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Executive Producers: Sir Random Hillbilly
Associate Executive Producers: Sir Chris Wolf
Art By: Sir Paul Couture
ShowNotes Archive of links and Assets (clips etc) 517.nashownotes.com
New: Directory Archive of Shownotes (includes all audio and video assets used) nashownotes.com
RSS Podcast Feed
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Torrents of each episode via BitLove
NA NAil clippers (picture!)
NA Sign at Monsanto Demonstration by producer Dodge
Moet mij weer overkomen.. Ik lig met longembolie in het ziekenhuis. Please stuur mij wat karma toe.
Nieuwe donatie en Mickies shirt order is onderweg.
Thu, 30 May 2013 09:23
Ibragim Todashev, who was killed by the FBI during a questioning, was shot six times, once in the crown of his head, photos shown at a press conference in Moscow reveal. His father suspects it could have been a kill shot.
''I can show you the photos taken after the killing of my son. I have 16 photographs. I just would like to say that looking at these photos is like being in a movie. I only saw things like that in movies: shooting a person, and then the kill shot. Six shots in the body, one of them in the head,'' Abdulbaki Todashev said at the press conference at RIA Novosti news agency in the Russian capital.
He explained that the photos were taken by friends of his son in the US, to whom the FBI handed the body.
''I want justice and I want an investigation to be carried out, I want these people [the FBI agents] to be put on trial in accordance with US law. They are not FBI officers, they are bandits. I cannot call them otherwise, they must be put on trial,'' he said.
Abdulbaki Todashev said his main aim now is to go to the US and get his son's body.
''My brother and I, we went to the American embassy today. We both want to fly there, we've applied for a visa,'' he explained.
I'm sure you've probably gotten emails about this already, but the phrase "the last full measure of devotion" is taken from the Gettysburg Address, and is part of the Obama as Lincoln meme.
Thu, 30 May 2013 01:33
James B. Comey, Jr. (born December 14, 1960) was United States Deputy Attorney General, serving in President George W. Bush's administration. As Deputy Attorney General, Comey was the second-highest ranking official in the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and ran the day-to-day operations of the Department, serving in that office from December 2003 through August 2005. He was U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York prior to becoming Deputy Attorney General.
In December 2003, as Deputy Attorney General, Comey appointed the U.S. Attorney in Chicago, close friend and former colleague Patrick Fitzgerald, as Special Counsel to head the CIA leak grand jury investigation after Attorney General John Ashcroftrecused himself. In August 2005, Comey left the DOJ and he became General Counsel and Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin. In 2010, he became General Counsel at Bridgewater Associates. In early 2013, he left Bridgewater to become Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law at Columbia Law School. He also joined the London-based board of directors of HSBC Holdings.
On May 29, 2013 President Barack Obama announced plans to appoint Comey to succeed Robert S. Mueller III as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Early life and educationBorn in Yonkers, New York, Comey grew up in Allendale, New Jersey. He attended Northern Highlands Regional High School in Allendale. Comey graduated from the College of William and Mary in 1982, majoring in chemistry and religion. His senior thesis analyzed the liberal theologian Reinhold Niebuhr and the conservative televangelist Jerry Falwell, emphasizing their common belief in public action. He received his Juris Doctor (J.D.) from the University of Chicago Law School in 1985.
Early career (1985-2001)After law school, Comey served as a law clerk for then-United States District Judge John M. Walker, Jr. in Manhattan. Then, he was an associate for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in their New York Office.
He joined the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York, where he worked from 1987 to 1993. While there, he served as Deputy Chief of the Criminal Division. He helped prosecute the Gambino crime family.
From 1996 through 2001, Comey served as Managing Assistant U.S. Attorney in charge of the Richmond Division of the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia. He was the lead prosecutor in the 1996 Khobar Towers bombing case in Saudi Arabia.Cite error: A set of tags are missing the closing (see the help page). While in Richmond, Comey also served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Richmond School of Law.
Bush years (2002-2005)U.S. AttorneyHe was the United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, from January 2002 to the time of his confirmation as Deputy Attorney General on December 11, 2003. In November 2002, he led the arrest and prosecution of three men involved one of the largest identity fraud cases in American history. The fraud had lasted two years and resulted in thousands of people across the country collectively losing well over $3 million. He also led the indictment of Adelphia Communications founder John Rigas of bank fraud, wire fraud, and securities fraud. His sons: Timothy J. Rigas and Michael J. Rigas as well as executives James Brown and Michael Mulcahey were also charged with participation in these crimes. Rigas was convicted of the charges in the summer of 2004 and on June 27, 2005 was sentenced to 15 years in federal prison. Adelphia Corporation was forced to file for bankruptcy after it acknowledged they took $3.1 billion in false loans. It was "one of the most elaborate and extensive corporate frauds in United States history."
In February 2003, he led the investigation of Martha Stewart who was considered for the charges of securities fraud, obstruction of justice, and lying to an FBI agent. She sold 3,928 shares of ImClone Systems, making $227,824. The next day, the Food and Drug Administration refused to accept the company's application for Erbitux. In March 2003, he led the the indictment of ImClone CEO Samuel Waksal, who plead guilty of avoiding to pay $1.2 million in sales taxes on $15 million worth of contemporary paintings. The works were by Mark Rothko, Richard Serra, Roy Lichtenstein, and Willem de Kooning. In April 2003, he led the indictment of Frank Quattrone. They alleged that in 2000, he urged subordinates to destroy evidence sought by investigators looking into his investment banking practices at Credit Suisse First Boston. In November 2003, he led the "Operation Wooden Nickel", which resulted in complaints and indictments against 47 people involved in foreign exchange trading scams.
Deputy Attorney GeneralMartha Stewart caseComey is credited as the main protagonist in Martha Stewart's 2004 conviction for obstruction of justice, stating "This criminal case is about lying - lying to the FBI, lying to the SEC, lying to investors." 
NSA domestic wiretappingIn early January 2006, The New York Times, as part of their investigation into alleged domestic surveillance by the National Security Agency, reported that Comey, who was Acting Attorney General during the March 2004 surgical hospitalization of John Ashcroft, refused to "certify" the legality of central aspects of the NSA program at that time. The certification was required under existing White House procedures to continue the program.
After Comey's refusal, the newspaper reported, Andrew H. Card Jr., White House Chief of Staff, and Alberto R. Gonzales, then White House counsel and future Attorney General, made an emergency visit to the George Washington University Hospital, to attempt to win approval directly from Ashcroft for the program. According to the 2007 memoir of Jack Goldsmith, who had been head of the Office of Legal Counsel at the time, he went to the hospital to give Ashcroft support to withstand the pressure from the White House.
Comey confirmed these events took place (but declined to confirm the specific program) in testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee on 16 May 2007. FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III, like Comey, also supported Ashcroft's decision; both men were prepared to resign if the White House ignored the Department of Justice's legal conclusions on the wiretapping issue. FBI director Mueller's notes on the March 10, 2004 incident, which were released to a House Judiciary committee, confirms that he "Saw [the] AG, John Ashcroft in the room. AG is feeble, barely articulate, clearly stressed." Comey withdrew his threat to resign after meeting directly with President Bush, who gave his support to making changes in the surveillance program.
Post-Bush years (2005-Present)In April 2005, Comey announced that he was leaving the Department of Justice in the fall. In August 2005, Comey was appointed as General Counsel and a Senior Vice President of Lockheed Martin. It was announced on June 2, 2010, that he would leave Lockheed Martin to join Bridgewater Associates, LP. On February 1, 2013, after leaving Bridgewater, he was appointed by Columbia University Law School as a Senior Research Scholar and Hertog Fellow on National Security Law. He was also appointed to the board of HSBC Holdings plc in London. Since 2012, he has also served on the Defense Legal Policy Board.
Testimony before congressional committeesIn May 2007, Comey testified before both the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, and the House Judiciary subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law on the U.S. Attorney dismissal scandal. His testimony contradicted that of former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who said the firings had been due to poor performance on the part of some of the dismissed prosecutors. Comey stressed that the Justice Department had to be perceived as nonpartisan and nonpolitical in order to function.
''The Department of Justice, in my view, is run by political appointees of the President. The U.S. attorneys are political appointees of the President. But once they take those jobs and run this institution, it's very important in my view for that institution to be another in American life, that -- because my people had to stand up before juries of all stripes, talk to sheriffs of all stripes, judges of all stripes. They had to be seen as the good guys, and not as either this administration or that administration.''Supreme Court considerationPolitico reported in May 2009 that White House officials pushed for Comey's inclusion on the short list of names to replace Associate JusticeDavid Souter on the US Supreme Court.Politico later reported liberal activists were upset about the possibility of Comey's name being included. John Brittain of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law stated, "[Comey] came in with the Bushies. What makes you think he'd be just an inch or two more to the center than Roberts? I'd be greatly disappointed." 
Same sex marriageIn 2013, Comey was a signatory to an amicus curiae brief submitted to the Supreme Court in support of same-sex marriage during the Hollingsworth v. Perry case.
FBI nominationIn May 2013, it was reported that Democratic President Barack Obama would nominate Comey to be the next FBI Director, to replace Robert Mueller III. He was chosen over finalist Lisa Monaco, who had overseen national security issues at the Justice Department during the Benghazi attacks on 9/11/2012.
Personal lifeHe and his wife Patrice are the parents of five children. Comey is a registered Republican in Westport, Connecticut. Comey donated to U.S. Senator John McCain's campaign in the 2008 presidential election and to Governor Mitt Romney's campaign in 2012 presidential election.
References^McCaffrey, Shannon. "For new deputy attorney general, a department under fire", The Boston Globe, December 14, 2003. Accessed August 21, 2011. "As a teenager, he got a frightening taste of what it's like to be a crime victim when an intruder broke into his home in Allendale, N. J., while his parents were out and held his brother and him hostage at gunpoint. The captor fled and never was apprehended."^Weiser, Benjamin. "Man in the News; Reputation for Tenacity; James Brien Comey", The New York Times, December 2, 2011. Accessed August 21, 2011. "EDUCATION: Northern Highlands Regional High School, Allendale, N.J.; B.S., College of William and Mary; J.D., University of Chicago Law School."^ "Mr. Comey Goes To Washington." (New York magazine, October 2003). Retrieved May 21, 2007.^ abDeputy Attorney General James B. ComeyThe White House. (no date). Retrieved May 18, 2007.^http://www.wired.com/politics/security/news/2002/11/56567^http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/telecom/2002-09-23-adelphia-indict_x.htm^http://money.cnn.com/2003/02/06/news/companies/martha/^http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/health/2003-03-03-waksal_x.htm^http://money.cnn.com/2003/04/23/news/quattrone/^http://www.cbc.ca/news/business/story/2003/11/19/forex_031119.html^Prosecuting Martha Stewart: The overview NYTimes June 5, 2003^ abLIchtblau, Eric; Risen, James (January 1, 2006). "Justice Deputy Resisted Parts of Spy Program". New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2010. ^Comey Senate Judiciary Committee Transcript, May 16, 2007. Congressional Quarterly, Inc.^Isikoff, Michael; Evan Thomas (June 4, 2007). "Bush's Monica Problem: Gonzales, the president's lawyer and Texas buddy, is twisting slowly in the wind, facing a vote of no confidence from the Senate". Newsweek (The Washington Post Company). Archived from the original on 2007-06-01. Retrieved 2007-05-29. ^(Editorial) (May 16, 2006). "Mr. Comey's Tale: A standoff at a hospital bedside speaks volumes about Attorney General Gonzales.". Washington Post. pp. A14. Retrieved 2007-05-25. ^Eggen, Dan; Amy Goldstein (May 18, 2007). "No-Confidence Vote Sought on Gonzales". Washington Post. pp. A03. Retrieved 2007-05-25. ^Congressional Quarterly (May 15, 2007). Transcript: Senate Judiciary Hearing "Senate Hearing on U.S. Attorney Firings (Transcript, Part 1 of 5)". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-05-25. ^Lichtblau, Eric (January 2, 2006). "Bush Defends Spy Program and Denies Misleading Public". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-05-25. ^Eggen, Dan (August 17, 2007). "FBI Director's Notes Contradict Gonzales's Version Of Ashcroft Visit". Washington Post. ^Eggen, Dan; Kane, Paul (May 16, 2007). "Gonzales Hospital Episode Detailed". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2010. ^ abJames B. Comey. Testimony Transcript. Hearing of the Subcommittee on Commercial and Administrative Law. House Committee on the Judiciary. May 3, 2007. Retrieved May 18, 2007.(Congressional Quarterly transcripts, via the Washington Post.)^ "James Comey pushed for Supreme Court" (Politico.com, May 2009). Retrieved May 17, 2009^ "Some on left souring on Obama"], Politico.com, May 2009, Retrieved May 17, 2009.^http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/02/28/the-pro-freedom-republicans-are-coming-131-sign-gay-marriage-brief.html^http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/us/politics/obama-to-pick-james-b-comey-to-lead-fbi.html?_r=0^http://www.politico.com/story/2013/05/james-comey-fbi-92010_Page2.html#ixzz2UkJwWwdLExternal linksDepartment of Justice Farewell AddressJames B. Comey White House Biography]New York Magazine, October 2003James B. Comey Professional Biography, United States Department of JusticeEric Lichtblau and James Risen, "Justice Deputy Resisted Parts of Spy Program", New York Times, January 1, 2006"Palace Revolt", Newsweek, February 6, 2006"Former Supervisor Extols Fired Prosecutors", Washington Post, May 4, 2007"Loyal to Bush but Big Thorn in Republicans' Side", New York Times, May 17, 2007Transcript of James Comey's testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, May 15, 2007"Intelligence Under the Law", a speech delivered by James Comey to the National Security Agency on Law Day, May 20, 2005January 1, 2008 Corporate Counsel article - "Attention Must Be Paid"PersondataNameComey, JamesAlternative namesShort descriptionDeputy Attorney GeneralDate of birthDecember 14, 1960Place of birthYonkers, New YorkDate of deathPlace of death
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:29
Because who hasn't been attacked by a turtle?
Via Daily Mail:
In a little-noticed speech to the Iowa Republican Party this month, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul mocked President Obama's signature health care overhaul, noting the 122,000 new medical diagnostic codes doctors will have to use in order to inform the government about injuries sustained by Americans.
Those codes, said Sen. Paul, a medical doctor himself, include line-items for 'injuries sustained from a turtle,' 'walking into a lamppost' and 'injuries sustained from burning water skis.'
Paul has attracted attention in recent weeks for spending time in the Hawkeye State, because it' will be among the first states to weigh in during the 2016 Republican presidential primary season.
As a video of Paul's remarks surfaced Monday on YouTube, news emerged that a CNN/Opinion Research poll showed 54 percent of Americans don't support Obamacare.
Wed, 29 May 2013 15:46
A town in Northern Ireland is getting spruced up for the arrival of some special guests.
World leaders are gathering in the town of Enniskillen for the G8 summit next month.
And to get ready, the town is putting up fake storefronts on shuttered businesses.
Anchor Marco Werman speaks with Irish Times reporter Dan Keenan about the efforts to make the town look prosperous.
Wed, 29 May 2013 20:47
President of CBS News and WH Benghazi fiction-writer are blood brothers
by Jon Rappoport
May 23, 2013
Just a coincidence. Nothing to see. Move along.
Remember the Benghazi attacks? Remember how the White House rewrote their talking points to scrub out mention of a terrorist attack?
Well, here are some new talking points.
Point one: Star CBS investigative reporter, Sharyl Attkisson, has been discussing leaving CBS since April. She can't get some of her Benghazi stories on the air. Attkisson was hot on the trail of figuring out who, at the White House, rewrote the Benghazi talking points.
Point two: One sure candidate at the White House? Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser and ''mind-melding'' speechwriter.
Point three: Who is Ben Rhodes' brother? He is David Rhodes, who happens to be Sharyl Attkisson's boss,the president of CBS News.
Point four: Read point three again.
Point five: Those White House Benghazi rewrites scrubbed prior mention of ''terror attacks.''
Point six: Again, reporter Attkisson was hot on the trail of the White House fiction writers'--which could have led to her boss's brother.
Point seven: Again, Attkisson got into hot water at CBS for her Benghazi coverage.
Point eight: Again, the president of CBS News, her boss, is the brother of the man who helped organize the White House fiction writing on Benghazi.
The Daily Caller broke this story.
Point nine: Somebody has been fiddling with reporter Attkisson's computers. Attkisson has been assembling evidence on the what and the who for several months.
You're welcome, CBS. I just wanted to arrange all this information so you could release it in coherent form.
My question is: who at your network will do the rewrites on my talking points? I'd like to be in the room.
The September 2012 Benghazi attacks killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens, embassy information officer Sean Smith, and embassy security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
The White House, in their talking-points rewrites, wanted to avoid calling this a planned terrorist attack. Why? Because investigating the terrorists opens the door to the matter of their funding and support.
That investigation, unimpeded, could lead to the fact that the US government has been recruiting, arming, and using thugs/terrorists/mercenaries from Libya to destabilize parts of Africa and the Middle East.
And then we would come to the possibility that some of those US recruits attacked the Benghazi embassy in 2012.
Thesetalking points, of course, aren't in the CBS or White House portfolio. They're buried deep under the White House, under CIA buildings in Langley, and under CBS News headquarters at Black Rock in New York.
The author of two explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED and EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29thDistrict of California. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free emails atwww.nomorefakenews.com
Thu, 30 May 2013 07:49
WASHINGTON '-- In the much praised career of Eric H. Holder Jr., President-elect Barack Obama's choice to be attorney general, there is one notable blemish: Mr. Holder's complicated role in the 2001 pardon of Marc Rich, a billionaire financier who had fled the country rather than face federal tax evasion charges.
Skip to next paragraphThe New TeamA series of profiles of potential members of the Obama administration.
BlogThe CaucusThe latest on the presidential transition and other political news from Washington and around the nation. Join the discussion.
Ron Edmonds/Associated Press
President Clinton with Deputy Attorney General Eric Holder and Attorney General Janet Reno at the White House in Washington in 1999.
Mr. Holder's supporters portray him as having been a relatively uninvolved bystander caught in a Clinton-era controversy, the remarkable granting of a last-minute pardon by President Bill Clinton to a fugitive from justice. But interviews and an examination of Congressional records show that Mr. Holder, who at the time of the pardon was the deputy attorney general, was more deeply involved in the Rich pardon than his supporters acknowledge.
Mr. Holder had more than a half-dozen contacts with Mr. Rich's lawyers over 15 months, including phone calls, e-mail and memorandums that helped keep alive Mr. Rich's prospects for a legal resolution to his case. And Mr. Holder's final opinion on the matter '-- a recommendation to the White House on the eve of the pardon that he was ''neutral, leaning toward'' favorable '-- helped ensure that Mr. Clinton signed the pardon despite objections from other senior staff members, participants said.
At the same time, Mr. Holder was not the sinister deal maker that his critics made him out to be. He let himself be drawn into the case by politically influential advocates, the review of the case shows, bypassing the usual Justice Department channels for reviewing pardon applications and infuriating prosecutors in New York who had brought the initial charges against Mr. Rich and his business partner.
Most perplexing to Justice Department allies was that Mr. Holder, by his own admission, involved himself in the discussions without a full briefing from his own prosecutors about the facts of the case, according to an associate of Mr. Holder who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Reid Weingarten, a lawyer for Mr. Holder, said that Mr. Holder had done nothing improper in his handling of the Rich matter and that conversations about it were routine and largely insignificant, in part because he assumed that Mr. Rich's lawyer, Jack Quinn, was going through normal pardon channels.
''Mr. Holder assumed that this was all being handled in the normal course,'' Mr. Weingarten said, adding, ''There's no question that Quinn played him and it was astute by Quinn because he did catch Eric unawares.''
By all accounts, Mr. Holder's role in the affair represents the biggest misstep of his career, and Mr. Obama's aides focused on the issue before Mr. Holder was selected. Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee were consulted to gauge whether the pardon would prove an insurmountable hurdle.
Some Republicans in Congress are eager to revisit the Rich pardon, which was investigated at length in 2001 both by Congress and by a grand jury amid a public clamor that was fueled by hefty donations that Mr. Rich's former wife had made to Mr. Clinton's presidential library and to Democratic causes. Critics of the pardon also seized on reports from American intelligence officials that Mr. Rich's oil-and-commodities company had done business with Iran, Iraq and other so-called rogue states.
''Marc Rich was a fugitive for nearly two decades, wanted by the federal government for fraud and tax evasion,'' Representative Lamar Smith of Texas, the ranking Republican on the House Judiciary Committee, said Monday after the nomination was announced. Referring to Mr. Holder's actions, Mr. Smith added, ''If a Republican official had engaged in this kind of activity, he would never receive Senate confirmation.''
Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the ranking Republican on the Judiciary Committee, said in an interview on Monday that Mr. Holder's role in the Rich pardon would be ''a big question'' at his Senate confirmation hearing.
A longtime prosecutor and a former judge, Mr. Holder remains a popular figure at the Justice Department eight years after he left, and his supporters insist he was made the ''fall guy'' for a controversy mainly of Mr. Clinton's making.
Both Republican and Democratic admirers say Mr. Holder's handling of the Rich affair, which he has acknowledged was flawed, should be balanced against the bulk of his law enforcement career.
