We begin with Ferguson, first from the New York Times:
Some in Ferguson Who Are Part of Problem Are Asked to Help Solve It
Many of those same officials will now be the ones attempting to carry out the reforms demanded by the Justice Department.
“We cannot just leave this region to its own devices to take care of this problem itself,” said Patricia Bynes, a Democratic committeewoman in Ferguson and the surrounding area who has become a national critic of the Police Department since Officer Darren Wilson, who is white, shot and killed an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, in August. “I know that people in power do not have the courage, the boldness or the persistence to actually do the right thing.”
In particular, the responsibility for making changes will fall to John Shaw, the 39-year-old city manager. He is the city’s chief executive, responsible for supervising the police department, nominating the municipal judge and running the city. And he is cited repeatedly in the Justice Department’s scathing report.
From the Guardian, a law-enforcing Ferguson scofflaw:
Ferguson judge behind aggressive fines policy owes $170,000 in unpaid taxes
- Ronald J Brockmeyer, who is accused of fixing traffic tickets for himself and associates, was a driving force behind using fines and fees to generate revenue
The judge in Ferguson, Missouri, who is accused of fixing traffic tickets for himself and colleagues while inflicting a punishing regime of fines and fees on the city’s residents, also owes more than $170,000 in unpaid taxes.
Ronald J Brockmeyer, whose court allegedly jailed impoverished defendants unable to pay fines of a few hundred dollars, has a string of outstanding debts to the US government dating back to 2007, according to tax filings obtained by the Guardian from authorities in Missouri.
Brockmeyer, 70, was this week singled out by Department of Justice investigators as being a driving force behind Ferguson’s strategy of using its municipal court to aggressively generate revenues. The policy has been blamed for a breakdown in relations between the city’s overwhelmingly white authorities and residents, two-thirds of whom are African American.
United Press International covers quitters:
Two Ferguson police officers resign over racist emails
Two Ferguson police officers resigned Thursday after a U.S. Department of Justice report revealed some city officials sent racist emails using their work accounts.
Ferguson city spokesman Jeff Small told CNN officers Rick Henke and William Mudd left the department. Small told NBC News the two men were placed on administrative leave from the department Wednesday for sending racist emails.
The emails were uncovered in a Justice Department investigation into the city’s law enforcement and judicial system after the shooting death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown. A second report from the department found the officer responsible for the shooting, Darren Wilson, shouldn’t face charges for the incident.
From the Guardian, she’s outta there:
Ferguson clerk fired over racist emails also accused of fixing traffic tickets
- Senior court official Mary Ann Twitty, who lost her job after scathing Justice Department report was released, accused of dismissing tickets for acquaintances
A senior court official in Ferguson, Missouri, who was fired by the city over racist emails, is also accused of fixing traffic tickets for colleagues.
Mary Ann Twitty, Ferguson’s influential court clerk, has been identified as the first city official to lose her job as a result of the Department of Justice’s scathing report on the St Louis suburb’s criminal justice system that was published this week.
Twitty, 60, was fired in connection with racist emails that were detailed in the report, according to the New York Times. “This type of behaviour will not be tolerated in the Ferguson police department or in any department in the city of Ferguson,” Mayor James Knowles III told a press conference on Wednesday.
From the New York Times, a spooky shakeup:
Major Overhaul Set for C.I.A., With Thousands to Be Reassigned
John O. Brennan, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is planning to reassign thousands of undercover spies and intelligence analysts into new departments as part of a restructuring of the 67-year-old agency, a move he said would make it more successful against modern threats and crises.
Drawing from disparate sources — from the Pentagon to corporate America — Mr. Brennan’s plan would partly abandon the agency’s current structure that keeps spies and analysts separate as they target specific regions or countries. Instead, C.I.A. officers will be assigned to 10 new mission centers focused on terrorism, weapons proliferation, the Middle East and other areas with responsibility for espionage operations, intelligence analysis and covert actions.
During a briefing with reporters on Wednesday, Mr. Brennan gave few specifics about how a new structure would make the C.I.A. better at spying in an era of continued terrorism, cyberspying and tumult across the Middle East. But he said the current structure of having undercover spies and analysts cloistered separately — with little interaction and answering to different bosses — was anachronistic given the myriad global issues the agency faces.
Allegations a matter of dispute, via the Los Angeles Times:
South African officials draw ridicule for probe of alleged CIA spies
South Africa’s government was accused Friday of trying to smear the ombudsman and several top opposition politicians when it announced an inquiry into allegations they were CIA spies that were based on claims of an anonymous blog.
U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard dismissed the allegations as “rubbish.” “I have faith in intelligence of South Africans,” said Gaspard on Twitter. “This story is a joke in any serious nation.”
The government announced Thursday night that the State Security Agency was probing claims that ombudsman Thuli Madonsela, opposition figures Julius Malema and Lindiwe Mazibuko, and union leader Joseph Mathunjwa were CIA spies.
From BBC News, a former CIA operator yearns for Swiss asylum:
US spy case: Snowden seeks Switzerland asylum move
The fugitive US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden says he would love to get asylum in Switzerland. He was speaking via video link to a Geneva audience, from Moscow where he is sheltering from US prosecutors.
“I would love to return to Switzerland, some of my favourite memories are from Geneva,” he said. Previously he worked in Geneva undercover for the CIA.
