Sharron Angle won yesterday's primary to become Nevada's Republican candidate for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's seat. She may have never advocated bartering for health care with chickens, as her opponent Sue Lowden did, but Angle already has some issues. Beyond embracing the Tea Party, she's also reached out to the Oath Keepers, the fringe patriot group whose core membership of cops and soldiers are gearing up to resist the Obama administration's anticipated slide toward outright tyranny.
Back in April, Angle told TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro that she was a member of the Oath Keepers. This Monday, Angle's husband Ted told TPM's McMorris-Santoro and Justin Elliott that "We support what the organization stands for" and that he and his wife "desire" to join it. Oath Keeper founder Steward Rhodes said that candidate Angle had paid a visit to the group's Southern Nevada chapter last fall.
For the full scoop on the Oath Keepers and what they stand for, check out the in-depth investigationMoJo published about them this spring. In it, Justine Sharrock profiles Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pray, a young soldier who joined the group to prepare for the day when he might have to turn against his commander-in-chief to resist martial law and the mass detention of American citizens. Pray told Sharrock that he'd been recruiting buddies, running drills, and stashing weapons—just in case. Like all Oath Keepers, he's sworn to disobey any orders he considers unconstiutional or illegal.
Wired has an exclusive on the arrest of a young G.I. for allegedly being the source of WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder video, which depicted an American Army helicopter mowing down two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street in 2007. US Army SPC Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq, is reportedly in military custody awaiting charges. According to Wired, Manning was turned in by an online contact to whom he'd bragged about his leaking. Ex-hacker Adrian Lamo says that Manning told him that in addition to sending WikiLeaks the Iraq video, he had also supplied an Army Counterintelligence Center report on the whistleblower site (which it published here), a video of an American missile attack in Afghanistan (which the site has said it will publish), and 260,000 State Department cables.
Lamo told Wired he felt that Manning's actions had jeopardized national security. "I wouldn't have done this if lives weren't in danger," he said. "He was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air."
Who's BP's favorite politician ever? If you're just going by the numbers, it's none other than President Barack Obama, who leads BP's lifetime campaign donation list with $77,051. That puts him just ahead of reliable oilmen such as Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, his retired colleague Sen. Ted Stevens, and George W. Bush. According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, BP and its employees have given more than $3.4 million to federal candidates since 1990, with much of their largesse going to these 20:
Unmanned aerial vehicles aren't just raining missiles on Afghanistan and Pakistan—they're coming to the skies near you. UAV makers are eager to launch their wares in US airspace, and everyone from cops to scientists to hobbyists wants one. The FAA is still figuring out how drones and planes can play nice, but the first domestic UAVs are already taking to the air. Below, some current and anticipated flight plans.
Eyes in the Skies The Border Patrol has 7 unarmed Predators, which it says have helped bust 15,000 lbs. of pot and 4,000 undocumented border crossers. In 2003, the American Border Patrol, an Arizona anti-immigration group, launched its own UAV, the Border Hawk, to look for "invaders."
Hanging Around AeroVironment says its Global Observer's ability to "loiter" at 65,000 feet for a week makes it perfect for mapping, weather tracking, crop management...oh, and homeland security.
Air Spray Programmable unmanned choppers have been spraying Japanese crops since the early 1990s.
Seeing Green The makers of the $17,000 Draganflyer X6 helicopter say it's perfect for golf course owners who want "stunning pictures" of their fairways.
Drone Alone Private citizens can fly their own drones, so long as they stay below 400 feet. You can build your own for less than $500. Check out diydrones.com.
Hide and Seek In February, a British police UAV used thermal imaging to nab a suspected car thief—the UK's first drone-assisted arrest. The Houston PD and the LA Sheriff have test flown UAVs, and the FBI has tested a model designed to fly down alleyways, tunnels, and ventilation shafts.
Unfriendly Skies Defense analysts warn that inexpensive UAVs could be "the ideal attack platform" for terrorists. In 2004, Homeland Security said it was watching for "suspicious persons" with an interest in remote-controlled aircraft.
Special Delivery FedEx's founder says the company would like to fly UAVs in the near future.
A NASA researcher predicts that we could soon see what Air & Space calls an "unmanned pizza delivery pod."
Bombs Away At the White House Correspondents' Dinner in May, President Obama warned the Jonas Brothers: "Sasha and Malia are huge fans. But boys, don't get any ideas. Two words for you: Predator drones."
The New Yorker has a fascinating new profile of Julian Assange, the mastermind behind WikiLeaks. Raffi Khatchadourian's piece is full of revelations about the enigmatic hacker-turned-"open-government activist", from details of his peripatetic childhood to an exclusive glimpse of Assange at work on the "Collateral Murder" video of an American Army helicopter shooting journalists and civilians in Baghdad.
Check it out—but also check out MoJo's controversial profile of Assange by David Kushner, which has just been updated and expanded. Like Kushner, Khatchadourian concludes that Assange's attempts to shine light on evildoers while lurking in the shadows is deeply contradictory: "The thing that he seems to detest most—power with accountability—is encoded in the site's DNA, and will only become more pronounced as WikiLeaks evolves into a real institution."
Perhaps the most interesting tidbit in the New Yorker story is its discussion of how WikiLeaks got its start. When WikiLeaks was in the planning stages in 2006, Assange said that he had more than 1 million documents; a claim that convinced Cryptome founder Jon Young that Assange was either exaggerating or up to no good. But now it seems that Assange did have his hands on a large, questionably obtained, cache of material. Khatchadourian reports that one WikiLeaks activist had access to a "tranche" of secret government documents obtained by Chinese hackers. The documents had been pulled off of Tor, the anonymizing network that WikiLeaks now encourages its leakers to use to stymie "internet spies." According to the New Yorker, WikiLeaks posted only a few of those swiped documents. If it's accurate, this anecdote raises some serious ethical and technical questions about how WikiLeaks operates. Does WikiLeaks condone this kind of online snooping? Has it relied upon it since its launch? Just how many of the senstive documents it's posted were genuinely leaked and how many were hacked?