''There's no way you can have a high-profile job in Washington like the deputy attorney general without attracting some kind of controversy,'' Larry Thompson, who succeeded Mr. Holder in that post in the Bush administration, said before Monday's announcement. ''That matter has been fully investigated, and it should be put behind him.''
More Articles in US >>A version of this article appeared in print on December 2, 2008, on page A1 of the New York edition.
Wed, 29 May 2013 18:16
EDMONTON - Morning shoppers at West Edmonton Mall were summoned to take shelter in the backrooms of stores Wednesday as the shopping centre and police practised a lockdown drill.
An announcement at about 10 a.m. notified patrons of the emergency rehearsal, and police and security officers encouraged them into shops, where staff locked the doors and moved them to secure areas for a few minutes.
At the mall's Running Room store, an Edmonton Journal reporter was one of several visitors and employees who waited in the shop's stockroom.
North America's largest mall launched the first of four such drills a year in March, said Gary McCartney, West Edmonton Mall director of safety and security.
''We ask our tenants to close their doors, seek shelter and usher in our guests in case of an emergency that would cause us to do that,'' McCartney said.
The impetus for the drills, he said, was the number of shooting incidents that have occurred in public places in recent years, such as one at a Toronto shopping mall in March that left one dead, and the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newtown, Conn., where 27 died.
''West Edmonton Mall, being progressive, we just felt that it was wise to impart these programs to make sure our tenants, guests and employees are all safe should an incident like that ever happen here.''
The mall purchased and installed emergency-notification software that sends alerts in case of an emergency to tenants' cellphones and email accounts.
The mall's public address system would also be used during an emergency.
A seminar was held for tenants to inform them of the procedures.
Edmonton Police Service Sgt. Kelly Rosnau, who participated in the drill, said the mall is being proactive.
''This is an opportunity for them to practise a drill in the case where there was an emergency where people needed to seek safety, such as some of the active shooter things that we've seen throughout the world,'' he said.
''They're trying to get the businesses on board and, for the most part, they've got high compliance in that part, and it's also to educate the shoppers that are here.
Wed, 29 May 2013 23:23
EAST LANSING -- Thousands of Michigan State University students and community members received a scare Tuesday evening when the institution's emergency alert system incorrectly warned of a campus shooter.The university sent out the following message at 6:10 p.m. via text and email:"THIS IS AN EMERGENCY MESSAGE from MSU POLICE, DO NOT HANG UP. There has been a shooting incident at Wilson Hall. Take shelter in a locked room. Monitorwww.msu.edu; Public Media."At 6:45 p.m., a corrected alert was issued:"The MSU Police accidently sent a message of an active shooter on campus. THERE IS NO ACTIVE SHOOTER ON CAMPUS.....THERE IS NO DANGER ON CAMPUS"The MSU Police Department said on its Facebook about 7:10 p.m. that the episode was the result of a technical error:"An unknown computer issue during launching of the tornado warning caused an erroneous message reference a violent incident occuring on MSU's campus. There was no violent incident. We apologize for any undue worring this may have caused. We are investigating the computer glitch to ensure this does not occur again."The error appeared to coincide with alerts of a tornado warning that had been issued for Ingham County about the same time. Not all subscribers to MSU's emergency alert system received the erroneous message.The mix-up frightened and upset many.MSU Alerts is now confirming that the Active Shooter alert was a false alarm. Now I can walk out to my car without having to duck into cover
'-- Aiman Farooq (@AimanFarooq) May 28, 2013Idc if it was a mistake, the fact that I didn't receive the #MSU alert regarding an on-campus shooter is disturbing. What if it was legit?
'-- Colin Dilworth (@Dilworth269) May 28, 2013Also not sure if its a good or bad thing that I didn't receive the text about the shooter at MSU...even if it was false #ohwell
'-- Mel Tenlen (@MelissaTenlen) May 28, 2013MSU police were not immediately available for comment.
Ive been laughing at the school rules things on no agenda for the last few shows, you crazy americans !
however I work in a public high school in south australia and we just had the following bulletin notice for student and staff !
BEANIES ARE BANNED
and other inappropriate head wear are not permitted at Grant High
School. Students are not permitted to have beanies and the like at
school at all, irrespective of whether you are inside or outside
buildings. I look forward to your full cooperation with this long
standing school rule.
Talk about shutup slave !
Wed, 29 May 2013 08:49
Apple CEO Tim Cook took the stage at All Things D's D11 conference today, touching on a variety of issues, from wearable electronics and iOS 7 to Apple's tax headaches in the US. One big announcement was the appointment of Lisa Jackson, the former head of the EPA, to head up Apple's environmental responsibility efforts. Cook announced that Jackson would be reporting directly to him in her new role. "Lisa Jackson is joining Apple. Lisa was running the EPA for the last four years," said Cook, as he discussed initiatives like Apple's renewable energy-powered data center in North Carolina. "She's going to be coordinating a lot of this activity across the company," he added.
Jackson served as head of the EPA since 2009, after being appointed to the job by president-elect Barack Obama. Serving nearly four years in that role, she announced plans to step down in late 2012 after it was discovered that she was conducting EPA business using a private email address. Jackson scored some big successes during her tenure, including getting carbon dioxide and other chemicals listed as pollutants in the Clean Air Act, but a proposal for smog legislation that she spearheaded was shot down in 2011 owing to weak economic growth.
"She'll fit right in with our culture."
In recent years, Apple has been focused on its environmental performance, issuing regular responsibility reports to highlight its progress, but it has been criticized by EPEAT and others for decisions that prioritize tightly integrated product designs over repairability. In her new role at Apple, Jackson will be helping to steer its environmental policy, and while the job will be quite different from what she was doing in Washington, Cook is positive that she's a good match a good match for the company. "She'll fit right in with our culture," said Cook.
Tue, 28 May 2013 09:21
Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon are among actresses being considered to portray the former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Rodham - about the younger years of the former First Lady and senator - is due out some time around the 2016 presidential election, in which Clinton might be a candidate. It will focus on 1974, when she was a Washington lawyer.
According the The Sunday Times, the frontrunners include 26-year-old Clinton are Amanda Seyfried, who starred in Les Mis(C)rables, Zero Dark Thirty's Jessica Chastain, Reese Witherspoon, and Scarlett Johansson, most recently seen playing Janet Leigh in Hitchcock.
Rodham director James Ponsoldt said: ''They're all wonderful actresses. We're very fortunate that a lot of really great actors are interested in playing these roles. We're in an enviable position.''
''Regardless of people's political affiliation or how they feel about Hillary Clinton, you don't find people who question the quality of her intelligence or her drive. I want a wonderful actress who could embody that.''
Witherspoon hit the news only last month, when she was arrested in Atlanta, Georgia, for disorderly conduct. She later admitted she "had one drink too many," and said she was ''deeply embarrassed'' by the incident, which was caught on video.
The film's script, written by Young il-Kim, made last year's ''Black List'', which highlights Hollywood's best unrealised scripts. Having been leaked by The Daily Beast earlier this month, it attracted attention for its racier scenes. But Kim told The Daily Telegraph: "I didn't write 50 Shades of Rodham, as some news outlets are suggesting. I am a boring prude with little imagination."
Asked whether the final draft would include sex scenes, Mr Kim replied: "It's an evolving process so I don't know. She was an attractive 26-year-old with an amazing future. And that's our thematic focus."
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:29
Any illusion about the intentions of the former chemical company turned major food producer, Monsanto, the GMO foods/ health controversy notwithstanding, has been dispelled.
Monsanto has contracted the firm Blackwater, no, not a P.R. firm, to collect intelligence on activists opposed to the global food producer, as well as infiltrate their ranks.
Remember the private mercenary army Blackwater, which caused a stir in Iraq, during an unprovoked attack in 2007. Apparently, Monsanto and the controversial security firm are in bed together, described by blogger Randy Ananda as "a death- tech firm weds a hit squad"
Notorious for the Iraqi Nisour Square Massacre, Blackwater "created a web of more than 30 shell companies or subsidiaries in part to obtain millions of dollars in American government contracts after the security company came under intense criticism for reckless conduct in Iraq " reports the New York Times. One of these subsidiaries became Total Intelligence, the company contracted by Monsanto between 2008-2010 to collect intelligence on activists rallying against GMO crops and other Monsanto activities, Journalist Jeremy Schahill states in The Nation.
" entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation.
Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by their founder and owner, Erik Prince, Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Centre (TRC)
Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation.
A spokesman representing Monsanto admits they hired Total Intelligence for information about the activities of groups or individuals that could pose a risk to company personnel or operations around the world which were developed by monitoring local media reports and other publically available information. The subject matter ranged from information regarding terrorist incidents in Asia or kidnappings in Central America to scanning the content of activist blogs and websites.
According to documents secured by Scahill, Monsanto was willing to pay a sizable sum ( up to $500, 000) for Blackwater agents to infiltrate anti- Monsanto organizations.
To conclude, by hiring a mercenary army and former CIA field agents, Monsanto is deadly serious about protecting its deadly products. This further discredits this company.
The painted picture is even bleaker of the firm that brought Agent Orange, PCBs, rBST, DDT, aspartame and now hit men.
Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
Wed, 29 May 2013 15:58
A genetically modified strain of wheat that was never approved by the United States Department of Agriculture as been discovered growing in Oregon, triggering a federal probe that is now spanning several states.
Investigators with the USDA want to know why the GMO crop, made by biotech company Monsanto but never approved for use, sprouted up in a field in the Pacific Northwest.
America's wheat trade could be jeopardized if concerns grow among foreign consumers already weary of genetically engineered and modified organisms. Several countries across the European Union have banned thecultivation of GMO crops, and last weekend anti-Monsanto demonstrations were attended by millions of protesters on six continents.
The USDA has yet to approve any GMO strain of wheat to be grown in the US, but Monsanto field tested a genetically engineered variety from 1998 through 2005 before withdrawing their application from the agency's regulatory approval process.
The wheat, resistant to Monsanto's patented pesticide Roundup, is one of many GMO crops in the company's line of ''Roundup Ready'' products. After a farmer in Oregon noticed that wheat plants on his property were still growing despite dousing his field with the pesticide, he alerted Michael Firko, the deputy administrator of the USDA's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Bloomberg News reported Wednesday.
''We are taking this very seriously,'' Firko said. ''We have a very active investigation going on in several states in the western US.''
According to a 2003 article in the Billings, Montana Gazette, Monsanto pledged that its GMO wheat crop resistant to strong pesticides would not be introduced commercially until proven complete safe and approved in the US, Canada and Japan.
"We have to prove the safety of the gene, the food, the animal feed and the environment. That it is as safe as unmodified varieties and (nutritionally) is substantially equivalent to commercial varieties,'' Monsanto's then director of industry affairs, Michael Doane, told the Gazette at the time.
So far, the USDA has determined that the wheat crop in question was the same variety tested by Monsanto up until eight years ago. The US Food and Drug Administration found no safety concerns with the crop after completing a test in 2004, but Monsanto suspended plans to follow through with the product the following year without receiving the USDA's stamp of approval.
Despite growing criticism from agriculturalists, environmentalists and consumers over potential health risks, Monsanto continues to attest that GMOs could change the world's food landscape for the better.
''There is space in the supermarket shelf for all of us,'' Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant told a reporter for Bloomberg earlier this month.
USDA Acting Deputy Secretary Michael Scuse confirmed to Agri-Pulse that state agriculture directors in Oregon, Washington and Idaho are now coordinating a multi-state investigation, and foreign trade representatives in Canada, Mexico and Asia have been contacted.
''Hopefully our trading partners will be very understanding,'' Scuse said, emphasizing ''this is not a food or feed issue.''
Wed, 29 May 2013 08:43
May 21, 2013|By JON LENDER, EDMUND H. MAHONY and DAVE ALTIMARI, firstname.lastname@example.org, The Hartford Courant
The staffs of the state's top prosecutor and the governor's office have been working in secret with General Assembly leaders on legislation to withhold records related to the police investigation into the Dec. 14 Newtown elementary school massacre '-- including victims' photos, tapes of 911 calls, and possibly more.
The behind-the-scenes legislative effort came to light Tuesday when The Courant obtained a copy of an email by a top assistant to Chief State's Attorney Kevin Kane, Timothy J. Sugrue. Sugrue, an assistant state's attorney, discussed options considered so far, including blocking release of statements "made by a minor."
"There is complete agreement regarding photos etc., and audio tapes, although the act may allow the disclosure of audio transcripts," Sugrue wrote to Kane, two other Kane subordinates and to Danbury State's Attorney Stephen Sedensky, who is directing the investigation of the killings.
The bill that's being crafted has not been handled under routine legislative procedures '-- it hasn't gone through the committee process, which includes a public hearing, for example. Sugrue's email Tuesday indicated that a draft of the bill was being worked on by leaders in both the House and Senate, and might be ready as soon as the end of the day.
He wrote: "I just received a call from Natalie Wagner" '-- a member of the legal counsel's staff in the office of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.
"She believes that draft language will be forthcoming today (the work of both houses) in the form of a special act. ..." Sugrue wrote that Wagner "will send me the draft in confidence when she receives it, and I will immediately forward it."
However, late Tuesday, the legislation proposed by Kane wasn't ready to be acted on in either legislative chamber, said Malloy's director of communications, Andrew Doba. He said he did not know when that might happen.
"A lot of people, including our office, have heard the concerns expressed by the families of Newtown victims, and are exploring ways to respect the families' right to privacy while also respecting the public's right to information," gubernatorial chief of staff Mark Ojakian said in a statement released by Doba.
A major question yet to be settled is whether the legislation would apply only to the Newtown case, or to documents from other criminal cases that are now subject to public disclosure. A report on the police investigation into the Newtown shooting is expected to be released in June.
As envisioned by Kane, the bill wouldn't be limited to the Newtown file.
"We are seeking legislation to protect crime scene photographs protecting victims and certain 911 tapes," Kane told The Courant Tuesday. "It is something that I have been concerned about for years and years and the situation in Newtown brings it to a head. I don't want family members seeing pictures of their loved ones publicized in a manner in which these are subject to be published."
He said as he sees the legislation, it would apply to "basically crime scene photographs depicting injuries to victims and recordings, 911 recordings displaying the mental anguish of victims. Things like that, of that category. And it seems to me that the intrusion of the privacy of the individuals outweighs any public interest in seeing these."
Sugrue said in his email that the "forthcoming" language would be "in the form of a special act, not an amendment to the [state's Freedom of Information Act]."
As originally discussed behind the scenes, the proposed legislation would have amended the state's freedom of information law by adding a blanket exemption to disclosure of any "criminal investigation photograph, film, videotape, other image or recording or report depicting or describing the victim or victims."
Colleen Murphy, the director of the state's FOI Commission, said Tuesday that her staff had argued against the idea of such a blanket change. She said a couple of weeks ago the office of House Speaker Brendan Sharkey provided her agency with a draft including the blanket exception. She said she was advised that this draft would not be put to a vote, but she knew nothing abut the contents of the "forthcoming" draft.
Murphy said she'd urged that lawmakers be "thoughtful and careful about any legislation" and to "not be reactive to one situation" by making changes that could have long-term, unintended effects.
Murphy was unaware of Sugrue's email when The Courant told her about it late Tuesday afternoon. She said she and her staff had not been receiving detailed updates. Asked if she would have liked to have been kept aware of developments such as Sugrue's email, she said yes.
The killing of 20 first-graders and six women at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown has sparked a number of legislative proposals this year to protect the privacy of the victims' families and spare them further pain. One example is a bill that would exempt the death certificates of minors from public disclosure for six months.
Wed, 29 May 2013 08:37
Legislation drafted behind closed doors could give the victims' families control over key police documents.
By Gavin Aronsen on Wed. May 29, 2013 3:00 AM PDT
Last week, the Hartford Courant reported that Connecticut's top prosecutor and aides to Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy had crafted legislation that could block public access to investigation material from the massacre at Newtown's Sandy Hook Elementary School, including recordings of 911 calls, death certificates, names of minors who were witnesses, and photographs of victims from the crime scene. The proposal, drafted behind closed doors as an amendment to a bill regarding access to emergency services reports, would allow victims' families to have the final say on whether photos, videos, or audio "depicting the physical condition of any victim" can be released to the public.
Under existing Connecticut law, investigators don't release graphic crime scene photos to the public unless they are introduced as evidence at a trial. But they are permitted to release audio from 911 calls, documentation that has been made public elsewhere after other high-profile mass shootings including Columbine and Aurora. (Conversely, police did not release audio of 911 calls made during the Virginia Tech massacre.) The new proposal would still allow access to written transcripts of the 911 calls made in Newtown.
Critics of the proposal helped forestall a vote last week, raising questions about its broader implications and why it wasn't subject to the normal legislative process, including committee hearings and input from the public. A New York Timeseditorial on Sunday argued that the "proposal raises grave concerns about whether parents' sensitivities could block the release of such things as private journals kept by the Newtown shooter," adding that the journals of the Columbine shooters "eventually provided valuable insight into [their] thoughts."
The draft of the amendment doesn't go that far; it aims to protect sensitive information about victims but not the killer. Still, "It is an exemption to disclosure without there being a real, transparent process," says Colleen Murphy, executive director of Connecticut's Freedom of Information Commission. That could set a dubious precedent, she says, potentially subjecting future police documents to the control of families victimized by crimes.
Garvin Ambrose, the state's victim advocate, directly raised that possibility last week, arguing that "this legislation needs to be expanded to include all crime victims." And Kevin Kane, the chief state's attorney, whose office helped draft the amendment, told the Courant that he also wanted to expand the proposal beyond the Newtown investigation, saying "that the intrusion of the privacy of the individuals outweighs any public interest" in gaining access to such material.
But in Gov. Malloy's view, Newtown is an exception. "I think there are different circumstances," he said. "You know, when John Kennedy was assassinated, certain documents were frozen for 50 years."
Asked whether creating an exception solely for Newtown might perpetuate a spate of conspiracy theories about Newtown, Malloy acknowledged that there has been "a lot of wacky coverage in the blog world" about the shooting, but added, "They're nuts anyway, okay?" (For example, parents of children killed in Newtown have been accused of being actors in a staged event orchestrated by the federal government to push gun control legislation through Congress.)
A final report from the state police investigation of the massacre is expected to be released in June. Here's the working draft of the amendment:
Wed, 29 May 2013 08:31
Enhanced Fujita ScaleEF0EF1EF2EF3EF4EF5The Enhanced Fujita scale (EF scale) rates the strength of tornadoes in the United States and Canada based on the damage they cause.
Implemented in place of the Fujita scale introduced in 1971 by Tetsuya Theodore Fujita, it began operational use in the United States on February 1, 2007, followed by Canada on April 1, 2013. The scale has the same basic design as the original Fujita scale'--six categories from zero to five, representing increasing degrees of damage. It was revised to reflect better examinations of tornado damage surveys, so as to align wind speeds more closely with associated storm damage. Better standardizing and elucidating what was previously subjective and ambiguous, it also adds more types of structures and vegetation, expands degrees of damage, and better accounts for variables such as differences in construction quality.
The new scale was publicly unveiled by the National Weather Service at a conference of the American Meteorological Society in Atlanta on February 2, 2006. It was developed from 2000 to 2004 by the Fujita Scale Enhancement Project of the Wind Science and Engineering Research Center at Texas Tech University, which brought together dozens of expert meteorologists and civil engineers in addition to its own resources.
As with the Fujita scale, the Enhanced Fujita scale remains a damage scale and only a proxy for actual wind speeds. While the wind speeds associated with the damage listed have not undergone empirical analysis (such as detailed physical or any numerical modelling) owing to excessive cost, the wind speeds were obtained through a process of expert elicitation based on various engineering studies since the 1970s as well as from field experience of meteorologists and engineers. In addition to damage to structures and vegetation, radar data, photogrammetry, and cycloidal marks (ground swirl patterns) may be utilized when available.
The scale was used for the first time in the United States a year after its public announcement when parts of central Florida were struck by multiple tornadoes, the strongest of which were rated at EF3 on the new scale. It was used for the first time in Canada shortly after its implementation there when a tornado developed near the town on Shelburne, Ontario on April 18th, 2013, causing up to EF1 damage.
The first time the EF5 rating was used was for the May 4, 2007 Greensburg, Kansas tornado. The latest occurrence of an EF5 tornado was the 2013 Moore tornado in Moore, Oklahoma during the May 18''20, 2013 tornado outbreak.
ParametersThe six categories for the EF scale are listed below, in order of increasing intensity. Although the wind speeds and photographic damage examples are updated, the damage descriptions given are those from the Fujita scale, which are more or less still accurate. However, for the actual EF scale in practice, damage indicators (the type of structure which has been damaged) are predominately used in determining the tornado intensity.
Damage indicators and degrees of damageThe EF scale currently has 28 damage indicators (DI), or types of structures and vegetation, each with a varying number of degrees of damage (DoD). Larger degrees of damage done to the damage indicators correspond to higher wind speeds. The links in the right column of the following table describe the degrees of damage for the damage indicators listed in each row.
