OpenCDA

December 13, 2017

Swamp Rats (Cont.)

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 3:57 pm

Danger - Swamp RatIt is indisputable that there are people in the United States who are using an organized, very well-funded strategy as well as very aggressive tactics to remove President Donald J. Trump from office.

That by itself is not illegal.

Neither is it illegal for employees of the federal government, including employees of the US Department of Justice (DoJ) and employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to express their personal views about the competence and qualifications of public officials.

However, a federal employee’s expression of personal views goes beyond what is permitted or prohibited by the Hatch Act when that employee uses his or her official authority or influence for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the result of an election.

Hatch Act violations are serious.  However, they are not as serious as interfering in federal criminal investigations involving the alleged violation of national security laws including:

  • 2 U.S.C. § 192 (Contempt of Congress Related to National Security)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 219 et seq. (Officers and Employees of the United States Acting as Foreign Agents)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 791 et seq. (Espionage; Unauthorized Disclosure of Classified Information)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 9S1 et seq. (Neutrality  Laws)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1030(a)(1) (Computer  Espionage)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1S42 et seq. (Passport Violations Related to National Security)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1924 (Unauthorized Removal and Retention of Classified Documents or Material)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 2381et seq. (Treason, Sedition and Subversive Activities)
  • 18 U.S.C. § 1343 (Wire Fraud, including wire fraud or hacking by or on behalf of a foreign government in which 18 U.S.C. § 1831 or 18 U.S.C.§ 1030(a)(1) are not specifically included as charges)
  • 22 U.S.C. § 611 et seq. (Foreign Agents Registration)
  • 42 U.S.C. § 2274 to 2278, 2284, and other Atomic Energy Violations that Affect National Security (Atomic Energy Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 3121 (Intelligence Identities Protection Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 782 et seq. (Communication  of Classified Information by Government Officer or Employee)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 8S1et seq. (Registration of Person Who Has Knowledge Concerning Espionage Activities)
  • 50 U.S.C. § 2401et seq. (Export Administration Act)
  • 50 U.S.C. App. § 5(b) (Trading With the Enemy Act)

These laws are not supposed to be waived simply because an alleged violator is a former President, a former Secretary of State and a now-former presidential candidate,  or a high-level employee of the DoJ or FBI.

Similarly, it seems to OpenCdA writing from Upper Trashcanistan, Idaho, that for federal employees to conspire (notice we didn’t say “collude”) to interfere with or prevent the initiation of a criminal investigation into alleged violations of any of these laws might qualify as separate violations under 18 U.S.C. § 371 (Conspiracy) and 18 U.S.C. § 1510 (Obstruction of Criminal Investigations).  (more…)

September 28, 2017

Decertified or Not?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , — Bill @ 11:44 am

KCSO graphicThis morning’s local skews paper, the Coeur d’Alene Press, published an article entitled ‘Sheriff’s Captain Terminated.’

The article stated

“Both Wolfinger and Soumas told The Press the termination was not due to any criminal wrongdoing.”

But the article also quoted a KCSO interoffice memo which said

“Captain Dan Soumas has been terminated from employment effective immediately and is prohibited from accessing the non-public areas of the sheriff’s office without an official escort. Soumas is no longer authorized to take actions as a peace officer.” [emphasis OpenCdA’s]

The portion I’ve highlighted in this quotation strongly suggests that former Captain Soumas has been or will soon be decertified as an Idaho peace officer by the Idaho Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training.

Has former Captain Soumas been decertified as an Idaho peace officer or not?

Concerning the paragraph containing the highlighted portion and attributed to Sheriff Wolfinger, the article went on

Wolfinger said that is a standard message issued to employees when someone no longer works at the department.

The “standard message” Wolfinger issues  seems to imply that immediately upon leaving the department, regardless of the reason for leaving,  the former employee automatically loses Idaho peace officer certification and authorization which has been granted by the Idaho Peace Officer and Standards Training Commission.   While that may be what Wolfinger wants to imply to the public, that would be inconsistent with the laws and administrative procedures of Idaho.

