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Associate Executive Producer: Daniel McInnes
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Jacob Appelbaum is an independent computer security researcher and hacker. He was employed by the University of Washington, and is a core member of the Tor project. Appelbaum is known for representing Wikileaks at the 2010 HOPE conference. He has subsequently been repeatedly targeted by US law enforcement agencies, who obtained a court order for his Twitter account data, detained him 12 times at the US border after trips abroad, and seized a laptop and several mobile phones. Appelbaum, under the handle "ioerror", has been an active member of the Cult of the Dead Cow hacker collective since 2008, and is the co-founder of the San Francisco hackerspace Noisebridge with Mitch Altman. He has worked for Greenpeace and has volunteered for the Ruckus Society and the Rainforest Action Network. He is also an ambassador for the art group monochrom.
Keeping that in mind, here is a snippet from that Guardian article about
this new NSA leaker:
"Despite these fears, he remained hopeful his outing will not divert
attention from the substance of his disclosures. "I really want the focus
to be on these documents and the debate which I hope this will trigger
among citizens around the globe about what kind of world we want to live
He added: "My sole motive is to inform the public as to that which is
done in their name and that which is done against them." "
A repeat of a meme. "what kind of world?" "The evil done in their name."
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:55
(CNSNews.com) - The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has cancelled its purchase order for surveillance equipment, which had included coffee trays with hidden cameras and cameras that could be hidden in plants.
The IRS issued the cancellation on Wednesday at 11:49 a.m.
CNSNews.com published an initial story about the IRS's purchase order on Monday afternoon--and that story was linked on The Drudge Report.
As CNSNews.com reported, the IRS had issued a rush order for the surveillance equipment last Thursday, June 6. That order originally carried a deadline of Monday, June 10. Among the items the IRS sought to purchase were four coffee trays with hidden cameras, four cameras that could be concealed in plants, and two "concealed clock radios."
The original purchase order said that IRS already had an "Undisclosed Corporation" that could provide the items and that any would-be competitor would need to demonstrate that it, too, could furnish the type of equipment the IRS was seeking. The order said its descriptions of the items the IRS wanted to buy was "vague due to the use and nature of the items."
"The Internal Revenue Service intends to award a Purchase Order to an undisclosed Corporation," said the original order. "The following descriptions are vague due to the use and nature of the items. If you feel that you can provide the following equiptment [sic], please respond to this email no later than 4 days after the solicitation date."
"Vendors who can provide the required services at prices, terms and conditions equal to or better than those which can be provided by Undisclosed Corporation should submit clear and convincing data in writing substantiating an ability to furnish the entire requirement," said the now-cancelled order.
In recent weeks the IRS has been at the center of several scandals, including the targeting of Tea Party groups and subjecting them to greater scrutiny when applying for non-profit status during the 2010 and 2012 elections.
A report by the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration showed that groups with names like ''patriot'' in their titles were singled out, required to complete lengthy personal questionnaires (often multiple times) and have their nonprofit status delayed, sometimes for more than three years.
Last week a second Inspector General report detailed nearly $50 million in wasteful spending by the agency on conferences, in which employees stayed at luxurious Las Vegas hotels, paid a keynote speaker $17,000 to paint several portraits, including a picture of U2 singer Bono, and spent $50,000 on parody videos of ''Star Trek.''
Neither the IRS press office nor the IRS procurement office responded to inquiries from CNSNews.com asking why the purchase order was cancelled.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 22:32
Jon RappoportActivist PostCurrent press reports focus on PRISM, the NSA's relationships with the biggest tech companies in the world, and the spilled leaks of Ed Snowden.
I've already laid out serious questions about Snowden's work history and whether he's told the truth about it.
Is it likely he could have accessed and snatched thousands of highly classified NSA documents?
''Let's see. Who's coming to work for us here at NSA today? Oh, new whiz kid. Ed Snowden. Outside contractor. He's not really a full-time employee of the NSA. Twenty-nine years old. No high school diploma. Has a GED. He worked for the CIA and quit. Hmm. Why did he quit? Oh, never mind, who cares? No problem.
''Tell you what. Let's give this kid access to our most sensitive data. Sure. Why not? Everything. That stuff we keep behind 986 walls? Where you have to pledge the life of your first-born against the possibility you'll go rogue? Let Snowden see it all. Sure. What the hell. I'm feeling charitable. He seems like a nice kid.''
Here is a more likely scenario.
Snowden never saw any of those thousands of documents on an NSA computer. Never happened.
Instead, he was either used or volunteered as a CIA operative to carry the endless turf war between CIA and NSA a new step forward. People at the CIA WERE able to access those NSA documents and they gave the documents to Snowden and he ran with them.
This was a covert op launched by the CIA against a chief rival, the NSA. NSA, the agency that's far bigger than the CIA. NSA, the agency that's been taking over intelligence gathering, that considers itself superior to everybody else in the intelligence field.
The CIA, of course, couldn't be seen as the NSA leaker. They needed a guy. They needed a guy who could appear to be FROM the NSA, to make things look worse for the NSA and shield the CIA.They had Ed Snowden. He had worked for the CIA in Geneva, in a high-level position, overseeing computer-systems security. People would later assume he had the wherewithal to get into NSA files and steal documents all by himself.
Somewhere in his CIA past, Ed meets a fellow CIA guy who sits down with him and says, ''You know, Ed, things have gone too damn far. The NSA is spying on everybody all the time. I can show you proof. They've gone beyond the point of trying to catch terrorists. They're doing something else. They're expanding a Surveillance State, which can only lead to one thing: the destruction of America, what America stands for, what you and I know America is supposed to be. The NSA isn't like us, Ed. We go after terrorists for real. That's it. Whereas NSA goes after everybody. We have to stop it. We need a guy'...and there are those of us who think you might be that guy'...''During the course of this one disingenuous conversation, the CIA is killing 37 innocent civilians all over the world with drones, but that's beside the point. Ahem.
Ed says, ''Tell me more. I'm intrigued.''
He buys in.
And what his CIA handler said, in his completely cynical self-serving way, is true. The Surveillance State isn't about catching terrorists.
At a quite insane level, it's about a partial science trying to become a complete science. It's about the vision of systems engineers:To be able to predict and control the actions of any and every human.
Can enough useful information on Human Being X be compiled, collated, and analyzed, quickly, that would enable overseers to know what Human X is going to do'--and to redirect his next action?
His next action and future actions?
To put it another way, minds who are enraptured by the Matrix want to make that Matrix even tighter and more nearly perfect.
They want to play 100-dimensional chess with most difficult piece on the board as the main target: the human. They want to see whether they can operate that piece and work it and predict it and control it and win the game.
Winning the game means reducing 100-dimensional chess to a closed system.
This is what the engineers of the Surveillance State are trying to do with the global population.
Because they think they can.
Because they work for men who want to own all life.
Because they view individual freedom as a highly convincing illusion they want to invalidate and smash.
I'm reminded of a 1982 story I did for LA Weekly. I interviewed Bill Perry, who had just quit his job as head of PR for Lawrence Livermore Labs, where they do research on building better nuclear weapons.
Bill cited, as one of his defining moments, a conversation he had with a physicist there who was complaining that the Lab needed more funding.
Bill said, ''Look, we can already blow up the world a dozen times. What else do you need?''
The physicist looked up from his desk and said, ''You don't understand. This is a math problem, a physics problem.''
That's the mindset. It's all about making a better system. Who cares about collateral human damage?
When these scientists see freedom, they shrink away from it. It disturbs them. It reminds them they aren't free. It reminds them they don't know what freedom is.
You can even see this in some of more astounding press comments about Ed Snowden. Yes, it was all right that he exposed NSA but'...he should have stayed in America and faced the music.
A mind-boggling assessment to say the least.
However, it's really based on a perception, true or false, that Snowden is currently running around free, uncontrolled.
And that he has no right to be, because nobody does, outside the range and reach of government.
Freedom is the wild card. ''Order must take its place.'' That's what the Surveillance State is all about.
''We've got these biological machines called humans running around out there and it's crazy. They're possibly in possession of something called FREEDOM which is too horrible to contemplate, because I, an obsessive problem solver, long ago sacrificed MY OWN FREEDOM on the altar of'...I've forgotten. Anyway, wait a minute, these biological machines don't really have freedom, they're running on faulty programs'....YES, THAT'S IT, and the programs have to be changed, ONCE AND FOR ALL!! Yes, that feels better. There is no such thing as freedom.''
''Yes, that's it. No one is free, it's all a delusion. There are only good and bad programs, and these billions of human machines are running on bad programs'...so we need one central program, one CENTRAL PROGRAM for everybody, and then order will prevail and coordination will prevail, and peace will prevail.''
''In order to develop such a program, we need Total Surveillance. We need to observe all these biological machines in their crazy lives, 24/7, wherever they go, whatever they do'....and then we can collate that information and analyze it and come up with a solution. Algorithms. A better program. An all-encompassing program. Then we can insert it into the behavior of every human.''
The Surveillance State is based on a psychology and a philosophy that has this view of life and human beings.
That's what we're dealing with. Nothing less.
Mass mind control. Operant conditioning. Coercion.
In Orwell's 1984, that's what ''Big Brother is watching you'' was all about. The Surveillance State wasn't merely curious. It wasn't merely trying to stamp out terrorists. It was part and parcel of control.
Jon Rappoport is the author of two explosive collections,The Matrix RevealedandExit From the Matrix, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District 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 at www.nomorefakenews.comBE THE CHANGE! PLEASE SHARE THIS USING THE TOOLS BELOW
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 18:27
By Pam Benson
Seemingly the perennial bridesmaid, Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell is retiring after a 33-year career.
His successor is Avril Haines, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama who will become the first woman to occupy the No. 2 spot.
Morell, 54, has been deputy director for the past three years and twice has been called to serve as acting chief.
The first time he covered a two-month gap in the summer of 2011 between the departure of Leon Panetta and the arrival of David Petraeus.When Petraeus suddenly resigned late last year after admitting to an affair, Morell was considered one of the leading candidates to take over.
Obama instead nominated John Brennan, his terrorism adviser. Brennan was confirmed by the Senate and assumed the top job in March.
At the time, many people wondered if Morell would stay on.
Brennan said in a statement that he had looked forward to working with Morell and thanked him for helping with his transition back to the agency.
"Michael has come to personify the strengths and qualities of this great organization, and it is difficult for me to imagine CIA without Michael's exceptionally sharp mind, tremendous energy and absolute dedication to mission," Brennan said.
Morell said Brennan's presence made his decision "both tougher and easier" because he expected great accomplishments during Brennan's tenure and would have liked to be at his side.
He tried to put to rest any suggestion his departure was anything but a desire to spend more time with his family after a very demanding career.
"Whenever someone involved in the rough and tumble of Washington decides to move on, there is speculation in various quarters about the 'real reason,'" Morell said. "But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that."
Haines is a senior national security official who worked closely with Brennan when he was at the White House.
Brennan noted that she chaired a group that reviews the CIA's most sensitive programs.
"In every instance, Avril's command of substance, sense of mission, good judgment, and keen insights have been outstanding," Brennan said.
Haines also held posts at the State Department, worked on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and has represented the U.S. in international negotiations at the United Nations.
She only recently had been nominated by Obama to be the legal adviser at the State Department. But with Morell's decision to retire, she was designated to the CIA.
Morell began his career at the CIA in 1980 as an analyst concentrating on international energy issues.
He moved up the ranks, serving as Director George Tenet's executive assistant, and was President George W. Bush's daily intelligence briefer at the time of the September 11, 2001, al Qaeda attack on the United States.
In the run-up to the invasion of Iraq in 2003, Morell led the team of analysts looking at what, if any, connections Saddam Hussein had with al Qaeda.
They concluded there had been contacts, but no operational planning. Morell was not involved in the CIA's controversial National Intelligence Estimate that wrongly concluded Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, the reason cited for going to war.