DI No.Damage Indicator (DI)Degrees of Damage (DOD)1Small Barns or Farm Outbuildings (SBO)82One- or Two-Family Residences (FR12)103Manufactured Home '' Single Wide (MHSW)94Manufactured Home '' Double Wide (MHDW)125Apartments, Condos, Townhouses [3 stories or less] (ACT)66Motel (M)107Masonry Apartment or Motel Building (MAM)78Small Retail Building [Fast Food Restaurants] (SRB)89Small Professional Building [Doctor's Office, Branch Banks] (SPB)910Strip Mall (SM)911Large Shopping Mall (LSM)912Large, Isolated Retail Building [K-Mart, Wal-Mart] (LIRB)713Automobile Showroom (ASR)814Automobile Service Building (ASB)815Elementary School [Single Story; Interior or Exterior Hallways] (ES)1016Junior or Senior High School (JHSH)1117Low-Rise Building [1''4 Stories] (LRB)718Mid-Rise Building [5''20 Stories] (MRB)1019High-Rise Building [More than 20 Stories] (HRB)1020Institutional Building [Hospital, Government or University Building] (IB)1121Metal Building System (MBS)822Service Station Canopy (SSC)623Warehouse Building [Tilt-up Walls or Heavy-Timber Construction] (WHB)724Electrical Transmission Lines (ETL)625Free-Standing Towers (FST)326Free-Standing Light Poles, Luminary Poles, Flag Poles (FSP)327Trees: Hardwood (TH)528Trees: Softwood (TS)5Differences from the Fujita scaleThe new scale takes into account quality of construction and standardizes different kinds of structures. The wind speeds on the original scale were deemed by meteorologists and engineers as being too high, and engineering studies indicated that slower winds than initially estimated cause the respective degrees of damage. The old scale lists an F5 tornado as wind speeds of 261-318 mph (419-512 km/hr), while the new scale lists an EF5 as a tornado with winds above 200 mph (324 km/hr), found to be sufficient to cause the damage previously ascribed to the F5 range of wind speeds. None of the tornadoes recorded on or before January 31, 2007 will be re-categorized.
Essentially, there is no functional difference in how tornadoes are rated. The old ratings and new ratings are smoothly connected with a linear formula. The only differences are adjusted wind speeds, measurements of which were not used in previous ratings, and refined damage descriptions; this is to standardize ratings and to make it easier to rate tornadoes which strike few structures. 28 Damage Indicators (DI), with descriptions such as "double-wide mobile home" or "strip mall", are used along with Degrees of Damage (DOD) to determine wind estimates. Different structures, depending on their building materials and ability to survive high winds, have their own DIs and DODs. Damage descriptors and wind speeds will also be readily updated as new information is learned.
Since the new system still uses actual tornado damage and similar degrees of damage for each category to estimate the storm's wind speed, the National Weather Service states that the new scale will likely not lead to an increase in a number of tornadoes classified as EF5. Additionally, the upper bound of the wind speed range for EF5 is open'--in other words, there is no maximum wind speed designated.
Rating classificationsTornado rating classificationsEF0EF1EF2EF3EF4EF5WeakStrongViolentSignificantIntenseFor purposes such as tornado climatology studies, Enhanced Fujita scale ratings may be grouped into classes.
See alsoReferencesEdwards, Roger; J. G. LaDue, J. T. Ferree, K. Scharfenberg, C. Maier, W. L. Coulbourne (2013). "Tornado Intensity Estimation: Past, Present, and Future". Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc.94 (5): 641''53. doi:10.1175/BAMS-D-11-00006.1. External links
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:31
Yes, many will call the June 2013 full moon a supermoon. The upcoming full moon on June 23, 2013, will not only be the closest and largest full moon of the year. It'll also present the moon's closest encounter with Earth for all of 2013.
This year's closest and largest full moon will occur on June 23 at precisely 11:32 Universal Time. At United States' time zones, that means the moon will turn full on June 23 at 7:32 a.m. EDT, 6:32 a.m. CDT, 5:32 a.m. MDT and 4:32 a.m. PDT. We astronomers call this sort of close full moon a perigee full moon. The word perigee describes the moon's closest point to Earth for a given month. Two years ago, when the closest and largest full moon fell on March 19, 2011, many used a term we'd never heard before: supermoon. Last year, we heard this term again to describe the year's closest full moon on May 6, 2012.
This year, we also hear the term supermoon referring to the year's closest full moon on June 23, 2013. What does supermoon mean exactly? And how special is the June 23, 2013 supermoon?
The supermoon of March 19, 2011 (right), compared to an average moon of December 20, 2010 (left). Will you be able to notice with your eye alone that tonight's full moon is bigger or brighter than usual? Astronomers say no, but it'll be fun to stand outside under tonight's full moon and know the moon is closer than it has been since May 6, 2012. Image Credit: Marco Langbroek, the Netherlands, via Wikimedia Commons.
See supermoon photos on EarthSky's Facebook page
The word supermoon didn't come from astronomy. Instead, it came from astrology. Astrologer Richard Nolle of the website astropro.com takes credit for coining the term supermoon. In 1979, he defined it as:
'...a new or full moon which occurs with the moon at or near (within 90% of) its closest approach to Earth in a given orbit (perigee). In short, Earth, moon and sun are all in a line, with moon in its nearest approach to Earth.
By this definition, according to Nolle:
There are 4-6 supermoons a year on average.
That doesn't sound very special, does it? In fact, the June 2013 full moon lines up much more closely with perigee '' the moon's closest point to Earth '' than Nolle's original definition. According to Guy Ottewell's Astronomical Calendar 2013, the 2013 June full moon falls only 22 minutes after the moon reaches perigee, the moon's closest point to Earth for this month and year. At perigee, the moon lies only 356,991 kilometers (221,824 miles) away. Two weeks from now, on July 7, the moon will swing out to apogee '' its farthest point for the month and year '' at 406,490 kilometers (252,581 miles) distant.
Day and night sides of Earth at instant of June 23 full moon
Day and night sides of Earth at instant of full moon (2013 June 23 at 11:32 Universal Time). In North America, the full moon is setting in the west at sunrise. From eastern Asia, it's rising in the east at sunset. The full moon resides close to zenith '' straight overhead '' as seen from the Samoan islands in the central South Pacific Ocean. Image credit: Earth and Moon Viewer
In fact, June 2013 presents the moon's closest encounter with Earth until August 10, 2014, at which time the moon will be a scant 5 kilometers closer to Earth. The full moon will come even closer to Earth on September 28, 2015 (356,877 kilometers) and closer yet on November 14, 2016 (356,509 kilometers). November 2016 will feature the closest full moon until November 25, 2034! Maybe this helps you see that supermoons '' while interesting '' are fairly routine astronomical events.
Even the proximity of full moon with perigee isn't all that rare. The extra-close moon in all of these years '' 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016 '' finds the full moon taking place at or nearly the same hour as lunar perigee. More often than not, the closest perigee of the year comes on the one day of the year that the full moon and perigee most closely coincide. (See table below.)
How often does the full moon coincide with perigee? Closest full moons recur in cycles of 14 lunar (synodic) months, because 14 lunar months almost exactly equal 15 returns to perigee. A lunar month refers to the time period between successive full moons, a mean period of 29.53059 days. An anomalistic month refers to successive returns to perigee, a period of 27.55455 days. Hence:
14 x 29.53059 days = 413.428 days15 x 27.55455 days = 413.318 days
This time period is equal to about 1 year, 1 month, and 18 days. The full moon and perigee will realign again on August 10, 2014, because the 14th full moon after the 2013 June 23 full moon will fall on that date.
Moon closest to Earth
YearDateDistance2011March 19356,575 km2012May 6356,955 km2013June 23356,991 km2014August 10356,896 km2015September 28356,877 km2016November 14356,509 kmLooking further into the future, the perigee full moon will come closer than 356,500 kilometers for the first time in the 21st century on November 25, 2034 (356,446 km). The closest moon of the 21st century will fall on December 6, 2052 (356,421 km).
Will the tides be higher than usual? Yes, all full moons bring higher-than-usual tides, and perigee full moons bring the highest (and lowest) tides of all. Each month, on the day of the full moon, the moon, Earth and sun are aligned, with Earth in between. This line up creates wide-ranging tides, known as spring tides. High spring tides climb up especially high, and on the same day low tides plunge especially low.
Today's extra-close full moon accentuates these monthly (full moon) spring tides all the more.
If you live along a coastline, watch for high tides caused by the June 23 perigee full moon '' or supermoon '' over the next several days. Will the high tides cause flooding? Probably not, unless a strong weather system moves into the coastline where you are. Still, keep an eye on the weather, because storms do have a large potential to accentuate high spring tides.
As a result, if you live near a coast, you'll want to be on the lookout for higher-than-usual tides.
Each full moon has its own name. Here's a list.
Because the moon '' as always '' shines opposite the sun in our sky at full moon, you'll see the moon beaming all night tonight from dusk until dawn. This extra-close full moon is likely to usher in large tides along the ocean shorelines for the next several days, especially if these high tides are accompanied by strong onshore winds.
Bottom line: The full moon of June 23, 2013 is the closest and largest full moon of this year. Some will call it a supermoon.
Understanding the full moon
Looking for a tide almanac? EarthSky recommends . . .
Moon facts at your fingertips
Moon image at top of post: Alice Popkorn
Wed, 29 May 2013 23:11
Gov. Rick Perry is expected to sign the e-mail privacy bill, which passed both houses of the state legislature without a single "nay" vote.
Assuming that Texas Governor Rick Perry does not veto it, the Lone Star State appears set to enact the nation's strongest e-mail privacy bill. The proposed legislation requires state law enforcement agencies to get a warrant for all e-mails regardless of the age of the e-mail.
On Tuesday, the Texas bill (HB 2268) was sent to Gov. Perry's desk, and he has until June 16, 2013 to sign it or veto it. If he does neither, it will pass automatically and take effect on September 1, 2013. The bill would give Texans more privacy over their inbox to shield against state-level snooping, but the bill would not protect against federal investigations. The bill passed both houses of the state legislature earlier this year without a single "nay" vote.
This new bill, if signed, will make Texas law more privacy-conscious than the much-maligned 1986-era Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). With the ECPA, federal law enforcement agencies are only required to get a warrant to access recent e-mails before they are opened by the recipient.
As we've noted many times before, there are no such provisions in federal law once the e-mail has been opened or if it has sat in an inbox, unopened, for 180 days. In March 2013, the Department of Justice acknowledged in a Congressional hearing that this distinction no longer makes sense and the DOJ would support revisions to ECPA.
A spokesperson for the governor, Courtney Ford, did not immediately respond to Ars' request to find out whether Gov. Perry plans on signing the bill. The bill reads in part:
An authorized peace officer may require a provider of an electronic communications service or a provider of a remote computing service to disclose electronic customer data that is in electronic storage by obtaining a warrant under Section 5A.
. . .
[A] district judge may issue a search warrant under this section for electronic customer data held in electronic storage, including the contents of and records and other information related to a wire communication or electronic communication held in electronic storage, by a provider of an electronic communications service or a provider of a remote computing service described by Subsection (h), regardless of whether the customer data is held at a location in this state or at a location in another state. An application made under this subsection must demonstrate probable cause for the issuance of the warrant and must be supported by the oath or affirmation of the authorized peace officer.
As if the ECPA wasn't complicated enough, one United States circuit court of appeals decided that federal authorities do need a warrant before accessing e-mail. The case, known as United States v. Warshak, has created a split as other circuits, including the United States Supreme Court, haven't yet taken up the issue. (Google has since taken the public stance that it will follow the Warshak standard.)
Previously, Texas state law had language mirroring ECPA's existing 180-day requirement. Of course, ECPA remains federal law of the land in Texas and in all the other 49 states. But civil libertarians and legal experts hope that this may spur Washington, DC into passing much-needed ECPA reform, which has languished for some time now.
''Privacy is a special thing in Texas'--it goes to the core values of Texas,'' said Chris Soghoian, a senior policy analyst at the American Civil Liberties Union.
''It's always good to see states passing pro-privacy legislation because it sends a signal to Congress. It sends a signal to conservative members who might not yet be on board that this is something being supported in their own states and it helps the courts to see that this is a safe space to venture into. When cities and states start protecting e-mail, then judges may feel like there is a reasonable expectation of privacy.''
Hanni Fakhoury, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), agreed.
''It is the first state legislature I'm aware of to change the law this way,'' he told Ars. ''Other states are currently considering similar legislation, including California'--where EFF sponsored SB 467 recently passed the Senate 33-1 and is now being considered in the Assembly."
"It's significant proof that privacy reform is not only needed but also politically feasible with broad bipartisan support," Fakhoury said. "Hopefully that will impact federal ECPA reform efforts by getting people on both of sides of the political aisle to work together to make meaningful electronic privacy reform a reality. The more states that pass similar legislation, the more pressure it will put on Congress to keep up with the changing legal landscape.''
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:33
By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai2013-05-29 22:40:44 UTC
The American Civil Liberties Union wants hackers and developers to take its treasure trove of torture documents and make apps and data visualizations with it. The goal? Hold the U.S. government accountable while giving Americans a better glimpse into the Bush administration's so-called "enhanced interrogation" practices.
The initiative is part of The National Day of Civic Hacking, an event promoted by the White House and other partners to liberate government data for coders and entrepreneurs. The idea is to allow citizens, developers and hackers to use the datasets however they see fit with the goal of making information more accessible to the public. The event is happening June 1st and 2nd online and with physical events across the country.
For the ACLU, this was the perfect occasion to do something a little different.
Chris Soghoian, the ACLU principal technologist and senior policy analyst, argued to Mashable that when the government willingly releases data to the public, it's normally information that can make citizens' lives more convenient '-- data relating to potholes or subway arrival times, for example. Rarely is it controversial data that might help citizens hold the government accountable.
That's the idea behind the API that the ACLU has released for the National Day of Civic Hacking. The API opens the door to its "Torture Database," a dataset the ACLU launched last year containing more than 100,000 pages of government documents relating to the Bush's administration treatment of detainees after 9/11.
"This is not about giving you information to what movies are playing in your neighborhood, or which restaurant is getting the 'A' letter grade from the public health department," Soghoian said in a phone interview. "There are many, many kinds of data that developers can access, but I don't know of any other open API that when you submit a query, you get in response redacted CIA documents."
The documents were obtained by the ACLU after a lengthy legal battle following a Freedom of Information Act request submitted in 2003. According to the ACLU, the files are "the largest public repository of primary-source documents" showing what happened to suspected terrorist who were detained abroad and transported between CIA black sites (a practice called "extraordinary rendition"). That's where most of them were questioned with what the administration defined "enhanced interrogation techniques."
The database contains all sorts of material, from the infamous legal memos authorizing the CIA to use enhanced interrogation techniques to CIA and military emails that discuss the interrogation policies, and authorizations for the use of torture coming "from the highest levels of government," according to the ACLU blog post announcing the API.
Given their highly sensitive and historical nature, the ACLU thinks this dataset will be very attractive to politically motivated developers with interests in government transparency and accountability, as Soghoian explained.
"The incidents that are documented in our database, they document a very bad time in America's history. This is something that none of us are really proud of, [and] our government hasn't been held accountable." Soghoian said. "And the best way to make that happen is to make it as easy as possible for people to look at this information."
Image via John Moore/Getty Images
Topics: ACLU, National Day of Civic Hacking, torture, U.S., US & World
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:58
The designs for more than two dozen major weapons systems used by the United States military have fallen into the hands of the Chinese, US Department of Defense officials say.
Blueprints for the Pentagon's most advanced weaponry, including the Black Hawk helicopter and the brand new Littoral Combat Ship used by the Navy, have all been compromised, the Defense Science Board claims in a new confidential report.
The Washington Post acknowledged late Monday that they have seen a copy of the report and confirmed that the Chinese now have the know-how to emulate some of the Pentagon's most sophisticated programs.
''This is billions of dollars of combat advantage for China,'' a senior military official not authorized to speak on the record told Post reporters. ''They've just saved themselves 25 years of research and development.''
''It's nuts,'' the source said of the report.
The Defense Science Board, a civilian advisory committee within the Pentagon, fell short of accusing the Chinese of stealing the designs. However, the Post's report comes on the heels of formal condemnation courtesy of the DoD issued only earlier this month.
''In 2012, numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military,'' the Defense Department alleged in a previous report.
Ellen Nakashima, the Post reporter who detailed the DSB analysis this week, wrote that the computer systems at the Pentagon may not have necessarily been breached. Instead, rather, she suggested that the defense contractors who built these weapons programs have likely been subjected to a security breach. US officials speaking on condition of anonymity, she reported, said that a closed door meeting last year ended with evidence being presented of major defense contractors suffering from intrusions. When reached for comment, the largest defense contractors '-- Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Northrop Grumman '-- all refused to weigh in.
Chinese hackers have previously been accused of waging cyberattacks on a number of US entities, including billion-dollar corporations and governmental departments. In 2007 it was reported that China accumulated the blueprints for the Pentagon's F-35 fighter jets, the most expensive weapons program ever created, but the latest news from the DSB decries that much more has been compromised.
According to the Post, the plans for the advanced Patriot missile system, an Army anti-ballistic program and a number of aircraft have all ended up in the hands of the Chinese. The result could mean the People's Republic is working towards recreating the hallmarks of America's military might for their own offensive purposes, while also putting China in a position where even the most advanced weaponry in the world won't be able to withstand complex defensive capabilities once those projects are reverse engineered.
''If they got into the combat systems, it enables them to understand it to be able to jam it or otherwise disable it,'' Winslow T. Wheeler, director of the Straus Military Reform Project at the Project on Government Oversight, told the Post. ''If they've got into the basic algorithms for the missile and how they behave, somebody better get out a clean piece of paper and start to design all over again.''
Mandiant, a US security firm located outside of Washington, reported earlier this year that the China has enlisted an elite squadron of cyber warrior to attack American computer systems and conduct espionage on behalf of the People's Liberation Army. When the report was released in February, Mandiant said the PLA's elusive Unit 61398 has successfully compromised the networks of more than 141 companies across 20 major industries, including Coca-Cola and a Canadian utility company. Those hacks reportedly subsided after Mandiant went public with their claims, but earlier this month the firm said those attacks have since been renewed.
''They dialed it back for a little while, though other groups that also wear uniforms didn't even bother to do that,'' CEO Kevin Mandia told the New York Times recently. ''I think you have to view this as the new normal.''
On their part, China has adamantly denied all claims that they've waged attacks on US networks. Following Mandiant's initial report, a spokesperson for China's foreign ministry said the claims were ''irresponsible and unprofessional.''
''Hacking attacks are transnational and anonymous,'' Hong Lei said. ''Determining their origins are extremely difficult. We don't know how the evidence in this so-called report can be tenable.''
Thu, 30 May 2013 09:19
Obscured by trees and grassy berms, the campus of the National Security Agency sits 15 miles north of Washington's traffic-clogged Beltway, its 6 million square feet of blast-resistant buildings punctuated by clusters of satellite dishes. Created in 1952 to intercept radio and other electronic transmissions'--known as signals intelligence'--the NSA now focuses much of its espionage resources on stealing what spies euphemistically call ''electronic data at rest.'' These are the secrets that lay inside the computer networks and hard drives of terrorists, rogue nations, and even nominally friendly governments. When President Obama receives his daily intelligence briefing, most of the information comes from government cyberspies, says Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence under President George W. Bush. ''It's at least 75 percent, and going up,'' he says.
The key role NSA hackers play in intelligence gathering makes it difficult for Washington to pressure other nations'--China in particular'--to stop hacking U.S. companies to mine their databanks for product details and trade secrets. In recent months the Obama administration has tried to shame China by publicly calling attention to its cyber-espionage program, which has targeted numerous companies, including Google (GOOG), Yahoo! (YHOO), and Intel (INTC), to steal source code and other secrets. This spring, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, traveled to Beijing to press Chinese officials about the hacking. National Security Advisor Thomas Donilon is scheduled to visit China on May 26.
Illustration by James Dawe; Getty Images (18)
The Chinese response, essentially: Look who's talking. ''You go in there, you sit across from your counterpart and say, 'You spy, we spy, but you just steal the wrong stuff.' That's a hard conversation,'' says Michael Hayden, who headed the NSA, and later the CIA, under Bush. ''States spying on states, I got that,'' says Hayden, now a principal at the Chertoff Group, a Washington security consulting firm. ''But this isn't that competition. This is a nation-state attempting espionage on private corporations. That is not an even playing field.''
The tension between the two nations escalated in May, when a Pentagon report to Congress for the first time officially linked China's government directly to the hacking of U.S. defense contractors. It revealed that U.S. intelligence had been tracking a vast hacking bureaucracy adept at stealing technology from American companies. China's leaders have long denied being behind the hacks. An article about the Pentagon report in the official People's Daily newspaper called the U.S. the ''real hacking empire.''
The U.S. government doesn't deny that it engages in cyber espionage. ''You're not waiting for someone to decide to turn information into electrons and photons and send it,'' says Hayden. ''You're commuting to where the information is stored and extracting the information from the adversaries' network. We are the best at doing it. Period.'' The U.S. position is that some kinds of hacking are more acceptable than others'--and the kind the NSA does is in keeping with unofficial, unspoken rules going back to the Cold War about what secrets are OK for one country to steal from another. ''China is doing stuff you're not supposed to do,'' says Jacob Olcott, a principal at Good Harbor Security Risk Management, a Washington firm that advises hacked companies.