Open CdA wishes the Coeur d’Alene Press skewspaper would develop reporters and editors with sufficient subject matter knowledge to publish articles which do not add to the public’s confusion about official actions taken by our local governments.

August 18, 2017

Now Do You Understand?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 7:22 am

CRS copyFor all of the political hacks, skews media, and ignorant commentators who have begun demanding that President Trump resign for his initial public statement concerning Heather Heyer’s homicide in Charlottesville, VA, on Saturday, please take the time to read this Congressional Research Service legal sidebar entitled “Charlottesville Car Crash Attack:  Possibility of Federal Criminal Prosecution.”

According to the New York Times article headlined “Man Charged After White Nationalist Rally in Charlottesville Ends in Deadly Violence,” James A. Fields, a US citizen, has been charged with “… second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding and failing to stop at the scene of a crash that resulted in a death. ”   Those are criminal charges alleged by the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Within a very few hours (likely before the Commonwealth’s crime scene investigation had concluded), Attorney General Sessions had directed the Federal Bureau of Investigation to begin an investigation to determine if any federal civil rights laws had been violated.  It is entirely possible that in addition to evidence of civil rights violations, the FBI investigation may find evidence of violations prosecutable under the federal antiterrorism laws.

On more than one occasion during his terms in office, President Obama made hasty, ill-conceived, and highly prejudicial public statements that could have prejudiced successful state or federal criminal prosecutions.   President Trump’s initial statement after the Charlottesville incident was timely, appropriate, and non-prejudicial.   Perhaps the political hacks and skews media might want to remember that James A. Fields is entitled to a fair trial in a court of law.

President Trump’s statement was apparently not prejudicial or inflammatory enough for many of the Fools on the Hill and the skews media.   It is they, not he, who deserve public criticism.  James A. Fields is entitled to a fair trial in a court of law.  President Trump has said nothing to jeopardize Fields’ Constitutional rights.  Sadly, the same can’t be said for the rantings of the Fools and media.

Now do you understand?

August 16, 2017

Understanding the Subversion of the Trump Presidency

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 2:15 pm

EndOfDiscussionCoverSmearCover

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have been surprised, even shocked and dismayed, by the efforts to subvert the presidency of President Donald J. Trump, the two books shown above should be on your read-soon list.  Both are available from the Community Library Network.

But before you read the books, you will want to read this online publication entitled Democracy Matters — Strategic Plan for Action.  The person behind this plan is David Brock.  It was begun on November 9, 2016.

Brock’s groups (Media Matters, American Bridge, CREW, and Shareblue primarily seek to remove President Trump from office.  They also seek to encourage local groups to use the same tactics to discredit and attack state, county, and municipal officials.  For example, see The Indivisible Guide webpage.  Do a bit of searching on this webpage and you’ll find Indivisible North Idaho.  Go to Indivisible North Idaho’s Facebook page to meet and greet your friends and neighbors.

In none of these documents will you see words that could be properly characterized as unlawfully seditious or inciting to illegal acts of violence.  Violence, however, does further their purpose.  News coverage of acts of violence (e.g.,  Charlottesville, VA) does get the public’s attention.    Biased and intentionally deceptive by omission news coverage shapes public opinion.

Some of the disruptions at state legislators’ townhall meetings across the country (remember the red and green cards?) were scripted and choreographed.  Do some research into the Town Hall Project to help understand and recognize the techniques used.

Many citizens do not attend town hall meetings  or forums to disrupt; they attend hoping to ask questions and get complete and informative answers.    Possible disruption at an elected official’s meeting is the “draw” that now gets the news media to attend these meetings and allocate more column-inches and photo space in print and more airtime during  broadcasts.   If the meeting is disrupted, the disruption rather than the quality and completeness of the official’s answers and comments dominates the news story.

OpenCdA hopes the books and documents we’ve suggested will help you better understand “How shady political operatives and fake news control what you see, what you think, and how you vote.”   We also hope they will help you better understand and reject “the outrage industry.”

August 12, 2017

Skewing the News

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: — Bill @ 12:37 pm

SKEWS MEDIAYou may have heard from the skews media that there is a personnel battle going on inside the National Security Council (NSC), a component of the Executive Office of the President.  There is.