After a three year overseas assignment, Morell returned to CIA headquarters in 2006 to run day-to-day operations before being named as director of intelligence, overseeing the work of all analysts.
More recently, Morell has been caught up in the flap over changes made in the talking points used by officials to publicly discuss what the intelligence community knew in the immediate aftermath of the deadly attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
After a CIA draft of the talking points was sent around to other members of the intelligence community for comment, Morell oversaw some changes, which included removing a reference to al Qaeda being linked to the attacks and taking out a section that discussed CIA warnings about terror threats in Benghazi.
Morell last day at the CIA will be August 9, and he already has one job lined up. Obama has appointed him to be a member of the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:44
Michael Joseph Morell (born September 4, 1958) was the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and has served as Acting Director twice in 2011 and from 2012 to 2013.
Life and careerMorell is a native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio. His formal education includes a B.A. in economics from the University of Akron and an M.A. in economics from Georgetown University. He joined the CIA in 1980. He was chief of the CIA's division on Asia, Pacific and Latin America. Most of his work in the agency was devoted to Asian projects. He also managed the staff that produced the Presidential Daily Briefings for PresidentGeorge W. Bush. Before his 2010 nomination as Deputy Director, Morell served as Director for Intelligence, a position he had held since 2008. Before that, he served as the CIA's first Associate Deputy Director from 2006 to 2008.
In May 2010, Morell was sworn in as the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, succeeding Stephen Kappes. From July 1, 2011,  to September 6, 2011, he served his first stint as Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, following the appointment of Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. On November 9, 2012, Morell once again became Acting Director after David Petraeus following a sex scandal. Obama chose John Brennan, who was confirmed by the U.S. Senate by 12 to 3 vote on March 5, 2013.
Morell announced his resignation from the CIA on June 12, 2013.
ReferencesExternal linksPersondataNameMorell, Michael J.Alternative namesShort descriptionDate of birthSeptember 4, 1958Place of birthCuyahoga Falls, OhioDate of deathPlace of death
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:41
Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Michael Morell resigned on Wednesday.
"I am passionate about two things in this world '-- the Agency and my family. And while I have given everything I have to the Central Intelligence Agency and its vital mission for a third of a century, it is now time for me to give everything I have to my family," Morell said in a statement.Morell previously served twice as CIA acting director.
In May, news broke that Morell and former CIA Director David Petraeus disagreed about how much information to disclose to the public in talking points about a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya.
State Department officials reportedly argued against Morell removing mention of previous CIA warnings of threats in Libya, according to administration officials. Morell was not acting on pressure from administration officials to deemphasize indications that there might be a threat to the consulate, officials said.
When Petraeus received the modified talking points, however, he reportedly said, "frankly, I'd just as soon not use this." Petraeus said the talking points did not include enough detail for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who requested them.
The White House announced Wednesday afternoon that President Obama would appoint Morell to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.
Morell will be reportedly replaced by White House lawyer Avril D. Haines, effective Aug. 9. Haines previously served as Obama's legal counsel for national security as well as a National Security Council adviser.
In announcing his resignation, Morell also praised Haines.
"She is extremely bright without being intimidating; she is tough while being compassionate; and she has the deepest of integrity," Morell said.
In April, Haines was nominated to serve as the State Department's legal adviser. According to a White House official, Haines's nomination was withdrawn due to her selection to serve as deputy CIA director.
--This report was updated at 4:39 p.m.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:40
The CIA's deputy director plans to resign and will be replaced by White House lawyer and agency outsider Avril D. Haines, Director John O. Brennan said Wednesday.
Haines, who will succeed career officer Michael Morell on Aug. 9, has served for three years as President Obama's deputy counsel in charge of national security issues and as legal adviser to the National Security Council. Although she has never worked inside the intelligence agency, ''she knows more about covert action than anyone in the U.S. government outside of the CIA,'' Brennan said his first interview since becoming CIA director in March.
The surprise move gives Brennan an ally in the CIA's executive suite who helped him rewrite the rules of the drone campaign that were recently announced by Obama. Unlike an agency insider, Haines has no direct investment in any of the counterterrorism programs that Brennan has indicated he will seek to rein in.
In a message to the CIA on Wednesday afternoon, Brennan emphasized that Haines, 43, has worked closely with senior national security officials. ''She has participated in virtually every deputies and principals committee meeting over the past two years and chairs the Lawyer's Group that reviews the Agency's most sensitive programs,'' the statement said.
Obama nominated Haines just two months ago as legal counsel for the State Department, where she worked previously as a lawyer. Brennan said he spoke to Secretary of State John F. Kerry, who has been slow to fill a number of vacant diplomatic jobs, about the change. Haines also worked as deputy counsel for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when both Kerry and Vice President Biden were members of that panel.
The highly regarded Morell, a 33-year CIA veteran who twice served as acting director, said in an interview that he decided last month to resign because ''I want to and I need to devote more attention to my family.'' Morell has three college-aged children.
In a series of high-powered jobs, Morell delivered the President's Daily Briefing to George W. Bush. He said he was ''probably the only person on the planet'' at the side of U.S. presidents during both the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and ''when we brought Osama bin Laden to justice.''
Brennan and Morell spoke of their professional and personal closeness '-- they both started at the CIA in 1980 '-- and emphasized that the resignation was Morell's choice. Each said he had recommended the other as Obama's new CIA director before Brennan's nomination early this year.
Brennan left the agency after 25 years for the private sector and reentered government in 2009 as Obama's top counterterrorism adviser. As director, he has moved to counteract the CIA's expansion into what the agency calls ''direct action,'' including drone strikes, and reinvigorate its core functions of intelligence gathering and analysis.
Brennan said he turned toward Haines based on her performance at the White House, where ''I spent a lot of time on matters involving the law .'.'. [and] noticed similarities between the intelligence and legal professions.'' Both, he said, need to make sure ''facts are correct and distinguish between facts, analysis, assessments and inference. Avril epitomizes those qualities.''
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 18:38
''So he sexually abused a bunch of kids? What difference does it make?
When I wrote about this yesterday, I suspected that the ambassador in question was an Obama donor. I was right. And as ambassadors go, Howard Gutman is a truly repulsive character.
In 2011, Gutman claimed that Muslim violence against Jews wasn't anti-Semitic. It was just a ''reaction'' to Israel. Maybe he can explain why his sex abuse of children isn't really pedophilia. Just a reaction to Israeli settlements.
A State Department whistleblower has accused high-ranking staff of a massive coverup '-- including keeping a lid on findings that members of then-Secretary Hillary Clinton's security detail and the Belgian ambassador solicited prostitutes.
A chief investigator for the agency's inspector general wrote a memo outlining eight cases that were derailed by senior officials, including one instance of interference by Clinton's chief of staff, Cheryl Mills.
A DS agent was called off a case against US Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman over claims that he solicited prostitutes, including minors.
''The agent began his investigation and had determined that the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children,'' says the memo.
''The ambassador's protective detail and the embassy's surveillance detection team . . . were well aware of the behavior.''
Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy ordered the investigation ceased, and the ambassador remains in place, according to the memo.
Gutman was a big Democratic donor before taking the post, having raised $500,000 for President Obama's 2008 campaign and helping finance his inaugural.
Bashing Jews and excusing Anti-Semitism didn't get Gutman fired. Neither did trying to hire child prostitutes. What does he have to do to get fired? Stop giving Obama money?
Who else did Howard Gutman give money to in 2008? He donated to Obama'... and to Hillary Clinton. I guess Howie was hedging his bets to see who could get him in range of a bunch of little kids.
And Hillary Clinton covered up his child abuse in exchange for the promise of 2016 cash. But what difference does it make?
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 18:39
YORICK JANSENS/AFP/Getty ImagesU.S. Ambassador to Belgium Howard Gutman arrives on March 21 at the Soeverein Arena in the northern Belgian town of Lommel. Gutman has called the allegations against him 'baseless.'
WASHINGTON '-- The U.S. ambassador to Belgium on Tuesday denounced what he called ''baseless allegations'' that he solicited sexual favors in a Brussels park.
''I live on a beautiful park in Brussels that you walk through to get to many locations, and at no point have I ever engaged in any improper activity,'' said Howard Gutman, who has held the post for four years.
RELATED: STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIALS COVERED UP ACCUSATIONS OF ASSAULT, PROSTITUTION: REPORT
Gutman's name has emerged in connection with an internal memo from the U.S. Department of State's inspector general that claimed senior State Department officials quashed eight different internal investigations of wrongdoing in the diplomatic corps.
According to the memo, one of the investigations concerned ''possible criminal behavior involving the ambassador to Belgium.''
RELATED: SECRET SERVICE AGENT BREAKS SILENCE IN COLOMBIA SEX SCANDAL
''The agent determined that the ambassador routinely ditched his protective security detail in order to solicit sexual favors from both prostitutes and minor children. The ambassador's protective detail and the embassy's surveillance detection team (staffed by host country nationals) were well aware of the behavior,'' the memo said.
In his statement, Gutman said, ''I am angered and saddened by the baseless allegations that have appeared in the press, and to watch the four years I have proudly served in Belgium smeared is devastating.''
The State Department adamantly= denied that any allegations of questionable or illegal behavior by diplomats have been covered up, and said that any proven wrongdoing would be punished administratively or prosecuted criminally.
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:38
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., says that a manager at the IRS, who describes himself as a conservative Republican, told a congressional committee that he and a colleague at the Cinncinnati office were behind the practice of targeting Tea Party and other conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
''He is a conservative Republican working for the IRS. I think this interview and these statements go a long way toward showing that the White House was not involved in this,'' Cummings sain CNN's ''State of the Union,'' adding: ''Based upon everything I've seen, the case is solved. And if it were me, I would wrap this case up and move on.''
The excerpts of interviews with IRS workers released by Cummings indicate that the IRS manager and an underling first decided to contact Washington, D.C. IRS officials for guidance on the cases from groups aligned with the anti-tax Tea Party movement.
They did so to consolidate them, as they might be precedent-setting for future cases, the manager said, according to the interview transcripts.
''They wanted to make sure that it was handled in a way whereby when other cases came behind it that were similar, that they would be treated in a consistent way,'' Cummings said.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 13:41
If correct, the conclusion has important implications for those trying to gauge the nation's economic health'--and in particular the highly influential central bank.
(Read More: For Some, Fed Can Start Tapering NOW)
The Fed has pegged a 6.5 percent unemployment rate as critical to when it will begin normalizing its target funds rate from its current status near zero.
The rate also will play a role in determining when the Fed will curtail the third phase of its quantitative easing program, in which it is buying $85 billion a month in Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities.
A scaling back of QE3 has been met with trepidation from the financial markets, with talk of a "taper" triggering stock market volatility and a rise in interest rates.
The Aaronson and Brave projections are based on the complicated formula the Labor Department uses to calculate the unemployment rate, and factors in what it considers to be "trend unemployment" over the course of time.
(Read More: The New American Dream: Part-Time Job, Apartment)
They estimated that 2012 saw trend growth miss by 6 million, or 4 percent, and would require growth of 195,000 jobs per month to close the gap by 2016.
"Employment growth has been well short of trend since 2008, opening up a large gap between trend and actual payroll employment," they said. "We expect this gap to slowly narrow as a result of above-trend growth in economic activity over the next few years."
Reviewing the research, Goldman Sachs said that if it is correct that would mean the Fed would hit its 6.5 percent target by mid-to-late 2014 if the economy averages 200,000 jobs per month.
The Labor Department estimated that May saw 175,000 gains in May, with the jobless rate rising to 7.6 percent.
(Read More: No Swoon: Job Creation Continues, Rate Up to 7.6%)
However, Jan Hatzius, Goldman's senior economist, takes issue with the Chicago Fed's findings, charging that they rely on assumptions about a declining participation rate that may not materialize.
