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Judge Orders FBI to Speed Up Delivery of FOIA Request

July 30, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Kent State University – May 4th Memorial: Historical Marker. Photo courtesy of Andrew Borgen.

When documentary filmmaker Nina Seavey requested documents from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act, she was told that it would take 17 years for all the documents she needs to be released.

Seavey, a professor and documentarian at George Washington University, took her case to court. Siding with Seavey, US District Judge Gladys Kessler ruled that it was unacceptable for Seavey to have to wait until the year 2034 to get the requested FBI records connected to surveillance of anti-war and civil rights activists during the 1960s and 1970s.

The policy for releasing documents under the FOIA by the FBI is 500 pages per day. Since the request is for 110,000 pages, the last page won’t be in Seavey’s hands for 17 years. Not acceptable, says Seavey, since she is already 60 years old.

The FBI, and the Justice Department testified that if they gave over documents more quickly than the 500 pages per month rate, the agency’s work flow would be disrupted. It is even possible that just a few large requests for documents could shut down the entire FOIA operation.

Kessler rejected the agency’s arguments saying:

“Neither proffered justification is persuasive,” Judge Kessler wrote. “In the name of reducing its own administrative headaches, the FBI’s 500-page policy ensures that larger requests are subject to an interminable delay in being completed. Under the 500-page policy, requestors must wait 1 year for every 6,000 potentially responsive documents, and those who request tens of thousands of documents may wait decades.”

“The agency’s desire for administrative convenience is simply not a valid justification for telling Professor Seavey that she must wait decades for the documents she needs to complete her work,” the judge added.

The judge’s final decision was that the FBI process 2,850 pages per month. At that rate Seavey will have all the documents in about three years.

Seavey is planning to make a documentary focusing on what she calls the “ripple effects” of the shooting of four student protestors at Kent State University in Ohio by national guardsmen on May 4, 1970. She is already going through documents that she received from the CIA and the National Archives.

“What I’m finding in this material is really astonishing,” she said. “I’d say it’s worth the wait, but I probably started this ten years ago.”

General Dunford Not Ruling Out Military Option for North Korea

July 23, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Marine General Joseph Dunford.

Marine General Joseph Dunford said on Saturday that the United States should keep the option for a military solution to North Korea open. He is the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and in this capacity, believes that the threat of North Korea’s nuclear program is of utmost urgency.

Although he did not deny the importance of keeping up the pressure on the diplomatic and economic fronts, he said it is wrong to say that there is no military option.

“Many people have talked about military options with words like ‘unimaginable,'” Dunford said. “I would probably shift that slightly and say it would be horrific, and it would be a loss of life unlike any we have experienced in our lifetimes, and I mean anyone who’s been alive since World War II has never seen the loss of life that could occur if there’s a conflict on the Korean Peninsula.

“But as I’ve told my counterparts, both friend and foe,” he added, “it is not unimaginable to have military options to respond to North Korean nuclear capability. What’s unimaginable to me is allowing a capability that would allow a nuclear weapon to land in Denver, Colorado. That’s unimaginable to me. So my job will be to develop military options to make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Dunford made his remarks at the Aspen Security Forum. The gathering takes place each year, hosting national security officials, experts and others to discuss crucial issues in the realm of national security. Dunford was addressing himself to the worrisome development last month in which North Korea fired an inter-continental ballistic missile towards Japan.

USSS Was Not Responsible for Trump Jr.’s Meetings at the Time He Met Kremlin-Linked Lawyer

July 17, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

Jay Sekulow, one of Donald Trump Jr’s legal advisors, asked on ABC News’ “This Week,” why the US Secret Service had allowed Trump Jr. to meet Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya, who is connected to the Kremlin.

“Well, I wonder why the Secret Service, if this was nefarious, why the Secret Service allowed these people in. The president had Secret Service protection at that point, and that raised a question with me,” he said.

The USSS answered the question, explaining that Trump Jr was not under their protection in June 2016, even if his father was receiving government protection at the time. The USSS added that they also would not have screened any of his meetings, either.

“Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June 2016. Thus, we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time,” Secret Service spokesman Mason Brayman said in a statement.

Paul Manafort, Trump Sr’s then-campaign chairman, advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Trump Jr., all met with Veselnitskaya. According to emails released last week by Trump Jr., the trio met with Kremlin connected Veselnitskaya who said she had damaging evidence about then-Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

North Korea Tests Another Missile

July 4, 2017 by Gail Nussbaum in News and Media

 

Sea of Japan

The North American Aerospace Defense Command, NORAD said a missile was tracked for 37 minutes from its launch in North Korea until it entered the waters of the Sea of Japan. No damage was reported.

The Hawaii-based US Pacific Command announced that they monitored the trajectory of a medium-range ballistic missile launched from near an airfield in North Korea until it fell without incident into the Sea of Japan. The command said the missile was not a threat to North America.

Japanese and South Korean officials also reported the firing of the missile. It was part of a series of test launches conducted by North Korea to further the development of a nuclear enhanced missile that could perhaps one day reach the United States.

The President of the US, Donald Trump, responded on Twitter to the most recent ballistic missile launch as follows:

“Does this guy have anything better to do with his life? Hard to believe that South Korea and Japan will put up with this much longer. Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all!”

Chief Cabinet Secretary of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, told the press that the missile was fired at 9:40am on Tuesday and cruised for 40 minutes until it splashed into the Sea of Japan where that country claims economic territorial rights. He added that no planes or boats reported damage, but the Japanese media said that the coast guard had been alerted to the possibility of falling objects.