A former NSC employee,  Rich Higgins, was fired recently for a memorandum which he wrote and circulated among some NSC staffers in May 2017.  Here is a link to the entire seven-page memo.

The causes and effects of the personnel changes at the NSC depend on from whom you get your news, how much you trust the source,  and how much you believe the information to be accurate, timely, and complete.

Here is a link to The Washington Free Beacon news story reporting the firing and characterizing the memo.  The article’s author was Bill Gertz.

Here is a link to The New York Times news story reporting the firing and characterizing the memo.  The article’s author was Julie Hirschfeld Davis.

Again, both stories are written and published as news stories, not opinion pieces.  The differences in conclusions and word selection are why we refer to them as the “skews media.”

[Note:  The link to the NSC in the first paragraph was the description which appeared on Whitehouse.gov during the Obama administration.  The Trump administration’s NSC webpage is not yet on the website.]

July 29, 2017

Debbie Does Dulles

DWSchultzOn Monday, July 24, 2017, Special Agents of the US Capitol Police (USCP) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) arrested Capitol Hill IT contractor Imran Awan as he tried to board an airplane at Dulles International Airport and fly to his homeland of Pakistan via Qatar.   The FBI affidavit supporting his arrest alleges Awan and his wife, Hina Alvi, filed a fraudulent mortgage loan application.

Hina Alvi had already pulled their children out of school, stuffed over $12,000 in cash and some household goods in cardboard boxes, and left the United States (some might say “fled the United States”) for Pakistan.

Before July 24th, few readers could probably recall hearing anything about Imran Awan.   They might have heard something about some damaged computer equipment belonging to some members of Congress being found at a home rented by Awan and his wife.   They might have read deep into the already sketchy skews stories that one of the computers found belonged to Florida Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  In fact, good ol’ Debbie threatened the USCP in public if it dared process the purloined computer for evidence.

Otherwise, because the AWAN storyline did not involve pimping unsubstantiated gossip about President Trump’s “collusion” with Russia, the national skews media weren’t especially interested.  Nothing to see here.  Move along.  Move along.

Except there was and is something to see.

It seems that Representative Schultz had arranged for Industrious Imran to be the go-to IT contractor for several Democrat members of the House of Representatives, some of them on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.  In fact, Industrious Imran and his partners had each been raking in an unusually high amount of money from these contracts for several years.

OpenCdA urges our handful of readers to take the time and read the series of articles by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

There are quite a few reasonable and interesting questions likely to be asked by the USCP and the FBI to determine if the computers and the emails on them contained any personal or national security information that could be used to manipulate and control the members of Congress on behalf of any foreign intelligence service.

May 5, 2017

Nault Wrongful Death Lawsuit Complaint

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 9:45 am

DisingenuousAs reported in OpenCdA’s May 3, 2017, post entitled Be Strong and Take Courage …, family members of Reginald J. ‘Reggie’ Nault have filed a wrongful death civil lawsuit in Mr. Nault’s death.

OpenCdA has obtained a copy of the initial complaint for damages and demand for jury trial filed in Idaho’s First Judicial District Court on May 2, 2017, at 5:05 p.m.

In addition to identifying the plaintiffs and defendants specifically and individually by name and establishing the jurisdiction and venue of the Court, the complaint particularizes each specific allegation the plaintiffs believe they can prove at trial.

OpenCdA’s preceding posts concerning Mr. Nault’s death raised questions about the quality and timeliness of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office investigation and its unwillingness to release the investigative reports to the Nault family.  We also raised concerns about the conflict asserted by Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh when the ‘conflict’ attorney, Boundary County Prosecutor Jack Douglas’s press release stated, “However, based on my review of this event and applicable Idaho law, I have determined that no criminal act can be shown to be a direct cause of Mr. Nault’s death.  Therefore, charges will not be filed against anyone by my office.”  [emphasis OpenCdA’s]

Paragraph 2.20 and in particular its subparagraphs 2.20.a through 2.20.i in the complaint allege circumstances which, if sufficient evidence exists to show probable cause, would warrant the filing of some criminal charges.   Paragraphs 3.2.z  through 3.2.bb specifically cite Idaho statutes which plaintiffs believe were violated.

