WATCH: Police Disobey Order to Stand Down, Enter Woman’s Home, Kill Her in Her Laundry Room

standstand

Olathe, Kansas – After a local newspaper filed a lawsuit, police were forced to release more than 23 hours of body camera footage, which showed officers ignoring orders to stand down and forcing their way into a house where they killed a mentally ill woman in a display of force that has left many with questions.

Ciara Howard, 26, was shot and killed by police in August 2017, and when a portion of the body camera footage was released, it showed her standing in her laundry room, waving a handgun at officers while they screamed at her to drop the weapon. She did not comply, and the officers opened fire, shooting and killing her.

The first release of the footage made it look as though the officers may have been justified in taking Howard’s life—clearly, she was pointing a gun directly at them when they began shooting. But there is much more to the story, and a lawsuit filed by the Kansas City Star has resulted in the release of footage that shows the officers disobeying orders and choosing to use excessive force.

Howard was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she had a history of addiction, both of which sent her into a downward spiral with the law that she failed to recover from. As the Star reported, “At times when she slipped, she incurred criminal charges. Intoxicated conflicts with her mother led to arrests. Then, when she failed to meet court requirements—missing appearances, shunning substance abuse classes—more charges came.”

The confrontation began on an afternoon when Howard was at her boyfriend’s house and someone who wanted her to leave, reported her to police. The officers who responded to the call were warned that Howard had a history of mental health issues, yet there was no one present who was trained to deal with mental illness. In fact, the only person they attempted to use as a negotiator was Howard’s boyfriend, which is strictly against police protocol for crisis negotiations.

The 3-hour standoff was excessive and negligent from the moment it started, as a team of officers surrounded the house in their attempt to arrest a woman who did not have a violent past. In addition to mental illness, Howard’s record showed a pattern of addiction, and the reason she was being arrested was that she left the county’s adult residential center and failed to report her latest conviction.

However, Howard had never been convicted of a violent offense, and while she did have access to her boyfriend’s handgun in the house, the officers knew that because she was mentally ill, the only thing that would send her over the edge and make her become violent was if she was cornered and felt directly threatened.

The Kansas City Star reported that the officers on the scene knew Howard was mentally distressed and acting irrationally, and they were warned by their own SWAT teams that the standoff was not worth the risk.

It’s not worth getting into a shootout and hurting an officer or hurting her over the type of warrants that we have,” a commander on the scene can be heard saying on the body camera footage. He noted that the sheriff and the SWAT teams from Olathe and Johnson County were all against raiding the house.

But the officers on the scene ignored orders and appeared to think that even though they did not have the help of trained negotiators or mental health specialists, the three hours they had wasted on the endeavor should result in an arrest. A deputy from Johnson County can be heard saying, “What are we going to do? Bail on it?”

“We know she’s in there. She’s got warrants—felony warrants—and we’re going to walk away? Something in my head is not computing with this. We’ve got frickin’ 15 of us here,” another deputy said.

Yet another deputy questioned how walking away would make the officers look publicly. “That word is going to get out if we walk away amongst all of them,” she said. “They’re going to frickin’ barricade up with a weapon and we’re going to keep walking away.”

One deputy who actually seemed to understand that entering the house could result in loss of life, told his fellow officers, “I don’t feel comfortable going in there. Obviously the frickin’ last thing I want is to go in there and get someone hurt and have her end up dead in the process.”

When the officers used Howard’s boyfriend to attempt to negotiate with her, she became even more agitated, and about halfway through the standoff, she was heard yelling, “I’m not afraid to die! I’M READY!”

As the standoff wore on, several of the officers began to turn off their body cameras, and the report from the Star noted that none of the footage it obtained “captured any conversations that show why commanders on the scene changed their minds about not going into the house.”

When the officers did decide to go into the house, they were the ones who escalated the situation. After nearly three hours on the scene, an Olathe Police sergeant told Howard, “You’ve got five minutes, Ciara.”

A total of 10 officers—armed themselves with ballistic shields and firearms—and a barking German Shepard, entered the house. Howard’s boyfriend continued to plead with her, yelling, “Come to me, baby … The cops are coming … They look like they’re going to shoot you!

Just 13 seconds elapsed from the moment three officers forced their way into the laundry room and encountered Howard until the moment all three opened fire. They had to have known that being cornered by officers who were armed to the teeth and screaming at her, would only increase Howard’s mentally distressed state, which would discourage her from dropping the gun in her hand.

Howard was essentially killed by police because they were in a hurry.

Not surprisingly, the shooting was ruled “justified.” However, the details surrounding it has left many wondering why police would employ so much force in such a case, and why they pushed a mentally ill, nonviolent offender to the point where she became violent, in order to justify killing her.

As The Free Thought Project has reportedindividuals who suffer from mental health issues have a 1,600% higher chance of being killed by police. This can be explained by the fact that most officers receive extensive training on how to accurately shoot their weapons, but very little training on de-escalation tactics or methods for dealing with the mentally ill.

Ciara Howard’s 3-year-old daughter will now be forced to grow up without a mother, and this is yet another case that shows the tragic inability of police officers to handle mentally ill suspects, and the desperate need for more mental health training.

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Source Article from https://thefreethoughtproject.com/police-disobey-order-stand-down-enter-womans-home-kill-her/

Police Disobey Order To Stand Down, Enter Woman’s Home, Kill Her In Her Laundry Room

 After a local newspaper filed a lawsuit, police were forced to release more than 23 hours of body camera footage, which showed officers ignoring orders to stand down and forcing their way into a house where they killed a mentally ill woman in a display of force that has left many with questions.

