one”.

Woolsey had argued in favour of such surveillance following the disclosure of the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping by the New York Times in December 2005.

“Unlike the Cold War, our intelligence requirements are not just overseas,” he told a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on the NSA in February 2006. “Courts are not designed to deal with fast-moving battlefield electronic mapping in which an al Qaeda or a Hezbollah computer might be captured which contains a large number of email addresses and phone numbers which would have to be checked out very promptly.”

Exactly what Booz Allen does for the NSA’s electronic surveillance system revealed by Snowden is classified, but one can make an educated guess from similar contracts it has in this field – a quarter of the company’s 5.86 billion dollars in annual income comes from intelligence agencies.

The NSA, for example, hired Booz Allen in 2001 in an advisory role on the five-billion-dollar Project Groundbreaker to rebuild and operate the agency’s “nonmission-critical” internal telephone and computer networking systems.

Booz Allen also won a chunk of the Pentagon’s infamous Total Information Awareness contract in 2001 to collect information on potential terrorists in America from phone records, credit card receipts and other databases – a controversial programme defunded by Congress in 2003 but whose spirit survived in the Prism and other initiatives disclosed by Snowden.

The CIA pays a Booz Allen team led by William Wansley, a former U.S. Army intelligence officer, for “strategic and business planning” for its National Clandestine Service, which conducts covert operations and recruits foreign spies.

The company also provides a 120-person team, headed by a former U.S. Navy cryptology lieutenant commander and Booz Allen senior executive adviser Pamela Lentz, to support the National Reconnaissance Organisation, the Pentagon agency that manages the nation’s military spy satellites.

In January, Booz Allen was one of 12 contractors to win a five-year contract with the Defence Intelligence Agency that could be worth up to 5.6 billion dollars to focus on “computer network operations, emerging and disruptive technologies, and exercise and training activity”.

Last month, the U.S. Navy picked Booz Allen as part of a consortium to work on yet another billion-dollar project for “a new generation of intelligence, surveillance and combat operations”.

Booz Allen wins these contracts in several ways. In addition to its connections with the DNI, it boasts that half of its 25,000 employees are cleared for top secret-sensitive compartmented intelligence, one of the highest possible security ratings. (One third of the 1.4 million people with such clearances work for the private sector.)

A key figure at Booz Allen is Ralph Shrader, current chairman, CEO and president, who came to the company in 1974 after working at two telecommunications companies – Western Union, where he was national director of advanced systems planning, and RCA, where he served in the company’s government communications system division.

In the 1970s, Western Union and RCA both took part in a secret surveillance programme known as Minaret, where they agreed to give the NSA all their clients’ incoming and outgoing U.S. telephone calls and telegrams.

Minaret and similar snooping programmes led to an explosive series of Congressional hearings in the 1970s by the United States Senate Select Committee to Study Governmental Operations with Respect to Intelligence Activities, chaired by Frank Church of Idaho in 1975.

*Jim Lobe contributed to this article.