Even if we and our readers believe Mr. Douglas’s assessment of evidence and applicable law was appropriate when his office declined to file charges against anyone because no criminal act could be shown to be a direct cause of Mr. Nault’s death, the failure to explain why other possibly appropriate criminal charges were not filed certainly raises valid questions.

The public has a legitimate interest in examining the professional conduct of its elected officials.  The Sheriff and the Prosecuting Attorney are not exempt from that examination.

OpenCdA believes the evidence admitted in court in the wrongful death lawsuit brought by Reggie Nault’s family should contribute to the public’s assessment of the official performance of duties by Kootenai County Sheriff Benton Wolfinger and Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh.

Additionally, we believe that it will give the public the opportunity to assess the performance of the First Judicial District judge who ultimately hears the case.

To the extent that other elected officials not yet named in any complaint may have received some or all the results of the investigation while those same results were being withheld from the Nault family, we think those officials’ conduct and the conduct of the investigative information provider(s) are deserving of public scrutiny as well.

We hope that the public will pay close attention to the news coverage and reporting of this trial by local and regional newspapers and television stations.    We hope that the news media will carefully and thoroughly question and then timely, completely, and accurately report inconsistencies between the trial evidence and the public officials’ statements and characterizations of that evidence.

Finally, we hope that on his own initiative,  Idaho Attorney General Lawrence G. Wasden pays very, very close attention to the filings and evidence in this civil lawsuit.  His office has statutory jurisdiction as well as a duty and responsibility to investigate if the evidence presented in court reveals violations of state criminal law by county officers who hold elective office.   In this particular lawsuit, the county officers most directly involved who hold elective office would include Kootenai County Sheriff Benton Wolfinger, Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh, and Kootenai County Coroner Warren Keene.

May 3, 2017

Be Strong and Take Courage …

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , — Bill @ 7:25 pm

DisingenuousSeveral previous OpenCdA posts have commended the family of Reggie Nault for engaging a local attorney and pursuing the facts in Reggie Nault’s drowning death.

Melissa Luck, Assistant News Director at KXLY4 News in Spokane,  posted an online news story revealing that a wrongful death civil lawsuit was filed by the Nault family today, Wednesday, May 3.  According to her story, the lawsuit names as defendants the two other 16-year old boys in the boat as well as two adults who allegedly provided alcoholic beverages to the three boys.

OpenCdA concludes tonight’s admittedly incomplete post with the same words we used to end our first one on October 20, 2015:

As OpenCdA has often said, the Kootenai County justice rug has become lumpier and lumpier as incidents have been swept under it.  By engaging an attorney to monitor the investigation of Reggie Nault’s death and evaluate the results of that investigation, the young man’s family is honoring his life by using his death to keep a trained and watchful eye on those who might be tempted to lift the rug’s edge and sweep again.  The facts are the facts, and they will not change.

There can be no genuinely good outcome when a young person dies prematurely.  The closest thing to a comforting outcome is that the person’s family hopes others will learn from the facts of his death and use what they learn to help themselves and others avoid similar outcomes.

We think the Nault family’s action toward that end is honorable and commendable.

We will try to get a copy of the lawsuit’s complaint and post it here.

April 22, 2017

‘ALL’ ? Really?

Filed under: Probable Cause — Tags: , , , — Bill @ 7:39 am

DisingenuousSeveral earlier OpenCdA posts beginning with the one entitled ‘In Search of Facts’ on October 20, 2015, commended Reggie Nault’s family for engaging attorney Lee James to try and shovel the details of the investigation into Mr. Nault’s death from under the increasingly lumpy Kootenai County rug.

The headline of the article in today’s Coeur d’Alene Press says it all:   ‘Judge:  Release Nault Records‘.

As reported, First District Court Judge Rich Christensen has ordered Kootenai County Sheriff Benton Wolfinger to turn over ALL of the Nault records to Mr. Nault’s family.   Sadly, the Nault family had to get a court order to force Wolfinger to release the records.  Unsurprisingly, Kootenai County Prosecuting Attorney Barry McHugh sought to help Wolfinger keep information in the records from ever seeing the light of day.

