Tag Archive: NATO summit


Politics and Legislation

Twenty-Two States File Brief Asking Supreme Court to Back Off Citizens United

Ian Millhiser
Think Progress / News Report
“While Citizens United enjoys strong support among Republican officials (and among the five Republican justices responsible for it), few Americans share this view.”

Twenty-two states joined an amicus brief that will be filed today in the Supreme Court by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) calling for the Supreme Court to back off its election-buying decision in Citizens United. The brief, which supports the state of Montana’s effort to preserve its ban on corporate money in elections, argues that state elections present an even greater risk than federal elections of being corrupted by corporate money — and thus states should be allowed to restrict such money even if the justice cling to their idiosyncratic belief that federal bans on corporate election spending are unconstitutional.

Sadly, the states’ brief only highlights the partisan impact of Citizens United. Of the 22 states that joined the brief, only three — Idaho, Washington and Utah — have Republican attorneys general. Additionally, top Republican elected officials and lobbying organizations, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, previously filed briefs calling for the justices to redouble their commitment to corporate influence on elections.

Read Full Article Here

The Swing Vote: Why Independents Will Decide the 2012 Election

Published on May 19, 2012 by

“In the past four years, two and a half million people have left the Democratic and Republican parties,” explains Linda Killian, author of the new book The Swing Vote: The Untapped Power of Independents. Not only are these voters sick of the two dominant parties, Killian believes they are increasingly determining electoral outcomes. “They voted for Barack Obama, they voted for the Democrats in 2006, [but] they swung 19 points in voting for the Republicans in 2010.”

Killian sat down with Reason.tv’s Nick Gillespie to examine what makes a swing voter, their growing importance, and if their socially tolerant and fiscally responsible viewpoints should buoy libertarians.

Runs about 6.40 minutes

Produced by Meredith Bragg. Camera by Meredith Bragg and Josh Swain.

Visit http://www.reason.tv for downloadable versions and subscribe to ReasonTV’s YouTube Channel to receive automatic updates when new material goes live.

Talk to Al Jazeera – Ali Salim el-Beidh: Separating South Yemen

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Is it possible for a united Yemen to move towards a new future or will the forces that are advocating a division of the country win in the end?

Ali Salim el Beidh, the leader of the separatist movement in South Yemen, is the man now considered one of the most important figures in this respect.

Obama, NATO leaders chart path out of Afghanistan

President Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai met Sunday at the NATO summit in Chicago to discuss the transition of power in Afghanistan.

By NBC News and news services

Updated 6:22 p.m. ET: CHICAGO — President Barack Obama on Sunday pressed world leaders to help implement a strategy for post-2014 Afghanistan after U.S. troops leave, a transition that Afghan President Hamid Karzai said will mark the day that his war-torn country is “no longer a burden” on the rest of the world.

Obama and Karzai met on the sidelines of the NATO summit on Sunday to discuss Afghanistan’s post-conflict future. After the meeting, Obama told reporters that the two-day summit would focus on Afghanistan’s move to peace and stability after a decade of war.

“We still have a lot of work to do and there will be great challenges ahead,” Obama said. “The loss of life continues in Afghanistan and there will be hard days ahead.”

Standing next to Obama, Karzai reaffirmed his commitment to the transition timetable process, which he said will lead to a time when Afghanistan “is no longer a burden on the shoulder of our friends in the international community, on the shoulders of the United States and other allies.”

Karzai also thanked Americans for the help that their “taxpayer money” has done in Afghanistan.

Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

President Barack Obama, right, shakes hands with with Afghan President Hamid Karzai during their meeting at the NATO summit in Chicago on Sunday.

Read Full Article and  Watch Video Here

Congressmen Seek To Lift Propaganda Ban

Propaganda that was supposed to target foreigners could now be aimed at Americans, reversing a longstanding policy. “Disconcerting and dangerous,” says Shank.

  Michael Hastings BuzzFeed Staff

An amendment that would legalize the use of propaganda on American audiences is being inserted into the latest defense authorization bill, BuzzFeed has learned.

The amendment would “strike the current ban on domestic dissemination” of propaganda material produced by the State Department and the Pentagon, according to the summary of the law at the House Rules Committee’s official website.

The tweak to the bill would essentially neutralize two previous acts—the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948 and Foreign Relations Authorization Act in 1987—that had been passed to protect U.S. audiences from our own government’s misinformation campaigns.

The bi-partisan amendment is sponsored by Rep. Mac Thornberry from Texas and Rep. Adam Smith from Washington State.

In a little noticed press release earlier in the week — buried beneath the other high-profile issues in the $642 billion defense bill, including indefinite detention and a prohibition on gay marriage at military installations — Thornberry

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‘Election silence’ prevails in Egypt as final countdown to landmark voting starts

Monday, 21 May 2012

Egypt’s 13 presidential candidates are prohibited from any public activities that can influence the voters’ decisions during the two days of ‘election silence’. (File photo)

Egypt’s 13 presidential candidates are prohibited from any public activities that can influence the voters’ decisions during the two days of ‘election silence’. (File photo)

By Al Arabiya with Agencies

Egypt started a ban on all activities of presidential campaigning dubbed “election silence” on Monday that will last for two days before the landmark voting kicks off on May 23-24.

According to the rules laid by the Supreme Presidential Election Commission, candidates are prohibited from any public activities that can influence the voters’ decisions before casting their ballots in the first presidential poll that follows the ouster of former president Hosni Mubarak.

Media platforms are also subject to the ban. They are prohibited from airing any publicity advertisements for presidential candidates or conducting any interviews with them.

A runoff for the landmark polls will be held on June 16-17 if no single candidate wins an absolute majority. The country’s next president will be formally named on June 21.

The main contenders in the elections are former Arab League chief Amr Moussa; Islamist Abdul Muniem Abul Fotouh; Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Mursi; last prime minister of Mubarak’s era Ahmed Shafiq and leftist leader Hamdeen Sabbahi.

Sketchy polls taken by a government-funded think tank and the cabinet’s research division show Mursi trailing behind moderate Islamist Abul Fotouh, Mussa, Shafiq and Sabbahi.

Read Full Article Here

Denmark to start labeling goods made in illegal Israeli settlements

Israel says it is being singled out since special labels are not applied to products made in dozens of other places where territorial conflicts exist. (Reuters)

Israel says it is being singled out since special labels are not applied to products made in dozens of other places where territorial conflicts exist. (Reuters)

By Sara Ghasemilee
Al Arabiya

It should be crystal clear to Danish consumers if a product they are about to purchase was made in an Israeli settlement, the foreign ministry announced earlier this week.

Foreign Minister Villy Soevndal wants to introduce a labeling system for all goods imported from West Bank settlements “which are illegal according to international law.”

“This is a step that will clearly demonstrate to consumers that these products are produced under conditions that, not only a Danish government, but European governments in general do not approve of. And so it is up to consumers whether they want to purchase the goods or not,” Soevndal said to Danish newspaper Politiken.

The labeling system will be offered to Danish supermarkets and they will be free to decide if they want to implement it or not. But Soevndal said he was confident that businesses will want to partake in the system and referred to Great Britain which implemented a similar arrangement “with great success.” Soevndal also has a firm belief that the settlement issue causes so much resentment that consumers will change their behavior.

“I am convinced that the labeling will have a very significant and direct impact on imports, but exactly how much is impossible to guess,” he said.

The Danish labeling initiative comes at a time when the European Union has agreed to tighten the monitoring of the trade agreement with Israel, which exempts goods produced in the Jewish state from customs duty.

With a better identification of the origin of the goods and improved documentation at customs, the EU is attempting to make sure that manufacturers producing the goods in illegal settlements do not profit from the duty-free agreement.

“Our intention is to ensure that the trade agreement with Israel is not being used to smuggle settlement products,” said Soevndal.

Soevdal added that the new Danish labeling system should be viewed in relation to the EU aim of a two-state solution for Israelis and Palestinians “that is being made increasingly difficult to obtain due to settlements.”

“Therefore, we hope to show the Palestinians a world that is actually concerned that these illegal settlements should not be allowed to continue,” said Soevndal.

Read Full Article Here

Iranian MP accuses Revolutionary Guards of interfering in election

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have been accused of tampering with recent parliamentary election results. (Reuters)

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps have been accused of tampering with recent parliamentary election results. (Reuters)

By Najah Mohamed Ali
Al Arabiya

Iranian veteran conservative MP Ali Motahari accused the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) of interfering in the results of the latest parliamentary elections amid retaliation threats by IRGC senior officials.

IRGC General Ramadan Sharif, was quoted in a statement posted on the IRGC-affiliated Fars News Agency as saying the military body is, and will always be, committed to the teachings of the leader of the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Khomeini and will therefore never interfere in legislative elections.

The IRGC, the statement added, did not influence in any way the results of the March 2 elections, which witnessed a major victory for the supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, some of whom are IRGC members.

IRGC members were infuriated by the accusations Motahari, one of Iran’s most daring and independent MPs, hurled at them in the parliament session held Sunday and threatened to take the MP to court if he does not withdraw his “allegations.”

Motahari, who called for the questioning and possible impeachment of the president, also accused Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his brother-in-law and chief of staff Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei of spreading vice among the youth and creating the suitable environment for indecent behavior.

“I suggest that you open nightclubs to satisfy the sexual desires of the youth,” he once said, addressing Ahmadinejad.

Al Arabiya News Channel and AlArabiya.net ran on March 3 reports stressing that the ninth parliamentary elections since the 1979 revolution have witnessed a wide range of violations such as rigging and vote buying in the capital Tehran and other Iranian cities.

Those violations, reports explained, were committed by various political powers but especially by the IRGC and the IRGC-affiliated volunteer militia the Basij.

According to an Al Arabiya report, IRGC and Basij members toured the streets on their bikes, paid money to pedestrians, and told them to vote for the IRGC list.

Large numbers of villagers were also transferred to big cities to give the impression that the turnout was high in the elections described by several opposition figures inside and outside Iran as a “farce.”

Several of those involved in paying money were arrested in several cities only to be released later after IRGC interfered.

(Translated from Arabic by Sonia Farid)

Is This Who We Are As A Nation?

Article image
Dennis Kucinich
NationofChange / Statement
The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310, authorizes a total of $642.7 billion.

Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today released the following statement detailing why he voted against the National Defense Authorization Act.

“The National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), H.R. 4310, authorizes a total of $642.7 billion.  According to Congressional Quarterly, defense spending is expected to constitute nearly 60% of all federal discretionary spending this year. This expensive piece of legislation is a bad investment. It doubles down on war as an economic engine at a time when our domestic economy desperately needs attention.

“H.R. 4310 includes language that paves the way for war with Iran. It specifically calls for aggressive deployment of our armed services to begin ‘credible, visible preparations for a military option.’ It directs the Secretary of Defense to pre-position the U.S. Armed Forces in key locations in the Middle East in order to threaten Iran. It specifically authorizes actions ‘including military action if required.’ I strongly supported an amendment by Representative John Conyers, Jr. that clarified that nothing in the underlying bill authorizes war with Iran.  The acceptance of that amendment was a critical victory, but the bill still prepares for war, making war more likely.

Read Full Article Here

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Economy

India’s plummeting rupee raises concern

Published on May 19, 2012 by

The Indian rupee, losing its value since last year, has now hit an all-time low against the US dollar.

The currency has lost more than 20 per cent since 2011, contributing to a slow down of India’s GDP growth and a widening of its fiscal deficit.

Critics blame the government’s indecision in introducing financial reforms as the main cause for the rupee’s current crisis.

A greatly devalued rupee means a ballooning import bill, as India buys about 80 per cent of its oil from abroad.

India’s vulnerability to the eurozone crisis is also pushing the rupee downward.

Al Jazeera’s Prerna Suri reports from New Delhi.

Ireland ‘may need’ second bailout

Deutsche Bank said today Ireland's bailed-out banks may need as much as ?4 billion more to deal with loan losses.Deutsche Bank said today Ireland’s bailed-out banks may need as much as ?4 billion more to deal with loan losses.

Ireland’s bailed-out banks may need as much as €4 billion more loan loss provisions than assumed in stress tests last year, which could “tip the balance in favor” of the country requiring a second aid program, Deutsche Bank said in a report today.

“A new, even modest, increase in capital requirements could deter sovereign investor participation and tip the balance in favor of the sovereign requiring a second loan program,” said Deutsche Bank analysts David Lock and Jason Napier.

Read Full Article Here

Argentina turns to dogs to hunt disappearing dollars

Published on May 19, 2012 by

In Argentina, the government is using dogs to sniff out US dollars.

As part of a crack down on tax evasion, money laundering and cash being sent overseas,  restrictions are being imposed on foreign currency.

Those restrictions have made the dollar, seen as a refuge from double-digit inflation, increasing difficult to find on the streets of the Argentine capital.

In an effort to curb the smuggling of millions in US dollars to neighbouring Uruguay, the government of Cristina Kirchner, the Argentinian president, has employed dogs to snif out the currency.

Al Jazeera’s Lucia Newman reports from Buenos Aires.

Will The European Union Destroy Itself Just To Save The Euro?

Submitted by Tyler Durden
David McWilliams (of Punk Economics) begins his latest excellent discussion by conjuring Clint Eastwood and noting that when it comes to the Fiscal Compact in Europe “they are pissing down our backs and telling us that it is raining”. The Fiscal Compact will NOT strengthen the Euro but in fact by cementing the austerity agenda into law it will make the political environment even more unstable. The Irishman goes on to discuss why Europe is imploding as he insightfully notes that “financial panics do not cause the destruction of wealth, financial panics merely tell you the extent to which wealth has been destroyed by reckless speculation“. The realization that current account deficits and not budget deficits were always the problem in Europe which leaves the fiscal compact akin to a doctor prescribing chemotherapy for heart disease.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Mafia suspected in Italy school blast

Published on May 19, 2012 by

A bomb blast outside a school in the south Italian city of Brindisi has killed a teenage girl and injured seven other people.

Two of those caught in the blast are suffering from severe burns.

Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports.

Syrian security forces set off Damascus bombs blamed on al-Qaida – defectors

Attacks were beyond our abilities, says rebel leader, as officers who fled describe regime plots before blasts

Car bombs explode in Damascus

The scene of the deadly blast outside the so-called Palestinian branch intelligence headquarters on 10 May. Photograph: Youssef Badawi/EPA

Military defectors in northern Syria have denounced claims that al-Qaida was behind a series of deadly bombings in Damascus, contradicting the UN secretary general’s assessment that the terror group is taking a lead in the insurgency.

The defectors were speaking before Ban Ki-moon’s claim on Thursday that al-Qaida was responsible for a deadly blast outside one of Syria’s top intelligence services on 10 May, which reportedly killed 55 people and wounded 372.

“A few days ago there was a huge, serious, massive terrorist attack. I believe that there must be al-Qaida behind it,” Ban said at the UN headquarters in New York. “This has created again very serious problems.”

The defectors, interviewed by the Guardian in villages in the Jisr al-Shughour and Jabal al-Zawiya areas this week, alleged that Syrian security forces had caused many of the blasts.