The men and women who hack for the NSA belong to a secretive unit known as Tailored Access Operations. It gathers vast amounts of intelligence on terrorist financial networks, international money-laundering and drug operations, the readiness of foreign militaries, even the internal political squabbles of potential adversaries, according to two former U.S. government security officials, who asked not to be named when discussing foreign intelligence gathering. For years, the NSA wouldn't acknowledge TAO's existence. A Pentagon official who also asked not to be named confirmed that TAO conducts cyber espionage, or what the Department of Defense calls ''computer network exploitation,'' but emphasized that it doesn't target technology, trade, or financial secrets. The official says the number of people who work for TAO is classified. NSA spokeswoman Vane(C) Vines would not answer questions about the unit.
The two former security officials agreed to describe the operation and its activities without divulging which governments or entities it targets. According to the former officials, U.S. cyberspies, most from military units who've received specialized training, sit at consoles running sophisticated hacking software, which funnels information stolen from computers around the world into a ''fusion center,'' where intelligence analysts try to make sense of it all. The NSA is prohibited by law from spying on people or entities within the U.S., including noncitizens, or on U.S. citizens abroad. According to one of the former officials, the amount of data the unit harvests from overseas computer networks, or as it travels across the Internet, has grown to an astonishing 2 petabytes an hour'--that's nearly 2.1 million gigabytes, the equivalent of hundreds of millions of pages of text.
The agency has managed to automate much of the process, one of the former officials says, requiring human hackers to intervene only in cases of the most well-protected computers. Just like spies in the physical world, the U.S. cyberspies take pains to obscure their tracks or disguise themselves as something else'--hackers from China, say'--in case their activities are detected.
Even as the rest of the Pentagon budget shrinks, the importance of the NSA's hacking operations has helped create a booming cyber-industrial complex. Specialized units of big defense contractors, and boutique firms that create hacking tools, look for security flaws in popular software programs that allow government hackers to take over computers. A company called KEYW does a robust business training hackers for U.S. intelligence, says Chief Executive Officer Leonard Moodispaw, who cautions that he can't reveal more. ''Our federal partners don't like it if we're too explicit.''
All this activity gives China leverage against Washington's complaints, says Steven Aftergood, director of the Project on Government Secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists. Beijing can turn U.S. protests about industrial espionage around and claim that Washington is doing something even worse. ''It's OK to steal plans for a new automobile,'' Aftergood says the Chinese can argue, ''but not our national secrets.''
Intelligence officials say one way to exert pressure on China is to change the subject from spying to trade'--threatening restrictions on imports of goods made using stolen technology, or withholding visas for employees of companies that make such products. ''We don't have to get into a philosophical argument about what does and does not constitute accepted espionage,'' says Hayden. Instead, the U.S. should focus on reducing China's incentives for ''committing the original crime'--and that's economic.''
In February the Obama administration said it may consider sanctions on countries that permit thefts of corporate information. Such punishments would be difficult to implement in practice, says Christopher Finan, a cybersecurity expert who served on Obama's National Security Council until last year. ''It's just too hard to determine whether a product uses stolen technology, or is an enhancement,'' he says. ''The current enforcement of intellectual-property protections is a mess without adding this.''
Finan believes aggressive sanctions could result in little more than a trade war, hurting many of the same U.S. companies and products they were intended to protect. ''China is already looking for ways to constrain U.S. companies in the domestic market,'' he says. ''This would give it to them.''
The bottom line: Using automated hacking tools, NSA cyberspies pilfer 2 petabytes of data every hour from computers worldwide.
Tue, 28 May 2013 09:16
US Congress should legalize attacking hacker's computers with malware, physically destroy networks and take photos of data thieves and copyright violators with their own cameras in order to punish IP thieves, the IP Commission recommends.
The commissioners - former US government officials and military men - say that the ''scale of international theft of American intellectual property (IP) is unprecedented''. However, the US government response has been ''utterly inadequate to deal with the problem.''
"Almost all the advantages are on the side of the hacker; the current situation is not sustainable," the commissions's report says.
''New options need to be considered,'' the authors call, then adding that current laws are limited and ''have not kept pace with the technology of hacking.''
Thus, the commission suggests allowing active network retrieving stolen information, ''altering it within the intruder's networks, or even destroying the information within an unauthorized network."
For example, locking down the computer of unauthorized users and forcing them to come out to police could be one of the options.
''The file could be rendered inaccessible and the unauthorized user's computer could be locked down, with instructions on how to contact law enforcement to get the password needed to unlock the account,'' the commission recommended.
In other words, authors suggest legalizing ransomware - an extortion tool used by organized criminals, when malware that blocks access to the computer system it infects, and demands a ransom paid to the creator to remove the restriction.
Such measures, the commissioners stressed, do not violate existing laws, but still might help to prevent attacks and even provide both time and evidence for law enforcement to investigate the cyber-crime.
As additional measures, the report recommends ''physically disabling or destroying the hacker's own computer or network,'' implanting malware in the hacker's network or photographing the hacker using his own system's camera.
''The legal underpinnings of such actions taken at network speed within the networks of hackers, even when undertaken by governments, have not yet been developed,'' the authors say.
So, if counterattacks against hackers were legal, companies could use a variety of techniques and cause severe damage to the capability of IP pirates.
"These attacks would raise the cost to IP thieves of their actions, potentially deterring them from undertaking these activities in the first place," the report concludes.
However, if counterattacks were legalized, this would not be just about companies and hacker. Some pirated movies or songs on private computers, could be deemed an IP theft and allow rights holders to do horrible things to suspected systems.
Wed, 29 May 2013 20:55
Winding through corridors lined with poison-tipped umbrellas, pistols fashioned from lipstick tubes, and bulky button-hole cameras, visitors to Washington's International Spy Museum will soon be confronted by a modern, quotidian tool of the trade: a small black laptop. According to the computer's owner, it was employed over a three-year period to briefly knock WikiLeaks offline, disable almost 200 jihadist websites, and develop a handful of sophisticated hacking tools. The laptop, says International Spy Museum executive director Peter Earnest, will ''provide historical context to the ... world of espionage and the intelligence community, in this instance through the scope of cyberterrorism.''
But the laptop's owner claims no affiliation with the intelligence community; nor can he, by any traditional definition, be classified as a spy. He's a freelancer, a ''patriotic hacktivist'' who goes by the nom de guerre ''the Jester'''--or, in hacker argot, ''th3j35t3r.'' Within certain cybercircles, he has achieved mythical status. According to security analyst T.J. O'Connor, the Jester has ''proved that a single individual is very capable of waging cyberwar at a level we previously attributed only to intelligence agencies or crime syndicates.''
There exist countless blog posts and Twitter exchanges speculating on the Jester's identity, but we still know almost nothing about him. He implies that he's American, says he has a background in computer programming, and explains he was motivated to undertake offensive hacking operations against enemies of the United States after serving in the military. (He claims to have been affiliated with ''a rather famous unit'' in Afghanistan that was ''involved with supporting Special Forces.'') These are, of course, uncheckable assertions.
Hundreds of hackers flock to the annual Chaos Computer Club.
The Jester first surfaced on January 1, 2010, with a tweet announcing a ''sporadic cyber-attack'' on a Taliban website: ''OWNED. By me, Jester.'' He issues short epistles through Twitter, usually documenting websites he has disabled, and offers longer discussions of his work on his blog. But he jealously guards his anonymity, granting relatively few interviews to journalists. I first reached out to him for an interview last July, establishing contact through Twitter'--the only way he communicates with unknowns. After telling me he would reconnect after an online vetting process, he hesitantly agreed to answer questions in an encrypted chat room. And then disappeared. When I reestablished contact a few months later, he declined to talk.
Hacking, the Jester tells me during our exchange, was merely 'a continuation of [military] service.'
But last week, with fingers crossed, I made another approach and received a surprisingly quick response: ''Can I ping you with secure [connection] in a bit?''
Hacking, the Jester tells me during our exchange, was merely ''a continuation of [military] service.'' Indeed, he believes that laptops will someday replace M-16s as the primary tool of warfare. Last year, in a rare live chat with computer science students at the University of Southern Maine, the Jester speculated that soon ''wars won't be fought with boots on the ground'' but in dark basements packed with glowing computer monitors.
He claims ''no official relationship with law enforcement agencies,'' yet as members of the hacker collective Anonymous'--who take a dim view of the American government'--have been hauled into courtrooms around the globe, it's noteworthy that the Jester has been left untouched. Given that his targets tend to be hostile to American foreign policy, it seems at least plausible that he is operating with the tacit permission of the U.S. intelligence community. Both the Jester and U.S. intelligence officials are tight-lipped on these matters'--and there is no suggestion of an active working relationship'--but in the murky world of cyberwarfare, it certainly seems that the feds are unconcerned by his attacks on their common enemies.
Chris Helgren / ReutersThe Jester has targeted Julian Assange's controversial WikiLeaks.
So does he, or does he not, provide information to the authorities? ''I make my work available'--sometimes [publicly], sometimes privately'--but I have no official relationship with law enforcement agencies,'' he tells me. ''I just put things where certain people might 'find' them. It's an unsaid, unspoken nonrelationship.''
The Jester's techniques have varied over the years. In 2010 after WikiLeaks posted a tranche of classified State Department cables online, he launched a denial of service (DoS) attack'--in which a server is flooded with junk data, rendering it unable to respond to legitimate queries'--and briefly took the site offline. The goal, he tells me, was to knock WikiLeaks off servers in Sweden and ''back onto U.S. servers, where I was hoping the legal peeps would shut that shit off now it was back in jurisdiction. But that didn't happen and we are where we are today.''
In 2011 the Jester pummeled various Web properties of the Westboro Baptist Church (of ''God Hates Fags'' infamy) with DoS attacks in response to the group's picketing the funerals of American soldiers killed in action. This month he took a slightly different tack with Westboro: after the group celebrated the destructive tornado that hit Oklahoma as divine retribution for America's sins, the Jester took over their website, replaced it with an image of Jesus giving the middle finger, and then rerouted traffic to a Red Cross donation page.
Chris Miller/Camera Press/ReduxThe popular Guy Fawkes mask from V for Vendetta has become an Anonymous calling card.
Last week, after the gruesome murder of a soldier by two lone-wolf jihadists in London, British Home Secretary Theresa May called for controversial new laws blocking extremist websites that ''can lead to radicalization.'' The previous day, the Jester'--unconstrained by the niceties of parliamentary debate and British law'--had knocked offline the website of the London-based radical Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary, who acknowledged that one of the accused killers had attended events organized by his (banned) group.
During the war in Libya, the Jester hacked into The Tripoli Post, a Gaddafi-backed news site, and The Malta Independent, planting fake news stories claiming that regime loyalists were defecting en masse. (It was a modern take on an old espionage trick'--one perfected by the KGB during the Cold War.) He has also sought to expose the real identities of those he considers enemies of the United States'--for instance, revealing the names of jihadists who recruit and proselytize online, as well as the names of people affiliated with Anonymous. He points out that, soon after he published the identities of Anonymous members, ''there were some more Anonymous arrests. Just as a side note.''
All of this online intrigue has created a lucrative role for private companies that help victims of hacking play defense.
When we spoke about Stuxnet, the sophisticated malware developed by the United States and Israel that attacked Iran's nuclear facilities at Natanz, the Jester argued that the highly publicized attack demonstrated that cyberwarfare is more than merely disabling websites and taunting your enemies online. ''It showed that one could, with absolute precision, and no boots on the ground, target assets in the physical world too,'' he says. ''I find the ability to 'touch' and adversely affect real-world targets from ... cyberspace very comforting.''
Given his list of nasty targets'--jihadists, Gaddafi, the fanatics of Westboro'--it's hard for me not to find the Jester's work comforting as well. But the wider phenomenon that he typifies is disquieting. Around the world, independent hackers are increasingly engaged in work that looks a lot like espionage and cyberwarfare. Richard Bejtlich, chief security officer at Mandiant, an Alexandria, Virginia''based cybersecurity firm, sees these hackers as a ''return to history. If you look at espionage over thousands of years, for the most part it has been private individuals who were spies. It was only in the 20th century that governments took a real step forward in the creation of national industries around espionage.'' Now, he says, ''the private sector is getting back into the game as a result of the technology available to everyone.''
Luke MacGregor/ReutersThe Jester knocked offline the website of Islamist preacher Anjem Choudary (center).
THE EXISTENCE of both the Jester and his nemeses in Anonymous reflects the sea change that has occurred in hacking and cybersecurity over the past two decades. As Mikko Hypponen, chief research officer of the Helsinki-based firm F-Secure, recently put it, in the 1990s hackers hacked for fun, but ''those happy days are behind us ... The happy hackers have disappeared.'' Today ''all hackers have motives for their actions.''
A typical virus from the happy hacker days was ''Form,'' an annoyance that spread far and wide among computers running the DOS operating system in the early 1990s. Once a month, on a specific date, Form would produce a clicking sound in the computer's speaker when the user pressed a key'--but it did no real damage.
The past two decades have seen a proliferation of hacking movies'--some pure fantasy and others a bit too close to home.
At that time, the notion that hacking could be something more dangerous'--a tool of war or geopolitics'--was little more than spy novel fantasy. In April 1991, as the first Gulf War came to an end, tech journalist John Gantz perpetrated a hoax on his readers: he told them of a spectacularly successful virus developed by the National Security Agency, which had been smuggled from Jordan to Iraq in a printer chip. When the compromised printer chip was plugged into a network, it supposedly impregnated Saddam Hussein's anti-aircraft batteries with its destructive payload, rendering them useless against American air power. Gantz called the virus AF/91, a combination of the year the code was developed and ''April Fools.''
AF/91 may have been fiction, but by the end of the decade Gantz's basic idea was no longer far-fetched. In 1999, during the Kosovo War, Bill Clinton greenlit a CIA campaign of cyberwarfare against Serbian targets, including an attempt to drain Serbian bank accounts associated with the government. It remains unclear whether this was ever carried out'--all relevant documents are still classified'--but it was the first time an American hacking operation had been approved as part of a hot war. (Newsweek reported at the time that the plan was ''criticized by some lawmakers who questioned the wisdom'--and legality'--of launching a risky covert action that, if discovered, could prolong the war, alienate other NATO countries'--and possibly blow back on the United States.'')
More recently, the advent of the Stuxnet virus has made Gantz's hoax seem even more prescient: Iran's Natanz nuclear facility is not connected to the Internet, which means that, like the AF/91 virus of Gantz's imagination, Stuxnet was smuggled in through an infected piece of outside hardware.
Oliver Morris/GettyChinese intruders gained access to email accounts on about 50 Times computers.
While all this was happening'--that is, as governments were turning more and more to cyberwarfare'--another parallel trend was developing: the democratization of hacking among ordinary citizens. ''The Jester might be the highbrow guy'--what everyone pictures as 'the hacker''--at the very top of the pyramid,'' says Raj Samani, chief technical officer for security firm McAfee. ''But that broad bottom of the pyramid is getting bigger because everyone can do it.'' In a forthcoming paper on the proliferation of pay-to-hack tools, Samani points out that committing online crimes'--like purloining email passwords or attacking websites'--doesn't require technical expertise. Just a credit card will suffice. A distributed DoS attack against a website, he says, can be purchased online from freelance hackers for as little as $2 an hour.
Given the ubiquity of hacking, it's little surprise that private individuals and groups have become players in the cyberwarfare arena. Sometimes, as with the Jester and Anonymous, the motive might be ideological. In other instances it may be profit. In October 2012, for instance, the Russian security firm Kaspersky Labs uncovered a massive cyber-espionage operation it dubbed ''Red October.'' The well-designed malware had been in the wild, infecting its quarry, since 2007. But Red October was unique in that it targeted the computers and mobile devices of diplomats, government agencies, and state-run scientific research institutions, allowing its creator to abscond with sensitive'--often classified'--information. The identity of the perpetrator remains unknown, but in January Kaspersky said it had ''no evidence linking this with a nation-state sponsored attack,'' and suggested that it could have been the work of freelance hackers-cum-spies interested in selling the material to governments.
Iran's Natanz nuclear facility is not connected to the Internet, which means that it was infected by a piece of outside hardware.
In some cases, hackers may be working more directly for the benefit of governments'--even as the extent of their connections to those governments remains uncertain. To take one example: no one knows whether the Syrian Electronic Army'--a pro-Assad hacking group once praised by the dictator as a ''virtual army in cyberspace'''--is part of the government it supports. (The organization recently claimed credit for using the Associated Press Twitter account to tweet that there had been an explosion at the White House, causing a brief plunge in the stock market. It has also hacked the Twitter accounts of The Onion'--which has regularly mocked the dictatorship in Damascus'--and Justin Bieber. And in Israel, government officials have alleged that the group tried unsuccessfully to penetrate a computer network controlling Haifa's water supply.)
But even if a government doesn't have an organization like the Syrian Electronic Army to rely on, it can still purchase the services of hackers. ''Anybody, including a government without the offensive cyber capabilities, has this open marketplace,'' Samani told me. During a recent trip to the Oslo Freedom Forum, a conference for dissidents and human rights activists, I had breakfast with the Angolan dissident and anti-corruption campaigner Rafael Marques de Morais, who during the previous day's session on cybersecurity had offhandedly mentioned that his computer'--an Apple laptop'--had seen a significant drop in performance. It wasn't, he soon discovered, in need of routine maintenance. ''Jacob took a look at it,'' he told me gravely, ''and found something.''
Jacob Appelbaum'--a veteran of WikiLeaks who is currently affiliated with the Tor project, which produces free anonymizing software'--had inspected Marques's computer the previous day and quickly discovered a piece of malware. The surreptitiously installed software was taking a screenshot of Marques's computer activity every 20 seconds and uploading the images to a server in India.
Khaled Abdullah Ali Al Mahdi / ReutersAssad has hailed the Syrian Electronic Army as a ''virtual army in cyberspace.''
The story of Appelbaum's discovery proliferated among tech journalists, but one important detail went largely unmentioned: when I emailed Marques last week, he said that, according to Appelbaum's research, ''the malware was custom designed for me.'' (Appelbaum confirmed to me that the infected email that had triggered the attack ''was crafted for him to read specifically.'') Moreover, Marques said digital fingerprints indicated that ''a multinational based in Portugal'' was behind the infection. ''Once [Appelbaum] mentioned the name of the multinational, it all made sense,'' Marques told me. ''It provides auditing services and IT security solutions to the government of Angola.''
The Angolan government, an authoritarian regime flush with oil money, has the financial resources to pay a company to spy on dissidents, even if it probably does not have the technical ability to do so on its own. Of course, it's impossible to know who was truly behind the attack on Marques's computer. Cyber-espionage, after all, is hugely difficult to trace back to its original source. Indeed, for rogue governments, organizations, and individuals, that is part of the allure.
BUT IT isn't just hackers whose political importance is on the rise; all of this online intrigue has also created a lucrative role for private companies that, for rather large fees, help victims of hacking play defense against their tormentors. In their own way, these people, too, have ended up as key players on the geopolitical stage.
In October 2012, New York Times China correspondent David Barboza published a blockbuster expos(C)'--which would later win a Pulitzer'--detailing the vast personal wealth accrued by former prime minister Wen Jiabao. It was classic shoe-leather journalism: using publicly available ''corporate and regulatory records,'' Barboza painted a picture of an authoritarian kleptocracy, in which party grandees feathered their nests with massive bribes and kickbacks.
From exploding pens to scramblers, these spy gadgets are what movies are made of.
China's response to the story was swift: Beijing, which had previously been accused of infiltrating computers at Bloomberg and the Associated Press, hacked into the Times. The method was a simple'--but effective'--technique called spear-phishing, in which hackers send emails to a target organization containing an infected attachment or link. In the end, the Chinese intruders gained access to email accounts on about 50 Times computers and obtained the ''corporate passwords'' of every Times employee. (According to Times editor Jill Abramson, however, there was ''no evidence that sensitive emails or files from the reporting of our articles about the Wen family were accessed, downloaded or copied.'')
In response to the breach, the Times notified the FBI, but federal investigators failed to expel the attackers. In its reporting on the subject, the Times obliquely noted the inadequacy of relying solely on the feds in such situations'--pointing out that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce ''worked closely with the F.B.I. to seal its systems'' after a recent hack, but ''months later, the chamber discovered that Internet-connected devices '... were still communicating with computers in China.'' The Times would not repeat that mistake: it hired the cybersecurity firm Mandiant to help it defend itself.
Mandiant was founded in 2004 by Kevin Mandia, a former U.S. Air Force cyberforensics investigator. It now has 330 employees'--many of whom (Mandiant won't say exactly how many) are former government computer security analysts and retired members of the intelligence community. After the Times discovered the intrusion, Mandiant allowed the hackers'--who it quickly identified as being affiliated with the Chinese government'--to skulk around the newspaper's networks, tracking and learning from their movements before ejecting them.
''The counterintelligence model is the best one for this,'' says Mandiant's Richard Bejtlich. ''In most cases, you are operating against the equivalent of a foreign intelligence agency.'' When Mandiant released a minutely detailed report on Chinese hacking of U.S. corporations in February, the Associated Press said the document was noteworthy because ''the extraordinary details ... came from a private security company without the official backing of the U.S. military or intelligence agencies that are responsible for protecting the nation from a cyberattack.''