There were some questions we would expect to have been fully and completely answered in the investigative reports prepared by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office investigators.  They include:

What adults were present on the boat and at the dock?  Whose boat was it?  Who was operating the boat?  What was the boat operator’s degree of impairment?  Or was the operator’s impairment even determined by Sheriff’s deputies?  What was the unexpurgated timeline of events surrounding the incident?  From the moment Mr. Nault went into the water, who did what and when did they do it?  Was evidence of alcohol consumption by minors concealed by the minors or any adults present?  If other crimes were committed which contributed to Mr. Nault’s death or which hindered the investigation into it, why were those crimes not charged by the Kootenai County Prosecutor or a ‘conflict’ attorney from another county?

Now we hope either or both our local and regional skews papers do their  job as (alleged) newspapers and file public records requests to examine ALL of the records Judge Christensen ordered to be released.   We would also hope that the papers publish complete and accurate stories that enable readers to fully evaluate the competence and performance of the County Sheriff and the County Prosecuting Attorney.

We’re not holding our breath on that.

In the past, both the Coeur d’Alene Press and The Spokesman-Review have appeared inclined to under-report stories revealing the job performance of public officials they favor in Kootenai County.

We think that in particular, both papers ought to look closely at the number and nature of ‘conflicts’ that Prosecutor Barry McHugh declares when he farms cases out to prosecuting attorneys in other counties.   That information is one of the valid job performance assessment tools available to voters.

We also think that the papers ought to look at the quality of the investigation done by the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office.  A poor or incomplete initial investigation into an unattended death reflects as badly on a department’s leadership, supervision, and training as it does on the investigators who completed it.  At the same time, it is not unheard of in some law enforcement agencies to occasionally have investigators’  reports adjusted by supervisors in the interest of political expedience or out of consideration for the social standing of some involved.

As we did in our initial OpenCdA post on October 20, 2015, we once again sympathetically commend the Nault family for their decision and efforts to pursue the facts surrounding Reggie Nault’s death.   Unfortunately, it took an order of the Court to get it done, but we offer a heartfelt ‘Thank You’ to the Nault family and their attorney Lee James for fighting to get it.

March 30, 2017

SSCI Hearings: Russian Influence on the 2016 US Presidential Election

On Thursday, March 30, 2017, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) held an entire day of public hearings in Washington, DC.  The SSCI was looking into the allegations that the Russians had influenced the outcome of the 2016 presidential election which elected Donald F. Trump to be the 45th President of the United States.  The nature of its duty, Congressional oversight of US intelligence activities, results in very few open public hearings.

OpenCdA watched these hearings lasting just over five hours.   Congressional hearings are nearly always predominantly boring speechifying by self-serving elected Congressional representatives.  These two hearings today were not boring, and there was nearly no partisan speechifying.

The Senators on the SSCI were exceptionally well-prepared and asked on-point, insightful questions.  The content of their questions and the perspectives and expertise offered by the witnesses suggested that Congress has finally recognized the ongoing threat that information warfare or information operations presents to the United States.  Senators took these hearings and the information from them very seriously.  We should, too.

OpenCdA urges citizens who are serious about understanding how effectively the Russians use information warfare strategies and tactics to offset a superior kinetic warfare force will find these five hours of hearings remarkably understandable and educational.  The same readers will also better understand just how effectively Russia has manipulated our free press (AKA:  the skews media) to influence public opinion.  Unfortunately, the hearings also revealed in living color just how derelict our elected officials have been since about 1990 in recognizing the existence, let alone the gravity of info war and info ops.

Here are links to video of Thursday’s hearings.

Morning Hearing:  Disinformation:  A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

Afternoon Hearing:  Disinformation:  A Primer in Russian Active Measures and Influence Campaigns

OpenCdA hopes that especially younger readers will take time to watch these hearings.   You need to understand just how your choice of news delivery platform, often social media like Twitter and Facebook and not just the traditional print and broadcast media, is being manipulated to shape the disinformation you read every day.  You will also hear just how easily the Russians turned President Trump’s frequent Tweets against him.

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