Nine defectors, some of them officers who had fled recently, relayed first-hand accounts of plots they had witnessed being planned or executed that were later blamed on “armed gangs” or al-Qaida.

All have provided details of the plots they say took place and are willing to provide testimonies to international investigators. They say they are reluctant to put their names to their allegations, fearing reprisals against their families.

Read Full Article Here

Arrested Protester Charges Mistreatment After Police Raid Apartment

Lawyers Deny Group Was Plotting To Make Molotov Cocktails, Only Beer

Darrin Annussek, who was detained by police, talks with the media Friday. (CBS)

Darrin Annussek, who was detained by police, talks with the media Friday. (CBS)

CHICAGO (CBS) — As dignitaries arrive for the NATO Summit in Chicago, protesters and police are making news for an arrest controversy earlier this week in Bridgeport.

For the first time, as CBS 2’s Pam Zekman reports, one of the nine protesters scooped up by police in a controversial raid says he was mistreated and his civil rights violated.

Darrin Annussek says he walked to Chicago from Philadelphia to participate in Occupy protests, only to be seized by police in a raid on an apartment at 32nd and Morgan.

“For 18 hours, we were handcuffed to a bench and our legs were shackled together,” he said. “Some of our cries for the bathroom were either ignored or met with silence.”

Annusek was released Friday morning along with four others reportedly suspected of preparing molotov cocktails. At least one other detainee was released several hours later Friday.

Kris Hermes, of the National Lawyers Guild said: “There is absolutely no evidence of molotov cocktails or any other criminal activity going on at this building.”

A tenant who agreed to host the out-of-town protesters says the police did seize his home-brew making equipment, including buckets, beer bottles and caps.

“If anybody would like some, I would like to offer them a sip of my beer,” said William Vassilakis.

The National Lawyers Guild says the warrantless raid violated their clients’ civil rights.

“It is outrageous behavior on the part of the City of Chicago,” said Sarah Gelsomino.

Read Full Article and  Watch Videos Here

NATO chief says no ‘rush for the exits’ in Afghan war

Sunday, 20 May 2012

President Barack Obama once called the Afghan conflict a “war of necessity” and is now looking for an orderly way out as hosts the NATO summit in his home town, Chicago. (Reuters)

President Barack Obama once called the Afghan conflict a “war of necessity” and is now looking for an orderly way out as hosts the NATO summit in his home town, Chicago. (Reuters)

By Missy Ryan and Phil Stewart
REUTERS / CHICAGO

NATO leaders sought on Sunday to dispel fears of a rush for the exits in Afghanistan even as the Western alliance met to chart a path out of an unpopular war that has dragged on for more than a decade.

President Barack Obama, who once called the Afghan conflict a “war of necessity” but is now looking for an orderly way out, hosted the NATO summit in his home town, Chicago, a day after major industrialized nations tackled a European debt crisis that threatens the global economy.

The shadow cast by fiscal pressures in Europe and elsewhere followed leaders from Obama’s presidential retreat in Maryland to the talks on Afghanistan, an unwelcome weight on countries mindful of growing public opposition to a costly war that has not defeated the Taliban in nearly 11 years.

Obama, hoping an Afghan exit strategy will help shore up his chances for re-election in November, said the summit would ratify a “broad consensus” for gradually turning over security responsibility to Afghan forces and pulling out most of the 130,000 NATO troops by the end of 2014.

But the Chicago talks faced undercurrents of division, especially with France’s new President Francois Hollande now planning to remove its troops by the end of 2012, two years before the alliance’s timetable.

Seeking to paper over differences, NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed confidence the alliance would “maintain solidarity within our coalition,” despite France’s decision.

“There will be no rush for the exits,” Rasmussen told reporters. “We will stay committed to our operation in Afghanistan and see it through to a successful end.”

But signaling tensions over the issue, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters: “We went into Afghanistan together, we want to leave Afghhanistan together.”

Obama, meeting Afghan President Hamid Karzai on the sidelines of the summit, said the meeting would agree on a “vision post-2014 in which we have ended our combat role, the Afghan war as we understand it is over, but our commitment to friendship and partnership with Afghanistan continues.”

Standing next to Obama, Karzai thanked Americans for “your taxpayer money” and said his country looked forward to the day it is “no longer a burden” on the international community. Karzai’s government has been widely criticized for rampant corruption.

Karzai’s comments underscored the political bind that Obama and other Western leaders face in underwriting a unpopular war effort and the build-up of Afghan forces during a time of budget austerity at home.

Read Full Article Here

Syrian troops clash with rebels in Damascus; militant group claims blasts, vows more

Heavy fighting was reported during the night between regime soldiers and rebels in other parts of Damascus province, the Observatory said. (File photo)

By Al Arabiya with Agencies

Syrian forces ambushed and killed nine army deserters near a north Damascus suburb as fighting between armed rebels and troops raged around the capital during the night, a monitoring group said Monday, as a militant group claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing in eastern Syria last week vowed to continue launching attacks.

The deserters were killed as they were retreating under cover of darkness from the village of Jisr al-Ab near Damascus’s Duma suburb, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said, according to AFP.

On Sunday, at least 60 people were killed across Syria, including 40 in an assault by regime forces on a village in central Hama province, Al Arabiya reported.

The watchdog had on Sunday reported fighting between rebels and regime troops near Duma, during which a rocket-propelled grenade exploded near a team of U.N. observers.

No one was hurt in the blast, which came as U.N. truce mission head Major General Robert Mood and peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous were leading observers around the north Damascus suburb.

Syrian soldiers who were on the spot have attributed the blast to an RPG rocket but U.N. observers have not commented on the nature of the explosion.

Israel army opens probe over settler shooting video

Monday, 21 May 2012

Clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus took place on Saturday afternoon. (File photo)

Clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus took place on Saturday afternoon. (File photo)

By AFP
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM

The Israeli army on Monday said it was investigating an incident that was exposed by two video clips in which troops appeared to stand by without intervening as settlers shot at Palestinians.

The shooting incident took place on Saturday afternoon during stone-throwing clashes between settlers from the hardline Yitzhar settlement and Palestinian villagers from Asira al-Qibliya near Nablus.

The footage, which shows a Palestinian being shot by two settlers in the presence of at least three soldiers, was captured by a volunteer for the Israeli rights group B’Tselem.

The apparent indifference of the soldiers was widely covered by the Israeli press.

In response, the army said troops had arrived at the scene to break up a violent confrontation in which both sides were throwing stones at each other.

“During the confrontation live fire was used; the incident is currently being investigated by the division commander,” a military statement said.

“That said, it appears that the video in question does not reflect the incident in its entirety,” it added, without elaborating.

In one of the clips, two settlers with M-16 assault rifles can be seen opening fire at a stone-thrower in a green shirt who collapses onto the ground after being hit in the head.

In the second clip from a slightly different angle, a third settler can be seen firing with a pistol towards the stone-throwers as three soldiers stand close by doing nothing.

B’Tselem filed a complaint with the police, urging them to prosecute the gunmen, and also with the military police calling for an investigation into suspicions the soldiers “did not adhere to their obligation to protect Palestinians from settler violence.”

“The video footage raises grave suspicions that the soldiers present did not act to prevent the settlers from throwing stones and firing live ammunition at the Palestinians,” the NGO said in a statement late on Sunday.

“The soldiers did not try to remove the settlers and in fact are seen standing by settlers while they are shooting and stone throwing.”

 

Syrian Violence Spills Into Lebanon

Gun battles rage in Beirut

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

 

(Newser) – Don’t look now, but the Syrian conflict might not be confined to Syria anymore. Gun battles broke out in Beirut today between factions supporting and opposed to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the New York Times reports, in Lebanon’s most intense outbreak of violence since the Syrian uprising began. The fighting was eventually quelled by military intervention, but not before a pro-Syrian group had been driven out of its predominantly Sunni neighborhood, and the streets had been lined with burning cars.

The outbreak was sparked by the killing of an anti-Assad Sunni cleric at a Lebanese checkpoint, but tensions have long been simmering. Syria’s army was deployed in Lebanon for 30 years, up until 2005, and Syria still exerts a strong influence on Lebanese politics; Hezbollah, and most Shiite groups support Assad, while most Sunnis oppose him. An al-Jazeera reporter says he saw streets lined with Syrian opposition flags, and others dotted with posters of Assad.

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Articles of Interest

Shared Grief: Bereavement brings Israelis & Palestinians together

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Common grief is uniting Israelis and Palestinians who’ve lost loved ones to the long-lasting conflict between them. It’s a unique gathering of suffering parents, who want to increase understanding and bring peace closer. But their goal is all but out of reach, as RT’s Paula Slier reports.

Police gear up in Chicago as thousands join anti-NATO rallies

Published on May 19, 2012 by

Thousands of protesters have flooded Chicago ahead of a NATO summit on Sunday. A huge showdown is expected later, with police already on high alert. Around a dozen activists were arrested on the eve of the gathering – three were charged with conspiracy to cause terror. RT’s Anastasia Churkina is in Chicago.

Muslims revive old pilgrimage route via Jerusalem, angering top clerics

Monday, 21 May 2012

For centuries, Muslim pilgrims visited Jerusalem while on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

For centuries, Muslim pilgrims visited Jerusalem while on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, in Saudi Arabia. (File photo)

By DIAA HADID
The Associated Press Occupied Jerusalem

After decades of shying away from an ancient pilgrimage route, Muslims are visiting Jerusalem to pray at Islam’s third-holiest site, the revered al-Aqsa mosque.

In doing so, they find themselves caught in a disagreement between some leading Muslim clerics, who oppose such pilgrimages, and Palestinian leaders who encourage them as evidence of the city’s Muslim credentials.

Palestinians say the only Arab visitors have been officials from Arab countries that have peace treaties with Israel. Recent trips here by a top Egyptian cleric and a Jordanian prince sparked angry backlashes in their home countries.

The vast majority of the pilgrims are from non-Arab countries like South Africa, Malaysia and India, where the stigma of visiting Israeli-controlled areas isn’t as powerful.

“Jerusalem is a beautiful place,” said Ali Akbar, 51, a Shiite Muslim who was visiting recently with a group of 40 pilgrims from Mumbai, India. “All Muslims should try to come to Jerusalem and pray and seek the blessings of Allah, the almighty,” Akbar said.

Muslim pilgrims began trickling back beginning around 2008 as violence between Israel and the Palestinians petered out. Palestinian tour guides, hotel operators and religious officials also attribute the increasing numbers to easier travel and rising Muslim middle classes in Asia and Western countries that can afford tickets to the Holy Land.

While Islam’s birthplace is in the Arabian peninsula, Jerusalem is intimately tied with Islam’s beginnings. Mohammed’s first followers prayed toward al-Aqsa and only later turned their prayers east to Mecca.

For centuries, Muslim pilgrims visited Jerusalem while on their way to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, now in Saudi Arabia. Many Muslims believe visiting Jerusalem deepens the sanctity of their pilgrimage.

But that pilgrimage route was abruptly halted after Israel captured east Jerusalem in the 1967 Mideast war. East Jerusalem is home to the hilltop compound housing both al-Aqsa and the Temple Mount, Judaism’s holiest site.

As a result, many Muslims believe visiting the mosque would amount to recognition of Israel’s claim to the area and be inappropriate when Israel prevents many Palestinians from entering.

Those sentiments have recently softened somewhat, and an estimated 2,000 people have come over the past year. That’s a tiny percentage of the roughly 3 million visitors to Jerusalem annually, mostly Jews and Christian pilgrims — but still a sharp contrast to the almost total absence of Muslim pilgrims here for many decades.

Read Full Article Here

Syrian activists fake news on travel ban to Lebanon

A screen shot created by Syrian activists pokes fun at Syria becoming the latest country asking citizens not to travel to Lebanon. (Image taken from users on Twitter)

A screen shot created by Syrian activists pokes fun at Syria becoming the latest country asking citizens not to travel to Lebanon. (Image taken from users on Twitter)

By Al Arabiya

Soon after Kuwait issued a warning against its citizens traveling to Lebanon, due to the conflict unraveling in light of the Syrian crisis, Syrian activists followed suit by issuing their own warning.

An image of a broadcast on state TV Al Souriya showing a ticker that urges Syrians not to travel to Lebanon was widely circulated on the internet and social media forums.

The “statement” soon became the butt of jokes online, with people on Twitter calling it ironic, with some saying “look who’s talking?” while others just poked fun at the “breaking news.”

Kuwait on Monday joined other Gulf states like the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain, by calling on its citizens to avoid traveling to Lebanon and asking those already in Beirut to leave after deadly clashes linked to the Syrian conflict left two people dead.

In Lebanon, gunbattles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups rocked Beirut overnight Monday, killing at least two people. The fighting came hours after Lebanese soldiers fatally shot an anti-Syrian regime cleric and his bodyguard when they failed to stop at a checkpoint.

Syrian activists often lampoon Syrian officials in videos, caricatures and now fake broadcasts.

Kuwait joins other Gulf states in issuing Lebanon travel warning

Lebanese firemen extinguish a fire set by Lebanese Sunni men at Camille Chamoun Sports City in Beirut, after overnight clashes between Sunni Muslim Future movement supporters and a pro-Syrian group in the Tariq al-Jadideh district. (Reuters)

Lebanese firemen extinguish a fire set by Lebanese Sunni men at Camille Chamoun Sports City in Beirut, after overnight clashes between Sunni Muslim Future movement supporters and a pro-Syrian group in the Tariq al-Jadideh district. (Reuters)

By AFP
Kuwait City

The Gulf state of Kuwait on Monday urged its citizens to avoid travel to Lebanon and also asked those already present there to leave after deadly clashes linked to the Syrian conflict left two people killed in Beirut.

The foreign ministry called on Kuwaitis to cancel travel plans to Lebanon “due to developments in the tense security situation.”

The ministry’s statement, carried by the official KUNA news agency, also urged Kuwaitis currently in Lebanon to leave the Arab country “for their safety.”

Kuwait’s move follows a similar decision on Saturday by its Gulf partners the UAE, Qatar and Bahrain.

The Kuwaiti call comes after gunbattles between pro- and anti-Syrian groups rocked Beirut overnight Monday, killing at least two people.

An office housing a small pro-Syrian party in Tareek el-Jdideh, a mainly Sunni Muslim neighborhood of west Beirut, was torched during the clashes.

The fighting erupted hours after reports that army troops had shot dead Sheikh Ahmad Abdul Wahad, a prominent anti-Syria Sunni cleric, near a checkpoint in north Lebanon on Sunday. Another cleric in the car was also killed.

Their killing followed a week of clashes between Sunnis hostile to the Syrian regime and Alawites who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad that left 10 people dead in Lebanon’s northern port city of Tripoli.

Israel planting thousands of ‘fake’ Jewish graves around Aqsa Mosque: Palestinian group

Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) said Israel has planted 3,000 “fake” Jewish graves so far around the al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage (AFEH) said Israel has planted 3,000 “fake” Jewish graves so far around the al-Aqsa Mosque. (Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

By Al Arabiya

Israel is implanting “thousands of fake” Jewish graves in the land surrounding al-Aqsa Mosque “at the pretext of carrying out repair and maintenance works and new excavations” in a bid to lay hand on Palestinian and Islamic endowment lands, Al-Aqsa Foundation for Endowment and Heritage said in a report on Monday.

