Willie Jerome Manning, a 44-year-old African-American man, has been in prison for almost 20 years after being convicted for the 1992 kidnapping and murder of Jon Steckler and Tiffany Miller, two white college students in Mississippi. Manning was convicted based on the testimony of a jailhouse informant who implicated two men before Manning and has since recanted his claim altogether. Police also found Manning trying to sell items that formerly belonged to Steckler, at which time he claimed he acquired the property from someone he didn’t know. Most importantly, though, according to law professor Dov Fox’s column at The Huffington Post, was testimony from Chester Blythe, an FBI agent, that a black man’s hair was found in Miller’s car. But DNA and fingerprints at the scene did not implicate Manning, and the FBI came forward last week to withdraw “testimony containing erroneous statements regarding microscopic hair comparison analysis was used in this case.” Blythe testified that he could tell with “a relatively high degree of certainty” that the hair found at the crime scene “came from an individual of the black race.” Last week’s announcement also admitted the witness was not credible because his claims “exceeded the limits of science” available in the mid-1990s. The Justice Department said it was an “error for an examiner to testify that he can determine the questioned hairs were from an individual of a particular group.”It’s the first time federal officials have admitted to such a flaw in the FBI’s analysis technique. They’ve additionally offered to test Manning’s DNA to remove any reasonable doubt once and for all that he perpetrated the crime.Despite the gravity of the Justice Department’s revelation, the Mississippi Supreme Court ruled in a 5-4 decision to deny Manning a stay of execution. “Our examination anew of the record reveals that conclusive, overwhelming evidence of guilt was presented to the jury,” wrote Presiding Justice Michael K. Randolph for the majority. Fingerprints thought to belong to the killer found in one of the cars owned by a victim did not match Manning and have never been checked in the government’s database. Mississippi Supreme Court Justice James W. Kitchens, writing in dissent, pushed for more testing, warning against the possibility that “the investigation of these horrible crimes will remain incomplete.“The victims’ families and the public at large deserve to know whether another, or an additional, perpetrator was involved,” he wrote. “Interests far beyond Manning’s are at stake, and whatever potential harm the denial seeks to avert is surely outweighed by the benefits of ensuring justice.” However, there could be some blowback from prosecutors. “The bottom line is when you start looking at these things, there’s always something else you can do and it never ends,” said Oktibbeha County District Attorney Forrest R. Allgood. The decision now rests in the hands of Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant, who can grant a stay of execution or administer a lethal injection. His decision is expected to come Tuesday morning. …
Last month Swedish prosecutor Henry Olin announced that following a lengthy investigation, Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Svartholm had been charged in connection to his alleged hacking of an IT company affiliated with the government.
Recent information suggests that Gottfrid intends to plead “not guilty” to claims that between January 2010 and April 2012 he and his co-conspirators accessed confidential tax records and data on the systems of Logica, an IT company working with Sweden’s tax authorities.
Gottfrid and his alleged accomplices will now go on trial starting May 20 but in the meantime additional information has been emerging via Niklas Femerstrand, a researcher, hacker, political activist and friend of Gottfrid.
Late last month, Femerstrand published translated transcripts of Gottfrid’s interrogation over several days between September 2012 and March 2013. Further information is now coming to light.
“This investigation, it has gone on since this spring and we have have quite a lot of material that we’ve been looking at. There are clear indications in this material that shows that you were involved. Do you know of this breach of Logica?” an interrogator asked Gottfrid last year.
“No comments!” responded Gottfrid. The interview was terminated after Gottfrid refused to admit knowing individuals referred to as ‘MG’ and ‘KS’ and answered “no comment” to pretty much everything. A follow up interview in which the Pirate Bay founder was asked if he knew “CS” was ended after achieving the same result.
An interview in March 2013 found Gottfrid marginally more compliant. In amongst an overwhelming number of “no comments” he admitted working as a freelance consultant and running an outsourcing company during his time in Cambodia.