Hatzius believes the actual job creation needed to lower the unemployment rate is "significantly higher" than the 80,000 Fed estimate.
Assuming that the participation rate stays even, that would require 130,000-140,000 jobs a month, he said.
"This is not a technical detail," Hatzius said in a note. "If the actual participation rate is currently below trend but is likely to converge to trend over time, the pace of job growth will need to be materially above 80,000 per month to keep the unemployment rate stable, at least over the next few years."
'--By CNBC's Jeff Cox. Follow him @JeffCoxCNBCcom on Twitter.
My friends and I are all fans of the show and in an effort to win over today's youth, the five of us sixteen-year-olds have created a consulting group of our own where we brainstorm solutions to problems. Essentially we all get really stoned and come up with goals or mindless thoughts: for example, the Jewish community is being ignored, and banana chips are really good. We came up with "Jahweh chips." Kosher banana chips with adderall on top to help them focus. These meaningless, incoherent ideas are then taken to the next step as we sober out and figure a way to propagate them to the youth. We devised that we would host a "Hebrew Origins Week" over twitter and simultaneously promote healthy eating and within the next week we would merge the two. I have made our staff aware that if we are successful, this would look great on a PR rÃ©sumÃ©. We have around twenty followers and the schill anonymous accounts that the staff has created have around 30 all together. Mostly marketing folks who, unfortunately, believe that the scam is legit, and clearly haven't visited our website. We are testing this as an experiment on how stupid the teen public is and we are trying to see if it is possible that five stoned sixteen-year-olds can get away with Elitist bull shit using the same techniques as the elites. In a way, we are like a model UN, except we are actually working in the real world, and aren't trying to do the community any favors. A current idea in the working is how to combine getting Ariana Grande to suicide herself with getting Kim Kardashian deported. We were thinking about going the same route as the Gov't did with Muslims: get the slaves afraid of Gypsies? Any help from the Curry/Dvorak Consulting group would be much appreciated! Also, check out our website if you're curious: www.doorconsulting.wix.com/home or twitter @parodyprotest. If not and this is a waste of your time, we apologize profusely.
"Door" comes from a dutch tweet by Candy Dulfer that we thought was funny, "Nicole is Door" which means "Nicole is through" but stoned as we were we laughed for 20 minutes thinking it was an English typo.
Director of Ideas at Door
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:53
Hacktivist group Anonymous posted a video on YouTube warning the Greek government of their intention to launch a cyber-attack on state websites beginning on June 15th in retaliation to the shutdown of public broadcaster ERT and the dismissal of more than 2,650 employees.
''The Greek government continues its tactics to dismiss people who have children. This is unacceptable'' stated the Guy Fawkes-masked figure in the Anonymous YouTube video.
''You must know that now you are our goal'' adds the video and warns of a cyber-attack on June 15.
The video concludes by stating that ''we will not forgive nor forget, expect us Greek government''.
Credit photo CC BY ND Flickr/lioleiser http://eurone.ws/13D7mcz
Watch the video
More about:Anonymous, Cyber attack, Greece, Internet, MediaCopyright (C) 2013 euronews
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 20:22
10 June 2013Last updated at12:55 ETGreek stocks have plunged almost 5% after the government said it had not received any bids for natural gas firm Depa, marking a setback to its privatisation programme.
Russia's Gazprom had been expected to bid for Depa.
Depa's sale is key to Greece meeting a privatisation target set as a condition of its bailout by the EU and the IMF.
The news came as EU and IMF officials arrived in Greece to assess progress on its deficit reduction.
Depa had been expected to sell for around 900m euros.
Gazprom spokesman Sergei Kupriyanov said it had not submitted a bid, due to concerns over Depa's financial viability. He said the firm was already experiencing difficulties with users' unpaid bills.
"We did not receive adequate guarantees that Depa's financial situation will not deteriorate until the deal is concluded," Mr Kupriyanov said in a statement.
The Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund, the privatisation agency, didn't receive any bids for Depa'--and only a single offer for its sister company, gas grid operator Desfa, government officials said.
"The DEPA sale surprisingly failed and that's very bad for investor sentiment at a point when Athens looked like it was meeting its targets," said Takis Zamanis, an Athens-based trader at Beta Securities.
Slow progressGreece started the sales process last year and the deadline for bids was Monday.
In exchange for two EU-IMF bailouts, Greece has agreed to raise 9.5bn euros in asset sales by 2016.
The target was originally set at 50bn euros in 2010, but has been repeatedly reduced due to Greece's slow progress on privatisation.
If Greece fails to meet its privatisation target it would struggle to meet its debt targets, meaning it could be forced into further austerity measures.
The Athens Stock Exchange General Index closed down 4.69% at 939.78.
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 18:30
by John Nolte11 Jun 2013, 11:11 AM PDTpost a commentAlong with sending our own teams in the field, we anticipate building new relationships with a variety of locally-based freelance video journalists around the country,'' Winslow wrote to staff. ''Under no circumstances do we intend to abandon the mini-documentary reports that have become so critical to our broadcast. The NewsHour remains committed to delivering the same kind of in-depth reporting our viewers and supporters expect from us.''
Freelancers, eh? Sounds like PBS is trying to avoid the ObamaCare they championed.
No doubt that all those losing their jobs are certain they have nothing to worry about in the Obama economy their network has been happy-talking for the last five years.
It is called funemployment, right?
Follow John Nolte on Twitter@NolteNC
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 11:31
By Associated Press,MANAGUA, Nicaragua '-- A Nicaraguan congressional committee has approved giving a China-based consortium the concession to build and operate a canal between the Pacific and Caribbean, fast-tracking the huge development project over objections from the opposition.
Infrastructure committee president Jenny Martinez says the bill was immediately sent to the National Assembly after Monday's vote.
Opposition lawmakers voted against it, saying the initiative is being rushed and has too many obscure points.
President Daniel Ortega's Sandinista Front controls the national legislature, which is expected to vote on the bill Thursday.
The Chinese company HK Nicaragua Canal Development Investment Co. Ltd. is working with the Nicaraguan government on the canal project. Experts say it could take 11 years to finish, cost $40 billion and require digging about 130 miles (200 kilometers) of waterway.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:18
GovTrack's Bill SummaryWe don't have a summary available yet.
Library of Congress SummaryThe summary below was written by the Congressional Research Service, which is a nonpartisan division of the Library of Congress.
No summary available.
House Republican Conference SummaryThe summary below was written by the House Republican Conference, which is the caucus of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
No summary available.
House Democratic Caucus SummaryThe House Democratic Caucus does not provide summaries of bills.
So, yes, we display the House Republican Conference's summaries when available even if we do not have a Democratic summary available. That's because we feel it is better to give you as much information as possible, even if we cannot provide every viewpoint.
We'll be looking for a source of summaries from the other side in the meanwhile.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 12:36
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi has tried to dampen down embarrassing suggestions that Egypt might use military power over disagreements concerning the Nile waters.
The comedy started last Monday when the Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi invited leading politicians to discuss the report of a tri-partite Egypt-Ethiopia-Sudan commission. The commission had recently conducted a one year study on Ethiopia's plan to build a hydropower dam on the Blue Nile; the source of most of the water reaching Egypt and Sudan. Some three days earlier the commission had reported that the hydropower dam would not significantly reduce the flow of water to the downstream countries.
This coincided with a report that Ethiopia had diverted the flow of the Blue Nile (by some five hundred meters from its normal channel) as part of the process of construction of its $4.2bn Grand Renaissance hydropower dam, now about 20 percent complete. This provided the occasion for the politicians to engage in one of their favorite pastimes: repeating time-worn myths about the river Nile, their ownership of it and their readiness to fight over control of its waters.
An aide to President Morsi later apologised for failing to inform the politicians that they were live on air, which allowed viewers to watch them discuss plans to sabotage the dam and undertake a variety of other hostile acts against Ethiopia. The suggestions included aiding rebels inside Ethiopia and destroying the dam itself. Ethiopian officials have long accused Egypt of backing anti-government rebels in Ethiopia.
Getachew Reda, a spokesman for Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Dessalegn, was quoted on Tuesday as saying that Egyptian leaders had unsuccessfully tried to destabilize Ethiopia in the past. Morsi did not directly react to this suggestion, but concluded by saying that Egypt respected Ethiopia and its people and would not engage in any aggressive acts against it. However, on Wednesday a senior Egyptian official was quoted as saying that Egypt will demand that Ethiopia stop building the Blue Nile dam.
Getachew Reda responded with the following statement: ''There are on the one hand people who still think that they can turn back the clock on Ethiopia's development endeavors including of course the construction of the Renaissance Dam'...Second you have people like President Mohammed Morsi, who according to the reports, said to have stressed said that there is no point in trying to force Ethiopians, but the best solution would be to engage to Ethiopians.''
Meanwhile, Ethiopia has summoned the Egyptian Ambassador to explain the hostile remarks and the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs says that it is demanding an official explanation.
Three days earlier the report of an independent panel of experts from Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan had concluded that the hydropower dam would not significantly reduce the flow of water reaching Sudan and Egypt, both of which are highly dependent on the Nile waters. Hydropower dams do not consume water '' the water merely has to pass through the dam's turbines and come out the downstream side to produce hydroelectricity.
However, for decades Egypt has spent considerable effort propagating various myths about the Nile, including the myth of Egyptian ownership of the Nile waters based on ''international law'' and the attendant myth that Egypt would respond militarily against any upstream country that dares to interfere without Egypt's permission.
Egypt justifies its claims to ownership of the Nile waters by reference to two treaties, neither of which is relevant to Ethiopia (the source of the Nile waters). The first is the 1929 treaty between Britain, which controlled Egypt at the time (and needed Egyptian cotton as raw material for its textile industry), and the British colonial governments in the upper Nile basin colonies of Sudan, Uganda, Kenya and Tanganyika. The 1929 treaty prohibited the upstream British colonies in the Nile Basin from building water infrastructure on the Nile without Egypt's permission. This, of course, was not relevant to Ethiopia (which was never a British colony); though it was the source of 86 percent of the Nile water reaching Egypt.
The second treaty was a 1959 bilateral agreement between Egypt and Sudan to divide the Nile waters between the two of them at the rate of 75 percent for Egypt and 25 percent for Sudan. Of course they had every right to divide such water as entered their territory, but this could not affect Ethiopia, which was not a party to their bilateral agreement. This agreement was made redundant in 2010 when Ethiopia and the other upstream states signed the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA), aimed at ensuring the equitable access of all Nile basin states to use of the Nile waters.
The Renaissance Dam has been under construction for the past two years in the Blue Nile Gorge near the border with Sudan in an area unsuitable for irrigation projects, as any arable land would be at a much higher altitude than the river. The dam is expected to produce around 6000 megawatts of electricity, making it Africa's largest hydroelectric power plant.
Egypt claims dependency on the Nile waters as the basis for its development requirements, and the source of 97 percent of its water supply. It proclaims the Nile as a strategic priority and its foreign policy focuses on the need to control the Nile flow and maintain the status quo regarding regional patterns of water distribution. From its strategic perspective Egypt has always been concerned that control of the Nile flow by others could threaten its own security.
But Egypt has consistently tended to over-estimate its own capacities and needs, and to seriously under-rate those of the countries and peoples to the south. Had it been otherwise, it might have made a more rational assessment of the resources and potential of the Nile Basin and its diverse peoples and interests. This might well have led it to understand that its own long-term interests might lie in seeking cooperation and consensus, rather than an ultimately unsustainable focus on hegemony and confrontation. Nevertheless, it opted for hegemony that it lacked the capacity to sustain, and threats of confrontation that could only run counter to its unrecognised, but no less vital, need for upstream cooperation.