Ciara Howard, 26, was shot and killed by police in August 2017, and when a portion of the body camera footage was released, it showed her standing in her laundry room, waving a handgun at officers while they screamed at her to drop the weapon. She did not comply, and the officers opened fire, shooting and killing her.

The first release of the footage made it look as though the officers may have been justified in taking Howard’s life—clearly, she was pointing a gun directly at them when they began shooting. But there is much more to the story, and a lawsuit filed by the Kansas City Star has resulted in the release of footage that shows the officers disobeying orders and choosing to use excessive force.

Howard was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and she had a history of addiction, both of which sent her into a downward spiral with the law that she failed to recover from. As the Star reported, “At times when she slipped, she incurred criminal charges. Intoxicated conflicts with her mother led to arrests. Then, when she failed to meet court requirements—missing appearances, shunning substance abuse classes—more charges came.”

The confrontation began on an afternoon when Howard was at her boyfriend’s house and someone who wanted her to leave, reported her to police. The officers who responded to the call were warned that Howard had a history of mental health issues, yet there was no one present who was trained to deal with mental illness. In fact, the only person they attempted to use as a negotiator was Howard’s boyfriend, which is strictly against police protocol for crisis negotiations.

The 3-hour standoff was excessive and negligent from the moment it started, as a team of officers surrounded the house in their attempt to arrest a woman who did not have a violent past. In addition to mental illness, Howard’s record showed a pattern of addiction, and the reason she was being arrested was that she left the county’s adult residential center and failed to report her latest conviction.

However, Howard had never been convicted of a violent offense, and while she did have access to her boyfriend’s handgun in the house, the officers knew that because she was mentally ill, the only thing that would send her over the edge and make her become violent was if she was cornered and felt directly threatened.

The Kansas City Star reported that the officers on the scene knew Howard was mentally distressed and acting irrationally, and they were warned by their own SWAT teams that the standoff was not worth the risk.

It’s not worth getting into a shootout and hurting an officer or hurting her over the type of warrants that we have,” a commander on the scene can be heard saying on the body camera footage. He noted that the sheriff and the SWAT teams from Olathe and Johnson County were all against raiding the house.

But the officers on the scene ignored orders and appeared to think that even though they did not have the help of trained negotiators or mental health specialists, the three hours they had wasted on the endeavor should result in an arrest. A deputy from Johnson County can be heard saying, “What are we going to do? Bail on it?”

“We know she’s in there. She’s got warrants—felony warrants—and we’re going to walk away? Something in my head is not computing with this. We’ve got frickin’ 15 of us here,” another deputy said.

Yet another deputy questioned how walking away would make the officers look publicly. “That word is going to get out if we walk away amongst all of them,” she said. “They’re going to frickin’ barricade up with a weapon and we’re going to keep walking away.”

One deputy who actually seemed to understand that entering the house could result in loss of life, told his fellow officers, “I don’t feel comfortable going in there. Obviously the frickin’ last thing I want is to go in there and get someone hurt and have her end up dead in the process.”

When the officers used Howard’s boyfriend to attempt to negotiate with her, she became even more agitated, and about halfway through the standoff, she was heard yelling, “I’m not afraid to die! I’M READY!”

As the standoff wore on, several of the officers began to turn off their body cameras, and the report from the Star noted that none of the footage it obtained “captured any conversations that show why commanders on the scene changed their minds about not going into the house.”

When the officers did decide to go into the house, they were the ones who escalated the situation. After nearly three hours on the scene, an Olathe Police sergeant told Howard, “You’ve got five minutes, Ciara.”

A total of 10 officers—armed themselves with ballistic shields and firearms—and a barking German Shepard, entered the house. Howard’s boyfriend continued to plead with her, yelling, “Come to me, baby … The cops are coming … They look like they’re going to shoot you!

Just 13 seconds elapsed from the moment three officers forced their way into the laundry room and encountered Howard until the moment all three opened fire. They had to have known that being cornered by officers who were armed to the teeth and screaming at her, would only increase Howard’s mentally distressed state, which would discourage her from dropping the gun in her hand.

Howard was essentially killed by police because they were in a hurry.

Not surprisingly, the shooting was ruled “justified.” However, the details surrounding it has left many wondering why police would employ so much force in such a case, and why they pushed a mentally ill, nonviolent offender to the point where she became violent, in order to justify killing her.

As The FTP has reportedindividuals who suffer from mental health issues have a 1,600% higher chance of being killed by police. This can be explained by the fact that most officers receive extensive training on how to accurately shoot their weapons, but very little training on de-escalation tactics or methods for dealing with the mentally ill.

Ciara Howard’s 3-year-old daughter will now be forced to grow up without a mother, and this is yet another case that shows the tragic inability of police officers to handle mentally ill suspects, and the desperate need for more mental health training.

via:thefreethoughtproject

Source Article from https://worldtruth.tv/police-disobey-order-to-stand-down-enter-womans-home-kill-her-in-her-laundry-room/

Nets Ignore National ‘Stand for the Second’ Pro-Gun Student Walkout

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Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/nicholas-fondacaro/2018/05/04/nets-ignore-national-stand-second-pro-gun-student-walkout

Split design on sit-stand adjustable height desk lets you do both (Video)

As a society, we sit altogether too much, whether it’s at work, school or during the daily commute. Standing desks have been gaining some traction as a potential solution to our overly sedentary lifestyle, and can help with conditions like poor posture, repetitive strain injuries and even help kids pay better attention at school.