I used to have a harder time with my moral compass than I do now,'' the Jester says.
Mandiant is not the only company operating in this space. CrowdStrike, a Mandiant competitor specializing in ''helping enterprises and governments protect their most sensitive intellectual property and national security information,'' takes a more aggressive'--yet still defensive'--approach, telling potential clients that they ''don't have a malware problem, they have an adversary problem.''
Adam Meyers, CrowdStrike's director of intelligence, tells me that his company tries to ''raise the costs'' for those involved in electronic espionage and intellectual property theft, making it too expensive and time-consuming to target his clients. Meyers says that CrowdStrike ''conducts counterintelligence'' against hackers: ''For instance, we can make that network they've infiltrated hostile by making them collect bad or inaccurate information, therefore limiting the effectiveness of the attack.''
Some believe that the intensity of attacks from hostile foreign intelligence agencies requires the offensive capability to ''hack back.'' A recent report by the Commission on the Theft of American Intellectual Property, a lobbying group led by former director of national intelligence Dennis Blair and former ambassador to China Jon Huntsman, urged the passage of laws allowing security companies to switch from defensive measures to offensive ones.
Both experts and politicians have bristled at this idea. ''I get very, very concerned about an unleashed private sector doing active defense,'' House Intelligence Committee chairman Mike Rogers told a cybersecurity conference in February.
The International Spy Museum has acquired the Jester's laptop.
Of course, that kind of aggressive engagement with America's adversaries is something the Jester is already doing. To his credit, he appears to have struggled with the morality of his actions. Around the time he became the Jester, he told the website Infosec Island, ''I do wrestle with whether what I am doing is right.'' In his 2012 chat with University of Southern Maine students, he acknowledged that he violates ''the same laws the bad guys do. I am under no illusions that I am also a criminal.''
But when I ask him whether he still has mixed feelings about his work, he says that his doubts have receded. ''I used to have a harder time with my moral compass than I do now,'' he replies, adding that ''the law is murky and unclear at the moment on cyber related issues [and] I am capitalizing on that fact while I can.''
It's an unsurprising sentiment from someone who sees himself as a soldier in an ongoing war. As he puts it during our chat, ''Cyberspace is fast becoming a serious battle space, everyone is now taking notice, and I am proud to be on the right side of things (kinda).''
Tue, 28 May 2013 08:50
Republican Senator John McCain, a staunch advocate of US military aid to the Syrian opposition, has made a surprise visit to war-torn Syria and met with rebels. The controversial move comes as Russia and the US are trying to set up a peace conference.
According to a report by the Daily Beast, Arizona Senator McCain crossed into Syria form Turkey with General Salem Idris, who leads the Supreme Military Council of the Free Syrian Army, and stayed there for several hours before returning back. The senator met with assembled leaders of Free Syrian Army units in both Turkey and Syria.
Idris told the Daily Beast "We need American help to have change on the ground; we are now in a very critical situation."
A senior State Department official has confirmed that the senator did "cross into Syrian territory" but referred all questions to McCain's office. McCain's spokesman confirmed that the visit took place but declined to give any details.
The move had come shortly before the EU agreed to end its arms embargo on Syrian rebels on Monday. Last week, a US Senate panel voted overwhelmingly to send weapons to forces fighting the Syrian government, underlining growing sentiment among lawmakers for a change in the US approach to the Syrian conflict.
Meanwhile Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State John Kerry have met in Paris where they are discussing the upcoming Geneva peace conference on Syria.
Lavrov, emerging from the talks said that a peace conference on Syria was a ''tall order,'' but expressed hope that "when the United States and the Russian Federation take this kind of initiative, the chances for success are there."
Kerry spoke for both countries when he said they were committed to upholding the principles outlined in the Geneva Communique of 2012, which proposed a transitional government to be elected by mutual consent between the government of Bashar Assad and the Syrian opposition.
McCain's actions are a dangerous provocation reminiscent of his actions on Iraq and Libya, says independent researcher and writer Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich. She adds that under the US Constitution, one of the things that is considered treason is to promote or to bring about war.
"McCain did the same thing for Iraq. He was a part of a Committee for the Liberation of Iraq and he met with the Iraqi opposition and we saw the war there. He was all for this Libyan opposition group.''
''McCain does not serve the interests of the American people or the world at large,'' she told RT.
It remains unclear if the Arizona senator and an outspoken critic of Obama's handling on Syria crisis had informed the White House about his plans to visit Syria.
However Sepahpour-Ulrich does not believe the Obama administration was unaware of the McCain's move.
''I don't think that Senator McCain would take it upon himself to go to Syria and meet with the opposition had he not had a nod from the government otherwise he would be locked up the minute he returns because he is acting against America's interest if indeed that's America's interest.''
The researcher claims that we are seeing two sides here - ''We are seeing the government, the administration, Obama, trying to play the nice guy. But everything that is going on is what had led up to all the other wars in the region.''
''I don't think they want peace '' peace doesn't serve them.''
Tue, 28 May 2013 14:55
AMMAN, May 25: More than 15,000 soldiers from 18 different countries will take part in a joint military exercise in Jordan in the coming weeks, a military official said on Saturday.
Jordan's armed forces will host the ''Eager Lion 2013'' exercise with troops from ''friendly countries'', including the United States, participating, the official Petra news agency cited the official as saying.
They would take part in battlefield, logistics and humanitarian exercises alongside troops from Britain, Bahrain, Canada, Czech Republic, Egypt, France, Iraq, Italy, Lebanon, Pakistan, Poland, Qatar, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia and Yemen, he added.
The official did not say when the manoeuvres were due to begin but said they would run for two weeks and follow last year's ''successful'' operation.
Jordan is a major beneficiary of US military and economic aid, with Washington granting $2.4 billion in the past five years, according to official figures.
The wargames will be held as Jordan is currently hosting around 500,000 refugees who fled the civil war in neighbouring Syria. Amman has repeatedly sought for more support in dealing with the influx.'--AFP
Wed, 29 May 2013 09:34
JERUSALEM (AP) '-- Israel's defense chief said Tuesday a Russian plan to supply sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles to Syria was a "threat" and signaled that Israel is prepared to use force to stop the delivery.
The warning by Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon ratcheted up tensions with Moscow over the planned sale of S-300 air-defense missiles to Syria. Earlier in the day, a top Russian official said his government remained committed to the deal.
Israel has been lobbying Moscow to halt the sale, fearing the missiles would upset the balance of power in the region and could slip into the hands of hostile groups, including the Lebanese militia Hezbollah, a close ally of the Syrian regime.
Israel has carried out several airstrikes in Syria in recent months that are believed to have destroyed weapons shipments bound for Hezbollah. Israel has not confirmed carrying out the attacks.
The delivery of the Russian missiles to Syria could limit the Israeli air force's ability to act. It is not clear whether Israeli warplanes entered Syrian airspace in these attacks.
Earlier this month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia to discuss the Syrian situation with President Vladimir Putin. The sides have said little about the talks, but the S-300s were believed to have been on the agenda.
"Clearly this move is a threat to us," Yaalon told reporters Tuesday when asked about the planned Russian sale.
"At this stage I can't say there is an escalation. The shipments have not been sent on their way yet. And I hope that they will not be sent," he said. But "if God forbid they do reach Syria, we will know what to do."
Since the Syrian conflict erupted in March 2011, Israel repeatedly has voiced concerns that Syria's sophisticated arsenal, including chemical weapons, could either be transferred to Hezbollah, a bitter enemy of Israel, or fall into the hands of rebels battling Syrian President Bashar Assad. The rebels include al-Qaida-affiliated groups that Israel believes could turn their attention toward Israel if they topple Assad.
Syria already possesses Russian-made air defenses, and Israel is believed to have used long-distance bombs fired from Israeli or Lebanese airspace. The S-300s would expand Syria's capabilities, allowing it to counter airstrikes launched from foreign airspace as well.
In Moscow, Russia's deputy foreign minister, Sergei Ryabkov, wouldn't say whether Russia has shipped any of the S-300s, which have a range of up to 200 kilometers (125 miles) and the capability to track and strike multiple targets simultaneously. But he insisted that Moscow isn't going to abandon the deal despite strong Western and Israeli criticism.
"We understand the concerns and signals sent to us from different capitals. We realize that many of our partners are concerned about the issue," Ryabkov said. "We have no reason to revise our stance."
He said the missiles could be a deterrent against foreign intervention in Syria and would not be used against Syrian rebels, who do not have an air force.
"We believe that such steps to a large extent help restrain some 'hotheads' considering a scenario to give an international dimension to this conflict," he said.
Russia has been the key ally of the Syrian regime, protecting it from United Nations sanctions and providing it with weapons despite the civil war there that has claimed over 70,000 lives.
In any case, an open confrontation between Israel and Russia would seem to be months away. Russian military analysts say it would take at least one year for Syrian crews to learn how to operate the S-300s, and the training will involve a live drill with real ammunition at a Russian shooting range. There has been no evidence that any such training has begun.
If Russia were to deliver the missiles to Syria, Israeli and Western intelligence would likely detect the shipment, and Israel would have ample time to strike before the system is deployed.
Ryabkov's statement came a day after European Union's decision to lift an arms embargo against Syrian rebels. He criticized the EU decision, saying it would help fuel the conflict.
Israel's defense chief spoke at an annual civil defense drill to prepare for missile attacks on Israel. This year's exercise comes at a time of heightened concerns that Israel could be dragged into the Syrian civil war.
A number of mortar shells from the fighting in Syria have landed in the Israeli-controlled Golan Heights. While Israel believes most of the fire has been errant, it has accused Syria of firing intentionally at Israeli targets on several occasions, and last week the sides briefly exchanged fire.
Israel's civil defense chief, Home Front Minister Gilad Erdan, said this week's drill was not specifically connected to the tensions with Syria.
"But of course we must take into consideration that something like that might happen in the near future because of what we see in Syria, and because we know that chemical weapons exist in Syria and might fall to the hands of radical Muslim terror groups," he said.
Associated Press writer Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow contributed to this report.
Wed, 29 May 2013 09:33
The White House has asked the Pentagon to draw up plans for a no-fly zone inside Syria that would be enforced by the U.S. and other countries such as France and Great Britain, two administration officials told The Daily Beast.
A Syrian army soldier holds a machine gun during a battle against opposition fighters in the city of Qusayr, in Syria's central Homs province on May 23, 2013. (AFP/Getty)
The request was made shortly before Secretary of State John Kerry toured the Middle East last week to try and finalize plans for an early June conference between the Syrian regime and rebel leaders in Geneva. The opposition, however, has yet to confirm its attendance and is demanding that the end of Syrian President Bashar al Assad's rule be a precondition for negotiations, a condition Assad is unlikely to accept.
President Obama's dual-track strategy of continuing to pursue a political solution to the two-year-old uprising in Syria while also preparing for more direct U.S. military involvement includes authorizing the Joint Chiefs of Staff for the first time to plan for multilateral military actions inside Syria, the two officials said. They added that no decisions on actually using force have yet been made.
''The White House is still in contemplation mode but the planning is moving forward and it's more advanced than it's ever been,'' one administration official told The Daily Beast. ''All this effort to pressure the regime is part of the overall effort to find a political solution, but what happens if Geneva fails? It's only prudent to plan for other options.''
In a May 8 meeting of the National Security Council Principals Committee, the White House tasked several agencies with reporting on the pros and cons of two additional potential courses of action: arming vetted and moderate elements of the Syrian opposition, such as the Free Syrian Army, and formally recognizing the Syrian opposition council as the government of Syria, which would mean removing formal U.S. recognition of the Assad regime.
Sen. John McCain '' who's advocated for more aggressive U.S. support of the Syrian rebels and who traveled secretly into the country Monday to meet with the leaders of the Free Syrian Army '' told The Daily Beast last week that despite the request for plans he doubts the White House will decide to implement a no-fly zone in Syria. The Pentagon and the Joint Chiefs are opposed to the idea, he said.
''One thing about the Pentagon, if they don't want to do something, they will tell you all sorts of reasons why they can't do it. It's going to take significant pressure for them to come up with realistic plans,'' McCain said. ''They will invent ways for us not to do it until the president of the United States says we've got to do it.''
McCain said a realistic plan for a no-fly zone would include hundreds of planes, and would be most effective if it included destroying Syrian airplanes on runways, bombing those runways, and moving U.S. Patriot missile batteries in Turkey close to the border so they could protect airspace inside northern Syria.
In April, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Defense that the military was planning for a range of options in Syria but that he did not necessarily support using those options.
"It's only prudent to plan for other options.''
"We're prepared with options, should military force be called upon and assuming it can be effectively used to secure our interests without making matters worse,'' he said. ''We must also be ready for options for an uncertain and dangerous future. That is a future we have not yet identified."
The administration probably won't make any decisions about greater intervention in Syria until after the Geneva conference, McCain said.
''I think they're moving towards the planning because the pressure is so great, but we're in a full-court stall until this conference in Geneva,'' he said.
U.S. Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford and White House Coordinator for the Middle East, North Africa, and the Gulf Region Phil Gordon traveled to Turkey from May 9 to 11 and met there with leaders of the Syrian opposition to encourage them to attend the Geneva conference. A White House official told The Daily Beast that the administration agrees that Assad should step down but does not agree that this should be a precondition to moving forward with the Geneva plan.
''In meetings with Syrian opposition leaders to discuss the implementation of the Geneva Communiqu(C) we underscored our support for the Syrian Council (SC) as the legitimate representative of the Syrian people, reaffirmed our support for a political transition based on the framework of the Geneva Communiqu(C), and reiterated that Assad must go,'' the official said.
Critics of the administration, including McCain, doubt that the new Geneva conference '' coming a year after the earlier summit produced the Communiqu(C) that called for an end to violence and democratic transition ''will produce any progress toward a political solution. They also doubt that the Russians are committed to such a solution, considering that they continue to provide arms to the Assad regime. But Kerry has continued to endorse and push for the conference as a way to begin real negotiations between the regime and the opposition.
''This is a Kerry initiative,'' an administration official said. ''It's also a test of the veracity of the Russian claims that they are committed to a peaceful outcome that reflects the will of the Syrian people.''
The Geneva conference will happen at about the same time as a huge set of military exercises conducted in Jordan called ''Eager Lion,'' which will include 15,000 troops from 18 countries, including the United States. The U.S. could leave military assets in Jordan following the exercise that might be useful for a no-fly zone, such as F-16 fighter aircraft.
Caitlin Hayden, the spokesperson for the White House's National Security Staff, told The Daily Beast that the White House is considering a range of possible actions in Syria.
''As the president reiterated last week, all options are on the table with regard to Syria, though a scenario involving American boots on the ground is not likely,'' she said. ''We are prepared for all contingencies,'' she said. ''We will continue to urgently work to support the opposition. We are consulting with the Syrian Opposition Coalition and the Supreme Military Council about how we can continue to elevate our assistance; we are leading the world in providing humanitarian assistance for those affected by the violence; and we will continue to coordinate international efforts to end the bloodshed and hasten a political transition to a Syria where Bashad al-Assad has no role.''
Some Syria experts praised the White House's decision to plan more options in Syria, but doubted that Obama would actually make the decision to intervene in the near term.
''No doubt, the United States and its like-minded allies and partners are fully capable, without the use of ground troops, of obviating the Assad regime's degraded fixed and mobile air defenses and suppressing the regime's use of airpower,'' said Robert Zarate, policy director at the Foreign Policy Initiative, a Washington-based group that advocates for aggressive U.S. military action in support of human rights and democratic allies. ''But the question is whether that's something President Obama actually has the will and resolve to do.''
Mon, 27 May 2013 02:44
Fredrik Sandberg/Agence France-Presse '-- Getty Images
Burned-out cars in the Stockholm suburb of Rinkeby last week after groups made up mostly of young immigrants rioted.
STOCKHOLM '-- Eva Bromster, an elementary school principal, was jolted awake by a telephone call late Thursday night. ''Your school is burning,'' her boss, the director of the local education department, told her.
Ms. Bromster rushed to the school, in the mostly immigrant district of Tensta, north of Stockholm, and found one room gutted by fire and another filled with ankle-deep water after firefighters had doused the flames. It was the second fire at the school in three days.
In Stockholm and other towns and cities last week, bands made up mostly of young immigrants set buildings and cars ablaze in a spasm of destructive rage rarely seen in a country proud of its normally tranquil, law-abiding ways.
The disturbances, with echoes of urban eruptions in France in 2005 and Britain in 2011, have pushed Sweden to the center of a heated debate across Europe about immigration and the tensions it causes in a time of deep economic malaise.
The riots, now subsiding, have produced less damage than the earlier ones in Paris and London, which also involved mostly immigrants. But the unrest has shaken Sweden, which has a reputation for welcoming immigrants and asylum seekers, including those fleeing violence in countries like Iraq, Somalia and Syria, and regularly ranks in surveys as one of the world's happiest places.
''I don't know why anybody would want to burn our school,'' Ms. Bromster said. ''I can't understand it. Maybe they are not so happy with life.''
The riots are not unprecedented here. In 2008 and 2010, immigrants clashed with the police in the southern port city of Malmo. But the past week's arson attacks in Stockholm, the capital, and the spectacle of teenagers hurling stones at firefighters have left many Swedes wondering what went wrong in a society that has invested so heavily in helping the underprivileged.
While the violence was concentrated in relatively poor districts, most of their residents have been shielded from dire poverty by a welfare system that is one of the world's most expansive, despite recent cutbacks.
Sweden's center-right prime minister, Fredrik Reinfeldt, scornfully described the riots as ''hooliganism,'' while the Swedish Democrats, a far-right party, have seized on the violence to push their anti-immigrant stance and called for the deportation of nonnative Swedes who break the law. ''This is not just a police issue,'' said Jimmie Akesson, the party's leader, but ''a direct result of an irresponsible immigration policy that has created deep cracks in Swedish society.''
The left, which dominated Swedish politics for decades and devised the cradle-to-grave welfare system, has blamed reduced state benefits and a modest shift toward the privatization of public services for the unrest, pointing to an erosion of the country's tolerant, egalitarian ethos. A recent report by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development said that income inequality had grown faster in Sweden than in any other industrialized nation between 1985 and the end of the past decade, although it remains far more equal than most countries.
''The rich are getting richer, and the poor are getting poorer,'' said Barbro Sorman, an activist of the opposition Left Party. ''Sweden is starting to look like the U.S.A.''
But Stockholm's immigrant enclaves, including Tensta and the nearby suburb of Husby, where the riots began May 19 after the police fatally shot a 69-year-old immigrant wielding a knife, show few outward signs of deprivation.
Created in the 1960s as part of a state building blitz to create a million new homes in a decade, Stockholm's northern suburbs now offer well-tended parks, graceless but well-maintained public housing, well-equipped schools, youth centers, libraries and legions of social workers financed by the state.
Dejan Stankovic, the Serbian-born manager of a team of government youth workers that has joined parents and other volunteers on nightly street patrols, recalled a visit to the area by a group of mystified American social workers. ''They said, 'It is green and safe, so what is the problem?' ''
One big problem is the lack of jobs. The national unemployment rate is about 8 percent, but the rate is at least twice as high in immigrant areas and four times as high for those under 25. But, said Nima Sanandaji, a Kurdish-Swedish author of several books on immigration who was born in Iran, remote areas in the north of Sweden have more people out of work, ''but they are not throwing rocks and burning cars.''
Stockholm burns, Ramadan comes early July, 18 hour days no food
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:17
Dame Stella Rimington said members of the public have to be the Government's 'eyes and ears'78-year-old, who spoke at the Hay Festival, was MI5's first female directorBy Emily Davies
PUBLISHED: 20:02 EST, 27 May 2013 | UPDATED: 02:47 EST, 28 May 2013
Former head of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington has called for British people to inform security services if they suspect their neighbours maybe extremists
The former head of MI5 Dame Stella Rimington has called for British people to inform security services if they suspect their neighbours maybe extremists.
Dame Stella, who supports the Government's controversial 'snoopers' charter', said people need to be more alert because it is impossible for security services to spot every threat.
She called for a wartime vigilance and for people to be the Government's 'eyes and ears' following the killing of Lee Rigby.
The 78-year-old, who was MI5's first female Director General, said: 'The community has the responsibility to act as the eyes and ears, as they did during the war '... where there were all these posters up saying the walls have ears and the enemy is everywhere.
'There have often been indications in the community, whether it's Muslim or anywhere else, that people are becoming extremists and spouting hate phrases.'
Dame Stella said security services had to prioritise the most dangerous threats because 'thousands' of people were being radicalised in Britain.
She said further terror attacks on the UK were inevitable unless the country became a 'police state'.
Her comments, made at the Hay Festival, were prompted following the killing of 25-year-old soldier Lee Rigby by alleged Islamist fanatics Michael Adebolajo, 28, and Michael Adebowale, 22, in Woolwich last Wednesday.
Radicalised: Michael Adebolajo brandishing bloodied knives after the murder of Lee Rigby last week
Arrested: In 2010 Michael Adebolajo, second from right, was among nine suspected members of the Al-Shabaab movement captured by Kenyan police
Dame Stella said the Woolwich killing was classified as a 'terrorist attack' because of the ideology behind the attack.
It has now emerged that Adebolajo made a second attempt to travel to Somalia to join extremist groups after failing in 2010.