For more than three decades Egypt's political leaders have claimed 'historic rights' to control of the Nile waters, punctuated by threats of war against any upstream country that might attempt to build dams or water infrastructure on the river. This became a prominent feature of Egypt's Nile policy after the construction of the Aswan High Dam by the Soviet Union. The late President Anwar Sadat realigned his country with the West, made peace with Israel and announced that the only thing that could bring Egypt into war again would be if any country threatened Egypt's control of the Nile waters.
This announcement was aimed less directly at the upper Nile basin states than at the World Bank and other International Financial Institutions (IFIs). Egypt's peace agreement with Israel opened Cairo's way to aid agreements with the United States and to Egyptian access to strategic positions in the World Bank and other IFIs which they could influence against lending for water infrastructure in upstream states without the agreement of downstream states.
Until recently, Egypt was able to derive considerable comfort from the knowledge that after decades of unrest, disasters and economic collapse, the upper basin countries had little hope of financing any significant water infrastructure on their own. To build it, they would need loans from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs), which were unlikely to be available without Egypt's agreement, especially in view of propaganda that such loans might possibly lead to war. Now however, there are many other sources of funding, like China.
The way forward is increasingly clear. There will be no water war in the Nile Basin, because no one can afford it, least of all those who talk most about it. For Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, rural futures may be limited by constraints of land and water and rapid population increase. All three will need to focus on rapid urbanization to address these constraints, and on industrialization and urban job creation to sustain it. To make this possible, all need to develop their sustainable energy resources, and cooperate to use them as effectively as possible.
Seifulaziz Milas is author ofSharing the Nile: Egypt, Ethiopia and the Geo-Politics of Water.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 12:36
Water diplomacy or water war? Which way?
By Memar Ayalew DemekeThe politics of the Nile is full of tension, mistrust, anxiety, mystery and diplomatic confrontation among the downstream and upstream riparian countries since time immemorial.
The basin has never seen cooperation until recent times. However, there has been cooperation between the two downstream countries (Sudan and Egypt) with the decoration of the 1959 water sharing agreement. The upper riparian countries (Tanzania, DRC, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya, Eritrea, and Ethiopia) which generate 100 percent of the Nile waters, were neglected from any negotiations and agreements on the utilizations of the river by the colonial powers.
Historical records have shown evidences that demonstrate the occurrence of diplomatic struggle and direct military confrontations between the upstream and downstream countries. This is partly because of the unfair distribution and utilization of the Nile waters among the basin countries. Egypt has been attempting to ensure the continuation of the zero-sum game politics on the Nile waters by undermining the rights of the lower riparian states. Relations between Ethiopia on the one hand, and Sudan and Egypt on the other, have been characterized by love and hate depending on the continuity and the change of the colonial status quo on utilization of the Nile waters. Besides, their foreign policy orientations have been drastically shaped and reshaped by the political dynamism in the Horn region. Generally, and in Nile politics particularly. In fact, the upstream countries have exploited the Nile water resources for their socio-economic developments by calming the 1929 and 1959 colonial agreements and by weakening the upstream states. The net effect of these treaties was to deny the rights of the upper riparian countries from using the waters of the Nile without prior approval of Egypt. What is surprising is that these colonial agreements have excluded and downgraded the right of Ethiopia which contributes 85% of the Nile waters from getting its legal share from the Nile. The 1959 agreement has allocated 55.5 billion cube meters of water to Egypt, 18.5 cubic meters for Sudan, and 10 cubic meters to evaporate in the Sahara desert to keep the ecological balance of the environment. This has been the status quo of the Nile politics in the past. However, due to geo-political, security and environmental transformations in the region, the colonial status quo has been challenged in a way that generates mutual benefits to the basin countries. Hence, the basin countries have strengthened their cooperation for regional joint planned growth under the framework of the Nile Basin Initiative (NBI) for the last decades.
The NBI provides a wide-basin framework to fight poverty and to promote socio-economic development among the ten Nile basin countries. It is a historical phenomenon in Nile politics in the sense that it is the first institutional regime on a shared and equitable use of the Nile Waters and for meaningful negotiations as well. Apart from real negotiations, the signing of the Comprehensive Framework Agreement (CFA) by the upstream countries in 2010 became instrumental in bringing new dynamism to Nile politics that significantly changed the colonial status quo and the zero-sum game politics. This dynamism which challenged Egyptian apartheid policy on the utilization of the Nile waters has led to new political and diplomatic development. Issues surrounding the Nile have become the agenda of the Egyptian public after the official announcement of the diversion of the normal flow of the Nile water by the Ethiopian government. Following the redirection of the water, discussions among Egyptian politicians and policy makers in Egypt indicated possible foreign policy strategies and approaches to the Nile to quickly respond to the new dynamism. These possible foreign policy and security strategies that Egypt will put in place have direct or indirect implications to Ethiopian. Egypt may resort to either water diplomacy, water war, or the combination of the two strategies simultaneously to tackle the new development in Ethiopia.
Egypt, in spite of its geographical location in the Sahara desert and its absolute dependence on the Nile waters for its very existence, has been following a foreign policy and security strategy that ensures the uninterrupted flow of the Nile waters. The Nile water has been a key national interest concern of Egyptians, and thus is the central element in the circle of Egyptian foreign policy towards the Horn of Africa and Ethiopia as well. With the recent diversion of waters by the Ethiopian government, Egypt may take the following foreign policy and security strategies which have solid messages to the people of Ethiopia.
Diplomacy has been described as the weapon of weak and poor states. In fact, it is important to transform the emotions and positions of opponent parties by imposing all possible diplomatic pressures. This includes sanctions at political, economic and diplomatic levels. Many states used to apply diplomacy in matters of national interest before resorting to war. In this regard, hard diplomacy has been frequently used by Egypt to ensure the perpetuation of the zero-sum game politics in the Nile basin. However, Ethiopia has been insisting on a win-win approach in dealing with matters of the Nile.
Egypt may use the hard diplomacy to react to the current diplomatic and security developments in Ethiopia as part of their propaganda. For instance, it may:
'Attempt to divert the diplomatic negotiations by presenting a distorted image of the dam and by magnifying its negative socio-economic and environmental impacts. Egypt may also present the construction of the dam to the Arab world and the international community at large as a planned strategy by Ethiopia to damage its national interest. By doing so, it will create confusion and ambiguity.
'Take the matter to the Arab League using its influential position as the seat of the League, so as to impose diplomatic sanctions on Ethiopia and to reduce the flow of foreign currency income by disconnecting its trade ties. It may also convince the Arab countries not to export oil, which will gradually aggravate inflation and living expenses and could be translated in to a political crisis.
'Submit the case to the AU, UN, UNSC and ICJ arguing that the construction of the dam severely reduces its ''historical share'' of the water, for the sake of bringing hard diplomatic pressure on Ethiopia.
Successive Egyptian governments have had a negative perception of Ethiopia, and have been engaging both in diplomatic battles and proxy wars to damage the economic and political potential for Ethiopia not to exploit its resources. This negative perception is rooted in their idea that ''peace in Ethiopia means war in Egypt''. As a result, they never want to see an economically strong and politically unified Ethiopia. This is because they fear that a strong Ethiopia will deny Egyptian access to the Nile waters.
Evidence has shown that destabilizing and weakening Ethiopia through proxy war has been one of the Egyptian security strategies in the past in order to ensure the sustainable flow of the Nile waters from its source. To this end, instead of directly confronting Ethiopia militarily as it did during the reign of Emperor Yohannes IV in 1875 and 1876 at Gundet and Gura respectively, it has opted to support anti-Ethiopian government dissident forces operating in Somalia and Eritrea. Needless to say, Egypt has been extending its diplomatic and financial assistance to Islamic extremist groups and opposition political movements in Somalia and Eritrea. Above all, Egypt never wanted to see the formation of a pro-Ethiopian government in Somalia.. because peace in the war-torn country will have its own trickle-down positive effect on Ethiopia.
Egypt fear that any peaceful relationship between Ethiopia and the government of Somalia would negatively affect its regional interest. Thus, it has been actively involved in Somali politics, directly or indirectly, to turn the outcomes of peace negotiations on its side. Moreover, it has been working to change the political equation of Somali politics to counterbalance Ethiopia's influence in the region. To mention ''Egypt was the main lobbyist in the Arab world in favor of granting financial assistance to al-Ittihad'' as Medhane Taddesse clearly stated in his book ''Al-Ittihad: Political Islam and Black Economy in Somalia (2002)''.
I strongly argue that Egypt will continue backing, training and equipping heavy military weapons to dissident political movements operating in Somalia and Eritrea to put Ethiopia in the bottle of challenges and to divert its development energies to war. Even the current public debates in Egypt reinforced that Egyptian politicians have the interest to attack Ethiopia by supporting rebel movements. Associated Press and the BBC reported that radical pro-Morsi Islamic Wasat Party leader, Abu al-Ila Madi, suggested a rumor that ''Egypt planning to destroy the dam could scare the Ethiopians into cooperating with Egypt on the project''. A liberal politician, Ayman Nour, proposed spreading rumors about ''Egypt obtaining refueling aircraft to create the impression that it plans an airstrike to destroy the dam''. This clearly proves that Egypt has intentions to attack Ethiopia through proxy war. I don't think that Egypt will keep its hand away from Ethiopia as long as there are political forces that are willing to attack Ethiopia. Hence, Somalia and Eritrea could be used as a springboard.
Therefore, the government of Ethiopia has to continue its positive contribution in the construction of peace and political stability in Somalia in order to counter balance Egyptian influence. In addition, it has to strengthen its trade and commercial ties more than ever in a way that integrates the two countries economically. Supplying cheap electric power and connecting the people of the two countries by establishing infrastructures can also be one way of keeping its diplomatic and political relations fresh. This eventually minimizes the possibility of threats coming from the Somali side. And the position of Eritrea has to be examined as the government officially recognize the ''historical rights'' of Egypt to use the Nile waters even after the signing of CFA. As a result, the government in Asmara may give a green light to Egypt to use its territory to attack Ethiopia. Eritrea may use this opportunity to seek revenge on Ethiopia and to externalize internal tension and instability. Thus, we need to rethink our relations with Eritrea.
Military attack: political suicide
Declaring war and launching a military attack on Ethiopia could be one of the possible Egyptian strategies in approaching the new developments.. In fact, it seems obsolete to think of war among the Nile basin countries in the 21st century. In the era of globalization, Egypt may not be successful in securing its water interest by directly launching a military attack unless it colonizes and controls the basin countries as the colonial powers did. But, it would destabilize the political networks of Ethiopia and be able to divert its attention by keeping it fighting with dissident groups. Nevertheless, war has never achieved its objective, instead causing human misery and chaos as the American intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has proved. Yet our historical relations with Egypt demonstrate elements of war and military confrontation in their attempt to control the source of the Nile. History reveals that Egypt has fought more than 15 wars with Ethiopia with this aim in mind,, only aborting its ambition with the devastating defeat at the battle of Gundet and Gura. In fact, it was successful in controlling Harar for ten solid years. This was an indication of the Egyptian appetite to attack Ethiopia by waging war.
Egypt may consider the diversion of the water and the construction of the Dam as a declaration of war and thus may take military action to destroy the dam and to attack Ethiopia. If Egypt does so, the consequences will result in political suicide. Egypt could justify its pre-emptive military actions by arguing that the construction of the Renaissance Dam not only affects its socio-economic development but also its survival. States under international law have the right to defend themselves from any external threat which could damage their territorial integrity and political sovereignty. One of the legal instruments that the government in Cairo may use as weapon for its pre-emptive military action could be Article 51 of the United Nations Charter.