But some might like having the option of both standing and sitting, and adjustable-height desks are one way to do that. Brooklyn-based Uhuru Contract (the commercial design and manufacturing division of sustainable design firm Uhuru) created this flexible piece of office furniture that can shift anywhere in between standing up and sitting down, to suit whatever comfortable position is needed at the moment.

Minim Rise Video from Uhuru Design on Vimeo.

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

The desk is well-suited for offices, as the split configuration of the MINIM RISE SIT|STAND desk allows more than one person to choose whether they want to be seated or not, thanks to an electronic lift system.

The desk surface, which comes in five different options, sits on top of a steel base, which comes in three different finishes. To top it off, there are three choices available for the felt that is used for the divider.

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

It’s a connected desk too: under the desktop’s small flip-up compartment, there are various outlets that allow the user to connect gadgets via the HDMI, USB and data slots.

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

Uhuru Contract© Uhuru Contract

Granted, it’s possible that with a sitting option, some people might end up sitting more than standing. But with this design, the advantage is that it really can do both, for more than one person, and it’s an attractive and functional piece that can help maximize healthier options in a small workspace, while still looking quite streamlined and modern. To see more, visit Uhuru Contract.

[Via: Design Milk]

Source Article from https://www.treehugger.com/eco-friendly-furniture/minim-rise-sit-stand-work-desk-uhuru-design.html

Brave SWAT Cops Suspended For Refusing to Stand Down and Trying to Stop Parkland Shooter

parkllandparklland

Parkland, FL — In the aftermath of the recent Parkland school shooting, the cowardice of many of the police who responded to the shooting has created an ongoing conversation in the media about the role of individual officers in life-threatening situations.

As we reported last month, 4 officers from the Broward County Sheriff’s office took cover and waited for backup during the shooting instead of going inside to stop the killer. The officer’s actions sparked outrage and left many people horrified at the fact that so many cops would stand on the sidelines as children were being murdered.

It turns out that there were actually a few officers who had the courage to go in after the killer—but now they are being punished for it. According to the Sun-Sentinel, two Miramar SWAT team members are being suspended for going into the school to stop the shooting because they did not have permission to do so.

The SWAT members were suspended on the grounds that their attempt to help created an “officer safety issue and left them unaccountable for their actions.”

Miramar SWAT team commander Captain Kevin Nosowicz wrote a memo to the officers on Feb. 22 which stated, “On Wednesday, February 14, 2018, you responded to an incident within the city limits of Parkland. This response was conducted without the knowledge or authorization from your chain of command. Self Response to incidents outside of our jurisdiction creates a lack of accountability for your actions. This type of response also creates an officer safety situation due to dispatch not knowing your location or activity. Effective Immediately you have been temporarily suspended from the SWAT Team until further notice. Please make arrangements with the training department to turn in your SWAT issued rifle.”

The memo went on to say that their actions were discovered through social media, and it somehow made the city look bad.

“It was discovered that there were several social media posts that were posted on the City of Miramar websites. These posts were found to have a direct connection to you and the incident that occurred within the city of Parkland. These posts were found to have a negative connotation to our city and the Miramar police department. The indirect dissemination of information regarding crimes or incidents is a violation of the department’s social media policy,” the memo stated.

A Miramar PD spokesperson said that they were not suspended for responding, but for not going through the proper protocol.

“Miramar PD had numerous officers and a victim advocate respond, without incident. The two SWAT officers temporarily suspended from the SWAT team, but not active duty, were not suspended for responding, but for NOT advising that they responded. They did not advise prior to self-dispatching, during the incident, nor immediately following. This is an officer safety issue, a violation of policy and goes against incident command training and the best practices learned from other mass casualty/shooting incidents,” the spokesperson said.

Broward County PBA President Jeff Marano commended the officers despite their suspension.

“While it may have been a violation of policy to not notify their supervisors that they were going there, their intentions were brave and heroic, I think,” Marano said.

As TFTP reported, all first responders were told to stand down and not enter the school. Some of them have spoken out, noting that they “could’ve saved lives” if they were allowed to go inside the school. Instead, children were left bleeding out instead of receiving the care they so desperately needed that could’ve saved them.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/swat-officers-suspended-for-responding-to-parkland-shooting-on-their-own/

'Stand down': How the Obama team blew the response to Russian meddling

Brennan spoke with FBI Director James Comey and Adm. Mike Rogers, the head of the NSA, and asked them to dispatch to the CIA their experts to establish a working group at Langley that would review the intelligence and figure out the full scope and nature of the Russian operation. Brennan was thinking about the lessons of the 9/11 attack. Al-Qaida had been able to pull off that operation partly because U.S. intelligence agencies — several of which had collected bits of intelligence regarding the plotters before the attack — had not shared the material within the intelligence community. Brennan wanted a process in which NSA, FBI and CIA experts could freely share with each other the information each agency had on the Russian operation — even the most secret information that tended not to be disseminated throughout the full intelligence community.

Brennan realized this was what he would later call “an exceptionally, exceptionally sensitive issue.” Here was an active counterintelligence case — already begun by the FBI — aiming at uncovering and stopping Russian covert activity in the middle of a U.S. presidential campaign. And it included digging into whether it involved Americans in contact with Russia.

*****

While Brennan wrangled the intelligence agencies into a turf­-crossing operation that could feed the White House information on the Russian maneuver, Obama convened a series of meetings to devise a plan for countering whatever the Russians were up to. The meetings followed the procedure known in the federal government as the “interagency process.” The protocol was for the deputy chiefs of the relevant government agencies to meet and hammer out options for the principals — that is, the heads of the agencies — and then the principals hold a separate (and sometimes parallel) chain of meetings to discuss and perhaps debate before presenting choices to the president.