(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)
(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

“The Israeli occupation of Jerusalem is committing a very ugly crime on Palestinian lands, on Muslim endowment lands, and that is the implanting of thousands of fake Jewish graves in this site,” Abdel Majeed Mohammad, of the Aqsa Foundation was quoted in report as saying.

(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)
(Photo Courtesy of AFEH)

“What we learned from the people of Silwan is that there is limited number of Jewish graves (around Aqsa Mosque). The Israeli occupation is trying to impose a fait accomplice to control Palestinian endowment lands through implanting 3,000 graves.”

“This is the greatest paradox; on the one hand Israel bulldozes Muslim graves in Jerusalem, on the other hands it implants thousands of fake Jewish graves,” Mohammad said.

He added that thousands of Jewish tombstones were planted around the mosque to indicate graves, but underneath, there are no bodies, nor skeletons.

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Environmental

Growing risks from hatchery fish

by Staff Writers
Portland OR (SPX)


Hatchery fish, as the name implies, are hatched from eggs fertilized in a controlled environment and raised in captivity until they are big enough to release into the natural environment. They lack the genetic diversity of wild fish that provides insurance against fisheries collapses.

A newly published collection of more than 20 studies by leading university scientists and government fishery researchers in Alaska, British Columbia, Washington, Oregon, California, Russia and Japan provides mounting evidence that salmon raised in man-made hatcheries can harm wild salmon through competition for food and habitat.

“The genetic effects of mixing hatchery fish with wild populations have been well-documented,” says journal editor David Noakes from Oregon State University. “But until now the ecological effects were largely hypothetical. Now we know the problems are real and warrant more attention from fisheries managers.”

The research volume, published in the May issue of Environmental Biology of Fishes, brings together 23 peer-reviewed, independent studies carried out across the entire range of Pacific salmon, including some of the first studies describing the impact of hatcheries on wild salmon populations in Japan and Russia.

The studies provide new evidence that fast-growing hatchery fish compete with wild fish for food and habitat in the ocean as well as in the rivers where they return to spawn. The research also raises questions about whether the ocean can supply enough food to support future increases in hatchery fish while still sustaining the productivity of wild salmon.

“This isn’t just an isolated issue,” says Pete Rand, a biologist at the Wild Salmon Center and a guest editor of the publication. “What we’re seeing here in example after example is growing scientific evidence that hatchery fish can actually edge out wild populations.”

Losing wild fish would mean losing the genetic diversity that has allowed salmon to survive for centuries. Unlike hatchery fish, wild salmon populations have a range of highly specialized adaptations to the natural environment. These adaptations not only help them return to their home streams to spawn, but also increase their ability to withstand environmental changes like increases in ocean temperature and extreme variations in stream flows.

Hatchery fish, as the name implies, are hatched from eggs fertilized in a controlled environment and raised in captivity until they are big enough to release into the natural environment. They lack the genetic diversity of wild fish that provides insurance against fisheries collapses.

Hatcheries have been used for many years in an attempt to increase catch in the over $3 billion Pacific salmon commercial fishing industry and to offset losses of wild salmon that have suffered serious declines due to dams and habitat degradation.

“These studies suggest that even more caution is needed to make sure hatchery programs keep wild salmon safe, and don’t inadvertently hurt the long term potential of salmon runs,” says Rand.

Since the mid-1970s, large increases in hatchery programs in the U.S., Canada, Russia and Japan have released billions of fish into the water. And the increasing global demand for salmon has resulted in calls to further expand hatchery production, especially in Russia and Alaska.

In a 2010 open letter to Alaska hatcheries, seafood processors proposed increasing pink salmon hatchery returns by 25%-115% over the next five years. Similarly, Russian hatchery managers stated in 2010 that Russia is planning to build 23 new hatcheries that would increase the country’s hatchery production by 66% or 680 million fish.

“The scale and magnitude of our current hatchery production system is enormous,” says Rand. “Five billion juvenile salmon are released each year worldwide, and the prospect of additional increases in hatchery production is worrisome for the long-term survival of wild salmon.”

Not Just a Local Problem
Scientists are also uncovering surprising interactions on an international scale. One of the new studies indicates that chum salmon (a type of Pacific salmon) released from hatcheries in Asia, mostly from Japan, have played a significant role in causing declines in a wild chum salmon population in remote western Alaska, 2500 miles away.

“Genetic data show that these fish share the same feeding grounds in the open waters of the Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean,” says author Greg Ruggerone of Natural Resources Consultants. “With billions of hatchery chum released each year, the abundance of adult chum salmon from hatcheries is now much greater than wild chum salmon, so it is not all that surprising that we are seeing evidence of competition in the North Pacific.”

This competition is likely to get tougher with predicted changes in ocean conditions. Recent climate patterns have made ocean conditions temporarily favorable enough to support large populations of salmon, but as these patterns shift, the amount of food in the ocean available for salmon could drop significantly, making it even harder for wild populations to survive.

These results have caused many scientists to point to the need for a new international agreement or treaty to address the expansion of hatchery salmon in the open waters of the North Pacific.

Many industry leaders, academic scientists and government agencies also highlight the importance of more research to understand the full impact of hatchery fish on wild salmon. “Wild salmon represent the backbone of the Alaska salmon fishery,” says Stew Grant of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, a contributing author to the special issue. “We need more information about the impacts of hatchery salmon entering our wild salmon rivers.”

“There is no substitute for wild salmon. They must be our first priority,” says Guido Rahr, President of the Wild Salmon Center. “Wild salmon are an important part of local culture and a cornerstone of economic health for fishing communities.

“And once you lose the resilience that wild salmon contribute to our salmon fisheries, it’s almost impossible to bring it back. Given these new findings, we urge fishery managers across the North Pacific to examine the science and err on the side of caution when considering hatchery practices and expansions.”

Related Links
Wild Salmon Center
Darwin Today At TerraDaily.com

Manmade pollutants may be driving Earth’s tropical belt expansion

by Staff Writers
Riverside CA (SPX)


Robert Allen is an assistant professor of Earth sciences at UC Riverside. Credit: UCR Strategic Communications

Black carbon aerosols and tropospheric ozone, both manmade pollutants emitted predominantly in the Northern Hemisphere’s low- to mid-latitudes, are most likely pushing the boundary of the tropics further poleward in that hemisphere, new research by a team of scientists shows.

While stratospheric ozone depletion has already been shown to be the primary driver of the expansion of the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere, the researchers are the first to report that black carbon and tropospheric ozone are the most likely primary drivers of the tropical expansion observed in the Northern Hemisphere.

Led by climatologist Robert J. Allen, an assistant professor of Earth sciences at the University of California, Riverside, the research team notes that an unabated tropical belt expansion would impact large-scale atmospheric circulation, especially in the subtropics and mid-latitudes.

“If the tropics are moving poleward, then the subtropics will become even drier,” Allen said. “If a poleward displacement of the mid-latitude storm tracks also occurs, this will shift mid-latitude precipitation poleward, impacting regional agriculture, economy, and society.” Study results appear in Nature.

Observations show that the tropics have widened by 0.7 degrees latitude per decade, with warming from greenhouse gases also contributing to the expansion in both hemispheres. To study this expansion, the researchers first compared observational data with simulated data from climate models for 1979-1999. The simulated data were generated by a collection of 20 climate models called the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project version 3 or “CMIP3.”

The researchers found that CMIP3 underestimates the observed 0.35 degrees latitude per decade expansion of the Northern Hemisphere tropics by about a third. But when they included either black carbon or tropospheric ozone or both in CMIP3, the simulations mimicked observations better, suggesting that the pollutants were playing a role in the Northern Hemisphere tropical expansion.

Next, to ensure that their results were not influenced by intrinsic differences between CMIP3’s 20 models, the researchers expanded the time period studied to 1970-2009, comparing available observed data with simulated data from NCAR’s Community Atmosphere Model (CMIP3 data did not extend to 1970-2009). They then repeated the exercise with the GFDL Atmospheric Model. Using these models allowed the researchers to directly isolate the effects of black carbon and tropospheric ozone on the location of the tropical boundaries.

As before, they found that the models underestimate the observed Northern Hemisphere expansion of the tropics by about a third. When black carbon and tropospheric ozone were incorporated in these models, however, the simulations showed better agreement with observations, underscoring the pollutants’ role in widening the tropical belt in the Northern Hemisphere.

“Both black carbon and tropospheric ozone warm the tropics by absorbing solar radiation,” Allen explained. “Because they are short-lived pollutants, with lifetimes of one-two weeks, their concentrations remain highest near the sources: the Northern Hemisphere low- to mid-latitudes. It’s the heating of the mid-latitudes that pushes the boundaries of the tropics poleward.”

Allen further explained that with an expansion of the tropics, wind patterns also move poleward, dragging other aspects of atmospheric circulation with them, such as precipitation.

“For example, the southern portions of the United States may get drier if the storm systems move further north than they were 30 years ago,” he said. “Indeed, some climate models have been showing a steady drying of the subtropics, accompanied by an increase in precipitation in higher mid-latitudes. The expansion of the tropical belt that we attribute to black carbon and tropospheric ozone in our work is consistent with the poleward displacement of precipitation seen in these models.”

Black carbon aerosols are tiny particles of carbon produced from biomass burning and incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Most of the world’s black carbon production occurs in the Northern Hemisphere, with Southeast Asia being a major producer. The same is true of tropospheric ozone, a secondary pollutant that results when volatile organic compounds react with sunlight.

Greenhouse gases do contribute to the tropical expansion in the Northern Hemisphere,” Allen said. “But our work shows that black carbon and tropospheric ozone are the main drivers here. We need to implement more stringent policies to curtail their emissions, which would not only help mitigate global warming and improve human health, but could also lessen the regional impacts of changes in large-scale atmospheric circulation in the Northern Hemisphere.”

Thomas Reichler, an associate professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Utah, noted that the new work by the Allen-led team represents a major advance in climate dynamics research.

“For a long time it has been unclear to the research community why climate models were unable to replicate the observed changes in the atmospheric wind structure,” said Reichler, who was not involved in the study. “This work demonstrates now in very convincing ways that changes in the amount and distribution of tiny absorbing particles in the atmosphere are responsible for the observed changes. Since previous model simulations did not account properly for the effects of these particles on the atmosphere, this work provides a surprisingly simple but effective answer to the original question.”

“The question to ask is how far must the tropics expand before we start to implement policies to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases, tropospheric ozone and black carbon that are driving the tropical expansion?” said Allen, who joined UCR in 2011.

Allen, who conceived the research project and designed the study, was joined in the research by Steven C. Sherwood at the University of New South Wales, Australia; Joel Norris at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego; and Charles S. Zender at UC Irvine. Next, the research team will study the implications of the tropical expansion from a predominantly hydrological perspective.

Related Links
University of California – Riverside
The Air We Breathe at TerraDaily.com

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Cyber Space

Anonymous-Hater Claims Responsibility for Pirate Bay DDoS Attack

By Mary-Ann Russon, techworld.com

A hacker who claims to hate both Anonymous and notorious BitTorrent website The Pirate Bay (TPB) has claimed responsibility for the DDoS attack that TPB has been suffering under for the last 24 hours.

The user, who goes by the Twitter handle @AnonNyre, has been riling up members of the hacktivist group and supporters of TPB with a series of angry posts on Twitter, to the extent that Anonymous supporters are now demanding to get in contact with him over the social network.

AnonNyre also later posted on Pastebin, claiming that he works for the FBI and wants to take TPB website down because it is “a press-release website for Anonymous“.

Although PirateBay.se was still accessible from the UK during the DDoS attack, TPB claimed that it was under attack on its official Facebook page and TorrentFreak confirmed that users around the world were having difficulty accessing the website.

Today The Pirate Bay informed its fans through Facebook that it was back online.

In a message posted at about 9:45 GMT, The Pirate Bay wrote: “We’re back in full effect! Show your support by adding this badge to your profile picture!”

This is not the first DDoS attack to be linked with The Pirate Bay. UK ISP Virgin Media suffered a DDoS attack on 9 May, a week after complying with a high court order to block users’ access to the file-sharing website.

The Pirate Bay condemned the action att he time, stating: “We do NOT encourage these actions. We believe in the open and free internets, where anyone can express their views. Even if we strongly disagree with them and even if they hate us.

“So don’t fight them using ugly methods. DDoS and blocks are both forms of censorship.”

Amazon May Bring Ads to the Kindle Fire

By Jeff Bertolucci, PCWorld

Will the Kindle Fire‘s home screen soon double as a color billboard for advertisers? Ad Age reports that Amazon is pitching the idea to ad agency executives, although it’s unclear if the online retailer plans to bring ads to the current generation of Kindle Fires, or wait until the 2nd-gen models that are expected to arrive later this year.

Amazon currently sells versions of its E-Ink eReaders that display ads on the Kindle screensaver and at the bottom of the home screen. In exchange for viewing the ads, customers get a price break. The entry-level Kindle, for instance, is $79 with “Special Offers” (meaning advertisements) or $109 without ads. The Kindle Touch with ads is $99; the ad-free model is $139.

Amazon reportedly is seeking $600,000 to $1 million or more for ad campaigns that would run two months on the Fire, Ad Age says. If true, Kindle Fire ads may be more sophisticated–and possibly more intrusive–than the subtle ads on the E-Ink Kindles.

Would Kindle Fire owners be annoyed by the ads? Possibly, particularly if the ads hog too much space on the home screen, and if they’re obnoxious, flashy, and noisy. Then again, a reduced price tag–similar to Amazon’s cut-rate offer for its ad-supported eReaders–might help soothe users’ ire. Kindle Fire users, after all, are a pretty pragmatic bunch. They know the $199 Fire may not be the most advanced color tablet available, but the price is right and the Fire is good enough for their needs.

It seems to me that a $169 Kindle Fire with Special Offers would be a holiday hit.

Contact Jeff Bertolucci at Today@PCWorld, Twitter (@jbertolucci) or jbertolucci.blogspot.com.

Italian Court Upholds Apple Warranty Fine

By Philip Willan, IDG News

An Italian court has upheld a €900,000 (US$1.2 million) fine imposed on Apple by Italy’s competition authority for allegedly violating consumer protection laws, Italian media reported late Friday.

The Regional Administrative Tribunal (TAR) of Lazio rejected Apple’s appeal against the fine imposed by the Antitrust Authority last December for “unfair commercial practices that damage the consumer.”

The court found that Apple Italy was not fully applying a two-year guarantee that is obligatory under European law and was providing unclear information on its own additional commercial warranties, the online edition of the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

An Apple Italy spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The Antitrust fine applies to Apple Sales International, Apple Italia, and Apple Retail Italia and concerns their alleged failure to inform customers of their right to a 24-month warranty from the vendor under European Union regulations and insufficiently clear information on the company’s own AppleCare Protection Plan and its partial duplication of the existing legal warranties.