This article states: ''Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain international peace and security''. In fact, the Charter gives utmost priority to mechanisms of peaceful settlement of disputes such as negotiations, mediation, conciliation, and arbitration. Nevertheless, states often opt to use war as a last resort in self-defense to acts of aggression. For instance, America lunched a pre-emptive strike on Iraq in 2003 claiming Article 51 of the UN Charter as a legal justification. Ethiopia also intervened in Somalia in 2006 following the declaration a jihad war by some Islamist fundamentalist groups, and attacked terrorist groups operating in Eritrea in 2012 relying on the above article. In the same manner, Egypt may attack Ethiopian on the basis of this justification. But the consequences of military action will be very severe for Egypt at least for one reason - its action will provoke public hunger in Ethiopia and may compel the government and the people of Ethiopia to take more radical action even to the extent of stopping the flow of the river.
Generally, the current political development in Egypt concerning the diversion of the Nile, reflected through Egyptian media,clearly indicate that Egyptians intend to use either water diplomacy, water war or a combination to stop the construction of the dam or to attack Ethiopia. Thus the Ethiopian government has to be aware of the changing foreign policy and security strategies of Egypt, and should adjust its foreign policy orientation regarding the new geo-political and security development in the Horn region. In addition, it has to give considerable attention to the possibility of military confrontation with lower riparian countries (Sudan and Egypt) either directly or indirectly through proxy, and has to strengthen our military apparatus so as to avert potential dangers. This will enable the government of Ethiopia to take pro-active measures. Knowing the Egyptian approache to the current political and diplomatic Nile crisis will help us to rethink and re-evaluate our position and the foreign policy strategy that we have adhered towards the Horn region for the past two decades. Finally, I would like to suggest some pro-active policy actions that theEthiopian government could take to handle the new developments in the downstream countries.
'Strengthen internal cohesion and economic development to increase power when negotiating with the lower riparian states.
'Build internal military capacity to quickly respond to any anticipated attack from downstream countries. We should not be too idealistic. The possibility of water related war between Ethiopia and downstream countries should not be neglected from political and academic discourse. This is because we cannot avoid war by simply wishing to be eliminated.
'Organize public discussions to make sure that the people are aware of the current developments in Nile politics, and to consolidate national unity.
' Invite opposition political party leaders, civil society representatives, university intellectuals and influential personalities to discuss the report of the International Panel of Experts as the lower riparian countries did; and the Egyptian position, to frame foreign policy direction and create a common national stance.
'Send diplomatic missions to selected Arab League member states to dispel fears and confusion regarding the dam's potential impacts, stressing the project would ultimately benefit all the riparian states. This will also counterbalance Egyptians hard water diplomacy.
To conclude, the only solution to the Nile is a win-win approach. The late Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Meles Zenawi, in his interview with the Egyptian TV in 2010 clearly told the Egyptian people that ''utilization of the Nile waters is not a zero-sum game. It does not mean that if the upper riparian states benefits, Egypt and Sudan should lose. It does not mean that Egypt and Sudan benefit, the upper riparian countries should lose. There is a win-win alternative and the only solution to the Nile is a win-win solution''. He also underlined that ''Ethiopia do not accept the principle that some people have which says the Nile water belong to Sudan and Egypt and Ethiopia and the rest will not have a share in the Nile. That concept is a 19th century concept. Egypt must accept that the source of 85% of the Nile water must benefit from the Nile, and unless they accept this principle then the win-win solution will be closed.'' This is the concept that Egyptians failed to recognize. They are living in the 20th century, while thinking with a 19th century mind setting.
Memar Ayalew is lecturer of Political Science and International Relations at Addis Ababa Science and Technology University. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 16:23
Erdogan has been pushing for an end to alcohol, kissing and other hallmarks of secularization, with disastrous results.
An anti-government protester shouts for help to extinguish a burning container in Istanbul's Taksim square June 4, 2013.(Yannis Behrakis/Reuters)
It has been a long time, ninety years in fact, since Turkey has had its latest facelift. It is about time considering it happens once every nine decades or so: after the modernizing Tanzimat reforms of the 1830s and the Westernizing Kemalist reforms of the 1920s, the 2010s are ripe for a whole new round of social engineering -- this time at the hands of the religiously conservative Justice and Development Party (AKP).
Back when the secular republic was established in 1923, the facelift came in the form of renouncing all things Ottoman and many things Muslim, some benign -- hats instead of fezzes! -- others not as much. The idea being, to paraphrase the old adage, if it looks like a Westerner, writes like a Westerner and even drinks like a Westerner, then it probably is a Westerner. As a country that got stuck in the middle -- too European to be Middle East, too Middle Eastern to be Europe -- Turkey took its symbols very seriously; bars serving fancy cocktails and public displays of affection in one camp, headscarves and a mosque's call to prayer in the other.
Erdogan has waged a shadow war against the visibility of the secular lifestyle. His desire to keep it behind closed doors is only matched by his zeal to erect bolder and bolder monuments to a lifestyle that is more "Islamically appropriate."
The social reforms might have been strict, but each one served to create a secular, homogenous and above all modern nation-state; a republic that could comfortably mingle at any European party. Yet the authenticity of the revolution was questioned since the beginning: in "A Journey to China, or Things Which Are Seen," Toynbee wrote of a 1929 visit to Turkey right at the height of enthusiasm for the revolution. But even then he was distinctly aware of some of its superficiality, such as a tram in Istanbul where a curtain separating the sexes had been removed but men and women still didn't mix -- "The curtain had become invisible, but it was still there, all the same" -- or how hats had successfully replaced fezzes, sort of -- "Many a self-consciously behatted man is still wearing an invisible fez."
Such invisible relics of Islam didn't mean the social engineering failed -- it did pave the way for Western-living, secular Turks after all -- but that even those who couldn't or didn't want to play along were adorned in the trappings of the West. Regardless, for the next 90 years Turkey's genuine secularists saw themselves as spearheading the drive towards Westernization and, perhaps more importantly, wanted the acceptance of Europe -- to mixed results. But just as Turkey may not have been readily accepted by the West, it was also too foreign for the East.
Many throughout the Middle East perceive Turks as "Muslim Light," the casual semi-faithful. Imagine the frustration of the devout Turk, so full of religious conviction yet never really accepted as part of Club Islam. One only has to hear the indignation of an AKP deputy recounting a visit to Mecca -- where Saudi authorities were so rude as to doubt his faith and tested his knowledge of common prayers -- to see his embarrassment at being indentified with those contemptible secularists. When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan picks his crusade of the month, whether againstabortions,adultery or the arts, it is over his frustration of Turkey's image among his fellow Muslims; the same frustration secular Turks felt for decades trying to be accepted by Europe.
And so it is no surprise that it was in Istanbul, a city literally divided between the continents of Europe and Asia, that a nationwide clash over appearances began this weekend. Istanbul's Taksim district on the European side has always been the heart of the country's secular life: its countless bars, nightclubs, bookstores, and galleries stand as testament that there are Turks who enjoy more of life than simply shuttling between work and prayer. As the centerpiece of Turkey's window to the world, the area has been at the forefront of the country's image wars for years, with more religious elements wanting to dress it in mosques and Islamic architecture to show where it really belongs.
The latest chapter of this tug-of-war took place last week, when the government gave start to an urban redevelopment plan to replace Taksim's main green space, Gezi Park, with a giant replica of an Ottoman artillery barracks. What began last Monday as a peaceful sit-in to save the park escalated by Friday into a stand against Erdogan's vision for Turkey. The movement quickly spread to other cities, as did the ubiquitous tear gas; coverage mainly focused on the arbitrarily violent riot policing and the solidarity between the protesters fed up with Erdogan's authoritative style, but beneath it all was a long-standing clash over two very different expressions of Turkey.
Though he had declared his intention to " raise a religious youth " openly, Erdogan has waged more of a shadow war of sorts against the visibility of the secular lifestyle. His desire to limit it to the home, or at least behind closed doors, is only matched by his zeal to erect bolder and bolder monuments to an "Islamically appropriate" lifestyle. And while the Occupy-style protestors have been his villains of the week, Taksim has something else he has always despised: alcohol, one of the most overt displays of un-Islamic activities out there. Prohibited by the religion, alcohol's visibility everywhere is a clear message: Turkey, or at least large parts of it, is indeed Muslim Light.
The AKP's crusade against alcohol over the years has included a set ofrestrictions passed in 2011, an official crackdown during Ramadan banning outside seating at cafes and bars, an abrupt last-minute cancellation of alcohol licenses for a music festival in 2012, not to mention years of exorbitant taxes on alcohol that have succeeded in turning off many from drinking. But the AKP took its latest great leap towards a less "Islamically embarrassing" society just two weeks ago, with parliament passing yet another comprehensive set of restrictions on drinking. The 17-hour marathon session featured harsh insults, parliamentarian-on-parliamentarian kicking and a walk out in protest by almost every non-AKP deputy -- a level of tension and tantrum that captures the determination of the religious and the anxiety of the secularists.
The AKP's harshest critics, from the opposition parties to secular journalists to the involuntarily sober, all note how it is engineering a conservative Islamic society. It's a claim the AKP frequently denies, though its arguments aren't very believable when so much of its legislation so neatly aligns with Islamic sensibilities. Often picking and choosing the Western laws and restrictions that suit its values, the government has argued for years that its alcohol policy is one of public health, despite numbers that indicate no such health problem exists in Turkey. OECD data shows Turks only consume 1.5 liters of alcohol per capita, way below the 10.7-liter average of the EU. Similarly a 2010 WHO report shows that number hasn't changed much since 1961, and adds that Turkey has the highest rate of abstention among the countries listed; four-fifths of men (83.6 percent) and nearly all women (97.1 percent) abstain from alcohol, with 65 and 92 percent respectively having never had a drink in their lives. As for the young people -- "we don't want children drinking night and day and wandering around tipsy; they are going to be alert, their minds full of knowledge" Erdogan has said -- 83.9 percent of Turks aged 15-24 have never once consumed alcohol, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute.
If Erdogan is able to point out the mistakes of 1923, he shouldn't be repeating them again in 2013.
In the end, Turkey's alcohol restrictions are simply about Erdogan's personal biases. Defending the ban of campus sales at the Global Alcohol Policy Symposium in April, he argued "of course [students] who imbibe alcohol will get intoxicated, pick up a knife and charge their friends; they'll forget all about their computers and books." Given that he thinks the only thing standing between academic success and a stabbing spree is happy hour, Erdogan's surreal perception of alcohol's capabilities would rival even the most devout Christians of the Temperance movement. Meanwhile, back in reality, alcohol is rarely the culprit in the countless cases of violent bullying for not fasting during Ramadan or the groups who chant Islamic slogans as they attack random people for kissing in public .
Just on Sunday, during a live interview with channel Haberturk, Erdogan fumbled a couple responses on alcohol -- first declaring anyone who ever drinks an alcoholic, then suggesting those who enjoyed the occasional cocktail but voted for him didn't count. He would later try to save it by reiterating they were not banning alcohol. To be fair, there seems to be no reason to do so: it's effectively a tax on a Western lifestyle -- the kind enjoyed by those least likely to vote for the party in the first place -- and a useful source of revenue. Erdogan isn't against drinking as long as no one can see it; "if you are going to drink, then drink your alcohol in your own house" he told the nation last week . Just as secularists once sought to sweep Turkey's religious element under the rug, it is now the AKP's turn to do the same.
Many of his opponents, including the Gezi park protesters, warn of the Islamization of Turkey. But as the party of those left behind by the 1923 revolution, it doesn't really need to socially engineer much. The party keeps winning elections in landslides, and its values are already shared by the majority of Turks . If he is trying to gain converts, he's already halfway there, as he so graciously pointed out earlier this week when he reminded the nation how he's keeping his supporters from intervening against the Taksim protests on his behalf.
Back at the alcohol policy symposium in April, Erdogan had dismissed how the "top-down, domineering modernization mentality" of the government back in the 1920s "encouraged and incentivized alcohol consumption with a copycat mindset of modernity and civilization." But he of all people should know how such a mindset doesn't work: "fortunately social values, the societal fabric, resisted the government's attempts to encourage alcohol, keeping it in check." It is this patriarchal attempt to impose a lifestyle on those who disagree that is fuelling much of the Gezi protests.