But for this topic, the protocol was not observed. Usually when the White House invited the deputies and principals to such meetings, they informed them of the subject at hand and provided “read­ahead” memos outlining what was on the agenda. This time, the agency officials just received instructions to show up at the White House at a certain time. No reason given. No memos supplied. “We were only told that a meeting was scheduled, and our principal or deputy was expected to attend,” recalled a senior administration official who participated in the sessions. (At the State Department, only a small number of officials were cleared to receive the most sensitive information on the Russian hack; this group included Secretary of State John Kerry; Tony Blinken, the deputy secretary of state; Dan Smith, head of the department’s intelligence bureau; and Jon Finer, Kerry’s chief of staff.)

For the usual interagency sessions, principals and deputies could bring staffers. Not this time. “There were no plus ones,” an attendee recalled. When the subject of a principals or deputies meeting was a national security matter, the gathering was often held in the Situation Room of the White House. The in‑house video feed of the Sit Room — without audio — would be available to national security officials at the White House and elsewhere, and these officials could at least see that a meeting was in progress and who was attending. For the meetings related to the Russian hack, Susan Rice, Obama’s national security adviser, ordered the video feed turned off. She did not want others in the national security establishment to know what was under way, fearing leaks from within the bureaucracy.

Rice would chair the principals’ meetings — which brought together Brennan; Comey; Kerry; Director of National Intelligence James Clapper; Defense Secretary Ash Carter; Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson; Treasury Secretary Jack Lew; Attorney General Loretta Lynch; and Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff — with only a few other White House officials present, including White House chief of staff Denis McDonough; homeland security adviser Lisa Monaco, and Colin Kahl, Vice President Joe Biden’s national security adviser. (Kahl had to insist to Rice that he be allowed to attend so that Biden could be fully briefed.)

Rice’s No. 2, deputy national security adviser Avril Haines, oversaw the deputies’ sessions. White House officials who were absent from the meetings were not told what was being discussed. This even included other NSC staffers — some of whom bristled at being shut out. Often the intelligence material covered in these meetings was not placed in the President’s Daily Brief, the top-secret document presented to the president every morning. Too many people had access to the PDB. “The opsec on this” — the operational security — “was as tight as it could be,” one White House official later said.

*****

As the interagency process began, there was no question regarding the big picture being drawn up by the analysts and experts assembled by Brennan: Russian state-sponsored hackers were behind the cyberattacks and the release of swiped Democratic material by WikiLeaks, Guccifer 2.0 (an internet persona suspected of being a Russian front), and a website called DCLeaks.com. “They knew who the cutouts were,” one participant later said. “There was not a lot of doubt.” It was not immediately clear, however, how far and wide within the Russian government the effort ran. Was it coming from one or two Russian outfits operating on their own? Or was it being directed from the top and part of a larger project?

The intelligence, at this stage, was also unclear on a central point: Moscow’s primary aim. Was it to sow discord to delegitimize the U.S. election? Prompting a political crisis in the United States was certainly in keeping with Putin’s overall goal of weakening Western governments. There was another obvious reason for the Russian assault: Putin despised Hillary Clinton, blaming her for the domestic protests that followed the 2011 Russian legislative elections marred by fraud. (At the time, as secretary of state, Clinton had questioned the legitimacy of the elections.) U.S. officials saw the Russian operation as designed at least to weaken Clinton during the election — not necessarily prevent her from winning. After all, the Russians were as susceptible as any political observers to the conventional wisdom that she was likely to beat Trump. If Clinton, after a chaotic election, staggered across the finish line, bruised and battered, she might well be a damaged president and less able to challenge Putin.

And there was a third possible reason: to help Trump. Did the Russians believe they could influence a national election in the United States and affect the results? At this stage, the intelligence community analysts and officials working on this issue considered this point not yet fully substantiated by the data they possessed. Given Trump’s business dealings with Russians over the years and his history of puzzling positive remarks about Putin, there seemed ample cause for Putin to desire Trump in the White House. The intelligence experts did believe this could be part of the mix for Moscow: Why not shoot for the moon and see if we can get Trump elected?

“All these potential motives were not mutually exclusive,” a top Obama aide later said.

Obama would be vacationing in Martha’s Vineyard until Aug. 21, and the deputies took his return as an informal deadline for preparing a list of options — sanctions, diplomatic responses, and cyber-counterattacks — that could be put in front of the principals and the president.

*****

As these deliberations were under way, more troubling intelligence got reported to the White House: Russian-linked hackers were probing the computers of state election systems, particularly voter registration databases. The first reports to the FBI came from Illinois. In late June, its voter database was targeted in a persistent cyberattack that lasted for weeks. The attackers were using foreign IP addresses, many of which were traced to a Dutch company owned by a heavily tattooed 26-year‑old Russian who lived in Siberia. The hackers were relentlessly pinging the Illinois database five times per second, 24 hours a day, and they succeeded in accessing data on up to 200,000 voters. Then there was a similar report from Arizona, where the user name and password of a county election official was stolen. The state was forced to shut down its voter registration system for a week. Then, in Florida, another attack.

One NSC staffer regularly walked into the office of Michael Daniel, the White House director of cybersecurity, with disturbing updates. “Michael,” he would say, “five more states got popped.” Or four. Or three. At one point, Daniel took a deep breath and told him, “It’s starting to look like every single state has been targeted.”