A campaign to force Apple to modify its behavior in Italy was spearheaded by the Milan-based consumer association Altroconsumo.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) might be cast into doubt in the wake of a Department of Defense announcement last week that as many as 1,000 defense contractors — and possibly thousands more — may voluntarily join an expanded program of sharing classified information on cyber threats with the federal government.

The program, known as the Defense Industrial Base Cyber Security/Information Assurance, or DIB CS/IA, has been in a pilot phase for the past four years with only 37 contractors. The expansion, recently approved by the Obama administration, means about 8,000 contractors cleared to work with DoD intellectual property are being invited to participate.

Bloomberg BusinessWeek reports that if this expansion “proves successful in safeguarding defense contractors from cyber attacks, the administration may enlarge the program to companies in 15 other critical infrastructure categories through the Department of Homeland Security,” Eric Rosenbach, deputy assistant secretary of defense for cyber policy, said.

This, if it works as expected, could prompt those arguing over CISPA, recently passed by the U.S. House, along with other similar pending legislation in Congress, to wonder how necessary it all is. Why mandate information sharing with the government if it can happen voluntarily?

[See also: CISPA enjoys wide backing from enterprises]

Jason Healey, director of the Cyber Statecraft Initiative of the Washington, D.C. think tank Atlantic Council, says while “there absolutely are similarities” between DIB and the various legislative efforts, that there are “lots of other bits” in those bills — such as mandatory security standards. “Some legislation is necessary,” he says.

Dan Philpott, an expert in federal cybersecurity and editor of FISMApedia, says DIB CS/IA is “a much lighter version” of CISPA. He says another reason the program could not replace cybersecurity law is because it is unlikely that anything close to 8,000 contractors will volunteer to enter it. He believes the DoD is being optimistic even with an estimate of 1,000. “I think they’d be happy with 500,” he says.

Beyond that, there is debate over how worthwhile and effective DIB CS/IA has been and will be. There is broad agreement that the threat of cyberattacks is increasing at “a rapid and accelerating rate,” in the words of Rear Admiral Samuel Cox, director of intelligence for the military’s Cyber Command, at a forum last month.

And the goal of the DIB expansion is for more sharing of data between private defense contractors and the DoD’s intelligence-gathering arm, the National Security Agency. Richard A. Hale, deputy chief information officer for cybersecurity, told the American Forces Press Service, “We started the program in an attempt to share cyber-threat data with these companies in a way that allowed the companies to act on that information immediately,” and called it, “an important step forward in our ability to catch up with widespread cyber threats.”

But Healey, speaking to Reuters last week, expressed some skepticism about whether the benefits of DIB CS/IA would be worth the cost to contractors. “The DIB pilot probably increases the defenders’ work factor much more than it increases the attackers,” he said. “This is a lot of work and a lot of taxpayer dollars for something that has apparently not proven it can increase security more than on the margins.”

Healey says he is “very pleased to see DoD saying they could scale this to 8,000 companies.” But he still thinks the department could be much more efficient in its dealings with private industry.

In an article in The Atlantic, Healey argues that the NSA should simply declassify much of its database of malware “signatures.”

While he acknowledges that critics will argue that such action would, “compromise our sensitive collection sources and methods. [But] in truth, the extreme classification surrounding most of these signatures protect little but bureaucratic inertia. General Michael Hayden, a past NSA director, made this case best, saying, ‘Let me be clear: This stuff is overprotected.'”

“More importantly, the Internet is an open network and any adversary that uses novel malicious software knows it will eventually be discovered,” he said.

Philpott adds that in the information security community, “signature-based security is becoming kind of looked down on. It’s inherently weak because only identifies things that have already happened.”

Healey writes in The Atlantic that NSA’s signature database, while “considered among the crown jewels of the U.S. government’s defense capabilities … may not be as awe-inspiring as advertised.” He adds: “And independent review found only marginal benefit” to contractors like Northrop Grumman or Lockheed Martin.

“Only 1% of the attacks were detected using NSA threat data that the companies did not already have themselves,” Healey says.

He argues that a more effective system would be an “independent clearinghouse for signatures. NSA might anonymously add its signatures … and further wash their source by mixing them with signatures from security companies and even with other nations’ intelligence agencies.”

“This option would create the world’s best-ever signature database … and any organization that contributes their signature collection would then able to use the full database,” Healey says.

Read more about malware/cybercrime in CSOonline’s Malware/Cybercrime section.

 

 

FBI wants a wire-tap-friendly ‘back door’ to all internet providers

By J. D. Heyes,
(NaturalNews) In this Information Age, the government threats to privacy just continue to cascade, as now the FBI wants Internet companies to install “back doors” into their services to allow electronic eavesdropping of users. Specifically, the FBI wants the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, or CALEA, amended to require Internet platforms such as Facebook, as well as Web-based email programs like Gmail and Yahoo! to build back doors into their systems, so the FBI can access…

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Survival / Sustainability

Self Defense

Published on May 8, 2012 by

Sensible Prepper Presents: “Self Defense” This was from the Sensible Mountain Prepper Conference in Black Mountain, NC May 05, 2012.

Hosted by Carolina readiness in Waynesville, NC: http://www.carolinareadiness.com/

Survival Mind Set

Published on Apr 5, 2012 by

Sensible Prepper Presents: “Survival Mind Set”

1. Mind Set
2. Stay Physically Fit
3. Knowledge
4. Practice
5. Quality Gear

Never Give Up!

Thanks for watching~

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Whistle-blowers

 

US Department of Labor’s OSHA Establishes Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) announced the establishment of a Whistleblower Protection Advisory Committee. This body will make recommendations to the Secretary of Labor on ways to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of OSHA’s administration of whistleblower protections.

Dr. David Michaels, assistant secretary of labor for occupational safety and health said in the news release, “Workers who expose securities and financial fraud, adulterated foods, air and water pollution, or workplace safety hazards have a legal right to speak out without fear of retaliation, and the laws that protect these whistleblowers also protect the health, safety, and well-being of a

 

Read Full Article Here

 

 

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Activism

NYPD Caught Lying in the First Occupy Wall Street Trial

Published on May 18, 2012 by

From the Majority Report, live M-F 12 noon EST and via daily podcast at http://Majority.FM:
A photographer who was arrested at an Occupy Wall Street event has won his case in what is the first Occupy Wall Street trial, after video evidence proved the NYPD were lying…

Iceland’s Amazing Peaceful Revolution Ignored by Mainstream Media

crazyemailsandbackstories

Iceland’s peaceful revolution is a stunning example of how little our media tells us about the rest of the world. Read details about Iceland’s wonderful social evolution at DailyKos, here. Another great article is on Bloomberg.com. The following summation has been posted by countless people on Facebook; I’ve reposted it in its entirety: ICELAND (GP) – No news from Iceland? Why? Last we heard, people were rising up and overthrowing the bankers. Then, no news on the television or newspapers for two years. What happened? Why won’t the papers and TV tell us how the bankers successfully crushed or minimized another rebellion? Because… THEY DIDN’T! This time, the people won.

The people of Iceland have overwhelmingly risen up and forced their government puppets of the banks to resign. Primary banks have been nationalized. The debt scam imposed by Great Britain and Holland money printers was declared null and void. A public assembly has been created to rewrite Iceland’s constitution.

The best part is, all of this happened without violence or bloodshed. A whole country’s revolution succeeded against powers that created the current global crisis without a shot being fired. A very good reason exists for the apparent failure of television and newspapers to provide any publicity on this unprecedented event: what would happen if the rest of the EU and the United States took this as an example?

The following is a summary of the facts:

2008 – The main bank of Iceland is nationalized.
The Krona, the currency of Iceland devaluates and the stock market halts. The country is in bankruptcy

2008 – Citizens rise up at Parliament and succeed in forcing the resignation of both the prime minister and the effective government. New elections are held.
Yet, the country remains in a bad economic situation. A Parliament act is passed to pay back 3,500 million Euros to Great Britain and Holland by the people of Iceland monthly during the next 15 years, with 5.5% interest.

2010 – The people of Iceland again take to the streets to demand a referendum. In January of 2010, the President of Iceland denies approval, instead announcing a popular vote on the matter by the people.
In March, a referendum and denial of payment is approved by popular vote of 93%. Meanwhile, government officials initiate an investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the crisis. Many high level executives and bankers are arrested. Interpol dictates an order to force all implicated parties to leave Iceland.

An assembly is elected to write a new constitution (based on the Denmark’s) to avoid entrapments of debt based currency foreign loans. 25 citizens are chosen – with no political affiliation – out of the 522 candidates. The only qualifications for candidacy are adulthood and the support of 30 people. The constitutional assembly started in February of 2011. It continues to present ‘carta magna’ from recommendations provided by various assemblies throughout the country. Ultimately, it must be approved by both the current Parliament and the one created through the next legislative election.

In summary of the Icelandic revolution, we saw:
-resignation of the entire corrupt government of the country
-nationalization of the bank
-referendum enabling the people to determine their own economic system
-incarceration of responsible parties, and
-a rewriting of the Iceland Constitution by its people

This is significant stuff.
Have we been informed about this through the main stream media?
Has any political program on radio or TV commented on this?

Not that I’ve seen. The Icelandic people have demonstrated a way to beat the international money printers and controllers of information. The last thing entrenched usurers would want is for you to think you could also free yourself from their chains.

Chicago cops start preemptive arrests before NATO Summit?

Published on May 18, 2012 by

Over the weekend, thousands of NATO protesters are expected to hit the streets of Chicago. In preparation for the event, the Chicago PD has spent over $1 million on riot gear and sound cannons to blow the protesters away. Reports have surfaced of police raiding the homes of protest organizers, but will their arrests damage the massive protest? Kevin Gosztola, blogger for Dissenter.FireDogLake.com, joins us with a preview of what to expect this weekend.

Police arrest 400 ‘Blockupy’ activists in Frankfurt

Published on May 19, 2012 by

READ MORE + PHOTOS: http://on.rt.com/oqkebw

The protest mood is brewing in Europe. Protests target capitalism and austerity policies. In Germany, thousands are expected to rally in the country’s financial capilal, Frankfurt, marking the climax of a four-day campaign called ‘Blockupy’. RT’s Peter Oliver is in the city.

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Articles of Interest

Brazil’s threatened Awa tribe outnumbered, group says

by Staff Writers
Rio De Janeiro, Brazil (AFP)

Brazilian authorities have admitted that the Amazon’s Awa, “Earth’s most threatened tribe,” are outnumbered 10 to one in just one of their reserves, Survival International said Thursday.

Survival International, a leading advocate for tribal peoples’ rights worldwide, said officials admitted “the scale of the emergency” after receiving over 20,000 messages of protest following the launch of its drive to save the Awa from “imminent extinction” late last month.

It pointed to a Brazilian government survey estimating there could be “up to 4,500 invaders, ranchers, loggers and settlers” occupying just one of the four territories inhabited by the Awa, whose total population stands at no more than 450.

Last month, the rights group launched a major campaign spearheaded by Britain’s Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth to focus world attention on the plight of the Awa, saying they were threatened with “genocide” and “extinction.”

The campaign also aimed to persuade Brazilian Justice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo to send in federal police to clear out the loggers, ranchers and settlers invading Awa lands, and keep them out.

Survival said the new head of Brazil’s National Indian Foundation (FUNAI), Marta Azevedo, confirmed that the threat to the Awa was now her agency’s top priority.

“The Awa tribe’s land is being destroyed faster than any other Amazon tribe. As the rainy season ends, one of their main hunting areas is now being targeted by loggers. An Awa man named Armadillo said today, How will we live without the forest?,” the group said in a statement.

“Brazil is one of the world’s most important countries with one of its most dynamic economies, and it certainly has the resources to protect Awa land. Can it deliver?” said Survival Director Stephen Corry. “If not, and the Aw� are destroyed, then is this new economic miracle’ just for the rich and powerful?”

According to Survival, there are roughly 360 Awa who have been contacted by outsiders, many of them survivors of brutal massacres, along with another 100 believed to be hiding in the rapidly-shrinking forest.

FUNAI estimates that there are 77 isolated indigenous tribes scattered across the Amazon. Only 30 such groups have been located.

Indigenous peoples represent less than one percent of Brazil’s 192 million people and occupy 12 percent of the national territory, mainly in the Amazon.

Related Links
Forestry News – Global and Local News, Science and Application

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

Fox Hosts Act Horrified at Proposal to “Amend The Constitution” to Get Rid of Special Interest Money

The conservative hosts of Fox News’ The Five acted horrified at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s statement that she wants to “amend the Constitution” to reverse the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. FEC, a decision that Pelosi said “flies in the face of our founders’ vision.” The Fox hosts acted as if this was a radical idea, but Fox hosts and congressional Republicans have repeatedly proposed amending the Constitution.

Pelosi: “Amend The Constitution” To Stop “Secret, Unlimited” Corporate Campaign Donations

Pelosi Calls For “A New Politics Free Of Special Interest Money.” During an April 19 press conference, Pelosi called out Republicans for refusing to hold a hearing on the DISCLOSE Act, a campaign finance reform bill:

On another subject, but related, yesterday House Administration Democrats held a forum on the need to create a new politics free of special interest money. I call it a forum because we were not allowed to call it a hearing because the Republicans will not allow a hearing on DISCLOSE. They did not allow the camera system of the room to be used to transmit the proceedings from the forum to the rest of the world. We think that this is about transparency, DISCLOSE. Stand by your ads. If you are so proud of what you are doing with your effective political action, then let the world know who is paying for this ad; not by the end of the year, or the end of the month, but by the end of the ad, in real time. We have to do it as candidates. They should have to do it as contributors. [Pelosi press conference, 4/19/12]

Pelosi Proposed To “Amend The Constitution” To Reverse Supreme Court Decision That Allows “Secret, Unlimited” Corporate Money In Campaigns. From the press conference:

We have a clear agenda in this regard. DISCLOSE, reform the system, reducing the role of money in campaigns, and amend the Constitution to rid it of this ability for special interests to let secret, unlimited huge amounts of money flow into campaigns. I think one of the presenters yesterday said it was — that the Supreme Court had unleashed a predator that was oozing slime into the political system, and that indeed is not an exaggeration. Our founders had an idea. It was called democracy. [They] said the elections are determined by the people, the voice, and the vote of the people, not by the bankrolls of the privileged few. The Supreme Court decision flies in the face of our founders’ vision, and we want to reverse it. [Pelosi press conference, 4/19/12]

 

Read Full Transcripts  Here

 

 

Former head says TSA is ‘national embarrassment’

By Ethan A. Huff, April 25 2012
(NaturalNews) When former president George W. Bush signed into law the Aviation and Transportation Security Act (ATSA) following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, which established the existence of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), America was told flying would become a safer and more secure experience for everyone. But more than a decade later, the TSA has shown itself to be an abusive and ineffective “national embarrassment,” to quote the words of former TSA head Kip Hawley, who says…

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Economy

So Much Tax Evasion, So Little Accountability

By Sam Pizzigati

Every once in a while, our plutocrats drop all democratic pretense and arrogantly offer up a raw display of their ample political might. One such display came last week. On Monday, a proposal to fix a minimum tax on America’s rich — the “Buffett rule” — went nowhere in the U.S. Senate.