The killing has raised questions about MI5 after it also emerged the two suspects were known to them.
Adebolajo was detained in Kenya in 2010 after trying to join a terrorist group.
An investigation by parliamentary intelligence is being carried out to determine whether there were intelligence failings.
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Federal Register | In the Matter of the Designation of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group aka Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain (GICM) and All Associated Aliases as a Foreign Terrorist Organization Pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Natio
Tue, 28 May 2013 22:22
Based upon a review of the Administrative Record assembled in this matter, and in consultation with the Attorney General and the Secretary of the Treasury, I conclude that the circumstances that were the basis for the designation of Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group as foreign terrorist organization have changed in such a manner as to warrant revocation of the designation.
Therefore, I hereby determine that the designation of the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group as a foreign terrorist organization, pursuant to Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, as amended (8 U.S.C. 1189), shall be revoked.
This determination shall be published in the Federal Register.
Dated: May 13, 2013.
John F. Kerry,
Secretary of State.
[FR Doc. 2013-12611 Filed 5-24-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4710-10-P
Thu, 30 May 2013 09:27
27 May 2013Last updated at15:55Germany's national railway company, Deutsche Bahn, plans to test small drones to try to reduce the amount of graffiti being sprayed on its property.
The idea is to use airborne infra-red cameras to collect evidence, which could then be used to prosecute vandals who deface property at night.
A company spokesman said drones would be tested at rail depots soon.
But it is not yet clear how Germany's strict anti-surveillance laws might affect their use.
Graffiti is reported to cost Deutsche Bahn about 7.6m euros (£6.5m; $10m) a year.
German media report that each drone will cost about 60,000 euros and fly almost silently, up to 150m (495ft) above ground.
The BBC's Stephen Evans in Berlin says using cameras to film people surreptitiously is a sensitive issue in Germany, where privacy is very highly valued.
Google privacy rowWhen Google sent its cameras through the country three years ago to build up its "Street View" of 20 cities, many people objected to their houses appearing online. Even Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle said: "I will do all I can to prevent it".
Such was the opposition that Google was compelled to give people an opt-out. If householders indicated that they did not want their homes shown online, then the fronts of the buildings would be blurred. More than 200,000 householders said that they did want their homes blanked out on Street View.
A Deutsche Bahn spokesman told the BBC that its drones would be used in big depots where vandals enter at night and spray-paint carriages. The drones would have infra-red sensors sophisticated enough for people to be identified, providing key evidence for prosecutions.
But it seems the cameras would be tightly focused within Deutsche Bahn's own property - people or property outside the depots would not be filmed, so easing any privacy concerns, our correspondent says.
The drone issue is also sensitive in Germany because earlier this month the defence ministry halted an expensive project to develop Germany's own surveillance drone, called Euro Hawk.
The huge unmanned aircraft would be used abroad but would need to be able to fly in German airspace, if only to take off and land on their way to and from the land to be watched, our correspondent reports.
But it became clear that the air traffic authorities were not going to grant that permission. The reasoning was that Germany's military drones would be unable to avoid collisions with other, civilian aircraft.
Small drones on private land do not need permission from air traffic controllers - big drones do.
So Germany seems to be entering a legal grey area - it is not clear when the flight of a drone may become so extensive that the wider authorities need to intervene, Stephen Evans reports.
Wed, 29 May 2013 12:02
DAKAR, Senegal (AP) '-- After years of trying to discipline him, the leaders of al-Qaida's North African branch sent one final letter to their most difficult employee. In page after scathing page, they described how he didn't answer his phone when they called, failed to turn in his expense reports, ignored meetings and refused time and again to carry out orders.
Most of all, they claimed he had failed to carry out a single spectacular operation, despite the resources at his disposal.
The employee, international terrorist Moktar Belmoktar, responded the way talented employees with bruised egos have in corporations the world over: He quit and formed his own competing group. And within months, he carried out two lethal operations that killed 101 people in all: one of the largest hostage-takings in history at a BP-operated gas plant in Algeria in January, and simultaneous bombings at a military base and a French uranium mine in Niger just last week.
The al-Qaida letter, found by The Associated Press inside a building formerly occupied by their fighters in Mali, is an intimate window into the ascent of an extremely ambitious terrorist leader, who split off from regional command because he wanted to be directly in touch with al-Qaida central. It's a glimpse into both the inner workings of a highly structured terrorist organization that requires its commanders to file monthly expense reports, and the internal dissent that led to his rise. And it foreshadows a terrorism landscape where charismatic jihadists can carry out attacks directly in al-Qaida's name, regardless of whether they are under its command.
Rudolph Atallah, the former head of counterterrorism for Africa at the Pentagon and one of three experts who authenticated the 10-page letter dated Oct. 3, said it helps explain what happened in Algeria and Niger, both attacks that Belmoktar claimed credit for on jihadist forums.
"He's sending a message directly north to his former bosses in Algeria saying, 'I'm a jihadi. I deserve to be separate from you.' And he's also sending a message to al-Qaida, saying, 'See, those bozos in the north are incompetent. You can talk to me directly.' And in these attacks, he drew a lot of attention to himself," says Atallah, who recently testified before Congress on Belmoktar's tactics.
Born in northern Algeria, the 40-something Belmoktar, who is known in Pentagon circles by his initials MBM, traveled to Afghanistan at the age of 19, according to his online biography. He claims he lost an eye in battle and trained in al-Qaida's camps, forging ties that would allow him two decades later to split off from its regional chapter.
Over the years, there have been numerous reports of Belmoktar being sidelined or expelled by al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. The letter recovered in Timbuktu, one of thousands of pages of internal documents in Arabic found by the AP earlier this year, shows he stayed loyal to al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM, until last year, and traces the history of their difficult relationship.
The letter, signed by the group's 14-member Shura Council, or governing body, describes its relationship with Belmoktar as "a bleeding wound," and criticizes his proposal to resign and start his own group.
"Your letter ... contained some amount of backbiting, name-calling and sneering," they write. "We refrained from wading into this battle in the past out of a hope that the crooked could be straightened by the easiest and softest means. ... But the wound continued to bleed, and in fact increasingly bled, until your last letter arrived, ending any hope of stanching the wound and healing it."
They go on to compare their group to a towering mountain before raging storms and pounding waves, and say Belmoktar's plan "threatens to fragment the being of the organization and tear it apart limb by limb."
They then begin enumerating their complaints against Belmoktar in 30 successive bullet points.
"Abu Abbas is not willing to follow anyone," they add, referring to him by his nom de guerre, Khaled Abu Abbas. "He is only willing to be followed and obeyed."
First and foremost, they quibble over the amount of money raised by the 2008 kidnapping of Canadian diplomat Robert Fowler, the highest-ranking United Nations official in Niger, and his colleague. Belmoktar's men held both for four months, and in a book he later published, Fowler said he did not know if a ransom was paid.
The letter says they referred the case to al-Qaida central to force concessions in the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan, a plan stymied when Belmoktar struck his own deal for 700,000 euros (about $900,000) for both men. That's far below the $3 million per hostage that European governments were normally paying, according to global intelligence unit Stratfor.
"Rather than walking alongside us in the plan we outlined, he managed the case as he liked," they write indignantly. "Here we must ask, who handled this important abduction poorly? ... Does it come from the unilateral behavior along the lines of our brother Abu Abbas, which produced a blatant inadequacy: Trading the weightiest case (Canadian diplomats!!) for the most meager price (700,000 euros)!!"
The complaint reflects how al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb, initially considered one of the group's weaker wings, rose to prominence by bankrolling its operation with an estimated $89 million raised by kidnapping-for-ransom foreign aid workers and tourists. No less than Osama bin Laden endorsed their business model, according to documents retrieved in the terror leader's hideout in Pakistan.
The letter also confirms for the first time that payments from European governments went directly toward buying arms to carry out attacks against Western targets, as long speculated by experts. The council chides Belmoktar for not following this practice.
"(The chapter) gave Abu Abbas a considerable amount of money to buy military material, despite its own great need for money at the time. ... Abu Abbas didn't participate in stepping up to buy weapons," the letter says. "So whose performance deserves to be called poor in this case, I wonder?"
The list of slights is long: He would not take their phone calls. He refused to send administrative and financial reports. He ignored a meeting in Timbuktu, calling it "useless." He even ordered his men to refuse to meet with al-Qaida emissaries. And he aired the organization's dirty laundry in online jihadist forums, even while refusing to communicate with the chapter via the Internet, claiming it was insecure.
Sounding like managers in any company, the Shura leaders accuse Belmoktar of not being able to get along with his peers. They charge that he recently went to Libya without permission from the chapter, which had assigned the "Libya dossier" to a rival commander called Abou Zeid. And they complain that the last unit they sent Belmoktar for backup in the Sahara spent a full three years trying to contact him before giving up.
"Why do the successive emirs of the region only have difficulties with you? You in particular every time? Or are all of them wrong and brother Khaled is right?" they charge.
The letter reveals the rifts not only between Belmoktar and his superiors, but also the distance between the local chapter and al-Qaida central. The local leaders were infuriated that Belmoktar was essentially going over their heads, saying that even AQIM has had few interactions with the mother brand in Pakistan and Afghanistan, a region they refer to by the ancient name of Khorasan.
"The great obstacles between us and the central leadership are not unknown to you. ... For example, since we vowed our allegiance, up until this very day, we have only gotten from our emirs in Khorasan just a few messages, from the two sheiks, bin Laden (God rest his soul) and Ayman (al-Zawahri)," they write. "All this, despite our multiple letters to them."
Belmoktar's ambition comes through clearly not only in the bitter responses of his bosses, but also in his own words: "Despite great financial resources ... our works were limited to the routine of abductions, which the mujahedeen got bored with."
In another quote, he calls bin Laden and al-Zawahri "the leaders of the Islamic nation, not the leaders of an organization alone. We love them and we were convinced by their program. ... So it's even more now that we are swords in their hands."
To which AQIM replies with more than a hint of sarcasm: "Very lovely words. ... Do you consider it loyalty to them to revolt against their emirs and threaten to tear apart the organization?"
Belmoktar's defection was a long time in the making, and dates back to his time as a commander of Algeria's Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat, or GSPC. When the Iraq war started in 2003, his ambition created friction between younger Algerian fighters like himself, who wanted to join the global jihad, and an older generation whose only goal was to create an Islamic state in Algeria, according to Islamic scholar Mathieu Guidere, a professor at the University of Toulouse.
The younger faction won, but Belmoktar felt slighted because his contemporary, Abdelmalek Droukdel, was named emir of the GSPC, instead of him.
Soon after, the group petitioned to join al-Qaida. The terror network announced a "blessed union" on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks in 2006.
Both Belmoktar and Droukdel wrote "candidacy letters" to bin Laden asking to be emir, according to Guidere's book on the subject. Again, Droukdel won.
Frustrated, Belmoktar drifted farther south. He set up in the ungoverned dunes of neighboring Mali, took a Malian wife and tapped into the smuggling routes that crisscrossed the Sahara, amassing arms and fiercely loyal fighters who called themselves, "The Masked Brigade."
His fighters killed more than a dozen soldiers at a military garrison in Mauritania in 2005 and gunned down four French tourists there in 2007. On multiple occasions Belmoktar was declared dead, including most recently in March, and each time, he re-emerged to strike again.
The sharpest blow in the council's letter may have been the accusation that, despite this history of terrorism, Belmoktar and his unit had not pulled off any attack worthy of mention in the Sahara.
"Any observer of the armed actions (carried out) in the Sahara will clearly notice the failure of The Masked Brigade to carry out spectacular operations, despite the region's vast possibilities '-- there are plenty of mujahedeen, funding is available, weapons are widespread and strategic targets are within reach," the letter says. "Your brigade did not achieve a single spectacular operation targeting the crusader alliance."
In December, just weeks after receiving the letter, Belmoktar declared in a recorded message that he was leaving the al-Qaida chapter to form his own group. He baptized it, "Those Who Sign in Blood."
With that name, he announced his global ambition. "Those Who Sign in Blood" was also the name of an Algerian extremist unit that hijacked an Air France flight leaving Algiers in 1994. Though their goal to fly the plane into the Eiffel Tower in Paris was thwarted, the unit foreshadowed the terrorist vision that led to the fall of the Twin Towers in New York.
On Jan. 11, French warplanes began bombarding northern Mali, the start of a now 5-month-old offensive to flush out the jihadists, including Belmoktar's brigade. Five days later, suicide bombers took more than 600 hostages in Ain Amenas in far eastern Algeria and killed 37, all but one foreigners, including American, French and British nationals. Belmoktar claimed responsibility in a triumphant recording.
It was no accident that he chose Ain Amenas, Guidere said. The area is in the home province of Abou Zeid, Belmoktar's longtime rival who commanded a different Saharan brigade and was always in step with the Algeria-based emirate.
"It's a punch in the gut," Guidere said. "It's saying, 'You've never been able to do anything even in your native region. Watch me. I'll carry out the biggest hostage operation ever in that very region. ... Ain Amenas is the illustration of his ability to do a quality operation, when he is under no authority other than his own, when he doesn't have to turn in expense reports or answer to anybody."
As if to turn the knife even further, last week Belmoktar also claimed responsibility for a May 23 attack at a French-owned uranium mine in Arlit, Niger. It was in Arlit in 2010 that Abou Zeid carried out his boldest operation and seized seven foreign hostages, including four French nationals who are still in the hands of AQIM.
In an apparent attempt to raise the stakes, Belmoktar's men slipped past a truck entering the mine and detonated explosives inside. More than 100 miles to the south, a different unit of fighters under his command killed 24 soldiers at a military camp, with help from another local al-Qaida off-shoot, called the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa.
Jean-Paul Rouiller, the director of the Geneva Center for Training and Analysis of Terrorism, compared the escalation in attacks to a quarrel between a man and a woman in which each tries to have the last word. "They accused him of not doing something," Rouiller said. "His response is, 'I'll show you what I can do.'"
Belmoktar might have seen a certain justice in the coverage of the last week's attack in Niger in the leading French daily, Le Monde. Among the adjectives used to describe the event: "Spectacular."
Rukmini Callimachi, AP's West Africa bureau chief, reported this article in Dakar, Senegal and Timbuktu, Mali. Lee Keath, AP's Mideast enterprise editor in Cairo, translated the Arabic letter into English. The letter can be found in Arabic and English at:
Callimachi can be reached at www.twitter.com/rcallimachi
Wed, 29 May 2013 18:25
Madison RuppertActivist PostAccording to Pakistani officials and militants, a leader of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a drone strike on Wednesday while the people of Pakistan continue to decry the U.S. drone program.
Despite President Obama's claims that there would be new restrictions on and transparency in the drone program, American officials refused to confirm the strike or any details about it, despite the news being reported in Pakistan, according to The New York Times.
If this drone strike is officially confirmed, it would be the first strike since Obama gave his speech last week promising changes to the drone program.
The strike reportedly killed Taliban deputy leader Wali ur-Rehman along with six others and injured an additional four in the North Waziristan tribal region, according to local tribesmen and Pakistani security officials.
The New York Times interestingly points out that it is unclear if Rehman was considered to pose a ''continuing and imminent threat'' to the citizens of the United States, which is one of the guiding criteria for future strikes outlined by Obama in his speech.
This was quite similar to what Attorney General Eric Holder wrote when admitting that the U.S. drone program has killed four American citizens. Unfortunately, the meaning of ''imminent'' is nowhere near what most people may think.
''But in the days since the president's speech, American officials have asserted behind the scenes that the new standards would not apply to the C.I.A. drone program in Pakistan as long as American troops remained next door in Afghanistan,'' the New York Times reported.
This is hardly surprising, given that earlier this year it was reported that the CIA would not have to abide by the Obama administration's so-called drone playbook.During his briefing Wednesday afternoon, White House spokesman Jay Carney wouldn't confirm the strike, though he did mention a long list of accusations against Rehman leveled by the U.S.
Rehman has been accused of organizing attacks on American troops in Afghanistan and has a $5 million bounty on his head placed by the U.S. government.
Danger Room similarly notes that while the U.S. did blame him for a 2009 attack on a secret CIA base in Afghanistan, the Pakistani Taliban's ''involvement in ongoing plots against the U.S. is less evident, however, and Obama explicitly said 'America does not take strikes to punish individuals.'''
Spencer Ackerman points out that the Pakistani Taliban primarily poses a threat to Pakistan itself, not the United States.
Indeed, the CIA drone program in Pakistan reportedly began in 2004 with the U.S. government agreeing to kill the Pakistani government's enemies.
American officials have also called the killing of militant figures like Rehman ''good-will kills,'' hinting that some officials in Pakistan would appreciate them, according to the New York Times.
While Obama seemed to say that the U.S. was no longer going to pursue and kill the enemies of countries like Pakistan and Yemen, it doesn't seem like that is the case.
Interestingly, the strike results in quite varied reactions from Pakistanis, though much of it was negative as has been the trend in response to the U.S. drone program as a whole.
Earlier this month a high court in Pakistan made this very clear in ruling that the strikes are illegal, inhumane and a violation of the UN charter on human rights. The court also directed the Pakistani government to use force to ''protect the right to life'' of Pakistanis.
The Pakistani Foreign Ministry condemned the strike in a statement and Nawaz Sharif, the incoming prime minister, previously promised to restrict drone activity.
''Drone attacks are against the national sovereignty and a challenge for the country's autonomy and independence,'' Sharif said earlier this month.
The foreign office spokesperson said the strikes ''are counterproductive, entail loss of innocent lives, and violate the principles of national sovereignty and international law,'' according to the Guardian.
Senator Mushahid Hussain, the chairman of the Pakistani senate's defense committee, also said that Obama's statement was ''not good enough unless there is a cessation of drone attacks.''
The people of Pakistan also seem to dislike the drone program as well, with an overwhelming number of the voters in the recent elections supporting the two parties condemning the U.S. drone attacks.
Both Sharif and his political rival Imran Khan have spoke out against drones with Khan actually vowing to shoot down drones, according to the Guardian.
The U.S. government is already moving to stem the increasingly strong anti-drone movement in Pakistan with Secretary of State John Kerry's visit to Pakistan in early June.
Kerry is reportedly going to ''rebuild this important partnership'' with Pakistan during his visit.
''Kerry's meetings with the new leadership will test Washington's 'willingness to work closely on issues of common interest,''' according to a report from the Asia Times.
Will the new government in Pakistan take more radical steps to curtail the U.S. drone program? Will the Obama administration actually follow through with the statements Obama made in his speech?
Let us know what you think by leaving a comment on this article, tweeting us or leaving a comment on our Facebook page.
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This article first appeared at End the Lie.
Madison Ruppert is the Editor and Owner-Operator of the alternative news and analysis database End The Lie and has no affiliation with any NGO, political party, economic school, or other organization/cause. He is available for podcast and radio interviews. Madison also now has his own radio show on UCYTV Monday nights 7 PM - 9 PM PT/10 PM - 12 AM ET. Show page link here: http://UCY.TV/EndtheLie. If you have questions, comments, or corrections feel free to contact him at admin@EndtheLie.com
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Thu, 30 May 2013 09:34
Pinterest is rubbing up against the limits of its own overmodest acceptable usage policy. The social site that lets people share images of things they really dig has told the FT it plans to allow more nude images to be pinned by users '-- following complaints from artists and photographers about its current nudes ban.
No nudity is the first clause in Pinterest's current acceptable use policy:
However the company told the FT yesterday that it is planning to loosen its top button when it comes to arty nudes. ''Pinterest is about expressing your passions and people are passionate about art and that may include nudes. So we're going to try to accommodate that,'' it told the newspaper.
More to the point, it may not have much choice. Search for art nudes on Pinterest and there's no shortage of artistic nude '-- and frankly just scantily clad '-- content already being pinned. So the site may well simply be responding to what its users are already doing.
Policing user generated content is always a huge challenge '-- and one which Facebook has recently found itself falling foul of as a result of gender-based hatred posts. That social network was targeted by an anti-sexism campaigning organisation for failing to remove violently misogynistic posts that incite rape and sexual hatred.
The campaigning organisation, the Everyday Sexism Project, targeted Facebook advertisers whose ads were appearing next to the offensive posts, urging them to pull their ads until the content was removed. Various advertisers did so, and earlier this week Facebook's Safety team posted an update saying it intends to review and update its guidelines for identifying and removing gender-based hate speech. So, while user generated content may be a low cost way to power your business, it can also clearly cause serious damage if it's not managed correctly.
Returning to Pinterest, the site's focus on imagery makes it a natural home for people with an interest in art '-- and that makes its current acceptable usage policy a bit too inflexible. There's no editing out the human form from art history, so liberating acceptable usage by allowing some nudity makes a lot of sense. The challenge will be for Pinterest to keep things clean enough that it doesn't put off swathes of its less arty, more home-makery focused users '-- who want to see pins of cupcakes, not, y'know, cupcake.
We've reached out to Pinterest to ask how specifically it plans to amend and police a new, more nude-friendly policy '-- without opening the floodgates to more hardcore adult material '-- and will update this story with any response.
The porn issue also rears its head on Tumblr, of course '' but did not prevent Yahoo! from spending $1.1 billion to acquire all that UGC, even the NSFW bits of it.