“I don’t think anybody knew what to make of it,” Jeh Johnson later said. The states selected seemed to be random; his agency, the Department of Homeland Security, could see no logic to it. If the goal was simply to instigate confusion on Election Day, Johnson figured, whoever was doing this could simply call in a bomb threat. Other administration officials had a darker view, and believed that the Russians were deliberately plotting digital manipulations, perhaps with the goal of altering results.

Michael Daniel was worried. He believed the Russians’ ability to fiddle with the national vote count — and swing a national U.S. election to a desired candidate — seemed limited, if not impossible. “We have 3,000 jurisdictions,” Daniel subsequently explained. “You have to pick the county where the race was going to be tight and manipulate the results. That seemed beyond their reach. The Russians were not trying to flip votes. To have that level of precision was not feasible.”

But Daniel was focused on another parade of horribles: If hackers could penetrate a state election voter database, they might be able to delete every 10th name. Or flip two digits in a voter’s ID number, so when a voter showed up at the polls, his or her name would not match. The changes could be subtle, not easily discerned. But the potential for disorder on Election Day was immense. The Russians would only have to cause problems in a small number of locations — problems with registration files, vote counting, or other mechanisms — and faith in the overall tally could be questioned. Who knew what would happen then?

Daniel even fretted that the Russians might post online a video of a hacked voting machine. The video would not have to be real to stoke the paranoids of the world and cause a segment of the electorate to suspect — or conclude — that the results could not be trusted. He envisioned Moscow planning to create multiple disruptions on Election Day to call the final counts into question.

The Russian scans, probes and penetrations of state voting systems changed the top-secret conversations under way. Administration officials now feared the Russians were scheming to infiltrate voting systems to disrupt the election or affect tallies on Election Day. And the consensus among Obama’s top advisers was that potential Russian election tampering was far more dangerous. The Russian hack-and-dump campaign, they generally believed, was unlikely to make the difference in the outcome of the presidential election. (After all, could Trump really beat Clinton?) Yet messing with voting systems could raise questions about the integrity of the election and the results. That was, they thought, the more serious threat.

Weeks earlier, Trump had started claiming that the only way he could lose the election would be if it were “rigged.” With one candidate and his supporters spreading this notion, it would not take many irregularities to spark a full‑scale crisis on Election Day.

Obama instructed Johnson to move immediately to shore up the defenses of state election systems. On Aug. 15, Johnson, while in the basement of his parents’ home in upstate New York, held a conference call with secretaries of state and other chief election officials of every state. Without mentioning the Russian cyber-intrusions into state systems, he told them there was a need to boost the security of the election infrastructure and offered the DHS’s assistance. He raised the possibility of designating election systems as “critical infrastructure” — just like dams and the electrical grid — meaning that a cyberattack could trigger a federal response.

Much to Johnson’s surprise, this move ran into resistance. Many of the state officials — especially from the red states — wanted little, if anything, to do with the DHS. Leading the charge was Brian Kemp, Georgia’s secretary of state, an ambitious, staunchly conservative Republican who feared the hidden hand of the Obama White House. “We don’t need the federal government to take over our voting,” he told Johnson.

Johnson tried to explain that DHS’s cybersecurity experts could help state systems search for vulnerabilities and protect against penetrations. He encouraged them to take basic cybersecurity steps, such as ensuring voting machines were not connected to the internet when voting was under way. And he kept explaining that any federal help would be voluntary for the states. “He must have used the word voluntary 15 times,” recalled a Homeland Security official who was on the call. “But there was a lot of skepticism that revolved around saying, ‘We don’t want Big Brother coming in and running our election process.’”

After the call, Johnson and his aides realized encouraging local officials to accept their help was going to be tough. They gave up on the idea of declaring these systems critical infrastructure and instead concluded they would have to keep urging state and local officials to accept their cybersecurity assistance.

Johnson’s interaction with local and state officials was a warning for the White House. If administration officials were going to enlist these election officials to thwart Russian interference in the voting, they would need GOP leaders in Congress to be part of the endeavor and, in a way, vouch for the federal government. Yet they had no idea how difficult that would be.

*****

At the first principals’ meeting, Brennan had serious news for his colleagues: The most recent intelligence indicated that Putin had ordered or was overseeing the Russian cyber operations targeting the U.S. election. And the intelligence community — sometimes called the “IC” by denizens of that world — was certain that the Russian operation entailed more than spy services gathering information. It now viewed the Russian action as a full-scale active measure.

This intelligence was so sensitive it had not been put in the President’s Daily Brief. Brennan had told Obama personally about this, but he did not want the information circulating throughout the national security system.

The other principals were surprised to hear that Putin had a direct hand in the operation and that he would be so bold. It was one thing for Russian intelligence to see what it could get away with; it was quite another for these attacks to be part of a concerted effort from the top of the Kremlin hierarchy.

But a secret source in the Kremlin, who two years earlier had regularly provided information to an American official in the U.S. Embassy, had warned then that a massive operation targeting Western democracies was being planned by the Russian government. The development of the Gerasimov Doctrine — a strategy for nonmilitary combat named after a top Russian general who had described it in an obscure military journal in 2013 — was another indication that full-scale information warfare against the United States was a possibility. And there had been an intelligence report in May noting that a Russian military intelligence officer had bragged of a payback operation that would be Putin’s revenge on Clinton. But these few clues had not led to a consensus at senior government levels that a major Putin-led attack was on the way.