The Buffett rule proposal needed 60 votes to beat back a filibuster. The actual votes the proposal received: just 51.

But last week’s most impressive show of plutocratic power actually came the next day — and made no headlines. On Tuesday, the annual federal income tax filing deadline came and went with America’s super rich once again stiffing Uncle Sam for hundreds of billions of dollars in taxes due.

We’re not talking loopholes here, those entirely legal tax code provisions — like lower tax rates for capital gains — that give the rich preferential treatment at tax time. We’re talking outright tax evasion, the willful misreporting of income.

The IRS periodically tries to measure how much of this cheating goes on. The latest estimate, released this past January and covering 2006, puts the tax gap — the difference between taxes owed but not paid on time — at $385 billion.

Some of this gap represents “innocent” tax return mistakes, the rest outright fraud. Taxpayers at all income levels, of course, cheat. But the only fiscally consequential cheating comes from the super rich. They both cheat at a higher rate than Americans of modest means and — given the enormity of their incomes — deny Uncle Sam far more tax dollars when they do cheat.

Read Full Article Here

Shareholders Raising Ruckus About CEO Pay

By Wendell Potter

One of my responsibilities when I was head of corporate communications at Cigna was to help ensure that the company’s annual meeting of shareholders ran smoothly and, if at all possible, attracted no negative publicity.

I always dreaded the annual meeting because you really never knew if one or more disgruntled shareholders might show up and ask rude questions of the CEO. But during all of my years of helping plan those meetings, we had an unblemished string of non-events. We considered the meetings marathons if they lasted more than 15 minutes. Most of them were over long before then. Over the course of 10 years, I only recall two reporters who felt compelled to attend, and one of them got stuck in traffic and missed the whole thing.

Some of my peers at other health insurers were not that lucky, but relatively few of the big-profit insurers have had to cope with contentious shareholder meetings.

It is clear those days are over.

Some investors are now beginning to question how those companies make the billions of dollars in profits they report every year, especially with the ranks of the uninsured continuing to swell, how they spend policyholders’ money to influence public policy and whether their CEOs are truly worth all they are being paid.

Read Full Article Here

88 Million (That’s One In Three Americans) Are Invisible to Government Employment Statistics

Mac Slavo
April 13th, 2012
SHTFplan.com


Frank Wallace, who is unemployed, displays a sign during a vigil
for the unemployed at the Arch Street Methodist Church in Philadelphia

With recovery in full swing and unemployment dropping to an Obama administration near record low of 8.2%, the US economy seems to be bouncing back stronger than ever. Unless, of course, you look at the numbers no one in mainstream media, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, or the administration is talking about. As many of our readers already know, the official unemployment rates released monthly by the BLS (U-3, U-6) fail to account for one very key figure – those individuals who are no longer in the labor force.

The number of those folks – the ones that don’t matter anymore because counting them would hinder the President’s reelection bid – is absolutely staggering for what is supposed to be the engine of the global economy and the world’s only super power:

Were it not for people dropping out of the labor force, the unemployment rate would be well over 11%.

Over the past several years people have dropped out of the labor force at an astounding, almost unbelievable rate, holding the unemployment rate artificially low. Some of this was due to major revisions last month on account of the 2010 census finally factored in. However, most of it is simply economic weakness.

In the last year, the civilian population rose by 3,604,000. Yet the labor force only rose by 1,315,000. Those not in the labor force rose by 2,289,000.

The Civilian Labor Force fell by 164,000.

Those “Not in Labor Force” increased by 310,000. If you are not in the labor force, you are not counted as unemployed.

Those “Not in Labor Force” is at a new record high of 87,897,000.

Source: Townhall Finance

With some 248 million people over the age of 15, nearly one in three Americans in this country are not working.

While the participation rate includes people like those in retirement and stay-at-home moms (because they definitely haven’t worked a day in their lives, as was recently noted by democrat strategist Hilary Rosen) who have no intention of joining the traditional labor force, the last four years have seen an unprecedented drop in the rate of labor force participation as well as unemployment overall. Charlie McGrath of Wide Awake News explains:

The government… pretending everything is getting better because we spent trillions of dollars  bailing out firms we now call too-big-to-fail. But the fact of the matter is, in order to get this kind of 8.3% fictitious fantasy number they had to lower the participation rate.

In the last four years we’ve lost 10 million people out of the participation rate. Just to give you an idea of how many people that is, it would take the city of Dallas, Salt Lake, San Diego, Spokane, Roanoke and Cincinnati… the people living in those city limits. If you double that number that gives you the number of people that have left the participation rate that are no longer in the working pool.

Yet, that isn’t stopping the mainstream media from reporting that things are getting better. We’ve spent this nation into absolute financial servitude.

Understand that when you turn on the mainstream media you are being fed propaganda.

The Obama administration is pulling out all the stops. If the real story came out – that the true unemployment rate in this country (those out of work plus those who the government deems as no longer participating) is almost triple that of the official BLS U-3 rate of 8.2% – confidence in the financial markets and the government’s ability to mitigate the crisis would be lost almost immediately. So, too, would Obama’s hope for another four years of fundamentally changing America.

But just because the President and his media conglomerates are preaching of recovery doesn’t mean that everyone believes it. A large portion of Americans, especially those millions of people without jobs, are not going to be swayed by the mainstream propaganda. They are living in a modern day depression right here and now, and they, too, will be headed to the polls in November. And, as Jim Clifton, CEO of Gallup, recently pointed out to RT, they don’t care about anything else except for their personal economic and financial circumstances:

RT: What are the dynamics in terms of opinion polls as far as the economy goes, among the American people, the way it was four years ago and the way it is now?

JC: We were going just fine in 2007, first part of 2008, then we crashed down. Now it’s coming back a little bit.

RT: Enough to win President Obama the next election?

JC: I don’t think quite yet… According to the Gallup poll, if we vote tonight, Romney will beat him… They are not voting for Romney – they just vote against the president.

RT: What are the main reasons not to vote for the president?

JC: Strictly unemployment. Just one reason. Foreign policy plays no role at all right now. If something really big happens… that will only make a little bit of a difference. Americans don’t want to hear about foreign policy. They should, but they don’t. Gallup shows real unemployment is close to 20 per cent in America. Not 8.5 but 20 per cent. 30 million people are out of work. 60 per cent of them told Gallup they have no hope of getting a job. That is 18 million.

RT: Do Americans blame the president for that?

JC: There are two questions here. Do I think they should? No. Do they? Yes.

President Obama most certainly inherited this crisis from his predecessor(s), but he’s taken no steps to change anything for the better. The hope many had that life would improve under policies designed to redistribute wealth to the masses by taking from those with the ability and giving to those with the need is rapidly diminishing. The trillions of dollars backed by human collateral that has been thrown at the crisis has done nothing to fix the underlying issues that caused it in the first place. All of the problems we faced in 2007/2008 are still here, and they are only going to get worse.

If you think 88 million not participating and 20%+ unemployment is bad, give it another four years.

Right now the safety nets are in place to help most of those who can’t find work – at least for 99 weeks until they are no longer counted as unemployed. But those safety nets, including medical care and food assistance, can only take so much before they snap. That moment is rapidly approaching.

Author: Mac Slavo
Views: 493 people have read this article (new feature)
Date: April 13th, 2012
Website: www.SHTFplan.com

Copyright Information: Copyright SHTFplan and Mac Slavo. This content may be freely reproduced in full or in part in digital form with full attribution to the author and a link to http://www.shtfplan.com. Please contact us for permission to reproduce this content in other media formats.

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Wars and Rumors of War

Mosaic News 4/23/2012: Morocco’s February 20 Movement Returns After Reform Pledge Falters

Published on Apr 24, 2012 by

Morocco’s February 20 Movement makes comeback after reform pledge falters, mass funeral held for Bahraini man killed by regime forces, Egyptians welcome cancellation of gas sales to Israel, and more.

Today’s headlines in full:

Morocco’s February 20 Movement makes comeback after reform pledge falters
Al-Alam, Iran

Mass funeral held for Bahraini man killed by regime forces
Press TV, Iran

Yemenis rally for political and military restructuring
Press TV, Iran

Egyptians welcome cancellation of gas sales to Israel
Dubai TV, UAE

Dozens killed in Hama after UN observers’ visit
BBC Arabic, UK

Sudan’s Bashir in Heglig, rules out talks as new air raids hit South
Al Jazeera, Qatar

Police indict over 20 fans and players in Ramat Gan soccer riot
IBA, Israel

Debate over future of Beit El settlement outpost leads to Israeli Cabinet showdown
IBA, Israel

Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp commemorates Palestinian martyrs
Palestine TV, Ramallah

Image: A demonstrator argues with police during a demonstration called by the February 20 movement, in Rabat April 22, 2012: REUTERS/Youssef Boudlal

Mosaic is a Peabody Award-winning daily compilation of television news reports from the Middle East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Israel, Syria, the Palestinian Authority, Iraq and Iran. Watch more Mosaic at http://www.linktv.org/mosaic

Obama administration announces ‘War on Terror’ is over; so can we fire the TSA and repeal the Patriot Act now?

By Mike Adams, April 24 2012
(NaturalNews) In an astonishing bit of unexpected news, a senior State Department official has announced, “The war on terror is over.” This stems from the idea, reports the National Journal, that, “it is no longer the case, in other words, that every Islamist is seen as a potential accessory to terrorists.” That same official continues, “Now that we have killed most of al Qaida, now that people have come to see legitimate means of expression, people who once might have gone into al Qaida see an…

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Articles of Interest

TSA apologizes for nabbing ‘terrorist’ can of soup as national security threat

By J. D. Heyes, 
(NaturalNews) The follies and antics of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) are shaping up to be a continual comedy of errors as the agency now finds it necessary to tout its non-accomplishments while the government that formed it has resorted to apologizing for its misdeeds. Regarding the former, Bob, the TSA blogger, posted a little ditty about how valiant agents managed to prevent a Las Vegas passenger from smuggling dangerous chicken soup aboard an airliner. To wit, according…

World Bank Nominee Tied to Monsanto Shareholder Bill Gates, Soros

By Tim McCoy

Obama nominated Dartmouth University president Jim Yong Kim, M.D. to head the United Nations World Bank. Most people think that UN agencies benefit poor people, but this is far from the truth.

The UN World Bank claims to fight poverty in developing nations by financing infrastructure projects. But the UN World Bank is really a tool used to acquire Third World natural resources through conditions on loans that are extremely difficult to repay. The raw resources are then privatized by insider multi-national corporations. The World Bank actually creates more poverty.

The nomination of Jim Yong Kim indicates that the World Bank may shift away from focusing on infrastructure and will instead turn toward providing health care in Third World countries. Jim Yong Kim’s areas of interest include vaccines for tuberculosis as well as drugs for HIV and AIDS.

Kim brokered a deal with Big Pharma and the UN World Health Organization for expanding the pharmaceutical drug market to a larger populace in exchange for lower drug prices for second-line tuberculosis drugs. Second-line drugs are used when basic treatment fails because of drug resistance. Drug resistance similar to the new ‘resistant White Plague‘ brought about by big pharma’s drugs. Many in the medical community believed it would be dangerous to distribute second-line drugs widely. Kim is also responsible for pushing HIV/AIDS retroviral drugs in developing nations.

HIV/AIDS drugs used in the Third World have profound side effects that include eye, kidney, liver and heart problems.

Jim Yong Kim says that the highest point in his career was when George Soros donated to Kim’s tuberculosis vaccine program, which was followed by a a huge grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation for $44.7 million. Monsanto shareholder Bill Gates, who has repeatedly stated that Monsanto’s GMOs are the answer to starvation despite scientific proof of the contrary, gave a controversial speech at a Ted conference outlining the controversial population reduction plan through ‘healthcare’:

“The world today has 6.8 billion people… that’s headed up to about 9 billion. Now if we do a really great job on new vaccines, health care, reproductive health services, we could lower that by perhaps 10 or 15 percent.”

Turkey says Israel not welcome at NATO summit

Workers work on the cruise liner Mavi Marmara which is under maintenance in a shipyard in Istanbul May 30, 2011. REUTERS/Osman Orsal

ISTANBUL | Mon Apr 23, 2012 8:38am EDT

(Reuters) – Turkey has refused to allow Israel to take part in a NATO summit next month because the Jewish state has not apologized for the 2010 killing of Turkish activists in a raid on a ship taking aid to Palestinians, a Turkish official said on Monday.

Relations between the regional powers deteriorated sharply after Israeli commandos raided the Mavi Marmara aid vessel in May 2010 to enforce a naval blockade of the Gaza Strip and killed nine Turks in clashes with activists.

Last September, Turkey expelled Israel’s envoy and froze military cooperation after a U.N. report on the raid failed to prompt an apology from Israel.

“We did not give our consent on that issue,” a Turkish official told Reuters when asked if Turkey was blocking Israel’s participation in a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21.

He said Turkey was still seeking an official apology and compensation for the victims of the Mavi Marmara raid.

Read Full Article Here

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[In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is distributed without profit, for research and/or educational purposes. This constitutes ‘FAIR USE’ of any such copyrighted material.]

Politics and Legislation

Mayor’s office buys 8,513 more face shields for NATO summit

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is buying 8,513 more face shields for Chicago Police officers at a cost of $757,657 — and demanding delivery in time for the May 20-21 NATO summit — to give every officer on the street a shield that fits over a gas mask and prevents them from being blinded by liquids thrown by protesters.

The supplemental purchase from Colorado-based Super Seer Corp. brings to $954,118 the amount of money spent to purchase 11,570 face shields twice as thick as the old ones with a larger surface and air-tight seal to keep liquids out.

The new contract was piggybacked onto an existing Fairfax County, Va. award with a third-distributor to expedite delivery. It makes it clear the Chicago Police Department is not scaling back its protest preparations even though President Barack Obama has shifted the G-8 summit from Chicago to Camp David.

“It’s an urgent thing. They want ’em by May 15th. Their intent is to outfit all of the officers Chicago Police have with the new face shield for the NATO summit,” said Super Seer President Steve Smith, who is hiring a dozen employees to “ramp up” production.

http://www.suntimes.com/11443023-418/mayors-office-buys-8513-more-face-shields-for-nato-summit.html

An Administration Gone Rogue

By Rep. Ron Paul

March 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — Have certain parts of the Constitution become irrelevant, as a former Republican leader once told me at a Foreign Affairs Committee hearing? At the time, I was told that demanding a Congressional declaration of war before invading Iraq, as Article I Section 8 of the Constitution requires, was unnecessary and anachronistic. Congress and the president then proceeded without a Constitutional declaration and the disastrous Iraq invasion was the result.