Pinterest is a social networking site with a visually-pleasing ''virtual pinboard'' interface. Users collect photos and link to products they love, creating their own pinboards and following the pinboards of other people whom they find interesting. The site has experienced rapid growth in recent months.
'' Learn more
Tue, 28 May 2013 12:02
Green, bar-coded identity books will be replaced with identity smart cards from July, Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor said on Thursday.
''We will begin with the issuing of the cards to new applicants and those who need re-issuing of identity documents from July this year,'' she told reporters in Pretoria.
The South African company, Altech Card Solutions, had won the R40 million tender to supply the Government Printing Works (GPW) with card personalisation machines and an automated mailing solution, manufactured by DataCard in the US.
The leading identity card manufacturer, Gemalto Southern Africa, had won the Euro16m (about R199m) tender to supply pre-printed polycarbonate cards containing a contactless microchip.
''Through a rigorous tender process, GPW identified two world-class suppliers, each with extensive experience in their field'...,'' said Pandor.
''The smart card is part of the national effort to consolidate the restoration, common citizenship and identity and dignity to our people,'' she said.
Pandor said it would take six or seven years to phase out the old identity documents (ID).
She said the identity card roll-out would start at 27 regional offices.
Director general Mkuseli Apleni said those who had fraudulent IDs were in trouble.
''This is a security-tight process'... Hard luck to those with fraudulent documents.''
More government newsBroadband spectrum licensing one step closer to reality
DoC wants transparency on SMS, voice, and data prices
Internet content regulation in South Africa by FPB
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:47
28 May 2013Last updated at09:13 ETBy Zoe KleinmanTechnology reporter, BBC NewsThousands of protesters are demanding tougher action from Facebook over posts that they say degrade women.
More than 50,000 have tweeted in support of the FBrape campaign and around 5,000 have emailed brands whose advertising appears around the content.
The campaign focuses on content that portrays rape and violence against women positively. Facebook has removed many examples already.
A separate petition online has gathered more than 220,000 signatures.
The new campaign has been organised by 40 women's groups and individuals, including US-based Women, Action and the Media (WAM) and the Everyday Sexism project, a UK-based Twitter feed that encourages women to share incidences of perceived sexism.
In an open letter to the social media giant, the groups demand "swift, comprehensive and effective action addressing the representation of rape and domestic violence on Facebook" and say they are also asking Facebook users to contact companies whose adverts appear around the offending content.
Sky, American Express and Dove beauty products are among the brands affected.
The letter also lists examples of material that the group feels is unacceptable.
They include Facebook groups with titles such as "This is why Indian girls get raped" and individual uploads of graphic photographs showing abused women.
One image of a woman lying at the foot of a flight of stairs is captioned "Next time, don't get pregnant".
'Target people's interests'Dove, a brand owned by Unilever, said it was "most upset" by the images, but both the brand and Facebook said the examples given had since been removed from the site.
"Dove takes this issue very seriously and does not condone any activity that intentionally insults any audience," said global communications director Stacie Bright.
Continue reading the main storyI don't think you can use the smokescreen of free speech when you take down other images which are often of women's bodies''
End QuoteLaura BatesFounder, Everyday Sexism"We are working to refine our targeting terms in case any further pages like these are created. Facebook advertising targets people's interests, not pages, and we do not select the pages our adverts appear on."
Both Ms Bright and a spokesperson for Facebook told the BBC that the examples mentioned in the letter had now been removed from the site.
"There is no place on Facebook for hate speech or content that is threatening, or incites violence, and we will not tolerate material deemed to be genuinely or directly harmful," said Facebook in a statement.
"We try to react quickly to remove reported language or images that violate our terms and we try to make it very easy for people to report questionable content using links located throughout the site."
The company added, however, that not all material that some users might consider to be "vulgar and distasteful" actually violated its policies.
Sheer frustrationLaura Bates, founder of the Everyday Sexism project, told the BBC the campaign had been born out of "sheer frustration" from a large number women who had tried to complain about the material and had then contacted her.
"Obviously it's difficult to moderate a platform with one billion users but it is disproportionately affecting women," she said.
"Facebook does crack down on issues like anti-Semitism and has been praised for it but when they see images of women being raped they don't consider that to be a form of hate speech.
"A lot of women are saying it's preventing them from using Facebook."
The social network has previously been taken to task for removing pictures of women breastfeeding infants and displaying their chests after mastectomy operations, she added.
"I don't think you can use the smokescreen of free speech when you take down other images which are often of women's bodies," said Ms Bates.
She also said that the groups and Facebook were "in communication" and both were hoping for a resolution as soon as possible.
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:54
Not to be confused with YMCA.The YWCA (Young Women's Christian Association) is a non-profit organization, the first of which was founded in the UK in 1855. Local and national associations are located worldwide, each with differing aims and methods, but all providing programs for women based on the perceived need in their communities. The umbrella organization for the national associations is the World YWCA, based in Geneva, Switzerland. The original Christian focus is still very strong in many of the national movements, both in Europe and the rest of the world, but some have changed their focus to social activities and gender-related topics only. While the organization remains independent of the YMCA, some programs they provide are similar, such as child care, health & wellness, and employment training. In response, many local YMCA and YWCA associations have amalgamated into YM/YWCAs or YMCA-YWCAs, and belong to both organizations while providing the programs of each.
In the UKIn the United Kingdom, the name has been truncated to YWCA England & Wales as Christianity no longer plays an integral part in the organisation. YWCA England & Wales concentrates on informal education (youth work), information and signposting for young women growing up in disadvantaged areas. It also campaigns on issues that affect young women. YWCA's most recent campaign was called Respect young mums, and was about getting better support for teenage mums.
In the USAs the new CEO of the YWCA USA, Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron will oversee the organization which promotes solutions to improve the lives of over 2 million women, girls, people of color and their families in the United States. The YWCA USA has almost 250 associations throughout the country and services are provided in over 1,300 locations across the nation. Associations are configured into 9 regions. Regions vary in size from 19 associations (New England) to 60 associations (Great Lakes). Average of the other regions is 32 associations. The associations employ about 14,000 staff members - 44% are full-time and 56% part-time. In 2004, the YWCA USA utilized 75,225 volunteers to deliver our services.
YWCA USA In 2004, YWCA USA associations registered 2.6 million people in programs for children, youth and adults, of which 22% were helped with domestic violence programs, 8% were involved in economic empowerment & leadership development programs, 10% participated in racial justice programs, 7% were served by housing and shelter programs, 24% experienced child, youth and teen programs, 24% enjoyed the benefits of health, fitness and aquatic programs. The majority of the YWCA USA associations publicly advocate on Racial Justice, Violence Against Women, Early Childhood Education and Increasing Women's Income issues.
The YWCA of The City of New York, the oldest of all of the YWCAs in the United States, is 150 years old. They are unique in that the organization is guided purely by human service-oriented programs rather than physical services. Such programs include their Early Learning Centers, Family Resource Center, Out-of-School Programs, Professional Development Programming, and Women's Employment Programming to name a few and still guided by the YW mission of eliminating racism and empowering women. They are a major component of the non-profit community in New York City. They produce several fundraising events annually including the Salute to Women Leaders Luncheon, the YWCA-NYC Theatre Benefit (featuring the broadway hit The Color Purple in 2005 and the revival of Michael Bennett's A Chorus Line in 2006). Their annual Summer Soir(C)e (held at the W Hotel in 2005 and Cipriani 23rd Street in 2006) at which they present their "W" award. This award is presented to a woman who is a visionary, an innovator, trend-setter, a woman who gives back to her community and helps those the YW serves daily: the women, girls and families of New York City. In 2005, this award was given to Marian McEvoy and in 2006 to Star Jones-Reynolds.
Prior to the U.S. civil rights movement, some YWCA facilities were segregated or operated as separate organizations. Advocates like Helen L. Seaborg in Washington, D.C. worked successfully to mediate mergers between the segregated groups.
The YWCA USA is a preeminent provider of domestic violence programs and shelters in the United States, serving well over ½ million women and children. As comparison, the largest national hotline averages 192,000 calls per year. They are one of the largest providers of child care in the United States with nearly 350,000 children cared for, possibly more children than the largest for-profit center chain. The total income per year is almost $650 million - ($649,500,430). Of this amount, 49% is from government grants, 23% from public support (individuals, foundations, corporations) and membership fees, and 21% from program service fees.
The YWCA USA is an organizational member of the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, which advocates gun control.
More about the CEO: Dr. Dara Richardson-Heron: Dara Richardson-Heron, M.D., served for four years as CEO of the Greater New York City Affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure.® During her tenure, the Affiliate has ranked as the #1 Komen Affiliate in fundraising and grants awarded '-- outpacing over 120 other Affiliates in the U.S. and abroad. The Susan G. Komen for the Cure® organization is the largest source of nonprofit funds in the world dedicated to the fight against breast cancer. Dr. Richardson-Heron is a 15-year and counting breast cancer survivor and a powerful advocate and public spokesperson for preventive health and breast cancer awareness. Her media appearances include CBS News, WCBS News, ABC News, NBC News, The Doctor Oz Show, The Martha Stewart Show, The CBS Morning Show, Fox News, The Today Show, CNBC and Bloomberg Business Week. She has also been featured in O Magazine, New York Daily News and New York Newsday. Dr. Richardson-Heron has more than 20 years of health care leadership, management and operations experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Her experience and expertise spans health care delivery, management, strategic planning, change management, grants administration, human resources, advocacy, public policy and consensus-building.
Previously, Dr. Richardson-Heron served as the Chief Medical Officer of United Cerebral Palsy of NYC and National Chief Medical Officer for United Cerebral Palsy Association providing advocacy, support, educational services, advice and counsel to over 100 UCP affiliates and thousands of individuals with disabilities in the U.S., Canada and Australia.
She was Special Assistant to the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Consolidated Edison, serving as liaison with Board members, the business community and other constituents and working with senior leaders to execute projects and assess company management. During her 11 years at Con Edison, Dr. Richardson-Heron also served as the Executive Medical Director and Administrative Physician where she was in charge of corporate medical clinic's daily operations, providing comprehensive medical, preventive health and wellness services and regulatory examinations for over 16,000 employees.
In 2004, she was appointed by the Manhattan Borough President to a commission investigating the growing health care disparities among minorities in New York City. She also served as Chair and Medical Advisor of the YWCA/New York State Department of Health project, ''Breaking Down Barriers '-- Eliminating Obstacles to Health Care for Women with Disabilities.''
Dr. Richardson-Heron is on the boards of the Women's Forum of New York and the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens. She is also a member of the Greater New York Chapter of the Links, Inc. and an alumna of CORO Foundation-Leadership New York. The recipient of many awards, she has been honored with the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers Award, YMCA Black Achiever in Industry Award and was named one of the ''25 Influential Black Women in Business'' by The Network Journal. In 2010, she was named a ''Woman of Excellence in Philanthropy'' by the United Way of New York City.
Dr. Richardson-Heron received a Doctorate in Medicine from New York University School of Medicine and Bachelor of Arts Degree in Biology at Barnard College of Columbia University. She also completed the Human Resources Executive Program at the University of Michigan.
source on CEO: http://www.ywca.org/atf/cf/%7Bbf8ea0ec-d765-4988-acd0-e6f97718cc89%7D/YWCA_NEW_CEO_PRESS_RELEASE_081412.PDF
TriviaThe YWCA logo was created in 1988 by Saul Bass.The organization was mentioned in The Smiths' song Half A Person. "I booked myself in at the Y...WCA. I said I like it here - can I stay? I like it here - can I stay? And, do you have a vacancy, for a back-scrubber?"See alsoExternal links
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:52
Eliminating Racism. Empowering Women. Right in the heart of Cambridge's Central Square.
The YWCA Cambridge, since its inception in 1891, has advocated for women's rights and provided affordable accommodations and support services for women. Today, the YWCA Cambridge is a Cambridge institution with a variety of classes and programs, including the largest women's residential facility in the city.
The YWCA Cambridge also offers rental space for meetings, seminars, theater productions and more.
The YWCA Cambridge is currently planning for major renovations to buildings on its Main Campus and working towards the creation of new programming. As a place for women, children and families to find shelter, support and opportunities to learn and grow, the YWCA Cambridge is committed to being a welcoming resource and center of vibrant activity, responding to the ever-changing needs of the community in the 21st century.
Welcome, and thank you for your support of the YWCA Cambridge.
Tue, 28 May 2013 10:50
Recently Deadspin, a major sports blog, called Kasandra Perkins the ''catalyst'' for her own murder at the hands of her NFL-player boyfriend. Bestselling author Bret Easton Ellis proclaimed that Oscar-winning director Kathryn Bigelow's success can be reduced to the fact that she's ''a very hot woman.'' And the Geena Davis Institute released a study demonstrating, among other things, that fewer than a third of all speaking parts on prime time comedies go to women. Just another week in our toxic, sexist media.
That's exactly why WAM! is on the rise. Our local chapters are flourishing from Los Angeles to Ottawa. The chapters and our listserv together are helping us help each other push back against misogynist media, get published and produced ourselves, navigate sexism in media workplaces, and take action together to create the media we deserve. And of course, we're getting ready to launch the WAM! Community Action Network (WAM!CAN) project, which will enable us to take collective, targeted, measurable monthly actions together '' actions with real power to move the needle toward gender justice in media.
We're on the cusp of becoming a game-changing force that can change the media for good. Will you join us?
Whatever your dream for gender justice in media, we can make it real if you make a donation today. Give us the strength we need to stand up and turn all our dreams into actions.
Thu, 30 May 2013 07:03
Report says 44 out of 105 fatal shootings in the past 22 years were of people with mental illness
Adam Salter was shot at his home in Lakemba, Sydney after police had responded to a call saying he was trying to stab himself. Photograph: SALTER FAMILY/PR IMAGE
Close to half the people shot dead by police over the past 22 years had some form of mental illness, latest figures show.
According to a new report from the Australian Institute of Criminology, there were 105 fatal police shootings between 1989-90 and 2010-11 and 44 of those people had a mental illness, with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia being the most common.
Drugs and alcohol are also overrepresented, with postmortem toxicology results showing in 51% of fatal shootings the victim was intoxicated.
The report comes as the mother of a boy shot by police in 2008 filed a landmark action with the United Nations designed to overhaul Australia's procedure of investigating the police.
A separate study in 2010 by researchers at Monash University looked at fatal shootings by Victorian police between 1982 and 2007, and concluded mentally ill people were "significantly overrepresented" in fatal shootings with psychosis and schizophrenia in particular 11.3- and 17.3-fold higher than estimated rates in the general population.
Professor James Ogloff, one of the authors of the Monash study said that following their research findings the Victorian police instituted new training to help officers deal with irrational people.
"They now have action-based training scenarios that involve interacting with people with mental illness," he said.
"When people are typically in a crisis what happens is they're not terribly rational and the normal way police deal with people may not be effective."
NSW has had the most recent police shootings out of all states, with a total of seven deaths between 2008 and 2011 according to Australian Institute of Criminology figures.
Frank Quinlan, chief executive of the Mental Health Council of Australia told Guardian Australia that the statistics represented broader flaws in the provision of mental health services throughout Australia.
"I don't believe the messages of these events are straightforward or simple, because while they involve police officers and a distressed individual, they're just the pointy end of a whole system of attitudes, services and processes that has failed," he said.
"Understanding and appropriate training for police officers who are the first responders in many of these instances is clearly an important part of the picture, and if people are receiving inadequate training or if they're not receiving training often enough, then I think that is an important issue for us to look at. But we also need to ask in that context why is it that for this disease, mental illness, we are asking police to be the first responders so often.
"International evidence is starting to suggest that the involvement of accredited peer workers with first responders, people who have experienced mental illness themselves, can also be an effective way of de escalating and avoiding the ultimate use of lethal force."
There have been a number of high-profile police shootings of people with mental illness in recent years. In November 2009 Adam Salter was shot at his home in Lakemba, Sydney after police had responded to a call saying Salter was trying to stab himself. Salter had a history of mental health illnesses and had recently been held as an involuntary patient at the Concord Centre for Mental Health, before being discharged back into the community.
Wed, 29 May 2013 17:44
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 22:39 EST, 28 May 2013 | UPDATED: 22:41 EST, 28 May 2013
Psychiatrists are warning of the dangerous physiological impact of caffeine intoxication.
An overdose of caffeine is among the mental disorders included in the latest edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) released on May 22.
Symptoms of the disorder include restlessness, nervousness, excitement, red face, gastrointestinal upset, muscle twitching, rambling speech, sleeplessness, rapid and irregular heartbeat, according to Live Science.
Help: Psychiatrists are warning of the dangerous physiological impact of caffeine intoxication (stock photo)
The findings about the mental impacts of a caffeine overdose come from the list of mental disorders compiled by the American Psychiatric Association.
The DSM is the go-to guide for a myriad of professionals seeking to understand mental disorders including physicians, psychologists, social workers, nurses, occupational and rehabilitation therapists, and counselors, according to the APA website.
Caffeine intoxication had previously been listed as a disorder but in the latest edition of the DSM, it also includes the disorder associated with caffeine withdrawal.
Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal are described as including headache, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, depressed mood and other issues.
'Caffeine is invading our society more and more,' Alan Budney, who served on the DSM-5 working group for substance-use disorders, previously told Medscape Medical News in 2011 about why caffeine withdrawal was an important disorder to investigate.
'There's concern enough to consider this topic seriously, even though it's probably one of the more controversial issues faced by our work group,' he added.
Caffeine is considered the most widely used, behaviorally active drug in the world, alongside other chemicals that can prompt mental disorders.
The other powerful chemicals include alcohol, nicotine, cannabis, hallucinogens and other mind-altering substances.
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Mon, 27 May 2013 09:21
The Canadian Federal Court has confirmed that the country's 2011 federal election, which led to the victory of Stephen Harper's government, was fraudulent.
The court emphasized in a Thursday ruling that it has found in no uncertain terms that widespread election fraud took place during the vote.
The ruling also stated that ''there was an orchestrated effort to suppress votes during the 2011 election campaign by a person with access to the [Conservative Party's] CIMS database.''
Accordingly, the Council of Canadians has called on the Conservative Party to investigate the issue. It says anything less at this point would be a cover-up on behalf of the Conservatives.
The Council of Canadians says that the non-cooperation, obstructionism, and attempts to disrupt the Federal Court case by the CIMS makes it look like Prime Minister Harper has something to conceal.
Garry Neil, Executive Director of the Council of Canadians said ''This Federal Court decision is a major indictment of the Conservative Party of Canada.''
''Either senior leaders of the Conservative Party were directly involved in election fraud or they were astoundingly negligent in securing access to their voter database. Illegal or incompetent--just like in the Senate scandal.''
Wed, 29 May 2013 09:06
Two US embassy personnel shot in Venezuela
(AFP) '' 17 hours ago
CARACAS '-- Two employees of the US embassy in Venezuela were shot and wounded early Tuesday in the capital Caracas, in a murky incident that local media and a police source said took place at a strip club.
"We can confirm that two members of the US embassy in Caracas were injured during an incident early this morning," State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters in Washington.
"Medical staff inform us that their injuries are not life-threatening," he added, noting that they were hurt at "some sort of a social spot" but without specifying the venue or nature of their injuries.
US diplomatic sources later confirmed to AFP that the two men were shot.
The Venezuelan media identified the two men as Roberto Ezequiel Rosas and Paul Marwin, and said they were military attaches at the embassy, but neither the State Department nor the embassy in Caracas would confirm those reports.
"My understanding is that they are other agency personnel, not from the State Department," Ventrell said.
Venezuelan television channel Globovision reported on its website that the incident took place at the Antonella bar located in a shopping center in the Chacao district of Caracas, after an altercation with other bar patrons.
Bar staff told AFP on condition of anonymity that the venue is indeed a strip club that only admits men over the age of 30, but refused to say anything about the alleged incident involving the US embassy personnel.
A district policeman, who also spoke to AFP on condition of anonymity, said a shooting incident had been reported just outside the Antonella bar, involving three Americans.
In the entryway of the club, there are photos of female strippers.
Venezuela has the highest murder rate in South America with 54 homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. In the first quarter of 2013 alone, there were 3,400 murders, according to government statistics.
Several diplomats have been assaulted in recent months in the country.
The United States and Venezuela, which have had no ambassadors since 2010, have had strained relations since Caracas accused Washington of backing a coup that briefly ousted the late Hugo Chavez in 2002.
President Nicolas Maduro, Chavez's former vice president, has maintained a confrontational stance with the US government since his election on April 14, calling President Barack Obama the "grand chief of devils."
Foreign Minister Elias Jaua, however, said two weeks ago that the new government was prepared to normalize relations with the United States, beginning with a return of Venezuela's ambassador to Washington.
Despite the tensions, Venezuela sells the United States 900,000 barrels of oil a day.
Copyright (C) 2013 AFP. All rights reserved. More >>
Wed, 29 May 2013 23:08
Is that a rat on Mars?
A photo from the mast camera on NASA's Curiosity rover reveals the dusty orange, rock-strewn surface of the Red Planet -- and what starry-eyed enthusiasts claim is a dusty orange rodent hiding among the stones.
The photo, taken Sept. 28, 2012, depicts the ''Rocknest'' site, where NASA's rover took a scoopful of sand, tasted it, and determined it was full of weathered basaltic materials -- not unlike Hawaii, the space agency's scientists said last year.
