TDB Top 5 International Stories: Friday 28th October 2016

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5:  WHEN CIA AND NSA WORKERS BLOW THE WHISTLE, CONGRESS PLAYS DEAF

DO THE COMMITTEES that oversee the vast U.S. spying apparatus take intelligence community whistleblowers seriously? Do they earnestly investigate reports of waste, fraud, abuse, professional negligence, or crimes against the Constitution reported by employees or contractors working for agencies like the CIA or NSA? For the last 20 years, the answer has been a resounding “no.”

My own experience in 1995-96 is illustrative. Over a two-year period working with my wife, Robin (who was a CIA detailee to a Senate committee at the time), we discovered that, contrary to the public statements by then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Colin Powell and other senior George H. W. Bush administration officials (including CIA Director John Deutch), American troops had in fact been exposed to chemical agents during and after the 1991 war with Saddam Hussein. While the Senate Banking Committee under then-Chairman Don Riegle, D-Mich., was trying to uncover the truth of this, officials at the Pentagon and CIA were working to bury it.

At the CIA, I objected internally — and was immediately placed under investigation by the CIA’s Office of Security. That became clear just days after we delivered the first of our several internal briefings to increasingly senior officials at the CIA and other intelligence agencies. In February 1995, I received a phone call from CIA Security asking whether I’d had any contacts with the media. I had not, but I had mentioned to CIA officials we’d met with that I knew that the CBS newsmagazine “60 Minutes” was working on a piece about the Gulf War chemical cover-up. This call would not be the last I’d receive from CIA Security about the matter, nor the only action the agency would take against us.

The Intercept

 

4: Breaking: Probe Finds Guards Who Unleashed Dogs on Pipeline Protesters Were Not Licensed in ND

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The Morton County Sheriff’s Department has concluded its investigation into the use of dogs to attack Native American-led water protectors opposing the Dakota Access pipeline on September 3, finding the guards lacked proper licensing. Morton County Sheriff’s Captain Jay Gruebele writes:

“Through this investigation it has been proven that the dog handlers were not properly licensed to do security work in the State of North Dakota.”

Democracy Now

 

3: Iraq: Thousands displaced as battle for Mosul rages on

More than 10,000 Iraqis have fled their homes since the start of an offensive to retake Mosul from ISIL this month, according to the UN.

That figure is just a fraction of the displacement that aid groups expect to see when Iraqi forces reach the city limits and some of the million-plus people thought to be inside attempt to flee.

“As the fighting gets closer to more populated areas, we’re starting to see more and more families flee the fighting,” Al Jazeera’s Stefanie Dekker, reporting from Erbil in northern Iraq, said.

“At least 1,000 people were evacuated by [Iraqi] counterterrorism forces from their villages,” Dekker added. “These are terrifying times for those people – their houses are shaking, and they are being caught in the crossfire.”

Aljazeera

 

2: Britain’s youngest MP absolutely destroys the government with this searing attack on the tax credit fiasco

The UK’s youngest MP has savaged Theresa May’s government over its chaotic handling of tax credits. Mhairi Black, the SNP MP for Paisley and Renfrewshire South, slammed the government’s behaviour as “absolutely disgusting” after a private company stopped thousands of people’s tax credit payments, plunging them into poverty.

The Canary

 

1: Battle for Florida: Trump and Clinton home in on crucial state as voting begins

In Little Havana, a vibrant Latino neighborhood just west of downtown Miami, a queue of a couple of dozen prospective voters had formed outside one of Hillary Clinton’s field offices.

Sandwiched between an insurance company and immigration counsel office, the group had arrived for tickets to a free Jennifer Lopez concert. But there was one caveat: to attend the Saturday evening show, at Bayfront Park on Miami’s Biscayne Bay, fans were first required to visit a Clinton campaign field office.

theIt was one of the many creative ways in which the Democratic nominee’s campaign was seeking to engage likely voters in the critical battleground of Florida, a state with a key role in determining whether Clinton or her Republican opponent Donald Trump is elected on 8 November as the next president of the United States.

The Guardian