And just as secularists weren't able to secularize all of the religious, it doesn't seem likely the religious can convert most of the secular-ish Turks ... but it doesn't mean they can't be swept under the rug. The lesson to be learned from Erdogan's statements in April, and the nationwide protests still going strong, is just how much resentment and antagonism can arise from having a lifestyle forced on people who don't want to play along. Marx once wrote that history repeated itself "first as a tragedy, then as a farce." If Erdogan is able to point out the mistakes of 1923, he shouldn't be repeating them again in 2013. Maybe in the 2100s, when the time for the next facelift rolls around, the country will have finally learned to coexist ... or at the very least learned to be farcical about it.
Sun, 09 Jun 2013 19:52
U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Robert Catalanotti (R), director, Exercises and Training Directorate J-7, U.S. Central Command, speaks during a news conference with Maj. Gen. Awni el-Edwan, Chief of staff of the Jordanian Operations and Training Armed Forces in Amman, June 9, 2013.
Credit: Reuters/Muhammad Hamed
By Suleiman Al-Khalidi
AMMAN | Sun Jun 9, 2013 4:56pm EDT
AMMAN (Reuters) - U.S. troops equipped with Patriot missiles and fighter jets began military exercises in Jordan that have drawn condemnation from Russia, which accuses the West of fanning the conflict in neighboring Syria.
Washington confirmed last week it was sending the F-16 jets and missiles - which can be used against planes and other missiles - to its ally Jordan, and said it may consider keeping them there after the drills.
Both Washington and Amman said on Sunday the Eager Lion exercises were not related to the war in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad's air power has given him an edge over lighter-armed rebels.
But the Damascus government, and its most powerful ally Moscow, have been sensitive about any transfer of Western arms closer to the conflict, particularly any gear that could be used to enforce a no-fly zone.
More than 4,500 American troops, around 3,000 Jordanians, and 500 soldiers from Britain, Saudi Arabia and other countries were taking part in the exercises, less than 75 miles from the Syrian border, said military officials.
"The drills having nothing to do with any objective related to what is happening in Syria," the top army commander in charge of Jordanian troops, Major General Awni al-Adwan, told reporters during the launch of the exercises on Sunday.
U.S. Major General Robert G. Catalanotti told a joint news conference the Eager Lion events would increase "our ability to operate together in any upcoming contingency".
The exercises also involved a number of F-18 jets from bases in the Gulf and drills on handling chemical strikes, which Syria's government and rebels have accused each other of carrying out.
Jordan is one of a number of Arab countries that have lent support to the Syrian opposition, caught up in the two-year-old civil war.
Jordan, like Syria's other neighbors, is increasingly nervous that the fighting will spill over and ignite a regional conflict.
U.S. President Barack Obama has been reluctant to become involved despite having called for Assad to resign and hinting at military action if the Syrian government crossed a "red line" by using chemical weapon. He has shown some willingness to protect friends in the region.
Jordanian officials privately say they requested that at least two Patriots are kept after the end of the exercises to guard against any missile attack from Syria.
Western diplomats say Washington has favorably responded to the request to bolster its ally's security.
Moscow complained vociferously last year when the United States, Germany and the Netherlands deployed Patriots on Syria's northern border in Turkey, a NATO ally.
Russia complained again after Washington confirmed its deployment of missiles and jets to Jordan last week.
"We have more than once stated our opinion on this - foreign weapons are being pumped into an explosive region," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich said in a statement on June 4.
"This is happening very close to Syria, where for more than two years the flames are burning of a devastating conflict that Russia and its American partners are trying to stop by proposing to hold an international peace conference as soon as possible."
(Editing by Andrew Heavens)
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Thu, 13 Jun 2013 07:28
The Department of Homeland Security has gone public with an admission that an exercise was planned months before the Boston Marathon bombings that involved backpacks being used to detonate explosives by rogue terrorists.
According to the DHS documents acquired by the Boston Globe, the agents were planning on conducting training exercises centered around a fictitious terrorist group called ½Free America Citizens½, a group that would plant backpacks full of explosives around Boston that the detectives would be forced to track down. Ultimately, of course, this ended up happening at the Boston Marathon itself with precise accuracy. The Globe report reads that ½the city was hit with a real terrorist attack executed in a frighteningly similar fashion.½
And the DHS isn½t denying that the training exercise manifested itself at the Boston Marathon, as detailed in the back-end article on the Boston Globe that I discovered while browsing the news.
The exercise, labeled as ½Operation Urban Shield,½ was funded by a $200,000 Homeland Security grant. It was planned months before the Boston Marathon, and it was scheduled to ½take place½ in official capacity this weekend, according to the sources. But the exercise admission lends further credence to the ignored eyewitness account of bomb sniffing dogs and bomb squads running a training exercise during the morning of the Boston Marathon. Was this training exercise part of Operation Urban Shield?Interestingly, they specifically detailed that this terrorist group (that presumably is based off of ½right wing extremists½ and the sovereign citizens movement) would carry a logo of a metal skull wearing an Uncle Sam hat. I½m not claiming there½s a relationship, but I find it funny that even their logo matched up with real events from the Boston Marathon bombings. It was in fact the apparent security at the event that was spotted wearing clothing adorning the image of skulls that turned out to be the logo for the Craft International private security firm.
I will be reporting more on Operation Urban Shield as more information becomes available.
Article from: intellihub.com
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 03:17
The scenario had been carefully planned: A terrorist group prepared to hurt vast numbers of people around Boston would leave backpacks filled with explosives at Faneuil Hall, the Seaport District, and in other towns, spreading waves of panic and fear. Detectives would have to catch the culprits.
Months of painstaking planning had gone into the exercise, dubbed ''Operation Urban Shield,'' meant to train dozens of detectives in the Greater Boston area to work together to thwart a terrorist threat. The hypothetical terrorist group was even given a name: Free America Citizens, a home-grown cadre of militiamen whose logo would be a metal skull wearing an Uncle Sam hat and a furious expression, according to a copy of the plans obtained by the Boston Globe.
But two months before the training exercise was to take place, the city was hit with a real terrorist attack executed in a frighteningly similar fashion. The chaos of the Boston Marathon bombings disrupted plans for the exercise, initially scheduled for this weekend, forcing police to postpone. Now officials must retool aspects of the training.
''The real thing happened before we were able to execute,'' said a law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the planned exercise. ''We've already been tested.''
This would have been the third year for Urban Shield, a 24-hour federally funded training exercise meant to test the response of police and other public safety personnel in a large-scale emergency, such as a toxic spill or a natural disaster.
Last fall, a slew of agencies including Boston police and other police departments, the Coast Guard, and the MBTA joined forces to confront a simulated armed bank robbery in which the robbers were trying to escape with hostages.
For this year's training, the agencies wanted to test the investigative skills of their detectives, as well as their ability to work with detectives in other cities, and share intelligence, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because details of the planned exercise were confidential.
The training, funded by a $200,000 Homeland Security grant, will probably be rescheduled to early next year, said Transit Police Chief Paul MacMillan, whose agency was slated to participate.
He said he anticipates the new training scenario will be similar to the one already planned.
''Why wouldn't we do it?'' MacMillan said. ''Just because we had one event doesn't mean that we might not have another one. And it behooves us to continually work together to investigate these types of incidents.''
Cheryl Fiandaca, spokeswoman for the Boston Police Department, said the agencies had no choice but to postpone this year's Urban Shield.
''The resources and logistics of putting something of this magnitude together in light of what just happened would be challenging,'' she said. ''To put together an exercise that would be a really valuable training and teaching tool we need more time.''
Officials from a dozen agencies had been meeting for months to plan the scenario. They behaved much like movie producers, recruiting students from Northeastern University and the Boston Police Academy to play the parts of terrorists and witnesses.
They scouted warehouses and homes around Chelsea and Winthrop that could be used as a terrorist safe house.
The basic plot was this: Half a dozen members of Free America Citizens wanted to gauge police response to a bomb scare. They would plant hoax devices, then stay on the scene to watch and record the bomb squad and detectives as they responded, as a dry run to a larger attack.
The participating detectives, however, would not have known they were being watched. They would only be told that they were responding to an urgent terrorist threat. The goal of the training was for them to figure out the motives of Free America Citizens as they investigated the case, the official said.
The planned exercise has eerie similarities to the police investigation that led to the capture of the alleged Boston Marathon bombers, Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, whose images were caught on video cameras and who were captured after a car chase and shoot-out with police.
In the training scenario, investigators participating in Urban Shield would have to track down footage of the bombers caught by street surveillance cameras and the phones of ''witnesses.''
They would have to call on intelligence analysts to figure out which terrorist cell might be threatening the city.
In the scenario, the terrorists would flee police in stolen cars they would dump in cities outside Boston, which would compel detectives from different jurisdictions to cooperate and share intelligence.
One major clue would have been the body of one of the terrorists found near a stolen car, dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. There were also false leads to keep investigators guessing, the official said.
''We'd have detectives running ragged,'' the official said. ''The main goal of this was to arrest as many of the people as possible and absolutely identify where the cache of bombs was being kept.''
Fiandaca, the police spokeswoman, declined to say what a new training might look like.
''We can't talk about what we're doing for emergency preparedness,'' she said. ''The people who participate in this don't know what the scenario is.''
Maria Cramer can be reached at email@example.com.Follow her on Twitter @GlobeMCramer.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 03:12
The Department of Homeland Security has gone public with an admission that an exercise was planned months before the Boston Marathon bombings that involved backpacks being used to detonate explosives by rogue terrorists.
According to the DHS documents acquired by the Boston Globe, the agents were planning on conducting training exercises centered around a fictitious terrorist group called 'Free America Citizens', a group that would plant backpacks full of explosives around Boston that the detectives would be forced to track down. Ultimately, of course, this ended up happening at the Boston Marathon itself with precise accuracy. The Globe report reads that ''the city was hit with a real terrorist attack executed in a frighteningly similar fashion.''
And the DHS isn't denying that the training exercise manifested itself at the Boston Marathon, as detailed in the back-end article on the Boston Globe that I discovered while browsing the news.
''The real thing happened before we were able to execute,'' a Boston police official told the Boston Globe in the report.
The exercise, labeled as ''Operation Urban Shield,'' was funded by a $200,000 Homeland Security grant. It was planned months before the Boston Marathon, and it was scheduled to 'take place' in official capacity this weekend, according to the sources. But the exercise admission lends further credence to the ignored eyewitness account of bomb sniffing dogs and bomb squads running a training exercise during the morning of the Boston Marathon. Was this training exercise part of Operation Urban Shield?
Interestingly, they specifically detailed that this terrorist group (that presumably is based off of 'right wing extremists' and the sovereign citizens movement) would carry a logo of a metal skull wearing an Uncle Sam hat. I'm not claiming there's a relationship, but I find it funny that even their logo matched up with real events from the Boston Marathon bombings. It was in fact the apparent security at the event that was spotted wearing clothing adorning the image of skulls that turned out to be the logo for the Craft International private security firm.
I will be reporting more on Operation Urban Shield as more information becomes available.
Tags:backpack, boston, featured, latest, secondary, training drill
Category: Injustice, Mainstream media, US
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 07:26
Rep. Jeff Duncan wants to know why IRS law enforcement agents are training with AR-15 rifles.
As chairman of the House Homeland Security oversight subcommittee, Duncan (R-S.C.) toured a federal law enforcement facility in late May and noticed agents training with the semi-automatic weapons at a firing range. They identified themselves as IRS, he said.
''When I left there, it's been bugging me for weeks now, why IRS agents are training with a semi-automatic rifle AR-15, which has stand-off capability,'' Duncan told POLITICO. ''Are Americans that much of a target that you need that kind of capability?''