'Note its lighter color upper and lower eyelids, its nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach.'
- ScottCWaring on the blog UFO Sightings Daily
No word on how the rodent tasted, however.
The ''creature'' was identified on the UFO Sightings Daily website, where its finder, ScottCWaring, held tight to his opinion: That's one darn cute rodent on Mars.
''Note its lighter color upper and lower eyelids, its nose and cheek areas, its ear, its front leg and stomach. Looks similar to a squirrel camouflaged in the stones and sand by its colors," he wrote. "Hey, who doesn't love squirrels, right?''
Others pointed out that the similarity in coloring and position mean it was most likely just a rock, fingering the psychology phenomenon known as pareidolia, a propensity to pick out faces from everyday objects and structures.
To take advantage of this psychological phenomenon closer to home, designers at Berlin's Onformative studio developed an algorithm that scans the surface of the earth with Google Maps, picking out geographical structures that are likely to be construed as having face-like features, science blog iO9 recently pointed out.
Their algorithm found faces in fields, mustaches in mountains, hills with actual eyes.
Perhaps the algorithm should be turned loose on Mars?
Thu, 30 May 2013 09:06
For many years Buzz Aldrin kept an expenses receipt, carefully framed, on the wall of his study. Its message was simple: "From Houston to Cape Kennedy, Moon, Pacific Ocean. Amount claimed: $33.31." Thus the second man to walk on the lunar surface could recall, at his leisure, his reward from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for flying to the moon 40 years ago. That flight, we should note, was made on a Saturn V rocket, which, at the time, was a meagrely tested tower of high explosives, while the astronaut and his companions had to navigate with a computer that had less memory than a modern mobile phone. For those efforts, Mr Aldrin was paid $8 a day, minus deductions for his free bed in his Apollo 11 capsule.
Given the bravery of the pilot and his fellow astronauts, such recompense now looks insulting. Yet, financial rewards would prove to be the least of the problems that beset Buzz Aldrin. He returned to earth with his fellow astronauts, Neil Armstrong and Mike Collins, as a hero and toured the world to meet kings and presidents. Then his life fell apart. His marriage to his childhood sweetheart, Joan Archer, broke up. He remarried in haste and was divorced again within two years. His military career ended after an unhappy stint as commandant of the air force test-pilot school. (Mr Aldrin had never been a test pilot and had instead flown fighter planes in Korea.)
"For the first time in more than 40 years I had no one to tell me what to do, no one sending me on a mission. Rather than feeling an exuberant sense of freedom, I felt isolated, alone and uncertain," he recalls. He ended up working at a Cadillac dealership in Beverly Hills but failed to sell a single vehicle in six months. Mr Aldrin later was involved in a car crash, and successfully called on Alcoholics Anonymous; he has been dry since 1978.
Details of this decline are chronicled with unsparing honesty by Mr Aldrin, now 79, in his newly published memoir, Magnificent Desolation: The Long Journey Home From the Moon, which he has written with Ken Abraham. (The title comes from his description of the lunar landscape, which he stepped on to exactly 40 years ago this Monday.) His painful self-analysis also contrasts starkly with the approach to fame taken by his Apollo 11 crew-mate, Neil Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon. Mr Armstrong has remained monosyllabic about his feelings and now leads the life of a virtual recluse on his Ohio farm.
Mr Aldrin attributes his descent into alcoholism and depression to two factors. The first was his status as "the second man on the moon", a standing as an also-ran that still clearly rankles. As Michael Collins - the pilot who flew the Apollo 11 capsule around the moon while his two crew-mates walked on its surface - observed: "I think he resents not being the first man on the moon more than he appreciates being the second."
Simple pique might seem an unlikely reason for such a decline. We should note, however, that personal crises enveloped nearly all the astronauts who made it to the moon's surface. Charlie Duke, who flew on Apollo 16, became a rage-fuelled drunken bully until he found God. Al Bean (Apollo 12) turned himself into an artist, although he only paints variations of a single scene, the lunar surface; while Ed Mitchell (Apollo 14) claimed he had glimpsed "a cosmic intelligence" as he returned to earth and set up the Institute of Noetic Sciences to study this great being. In this company, Mr Aldrin's behaviour looks average.
In any case, there is another influence involved, he argues: familial depression, a condition for which there seems to be ample evidence in Mr Aldrin's background. Born in January 1930, he was the only son of a highly ambitious oilman of Swedish stock, a wartime colonel and a strict and unsympathetic father. At first, Mr Aldrin - who was born Edwin Aldrin, the Buzz coming from a sister who mispronounced "brother" as "buzzer" - did only moderately well at school. But as he notes, "failure wasn't an option in my family," and he was browbeaten until he left high school with grades that were good enough for West Point. Such paternal interference is not recalled fondly by Mr Aldrin, who remembers his father as an "overbearing tyrant".
By contrast, his mother, Marion - whose maiden name, remarkably, was Moon - emerges as a much more vulnerable character. She took her own life, from a drug overdose, because she could not handle the pressure of her son's achievement, he says. Her father had also committed suicide - he shot himself - as did "several other close relatives in our family". Thus, genes may have played a role in triggering the "blue funk" of his post-Apollo depression, Mr Aldrin says.
Not that there was much hint of this at West Point. Mr Aldrin excelled academically and athletically, became a fighter pilot in Korea, where he flew 66 combat flights and shot down two enemy Mig jets. Then, in 1963, he joined the United States' fledgling astronaut corps and was assigned to Nasa's Gemini programme, the precursor of the Apollo missions. He piloted the Gemini 12 flight and carried out a flawless space walk that was crucial in developing the orbital rendezvous techniques that were later used on Apollo. As a reward, he was given a crew slot on Apollo 11 and was originally selected to be the first to set foot on the moon - only to be replaced later because Nasa felt Mr Armstrong would be a better bet at handling the pressures of fame - a reasonable supposition, it later transpired.
Then, on July 16, 1969, after more than a million spectators had gathered around Cape Canaveral, a giant Saturn V blasted Mr Armstrong, Mr Aldrin and Michael Collins to the moon, which they reached on 20 July. Mr Armstrong and Mr Aldrin climbed into Apollo 11's lunar module, fired its engine and dropped slowly towards the moon. With 60 seconds of fuel left, the Eagle had still not touched down as Mr Armstrong, icy-cool, picked his landing spot with care. He settled on a tiny corner of the Sea of Tranquillity - with only seconds of fuel remaining.
"I remember just patting him on the back," Mr Aldrin says. Oddly, Mr Armstrong has a different memory. "We shook hands," he insisted on recent BBC TV. Mr Aldrin countered: "Maybe it was both." This lack of consensus is intriguing and reveals the gulf that has grown between the two men. Mr Aldrin and Mr Armstrong have rarely met or spoken since returning to earth. After an hour and a half on the lunar surface, the pair climbed back into their lunar module and, after attempting to take a few hours sleep, huddled in their spacesuits in the tiny craft, blasted off to rejoin Mr Collins in orbit round the moon. Then it was back to earth - and that calamitous fall from grace that occurred as if "the earth were punishing him for his impudence in leaving it," as Andrew Smith put it in his book Moon Dust: In Search of the Men Who Fell to Earth.
In fact, Mr Aldrin - who has since legally adopted Buzz as his legal first name - has recovered well from the ghosts that haunted him in the 1970s. Today he is bronzed, silver-haired and happily married to his third wife, Lois, whom he met in 1988 at a singles party in Laguna. He travels the world evangelising about the possibility of manned missions to Mars; made a cameo appearance on The Simpsons; marked the 40th anniversary of the moon landing by rapping with Snoop Dogg; and in one epic encounter, when approached by a film producer who accused him of faking the Apollo 11 landings, punched the man firmly on the jaw - which, given that Mr Aldrin was already in 70s, seems a rather impressive response.
On Monday, Mr Aldrin - together with a half-dozen other Apollo crewmen (but not Mr Armstrong) - will gather at Nasa's Washington headquarters for a press meeting to commemorate the first lunar landing 4 decades ago. All the astronauts are now in their late 70s. Each was a child of the 1930s, and it is chilling to realise how old are our lunar pioneers. How many will still be with us at the great 50th anniversary of 2019 remains to be seen.
What is striking is that Mr Aldrin - despite the descent into depression and illness that crippled him during his return to earth - now looks as likely to be a survivor then as any of the rest. * The National
In Ranger Battalion, we used to sit around and talk about ways to make our gear better. Guys would cut straps, sew on extra webbing, or make their own slings. This advancement is especially important for SOF because of the freedom of each individual to set-up their gear or rack specific for the mission. As it stands now, I don't see many 'Big Army' or non-special operations units letting their soldiers run wild on gear placement, let alone customized equipment.
Thu, 30 May 2013 09:12
GDF Suez (GSZ) SA, a French utilities provider, agreed to buy a 9 percent stake in Nabucco Gas Pipeline International GmbH from OMV AG (OMV), a project that seeks to ship Caspian gas to Europe.
GDF Suez bought part of OMV's stake for an undisclosed sum, adding a sixth partner to the pipeline project, Vienna-based OMV, central Europe's biggest oil company, said today in a statement. The pipeline aims to bring as much as 31 billion cubic meters (1 trillion cubic feet) of natural gas a year to Austria via Turkey and southeastern Europe by 2017.
''Having GDF Suez as new partner for Nabucco West is another milestone for the project,'' Gerhard Roiss, OMV's chief executive officer said according to the statement. ''It proves that we are on the right way to provide Europe with more gas and to secure new sources of gas for the future.''
The Nabucco pipeline, a venture that also includes partner companies from Bulgaria, Turkey, Hungary and Romania, was originally planned to cost 7.9 billion euros ($10 billion) for a length of 3,900 kilometers (2,400 miles). The scope of the project has shrunk to 1,315 kilometers, named Nabucco West, the company said in November without specifying a revised cost.
Nabucco West is competing with the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline, known as TAP, for rights to export gas from the Shah Deniz field, which may hold 1.2 trillion cubic meters of fuel in Azerbaijan's part of the Caspian Sea. The European Union wants to diversify supplies away from Russia, which provides a quarter of its natural gas.
''With this strengthened pan-European partnership we are looking forward to the upcoming decision of the Shah Deniz II consortium concerning their preferred delivery route to Europe,'' said Roiss.
To contact the reporter on this story: Elisabeth Behrmann in Sydney at email@example.com
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jason Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wed, 29 May 2013 09:43
Click this link for the latest NBC renewal / cancellation information:
Our Renew / Cancel Index predicts the network's decision on renewal or cancellation for scripted broadcast primetime shows by the end of the 2012-13 season in May, 2013. (includes results from December 31, 2012- May 12, 2013):
-The Cancellation Bear went 15-2 on his NBC predictions for the 2012-13 season. (vs. 20-0 in the 2011-12 season)
His Hannibal cancellation prediction is still hanging in the balance as NBC makes up its mind.
The bear's two NBC misses were exactly where he feared they'd be, in the marginal sitcoms. He figured that one or two of Community, Whitney and Go On would be renewed, but predicted them all marginally towards renewal. In the end, only Community survived (along, of course, with Parks & Recreation) among NBC sitcoms.
With that the cancellation bear bids the 2012-13 season adieu and begins his summer hibernation. The bear and his Renew/Cancel Index posts will return in September. Happy Summer!
Better to Follow The Bear, Than Be Chased By Him. This season you can follow the Cancellation Bear on Twitter via @TheCancelBear. The Cancellation Bear will retweet all the Renew/Cancel Index post titles and links as well as engage in a little more back and forth banter than we do on our standard @TVbytheNumbers Twitter feed.-
*shows no longer on the air have their Renew/Cancel Index "frozen" at the point they left the schedule.
From now through the end of the broadcast season in May, the Renew/Cancel Index values will only be calculated using new episodes airing during 2013. However, until new episodes of a show air in 2013, I will keep the "old" Fall predictions in the table.
Want to know what the NBC Renew/Cancel Index table looked like at the end of the Fall season? Click here.
-The Renew/Cancel Index is the ratio of a scripted show's new episode adults 18-49 ratings relative to the new episode ratings of the other scripted shows on its own network. It's calculated by dividing a show's new episode Live+Same Day adults 18-49 average rating by the Live+Same Day new episode average of all the new scripted show episodes on the show's own network. The network's average ratings in the calculation are not time weighted (ie. hour long shows are not weighted twice what 30 minute shows are).
(F) -Fridays: Shows airing on Fridays were renewed with significantly lower than average Indexes.
How would the Renew / Cancel Index Have Done Predicting Last Season's Scripted Show Fates? Check out how the Renew / Cancel Index predicted renewals and cancellations from past television seasons.
Tue, 28 May 2013 11:06
By Holly Yan, Cristy Lenz and Greg Morrison, CNN
updated 10:43 AM EDT, Tue May 28, 2013
Prosecutor: Grant Acord made bombs and planned an attack deadlier than ColumbineAcord, 17, is due in court Tuesday and will be charged as an adult with attempted aggravated murderAn attorney for the suspect's mother says the teen has PANDAS and is "very mentally ill"There is no clear diagnostic criteria for PANDAS(CNN) -- An Oregon teen accused of planning to bomb his high school suffers from a rare form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, his family said.
"My heart goes out to everyone affected by Grant's struggle with PANDAS, a rare form of OCD," Grant Acord's mother said through her attorney.
"I grieve for my son, but understand and support the efforts of law enforcement to keep our beloved community safe," the mother, Marianne Fox, added. "This is a challenging and confusing time for everyone who knows Grant. I will have no further comment while I wait with the rest of you to see what unfolds."
Acord, 17, is expected to appear in court for the first time Tuesday. He will be charged as an adult with attempted aggravated murder.
Acord's goal, said Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson, "was to model the Columbine shootings with some adjustments that would make it a greater success."
PANDAS, which stands for pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorder associated with streptococcus, is caused by the body's immune reaction to a strep infection, not the infection itself, according to the International OCD Foundation.
But there is no clear diagnostic criteria for PANDAS, according to the PANDAS Network.
Alan Lanker, the attorney for the mother, said Acord has received treatment, but said he did not know the details of the teen's treatment.
"He's very mentally ill. He has PANDAS. It's a brain infection that's causing a mental illness. It's been their concern for some time," Lanker said.
Police found six types of explosives after they arrested Acord on Thursday night at a home in Albany, Oregon, Haroldson said. Authorities believe he was planning to bomb West Albany High School.
They recovered napalm, pipe and drain cleaner bombs, as well as Molotov cocktails Friday from "a secret compartment that had been created in the floorboards" of the teen's bedroom, Haroldson said.
With the help of checklists and diagrams, the prosecutor said, Acord wanted to outdo the Columbine shootings.
The 1999 massacre at Colorado's Columbine High School left one teacher and 14 students dead, including the two gunmen.
Albany police became suspicious after they received information suggesting Acord was making a bomb with the intent of detonating it at a school.
"I've been doing this job for a while, and this was probably the scariest moment I've ever had as a school resource officer," Sgt. Alan Lynn told CNN affiliate KPTV.
"Luckily in this incident, somebody had the courage to come forward and say, 'This is what I know,' reported that to us, and we were able to investigate that. And because of that information, we were able to stop a horrific event (from) occurring in our community."
Sheriff: Student plotted TX college attack, fantasized about stabbings
Fifth-grade boys' plot to kill a classmate thwarted
In January: Alabama teen free on bail after allegedly plotting 'terrorist attacks'
CNN's Jake Carpenter and AnneClaire Stapleton contributed to this report.
Mon, 27 May 2013 02:42
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On Fox News Sunday Dick Durbin stated the Democrat view that the Constitution is a "living and breathing" document. (Posted by: Religio-Political Talk)
Thu, 30 May 2013 07:39
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Thu, 30 May 2013 09:44
(Before It's News)
A friend of mine Scotty has been arrested with a $50,000 bail for simply investigating Newtown. This is concrete evidence that they have a lot to hide. We will be doing everything we can to spread the message and free Scotty! More information will come as it happens.
The arrest report:http://connecticut.cbslocal.com/2013/'...
The call made to the office of Wayne Carver, Medical Examiner:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fHGYI'...
This is the original research by havf8, on the Medical Examiner:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KzkSe5'...
It's for real this time. A Sandy Hook researcher is in serious trouble for exposing the truth. Please spread the next message in any way you can.
Jonathan Reich, better known on YouTube as Scott or Scotty Walker, has been arrested for his activities in exposing the truth behind the Sandy Hook event. He made some of the most groundbreaking videos of the Sandy Hook investigation. His YouTube channel was shut down three times and he returned each time with a different name.
Jonathan is 22 years old and taking the fall for the Sandy Hook truth. His bond was set at 50 thousand dollar and his court date is June 5th, in Connecticut. He has done nothing unconstitutional. This is Lt. Vance his threat being carried out! Jonathan is the first to go down. The arrest report is linked below in the description.
Some of you may recall his video wherein he disguised his voice and called the office of Wayne Carver, Medical Examiner. He made the call to ask questions based on the fact that Carver was involved in a cover-up. Carver assisted in passing a law one year before the Sandy Hook event, sealing all future pediatric homicide reports from the public! This, in effect, allows his office to distort records or even fake deaths. The call was also made to ask why Noah Pozner's mother stated that Noah was not autopsied on her request, but Carver said he did autopsy Noah.
At no point did Jonathan threaten Carver with any personal injury. He only spoke with the secretary and he simply let her know that people are aware there was a cover-up and lies being told by Carver's administration. As Vance said, ''anyone who contacts the people of Newtown will be arrested''. It has happened to Jonathan Reich. Please spread this message throughout the entire research community. This is wrong. Jonathan's charges should be cleared
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:48
Published time: May 29, 2013 10:59Edited time: May 30, 2013 12:44Larry King
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Award-winning interviewer Larry King will host a mold-breaking political talk show on RT from next month, speaking to both leading establishment figures, and those who are not afraid to go against the grain.
''I have always been passionate about government and issues that impact the public, and I'm thrilled at the opportunity to talk politics with some of the most influential people in Washington and around the country,'' says King.
King's career has spanned 56 years and more than 50,000 interviews, but he says the show will break new ground. The veteran broadcaster will not shy away from causing controversy, or using his authority to give a chance to hear voices other media ignore.
''I have interviewed every US president since Nixon, and lest people forget, I helped usher Ross Perot into the national conversation during the 1992 presidential contest. I appreciate the importance of providing a platform to those with real alternative visions for our country's future,'' says the host.
King also moderated the third-party presidential debate, broadcast live on RT in October last year.
RT will air the new show 'Politics with Larry King', produced by Ora.tv in June as well as 'Larry King Now', which was launched on Hulu and Ora.TV in July 2012. The programs will be recorded in RT America's Washington, DC, studios and Ora TV's studio in Los Angeles. RT America will be the exclusive US broadcaster for both programs, which will continue to stream online at Hulu.com and Ora.tv and also be available online on rt.com.
Larry King has retained his trademark suspenders worn through his 25 years on CNN (he quit the news network in 2010), but has not been afraid to show a more opinionated and frank side, which he says is a must for the new media age.
''Whether a president or an activist or a rock star was sitting across from him, Larry King never shied away from asking the tough questions, which makes him a terrific fit for our network,'' says RT's Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.
''Larry King has entertained and informed millions of viewers over the years, and millions of digital viewers over just the past year,'' adds Ora TV's CEO, Jon Housman.
''We're thrilled to bring Larry King's insights and one-of-a-kind discussions, from celebrities to world leaders, to RT America's television and online audiences.''
Larry King Now, which will air four times a week, sees the broadcaster sit across the table from some of the most talked about celebrities in the world (recent guests have included Seth McFarlane, Snoop Lion, and Floyd Mayweather) and take them beyond the standard soundbites.
Larry's abrupt return to television unleashed a torrent of reactions, both in Russia, where he widely-known as an ultimate figurehead of US broadcasting, and in his homeland. Through the day, Twitter was awash with comments on King's new place of work that ran the gamut from appreciative to surprised to irreverent.
Thu, 30 May 2013 08:20
Billy (Vince Vaughn) and Nick (Owen Wilson) are salesmen whose careers have been torpedoed by the digital world. Trying to prove they are not obsolete, they defy the odds by talking their way into a coveted internship at Google, along with a battalion of brilliant college students. But, gaining entrance to this utopia is only half the battle. Now they must compete with a group of the nation's most elite, tech-savvy geniuses to prove that necessity really is the mother of re-invention.
Tue, 28 May 2013 09:54
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TAVIS SMILEY (26 May 2013): The Washington Office that led this investigation which resulted in the tapping of these phone records, that was done by the Washington office and the Department of Justice headed by a black man and then Eric Holder, the Attorney to whom this brother reports is a black man and the President is a black man. I don't have a language to describe how it makes me feel Doc in this process the primary culprits are three black men, the brother that ran the office, Eric Holder the AG to whom he reports and Barack Obama of course the first African American President celebrated as such. How is it your mind that three black men can be involved in this kind of violation with everyone of them giving speeches from time to time I'm talking about Dr. King being there hero and being a great American, they know what King was put through by these very same offices. How is it that they have the temerity to engage in that same kind of activity?
CORNEL WEST: I think it shows that we black people as magnificent beautiful and great as we can be we have no monopoly on integrity no monopoly on honesty and no monopoly on decency.