Last week, Obama administration officials made it clear that even the fig leaf of Congressional participation provided by the 2003 “authorization” to use force in Iraq was to be ignored as well. In a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta stated clearly and repeatedly that the administration felt it was legally justified to use military force against Syria solely with “international permission”. Such “international permission” could come by way of the United Nations, NATO, or some other international body. Secretary Panetta then told Senator Sessions that depending on the situation, the administration would consider informing Congress of its decision and might even seek authorization after the fact.

While Senator Sessions expressed surprise at the casual audacity of Panetta in making this statement, in reality his was just a bluntly stated explanation of what has been, de facto, the case for many years. When President Obama committed the US military to a pre-emptive war against Libya last year, for example, Congress was kept completely out of the process. Likewise, military action in Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, and so on, proceed without a Congressional declaration. In fact, we haven’t had a proper, constitutional declaration of war since 1942, yet the US military has been engaged in Korea, Lebanon, Iraq, Bosnia, Liberia, Haiti, and Libya with only UN resolutions as the authority. Congress’s only role has been authorizing funds, which it always does without question, because one must “support the troops”.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30894.htm

‘Big Government’ Isn’t the Problem, Big Money Is

By Robert Reich

March 23, 2012 “The Nation” — Conservatives love to rail against “big government.” But the surge of cynicism engulfing the nation isn’t about government’s size. It flows from a growing perception that government doesn’t work for average people but for big business, Wall Street and the very rich—who, in effect, have bought it. In a recent Pew poll, 77 percent of respondents said too much power is in the hands of a few rich people and corporations.

That view is understandable. Wall Street got bailed out by taxpayers, but one out of every three homeowners with a mortgage is underwater, caught in the tsunami caused by the Street’s excesses. The bailout wasn’t conditioned on the banks helping these homeowners, and subsequent help has been meager. The recent settlement of claims against the banks is tiny compared with how much homeowners have lost. Millions of people are losing their homes or simply walking away from mortgage payments they can no longer afford.

Homeowners can’t use bankruptcy to reorganize their mortgage loans because the banks have engineered laws to prohibit this. Banks have also made it extremely difficult for young people to use bankruptcy to reorganize their student loans. Yet corporations routinely use bankruptcy to renege on contracts. American Airlines, which is in bankruptcy, plans to fire 13,000 people—
16 percent of its workforce—while cutting back health benefits for current employees. It also intended to terminate its underfunded pension plans, until the government agency charged with picking up the tab screamed so loudly that American backed off and proposed to freeze the plans.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30903.htm

Paul Ryan’s Focus on Dignity

By Greg Kaufmann

March 24, 2012 “The Nation” –“Promoting the natural rights and the inherent dignity of the individual must be the central focus of all government.”

That’s what Congressman Paul Ryan wrote earlier this month in an exclusive commentary for Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity. This week, he revealed exactly where his laser-like focus on dignity would lead this nation. He released his budget proposal, as clear a statement of one’s principles and priorities as there is in politics.

Here are the results, and they’re not pretty. Nation readers with young children should probably ask them to leave the room before reading onward.

Mr. Ryan’s focus on dignity… means a cut in food stamps of $133 billion over ten years, even though 76 percent of participating households include a child, senior or disabled person, nearly half of all recipients are children and 40 percent of single mothers use food stamps to help feed their families. It translates to as many as 2.2 trillion meals lost for low-income people, more kids at risk of being underweight or developmentally delayed, worse educational outcomes and more stressed-out parents.

The congressman would also block-grant the program so it would no longer be able to respond to rising need during times like these—in 2010 alone food stamps kept 3.9 million people out of poverty. If you liked the cash assistance for poor families (TANF) block grant—which resulted in a free-fall from 68 of every 100 poor families receiving help to 27 of every 100—then you will absolutely love the Don’t Worry Ryan Will Feed You block grant.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30904.htm

French President Sarkozy Sees Opportunity for Censorship, Seizes It

In the wake of a horrific rampage, in which Mohamed Merah (now dead after a 32-hour standoff with police) reportedly murdered three French soldiers, three young Jewish schoolchildren, and a rabbi, President Nicolas Sarkozy of France has begun calling for criminal penalties for citizens who visit web sites that advocate for terror or hate. “From now on, any person who habitually consults Web sites that advocate terrorism or that call for hatred and violence will be criminally punished,” Sarkozy was reported as saying.

Apart from the obvious flaws in Sarkozy’s plan–users, can, of course, use anonymizing tools to view the material or simply access it from a variety of locations to avoid appearing as “habitual” viewers–there are numerous other reasons to be concerned about criminalizing access to information.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2012/03/french-president-sarkozy-sees-opportunity-censorship-seizes-it

Economy

Greece is Now Irrelevant. Watch Spain and Germany

Submitted by Phoenix Capital Research

Earlier this month, Spain began “rocking” the EU boat by telling the EU it wasn’t going to meet the new EU fiscal requirements.

Spain’s sovereign thunderclap and the end of Merkel’s Europe

As many readers will already have seen, Premier Mariano Rajoy has refused point blank to comply with the austerity demands of the European Commission and the European Council (hijacked by Merkozy).

Taking what he called a “sovereign decision”, he simply announced that he intends to ignore the EU deficit target of 4.4pc of GDP for this year, setting his own target of 5.8pc instead (down from 8.5pc in 2011)……

http://www.zerohedge.com/contributed/2012-12-21/greece-now-irrelevant-watch-spain-and-germany

Bank of America Getting Into the Landlord Business

Bank of America, the nation’s second-largest lender, is launching a pilot program this week that will offer a limited number of customers behind on their mortgages to transition from owner to renter.

The bank, which was saddled with thousands of delinquent loans when it took over mortgage giant Countrywide, says that beginning this week “in targeted hard-hit markets,” it will offer a limited number of mortgage customers who are facing foreclosure an opportunity to remain in their homes, and transition to tenant status. The program is called “Mortgage to Lease.”

“This pilot will help determine whether conversion from homeownership to rental is something our customers, the community and investors will support,” said Ron Sturzenegger, Legacy Asset Servicing executive at Bank of America in a statement. “This program may have the potential to further round out the broad set of solutions we offer our customers in need of assistance.”…….

http://www.cnbc.com/id/46829774

Wars and Rumors of War

JOSEPH KONY, AMERICA’S PRETEXT TO INVADE AFRICA: US Marines Dispatched to Five African Countries

by Michel Chossudovsky

The hidden agenda in Uganda, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa is the conquest of oil and strategic mineral resources. Going after Joseph Kony and protecting Ugandan children is a cynical smokescreen, a pretext for a “humanitarian intervention” in a region where US sponsored “civil wars” (Sudan, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Ethiopia) have in the course of the last 20 years resulted in more than eight million deaths:

“Through AFRICOM, the United States is seeking a foothold in the incredibly resource rich central African block in a further maneuver to aggregate regional hegemony over China. The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is one of the world’s largest regions without an effectively functioning government. It contains vast deposits of diamonds, cobalt, copper, uranium, magnesium, and tin while producing over $1 billion in gold each year. It is entirely feasible that the US can considerably increase its presence in the DRC under the pretext of capturing Joseph Kony.” (Nile Bowie, Merchandising and Branding Support for US Military Intervention in Central Africa, Global research, March 14, 2012)

In a recent decision, the Pentagon confirms the sending in of Marine Special Forces to train Ugandan troops in the fight not only against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) but also against Al Shabab in Somalia. Joseph Kony is being used as a pretext for outright military intervention in five African countries.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29800

New Samsung TVs Have Built-In HD Camera, Microphones, Face and Speech Recognition

Here’s a bit of context that most people won’t consider when purchasing these quasi telescreens:

Avi Rubin – All Your Devices Can Be Hacked:

http://cryptogon.com/?p=28177

Massive EU Weapons Sales to Saudi Arabia Contribute to Fuelling International Aggression and Terrorism in the Middle East

By Julie Lévesque

According to the German magazine Der Spiegel, the European Union is the most important weapons exporter to Saudi Arabia. Of all EU member states, France comes first with Euro2168.6 million of exports in 2010. Italy is in second place with Euro435.3 million, before Great Britain, with Euro328.8 million.

By arming the Saudi kingdom, the member states of the European Union are breaking prevailing EU rules regulating the exports of weapons, notes Der Spiegel. The magazine quotes the relevant section of the legislation on Non-Proliferation and Disarmament titled Security-related export controls II – Military equipment, which states:…….

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Massive_EU_Weapons_Sales_to_Saudi_Arabia_Contribute_to_Fuelling_International_Aggression_and_Terrorism_in_the_Middle_East/18580/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Former Mossad chief: Israel will know before Iran begins producing nuclear weapons

Nuclear talks between Iran, Western powers to begin next month; officials in Jerusalem estimate Israel will allow at least three months for discussions, until oil embargo on Iran comes into full effect in July.
By Barak Ravid, Natasha Mozgovaya and Haim Handwerker

Discussions between Iran and the U.S., Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany over the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will begin on April 13, senior U.S. and EU officials informed Israel on Tuesday. The talks are likely to take place in Geneva.

Officials in Jerusalem estimate that Israel will allow at least three months for discussions, until the oil embargo on Iran comes into full effect in the beginning of July……

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/former-mossad-chief-israel-will-know-before-iran-begins-producing-nuclear-weapons-1.419978

Japan Prepares to Intercept Possibly Errant N. Korean Missile

The Japanese parliament has approved a resolution condemning North Korea’s planned missile launch, and the country is also preparing contingencies should the missile veer off course and pose a threat to Japan.

Speaking in Tokyo Friday, Defense Minister Naoki Tanaka said the Japanese military will be prepared for any eventuality.

Tanaka says he is ordering officials to prepare deployment of PAC-3 surface-to-air missiles and Aegis destroyers carrying a state-of-the-art anti-missile system that could attempt to shoot down the rocket…..

http://www.voanews.com/tibetan-english/news/Japan-Prepares-to-Intercept-Possibly-Errant-N-Korean-Missile-143976466.html

Palestinian on Hunger Strike “in Mortal Danger”

Uploaded by TheRealNews on Mar 23, 2012

Hanaa Shalabi, a Palestinian prisoner under Administrative Detention without charge or trial enters 36th day of her hunger strike
====
After more than a month on hunger strike, Hanaa Shalabi is in “immediate

mortal danger” and at “risk of coma” according to a Physicians for Human Rights doctor. Shalabi’s strike came at the heels of another high profile campaign by Khader Adnan who survived a 66 day hunger strike before the Israeli authorities decided to release him. Both were arrested under Administrative Detention, a military order that allows Israeli authorities to arrest anyone and hold them indefinitely, without charge or trial. The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky met with the families of the two prisoners and spoke to lawyers Shawan Jabarin for Al Haq and Sahar Francis of Addameer about the mass imprisonment of Palestinians

Inside Story – A coup underway in the West African state of Mali

Uploaded by AlJazeeraEnglish on Mar 23, 2012

Rebel soldiers in the West African state of Mali claim to control the country, ousted the president and suspended the constitution. How powerful are they and can the government sustain its grip on power? Guests: Akli Sh’kka, Baz Lecocq, Adam Thiam.

Terror Management: ‘US losing last credibility in Syria’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 23, 2012

The EU continues to pursue its strategy of pressure on the Syrian regime to force it out of power. Foreign ministers have agreed to impose a travel ban and asset freeze on the British-born wife of the country’s leader. Asma al-Assad is among 12 officials or family members to be added to a number of figures, including the president, who are already subject to sanctions.

Washington has also threatened to tighten the screws on the Syrian government and isolate it even more if President Assad doesn’t comply with the UN statement appealing for a ceasefire. With violence still raging in the country, the opposition has dismissed international calls on both sides to implement Kofi Annan’s peace plan – as not meeting the needs of the people.

Government consultant Christoph Hoerstel, who’s recently returned from Syria, says he’s deeply concerned that the sanctions may have been a response to recently leaked emails between the Assad family.

Worrisome Security Council Presidential Statement on Syria

By Stephen Lendman

March 23, 2012 “Information Clearing House” — After months of internal wrangling, Security Council members unanimously endorsed efforts to end Syrian violence. Or did they? More on that below.

Presidential statements are non-binding. However, with vague language, they risk potential slippery slope trouble. More on that below as well.

Media reports called unanimity a setback for Assad. The statement’s also characterized as “Western.”

Hillary Clinton called it “a positive step. The council has now spoken with one voice.” She also said Washington is working with Syria’s opposition “to strengthen its preparation to participate in the Syrian-led transition process that the Council has endorsed.” By any other name, she means regime change.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30898.htm

Israel and US Disagree on Timetable for Iran Attack

By Associated Press

March 24, 2012 “Washington Post” — JERUSALEM — Israel and the U.S. disagree on what would be a realistic timetable for stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, Israel’s defense minister said Thursday, but he stopped short of threatening unilateral Israeli action.

Ehud Barak reiterated concerns that Iran is trying to make its suspected nuclear weapons program immune from attack before taking a decision on assembling atomic bombs, and said Israel “cannot afford” to wait in such a situation.

However, Barak told Israel Radio that the Jewish state could hold off for several more months to allow sanctions and negotiations to work. During this period, it would become clear “if the Iranians intend or don’t intend to stop their nuclear weapons program.”

In the interview, Barak argued that superior U.S. military capabilities and Washington’s position as a world power account for its different stance toward perceived Iranian nuclear threats. The U.S. has urged Israel to give sanctions time to work.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30905.htm

Special Report – Intel Shows Iran Not Nuclear “Threat”

By Reuters

March 23, 2012 “Reuters” – The United States, European allies and even Israel generally agree on three things about Iran’s nuclear program: Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead.

Those conclusions, drawn from extensive interviews with current and former U.S. and European officials with access to intelligence on Iran, contrast starkly with the heated debate surrounding a possible Israeli strike on Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

“They’re keeping the soup warm but they are not cooking it,” a U.S. administration official said.

Reuters has learned that in late 2006 or early 2007, U.S. intelligence intercepted telephone and email communications in which Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a leading figure in Iran’s nuclear program, and other scientists complained that the weaponization program had been stopped.

That led to a bombshell conclusion in a controversial 2007 National Intelligence Estimate: American spy agencies had “high confidence” that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in the fall of 2003.

Current and former U.S. officials say they are confident that Iran has no secret uranium-enrichment site outside the purview of U.N. nuclear inspections.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30900.htm

Nuclear Watchdog Chief Accused of Pro-western Bias Over Iran

Former officials warn of parallels between IAEA approach to Iran and mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction

By Julian Borger

March 23, 2012 “The Guardian” – -The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics.

Yukiya Amano, a veteran Japanese diplomat, took command of the IAEA in July 2009. Since then, the west’s confrontation with Iran over its nuclear programme has deepened and threats of military action by Israel and the US have become more frequent.

At the same time, the IAEA’s reports on Iranian behaviour have become steadily more critical. In November, it published an unprecedented volume of intelligence pointing towards past Iranian work on developing a nuclear weapon, deeming it credible.

However, some former IAEA officials are saying that the agency has gone too far. Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientists who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the west’s mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA’s assessment of Iran now.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30899.htm

Kurd militants threaten Turkey if it enters Syria

By Jon Hemming

ANKARA

(Reuters) – Turkish Kurd militants threatened on Thursday to turn all Kurdish populated areas into a “war zone” if Turkish troops entered Syria, a sign the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) which has allies in Syria may be taking sides in the conflict there.