Gottfrid also admitted to owning two computers, a desktop and a Macbook, that were found in his Cambodia apartment. He said the computers were used as servers, not by him personally, and were accessed via the Internet by individuals he admitted knowing and meeting.
“These people then, who have accessed [the servers]. Do you want to say something about them?” the interrogator asked.
Gottfrid responded “No…[..] because I fear for my own life.”
TrueCrypt container, chat logs and aliases
Later discussion turned to a 16GB TrueCrypt container found on one of the computers which appears to be a reference to material downloaded by the alleged hackers from Logica’s systems. Also present were log files listing the computer’s connections to Logica.
“In your computer, there are a number of different log files, the connections you have done to Logica… or that’s in your computer against Logica systems, what were these log files from?” the interrogator asked.
“Probably from those who used the computer. Either locally or, more likely remotely,” Gottfrid responded.
What followed was a discussion about various characters. According to earlier statements made by the prosecutor, some of those arrested in the case have Pirate Bay connections.
It appears that the previously arrested ‘MG’ was found in possession of chat logs with various nicknames listed. Gottfrid admitted to using “Anakata” and prosecutors suggested that he also used “tLt”. Gottfrid wouldn’t be drawn, but admitted that “Anakata” is a well known name.
“For example diROX asks TiAMO [Pirate Bay co-founder] where is Anakata? So he responds Cambodia, that’s correct isn’t it?” the interrogator questions.
What follows are lengthy logs read out by the prosecutor where “diROX” and “tLt” discuss cracking databases and gaining access to information.
“I also have complete dumps of amongst others the bailiff registry, only that is 12 Gb haha, got hold of the table of contents, it’s a little easier to find fun things then,” the interrogator read out, quoting “tLt”.
“I… just want to comment that bailiff records are public documents,” Gottfrid responded,
In November “MG” was interrogated again but refused to have a lawyer present. After being shown chatlogs he told his interrogators that “tLt” was Gottfrid Svartholm.
Cellphone data, Ubuntu One and the Hells Angels
Evidence also gathered from MG included forensics on his cellphone which revealed tools for cracking WiFi networks. Text documents within them contained the exact same login credentials used to access Logica’s servers. The same data was found on his Ubuntu One cloud storage account. MG later went on to admit that he had used the name “diROX” online.
MG denied that he’d downloaded any data through the tax intrusions but admitted carrying out queries on his friends. The interrogator asked ‘MG’ if those friends are members of the “Hells Angels” – MG said that was possible.
What followed next was an exchange where MG implied he was scared for his safety so couldn’t say anything more. His interrogators suggested things were still going to look bad for him with his ‘friends’ whether he cooperated or not. MG’s lawyer stepped in and put an end to the approach.
Lawyer’s account used as hacking springboard
It’s also been revealed that the alleged hackers gained access to systems via an account belonging to a movie industry lawyer. Monique Wadsted of the MAQS lawfirm was used extensively by the entertainment industries in the original Pirate Bay trial. For those who’ve seen the movie TPB AFK, she is the lady for whom Peter Sunde held open the door.
Wadsted had an account on a system called Infotorg, a provider of online information about private individuals, companies, properties and vehicles. Wadsted’s account was allegedly modified by the attackers to become a super-user account which enabled the download of large amounts of data. Traffic to that account was traced to IP addresses belonging to ISPs in Cambodia and Sweden.
Also of interest to those who followed the original Pirate Bay trial is the type of data that was accessed during the hacks. Searches were carried out on a wide range of individuals from an actor to a representative of a space project, but they were also conducted on Gottfrid himself, controversial ISP PRQ and various police cars. Interestingly a search was also conducted on Jim Keyzer, an IT forensics police officer who later transferred to Warner Bros., a plaintiff in the trial.
What is clear from even the small amount of information revealed so far (thanks again to Niklas Femerstrand) is that this is an incredibly complicated case that any court or jury will do well to keep up with. Whether it will stride confidently to its conclusion or collapse under its own complexity remains to be seen. We will know more in May.
