February 7, 2016

And the Authority Is …?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 3:49 pm

OpenMeeting-1This morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press skews paper ran an article headlined Press series sparks special council meeting.

In its article, the Press congratulated itself for prompting the Pinehurst, Idaho, city council to “…go into executive session Tuesday night to discuss the town’s police department and public safety.

But the article also quoted Pinehurst Mayor Bob Jutila saying, “We’ll definitely have input from everybody and have some discussion about it.”  That sounds like a public meeting.

OpenCdA wishes that Press writer Keith Cousins’ article had included a specific citation of the statutory authority cited in the agenda for the executive session.  A discussion of “the town’s police department and public safety” would not seem to clearly meet the authorization requirements prescribed in § 74-206 of the Idaho Open Meeting Act.

Welcome to the Real World

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:07 am

moneylaunderingA press release issued on Friday, February 5, by the US Attorney for the District of Idaho announced the federal indictment of eight individuals and the arrest of seven of them for conspiracy to distribute controlled substances, distribution of controlled substances, and conspiracy to engage in money laundering.

Among those arrested was Coeur d’Alene resident Dr. Stanley Toelle, a gastroenterologist.  He was arrested in Coeur d’Alene.

The criminal enterprise was allegedly headed by Dr. Toelle’s wife, Loren ‘Mama’ Toelle (Hill).  She was arrested in Las Vegas.  The enterprise operated in Washington, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota including the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.

Dr. Stanley Toelle was indicted for money laundering.   In very simple terms, money laundering is the practice of changing the cash directly associated with and traceable to illegal transactions into some negotiable instrument or something else of value that cannot be connected back to the original crimes.

Cash transactions, particularly if unusually large or numerous, can attract unwanted attention from law enforcement.   Money laundering charges frequently accompany charges of drug trafficking and public official corruption.     And as HSBC learned, involvement in the money laundering process can be very expensive.

To those in Kootenai County who say it couldn’t happen here …  Welcome to the real world.  It’s been happening here for years.

OpenCdA will continue to follow this case through the federal court system.

February 2, 2016

The GUNMAN Project

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 2:39 pm

machine-a-ecrire-ibm-72-_-selectric-i-__2014_7The Tuesday, February 2, 2016, edition of the local skewspaper, the Coeur d’Alene Press, ran an article headlined Cadets gain tech experience in CyberPatriot competition.

OpenCda commends the CAP Cadets desire to better understand and develop countermeasures to overcome technological vulnerabilities.

However, we respectfully point out an error in the reader ASNichols’ comment “this computer will solve all those issues ‘IBM Selectric II’ hack proof and crash proof.”

We urge the Cadets and ASNichols to read the declassified NSA report entitled (U) Learning from the Enemy:  The GUNMAN Project.  A more abbreviated and readable derivation of this report is entitled IBM Selectric Bug — Operation Gunman.

The lesson we hope the Cadets take away is that while technology is vulnerable, developing effective countermeasures to those vulnerabilities also requires an understanding of the mindset of your adversary seeking to exploit your technology.

January 30, 2016

“…Petition the Government for a Redress of Grievances”

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 8:19 am

gavelRespected Kootenai County businessman Frank Davis has filed a Petition for Relief Under Idaho Public Records Act in the First District Court of Idaho.

In his petition Davis asks the Court to compel the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office to release certain information Davis believes is being withheld contrary to Idaho law.


January 28, 2016

Malheur Conflict Information

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 7:21 am

The-Pete-Santilli-Show copyThe occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Visitor’s Center by self-proclaimed supporters of ranchers Dwight and Steven Hammond is coming to a close.

Here is a link to the now-unsealed 32-page federal criminal complaint filed in Oregon’s federal district court.  (The complaint explains our choice of image to accompany this post.)

Careful readers will note that the allegations are for violations of 18 USC §372: Conspiracy to impede or injure officer.   The complaint may be amended to add more charges later, however to better understand why the US Attorney for the District of Oregon may have chosen to file under 18 USC §372, read the Congressional Research Service Report released  January 16, 2016, entitled Federal Conspiracy Law:  A Brief Overview.

January 11, 2016

CRS Report: Separation of Powers: An Overview

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 12:06 pm

CRS copyMany pundits allege that President Obama has overstepped his authority by imposing administrative actions without legislative approval.  They suggest he has violated the Separation of Powers doctrine in the Constitution.  That doctrine was built into the Constitution to keep power from consolidating in any single person or entity.

This CRS report dated January 8, 2016, tries to provide an overview of the Separation of Powers philosophy and doctrine.

January 9, 2016

Kootenai County Emergencies Report

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:26 am

KCOEM LogoOn January 4, 2016, the Kootenai County Board of Commissioners heard an after-action report from Sandy von Behren,  Director of the Kootenai County Office of Emergency Management.   As itemized in the meeting agenda, her report discussed several emergencies that affected some or all of Kootenai County during 2015.

OpenCdA urges its readers to take about an hour and listen to the audio recording of her presentation and the responses from the County Commissioners.  (After clicking on the hyperlink, click on the caption 01-04-2016 Office of Emergency Management Update – cs, then click the Open O button.)  Readers may also want to review some or all of our previous posts on Windstorm 2015.

January 7, 2016

CRS Report: The 2016 Presidential Nominating Process

Filed under: Probable Cause — Bill @ 11:20 am

CRS copyThe Congressional Research Service has published a 23-page report entitled The Presidential Nominating Process and the National Nominating Conventions, 2016:  Frequently Asked Questions.  The report was released December 30, 2015.

CRS reports are intended for members of Congress, not the general public.  Shouldn’t elected members of Congress already know this stuff?

January 2, 2016

Radio? Old Fashioned, But Effective

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:08 am

CD_radioCommercial broadcast radio may be old fashioned, but it is still an effective way to communicate timely, accurate information to many people in an emergency.

Widespread power outages lasting from hours to days were a  significant challenge resulting from the November 17, 2015, region-wide windstorm.   We doubt that Avista Utilities, Kootenai Electric Cooperative, Northern Lights Electric Cooperative, and Inland Power & Light would voice much disagreement.  Neither would their customers.

The event, Windstorm 2015, was a civil emergency which required multijurisdictional, interagency response.

At the Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting on December 15, Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Lee White clearly identified a critical challenge faced by emergency services:  In an emergency, the emergency services need to be able to communicate timely, accurate information to the people affected.  Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Kenny Gabriel’s and Chief White’s comments can be viewed and heard here beginning at time mark 0:12:07.  Chief White’s comments about the identified need to communicate information better to the public begins at time mark 0:17:47.

Councilman Dan Gookin asked the two Chiefs if they had considered using local commercial radio broadcasting stations to deliver timely, accurate, and regular information to all of Kootenai County.  The Chiefs indicated they had not but they would certainly be willing to explore it.

OpenCdA appreciates both Councilman Gookin’s question and the Chiefs’ response.  OpenCdA thinks that to communicate timely, verified information in an emergency affecting many people in a larger geographical area, commercial broadcast radio is more than just viable — it is superior.   (more…)

December 28, 2015

Windstorm 2015 – CdA’s Report

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 3:37 pm

KEC 11-17-15editOpenCdA hopes that everyone who has either Time Warner Cable or internet access watched the Coeur d’Alene City Council meeting on Tuesday,  December 15th.  Specifically, we hope that everyone paid very close attention to the Windstorm 2015 after-action report to the Council by Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Gabriel and Police Chief White.

If you missed it, the replay is available here on the City’s website.  The Chiefs’ wrapup begins at 0:12:07 and concludes at 0:31:52.

We’ve watched it twice and learned something new each time. (more…)

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