While Duncan acknowledges that the IRS has an enforcement division, he questions if that level of firepower is appropriate when they could coordinate operations with other agencies, like the FBI, especially in a time of austerity.
Full article here
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 16:13
By Steff Thomas Counterterrorism experts worry about a weapon that is both easily attainable and destructive. It is not a gun, explosive or nuclear weapon. It's fire. Joseph Pfeifer, chief of counterterrorism and emergency preparedness at the New York Fire Department, said first responders and law enforcement need to be more prepared for terrorist attacks that use fire as a weapon. Such tactics were used in the 2008 assaults in Mumbai, India. ''The recognition of terrorists' interest in the use of fire as a weapon and the resulting complexities are important considerations for all first responders and security forces,'' Pfeiffer said June 12 in his statement before the House Homeland Security Committee's subcommittee on counterterrorism and intelligence. ''Fire as a weapon, by itself or along with other tactics, presents significant challenges that first responders and security forces must contend with in planning, preparation and drills,'' he said at the hearing, which focused on the potential of an attack on the United States by Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), a Pakistani terrorist organization. There is a lack of training and knowledge about potential ''Mumbai-style'' terrorist attacks on the homeland. Pfeiffer urged Congress to provide resources for research and training that could aide in the prediction of these attacks sooner rather than later. Lashkar-e-Taiba led the series of attacks against Mumbai. ''While successful attacks are instructive, it is equally important to study unrealized terrorist plots that reveal a great deal about intentions, motivations, target selection and desired tactics of our adversaries,'' Pfeifer said. Some terrorist organizations have been publishing information that instructs members how to use fire as a means of attack. One publication, Inspire, provided its readers with a tutorial on various methods, including the use of simple ''ember bombs'' to ignite forest fires, according to Pfeifer. While the LeT continues to train and cultivate new terrorists, these groups and individuals no longer need extensive training, Pfeifer said. The pressure cooker bombs planted during the Boston Marathon was one example of a relatively simple to construct weapon, he said. Meanwhile, Lashkar-e-Taiba doesn't pose an imminent threat to the United States, said Christine Fair, senior fellow with the Combating Terrorism Center at the West Point military academy. While Pfeifer agreed with Fair, he still believed that the United States could be a potential target for the LeT and other groups. While the organization may not be directly connected to al-Qaida, many militants work together to plan attacks, he said. There is no evidence that the LeT has the intention to attack the U.S. home front, said Stephen Tankel, an assistant professor at American University and expert on terrorism. Tankel shared a conversation he had with an alleged member of the LeT, who stated that there were two reasons why the organization had not targeted the United States: the fear of retribution and the price that the organization might have to pay in the aftermath. The member told Tankel that if those two things were absent, the LeT would have no issues with attacking the United States.Photo Credit: Thinkstock
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 20:32
As fluoride in milk targets children, the World Health Organization (WHO) supports milk fluoridation as an alternative to water fluoridation. This is currently practiced in some countries including the United Kingdom (UK), China, Peru and Thailand.
While the monitoring of fluoride levels in milk is challenging, considering the poor attitudes and low levels of awareness associated to oral health, should the Indian government have a scheme where children, particularly the vulnerable population, receive fluoridated milk as part of the ongoing 1 meal/day program in government schools?
Professor Raman Bedi firstname.lastname@example.org
The following brief note (below) has been agreed by a global expert group and is taken from the website Alliance for Cavity Free Future.
Description and use:The addition of fluoride to milk and milk-based products is called milk fluoridation. Currently milk fluoridation programs exist in several countries including Bulgaria, Chile, China, Peru, the Russian Federation, Thailand, and the UK.
Effectiveness:Decreasing the mean DMFS by 85% in the Budapest study and 43% in the Glasgow study. However more data is needed to provide the highest level of evidence for practice.
Safety:In a review on safety milk fluoridation was reported to be safe and fluorosis, if any, was mild. No other adverse effects have been reported. The regulation of fluoride in milk and monitoring the levels of fluoride in milk are challenging.
Cost:The cost effectiveness of fluoridated milk has been reported to be $5 savings per diseased tooth after four years.
Something new this year, in the Weather game. Naming storms that cross America, that
aren't hurricanes. They recently tried this with some storm cells that passed thru
Ohio. But they system broke up before reaching the east coast. But this didn't stop
the reason for this naming trend. A promotion for buying storm supplies, followed
this "news" item. This is ridiculous. Tornadoes and rain storms are not predictable,
long lasting enough, or detected ahead of tine, enough for people to run out and
stock up on batteries, milk, ice, and toilet paper. Or whatever else Walmart wants
to boost the sales of, by getting the Tv news to name these storms. Prepare for
storm blah-blah. Oh wait, it's gone now. Never mind. What crapola! It's either about
boosting sales. Or trying to sell Global Warming, by making storms seem stronger
now, by naming them.
Tue, 11 Jun 2013 10:16
Al Gore hardest hit.
What to Make of a Warming Plateau '-- NY Times
The rise in the surface temperature of earth has been markedly slower over the last 15 years than in the 20 years before that. And that lull in warming has occurred even as greenhouse gases have accumulated in the atmosphere at a record pace.
The slowdown is a bit of a mystery to climate scientists. True, the basic theory that predicts a warming of the planet in response to human emissions does not suggest that warming should be smooth and continuous. To the contrary, in a climate system still dominated by natural variability, there is every reason to think the warming will proceed in fits and starts.
But given how much is riding on the scientific forecast, the practitioners of climate science would like to understand exactly what is going on. They admit that they do not, even though some potential mechanisms of the slowdown have been suggested. The situation highlights important gaps in our knowledge of the climate system, some of which cannot be closed until we get better measurements from high in space and from deep in the ocean. [...]
Now, here is a crucial piece of background: It turns out we had an earlier plateau in global warming, from roughly the 1950s to the 1970s, and scientists do not fully understand that one either. A lot of evidence suggests that sunlight-blocking pollution from dirty factories may have played a role, as did natural variability in ocean circulation. The pollution was ultimately reduced by stronger clean-air laws in the West.
HT: Tom Nelson
donÂ´t want to waste your time.
No answer required.
Just a thought.
Should be interesting to find out who makes the enclosure for the Apple Pro.
It has about the same diameter as the Hellfire missile.
i am not a apple-hater.
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 07:41
WATCH: Electric bike takes to the skies
Flying cars are yet to take off - could bikes have a better chance?
Researchers in the Czech Republic have unveiled a 95kg (210lb) remotely-controlled bicycle that can hover a few metres above ground for five minutes.
Carrying a dummy rider, the electric prototype successfully took off, flew around and landed inside an exhibition hall in Prague.
The bike is powered by two battery-run propellers on the front, two on the back and one on each side.
The machine could help two-wheeled commuters avoid zigzagging through traffic jams - but it is not quite ready to hit the road - or the air above it - just yet.
The batteries only allow for a few minutes of flight before needing to be re-charged.
"Because the capacity of batteries doubles about every 10 years, we can expect that in the future the capacity would be enough for the bike to used for sports, tourism or similar things," said the technical director of Duratec Bicycles, Milan Duchek.
To create the bike, Duratec worked together with two other Czech firms, Technodat and Evektor.
Bikes with parachutesIt is not the first attempt to make a bicycle fly.
In August 2009, an IT teacher John Carver from Oxfordshire constructed what he called the "Flyke" - a flying tricycle - and flew it across the UK, from Lands End to John o'Groats, for charity.
Registered with the Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Carver's machine is powered by a two-stroke twin propeller motor with a paraglider canopy and is equipped with a parachute, always open when the bike is in the air.
The bike has to be refuelled about every two hours, is able to carry up to 25.4kg (56lb) of luggage, and can reach a flying speed of about 32km/h (20mph). According to Mr Carver's website, the device is now for sale.
Companies such as Para-Cycle sell similar devices as well, but a huge parachute may prove cumbersome for the city commuter.
And in the early 20th Century, among the very first "flying machines" were bicycles with wings attached to the frame - what became known as aviettes.
They did not really fly, but rather hopped above ground, or glided, having been first powered by fierce pedalling.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 22:21
(Newser) '' Today's appearance by the NSA chief on Capitol Hill didn't produce many surprises'--he said data mining is necessary and used in such a way that it doesn't invade privacy'--but it did produce one strange moment featuring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. At... More >>
(Newser) '' Today's appearance by the NSA chief on Capitol Hill didn't produce many surprises'--he said data mining is necessary and used in such a way that it doesn't invade privacy'--but it did produce one strange moment featuring Sen. Barbara Mikulski. At one point, the Maryland Democrat paused the hearing to read a critical tweet from BuzzFeed reporter Rosie Gray'--"@SenatorBarb is trying hard to keep the other senators from asking Gen. Alexander anymore about data mining programs.'' Mikulski took exception, reports Politico.
''Not everybody might be watching C-SPAN, so I want to say to Rosie and to others who might read it from Rosie: There is no attempt here to muzzle, stifle any senator from asking any line of questioning.'' She also noted that the hearing was originally scheduled to talk about cybersecurity, not surveillance, "but any senator can ask any question at this hearing that they want to." Around that point, she smiled and picked up her smartphone. "So Rosie, it's an open hearing. Hi. Look forward to keeping in touch.'' (After which, Gray tweeted, "guess I should have subtweeted.") Less >>
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 17:25
Chief Refuses To Answer If NSA Collects Google, Email Contacts Of AmericansWhen NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander was asked the direct question as to wether the NSA mass collects Google and email contacts he refused to answer. Alexander simply stated that the agency was required to get a warrant to read emails.12 Jun 2013, 2:36 PM PDTpost a comment12 Jun
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 19:06
During a monologue on Monday regarding the racial elements of the controversial ''stop-and-frisk'' policing practices and the trail of George Zimmerman, MSNBC host Tour(C) said that he is tiring of feeling like he and other African-Americans have to maintain a pattern of behavior that whites do not. He called it ''proper negro fatigue'' and added that, no matter how good he is at presenting himself as a non-threat, he still feels like he ''may end up dead.''
''Once, somebody asked me when would I stop talking so much about injustice giant black men,'' Tour(C) began. ''I said, 'I will when this country stops the tsunami of injustice against black men.'''
He referenced the two court cases with a racial element to them: the Zimmerman trial and a lawsuit against the government alleging racial profiling in New York City's ''stop-and-frisk'' program.
Tour(C) confessed that his parents instilled in him the idea that he had to maintain a demeanor that was as nonthreatening as possible in order to avoid being inappropriately singled out by authorities.
RELATED: MSNBC's Tour(C): 'Open Borders' Will Reduce 'Muslim Poverty That's Threatening Our Security'
''Society is afraid of you and that's your problem,'' Tour(C) said of the double standard facing blacks in the United States.
''All that can lead to what some have called, 'proper negro fatigue,''' Tour(C) added. ''Because I have to go around mollifying everyone around me and letting them know I won't rob them.''
''And trust me, it's tiring,'' he concluded. ''Because, no matter how good I am at that, I still know I may end up dead.''
Watch the clip below via MSNBC:
> >Follow Noah Rothman (@NoahCRothman) on Twitter
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 16:32
Updated at 2:59 p.m. with comment from the State Department.
(CBS News) CBS News has uncovered documents that show the State Department may have covered up allegations of illegal and inappropriate behavior within their ranks.
The Diplomatic Security Service, or the DSS, is the State Department's security force, charged with protecting the secretary of state and U.S. ambassadors overseas and with investigating any cases of misconduct on the part of the 70,000 State Department employees worldwide.
CBS News' John Miller reports that according to an internal State Department Inspector General's memo, several recent investigations were influenced, manipulated, or simply called off. The memo obtained by CBS News cited eight specific examples. Among them: allegations that a State Department security official in Beirut "engaged in sexual assaults" on foreign nationals hired as embassy guards and the charge and that members of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's security detail "engaged prostitutes while on official trips in foreign countries" -- a problem the report says was "endemic."