“I do think Switzerland would be a sort of great political option because it has a history of neutrality,” he told the Geneva audience. He said he had requested asylum in 21 countries, most in Central and Eastern Europe, but none had granted his wish. He blamed US “political interference”.
Ecuador promotes a spooky expose, via teleSUR:
Ecuador Alerts Public to CIA Actions Across the Continent
- The Foreign Ministry is backing a new book outlining CIA actions in Ecuador to raise public awareness of interventions committed by the organization.
Imprisoned on various occasions and subjected to numerous interrogations, Dr. Jaime Galarza Zavala is one of the estimated 120 direct victims of the CIA’s record in Ecuador.
Persecuted by the CIA for his political organizing, Galarza described to teleSUR English that “they told me that I was working as a guerrilla in the Dominican Republic. I, to this day, have never visited the Dominican Republic. But they accused me of being a guerrilla leader in the Dominican Republic. And this was a common theme with various interrogations.”
He added that, “while they interrogated me, there was somebody that called every now and then from another room. Afterward, they told me that this person they were talking with was a gringo, a North American, who never presented himself to me. But he gave them instructions as to how to continue the interrogation,” said Galarza.
A fierce critic of U.S foreign policy in the region, Galarza recently published a book titled, “The CIA Against Latin America, the Special Case of Ecuador,” co-authored by Francisco Herrera Arauz.
From Reuters, spooky ambitions:
Japan eyes MI6-style spy agency as it seeks to shed pacifist past
Japan is looking into creating an overseas intelligence agency possibly modeled on Britain’s MI6 spy service, ruling party lawmakers say, 70 years after Allied victors dismantled Japan’s fearsome military intelligence apparatus following World War Two.
A new foreign intelligence agency would be an integral part of a security framework Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is building as he seeks to loosen the post-war pacifist constitution’s limits on the military’s ability to operate overseas.
The idea that Japan’s fragmented intelligence community needs a makeover has also gained momentum since the killing of two Japanese captives by Islamic State militants in Syria earlier this year showed how much Tokyo relied on friendly countries for information.
Abe has already set up a U.S.-style National Security Council and enacted strict state secrets legislation, and is now working on laws to lift a ban on exercising the right of collective self-defense, or militarily aiding an ally under attack.
TheLocal.it covers Italian domestic insecurity:
Mafia threats against local politicians rising
Italy’s local councils are increasingly being intimidated by the mafia and other criminals, a new Senate investigation has found.
There were 1,265 acts of intimidation in the 15 months to April 2014, recorded in a Senate report presented on Thursday.
Discussing the findings on Thursday, Senator Doris Lo Moro said such incidents were on the increase across Italy. “Since the start of the year  hundreds and hundreds of acts of intimidation have been recorded,” she told journalists in Rome, with cases ranging in severity from insults to murders.
From the Independent, a car-killing military laser debuts:
Laser beam capable of burning hole in car from one mile away unveiled by Lockheed Martin
A photo of a car on fire, which wouldn’t look out of place in a Hollywood action movie, has displayed the startling power of a new laser weapon which can disable a running car from over a mile away.
Demonstrating the power of the 30 kilo-watt laser, the image shows a small truck with smoke billowing from a hole seared into its bonnet.
The prototype of the device known as Advanced Test High Energy Asset (Athena) successfully disabled the engine of the vehicle in a matter of seconds in its test run.
And another generation of French intelligence malware, via SecurityWeek:
Reconnaissance Tool Linked to French Intelligence Malware Babar
Researchers at security firms ESET and Cyphort continue to analyze the malware families believed to have been developed by a French intelligence agency. The latest threat uncovered by experts has been dubbed “Casper.”
In March 2014, the French publication LeMonde published some slides from Canada’s Communications Security Establishment (CSE) describing “Operation Snowglobe,” a campaign discovered by the agency in 2009. Additional slides were made available by the German publication Der Spiegel in January 2015. The presentation revealed details on a piece of malware named Babar, which appeared to be the work of a French intelligence agency.
Based on the information from the slides, researchers first uncovered a piece of spyware, dubbed “EvilBunny,” which they believe is linked to Operation Snowglobe. Last month, G DATA and Cyphort published the details of a threat which they believe is Babar, the malware described in the CSE slides. Now, they have come across Casper, which also appears to have been developed by the same authors.
After the jump. Bunga Bunga wiretaps disclosed, a Pentagon hacker busted, Old Blighty conducts a major cybercrime crackdown, busts in a billion e-mail address theft, ISIS hones its Twitter skills, on to the ISIS front and well-honed Twitter skills, Iran’s growing influence in the ISIS crisis, the Iraqis retake a key town, their archaeological vandalism raises global ire, And they raise big bucks from Afghan smack, on to the Boko Haram battlefront as forces mass, then on to Tanzania and a crackdown on albino killers and two are sentenced to death, Europe warned of massive Libyan immigration, another Latin American journalist slain, Sri Lanka warns of attacks on Indian fishing boats, massive displacement from war against Philippine Muslim rebels, Laos and Japan tighten ties in a strategic alliance, South Korea suspects the north in an ambassadorial attack, Japan’s Shinzo Abe aims at militaristic constitutional revisions, Parsing the semantics of military emergencies, citizen resistance, and ISIS provides handy justification, while Abe’s state broadcaster renounces the government’s official recognition of World War II sexual slavery. . . Continue reading