*****

At this point, Obama’s top national security officials were uncertain how to respond. As they would later explain it, any steps they might take — calling out the Russians, imposing sanctions, raising alarms about the penetrations of state systems — could draw greater attention to the issue and maybe even help cause the disorder the Kremlin sought. A high‑profile U.S. government reaction, they worried, could amplify the psychological effects of the Russian attack and help Moscow achieve its end. “There was a concern if we did too much to spin this up into an Obama‑Putin face‑off, it would help the Russians achieve their objectives,” a participant in the principals’ meeting later noted. “It would create chaos, help Trump and hurt Clinton. We had to figure out how to do this in a way so we wouldn’t create an own goal. We had a strong sense of the Hippocratic Oath: Do no harm.”

A parallel concern for them was how the Obama administration could respond to the Russian attack without appearing too partisan. Obama was actively campaigning for Clinton. Would a tough and vocal reaction be seen as a White House attempt to assist Clinton and stick it to Trump? They worried that if a White House effort to counter Russian meddling came across as a political maneuver, that could compromise the ability of the Department of Homeland Security to work with state and local election officials to make sure the voting system was sound. (Was Obama too worried about being perceived as prejudicial or conniving? “Perhaps there was some overcompensation,” a top Obama aide said later.)

As Obama and his top policymakers saw it, they were stuck with several dilemmas. Inform the public about the Russian attack without triggering widespread unease about the election system. Be pro‑active without coming across as partisan and bolstering Trump’s claim the election was a sham. Prevent Putin from further cyber aggression without prompting him to do more. “This was one of the most complex and challenging issues I dealt with in government,” Avril Haines, the NSC’s No. 2 official, who oversaw the deputies meetings, later remarked.

The principals asked the Treasury Department to craft a list of far‑reaching economic sanctions. Officials at the State Department began working up diplomatic penalties. And the White House pushed the IC to develop more intelligence on the Russian operation so Obama and his aides could consider whether to publicly call out Moscow.

*****

At this point, a group of NSC officials committed to a forceful response to Moscow’s intervention started concocting creative options for cyberattacks that would expand the information war Putin had begun.

Michael Daniel and Celeste Wallander, the National Security Council’s top Russia analyst, were convinced the United States needed to strike back hard against the Russians and make it clear that Moscow had crossed a red line. Words alone wouldn’t do the trick; there had to be consequences. “I wanted to send a signal that we would not tolerate disruptions to our electoral process,” Daniel recalled. His basic argument: “The Russians are going to push as hard as they can until we start pushing back.”

Daniel and Wallander began drafting options for more aggressive responses beyond anything the Obama administration or the U.S. government had ever before contemplated in response to a cyberattack. One proposal was to unleash the NSA to mount a series of far-reaching cyberattacks: to dismantle the Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks websites that had been leaking the emails and memos stolen from Democratic targets, to bombard Russian news sites with a wave of automated traffic in a denial-of-service attack that would shut the news sites down, and to launch an attack on the Russian intelligence agencies themselves, seeking to disrupt their command and control nodes.

Knowing that Putin was notoriously protective of any information about his family, Wallander suggested targeting Putin himself. She proposed leaking snippets of classified intelligence to reveal the secret bank accounts in Latvia  held for Putin’s daughters — a direct poke at the Russian president that would be sure to infuriate him. Wallander also brainstormed ideas with Victoria Nuland, the assistant secretary of state for European affairs and a fellow hard-liner. They drafted proposals to dump dirt on Russian websites about Putin’s money, about the girlfriends of top Russian officials, about corruption in Putin’s United Russia party — essentially to give Putin a taste of his own medicine. “We wanted to raise the cost in a manner Putin recognized,” Nuland recalled.

One idea Daniel proposed was unusual: The United States and NATO should publicly announce a giant “cyber exercise” against a mythical Eurasian country, demonstrating that Western nations had it within their power to shut down Russia’s entire civil infrastructure and cripple its economy.

But Wallander and Daniel’s bosses at the White House were not on board. One day in late August, national security adviser Susan Rice called Daniel into her office and demanded he cease and desist from working on the cyber options he was developing. “Don’t get ahead of us,” she warned him. The White House was not prepared to endorse any of these ideas. Daniel and his team in the White House cyber response group were given strict orders: Stand down. She told Daniel to “knock it off,” he recalled.

Daniel walked back to his office. “That was one pissed-off national security adviser,” he told one of his aides.

At his morning staff meeting, Daniel matter of factly said to his team it had to stop work on options to counter the Russian attack: “We’ve been told to stand down.” Daniel Prieto, one of Daniel’s top deputies, recalled, “I was incredulous and in disbelief. It took me a moment to process. In my head I was like, Did I hear that correctly?” Then Prieto asked, “Why the hell are we standing down? Michael, can you help us understand? “Daniel informed them that the orders came from both Rice and Monaco. They were concerned that were the options to leak, it would force Obama to act. “They didn’t want to box the president in,” Prieto subsequently said.

It was a critical moment that, as Prieto saw it, scuttled the chance for a forceful immediate response to the Russian hack — and keenly disappointed the NSC aides who had been developing the options. They were convinced that the president and his top aides didn’t get the stakes. “There was a disconnect between the urgency felt at the staff level” and the views of the president and his senior aides, Prieto later said. When senior officials argued that the issue could be revisited after Election Day, Daniel and his staff intensely disagreed. “No — the longer you wait, it diminishes your effectiveness. If you’re in a street fight, you have to hit back,” Prieto remarked.