A renewed alliance between Damascus and the PKK would anger Turkey and could prompt it to take an even stronger line against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad over his brutal repression of anti-government protesters.

PKK field commander Murat Karayilan said Turkey was preparing the ground for an intervention in Syria.

“The Turkish state is planning an intervention against our people,” the Europe-based Firat news agency, close to the militants, quoted him as saying.

“Let me state clearly, if the Turkish state intervenes against our people in western Kurdistan, all of Kurdistan will turn into a war zone,” he said.

Western Kurdistan is the term Kurdish nationalists use to describe Kurdish areas of northeast Syria, while by Kurdistan they mean the Kurdish areas of Turkey, Iraq, Syria and Iran.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan said last week that setting up a “safe zone” or a “buffer zone” along the border with Syria to protect civilians from Assad’s forces was among the options being considered should the stream of refugees turn into a flood.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/22/us-syria-turkey-kurds-idUSBRE82L0UH20120322

Environmental

Monsanto ‘Biotechnology Book for Kids’ Caught Brainwashing Children

By Anthony Gucciardi
BlacklistedNews.com

Facing direct opposition from the public, biotechnology giants like Monsanto and Dow are now making a disturbing attempt to brainwash developing minds into accepting their genetically modified foods using blatant lies and propaganda.

In a last ditch effort to potentially sway public opinion, the Council for Biotechnology Information (CBI) has launched the “Biotechnology Basics Activity Book” for kids.

With the intent to be used by ‘agriculture and science teachers’, the activity book spreads absurd lies about GMO crops — even going as far as to say that they ‘improve our health’ and ‘help the environment’.

The book can be seen on the organization’s website, and makes it extremely apparent that it is full of misinformation and propaganda that completely ignores scientific research surrounding genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

In fact, let’s examine some claims made by this book that serves as an ‘educational’ tool to be used by teachers.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Monsanto_%E2%80%98Biotechnology_Book_for_Kids%E2%80%99_Caught_Brainwashing_Children_/18585/0/0/0/Y/M.html

Cyber Space

Trapped In The Grid: How Net-Centric Devices And Appliances Provide Voluminous Information To Intelligence Agencies And Their Business Partners

“The patent discusses the technology to analyze the background noise during your phone call and serve up ads for you based on the environmental conditions Google picks up on. Yeah, that’s creepy.” –Google wants to serve you ads based on the background noise of your phone calls…..

In addition to this patent including the background noises of phone calls, it also talks about the backgrounds of photos and videos you’ve taken as well. So if you took a picture in the snow, you might be shown ads for snow shovels.”–Google wants to serve you ads based on the background noise of your phone calls……

Petraeus allowed that these household spy devices “change our notions of secrecy” and prompt a rethink of “our notions of identity and secrecy.” All of which is true — if convenient for a CIA director.”–CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher…….

http://stratrisks.com/geostrat/4827

Inside the Ring: Beijing coup rumors

U.S. intelligence agencies monitoring China’s Internet say that from March 14 to Wednesday bloggers circulated alarming reports of tanks ent
ering Beijing and shots being fired in the city as part of what is said to have been a high-level political battle among party leaders – and even a possible military coup.

The Internet discussions included photos posted online of tanks and other military vehicles moving around Beijing.

The reports followed the ouster last week of senior Politburo member and Chongqing Party Secretary Bo Xilai, who was linked to corruption, but who is said to remain close to China’s increasingly nationalistic military.

Chinese microblogging sites Sina Weibo, QQ Weibo, and the bulletin board of the search engine Baidu all reported “abnormalities” in Beijing on the night of March 19.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/21/inside-the-ring-436080940/

Activism

Activist Outrage Causes Major Supermarkets to Drop ‘Pink Slime’ Meat

Activist Post

We have been reporting on the staggering amount of “pink slime” used in the U.S. food industry over the last few months. Pink slime is a meat filler made from “ammoniated boneless lean beef trimmings or similar products, which are considered unfit for human consumption until ammonia has been added.”

In early March, it was reported by ABC that a shocking 70% of ground beef at supermarkets contained this pink slime. Since this disgusting food additive has been exposed, natural health activists rallied to demand its removal from McDonald’s and school lunches. Now major grocery chains are falling to the pressure of activism.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/activist-outrage-causes-major.html

Radiation

Escobar on Fukushima email leak: ‘Deleting data a cover-up’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 23, 2012

It’s emerged that at the height of Japan’s nuclear crisis last March, the authorities in Fukushima concealed radiation data vital to safely evacuate people from that area. Japan has a computer system designed to predict the spread of radioactive releases. But local media reports say the prefecture’s government deleted the e-mails detailing it. RT talks to Asia Times correspondent Pepe Escobar.

Psy – Ops

Scientists Warn of Ethical Battle Concerning Military Mind Control

Advances in neuroscience are closer than ever to becoming a reality, but scientists are warning the military – along with their peers – that with great power comes great responsibility
A future of brain-controlled tanks, automated attack drones and mind-reading interrogation techniques may arrive sooner than later, but advances in neuroscience that will usher in a new era of combat come with tough ethical implications for both the military and scientists responsible for the technology, according to one of the country’s leading bioethicists.

“Everybody agrees that conflict will be changed as new technologies are coming on,” says Jonathan Moreno, author of Mind Wars: Brain Science and the Military in the 21st Century. “But nobody knows where that technology is going.”

http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/03/20/scientists-warn-of-ethical-battle-concerning-military-mind-control

French Terror Attack: All the Hallmarks of an Intelligence Psy-op and False Flag

by Kurt Nimmo

Mohammed Merah, the suspect in the killing of seven people outside a Jewish school in Toulouse, France, fits the pattern of an al-Qaeda intelligence asset. According to the BBC, he was on the radar of French authorities because of visits he made to Afghanistan and the “militant stronghold” of Waziristan in Pakistan.
More specifically, Merah was handled by France’s DCRI intelligence service “for years,” according to Claude Gueant, the interior minister.

Merah, a French citizen of Algerian origin, was arrested on December 19, 2007, and was sentenced to three years in jail for planting bombs in the southern province of Kandahar in Afghanistan.
In April of 2011, the United States admitted it has operated secret military prisons in Afghanistan where suspected terrorists are held and interrogated without charges.

The notorious Bagram airbase detention center is operated by the Joint Special Operations Command and the DIA’s Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC)………

http://globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=29899

Politics and Legislation

The Hill: Obama shifts healthcare defense

By Sam Baker

The Obama administration has shifted its legal arguments as it prepares to defend the president’s healthcare law before the Supreme Court.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/health-reform-implementation/216361-obama-shifts-healthcare-defense

The Hill: Republican bill would enroll seniors in same health plans as lawmakers

By Julian Pecquet

A group of Senate Republicans has introduced legislation that would end traditional Medicare and sign seniors up for the same private healthcare plans received by members of Congress.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/medicare/216303-gop-medicare-bill-would-enroll-seniors-into-lawmakers-plans

Washington elites queue up to see nine justices on hot seat

By Janet Adamy and Jess Bravin

The hottest ticket in the capital is for a spot inside the Supreme Court to watch three days of arguments challenging the 2010 health-care law that begin here a week from Monday.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303863404577283631472580966.html?mod=ITP_AHED

Tape A Cop, Face A Felony Charge

Well, now the news is that in Chicago the police will continue to
enforce, arrest, and prosecute citizens under this law as long as
it remains on the books.

Coming to Chicago in May is an upcoming NATO summit and it is
expected to bring with it huge numbers felonious camera carrying
members of the public, and you can bet the police will have their
own cameras trained on them.

Supreme Court rules out television cameras for healthcare arguments

By Sam Baker

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected calls to allow television cameras into its chambers during arguments over President Obama’s healthcare law.??

The court said it would release same-day audio recordings of the arguments, scheduled for March 26-28. It cited the “extraordinary public interest” in the case, which could lead to President Obama’s signature domestic achievement being struck down in the midst of the campaign season.

http://thehill.com/blogs/healthwatch/legal-challenges/216447-supreme-court-no-cameras-in-healthcare-case

GOP Super PAC Men Seek to Overturn Donation Limits

Michael Beckel, News Report:

McCutcheon is a 44-year-old general contractor in Alabama. He’s the owner, founder and president of Coalmont Electrical Development. He’s a member of the Republican Party who admits he may have a bit of a libertarian streak. And he’s also the treasurer of a super PAC called the “Conservative Action Fund.” That’s a group that spent more than $43,000 opposing House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.) in Tuesday’s GOP primary in Alabama, although it has mostly targeted Democrats with its attacks.

http://www.nationofchange.org/gop-super-pac-men-seek-overturn-donation-limits-1331907498

Democratic Senators Issue Strong Warning About Use of the Patriot Act

For more than two years, a handful of Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee have warned that the government is secretly interpreting its surveillance powers under the Patriot Act in a way that would be alarming if the public – or even others in Congress – knew about it. On Thursday, two of those senators – Ron Wyden of Oregon and Mark Udall of Colorado – went further. They said a top-secret intelligence operation that is based on that secret legal theory is not as crucial to national security as executive branch officials have maintained. The senators, who also said that Americans would be “stunned” to know what the government thought the Patriot Act allowed it to do, made their remarks in a letter to Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. after a Justice Department official last month told a judge that disclosing anything about the program “could be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security of the United States.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/politics/democratic-senators-warn-about-use-of-patriot-act.html?_r=1

Economy

UK could lose coveted AAA rating, warns Fitch

Britain’s hopes of retaining its prized triple-A credit rating were dealt a blow last night after Fitch said the country was more likely than not to be downgraded.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/9144551/UK-could-lose-coveted-AAA-rating-warns-Fitch.html

The Global Economy is Now More Vulnerable to Oil Prices than Ever

This paper examines the impact of oil price changes on global economic growth. Unlike some recent studies, this paper finds that oil price rises have had significant negative impacts on world economic growth. A time-series analysis of the data from 1971 to 2010 finds that an increase in real oil price by 10 dollars is associated with a reduction of world economic growth rate by between 0.4 and 1% in the following year. As oil prices approach historical highs, the global economy may be vulnerable to another oil price shock.

http://oilprice.com/Energy/Oil-Prices/The-Global-Economy-is-Now-More-Vulnerable-to-Oil-Prices-than-Ever.html

Gold “Vulnerable” as U.S. Treasury Bond Market Sell-Off Worsens

The WHOLESALE-MARKET gold price twice rose within a few cents of $1650 per ounce in London Thursday morning, adding 0.9% from yesterday’s fresh 8-week low as industrial commodities ticked lower again.

The price of silver bullion rallied 2.3% to $32.40 per ounce, but remained over 5% down for the week so far, being “very much influenced” by the gold price according to one Swiss precious-metals dealer.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33621.html

Europe’s Economic Crisis: Portugal, Ireland, Spain, Italy and Belgium Following Greece

It isn’t over until it is over. Of course, we are referring to Europe and its version of 1984. We find it profound that the bankers, politicians and bureaucrats of Europe can do what they have done with a straight face. Investor had a haircut shoved down their throats and the ECB, the European Central Bank and the IMF were exempt.

http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33614.html

Retail sales suggest consumers shrugging off gas prices

Dave Prokupek doesn’t like the high price of gasoline either. But business is good enough at Smashburger that the chain where Prokupek is CEO opened its 150th restaurant Wednesday, and plans to open up to 75 this year, even though eating out is theoretically the first thing gas-strapped consumers would trim.

http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-03-14/gas-prices-consumer-spending/53536216/1

S&P 500 ends best week since December with quiet day

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The S&P 500 closed out its best week in three months with a slim gain on Friday as investors continued to propel equities near four-year highs.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/p-ends-over-1-400-024934926.html;_ylt=ApQL0mCH094ssRZYbqrtjyiiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQzcjhzN29wBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIEp1bWJvdHJvbiBMaXRlBHBrZwM4NmU2MDcwOC1mNmVhLTNkMDUtYWUzZC0yMjI0OWUzZjI0MjIEcG9zAzEEc2VjA2p1bWJvdHJvbgR2ZXIDZTc4ODAwZDAtNmYxMi0xMWUxLTk2NmItNzIxM2Q2ZDI2ZmJl;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Jobless claims fall, manufacturing holds up

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Economic growth showed signs of becoming more self-sustaining as the number of Americans claiming new jobless benefits fell back to a four-year low last week and manufacturing activity in the Northeast picked up this month.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/jobless-claims-fall-manufacturing-holds-025406890.html;_ylt=AvsoQHMJwEqo4vsQWGfhQHqiuYdG;_ylu=X3oDMTQ0NWxhc2xjBG1pdANGaW5hbmNlIEZQIFRvcCBTdG9yeSBSaWdodARwa2cDYTFkNjVjNjktNjY3Ny0zY2RmLTg4MzQtYjdkODNjY2NkZTQ0BHBvcwMxBHNlYwN0b3Bfc3RvcnkEdmVyAzk4YWNmOGMwLTZmMTMtMTFlMS1iNWZmLWZmOTYwOTBjZDY4OA–;_ylg=X3oDMTFvdnRqYzJoBGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANob21lBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25zBHRlc3QD;_ylv=3

Secret “Occult Economy” Coming Out of the Shadows?

During December 2011 and January 2012, I wrote two articles dealing with the announcement of two different lawsuits being filed in U.S. District Courts regarding astronomical amounts of money in the forms of U.S. Bonds, Federal Reserve Notes, foreign government-issued bonds, and other financial instruments.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/03/secret-occult-economy-coming-out-of.html

Appropriators warn legislative agencies of further funding cuts

By Debbie Siegelbaum

Members of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on The Legislative Branch are warning congressional agencies that the current atmosphere of economic austerity will likely not abate any time soon.

http://thehill.com/homenews/senate/216321-senate-appropriators-warn-legislative-agencies-of-further-funding-cuts

CBO finds Obama budget adds $3.5T to deficits

By Erik Wasson

President Obama’s 2013 budget would add $3.5 trillion to annual deficits through 2022, according to a new estimate from the Congressional Budget Office.

It also would raise the deficit next year by $365 billion, according to the non-partisan office.

The CBO estimate is in sharp contrast to the White House claims last month that the Obama budget would reduce deficits by $3.2 trillion over the next decade.?

http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/budget/216397-obama-budget-adds-35-trillion-in-deficits-cbo-finds

Fourth straight monthly fall in FDI

Foreign direct investment (FDI) shrank in February from a year earlier, the fourth straight fall, while investment from Europe witnessed a sharp decline, according to the Ministry of Commerce.