The memo also reveals details about an "underground drug ring" was operating near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and supplied State Department security contractors with drugs.
Aurelia Fedenisn, a former investigator with the State Department's internal watchdog agency, the Inspector General, told Miller, "We also uncovered several allegations of criminal wrongdoing in cases, some of which never became cases."
In such cases, DSS agents told the Inspector General's investigators that senior State Department officials told them to back off, a charge that Fedenisn says is "very" upsetting.
"We were very upset. We expect to see influence, but the degree to which that influence existed and how high up it went, was very disturbing," she said.
In one specific and striking cover-up, State Department agents told the Inspector General they were told to stop investigating the case of a U.S. Ambassador who held a sensitive diplomatic post and was suspected of patronizing prostitutes in a public park.
The State Department Inspector General's memo refers to the 2011 investigation into an ambassador who "routinely ditched ... his protective security detai" and inspectors suspect this was in order to "solicit sexual favors from prostitutes."
Sources told CBS News that after the allegations surfaced, the ambassador was called to Washington, D.C. to meet with Undersecretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, but was permitted to return to his post.
Fedenisn says "hostile intelligence services" allow such behavior to continue. "I would be very surprised if some of those entities were not aware of the activities," she said. "So yes, it presents a serious risk to the United States government."
A draft of the Inspector General's report on the performance of the DSS, obtained by CBS News, states, "Hindering such cases calls into question the integrity of the investigative process, can result in counterintelligence vulnerabilities and can allow criminal behavior to continue."
John Miller spoke with Mike Pohelitz, a retired Senior Agent at the DSS who was involved in one of the cases listed in the Inspector General's memo. Pohelitz said he was told to stop investigating one of the cases and that the order likely came from the upper ranks of the DSS.
"I got the information through my DS channel," he told Miller. "But it had to come from somebody higher than DS, I'm sure."
According to Fedenisn, when a high-ranking State Department security officials was shown a draft of their findings that investigations were being interfered with by State Department higher-ups, he said, "This is going to kill us." In the final report however, all references to specific cases had been removed.
"I mean my heart really went out to the agents in that office, because they really want to do the right thing, they want to investigate the cases fully, correctly, accurately ... and they can't," Fedenisn said.
Fedenisn, a DSS agent for 26 years, was a part of the team that prepared the draft report and is now a whistleblower who has taken her concerns to Congress.
Two hours after CBS News made inquiries to the State Department about these charges, investigators from the State Department's Inspector General showed up at her door.
Speaking at a press briefing Monday, State Department spokesperson Jen Psaki said: "We hold all employees to the highest standards. We take allegations of misconduct seriously and we investigate thoroughly. All cases mentioned in the CBS report were thoroughly investigated or under investigation, and the -- the department continues to take action. Finally, the department has responded to the recommendations in the OIG report regarding the Bureau of Diplomatic Security's of Investigations and counter-intelligence. Diplomatic Security has taken the further step of requesting additional review by outside experience law enforcement officers on top of the OIG inspection so that officers with law enforcement experience can make expert assessments about our current procedures."
Psaki went on to say the "notion that we would not vigorously pursue criminal misconduct in a case, any case, is preposterous ... ambassadors would be no exception." Without speaking about specific cases, Psaki described any misconduct as "hardly endemic."
A statement provided to CBS News by the Inspector General's office said:
OIG does not comment on drafts of reports.
On its own initiative, OIG Office of Investigations has been conducting its own independent review of the allegations made. This is our standard procedure.
We staffed it independently and appropriately and they were people hired specific for this review at the end of 2012. They are on staff. We staffed it with the best people we can find at hand to do the job.
DS does not speak for us.
Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:50
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Wed, 12 Jun 2013 14:05
Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sought to clarify his claim that the National Security Agency does not collect information on millions of Americans, telling NBC News' Andrea Mitchell that he gave the "least untruthful" answer possible on the agency's surveillance program.
During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on March 12, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked the intelligence czar if the NSA gathers "any type of data at all on millions of Americans.''
"No, sir," Clapper responded. "Not wittingly. There are cases where they could inadvertently perhaps collect, but not wittingly."
Clapper's response appears to contradict recent revelations about the agency's large scale phone records collection program, first reported on by the Guardian last week. However, during the NBC interview, Clapper said Wyden's question did not have a straightforward answer.
"I thought, though in retrospect, I was asked -- 'When are you going to start -- stop beating your wife' kind of question, which is meaning not -- answerable necessarily by a simple yes or no," Clapper said in the interview, which aired Sunday. "So I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying 'no'."
Clapper said his remarks also reflected his definition of "collection," which he said has a specific meaning in an intelligence context.
"What I was thinking of is looking at the Dewey Decimal numbers-- of those books in that metaphorical library-- to me, collection of U.S. persons' data would mean taking the book off the shelf and opening it up and reading it," he said.
In a Tuesday statement, Wyden said he had notified Clapper of his question in advance, and had given his office a chance to give a "straight answer" after the March hearing.
''So that he would be prepared to answer, I sent the question to Director Clapper's office a day in advance. After the hearing was over my staff and I gave his office a chance to amend his answer,'' Wyden said. ''Now public hearings are needed to address the recent disclosures and the American people have the right to expect straight answers from the intelligence leadership to the questions asked by their representatives."
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Tue, 11 Jun 2013 20:54
Presenter: "'You'll be seeing black on ERT channels"
The Greek government has shut down the public broadcaster ERT, calling it a "haven of waste".
Viewers watching the news on the main TV channel saw the screens go to black late on Tuesday evening.
All employees have been suspended pending a re-organisation. Thousands of people held a protest against the decision outside ERT headquarters.
It is the latest move in rafts of spending cuts and tax rises aimed at leading the country out of recession.
"ERT is a case of an exceptional lack of transparency and incredible extravagance. This ends now," government spokesman Simos Kedikoglou said earlier.
While all 2,500 employees would be sacked, he added they would be paid compensation and would be able to apply for work when the corporation relaunches as a smaller, independent public broadcaster.
The head of ERT's foreign desk, Odin Linardatou, said the announcement took journalists by surprise.
"We are very shocked, we are angry, it was a decision that we didn't expect, we expected maybe more cuts," she told the BBC's Newshour programme.
"What I cannot accept in a democracy is that Greece will not have a public broadcaster."
Riot police have been deployed in Athens as thousands of people have gathered outside ERT's headquarters to protest against the decision.
Voice of GreeceAuthorities confirmed that the Hellenic Broadcasting Corporation (ERT) had been formally disbanded, as transmissions gradually stopped on Tuesday night.
The Finance Ministry said authorities would "secure'" the corporation's facilities.
Unions also voiced strong opposition to the move.
An engineer at the broadcaster's multimedia department who gave his name as Yannis said: "From tonight I will be unemployed. It is a complete shock."
ERT is funded by a direct payment of 4.30 euros (£3.80; $6) added monthly to electricity bills.
Its supporters say ERT provides an essential service to the Greek people.
The broadcaster runs three domestic TV channels, four national radio stations, as well regional radio stations and an external service, Voice of Greece.
In April, parliament passed a bill which would see 15,000 state employees lose their jobs by the end of next year.
The law was a condition for Greece to receive its next tranche of loans from international lenders worth 8.8bn euros (£7.4bn; $11.4bn).
Since 2010, the European Union and the IMF have promised more than 200bn euros in lending for Greece, the first country to be hit by the eurozone crisis.
The government has imposed tough austerity measures in return for aid, including cuts in pay and pensions leading to numerous general strikes.
Thu, 13 Jun 2013 07:45
In a new multimedia campaign, Robert Redford is challenging President Obama to act now on climate change by reining in carbon pollution from the nation's biggest source, coal-fired power plants.
Robert Redford is challenging President Obama to act now on climate change''Four months ago, President Obama spoke of our obligation to combat climate change, saying failure to do so would betray our children and future generations,'' said Redford. ''I just hope he has the courage of his convictions.''
Video: Robert Redford asks President Obama to have the Courage of His ConvictionsRedford, the iconic American actor, director and conservationist, made the remarks as part of a campaign the Natural Resources Defense Council launched this week with ads that will run on TV, online and in social media.
Why now? In his first term, the president ordered a doubling of vehicle fuel efficiency standards, which will significantly reduce emissions contributing to climate change. In his second inaugural address, Obama promised to respond to the threat of climate change, and then in the State of the Union address he declared that if Congress doesn't act soon, he will.
''Now,'' said Redford, who also is trustee of NRDC, ''we all need to know what the president is going to do about climate change, and he can start by cutting carbon pollution from dirty power plants.''
In his new ad, ''Courage of his Convictions,'' Redford highlights the impacts already being felt from climate change and asks viewers to join him in urging the president to take action. NRDC worked with Redford to produce the ad, which will air through the week of June 10 on Washington, D.C. cable and broadcast stations. The ad also is being heavily promoted online through news outlets and social media sites.
In his inaugural address this year, Obama addressed the need to fight climate change and its devastating impacts of wildfires, drought and more powerful storms. Then, in his State of the Union address he said, ''for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change.'' And he promised, '''...if Congress won't act soon to protect future generations, I will.'' He said he will direct his Cabinet to come up with executive actions he can take, now and in the future, to reduce pollution.
''Millions of Americans expect the Obama administration to live up to its rhetoric on climate change, starting with cleaning up power plants, the biggest source of carbon pollution,'' said Frances Beinecke, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council. ''The president can use the Clean Air Act to make real progress on one of our world's and our future's biggest challenges. That's what the presidency is for'--doing big things.''
NRDC has outlined in a plan how the president can curb the impacts of climate change. Under the Clean Air Act, the president can set limits on carbon pollution emitted by the nation's existing power plants that would cut carbon emissions 26 percent by 2020. The plan brings together states and power companies to determine the most cost-effective way to hit the targets. It will keep about a half-billion tons of carbon out of the atmosphere every year, save lives and save consumers money on their electric bills.
The need for action is underlined by the mounting costs of extreme weather fueled by climate change. Last year was the hottest year on record in the continental United States. Wildfires burned up nine million acres of land, destroying hundreds of homes. The worst drought in a half century covered 60 percent of the nation. Climate change has set the table for the growing intensity and frequency of storms like Hurricane Sandy that killed 131 Americans and left billions of dollars of damage in its wake.
Mon, 10 Jun 2013 10:20
Yahoo, Verizon, Sprint, and others have recently come under fire for sharing customer data with the authorities, and admitting to "spying" abilities that would "shock" and "confuse" customers.
A CNBC interview with Google CEO Eric Schmidt suggests the search giant Google shouldn't get off easy, and users should be wary of what Google knows about them -- and with whom they can share that information.
CNBC's Mario Bartiromo asked CEO Schmidt in her December 3, 2009 interview: "People are treating Google like their most trusted friend. Should they?"
Schmidt's reply hints that if there's scandalous information out there about you, it's your problem, not Google's.
Schmidt tells Baritoromo:
If you have something that you don't want anyone to know, maybe you shouldn't be doing it in the first place.
He expands on his answer, adding that the your information could be made available not only to curious searchers or prying friends, but also to the authorities, and that there's little recourse for people worried about unintentionally "oversharing" online:
But if you really need that kind of privacy, the reality is that search engines, including Google, do retain this information for some time. And [...] we're all subject, in the US, to the Patriot Act, and it is possible that that information could be made available to the authorities.
Leaked documents revealing Yahoo's guide for law enforcement officials, which explains how they can obtain consumer data, highlights the type of information internet companies may have about their users -- and can share with the authorities.
Silicon Alley Insider notes,
For example, Yahoo's document helpfully alerts law enforcement that if they'd like to read a user's instant messanger logs, they better ask within 45 days and come bearing a 2703(d) order. That is, unless there's "imminent danger of death or serious physical injury." If that's the case, there's another letter to fax entirely
See a video clip of Schmidt's below.