*****

Obama and his top aides did view the challenge at hand differently than the NSC staffers. “The first-order objective directed by President Obama,” McDonough recalled, “was to protect the integrity of election.” Confronting Putin was necessary, Obama believed, but not if it risked blowing up the election. He wanted to make sure whatever action was taken would not lead to a political crisis at home — and with Trump the possibility for that was great. The nation had had more than 200 years of elections and peaceful transitions of power. Obama didn’t want that to end on his watch.

By now, the principals were into the nitty-gritty, discussing in the Sit Room the specifics of how to respond. They were not overly concerned about Moscow’s influence campaign to shape voter attitudes. The key question was precisely how to thwart further Russian meddling that could undermine the mechanics of the election. Strong sanctions? Other punishments?

The principals did discuss cyber responses. The prospect of hitting back with cyber caused trepidation within the deputies’ and principals’ meetings. The United States was telling Russia this sort of meddling was unacceptable. If Washington engaged in the same type of covert combat, some of the principals believed, Washington’s demand would mean nothing, and there could be an escalation in cyberwarfare. There were concerns that the U.S. would have more to lose in all-out cyberwar.

“If we got into a tit-for-tat on cyber with the Russians, it would not be to our advantage,” a participant later remarked. “They could do more to damage us in a cyberwar or have a greater impact.” In one of the meetings, Clapper said he was worried that Russia might respond with cyberattacks against America’s critical infrastructure — and possibly shut down the electrical grid.

The State Department had worked up its own traditional punishments: booting Russian diplomats — and spies — out of the United States, and shutting down Russian facilities on American soil. And Treasury had drafted a series of economic sanctions that included massive assaults on Putin’s economy, such as targeting Russia’s military industries and cutting off Russia from the global financial system. One proposal called for imposing the same sorts of sanctions as had been placed on Iran: Any entity that did business with Russian banks would not be allowed to do business with U.S. financial institutions. But the intelligence community warned that if the United States responded with a massive response of any kind, Putin would see it as an attempt at regime change. “This could lead to a nuclear escalation,” a top Obama aide later said, speaking metaphorically.

After two weeks or so of deliberations, the White House put these options on hold. Instead, Obama and his aides came up with a different plan. First, DHS would keep trying to work with the state voting systems. For that to succeed, the administration needed buy‑in from congressional Republicans. So Obama approached Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan to try to deliver a bipartisan and public message that the Russian threat to the election was serious and that local officials should collaborate with the feds to protect the electoral infrastructure.

Obama and the principals also decided that the U.S. government would have to issue a public statement calling out Russia for having already secretly messed with the 2016 campaign. But even this seemed a task fraught with potential problems. Obama and his top aides believed that if the president himself issued such a message, Trump and the Republicans would accuse him of exploiting intelligence — or making up intelligence — to help Clinton. The declaration would have to come from the intelligence community, which was then instructed to start crafting a statement. In the meantime, Obama would continue to say nothing publicly about the most serious information warfare attack ever launched against the United States.

Most of all, Obama and his aides had to figure out how to ensure the Russians ceased their meddling immediately. They came up with an answer that would frustrate the NSC hawks, who believed Obama and his senior advisers were tying themselves in knots and looking for reasons not to act. The president would privately warn Putin and vow overwhelming retaliation for any further intervention in the election. This, they thought, could more likely dissuade Putin than hitting back at this moment. That is, they believed the threat of action would be more effective than actually taking action.

A meeting of the G-20 was scheduled for the first week in September in China. Obama and Putin would both be attending. Obama, according to this plan, would confront Putin and issue a powerful threat that would supposedly convince Russia to back off. Obama would do so without spelling out for Putin the precise damage he would inflict on Russia. “An unspecified threat would be far more potent than Putin knowing what we would do,” one of the principals later said. “Let his imagination run wild. That would be far more effective, we thought, than freezing this or that person’s assets.” But the essence of the message would be that if Putin did not stop, the United States would impose sanctions to crater Russia’s economy.

Obama and his aides were confident the intelligence community could track any new Russian efforts to penetrate the election infrastructure. If the IC detected new attempts, Obama then could quickly slap Russia with sanctions or other retribution. But the principals agreed that for this plan to work, the president had to be ready to pull the trigger.

*****

Obama threatened — but never did pull the trigger. In early September, during the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China, the president privately confronted Putin in what a senior White House official described as a “candid” and “blunt” talk. The president informed his aides he had delivered the message he and his advisers had crafted: We know what you’re doing. If you don’t cut it out, we will impose onerous and unprecedented penalties. One senior U.S. government official briefed on the meeting was told the president said to Putin, in effect: “You f*** with us over the election and we’ll crash your economy.”

But Putin simply denied everything to Obama — and, as he had done before, blamed the U.S. for interfering in Russian politics. And if Obama was tough in private, publicly he played the statesman. Asked at a post-summit news conference about Russia’s hacking of the election, the president spoke in generalities — and insisted the United States did not want a blowup over the issue. “We’ve had problems with cyber-intrusions from Russia in the past, from other counties in the past,” he said. “Our goal is not to suddenly, in the cyber arena, duplicate a cycle escalation that we saw when it comes other arms races in the past, but rather to start instituting some norms so that everybody’s acting responsibility.”

White House officials believed for a while that Obama’s warning had some impact: They saw no further evidence of Russia cyber-intrusions into state election systems. But, as they would later acknowledge, they largely missed Russia’s information warfare campaign aimed at influencing the election — the inflammatory Facebook ads and Twitter bots created by an army of Russian trolls working for the Internet Research Agency in St. Petersburg.