Source: MPAA Lawyer’s Computer Account Used in Pirate Bay Founder Hacking Case
Socialist gun grabbers were dealt a tremendous blow just a couple of weeks ago, in part due to pressure by American patriots letting Washington elected officials know that they would not go quietly into the night towards tyranny. …
Though recent polls show overwhelming public support for laws implementing universal background checks, a new poll by Pew Research/The Washington Post finds that there is a mixed bag of sentiment regarding the failure of gun control measures in the Senate.The poll surveyed Americans, and asked, “Which word best describes how you feel about the fact that this gun legislation did not pass?” In response, 32 percent said they were “disappointed” and 15 percent said they were “angry.”That’s compared with 20 percent said they were “very happy,” and 19 percent said they were “relieved.” ;Continue Reading… …
A team of journalists, including from AP, have been allowed into the facilities. They testify the atmosphere has grown tense and heavy in the prison where 166 men are indefinitely held with little to no hope of release. Still they were not allowed to gather more information on the two suicide attempts.At least seven people have managed to kill themselves since Guantanamo was first set up in 2002.The fact that Gitmo has turned into a pit of hopelessness is confirmed both by the detainee’s lawyers and some US officials. While the number of officially-acknowledged hunger strikers is growing, most prisoners are isolated from each other and the world.”How can the military, even the military, hope to maintain discipline over a prison camp where there is absolutely no hope for those men confined here?” Lieutenant Commander Kevin Bogucki, a US Navy Military Lawyer who was visiting his clients at the base this week, told AP.”Until such time as our government starts to do the right thing in connection with Guantanamo Bay, the frustration is only going to continue to build and I can’t imagine that the outcome will be good,” he added.Out of 86 Guantanamo prisoners cleared for the release, the overwhelming majority – 56 of them – are Yemeni nationals, RT’s Gayane Chichakyan points out. However, three years ago the US suspended all transfers of detainees to Yemen. It may well mean dying in Guantanamo, Omar Farah, petitioner for the Center of Constitutional Rights, believes.”Our clients are coming to grips with the cold fact: they may well die in Guantanamo not because the state is unable to transfer them, but because it’s unwilling to do so. The transfer restrictions are difficult, for example, they would require the secretary of defense to personally certify that a receiving state are taking steps to ensure that a prisoner can never threaten the United States in the future, whatever threat it might mean in that context. Obviously no state can guarantee that a future event will or will not occur, but that was the point – to discourage transfers from Guantanamo,” Farah said. US officials say there is no reason to lose hope, as they are working to make transfers happen. However, this pledge lacks action.”The indefinite detention that they’re asking for or are justifying is under the laws of war,” Kristina Kuskey, petitioner for Physicians for Human Rights said. “In US minds that war ends at the end of hostilities. Against who? Al-Qaeda and associative forces. What does that mean? That’s indefinite! That is the epitome of indefinite.”US military has acknowledged 84 prisoners have currently joined the hunger strike, 16 of them are being force-fed, while five have been hospitalized. The strike started early in February over guards’ alleged interference with the inmates’ private belongings, raising anger over ‘mishandling’ of Korans. No efforts on the part of the US military authorities to stop the strike have so far been successful.Multiple human rights and medical associations have condemned force-feeding, the UN Human Rights commission even labeling the practice of force feeding a form of torture. …
The Senate’s “Gang of Eight,” which has been working toward a deal on immigration reform, has reportedly reached a deal and will announce it within a week.Politico reports:Aides said the legislative proposal could be released as soon as Thursday, but is more likely to be ready early next week. The schedule outlined by the aides is meant to satisfy Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who has said repeatedly that he wants a full debate and amendment process, to maximize the chances that the final vote is an overwhelming majority.The Wall Street Journal has some possible details on the framework, which, according to unnamed sources, would require strict border security measures to be enforced before undocumented immigrants can begin receiving green cards:Continue Reading… …