Experts were not optimistic about the inflow of foreign investment into China as the European debt crisis continues and domestic economic growth slows down.

http://usa.chinadaily.com.cn/business/2012-03/16/content_14847086.htm

The View From Muppetland

Veena Trehan, Op-Ed:

Banks relentless search for profits has racked up immense “collateral damage”. Investment banks have injured individuals and institutions of every stripe. Institutions include the country Greece whose books Goldman cooked; Jefferson County, Alabama, and many European cities devastated by risky derivatives; colleges like the University of Virginia and Harvard who have held cut-rate sales on private equity; and pension funds and others who sued for fraudulent trades.

http://www.nationofchange.org/view-muppetland-1331903343

Four Whistleblowers Who Sounded the Alarm on Banks’ Mortgage Shenanigans

Cora Currier, News Analysis:

“Buried in the sweeping mortgage settlement with banks, for which final documents were filed this week, are five whistleblower cases that shed light on the litany of foreclosure abuses by the banks. According to one suit, Bank of America allegedly passed bad loans on to the Federal Housing Administration. According to another, the bank allegedly denied qualified homeowners access to HAMP, the government’s loan modification program.”

http://www.nationofchange.org/four-whistleblowers-who-sounded-alarm-banks-mortgage-shenanigans-1331912410

Wars and Rumors of War

Azerbaijan arrests 22 of their own citizens for allegedly being Iranian spies

The Azerbaijani government has announced the arrest of 22 of their own citizens who they claim are Iranian spies.

The tensions between Iran and neighboring Azerbaijan have only increased over recent months and this latest announcement is, without a doubt, not going to make anything less heated.

http://www.blacklistednews.com/Azerbaijan_arrests_22_of_their_own_citizens_for_allegedly_being_Iranian_spies/18467/0/38/38/Y/M.html

GOP senator dismisses ‘CliffsNotes’ explanation for killing citizens abroad

By Jordy Yager

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Thursday demanded that the White House hand over documents that detail the administration’s legal case for killing U.S. citizens abroad who are believed to be terrorist threats.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/policy-and-strategy/216263-gop-senator-dismisses-holders-cliffs-notes-explanation-for-killing-citizens-abroad

Obama: Window for diplomacy in Iran shrinking

US President says administration will do “everything we can” for diplomatic solution, but urges Tehran to negotiate.

http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=261878

U.K’s Cameron: No justification for Israeli attack on Iran

In interview to NBC’s Brian Williams, British Prime Minister says Iran could maintain a civilian nuclear project if it did away with the military aspects of its program.

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/u-k-s-cameron-no-justification-for-israeli-attack-on-iran-1.419068

US admits Israel is arming and training terrorist groups to create terrorism

Uploaded by 91177info on Feb 9, 2012

So much for this War on Terror! It is actually War OF Terror. This is proof THEY are creating terror directly and indirectly. This was shown live on US television !!

Deadly attacks on Iranian nuclear scientists are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group that is financed, trained and armed by Israel’s secret service, U.S. officials tell NBC News, confirming charges leveled by Iran’s leaders.
The group, the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, has long been designated as a terrorist group by the United States, accused of killing American servicemen and contractors in the 1970s and supporting the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran before breaking with the Iranian mullahs in 1980.

The attacks, which have  U.S. Embassy in Tehran since 2007 and may have destroyed a missile research and development site, have been carried out in dramatic fashion, with motorcycle-borne assailants often attaching small magnetic bombs to the exterior of the victims’ cars.

U.S. officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Obama administration is aware of the assassination campaign but has no direct involvement.

Currency Wars: Iran’s banks to be blocked from global banking system

Swift, the body that handles global banking transactions, says it will cut Iran’s banks out of the system on Saturday to enforce sanctions.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-17390456

78 Percent of Americans Oppose Invading Syria

Strong Opposition Also Seen to Arming Rebels

http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/15/78-percent-of-americans-oppose-invading-syria/

Environmental

Proposed UN Environmental Constitution For The World Would Establish An Incredibly Repressive System Of Global Governance

Most people have no idea that the United Nations has been drafting an environmental constitution for the world that is intended to supersede all existing national laws. This document has a working title of “Draft International Covenant on Environment and Development” and you can read the entire thing right here. Work on this proposed world environmental constitution has been going on since 1995, and the fourth edition was issued to UN member states on September 22nd, 2010. This document is intended to become a permanent binding treaty and it would establish an incredibly repressive system of global governance.

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/proposed-un-environmental-constitution-for-the-world-would-establish-an-incredibly-repressive-system-of-global-governance

Activism

Occupy-Monsanto to Wear Bio-Hazmat Suits as They Protest a Genetically Modified Congress

News Report: The GCU will arrive at the metro station wearing bio-hazmat suits to assess whether Members of Congress and their staff have been victims of genetic crimes. The GCU will hold a banner that reads, “Congress is Genetically Modified,” as they circulate on Capitol Hill sidewalks. This day of action is part of a larger international call to ‘Occupy Monsanto’ taking place all over the globe including Spain, Africa, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and at least 28 cities throughout the US.

http://www.nationofchange.org/occupy-monsanto-wear-bio-hazmat-suits-they-protest-genetically-modified-congress-1331912438

The American Spring: A Time for Occupy to Blossom

Kevin Zeese, News Report:

The weekend of March 31st and April 1st includes a two day “Bail Out America” direct action training organized by the Backbone Campaign which will provide information on strategies and tactics and developing creative actions that advance the causes of Occupy.

http://www.nationofchange.org/american-spring-time-occupy-blossom-1331906460

Cyber Space

House Dems demand meeting with Apple over privacy policy for iPhone, iPad apps

By Brendan Sasso

Two prominent House Democrats demanded a briefing with Apple over its privacy policies for mobile device applications in a letter to CEO Tim Cook on Thursday.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/216299-house-democrats-demand-meeting-with-apple-over-privacy

LulzSec-linked STRATFOR hacker appears in court

The Chicago-based hacker who took credit for a devastating computer attack on intelligence company Stratfor made his first appearance in a New York federal courtroom, after his March 5 arrest. Hammond, 27, faces federal charges of conspiracy to commit computer hacking, computer hacking and access device fraud… Hammond chuckled when his attorney, Liz Fink, asked a prosecutor if today was the Ides of March and said, “Et tu Brutus?” a possible reference to the betrayal Hammond might have felt at learning he and other hackers were undone by LulzSec leader-turned government informant [traitor] Hector Xavier Monsegur, known online as “Sabu.” Monsegur’s FBI handler was present but declined to comment after the proceeding.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/03/15/lulzsec-linked-hacker-who-threatened-to-burn-white-house-appears-in-court/

Radiation

4 more steam tubes fail in tests at troubled San Onofre nuclear plant’s Unit 3 reactor

Four more tubes that carry radioactive water at a Southern California nuclear power plant failed pressure tests, prompting new safety concerns, officials disclosed Friday. The four tubes in a massive steam generator failed Thursday in the Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre coastal plant in northern San Diego County, Southern California Edison said. Three other tubes failed earlier tests, the company said Wednesday, bringing the total to seven.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/4-more-steam-tubes-fail-in-tests-at-troubled-southern-calif-nuclear-plant-unit-3-reactor/2012/03/16/gIQAhcoHGS_story.html

Heavy tube wear a mystery at Calif. nuclear

Forty-five days after a radioactive water leak prompted a Southern California utility to shut down a nuclear reactor, investigators Friday sought to pinpoint why tubing in the plant eroded at an alarming rate while the prospect of an extended repair job raised questions about summertime power supply. Tests on massive steam generators at the troubled Unit 3 reactor at the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, which was shut down as a precaution after the leak on Jan. 31, revealed seven alloy tubes that carry radioactive water are in danger of rupturing under high pressure. Traces of radiation escaped during the January leak.

http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/03/16/2697689/4-more-tubes-fail-in-tests-at.html

UK nuclear sites at risk of flooding, report shows

As many as 12 of Britain’s 19 civil nuclear sites are at risk of flooding and coastal erosion because of climate change global warming, according to an unpublished government analysis obtained by the Guardian. Nine of the sites have been assessed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) as being vulnerable now, while others are in danger from rising sea levels and storms in the future. The sites include all of the eight proposed for new nuclear power stations around the coast, as well as numerous radioactive waste stores, operating reactors and defunct nuclear facilities.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/mar/07/uk-nuclear-risk-flooding

Misc

The Obama Flag: Who Decided That It Was Okay To Replace The Stars On The American Flag With The Face Of Barack Obama?

Democrat Party headquarters in Lake County, Florida has been flying an American flag with a face of Barack Obama on it. Yes, you read that correctly. The “Obama flag” features a huge picture of the face of Barack Obama in the area where the stars are usually located. To many Americans today, the American flag may be “just a piece of cloth”, but when I was young I was taught that one must never desecrate the American flag. The American flag is our highest national symbol. Millions of Americans have fought and died defending freedom and liberty under that banner. To see a photo of Barack Obama plastered on it is an absolute disgrace. Sadly, there are lots of these flags floating around. In fact, you can buy them online for $12.95. Down in Florida, the chairwoman of the Lake County Democratic Party took down the “Obama flag” after a group of veterans protested, but she also said that she is not promising that she will not put it back up and that she is going to consult an attorney about all of this.

Needless to say, a lot of veterans had steam coming out of their ears when they heard about the Obama flag. Korean war veteran Don Van Beck said that he was absolutely furious when he saw what they had done to the American flag….

http://endoftheamericandream.com/archives/the-obama-flag-who-decided-that-it-was-okay-to-replace-the-stars-on-the-american-flag-with-the-face-of-barack-obama

GRIME WAVE

It’s a dirty job: Police nationwide take on soaring Tide detergent theft

Law enforcement officials across the country are puzzled over a crime wave targeting an unlikely item: Tide laundry detergent.

Theft of Tide detergent has become so rampant that authorities from New York to Oregon are keeping tabs on the soap spree, and some cities are setting up special task forces to stop it. And retailers like CVS are taking special security precautions to lock down the liquid.

http://www.thedaily.com/page/2012/03/12/031212-news-tide-theft-1-4/

McCain sees another Solyndra in Navy biofuels spending

By Carlo Munoz

The Navy’s push to develop biofuels to run its fleet of planes and warships could devolve into a “Solyndra situation” for the Pentagon, a top Republican senator said today.

http://thehill.com/blogs/defcon-hill/army/216261-mccain-warns-navy-biofuels-plan-could-become-another-solyndra

Department of Agriculture to offer beef without ‘pink slime’ to schools

By Mike Lillis

Facing increasing pressure over its embrace of “pink slime,” the Obama administration announced Thursday that it will offer schools ground beef absent the controversial product.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/216299-house-democrats-demand-meeting-with-apple-over-privacy

Norway Military Plane Lost During Exercise
C-130 presumed crashed; 5 missing

AP) – A Norwegian military transport plane with five people on board went missing today during an exercise and was feared to have crashed in northern Sweden, officials said. The C-130 was heading from Evenes in northern Norway to the Swedish city of Kiruna where it was supposed to pick up personnel. Air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane when it was about 50 miles west of Kiruna, a Norwegian military spokesman said.

http://www.newser.com/story/141930/norway-military-plane-lost-during-exercise.html

Lawyer wants WikiLeaks case dropped

A lawyer for an army private accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of pages of classified information has asked a military judge to dismiss the charges, arguing the government bungled the handover of documents to the defence. The request came during a pre-trial hearing for Private Bradley Manning at a military courtroom at Fort Meade, Maryland. Manning’s lawyer, David Coombs, asked that charges against his client be dismissed because the government has “hopelessly” messed up the document turnover in the nearly two years Manning has been held.

http://www.theage.com.au/world/lawyer-wants-wikileaks-case-dropped-20120316-1vaky.html

State Dept. moves to fire author of book critical of Iraq reconstruction effort

Peter Van Buren, a foreign service officer who wrote an unflattering book about his year leading two reconstruction [sic] teams in Iraq, was stripped of his security clearance, banned from State Department headquarters for a time and transferred to a telework job that consists of copying Internet addresses into a file. Now the State Department is moving to fire him based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information. Van Buren called the termination notice he received Friday the coup de grace in a series of blows he received since his book, “We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People” was published last fall.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/state-dept-moves-to-fire-peter-van-buren-author-of-book-critical-of-iraq-reconstruction-effort/2012/01/31/gIQAiXNSCS_blog.html

CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher

More and more personal and household devices are connecting to the internet, from your television to your car navigation systems to your light switches. CIA Director David Petraeus cannot wait to spy on you through them. Earlier this month, Petraeus mused about the emergence of an “Internet of Things” – that is, wired devices – at a summit for In-Q-Tel, the CIA’s venture capital firm. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,” Petraeus enthused, “particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft.” All those new online devices are a treasure trove of data if you’re a “person of interest” to the spy community.

http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/

HAZMAT situation: ‘Non-emergency significant event’ declared at Los Alamos –DP Road open after HAZMAT situation on Los Alamos property

With sirens blaring, emergency management vehicles raced down DP Road Wednesday, responding to a Hazmat situation at Enclosure 12 in TA-21. For two hours, DP Road was closed as the LANL Hazmat team, Los Alamos Fire and Police Department and FEMA assessed the situation. Most of DP Road was reopened around 1:45 p.m. as LAPD decreased its perimeter. Capt. Randy Foster said the initial call came into dispatch at 11:53 a.m. The road was closed east of 272 DP Road until the all-clear from the LANL Hazmat teams came in Wednesday evening. The situation has been categorized as a “non-emergency significant event” by the laboratory… Police said a voluntary evacuation was taking place on DP Road. Police said for those who are working on DP Road to remain inside if they chose to stay. Businesses along DP Road still were waiting for an all-clear signal as of 7:30 p.m. An automated 911 call was received at the Los Alamos Monitor at 1:05 p.m. advising all people on DP Road to shelter in place until the all-clear signal is sounded.

http://www.legitgov.org/HAZMAT-situation-Non-emergency-significant-event-declared-Los-Alamos

Whistleblower details unreported mercury spill at Hill AFB

A whistleblower’s claim that a 2007 spill of more than 60 pounds of mercury was not properly reported or cleaned up at this military base, where more than 24,000 military personnel and civilians work and live, has prompted a federal criminal investigation. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality has backed that claim, concluding after an investigation in September and October that the base violated permits because it failed to report the spill and cleanup, improperly stored the cleaned-up material, improperly labeled storage containers that were also not in good condition and failed to inspect containers storing the hazardous waste.

http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19583627http://www.ksl.com/?nid=960&sid=19583627&title=whistleblower-details-unreported-mercury-spill-at-hill-afb

The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)

The spring air in the small, sand-dusted town has a soft haze to it, and clumps of green-gray sagebrush rustle in the breeze. Bluffdale sits in a bowl-shaped valley in the shadow of Utah’s Wasatch Range to the east and the Oquirrh Mountains to the west. It’s the heart of Mormon country, where religious pioneers first arrived more than 160 years ago. They came to escape the rest of the world, to understand the mysterious words sent down from their god as revealed on buried golden plates, and to practice what has become known as “the principle,” marriage to multiple wives.

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1

‘Media – West proxy to fuel Syria conflict’

Uploaded by RussiaToday on Mar 14, 2012

Syria’s turmoil has been laid bare on our TV screens for more than a year, but some networks are being accused of affecting rather than reflecting the conflict. Maria Finoshina reports now, on how there’s more to the coverage on the Qatari-owned Al Jazeera TV channel, than meets the eye.