On Oct. 7, the Obama administration finally went public, releasing a statement from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and Department of Homeland Security that called out the Russians for their efforts to “interfere with the U.S. election process,” saying that “only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities.” But for some in the Clinton campaign and within the White House itself, it was too little, too late. Wallander, the NSC Russia specialist who had pushed for a more aggressive response, thought the Oct. 7 statement was largely irrelevant. “The Russians don’t care what we say,” she later noted. “They care what we do.” (The same day the statement came out, WikiLeaks began its month-long posting of tens of thousands of emails Russian hackers had stolen from John Podesta, the CEO of the Clinton campaign.)

In the end, some Obama officials thought they had played a bad hand the best they could, and had succeeded in preventing a Russian disruption of Election Day. Others would ruefully conclude that they may have blown it and not done enough. Nearly two months after the election, Obama did impose sanctions on Moscow for its meddling in the election — shutting down two Russian facilities in the United States suspected of being used for intelligence operations and booting out 35 Russian diplomats and spies. The impact of these moves was questionable. Rice would come to believe it was reasonable to think that the administration should have gone further. As one senior official lamented, “Maybe we should have whacked them more.”

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/stand-obama-team-blew-response-russian-meddling-100024634.html

Polish MP says reparations from Germany could stand at $850bn

Warsaw has the right to demand reparations potentially worth $850 billion from Germany for deaths and destroyed property during World War II, the politician in charge of reparations said on Friday, according to Reuters. The issue of war reparations has been revived by the Polish ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS). The Polish government stopped short of making a direct claim to Germany, but Arkadiusz Mularczyk, head of the parliamentary committee on reparations, told Polsat that the issue concerns “very large but justified sums for war crimes, for the destroyed cities, the lost demographic potential of our country.” German parliamentary legal experts said last year that Warsaw had no right to demand reparations.

Source Article from https://www.rt.com/newsline/420290-poland-reparations-germany-sum/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=RSS

BOMBSHELL CONFIRMED: Broward County Deputies *ORDERED* To Stand Down While The Shooting Continued

A major media bombshell is now confirming the shocking truth that Natural News reported first: Deputies were ordered to stand down and avoid entering the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, even as the shooting was taking place.

This irrefutable fact has been maliciously labeled a “conspiracy theory” by the fake news media (CNN, etc.), but now it is confirmed by multiple sources (as is usually the case after the fake news media gets it wrong).

Laura Ingraham is now reporting from Fox News (see video below):

Our sources near the Broward County Sheriff’s Department are telling us that the deputies who arrived at the scene of the shooting were told not to enter the school unless their body cameras were turned on. And then we found that the deputies did not have body cameras, so they did not enter the building or engage the shooter.  So curiously, police also lost radio communications during the Parkland shooting. And our source claims that radio communication also went dead during the Ft. Lauderdale airport shooting of 2017…

 

@RealSaavedra

BREAKING: Broward County Sheriff Deputies were reportedly told NOT to enter the school during the shooting unless they had body cameras on, which they did not have.

Police also reportedly lost radio transmissions during the shooting.

In other words, not only were the deputies ordered to stand down, but the communications outage seems to be a pattern among false flag shooting operations (carried out to push a gun control agenda).

Fox News is also reporting that deputies “would not let medical personnel into the school,” reports The Daily Wire, confirming yet again that both armed officers and EMTs were prohibited from entering the school while students were bleeding out. This was obviously done on purpose in order to maximize the body count for political gain. (And CNN was immediately ready with a staged “town hall” event to cast blame on the NRA and the GOP, as planned.)

EMT says police wouldn’t let medics into Parkland school. RealSaavedra

Teacher identified the shooter as a masked “police” officer wearing a bulletproof vest and “full metal gear”

Here’s where things really go down the rabbit hole. A teacher named Stacy Lippel appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America, where she described her direct encounter with the shooter. She’s a teacher at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, of course, and YouTube has been busy scrubbing this video off all channels to make sure you don’t see it. Watch the video below while you still can. Efforts are under way to memory hole this video interview from the ‘net.

In this video, she says the following:

I suddenly saw the shooter about 20 feet from me standing at the end of the hallway actively shooting down the hallway. Just a barrage of bullets.  And I’m staring at him thinking ‘why is the police here?’ This is strange because he’s in full metal garb. Helmet, face-mask, bulletproof armor, shooting this rifle that I’ve never seen before.

Notice that she immediately recognizes him as a police officer, wearing police gear. She specifically names the helmet, face mask and bulletproof armor. None of this gear was worn by Nikolas Cruz, according to all the media reports, photos and videos of his arrest. Stacy did not describe the shooter as a “student.”

In other words, this teacher is not describing Nikolas Cruz. She’s describing an armed, masked, geared-up person doing the shooting.

Now are you beginning to understand why the sheriff’s deputies were ordered to stay outside the building?

In truth, this shooting was augmented by at least one masked gunman other than Nikolas Cruz. The deputies were told to stand down so that they didn’t witness this second shooter. Nikolas Cruz very likely also shot some students himself, but it’s clear from the testimony and cover-up that Cruz did not act alone.

Natural News

Related News:

  1. Did You Know That Chicago’s “Gun Free Zone” Has A Las Vegas Massacre Every Month?
  2. Just One More Thing On The Las Vegas Shooting: Bill Clinton & Janet Reno Murdered 82 At Waco, Texas
  3. Update On West/Waco Texas Fertilizer Plant Missile/Laser Strike: Government Motives To Destroy It With A Missile!

Source Article from https://politicalvelcraft.org/2018/02/27/bombshell-confirmed-broward-county-deputies-ordered-to-stand-down-while-the-shooting-continued/